United States of America's Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a conversation at Atlantic Council called India a capable country of talented people.
Mark Esper said, "It's the world's largest democracy.
A very capable country, very talented people.
And they face off every day, Chinese aggression in the Himalayas, specifically along that Line of Actual Control." Esper on his upcoming visit to India said, "Secretary Pompeo and I would be there (India) next week, it's our second 2+2 (ministerial) with Indians and third ever for India and US.
India will well be most consequential partner for us, I think, in Indo-Pacific for sure, in the century."
[NFA] President Donald Trump will sharply reduce the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday, stopping short of a full withdrawal from America's longest war. Colette Luke has the latest.
Trump and Secretary Mark Esper had clashed in recent months, most notably over Trump's threat to use active duty troops to suppress street protests over racial injustice in the United States during the summer. This report produced by Jonah Green.
After the conclusion of 2+2 dialogue between India and US in New Delhi, the Spokesperson for US State Department, Morgan Ortagus, said the India-US relations go beyond political parties and that the bilateral cooperation between New Delhi and Washington DC will remain important irrespective of the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections. "It's incredibly important for Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Esper to go to India, and have this 2+2 (dialogue). Our relationship between the United States and India has been around for very long time and will be around for decades and much longer in the future. The relationship goes beyond political parties...We believe that the values that bind us together will be important for whoever wins this presidential election," Ortagus told ANI on October 28.
One of the highlights of the latest edition of the India-US 2+2 dialogue was the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement. The pact, signed during the visit of US Secretaries of State and Defence - Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper - to meet their Indian counterparts - Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh - in Delhi, will provide Indian forces sensitive data from American military satellites. This is being pegged as a major boost for India amid the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja (retd) and former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal help decode the significance of this agreement in a conversation with Hindustan Times' Aditi Prasad. Watch the full video for more.
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Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister of India, commented on the border tension with China, at the 18th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. While issuing an assurance that the Narendra Modi administration would not allow any violation of India's territorial integrity, Singh said that talks with China on multiple levels were underway, but there was no guarantee about the outcome. He hailed the bravery of Indian soldiers at the Line of Actual Control, and said that security forces had been given a free hand to drive the Chinese army back in case of aggression. Watch the full video for more.
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The ministry of external affairs said that India and China have agreed to maintain dialogue to resolve the Ladakh standoff. "The talks between India and China were candid, in-depth and constructive. Both sides exchanged views on disengagement at all friction points along LAC. They have agreed to maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels," MEA Spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava said. The ministry, however, declined to comment on reports that two sides are discussing proposals for disengagement. "When we have something to share, we will share," Srivastava said. MEA further said that the two sides will soon hold another round of talks on border standoff. "They have also agreed to have another round of meeting soon," Srivastava added. India and China border standoff has entered its seventh month. Thousands of troops from both sides have dug in for the winter along LAC in Ladakh sector. They are reportedly discussing proposals to withdraw tanks and artillery from the area.
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Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh remained tense and that India's posturing has been "unambiguous". "The situation along the LAC in eastern Ladakh remains tense and the People's Liberation Army is facing unanticipated consequences for its misadventure in Ladakh because of firm and strong responses by Indian forces," Gen Rawat said. Talking about the overall security calculus, Gen Rawat said border confrontations, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiralling into a larger conflict cannot be discounted. The Chief of Defence Staff also touched on the issue of cross border terrorism from Pakistan and the way it has been dealt with by the Indian armed forces. Watch the video for more details.
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Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir received rain and fresh snowfall. The region was seen covered in a thick layer of the white blanket of snow. With this, the temperature in the area dropped further. Maximum temperature recorded was 15 C. On November 16 several high-altitude areas of Uttarakhand and JandK received heavy snowfall that dipped the temperature in the region but also affected normal life and forced closure of the national highway. Upper Himalayan areas are receiving heavy snowfall which intensified cold conditions in the state.
Situated in between the Himalayas at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh connects Ladakh with the rest of the country. The Airports Authority of India is now scaling up the passenger handling capacity of the airport. A modern terminal building and an apron will be added to the current airport infrastructure at a cost of Rs 480 crores. To be equipped with world-class facilities, the new terminal of Leh airport is expected to be ready by the end of 2022. Leh airport has been handling flight operations efficiently amid the fight against Covid-19. The airport ensures that no infected passenger hops on the flight or goes unchecked in the city. Thermal screening is being conducted for all passengers. Those who do not produce RT-PCR negative Test done within 48 hrs of boarding have to go through a rapid antigen test at the airport. Airport authorities are ensuring proper sanitization of public areas and luggage. They also follow strict compliance to social distancing norms at the airport. Passengers are appreciative of the efforts being made by the airport authorities to keep Coronavirus at bay.
While speaking to ANI, Deputy Chief of Indian Navy, Vice Admiral MS Pawar on November said, "Malabar 2020' helps us show our combat readiness, interoperability and ability to tackle challenges in the maritime domain. It also reassures the international community of our commitment to a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo- Pacific."
The second phase of 'Exercise Malabar 2020' is underway at Western Indian Ocean. The Navies of India, US, Australia and Japan are participating in the drill. The exercise began on November 17 and will continue till November 20. The 24th edition of Exercise Malabar showed participants their commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 17 spoke to the United States President-elect Joe Biden on the phone to congratulate him for his victory. PM modi also extended warm wishes for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Indian Ambassador to US Taranjit Singh Sandhu while speaking to ANI said, "Prime Minister Modi and President-elect Biden had a very warm conversation. Prime Minister congratulated president-elect and president-elect extended warm Diwali greetings to the prime minister and to the people of India. In the conversation, they discussed about the global strategic partnership which United States and India shares. And they also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific area." Taranjit Singh Sandhu further said that the two also discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and environment.