HEADLINES:
Possible sale of one more Boeing C-17 aircraft to India approved – Pentagon। President Trump tweets: Look forward to welcoming to India’s PM Modi to White House on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend! । Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for three-nation tour to Portugal, US and the Netherlands June 24 । India, Portugal sign MoUs in areas of Space, and Collaborative Research । Agreements signed during PM Modi’s first leg visit of the three-nation tour । US clears sale of 22 General Atomics Sea Guardian drones for Indian Navy । Deal likely to be announced during PM Modi’s visit to Washington June 26 । These unmanned, or Remotely Piloted, Aircraft will be used for ISR Missions in Indian Ocean । The G-to-G deal, under the US FMS program, should be around $2 Billion । India launches Cartosat-2 along with 30 other satellites June 23 । PSLV-C38, the 40th flight of PSLV, carrying 31 satellites took off from first launch pad of SDSC Sriharikota । President Mukherjee, PM Modi and the Defence Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the successful launch । Lockheed Martin, Tata announce F16 India Partnership । Partnership aims to produce F16 Block 70 in India if selected by IAF । GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) orders 100 A320neo aircraft । Paris Air Show 2017 opens at Le Bourget, France June 19 । Chairman COSC and CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba on a visit to Isreal। India, Pakistan become full member of SCO। India’s entry into SCO was backed by Russia, and Pakistan’s membership by China। PM Modi calls on Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of SCO। He also thanked the Chinese President for supporting India’s entry into SCO। Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchange greetings with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in the Leader’s Lounge before the SCO concert in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan। It was the first time the two had met in nearly a year, during which period bilateral relations have deteriorated। PM Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart and asked about PM Sharif’s health and about the health of his mother । Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for 2-day visit to Astana, Kazakhstan to attend SCO Summit । India to be admitted as full member of SCO during the Summit । India signed Paris climate pact for its commitment towards protecting the environment, says EAM Sushma Swaraj । The EAM said this during MEA’s annual conference in New Delhi June 5 । It did not sign the pact of any greed or fear from any country: EAM । Ms Swaraj was rebutting US President Trump’s allegation saying India signed the deal to receive billions of foreign aid । India successfully launches communication satellite GSAT 19 June 5 । The heaviest ever rocket GSLV Mk III carrying GSAT 19 lifted off from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota । Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE cut diplomatic ties to Qatar । The 4 Gulf nations took the step following Qatar’s relations with Iran and support of Islamist groups। They also cut off its land, sea and air routes to the outside world । Libya, Yemen also joined the four Arab nations in snapping ties with Qatar । India, Russia sign pact for two nuclear power units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu । INS Kalvari, the Indian Navy’s first Scorpene class submarine, will be battle ready from Day One, French collaborator DCNS announced June 1 । Kalvari, meaning shark, will be commissioned in July । Kalvari is the first of the six modern submarines ordered by the Indian Navy । Indian Navy is looking at 200 ships and 400 aircraft, all with hitech systems । Vice Adm Karambir Singh also told a seminar on Future Indian Navy that poor quality systems are not acceptable । Indian shipyards are building 40 ships at present । PM Modi reaches St. Petersburg in the 3rd leg of his 4-nation visit । He is to participate in 18th India Russia Annual Summit and SPIEF 2017 । India, Spain sign 7 agreements including one each on Cyber Security and Civil Aviation । Naval Chief Adm Sunil Lanba calls for cutting edge technologies with a Made in India stamp । Addressing a seminar on Building India’s Future Navy, he said ToT from foreign vendors would be say now with Strategic Partnership model । Adm Lanba said selection process for shipboard fighter is moving at desired pace and they should be inducted in about 5 years । About 80 killed, several injured in a bomb blast near Indian embassy in Kabul । Indian embassy staff were safe: MEA । PM reached Madrid on the second leg of his tour for a day- long visit to Spain May 31 । India, Germany sign 11 MoUs including one on Cyber Security । MoUs signed during Prime Minister Modi’s 2-day Germany visit on May 29-30 । We are made for each-other, says PM Modi on India-Germany ties । The Prime Minister is on 4-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France from May 29-June 3 । India’s distinguished police officer, Mr KPS Gill passed away at 82 । Hassan Rouhani re-elected Iranian President । Prime Minister Modi congratulated him on his re-election । India, Palestine sign 5 MoUs including one on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder । Agreements were signed after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Abbas May 16 । Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas is on 4-day State visit to India beginning May 14 । Abbas is visiting India on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee । This is the fifth visit and the third State visit of President Abbas to India । Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Colombo May 11 on his two-day visit to Sri Lanka । He was received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramsinghe on his arrival at the Colombo airport । PM Modi is the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations of Sri Lanka । India marks 19th National Technology Day । National Technology Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 । On this day, Prime Minister Modi hails the then PM Vajpayee’s courage to conduct the nuclear tests । India launches GSAT-9 satetllite from Sriharikota । India to make Israeli rifles and small arms । Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) collaborating in the venture । Trump to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this month । This will be his first foreign visit as US President । India, Turkey signed three agreements including one between the Foreign Services Institute of India and the Diplomacy Academy of Turkey । Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on President Mukherjee, Vice President Ansari, PM Modi and EAM Sushma Swaraj during his State visit to India । The Turkish President, visiting from April 30-May 1, backs India in fight against terrorism । Turkey conveyed its support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) । PM Modi expressed his gratitude on Turkey’s support । Indian Army celebrates 79th Armour Day । On 1 May 1938, Scinde Horse cavalry regiment was equipped with Vickers tanks and Chevrolet armoire cars । The Indian Army’s Armourerd Corps has played decisive role against Pakistani intruders in 1947, 1965 and 1971। 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 ।
June 28, 2017
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India, Malaysia ties at their ‘best, ever’: President

By Nilova Roy Chaudhury April 2017
 

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New Delhi. As India and Malaysia celebrate 60 years of their bilateral diplomatic relations, the visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said he wanted increasing numbers of Indian to visit his country and announced that visa restrictions for Indians had been considerably eased.

“I would like more Indians to visit Malaysia and I have informed the Prime Minister that we have decided to allow no visa fee, online application approval within 48 hours and multiple entry to be accorded for Indian nationals,” Najib said.

To further enhance bilateral people-to-people contacts, India and Malaysia April 1 signed seven agreements, including an air services agreement and one to give mutual recognition of educational qualifications of both countries. They also agreed to soon finalise a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indian Ministry of Shipping and the Malaysian Ministry of Transport on cooperation in Merchant Shipping.

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A key pact in the growing strategic partnership between the two countries is the agreement to enhance defence exchanges through regular dialogue at various levels, including between the Defence Ministers, senior officials, Chiefs of Services Talks and through military-military talks.

Speaking at a joint media interaction with his Malaysian counterpart, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “In our extensive conversation today, Prime Minister Najib and I took stock of the full range of our cultural, economic and strategic engagement. We agreed on a shared vision to enhance our strategic partnership. A vision that prioritizes an action oriented approach. In this effort, deepening the existing areas of cooperation, and charting new territory of engagement are among our key objectives,” he said.

Speaking on defence cooperation between the two nations, Mr Modi said its scope encompassed training and capacity building, maintenance of equipment and military hardware, maritime security and disaster response.

The joint statement issued at the end of PM Najib’s six-day state visit to India also emphasised the “growing defence cooperation between the two countries, especially after the signing of the MoU on Defence Cooperation in 1993.”

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The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and Indian Air Force (IAF) are working on the terms of reference for the setting up of the Aircraft Safety and Maintenance Forum for cooperation in training, maintenance, technical support and safety-related issues, the statement noted.

The leaders approved a proposal for Navy to Navy field exercises between the two countries and “welcomed the outcome of the joint Army exercises HARIMAU SHAKTI and agreed to hold the exercises to company level, and subsequently as tri-services exercises,” the statement said.

The visit of India’s Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) to Kuala Lumpur in February 2017 helped to operationalize the mechanism for sharing information including for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and white shipping, the statement added.

“Ties of culture and religion provide a strong connect between our people. The contributions of a large Indian community in Malaysia are of special value. They have not only nurtured our shared heritage. They have also been a strong driver of economic and people to people connectivity between our two countries,” Mr Modi said.

Apart from the air services agreement, the two nations signed an MoU on cooperation in developing a proposed urea and ammonia manufacturing plant in Malaysia, manufacturing 2.5 MT per annum. India has also proposed to take the existing surplus volume of urea from Malaysia. An agreement was also signed to develop technology in the palm oil sector and implementation of a fourth generation technology park in Andhra Pradesh.

New Delhi sought to scale up economic ties with key ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) partner Malaysia in areas like infrastructure and building of smart cities and enhancing food security during talks between the delegations and Prime Ministers.

This was Prime Minister Najib’s third visit to India since he took office as prime minister of Malaysia in 2009. Mr Modi visited Kuala Lumpur in 2015.

Describing the bilateral economic partnership as a “thriving one,” Mr Modi said: “To build new avenues of prosperity in our societies, we are ready to expand trade and capital flows between our two economies.
“Infrastructure has been an area of fruitful partnerships between us. But, we can do much more. India’s infrastructure needs and our ambitious vision of developing Smart cities match well with the Malaysian capacities. Malaysian companies are participating in many of our infrastructure projects across different states in India,” he said.

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“We are also converging efforts aimed at food security that are linked to the wellbeing of our farmers. The MOU (memorandum of understanding signed on Saturday) on the proposed development of a fertiliser plant in Malaysia and off-take of surplus urea from Malaysia to India is a welcome development,” the prime minister said.

Terrorism and de-radicalisation of youth is another key area of bilateral strategic collaboration.

The Malaysian PM said he had offered insights into the success of Malaysia’s de-radicalisation programme.
“We are willing to work closely together with the Indian government for a 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,” PM Najib said.

The joint statement reflected their strong commitment to combat terrorism.

“Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and stability in the region,” it noted, with the leaders reiterating “their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.” They “stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever,” adding that “the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and eliminate terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against States, which encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.”

In an oblique reference to Pakistan, the joint statement said Modi and Najib stressed “there should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs. They emphasised the need for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization and expressed their determination to take concrete measures to step up cooperation and coordination among the law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations.”

China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea also came in for critical review. Beijing has faced opposition from its ASEAN neighbours for its efforts to claim parts of the sea as its territorial waters.

The Indian PM, commenting on the issue, said: “Prime Minister Najib and I are also conscious of our role and responsibility in promoting economic prosperity, freedom of navigation, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, especially its Oceans.”

China claims most of the resource-rich region as its own and has carried out land reclamation and construction on several islands in the Spratly archipelago, parts of which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

New Delhi feels bilateral ties with Kuala Lumpur have improved markedly since Najib took over as prime minister. His predecessor Mahathir Mohammed had a more distinct pro-Islamabad and pro-Beijing stance in his conduct of foreign policy, an official told India Strategic.

In fact, President Pranab Mukherjee characterised the centuries-old relations between India and Malaysia as “the best ever so far”. The two countries have taken their strategic partnership forward, particularly after the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Malaysia in November 2015, he said.

The President said commercial and investment relations have become the mainstay of India-Malaysia relations. There is also considerable potential for collaboration in defence production especially under the Make in India initiative. He thanked Malaysia for the close cooperation on counter-terrorism issues.

Reciprocating the President’s sentiments, the Malaysian Prime Minister said India has always supported Malaysia in difficult times. Malaysia wants to raise relations to new heights. Bilateral relations between India and Malaysia are multi-dimensional and Malaysia would like to achieve a target of US $15 billion bilateral trade by 2020.

Mr Najib was accompanied by a delegation of 80 leading business representatives, many of whom participated in the CEOs forum. According to sources, “more than three dozen agreements” were being finalised by these business leaders.

“Investments in two directions being discussed are in excess of $5 billion,” sources told India Strategic.

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