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Sri Lanka and India begin defence talks

Posted by admin on September 21, 2015 (Comments Closed)

Sri Lanka and India will hold defence talks in New Delhi on the sidelines of the annual defence dialogue which began today.

A Sri Lankan delegation is in India for the ‘3rd India – Sri Lanka Annual Defence Dialogue’  where security related issues will be discussed.

Sri Lankan government’s delegation, comprises of Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, Rear Admiral N.B.J Rosayro, Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander, Eastern Naval Area of Sri Lanka Navy, Air Vice Marshal C.R Gurusinghe, Representative, Sri Lanka Air Force, Rear Admiral G.D.A.S Wimalathunga, Director General, Sri Lanka Coast Guard Department, Mr M.R.K Lenagala, Deputy High Commissioner, Sri Lanka High Commission, New Delhi and Ms Sashikala Premawardhane, Senior Assistant Secretary, Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence.

The two-day (Sept 21 – 22) event will see cordial discussions which will focus on several issues of bilateral importance, the army media unit said.

The ‘India – Sri Lanka Annual Defence Dialogue’ was inaugurated in 2012 as a forum for exchange of views on defence cooperation initiatives, regional and maritime security issues and for further strengthening bilateral defence ties between the two neighbouring nations.

Sri Lanka Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Indian Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar are expected to have talks on the sidelines of the event.

During their stay, the Sri Lankan delegation will also fly to differnt places and call on several high ranking officials of the Indian defence establishment.

Evaluating the US-India Strategic Agenda

Posted by admin on September 15, 2015 (Comments Closed)

The United States and India will hold their first-ever Strategic and Commercial Dialogue next week in Washington. This strategic and commercial consolidation is a little-noticed but important outcome of President Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi at the Indian Republic Day last January. Now the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to make this U.S. engagement a success and a key demonstration that the administration’s “rebalance to Asia” is more than just rhetoric.

The Modi administration is reciprocating by sending some of its brightest stars to the meeting and following-up with another visit from the Prime Minister himself. His trip will include a visit to Silicon Valley to see how the U.S. does innovation and culminate in an unprecedented third- within- a -year summit with Obama in New York on September 28. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the White House on September 24 -25 occurs between the U.S.-India dialogue and the Modi summit – a sequence that will not be lost on Chinese policy makers. Nor will the virtually simultaneous visit to Washington of Pope Francis featuring a protection of the earth theme be ignored as Obama tries to push India toward a commitment on climate change, as he previously did China. Obama has declared climate change a strategic priority. An Indian commitment could pave the way for a substantive agreement in Paris this December.

Indeed, clean energy and its positive effects on the environment will be central to a U.S.-India energy dialogue that will occur the day before and feed into the strategic and commercial meeting. Indian Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Power, and Coal Piyush Goyal will confer with his U.S. counterpart, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz.

Just after the energy conference and just before the strategic and commercial dialogue, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and visiting Indian ministers will headline the US-India Business Council annual dinner. A CEO forum and The Energy Research Institute (TERI) will incorporate major leaders of U.S. and Indian business into the agenda.

The prominence being given commerce and business underlines basic realities regarding the U.S.-India economic relationship.

The days of government action being the driving force in U.S.-India economic engagement are over. A “green revolution” aid model, i.e. provision of U.S. technology and resources on a non-commercial basis, no longer has much relevance in the U.S.-Indian context. The U.S. government acting alone simply does not have the resources to make much difference to economic growth in India even though India needs outside help. At times this seems hard for the Indian side to understand and even harder for the U.S. side to admit. Today U.S.-India economic engagement must be driven largely by the private sector on commercial terms. The opportunities for public-private cooperation to fuel mutually beneficial economic development are immense and the necessity for policy coordination is essential. Thus, there is a need for combining strategic and commercial considerations.

However, strategic and commercial factors do not always operate in virtuous circles. They can result in vicious downward spirals as well. Economic and commercial engagement gone awry can drive the world’s two largest democracies apart as well as bring them together. India has just lost a WTO dispute brought by the U.S. about local content in solar projects. India plans to appeal. Less than two years ago, a U.S. business coalition got more than 170 members of Congress to sign on to a letter questioning the fairness of Indian trade practices and instigated a highly critical report of the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC is due to issue a follow-up report soon, and it will not be entirely favorable to India.

More importantly, the U.S. and Indian economic models presently may not be sufficiently compatible to support a long-term strategic partnership. Further reforms are needed on both sides. State-owned enterprises are widespread at all levels of Indian government and often make a mockery of the term “free enterprise.” The fundamental economic reforms that drove closer U.S.-Indian strategic relations beginning in the early 1990s have once again stalled. Even the word “privatization” is anathema to large segments of the Indian political establishment. The euphemism “disinvestment” is used to try to get around this difficulty, but the fact remains that the dead hand of governmental bureaucracy still directly controls large segments of the Indian economy.

Nor should the United States be complacent in a belief that it has perfected an economic model that works for promotion of growth and prosperity in India. Neither India nor the rest of the world has forgotten that the great recession of 2008 -2011 began with a meltdown in U.S. financial markets. A system that tolerates – some say “promotes” – vast swings in economic stability and provides income inequality that caters to the top one-half of 1 percent is not wholly attractive to a nation that has 400 million of some of the poorest people on earth.

Unquestionably, economic engagement on commercial terms has been a driver in the ability of the United States and India to move from estrangement to cooperation on strategic issues. The eight days stretching from the U.S.-India energy dialogue through the strategic and commercial dialogue to Modi UN and Silicon Valley visits and culminating in yet another Obama-Modi summit may prove to be pivotal in U.S. Indian relations. Or this sequence of events may be just window-dressing in a seemingly endless string of U.S.-India discussions and photo ops – overshadowed perhaps by the visits of a Catholic Pope and a Chinese President. However, if the world’s largest democracies are to provide the dynamism for a rebalancing toward Asia, these dialogues must be more than just talk: they must show results.

Raymond E. Vickery Jr. is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center; Of Counsel at Hogan Lovells; Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge; and a former Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Trade Development, in the Clinton Administration. The opinions expressed in this pieces are solely those of the author.

India, China defuse tensions at Burtse in Ladakh after flag meetings

Posted by admin on September 15, 2015 (Comments Closed)

NEW DELHI: India and China held flag meetings along the line of actual control in Ladakh on Tuesday afternoon to defuse tensions at the high-altitude Burtse region, where a military stand-off had erupted on Friday evening after Indian troops demolished a watchtower-like structure built by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) there.

The flag meetings between the rival commanders were held at the border personnel meeting (BPM) points at Daulat Beg Oldi and Chushul from 3pm to 5pm, with the two sides deciding to “maintain peace”, said sources.

READ ALSO: China says there is no stand-off on border, but confirms watch tower construction

As earlier reported by TOI, the two sides on Monday had somewhat moved back their troops from their forward positions at the incident site located at an altitude of 17,000 feet in the Depsang plains. Both sides had earlier rushed additional troops to the Burtse area after Indian soldiers on Friday evening had demolished the watchtower, which consisted of a camera and solar-panel mounted on a hut’s roof, after spotting it on the “border patrolling line”.

Though both sides send patrols to this line as per their “perception” of where the un-demarcated LAC lies, the mutually-accepted principle is that no new construction should come up in the disputed stretches.

Troop face-offs and “transgressions”” are quite common along the three sectors of the 4,057km LAC – western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal) – due to “aggressive patrolling” but eastern Ladakh in particular has emerged as a major flashpoint in recent years.

The Depsang Valley was also the site of the 21-day face-off between the two armies in April-May 2013 after PLA troops had intruded 19km into Indian territory. Another prolonged standoff, with around 1,000 soldiers from each side in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation at Chumar and Demchok, had taken place in September last year.

Sixth Indo-Maldives Joint Military Exercise Concludes

Posted by admin on September 13, 2015 (Comments Closed)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The fortnight long sixth joint Military Training Exercise between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force concluded here today. A total of 45 marines from the Maldivian National Defence Force took part in the exercise, titled EKUVERIN 2015, along with 45 soldiers of the Indian Army, held at the military station here […]

War Memorial to Come Up in Ambala

Posted by admin on September 13, 2015 (Comments Closed)

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Vij today said all the formalities for construction of war memorial at Ambala will soon be completed. The war memorial would be a true tribute to the freedom fighters, he said. Vij said the First War of Independence of India in 1857 had started from Ambala district. […]

BSF Officer killed in Pak shelling along LoC in Rajouri

Posted by admin on September 13, 2015 (Comments Closed)

Jammu, Sept 13 (PTI) Barely 24 hours after Pakistan agreed with India that there were will be no mortar shelling on each other, troops from the other side fired mortar bombs along the LoC in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir in a fresh ceasefire violation killing a BSF officer. “There was ceasefire violation by […]

Army celebrates golden jubilee of Indian victory in 1965 war

Posted by admin on September 5, 2015 (Comments Closed)
in News

MHOW: The Indian Army and the whole nation are celebrating the golden jubilee of our proud victory in the 1965 Indo- Pak War. In the series of such celebrations, the Army Aero Nodal Centre (AANC), Mhow started its Micro light flying expedition which started in Mhow on Saturday. The fleet of three micro light planes […]

OROP announced but veterans unhappy, to continue agitation

Posted by admin on September 5, 2015 (Comments Closed)

New Delhi, Sep 5 (PTI) Ex-servicemen, pressing for ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) for  nearly four decades, today won a partial victory with the government announcing that it would implement it, but the veterans rejected the decision and decided to continue their  agitation. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here that OROP, that implies uniform […]