Archive for September, 2014

NEW DELHI — Coinciding with the visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US Sept. 25-30, Honeywell International has inked a partnership agreement with India’s Tata Power to license-produce the tactical advanced land inertial navigator (TALIN) system.

“TALIN represents the latest in global positioning system (GPS)-free navigation and positioning technology, designed to improve asset safety and ultimately mission success,” said Arijit Ghosh, Honeywell president for aerospace in India, according to a statement released Sunday.

An executive of Tata Power said TALIN would be sold to the Indian Army for use in artillery systems and also sourced to the Honeywell supply chain worldwide.

TALIN systems are ideal for environments where GPS signals are not available, the Tata executive said, so they would find a ready market with the Indian Army.

Tata Power will license the design and hardware to assemble, test and build the production kits for the navigation system in India.

The Indian government wants to boost the domestic defense industry and the Tata-Honeywell partnership will help Indian industry get advanced technology, the Tata Power executive said.

Ghosh said, “By partnering with Tata Power SED on the production of TALIN we are aligning with the government’s aim of increasing locally manufactured technologies for India’s defense industry and giving the Indian armed forces an easy-to-justify option for navigation on the 21st century battlefield.”

Source : Defence News
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When commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman circulated a detailed cabinet note on FDI in defence within two days of assuming office, hopes went up.

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However, they were dashed in less than two weeks when the defence minister (also the finance minister) Arun Jaitley capped defence FDI at 49%.

India is one of the four countries to have placed their flags on the Moon. It is also the first country to enter the Mars orbit in its very first attempt. The country’s success in the highly complex space and nuclear technology is in sharp contrast to its dubious distinction as the world’s largest importer of defence technology. India imports 70% of its defence equipment. The remaining 30%, produced by the defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), uses many imported components. A key reason behind this abysmal state of affairs is the sidelining of India’s private sector, where the best of India’s scientists, engineers and managers work.

Almost three decades back, China decided to create a fighting force that can ‘hit early, strike hard and fight a nuclear war’. It gradually scaled down its military by a whopping 1.7 million personnel, shifted funds to its Navy and Air Force and started focusing on space, cyber and nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) warfare. India is still in a ‘primetime television debate’ mode. Our capital budget for defence and homeland security—worth over $250 billion over the next decade—cannot be frittered away on imports. Instead, it provides us an ideal platform to create our own defence industrial base (DIB).

The range of defence technology is so complex that even the US has 100% subsidiaries of foreign defence companies like Airbus, BAE, Saab, Rolls-Royce, etc, albeit subject to several checks and balances like the Special Security Agreement (SSA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The Eurofighter Typhoon programme is a collaboration between the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. These countries, incidentally, fought two World Wars between them. The collaboration has created over 100,000 jobs across 400 companies in Europe. India will have to collaborate with the global and Indian private sector to build its DIB. It would be naive to think that we can bridge the huge technological gap all by ourselves.

According to government data, the FDI limit of 26% brought in a paltry investment of $5 million in defence in the last 13 years, while India imported equipment worth several billion dollars. We, perhaps, were under the illusion that global majors will hand over restricted technologies, developed over decades after burning billions of dollars, for a mere 26% stake. Sadly, the 49% limit is no different.

Today, over 100 days after the new limit was announced, there have been no major FDI announcements. An FDI limit of 74% with adequate checks and balances could have opened the floodgates.

There is an option for 100% FDI linked to the subjective concept of state-of-the-art technology. It may create interpretation issues, delays, misuse and legal disputes. To win defence tenders, global OEMs will transfer such technology to India anyway over time. The lack of interest on the part of global OEMs over 49% FDI creates a strange dilemma. If the world’s best manufacturer of, say, surface-to-air missiles decides not to participate in an MoD tender, will we then turn to the second-best? What if the said manufacturer sells his technology to China or Pakistan? We need to create a win-win situation that encourages the best players to come willingly to India.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has demonstrated the benefits of collaborating with the Indian private sector. The DPSUs and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on the contrary, have generally had a dismissive or condescending attitude.

The US equivalent of DRDO is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Led by Delhi-born American scientist Arati Prabhakar, it has just 140 technical professional and no labs. It depends on American industry, universities, government laboratories and individuals to develop cutting edge technology for the US’s defence. DRDO, in sharp contrast, has 52 laboratories and over 30,000 staff. DPSUs need to be privatised over a period of time. The armed forces in the US and the EU almost entirely depend on the private sector for arms, ammunition and other supplies. It is a strange fallacy that an entity is trustworthy only if it belongs to the government sector. It is time to move on!

The FDI limit in defence manufacturing is just one of the many roadblocks that need to be demolished. Others include our flawed procurement procedure, infrastructure problems for manufacturing (land, utilities, local permissions, etc), skill shortage and lack of fiscal incentives. The term ‘ownership and control’ receives disproportionate importance in India. It is in India’s long-term interest to have global OEMs manufacture components in India through 74%-owned subsidiaries than at facilities in their home country over which India has zero ‘ownership and control’.

There are smarter ways by which the government can ‘control’ the subsidiaries of foreign OEMs than through majority ‘ownership’ by Indian companies. These include conditions related to nationality of CEO and members of the Board of Directors, local employment (say, 90-100%), local value addition (say, at least 20%), export controls and exit restrictions, etc. We also need to overhaul our policies related to defence licences, offsets and exports. The revised list of licensed products still contains the phrase ‘parts and accessories thereof’ that beg greater clarity. Services like research, design, prototype development, quality checks, IT, training, MRO, etc, and dual-use products need to be encouraged.

For a strong DIB, Indian companies need to enter the global supply chain. The Tata-Sikorsky JV, the sole supplier of the S-92 helicopter cabins to Sikorsky, is a shining example.

We are proud of our forces. India’s growing stature and its volatile neighbourhood put a large responsibility on them. They deserve the very best in terms of technology, finance and infrastructure. The West sees India as a counterbalance to an increasingly belligerent China and an unstable Pakistan. India’s democracy, free judiciary and media, large market, young talent, and apolitical military make it an ideal strategic partner.

The time is ripe to bring in bold reforms that make India a great investment destination for global defence majors. Their JVs with Indian industry will enhance India’s self-reliance, conserve foreign exchange and boost our manufacturing sector. Other roadblocks related to policy, procedures, infrastructure and mindset also need to be demolished. India should aim at exporting a world-class fighter jet designed and built by Indian hands by 2025.

Source : Defence News

NEW YORK: Indian-Americans from across the nation gave a “rock star” treatment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple, where nearly 20,000 strong gathering of Indian Diaspora welcomed the Indian leader.

Shouting slogans like ‘Narendra Modi Zindabaad’, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Welcome Modi’, Indian-Americans started arriving at the venue since early in the morning. People were seen waiting in long queues. By 9 p.m. a large number of people were dressed in Modi T-shirt with portrait of Modi on it. Many were holding banners and slogans like ‘America Loves Modi’. 

Some 20,000 people packed the Madison Square Garden for the largest event of its kind for the Indian-American community organised by the recently formed Indian-American Community Foundation (IACF), and supported by more than 400 Indian-American organizers from across the country. 

“He is a rock star,” said young college going Deepa Kaur. “We have a lot of expectations from him,” she said. Never seen before, the organisers had lined up a number of cultural events including popular songs, folk dances. People were seen dancing to the tune of these cultural events. 

More than 200 media, a significantly large number of them from India, had registered for the event; which organisers said is unprecedented for an Indian American event. 

“He is the first Prime Minister who is connected to the NRI (non-resident Indian community). That’s why you see such a large number of people. We filled up the seats in just two weeks. It has never happened in the history of the Madison Square Garden that seats gets filled up some three weeks before the event,” said Anil Sharma, one of the volunteers of the event. 

In fact, more than 2,000 volunteers worked day and night for the past three weeks to make he program a success. 

“It’s Modi Mania,” said Ankit Patel. “It’s a life time event,” he said. 

In fact the event attracted some three dozen Congressmen including several power lawmakers like Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Ami Bera. 

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal were also present. A huge contingent of Indian-American corporate leaders and IT professionals came in from the Silicon Valley for the mega event. 

The New York Times in a headline ‘Indian Leader Narendra Modi, Once Unwelcome in US gets a Rock Star Reception’ story today wrote Modi will receive a rally fit for a rock star. 

Modi’s fans were seen carrying the Indian tricolour and wore traditional Indian garb with several groups of performers carrying drums and ‘dhols’ to give him a rousing welcome. 

There was also a group of Tibetan women carrying banners in support of Modi. 

Strict security arrangements are in place with police barricades at several locations. 

Besides the main venue, there would be at least 50 other locations across the country where special arrangements have been made for the live telecast of the prime minister’s speech and other events that include a nearly two-hour-long entertainment programme. 

At 16.4 per cent, Indian-Americans are the third largest Asian-American group in the US, numbering 2.8 million strong, which is almost 1 per cent of the US population.

Source: Defence News
BANGALORE: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has begun the preliminary rounds of preparations for the 10th edition of the biennial air show to be held at the Air Force Station (AFS) Yelahanka, in Bangalore, from February 18 to 22, 2015.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ pitch the Aero India-2015 will be seen through ‘a new window of opportunity’ by the aerospace and defence industry now. The IAF officials said they are preparing the ground to accommodate more participants during the air show.

Speaking to Express on the sidelines of a media visit to AFS Yelahanka on Wednesday, ahead of the 82nd IAF Day celebrations on October 8, Air Commodore S C Gulati, Air Officer Commanding of the station said initial talks with various state government agencies have already begun.

“These are early days of preparations and we have the SOPs (standard operating procedures) in place. We hope that the coming show will be bigger in all aspects and AFS Yelahanka is warming up for the task,” said Gulati, a seasoned IAF pilot with close to 8,000 hours of flying. Survey of hospitals and helipads in Bangalore are underway as part of the disaster management plan.

To a query whether the training activities at AFS Yelahanka would be hit if HAL Airport is reopened for commercial operations, Gulati said the IAF’s modern traffic management systems were capable of handling the situation. To another query whether the current activities at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) have eaten into the traffic space of the base (as reported by the media earlier), he said the training schedules have not been affected.

“Our training patterns have not changed and are proceeding as planned. We operate on the assigned air space and both the HAL and KIA too do the same. Paris has got three airports and London has four,” said Gulati, who was part of the Air HQ Communication Squadron, flying the Boeing Business Jets, carrying VIPs.

The AFS Yelahanka has the record of being the single largest base in India with maximum number of flying hours. It has to its credit over 20,000 hours of flying, annually.

As part of the IAF’s ongoing modernisation mission, AFS Yelahanka will soon get a new station HQ with the construction work almost entering the last lap. An official said the induction of AFS Yelahanka is poised to increase in the near future.

SOurce : Defence News

In this India-U.S. Policy Memo, W.P.S. Sidhu writes that the India-U.S. relationship has progressed significantly over the last 25 years. He outlines areas ripe for deeper cooperation, as well as issues that have the potential to derail ties.

There was a time when India-U.S. relations were summed up in platitudes like “world’s largest democracies,” while seasoned pundits lamented that they were in fact “estranged democracies” that had very little in common. Today, with nearly 30 separate dialogues, the India-U.S. agenda involves issues ranging from the TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) to the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and a spate of acronyms in between.

For New Delhi, the principal driver behind the transformation of its relations with Washington lies in the Indian ambition to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2025 and, consequently, also emerge as one of the key global political and security actors. This fundamental objective requires two external conditions: first, at the very least, ensuring a no-war environment, particularly in India’s immediate neighborhood; and second, the ability to shape global rules in terms of existing and emerging norms and institutions that have a direct impact on India’s ambitious development goal and economic well-being—particularly multilateral norms and institutions related to climate, cyber, energy, food, outer space, trade, and water (rivers and oceans) policy.

New Delhi grudgingly recognized that a partnership with the United States was indispensable to attain these twin external conditions. Consequently, it was essential to cooperate not only at the bilateral level but also critical to reach common understanding (if not agreement) in various multilateral and plurilateral fora.

Such bilateral and multilateral interactions have the potential to take India-U.S. relations forward but also to stymie them. Thus, it is crucial to manage the ever widening and deepening India-U.S. relationship carefully if it is to make progress and contribute to India’s primary objectives.

At present three areas are particularly ripe for cooperation and should be prioritized by New Delhi and Washington: clean energy, defense, and infrastructure and investment.

Clean energy: In the lead-up to his election, Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pledged to “give a thrust to renewable sources of energy,” and the Modi government’s first budget included significant investments for research and development of solar, wind, clean coal, and other renewable energy sources. The joint statement of the fifth strategic dialogue strengthens institutional structures to enhance cooperation in this area. Now India and the United States need to operationalize these mechanisms for additional cooperation.

Defense: In an effort to bolster domestic arms production and create jobs, the Modi government has raised the limit on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defense sector from 26 percent to 49 percent. U.S. officials applauded the adjustment and the Indian government and American corporations have said they would like to move forward on a host of sales, and co-development and co-production projects. The parties should capitalize on this moment of mutual agreement.

Infrastructure and investment: Prime Minister Modi’s budget allocated massive sums for urban renewal, transportation, and sanitation projects, and eased restrictions on FDI for construction. The establishment of two collaborative infrastructure efforts launched during a recent visit by top U.S. officials suggests this is another area ripe for movement.

While traction in each of the areas above can help to re-energize India-U.S. ties in the near term, a handful of other issues have the potential to derail them:

Free trade: India’s blocking of the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade facilitation agreement (TFA)—while the fifth strategic dialogue was ongoing—disappointed U.S. officials. India’s justification of its actions, on the grounds that it did not get assurances on food subsidies and stockpiling programs, was grudgingly acknowledged by the U.S. However, diplomats on both sides should find a compromise solution to ensure that the WTO fracas does not derail the revived dialogue.

Intellectual property rights: Western pharmaceutical companies have been at loggerheads with India for years over patent laws and regulations on generic drug production, and India is one of just 10 countries currently on the U.S. Trade Representative’s intellectual property rights watch list. With the Indian government and electorate focused on growth and development, discussion of any measures that could significantly hinder Indian industry and deprive access to cheap medication could backfire.

Regional geopolitics: India is anxious about the upcoming U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, suspicious of the American approach vis-à-vis a rising China, and disdainful of U.S. coziness with Pakistan. With hard national interests and a slew of historical grievances at stake, differences of opinion here will be immensely challenging to reconcile.

Diplomatic decorum: The bungled arrest of an Indian consular officer in New York in December 2013 and the lasting—if presently downplayed—effects of the denial of a U.S. visa to then-Chief Minister Modi over his alleged involvement in the 2002 Gujarat riots highlighted a considerable lack of understanding and coordination between the two sides. Rebuilding trust and comfort will take time and dexterity.

Finally, the two parties would do well to seek an early resolution of a couple of other vexing issues, which have the potential either to provide a fillip to or to wreck bilateral relations. If, however, an early resolution is not possible, then both sides should shelve the issues until the new Indian government has had the opportunity to flesh out its policies more clearly.

Civil nuclear deal: The landmark India-U.S. civil nuclear deal lies dormant, due to a dispute over India’s Nuclear Liability Act and the United States backsliding on key elements of the nuclear agreement. Prime Minister Modi has expressed a desire to implement outstanding bilateral nuclear agreements, and American officials have registered hopes that progress will be possible. Still, if large gaps remain, then it might be more sensible to put off trying to find solutions to a later date.

FDI in retail: While India has taken steps to open up various sectors of its economy to FDI—defense, insurance, e-commerce—the multi-brand retail sector remains largely insulated due to sourcing requirements. Reports suggest the BJP-led government is considering a number of adjustments to its retail FDI policies; until their approach is ironed out, it is best to hold off on any related discussions.

Prime Minister Modi’s election provides a unique opportunity to re-energize relations between India and the United States. The parties should recommit themselves to a dialogue of candor and mutual respect, and focus on those areas ripe for progress in order to build much-needed confidence. Only then can India-U.S. ties become what President Obama has called “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

Source : Brookings

It’s not every day that the nation witnesses historic moments! With ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the red planet’s orbit, India has become the first country in the world to have achieved this feat in its maiden attempt.

It’s not every day that the nation witnesses historic moments! With ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the red planet’s orbit, India has become the first country in the world to have achieved this feat in its maiden attempt.

Through its journey since November 5, 2013 when PSLV-C25 lifted off from Sriharikota with the spacecraft in its nosecone, MOM has had a perfect journey.

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Nail-biting minutes marked the run-up to success and the MOM’s journey was marked with several crucial heart-stopping moments. We take a look at some important details of the mission:

1] Significantly reduced cost ::
The Mars mission, as planned by ISRO, was a sophisticated exercise. Compared to other Mars missions, ISRO had a smaller rocket and payload.

This reduced the cost (Rs 450 crore) significantly but increased the mission’s complexity. Other Mars missions are not planned this way.
2] Complicated Task ::
The Maven spacecraft of NASA, which reached Mars a few days before ISRO’s orbiter, was on its way to the red planet directly after launch. All it required was a fiveminute push from the powerful upper stage of the rocket, just 27 minutes after lift-off.

ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission, on the other hand, required repeated firings of the satellite thrusters and intricate manoeuvres before it could begin its journey to Mars.
3] Injection Operation ::
At 7.17 AM on September 24, the 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) sizzled with life as it burnt along with the thrusters to slow down the MOM spacecraft to be captured by the Red Planet.

Mars Orbiter Insertion was carried out automatically by commands loaded onto the spacecraft after its velocity was slowed down from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second to be captured by the Martian orbit.
4] First sign of Success ::
At the time of MOM’s orbital insertion, its signals took about 12 minutes and 28 seconds to travel to Earth for reception by NASA’s Deep Space Network Stations in Canberra and Goldstone that relayed the data in real time to ISRO’s station.

The first sign of success in the final moments came when ISRO announced that burn of engines on India’s Mars orbiter had been confirmed.
5] Launch was complex too ::
The launch was complex too. The PSLV rocket had a long coast of 25 minutes between the third and fourth stage, during which all engines were shut off.

Once in orbit around the earth, the satellite had six orbit-raising manoeuvres that together lasted for 25 days before it left the earth’s grasp.
6] First Litmus Test ::
The first litmus test came on September 22, when it was to carry out time-tagged commands to reignite its main engine which had been idling for about 300 days since it left the Earth orbit on December 1, 2013.

MOM did this in style, burning for the designated four seconds to show that the engine is in fine shape.
7] What it will Do ::
As it goes around Mars on an elliptical orbit with the closest point around 420km and the farthest around 80,000km, MOM will employ five equipment that collectively weight 15kg to do scientific studies.

The Lyman alpha photometer would measure the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen in the upper Martian atmosphere to understand previous presence of water on the red planet.
8] Sensors on-board ::
A methane sensor will look for sources of the gas. While the Mars colour camera clicks away, a thermal infrared spectrometer will study heat emission, minerals and soil on Mars.

The Indian mission will be watched more closely, given that it’s looking for methane, which could be proof of life. Nasa’s ‘Curiosity’ was unable to detect methane.
9] First images of Earth ::
Last year, the Mars orbiter spacecraft’s first images of Earth were released by Isro. Isro released one image taken on November 19 which captures the Indian subcontinent.

It was taken using its Mars Colour Camera (MCC) from 67,975km with a resolution of 3.53km per pixel. The image was taken as part the payload testing activity.
10] Achievement on Global Stage ::
Before India, various countries have launched Mars missions, but out of the 51 attempts, only 21 were successful. India now joins the Martian club that comprises the US, Russia and the European Space Agency.

Only the European Space Agency has got its orbiter right in the first attempt (Mars Express in 2003), but India can claim a first since the agency is a conglomeration of several countries.

Source : Defence News

Defence and security partnership, energy including renewable energy relations and economic and investment ties and technology transfer will dominate Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the USA as Prime Minister that is widely expected to correct sentiments in the India-US relations that have been soured since 2011.

On his longest trip abroad since taking over as the PM, Modi leaves for USA on September 25-26 for nearly seven days during which he will give his maiden speech at UN General Assembly on September 27 in New York and then proceed to Washington for the summit meeting with President Barack Obama on September 30. 

All eyes are set on that meeting when Modi is also expected to raise concerns over US Immigration Bill that will affect Indian IT industry if passed in the current form. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S 744) imposes new and onerous restrictions and higher fees on H-1B and L1 visa programmes on the international IT services sector and would create an uneven playing field. 

Modi’s visit is also expected to iron out bilateral differences over Intellectual Property Rights particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, official sources told ET. Big ticket items for the visit include expansion in the defence partnership to not only launch joint production of equipment but also sharing perspectives on West Asia and East and Southeast Asia, sources indicated. 

Joint production and co-development that entails technology transfer is Modi’s mantra to attain self-sufficiency in the defence sector in the long run. India has deep interests over energy security and its diaspora in West Asia where Arab Spring followed by radical ISIS movement has been destablising factors. Meanwhile, China’s growing ambitions in East and Southeast Asia have been a matter of concern for both India and USA. 

Among regional issues, situation in the Af-Pak region will dominate discussions, sources pointed out. India’s energy demands are rising by the day and Modi will make efforts to source more energy from Washington including partnership in solar energy and importing LNG and shale gas. There willfolbe considerable focus on clean energy partnership, an official said. While Modi would seek transfer of high-technology from the USA, the Obama administration would be keen to hear from him an environment conducive for investments after the policy paralysis in India since 2011, sources indicated. 

US is interested in the agriculture and food processing sectors including coldchains. Besides, interest is growing in USA about investments in industrial parks or zones, and water purification, water management and energy from waste as part of smart city projects in India. “The US administration and senators are looking forward to a visit that will energise the relationship and expect that Prime Minister Modi could give them a confidence to further expand and deepen ties,” averred Robinder Sachdev, head of the India chapter of US India Political Action Committee, one of the influential India-American lobby groups said. 

There are also indications US firm can invest in the Modi government’s campaign to Clean India. Education, especially community colleges by USA in India could be one of the deliverables from the visit. Modi and Obama will also discuss India’s nuclear liability law and ways to address concerns of US nuclear major Westinghouse.

Source : Defence NEws
With the mood in Delhi and Washington in harmony, India and the US can develop a genuinely strategic alliance, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared ahead of his first summit meeting with US President Barack Obama next week.

“I have a one word answer: Yes. And with great confidence I say aye,” Modi told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in a wide-ranging interview, his first since assuming office May 26, when asked if it is possible for the two countries to develop a genuinely strategic alliance. The interview was telecast Sunday.

“Relations between India and America should not be seen within the limits of just Delhi and Washington. It’s a much larger sphere,” he said.

“The good thing is that the mood of both Delhi and Washington is in harmony with this understanding,” Modi said when asked if Washington genuinely wanted to try to substantially upgrade ties with India. “Both sides have played a role in this.”

“Indians and Americans have coexistence in their natural temperament. Now, yes, for sure, there have been ups and downs in our relationship in the last century,” he said.

“But from the end of the 20th century to the first decade of the 21st century, we have witnessed a big change. Our ties have deepened. India and the United States of America are bound together, by history and by culture. These ties will deepen further.”

Modi will be warmly welcomed by the Obama administration, which “has been courting Modi actively” since his election, when he makes his first trip to the White House next week, Zakaria noted calling it a “quite a turnaround for a man” who “was placed on a blacklist by the previous George W. Bush administration in 2005”.

Zakaria also noted that the ban stemmed from his alleged failure to quell the 2002 Gujarat riots as chief minister and Modi has been exonerated three times by India’s Supreme Court on this count.

Source :Defence News
NEW DELHI: France has asked India for early finalisation of the long-pending Rs 30,000-crore project for joint production of short-range surface-to-air missile (SR-SAM) systems.

In a letter, the French Defence Ministry has told its Indian counterpart that “it will carry out substantial transfer of technology and know-how, especially in the field of missile guidance”. 

The French side has proposed that the project “would enable India to get in a few years in areas of strategic missile, the maximum autonomy you have called for”. 

SR-SAM is proposed to be a joint venture between India and France and they have nominated the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and a French multinational firm for the programme. 

The deal has been under negotiations for over five years and has been awaiting final clearance after French President Francois Hollande and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013 announced that talks have been concluded between both the sides on the missile development project. 

The IAF had raised certain objections over the programme but the Defence Ministry has to take a final call on the programme after holding discussions with all stakeholders. 

The French Defence Ministry said it wants to actively participate in new Indian government’s plans to achieve autonomy in field of military hardware production. 

It has said that the missile programme would help in meeting India’s domestic market and can also be supplied to future export markets.

Source  : Defence News
WASHINGTON: America is keen to sustain and strengthen its military relationship with India, US Army Chief said on Friday ahead of the Modi-Obama Summit at the White House later this month.

“India and the United States have a lot in common….They are the two large democracies. I think it is important for us to build trust between the two militaries and we energise our relationship,” General Raymond T Odierno said.

On India-US Joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas 2014’ coinciding with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s India visit, he said it was planned much in advance and had nothing to do with the timing of Mr Xi’s trip.

“This exercise (Yudh Abhyas) was planned quite some time ago. So this was not a reaction (to the visit of the Chinese President). We had coordinated these exercises some time ago,” General Odierno told Defence Writers Groups in a breakfast meeting.

The General said that China was also invited to participate in this joint India-US military exercise in Uttarakhand which began on Wednesday.

“In fact one time we actually invited the Chinese to participate in it. So it was not something that we were hiding from the Chinese or we had planned it long time ago,” he said in response to a question.

General Odierno, who visited India 18 months ago, said he had a really good visit and had an opportunity to “understand, what they are doing and how they are developing.” 

“We want to sustain that over the time. As we look in the future, in this complex world…the key is having solid partners that trust each other. Building these partnership is part of it and India plays an important role in that,” he said.

The annual Yudh Abhyas military exercise started this week under the aegis of Garud Division/Surya Command and is 10th in the series of combined military training exercises between India and the US. It will continue till September 30.

Prime Minister Narendera Modi will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on September 29 and 30.

Source : Defence News