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DEFENCE-SECURITY

India, Australia to Begin Talks in March on Nuclear Pact, Trade Enhancement

India and Australia on Monday moved towards further cementing their strategic partnership as they agreed to begin negotiations here in March on a nuclear pact besides broadening trade and economic relations.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Australian counterpart Bob Carr, after 90-minute bilateral talks, agreed to hold the first round of negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in March in Delhi.

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India and Australia on Monday moved towards further cementing their strategic partnership as they agreed to begin negotiations here in March on a nuclear pact besides broadening trade and economic relations.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Australian counterpart Bob Carr, after 90-minute bilateral talks, agreed to hold the first round of negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement in March in Delhi.

“We shall be commencing negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement in March 2013,” Khurshid said. “India is a key part of Australia’s future,” Carr said announcing the first round of talks for the nuclear cooperation agreement would be held in Delhi in March.

Khurshid said the External Affairs Ministries of both the countries would conduct the talks.

The agreement would enable the export of uranium from Australia to India, Carr said.

Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves. Khurshid said India would also host a meeting of the Joint Commission of Commerce Ministers, which would give impetus to trade relations between the two countries.

The bilateral trade is at present 21 billion Australian dollars.

“Our trade negotiators have been engaged in broadening understanding towards a mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA),” he said.

During the parleys, it was decided that Defence Minister A K Antony would visit Australia sometime in March for further discussions on cooperation in defence and security sectors.

This would be the first ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Australia.

On timeframe for concluding negotiations on nuclear pact, Khurshid said the sense of urgency and committment between the two countries on the issue was “very clear”.

“When we speak on a matter of such high import, to actually put an artificial deadline and say we must complete it within this period would not be appropriate. Obviously, a sense of urgency and purpose would be there and hopefully we would move quite swiftly,” he said.

“I think these are very important negotiations. Of course, we have done negotiations with other countries successfully on this. So, there is a backdrop available and there are models available,” he said.

Khurshid underscored the significant contributions made by Australia in nuclear energy sector and non-proliferation.

Australia had agreed to start negotiations on a civil nuclear deal with India during the October visit of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to New Delhi.

In December 2011, Gillard’s Labour Party had overturned its long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India.

The country did not sell uranium to India because it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Khurshid said the cooperation between India and Australia in water resources sector has expanded and the Water Technology Partnership would take concrete shape at the next Joint Working Group in April 2013.

He said negotiations for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons would also commence soon.

Khurshid said India was pleased with the cooperation in the education sector, which has been expanded by the inclusion of specific programmes on vocational skills and establishment of such centres in New Delhi.

He said the two governments have also been cooperating in addressing the needs of the student community both in terms of curriculum quality as well as safety issues.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

#GaganShakti2018: #IAF Executes Inter Valley Troop Transfer (IVTT) Along With the #IndianArmy

IVTT, a major Joint Operation, was conducted in the high hills of Northern and North-Eastern Sector.

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SOMEWHERE IN NORTHEAST INDIA: As part of ongoing exercise ‘GaganShakti-2018’, the Operational Commands of the IAF planned and executed Inter-Valley Troop Transfer (IVTT) in coordination with affiliated Indian Army Commands. IVTT, a major Joint Operation, was conducted in the high hills of Northern and North-Eastern Sector.

The aim of the exercise was to validate the capability of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army to quickly transfer and redeploy acclimatized troops, in the simulated objective area.

These operations are conducted to reposition troops from one valley to another, to counter any evolving threat and to surprise or offensively exploit the weakness of the adversary.

In the mountainous terrain, the movement of the troops from one valley to another is a challenging task. The redeployment of forces from one area of interest to another may at times take a couple of days. IVTT operations help to reposition the desired forces within a couple of hours.

All the three commands of IAF conducted a company level exercise in their area of operations, in a time-sensitive environment.

This tactical transfer of troops not only validated Joint Operations between the IAF & the Indian Army but also showcased the capability of the IAF to operationalise forward ALG’s by setting up communications and refuelling facilities and preparing aircraft operating surface.

C-130 and AN-32 tactical transport aircraft and Mi-17 V5 / ALH helicopters are used for these missions. Owing to their versatile maneuvering capabilities, these platforms are most adaptable in an extremely demanding high altitude terrain.

The operations were meticulously planned by the planning staff and the aircrew executed the demanding and rigorous operations by flying in a coordinated manner, giving due importance to the flight safety.

In addition to the aircrew, the maintenance and administrative personnel, worked relentlessly through day and night, to ensure smooth conduct of these high-intensity operations.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

Command Hospital (Western Command) Chandimandir Adjudged Best Service Hospital

The Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune was adjudged the Second Best Command Hospital.

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PANCHKULA (Haryana): The Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Raksha Mantri’s Trophy and citation for the Best Service Hospital in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for the year 2017 to Command Hospital (Western Command), Chandimandir, here today.

Commandant of Command Hospital (Western Command), Chandimandir Major General Rashmi Datta received the awards from the Raksha Mantri on behalf of the hospital.

The Command Hospital (Southern Command), Pune was adjudged the Second Best Command Hospital.

The Commandant of the Hospital Major General A Chakravarty received a trophy and a citation from the Raksha Mantri.

Speaking on the occasion, the Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman praised the yeoman service being rendered by the AFMS over the years both in war and peace. She complimented all members of both the award-winning hospitals and the entire AFMS for their excellent work in providing of contemporary and comprehensive healthcare.

Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) Lt Gen Bipin Puri, highlighted the modernisation programme of the Medical Services and reassured that the AFMS is fully prepared to meet all challenges in operations, peacetime and disaster relief/ humanitarian aid.

The Raksha Mantri’s Trophy was instituted in 1989 to create a healthy competition among the Command Hospitals of the Army and its equivalent hospitals in the Navy and Air Force.

The Best and Second Best hospital are adjudged on the basis of a number of objective criteria by a Committee headed by Director General (Org &Pers) with Joint Secretary (Navy), Ministry of Defence being a member of the Committee.

The function was attended by the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare Smt SanjeevaneeKutty, Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal SB Deo and other senior service and civilian officials.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

Bundelkhand Defence Corridor Put on Fast Track

The corridor which will extend through a number of districts including Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot will be built with an investment of Rs 200 crore.

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JHANSI (Uttar Pradesh): Work on the defence corridor in Bundelkhand, one of the two that have been planned in India, has been put on the fast track.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath met defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Jhansi to take stock of the preliminary work that has been carried out in the region.

A function was held at Jhansi on Monday to announce the project. It was attended, among others, by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and defence manufacturers from across the country.

Addressing the function, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed hope that the defence corridor, as well as various other developmental projects, will usher in a new era of progress in this region of the state.

The corridor which will extend through a number of districts including Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chitrakoot will be built with an investment of Rs 200 crore.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has expressed confidence that the proposed defence corridor that is coming up will give incentives to entrepreneurs engaged in defence production as well as the local youth.

Union Minister Uma Bharti said that the government is setting small and big industries for development in Bundelkhand, which will give employment to 2 million people in the state.

In the February Investors’ Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised two defence corridors for the country one of which he said would come up in Uttar Pradesh.

A major portion of the corridor would fall in Bundelkhand.

The Defence corridor is greatly expected to increase India’s self-sufficiency in the defence sector to a great extent.

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