Modi commissions India’s largest indigenous warship INS Kolkata
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted INS Kolkata, India’s largest indigenously built warship into the naval fleet in Mumbai on Saturday. He was accompanied by Arun Jaitley, Union Defence Minister, Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of Naval Staff, K Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, and Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The warship was designed by the Naval Design Bureau and the construction was undertaken by Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL), Mumbai. INS Kolkata weighs 6,800-tonne and has an operating range of about 15,000 kilometres. It is a guided missile destroyer with in-built anti-submarine capabilities. It is also equipped to carry anti-ship missiles and fighter aircraft.
The commissioning of INS Kolkata is a matter of pride for the nation and goes to prove that India has the technological capacity to indigenously strengthen the nation’s maritime capabilities. In a highly inspirational speech at the ceremony Modi said, “Not only are we dedicating the warship, but we are also introducing to the whole world India’s technical prowess and defence capabilities…Our aim is to achieve such prowess in our defence capabilities that no country dare cast an evil eye on India”. While remaining firm on his commitment to peace, the Prime Minister said it was imperative that self-defence be considered a priority.
Modi sarkar has placed utmost importance on modernization of the military and security of the nation. Apart from raising the cap on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to an unprecedented 49%, the administration is also investing about USD 100 billion on the defence upgrade programme.
Sushma seeks Singapore’s investment in India
Indian Minister of External Affairs Ms. Sushma Swaraj arrived in Singapore on a visit designed to improve economic cooperation between the two nations. Ms. Swaraj met the Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and a number of other ministers. She invited investments in the development of 100 smart cities planned by India. A ‘Little Singapore’ could be developed right in the heart of India, she said, in her attempt to invite cooperation, particularly in infrastructure and connectivity. Ms. Swaraj met Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and held extensive talks with the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam.
Ever since the Union Budged was announced, the development of “100 smart cities” at a cost of INR 7,060 crore has been high on the Modi government’s agenda and a matter of much discussion across the nation. These cities are envisioned as satellite towns empowered by the extensive use of information and communication technology.
Singapore could as well contribute greatly in designing affordable public housing, in setting up IT systems for e-governance, in introducing new technology for waste management and sanitation, and energy conservation, and in enhancing connectivity.
India provides INR 30 m for Nepal flood relief
The Indian government announced a relief and aid package of about INR 30 million (NR 48 million) to the victims of the recent floods and landslides that claimed 54 lives in the past few days. Over 140 people are also missing after three days of continuous rainfall, landslides and floods that have assailed many parts of the Himalayan country. Over 12,000 people have been evacuated from Banke and Bardiya districts this weekend. The announcement of relief assistance was made by Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae. “The government of India will provide INR 30 million assistance to the victims of recent floods and landslides in Nepal”, he said in the course of a function at Kathmandu held by the Nepal-India Friendship Society to celebrate India’s 68th Independence Day. Apart from this, the Indian government has deployed three helicopters and one airplane for disaster relief operations as and when required by the government of Nepal.
The Narendra Modi administration has taken up its commitments to build cooperative and warm relations with neighbours seriously, it seems. The announcement comes shortly after the Prime Minister’s epic visit to Nepal – a much celebrated renewal of ties between the two countries.
India tones down stand on WTO deal?
After weeks of adopting a rigid stand on the trillion-dollar multi-national World Trade Organisation (WTO) pact, Commerce Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman’s remarks about the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) signify a noticeable softening of the stand earlier adopted by the government of India. The NaMo government had refused to sign the trade facilitation accord on behalf of India unless the issue of food security and subsidies for the poor is simultaneously taken up by the WTO members.
In December 2013, all 160 WTO members, including India, had agreed to the accord after its terms were thoroughly thrashed out. Over the past few weeks India had taken a rather hard stand and refused to sign the deal in its current form, incurring the disappointment of the US and the EU. Ms. Sitharaman’s statement, however, indicates that the government might be going weak in this matter. She said, “We are agreeing to everything done in Bali, we are not saying we are going to dishonour that commitment, we will honour that commitment”. Apart from signaling a lack of clarity on an issue as important as the deal, the statement also might point to pressure on the government to reconsider its earlier stand.