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India Keen To Be Part Of ‘Extended G7 Group’ & Work With The US – Indian Ambassador To US

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Indian Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu while referring to a recent telephonic conversation between Indian PM Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, said that the two leaders have been in “regular touch” and senior officials of two countries have been talking to each other.

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“They have been in regular touch, and both senior officials of the Government of India and the US administration have been talking to each other regularly. This particular phone call happened on the 2nd. And in that, apart from other aspects, two points regard to G7 were raised,” Sandhu told ANI while responding to a question on the recent conversation between two leaders.

The Ambassador said India will be happy to work with the US as far as President Trump’s desire to expand G-7 is concerned.

“One, President Trump invited Prime Minister Modi to come and attend the summit. And second, was that he also shared his desire to expand the G7. So, on both of these counts, India will be very happy to work with the United States. And I think the exact dates still have to be finalized. Once they are done and it will be communicated to us,” he said.

On June 2, PM Modi had held a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump.

Prime Minister Modi has accepted President Trumps invite and could visit the United States in September. However, critics and especially the Chinese have strongly reacted to President Trump’s plans to invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to G7 summit, saying that any attempts to draw a “small circle” against Beijing will be “doomed to fail and become unpopular”.

Responding to a question regarding China’s objection to the expansion of G-7, Sandhu said this is not the first time India has been invited to G7.

“This is not the first time India has been invited to G7. India’s presence, and especially in light of the COVID, our stature has grown..and this is a respect for India rather than any geopolitical terms. So, India’s presence, 1.3 billion people’s presence in not only this forum but also other institutional and international organizational forums, is something which is not only adequate, but a necessity. So this is a recognition of India’s heightened role and importance in the world.

Sandhu, while speaking about cooperation between two countries regarding coronavirus pandemic, said: “There has been a very close collaboration. Of course, there are a lot of other fields, especially in medicine and in research, there are three particular aspects of this which are important. One, in terms of medicines.”

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“As I mentioned to you that we have supplied whatever medicines the United States was depending upon India, but also, in addition, we are collaborating together. As you know, India is a bulk producer for medicines especially for public health, and a number of US companies are in collaboration with Indian companies for the production of these and one such case very recently is the famous Remdesivir on which four Indian companies have been signed up to make the bulk production,” he added.

The Indian envoy, further explaining the cooperation regarding COVID-19 vaccines, said: “Second part (cooperation) is regarding the vaccines, on that ICMR and its institutions and NIH and CDC are collaborating on three vaccines, and there is development on that. Lastly, the third part is private to private companies, that also in the medicine area, there is close collaboration.”

The Ambassador further pointed out that President Trump has often publicly mentioned about his special relationship with PM Modi and his special affection for India.

“It was a very warm conversation. As you have seen in the public statements and in fact, President Trump has often publicly mentioned about his special relationship with our Prime Minister and his special affection for India, and he often mentions about the last visit in February which he had gone to India and the warm welcome he received.

Not only as I mentioned to you that G7 was discussed, but also other international aspects and both are synergy on tackling the crisis that is the COVID-19, the collaboration, as well as our experiences,” he said.

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During the telephonic conversation on June 2, Modi and Trump had ‘exchanged views on other topical issues, such as the COVID-19 situation in the two countries, the situation on the India-China border, and the need for reforms in the World Health Organisation’.

“The specifics, people who are connected with WHO and these institutions can give a better sense, but as I have mentioned that the international organizations, India has been in the forefront, seeking reorganization, plus, making it more attuned to the existing realities,” said Sandhu.

“So, 1.3 billion people, and many such countries, the viewpoints which India represents need to be accommodated, and I think this review… now there, is much more sentiment for it. It is recognition of the position, which we have taken for many years,” he added.

Vande Bharat Mission

Sandhu, on Monday, while speaking about Vande Bharat Mission, said that around 40,000 Indian nationals here have registered so far.

“Vande Bharat Mission started in the US on May 7 and now its almost completing one month. We have had about 16 flights so far. We have had about 40,000 Indian nationals who have registered with us. So far, we have been able to take about 5000,” he told ANI

“The first phase, we went in a very scientific way. We created a special site on which we got the total numbers. And this is an emergency evacuation flight. So based on the requirements of them going back, the first two phases, 16 flights, 5000 people have gone. Now the third phase will start on June 11 and will go on till July 1,” he added.

The phased evacuation is being carried out under phase 2 of the Government of India’s ambitious ‘Vande Bharat’ mission which started on May 16. The third phase of the mission will begin from June 11.

The Ambassador informed that booking for this phase will be done directly by Air India for people who registered themselves on the Embassy website.

“There are approximately 50 flights which are going to go. But in this phase, the booking will be done directly by Air India for the people who have registered themselves on the embassy website. If somebody has not registered, you can still go and do that. And then towards the end, we will take a look again at what are the total numbers which are left and then it will be decided whether to extend it further or not,” he added.

Regarding commercial flights, the Ambassador pointed out that the Minister of Civil aviation in India has very recently stated it is under consideration, but they also need to know because different countries are having different rules about permitting international passengers coming in or not.

“So, once they have gone through all that study, a decision will be taken, again, based on international requirements plus the health situation in India, to allow international flights also to come in. As you know, the domestic flights have already started within India,” he added.

Asian News International. Via HT Feeds

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Asia Pacific

Indian Rafale Jets Would Have Been Useless Against Chinese Airforce – Russia Experts

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Rafale jets would have been useless against the Chinese Airforce (PLAAF) – Russian aviation experts have claimed. Rafale fighter jets belong to the 4 ++ generation would not have been of much use had an aerial conflict broken out in Ladakh again the PLAAF.

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As reported by EurAsian Times, India and China had been engaged in a brutal conflict in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. Troops of both countries have exchanged blows and even lost soldiers in the conflict that began more than a month ago.

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Keeping in mind the situation in Ladakh, France said that it would accelerate the delivery of Rafale fighter jets to India. Aviation experts believe that the arrival of Rafale fighter jets will significantly boost the combat capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). However, according to Russian experts, who did not wish to be named, the French fighter would not help India much incase the conflict turns hot.

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The astronomical cost of Rafale fighter jets is one of the reasons the French 4++ fighter jet would not help India. In the deal struck with Paris, New Delhi agreed to purchase 36 Rafale Jets. The total cost of the deal was an estimated Rs 59,000 crore with each jet costing around Rs 1,646 crore.

The cost of a Rafale is about three times higher than the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter jets. In other words, for 36 French-made Rafale fighters that will appear in the Indian Air Force, China can respond with three times as many of its fifth-generation J-20 fighters – for the same money.

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Even if, in some ways, the characteristics of the Chinese combat aircraft lag behind the French 4 ++ fighter jet, then the Indian air force could get overwhelmed by what is called “capable of crushing by quantity”.

And the cost is not the only reason why Rafale jets would not help India much. Compared to another Chinese jet – J-16 (an analogue of the Russian Su-35) which Beijing is also using in its airforce, the Rafale jets will find it extremely challenging to outgun the Russian Su-35s operated by the Chinese.

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The maximum speed of the Rafale jet is about Mach 1.8 and the J-16 is Mach 2.2. The Rafale’s practical ceiling is also lower than the J-16s. Even in engine thrust, the Chinese J-16s aka Russian Su-35s are far superior to the French combat aircraft.

Even if the IAF was to deploy all 36 of its newly acquired jets, the technical superiority would still be on the side of China, claims the Russian expert.

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The IAF has been on high alert in Ladakh and is closely monitoring all Chinese activity near the Line of Control.  As reported by EurAsian Times, New Delhi has inked a deal with Moscow to buy 33 new fighter aircraft including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s along with up-gradation of 59 MiG-29s. The addition and up-gradation of jets have been approved to strengthen India’s air power.

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The air defence systems of both the Indian Army and the IAF have been deployed in Ladakh to prevent any misadventure by the Chinese Air Force fighter jets or the People’s Liberation Army choppers there.

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Americas

Turkey Tests Russian S-400 Missiles Against American F-16 Fighter Jets

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Turkey has reportedly tested the S-400 air defence systems against US-developed F-16 fighter jets. According to reports, the S-400 air defence systems deployed at the Mürted air base near Ankara were tested on the US-made F-16 Viper and F-4 Phantom II fighters. 

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Edition of Fighter Jets World notes that the F-16 fighter jets were seen in the vicinity of the Mürted airbase. “Within the scope of some projects carried out in coordination with the Presidency of Defense Industries, F-16 aircraft and other aircraft of the [Turkish] Air Force will carry out low and high altitude test flights on Monday and Tuesday in the skies of Ankara,” an official statement said.

However, video footage of the tests so far show F-16s and F-4s flying over Murted and examples of the 91N6E surveillance and acquisition radar and the 96L6E air search and acquisition radar, the latter elevated on a 40V6M mast, clearly in operation below.

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The mast-mounted version of the 96L6E is also designed to be better able to detect low-flying targets that a radar positioned right on the ground might not be able to detect through the surface clutter.

Russia announced in September 2017 that it had signed a $2.5 billion deal with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems to Ankara. Under the contract, Ankara will get a regiment set of S-400 air defence missile systems (two battalions). The deal also envisages partial transfer of production technology to the Turkish side.

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The S-400 ‘Triumf’ is the most advanced long-range air defence missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range weapons, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.

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Global Politics

Death of Police Doctor due to inhalation of decontamination chemicals – Philippines ready for probe

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While it welcomes any investigation on the death of a police doctor allegedly due to inhalation of decontamination chemicals, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) clarified that it does not buy or distribute any disinfectant materials to any coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) quarantine facility in the country.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal issued this statement Monday after reports claimed that the Philippine National Police (PNP) tagged the OCD as the source of the chemical that allegedly resulted in the death of Capt. Casey Gutierrez in a quarantine facility in Pasig last month.

“Wala pong binibili at binibigay na decontamination chemicals ang OCD para sa kahit anong Covid-19 facility (The OCD does not buy and distribute any decontamination chemicals to any Covid-19 facility). The only services that were arranged by OCD are: food catering, lodging for servicing personnel, provision of (personal protective equipment sets), hygiene kits, medical equipment and supplies, janitorial services, and waste collection and disposal. OCD is not involved in the actual management and operation of any Covid-19 facility liban po sa pagbibigay ng mga nabanggit (except for the services cited),” he said.

The OCD is the executive arm of the NDRRMC and the implementer of its programs.

“We are confident that the PNP, who manages the Ultra Covid-19 facility, would be able to resolve this matter by verifying where the said chemical actually came from and by examining their procedures involved in disinfecting the facilities they manage as well as the protection of their front-line staff,” Timbal added.

Meanwhile, the PNP clarified the OCD is neither blamed nor pointed to as the source of the concentrated disinfectant solution used by medical and healthcare personnel at the Philsports Arena Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility (PSA TTMF).

“In the interest of a thorough investigation, it was suggested that the OCD be asked to assist in the determination of the chemicals’ source given that it was OCD that accredited the service providers in the quarantine facilities operated by the PNP,” said PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac in a statement.

The PNP earlier noted that the chemical disinfectant used in another PNP-managed quarantine facility at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City is hypoallergenic and biodegradable and that the PSA TTMF and PICC have different service providers.

Philippines News Agency

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