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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Power of 11: An Asian Century

Call it the Power of 11, if you will.
The soaring dream of an Asian Century is poised to acquire new wings as the leaders of India and 10 ASEAN countries participate in a special commemorative summit in New Delhi, marking the silver jubilee anniversary of their multi-faceted partnership. In a captivating spectacle, the 10 ASEAN leaders will also be Guests of Honour at India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2018, the first time the leaders of a region have been bestowed such a singular honour by New Delhi, underscoring the increasing salience of the region in India’s foreign policy calculus.
In many ways, it’s time for multiple celebrations for India and ASEAN, which are conjoined by “Shared Values, Common Destiny” – the master-theme of the summit, as they toast the 25th anniversary of their dialogue partnership, 15 years of summit-level interaction and 5 years of Strategic Partnership. The intersection of the golden jubilee of the establishment of ASEAN and the silver jubilee of India-ASEAN partnership has only heightened a sense of festivity and pride in what has been achieved so far and what’s yet to come.

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Modi chants New India ‘open for business’ mantra at Davos

DAVOS: With occasional references to Sanskrit shlokas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi renewed the global spotlight on a ‘New India’ shaping under his watch in front of the global elite in the Swiss resort of Davos and underlined his commitment to globalisation amid growing walls of protectionism.

In his keynote speech at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum, the Indian leader upheld a ‘New India’s’ unique role in guiding the world through its ancient liberal values and unique democratic experiment. Weaving India’s growth story with its spiritual ethos, Mr Modi welcomed the world to partake in India’s robust growth and the opportunities and solutions that it has to offer.

Assuming the mantle of globalisation, a role Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed to don in his speech at Davos amid US’ insular turn under the Trump presidency, Mr Modi said that while protectionism and trade barriers were rising, India was marching confidently towards a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

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India insists on a “balanced and collectively satisfactory” RCEP

Ahead of the special India-ASEAN commemorative summit, India has underlined the need for a fair and balanced outcome for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest free trade area which is currently under negotiation between 16 countries.In the run up to the summit on January 25 in New Delhi, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu stressed that that India would agree to this mega free trade agreement provided sensitivities and aspirations of all partner countries are adequately addressed.
Speaking at the ‘ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo’ in New Delhi on January 22, Mr Prabhu said: “It is important to address the sensitivity of member countries and their aspirations as negotiations gather momentum. We would all aim to achieve an RCEP that results in the realization of the potential of the three key pillars of RCEP—goods, services, investment—in a manner that is balanced and collectively satisfactory. Keeping this in view, India will be working closely and constructively with all RCEP member countries, particularly Asean, towards early conclusion of negotiations”.

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India concerned over Kabul hotel attack

The savage terror attack at a hotel in Kabul has elicited strong outrage from India, one of major development partners of Afghanistan.In a sharply-worded statement, India has strongly condemned the attack and voiced grave concern at the spread of terror by the “internationally proscribed Haqqani Network” that is enjoying safe haven in the neighbourhood without naming Pakistan, which has called for greater cooperation in combatting terror.
It was 14 hours of terror that kept Afghan security forces and Norwegian troops engaged in a fierce encounter with gunmen who attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on January 21. With Taliban claiming responsibility, this is a major attack against the international community after the March 2014 similar attack on another hotel in Kabul that left 9 people dead.Among the 18 people reported to have been killed, 14 were foreigners including 2 Venezuelan pilots of the privately owned airline KamAir, six Ukrainians and one Kazakh national.

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