India-Japan dialogue to enhance security and defence cooperation

First India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting

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Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Taro Kono, Minister of Defense of Japan, visiting India to attend the inaugural meeting of India-Japan Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2), called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, 30 November 2019.

New Delhi: Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar, met Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan, MOTEGI Toshimitsu, and Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr. KONO Taro, on Saturday, 30 November 2019 in New Delhi for the first India-Japan 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting.

The Ministers affirmed that this dialogue will further enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation. Acknowledging emerging security challenges, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to advancing bilateral security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the 2009 Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation. Recalling that the two sides had a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight, the Ministers emphasized that further strengthening of bilateral cooperation was in mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of the peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Bilateral Cooperation

The Union Minister for Defence Rajnath Singh and the Union Minister for External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar leading the Indian delegation, while the Minister of Defence of Japan, Taro Kono and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi leading the Japanese side during the 2+2 dialogue, in New Delhi on November 30, 2019.

The Ministers welcomed the progress made in deepening bilateral defence cooperation last year. The Ministers noted with satisfaction that since last year India and Japan have initiated bilateral exercises between all three components of their defence forces. The Ministers shared the view to make continuous efforts for holding the bilateral exercises between the defence forces regularly and further expanding the same. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the recently conducted second “Dharma Guardian-2019” and the second “SHINYUU Maitri-2019”. The Ministers also concurred to proceed with coordination for the first India-Japan joint fighter aircraft exercise in Japan.

The Ministers welcomed the significant progress made in the negotiations of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) since the announcement to commence the negotiations in October 2018. The Ministers expressed their desire for early conclusion of the negotiations and were of the view that the agreement will further contribute to enhancing defence cooperation between the two sides.

Acknowledging the importance of ensuring maritime safety in achieving a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific, the Ministers expressed their intention to further promote cooperation in the field of capacity building in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness including through cooperation with other countries. In this context, the Ministers welcomed the setting up of Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) by India in December 2018. The Indian side looked forward to Japanese side dispatching a liaison officer at the IFC-IOR in the near future. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the commencement of exchange of information based on the Implementing Arrangement for Deeper Cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy signed last year.

The Ministers emphasized the need to further strengthen the defence equipment and technology cooperation and looked forward to productive discussions in the fifth Joint Working Group on Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation (JWG-DETC). In this context, the Ministers welcomed the progress on cooperative research in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)/ Robotics.

The Ministers appreciated the existing exchange programs between the defence educational and research institutions of the two countries and expressed their desire to continue and expand the exchange programmes.

Multilateral Cooperation

Recalling the Japan-India-US Summit Meetings in November 2018 and June 2019, the Ministers acknowledged the trilateral cooperation with the US. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction at trilateral cooperation represented by the “MALABAR 2019” held from September-October 2019 off the coast of Japan, mine-countermeasures exercise (MINEX) held in Japan in July 2019 and “Cope India 2018” in which Japan participated as an observer in December 2018.

The Ministers welcomed the recent Japan-India-Australia-US Foreign Ministerial consultations in New York in September 2019.

Regional and International Affairs

The Ministers had a frank and fruitful exchange of views on the regional issues of mutual interests particularly on the security situation in the Indo-Pacific.

The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting ASEAN centrality and unity for promoting peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. The Ministers welcomed the adoption of “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)” during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand in June 2019. The Ministers expressed their commitment to working together with ASEAN for achieving their shared objectives. The Ministers also reiterated their support for ASEAN-led frameworks such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).

The Japanese side appreciated India’s announcement of “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative” at the recent 14th EAS to create a safe, secure, stable, prosperous and sustainable maritime domain and confirmed their willingness to discuss concrete cooperation based on the Initiative. The Ministers noted with satisfaction that India and Japan’s initiatives for realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific, including also the recent “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative” and AOIP all strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is inclusive and open to all countries in the region. The Indian side welcomed Japan’s “Vientiane Vision 2.0” in November 2019 as an updated initiative for defence cooperation between Japan and ASEAN.

The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of realizing North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) and expressed their commitment to the full implementation of the relevant UNSCRs. The Ministers condemned North Korea’s recent launches of ballistic missiles which are clear violation of the relevant UNSCRs. The Ministers strongly urged North Korea to resolve the abductions issue at the earliest date.

The Ministers exchanged views on the recent developments in the South China Sea keeping in view also the Chairman’s Statement of the 14th EAS. In this context, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including those reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Ministers also took note of the negotiations of a Code of Conduct (COC) and urged that it should be effective, substantive, and consistent with international law, including the UNCLOS, ensure freedom of navigation and must not prejudice the rights and interests of the stakeholders using the South China Sea and freedoms of all states under international law.

The Ministers condemned in the strongest terms the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledged that it constituted a major threat to peace and security in the region. The Ministers called upon all countries take resolute action in rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. The Ministers underlined the need for all countries to ensure that all territory under their control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries in any manner. They noted in this context the threat posed to regional security by terrorist networks operating out of Pakistan and called upon it to take resolute and irreversible action against them and fully comply with international commitments including to FATF. The Ministers emphasised the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence.

The Ministers shared recognition on the importance of continuing exchange of opinions in light of the success of this 2+2 Ministerial Meeting, and decided to hold the next 2+2 Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo.

‘Taare Zameen Par’ for underprivilged school children

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Varun Ganjoo, Marketing Director, PokerBaazi.com felicitating the winners of Taare Zameen Par event

Kolkata: PokerBaazi.com, a leading online gaming platform recently associated with the 6th edition of ‘Taare Zameen Par’, a grand sit and draw competition organized by Round Table India. The event organized at The Heritage School, Kolkata, witnessed a zealous participation of 3500 underprivileged school children.

These students aged 7-15 years showcased their creativity in different ways to save Mother Earth. The overwhelming efforts of these young minds were guided with their vision to contribute towards saving our environment for future generations. The event witnessed participation from various Schools and NGOs, thereby making it a huge success.

Talking about the contribution, Mr. Varun Ganjoo, Marketing Director, PokerBaazi.com said, “It is our pleasure to witness a huge turnout of young talent for this event. We partnered with Round Table India to associate with the noble cause of spreading awareness about saving our environment. These children have painted their messages on ways to conserve nature and we hope to learn from these young and aspirational minds.”

NIA Arrests Absconding Naxal Involved in Jheeram Ghati Case

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Raipur: NIA on Friday, 29 November 2019, arrested absconding accused Sumitra @ Sumitra Punem@ Sumitra Tati @Aayti Modiyam resident of Bijapur district in Chattisgarh, who was involved in the attack on a convoy of Congress leaders and workers by CPI(Maoist), in Darbha valley in Chattisgarh.

She is Puspal LOS Dalam Commander and was a team member of Darbha Division Committee of CPI(Maoist) formation in Chattisgarh which executed this attack. She is a charge-sheeted absconding accused in NIA case No.RC-6/2013/NIA/DLI dtd.27.5.2013, under Sections 147,148,149,307, 302, 341,427&120B of IPC, Sec.25,27 of Arms Act, Sec.3,4,5 of Explosive Substance Act, Sec. 38(2),39(2) of UA(P) Act.

The case relates to the attack on the convoy of Congress leaders and workers by CPI (Maoist) on 25 May 2013 in the hilly areas of Darbha valley in Chattisgharh. After investigation, NIA had filed charge sheet on 25 September 2014 and a supplementary charge sheet on 28 September 2019 against 39 accused persons. Out of the 39 chargesheeted accused persons, 10 were arrested, 2 were killed in encounters with Security Forces and 27 were absconding.

The arrested accused Sumitra was one of the 27 absconding accused. NIA has announced rewards on the absconding accused persons and efforts are on to apprehend them. Further investigation is continuing in the case.

UL announces upgrade of Google Pay Module

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Bengaluru, Karnataka, India: UL, a leading global safety science company, announced today the upgrade of the Google Pay Module in the UL Brand Test Tool that now includes a test plan for payment acceptance in transit systems.

This Google Pay Transit Terminal Test Plan in the UL Brand Test Tool now contains the test cases that may be executed by acquirers, system integrators, and public transit operators to validate that their transit terminals can support Google Pay mobile transactions in accordance with the EMV Contactless specifications. The test cases in this new UL Brand Test Tool Google Pay Transit Test Plan can be executed simulating payment cards from different international systems such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

With this new test plan, the UL Brand Test Tool helps merchants and acquirers verify that the deployed transit terminals meet the requirements defined for accepting Google Pay. The test plan also helps prevent and troubleshoot transaction problems with Google Pay devices when used within transit systems.

“We are pleased with the addition of this new test plan to our UL Brand Test Tool after a successful collaboration with Google. It expands the capabilities of this tool to test acceptance and interoperability of Google Pay mobile wallet in transit ecosystems,” said Isabelle Noblanc, vice president and general manager, Identity Management and Security, UL. “This enhancement will ultimately help transit systems offer their customers a convenient payment option and help fuel a positive rider experience,” she said.