HEADLINES:
Possible sale of 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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PM’s European visit firms up ties with major EU partners

By Nilova Roy Chaudhury June 2017
 

Modi-4nation

New Delhi. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to three key European Union (EU) members, from May 29 through June 4, rekindled Indian efforts to firm up its ties with the 27-nation EU, which is India’s largest trade partner. He was successful in getting a date set for the long-stalled India – EU summit that, sources said, would be held later this year.

High on the PM’s agenda were discussions on cooperation on the economic, defence, science and technology, and nuclear fronts, and the fight against terror. He also pushed for early conclusion of the European Union — India Free Trade Agreement with Germany, Spain and France, three leading members of the EU.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Germany, Spain and France coincided with US President Donald Trump withdrawing USA from the Paris Accord on climate change, while partially blaming India for his decision.

Mr Trump’s assumption of the US Presidency in January this year, followed by some of his actions and statements, like cutting visas for skilled immigrants and his first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia combined with severe criticism of Iran, leading to an Arab boycott of Qatar, has sent several worrying signals to India.

New Delhi’s relations with Beijing have also not been cordial recently, particularly with China’s strong emphasis on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (also known as the ‘One Belt One Road’) to “revive” the old silk route, which India opposes as it infringes on Indian sovereignty. A key part of the BRI is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, an area India claims as its own territory.

As relations with both Beijing and Washington pose uncertainties, New Delhi moved to shore up its ties with key EU members, Germany and France and Spain. With China continuing to remain intransigent on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Mr Modi’s visit to these three countries, and “time-tested” friend Russia, all of whom are NSG members, melded well with the EU’s own efforts to look to Asia for closer linkages, particularly given Mr Trump’s pronouncements chiding Berlin and other EU capitals.

India, which has a waiver allowing it to engage in nuclear commerce since 2008, after it concluded the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement, is keen to join the NSG as a full-time member. While most of the 48 NSG member countries are amenable to India’s request for membership, China has been firm in opposing India’s entry into the group. The Prime Minister made a strong personal pitch to move India’s NSG application forward, urging the four countries to push New Delhi’s case, particularly using their good offices with Beijing.

Mr Modi travelled to Berlin on May 29 for the fourth Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations (IGIC) on May 29 and 30. Germany is the only country with which India shares this “comprehensive format of consultation”, said Martin Ney, Germany’s Ambassador to India.

“Germany is a key partner for India, as our strengths lie exactly in the core areas, in which the Indian Government wants to achieve major development progress: Business, investments, technology, infrastructure, vocational education, science and renewable energy,” said Ambassador Ney.

Mr Modi’s visit to Berlin also demonstrated that the strong bilateral relations between the two countries have potential for further progress, since both Germany and India have a joint interest in strengthening the rules-based international order with obvious synergies on the bilateral level.

Responding to a question in Berlin, Mr Modi said Germany and India are “made for each other.” He explained the huge synergy that exists between German capabilities and Indian requirements while speaking of India’s pursuit of excellence in areas such as engineering, infrastructure and skill development. Describing the values of innovation and democracy, as a blessing for mankind, he said India and Germany share these values.

After intensive interaction, including at a private dinner hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, between the Indian Prime Minister and the German Chancellor, both countries signed 12 agreements. A comprehensive joint statement was also issued, covering various aspects of the negotiations.

Jt_Modi-Merk

The agreements focused on bilateral synergies in areas like skill development, combating cyber crime and renewable energy. Germany seeks to bolster the ‘Skill India’ programme with its extensive experience as a leader in vocational education. Germany is also the most important partner of India’s ambitious renewable energy programme. Heightened cooperation against terrorism and seeking German investment in Indian infrastructure projects were other key areas of focus.

The fourth IGIC laid out an “ambitious bilateral agenda forward to deepen our strategic and economic partnership,” a senior official told India Strategic.

In a joint statement after their talks, “Prime Minister Modi and Federal Chancellor Merkel underlined their common concern about the threat and global reach of terrorism and extremism. They agreed on the need to take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary and safe havens that sustain and support terrorist groups and organizations. They welcomed closer collaboration between India and Germany to counter these challenges through regular meetings of the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism.”

In a subtle dig at China, the statement went on to say, “Both sides underlined the importance of freedom of navigation in international waters, the right of passage and other maritime rights and obligations in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and other principles of international law. Both Leaders attached particular importance to security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of the blue economy in the Indian Ocean Region.”

They also agreed to step up their defence collaboration and “concurred on fostering security cooperation with the goal of promoting peace and strengthening stability and the capacity to meet the global and regional security challenges. Both countries agreed to pursue closer cooperation and strive to conclude negotiations in 2017 on a binding agreement concerning enhanced cooperation in the defence field including in defence industry cooperation,” the statement said.

Mr Modi’s visit to Spain, the first official visit by an Indian Prime Minister in over 25 years, saw him meet Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on 31 May. They held intensive discussions on ways to enhance bilateral engagement, especially in the economic sphere, and cooperate on international issues of common concern, particularly in combating terrorism.

The two leaders “welcomed the recent entry into force of the Agreement on Classified Information which, together with the Joint Memorandum of Cooperation in Defence of 2012 established the basis for strong defence cooperation between both countries,” a joint statement issued after their talks stated. Cooperation in science and technology, combating terrorism, defence cooperation and the railways formed the core of their discussions.

“Both leaders welcomed efforts to further cooperation between defence industries, including co-development and co-production agreements and technological cooperation. In particular in the advanced aerospace sector it will include the participation of the Spanish Defence Industry in the Make in India programme for the Indian defence market and third country exports. The two leaders called for early finalization of negotiations between the two Ministries of Defence on a Technical Agreement for Exchange of White Shipping Data,” the joint statement said.

“There is significant potential for deepening bilateral trade and investment ties. We seek active participation of Spanish industry in various Indian projects including infrastructure, smart cities, digital economy, renewable energy, defence and tourism,” Mr Modi said, as both he and Mr Rajoy met a group of businessmen at the India-Spain joint business forum.

After France elected its strongly pro-Europe candidate as President in May, Mr Modi visited Paris on June 3 for his first meeting with newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.

France is one of India’s most important Strategic Partners. It is India’s 9th largest investment partner and a key partner in development initiatives in areas of defence, space, nuclear and renewable energy, urban development and railways.

“I am committed to substantially strengthening and advancing our multi-faceted partnership with France,” Mr Modi stated.

“Heightened counter-terrorism cooperation is also high on the agenda of talks,” officials told India Strategic. It is part of India’s “persistent efforts to place pressure on Pakistan” for spreading terrorism in South Asia.
Both PM Modi and President Macron came out in strong support of the Paris Agreement on climate change after the US withdrawal, with the French President refusing to re-negotiate the agreement.

Mr Modi said, “Paris Agreement is a shared legacy of the world. It will benefit the future generations as well. Paris Agreement reflects our duty towards protecting the Earth and our natural resources. For us, this is an article of faith.”

To bolster their climate-friendly credentials, President Macron said he would visit India later this year to bolster the global Solar Alliance, jointly launched by the two countries.

Bilateral cooperation with India in the Indian Ocean is a priority of the strategic partnership. France, which is an Indian Ocean rim nation through its overseas territories including Reunion Island, considers India to be a vital partner for stability and security in the region. Both Modi and Macron stressed the importance of respecting international law and freedom of navigation.

The Prime Minister’s visits placed India back strongly on the European radar, results of which would soon be visible, sources told India Strategic.

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