With China watching, India, Vietnam bolster Indo-Pacific connect, defence ties

With China watching, India, Vietnam bolster Indo-Pacific connect, defence ties

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Amid the continuing volatility around South China Sea and China’s growing clout, India and Vietnam have decided to deepen their coordination in the Indo-Pacific region and bolster their defence ties to shape an inclusive regional architecture.
Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang’s March 2-4 visit to India and his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expanded the scope of comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Vietnam, and underscored the pivotal role of India-Vietnam relations in the mutating regional landscape. Two visits by Vietnam’s prime minister and president to India within weeks of each other have cemented Hanoi’s role as a pivot in New Delhi’s Act East policy.

BJP breaches last Red citadel in Tripura

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The Left’s last citadel in India has crumbled, with the Bharatiya Janata Party set to replace the 20-year old rule of CPI(M)’s Manik Sarkar in an election that has proved to be quite revolutionary. The BJP is leading in 40 seats, crossing the 2/3rd mark after counting began this morning for the 59 assembly seats, giving a decisive push to its Mission Northeast.
From securing around 1.5 per cent votes in the last assembly election in 2013, to this historic election verdict, it has been an impressive performance of the BJP that aligned with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura. The party carried out an aggressive campaign in the state with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party heavyweights like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath leading the campaign.

India-Jordan ties turn strategic with defence pact

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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.

King Abdullah II’s visit: India, Jordan eye new horizons

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Amid raging conflicts in the Gulf region, India and the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan are set to transform and upgrade their strategic and economic ties during the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah II to New Delhi.
The King’s itinerary in India includes a visit to IIT Delhi, attending a CEO roundtable, participating in the India Jordan-Business Forum and addressing a conference on Islamic heritage and moderation.
The highlight of the visit will be the unveiling of a new framework for enhanced security and defence partnership.

Xi Jinping Forever: CPC proposal for scrapping 2-term presidential term

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The rise and rise of China’s President Xi Jinping is set to acquire a new momentum and reality as the Communist Party of China gears up to extend the presidential service beyond the two consecutive terms. This move to scrap two-term limit means that Xi Jinping could choose to rule the world’s second largest economy for his entire lifetime.
Mr Xinping has emerged as the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong and Den Xiaoping as was evident in his elevation to the CPC pantheon in the 19th Party Congress in November last year.
The abolition of the two-term limit on the tenure of the president means that China is staring at an indefinite leadership by Mr Jinping beyond 2023 when his second term ends. Getting such a proposal approved in the parliament that opens on March 5 is no difficult task since it is filled with Party loyalists. The 64-year-old Chinese leader secured a second five year term as the General Secretary of the CPC last year and this too may last well beyond the usual 10 year term.

In shadow of Khalistan row, India, Canada map way ahead

India and Canada have signed six pacts and decided to fast-track negotiations for two defining agreements to expand their economic relationship. It was a clear signal that although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s indulgence of Sikh separatists will remain a thorny issue, but for now the two sides have not allowed it to hijack their relationship.     
On the last leg of his week-long tour that has been hotly debated, Mr Trudeau met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi on February 23 and discussed a wide range of bilateral and global issues.  After the talks, the two sides signed six agreements in the fields of energy, sports, higher education, intellectual property rights and cooperation in science, technology, innovation and electronics.

Hinduism compatible with secularism: Tharoor

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Dismissal of Hinduism is not needed for preservation of India’s secular values, but it has to be disentangled with the vision of the ‘Hindutva Brigade’ that has no place for other faiths, say veteran Congressman Dr Karan Singh and senior party leader Dr Shashi Tharoor.They expressed their view of Hinduism at a lively discussion on the book ‘Why I am a Hindu’ written by Mr Tharoor, a also a well-known author and a former UN diplomat.

The two scholars also cautioned against the Hindutva Brigade’s attempt to equate Hinduism with nationalism.Mr Tharoor targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of his part BJP for trying to appropriate Swami Vivekanada on wrong grounds, Dr Tharoor said.

India a model for cultural diversity: Iranian President

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Offering Friday prayers at the historic Mecca Masjid, a Sunni mosque in Hyderabad, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani sent out a strong message for the imperative need to end sectarian differences in Islam across the world. In India on a three-day visit, Mr Rouhani cited India as a successful example of the peaceful coexistence of various religions and ethnicities.
In his meeting with Muslim intellectuals, scholars and clerics in Hyderabad, the Iranian president denounced the attempts by the West to create fissures among the Muslim communities across the eastern world. He stressed on the need to embrace diplomatic solution to the troubles in the Middle East, instead of military solutions. Mr Rouhani is the first Iranian president to visit India after Mohammad Khatami’s pathbreaking trip in 2003.

Ramaphosa new president of South Africa, Zuma forced to quit

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Cyril Ramaphosa, a former deputy president and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, has been sworn in as South Africa’s new president following Jacob Zuma’s resignation. In his maiden presidential speech, the 65-year-old Ramaphosa promised to tackle the issues of corruption that became endemic under Zuma.
An anti-apartheid hero and South Africa’s charismatic leader, Zuma had to finally resign from the office of the president that he held for nine years. Cornered by the opposition’s threat of a no-confidence motion in Parliament and under pressure from the dominant faction within the ruling African National Congress Party that has been trying to oust him, Mr Zuma was unable to survive this crisis despite having dodged a number of corruption scandals and court judgements against his rule earlier.

Modi in Muscat: Bolstering India-Oman defence & economic connect

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Elevating their bilateral partnership to a new level, India and Oman have inked eight agreements in the fields of health, outer space, tourism and military cooperation during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the energy-rich Gulf sultanate.
High on optics as well as substance, Mr Modi visited an iconic mosque and Shiva temple in a visit that saw the two countries place their multi-faceted relationship onto a new trajectory. The delegation-level talks between Mr Modi and Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said, in Muscat has pushed the envelope for India’s partnership with the Gulf country.
Defence cooperation has emerged as an important pillar of India-Oman relations, with reports of a possible Indian military base in Oman amid shifting geopolitical equations in the Indian Ocean region.