Tag: India

Remarks by Vice President Harris and Prime Minister Modi of the Republic of India Before Bilateral Meeting (WATCH VIDEO)


India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint press conference with US Vice President Kamala Harris, in Washington DC on Thursday (23 September 2021). Photo-ANI

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021

Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

3:19 P.M. EDT

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Mr. Prime Minister, it is my honor to welcome you to the White House and to Washington, D.C. It is my understanding that this is your first trip outside of South Asia for at least the last 16 months. On behalf of the President and myself, we are honored to welcome you for this visit.

India, of course, is a very important partner to the United States. Throughout our history, our nations have worked together, have stood together to make our world a safer and stronger world.

Mr. Prime Minister, when you and I last spoke in June, we talked about how our world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. And the challenges that we face today have highlighted that fact — be it COVID-19, the climate crisis, and the importance of our shared belief in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

On COVID-19, our nations have worked together. Early in the pandemic, India was a vital source of vaccines for other countries. When India experienced a surge of COVID in the country, the United States was very proud to support India in its need and responsibility to vaccinate its people.

And I welcome India’s announcement that it will soon be able to resume vaccine exports. It is of particular note and admiration that India, I’m told, is currently vaccinating approximately 10 million people a day, as of today.

On the issue of the climate crisis, I know that India and you take this issue quite seriously. The President and I believe very strongly that the United States working together with India can have not only a profound impact on the people of our respective nations, but on the world itself.

And as it relates to the Indo-Pacific, the United States, like India, feels very strongly about the pride of being a member of the Indo-Pacific, but also the fragility and the importance and strength as well of those relationships, including maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Finally, as democracies around the world are under threat, it is imperative that we defend democratic principles and institutions within our respective countries and around the world and that we maintain what we must do to strengthen democracies at home. And it is incumbent on our nations to, of course, protect democracies in the best interest of the people of our countries.

And, Mr. Prime Minister, I look forward to discussing how our nations can continue to best work together to strengthen our relationship around our mutual concerns, around the challenges we face, but the opportunities that those challenges also present.

I know from personal experience and from my family of the commitment of the Indian people to democracy and to freedom and to the work that may be done and can be done to imagine and then actually achieve our vision for democratic principles and institutions.

Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER MODI: (As interpreted.) Excellency, first of all, I’d like to express my gratitude for the warm welcome back you have extended to me and to my delegation.

Excellency, some months ago, we had an opportunity to talk to each other on the phone. We had a detailed discussion at that time. And the way you spoke to me so warmly and so naturally, I will always remember that. Thank you so much.

It was, Excellency, if you remember, a very difficult time. India was confronted with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic — a very difficult time for us. But so — like a family, the sense of kinship and so warmly you extended a helping hand, the words that you chose when you spoke to me — I will always remember that, and I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Like a true friend, Excellency, you had given a message of cooperation and very full of sensitivity. And immediately after that, we found that the U.S. government, the U.S. corporate sector, and the Indian community all came together to help India.

Excellency, President Biden and yourself, you took up the leadership of the United States in a very challenging atmosphere and challenging times, but within a very short period of time, you have had many achievements to your credit, whether that be COVID, climate, or the Quad. On all these issues, the United States has taken very important initiatives.

Excellency, amongst the largest democracy and the oldest democracy, between India and the United States, we are indeed natural partners. We have similar values, similar geopolitical interests, and, also, our coordination and cooperation is continuously increasing.

To strengthen the supply chains, Excellency, and as far as the new and emerging technologies are concerned, and space, these are areas of special interest for you. These are areas which are of interest to me too and a special priority. And these — and these are areas where our cooperation is very important.

Excellency, between India and the U.S., there are very vibrant and strong people-to-people connections that we have. You know that all too well. More than 4 million people of Indian origin, the Indian community is a bridge between our two countries — a bridge of friendship. And their contribution to the economies and societies of both our countries is indeed very praiseworthy.

Excellency, your being elected as the Vice President of the United States of America itself has been such an important and historic event. You are the source of inspiration for so many people across the world.

I am completely confident that under President Biden and your leadership, our bilateral relationship will touch new heights.

Excellency, continuing on your — this journey of victory, Indians also would want you to continue that in India and, therefore, they’re waiting to welcome you. And therefore, I extend to you specially an invitation to visit India.

Once again, Excellency, let me thank you and express my gratitude for this very warm welcome.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.


VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: And welcome to you. Thank you.

3:34 P.M. EDT

Source Text & Video (YouTube) – White House, 24 Sept 2021.

What Oil Politics, Taliban, Islamophobia Mean to India


The media must reveal the truth and help weak states rise above a crisis, not play up divisive forces.

By Ram Puniyani

The withdrawal of the United States Army from Afghanistan has brought the Taliban to power. The scenario in Afghanistan is alarming as minorities, and others, desperately attempt to leave the country. The record of the previous Taliban rule is flashing before the world, particularly the oppression of women and imposition of their version of Sharia law. It is their demolition of the Bamiyan Buddha that tells the world what the Taliban stands for. Some hope the exit of foreign powers will change Taliban rule, but events so far make this expectation ring hollow.

Regardless of how Afghans plot their future, it is most surprising that a section of the Indian media—which many disparagingly identify as godi media—has taken to non-stop coverage of the Taliban takeover. They are toeing the ruling party’s line, spending a significant share of airtime on perceived threats to India from the Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

These anchors on TV never spare a chance to criticise those who “felt the arrival of the Taliban in Afghanistan will not affect India”. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police recently arrested six suspected terrorists and alleged that they were trained in Pakistan to conduct terrorist strikes in India. Their alleged motive was to thwart the democratic process in Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due next year. The TV channels immediately caught on to this episode, claiming it connects with events in Afghanistan.

Other than attacking those critical of the ruling government, TV channels were busy for a month presenting viewers with the horrors Taliban rule entails. Their concerns may be valid, but the cheek-by-jowl coverage the Taliban is getting is out of proportion. They make it seem like the only problem Indians face is the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan. For a large section of Indians, growing unemployment, the farmer movement, the rising atrocities against Dalits and women, and price rise are primary concerns. This narrative is absent from the media. Nor do they provide coverage to the intimidation of religious minorities in India, and even if they do, there is no attempt to be objective. Instead, this section of the media presents the religious minorities themselves as the culprits. The ‘hate Muslims’ sentiment has strengthened ever since the Taliban came to power.

The language in the media portrays the Taliban as representatives of all Muslims anywhere, as though it embodies some universally accepted Islamic values. The aim is to cast a deep shadow on Indian Muslims, increasing their alienation and marginalisation. The 2016 report, What Muslims Want, the most extensive research of British Muslims ever conducted, found that nine of ten British Muslims reject terrorism outright.” However, this powerful section of the media is unconcerned with the politics behind the Taliban’s coming to power. It does not bother to introspect why countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, do not have similar politics.

If the mainstream media correlates fundamentalist Islam represented by the Taliban or Al-Qaeda, and the politics of the last five decades in the oil-rich parts of the world, it would give away the truth. However, that would not suit the sectarian politics in India, and it would challenge the economic and political interests of corporates who control this media.

Fact is, western imperialism is out to control and plunder the resources of the world. In the last few decades after the colonial era ended, the United States and its cohort sought to control oil resources and markets worldwide. In a way, the people of West and Central Asia, rich in oil and other natural resources, suffer due to their wealth. America funded youth training in the retrograde version of Islam in Af-Pak, leading to the mujahideen and the Taliban. During the Cold War, it perpetrated imperialist designs in the name of a ‘free world’, which meant opposing communism. The Soviet Union supported several national liberation struggles, which the United States did not want. The war in Vietnam is the best example of how America pursued its anti-communist agenda through waging wars far from its borders.

After the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the United States intensified its support to local fundamentalist groups. The Saudi regime helped train the youth, though mostly America supported the Mujaheddin, the Taliban, and even Al-Qaeda. The syllabus was prepared in Washington, America funded it, and youngsters got lured into fundamentalist schools where it was taught. It was a close collaboration between the CIA and the ISI of Pakistan, which indoctrinated the youth and gave them sophisticated weapons.

Their goal was to ally with the Afghan forces to defeat the USSR. Recall the 1985 visit of hardcore Islamists to the White House, where Ronald Regan hosted them. He brought them to the Oval Office and said, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers.” Let us be blunt: The CIA’s machinations created the world’s deadliest terrorists. To cut a long story short, Hillary Clinton, when she was US Secretary of State, accepted in an interview that America “funded Taliban and Al Qaida”.

West Asia is a victim of the oil and wealth lust of American imperialism. The majority of the victims of Islamist terrorists were Muslims. Pakistan lost close to 70,000 people due to terror strikes, including a former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to such an attack. Still, the American media coined the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ after the 9/11 attack, as if events unfolding in Afghanistan or Iraq or Egypt were unconnected with recent American history. The global media picked up the phrase uncritically. In India, the Muslim community saw a further dip in its social and economic capital. An outcome of American policies was that they added to the discrimination of this community around the world.

It is the responsibility of the media to unravel the truth, no matter how complex. Of course, there are excellent books on the topic, only if members of the godi media care to read them! Their task is to help a weak state rise above its crisis, not to play into the hands of divisive forces.

The author is a social activist and commentator. The views are personal.

Source- newsclick.in, 24 September 2021

ScoMo-Modi meet ahead of Quad meeting : Discussion on AUKUS ‘well received’- Scott Morrison

Photo- PM ScoMo’s Twitter account

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 24 September 2021: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian PM N. Modi met face-to-face in Washington DC a day before the Quad meeting today (24 September 2021). The meeting comes as the rumpus over the AUKUS and the N-submarine deal that has badly strained Australia’s relations with France. In fact, President Macron refused to take Scott Morrison’s phone call and instead the Australian Prime Minister “messaged him in a personal correspondence”.

Australia and India are Quad partners and it remains to be seen what stand India takes over AUKUS, despite Canberra’s warmth towards New Delhi, obviously, related to its strained relations with China.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a media briefing recently ruled out Japan and India joining the AUKUS. She said, ” No one else will be added to the newly formed AUKUS…”

In a Facebook post, PM ScoMO says, ” Prime Minister Modi and I agreed on some important new initiatives to work on a low emissions partnership that will focus on hydrogen and ultra-low-cost solar programs and to support their energy transition.

Photo- @MEAIndia

We also discussed critical mineral supply chains, advancing trade opportunities between our two countries, our fight against COVID-19, and addressing climate change.”

Later in a media conference, PM ScoMo disclosed, he discussed the recently formed AUKUS, saying, ” Of course, we had the opportunity to discuss the recent announcement on the AUKUS agreement and our program to put in place a nuclear-powered fleet of submarines. Keen interest in that from our partners in India, and well received. And looking forward to see how that continues to progress. Of course, I spoke to Prime Minister Modi the night before we made the announcement in Australia last week.”

About the energy partnership PM Sco Mo answering a journalist’s question, indicated about Hydrogen and supply of Hydrogen and ultra-low-cost Solar to India.

The story will be updated soon.

Australia-India ‘Cyber & Critical Technology ‘ cooperation with new grants

Marise Payne & Dr.S.Jaishankar at the Australia-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi. Photo- @MarisePayne

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 13 Sept 2021: Australia and India are poised to take their Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership (AICCTP) program to the next second level with new grants for institutions of both countries. The decision is the outcome of the recently held Australia-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi.

Australia and India’s cooperation on critical technologies is also viewed as a step forward at diversifying or reducing dependence on related Supply Chains now concentrated to a large extent in China.

This cooperation between the two countries is reflective of Australia’s Cyber and Critical Technologies engagement program. Critical Technologies deal with cyberspace, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, and synthetic biology, says the Executive Summary of the strategy website.

” The Strategy identifies three main pillars – Values, Security and Prosperity – to guide Australia’s international cyber and critical technology engagement:
Values – We will always pursue a values-based approach to cyberspace and critical technology, and oppose efforts to use technologies to undermine these values.
Security – We will always support international peace and stability, and secure, trusted, and resilient technology.
Prosperity – We will always advocate for cyberspace and technology to foster sustainable economic growth and development to enhance prosperity.”

Source- internationalcybertech.gov.au

A media release from Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Minister for Women says, ” The dialogue reflected on progress towards supporting Australia and India’s shared vision of an open, inclusive and resilient rules-based Indo-Pacific region, as supported by the three grants awarded in Round 1.

This second round seeks proposals that focus on strengthening understanding of ethical frameworks, developing best practice and encouraging development of technical standards on critical technologies, including quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Australia and India’s cooperation on cyber continues to make significant progress and builds upon the Australia-India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber‑Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation, signed in June 2020.”

Under the Arrangement, Australia and India held the first Joint Working Group on Cyber Security Cooperation on 10 June 2021 and a senior officials’ Cyber Dialogue on 6 July 2021.

Available funding according to the Australian High Commission, New Delhi website is:

For any single grant proposal, the minimum is $150,000 per year and the maximum amount is $600,000 per year. Multiyear grants will be considered up to a maximum of $250,000 per year for up to three years from 2021-22 to 2023‑24. Grant funding for activities in 2022-23 will be contingent on funding becoming available to DFAT under the AICCTP.

In total, we anticipate that a total of up to $1.8 million in funding would be available for single-year and multi-year grant proposals awarded in grant round 2.

Prospective grantees cannot use funding from other Commonwealth, state, territory or local government sources to fund your share of eligible expenditure. DFAT reserves the right to offer less funding than that requested by the applicant.

The last date to submit applications is – 17:00hrs AEDT (11:30hrs IST) on Monday 18 October 2021.

Details of the AICCTP grant program, eligibility requirements and how to apply are available on Australia’s High Commission in India website and the GrantConnect website.

Projects funded in the first round of the AICCTP program in April 2021:

The Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney and the Observer Research Foundation, to develop ethical frameworks and best practices for emerging quantum technologies;

La Trobe University, in partnership with the Indian Institutes of Technology in Kanpur and Gandhinagar, to operationalise ethical frameworks in the critical technology supply chains of global companies; and

The School of Computer Science at the University of Sydney, in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Reliance Jio, and the University of New South Wales, to address privacy and security challenges in next-generation telecommunications networks.

AIBC launches industry Chapter for Defence and Security


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 11 September 2021: The Australia India Business Council (AIBC), in collaboration with the ACT AIBC Chapter, has launched the Industry Chapter for Defence and Security.

An AIBC Media release says: “As part of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), India and Australia concluded a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and a Defence Science and Technology Arrangement to facilitate improved collaboration between relevant Australian and Indian organisations.

The QUAD agreement between Australia and India is also providing further momentum to defence cooperation and partnerships between the two countries.”

The AIBC decision comes as India has raised the FDI limit in defence manufacturing opportunities which allow 74 per cent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on many nominated segments of products and services. Apart from Cyber Security, there are several emerging sectors and technologies that will contribute to the defence industry like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Unmanned Mobility, Secured Communication, Surveillance and Green Technologies.

The AIBC feels the Australian industry can tap into the growing Indian market through partnerships with Indian SMEs looking to enter the defence manufacturing space. Australian manufacturers can provide licenses and technology to Indian partners which have local manufacturing capabilities.

Joe Williams who is heading the new panel has over 25 years of work experience working in India, Australia, and the US. Joe also has extensive experience working with Australian and Indian defence issues.

“The Quad is now taking on increasing importance in Australia’s defence arrangements. The timing of this appointment is impeccable. It is also appropriate that the ACT Chapter has its first national industry chair located in the ACT, particularly in the areas of defence and security’ said Jim Varghese, National Chair, AIBC.

“I am looking forward to extending any support required for the AIBC initiatives in the Defence Sector from the AIBC ACT Chapter and noting that ADF has recently launched their Data Strategy for 2021- 2023 in which they acknowledge efficient data management is the key to rapid and informed decision making. This is another signal for the two countries to benefit from the expertise of each other” said Ms Radhika Reddy, President AIBC ACT Chapter.

“It is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to contributing to forging of partnerships between Australian and Indian defence organisations, research institutions offering new technologies,” said Joe Williams, the newly appointed Chair of the AIBC Defence & Security Chapter.