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India-US to sign a high-level Defence Framework Agreement for 10 years

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New Delhi/ Visakhapatnam: India and the US are set to sign a high-level Defence Framework Agreement today, as US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter arrived in India on a three-day visit on Tuesday.

The 10-year agreement that will steer bilateral ties in the defence sector, which was renewed during the visit of US President Barack Obama in January, is set to be signed as Carter is scheduled to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday.

Carter arrived in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, where he visited the Eastern Naval Command, tasked to maintain Indian presence in the South China sea region and the Strait of Malacca.

A statement from the US embassy said the trip to the Eastern Naval Command showcases the commitment to maritime security, a major component of the defence agreement.

“Carter’s trip to India is part of his focus on the U.S. rebalance to Asia. Specifically, his trip to Visakhapatnam showcased his commitment to maritime security and the need for a regional security architecture that creates transparency and trust among regional partners,” the US embassy statement said.

“In India, this positive momentum is especially tangible as Carter will sign the 2015 U.S.-India Defence Framework Agreement with his counterpart Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, which will help expand the defence relationship between the two countries,” the statement said.

The agreement among other things focuses on intelligence-sharing, maritime security, jet engine technology cooperation among other things. It is expected to have a reference to the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) which focuses on co-developing defence technology.

Carter will also call upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

At the Eastern Naval Command, the secretary visited INS Sahyadri, the indigenously built stealth frigate.

Carter also interacted with Vice Admiral B.K. Verma, chief of staff, Eastern Naval Command and held discussions on “issues of common interest”, said defence ministry officials.

Carter arrived in Delhi later in the day. This is his first visit to India as defence secretary.

Carter earlier visited India in September 2013 and July 2012 as deputy secretary of defence. He was the main architect of the DTTI and advocated treating India at par with the closest partners of the US in terms of technology transfer, collaborative ventures and expedited approval process for licences. (IANS)

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Apple to shut its last Watch-exclusive store in May

Apple's shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million

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Apple Watch Nike+ smartwatch. Flickr

Apple will shut down its last of the three Apple Watch-exclusive stores — located in Tokyo — it built when it launched the wearable in 2015.

On May 13, the last Apple Watch-exclusive store will close its doors. Twitter user Shotaro Akiba has shared a photo on the microblogging platform showing the department store’s announcement, Engadget reported on Sunday.

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Many apps pulled out of the watchOS. VOA

Apple had shut down the other two stores in London and Paris last year. According to 9to5mac website, the shop held a sale in which it was selling the remaining Apple Watch Edition inventory for as little as $700.

These 18-karat gold watches were sold for at least $10,000 and as much as $17,000 when they first became available, the report said.

Earlier this month, high-profile applications, including Instagram, Amazon, Google Maps and Twitter, pulled out their apps from the WatchOS. Driven by Apple Watch Series 3 shipments, the Cupertino-headquartered giant shipped a record 18 million Watch devices in 2017 — an increase of 54 per cent compared to the previous year.

Also Read: Apple working on gold variant of iPhone X: Report

“The Series 3 was the key growth driver, as total shipments of the latest version of Apple’s Watch were just under nine million, making up nearly half of all shipments in 2017,” Singapore-based market research firm Canalys said.

Apple’s shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 grew by more than 32 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016 to eight million — the highest-ever number of shipments in a single quarter for any wearable vendor. IANS

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