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Amid China’s naval build-up, India begins project to build 6 nuclear-powered submarines

India has kick-started an ambitious project to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines that is expected to boost the Navy’s overall strike capabilities in the face of China’s naval build-up and increasing military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific region.Confirming the launch of the mega project, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba also gave a clear indication that Indian Navy was ready to play a bigger role including under the proposed quadrilateral coalition among India, the US, Australia and Japan. In a press conference on the eve of Navy Day, Admiral Lanba also touched on a range of key issues confronting the Navy including acquisition of a range of submarines, warships and weapons systems, asserting that it was ready to face any traditional and non-traditional threats.”It has kicked off and I will leave it at that. It is a classified project. The process has started. I will not comment further,” Admiral Lanba said, replying to a question on the project.On the evolving security scenario in the maritime sphere around India, he said it was odd for China to deploy submarines for anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean region and that a threat assessment is being carried out by the Indian Navy on it. “We are all aware of the prevailing security scenario in our maritime domain. The continued presence of both traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain demand constant attention and robust mitigating measures,” he said. He also spoke about possible security challenges in case of presence of Chinese warships in the strategically-important Gwadar port in Pakistan which is being developed by China.”It will be a security challenge. We will have to look at it and mitigate,” he said.Also readWho is Shubhangi Swaroop? 5 things you must know about Indian Navy’s first woman pilotThe Navy Chief said eight ships of Chinese PLA Navy were deployed in the Indian Ocean region at any point of time and that there was a unique situation in August when the numbers had gone up to 14. Additional deployment of Chinese warships and submarines were reported during the over two month-long standoff between Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam. On expanding the Indian Navy’s presence in critical sea lanes, Admiral Lanba said it was gradually increasing its deployment in Andaman seas, Malacca Strait, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, North Arabian and Sunda and Lumbok.”In short, our ships and aircraft are deployed from the Gulf of Aden to the Western Pacific on an almost 24×7 basis,” he said. Referring to the bilateral naval agreement between India and Singapore providing for deeper cooperation including logistics support, he said similar agreements are being negotiated with a number of countries. “We are negotiating similar pacts with a number of other countries,” he said adding the Navy has activated the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US by taking fuel at sea from the US three months ago.Also readIndian Navy’s pilotless aircraft crashes in KochiTalking about the controversy in the Russian media that a US team was allowed to board nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, the Admiral said “No US official has even seen it from close quarters.” Talking about modernisation of the Navy, he said 34 ships are under construction and projects worth Rs 40,000 crore have been identified for participation of the private shipyards. He said 23 Indian private sector shipyards have qualified for participation in indigenous shipbuilding projects on the basis of their capacity, capability and infrastructure.The Navy chief said work on Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, IAC 1, is progressing well, adding he was hopeful that the ship would join the Navy by 2020. He said steps have been taken to bolster the aviation arm of the Navy by induction of new fighters, surveillance aircraft and ship-borne helicopters. “The Indian Navy is at the threshold of joining a select league of navies capable of providing Submarine Search and Rescue in the Indian Ocean Region with two Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel Systems scheduled for induction next year,” he said.
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With terrorism, maritime security on agenda, India, France hold bilateral talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gravely concerned over growing terrorism, India and France on Friday decided to strengthen counter-terror cooperation, and asked the international community to oppose the countries which are financing, sheltering and providing safe havens to terrorists.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held wide-ranging talks with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, during which they also decided to strengthen cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a development which comes barely days after India held quadrilateral talks with Japan, Australia and the US in Manila on the sidelines of India-ASEAN Summit.The two ministers held discussions on key regional and international issues as well as the proposed visit of the French President to India next year.”We expressed grave concern on growing terrorism and decided that we need to fight the evil together. We appealed to all countries to oppose those financing, sheltering and providing safe havens to terrorists,” Swaraj said at a joint press event with the French minister.Though her statement did not name Pakistan, the remarks were in a veiled reference to it.She said they also discussed concrete measures to expedite operations at the Jaitapur nuclear power project.As part of the 2008 nuclear cooperation agreement between India and France, Paris is to help build atomic power reactors for New Delhi. French firm EDF will build six atomic reactors of 1,650MW each at Jaitapur, some 500 kms south off Mumbai, with National Power Corporation India Limited (NPCIL) as operator.The two sides discussed growing cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region where both India and France have a crucial presence and the issue of maritime security, Swaraj said.”The cooperation, which could include other willing strategic partners, is aimed at ensuring the safety of international sea-lanes for unimpeded commerce and communications, countering maritime terrorism and piracy, building maritime domain awareness, capacity building and greater coordination in regional and international fora in the Indian ocean region,” she said.Asserting that India attaches high value to its strategic partnership with France, Swaraj said the two countries value each other as natural partners in preserving a multipolar rule-based international order, upholding norms and principles and working together for global peace and stability, inclusive growth and sustainable development in all parts of the world.Describing cooperation in the areas of defence, space and civil nuclear sector as the three principal pillars of the strategic partnership, Swaraj said India-France defence ties have been growing very strong encompassing institutional interactions, joint military exercises, acquisition, training, and research and development.The two sides have also agreed on the need to deepen technology and manufacturing partnership, as well as strengthen India-France military logistics coordination.On his part, the French minister said he was here to lay the groundwork for the visit of the French president which would take place early next year during the summit of the International Solar Alliance.Describing his talks “very useful and substantive”, he said, “On matters such as combating terrorism, maritime security, cooperation in the Indian Ocean – where France and India are two countries belonging to the Indian Ocean Rim – we have a complete commonality of views, which calls for the strengthening of our partnership.”Earlier this year, France, along with the US and the UK, had co-piloted a proposal to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN. However, the proposal was thwarted by China.The French minister also termed Indo-French strategic tie-up as “a partnership of trust based on democratic values” and “partnership of heart”.”We share not only values but also the same analysis of major international issues. Our bilateral relations must be understood as an expression of this common analysis,” he said.The visiting dignitary also talked about robust defence ties, saying the bilateral defence partnership is well known through the Rafale and Scorp ne projects to mention only the most emblematic ones but it is far broader than that, similar to our cooperation in the Indian Ocean.He also said the partnership for the planet was at the core of France’s global diplomacy.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron have expressed their desire to maintain the momentum created with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the founding of the International Solar Alliance.”They wished to have the State visit coincide with the first summit of the International Solar Alliance here in Delhi. This is very positive and will enable us to enhance the attractiveness of this international organisation, which will play a crucial role in helping developing countries gain access to sustainable energy at lower costs,” he said.On trade ties, Swaraj said the bilateral trade turnover of $10.95 billion dollars suggests that there is tremendous scope for trade growth.He will inaugurate ‘Bonjour India’ festival in Delhi and Jaipur, which will offer the best of this partnership of hearts through 300 events across 33 Indian cities.

PM Modi only world statesman to stand up to China’s OBOR: American think-tank Hudson Institute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only world statesman to have stood up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative even though the US has been silent on the ambitious project till recently, a top American expert on China said today.During a Congressional hearing, Michael Pillsbury, Director of Center on Chinese Strategy at the prestigious think-tank Hudson Institute, told lawmakers that Modi and his team have been quite outspoken against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project.”The only statesman in the world who stood up to it yet, is Prime Minister Modi. He and his team have been quite outspoken, partly because the Belt and Road Initiative includes violation of Indian sovereign claims, Pillsbury said.”But the US government, until now and this is a five- year-old initiative if you count the early part of it, has been silent, he said.Praising the Trump administration for its new Indo- Pacific strategy, the former Pentagon official said in recent days people have heard more than 50 times by members of the Trump administration including the president himself mentioning “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.”The Chinese have already attacked this. They don’t like it, said Pillsbury, who is considered an authority on China- related issues.”The Indians, fairly recently, were joking about we want to make the Indian Ocean the Indian Ocean, by which they meant the purchase of several billion dollars worth of American PA aircraft, which have weapon systems in the back that can sink ships, frankly, and other improvements including maritime situational awareness and a big new center in Delhi where the Indians can keep track of both blue holes and grey holes going through the Indian Ocean, he said.”Chinese are very angry about this. They have criticised the Obama administration for its effort to, as they say, boost India, to a higher rank order in comprehensive power than the Chinese believe India deserves, the top American expert on China said in response to a question.Senator Ed Markey said China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative that aims to position China as the uncontested leading power in Asia “may further coerce” its neighbours through loans they cannot repay.The BRI aimed at building a vast network of infrastructure projects expanding China’s expertise and capital to different parts of the world includes USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has protested as it traversed through Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK).India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) organised by China in May this year to highlight its concerns over Beijing pushing projects through the the PoK.He said the US companies face the threat of intellectual property theft with reports that China has been stealing cutting-edge research as well as sensitive trade secrets from the US.And that includes companies working in the clean energy sector who cannot compete with state-backed firms, he alleged.Pillsbury said Chinese are offering low interest loans to countries that cannot afford it.”We’re already saw the example of Sri Lanka, which fell behind in its payments and then was the subject of coercion that if you transfer the main port here in Sri Lanka to Chinese control, we will forgive the debt. The Sri Lankans did it, he said.There were concerns of debt burden brought in by the BRI projects after Sri Lanka opted for long-term lease of its Hambantota port for USD 1.12 billion debt swap.”…So we are beginning to see, just through the media, what the Belt and Road Initiative may mean, Pillsbury told the lawmakers.Senator Markey said China is challenging the very underpinnings of the global order that has brought peace and prosperity.China has not lived up to its international obligations to help denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, he said.”No country has greater leverage than China, which is responsible for approximately 90 per cent of North Korean trade,” he noted.Markey said, “China is challenging the international system elsewhere as well. It has constructed in violation of international law, military bases on artificial islands and disputed areas of the South China Sea.””Through economic coercion, Beijing undermined the sovereignty of its smaller neighbours and countries including South Korea and the Philippines face Chinese retaliation for taking legal and sovereign actions in their own defence,” he said.

Foreign Secy S Jaishankar wants resolution of maritime disputes through UN body

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing maritime security as an important dimension of foreign relations, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday said India would ensure freedom of navigation over flight rights and unimpeded commerce, as the country’s trade volume along Indian Ocean amounts to 40%. In an oblique reference to Chinese attempts to flex military muscles to block other countries in South China Sea, despite an international tribunal voting against it, Jaishankar advocated a resolution of maritime disputes through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), saying all oceanic states were equal stakeholders.He noted the economic dimensions and security challenges in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) states and called for defining collective naval and national strategies. The 21-member IORA including states bordering Indian Ocean is seen as a front to challenge Chinese attempts to block sea-lanes. Describing the association as a collective platform to highlight common challenges, the Foreign Secretary said that IORA is an important instrument in promoting cooperation and ensuring stability in the region, and that India supports the intensification and invigoration of IORA activities in areas like renewable energy, blue economy and maritime safety.”Security challenges do not respect borders and need to be tackled through effective partnerships at the regional level. India has been working with like-minded countries to preserve the integrity, inviolability and security of maritime domain, much of which is a global commons,” he said.The remark is seen as a veiled reference to Pakistan. In November 2008, Mumbai witnessed a terror attack from Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who used the Arabian Sea to enter India. He added that maritime cooperation is one of the “key pillars” of India’s cooperation in Asia and Africa and listed out initiatives New Delhi has undertaken to help its coastal neighbours.Maintaining that a favourable maritime environment in the Indian Ocean was a broad objective that requires coordination between India’s military, diplomatic and economic institutions, he said India has initiated help to its maritime neighbours to set up their network and contribute to the shared development of Maritime Domain Awareness. He said persevering efforts to secure shipping traffic in the area from pirate attacks has contributed to the greater maritime safety in the region and enabled the reduction of the High Risk Area in December 2015.In order to safeguard mainland and islands, defend interests, ensure a safe secure and stable Indian Ocean, he recommended that countries should deepen economic and security cooperation, envisage collective action and cooperation to advance peace and security and respond to emergencies and also seek a more integrated and cooperative future for the region that enhances sustainable development.

India, Japan start 3-day naval warfare exercise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The navies of India and Japan began a three-day anti-submarine warfare exercise on Sunday as part of strategic cooperation between the two countries. The aim of the exercise is to bolster support for each other in the Indian Ocean Region and to keep an eye on the increased presence of Chinese vessels and submarines.China has also been taking an aggressive stand in the South China Sea.The Indian Navy has deployed a P-8I Long-Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft, while the Japanse Navy sent two P-3 Orion Maritime anti-submarine aircrafts.The exercise will conclude on October 31.Frequent forays by Chinese vessels have been a matter of great concern for India as the Chinese Navy controls ports in Djibouti, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and now Myanmar.The increased frequency of Chinese vessels docked in Karachi and “unusual” activites of their naval units in the Indian Ocean is alarming.The enhanced naval cooperation was decided during Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to Japan in July.This was just after the recently concluded Japan-India-US Trilateral Maritime Exercise — Malabar 2017.Meanwhile, in another significant move to enhance defence cooperation in the region, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhano will visit Vietnam between October 30 and November 3.”During his visit, he is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with the top brass of Vietnam People’s Air Force and Air Defence (VPAF) on security challenges in the current geopolitical scenario and explore ways to deepen the defence cooperation further. The main focus of the visit would be on improving bilateral relations, promoting defence ties and evolving steps to further strengthen defence cooperation between the two Air Forces,” the Indian Air Force said in a statement.Earlier this month, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba also visited Vietnam.

India to improve connectivity with Africa and Pacific nations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India plans to put in more effort in the maritime space to its south towards the Indian Ocean to increase connectivity with East Africa as well as with the Pacific islands. Speaking at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said growth and connectivity are now central to India’s foreign policy thinking. “The approach of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (collective action, inclusive growth) is as much a belief in international relations as it is in domestic development,” he said.Jaishankar said the growth and connectivity initiatives were truly global and that there was need to make these initiatives people-centric to ensure the interests of all stakeholders are reflected. “It is particularly necessary if we are to ensure that such initiatives are demand-driven and locally owned. Today’s gathering is one step in that direction. I am confident that it would contribute to the emergence of a broad consensus on this set of issues,” he said.He further said there was need to come up with initiatives based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality. “There must be a strong sense of local ownership which can only happen with consultative project designing, transfer of technology and encouragement of skills,” he added. He also said there is need to ensure financial responsibility so that there is no encouragement of unsustainable debts. He called for activities that must fully conform to balanced ecological and environmental protection and preservation standards….& ANALYSISSince Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister, India has significantly improved its position in the international political arena.
Now, with steps like this, India is not only emerging as a global political entity, but as an able global leader.

Sino-India frictions raise potential for open conflict: CRS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intensified frictions between India and China raise the potential for an open conflict and could serve as an “impetus” for further US-India strategic cooperation that could have implications for Beijing, according to a Congressional report. The two-page brief report by independent and bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) titled ‘China-Border Tensions at Doka La’ comes amidst continued standoff between the soldiers of two countries in the Sikkim sector. “Intensified frictions raise the potential for open conflict and could serve as an impetus for further US-India strategic cooperation that could have implications for China. An issue for Congress is whether to call on the Trump Administration to put forth a strategy and report on this strategic development,” the CRS said in its insight report. CRS is an independent research wing of the US Congress, which prepares reports and policy papers for US lawmakers on issues of their interest for the Congressmen to take informed decision. Its reports are not considered as an official view of the US Congress. The insight dated August 9 was released by non-profit Federation of American Scientists on Friday. The US has maintained neutrality on the India-China border standoff and repeatedly encouraged the two countries to resolve their dispute through talks. “Recent border tensions between India and China may be indicative of a new phase of heightened Sino-Indian rivalry. This rivalry is manifesting itself not only along the two nations’ 2,167-mile-long disputed Himalayan border, but also throughout South Asia and the broader Indian Ocean littoral region,” said the CRS insight authored by Bruce Vaughn. A specialist in Asian Affairs, Vaughn notes that the border standoff at Doka La marks a shift in China-India ties that likely has more to do with the broader relationship than with the Himalayan border alone. “An intensification of rivalry between China and India appears to be under way,” he wrote. “For New Delhi, China’s efforts to block India from membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, develop the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor through a part of Kashmir (PoK) claimed by India, protect a Pakistan-based terrorist from UN sanctions, and develop China’s strategic presence in the Indian Ocean littoral have combined to increase New Delhi’s frustration with and suspicion of China,” Vaughn wrote. “China has been wary of India’s decisions to not attend China’s Belt and Road summit in May 2017, allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh, and continue to develop strategic ties with the US. Given these larger dynamics, as well as specific statements and posturing on Doka La, it may be some time before the dispute is fully resolved,” the report concluded.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indo-Japan ties special, for global peace: Ashwani Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar today hailed the Indo-Japan relationship, saying it had assumed a “very sharp, strategic dimension” and become an engagement for peace and stability not only in Asia but in the entire world. “We have seen what is happening in Doklam. We have seen what is happening in Pakistan. We are seeing who the friends of Pakistan are. We have seen what is happening in South China. “We have seen the open defiance of the international legal regime by some countries…India and Japan seek harmony and friendship with all our neighbours, with all the countries,” he said. The former law minister was speaking at an interactive session at the PHD Chamber of Commerce here. “India and Japan’s engagement is an example of a special, strategic and global relationship in all its dimensions,” Kumar said. The Malabar Exercise in the Indian Ocean was intended to secure the sea links, which were the lifeline for not only for the economy of the entire Indian Ocean region, but also a guarantee for peace, stability and security in the world, he said. “We also know that the road to peace is through power not through weakness. And it is for that peace the India and Japan relationship have also assumed a very sharp, strategic dimension so that this engagement have become an engagement for prosperity, peace and stability not only in Asia but in the rest of the world,” he said. Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said Japanese companies would further accelerate their pace of investments in India’s manufacturing, services and retail sector since the strategic alliance between the two is deepening with transformational tendencies surfacing in ease of doing business in India in the last five years. “With the Japanese prime minister coming to India in very near future, another comprehensive package is likely to be announced to strengthen Indo-Japan trade ties, as the two countries are preparing for better security, defence cooperation including better exchanges between the armed, naval and air force of the two nations. “Economic trade in 2015 was USD 2.6 billion which rose to USD 4.7 billion in 2016,” he said. To a question, the ambassador said the dedicated freight corridor project would be completed by 2019 whereas the real construction on Mumbai-Ahmedabad train project would commence in 2018, to be completed by 2023.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘I paddle boarded down the length of the Ganges river’

Spike Reid and his team-mates took 98 days to travel the length of the river.

Sri Lanka navy rescues two elephants washed out to sea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two young elephants washed out to sea were saved from drowning today by the Sri Lankan navy in the second such incident off the island in as many weeks. The navy said the pair of wild elephants were brought ashore after a “mammoth effort” involving navy divers, ropes and a flotilla of boats to tow them back to shallow waters. Photos showed the elephants in distress, barely keeping their trunks above water in the deep seas about one kilometre off the coast of Sri Lanka. “Having safely guided the two elephants to the shore, they were subsequently released to the Foul Point jungle (in Trincomalee district),” the navy said in a statement. “They were extremely lucky to have been spotted by a patrol craft which called in several other boats to help with the rescue.” Two weeks ago, the navy mounted a similar operation in the same region to save a lone elephant washed eight kilometres (five miles) off the Sri Lankan coast into the deep waters of the Indian Ocean. Navy officials say the animals were likely swept out while crossing shallow lagoons in the region. They are not the only wildlife to encounter trouble in the biodiverse island. In May, the navy and local residents saved a pod of 20 pilot whales that became stranded in Trincomalee, a natural harbour that is popular for whale watching. The waters around Trincomalee, which were used by Allied forces as a staging post during World War II, have a high concentration of blue and sperm whales, while the surrounding jungles have herds of wild elephants.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mauritius PM meets Vice President Ansari, Union Minister Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Saturday met Vice President Hamid Ansari and Union Minister Arun Jaitley. Earlier in the day, India and Mauritius exchanged five Memorandum of Understandings (MoU). Both the countries agreed to cooperate in stepping up vigil against conventional and non-conventional threats in the Indian Ocean. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a press conference, that as frontline states of the Indian Ocean, the two sides ensure collective maritime security around the coasts and in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). He added that the two nations need to keep up vigil against piracy that impacts trade and tourism, trafficking of drugs and humans, illegal fishing and other forms of illegal exploitation of marine resources. The conclusion of the bilateral Maritime Security Agreement will strengthen our mutual cooperation and capacities, said Prime Minister Modi. India is supporting the National Coast Guard of Mauritius in augmenting its capacity through Project Trident and will renew the life of the Coast Guard Ship Guardian that was provided to Mauritius, under a grant assistance programme. India also agreed to provide a Line of Credit of USD 500 million to Mauritius for various projects. The Indian Prime Minister also declared a special carve-out on OCI cards for Mauritius. He said that India and Mauritius have developed strong bilateral cooperation in the field of defence and security.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

IMD warns fishermen not to venture into sea on May 14-15

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday said the Southwest monsoon has advanced into parts of southeast Bay of Bengal, Nicobar Islands, south Andaman Sea and parts of north Andaman Sea. The weather department has advised the fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the Nicobar Islands during May14-15 and along and off Andaman Islands during May15-17. Earlier, the MeT department has predicted normal southwest monsoon for this year. “This year we are expecting normal distribution and quantity of rainfall across the country with 96 percent of the long period average with a model error of plus or minus five percent,” D. S. Pai, Head of Climate Prediction, IMD, told ANI. He further said that the IMD would forecast the monsoon arrival around mid of the next month. K. J. Ramesh, chief of the MeT department said that the combination of a weak El Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole is expected to give a positive monsoon for India this year. Ramesh also said that the rainfall this year would be favourable for the farmers. The IMD has said there is 38 percent of a rain being near normal. The IMD said that they expected 96 percent rainfall in the oncoming monsoon season with a margin of five percent.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Navies of India and S’pore explore ways to boost cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba today held extensive talks with his Singaporean counterpart Lai Chung Han and explored ways to further step up maritime cooperation between the two countries. Lanma arrived here today to participate in an event tomorrow to commemorate 50 years of the Singaporean Navy as well as to witness a mega exercise between the navies of the two countries. Four warships of the Indian Navy and long range anti- submarine warfare aircraft P-8l would be part of the exercise with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The aim of the exercise is to enhance and expand coordination between the two navies in the Indian Ocean Region. In their talks, Lanba and Lai touched upon a number of key issues concerning maritime security and deliberated on ways to boost cooperation between the two navies. Admiral Lanba will be attending the International Maritime Review (IMR) tomorrow, an event being organised by the RSN to celebrate its 50th years of establishment. The event is being attended by navy chiefs of at least 30 countries. He will also attend the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) 2017. “Besides attending the IMR and IMDEX 17, the visit aims to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues,” Indian Navy Spokesperson Captain D K Sharma said. Indian naval ships Sahyadri and Kamorta have also arrived in Singapore to participate in the IMR and IMDEX. Defence cooperation between India and Singapore is on an upswing in the last few years. India had signed a defence cooperation agreement with Singapore in 2003, which was renewed in 2015. The Indian Navy and Singapore Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a multilateral maritime cooperation forum, conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008. Both the countries have been conducting the bilateral exercise ‘SIMBEX’ (Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise) since 1994. The next edition of the exercise is scheduled to be conducted off Singapore from May 18 to 24. Warships from both the countries regularly visit each other’s ports. The last visit by the Chief of the Naval Staff to Singapore was by then chief Admiral R K Dhowan in 2015. Singaporean Navy Chief Lai had last visited India in February last year. “Singapore share similar maritime challenges such as coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both navies have opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences. In addition, ground exists for cooperation on a number of issues common to both navies,” said Sharma.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian warships in Malaysia to step up maritime cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two warships of the Indian Navy today reached Malaysia on a six-day visit as the force aims to further deepen bilateral maritime cooperation including effectively containing piracy in the Indian Ocean region. The ships – INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti – are part of an overseas deployment to the South East Asia and Southern Indian Ocean in sync with India’s ‘Act East Policy’. “The visit of the Indian Naval Ships seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly and harmonious countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and Malaysia,” Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said. Indian naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region. In addition, as part of the Indian government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with surveillance of the exclusive economic zones, search and rescue operations and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities. “The current deployment will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas,” Sharma said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, US discuss maritime cooperation in Asia-Pacific

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Indian and American officials have exchanged views on maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and discussed steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation. They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation during a two-day India-US Maritime Security Dialogue in Rhode Island. The officials reviewed the implementation of decisions taken at the first Maritime Security Dialogue. “The two sides exchanged views on maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and considered steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation,” according to a readout of the meeting that ended yesterday. The discussion happened amid tension in the disputed South China Sea, where the Chinese military is increasingly flexing its military might. The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (disarmament and international security affairs) Pankaj Sharma while the American delegation was led by David Helvey, the acting assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. The next round of the dialogue will take place in India. Last month, US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris had emphasised on increasing marituime security cooperation between the two countries.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Trump admin must continue transformation of Indo-US ties’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trump administration must continue the transformation of US-India ties and help New Delhi strengthen its military specially in the Indian Ocean as China poses a major challenge to the American national security interest in the region, a US expert said today. The importance of strong US-India ties goes beyond merely abstract geopolitical balancing today and is in fact increasingly an operational imperative, Ashley Tellis from the Carnegie Endowment for International Relations told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing. “The Trump administration must continue the transformation of US-India relations undertaken by its two immediate predecessors because India is a vital element in the Asian balance of power and, along with Japan, remains one of the key bookends for managing the rise of China,” Tellis said in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Asia Pacific region. With the increasing Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean since at least 2008 and the likelihood of its acquiring “logistical facilities” in Djibouti and Gwader, Chinese naval operations — which are likely to be eventually supported by new anti-access and area denial capabilities based out of southwestern China and oriented toward aiding interdiction activities in the northern Indian Ocean — could one day interfere with US naval movements from the Persian Gulf or from Diego Garcia into the Pacific, he warned. As such, closer US-Indian cooperation in regard to surveillance of Chinese naval actions in the Indian Ocean is highly desirable. “Both Washington and New Delhi have now agreed to cooperate in tracking Chinese submarine operations in the area, and both nations should discuss the possibilities of enhanced mutual access for transitory rotations of maritime patrol aircraft. “In general, US policy should move toward confirming a commitment to building up India’s military capabilities so as to enable it to independently defeat any coercive stratagems China may pursue along New Delhi’s landward and maritime frontiers, thereby easing the burdens on Washington’s ‘forward defence’ posture in other parts of the IndoPacific,” he said. Tellis told lawmakers that most of America’s allies and friends in the region, including the smaller states of Southeast Asia, desire to protect their own strategic autonomy vis-a-vis China. They often lack the critical military capabilities necessary to produce that outcome independently; however, they are open to working with the US to balance the rise of Chinese power so long as Washington is seen to be consistently engaged and temperate in its policies, he said. “The stronger regional states, such as Japan and India, will in fact balance China independently of the US,” Tellis added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Monsoon to be normal this year: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This year, the country will see normal southwest monsoon rainfall, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first long-range monsoon forecast on Tuesday.”The monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96 per cent of the long period average with a model error of 5 per cent on either side. This will be good for agriculture,” said KJ Ramesh, Director General, IMD.As per historical data of the past 50 years, the long-period average (LPA) rainfall – between June and September – is 89cm. The IMD categorises rainfall in the 96 per cent to 104 per cent LPA range as normal while the rain immediately below that, it is considered below normal.Even as the IMD has predicted a normal monsoon, uncertainties still loom in the form of an El Niño, that is likely to gain strength from August onward. The IMD has predicted that there is an increasing probability, of more than 50 per cent of El Niño conditions developing over Equatorial Pacific after August.El Niño is an abnormal condition over Equatorial Pacific Ocean, with warming over central and east Pacific Ocean. The warming results in below-par rainfall across the subcontinent and South Asia.The other uncertainty lies in the dynamical mode of forecasting. In a major departure, the IMD has given primacy to this model over the ensemble statistical model that has been in use since 2007. The dynamical model, also known as the Coupled Forecast System, collates data on local as well as global weather patterns to simulate a forecast for a specific duration. Due to the use of this model, the IMD has not issued specifics on the probability of an above normal and excess rainfall. It also did not reveal spatial distribution of monsoon across the regions.IMD DG Ramesh said that the this time, both, statistical prediction model and dynamic model assessments were identical. The IMD’s forecast has also relied heavily on predicting the gauging the impact of El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). “There is possible development of El Niño over the Pacific and simultaneously we are seeing possibility of positive IOD. Because of this particular blessed situation will see good distribution of monsoon rainfall,” said Ramesh.The forecast of a normal monsoon will enthuse the farming sector as last year’s good monsoon has led to record production of oilseeds, food grains and also triggered a 4.2 per cent agriculture growth.

Average monsoons: Analysts see farm GDP clipping at 3-4%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A normal monsoon season, as projected by the Met department (IMD) could help the agricultural GDP grow by 3-4 per cent this year, a tad lower than last year’s, says a report. The IMD today said there would be good distribution of rainfall across the country and it will receive 96 per cent of the long period average. “We believe that the agricultural GDP is most likely to be in range of 3-4 per cent, a tad low compared to 2016-17, if rainfall remains normal,” an SBI Research said. It said even in case of deficit rainfalls there are instances where agri-GDP has in fact expanded and smartly grew in slightly more than normal rainfall in 2010 and 2011. In 2009, despite a 22 per cent decline in rainfalls, agri-GDP expanded by 0.8 per cent. The report said the current year’s forecast is majorly important for the farm sector with initial reports pointing fingers at the El Ni o which may happen during the later part of the year. The IMD, however, says weak EL Ni o and positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently combining to give a positive monsoon scenario in 2017. The report said an analysis of monsoon forecast (1st and 2nd stage) since 2008 indicates that IMD has only once increased its 2nd stage forecast (in 2014), else the forecast remained same or slightly less than the first. “With a 38 per cent probability of normal rainfalls, we believe rainfall is most likely to be higher than 96 per cent of LPA,” the report said. Meanwhile, Icra in a report said the timing of rainfall will be crucial as higher rainfall in the early part of the monsoon may support sowing while adequate rainfalls in the second half is important for yields. Its principal economist Aditi Nayar said if rainfall is around 96 per cent, our baseline expectation is that growth of agricultural GVA will moderate from above 4 per cent in fiscal 2017 to 3.6 per cent in fiscal 2018. Partly due to unfavourable rainfalls and reservoir levels, the GVA for crops contracted by 2.2 per cent in 2016, she pointed out.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India-US logistic pact threatens idea of Asian Century:Pak NSA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan today said the logistic agreement signed between India and the US, that enables them to use each other’s military assets and bases for repair and resupply, has jeopardised the idea of an ‘Asian Century’. Its National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua said the growing cooperation between India and the US – including with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed in August last year – has jeopardised the idea of an ‘Asian Century’. The LEMOA agreement enables India and the US to use each other’s land, air and naval bases for repair and resupply. Speaking at a conference on ‘Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean: Challenges and Prospects for Pakistan’, Janjua said, “Inter-state tensions in the region and significant investments in blue water navies by countries like India have brought oceans into focus as sensitive security space.” The conference was held to analyse the challenges in the realm of maritime security emanating from militarisation and nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean and power projection in the region, emerging alliances and threats to the Beijing-backed USD 45 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Janjua said the idea of an ‘Asian Century’ was under threat because “security architecture and strategic stability of the region had come under stress”, adding India and the US have “carved out space to preposition themselves in this ocean. India is being propped up as a counter-weight to China through geo-political, economic and military moves.” Sehar Kamran, President of the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies – one of the organisers of the conference, said fulfillment of the vision of ‘Asian Century’ needs a focus on 3Cs connectivity, cooperation, and communication. The conference recommended to place special emphasis on modernisation of the Pakistan Navy. “Pakistan should increase and modernise its naval fleet, and pursue technological advancements in sea-based deterrents to ensure an assured second strike capability, especially in the context of the growing threats by the belligerent India,” said Kamran. Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain claimed “competitors” were opposed to the CPEC and were “already seeking to sabotage it.” Former deputy chief of naval staff Vice Admiral (retd) Iftikhar Ahmed said, “If we have the requisite infrastructure and enabling environment at Gwadar and the region, Gwadar will surely emerge as the economic hub of the region.” The CPEC begins in China’s restive Xinjiang region and ends in southern Pakistan’s Gwadar port. The stated aim of the project is to economically link China with Euro-Asia region. He stressed that the Iranian port of Chahbahar, being built by India and Iran, posed no challenge to Gwadar and the two could compliment each other.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Referring to India’s strategy with aircraft carriers, the

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>article said “as a major country by the Indian Ocean, India believes its security and prosperity depends on its control of the Indian Ocean”. “As long as it controls the ocean, it will be able to dominate the ocean and countries along it, and control the vast area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean”. “Therefore, India was considering the ‘Indian Ocean control strategy’ in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 21st century, it is determined to build a far-sea attack- oriented navy with air control capability in order to maintain its position as the ‘regional dominator’, counter China’s far-sea naval strength build-up, and guarantee safe and smooth maritime routes in the Indian Ocean,” the article said. It said though India opted for aircraft carriers earlier, lack of indigenous research and development (R&D) has affected its plans to have three aircraft carriers. “The Indian Navy’s dream of having three aircraft carriers has fallen flat because it overestimated its R&D capability and the country’s overall strength, and undertook an excessively massive strategy that eventually got stranded. “India mistook the deterrence of aircraft carrier for combat capability and was possessed with the carrier complex,” it said. The lessons China can draw from India are that it should attach great importance and provide continuous support to the development of aircraft carriers, the article said. But at the same time, China should continue to reinforce its innovation and R&D capability, it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pak concerned over India’s expansionist maritime security strategy in Indian Ocean: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz alleged that India’s evolving “expansionist” maritime security strategy and un-demarked border of Sir Creek pose “threat” to the security of the Indian Ocean.”The un-demarcated borders in Sir Creek have the potential to cast a shadow on maritime security. India’s evolving expansionist maritime security strategy is a cause for concern for peace in Indian Ocean,” said Aziz, the PM’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs.He made the remarks at a conference on ‘Strategic outlook in Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond Evolving Challenges and Strategies’ organised by the Pakistan Navy as part of a multi-nation five-day naval exercise in the Arabian Sea. “Nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean has also led to further instability in the region,” he added.He said that with 95% of Pakistan’s trade taking place through sea, Pakistan was heavily dependent on a tension-free Indian Ocean. Aziz said Pakistan is third largest Indian Ocean littoral country and as a matter of policy it continues to pursue the goals of realising the economic potential of the region. “We are aware of our national interests and every effort would be made to strengthen our capacity to ensure that we remain ready to meet the emerging maritime security challenges. For us, to remain oblivious of the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean Region is not an option. These developments have a direct impact on our security and prosperity,” he said. Aziz said that the several Indian Ocean Region contains several conflict zones and the region’s maritime security challenges have grown and are affected by key variables such as militarisation, the involvement of major and extra-regional powers, and non-traditional security threats. “On the other hand, the militarisation of the Indian Ocean region, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries are a threat to peace in the Indian Ocean Region. And this trend is likely to intensify in the coming years,” he said.”And to add to this complex scenario, today, the Indian Ocean faces many non-traditional security challenges and threats including piracy, illegal fishing, human trafficking, drug smuggling, trafficking of weapons, maritime pollution and climate change,” he added.Aziz said Pakistan has a strategic stake in peaceful navigation and security of Indian Ocean region.”Our interests emanate from our coastline that is over 1000 kilometres long, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of around 300,000 square kilometres, the Karachi port and the newly built deep sea port of Gwadar,” he said.He said that due to presence of several powers in the Indian Ocean, the changing power balance and relentless pursuit of national interest prompted analysts to suggest that many global struggles will play out here in the 21st century.

Former NSA asks to prepare security architecture for Indian Ocean region

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The role of Indian Ocean has increased with Asia becoming a major economic hub and all the stakeholders, including global mercantile nations must prepare a security architecture for the region, former NSA Shivsankar Menon has said.”The Indian Ocean sees much less tension” compared to other seas, Menon said at a forum held in Singapore on Monday.He said the role of Indian Ocean has increased with Asia becoming the major economic hub. For this, the stakeholders, including global mercantile nations, must prepare the security architecture. He also pointed out the development in the region, including ports, naval capacity and military exercises.”The Indian Ocean is probably most militarised and nuclearised region but peace has prevailed because of balance of powers and no dominance by super power,” said Menon at the forum on “The Indian Ocean” organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think-tank of the National University of Singapore. Menon also expressed concern about threats from the neighbourhood, with increasing activities of terrorists and extremists in the Persian Gulf and territorial contests in the South China Sea.Noting probable spillover of neighbourhood threats, Menon said the calm in Indian Ocean is “fragile” due to these probable threats. The Indian Ocean is very different from the Western Pacific and the seas near China in term of geography or in terms of its geopolitics, he said.Today, the Indian Ocean does not see an overlapping sovereignty claim as is in the South China Sea. India and Bangladesh, for one, have accepted the decision of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on a territorial dispute.”The non-traditional security threats are diverse. These are not just piracy but drug smuggling and human trafficking and increasing demand for humanitarian and disaster relief. It probably reminds us to act now and prevent it from being disturb in the future,” Menon said.

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