611

Donald Trump unveils plans for the sale of military helicopters worth more than $3 billion to India

New Delhi: US President Donald Trump unveiled plans for the sale of military helicopters worth more than $3 billion to India, saying Washington should be New Delhi’s “premier defence partner” as his country revitalises military alliances across the world.

Addressing the “Namaste Trump” rally at Motera Stadium, Trump dwelt at length on the burgeoning defence ties between the two countries, and said the US had spent $2.5 trillion to rebuild its armed forces and make it the “most powerful military anywhere in the world”.

Defence and security ties between India and the US have grown sharply in recent decades as foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said last week that New Delhi has acquired American military hardware worth more than $18 billion to significantly enhance defence preparedness.

540

Donald Trump’s two-day visit expected to scale up bilateral ties between Indian and the US

New Delhi: United State President Donald Trump will begin his tour of India with pomp and spectacle on February 24 amid a grand welcome by the Indian government, with his two-day visit expected to scale up bilateral ties between the two countries, even though a big announcement of a trade deal is not expected.

The government is preparing a welcome quite unlike those put on for visiting world leaders. From being received at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to driving along a route with stages featuring artistes from across India and participating in the “Namaste Trump” rally at the Motera Stadium, all the arrangements made for the first leg of Trump’s maiden visit to India are on a grand scale.

After addressing the rally along with Modi, Trump and his delegation will fly to Agra so that he and First Lady Melania Trump can spend some time at the Taj Mahal before sunset. The US delegation will then fly to Delhi, where Trump and Modi will hold wide-ranging talks on Tuesday.

525

History Has Capacity to Reject Fake, Says Manmohan On Tirade Against Nehru

New Delhi: Former prime minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh Saturday said nationalism and the Bharat Mata Ki Jai slogan were "being misused to construct a militant and purely emotional idea of India that excludes millions of residents and citizens." He also said there were constant efforts to picture Jawaharlal Nehru in a "false light", but history had the capacity to "put everything in perspective".

Speaking at the launch of a book titled 'Who is Bharat Mata' authored by Professor K E Radhakrishna, Singh said, "Unfortunately, a section of people who either do not have the patience to read history or would like to be deliberately guided by their prejudices, try their best to picture Nehru in a false light. But I am sure, history has a capacity to reject fake and false insinuations and put everything in proper perspective."

511

India and US looking to focus sharply on defence cooperation during the two-day visit of Donald Trump to India

New Delhi: With a trade deal off the table, India and the US are looking to focus sharply on defence cooperation during the two-day visit of US President Donald Trump to India, and will, in all likelihood, indicate a calendar for the signing of the third foundational military communication agreement between the two countries during the visit, top officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Talks on the finalisation of the Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) are scheduled to begin as early as March, one of the officials said. BECA will allow India and the US to exchange geospatial maps to get pinpoint military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles, apart from its civilian use.

In addition, the two countries are likely to sign multiple deals for defence purchases, added this person. This includes a $2.4 billion deal for 24 MH-60R Sikorsky helicopters, and a $930 million deal for six Apache AH-64E attack helicopters for the army from Boeing, both of which were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier this week. There could also be a further order of eight Poseidon P8I multi-mission aircraft for the Indian Navy and a full spectrum missile shield for New Delhi.

431

DRDO scientists to examine suspected cargo seized at Kandla port from detained Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun

New Delhi: Missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will physically open and examine the suspected cargo seized at Kandla port from detained Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun, bound for Port Qasim, Karachi, on Friday to ascertain whether the 2005 Indian law against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the UN convention on the same subject can be invoked against both the consignee and consignor.

Based on a high-level intelligence tip-off, the Department of Revenue Intelligence and Kandla Customs detained the Chinese ship on February 3 for misdeclaring a “dual use” industrial autoclave, which can be used in the manufacture of ballistic missiles, as an industrial dryer. The ship left the Chinese port of Jiangyn on January 17.

For starters, evenbeforethe final inspection is carried out, Indian authorities have decided to charge the ship under the Customs Act for wrong declaration of goods, according to an official familiar with the matter who asked not to be named. The ship could be released as per procedure after charges are formally slapped against it, the official said. “But that decision is yet to be taken,” he added.