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Indo-Japan-US naval exercises not against any country

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Chennai: The ongoing six-day Malabar joint naval exercise by India, the US and Japan is not targeted at any country but is aimed at increasing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, Vice Admiral Y Murakawa of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) said here on Thursday.

Queried about the China’s objection to the exercise, which commenced on Wednesday, in Vice Admiral Murakawa: “As far as this exercise is concerned, it is not targeted at any country,” adding that Japan was participating in the exercise to create free oceans for commerce.

China is claiming rights over South China Sea, which is being objected to by several nations, including Japan.

The naval exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian and US navies and was expanded to include Japan.

This year it is held in the Bay of Bengal.

Murakawa said India and Japan have signed agreement for defence cooperation and the joint naval exercise is meant to improve tactical capability and increase cooperation.

According to Vice Admiral B K Verma of the Indian navy, Japan is participating in the exercise for the fifth time.

“We participate to keep the sas open for commerce,” Vice Admiral Verma added.

Queried about the learnings for the navies from the past editions of Malabar, he said it improves inter-operability, sharing of best practices and helps in disaster relief operations.

He said the joint naval exercise is one forum of interaction between the participating navies.

Rear Admiral S V Bhokare said such exercises enable the naval personnel to participate in other naval exercises in a easy manner.

According to Vice Admiral J P Aucoin the joint exercises would develop better relationship and partnership among the navies.

The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on anti-submarine warfare, surface firings, air defence, visit board search and seizure, search and rescue and tactical procedures, the Indian navy said.

During this year’s event, Indian navy will be represented by INS Shivalik an indigenous frigate, INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS betwa an indigenous frigate and INS Shaki, a fleet support ship.

In addition one Sindhugosh class submarine INS Sindhudhvaj, long range maritime patrol aircraft P81 and integral rotary wing helicopter are also scheduled to participate in Malabar 15.

The US navy will be represented by Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Teeodore Roosevelt, Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Normandy and Freedom class littoral combat ship USS Forth Worth.

One Los Angeles class nuclear powered submarine USS City of Corpus Christi, F18 aircraft and P8A long range maritime patrol aircraft will also participate.

The JMSDF will have its JS Fuyuzuki a missile destroyer with SH 60K integral helicopter.

(IANS)

 

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Signs Of The U.S. Government Shutdown Ending May Soon Be Emerging

Pelosi had suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a Washington tradition and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats.

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President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. VOA

The first tangible signs of movement may be emerging in the impasse that has shut down the government for weeks: President Donald Trump is promising a “major announcement” about the closure and the U.S.-Mexico border and Democrats are pledging more money for border security.

It was unclear whether the developments, following days of clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might represent serious steps toward resolving the partisan fight or instead may simply be political posturing as the partial shutdown reached a record 29th day. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have gone without paychecks, enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

The White House has declined to provide details about what the president would announce midafternoon Saturday. Trump was not expected to sign a national emergency declaration he has said was an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.

Instead, he was expected to propose the outlines of a deal that the administration believes could have the potential to pave the way for a shutdown end, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to publicly discuss details about the impending announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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From left, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. VOA

 

Democrats are now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration judges and improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, a House aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving border security.

Trump’s refusal to sign spending bills that lack $5.7 billion he wants to start constructing that wall, which Democrats oppose, has prompted the shutdown.

Whatever the White House proposed would be the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he gave an Oval Office address trying to make the public case for the border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.

Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Democratic House aide said. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.

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Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, opposed to immigration raids targeting Central American families with children. VOA

In addition, Democrats were working toward adding money for more border security personnel and for sensors and other technology to a separate bill financing the Department of Homeland Security, but no funds for a wall or other physical barriers, the aide said.

It was possible Democrats would introduce that measure next week as the cornerstone of their border security alternative to Trump’s wall, the aide said. Earlier Friday, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who leads the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee, said in an interview that some Democrats were asking leaders, “What is our plan?”

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the details publicly.

In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides should “take the politics out of it” and “get to work” to “make a deal.” But he also repeated his warnings, saying: “We have to secure our southern border. If we don’t do that, we’re a very, very sad and foolish lot.”

Few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration’s hard-line response overwhelm border resources. But critics say Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and they argue that a wall would do little to solve existing problems.

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Migrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Central America queue at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, to cross the border and request political asylum in the United States, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

Trump’s Friday evening tweeted announcement came after Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. The White House said there was no such leak.

It was the latest turn in the high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi that has played out against the stalled negotiations.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Proposes Deal To End Shutdown

Pelosi had suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a Washington tradition and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats. It is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29.

Trump never responded directly. Instead, he abruptly canceled Pelosi’s military flight on Thursday, hours before she and a congressional delegation were to depart for Afghanistan on the previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops. (VOA)