Summary

Page no. 1

China in mind, India and Japan agree to deepend strategic ties

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised the Doklam standoff issue with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the dinner on Wednesday. Referring to Japan's tiff and dealing with China as very challenging, the Japanese PM discussed China with Indian PM. The tiff between Japan and China experience cropped up between 2012 to 2014 over claims to Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and soured bilateral relations between the two countries. It ended with a four point reconciliation term and a handshake with the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the end of 2014. The Japanese PM also complemented Narendra Modi on standing his ground and handling the Doklam standoff situation very maturely. On the bilateral meeting held at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre in Gandhinagar, the two leaders spoke about their deep commitment to restoring peace and stability in the Indo-pacific region. The joint statement released later highlighted a strong viewpoint on strategic convergence and the concerns of the two countries on Pakistan based terror groups, North Korea’s nuclear programme and the One Belt and One Road project by China. In reference to the Pakistan based terror groups, the two leaders stated that they jointly look forward to strengthening the cooperation against any terrorist threats from groups like Al-Qaida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and their affiliates. The North Korea situation was also reflected in elaborate in the joint statement. In view of the concerns by Japan, India also referred to its concern over the issue and pointed out the links between Pakistan and Chinese nuclear programme as well as the North Korea programme. On the defence front, the Japanese and Indian PM agreed to mutually enhance defence and security cooperation as well as dialogues between them. They also ensure cooperation in activities like the Malabar exercise and other joint exercises as well as defence equipment and surveillance and defence industry technologies. The two leaders also flagged cooperation among the navy sectors of both the countries on anti-submarine aspects. Regarding the civilian nuclear cooperation, both India and Japan formed an active working group for strengthening their cooperation days after the pact comes into effect.
Page no. 1

Bullet train loan rate 0.1%, free in a way: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday stated that the bullet train project would provide optimum productivity with high-speed connectivity for the people of the country. In the inauguration programme of the start of work of the 508 km project from Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed corridor, PM Modi along with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe said that project is possible only because of a loan of Rs. 88,000 crore from the Japanese side provided at 0.1% interest to be repaid over 50 years. The Japan International Cooperation Agency is financing around 81% of the Rs 1.08 lakh crore project. At the inauguration ceremony, both the leaders pressed a button on a remote control device from the dais and unveiled the foundation stone for the project. The high-speed bullet train project was conceived years before on paper but only picked up speed three years back after the NDA government came to power. The official completion date set for the bullet train is 2023, which the government is trying hard to advance it by a year to coincide with the 75 years of independence celebrations in India. According to the officials, the high-speed bullet train would take only 2.07 hours to cover the entire distance at a maximum speed of 350 km per hour with only four halts. Prime Minister Modi stated that the high-speed corridor, as well as other developments in the rail sector like the doubling of lines and the Dedicated Freight Corridor, was a part of the economic growth process. The Japanese PM on his part stated that Kawasaki Heavy Industries and India's BHEL companies will come together and manufacture rolling stock for the ambitious project.
Page no. 4

Refusing to lift ban, NGT says diesel cars older than 10 years 'carcinogenic'

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) refused straightaway to lift a ban imposed on the diesel vehicles which are older than 10 years. On this issue, the NGT stated the ban would stay as the emissions from the diesel vehicles are 'carcinogenic'. The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises requested the NGT to reconsider the ban. The ban on diesel vehicles was imposed on 7th April 2015 in Delhi-NCR as the pollution levels from the diesel cars is much more in comparison to other fuel types. Later again on 18th and 20th July 2016, the NGT order deregistration of 10 to 15 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi-NCR. In the recent order, the NGT also stated that the Centre failed to prove that the use of the 10-yr-old diesel vehicles is not harmful at all. It also referred to an earlier report in this case which was published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and stated that the use of diesel vehicles on the road was highly toxic and carcinogenic and also leads to untimely deaths. The tribunal refused to agree with any submission by the Ministry that the order banning all 10-yr-old diesel vehicles and directing the order to be simultaneously scrapped was in violation of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The NGT stated that 15-year-old diesel vehicles should be de-reregistered at first and then will get a No Objection Certificate for their plying outside Delhi. Only the de-registered vehicles which are less than 15 years old would acquire the NoC to play in selected areas outside Delhi-NCR and the areas would be decided by states having lesser vehicle density.
Page no. 9

Second time in 2 months: India, Pak hold talks

In two months for the second time, India and Pakistan submitted themselves effectively to the World Bank to together resolve a dispute over their respective interpretations of the historic Indus Water Treaty. The talks were attended by the Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary in charge of the Pakistan desk in External Affairs Ministry in the delegation led by the Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh. The water talks by World Bank with Pakistan would take place on Thursday and Friday in Washington DC. India earlier shunned any dialogue talks over the Indus Water treaty after the cross border terrorism attacks on Uri and Pathankot last year. The Indus Water Treaty is a water distribution treaty between the countries of India and Pakistan and is brokered by the World Bank. The treaty was signed on 19th September 1960 in Karachi between the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and then Pakistan President Ayub Khan. The dispute on the treaty was over the construction of two huge hydroelectric plants on the Kishenganga (330mw) and Ratle (850 MW) tributaries of the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers respectively. Taking the provision of the treaty which allows other uses like the construction of hydroelectric plants, India looked forward to constructing these dams. Pakistan, however, complained to the World Bank that India was violating the Indus Water Treaty as it was given full unrestricted use of waters of both the western rivers. It objected and requested the World Bank to set an effective Court of Arbitration as India wasn't adhering to the obligations laid out in the treaty. India on its part requested the World Bank to effectively appoint a neutral expert to supervise the matter. India's softening position on Pakistan was highlighted as Delhi decided to drop its objections stated earlier and agree to participate in the dialogue with Pakistan in Washington DC. Senior officials of the World Bank complimented both the delegations of the countries and were happy that the countries displayed a new spirit of goodwill and cooperation.

Editorial

Page no. 14

Like a Bullet

The high-speed railway project (HSR) which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday could be a game changer for the Indian Railways. The Indian Railways are in a dire need of an up gradation- more so, as it has been affected by a box full of problems. From safety to punctuality to maintenance, the HSR cutting edge Shinkansen locomotive technology would be the winds of change for the Indian Railways. In the year 1853, when the first railway's train was unveiled in India, it covered 34 km between Mumbai and Thane in an hour. Fast forward to 160 years later, the average speed of trains of Indian Railways has upgraded to only twice its historic journey. The present situation is such that at 60 km per hour, the India Railways average speed is the slowest in the whole world. Gatiman, the fastest train in India has a top speed of 160 km per hour. However, the new HSR Shinkansen tech-driven bullet trains, when in 2022 it would operate; the trains would run at twice the full speed of Gatiman. The high-speed bullet train would travel between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in just 2-3 hours reducing the 508 km journey by a span of six hours. Shinkansen is a proud symbol of the post war Japanese industrial revolution and rejuvenation. Earning a famed reputation for its reliability, the Shinkansen haven't ever had an accident and its delay on an average is only by a minute. This is its reputation since its launch in the year 1964. The carbon footprint of any passenger travelling by the HSR would be about a fifth of an air traveller. According to government estimates, the HSR would successfully attract more than 35,000 commuters each day by the year 2023, which would give railways its creamy layer from the aviation sector. The estimates also highlight that once successfully in running, the HSR would generate a new well-defined class of passengers and would also successfully generate around 40,000 jobs for people. The Shinkansen technology for the bullet train is expected to further boost the Make in India programme by the Government. However, in addition to the boost for the Shinkansen drove HSR, the Indian Government should also give a comforting look to the Indian Railways and conduct the necessary up-gradation for a better functioning commuting system in India.

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