HEADLINES:
India, Cyprus sign 4 agreements including one on Air Service Agreement । Agreements signed during Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’s visit to India April 28 । Cyprus President called on President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi । The visiting President and PM Modi agreed on urgent need for all countries to decisively act against the states supporting factories of terrorism । PM Modi also thanked the Cyprus President for his support to India’s claim of Permanent Membership in UNSC । North Korea test fires a ballistic missile which landed in the Sea of Japan । India, Sri Lanka ink pacts on economic cooperation and road infrastructure development । The agreements signed during Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India । Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him । Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar accompanied Sushma Swaraj when the latter called on the visiting Sri Lankan PM । India-Russia defence engagement will continue to grow, says Defence Minister Arun Jaitley । He was speaking at the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow । India, Russia are celebrating 70 years of Diplomatic Relationship । China launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier । The new carrier will accommodate 36 aircraft and will be commissioned in 2020 after sea trials । It’s a 50000 ton platform with a ski jump deck modeled on Soviet carriers but has many design innovations । India, South Korea Sign Inter-Governmental MoU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding । The MoU signed by Secretary (Defence Production), India, Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), South Korea, Chang Myoung-Jin । The Inter-Governmental MoU was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both countries । The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for signing the MoU । The CCS also gave a go ahead for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam for collaboration । Indian Navy successfully test-fires land attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile । Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari calls on President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister in New Delhi Apr 18 । Nepalese President is on a State visit to India April 17-21 । This is her first ever visit to India since taking over in 2015 । She was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan । Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday । He was presented a Tri-Services Guard of Honour on his arrival at South Block । 12 killed in Saudi military helicopter in Yemen । Unconfined reports say the Blackhawk was accidentally shot down by a Saudi Patriot missile। US NSA Gen HR McMaster meets Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi । Gen McMaster also exchanged views on Indo-US relations with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar । Happy Easter । US drops its biggest 21,000 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan April 13 । Designated GBU 43, the Mother of All Bombs is designed to hit deep caves and tunnels in hardy mountains । GBU 43 is the biggest non-nuclear bomb, carried by the US Air Force (USAF) and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) । White House Press Secretyary Sean Spricer confirmed the night bombing but there was no immediate word from Taliban । Spicer said the ISIS terroists were targeted as they used the caves and tunnels to hit the US forces । GBU 43 is a concussion bomb carrying an explosive charge of 8,500 kg, equal to 11 tons of TNT । India, Australia sign 6 MoUs including on Combating Terrorism and Civil Aviation Security । Agreements signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Visit to India April 10 । He calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । This is the first ever visit of Turnbull after taking over as Australian PM in 2015 । The Australian PM along with his Indian counterpart took a Delhi metro ride to visit city-based Akshardham Temple । India, Bangladesh signed 22 agreements April 8 including key pacts on defence cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation । India announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi । A joint India-Bangladesh event saw both PMs honour the 1,661 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war for Bangladesh’s independence । Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives in New Delhi for 4-day State visit to India । Prime Minister Modi himself goes to the airport to greet the Bangladesh PM on her arrival । External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhawan । She is the special guest of President Pranab Mukherjee during her State visit to India । The Bangladesh PM has a full day of bilateral discussions with her Indian counterpart on Saturday (April 8) । 20 agreements are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh । India, Malaysia sign 7 agreements । The agreements signed during Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s visit to India from March 30 to April 4 । Malaysian PM calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । India and Malaysia joint statement, issued after Modi, Razak meeting, calls for a deeper ties between the two nations । Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba class=”gap”>| Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai |
April 30, 2017
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China “doesn’t oppose” India at NSG, says Sushma Swaraj

By Nilova Roy Chaudhury Special to India Strategic Published: June 2016
 

New Delhi. As India enters the home stretch on last minute lobbying and negotiations to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj June 19 said China was “not opposed” to India’s entry to elite nuclear club.

China is only focused on procedure, to fix the “criteria” for entry of new members into the NSG, the EAM said in response to questions during her annual press conference in New Delhi.

A quietly optimistic Ms Swaraj said China, which has been leading the list of countries opposing India’s entry, is “not opposing India” but seeking procedural clarifications. It is opposed to an exception being made for India, Beijing has specified, and is batting to try and ensure that its close “all weather” ally Pakistan is also admitted.

“We hope to become a member of the NSG by year-end. China doesn’t oppose India’s membership, China is speaking about procedure,” Ms Swaraj said. She confirmed that Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had visited Beijing (on June 16 and 17) for bilateral talks during which “all issues including NSG membership” were discussed.

“We will succeed in convincing China too,” Ms Swaraj said.

About Pakistan’s bid to also enter to the NSG, the EAM said the applications should be considered on merit.

“We wouldn’t like to oppose anyone’s entry to the nuclear club. But we would like every country’s application to be considered on merit.”

Asked if India intended to block Pakistan’s entry, Ms Swaraj said, “We are not even a part of the NSG yet. There is no question of opposing anyone.”

India is particularly pushing for entry into the NSG to advance the cause of climate change, the EAM said. With its burgeoning power needs for development, India is committed to procuring 40 per cent of its power requirements from non-fossil fuels, of which nuclear energy will play a substantial part.

China is leading a group of around six nations (which also includes Turkey, Austria, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and South Africa) holding out against India’s membership to the 48-nation club that oversees global trade in advanced nuclear material and technology.

Ms Swaraj said she had personally spoken to 23 nations about India’s membership to NSG, of which 21 had no problems, while the remaining two had some questions, which had been addressed.

“I see a consensus happening,” the External Affairs Minister said, expressing hope that India would succeed in its bid.

The 48-member NSG functions on the basis of a consensus. India does already enjoy most of the benefits of NSG membership under a September 2008 exemption to the NSG rules, given to allow conclusion of the landmark civil nuclear deal with the US, despite India having developed nuclear weapons and never having signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); the primary global arms proliferation control pact.

India seeks full entry, “because sitting in the room” is more effective than being “kept out of the room,” which is what the waiver still means. “India has not only fulfilled, but has gone beyond all the commitments we gave in 2008. So we are asking countries not to look at criteria, but at our impeccable credentials,” Ms Swaraj said.

‘Neighbourhood First’

Stressing that the diplomatic push for entry into the NSG had not hurt the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy of the government, the Minister said she had visited every SAARC country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited all but the Maldives and was very focused on the neighbourhood.

Speaking about Indo-Pak relations, Ms Swaraj said: “India-Pakistan relations were complicated “jatil” and outlined the government’s clearly defined three-point policy on Pakistan, which was; that India was ready to speak on all issues with Pakistan; India would only speak on all issues with Pakistan bilaterally (hence no third entities like the Hurriyat were allowed) and, “talks and terrorism cannot go together.” India, she said, remained firm in its resolve that talks and terrorism cannot go together.

She said there was “sehejta” (simplicity) in the chemistry involving Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.

“This warmth and simplicity in relations between two Prime Ministers were never there in the past,” she said.

On recent threats to Hindus in Bangladesh, she said the Sheikh Hasina government had been taking adequate steps and had so far arrested as many as 3,000 suspects.

“More than that, I feel happy to say that even Islamic leaders in Bangladesh have issued ‘fatwas’ and condemned such threats to Hindus in that country as un-Islamic,” she said. She also outlined that the government’s policy was that refugees “from all persecuted minorities,” whether Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jain, from neighbouring countries would be given refuge in India.

Close US ties
Ties with the US are probably at their closest today, she said, expressing happiness that the US had designated India as a major defence partner. Pursuing these close ties and commitment to expand all facets of the friendship, however, the government would not compromise on issues of national interest, whether it was with Pakistan or with perceived closeness to the United States.

“Our close relations and defence ties with the US would not be at the cost of old friends like Russia,” she said, adding that ties with Washington were perhaps at their best level ever. She also confirmed, in response to a question, that “Japan will be a permanent part of the Malabar exercises,” along with the US and India. Earlier, it would intermittently take part in the annual exercises.

Answering a question on the South China Sea and whether India and the US had deliberately left out mention of the issue during the PM’s recent visit, she said, “all issues should be resolved peacefully,” through internationally recognised legislation. “If necessary, they should use UNCLOS” (United Nations Convention on Law of the Seas).

Terrorism

On the issue of terrorism, Ms Swaraj said the government had brought the CCIT (Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism), which India had introduced in the United Nations in 1996 “out of cold storage” and was hopeful that New Delhi would manage to get the CCIT adopted by the year end.

“That is why,” she said, “the Prime Minister has visited so many countries in West Asia and reiterated that there can be no good terrorist and no bad terrorist. All terrorism is a crime against humanity,” she said, adding that even Saudi Arabia had agreed with the Prime Minister’s definition of terrorism.

The EAM defended the government’s global outreach-driven foreign policy and outlined the many benefits of such endeavours, while stating that it was their endeavour to ensure that a high level, ministerial representative of the government (if not the PM or her) visit at least 200 countries by the end of 2016.

“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) does not come sitting at home,” Ms Swaraj said. “As much as $55 billion or Rs 369,000 crore has come through the FDI route in the last two years. It is about a 43 per cent jump over what it was during the UPA rule,” she observed.

“Today when India speaks, the world listens,” she said, as a result of the government’s policies and outreach.

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