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India, United States likely to strengthen cooperation and intensify Intelligence sharing on Terrorism

The governments also agreed on a "joint cyber framework to reduce cybercrime," according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

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Barak Obama and Narendra Modi. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 31, 2016: The United States and India announced on Tuesday that they are strengthening cooperation on fighting terrorism.

The two democracies will intensify intelligence sharing and specifically “work for the early operationalization of an agreement on exchanging information on known or suspected terrorists,” India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, told reporters in New Delhi.

The governments also agreed on a “joint cyber framework to reduce cybercrime,” according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Overall, ministers and officials of India and the United States are touting a significantly expanded strategic and economic relationship, which Kerry said, “couldn’t come at a more important moment.”

Students in Agartala, India, show solidarity with victims of a terrorist attack on a Bangladeshi café in early July. On Tuesday, Indian and U.S. officials announced plans for greater cooperation in combatting terrorism (VOA)
Students in Agartala, India, show solidarity with victims of a terrorist attack on a Bangladeshi café in early July. On Tuesday, Indian and U.S. officials announced plans for greater cooperation in combatting terrorism (VOA)

The wide-ranging second U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue is the latest in a series of significant meetings and agreements that have moved traditionally non-aligned New Delhi into a significantly closer relationship with Washington amid rising concerns in both capitals about a more assertive China.

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“The bilateral relationship is gradually entering a phase where India can certainly look forward to being regarded as a close ally or partner of the U.S.,” said Reshmi Kazi, an associate fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, an autonomous research institution funded by India’s defense ministry. “There might be rising apprehensions in China about deepening of strategic ties between the U.S. and India for obvious reasons.”

The “intensity of the bilateral relationship is unprecedented,” said Swaraj, as she initiated the dialogue held at her ministry.

Issues under discussion range from U.S. quotas for temporary work visas to American assistance for upgrading India’s power grid.

India, the world’s largest democracy, in recent years has kicked aside numerous trade barriers. New Delhi has set a goal with Washington to expand bilateral trade five-fold to $500 billion annually.

To reach that goal, participants in the current dialogue need to “think bigger, act bolder,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the other Cabinet-level official attending from Washington.

“We must make it easier for Indian and American companies to buy from each other, to invest in each other, and to create with each other.”

CEO forum
Kerry met Tuesday with India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval. He is scheduled to hold talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the Pentagon would welcome a much more comprehensive defense relationship with India, some analysts in India say they believe New Delhi will only stray so far from its traditional policy of eschewing alliances.

“There has been no rush, and bilateral defense ties are being forged only when India has felt the need for greater cooperation with the U.S.,” Kazi, who is also a visiting fellow at the Stimson Center, told VOA. “Hence, there is no abrogation of India’s traditional diplomatic stance of being non-aligned.”

Joint military drills

The dialogue in New Delhi comes a day after the two countries, at the Pentagon, signed a watershed agreement to allow their military forces access to each other’s bases for repairs and to replenish supplies; however, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) stops short of allowing each nation to set up bases and access to military facilities in the respective countries will only occur when they agree to operate together.

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“India’s deepening military cooperation could possibly be interpreted as a signal to China not to disturb India’s maritime security in the Indian Ocean region,” Kazi said.

U.S. and Indian forces are now also conducting significant annual joint drills, something else unimaginable a generation ago when the United States was a critical military backer of India’s archrival, Pakistan.

Next month’s joint drill, in the mountains of northern India, will include integration of both armies “working together down at the platoon level,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, who commands the U.S. Army’s I Corps. (VOA)

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Social Video app TikTok Reaches 1.5 Billion Downloads Worldwide

To recall, TikTok crossed the 1 billion downloads milestone in February 2019, taking just under nine months to generate a further 500 million installs

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TikTok
The logo of the TikTok application is seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken Feb. 21, 2019. VOA

Social video app TikTok has reached 1.5 billion downloads worldwide on the App Store as well as Google Play and India leads the chart with 466.8 million or about 31 per cent of all unique installs.

In 2019, the app accumulated 614 million downloads — six per cent more than it had last year, reported mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

India has been a fast adoptor in 2019, driving up 277.6 million downloads so far this year, or roughly 45 per cent of all global installs.

China generated the second largest amount of downloads with 45.5 million, or 7.4 percent, while the US is No 3 with 37.6 million installs, or about 6 per cent, this year.

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TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. Pixabay

The figure does not include installs from third-party Android stores in the country, said Sensor Tower.

TikTok with 614 million downloads currently is the third-most downloaded non-gaming app of the year, behind WhatsApp at the top with 707.4 million installs and Facebook Messenger at second spot with 636.2 million.

Also Read: Tech Giant Apple Issues Firmware Update for AirPods Pro

Facebook is fourth with 587 million downloads and Instagram at fifth spot with 376.2 million.

To recall, TikTok crossed the 1 billion downloads milestone in February 2019, taking just under nine months to generate a further 500 million installs. (IANS)