Macron’s visit marks new phase in Indo-France strategic partnership

Macron’s visit marks new phase in Indo-France strategic partnership


“France wants India as its first strategic partner in Asia, and it wants to be India’s first strategic partner in Europe, and even the western world,” said French President Macron as the two countries inked 14 crucial agreements in New Delhi, signalling a “big leap” in the bilateral relations. Macron’s was an unambiguous gesture reflecting the deepening of strategic ties between the two countries. The comprehensive nature of the agreements covering defence, economic, nuclear energy and energy security, among others, was an indication of growing convergence between the two countries in the times of dispersed and diverse security threats with global balance of power under transition. Though India and France have maintained cordial relations since the cold war times, the potential of their strategic partnership appeared to have remained largely underutilised. The recent visit by the French President to New Delhi may well be considered as a major breakthrough in strategic ties between the two countries as they are responding to their convergence of interests like never before.

Xi Sets China on a New Long March


In Chinese tradition, dynastic bloodline has never been the criterion to determine the line of succession. It is the capable ministers and victorious generals who⋅⋅⋅

India-Jordan ties turn strategic with defence pact


Imparting a new energy to New Delhi’s Look West policy, India and Jordan have taken their security cooperation to a new level by signing a defence framework agreement and inked a clutch of agreements in diverse areas.As countries that face the common threat of terrorism and extremism, India and Jordan have also decided to bolster their cooperation in counter-terrorism and deradicalization.
The talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jordanian King Abdullah II in New Delhi on March 1 have deepened strategic dimension of the burgeoning India-Jordan ties. The major takeaway was the signing of a defence framework agreement that covers areas like training, defence industry, counter-terrorism, military studies, cyber security, military medical services and peace-keeping.

AIIB $1.5 billion loan boosts India’s infrastructure plan


In a move that could help bridge India’s infrastructural gap, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved $1.5 billion in loans to India for a host of infrastructure-based projects in 2018. While the loan will be utilized for the development of energy, roads and urban centres, there will be a special focus will be on enhancing India’s renewable energy capacity.
With 7.74 per cent equity share in the multilateral development bank, India is only second to China which holds 29.9 per cent. Operating from 2016, the 84-member bank, which was initiated by China, is focussed on supporting infrastructural development across the Asia-Pacific region.

Trudeau’s ongoing tour raises questions regarding India’s response


The less-than-warm welcome extended to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is on a week-long visit to India, has already raised speculations about New Delhi cold-shouldering the Canadian leader over the Khalistani separatist issue.
Observers noted that there was no official tweet from either Prime Minister Modi or External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcoming Mr Trudeau to India and neither did Mr Modi accompany the Canadian leader on his visit to Gujarat. The Indian government’s displeasure with Canada’s support to pro-Khalistani activities in recent years is well known.  Ahead of the visit to India, two of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers accompanying him had clarified that they did not sympathise with the demand of a separate Khalistan.
With an eye on expanding India-Canada business partnership, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be meeting top business leaders today in Mumbai, the third city that he is visiting after Agra and Ahmedabad. Apart from participating in a women business leaders’ roundtable discussion and a film industry event, he is also scheduled to meet with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Modi’s first visit to Arunachal after Doklam


With an alert China watching amid Spring Festival celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate a host of projects with an eye on the upcoming elections. This is his first visit to the state since the Doklam standoff with China last year.China continues to raise strong objections to visits by Indian leaders to the state, parts of which Beijing claim to be disputed areas. China had kicked up a storm when President Ram Nath Kovind had visited Arunachal last year in November.
In Arunachal Pradesg, Mr Modi will be launching a new 24×7 Doordarshan channel, DD Arun Prabha, which will be the second channel dedicated to the northeast after DD North-East. Other inaugurations include the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre and the state’s Civil Secretariat complex in Itanagar. He will also be a part of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the academic block at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science.

China challenge tops priority of India’s new foreign secretary Gokhale


A key interlocutor in India’s diplomatic negotiations with China to defuse the 73-day long Doklam standoff that threatened to bring the Asian giants on the brink of a war, veteran diplomat Vijay Gokhale took charge as India’s foreign secretary on January 29. Mr Gokhale succeeded S. Jaishankar.

Widely acknowledged as an expert on East Asia, Mr Gokhale was India’s ambassador to China from January 20, 2016 to October 21, 2017 before moving back to the Ministry to External Affairs headquarters as the secretary (economic relations).
Well versed in mandarin, Mr Gokhale, the 1981 batch India Foreign Service officer, had previously held the posts of director (China and East Asia) and joint secretary (East Asia) in the MEA. He had also served as India’s ambassador to Germany between October 2013 and January 2016 and served in Indian missions in Hong Kong, Hanoi and New York.

Horror & despair in Kabul after terror carnage, India offers all possible help


Mourning, horror and shock have enveloped Kabul in the aftermath of the worst terror attack in months. It’s a despair-laden Sunday for Afghans as the⋅⋅⋅

Delhi-Manila connect: Focus on investment, infrastructure & defence


Intertwining India’s Act East policy and the Philippines’ Build-Build-Build programme, the two countries have decided to build a sturdier investment and infrastructure bridge by promoting⋅⋅⋅

Amid South China Sea flux, India, Vietnam to step up maritime connect


With defence cooperation becoming a key pillar of their partnership, India and Vietnam have decided to engage more effectively in maritime cooperation against the backdrop of growing Chinese assertion in the South China Sea. In a bilateral meeting on January 24, ahead of the India ASEAN Commemorative Summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc discussed ways to strengthen and expand their defence ties, with a special focus on the disputed waters of the South China Sea where China continue to construct artificial islands claiming historical rights.