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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 । 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) ।
May 22, 2017
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Canada Extends Indian Warmth

Minister Sajjan here to Strengthen Ties
By Gulshan luthra April 2017
 
The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence, Arun Jaitley in one-to-one talks with the Minister of National Defence, Canada, Harjit Singh Sajjan, in New Delhi
The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence, Arun Jaitley in one-to-one talks with the Minister of National Defence, Canada, Harjit Singh Sajjan, in New Delhi

New Delhi. India and Canada have enjoyed steady relations for decades, rather lukewarm though compared to the current Indo-US ties, but there has been cooperation in significant areas like nuclear and space for decades.

Canada was one of the first countries along with France and the United States to support India in its nuclear research programme, and it was also the first in May 1974 to withdraw this assistance within 10 days of India doing its first big test, described officially by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a Peaceful Nuclear Explosion or PNE.

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I had just become a reporter, and thanks to some flukes, I scored exclusives on every aspect of this test from Happened to Where, What’s Happening (at the site) and the What’s the International Reaction. Canada became the first country to cease nuclear cooperation with India as I learnt from the Ministry of External Affairs, MEA, that three scientists who were about to leave for Canada were told not to come by a telex message to the Atomic Energy Commission, AEC.

Canada(I worked with UNI, then a great news agency whic0 inspired and conceded initiative. My reports were quoted globally from The Washington Post to The Times in London and Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo. Thanks to these exclusives, and some later reports, I was given a very prestigious assignment within six years to set up a news network in the Middle East as a Foreign Correspondent and Chief of Bureau for the region with diplomatic-level compensation).

Canada is far, far away, on the other side of the globe, but it has always been a liberal democracy with additional attractive welcome packages for immigrants. No wonder that in the 1960s, when I was a student, it was common to hear many boys planning to move there. Punjabis found it particularly nice, given the large tracts of lands available there for farming, and today a sizeable chunk of the immigrants is constituted by them, mostly Sikhs.

They have done well, and notwithstanding the involvement of some in anti-India Khalistanis, bilateral ties between India and Canada have been good and steady. The Sikhs also form a big vote bank, have good representation in Parliament and state legislatures, and one gentleman, and admirably also an officer, is today the Defence Minister.

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Mr Harjit Singh Sajjan, who served in the Canadian military rose to be a Lt Colonel, and did his share of assignment in the violent terrains of Afghanistan against Taliban, worked in Vancouver police for some time after retirement, and then took to public life. He was elected to the Canadian Parliament, and picked up as Defence Minister by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As a military officer, Lt Col Sajjan was awarded meritorious medals for fighting the terrorists.

He is now proudly visiting India, which he had left at the age of five in 1976 to follow his father who had moved to Canada for work. He held discussions here with his host Indian counterpart Mr Arun Jaitley, interacted with the strategic community at an event organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and also met the press. The minister was accorded the customary Guard of Honour at South Block on arrival to the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Sajjan reviewing the Tri-Services Guard of Honour
Mr Sajjan reviewing the Tri-Services Guard of Honour

Punjabis are warm people, and Mr Sajjan’s smiles are reassuring. I met him briefly at a function organissaed by the Observer Research Foundatin (ORF). I wold say his visit is like Canada Extendng Indian Warmth to New Delhi.

Notably, Canada resumed nuclear cooperation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in 2015 and has concluded an agreement to supply uranium fuel to India.

There is no reason for bad relations between the two countries, both being liberal, constitutional democracies. The only irritant is the loud voice of some Khalistanis in that country, and this was reportedly mentioned by Mr Jaitley in the bilateral discussions.

Mr Sajjan rightly suggested not to pay much attention to their rhetoric, saying he was in India to promote bilateral relations, and that was a clear directive from his Prime Minister, Mr Justin Trudeau.

(With inputs from Bureau)

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