HEADLINES:
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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India, Russia Continue to Strengthen Defence Relations

By Vinay Shukla April 2017
 

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Moscow. Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s Moscow visit on April 25-26 and his talks here with his Russian counterpart, Army General Sergei Shoigu, and other officials has acquired a special significance ahead of annual India-Russia Summit early next month in the former Russian Imperial Capital St. Petersburg.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to pay a three-day visit to St. Petersburg on June 1-3 as the Chief Guest of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as Eurasian Davos, and is to hold bilateral annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.

Formally, Mr Jaitley was here to address the annual VI Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) on Global Security: Challenges of the 21st Century, but as this is the 70th anniversary year of the bilateral diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Moscow, he spoke at the event and interacted with his hosts in his capacity as India’s Defence Minister. In the past, India nominated a Minister of State.

Mr Jaitley took the opportunity to mention that India would like to continue strengthening the defence relationship with its long-time friend, and maybe help in adding new dimensions in the rapidly changing world.

Observers here did not fail to notice two points about the visit: Mr Jaitley flew into Moscow from Washington, with which Moscow now has strained relations; and secondly, Beijing had just snubbed Moscow, by rejecting its proposal of a trilateral meeting of Russia-India-China defence ministers’ on the eve of the Conference.

Mr. Jaitley’s Moscow visit has signalled New Delhi’s intention to rejuvenate defence relationship with a resurgent Russia, which to a great extent has reclaimed its clout in resolving the acute global and regional issues in spite of crippling US and Western sanctions over Ukraine.

Speaking at the Conference, Mr Jaitley declared that Moscow was one of the key centres for decision-making on global security issues in keeping with Russia’s significance and influence in world affairs and as its long-standing friend and strategic partner, India supports an expanded role by Russia in global affairs, “especially in our shared neighbourhood.”

Amid speculations about New Delhi leaning towards Washington, Mr Jaitley declared: Russia is our foremost defence partner. India and Russia share a special and privileged strategic partnership, which has stood the test of time. This is a relationship which goes far beyond just the relations between the Governments. Russia has been a true and trusted friend of India, which is regarded so by the people of India and there has been a much greater cooperation at the level of Defence.

“It is a cooperation which extends to Joint Military exercises, training cooperation and also with regard to supply of equipment which India purchases from Russia. We have future plans to set up manufacturing units in India and these are subjects of discussion which came up in my bilateral meeting with the Defence Minister and I am sure with the level of engagement we have, this relationship will continue to grow,” Mr Jaitley said.

He disclosed that over the past few months, India and Russia have taken steps to further strengthen the engagement between their armed forces and will shortly negotiate a new training agreement.

Later this year, Indian and Russian armed forces will hold the INDRA tri-services joint military exercises in Russia. This would be a historic occasion as it will be the first time that India and Russia are taking part in joint exercises in such a format with each other or with any other country. Experts here believe that this will be a good opportunity to hone the combat skills under India’s recently unveiled Joint Armed Forces Doctrine.

This also could be seen as further movement in the bilateral partnership, which is looking beyond the military-technical cooperation, that is beyond the arms purchases and joint weapons development to strategic interaction of the their armed forces.

Notably, India remains Russia’s biggest arms purchaser with a share of 39 percent and Moscow has supplied US$ 35 to 40 billion worth weapons to New Delhi so far,

They expect that Defence Minister Jaitley’s Moscow talks have cleared the path for at least five big-ticket arms deals to be cleared before or during PM Narendra Modi’s summit talks with President Vladimir Putin.

They include US$ 8 billion Super Sukhoi deal for the upgradation of the entire fleet of Indian Air Force’s workhorse Su-30MKI multi-role fighters; 464 CKD kits for the assembly of modernised version of T-90MS main battle tanks at Heavy Vehicles Factory in Tamil Nadu; four improved Talwar class stealth frigates of project 11356, two of which will be fully built at an Indian shipyard under Make in India programme; fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and the Joint Venture for the production of 200 Kamov Ka-226T light utility helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces to replace the old fleets of Chetak and Cheetah choppers.

The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, an Indo-Russian joint venture, remains the gold standard of defence collaboration between India and a foreign nation, the official sources here say that more lethal and advanced versions of the cruise missiles should be developed in the coming years.

According to official sources here, the dynamics of Indo-Russian defence collaboration have evolved from a simple buyer-seller relationship towards collaborative joint action. Moscow already has an institutionalised military- technical cooperation (MTC) framework with New Delhi. Both sides are working towards defence technology transfer, trade, research, co-development and co-production for defence articles and services, including the most advanced and sophisticated technology.

Given the Indian Government’s determination to use India’s private sector as a vehicle for indigenizing defence production, joint ventures between Indian private defence majors and Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers shall be viewed favourably under the current policy dispensation.

So we can say with confidence that Defence Minister Jaitley’s Moscow visit has given a new fillip to the bilateral ties and prepared a solid ground for the success of annual Indo-Russian summit.

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