India slams Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan move as illegal

India slams Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan move as illegal

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India has termed as “illegal and completely unacceptable” reports emanating from Pakistan that Islamabad is trying to declare Gilgit-Baltistan, also known as the Northern Areas,⋅⋅⋅
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Needed a “new approach” to deal with N Korea: US

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reached Seoul on the second leg of a six-day sweep of Japan, South Korea and China, a nuclear hotspot gripped by high tensions following North Korea’s testing of missiles last week, on his first overseas visit since being appointed to the post.
As North Korea fired four missiles in quick succession, which splashed not far from the coast of Japan, the nuclear and military threat posed provoked the neighbouring countries to forge a plan on how best to confront a defiant Pyongyang and slow or halt its move to launch a nuclear strike.
North Korea’s military had launched an unprecedented 21 ballistic missiles in 2016 and set off two nuclear detonations. It has launched five missiles in the first 69 days of this year, making the region a potential nuclear flashpoint.
In both Tokyo and Seoul, the US top diplomat told the media that Washington is in search of a “new approach” for North Korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearize the country. In Tokyo on March 17, Mr Tillerson said two decades of diplomatic and other efforts, including a period when the US provided North Korea with $1.35 billion in assistance “to take a different pathway”, had come to nothing, an apparent dig at previous President Barrack Obama’s policy of “patience and engagement” with North Korea.
In China, Mr Tillerson is expected to convey to the Chinese leadership that the Donald Trump administration is keen on pursuing a constructive relationship with Beijing while remaining firm to ensure that China abides by international rules and that trade between the two countries is not eschewed in favour or disfavour of any side unfairly and conducted on a level playing field. He is also likely to sound out how China could give more opportunities for U.S. firms to export goods and services to that country.

H-1B visa: US recognises importance of Indian IT professionals, says India

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Amid persisting concerns in India over the US suspension of the fast-tracking of H1B visa, India has made it clear that this is purely a business issue which should not be allowed to jeopardise huge opportunities in consolidating Indo-US economic partnership. India has also highlighted the US’ recognition of the contribution of the Indian IT professionals towards making the US economy competitive.
Clarifying India’s position, the external affairs ministry’s spokesman Gopal Bagley told the media in New Delhi on March 9 that “the presence of skilled Indian professionals is a positive for the US economy and particularly when the US seeks to build a stronger economy.”
“There are advantages in terms of backward linkages…..When we combine all this with our own government’s efforts for economic reforms and a high sustained economic growth, there is obviously a very important opportunity here for both countries to consolidate their economic partnership,” he said in response to a question.
The issue was taken up by India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar when he held talks with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington last week and flagged New Delhi’s concerns. A few days later, however, the US announced the suspension of the premium processing of H 1B visa, in keeping with the Trump administration’s stand that its priority was ban on immigrants and not the visa.
In keeping with its “America first” slogan, the Trump administration, on assuming power, had reintroduced recently a Bill that prohibits companies from hiring H1-B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H1-B and L-1 visa holders and encourages companies to recruit American workers.

UNSC permanent seat: India, G4 tries new ‘pause’ veto power strategy

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India has made a fresh bid to win permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council and laced it with an offer to renounce veto⋅⋅⋅
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Jakarta Concord to boost Indian Ocean connect, focus on countering terror

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It’s better late than never. The 21-nation grouping straddling the strategically vital Indian Ocean stretching from South Africa to Australia and including India was set up two decades ago, but the first summit-level meeting of leaders of the countries was held in Jakarta only on March 7, 2017. By contrast, the Summits of leaders around the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean are commonplace. By all accounts, the IORA Summit was immensely productive. It came out with three documents—the Jakarta Concord, an action plan and a Declaration on countering violent extremism leading to terrorism.
The Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism is important as it contains one of India’s prime concerns as articulated by Vice President Hamid Ansari, who headed the Indian delegation at the two-day Jakarta summit.
In a veiled allusion to China’s disputes over territorial waters with a number of Southeast Asian countries, Mr Ansari said there was an imperative need for open trade and open sea lanes that carry it and asked IORA member-states to ensure that the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the Indian Ocean is respected by all.
The document titled “Promoting Regional Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean” aims to lay the foundation and set the course for cooperation for the organisation of Indian Ocean states in the next five years.

26/11 terror: What’s new in what Pakistan’s ex-NSA said? It’s time for Pakistan to act

More than eight years after the Mumbai mayhem, there is no end to vacillation by Pakistan despite clinching evidence presented by India many a time

More than eight years after the Mumbai mayhem, there is no end to vacillation by Pakistan despite clinching evidence presented by India many a time⋅⋅⋅
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Violent protests in Rio: India issues advisory

India has asked its nationals visiting Rio de Janeiro, the scenic seaside resort city in Brazil famed for its beaches and carnival, to monitor the

India has asked its nationals visiting Rio de Janeiro, the scenic seaside resort city in Brazil famed for its beaches and carnival, to monitor the⋅⋅⋅
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Amid China power play in Indian Ocean, India to focus on invigorating IORA

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Against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean turning into a theatre of geopolitical competition and increased Chinese forays into this strategic water body, the 21 littoral nations whose shores are washed by this strategically located resource-rich body will hold its first ever summit of leaders in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on March 7.
India, a preeminent Indian Ocean power, has high stakes in moulding the outcomes of the maiden summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The first IORA summit is special as it also marks the 20th anniversary of the grouping of the Indian Ocean littoral states. Ideally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been trying to shape a strategic and cooperative vision of the Indian Ocean Region, should be participating in the summit, but the crucial elections in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh has kept him away from this important gathering of leaders of the region. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a veteran diplomat, is expected to unveil India’s agenda and priorities at the summit in Jakarta on March 7.
Blue will be the reigning colour at the IORA leaders’ discussions in Jakarta. If all goes well, the summit should come out with a joint plan for the development of the blue economy which entails sustainable development of ocean resources by avoiding debilitating resource competition. Prime Minister Modi is an ardent proponent of the blue economy.
The increasing strategic salience of the Indian Ocean can’t be overemphasised. China will be the elephant in the room when the leaders of IORA nations meet in Jakarta as most of them have some form of China anxiety.

Launch of anti-ship missile places India in exclusive club

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In a milestone that pitches India in an exclusive club, the Indian Navy has successfully test-fired for the first time an anti-ship missile from the indigenously-built submarines in the Arabian Sea.

The missile successfully hit a simulated surface target at extended ranges during the trial firing held on March 2, an official statement said.

The missile launch is “a significant milestone not only for the Kalvari class submarines, which is the first in a series of Scorpene class submarines being built in India, but also in enhancing the Indian Navy’s sub-surface warfare capability,” it said.

Indian Navy’s TROPEX-17 aims at Pakistan-China axis

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With China and Pakistan on mind, the Indian Navy’s annual combat readiness (TROPEX 17) was conducted in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Goa from January 24 to February 23, 2017. The month-long exercise saw the participation of over 45 ships of the Western and Eastern Naval Commands of the Indian Navy, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, five submarines including the nuclear-powered Chakra, 50 Naval aircraft, 11 ships from the Coast Guard, troops from the Army and 20 aircraft from the Air Force including Su 30s, Jaguars and AWACS.