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We welcome India’s emergence as leading global power: Trump’s new National Security Strategy document

Describing India as a “leading global power” in its newly unveiled National Security Strategy, the Trump administration said it will deepen US’ strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific region.The 68-page document said the US will seek to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia and India. “We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner,” said the National Security Strategy unveiled by President Donald Trump yesterday. “We will expand our defence and security cooperation with India, a Major Defence Partner of the United States, and support India’s growing relationships throughout the region,” the NSS said, noting that its vision for Indo-Pacific excludes no nation.India-US defence relationship was mentioned in the context of Indo-Pacific region, whereas it gave a very prominent role to India in South and Central Asia. “We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” according to the NSS which the White House said sets a positive strategic direction for the US that will restore America’s advantages in the world and build upon its strengths.Also readAfter quad; India, Australia hold first meet on strategic, defence ties With an eye on China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the US administration said it will help South Asian countries “maintain their sovereignty” as China increases its influence in the region. “We will help South Asian nations maintain their sovereignty as China increases its influence in the region,” it said.The recent Chinese move in Sri Lanka and Maldives is seen as an effort on their part to encroach eat on their sovereignty with similar fears in Pakistan. India has objected to CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The US, it said, continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.US interests in the region include countering terrorist threats that impact the security of the US homeland and its allies, preventing cross-border terrorism that raises the prospect of military and nuclear tensions, and preventing nuclear weapons, technology, and materials from falling into the hands of terrorists, it said.

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After quad; India, Australia hold first meet on strategic, defence ties

India and Australia today reviewed all aspects of bilateral ties with a focus on strategic and defence relations during their first ‘2+2 dialogue’ and agreed that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific is in the long- term interests of all countries in the region.Significantly, the inaugural Indo-Aus dialogue comes barely a month after the two countries along with the US and Japan, discussed cooperation amid evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region where China has been aggressively expanding its military presence. While India already has a ‘2+2 dialogue’ with Japan, it has also agreed to start a two-by-two ministerial dialogue to enhance “peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region”.The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra while the Australian side was headed by Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson, and Secretary of Department of Defence Greg Moriarty.”All aspects of bilateral relations with a focus on strategic and defence relations between the two countries were reviewed… Both sides agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large,” a press release from the external affairs ministry said. It said India and Australia share warm bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and pluralism and there is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the two countries.Also readChina reacts cautiously over possible US quadrilateral with India, Japan, Australia Last month, officials from India, Japan, the US and Australia held consultations on the sidelines of the India- ASEAN meet and discussed issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on cooperation based on converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area. After the quadrilateral, the MEA said, “they agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.”Adamson is also meeting Secretary (East) and Secretary (ER) in the MEA, the release said. Apart from attending the dialogue, Moriarty also met Chief of Staff Committee and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and visited Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre here.

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

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

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have pledged that the US and India should have the world’s greatest militaries as they discussed bilateral strategic partnership and their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, according to the White House.The two leaders met on Monday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines. The two leaders discussed the comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and India and their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the White House said in a statement. “They pledged to enhance their cooperation as Major Defence Partners, resolving that two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s greatest militaries,” it said.President Trump expressed appreciation that Indian purchases of oil from the United States have surpassed 10 million barrels in recent months, and expressed confidence that stronger energy cooperation will be a geopolitical and economic game changer for both countries. The first consignment of American crude oil reached India in October and Indian petroleum companies plan to purchase crude oil worth USD 2 billion from the US in the next one year.Prime Minister Modi said that he looked forward to hosting the US delegation to the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit, showcasing innovation and collaboration between the two countries. India and the US will co-host the entrepreneurship summit. The American delegation will be led by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is also his senior advisor. The talks between Trump and Modi came after officials of India, the US, Japan and Australia held their first meeting to give shape to the much talked about quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open”.Giving details of Monday’s deliberations, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in Manila said Modi and Trump undertook “a broad review of the strategic landscape in Asia” without further elaboration.Asked whether the formation of India-Australia-the US- Japan quadrilateral was discussed, Jaishankar had said there was a passing mention of it, adding that the meeting of the officials of the four countries was part of diplomacy. “It was a very expansive discussion,” Jaishankar said, adding that Trump also shared his “impression” of his ongoing Asia trip which also took him to Japan and China.

Trump praises PM for ‘doing great job’, Modi says India-US relationship goes beyond mutual interest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The relationship between India and the US goes beyond mutual interest and can be beneficial for Asia and the humanity at large, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told President Donald Trump who described him as a “friend” who is “doing a great job”.Modi’s comments came ahead of his bilateral talks with Trump on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit here during which the two leaders discussed a range of key issues including defence and security.”The relations between India and the US are growing… and I also feel that the relationship between India and the US is not only for mutual interest. It goes beyond that. We are working together for the interest, for the future of Asia and for the humanity as a whole in the world,” Modi said.
ALSO READ ASEAN summit: India pushes for new ‘Great Game’; China says talks shouldn’t hit third party’s interestModi also thanked Trump for praising India whenever he got an opportunity to speak about the country during his Asia tour. “…in the few days wherever president Trump has travelled and whenever opportunity arose to talk about India, he has expressed very high opinion about India,” Modi said. “I would like to assure you whatever the expectations are of the world, of the US from India, India has always made efforts to fulfil those expectations and we will continue to do so in the future too,” Modi said.Trump on his part described Modi as a friend and a great gentleman. “PM Narendra Modi is here we had met at the White House before. He has become a friend of ours. He’s doing a great job. A lot of things were solved and we will continue to work together,” Trump said. said Modi was doing a “fantastic job by bringing lots of factions in India together that is what I hear and is a good news and lot of good reports are coming out of India.” The two leaders are understood to have discussed the security scenario in the region besides several other issues of mutual interests, including ways to further boost bilateral trade.
ALSO READ ASEAN: Musical play on Ramayana at opening night shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage, says PM ModiThe move to set up the quadrilateral alliance comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. The US has been favouring a larger role for India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region. The use of the term “Indo-Pacific” by President Trump has led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a revival of the so called quadrilateral strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s rise.Trump on Saturday praised India’s “astounding” growth after it opened up its economy and also lauded Modi, saying he has been working successfully to bring the vast country and its people together.Speaking at a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang, President Trump had cited India as one of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region making strides.He praised India as a sovereign democracy with a population of over 1 billion as well as the largest democracy in the world.

India pushes for new Great Game

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials of India, Australia, the US and Japan held the first quadrilateral (Quad) meeting on Sunday to boost cooperation and combat China’s unilateral assertiveness in the region. It came a day ahead of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump in the Philippine capital of Manila on the sidelines of the crucial ASEAN-India and East Asia summits.Quad attains significant as it is the first occasion when India outstretched itself beyond the region to play a key role in building a new rule-based international order.China expressed resentment at the setting up of a new Great Game to undermine its international influence from Indian Ocean to Pacific to the shores of African nations. Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that the dialogue is not used for “targeting or damaging third party’s interest”.Politicians, industry leaders and experts are also converging in India during December 11-14 for the Global Partnership Summit (GPS) to fine-tune and strategise on cooperation. Chaired by Japan’s ruling party chief Toshihiro Nikai and co-chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subhash Chandra, GPS will provide alternative developmental models to countries in the Indo-Pacific region which are threatened by China’s predatory economics.The Ministry of External Affairs said on Sunday that officials from four countries held consultations on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region. The four countries agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all. The officials exchanged views on addressing challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.The concept of quadrilateral dialogue was mooted in 2007 but didn’t make any progress. It was revived recently by the Japanese Foreign Minister.In its sharp reaction, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “We hope the collaboration among relevant countries could comply with the trend of times, which refers to peace, development, cooperation and shared benefits, and conform to the prospect of… common security and development.”On October 18, US Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson said talks were on between the countries to create alternative financing mechanisms. “We will not be able to compete with the kind of terms that China offers, but countries have to decide: What are they willing to pay to secure their sovereignty and their future control of their economies And we’ve had those discussions with them, as well,” he said.The initiative is also significant as India had boycotted the OBOR summit in Beijing on the grounds that connectivity projects cannot be unilateral initiatives, must respect sovereignty and have transparent funding.At the ASEAN summit, China’s aggressive military manoeuvre in the disputed South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear missile tests and overall security architecture in the region will come up for discussion.On the sidelines, Modi is likely to have a series of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders including Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev.India’s proposal to host an international conference on countering radicalisation may also be discussed during the deliberations at Manila as New Delhi is now looking at finalising the dates for the conclave.Modi will also participate in the ASEAN business and investment summit as well as a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.

PM Modi briefly meets Trump and other world leaders at ASEAN gala dinner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight held separate pull-aside meetings with US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of a gala dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN.Modi was also seen chit-chatting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the reception for the leaders who have arrived here for the 31st ASEAN summit and related meetings. He also held brief interactions with several other leaders who attended the reception hosted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the mega SMX Convention Centre in Pasay City here.The prime minister as well as all other leaders wore Barong Tagalong, an embroidered shirt which is the national dress of the Philippines. Renowned Filipino designer Albert Andrada has designed the shirts. Modi also tweeted pictures of his interaction with several leaders.The menu of the gala dinner featured various Filipino cuisines including Filipino steak sushi. The brief interaction between Modi and Trump came ahead of their scheduled bilateral meeting tomorrow. The two leaders are expected to deliberate on a number of key issues of mutual interest including the evolving security situation in the Indo-Pacific region where Washington favours a greater role by India.There have been concerns over China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific and the issue was understood to have figured in a meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan and Australia today under the proposed Quadrilateral coalition of the four countries. “The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners,” the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.”They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large,” it said. On Tuesday, Modi will attend the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits where he is likely to reassert India’s push for crafting a global approach to deal with growing challenge of terrorism and radicalisation besides pitching for steps to boost regional trade. Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Duterte tomorrow. He also had a conversation with Li at the dinner. “PM @narendramodi had a warm and cordial conversation with the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Gala Dinner,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Modi-Trump bilateral likely on Monday at sidelines of ASEAN summit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump are likely to have a bilateral meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit here.Modi will arrive here on Sunday to attend the 15th ASEAN- India summit and 12th East Asia summit on November 14. Trump is also scheduled to arrive here tomorrow as part of his five-nation Asia tour of Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Official sources said the meeting between Modi and Trump is likely to take place on Monday. It will be the first meeting between the two leaders following a proposal to have a quadrilateral alliance among India, the US, Japan, and Australia.Japan last month had indicated that it would propose a top-level dialogue with the US, India and Australia. Sources said officials of the four countries may meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit here. Reacting to the Japanese move, India had said that it was open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance its interests. The US had said it was looking at a “working-level” quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia. Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours a dialogue between Japan, the US, India and Australia to further boost strategic partnership among the fo`ur countries.
ALSO READ PM Narendra Modi’s 3-day Philippines visit begins from Sunday, here’s the detailed programmeThe move to set up the quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. The US has been favouring a larger role for India in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region.The use of the term “Indo-Pacific” by Trump has led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a revival of the so-called Quadrilateral strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s rise.In their meeting, Modi and Trump are likely to discuss a host of key issues of mutual interest including the security scenario in the region. Trump yesterday praised India’s “astounding” growth after it opened up its economy and also lauded Modi, saying he has been working successfully to bring the vast country and its people together. Speaking at a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang, Trump cited India as one of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region making strides.He praised India as a sovereign democracy with a population of over 1 billion as well as the largest democracy in the world. Modi is expected to meet many other leaders attending the two summits. He will also participate in the ASEAN business and investment summit as well as a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP, comprising the 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact. In his maiden visit to the Philippines as prime minister, Modi will also attend a reception by the Indian community and visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Mahavir Philippines Foundation.

India, France decide to boost cooperation in Indo-Pacific region; ramp up overall defence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and France on Friday decided to expand their military cooperation in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region besides resolving to further ramp up the overall defence and security ties.Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her French counterpart Florence Parly held extensive talks covering a range of issues, including the regional security situation, joint development of defence platforms and expansion of military-to-military ties.In their delegation-level talks, the two sides also agreed to expand counter-terror cooperation and felt that a lot more can be done in the maritime sphere, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, where China was trying to expand its footprint, official sources said.Interestingly, the Trump Administration has also been favouring deeper Indo-US collaboration on security in the Indo-Pacific region.Parly described her interaction with Sitharaman as “excellent”.The sources said the French side explored the possibility of a follow on order of additional Rafale fighter jets by India.India had signed a Rs 58,000 crore deal with France for supply of 36 Rafale jets last year and the IAF was pitching for procuring another fleet of 36 Rafale jets.In a statement, the defence ministry said the ministers reviewed ongoing initiatives to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation as a key pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries.”Recognising the growing significance of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and the need for greater maritime domain awareness, India and France will further expand information sharing arrangements,” it said.It is Parly’s first visit to India as defence minister and her trip is expected to lay the ground for French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming trip to India.”A range of measures to expand military to military ties, including enhancing the scope of their joint exercises, in particular the Varuna naval exercise scheduled in early 2018, were agreed upon,” the defence ministry said.It said both countries will also actively explore additional measures to facilitate operational level interactions between their respective armed forces.In their talks, the two two ministers also comprehensively reviewed developments in defence equipment and industry cooperation between the two countries.France is a major partner for India in developing various key military platforms including the Scorpene submarines.”They agreed to strongly support projects for defence manufacturing under the Make in India initiative as well as promote defence technology and research and development cooperation,” said the ministry.After talks with Sitharaman, Parly travelled to Nagpur and attended the foundation laying ceremony of an aerospace park being set up under a joint venture by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Aerospace Ltd.Parley, during her two-day visit, will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Radicalisation through social media pose ‘serious’ security threat: Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Terrorism and radicalisation through social media pose a “serious” security challenge to all countries and a strong collective action is required to fight the “scourge”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.Speaking at the 4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting in the Philippines, Sitharaman said the global strategic and security situation was constantly evolving and had thrown up fresh and serious challenges. “The defence and security scenario in our shared region has also witnessed significant changes recently. Our countries now need to simultaneously prepare for traditional (military) and non-traditional threats,” she said. Terming terrorism a “trans-national phenomena” which needed strong collective action, Sitharaman praised the Philippines for resolutely addressing the threat posed by terrorists in the southern part of the country.”New developments in social media and cyberspace have expanded the threat, as these are exploited by terrorists to develop less visible but lethal ways and means of manipulating minds of the people,” she said in a statement.”I wish to commend the Philippines for reiterating India’s zero tolerance for terrorism anywhere and under any circumstances. There are no good terrorists,” she said. Sitharaman said the transnational activism of terrorist groups and the “spectre” of returning foreign fighters as well as the conduct of irresponsible states that provide safe havens, funding and even encouragement to terrorist groups all needed to be addressed jointly and comprehensively.”Terrorism anywhere is a threat everywhere,” she said.”India has taken resolute measures to fight the scourge of terrorism from across its borders. We fully recognise the role of joint mechanisms with our partners and the role of international and regional forums in fighting this menace. “The recent, BRICS Summit Declaration condemning all forms of terrorism and identifying a number of terrorist organisations engaged in dastardly acts was a positive step… We should be clear and unequivocal in our condemnation of terrorism,” she was quoted as saying in the statement.Sitharaman said the maritime security was another key concern and India supports freedom of navigation, overflight and commerce throughout the region. “Nations should resolve maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law. We support a rules based order for oceans and sea that is critical for the continued growth and development of the Indo-Pacific region,” she said. Sitharaman also said that the nuclear and missile tests conducted by North Korea were in violation of its international commitments and have triggered serious concern.”India has deplored these tests. We remain concerned about the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies which has adversely impacted India’s national security and that of the entire region. “It is important that North Korea’s proliferation linkages are investigated and those who have supported its nuclear and missile programme are held accountable,” she said.

85% Indians support government, 27% want a strong leader: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than four-fifths of Indian citizens trust their government, but interestingly, a majority of Indians also support military rule and autocracy, a latest Pew survey said on Monday.”In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9% since 2012, 85% (of people) trust their national government,” Pew Research said in a report based on its survey on governance and trust among key countries across the world.Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55%) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.In fact, more than one-fourth (27%) of them want a strong leader.Nearly half of Russians (48%) back governance by a strong leader, but rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, it said.A global median of 26% say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing.Roughly seven-in-10 (71%) say it would be a bad type of governance.India is one of the three countries in the Asia Pacific region where people support technocracy.”Asian-Pacific publics generally back rule by experts, particularly people in Vietnam (67%), India (65%) and the Philippines (62%),” it said.Only Australians are notably wary as 57% say it would be a bad way to govern, and only 41% support governance by experts, the report said.According to the survey, roughly half of both Indians (53%) and South Africans (52%), who live in nations that often hold themselves up as democratic exemplars for their regions, say military rule would be a good thing for their countries.But in these societies, older people (those aged 50 and older) are the least supportive of the army running the country, and they are the ones who either personally experienced the struggle to establish democratic rule or are the immediate descendants of those democratic pioneers, Pew said.Only one in 10 in Europe back military rule. Pew said more than half in each of the 38 nations polled consider representative democracy a very or somewhat good way to govern their country.Yet, in all countries, pro-democracy attitudes coexist, to varying degrees, with openness to non-democratic forms of governance, including rule by experts, a strong leader, or the military.

Indian troops leave for first ever tri-services joint military exercise with Russia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 400 personnel of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy in addition to two IL 76 aircraft, one frigate and corvette each from the Navy today left the country to take part in INDRA 2017–the first ever Tri Services Joint Exercise between Indian and Russian Armed Forces which will be conducted in the Eastern Military District of Russia from October 19 to 29. Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars has been conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries. The year 2017 marks a major milestone as this exercise has been upgraded to involve all the three Services of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy & Air Force), which further accentuates the importance of Joint Services in the present world environment.Exercise INDRA-2017 will be conducted at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevisky and in the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok. The Indian contingent will comprise of 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one Frigate and Corvette each from the Navy. The Russian Federation Armed Forces will be represented by approximately 1000 troops of the 5th Army, Marines and Ships of Pacific Fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military District.Addressing the Indian Contingent today, Lt Gen Satish Dua reminded them of the importance of the upcoming Exercise which will provide an opportunity to the armed forces of both countries to train in counter terrorism operations in a multinational scenario in a joint tri-service environment. The scope of the exercise includes professional interactions, establishment of joint command and control structures between the Indian & Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in a multinational environment under the UN mandate.Exercise INDRA-2017 is aimed at strengthening mutual confidence, inter-operability and enable sharing of best practices between both the armed forces. It will be a landmark event in the history of Indo-Russian defence cooperation and is expected to give the Indo-Russian defence cooperation a major boost.

Conditions in northwest Pacific affected monsoon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rainfall deficiency of five per cent of the long-period average (LPA) of southwest monsoon season was largely due to below par rainfall in the second half of the season during August and September, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its end of the season report. During the second half of monsoon, northwest India and Central India saw rainfall deficiency of 35 per cent of LPA and 21 per cent of LPA.According to IMD’s analysis, there was above normal activity of low pressure systems over the northwest Pacific during the second half of monsoon, resulting in poor rains during the same period in India.“The below normal rainfall over the central and northwest India during second half of the season was also caused by the above normal convective activity over southern hemispheric equatorial trough,” the IMD’s report said. It added, thus, the Bay of Bengal branch of southwest monsoon got deflected towards southeast Asia owing to strengthening of west Pacific systems.The influence of these systems manifested in lesser low-pressure systems. This year, 11 low pressure areas formed in the first half of the season with three of them intensifying into depressions, the report said. It added, on the other hand, during the second half of the season, only three low-pressure systems formed in the Indian monsoon region with none of them intensifying into depression.“The total number of low-pressure system days during the season had been only 39 as against the normal of 58,” the IMD’s report said.EXCESS RAINSOn extreme weather events, the IMD’s report showed that there were 262 instances of rainfall over 200mm, categorised as extremely heavy rainfall. Many of these instances during this year’s monsoon were recorded in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

‘Don’t form an alliance,’ Beijing tells New Delhi, Tokyo as Shinzo Abe concludes India trip

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concludes his second India trip, China has issued a message for both India and Japan.In a veiled comment at the visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “We advocate that regional countries should stand for dialogue without confrontation and work for partnership instead of alliance.”The comment by Beijing came as New Delhi and Tokyo sought to firm up their close ties during Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe’s visit to India.India and Japan inked 15 agreements to further broad-base their strategic partnership and agreed to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region where China is increasing its assertiveness.Hua, however, declined to comment on specific issue like Japan’s plans to sell US-2 amphibious aircraft to India, saying she would like to wait till a detailed readout from the two countries following a meeting between Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Japan’s plans to sell the amphibious aircraft to India raised eyebrows here as this is first such move by Tokyo to sell defence equipment to any country. China is also concerned about Japan getting the first bullet train project in India between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.China too is vying for high speed rail projects in India, specially the New Delhi-Chennai corridor.China and Japan also have a longstanding dispute over islands in the East China Sea. Chinese ties with Japan have also been strained by what Beijing see as Japanese leaders’ reluctance to atone for the country s wartime past.Hua said China will “stay open and welcome normal development of relations between the countries in the region”, as long as they are conducive to peace and stability in the region.”We hope that relations will be conducive to regional peace and stability and can play a constructive role in this regard,” she said.Commenting on Abe’s visit to India, Chinese think-tanks expressed concern over the “Freedom Corridor”, as well as several joint infrastructure projects being launched by India and Japan together in different countries as strategic move by the two countries to counterbalance China’s ambitious multi- billion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).The Indo-Japanese initiative, called the ‘Freedom Corridor’, stretching from Asia-Pacific to Africa, aims at stabilising the region.”The Freedom Corridor, designed to serve as a counterbalance to China’s BRI is expected to figure prominently in talks between Abe and Modi,” Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences told state-run Global Times today.However, the Japanese-Indian initiative is just a beginning. It is unlikely to reach the same level as the BRI, Chu Yin, an associate professor at the University of International Relations said.The Chinese analysts also referred to report that India and Japan were embarking on multiple infrastructure projects across Africa, Iran, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia in what could be viewed as pushback against China’s unilateral infrastructure initiatives connecting it with Europe and Africa.India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) held this year due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.”Though India objects to CPEC, India’s real reason is that it doesn’t want to see China’s influence in South Asia and refuses to open its domestic market to China,” Ye Hailin, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ National Institute of International Strategy, said.Also the Global Times tabloid, in an editorial titled ‘India-Japan intimacy no threat to China’ said “in a changing world, the India-Japan intimacy is more like a contrivance”.It said Japan is unlikely to challenge China as it has strong bilateral trade relations with Beijing.”Under the international relations logic of the 21st century, closer India-Japan ties won’t pose grave threats to China because many of their emotional moves to console each other won’t produce any real effects in challenging China,” it said.

PM Narendra Modi , Donald Trump agree to new dialogue mechanism to enhance peace across Indo-Pacific region

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have agreed to enhance peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a new two-by-two ministerial dialogue, which would elevate their strategic consultations, the White House said today.Trump spoke with Modi last night to greet him on the eve of India’s Independence Day. During the phone call, Trump welcomed the first-ever shipment of American crude oil to India, which will begin this month from Texas. He pledged that the US would continue to be a reliable and long-term supplier of energy to India, the White House said in a readout of the phone call between the two leaders.”The leaders resolved to enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a new two-by- two ministerial dialogue that will elevate their strategic consultations,” the White House said, without giving details of the mechanism. As the leaders of two of the world’s largest and fastest-growing major economies, Trump and Modi looked forward to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this November, the White House said, adding that Trump has asked his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump to lead the US summit delegation.
ALSO READ Independence Day 2017: Donald Trump calls PM Modi to wish India “Prime Minister Modi thanked President Trump for his strong leadership uniting the world against the North Korean menace,” it added. Trump had recently warned North Korea that it would face “fire and fury” if it attacked the United States, while the North threatened to test-fire its missiles over Japan and towards the US Pacific island of Guam.

Second half of monsoon to be normal: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rainfall during the second half of the Southwest monsoon season is going to be normal, that is in the range of 94-106 per cent of long-period average (LPA), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday. As per IMD parlance, 96-104 per cent is considered normal. Quantitatively, rainfall across the country during this period, between August and September is going to be 100 per cent of the LPA, with a model error of +/- 8 per cent while in August it is going to be 99 per cent of LPA, IMD added.Till the halfway mark, July 31, monsoon rainfall was two per cent above normal for the country as whole. A week later on Tuesday, it was three per cent below normal. Out of 36 sub-divisions, 24 have received normal rainfall, eight have received deficient rainfall, three have received excess and one has received large excess.IMD said that as per its forecast, El Niño conditions are most likely to be neutral through the remaining monsoon months right up to 2018 spring season. “Atmospheric conditions over the Pacific continue to reflect neutral ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) conditions. Latest forecast from monsoon mission system indicates neutral ENSO conditions are most likely till 2018 spring season with high probability (80-90%) till end of 2017,” IMD said.Despite the forecast for a normal rainfall, large parts of India are reeling under large deficit, portending drought like conditions in next summer. At district level, the situation remains worrying for Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. At the end of July, only Marathwada region’s districts were in the red. But as of August 8, almost entire Vidarbha region, with the exception of Wardha district, and Khandesh region are facing a deficit.While there is deficit in these states, Rajasthan and Gujarat witnessed unusually high rainfall last month that led to a short duration floods. Mount Abu in Rajasthan received over 700mm in a 24-hour period, a record for the past century.Meanwhile, in the coming days, northeastern states are going to face heavy rainfall due to strong southwesterly winds. Besides northeast, Bihar and south Peninsular region covering all southern states are also going to witness above normal rainfall.

Second half of monsoon season to receive ‘normal’ rainfall: IMD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The second half of the monsoon season is expected to receive “normal” rainfall, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.According to the IMD, rainfall over the country during the remaining two months of the monsoon season (August and September) is likely to be 100 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus 8 per cent. Rainfall between 94-104 per cent of the LPA is considered “normal”, it said. August is expected to witness 99 per cent of the LPA, the weatherman said. The IMD has predicted a normal monsoon this year.The MET, however, recorded an overall deficiency of minus 3 per cent from June 1 to August 7 following which several parts of the country are witnessing drought-like conditions, especially in the southern peninsula. On the other hand, states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and several parts of the northeast have witnessed floods. In June, IMD Director General K J Ramesh had revised the forecast to 98 per cent precipitation of the LPA due to reduced chances of occurrence of El-Nino, a phenomenon associated with heating of Pacific waters.”The atmospheric conditions over the Pacific Ocean continue to reflect neutral El-Nino conditions. The latest forecast also indicates neutral ENSO (El Ni o-Southern Oscillation) conditions till 2018 spring season,” the IMD said.The weather body added that the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are also neutral which is a “good sign for the remaining two months”. The Indian Ocean Dipole is a phenomenon associated with heating of Indian Ocean.

US calls on NSG members to support India’s application

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US Department of Defense and Department of State have submitted a joint report to the Congress, in which it has reiterated the support by the United States towards the inclusion of India in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).The United States has also re-affirmed its support for India’s membership in the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement as soon as India meets each group’s membership criteria.Since 2010, the United States has supported India’s membership in the four multilateral export control regimes? Wassenaar Arrangement, NSG, Australia Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime.The report was on enhancing defense and security cooperation with India in accordance with section 1292 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017.The report includes joint actions taken by the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State necessary to:(A) Recognize India’s status as a Major Defense Partner of the United States;(B) Designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defense acquisition and technology to reinforce, through interagency coordination, the success of the Framework for the US-India Defense relationship and help resolve remaining issues impeding defense trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities;(C) Approve and facilitate the transfer of advanced technology, consistent with US conventional arms transfer policy, to support combined military planning with India’s military for missions such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-piracy, freedom of navigation, and maritime domain awareness missions, and to promote weapons systems interoperability;(D) Strengthen the effectiveness of the US.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative and the durability of the Department of Defense’s ‘India Rapid Reaction Cell'(E) To collaborate with the Government of India to develop mutually agreeable mechanisms to verify the security of defense articles, defense services, and related technology, such as appropriate cyber security and end-use monitoring arrangements, consistent with US export control laws and policy;(F) Promote policies that will encourage the efficient review and authorization of defense sales and exports to India;(G) Encourage greater government-to-government and commercial military transactions between the United States and India;(H) Support the development and alignment of India’s export control and procurement regimes with those of the United States and multilateral control regimes; and (I) continue to enhance defense and security cooperation with India in order to advance the United States interests in South Asia and the greater Indo-Asia-Pacific region.The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017 also directs the Department to reorganize the Office of the USD (AT&L) into two new Under Secretary positions?one for Research and Engineering (USD (R&E)) and one for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD (A&S)). This change will take effect not later than February 2018.”With a mutual aim for global stability, the United States and India maintain a broad-based strategic partnership and have an increasing convergence of interests, including on maritime domain awareness, counter-piracy, counter-terrorism and coordinated response to transnational threats.” the joint report said.It further stated, “We see a growing convergence with India on our strategic outlook for the region, and we view India as an increasingly important regional security partner within and beyond the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”Adding, “India has deepened its involvement with the biennial Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise hosted by US Pacific Command. In 2017, the United States expects to relaunch our bilateral Air Force exercise, COPE INDIA. The US Air Force is also focused on expanding cooperation with the Indian Air Force on C-130J/C-17 transport aircraft capabilities, flight safety, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and combat search and rescue.”The US DoD and the Indian MOD have a robust International Military Education and Training (IMET) program that brings Indian military personnel to US institutions for training.For India, seven of the last nine Indian Navy Chiefs have been US professional military education graduates. For Fiscal Year 2017, the Department of State allocated $1.3 million in International Military Education and Training funds for India.The United States designated India a ‘Major Defense Partner’ in June 2016 ? a status unique to India. The designation is intended to elevate defense trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of US closest allies and partners. It also seeks to institutionalize changes the United States has made to ensure strong defense trade and technology cooperation.The momentum behind the relationship and converging security interests will result in a more secure Indo-Asia pacific region and beyond.After Prime Minister Modi’s June 2016 visit, the United States and India released the ‘Framework for the US-India Cyber Relationship,’ which recognizes the value of enhancing and institutionalizing our broad-based cooperation on cyber issues.The framework highlights priority areas for US-India cyber cooperation including strengthening critical internet infrastructure and undertaking skill development and capacity building programs.

Sikkim standoff should not threaten mega economic RCEP deal: Chinese media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The India-China border standoff should not be allowed to threaten a mega economic deal Asia-Pacific nations are trying to negotiate at a meeting in Hyderabad, an article in an official Chinese daily said on Friday.The comment was made by The Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party media group, which generally reflects the views of the ruling party. Sixteen countries, accounting for about 27 per cent of global trade, are meeting in Hyderabad to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that is aimed at liberalising trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. The technical level talks for the RCEP began on July 18. On July 24, the negotiations will formally start.The meeting is happening under the shadow of the standoff between India and China – the two largest economies taking part in the talks. The standoff began over the construction of a road by China in Doklam area and India fears the road could be used to cut New Delhi’s links with its northeastern states.India has said it is ready for talks with China to end the tension but both sides should first withdraw their armies from the disputed area. “We are saying that the matter can be resolved through talks, but both sides have to first take back their armies,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said.”China and India are two prominent members of the group, but they face the task of preventing an escalation of their border tensions from becoming an obstacle to reaching trade agreements at the negotiating table,” the article said.”China hopes that India can strive to control its actions, ensuring that the escalation of the border tensions does not endanger the atmosphere of cooperation for the RCEP,” it said.”If India encourages the border tensions to thwart the free trade negotiations, China will fight back and spare no effort to safeguard its territorial sovereignty, which cannot be traded in any case,” it said.

China must admit India is a force to be reckoned with, says top former US diplomat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector, a top former US diplomat has said that China needs to acknowledge that India is “a force to be reckoned with” and countries in the region are unsettled by Beijing’s behaviour and unilateral actions.”China, I think, needs to acknowledge the fact that there is growing strategic and security capability across Asia, and certainly India is a force to be reckoned with,” former Indian-American Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told PTI in an interview. Biswal, who was Obama Administration’s point person for South and Central Asia in its second term, said that there has been a fair degree of assertive actions and signals being sent from China across many different border points, maritime and land, across its geography.”While I understand that sentiment within China, that I think seeks to try to assert China as a dominant player across the Asia-Pacific, I think China has to content with the fact that across its geography, throughout the Asia-Pacific region, countries are unsettled by its behaviour and by its unilateral actions,” she said. “China has more to gain through diplomacy and dialogue than it does through these kinds of actions, which create a great deal of unease and uncertainty,” Biswal said responding to questions on India-China border stand-off.
ALSO READ Sikkim stand-off | Withdraw troops, don’t ‘trespass’ to achieve political targets, says ChinaBiswal said across Asia, nations are stepping forward to assert their interests and their rights. “So now is an important time to create some greater codification of the rules and, to create more channels for dialogue and diplomacy to address some of these areas of tension and differences on how various boundary and maritime claims are resolved,” she said. She exuded confidence that the leaders of the two nations would be able to prevent further escalation of the situation.”China is a very mature and calibrated power. It’s not a rogue actor, in any sense of the word. And certainly I think that the Indian side has also acted with a great deal of resolve and a great deal of restraint,” she said.
ALSO READ #DNAExclusive: Amid Sikkim stand-off, Chinese firm bidding for MTHL denied clearance”While there are tensions afoot, I do believe that both countries have it within themselves to resolve those tensions, to defuse those tensions. It is in the interest of both countries, in their security interest and in their economic interest, to manage these tensions and to ensure that there are avenues for peaceful and amicable resolution,” she added. The US, she noted, certainly has a role to play in it by ensuring that the international rules are followed.”Certainly, I think that the US, by standing firm on its commitment towards the rules-based international order and the importance of dialogue and dispute resolution, can signal its own strong preference for these kinds of mechanisms to de- escalate and to resolve differences,” she said.
ALSO READ Utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous: MEA slams fake Pak media report on Indian casualties in Sikkim”The US has stood very firmly against the kinds of unilateral actions to settle disputed claims, which we have done very strongly with respect to maritime claims, and which we continue to stand behind with respect to land boundary claims,” Biswal said. “India has proven itself to be willing and be able to resolve issues through arbitration, through negotiation, through dialogue and diplomacy, and, we would hope and expect that China would show itself capable of doing the same,” she said.Implications, of any further escalation, are grave, she warned in response to a question. “I think it’s not useful to speculate on escalation. The implications are very grave. I think that as two very responsible military powers and nuclear powers, that both countries understand that. They understand the obligation that they have to manage tensions and to de-escalate, and we have a firm belief and expectation that they will do so,” she said.

Climate change to have devastating effect in Asia: Study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in the Pacific and Asia, a new report has warned and said Southern India may witness a decline in rice yields by five per cent in 2030s. Unabated climate change could severely affect the future growth of these countries, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, the report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) claimed. According to the report, Asia has the highest number of people exposed to flooding from possible storm surge events, particularly in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. It said meanwhile, 130 million people in low-elevation coastal zones in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, are at risk of being displaced by the end of the century in worst-case scenarios. “While rice yields could potentially increase in the northern states of India, rice yields may decline by 5 per cent in the 2030s, 14.5 per cent in the 2050s and 17 per cent in the 2080s in the southern states,” it said. The report, titled ‘A region at risk: The human dimensions of climate change in Asia and the Pacific’, also said different modeling approaches are relatively consistent in terms of projecting a yield reduction in wheat production of 8 per cent in India. Flood exposure is apparently increasing in coastal cities due to growing populations and assets and subsidence, it said. “Studying the 136 largest coastal cities, the authors estimate that the average global flood losses in 2005 were approximately USD 6 billion per year and will increase to USD 52 billion by 2050. “Of the top 20 cities with the largest increase of annual losses between 2005 and 2050, 13 are located in Asia- Guangzhou (PRC), Mumbai, Kolkata, Shenzhen (PRC), Tianjin (PRC), Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), Jakarta (Indonesia), Chennai, Surat, Zhanjiang (PRC), Bangkok (Thailand), Xiamen (PRC), and Nagoya (Japan),” it said. The report said recent studies reveal that flood risk is projected to increase significantly in Southeast Asia and India under global warming. “The global climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge human civilisation faces in the 21st century, with the Asia and Pacific region at the heart of it all,” said Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PIK Director said that the Asian countries hold Earth’s future in their hands. Noting that the challenge is two-fold, he said Asian greenhouse-gas emissions have to be reduced in a way that the global community can limit planetary warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in Paris 2015 while on the other . “Yet even adapting to 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise is a major task. “So, on the other hand, Asian countries have to find strategies for ensuring prosperity and security under unavoidable climate change within a healthy global development,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Dealing with counter-terror threats will make Indo-US ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s partnership with the US will be strengthened further if the two countries deal with the “unconventional” counter-terrorism threats together, US Congressman Tulsi Gabbard has said. Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress said security and counter terrorism are critical areas of the US and India partnership. The number of military-to-military engagement and exercises between the two nations exceed any other partner in the region and is only continuing to grow. She was addressing the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum organised here yesterday in partnership with the Asia Society Policy Institute. “From the top all the way to the Pacific Commander, there is a recognition of the benefit to continuing to strengthen this partnership, continuing to engage in ways that haven’t been before to ensure that the two countries are stable and that we are dealing with this unconventional counter-terrorism threat together because if we do that together we are stronger,” she said at the forum with the theme of ‘India and the United States: Partners in Progress’. Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna said the need for the US and India to cooperate both bilaterally and in other global foras as well as in the UN is extremely important. Gabbard, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, said there is still “quite a lot of excitement” in Washington and a feeling of momentum around the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the American capital for his first bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump. “Those of us on the US-India caucus feel it and believe it and those who have been working on the partnership over the years are saying over and over again this is the most exciting time in the friendship between our two countries” not only on the political front but also in areas of economic ties, technology, education, culture and arts. She noted that IIFA awards being organised in the city shows how much interest America as a whole has in films coming from India. “We at the US-India caucus are excited about the opportunities that exist that are mutually beneficial for both of us,” she added. Gabbard said there had been concerns over uncertainties and possible obstacles in the India-US relations under the Trump administration. “What we have seen come forward before, during and after Modi’s visit was that while heads of state can meet and have these important diplomatic talks and negotiations, the heart and backbone of the relationship exists not only at the government level but also in the private sector, businesses and research facilities that are not waiting for marching orders from anyone in government,” she said. Addressing the valedictory session, Sarna said it is important to underline that the support for the India-US engagement is clearly bipartisan and across the political spectrum. He termed the visit by Modi as “landmark”, saying the two leaders “hit it off” in terms of understanding, engaging each other and listening to each other concerns. “There was convergence on strategic and defence issues, economic cooperation for the global good, cyber security and space,” he said. Gabbard added that the joint statement released at the end of the bilateral visit was “impressive and extensive” in covering the different sectors and areas, laying down the pathway forward for the two countries. She stressed that the US can also benefit and learn as India deals with different challenges and opportunities. Noting that India has a large worker base, she said job training is needed for that. “If we can look at some of the innovative ways of how some of the companies are providing that training we can use that in some of our communities where jobs have either been replaced by technology or whose industries have been shut down or shipped off to other countries,” she said. “As we are looking at new opportunities here whether it is in the middle part of the country or inner cities, we can see how countries like India are taking the best of technology and are able to empower people in their communities,” she said. Sarna added that he does not see contradiction in Modi’s focus on ‘Make in India’ and Trump’s call for ‘Make America Great Again. “Here are two countries that are wanting to grow and surely there must be a place in this world for the two countries to grow and help each other rather than at each other’s cost. The two countries are being positioned now as two engines of growth which are going to help each other grow,” he said, adding that there are tremendous opportunities in areas of energy and civil aviation where the two countries will need to depend on each other to grow and actually create employment opportunities in each other’s countries through this growth.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi, PM Netanyahu promise to elevate 25 years of cooperation between the countries @ 7/4/2017 11:04:16 AM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to elevate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. Ahead of their meeting, both leaders recognised the threat terrorism poses to their countries and to global peace and stability. “Accordingly, a few years ago we signed a landmark agreement on cooperation in homeland and public security. India and Israel are committed to working together to fight this scourge,” the leaders said in a blog post. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel commences today and he will be the first serving Indian prime minister to visit Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem. “The ‘Make in India’ initiative to strengthen the Indian manufacturing base has been enhanced by its Israeli ‘Make with India’ counterpart. We are pleased that this vision is already bearing fruit. This week?s historic visit, as we celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, reflects not just the close cooperation of our governments, but also the great sympathy and affinity between our peoples. We marvel at the changes we have witnessed over the last two and a half decades and are proud that India and Israel are genuine partners for development, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,? both the Prime Minister?s said, reaffirmed their commitment to economic ties. Celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the leaders further stated, “We are confident that 25 years from now, Indians and Israelis will look back on this visit as the first of many historical milestones that we reached together in the great friendship between our peoples. The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size. Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples.” Taking business ties to a higher level, Leaders stated,”We are establishing a new India-Israel CEOs Forum. Acquiring business visas from each country has become easier today than it has ever been, thanks to steps taken by both governments. We are also asking our respective business leaders to suggest ways in which we can bring our bilateral trade closer to its real potential.” In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv today evening.Till now, this gesture has only been accorded to U.S. presidents, including President Donald Trump recently and the Pope. Prime Minister Netanyahu will also accompany his Indian counterpart to all events during his historic visit to the country between July 4 and July 6. The Indian Prime Minister is undertaking a visit to Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. In his 48-hour visit, the Prime Minister is attending 18 programmes in Israel. These programmes include bilateral meetings, mega Community Programme, meeting top Israeli CEOs, NRIs, students.On Thursday (July 6) both Prime Ministers will pay wreath on the two grave areas – one is for the Hindu soldiers and one for Muslim soldiers- during their visit to Haifa cemetery,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General in charge of the Asia and the Pacific Division Mark Sofer during a briefing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi, Netanyahu promise to elevate 25 years of cooperation between the countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to elevate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the countries.Ahead of their meeting, both leaders recognised the threat terrorism poses to their countries and to global peace and stability.”Accordingly, a few years ago we signed a landmark agreement on cooperation in homeland and public security. India and Israel are committed to working together to fight this scourge,” the leaders said in a blog post.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel commences today and he will be the first serving Indian prime minister to visit Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem.”The ‘Make in India’ initiative to strengthen the Indian manufacturing base has been enhanced by its Israeli ‘Make with India’ counterpart. We are pleased that this vision is already bearing fruit. This week’s historic visit, as we celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, reflects not just the close cooperation of our governments, but also the great sympathy and affinity between our peoples. We marvel at the changes we have witnessed over the last two and a half decades and are proud that India and Israel are genuine partners for development, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” both the Prime Minister’s said, reaffirmed their commitment to economic ties.Celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the leaders further stated, “We are confident that 25 years from now, Indians and Israelis will look back on this visit as the first of many historical milestones that we reached together in the great friendship between our peoples. The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size. Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples.”Taking business ties to a higher level, leaders stated, “We are establishing a new India-Israel CEOs Forum. Acquiring business visas from each country has become easier today than it has ever been, thanks to steps taken by both governments. We are also asking our respective business leaders to suggest ways in which we can bring our bilateral trade closer to its real potential.”In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv today evening. Till now, this gesture has only been accorded to US presidents, including President Donald Trump recently and the Pope.Prime Minister Netanyahu will also accompany his Indian counterpart to all events during his historic visit to the country between July 4 and July 6.The Indian Prime Minister is undertaking a visit to Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.In his 48-hour visit, the Prime Minister is attending 18 programmes in Israel.These programmes include bilateral meetings, mega Community Programme, meeting top Israeli CEOs, NRIs, students.On Thursday (July 6) both Prime Ministers will pay wreath on the two grave areas – one is for the Hindu soldiers and one for Muslim soldiers- during their visit to Haifa cemetery,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General in charge of the Asia and the Pacific Division Mark Sofer during a briefing.

PM Modi, PM Netanyahu promise to elevate 25 years of cooperation between the countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to elevate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. Ahead of their meeting, both leaders recognised the threat terrorism poses to their countries and to global peace and stability. “Accordingly, a few years ago we signed a landmark agreement on cooperation in homeland and public security. India and Israel are committed to working together to fight this scourge,” the leaders said in a blog post. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel commences today and he will be the first serving Indian prime minister to visit Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem. “The ‘Make in India’ initiative to strengthen the Indian manufacturing base has been enhanced by its Israeli ‘Make with India’ counterpart. We are pleased that this vision is already bearing fruit. This week?s historic visit, as we celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, reflects not just the close cooperation of our governments, but also the great sympathy and affinity between our peoples. We marvel at the changes we have witnessed over the last two and a half decades and are proud that India and Israel are genuine partners for development, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,? both the Prime Minister?s said, reaffirmed their commitment to economic ties. Celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the leaders further stated, “We are confident that 25 years from now, Indians and Israelis will look back on this visit as the first of many historical milestones that we reached together in the great friendship between our peoples. The natural partnership between India and Israel, formally elevated 25 years ago to full diplomatic relations, has grown stronger from year to year. The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size. Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples.” Taking business ties to a higher level, Leaders stated,”We are establishing a new India-Israel CEOs Forum. Acquiring business visas from each country has become easier today than it has ever been, thanks to steps taken by both governments. We are also asking our respective business leaders to suggest ways in which we can bring our bilateral trade closer to its real potential.” In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be received by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv today evening.Till now, this gesture has only been accorded to U.S. presidents, including President Donald Trump recently and the Pope. Prime Minister Netanyahu will also accompany his Indian counterpart to all events during his historic visit to the country between July 4 and July 6. The Indian Prime Minister is undertaking a visit to Israel to mark 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. In his 48-hour visit, the Prime Minister is attending 18 programmes in Israel. These programmes include bilateral meetings, mega Community Programme, meeting top Israeli CEOs, NRIs, students.On Thursday (July 6) both Prime Ministers will pay wreath on the two grave areas – one is for the Hindu soldiers and one for Muslim soldiers- during their visit to Haifa cemetery,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director General in charge of the Asia and the Pacific Division Mark Sofer during a briefing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

State to now expand scuba diving facilities to Devgad and Vengurla coast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fancy a scuba diving trip or snorkeling expedition? By the end of this year you may be able to head to the pristine coast off Vengurla and Devgad for an underwater experience with the state government planning to expand its scuba diving facilities at Malwan to cover more locations in the Konkan.”We are working on creating scuba diving and training facilities at Vengurla and Devgad. This will be done in around six months,” minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar, who is also the guardian minister for Sindhudurg told DNA.Maharashtra already has the Indian Institute of Scuba Diving and Aquatic Sports (IISDA) at Tarkarli in Sindhudurg, which according to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), is one of the largest scuba diving schools in the Asia- Pacific region. It is also India’s first such integrated facility.Kesarkar said the scuba diving facilities would cover the natural corals at Nivati near Vengurla and added that training for instructors had already been launched. Each centre will cost around Rs 6 crore. However, these facilities would not be as large as the one at Malwan, he added.Sarang Kulkarni, chief instructor and general manager of the IISDA, noted that the scuba diving facilities had created a huge opportunity at Malwan in terms of economic activity and employment generation due to increased tourism. The ground-breaking ceremony for the IISDA was conducted in 2008 and it launched operations in 2014.

Before Trump meet, two top US officials discuss terror with PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and the US today discussed ways to step up counter-terrorism cooperation and reviewed the situation in Afghanistan as two top American officials met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here just before his first meeting with President Donald Trump. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis separately called on Modi, setting to tone for the summit meeting between the prime minister and Trump. The issues that figured prominently in these discussions included terrorism, Afghanistan and the situation in the Asia Pacific region. “There was a strong focus on terrorism and cooperation in counter-terrorism,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay told reporters while briefing on the meeting between Modi and Tillerson. “It is very clear that given the challenges that the two countries have faced and continue to face and the rest of the world also faces from this global menace of terrorism, the discussions in the courtesy call touched upon how the two sides have cooperated in countering terrorism and the broad direction in which they can develop this cooperation further, he added. Modi conveyed to Tillerson that the “fulcrum of India s foreign policy” is to have good relations with all nations, in particular with its neighbours. Discussions between Modi and Mattis focussed on the Asia Pacific region, with a veiled reference to the South China Sea over which China is laying an absolute claim. Baglay said both India and the US believe in respect for international law, rule-based order and freedom of navigation. He said there was discussion also on counter-terrorism and on the situation in Afghanistan and the conversation with Mattis briefly touched upon how the two countries can work together on the issue. Mattis also appreciated India s role in Afghanistan, Baglay said. “In the context of the evaluation that is currently underway in the US on policy in context of the situation in Afghanistan, both sides decided that they would remain in touch, consult, cooperate and focus on the security situation in Afghanistan,” the spokesman said. Modi underlined that he wishes all its neighbours and countries grow just as India is growing and share the prosperity, in line with his mantra Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (cooperation of all, development of all). Baglay added that both the meetings essentially conveyed the warmth of the relationship and the strong desire of both sides to consolidate multidimensional global strategic partnership between the two countries. Modi also welcomed and endorsed the view and conveyed India s desire also to walk side by side with US for consolidating this partnership, which is very valuable and has global implications. That came through very strongly in both these meetings, he said. Modi put the India-US partnership in context of the changing global situation and said the world is very keenly looking at India and US and their partnership, which has been described as the “defining partnership” of the century, Baglay said. Tillerson conveyed to Modi that Trump was eagerly looking forward to receiving him at the White House and having discussions with him, Baglay said. Tillerson also mentioned the desire of both sides to strengthen the India-US partnership in strategic areas as well as on economic cooperation. Baglay noted that the meetings are in the nature of courtesy meetings and very specific matters were not discussed in great detail. On the meeting with Mattis, Baglay said the Defense Secretary referred to the op-ed written by Modi in the Wall Street Journal, where he mentioned that there is no need for any hesitation in seizing the moment and opportunity to consolidate, strengthen and expand the partnership and take it on an upward trajectory.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi, Prez Trump meeting may take India-US ties to next level

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump is expected take the Indo-US ties to the next level.Maintaining the upward trajectory of the Indo-US ties of the last three decades, beginning with the Clinton (Bill) administration and followed by those of Bush and Obama, signals coming from both sides strongly indicate stronger continuation in that regard.”We really think that this visit will leverage the relationship to a higher level,” Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna told PTI.Modi and Trump, who have earlier spoken three times over phone, would be together spending several hours at the White House, beginning a one-to-one meeting, followed by a delegation level talk, a cocktail reception and a working dinner, the first for a foreign leader inside the White House under the Trump administration.”It would be historic, never seen before,” a mid-level American source familiar with the preparations told PTI.The source, however, did not elaborate the nature of the outcome of the visit, but reiterated that it would bring the two countries closer than ever.Trump, has been personally involved in the preparation.Elaborate arrangements are being done by the White House kitchen for Trump s dinner with Modi.Modi and Trump are among the most followed world leaders on the social media. Together they have more than 60 million followers on their personal accounts.The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues during their White House interaction.”I think the first face to face meeting will allow the two leaders an opportunity to look at the entire India-US engagement and also to exchange views on issues of global interest,” Sarna said in an earlier interview.”When they sit across the table and they have a one on one discussion or they have an extended delegation that will talk, I would presume that they would cover the wide gamut of relations between India and the US,” Sarna had said.A White House official echoed the similar views.”The trip is an opportunity to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, which Trump very much views as a critical partnership in promoting stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and globally,” the White House official said.”We anticipate that their discussions will be broad- ranging, hitting on a variety of regional and global issues that would seek to advance our common priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity,” the official said.Noting that the US is very much interested in facilitating India’s defence modernisation and helping to enhance its role as a leader in the Asia Pacific, the official said the Trump administration believes that a strong India is good for the US.

PM Modi arrives in Washington on second leg of 3 nation visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived here on the second leg of his three-nation tour for his first bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump, as the two leaders are set to hold discussions on a set of “strategically important” issues. Modi arrived in the American capital early today after a day-long working visit to Portugal, the first ever bilateral visit by an Indian PM to the European nation. Modi’s three-day visit to the US will begin today. The PM will interact with about 20 leading American CEOs followed by an Indian-American community event in the DC suburb of Virginia. The programme is likely to be attended by about 600 members of the community. American CEOs expected to meet Modi today include Apple’s Tim Cook, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, Caterpillar’s Jim Umpleby, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella. Trump will host Modi at the White House on Monday afternoon and the two leaders would spend about five hours together in various settings beginning with their bilateral discussion, delegation level talks, a reception and a working dinner, the first of its kind hosted by this administration. The two leaders will not address a press conference but will issue individual press statements. Just hours before Modi landed in Washington, Trump tweeted from his official Twitter handle- POTUS, an acronym for President of the US, that he is looking forward to welcome the Indian leader to the White House, during which he will discus “important strategic issues” with a “true friend”. US Senator Kamala Harris tweeted that she welcomes “Indian PM @NarendraModi to the United States and reaffirm the unbreakable bonds between our two nations.” The Trump administration said it is rolling out the “red carpet” for Modi, emphasising that it is wrong to say that the US is ignoring or not focusing on India. “President Trump realises that India is a force for good and that will come through in the visit on Monday,” a senior official said. A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the bilateral talks between the two leaders of the world’s largest democracies, including defence cooperation, boosting economic ties, discussions on the civil nuclear deal, cooperation on combating terrorism, security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and India’s concerns over the H-1B work visa. Earlier, a senior administration official said the visit is an opportunity to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, which Trump very much views as a critical partnership in promoting stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and globally. “We anticipate that their discussions will be broad- ranging, hitting on a variety of regional and global issues that would seek to advance our common priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity,” the official said, briefing reporters at the White House.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi to be first world leader to have WH dinner with Trump

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to “roll out a red- carpet welcome” to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump would host him for a working dinner at the White House on Monday, the first of its kind under this administration. “The White House is very interested in making this a special visit. We’re really seeking to roll out the red carpet. In fact, the two (leaders) will have dinner, a working dinner at the White House. This will be the first dinner for a foreign dignitary at the White House under this administration. So, we think that’s very significant,” a senior administration official told reporters at the White House on the eve of Modi’s arrival. Modi arrives in the US Capitol tonight on a three-day visit during which he would have a meeting with Trump at the White House. Beginning Monday afternoon, the two leaders would spend several hours together in various settings including one-o- one, delegation level, a reception and conclude with a working dinner. “They’ll start off with a one-on-one meeting. They’ll go from the one-on-one meeting to the bilateral meetings. That will last for about an hour. Then they will each give press statements,” the official, said clarifying that it would not be a press conference. “They’ll move from the press statements to a cocktail reception. And that will be followed by the working dinner. So it’s a long interaction, lots of time for the two leaders to get to know each other, to interact on the critical issues that face our two countries,” the official said. During the meetings, the American side would be represented by top leaders including the Vice President Mike Pence, the National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H R McMaster, and the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Modi trip, the official said is an opportunity to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, which Trump very much views as a critical partnership in promoting stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and globally. “We anticipate that their discussions will be broad- ranging, hitting on a variety of regional and global issues that would seek to advance our common priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity,” the official added. Noting that the US is very much interested in facilitating India’s defence modernisation, and helping to enhance its role as a leader in the Asia Pacific, the official said the Trump Administration believes that a strong India is good for the US. “Now, of course, we’ve seen rapid growth in the defence and security partnership over the last few years, and President Trump very much wants to build on that momentum. And last year’s designation of India as a major defence partner was extremely important, and I think we’ll see a concrete expression of this important designation during this visit,” said the senior White House official. The Trump Administration, the official said, believes that defence trade strengthens both the countries’ security, it reinforces the strategic partnership, and it allows their armed forces to cooperate more closely and improve their interaction with one another. Observing that this defence trade has supported thousands of American jobs, the official said since 2008, India has signed over USD 15 billion in defence contracts with the US. Counter-terrorism would be another major area of discussion. “The US and India are both committed to combating all forms of terrorism and strengthening their cooperation in areas like terrorist screening, intelligence and information sharing, terrorists’ use of the Internet, and, of course, terrorist designations,” the official said. “I think we can expect to see some new initiatives on counter terrorism cooperation,” the official said. Among other things, Modi and Trump will also be discussing global cooperation and things like burden-sharing. Mentioning that India has committed more than USD3 billion in development aid to Afghanistan, the official said the US views India’s role in Afghanistan as very positive in helping to stabilise the country and promote democracy there. Noting that India has also adopted UN sanctions against North Korea in April, the official said India joins the US in sending a very strong message to the North Korean regime. “This visit will provide an opportunity for both countries to restate their commitment to common principles in the strategically vital important region of the Indo-Pacific. This includes freedom of navigation and overflight,” the official asserted. In the trade and investment area, India and the US are committed to “expanding and balancing” their trade relationship, the official said. “Right now, two-way trade in goods and services totals over USD 114 billion. Now, there are challenges in the trading sphere, and both sides look to increase their market access,” the official added. Observing that the US is looking for things like stronger intellectual property protections, reductions in tariffs, the official said this visit offers an opportunity to advance that trade dialogue and look for opportunities that will enhance prosperity and create jobs for both countries. Energy partnership is one aspect of the economic relationship that has not been highlighted as much in the past, the official said, adding that this would be an important part of the trip. Indian energy companies have signed over USD 32 billion in long-term contracts for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas, including from Louisiana and Maryland, he said. The visit will also demonstrate the strong people-to- people ties, the White House official said. Today, nearly four million Indian Americans are in the United States, and more than 166,000 Indian students are studying in the US, contributing USD 5 billion in economic activity and supporting an estimated 64,000 American jobs, the official said. Modi’s visit to the US the first under the Trump Administration — offers an opportunity for relationship- building, the official said. “I think these two leaders have a lot in common. For one, they are the world’s two most followed political leaders on social media. I think President Trump is slightly ahead of Modi, but I think this shows the kind of leaders they are. They’re both innovators, they’re both businessmen, they’re committed to bringing greater prosperity to their people and thinking about innovative ways to do that,” the official noted. “I think they’re going to find a lot of common ground in their discussions, both personally and in terms of the strategic partnership,” said the senior administration official.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces to participate in Malabar 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Naval ships, aircraft and personnel from India, Japan and the United States will participate in exercise Malabar 2017, in mid-summer 2017. Malabar 2017 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises that has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific. The exercise will feature both ashore and at-sea training off the eastern coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. Training will focus on high-end war fighting skill sets, subject matter expert and professional exchanges, combined carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, special forces, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), helicopter operations, and visit board search and seizure (VBSS) operations. Indian, Japanese and U.S. maritime forces look forward to working together again to build upon and advance their working relationship to collectively provide security and stability in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. Each iteration of this exercise helps to increase the level of understanding between our Sailors and interoperability between our three navies.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Leaders must leave a legacy of peace for future generations, says Nawaz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Addressing the SCO’s heads of council meeting on Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated India on becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Indirectly responding to the Narendra Modi’s call for a co-ordinated effort to tackle terrorism and extremism, Sharif said ,”As leaders we must leave a legacy of peace for future generations; not toxic harvest of conflict and animosity. Instead of talking about counter-weights and containment, let us create shared spaces for all. Let?s create shared spaces for all.? “The SCO goals resonate with Pakistan’s national ethos, and so do the core values of the Shanghai spirit and the SCO charter with our own quest for peaceful neighbourhood, “he said. He added that in the coming decades, the SCO, which has emerged as a ‘sheet anchor’ for regional stability would serve as a strong link between Asia Pacific, East Asia, West Asia and the Atlantic region. “It is destined to become a cornerstone of global politics and economics, with economics gaining primacy,” PM Nawaz said. “The SCO gives us a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, build trust and spur economic development for shared prosperity.” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said it is a historic day today as Pakistan becomes a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. Addressing the SCO’s heads of council meeting on Friday, he said “I am thankful to member countries for giving Pakistan permanent membership to the body.” ?Pakistan is determined to implement the SCO charter,? he said, adding that economics plays a key role in connecting countries and bringing stability. ?We Pakistan realised that we have a lot to learn from the wisdom of the founding members as we orient our foreign policy in a changing international environment,? said Nawaz Sharif. ?President, with SCO members we share deep historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic linkages. SCO?s goals resonate with Pakistan?s national ethos and so do the core values of the Shanghai spirit and SCO?s charter with our own pressed for a peaceful neighbourhood.?(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Security actions breaching sovereignty unacceptable Putin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the eighth high-level international security conference in Russia, President Vladimir Putin emphasized that regional and global security issues should be addressed without actions breaching sovereign interests. Putin’s address was delivered by Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in the Tver Region, wherein it was specifically pointed out that” an effective solution to such large-scale and complex tasks requires the coordination of all members of the world community’s efforts.” The conference will include sessions that will look closely at the issues of combating international terrorism, security problems in Europe and Asia-Pacific region, role of defence agencies in enhancing security in different regions of the world. Counter-terrorism and counter radicalism in the Middle East, security of information space, BMD implications, and security in Central Asia will also be in the spotlight of separate discussion sessions of the Forum. “At the same time, it is extremely important that measures to ensure regional and global security are undertaken on the basis of consolidated approaches while strictly observing the principles and norms of international law. Actions that infringe on the legitimate interests of sovereign states, as well as the practice of double standards, are categorically unacceptable,”Sputnik quoted Putin?s message, as stating. Representatives of more than 90 countries took part in international high-level security meeting in the Russian region of Tver. Delegates consists of security council secretaries, presidential aides, ministers and intelligence officials .The eight international high-level meeting on security issues kicked off on Tuesday in Zavidovo national Resort in Tver region and will last through Thursday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Singapore navy acquiring two new German-made submarines’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singapore will acquire two new German-made submarines to modernise its navy and keep pace with the growth of naval forces in Asia, the country’s defence minister said today. The two Type-218SG submarines will join the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) fleet from 2024 onwards, Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng said. Addressing the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX 2017), he said the new submarines would be important part of the navy’s modernisation efforts. Ng said the Singapore navy needs to keep pace with the growth of navies in Asia as the naval budget in the Asia Pacific region is expected to increase by 60 per cent by 2020. The minister cited the AMI International report which says that the region would have approximately 800 more warships and submarines by 2030. “Individual countries need to work together, even as each appropriately strengthens their navies and other maritime security agencies. We must at the same time build up collective platforms to address common security challenges,” Ng told a gathering of navy chiefs, diplomats and naval industry officials at the opening of IMDEX 2017. Singapore has signed a contract with Thyssenkrupp Marine System GmBH for the submarines which will incorporate design innovation and advanced maintenance and engineering concepts to optimise training, operation and maintenance costs. The submarines will also be equipped with significantly improved capabilities like modern combat systems and Air Independent Propulsion Systems.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, US discuss maritime cooperation in Asia-Pacific

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

‘India’s geostrategic interests align with US on China’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s geostrategic interests align perfectly with that of the US in terms of being concerned about China, a top American Admiral said today. Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of US Pacific Command, welcomed improved Indo-US defence ties, saying the two countries are now involved in increased defence trade and technology transfer. “We are heavily involved and when I say we, the Navy is heavily involved in working with the Indians on the development of their aircraft carrier, their indigenous aircraft carrier. That’s an exciting program,” he told Senators on the topic of Indo-US defence relationship. “I think India’s geostrategic interests align perfectly with ours in terms of being concerned about China; in terms of the interaction or the intersection, rather, of China and India, including along their long land border, but especially in the Indian Ocean; especially in the approaches to the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Islands and the like,” Harris said. Indo-US defence relationship, he said, offers a tremendous opportunity. “I have made India a formal line of effort at Pacific Command because I believe it represents a tremendous opportunity for the US writ large and for PACOM in particular in the mil-to-mil space,” Harris said. “We share democratic values with India. We’re the world’s two largest democracies. We share cultural values with Indian- Americans that live and work and lead in our country. “In the mil-to-mil space, we are in a very good place and getting better. India is purchasing a lot of American equipment. The world’s second-largest C-17 fleet, for example, is Indian. The Indians have P-8 Poseidon aircraft, US helicopters; howitzers and on and on. There is a lot of opportunity there and we should continue to work that,” Harris told Senator Gary Peters from Michigan. Peters sought to know about India’s role in the Indian Ocean region at a time of Chinese aggressiveness. “China’s One Belt One Road strategy seeks to secure China’s control over its continental and maritime interests, with the hopes of dominating Eurasia and exploiting natural resources for future economic gains. Such designs place the country at odds with the US, but also nations like Japan and India,” he said. Currently, China’s economy and budget is four times greater than those of India, he said, acknowledging New Delhi’s budgetary constraints. However, India is an ambitious and growing country both in population and its economy, Peters said. “China and India naturally have competing interests at stake on the continent and adjoining maritime domain. India has expressed concerns over China’s recent expansion into the South China Sea and perceived strategic goal in that region; also given the fact that India is a democracy, certainly shares many values with us here in the US,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

US may need to strengthen defenses against North Korea threat – Admiral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The United States may need to strengthen its missile defenses, particularly in Hawaii, given the advancing threat from North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, the top US commander in the Pacific told Congress on Wednesday.Just hours before the entire US Senate was due to receive a top-level briefing on North Korea at the White House, Admiral Harry Harris testified that he believed Pyongyang’s threats against the United States needed to be taken seriously. Harris said the defenses of Hawaii were sufficient for now but could one day be overwhelmed, and suggested studying stationing new radar there as well as capabilities known as “interceptors” to knock out any incoming North Korean missiles.”I don’t share your confidence that North Korea is not going to attack either South Korea, or Japan, or the United States … once they have the capability,” Harris told a lawmaker at one point. The testimony was the latest sobering reminder of growing US alarm about North Korean capabilities, as President Donald Trump signals a willingness to use force, if needed, should diplomatic efforts fail to constrain Pyongyang.US officials have warned any near-term conflict with North Korea could have a devastating effect on ally South Korea, a point Pyongyang underscored by a big live-fire exercise on Tuesday to mark the foundation of its military. In a sign of growing anxiety, Trump invited all 100 members of the Senate to attend a White House briefing on Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.The same four officials will then go to Capitol Hill to brief the entire House at 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT), a senior House aide said. THAAD OPERATIONAL IN DAYS Harris said the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system being deployed in South Korea would be operational in the coming days, bolstering the ability to defend the US ally, and the 28,500 US troops stationed there.The US military started moving parts of an anti-missile defense system to a deployment site in South Korea on Wednesday, triggering protests from villagers and criticism from China. Beijing says the system’s advanced radar can penetrate deep into its territory and undermine its security. Harris scoffed at Chinese objections, saying he believed it was “preposterous” that Beijing would try to push South Korea against a system to defend itself, and suggested Beijing should focus more on trying to influence North Korea.Although Harris expressed concern about North Korea’s future capabilities, he downplayed some of its current threats to US forces in the Pacific. He voiced confidence, for example, that the United States could defeat any North Korea missile attack on an American aircraft carrier strike group, following threats from North Korea that he said overstated Pyongyang’s capabilities.”The weapons that North Korea would put against the Carl Vinson strike group are easily defended by the capabilities resident in that strike group,” Harris said.”If it flies it will die, if it’s flying against the Carl Vinson strike group.”

‘India offers biggest strategic opportunity to US’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing India as the “biggest strategic opportunity” for the US, a former top Pentagon official today said the two countries now need to demonstrate “mutual flexibility” as well as ambition to reach a new level of cooperation. “I would say the biggest strategic opportunity is India,” Kelly Magsamen, the former US principal deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asian and pacific security affairs told members of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on Asia Pacific region. “The US and India increasingly share a common strategic outlook on the Asia Pacific, especially a mutual concern over Chinese military modernisation and adventurism, but the question here is, can we reach a new level of cooperation to place limits on Chinese ambition? “I believe it is possible, but only if the United States and India together persist in overcoming the suspicions of the past and build stronger habits of actual cooperation. And this is going to require the US and Indian systems, which are not naturally compatible, to demonstrate mutual flexibility as well as ambition,” Magsamen said. The strategic logic behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Act East’ policy is highly compatible with that of the US rebalance. “But more importantly, we share common values as the world’s two largest democracies and as well as a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. In many ways, we are natural partners,” she said. Last year, then defence secretary Ashton Carter designated India a “Major Defence Partner” of the US, a status unique to India that allows the two countries to cooperate more closely in defence, trade and technology sharing. “I was pleased to see National Security Adviser LTG HR McMaster recently reaffirm the US-India Strategic Partnership and specifically our defence cooperation with India. It is essential that we sustain the momentum,” Magsamen said. For that to happen, leaderships have to drive it from the top lest both bureaucracies smother the chance of progress. “I found that we often stand in our own way. But India also has to demonstrate that it is prepared to let go of its old fears. The US does not seek an actual alliance, nor should we, but we do seek a meaningful partnership that benefits us too,” she said. “Our strategic partnership will reach its value limits in the defence realm, if we cannot build practical habits of cooperation. For example, we need to operate and exercise more together and with others, facilitate more exchanges of our military personnel, and regularise our defence dialogues at every level,” Magsamen added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Australia ink pact to expand counter-terror cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A pact to significantly expand counter-terror cooperation was among six agreements India and Australia inked today as the two countries called for strong action against those financing and providing sanctuary to terror groups. However, no breakthrough was achieved during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull who merely decided to direct their respective officials to hold an early round of negotiations for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA). During their talks, the two leaders decided to significantly expand their ties in several key areas including defence, trade, energy and education. While Modi thanked Turnbull for passage of a legislation by the Australian parliament with bi-partisan support paving way for the country to export uranium to India, Turnbull said he was looking forward to starting the supply “as soon as possible”. Both the prime ministers anticipated that commercial exports of Australian uranium could begin soon, opening up a new avenue for Australia to support India’s energy requirement. The entire expanse of bilateral ties was reviewed at the talks including issues relating to Indian students studying in Australia and ways to deepen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. “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.” Decision Review System (DRS) is a technology-based mechanism in cricket to review controversial umpiring decisions. On CECA, Turnbull did not give a timeline for the deal but said, “I think it’s fair to say that progress has not been as fast as either of us would have liked.” The two prime ministers have now asked negotiators on both sides 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 emphasised 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.” He also thanked Turnbull for Australia’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance. Referring to cooperation in the maritime sphere, Modi said peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific was key for economic growth. “We, therefore, agree on the need for a secure and rule- based Indo-Pacific. We are also aware that in this globalised world, challenges like terrorism and cyber security extend beyond the boundaries of our region and, therefore, require global strategy and solutions,” he said. Modi said cooperation between the two countries in the area of defence and security has reached new heights. 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. Noting that both the countries have been victims of terrorism, Modi and Turnbull said the signing of the MoU on cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational organised crime will help both countries to address global and regional security threats. “Our strong and vibrant strategic partnership is of course important for the security and well-being of our societies. But, it is also a major factor for peace, stability and security in our region,” Modi said. He said student exchanges are an important element of bilateral education cooperation and referred to more than 60,000 Indian students studying in the country. After ceremonial reception accorded to him at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Turnbull said ties between the two countries “are strong and will be stronger” because of this visit. Heaping praise on Modi, Turnbull said the Indian PM is leading this most remarkable nation on an extraordinary journey of growth and development. “The achievements of India are an admiration of the world. We in Australia look forward to working even more closely than we have done in the past. “We are bound together, ties of history, our values but above all of the peoples. So many people over so many years – half-a-million Australians are of Indian background,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, Malaysia sign seven pacts; key focus on countering terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Malaysia today agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership for mounting an effective response to common challenges of terrorism and extremism during the talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his Malayasian counterpart Najib Razad.The wide-ranging talks also encompassed trade ties. The two Prime Ministers held restricted as well as delegation-level talks which ran the gamut of bilateral relations, including cultural, economic and strategic engagement. Later, addressing a joint press with Najib, Modi said,”To secure our societies, and for the greater regional good, we have agreed to further strengthen our strategic partnership to shape an effective response to our common concerns and challenges.”Modi also said the two sides were conscious of their role and responsibility in promoting economic prosperity, freedom of navigation, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, especially its oceans. On his part, Najib said Modi was specifically interested in knowing about the success of Malaysia’s de-radicalisation programme and he presented the Indian leader a book on the specific module dealing with it apart from offering to extend his country’s expertise in the area.”We are willing to work closely together with the Indian government for special conference that will be held in near future and we will provide our experience and with our partners to make sure Malaysia and other parts of the world will never be a place in which militancy and extremism will take root,” Najib said. The visiting dignitary also asserted that defence and strategic partnership will be “very important to us to fight global terrorism, militancy, extremism and that includes our fight against IS and against any form of extremism”. “For this, we will enhance our cooperation,” he said.After the talks between Modi and Najib, the two sides inked seven pacts, including one related to air services and cooperation in development of a fertiliser plant in Malaysia with off-take of surplus urea by India. While seeking to deepen the engagement between the two countries, Najib maintained the bilateral ties have not yet realised its full potential and hoped these pacts will boost the engagement in various sectors.On economic ties, Modi said the two countries have built a thriving economic partnership. “In our efforts to scale this up, as the fastest growing large economy in the world, India offers unparalleled opportunities. And, to build new avenues of prosperity in our societies, we are ready to expand trade and capital flows between our two economies,” he said, identifying infrastructure as one of the key sectors for investment.

Trump administration asked to push for F-16 fighter jets sale to India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two top Senators have urged the Trump administration to push for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to India to build its capability to counter security threats and balance China’s growing military power in the Pacific.Senators Mark Warner from Virginia and John Cornyn from Texa in a joint letter to US Defence Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, the Trump administration must make the fighter jet acquisition a priority during initial bilateral discussions with India.India has launched an effort to expand its combat aircraft fleet and the competition has reportedly narrowed down to Lockheed’s F-16 and Saab’s Gripen.Noting that the last F-16 for the US Air Force rolled off the production line in Fort Worth in 1999, the two Senators said India remains the only major F-16 prospect customer. “A primary factor in India’s decision will be compliance with Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, which will require establishing some level of local production capacity,” Warner and Cornyn wrote.”Given the strategic significance of India selecting a US aircraft as the mainstay for its future Air Force and the potential for a decision this year, we ask that the administration make the fighter acquisition a priority during initial bilateral discussions,” they said.Warner, who is a Democrat and Cornyn from the Republican Party are the co-chairs of the influential Senate India caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate. “We urge you to weigh in forcefully with the White House on the strategic significance of this deal, both to America’s defence industrial base and to our growing security partnership with India,” said the letter dated March 23.Making a strong case for the sale of F-16s to India, the two Senators said this would represent a historic win for America that will deepen the US-India strategic defence relationship and cement cooperation between our two countries for decades to come. “It would increase interoperability with a key partner and dominant power in South Asia, build India’s capability to counter threat from the north, and balance China’s growing military capability in the Pacific,” they said.India, they said, increasingly serves as an integral partner in the United States’ security architecture in the volatile South Asia region, helping to protect our joint interests and deter common threats, and has emerged as a critical trading partner, they noted.As such “it is in our national interest to work with India to progress democratic principles through regional security partnership and burden sharing,” they said. “To this end, we support the co-production of our legacy F-16 aircraft in India to help sustain the United States’ current fleet of aircraft and aid a critical Indian security need with a proven American product,” Cornyn and Warner wrote.The competition for the fighter jets, they wrote, presents an opportunity to solidify and strengthen the significant gains made in the bilateral US-India defence relationship over the two previous administrations, they said.

India, Afghanistan discuss bilateral, regional issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Afghanistan?s Deputy Prime Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai and Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Tuesday met to discuss bilateral and regional issues between the two Asian countries. ?Honored to be hosted by Foreign Secretary HE S. Jaishankar at his home for a stimulating conversation covering bilateral and regional issues,? Hekmat tweeted. Jaishankar, earlier in the month had discussed terrorism, Asia-Pacific and Afghanistan with senior officials of the Donald Trump administration during his recent U.S. visit. India and Afghanistan have a strong relationship based on historical and cultural links. In recent past, Indo-Afghan relations have been further strengthened by the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed between the two countries in 2011. As Afghanistan was undergoing three simultaneous political, security and economic transitions in 2016, India had allayed its fears about its future by making a long-term commitment to the security and development of Afghanistan. SPA between the two sides, inter alia, provides for assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions, education and technical assistance to re-build indigenous Afghan capacity in different areas, encouraging investment in Afghanistan’s natural resources, providing duty free access to the Indian market for Afghanistan’s exports support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, and advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

With Tillerson, Jaishankar discussed bilateral strategic

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>relationship as well as the situation in Afghanistan and the Asia Pacific region. Discussions with Secretary Ross were more focused on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and with the Homeland Secretary, to some extent, issues related to immigration and also welfare of the Indians and Indian American community in the US were discussed. Jaishankar’s discussions with the Homeland Secretary assume significance in the backdrop of the death of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who was killed in a shooting by an American navy veteran. Another Indian man Alok Madasani was critically injured while an American, who tried to intervene during the shooting, also sustained injuries. “Yes, we have a strong sense of optimism. I think, the current Administration has a very strong sense of optimism about the relationship,” Jaishankar said in response to a question. Ross’ own business experience with India has been very positive, he said. “What we heard across the board in the Administration, whether it was business, security, defence cooperation, whether our engagement in the region or working together on international issues, overall a very positive sense of India as a partner,” he said. “Also, a lot of respect for the economic changes which have taken place in India. An acknowledgement that there has been a very robust growth and that this has made India a particularly attractive partner. So a lot of appetite for working on economic cooperation,” Jaishankar said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Expect this summer to be hotter than usual, cautions Met Dept

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Brace yourself for an unrelenting summer ahead. After 2016, which was the warmest year on record in India, 2017, too, promises to be warmer than normal, marked by heat waves across vast parts of the country, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said in its summer forecast for the year.All parts of the country, except Northwest India, will experience temperatures up to 1 degree Celsius above normal, while the Northwest is going to be even hotter — by possibly recording more than 1 degree Celsius above normal. Already, the IMD has recorded 0.67 degree Celsius above normal mean temperatures in January.”The season averaged maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal by more than 1 degree Celsius in most of the subdivisions from North, Northwest India and few subdivisions from neighbouring East Central India, and by 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius in remaining subdivisions,” the IMD said. The different regions across the country are divided into 36 meteorological sub-divisions.The IMD’s forecast added that heat wave conditions are likely over much of North India, Northwest, Central India, East Central India and even the plains of the Himalayas.During a heat wave condition maximum temperatures soar five to six degrees above normal. According to the IMD, the average minimum temperatures, too, are going to be warmer by over 1 degree Celsius, largely in the Northwest and the plains of the Himalayas.”The climatology of Northwest India is relatively warmer compared to other regions. We are also not expecting El Niño to not play a big part in pre-monsoon season,” said KJ Ramesh, director general, IMD.Global warming has resulted in a series of warm summers for India in the past few years. The IMD said that studies have indicated increasing trends in the frequency and duration of heat waves over the country, which can be attributed to increasing trends in the greenhouse gases and the warming of the sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Indian and Pacific oceans. Last year, the El Niño conditions were strong, resulting in warming of ocean waters.Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and the Gangetic plains were the worst affected in the heat waves of 2016, killing over 200 people.

India-Japan relations have still not reached potential: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that India-Japan relations still have not yet reached the potential, Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju on Monday said that it should move ‘beyond India and Japan’.Delivering the keynote address at the international seminar on ‘Indo-Pacific Region: Converging India-Japan Interests’, organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here today, Rijiju said the relations should move beyond Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.”We should work for the betterment and stabilisation of the whole world,”he said, adding India-Japan friendship is for the whole world, and not just for India and Japan,”he added. Rijiju said both countries have to be strong and work as a stabiliser, adding that without India and Japan maintaining ‘stability in the region is difficult’.The Minister reiterated that the Indian Government, under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi is following an ‘inclusive approach’, liking to take all countries along. “We don’t believe in exclusive policies,” he said.He said both Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe are working closely to take the relationship to a new level and to make India”s policy more effective. “The Prime Minister has changed “Look East Policy” to “Act East Policy”,” he added. Noting that “Made in Japan” brand is one of the strongest in the world, Rijiju said Japan and India can work together to get its “Make in India” programme similar trust.Describing the conference “a timely” one, Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu said Indo-Pacific region has become a regular centre of focus and stressed the need for Japan and India to work closely with the United States, pointing out that U.S.-Japan relation is the cornerstone in Indo-Pacific region. The ambassador described Abe’s two-day visit to U.S. and his talks with President Donald Trump and other officials as a good beginning.He said Indo-Pacific region has great potential but also face challenges. Japan and India and like-minded countries should work closely to meet the challenges and achieve the potential. The ambassador said Japan is working closely with the Indian government to improve connectivity in the region and within the country ” in the north east.Delivering keynote address, India”s Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta said Japan and India should discuss through dialogues the various connectivity projects in the region as it “impinges on sovereignty”.Suggesting ways to take the India-Japan relations closer, Gupta said Japan can be a partner in all of India”s flagship programmes. Other areas he suggested are developing a good programme for cyber cooperation and energy cooperation. Prof. K.V. Kesavan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF, underlined the need for India and Japan to work closer and take the relationship higher.Singapore”s Ambassador at Large, Mr Bilahari Kausikan, said it is only a matter of time now that when Japan would become a nuclear power, considering the changing geo-political situation and changing trends. HK Dua, Adviser, ORF and a former Member of Parliament, ambassador and editor, chaired the inauguration session of the day-long conference which had sessions on “Geo-strategy in the Indo-Pacific”, “Maritime security in the Indo-Pacific” and “Connectivity and economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”.Experts and scholars from Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Japan and India spoke at the sessions.

Pakistan, New Zealand discuss Islamabad’s bid to seek NSG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistan and New Zealand have discussed Islamabad?s bid to seek membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the sidelines of the third round of bilateral political consultations. The two sides also held discussions on international issues of mutual interest including terrorism and the U.N Security Council Reform during the meeting held in Islamabad on Monday. The Pakistan delegation was led by Director General East Asia and Pacific Division in Foreign Affairs Ministry Javed Jalil Khattak while Stephen Harris, Divisional Manager (South Asia), led the New Zealand side. Other members of delegation included Eamonn O’Shaughnessy, New Zealand High Commissioner to Pakistan (resident in Tehran) and Richard Prendergast, Senior Foreign Policy Adviser (South Asia). The bilateral political consultations covered the entire spectrum of relations between the two countries including the high-level exchanges, economic and commercial ties, defence cooperation, Parliamentary Friendship Groups and consular matters. The third round of bilateral political consultations offered an opportunity to review the relations and explore ways and means to further broaden ties. Pakistan briefed New Zealand on regional matters including Afghanistan, Iran, China, ASEAN and the Middle East. The New Zealand delegation briefed on regional situation in the Pacific Region. It was agreed in principle that the fourth round of bilateral political consultations will be held in the second half of 2018 in Wellington. Pakistan-New Zealand bilateral relations and situation in South Asian region particularly India and the Kashmir issue were discussed. The New Zealand delegation also paid a courtesy call on Syed Zulfiqar Gardezi, Additional Secretary (Asia Pacific). The visiting delegation will hold the second meeting of Pakistan-New Zealand Joint Trade Committee (JTC) on trade and investment related matters at the Ministry of Commerce, Islamabad, today.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India-US defence cooperation greatest ever: Top US general

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Underlining that India is a “key player” in the region, a top American general has said that India-US defence cooperation has always been the greatest ever but at times it gets slowed down because of the bureaucracy.”We’ve always had a great relationship with the Indian military. For me, my experience with the Indian army, we’ve had a tremendous relationship. But sometimes we were slowed down by bureaucracy and so we’re working through that,” Gen Robert B Brown, Commanding General of the US Army Pacific Force told a Washington audience. “So that’s helping us … We’re seeing things happening faster and we’re continuing to increase our military exercises with India, which is a key player in the region,” he added.”It’s the greatest cooperation I’ve seen (…),” Brown said in response to a question at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “So it’s really great. They (India) have a tremendous Army … and working with them is a real honour,” Brown said.The top US General further said that India-US defence coopertaion would continue to grow in the future.

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