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.

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President Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam: Buddha, energy and strategy on agenda

Buddha, energy and strategy. They may sound like a fusion menu of sorts, but India’s President Pranab Mukherjee’s first state visit to Vietnam will deftly coalesce diverse strands that make the texture of the vibrant India-Vietnam relationship.

Mukherjee travels to Vietnam on a state visit from September 14 to September 17, which will telescope the trend of multi-alignment in India’s foreign policy. This essentially means aligning with different countries which may be at odds with each other to promote India’s national interests. Significantly, Mukherjee’s visit to Hanoi will be followed by the big-ticket visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India.

While China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, the two countries are not exactly on the best of terms as Vietnam resents what it sees as China’s assertive posturing in South China Sea. India, on the other hand, has shown a talent for juggling its relations with both China and Vietnam.

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New mantra: Don’t just look east, Act East

Looking East is no longer enough. It’s time for India to Act East – this was the overarching message emanating from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s August 24-25 visit to Vietnam.

In her first meeting with 15 Indian Heads of Mission in Southeast and East Asia in Hanoi, Swaraj directed them to ‘Act East,’ and amplified on the BJP-led government’s strategic intent to scale up India’s ties with the region to a new level, a kind of Look East 3.0 version.

Mapping the way ahead, the brainstorming session on August 26 saw the envoys tossing a host of ideas to galvanize India’s Look East policy, which included buttressing India’s growing role and relevance in the security architecture of Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific region, including the disputed South China Sea and ways to increase India’s integration in the region through trade, tourism and better connectivity.

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