Wednesday February 21, 2018
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Modi visit: India, Kazakhstan ink deals on uranium supply, defence

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Astana: India and Kazakhstan on Wednesday focused on boosting trade, energy, defence and security cooperation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev here.

The two sides inked five agreements, in defence, railways and uranium supply, sports and transfer of sentenced prisoners after the talks held at the Akorda presidential palace.

In his media statement, Modi said Kazakhstan was India’s biggest economic partner in Central Asia but the economic ties have been modest. “We will work together to take economic ties to a new level.”

He said India inked a “much larger second contract” for the purchase of uranium from Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer of the mineral.

On cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector, Modi said Nazarbayev “responded positively to my request to consider additional mature blocks for Indian investments”.

He also referred to the first exploratory drilling on Tuesday of the Satpayev oil block in the Caspian Sea by India’s OVL and KazMunaiGaz.

Modi said both sides agreed to give priority to investment in manufacturing and infrastructure and also boost cooperation in renewable energy. “India will participate on a large scale in the Expo 2017 in Astana.”

Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in space and information technology and also boost connectivity, including through the International North-South Transport Corridor, the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan rail link and Chabahar port in Iran.

He said a new youth exchange programme was launched with six Kazakh universities for the next five years.

“Our defence and security cooperation is an important dimension of our strategic partnership. We both want to make it stronger, including in defence manufacturing. We welcome the new memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation,” Modi said.

He thanked the president for Kazakhstan’s continued support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council and for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

“I reiterated India’s support for Kazakhstan’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for 2017-18.”

The joint statement, termed Tej Kadam, said the two leaders “noted the rising challenge posed by terrorism in many parts of the world and in their immediate region and underlined the importance of a stable and secure environment for peaceful economic development. They agreed to continue their active engagement in the fight against terrorism and extremism including exchange of information”.

“In this context, they highlighted the importance of regular inter-agency consultations and meetings of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism” and also called for early conclusion of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Both leaders welcomed the signing of an “agreement on defence and military-technical cooperation which would further widen the scope of bilateral defence cooperation including regular exchange of visits, consultations, training of military personnel, military-technical cooperation, joint exercises, special forces exchanges and cooperation in the area of UN peacekeeping operations”, it said.

They also welcomed signing of an MoU between JSC Kazxnex Invest and JSC Invest India, which includes a “roadmap” on trade, economic and investment cooperation, which would identify concrete projects in various sectors and assist in efficient implementation of projects in both the countries to activate bilateral trade and economic relations, it said.

Both leaders welcomed the establishment of a Joint Study Group between India and the Eurasian Economic Union on the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would boost trade.

Among measures to improve surface connectivity, the leaders welcomed ongoing bilateral discussions aimed at setting up a dedicated freight terminal in one of the western sea ports of India for trade with Kazakhstan.

They hoped that these initiatives, including the International North-South Transport Corridor, will serve as the basis for enhanced economic and commercial interaction between the two countries in the days ahead.

In this connection, the parties welcomed signing of the Memorandum on Mutual Understanding on Technical Cooperation in the sphere of railways between the NC Kazakhstan Temir Zholy JSC and India’s railways ministry, it said.

They noted that the visit “has made a positive contribution towards expansion of the strategic partnership between the two countries”.

Modi also invited Nazarbayev to visit India.

(IANS)

 

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All You Need To Know About The Rafale Deal Controversy

The fiasco that Congress is creating on the Rafale Deal is certainly not fair

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Rafale Deal is very important for both the countries involved i.e. India and France.
Rafale Deal is very important for both the countries involved i.e. India and France.

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rafale Deal happened between India and France
  • The Rafale Deal is about the Rafale fighter jets
  • The deal is getting into controversies because of the allegations de by the opposition, especially Congress

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 made the announcement that India will buy 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets from Dassault, a French aircraft builder and integrator. This came to be known as Rafale Deal.

The Rafale deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts between India and France was called a “win-win partnership” for both the countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalised the Rafale Deal during his visit to France in 2015. (FILE PHOTO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi finalised the Rafale Deal during his visit to France in 2015. (FILE PHOTO)

But recently it has come under attack of the Opposition, mainly the Indian National Congress, which has alleged that there have been irregularities in this deal and its proceedings. However, the government has denied and rejected all the charges.

The Rafale Deal is nothing new and was also signed during the time of UPA government. The first time it came to light was during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee where the original proposal was to buy 126 fighter jets.

After tests and negotiations in 2012, Rafale was considered L-1 bidder and negotiations started which only came to a conclusion as the Rafale Deal in 2015 under Prime Minister Modi’s government.

NDA government has got a better price on the Rafale Deal than the UPA governement.
NDA government has got a better price on the Rafale Deal than the UPA government.

Now the UPA alleging irregularities on NDA government doesn’t seem fair to many because no deal took place under their government. The transfer of technology was a primary issue of concern between the two sides. Dassault Aviation also tried to deny to take the responsibility of quality control of the production of 108 aircraft in India. The Dassault provided for 3 crore man-hours for production of the Rafale jets in India, HAL’s estimate was approximately 3 times higher which resulted in an escalation of costs in the manifold.

Also Read: Make in India: France to set up production centers for Rafale fighters

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in 2015 helped bring this deal to a final conclusion. The government-to-government deal of 36 jets was to completed as soon as possible.

On costs of the Rafale Deal, NDA government has said that it got better terms than those quoted in the original bid under the UPA government. The total savings are reported to be of more than 1600 million Euros. However, the cost breakdown of Rafale Deal in the original bid under UPA government and in the 36 aircraft in the NDA’s government-to-government deal is not available for the public domain.

The Rafale Deal involves no private party from the side of India. www.worldwide-military.com
The Rafale Deal involves no private party from the side of India. www.worldwide-military.com

Under the current agreement, the  Rafale Deals support the ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Indian Government through the IGA’s Article 12. It states that France will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make In India’. These critical design technologies were already discussed between the two governments in previous meetings. The present Rafale Deal is signed between two sovereign governments and there is no private individual, firm or entity involved in the process from the side of India. The procurement process also does not include any private company or firm from India.

Also Read: IAF’s Rafale Deal with France: India confirms order

The fiasco that Congress is creating on the Rafale Deal is certainly not fair as the NDA government has proved that their deal is better than the one which was undertaken during the UPA government.