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China’s doublespeak – Justifies air exercise with Pakistan near Indian border after opposing four-nation ‘Malabar exercise’ last month
Asia

China’s doublespeak – Justifies air exercise with Pakistan near Indian border after opposing four-nation ‘Malabar exercise’ last month

China's doublespeak has been exposed once again. It has justified its ongoing joint air exercise "Shaheen-IX" with Pakistan, even though it had expressed apprehensions about India’s “Malabar exercise” last month. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin defended the "Shaheen-IX" exercise with Pakistan air force as a routine arrangement, which experts believe is reflective of a larger strategic posture towards India. In response to a related question he said, the ongoing exercise was not targeting any third country. Air Forces of China and Pakistan are holding their annual exercise "Shaheen-IX" since 9th December in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province near the Indian border. India recently hosted the Malabar 2020 naval exercise with the U.S., Japan, and Australia. This...
India, Vietnam reaffirm commitment to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region; Ties in defence and counter-terrorism to be enhanced
Asia, Featured, National

India, Vietnam reaffirm commitment to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region; Ties in defence and counter-terrorism to be enhanced

Summary: The recent virtual summit between India and Vietnam showcased the growing ties between the two countries as they set forth a Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People to guide the future development of India - Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Furthering their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the two nations agreed to step up regular high-level and institutionalized exchanges in defence, security, and counter-terrorism while building upon the foundations of deep-rooted historical, cultural bonds, shared values and interests. Mutual collaboration on trade, investment and technologies along with enhancing cultural and people-to-people exchanges have been planned in the days ahead. The two countries also signed a number of MOUs in Defence, Nuclear & Cle...
Japan to counter China’s growing military power, sets record $52 billion military budget with stealth jets, long-range missiles
Asia, Defence & Security, Featured, World

Japan to counter China’s growing military power, sets record $52 billion military budget with stealth jets, long-range missiles

Summary: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government approved a ninth consecutive rise in military spending on Monday, funding the development of an advanced stealth fighter and longer-range anti-ship missile to counter China's growing military power. Japan is also a close ally of India and both are members of the QUAD, The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Indian External Affairs Minister has termed Japan as among the most trusted partners of India. The relationship between the two countries are growing in all spheres, especially industry, business and technology. The Ministry of Defense will get a record 5.34 trillion yen ($51.7 billion) for the year starting in April, up 1.1% from this year. With Suga's large majority in parliament, enactment of the budget is all but c...
New COVID19 virus strain spooks countries; Here is what we know about the mutated variant
Featured, World

New COVID19 virus strain spooks countries; Here is what we know about the mutated variant

About 6 days ago UK's Health Secretary Matt Hancock informed the country's parliament that at least 60 different local authorities had recorded Covid infections caused by a new variant. He said the World Health Organization had been notified and UK scientists were doing detailed studies. However, he did not specify if the worsened the disease or that vaccines rolled out would no longer work. Confirming the news, England's Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty said a new variant has been found predominantly in Kent and neighboring areas in recent weeks. But said that current coronavirus swab tests would still detect the new variant.  How has the British government responded to the developments? On Saturday, the British government said the new strain appeared to be spreading ...
D10 – A Strategic alliance in defence of Democracy against Authoritarian regimes
Analysis, Featured, World

D10 – A Strategic alliance in defence of Democracy against Authoritarian regimes

  Summary: The G7 group of leading industrialised nations have been experimenting with the idea of broadening the group by including 10 leading democracies capable of challenging China and other authoritarian states. With China 'wolf warrior' diplomacy threatening countries and economies, it becoming a threat to democracies and its continued repression of people in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang regions, the democracies of India, South Korea and Australia, were natural members of the proposed group. While D10 has the task of ensuring that democratic forces prevail over authoritarian powers, it has to make business and economic sense to the member countries in order to sustain itself and make a pragmatic case for its existence. The D10 provides an opportunity for channelling inves...
US adds prominent Chinese semiconductor SMIC, drone manufacturer DJI and dozen other companies to an export blacklist, sites security threat as the reason
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US adds prominent Chinese semiconductor SMIC, drone manufacturer DJI and dozen other companies to an export blacklist, sites security threat as the reason

The US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the Department of Commerce (Commerce) added Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) of China to the Entity List. "BIS is taking this action to protect U.S. national security", said the Commerce Department in a press release. The department said that their action stems from China’s military-civil fusion (MCF) doctrine and evidence of activities between SMIC and entities of concern in the Chinese military industrial complex. “We will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary. Between SMIC’s relationships of concern with the military industrial complex, China’s aggressive application of military civil fusion mandates and state-directed subsidies, SMIC perfe...
WHO to investigate origins of COVID-19 virus, team to visit Wuhan to examine Chinese samples
Featured, World

WHO to investigate origins of COVID-19 virus, team to visit Wuhan to examine Chinese samples

Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan A team of 10 international scientists assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) will travel to Wuhan in China in January 2021 to investigate the origins of Covid-19. The COVID-19 virus is suspected to have originated from a wet-market in Wuhan selling animal meat. US, Australia, and other countries have accused China in cohorts with WHO of trying to conceal the initial outbreak. The calls for investigation have led to tensions between many countries and China, especially the US and Australia. President Donald Trump's administration has also accused WHO of being complicit with China in hiding the outbreak. US stopped funding the WHO and subsequently quit the organisation, a decision which President-elect Joe Biden has said will reverse one...
Vandalism at iPhone manufacturing facility in Karnataka – External interference to stop FDI in India?
Asia, Featured, National

Vandalism at iPhone manufacturing facility in Karnataka – External interference to stop FDI in India?

Summary:  India's foreign exchange reserve was Rs 39.64 trillion the week up to September 4, 2020. India is the fourth-largest unicorn base in the world with over 21 unicorns collectively valued at US$ 73.2 billion, as per the Hurun Global Unicorn List. By 2025, India is expected to have 100 unicorns by 2025 which will create 1.1 million direct jobs. The mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in India stood at US$ 35.1 billion in the first half of 2020, while private equity (PE) deals stood at US$ 13 billion. India's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow reached US$ 469.99 billion between April 2000 to March 2020, with maximum contribution from services, computer software and hardware, telecommunications, construction, trading, and automobiles. India improved its r...
How Apps and technology from companies like Huawei, Zapya contribute to China’s surveillance and repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang
Asia, Featured, World

How Apps and technology from companies like Huawei, Zapya contribute to China’s surveillance and repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang

Summary: China uses a policing program called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP) that aggregates data about people in the Xinjiang region from a variety of sources and flags those it deems to be a potential threat. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers who accessed the list found that the program flagged people as suspicious for practicing Islam, using peer-to-peer file sharing applications such as Zapya, facial recognition systems by tech giant Huawei and artificial intelligence from Megvii which can monitor and track the minority Uighurs. The Chinese government is using IJOP to compile a massive database of personal information from a range of sources, apart from these apps. They include national identification documents, Xinjiang’s countless checkpoints, closed-c...
55 years after it was cut-off during the 1965 war, the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link between India-Bangladesh to be reopened
Asia, National

55 years after it was cut-off during the 1965 war, the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link between India-Bangladesh to be reopened

India and Bangladesh have agreed to reopen the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link after it was cut off during the 1965 war. With an aim to enhance transport and connectivity between the two nations, the leadership of both countries agreed to revive and operationalize six pre-1965 rail links between the two countries. The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri which was cut-off 55 years ago. The inauguration of the rail link will take place during the Virtual Summit of the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Bangladesh in March this year but due to the sudden onset of Covid-19, the visit had to be postponed. Thursday’s Virtual Summit between PM Modi and his Banglade...