30-AUGUST-2018 : TOD
- India to have new Disaster warning system
- India is set to get more disaster warning systems along its coasts. While it already has a tsunami warning system in place, the new systems will keep an eye out for “tsunamis and storm surges,”
- The system is part of a programme called O-SMART (Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science) that is being piloted by the Union earth sciences ministry. It was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs at an outlay of 1,623 crore.
- O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal States, defence, shipping, ports, etc.
- Other key missions under O-SMART include strengthening of Ocean Observations and Modelling, strengthening of Ocean Services for fishermen, setting up marine observatories for monitoring marine pollution, setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti, acquiring two coastal research vessels, continuation of ocean survey and exploration of minerals and living resources, technology development for Deep Ocean Mining and manned submersibles and the setting up six desalination plants in Lakshadweep.
- India –US 2+2 Dialogue
- The India-U.S. “2+2” dialogue will see the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis. The purpose is to get four key policymakers on the same page.
- This stems from the idea that India-U.S. ties are increasingly strategic, and in recent years, there have been concerns that while military ties and exercises have increased rapidly, diplomatic convergences aren’t keeping pace.
- Conversely, despite close diplomatic exchanges, key defence agreements have not yet been completed. Several deals and high technology purchases require U.S. Congress clearance too, so it was felt necessary for the defence and diplomatic arms of Delhi and Washington to meet. The talks will also review the S.’s South Asia policy on Afghanistan and its Indo-Pacific strategy, both of which give India centre stage.
- The idea for the meeting was discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington in June 2017 and was subsequently announced by U.S. President Donald Trump.
- What are some of the achievable outcomes from the visit?
- Apart from discussions on various defence purchases ranging from missile systems (NASAMS-II) to helicopters (24 Sikorsky MH-60 Romeo maritime helicopters) to drones (predator-B), the two sides are expected to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that has been pending for some years due to objections in India over sharing critical information.
- S. restrictions on defence purchases from Russia under the new CAATSA law will also be on the table for talks. Reports indicate that India may also be prepared to set up a direct hotline on Defence between Ms. Sitharaman and Mr. Mattis. Cooperation on fighting terrorism is expected to be a major issue for discussion and India is likely to push for the UNSC designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist.
- The U.S. is also likely to push for India’s support in its campaign against Iran, although its demand that the Modi government cut its Iranian oil imports have thus far not borne fruit.
- India’s impending action at the WTO against the U.S., the Reserve Bank of India’s “data localisation” order, and price caps on medical devices.