HEADLINES:
Indian Army successfully test fires Agni-II IRBM for the third time। Agni-II is nuclear capable। The firing on February 20 in full operational configuration। DAC clears proposals worth Rs 15,935 Cr (approx $2.2b) । The approval covers purchae of Rifles, Carbines and Light Machine Guns for the Army, Navy and Air Force । New weapons are required by the Indian Army’s for effective engagement of Pakistani infiltrations । Leading Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir passes away । Globally respected for her liberal views, she was a strong pro-democracy activist । SpaceX Launches the World’s Most Powerful Rocket, and aboard it, Mr Musk’s electric red sports Car । “It’s kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important,” he said Feb 6। Mr Elon Musk owns both SpaceX, the world’s biggest space company, as well as Tesla cars। SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has ferried payload to Space Station but this time, rocket is turbocharged। For the first time, NASA was not involved in launching such a heavy rocket। Singapore Airshow Opens Feb 6 । Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Airbus, Sikorsky, and the global biggies are taking part । Honeywell Provides Fuel Made From Mustard Seeds For Trans-Pacific Flight । Russia views India as a Privileged Partner, says Rostec CEO Chemezov । US Carrier Carl Vinson to make first ever visit to Vietnam in March । Carl Vinson woll dock at Da Nang, apparently boosting bilateral military cooperation । Happy Republic Day to All Indians । Emirates signs agreement for up to 36 additional A380s । India successfully test fires 5000-Km A380s ICBM। Defexpo to be held April 11-15 in Tamil Nadu, India’s southern state। HAL receives RfP for 83 LCA Tejas from IAF। The new LCAs will have AESA combat Radar। IAF had announced the decision for new LCAs sometime back। INS Kalvari commissioned into Indian Navy December 14। Prime Minister Modi ceremonially inducted the Scorpene class boat in Mumbai। Built by state-run MDL with French collaboration, Kalvari is the first submarine inducted after 2000। Modi described the Kalvari as a fine example of Make in India। Five more Kalvari Class submarines are to be commissioned over the next couple of years।
February 21, 2018
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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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