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Speaking to China at ‘all levels’ to include India into the Nuclear Supplies Group: Russia

India has found an ally in Russia, who has been speaking to China at ‘all levels’ to include India in the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG). In June 2016, China had maintained that it opposes India’s entry into the NSG, a group of nations seeking to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by controlling access to sensitive technology.However, in the latest development, according to a report by The Hindu, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov said that the political committee of the 41-member Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is likely to decide on India’s membership request, and said he hoped for some “positive action, fingers crossed.” The members are currently in Austria’s capital Vienna.Ryabkov was in Delhi for bilateral negotiations ahead of a spate of visits from Moscow over the next few weeks. The foreign minister also took a subtle dig at the United States. Without naming anyone, Ryabkov said that unlike other countries that only speak of support, Russia takes the first to help and actions speak more than words.Also readWilling to discuss ‘possibilities’ with India on Nuclear Suppliers Group, says ChinaIn 2016, China led the opposition to a push by the United States to bring India into the NSG which aims to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation by stopping the sale of items that can be used to make nuclear arms.The United States, which has a nuclear cooperation deal with India, considers it a nuclear power that plays by the rules and is not a proliferator, and wants to bring Asia’s third largest economy into the 48-member group.Also readResistance to India joining nuclear suppliers group softens, but China defiantIndia already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington.With inputs from Reuters
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China, India, North Korea and Pakistan expanding size of their arsenals: Swedish nuclear watchdog

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says developments in North Korea’s nuclear program “contributed to international political instability with potentially serious knock-on effects.”SIPRI says that as of January 2017 the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together had about 14,935 nuclear weapons, down from 15,395 a year earlier.SIPRI listed North Korea as not having any deployed warheads but with 10 to 20 “other warheads” which include “operational warheads held in storage and retired warheads awaiting dismantlement.”The watchdog said the North Korean figures were uncertain.”Recent steps in the nuclear disarmament field are encouraging,” said Shannon Kile, head of SIPRI’s Nuclear Weapons Project.”The groundwork laid in 2016 has been built on in 2017, with 122 states approving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the U.N. in July 2017.” “The so-called ban treaty is potentially an important milestone on a long-term path toward nuclear disarmament,” he added.More generally on global security issues, SIPRI noted positive developments such as the entry into force of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and a United Nations General Assembly resolution to start negotiations in 2017 on eliminating nuclear weapons.However, one issue remains a major challenge to human security: forced displacement.The institute said Africa and the Middle East “together currently host over two-thirds of the world’s displaced population,” adding the number of people displaced last year has “increased significantly” to more than 60 million.Armed conflicts were the main reason for the displacement crises, SIPRI said in its 48th edition of its annual yearbook.

Hurricane Irma knocks out power to nearly 4 million in Florida

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hurricane Irma knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more as it crept up the state’s west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said.Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph).So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light’s customers in the states’ southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either.”We are not subject to any special treatment from Hurricane Irma. We just experienced a power outage at our command center. We do have backup generation,” FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said more than 3.2 million of its customers were without power by 10 p.m. (0200 GMT Monday), mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.More than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices.The company’s system will need to be rebuilt, particularly in the western part of the state, Gould said. “That restoration process will be measured in weeks, not days.” FPL is a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc .Large utilities that serve other parts of the state, including units of Duke Energy Corp, Southern Co and Emera Inc, were seeing their outage figures grow as the storm pushed north.Duke’s outages soared to 390,000 from 60,000 in a span of four hours on Sunday evening, and the company warned its 1.8 million customers in northern and central Florida that outages could ultimately exceed 1 million.The company updated its website on Sunday evening with a warning to customers that outages may last a week or longer.Emera’s Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect up to 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves, and over 180,000 had already lost power.The utilities had thousands of workers, some from as far away as California, ready to help restore power once Irma’s high winds pass their service areas. About 17,000 were assisting FPL, nearly 8,000 at Duke and more than 1,300 at Emera.Tampa Electric told customers on Sunday, however, that response crews were halting work because of the high winds.FPL said on Friday that Irma could affect about 4.1 million customers, but that was before the storm track shifted away from the eastern side of the state. Its customers are concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.NUCLEAR PLANTS SAFEThe utility said its two nuclear plants were safe. It shut only one of the two reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant about 30 miles (48 km) south of Miami on Saturday, rather than both, because the storm shifted. It plans to leave both reactors in service at the St. Lucie plant about 120 miles (193 km )north of Miami because hurricane-force winds are no longer expected to hit the sites.There is also spent nuclear fuel at Duke’s Crystal River plant, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Tampa. The plant, on Irma’s current forecast track, stopped operating in 2009 and was retired in 2013.In a worst-case scenario, the spent fuel could release radiation if exposed to the air, but a federal nuclear official said that was extremely unlikely.”That fuel is so cold, relatively speaking, it would take weeks before there would be any concern,” said Scott Burnell of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.As the storm has come ashore, gasoline stations have struggled to keep up. In the Atlanta metro area, about 496 stations, or 12.2 percent, were out of gasoline, according to information service Gas Buddy.

Have to be wary of China’s ‘salami-slicing’, India must be prepared for two-front war: Army Chief Rawat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat today said the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting China has started “flexing its muscles”, while there seems to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India.Referring to the 73-day long Dokalam standoff, the Army chief warned that the situation could gradually snowball into a larger conflict on the northern border.He said there is a possibility that these conflicts could be limited in space and time or can expand into an all out war along the entire frontier, with Pakistan taking advantage of the situation.”We have to be prepared. In our context, therefore, warfare lies within the realm of reality,” he said, adding the Army’s supremacy among the three services must be maintained to successfully combat external security threats.The comments by Gen. Rawat came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a “forward-looking” approach to Sino-India ties, putting behind the Dokalam standoff.The Army Chief said India cannot afford to let its guard down against China.”As far as northern adversary is concerned, the flexing of muscle has started. The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations emerging which could gradually emerge into conflict,” he said.In military parlance salami slicing denotes divide and conquer process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition.He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies.The Army chief also talked about China engaging in a psychological warfare by using the media and information technology against India during the Dokalam face-off.The Army chief rejected the notion that credible deterrence could prevent war and pitched for adequate budgetary allocation for the armed forces.Talking about Pakistan, Gen. Rawat said there was no scope for any reconciliation with that country.”As far as our western adversary is considered, we don’t see any scope of reconciliation, because their military, the polity, and the people in that nation have been made to believe that there is an adversary, India, which is all out to break their nation into pieces,” he said.Gen. Rawat also wondered how long the country will continue to tolerate the proxy war by Pakistan and when it would conclude that Pakistan has crossed the threshold limit, adding the scope of a possible conflict is difficult to predict. He said it was for the political masters to take a call on the issue.Rawat also explained that credible deterrence does not take away the threat of war.”Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. Yes, they are. But to say that they can deter war or they will not allow nations to go to war, in our context that may also not be true,” he said.

Pakistan says not bound by treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan today said that it was not bound by the recently concluded treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons as it failed to take into account the interests of all stakeholders.Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement that the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by a vote on July 7 did not fulfil these essential conditions both in terms of process and substance. It said Pakistan, therefore, like all the other nuclear armed states, did not take part in its negotiations and cannot become a party to to the treaty. Over 120 countries in the United Nations voted to adopt the first-ever global treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Eight other nuclear-armed nations, including the US and China did not participate in the negotiations for the legally binding instrument to prohibit atomic weapons.”Treaties that do not fully take on board the interests of all stakeholders fail to achieve their objectives..Pakistan does not consider itself bound by any of the obligations enshrined in this treaty,” it said. Pakistan stressed that the treaty neither forms a part of, nor contributes to the development of customary international law in any manner. Pakistan reaffirmed its commitment to nuclear disarmament in a way that promotes peace, security and stability at the regional and global levels.It said that it is committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the conclusion of a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory, comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons. The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament (CD), the world s single multilateral disarmament negotiating body, remains the most ideal forum for concluding such a convention.

The Whimper of the Dragon: New Delhi’s response has rattled Beijing into 1962 hysteria

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tension between India and China had been building up over the past two years, with Beijing vetoing UN sanctions against JeM chief Masood Azhar, blocking New Delhi’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group, and aggressively pursuing its economic corridor that runs through PoK. Beijing kept fuming at New Delhi’s public embrace of the Dalai Lama. India’s military ties with the US and Japan also left China worried.But a serious turn came on June 6, when a Chinese patrol demolished an Indian bunker at a rare tri-junction where the borders of India (Sikkim), China and Bhutan converge. Chinese troops entered the plateau — called Donglong by China, Doko-La by India and Doklam by Bhutan — to build a road in Bhutanese territory. The road would give China greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable Siliguri corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland. Bhutanese soldiers confronted Chinese counterparts and asked them to return. On June 20, Bhutan also registered a diplomatic protest.Indian soldiers came down from Doko-La post in coordination with the Bhutan government. While the Bhutanese have gone out of the area, the Indian and Chinese armies have remained locked face-to-face, reinforcing troops and calling each other to back down. In 2012, India and China agreed that the tri-junction boundaries would be decided in consultation with the countries concerned. India has accused China of trying to violate the status quo through road-building. China has blamed India for intrusion into its territory.Both countries have been unable to agree on their 3,500-km border, over which they went to war in 1962. On April 15, 2013, Chinese troops camped in Ladakh. Indian soldiers set up their own camp around 300 metres away. The stand-off continued till May 5. In September 2014, a similar face-off in Ladakh lasted 16 days. Again in March 2015, Chinese troops came to north of Ladakh twice in a week. But they were thwarted.Why the current stand-off is differentIt’s the rhetoric from Beijing. Chinese ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui has said that India has to “unconditionally pull back troops” for peace to prevail. Chinese state media has reminded India of 1962, declaring that if India “stirs up conflicts it must face the consequences of all-out confrontation with China.Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has, however, maintained that New Delhi is engaged with Beijing in defusing tension through diplomatic channels. But Bhutan’s involvement in the latest stand-off has raised a bigger question: Is India capable of protecting the interests of its smaller neighbours? “Any leniency at this moment will forever demonstrate that smaller neighbours cannot rely on India,” says an official.Beijing has said that India has no right to interfere in the China-Bhutan boundary issues. India, however, is averse to a separate deal between China and Bhutan. It insists on a comprehensive settlement of the border dispute that includes all three countries.History of boundary rowsWhen Britain brought the Jammu and Kashmir Territories within its Empire in 1846, it also acquired a boundary problem with China. When, a century later in 1947, the State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, the new republic inherited that problem which it could either ignore or face headlong and resolve by active negotiations. According to commentator AG Noorani, the Sino-Indian boundary problem developed into a boundary dispute early in 1959 over the western sector. China formally contested the McMahon Line.Rajiv Gandhi and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made a significant beginning in 1988, agreeing to keep disputes on the back-burner and move on to other issues. Thirty years later, the trade between the two countries has grown from a mere $2 billion to $72 billion. Both countries have also cooperated with each other and taken united positions on several global issues such as trade and climate change.Gandhi had visited Beijing just two years after a serious standoff of Sumdorang Chu near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh that lasted more than eight months. A mechanism of Special Representatives (SR) — national security advisors of the two countries — was set up to explore the framework for a boundary settlement in 2003. On April 21, 2016, they held the 19th round of discussions.The way forwardFormer NSA Shiv Shankar Menon, who also led talks as SR, believes there was not much for the SRs to do now, as they set up a framework for boundary dispute settlement way back. “It is now a matter of political will from both sides to take a call and settle boundaries,” he tells dna.Menon says there is an urgent need to start talks with the Chinese on maritime security, as free navigation through South China sea is important for India. “The old modus vivendi, which for 30 years kept the peace and helped us arrive at where we are, is under stress now. It’s time that we actually evolved that modus vivendi, that framework within which we operate. And we need a proper strategic dialogue between the two of us to actually sort that out,” he says.Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran also believes that the key lies in building capabilities. “We are certainly much better off than 10 years ago in terms of infrastructure on our side, but the other side has been developing more rapidly,” he says. Saran says there is a real dilemma for India as it will have to take into account Bhutan’s interests as well. On Beijing’s reactions, the veteran diplomat argues that perhaps the Chinese were caught off guard by the Indian Army’s actions. He apprehends more such incidents, as it has been a successful strategy to penetrate into India’s neighbourhood.But both former top diplomats praise the current government stand showing patience and refusing to enter into any verbal duels. Diplomats agree that the current standoff, if not resolved quickly, has the potential to turn into a full-blown dispute that could have wide-ranging consequences for the region’s geopolitics. They describe it as a testing time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic skills, who had begun his foreign outreach by touring Bhutan soon after assuming office three years ago. How far he will stay with Bhutan right now and succeed keeping it out of Chinese influence will remain a challenging task for his team.
The latest flashpointA rare tri-junction where the borders of India (Sikkim), China and Bhutan converge. It’s called Donglong by China, Doko-La by India and Doklam by Bhutan.Contentious issuesBeijing’s veto of UN sanctions against Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood AzharBeijing’s blocking of New Delhi’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers GroupBeijing’s aggressive persuasion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that runs through PoKIndia’s public embrace of the Dalai Lama and growing military ties with the US and JapanRecent stand-offsMarch 2015: Burtse and Depsang in north of Ladakh, twice in a weekSeptember 2014: Lasted 16 days in Chumur sector in southern LadakhApril 15, 2013: Near DBO in J&K’s Ladakh. Lasted till May 5

Committed to non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India today said it was committed to non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament, nearly a week after it along with some other nuclear powers like the US, China and Pakistan boycotted the negotiations on a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in New York. India believes that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in no way constitutes or contributes to the development of any customary international law, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. “India continues to attach priority to and remains committed to universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament. India, however, did not participate in the negotiations on a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons which were concluded in New York on 7 July 2017. Also, none of the other States possessing nuclear weapons participated in the negotiations,” he said. Noting that these negotiations were conducted under UN General Assembly rules of procedure, he said India has already provided a detailed Explanation of Vote (EoV) on its abstention on this resolution. In its EoV, India had said it was “not convinced” that the proposed conference could address the longstanding expectation of the international community for comprehensive instrument on nuclear disarmament. “India, therefore, cannot be a party to the treaty, and so shall not be bound by any of the obligations that may arise from it. India believes that this treaty in no way constitutes or contributes to the development of any customary international law,” the MEA spokesperson added. Reiterating India’s commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapon-free world, he said it believes that this goal can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed global and non- discriminatory multilateral framework. “In this regard, India supports the commencement of negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention in the Conference on Disarmament, which is the world’s single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum working on the basis of consensus,” Baglay added. The treaty, the first multilateral legally-binding instrument for nuclear disarmament, was adopted last week at the UN in New York. India and other nuclear-armed nations — the US, Russia, Britain, China, France, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel had not participated in the negotiations.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jaitapur nuclear plant: French firm looks for larger role

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>French firm EDF, which is to build six atomic reactors at Jaitapur, is looking to fast-track negotiations for an agreement with the NPCIL in time for French president Emmanuel Macron’s likely India visit, and has proposed to take a larger role in the project. Electricite de France and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India want to sign the General Framework Agreement (GFA) for the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant (JNPP) by the end of the year. Macron is likely to visit India by the year-end and the two sides are working to speed up the negotiations so that the GFA could be signed during that time, an EDF official, who did not wish to be quoted, said. An EDF delegation also meet officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of External Affairs to discuss the issue. The EDF is to build six reactors, each with a capacity of 1650 MW. When operational, the proposed plant, some 500 km south of Mumbai, will be the largest nuclear power generation park in the country. Building a nuclear plant is usually discussed in terms of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC). EDF has proposed to take care of the engineering aspect and a large chunk of the procurement of equipment which have to be sourced from abroad, the official said. This position is different from what Areva, which has been taken over by EDF, had proposed when the negotiations had initially begun. However, the EDF insists that the NPCIL should take care of the construction aspect as it has experience of building the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). The NPCIL, on the other hand, wants the EDF to take the full responsibility for engineering, procurement and construction as the evolutionary pressurised reactor (EPR) technology, that is to be used in the Jaitapur plant, is new to India. A senior Indian government official, on condition of anonymity, said that the fate of the general framework agreement hinges on three aspects — lower tariff, credit and a functional reference plant. No call has been taken on the fresh proposal given by the NPCIL, the official said. “Discussions are on between the Ministry of Finance and the French Treasury Department to resolve the issues related to credit. Some part of it will be in euros while the rest will be in rupees,” the EDF official said. The Flamanville EPR nuclear power reactor, which has been shown as a reference plant for the JNPP, is expected to be commissioned by 2018, the French official hoped. EDF is constructing another EPR plant at Taishan in Guangdong province of China and it is expected to be operational by the end of this year, the official added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sushma holds talks with Belarusian industry minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Belarus today discussed issues of mutual interest in the areas of trade and economy as also the upcoming visit of President Alexander Lukashenko here. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with Belarus’ Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk. Belarus had supported India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Session in Seoul in June 2016. “Both ministers discussed issues of mutual interest including the upcoming visit to India of the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko,” a press release by the external affairs ministry said. The meeting came ahead of the 8th Session of the Indian- Belarusian Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation to be held tomorrow. During the IGC, the participants will consider ways to further strengthen the cooperation between Belarus and India in trade, economy, science, technology, and humanitarian affairs, intensify the interregional ties, and create favourable conditions for the implementation of joint projects in areas of mutual interest, according to Belarusian media.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nuclear reactor at Kalpakkam: World’s envy, India’s pride

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hidden from public, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal at Kalpakkam near Chennai, Indian nuclear scientists are in the final throes of starting a high-tech giant stove more than 15 years in the making.This novel nuclear reactor is a kind of an ‘akshaya patra’, the mythical goblet with a never-ending supply of food.The Department of Atomic Energy is getting ready to commission its ultra-modern indigenously designed and locally mastered fast breeder reactor.Experts say to make nuclear energy sustainable, one sure shot way is to make fast breeder reactors mainstream.Yukiya Amano, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, says “fast reactors can help extract up to 70 per cent more energy than traditional reactors and are safer than traditional reactors while reducing long lived radioactive waste by several fold.” Easier said than done, since these reactors are also notoriously unstable and hence difficult to run reliably over long periods.Called a ‘Fast Breeder Reactor’, these are a special kind of nuclear reactors that generate more atomic fuel than they consume as they work.India has been running an experimental facility called a Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) now for 27 years.This is a small nuclear reactor a forerunner for the monster that India has constructed at Kalpakkam called the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR). This will generate electricity commercially using the fast breeder route.The world’s only commercially operating fast breeder reactor is situated in the Ural Mountains of Russia at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, not far from Russia’s fourth largest city Yekateringburg.The Russians today are the global leaders in fast breeder reactors having operated a fast breeder reactor called BN 600 since 1980.In 2016, the Russian nuclear agency Rosatom commercially commissioned its big brother — the BN 800 fast breeder reactor.This reactor produces about 800 MW of electricity and supplies it to the Ural region including the city of Yekateringburg.While electricity that is produced is no different than any other electricity but the global community of atomic boffins is suitably chuffed about this unique achievement.M Chudakov, now with the IAEA and well-known Russian fast breeder expert, calls “these reactors a bridge to the future as they can supply an almost unlimited supply of electricity”.All eyes are now on southern India where another global nuclear milestone is likely to be crossed this year.Arun Kumar Bhaduri, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam says, “Fast breeder reactors are far safer than the current generation of nuclear plants and that all efforts are being made to kickstart within this year India’s first commercial fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.”Such is the interest in fast breeder reactors that more than 700 of the best atomic scientists from over 30 countries gathered at Yekateringburg in IAEA’s conference on the ‘next generation nuclear systems for sustainable development’. The scientists deliberated on how to make nuclear energy last for several centuries.Given India’s expertise, the co-chair of the conference was Suresh Chetal, one of the early pioneers of fast breeder reactors who helped tame fast breeder reactors for New Delhi when he was at the IGCAR.Many countries have dabbled with fast breeder reactors and have given up, first off the block was the US but it gave up since inherently American governments have an allergic response with re-processing of nuclear waste in addition since USA has enough supplies of fissile material there is no hunger to maximally extract energy from uranium.Japan and France both had robust programs with fast breeder technology but repeated failure to safely handle liquid sodium forced them to more or less give up on fast reactors.China is more than a decade behind India in trying to master this complex beast.Russia invested heavily in developing the fast breeder technology but since it commissioned its first fast breeder reactor BN 600 in 1980 it suffered an economic meltdown as the former Soviet Union broke up and only recently Russia could gather enough resources to complete its upgraded fast breeder reactor BN 800.Today the BN 800 is a flagship reactor that uses both uranium and plutonium as fuel and generates electricity that is supplied to the grid. A visit to the facility reveals a squeaky clean reactor where seasoned operators like Ivan Sidrow are also experimenters as they go about trying to design a bigger 1200 MW fast breeder reactor.India’s own PFBR is unique and rather different from the Russian fast breeder reactor though both use the same basic principle of physics.Fast breeder reactors are called such not because they run faster but because the neutrons that sustain the atomic chain reaction travel at a much higher velocity than neutrons that help run the traditional atomic plants.These are called breeders as they generate more fuel than they consume a fact hard to fathom since they seem to defy the laws of conservation of energy.But a very unique quirk of elemental uranium makes this possible.Nuclear reactors use a flavour of uranium called U-235 which unfortunately constitutes a minuscule quantity even in super purified uranium.The larger component is what is called U-238 this flavour is the bulk but is essentially a waste product as the atomic reaction cannot be sustained by this elemental flavour.In a fast breeder reactor the very special fast neutrons interact with the so called wasted uranium U-238 and converts it into a valuable resource. This is why fast breeders are akin to an ‘akshaya patra’.India’s fast breeder reactor is even more unique as within it the country also deploys special rods of thorium which when they get exposed to or irradiated by fast neutrons they generate U-233 and a normally benign thorium turns into a valuable atomic material.It is well known that India is very energy hungry and as economic growth takes place mega quantities of electricity will be required.Unfortunately, nature has not been bountiful on India as the Indian land mass is not endowed with enough uranium but on the other hand the country has the world’s second largest store of thorium.Today the country in a well thought out strategy is mastering fast breeder reactors that can be an effective via media for utilising the vast thorium reserves.

Modi in US: Civil nuclear deal to figure in talks with Trump, pact on reactors unlikely

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump tomorrow, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the parleys between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, including the progress on the 2008 civil nuclear deal, according to official sources here. They said a financial turmoil in Westinghouse and absence of a functional reference atomic plant were the main impediments behind the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) unwillingness to sign the agreement with the American nuclear giant.According to a joint statement by Modi and the then US president Barack Obama in 2015, both the sides had resolved to work towards “finalising the contractual agreement by June 2017”. However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March.Apprehending uncertainty, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the NPCIL are unwilling to go ahead with any agreement with the beleaguered company till it comes out of the financial turmoil. “It is unlikely that we will sign an agreement with Westinghouse when the prime minister visits the US. However, we are making good use of time to hold discussions on techno- commercial aspects,” a senior government official said.An email sent by PTI to Westinghouse seeking a response from it on the issue was not replied to. During his visit to the US on June 25-26, Modi is slated to meet Trump. The Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in 2008, under which Westinghouse and GE Hitachi were to build six power reactors each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.Initially, Westinghouse was allocated the Mithi Virdi site in Gujarat, but was later given the Kovvada site in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. The company was to build six AP-1000 atomic reactors with a capacity of 1,208 MW each at Kovvada. With a total capacity of 7,248 MW, the government had a plan to make it one of the largest nuclear parks in south Asia.The official said any foreign company need to demonstrate a functional nuclear plant using the same technology. This is a pre-requisite to obtain permission from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the nuclear watchdog in the country. Westinghouse’s AP-1000 technology plants are at various stages of construction in different countries and are yet to start commercial operations.

NSG plenary meeting fail to take decision on India’s application

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group failed to take a decision on India’s application for its membership, but decided to discuss in November the issue of entry of non-NPT signatories.China, a key member of the NSG, has been stridently opposing India’s bid primarily on the grounds that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Its opposition has made India’s entry into the grouping difficult as the NSG works on the principle of consensus.”The NSG had discussions on the issue of ‘Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the participation of non-NPT states in the NSG’.”The group decided to continue its discussion and noted the intention of the chair to organise an informal meeting in November,” the NSG said in a statement at the end of the two- day plenary meeting in the Swiss capital Bern.The 48-nation elite grouping said its relationship with India was discussed, particularly about implementation of the 2008 statement on civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi.In 2008, the NSG had agreed to grant India a unique waiver from its rules governing civilian nuclear trade, paving the way for the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal.”At the plenary meeting, the NSG also continued to consider all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 statement on civil nuclear cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India,” the statement said.During the plenary, which was chaired by Ambassador Benno Laggner of Switzerland, the NSG member-states reiterated their firm support for the “full, complete and effective” implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime.China’s opposition has made India’s entry into the group difficult. Last week, China had said there was no change in its stance on admission of non-NPT states into the NSG.The issue has become a major sticking point in bilateral relations between India and China.After India’s application for entry into the elite group which controls nuclear trade, Pakistan, China’s all-weather ally, too had applied with the tacit backing of Beijing.Addressing the NSG meeting, president of the Swiss confederation Doris Leuthard reaffirmed Switzerland’s commitment to the work of the group at a time when the “principle of nuclear non-proliferation continued to be at the centre of international stability”.The NSG also “reconfirmed” their commitment to UN Security Council resolutions, strongly condemning nuclear tests by North Korea.It also expressed concerns regarding continued global proliferation activities and reaffirmed its determination to continue to cooperate closely in order to deter, hinder and prevent the transfer of controlled items or technology that could contribute to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.The plenary also discussed the NSG’s policies regarding transparency and confidentiality besides deliberating on exchange of information and best practices on licensing and enforcement.It welcomed the growing number of states that have harmonised their national export control systems with the NSG guidelines and control lists.The NSG plenary invited all nuclear supplier states to express their responsible approach to nuclear exports by adhering to the NSG guidelines.

NSG meet underway, India in touch with member nations: MEA

Thu, 22 Jun 2017-11:20pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India today said it was in touch with member countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group over its application for entry into the 48-nation bloc which is at present holding a crucial meeting in the Swiss capital Bern.”The meeting is going on. Our application for membership is under consideration. We are in touch with all the NSG member countries,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. The meeting of the NSG began on June 19 and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow. China has been opposing India’s bid primarily on the ground that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Last week, China had said there was no change in its stance on admission of non-NPT states into the NSG.The issue has become a major sticking point in bilateral relations between India and China. After India’s application for entry into the elite group which controls nuclear trade, Pakistan, China’s all-weather ally, too had applied with the tacit backing of Beijing. China’s opposition has made India’s entry into the group difficult as it is guided by the consensus principle. India is not a signatory to the NPT.

Govt enhances NDRF deputation to 9 years to retain experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The deputation period for personnel joining the elite disaster combat force NDRF has been enhanced by the government to nine years from the present five, a move seen as a shot in the arm to calamity response preparedness in the country. Officials said the Union home ministry recently approved a proposal of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in this context so that the men and women it trains to handle disasters like earthquakes and bigger challenges like biological and nuclear attacks, remain with it for a longer period. The approximately 14,000-personnel-strong force, which has 12 battalions deployed for disaster response in various parts of the country, was raised in 2006 as a fully deputationist organisation with men and women from paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB constituting its manpower. With the officers and men now having a tenure of nine years in the NDRF, it will directly affect the response mechanism qualitatively and will ensure a better operational preparedness, a senior official said. “It was seen that by the time an NDRF personnel gained expertise in the disaster combat subject, after the first three years of induction training and learning, it was their time to repatriate to their cadre at the end of five years,” a senior official said. The NDRF in the last few years, the official said, has seen many man-made and natural disasters occurring in various parts of the country and what they learn during these calamities was essential to be retained in the force for better output the next time. But with a short tenure of five years, the official said, the talent pool was forced to leave even before their knowledge was utilised to the hilt. It was also envisaged, he said, that the threat of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) attacks and accidents is emerging as a big challenge and the force needs to be in full readiness to combat such an outbreak and hence will require expert hands to address the situation that may be at one location or multiple places at one time, a senior home ministry official said. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during a recent event, had described India as one of the most disaster-prone nations, saying more than 50 per cent population of the country lives in areas that are vulnerable to calamities. Singh said that India has learnt lessons from the 1999 super cyclone in Odisha which killed 10,000 people, the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat and the 2004 tsunami, and has brought a paradigm change in its approach towards disaster risk mitigation. As per the current system, about 15-20 per cent of the manpower of this elite force is rotated annually, or to say that this percentage of personnel are sent back to their parent forces, with new people taking over. The NDRF has 12 battalions with a strength of 1,149 personnel in each. Each of its battalions have domain experts and teams of engineers, paramedics, technicians, electricians and canine handlers along with trained rescuers. The force is mandated to undertake special disaster response and combat roles independently and also assist local authorities in launching a quick rescue and response operation to save life and property.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India working with China allies on NSG: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While China on Monday said India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had become “more complicated” — thereby almost indicating an end to the Narendra Modi-led government’s campaign to seek membership of this elite group — External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said New Delhi was working with countries friendly to Beijing, including Russia, to persuade it to drop its opposition.”About the NSG, it is a new issue under new circumstances and it is more complicated than we previously imagined. China supports the NSG to have thorough consultations for a non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution to all the countries,” said China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai in Beijing. These comments come days ahead of a possible meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Astana on June 8-9. “China supports the NSG to have consultation for reaching a non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution, applicable to all members of the NSG,” he said.Replying to questions, Swaraj hoped that China will look at India’s argument and there was no question of setting new criteria. “The criteria were already discussed in 2008, when India got a waiver and it was now only a question of testing our credentials. We have engaged with China,” she said. “China always says that its opposition to membership of the NSG is not India-specific but on the grounds of countries not being NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) members. We have made our stand clear on this issue. They said India and Pakistan do not come under the category of NPT members. France was also a non-NPT country when it was allowed into the NSG,” she said.”The question of India and Pakistan has been separated. In 2008, India got the rights (waiver). Both our criteria and credentials were checked and 101 per cent we have proved it. Look at the credentials, not at the criteria,” Swaraj added.Even though she downplayed China’s intrusion of Indian air space in the Barahoti region of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, linking it with undefined borders, Swaraj said, however, that it was “unacceptable”.”This is the first such air space violation. We can understand even ground incursion… it can be a mistake. But this is unacceptable. We will take it up with Beijing,” she said.

India asks nations friendly with China to plead NSG case, Beijing unlikely to relent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the NSG plenary, India today asked countries friendly with China to convince it on the issue of allowing New Delhi entry into the grouping based on credentials, even as Beijing asserted that the membership bid has become “more complicated”.India had officially applied for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which controls export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology in May last year. The matter came up for discussion at the Seoul plenary session of the NSG in June last year, but yielded little result with Beijing scuttling India’s bid on the grounds that it was not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT). “We have always engaged with China and we are doing it for NSG as well. And (it is being done) not only by us, but even nations friendly to us as well as enjoying good relations with China, who feel that India should get an NSG membership,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.Giving Russia’s example, she said Moscow feels that India should be a part of the NSG and UNSC. “So we feel, since Russia and China share good relations, it should talk to China. We are not asking them to put pressure on China, but use its good offices. Our effort is to convince China on the issue and also involve nations friendly with both the countries,” the minister added. On China’s objection on inclusion of non-NPT countries, she said France was a non-NPT country when it was admitted into the NSG.
ALSO READ This is unacceptable, will take it up with Beijing: Sushma Swaraj on China violating India’s airspace When it (China) states that India and Pakistan are non- NPT countries, India makes a distinction that in 2008 it got a privilege (NSG waiver), she said, adding that at that time “our criteria was thoroughly looked into”.”It were the same required for any non-NPT country. Today, the time is not to see our criteria, but our credentials. We have proven our credentials and fulfilled all the commitments made in 2008. Which is why we are saying India and Pakistan are two different cases,” Swaraj said. “India will be successful in getting it (NSG membership) one day,” she said.
ALSO READ No Modi-Sharif meeting during SCO summit; ICJ has no role in J&K, says Sushma Swaraj Her remarks came on a day when China asserted that India’s membership bid in the NSG has become “more complicated” under the “new circumstances” and again ruled out backing New Delhi’s entry in the grouping, saying there should be non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT signatory countries. The group, which will be holding its next plenary in Swiss capital Bern soon, goes by consensus approach on the admission of new members. “About the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than the previously imagined,” China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Huilai told a media briefing in Beijing.He, however, did not elaborate what the new circumstances and complications were. “China supports the NSG to have consultation for reaching non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution, applicable to all members of the NSG,” he said. Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership. While China has not openly supported Pakistan’s membership, it came with a two-step approach which stipulates that the NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward with discussions of specific cases.Asked about the chances of India’s admission into the grouping during this month’s plenary session expected to take place in the Swiss capital Bern, Li said, “China’s position on the non-NPT members’ participation in the NSG has not changed.” Li, who interacted with media to highlight Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held at Astana Capital of Kazakhstan on June 8-9, said China wants to deepen relations with India.”China and India are important neighbours and both are fast developing, both are emerging new market economies. Both are important forces upholding peace and stability,” he said.In recent years, relations between India and China are developing “sound and at quite fast speed”. President Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meetings have agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation and make joint efforts to build even closer development partnership, he said.

We welcome PM Modi’s remarks on Sino-India border: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Monday welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in Russia that not a single bullet has been fired at Sino-India border in the last 40 years despite the simmering boundary dispute between the two neighbours.”We have noted positive remarks made by Prime Minister Modi. We welcome that,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media briefing here when asked about Modi’s comments made during his visit to Russia last week.Modi said the world has increasingly become inter-connected and inter-dependent, a transformation that has made it necessary for India and China to cooperate on trade and investments despite a simmering border dispute.
ALSO READ China defends its PLA choppers flying over Indian airspace, say they carry out regular patrolling in relevant areas”It is true that we have a border dispute with China. But in the last 40 years, not a single bullet has been fired because of border dispute,” Modi said speaking at a panel discussion at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.Reacting to his remarks, Hua said, “We have been stressing that as two major countries China and India maintaining sound, steady and in-depth growth of the bilateral relationship is of great significance.””Actually, leaders of the two countries pay great attention to the boundary question. Each time they meet they exchange views on this issue. Both sides have agreed that an early question of boundary question serves the interests of the both sides. It is also a strategic goal both sides are striving to achieve,” she said.Referring to the 19 rounds of boundary talks held by the special representatives of both sides, Hua said both sides have “taken serious measures to maintain peace and tranquillity of the border areas.””The two sides will stick to the overall relationship of the bilateral relationship and deepen cooperation in relevant field so as to realise common development and bring more benefits of the people of both sides,” she said.”We believe that the sound and steady growth of the bilateral relationship will also bring more benefits to the whole region and the world at large,” she added.Modi’s remarks as well as China’s reaction comes in the backdrop of growing discord between the two countries over a host of issues including the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Beijing blocking India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as the listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar a terrorist by UN.

India’s defence preparedness at all-time low: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today alleged that the country’s defence preparedness was at an “all-time low” under the Narendra Modi government and soldiers had become a “shield to play politics and hide failures”. “For Modi, the soldiers have become a shield to play politics and hide his failures. The country saw 172 terror- related incidents in the last three years, which was unprecedented. As many as 578 jawans and 877 civilians were killed in terror attacks in the country in the last 35 months,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told a press conference here. “In Jammu and Kashmir alone, 203 jawans were killed in the last three years,” he added. Questioning the prime minister’s “silence” on the matter, Singhvi asked him to come out with an answer. Referring to national security, he said, “Empty phrases, chest-thumping, acronyms and promises have taken the place of concrete deliverables on the ground. The Modi government is a complete failure as far as national security is concerned.” Singhvi alleged that the country’s defence preparedness was at an “all-time low” under the current government. He claimed that in 2014-15, the funds sanctioned by the defence ministry were “30 per cent less” than what was asked for and out of the funds sanctioned, Rs 12,000 crore had remained unspent. Taking a dig at Arun Jaitley, who holds both the finance and defence portfolios, Singhvi said, “It has become a part- time holding of two important ministries.” Questioning the purpose behind the prime minister’s frequent foreign visits, the Congress spokesperson alleged that the country had “no policy” as regards Pakistan. “You (Modi) have no policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. It is only flip-flops and U-turns. In fact, it is a 100-per cent flop because of inconsistency and unpredictability. There was this incident in which Indian soldiers were beheaded. Instances of cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations too have gone up in the last three years. “Mr Modi, you are all dressed up with nowhere to go. You have become your foreign minister, but what have you achieved as regards foreign policy? “You had achieved jhula (swing) diplomacy and dhokla (a Gujarati food item) diplomacy with Chinese President Xi Jinping and he had barely left India when there were ceasefire violations at Siachen by the Chinese troops. The Chinese president had opposed you on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and (UN’s) Security Council,” he said. Continuing his attack on the Centre, Singhvi said, “Even Russia, which stood with us in difficult times, for the first time in 70 years has agreed to supply MI helicopters to Pakistan and lifted an embargo on supplies to that country. It also had joint military exercises with Pakistan. Even US President Donald Trump abused you yesterday. So, what is the purpose of your foreign trips?” The Congress leader described the ruling PDP-BJP combine in Jammu and Kashmir as an “unholy alliance” and claimed that tourism was the most affected sector in that state. “It seems there is one government in Jammu and another one in Kashmir. Elections were held in the state in the past as well, but never before had it witnessed a mere 7-per cent voter turnout,” he said. Stating that there was no “magic button” to press as regards the situation in the trouble-torn northern state, Singhvi said, “A Congress-led government was at the Centre for 10 years. Tourism had reached its peak in Jammu and Kashmir during our rule.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi-Putin meet pushes ties to new levels; agreement reached on Nuclear Power Plant

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the third leg of his four-nation tour of Europe, Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Thursday held wide-ranging talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to bolster the economic and strategic partnership between the two countries. The two sides signed five key bilateral agreements and also released a vision document for 21st century, encompassing their ties.The agreements included the much-awaited pact on setting up of two more units of a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.Giving a “new direction” to the defence cooperation between the two “great powers,” the two countries decided to hold the first tri-Services exercises, named ‘Indra-2017’, this year and start joint manufacturing of frigates, adding on to the co- production of Kamov-226 military helicopters.Addressing the media jointly with Putin after the talks, Modi said the relations between India and Russia have been unwavering, based on “mutual love, respect and strong trust”.”From culture to security, our relations have been at par… We speak in one language,” he added.He said the two leaders had decided to speed up the bilateral cooperation in all fields, for which an ‘Action Plan’ has been devised.Noting that India and Russia were celebrating the 70th anniversary of their relations, Modi said there has been no impact on the ties in all these decades.Putin described the talks as substantative and said the India-Russia “partnership is developing into strategic and priveleged one.”A Joint Declaration issued after the talks said that “the Indian-Russian special and privileged strategic partnership is a unique relationship of mutual trust between two great powers.”It said the relationship covers all areas of cooperation, including in the spheres of political relations, security, trade and economy, military and technical field, energy, scientific, cultural and humanitarian exchanges, and foreign policy.Among the major outcomes of the summit meeting was the signing of the agreement on setting up of Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) with the Russian help in Tamil Nadu, which Modi said will further strengthen the ties between the two countries.”We welcome the conclusion of the the General Framework Agreement and Credit protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant,” said a vision document issued after the Modi-Putin talks.The reactors will be built by India’s Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex. Each of the two units will have a capacity to produce 1,000 MW of power.The document titled ‘A vision for the 21st Century’ said economies of India and Russia complement each other in the energy sector and both countries will strive to build an “energy bridge”.The two countries also said that there has been a “steady and demonstrable” achievements in bilateral civil nuclear partnership, including advancing nuclear power projects at the Kudankulum site and transforming it into one of India’s largest energy hubs.Talking about terrorism, Modi said the views of the two countries are similar on the problem in whichever form it exists, whether in Afghanistan, Middle East or Asia-Pacific.”India and Russia stand together on terrorism and new challenges to the security,” he said.Referring to trade, Modi said the two countries were close to achieving the target of $30 billion by 2025. At present, trade between the two nations stands at $7.8 billion, down from $10 billion in 2014.With agency inputs

PM Modi recalls his 16-year-ago Russia visit as CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While jointly addressing the media with the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 18th Annual India-Russia Summit at St. Petersburg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his first visit to St. Petersburg as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, when he came as part of the delegation of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. During the addressal, Prime Minister Modi said, 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries have been marked by a high degree of convergence on various bilateral and global matters. “I am happy to be back in President (Vladimir) Putin’s hometown, and added that ties between India and Russia span the spectrum from Culture to Defence (Sanskriti se Suraksha),” he said. He said that in 2001, soon after becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he came as part of the Indian delegation and signed an agreement of cooperation between his state and the Russian province of Astrakhan, while Vajpayee and Putin, who was also then President, watched. “Today, I am standing with President Putin and watching the signing of agreements,” Modi said. Terming the 18th annual India-Russia summit as very productive, PM Modi said the St. Petersburg Declaration is a benchmark of stability in a turbulent, interdependent and interconnected world, adding new vigour to India-Russia relations. The Prime Minister described energy cooperation as one of the cornerstones of the relationship between India and Russia, and noted that this cooperation in the nuclear, hydrocarbon, and renewable energy sectors has been considerably deepened by the discussion and decisions taken. In this context, he mentioned the agreement of Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. PM Modi said he interacted with top CEOs and urged the private sector of India and Russia to work closely and boost economic ties. Acknowledging the privileged nature of the strategic partnership between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “This year, India and Russia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries. Over these decades, first the Soviet Union and then Russia were active in building steel works, power stations, chemicals plants, gas pipelines, agribusiness facilities, and transport infrastructure. We in Russia are proud of this capital we have developed together.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mithivirdi nuclear plant to be shifted to AP: Centre to NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre has told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the 6,000 MW nuclear power plant proposed at Mithivirdi in Gujarat will be shifted to Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh due to delay in land acquisition for the project. After the Centre’s submission, the NGT bench, consisting of judicial member U D Salvi and expert member Ranjan Chatterjee, disposed of a petition filed by a group of villagers of Mithivirdi and Jaspara and NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti. The petitioners had challenged the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance given to the project by the Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority on March 3, 2015. The Pune bench of the NGT (Western Zone), in its order passed on May 18, said that the counsel for the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change MoEF&CC submitted before it that Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) Mithivirdi project in Bhavnagar district in whose favour CRZ clearance was granted, is to be shifted to Kovadda, Andhra Pradesh on account of delay in land acquisition at village Chhaya-Mithivirdi site. It said that the counsel “further submitted that in view of shifting of the project the proposal for Environment Clearance (EC) before the MoEF&CC has been delisted.” The MoEF placed on record before the NGT, through a letter dated March 27, 2017, that NPCIL had intimated it that the proposed WestingHouse Nuclear Power Plant of 6000-MW capacity is being shifted from Mithivirdi due to delay in land acquisition. The NGT also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 each to the MoEF and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board for unnecessary delay caused during the hearing of the case. The order was uploaded today on its website. Petitioners including villagers and the NGO termed this as a major victory and said they would tomorrow meet at Jaspar village to “celebrate” the judgement. The villagers had opposed the project due to environmental and safety concerns, and had staged a walkout from the environmental public hearing claiming that it was not being conducted in accordance with the set norms. Thirty villages near the project had organised agitation against the project and high-handed manner in which it was being imposed upon them. The proposed project was subsequently recommended CRZ clearance by the state government, which was challenged at the NGT-Pune by a team of villagers including Shaktisinh Gohil and Jagrutiben Gohil of Jaspara village, Hajabhai Dihora of Mithivirdi village, and Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant Chauhan of the NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti. Reacting to the order, Krishnakant Chauhan said that while they celebrate the order, they are now preparing to extend all possible support to people in Kovvada in AP.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Energy cooperation in focus,India and Russia vow to widen scope of bilateral ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Russia on Thursday reiterated their commitment to take their strategic partnership forward and to continue to widen the scope of bilateral cooperation by launching large-scale initiatives in different spheres. Sharing their vision for the 21st century through a joint declaration signed here this evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin both said that the two countries would look for ways to ?enhance and enrich our bilateral agenda so as to make it more result-oriented.? Focusing on enhancing cooperation in the energy sector, the St. Petersburg Declaration said, ?The economies of India and Russia complement each other in the energy sector. We will strive to build an ?Energy Bridge? between our states and expand bilateral relations in all areas of energy cooperation, including nuclear, hydrocarbon, hydel and renewable energy sources and in improving energy efficiency.? The declaration added,?India and Russia note that wider use of natural gas, an economically efficient and environmentally friendly fuel, which has become an integral part of the global energy market, is highly significant for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will assist in fulfilling the provisions of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as achieving sustainable economic growth.? ?Cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has emerged as one of the hallmarks of the strategic partnership between the two countries, contributing to India?s energy security and energizing broader scientific and technological cooperation. With concerted efforts on both sides, there has been a series of steady and demonstrable achievements in our civil nuclear partnership, including advancing nuclear power projects at the Kudankulam site and transforming it into one of India?s largest energy hubs.? ?We welcome the conclusion of the General Framework Agreement and Credit Protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. We will work towards the implementation of the strategic vision for strengthening cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy signed between the two countries on December 11, 2014. The future of Indian-Russian cooperation holds great promise across a wide spectrum covering nuclear power, nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear science and technology.? ?The growing partnership in the nuclear power sector between India and Russia has opened opportunities for developing advanced nuclear manufacturing capabilities in India in line with Government of India?s ?Make in India? initiative. India and Russia commit themselves to earnestly implement the ?Programme of Action for Localization in India? signed on 24 December 2015, and to encourage their nuclear industries to engage closely and foster concrete collaborations.? The declaration further stated, ?We are interested in launching joint projects on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf of the Russian Federation. We will develop joint strategies to harness the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of deep sea exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources, poly-metallic nodules, and other marine resources utilizing strengths in the field of maritime research and training to develop mutually beneficial cooperation.? It added, ?We welcome cooperation among energy companies of both states in modernizing the existing power stations and building new ones in the territory of India. We will endeavour to develop joint projects in each other?s countries through sharing of technologies, experience of working in different terrains and climatic conditions, and use of energy efficient technologies for creation and propagation of cleaner, climate friendly and affordable energy resources.?(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ensure water for animals near N-power plant: NGT to Haryana

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal today directed the Haryana government and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to ensure availability of water for animals near a proposed 2800-megawatt nuclear power plant in the Fatehabad district of the state. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Manohar Lal Khattar government and the project proponent to provide water ducts so that animals from the nearby areas can quench their thirst in the scorching heat. “The Haryana government and the project proponent should ensure availability of water for the animals and provide water holes immediately,” the bench said. The NGT was hearing a plea filed by NGO Akhil Bhartiya Jeev Raksha Bishnoi Sabha challenging the environment clearance granted to NPCIL and seeking its quashing. The direction came after advocate M C Mehta, appearing for the NGO, said the scarcity of the water and inaction of the authorities to take urgent steps to ensure availability of water, was likely to affect the wildlife. The Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojna project at the Gorakhpur village will have four units each of 700-MW capacity, and is to come up at a cost Rs 23,502 crore. A total of 1,503 acres of land has been acquired for the plant, of which the lion’s share of 1,313 acres belongs to the Gorakhpur village. The entire land was acquired from 847 families.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ex-heads of DAE, AEC, NPCIL hail decision on nuclear reactors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing the Union government’s decision to indigenously build 10 atomic reactors, some former top officials of the country’s nuclear establishment today said it will bring the country to the “frontline of global nuclear manufacturing”. Former Atomic Energy Commission chairmen Anil Kakodkar, Srikumar Banerjee and R K Sinha, former chairman of Department of Atomic Energy R B Grover and former chairman of Nuclear Power Corporation of India S K Jain said the decision is timely and bold, and will pay far-reaching dividends. The Union cabinet on May 17 approved installation of 10 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) of 700 MW each to boost the country’s nuclear power production. “The decision of constructing reactors in a fleet mode is unprecedented in the history of India’s atomic energy programme and demonstrates the determined vision of the present government to pursue accelerated expansion of nuclear power to ensure the nation’s energy security and to meet India’s clean energy commitments,” Kakodkar and others said in a statement. “As a fully indigenous project, the construction of these most modern PHWRs, which are a proud symbol of our scientific and technological excellence, has sent out a strong message of the robustness of our domestic nuclear programme,” the statement said. “It has also created new enthusiasm and optimism among equipment manufacturing industry in India, which is poised to grow in tandem with our programme, bringing India to the frontline of global nuclear manufacturing and supply chain,” it added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India diverting nuclear materials obtained under NSG waiver to make weapons: Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has accused India of diverting nuclear materials it had obtained for peaceful purposes under the NSG waiver to make weapons.Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria yesterday told reporters that Pakistan has been underscoring for decades the risks of diversion by India of imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology, received pursuant to civil nuclear cooperation agreements and the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver.”The concerns over diversion are neither new nor unfounded. India enjoys the rare distinction of diverting nuclear material, obtained on its peaceful use commitment, to its nuclear weapons programme,” he said.”The past and potential misuse of nuclear materials by India entails not only serious issues of nuclear proliferation but also carry grave implications for strategic stability in South Asia and national security of Pakistan.” He said media reports and papers substantiate an otherwise largely “ignored fact” that India’s nuclear weapons programme is the fastest growing in the world.Talking about a paper recently released by Harvard Kennedy School, he said that this paper and other several reports corroborate growing concerns related to the use of nuclear material acquired by India from abroad in its existing and future unsafeguarded nuclear reactors, plants and facilities for development of nuclear weapons. “The recent Belfer paper inter alia concludes that India has accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons,” he said.He said that NSG states have a responsibility to take into account these well-founded concerns while considering transfer of nuclear material to India and its NSG membership bid. He claimed that many international nuclear experts, think tanks and media reports in the past years have consistently raised concerns over the lack of transparency, absence of international safeguards, and the potential for diversion of unsafeguarded nuclear material for nuclear weapons in India.Zakaria also said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was establishing units in Kashmir, which were managed by non-Kashmiri activists. “Their increasing presence in (Kashmir)is to terrorise Kashmiris and deter them from participating in the self- determination movement,” he alleged. Zakaria called on the the international community to take notice of the situation in Kashmir and condemned the ban on social media and TV channels in the valley.He said Pakistan extends full cooperation to United Nations Military Observers in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in monitoring situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. Talking about the issue of medical visas by India, he said most patients who were travelling to India from Pakistan have serious ailments requiring urgent medical attention.”Despite paying for their treatment themselves, these patients are being deprived of their basic right to health, due to political consideration on the part of India,” he said. “While granting or denying a visa is a sovereign right of any country, this Indian move is unprecedented in inter-state relations,” he said.

India has been diverting nuclear materials to make weapons:Pak

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has accused India of diverting nuclear materials it had obtained for peaceful purposes under the NSG waiver to make weapons. Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria yesterday told reporters that Pakistan has been underscoring for decades the risks of diversion by India of imported nuclear fuel, equipment and technology, received pursuant to civil nuclear cooperation agreements and the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver. “The concerns over diversion are neither new nor unfounded. India enjoys the rare distinction of diverting nuclear material, obtained on its peaceful use commitment, to its nuclear weapons programme,” he said. “The past and potential misuse of nuclear materials by India entails not only serious issues of nuclear proliferation but also carry grave implications for strategic stability in South Asia and national security of Pakistan.” He said media reports and papers substantiate an otherwise largely “ignored fact” that India’s nuclear weapons programme is the fastest growing in the world. Talking about a paper recently released by Harvard Kennedy School, he said that this paper and other several reports corroborate growing concerns related to the use of nuclear material acquired by India from abroad in its existing and future unsafeguarded nuclear reactors, plants and facilities for development of nuclear weapons. “The recent Belfer paper inter alia concludes that India has accumulated nuclear material for over 2600 nuclear weapons,” he said. He said that NSG states have a responsibility to take into account these well-founded concerns while considering transfer of nuclear material to India and its NSG membership bid. He claimed that many international nuclear experts, think tanks and media reports in the past years have consistently raised concerns over the lack of transparency, absence of international safeguards, and the potential for diversion of unsafeguarded nuclear material for nuclear weapons in India. Zakaria also said that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was establishing units in Kashmir, which were managed by non-Kashmiri activists. “Their increasing presence in (Kashmir)is to terrorise Kashmiris and deter them from participating in the self- determination movement,” he alleged. Zakaria called on the the international community to take notice of the situation in Kashmir and condemned the ban on social media and TV channels in the valley. He said Pakistan extends full cooperation to United Nations Military Observers in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in monitoring situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. Talking about the issue of medical visas by India, he said most patients who were travelling to India from Pakistan have serious ailments requiring urgent medical attention. “Despite paying for their treatment themselves, these patients are being deprived of their basic right to health, due to political consideration on the part of India,” he said. “While granting or denying a visa is a sovereign right of any country, this Indian move is unprecedented in inter-state relations,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Nuclear scientist detained in US, kin seek help

According to Ram Kishan Bhardwaj, his son was jailed on December 29, 2016, at Brazos County Detention Centre, after he raised his voice against corruption and racial discrimination <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bulandshahr-based parents of TK Bhardwaj, a former Nuclear Scientist at A&M University in the US, are running from pillar to post since December 2016, to help their son get justice. A 72-year-old father is knocking the doors of every who’s who possible to set his son free.Bhardwaj’s family has been alleging that he is being framed in false cases and that they have been denied visa too. According to Ram Kishan Bhardwaj, his son was jailed on December 29, 2016, at Brazos County Detention Centre, after he raised his voice against corruption and racial discrimination.When asked what might have triggered the situation, his brother Prasoon said, “He was an extraordinary performer. There is professional jealousy. He is also a victim of racial discrimination and it could also be because he raised his voice against corruption in the system. He was also attacked and under pressure to leave the country.”

China offers to rename China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to allay India’s concerns, China has offered to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through PoK, insisting it was an economic cooperation and connectivity enhancement project devoid of “sovereignty issues”. It also strongly pushed for New Delhi’s participation in the ‘One Belt One Road’ project. Chinese ambassador to New Delhi Luo Zhaohui, while referring to frosty Indo-Pakistan ties, said China was willing to mediate to resolve the differences between the two countries if it was acceptable to both sides. Referring to the CPEC, which is part of OBOR, he said China has no intention to get involved in the sovereignty and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan and that the project is for promoting economic cooperation and connectivity in the region. “It has no connections to or impact on sovereignty issues. Even we can think about renaming the CPEC. China and India have had successful experience of delinking sovereignty disputes from bilateral relations before,” he said in closed-door address to a think-tank on Friday. India has been severely critical of the CPEC, saying the project violates its sovereignty as it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Luo said China is sincere in its intention to cooperate with India on the OBOR as it is “good for both of us.” Maintaining that China and India could be natural partners in connectivity and the OBOR, the Chinese ambassador said Indian economy was behind China by at least 13 years, suggesting New Delhi should grab economic opportunities offered by Beijing. “Now the GDP of India is roughly that of China in 2004, some 13 years ago. China leads India by 13 years mainly because we started reform and opening up 13 years earlier,” he said. Referring to the view in India that China always puts Pakistan first when handling its relations with South Asian countries, he said the government always follows “China first” policy and that problems are dealt on merit. “I want to tell you this is not true. Simply put, we always put China first and we deal with problems based on their own merits. Take Kashmir issue for example, we supported the relevant UN resolutions before 1990s. Then we supported a settlement through bilateral negotiation in line with the Simla Agreement. This is an example of China taking care of India’s concern,” he said. On India’s bid for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), he said, “We do not oppose any country’s membership, believing that a standard for admission should be agreed upon first.” The envoy also proposed a four-point initiative to improve ties between India and China which includes aligning its ‘OBOR’ project with India’s ‘Act East Policy’, and restarting negotiations on a free trade pact. The proposal put forward by Luo includes starting negotiations on a ‘China-India Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation’ and prioritising finding an early solution to the border dispute between the two countries. “Firstly, start negotiation on a China-India Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation. Secondly, restart negotiation of China-India Free Trade Agreement. Thirdly, strive for an early harvest on the border issue. Fourthly, actively explore the feasibility of aligning China’s ‘One Belt One Road Initiative’ (OBOR) and India’s ‘Act East Policy’,” he said. He said good ties between India and China were conducive to regional stability. The development of China, India, Pakistan and the stability of the whole region call for a stable and friendly environment, he said. “Otherwise, how could we open up and develop? That’s why we say we are willing to mediate when India and Pakistan have problems. But the precondition is that both India and Pakistan accept it. We do this only out of goodwill. We do hope that there is no problem at all,” Luo said. “When the Mumbai terrorist Attack on November 26, 2008, took place, I was Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, and I did a lot of mediation at that time,” he said. On trade ties between the two countries, Luo said he was happy to see that China had contributed its share to India’s development. “Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, with a GDP of 11 trillion US dollars. China’s development also benefited from India’s participation,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Turkey condemn double-standards in addressing terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Turkey has condemned the use of double standards in addressing the menace of terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system. Holding a joint statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged views on other international issues of common concern, most notably the fight against terrorism. The two leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere. Both the sides urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists. They also called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. On UN cooperation and reforms, the two leaders jointly agreed that the delegations of both the countries to the United Nations must cooperate closely and agreed on continuing with this close cooperation at the UN fora. Recognizing the need for comprehensive UN reforms including the Security Council expansion to make the body more representative, accountable and effective, both the sides agreed to work towards the reform of the UN Security Council in order to enhance its democratic nature and to reflect the reality of the twenty-first century. India and Turkey also underlined the shared interest of underlining global non-proliferation objectives. In this regard, President Erdogan welcomed India?s accession to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016. Prime Minister Modi thanked President Erdogan for Turkey?s support for India?s membership of the MTCR and applications to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. India and Turkey noted that there is an immense untapped potential for growth in the trade bilateral trade and investment. They also agreed to encourage business efforts to achieve a level of at least $10 billion by 2020 in bilateral trade. The bilateral trade between India and Turkey is $ 6.4 billion. The two sides expressed desire to hold the Turkey-India Joint Economic Committee meetings regularly. Both the leaders expressed satisfaction that the Business Forum held during the state visit provided a platform for the business community to further explore commercial opportunities. On the energy sector, the two sides agreed to improve cooperation in the fields of hydrocarbons, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Taking note of the tourism potential of the two nations, the two leaders agreed to encourage more tourist exchanges. In this context, both Leaders expressed their desire to further encourage tourist exchanges between the two countries within the framework of the ?Agreement on Cooperation in Tourism? signed in 1995. Prime Minister Modi highlighted in this regard that Indian film industry is now producing films and television shows abroad, which will eventually lead to increased tourist interest.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kashmir a bilateral issue between India, Pak: India to Turkey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a clear message to visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had advocated a multilateral dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue, India today asserted that it is a Indo-Pak bilateral matter, essentially due to cross-border terrorism. The virtual rejection of Erdogan’s suggestion came in the course of his discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which the two countries held that “no intent or goal or reason or rationale can validate terrorism” and decided to work together to deepen cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to effectively counter this menace. Erdogan also assured India of his country’s full support in the fight against terrorism as he held “extensive” discussion on this evolving threat with Modi, who described it as a “shared worry”. However, Modi-Erdogan meeting came in the shadow of Turkish president’s comments on Kashmir, made during a TV interview ahead of his visit to India. Erdogan had said, “We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multilateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all.” The remarks were not well received here as they were contrary to the position of India, which maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter between it and Pakistan, and that there is no scope for a third party mediation. Asked if the Kashmir issue or Erdogan’s proposal of multilateral dialogue to resolve it figured during the meeting between the two leaders, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said India’s position that Kashmir is its integral part is very sharp and publicly known. “We conveyed our viewpoint clearly on terrorism and Kashmir (to the Turkish side). It was made clear that there cannot be any justification for terrorism whatever is the intent. We clearly conveyed that the issue of Kashmir is essentially an issue of terrorism. “We told them that we have been victims of cross-border terrorism and and state-sponsored terrorism for 40 years. As far as Kashmir issue is concerned, we have always been ready to resolve it with Pakistan. Not only Kashmir but also all other bilateral issues should be resolved in a peaceful manner,” Baglay said. He also said that the government has made many attempts to have bilateral talks with Pakistan to address issues, including Kashmir as per the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. Asked about the response of the Turkish side, Baglay said they heard it “care and attention”. India’s discussion on Kashmir with Turkey came on a day when two Indian security personnel were beheaded by Pakistan army in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, addressing a joint media event with Erdogan, Modi said countries across the world need to “work as one to disrupt the terrorist networks and their financing and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists”, in an obvious reference to Pakistan-based terror groups. The international community also need to stand and act against those that conceive and create, support and sustain, shelter and spread these instruments and ideologies of violence, the prime minister added. Condemning the Naxal attack on CRPF personnel on April 24 in Sukma, in which 25 of them were killed, Erdogan said, “Turkey will always be by the side of India in full solidarity while battling terrorism… And terrorists will be drowned in the blood they shed.” Asked if there was a difference of opinion on the definition of terrorism as Modi talked about cross-border terrorists and Erdogan mentioned the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO), Baglay said there was a convergence on condemning terrorism and an agreement that it was a menace which needed to be tackled effectively. The spokesperson also said the Turkish side mentioned the presence of FETO (in India). “Any organisation in India has to work within the parameters of our laws, rules and regulations,” he added, without mentioning if India has assured action against the group. During his statement, the Turkish president had referred to the FETO, saying the outfit is active in 170 countries. He said the Turkish government has informed the countries about FETO’s operations and hoped India will take action against it. After a failed coup in July last year to topple Erdogan, Turkey had blamed the FETO for it and said the outfit has “infiltrated” India. Turkey had also asked India to take action against the organisation. “We will never bow down to terrorism or the propaganda of the terror outfits,” Erdogan, who also invoked Mahatma Gandhi, said. He said terror outfits will never be able to “shackle our resolve” to combat the menace. Modi and the Turkish leader had a comprehensive discussion and took stock of full range of bilateral relations, including political and economic, the external affairs ministry said. Referring to changing times where societies face new threats and challenges every day, Modi said the context and contours of some of the exiting and emerging security challenges globally are “our common concern”. “In particular, the constantly evolving threat from terrorism is our shared worry. I held an extensive conversion with the Turkish president on this subject. We agreed that no intent or goal or reason or rationale can validate terrorism,” the prime minister said. The two leaders, who addressed a India-Turkey business forum earlier in the day, also pitched for enhanced trade and business ties. Observing that India and Turkey are two large economies which present an enormous opportunity to expand and deepen commercial linkages, Modi said at the level of the two governments, there is a need to approach the entire landscape of business opportunities in a strategic and long-term manner. “Our bilateral trade turnover of around 6 billion dollars does not do full justice to convergences in our economies. Clearly, the business and industry on both sides can do much more,” he added. He further said, “We would like to encourage stronger partnership of Turkish companies with our flagship programmes and projects, either on their own or in collaboration with the Indian companies.” Erdogan also emphasised the need to increase bilateral trade to at least USD 10 billion, as soon as possible, and added that the countries will look at ways to expand cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sectors, in particular. After the Modi-Erdogan meet, the two sides exchanged three pacts, including one between their telecom authorities. In his media statement, Modi also referred to Rumi and Sufi tradition in India. “While Rumi found his home in Turkey, his legacy continues to enrich the Sufi traditions of India as well,” he said. Modi also thanked Erdogan for his country’s support to India’s aspiration for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership as well as other export control regimes like Missile Technology Control Regime. Turkey has been maintaining that the NSG should come out with a system to consider the entry of countries which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It has also supported Pakistan’s case for NSG membership. There was also convergence on United Nations Security Councilreforms during the meeting of the two leaders, Baglay said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi, Erdogan to discuss NSG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived here on Sunday evening on a two-day visit to hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on key issues ranging from India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to cooperation in terrorism and trade. Since the fulcrum of the Islamic world has moved away from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to Turkey and Iran of late, Erdogan’s visit assumes significance and is part of the Modi government’s efforts to build bridges with the Muslim world after the PM’s successful tours to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran.Talking exclusively to DNA, Ilnur Cevik, a senior foreign policy adviser to the Turkish President, said Modi and Erdogan have developed a personal chemistry that will be put to work to strengthen relations between the two countries. With Turkey being a member of the NSG, the issue of India’s membership bid for the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders. “We feel that we are also interested in nuclear as well as defence cooperation with India. We also seek peaceful use of nuclear technology. So, I don’t think Turkey has any objection at all to India’s membership to the NSG,” he said.Cevik praised Modi for being the first foreign leader who supported Erdogan against a failed military coup in that country on July 15, 2006. “Unlike the West, which was watching and even waiting for the coup to succeed, it was Modi who rang up Erdogan and expressed relief at the failure of the coup,” he said. Admitting that Turkey has close relations with Pakistan, Cevik said both the relations were independent of each other, like India’s relations with other countries.Turkey had blamed Fethullah Gulen Organisation (FETO) for the coup and said the outfit has “infiltrated” into India and is engaged in various charitable works. Calling FETO a “secretive transnational criminal network” with a global presence, Cevit added that there was a need for India to take action and check the organisation’s associations.

Turkish President Erdogan in India; to hold talks with Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived here today and will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow on key bilateral and regional issues, including India’s NSG membership bid and ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and trade. This is Erdogan’s first foreign visit after winning a controversial referendum on April 16 that further consolidated his executive powers. Apart from his wife Emine Erdogan, the Turkish President is accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a 150-member business delegation that will take part in a meeting of the India-Turkey Business Forum. Ahead of his visit, India had played down proximity between Turkey and Pakistan as well as Ankara’s statements on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government is aware that Turkey has a very close relationship with Pakistan and it is their bilateral matter. “We have always emphasised that India-Turkey relations stand on their own footing and, we believe, the Turkish side reciprocates our sentiment,” Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, said, adding that India’s position on the state of J&K is very well known that it is an integral part of the country. However, she did not respond when asked if India will raise the issue. With Turkey being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the issue of India’s membership bid for the elite group is likely to figure during the talks between the two leaders. “We remain engaged with Turkey,” she had said when asked if the Indian side will raise the country’s NSG bid during talks. Turkey is not directly opposed to India’s NSG membership but has been maintaining that the powerful bloc should come out with a system to consider the entry of the countries which are not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as also supporting Pakistan’s case, diplomatic sources said. The two sides were also expected to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism during the presidential visit here. After a failed coup in July last year to topple Erdogan, Turkey had blamed Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) for it and said the outfit has “infiltrated” India. Turkey had also asked India to take action against the organisation. Asked about the action taken by India so far, she said Turkey had raised it with the government, which has noted their concern. Calling the FETO a “secretive transnational criminal network” with presence around the world, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a visit here last year, had said, “Unfortunately, the FETO has also infiltrated India through associations and schools.” Issues relating to regional security, situation in the Middle East, particularly Syria, are likely to figure during talks between Modi and Erdogan.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Cyprus for decisive action against nations sustaining

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades today strongly pitched for decisive action against states supporting, sheltering and sustaining “violence factories” in their regions. The two leaders held detailed discussion on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. These included ways to boost trade ties and UN Security Council reforms. Both sides also signed four pacts, including one for air services and another on cooperation in merchant shipping. At a joint media event with the Cypriot leader, Modi said India has always stood with Cyprus on crucial issues and firmly supports its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. Anastasiades said he is sincerely appreciative of his “dearest friend” Modi and the Indian government for India’s equivocal support on the Cyprus issue. Modi said that while India has been battling cross-border terrorism for decades, Cyprus, due to its geographical location, understood the threat posed by terrorism. “We agreed that there is an urgent need for all countries to decisively act against those states which generate, support, shelter and sustain these factories of violence in ourregions,” the prime minister said in a veiled reference to Pakistan. Emphasising the need for creating a comprehensive legal framework to fight terror, Modi advocated early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, proposed by India at the UN. The two sides also agreed on the need for early reforms in the UNSC as Modi expressed India’s appreciation for Cyprus’ support to India’s bid for inclusion in the world body as a permanent member. The Cypriot leader said his country wanted India to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Describing the Cypriot president as “great friend and strong supporter of India”, Modi said he also discussed with him ways to strengthen the partnership in other “inter- governmental organisations and regimes”. Issues like growing economic relations between India and Cyprus figured during the talks. The Mediterranean country is the eighth largest investor in India. Last year, the two countries had revised the double taxation avoidance agreement. The Cypriot president said his country is supportive of enhancement of the EU-India strategic partnership and back a EU-India free trade agreement. Anastasiades invited Indian companies to invest in Cyprus, which can help them gain an easy access to Europe, the Gulf region and North Africa. Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Cypriot president, and discussed areas of bilateral cooperation.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Poland backs India’s bid for NSG membership, UNSC seat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Poland today assured India of its support to New Delhi’s bid for membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council. This was conveyed by Polish Prime Minister Beata Syzdlo to Vice President Hamid Ansari when the two leaders met here to discuss issues of bilateral and mutual interests. The two countries signed an agreement in the agriculture sector and agreed that there was much scope to increase cooperation in railway and defence sectors as well as in areas like food processing, solar energy, clean coal, treatment of solid waste. The agreement was signed by Minister of State of Small Industries Giriraj Singh and Polish Agriculture Minister Krzystof Jurgiel in presence of Ansari and Syzdlo. Ansari thanked Polish leadership for its support to India’s bid for NSG membership, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) issue and a permanent seat in the expanded UN Security Council. “We are happy to have Poland’s support for India’s claim for permanent membership of an expanded UN security council,” Ansari said as he appreciated the support extended by Poland to India’s membership of the MTCR. Poland is a member of the 48-nation NSG, a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. “For past few decades, India and Poland relations are growing with a good pace. Today my talks with the prime minister of Poland was very productive and we discussed entire gamuts of our relationships,” said Ansari. Ansari said there was much scope to increase the bilateral cooperation especially in areas like mining, agriculture, civil aviation, food processing, solar energy, clean coal and other field. The two sides can also cooperate in railway and defence sectors, he added. “As vibrant democracies, we also share views on the need to adopt a comprehensive and principled stance against the scourge of terrorism. We agree on the need for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN,” the vice president said. Ansari said that Indian cultural festivals would be organised in various cities of Poland. Polish Prime Minister Sysdlo appreciated India’s growing influence and the progress made by it. “We can expand our trade relation in various sector. We hope to export apples to India and increase our cooperation in agriculture field,” she said. India has close economic ties with Poland. Indian investments in Poland amount to around USD 3 billion and Polish investments in India are of about 600 million USD. “Our cooperation will be mutually beneficial. We hope to expand our cooperation in mining sector. We have rich experience in mining sector in cutting edge technology,” the Polish prime minister said. “We also hope to cooperate in civil aviation and defence sector,” she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Vice President Hamid Ansari leaves for Armenia, Poland

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President Hamid Ansari is expected to discuss India s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) during an upcoming visit to Poland. Ansari, who left on a five-day visit to Armenia and Poland today, will hold talks with leaders of the two nations, besides attending a host of events. This is his first visit to Armenia and Poland. The vice president, who will be in Armenia till April 26, is accompanied by his wife, Salma Ansari, Union Minister of State for Small, Medium & Micro Industries Giriraj Singh, Members of Parliament Sitaram Yechury, D P Tripathi, Vivek Tankha and Thupstan Chhewang and senior officials, besides media representatives. He will reach Poland on April 26 and over the next two days meet the Polish president and the prime minister, who will host a banquet in the vice president s honour. He will also meet the speaker of the Senate. Poland has been very supportive of our bid for membership to the NSG and we have been very appreciative and thankful to them, MEA Secretary (east) Preeti Saran said when asked about the possibility of a discussion on NSG in Poland. So certainly, when it comes up, it will provide the vice president with an opportunity to thank Government of Poland for their support to India, not only in seeking membership of the NSG but also in other international forums,” she told reporters on Thursday. In Armenia, Ansari will hold discussions with the president, prime minister and the foreign minister in the capital of Yerevan. The visit intends to further strengthen the cordial relations between the two countries and develop cooperation and partnership on a wide range of issues of shared common interest, an External Affairs Ministry official said. Ansari will also address students and faculty at the Yerevan University. The president and prime ministers will host banquets in his honour. The visit to Armenia takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Armenia. This is the second visit at the level of the vice president of India to Armenia. In Poland, Ansari will inaugurate a business seminar. He will deliver a lecture at the University of Warsaw and will inaugurate the Indian Embassy Chancery cum Residential Complex. “It is befitting that the embassy is being inaugurated by the vice president on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of our embassy in Warsaw, an MEA Official said. The ambassador of India will host a reception where the vice president is expected to meet members of the Indian community in Poland and others. India has close economic ties with Poland. Indian investments in Poland amount to around USD 3 billion and Polish investments in India are of about 600 million USD. “As Polish business looks for market and opportunities beyond Europe, India is a natural partner. Our trade has gone up by 25 per cent in just one year, the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cyprus sees role for India in its reunification: Anastasiades

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cyprus sees a role for India in its reunification process, President Nicos Anastasiades has said ahead of his visit to the country. “Those who are close to Turkey can be helpful,” he said when asked whether he would seek India’s help to reunify Cyprus, whose about 37 per cent area is under Turkish occupation since 1974. “Of course we shall ask Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi if any kind of possibility to intervene on the Cyprus question,” he said, but insisted that Cyprus won’t do things that may make friends uneasy. “If they are not able to intervene, we will not ask them. We are not going to ask something that may harm India’s interest,” he told visiting Indian journalists. Now, the talks have restarted and he is hopeful of finding a solution. Anastasiades is visiting India from April 25-28 with a 60-member delegation and will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi. He will also visit Mumbai. The talks between the two sides to reunify the island stumbled over the years on the issue of territory and security. The Turkic-speaking community want a significant say in the decision-making process and want Turkish forces on the ground even after the reunification, which are the main sticking points in the talks. His remarks assume significance as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit India soon after him. The aim of the visit is to reaffirm Cyprus’ ties with India, which has supported the country’s unification efforts. On a question about India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Anastasiades said Cyprus – as a member of the bloc – supports India’s bid. He also reaffirmed Cyprus’ support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council. “India is not a threat to any of its neighbours. It’s a stabilising factor,” he said. During his visit, the president will promote Cyprus as a gateway for Indian companies wanting to enter the European markets. As the double taxation avoidance treaty is in place, authorities here feel that it would give level-playing field to all. Cyprus also wants India’s help in developing a Silicon Valley-type technological park. It also seeks to cooperate with India in the shipping sector.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pakistan, India ‘cannot remain enemies forever’, says Pak NSA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing India of “defeating the spirit of bilateralism” by defying talks over the Kashmir issue, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua has said that the two neighbours “cannot remain enemies forever” and they need to engage and resolve their disputes. Janjua’s remarks comes against the backdrop of spike in Indo-Pak tensions over the death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court and New Delhi’s warning to Islamabad to consider the consequences on bilateral ties if he is hanged. Pakistan’s NSA claimed that the international community is overlooking Kashmir issue due to their own strategic interests related to India. “Although India considers Kashmir a bilateral issue, it has defeated the spirit of bilateralism by defying any dialogue over it,” Janjua said while speaking to Canadian High Commissioner Perry Calderwood yesterday. “Extreme thoughts are to be mitigated through a change of perception, by winning hearts and minds and not by use of force alone,” he said, referring to the situation in Kashmir. “We need to engage with each other and resolve disputes,” Janjua was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). “Pakistan and India cannot remain enemies forever,” he said, amid a strain in Indo-Pak ties. Janjua and Calderwood discussed regional dynamics and bilateral ties, Pakistan’s role in eradicating terrorism, counter-terrorism cooperation, the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and Pakistan-India relations with reference to the US’ offer for mediation. Janjua also underscored the need for a non-discriminatory approach while considering Pakistan’s membership for elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Australia sign pact to boost counter-terror cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Australia on Monday inked six pacts, including the one to boost counter-terror cooperation, seeking strong action against those financing and providing sanctuary to terror groups. However, at the end of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, there was no decision on a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA), that would ensure free trade between the two nations.Both Modi and Turnbull felt that commercial export of Australian uranium could begin soon, opening up a new avenue for Australia to support India’s energy requirement. “We took a number of forward-looking decisions to further strengthen our partnership, including the decision to soon hold the next round of negotiations on a CECA,” Modi said at a joint media event with Turnbull. Using cricket analogy, Modi, in a lighter vein, said, “I am, of course, glad that our decisions are not subject to the DRS review system.”After holding delegation-level bilateral talks, the two heads of state arrived at Mandi House metro station on the Delhi metro’s Blue Line to hop a ride. The two leaders waved to the crowd gathered at the busy metro station, before boarding the train bound for Noida City Centre. While riding on the train, Prime Minister Turnbull whipped out his phone and snapped a selfie with PM Modi. Both the prime ministers deboarded at Akshardham metro station, and paid a visit to the famed Akshardham Temple.In a reference to China, and dispute in South China Sea, a joint statement issued after the talks said both leaders recognised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with the international law. Australian PM also extended strong support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He also said Australia supports India’s entry into the other nuclear export clubs like the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.On comprehensive trade agreement, the two prime ministers asked negotiators to find a way out and list their priorities soon so that talks on it can move forward. There were indications that sticking points on the pact included issues relating to agriculture. On the threat of terrorism, the two leaders asserted that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terror, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues. “They emphazised the need for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism and radicalisation and expressed their determination to take concrete measures to step up cooperation and coordination among the law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations,” a joint statement said.The MoUs signed provided for deeper cooperation in areas of health and medicine, sports, environment, climate and wildlife, civil aviation security and cooperation in space technology. Expressing happiness over cooperation in the energy sector, Modi said, “With the passage of a legislation in the Australian parliament with bi-partisan support, Australia is now ready to export uranium to India.” The two prime ministers highlighted their shared desire to ensure that Indian Ocean architecture keeps pace with regional issues and addresses emerging threats and challenges in the region.

UCIL will soon commence mining in Jadugora: Mahato

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP MP Bidyut Baran Mahato today said Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), which recently got approval from the Central forest department, will soon commence mining activities in Jadugora near here. Mahato, who had earlier held several rounds of meeting with top forest department officials and Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had recently met the forest officials. “The forest department after a meeting with forest advisory committee gave the nod last week,” Mahato said at a press conference. A lease for 50 years has also been granted to the oldest uranium mine, he said. Asked when the mining will start, Mahato said, the file related to lease renewal of Jadugora mine is with the Union Environment Minister who is likely to give his approval in the next few days. Mining activities had come to a standstill after the lease licence expired in September, 2014. Referring to the demand for setting up of a 1000 MW Nuclear power plant in Jadugora, he said, the issue has already been taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Atomic Energy department. After a survey, the Atomic Energy department had said that Jadugora and its surrounding areas have rich uranium deposits which could be mined for about 1000 years, Mahato said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Is Indo-US nuclear deal jinxed?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even after 12 years since a nuclear framework agreement was signed by the then India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then US President George W Bush, the famed Indo-US nuclear deal seems jinxed. After China threw spanners in India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and protracted negotiations on nuclear liability clauses, a big shock has come with the news that Westinghouse Electric, a US firm, owned by Japanese Toshiba has filed for bankruptcy with $9.8 billion in liabilities. Reportedly, Toshiba has also posted a $6.2 billion loss in nuclear-business.The firm was supposed to set up six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh in partnership with the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). The deal was kept hanging, since the nuclear reactor manufacturers had refused to accept the liability clause incorporated in nuclear legislation adopted by the Parliament. PM Modi and President Obama ended this uncertainty just two years ago over two important aspects – inspections and liability for a nuclear accident. The two sides had agreed to “work toward finalising the contractual arrangements by June 2017”.India agreed to stricter checks by the International Atomic Energy Agency and in return, the US dropped its insistence on tracking fuel consignments. On liability in case of an accident at a nuclear power plant, India, seared by the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, made it clear that a plant operator will be responsible for costs and compensation, but will have secondary recourse against a supplier or equipment provider.Since the nuclear reactor supplier had been taken over by a Japanese firm, since the Indo-US nuclear agreement rolled out, a nuclear cooperation agreement was signed in Tokyo in November 2016. But it is yet to be ratified by Diet (Japanese Parliament).Officials at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said they were monitoring developments right from awaiting a ratification from Japanese parliament to the latest news from Westinghouse. “Our intent is to stick to the deadline, for which competitive financing arrangements need to be in place,” they said. The officials, however, drew satisfaction that there was a positive outlook either from governments or global players to cooperate with India on nuclear commerce.In a bid to end uncertainty, PM Modi had agreed to create a state-backed insurance pool to cover liability up to Rs 1,500 crore. Any recourse sought by the operator against a supplier could not exceed this figure. The India-US deal was meant to address India’s energy issues, generate nuclear commerce by allowing New Delhi access the nuclear technology and fuel without giving up its weapons programme.Current US President Donald Trump, who spoke on phone to PM Modi on Tuesday did assure that his country would continue supporting India’s bid for membership in the NSG, to help it to get easy access to nuclear technology. Replying to a question in Parliament on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India was engaged with the NSG members individually. She said that India has received support from a diverse and large number of members, including the United States, France, United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Republic of Korea, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, and Japan.

India remains engaged with NSG over seeking membership-Sushma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Centre has informed that that India remains engaged with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and individual members at the appropriate levels to seek membership of the elite group. This was informed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a written reply to Parliament on Wednesday. She said the merits of India?s candidature have been recognized by a majority of NSG members. Swaraj added that India has received support from a diverse and large number of members, including the United States, France, United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Canada, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Republic of Korea, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Japan. ?While no member of the Group has explicitly opposed India?s membership, certain procedural and process related issues have been raised by a few members,? she said. She further said that the BRICS as a group has not issued any statement on India?s membership of the NSG. India had hoped to join the group during NSG’s last plenary session, held in Seoul in June this year, but the meeting ended without taking any decision on New Delhi’s application. Several countries expressed concerns over India’s entry because it had not yet signed the NPT. China led the efforts to block India’s membership. After the plenary, the NSG chairman asked the outgoing Chairman Rafael Grossi to work out a proposal for admitting new members. The proposal he prepared also addressed the India-Pakistan dispute, acknowledging that both countries had “political reasons” for blocking each other’s membership. The proposal requires a non-NPT state to declare that it has brought into force a clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities and is willing to apply this principle to future facilities as well. The new member also needs to assure NSG that it has provided and maintains a declaration to the IAEA that identifies all current and future civilian nuclear facilities. The applicant also needs to assure NSG that it has enforced a safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all declared civilian facilities and all future civilian facilities which the IAEA determines are eligible for safeguards.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘India, China should be sensitive to each other’s concerns’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China and India should be “more sensitive” to each other’s concerns to address contentious issues and they should not allow differences to stop their “pretty close” relations from moving forward, a top Chinese official said today. Being big developing countries facing multiple challenges China and India “need to be more sensitive to each other’s concerns so that we can better address them,” Fu Ying, spokesperson of the China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, said responding to questions on India-China ties. “For some issues that cannot be worked for the moment, we cannot allow them to stop us from moving forward. We must proceed with whatever we can and advance good cooperation,” she said at a crowded press conference here ahead of NPC’s annual session starting on Monday. China’s relations with India and the US were the only foreign policy related questions dealt by Fu in the nationally televised press conference which is otherwise dominated by the defence budget and pressing domestic issues like recurring pollution. When asked about differences over India’s admission into the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG), declaring JeM leader Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN and India’s concerns over USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor going through PoK, she said the two sides are addressing them through dialogue. Fu, 63, praised the depth and extent of the February 22 upgraded strategic dialogue in Beijing co-chaired by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar during which both sides discussed the whole gamut of their relations. “I have read the report of India-China strategic dialogue. From what I can see it is wide ranging and goes deep and positive. I feel that when we look at the India-China relations we need to see the tree and we also see the woods,” said Fu, who was former Vice Foreign Minister. “Of course there are also some differences, some have been around for years and you mentioned some of them. I also hear China’s concerns. Between our two foreign ministries they are covered in detail and plans have been made,” she said. China yesterday expressed concern over India granting permission to the Dalai Lama to visit the Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as part of South Tibet. Fu said that despite the differences, the relations are progressing well. “China-India relations have been advancing pretty rapidly,” she said. MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, China holding talks on Mazood Azhar issue: Chinese

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parleys are on between India and China over the issue of a ban on Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN and such “discussions take time”, Chinese envoy to India Luo Zhaohui said today. He, however, asserted that China was against terror outfits and any form of terrorism. Earlier this week, India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had held strategic dialogue with his Chinese counterpart during which issues ranging from Beijing’s opposition to designation of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) were discussed. “Discussions are going on. (India’s) Foreign Secretary (Jaishankar) was in Beijing two days ago. The discussions were very good and covered everything,” Luo said. But he declined to comment on what were the aspects on which China was opposing a ban on Azhar. “Just wait (for the outcome of the discussions). China’s support to India and every country on matters related to terrorism will always be there. Some discussions are going on. It takes time. “China is against any form of terrorist activity and organisation. So, on this matter, China will always be in same line with the international community and take concrete measures,” Luo said after inaugurating Chinese visa application service centre here. Asked about China’s aversion to support India’s bid for entry into the NSG club, the envoy said, “It is the same (discussions are on).” After his talks, Jaishankar, during his media interaction in Beijing, had hit out at China for demanding “solid evidence” for getting Azhar banned by the UN, saying the extent of his actions were “well-documented” and the “burden of proof” was not on New Delhi. China has blocked India’s efforts to get Azhar declared as a global terrorist by the UN. Commenting on the emergence of ISIS in the Af-Pak region and the six-party talks on Afghanistan held early this month in Russia, Luo said peace in the war-torn country is paramount for stability within that nation as well as in the region. Asserting that Afghanistan was a neighbour of several central Asian countries, he said therefore, peace in Afghanistan is not only important for that country, but also for the region. “So all countries concerned are making joint efforts to help Afghanistan and the region to maintain peace. That is good,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Need ‘solid evidence’ to back efforts to get Masood Azhar banned by UN: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of its strategic dialogue with India, China on Friday said “solid evidence” was needed for it to back efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on the international situation and other regional and global issues of mutual interest in the strategic dialogue which is an important communication mechanism between India and China, he said.Commenting on reports of “friction points” in the bilateral relationship, including the Azhar issue and India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Geng said “differences are only natural”.”Through all kinds of conversation and exchanges, including (the) upcoming Strategic Dialogue, (the) two sides can step up communication to narrow differences and reach new consensus on achieving cooperation,” he said.On the Azhar issue, over which China has put a technical hold on the recent US move to list the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council, Geng said China will support the move if there is solid evidence.”China upholds principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism and takes part in relevant discussions. Whether last year’s application by India or this year’s by (the) relevant country, our position is consistent,” Geng said.”Our criteria is only one, we need solid evidence. If there is solid evidence the application can be approved. If there is no solid evidence there is hardly consensus,” he said.Stating that China has reiterated its stand several times, Geng said, “On (the) 1267 committee, the latest development is relevant countries have made another application with the committee. Relevant members of (the) committee are in consultation and relevant parties have failed to reach consensus so far.”China last year put a technical hold twice on India’s application to get Azhar banned by the UN.This year, the US moved the proposal in the UNSC to designate Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack, as a terrorist. China once again has put a technical hold on the move.On India’s entry into the NSG, he said, “We have said many times this is a multilateral issue”.”We stick to two-step approach namely, first NSG members need to arrive at a set of principles for the entry of non-NPT state parties into NSG and then move forward discussions of specific cases,” Geng said.”Our position is consistent. Apart from India, other non-NPT state parties are also making applications. Our position on those applications is consistent,” he said.Whether the Azhar issue or the NSG issue, they are in essence multilateral issues and not bilateral ones, Geng said.”We hope India can understand China’s attitude and position on the two matters,” he said, adding that China and India are the two largest developing counties having a wide range of converging interests.”China India cooperation benefits not only two countries but the region and developing world which can contribute to our solidarity,” he said.

India building ‘secret nuclear city’, claims Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan today claimed that India is building a “secret nuclear city” and has accumulated a stockpile of nuclear weapons which threatens to undermine the strategic balance of power in the region. Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Nafees Zakaria made the remarks at the weekly press briefing while expressing concern over the “Indian defence buildup”. “India is building a secret nuclear city…It has accumulated a stockpile of nuclear weapons which threatens to undermine the strategic balance of power in the region,” he claimed. Zakaria also alleged that India has been conducting tests on inter-continental missiles which would “disturb the strategic balance in the region.” He asked the international community to take note of “Indian drive” to have more deadly weapons and check “rapid expansion” of its conventional and non-conventional weapons. Asserting that India had been “exposed” by the failure of its efforts to isolate Pakistan, he said the Indian government should reciprocate the steps taken by Pakistan for peace. “Pakistan remains committed to the principles of peaceful existence with all of its neighbours, including India,” he said, adding that Islamabad was open for dialogue and took a number of initiatives but India failed to respond positively. “Instead of resolving the issues amicably through dialogue, India has adopted a hostile attitude,” he alleged. He accused India of repeatedly violating the ceasefire agreement at the LoC and providing funds to militants to carry out terror activities in Pakistan. “Indian belligerence continues to pose threat to the peace in the region, which the international community should take note of,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

MEA to host Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of GICNT on February 8-10

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Ministry of External Affairs in coordination with the Department of Atomic Energy will host the Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting of the Global Initiative to combat Nuclear Terrorism on February 8-10, 2017 at the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra. Approximately 150 delegates from various GICNT partner countries and international organisations will be participating in this event. This event highlights India?s commitment to global nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is a part of our overall engagement with the international community on nuclear security issues. It also highlights the continued priority we attach to nuclear security, our efforts to further strengthen the institutional frameworks, capacity building and enhance international cooperation. The possible use of weapons of mass destruction and related material by terrorists is no longer a theoretical concern. A breach of nuclear security may lead to unimaginable consequences. Such an event would have a global impact. Foreign Secretary of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar is expected to inaugurate the meeting. The meeting will conclude with an address by Dr. R. B. Grover, Member, Atomic Energy Commission of India. GICNT was launched in 2006 jointly by the Russian Federation and the United States. GICNT comprises four working groups – Implementation and Assessment Group, Nuclear Detection Working Group, Nuclear Forensics Working Group and Response and Mitigation Working Group. India has been an active participant at the GICNT events.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

No NSG member has explicitly opposed India’s membership: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has “explicitly” opposed India’s membership to the grouping while certain procedural and process-related issues have been raised by a few members, the government said today. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh also said India’s membership continues to be under NSG’s consideration and the government remains engaged with all its members at the appropriate levels for an early decision on Indian bid. “India’s application for the NSG membership enjoys widespread support of the members of the group…While no member of the group has explicitly opposed India’s membership, certain procedural and process-related issues have been raised by a few members,” Singh said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha. India’s NSG bid was scuttled by China and a few other countries on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Replying to another question, Singh said India’s engagement with China was multifaceted and the two sides have agreed to continue with it at various levels to enhance mutual understanding and trust and to address outstanding issues in the spirit of showing mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s interests, concerns and aspirations. A new bilateral dialogue mechanism to discuss regional and international security issues has also been agreed to, he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India hits back at China, says not seeking NSG membership as ‘farewell gift’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India hit back at China on Thursday for its statement that Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership can’t be a “farewell gift”, saying it was not seeking the membership to the 48-nation grouping as gift but instead based on its non-proliferation record. “India is not seeking NSG membership as a gift. India is seeking it on its non-proliferation record,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at a briefing in Delhi.”I, of course, cannot speak for other applicants,” he said in an obvious reference to Pakistan, with questionable non-proliferation record, also making efforts to get into the NSG.Earlier this week, China had strongly reacted to outgoing Obama administration’s assertion that Beijing was an “outlier” in the efforts to make India a member of the elite nuclear club. “Regarding India’s application to the NSG, regarding non-NPT countries’ admission to the NSG, we have made our position clear before so I will not repeat it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had told a media briefing.
ALSO READ China takes dig at Obama administration, says India’s NSG membership can’t be farewell gift”I just want to point out that NSG membership shall not be some kind of (a) farewell gift for countries to give to each other,” Hua had said, reacting to remarks by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal that “clearly there is one outlier that needs to be addressed and that is China”.China has been blocking India’s NSG membership bid despite backing from majority members on the grounds that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). China is advocating a two-step approach for admission of countries which have not signed the NPT.
ALSO READ Obama administration lashes out at China for blocking India’s NSG bid As per the new stand announced by Beijing, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT countries followed by discussions on admitting specific nations. Besides India, China is also interacting with Pakistan on the issue as Islamabad too applied for NSG membership after India.

Trying to convince China that India’s rise not harmful to its ascent: FS Jaishankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the backdrop of growing unease in Sino-India ties, India today said it has been trying to convince the Chinese government that its ascent is not harmful to the rise of China and that both countries should be sensitive on matters relating to sovereignty.In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar took strong objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, saying there should have been some reflection on India’s unhappiness over it.”What we are trying to do is to convince China that our rise is not harmful to China’s rise just as China’s rise need not be to India’s rise,” he said at the gathering attended by representatives from across the world.Chill has set in Sino-India ties following China’s opposition to India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as Beijing blocking India’s move at the UN to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.During the interactive session, during which he touched upon a vast array of subjects concerning international relations, Jaishankar said the SAARC has been made “ineffective due to the insecurity of one member”.Identifying terrorism as the most “pervasive and serious challenge” to international security, the Foreign Secretary said developing a serious global response to it is of the highest priority but rued that it is hard to do.On ties with China, Jaishankar said there has been overall broadening of ties, especially in areas of business and people-to-people contact, but they have been overshadowed by differences on certain political issues.”But it is important for the two countries not to lose sight of the strategic nature of their engagement, or falter in their conviction that their rise can be mutually supportive,” he said.Replying to a question on CPEC, he said both countries should show sensitivity to each other’s sovereignty.”China is a country which is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. So we would expect that they would have some understanding of other people’s sensitivity on their sovereignty,” he said.Jaishankar said the CPEC passes through a “piece of land that we call Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir which is territory belongs to India and which is illegally occupied by Pakistan”.He said the project has been undertaken without consultation with India and that its sensitivity and concerns towards it are natural.On India’s overall ties with China, he said both the countries have opened up significantly since 1945.”In a sense, both of us, if you step back and look at it, are opening up a very close international order. When people talk about change since 1945, I think two big changes are really India and China.”I would say if China had not opened up the international order the way it did, I think it would be much harder today for India also to exploit those phases. There is a high degree of shared interests,” he said.

China takes dig at Obama administration, says India’s NSG membership can’t be farewell gift

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Monday said admission of non- NPT signatories in NSG cannot be a “farewell gift” for countries to give to each other, a day after the outgoing Obama administration asserted that Beijing was an “outlier” in the efforts to make India a member of the elite nuclear club.”Regarding India’s application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), regarding non-NPT countries admission to the NSG, we have made our position clear before so I will not repeat it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing, reacting to remarks by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, on the issue.”Clearly there is one outlier that needs to be addressed and that is China,” Biswal had said on India’s NSG membership bid.”I just want to point out that NSG membership shall not be some kind of (a) farewell gift for countries to give to each other,” Hua said, taking a dig at the Obama administration.China has been blocking India’s membership bid for the 48- member grouping despite backing from majority members on the grounds that India is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).China is advocating a two-step approach for admission of countries who have not signed the NPT.As per the new stand announced by Beijing, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT countries followed by discussions on admitting specific nations.Besides India, China is also interacting with Pakistan on the issue as Islamabad too applied for NSG membership after India.On the issue of China’s technical hold on India’s application to get Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, Hua took an exception to the criticism that Beijing had blocked the UN ban on him.Answering a question about French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s comments calling for “decisive action” against Pakistan-based terror groups like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen which are “targeting” India, Hua said, “I don’t like the word block.””As we have explained our position before, on this question, the 1267 Committee needs to base its decision on solid evidence, follow relevant resolutions and rules of procedure and make a decision based on consensus. The technical hold China proposed is to allow more time for consultation and deliberation,” she said.Asked whether China will re-think over this issue this year if India files a fresh application as the previous one lapsed due to two technical holds by Beijing, Hua said, “China raised the technical hold to give more space for deliberation and consultation”.”It is a regret that no consensus has been reached so far.We need more consensus and more time for deliberation so as to reach a consensus,” Hua said”We need more time for deliberations so as to reach a consensus and the committee will follow relevant resolutions and rules of procedure. We will remain in touch with relevant parties on this,” she said.

India, Portugal sign MoU on defence cooperation; also ink six other pacts

New Delhi: India and Portugal inked seven pacts to expand bilateral engagement in a wide range of areas including defence and security, IT and renewable energy, even as they took a veiled dig at China for blocking New Delhi’s move at the UN to list JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Portugal Prime Minister and Narendra Modi share a light moment. PTIPortugal Prime Minister and Narendra Modi share a light moment. PTI

Portugal Prime Minister and Narendra Modi share a light moment. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa, while agreeing to deepen the ties, also called for tough global action against terror networks and States harbouring them, stressing that there should not be any double standards in combating terrorism.

Modi, in a statement to the media, said he and Costa discussed the need for the global community to take strong and urgent action against the rapidly growing and widely spreading threats of violence and terror.

“Recognising the importance of the central role of UN in combating terrorism, they exhorted the international community to effectively implement the measures enumerated by the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee,” a joint statement issued after the talks said.

On 30 December, China had blocked India’s move to list Pakistan-based Azhar as a global terrorist, at the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. China was the only member on the 15-nation committee to have opposed India’s move.

The joint statement said both sides called for strengthening cooperation in combating terrorism in a spirit of zero tolerance, underlining that States should not support any terror entity including ‘non-State actors’ on any grounds.

The two leaders also called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and sought adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN.

Modi said his talks with Costa, who traces his origin to Goa, covered the full range of India-Portugal ties across various sectors.
“We agreed that the two countries must focus on action-oriented approach to realise the full potential of economic opportunities in our partnership. The agreements signed today are just one indication of our shared resolve to do exactly that,” he said.

Modi also thanked Costa for Portugal’s support to India’s membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, and for its continued support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The MoU on defence envisages cooperation meeting security challenges, including in the maritime domain and defence industries.

First Published On : Jan 7, 2017 21:43 IST

China must understand ‘depth and evil’ of Masood Azhar: MJ Akbar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a clear message to China on JeM chief Masood Azhar, whose designation as global terrorist it has been blocking, India asked Beijing to hear the “voice of the world” in dealing with terrorism. India hoped it would be able to persuade China to understand the “depth and evil” of the menace. Referring to Pakistan’s support to terror, India also hoped that as a “responsible and a mature” nation, China will understand the “double standards” and “simply self-defeating and suicidal” approach of Islamabad to terrorism.”We really do expect China to hear the voice of the world, not just voice of India on terrorism,” Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said at a joint press conference with his ministerial colleague Gen (retd) VK Singh, while presenting MEA’s achievments in the last two-and-half years.On China’s opposition to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, Singh said government was engaging with all concerned to make them understand its “concerns” and “credentials”, hoping that Beijing will end its resistance.Referring to China once again blocking India’s proposal at the UN to list Masood Azhar as a terrorist, Akbar said, “Terrorism is a snake that bites the hand that feeds it” and that Beijing needs to understand the reality.Hoping to persuade China to reverse its position on Azhar, the Minister said, “If we do not recognise the dangers of terrorism, we might hurt others a bit but we will wound ourselves far more.”The press conference was addressed by Singh and Akbar as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who underwent a kidney transplant last month, has not fully recovered.”China has its own problem of terrorism. China recognises it. China addresses them in bilateral agreements. We hope and are sure that China can be persuaded to see the depth and evil of the menace,” Akbar said, addingIndia will continue to point out “absurdity” of the decision of the 1267 sanctions committee of the UN of not designating Azhar a global terrorist.He said only China blocked India’s move as 14 out of 15 member countries agreed on taking action against Azhar. “There was only one hold out and we hope that the hold out disappears.”Referring to terror infrastructure as well as the situation in Pakistan, Akbar said there has been instability in that country, adding these are “self-inflicted wounds”.The Union Home Minister’s statement comes just days after Beijing blocked New Delhi’s move to list Azhar as a United Nations designated terrorist.India has accused JeM and its top leader Maulana Masood Azhar of masterminding several attacks including a deadly assault on an Indian Air Base in January last year and sought the UN to put him on the list of designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council .The JeM has already been blacklisted by the 15-nation Security Council, but not Azhar.However, China for the third time since March last year blocked the move last week with its “technical hold”With inputs from agencies

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