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US releases National Military Strategy, to deepen ties with India

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Modi_Obama_Indo-US_Relations_PTI_650By NewsGram Staff Writer

The US will deepen its security relations with India, said chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey while releasing the country’s National Military Strategy for 2015.

The strategy provides the blueprint for how the military will use its forces to protect and advance US national and security interests.

The presence of US military forces in key locations around the world underpins the international order and provides opportunities to engage with other countries while positioning forces to respond to crises, Dempsey said in a Defense Department statement issued on Wednesday.

“Therefore, we will press forward with the rebalance to the Asia Pacific region, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theatre,” it noted.

For this, the US will strengthen its alliances with Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.

“We also will deepen our security relationship with India and build upon our partnerships with New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh,” Dempsey added.

Such efforts are essential to maintaining regional peace and building capabilities to provide for missile defense, cyber security, maritime security, and disaster relief.

“This strategy addresses these dynamics and our strategy to ensure that our force remains the best-led, trained and equipped military on the planet,” Dempsey said.

“Globalisation, diffusion of technology, and demographic shifts are driving rapid change as state actors and trans-regional networks challenge order and stability,” said the general.

While praising Russia for its contributions in select security areas, such as counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism, the strategy document added that the country has repeatedly demonstrated that “it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbours and it is willing to use force to achieve its goals”.

“Russia’s military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces,” the report noted.

While supporting China’s rise and encouraging the country to “become a partner for greater international security,” the report took exception of China’s action in South China Sea, saying it added tension in the region.

“China’s actions are adding tension to the Asia-Pacific region. For example, its claims to nearly the entire South China Sea are inconsistent with international law,” the report added.

“The international community continues to call on China to settle such issues cooperatively and without coercion. China has responded with aggressive land reclamation efforts that will allow it to position military forces astride vital international sea lanes,” Dempsey said in the statement.

On North Korea, the general said: “North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies also contradicts repeated demands by the international community to cease such efforts.”

“These capabilities directly threaten its neighbours, especially the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan. In time, they will threaten the US homeland as well. North Korea also has conducted cyber attacks, including causing major damage to a US corporation.”

On Iran, he said the Middle East country also posed strategic challenges to the international community.

“It is pursuing nuclear and missile delivery technologies despite repeated United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding that it cease such efforts.”

On Afghanistan, Dempsey said the US and NATO partners were teaming with the National Unity Government to provide security by way of the Resolute Support mission, working toward establishing a long-term counter-terrorism partnership.

The National Military Strategy follows the release of the 2015 National Security Strategy in February this year, as well as the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Modi’s foreign policy will play a key role in India’s quest for UNSC membership: Experts

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Picture Courtesy:-www.mapsofindia.com

Kolkata: Observing that urgent reforms in the UN was essential, experts on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aggressive foreign policy can play a key role towards realizing India’s quest for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Sitaram Sharma, the chairman of West Bengal Federation of United Nations Associations (WEBFUNA), alongside German Consul General Olaf Iversen and other eminent people, participated in a symposium on “United Nations needs to be reformed”.

There can be no alternative to the UN, the world cannot be imagined without it. It’s the UN, which ensures even the smallest of nations have a voice. But at the same time, the need for reforming the UN, especially expanding the Security Council is imminent.

“Reform is something that is always resisted, particularly, by those in power. Obviously, expanding the UNSC is a very complicated issue involving many a delicate matters, particularly the veto power,” he said.

At the same time, new powers, including India are emerging and of the permanent five, France and the UK are no more powerful. So a change is inevitable.

“Modi’s aggressive foreign policy and the active persuasion of the UNSC permanent seat issue will certainly make India realize its dream,” added Sharma.

Former foreign secretary Krishnan Srinivasan too lauded Modi’s foreign policy.

Undoubtedly, Modi’s aggressive foreign policy has raised India’s image internationally and to that extent, it can help India in her quest for the permanent seat in the UNSC,

Batting for reforms in the UN, Srinivasan said an expansion of the Security Council by introducing new permanent members was essential to energize the organization which has failed in some respect to keep up with the contemporary world.

Advocating Germany’s inclusion in the UNSC permanent membership, Iversen said the issue ‘diluting the veto power’ has been the major roadblock in the expansion in the ‘permanent five’.

(Inputs from IANS)

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Key highlights of India-Africa Forum Summit

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New Delhi: Reforms in United Nations Security Council, climate change, terrorism, defense and trade were among the major issues deliberated upon in the four-day India-Africa Forum Summit that concluded on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi National Stadium in New Delhi.

The two previous India-Africa summits in 2008 and 2011, in New Delhi and Addis Ababa respectively, saw only a representative participation from African countries. However, this was perhaps the first time that all the 54 African countries came together outside the continent for such a meeting. Over 50 heads of state or government and senior officials from across Africa converged in the capital for the October 26-29 summit.

In a continent where China has long ruled the diplomatic and economic zone with an investment of $200 billion in the last 15 years, this initiative by the Modi government has paved the way for India to reach out to the fast-developing continent which has a similar demographic profile to ours and also harbors rich resources.

Modi also announced that the summit will be held in five-year intervals instead of three to ensure that projects are implemented between two summits.

The summit discussed issues related to trade, self-reliance, economic liberalization and how to decrease Official Development Assistance (ODA) dependence in African nations. The following is what we took away from the IAFS:

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Modi aims “to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities” and therefore, he invited African nations to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that India has proposed to launch in Paris on November 30 at the time of Conference of Parties meeting.
  • He hopes to reach a “comprehensive and concrete outcome” in the UN Convention on Climate Change with “a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable; provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change”.
  • Modi said that both India and the African nations want to “light up the lives of our people and power their future,” but that it should be done in such a manner that “snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear, the glacier that feeds the River Ganga does not retreat.”

TERRORISM AND DEFENSE

  • Counter terrorism, maritime security, cyber security and defense cooperation were the most common issues in the series of bilateral talks, with 12 of the 19 meetings targeting terrorism and defense issues. This shift in focus speaks of the turn in the major world issues in the current timeline.
  • The Kenyan and Nigerian presidents respectively brought up the Westgate Mall attack in Kenya and the continuing raids by Boko Haram’s continued raids in Nigeria and neighboring states. Boko Haram, which has perpetuated violence in large parts of north-east Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, declared its allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year.
  • The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called for “better information exchange between the governments”.
  • Lesotho Prime Minister Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili also discussed defence cooperation, and praised the Indian armed forces who have been training officers from Lesotho.
  • According to an Indian Express report, Africa “wants to increase the capability of their defence forces and have a robust intelligence-sharing mechanism”.
  • Modi has repeatedly spoken against the rising issue of terrorism plaguing the world and the need to counter it.

UNSC REFORMS

  • One of the top agendas of the summit was to gain support to win India a place in the UN Security Council. Modi spoke towards changing the working of the United Nations in a way which would better reflect the current geo-political picture of the world. He said that “our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today”.
  • “Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity,” the prime minister added, making a point that India and Africa need to “speak in one voice” towards the cause.

TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Modi promised to give high priority to the trade and investment flow between India and Africa and cited defence and security cooperation as the key to the India-Africa partnership. He also promised to ensure “full and effective implementation of the duty-free access extended to 34 countries”.
  • He also pledged a grant assistance of $600 million to the continent, which would include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. It will also include 50,000 scholarships for African students in India and “support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa.”
  • “We will work with you to realise your vision of a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth, empowered citizens and sustainable development; an integrated and culturally vibrant Africa; and, a peaceful and secure Africa, which has its rightful global place and is a strong partner for the world,” Modi said in his concluding remarks.

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India and Africa should pitch for UNSC reforms, says Modi

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New Delhi: India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms in international institutions like the UN Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

Addressing the India-Africa Forum Summit here, Modi said the international institutions cannot be representative of the world if they do not give place to India and Africa.

“The world is undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history. Yet our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today,” the prime minister said.

“This is a world of free nations and awakened aspirations. Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity,” he said.

“That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council,” the prime minister added.

(IANS)