India, China sign first security cooperation agreement

India and China signed the first-ever agreement on security cooperation which will strengthen and consolidate assistance in counter-terrorism, organized crimes, drug control, human trafficking and exchange of information, marking a new beginning between the two countries.

The agreement was signed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and China’s State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, a move that came just a year after the two-month-long border stand-off between the Indian Army and the China’s People’s Liberation Army at Doklam on the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction last year.

The agreement followed the first high-level meeting on bilateral security cooperation co-chaired by Rajnath Singh and Zhao, who was heading a delegation of over 30 Chinese diplomats. Zhao is on a visit to India from October 21 to 25 during which he will also travel to Mumbai.

A Home Ministry statement said the two sides discussed counter-terrorism cooperation and welcomed increased cooperation between the two countries in the area of security during the meeting.

While Rajnath Singh is the head of eight central armed police forces with a combined strength of about 10 lakh personnel, Zhao is responsible for day-to-day law enforcement in China and commands about 19 lakh personnel.

Officials in the Home Ministry said there had been a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries earlier between 2005-2015.

The agreement followed by the high-level meeting may lead to a future India-China agreement on the exchange of sentenced prisoners, the official said.

Currently, India does not have an extradition treaty with China, nor a pact to exchange each other’s sentenced prisoners.

The Chinese delegation earlier in the day also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Central Reserve Police Force Chief R.R. Bhatnagar.

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Singapore Hosts 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting and 5th ADMM-Plus

India has continued to reiterate its stand on terrorism and would not hesitate to take the strongest measures if required, warns Indian Defence Minister, in a veiled reference to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

The 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and 5th ADMM-Plus were held on October 19 and 20, 2018 Singapore. ADMM and ADMM-Plus serve as key Ministerial-level platforms in regional security architecture for promoting strategic dialogue and practical cooperation between ASEAN  and its partners. The conferences were attended by defense ministers from India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US.  India was represented by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This was the second time Singapore has chaired ADMM since its establishment in 2006 and first time to chair ADMM-Plus since its establishment in 2010. The theme of this year’s dialogue was ‘Strengthening Cooperation, Building Resilience’.

ADMM and ADMM-Plus serve as key Ministerial-level platforms in regional security architecture for promoting strategic dialogue and practical cooperation between ASEAN and its partners.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

At present, there are 10 members namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.

ADMM-Plus:

ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and it is eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defense co-operation for peace, stability, and development in the region. Its objective is to promote mutual trust and confidence between defense establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.

The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010. The defense ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian assistance.

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Ajit Doval to head key panel set up to assist National Security Council

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval During the parliament on 19th dec 2017. Express photo by Renuka Puri.

A panel, headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, has been set up to assist the National Security Council that advises the Prime Minister on matters of national security and strategic interests, officials said on Tuesday. The Strategic Policy Group (SPG) will assist the NSC and undertake, among other tasks, a long-term strategic review of the country’s security affairs.

It will also act as the principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in the formulation of national security policies, a top Home Ministry official said.

It will be headed by a National Security Advisor. Its members include the NITI Aayog vice chairman, cabinet secretary, the chiefs of the three defense services, the RBI governor, the foreign secretary, the home secretary, the finance secretary, and the defense secretary.

The secretary of the Department of Defence Production and Supplies, the scientific adviser to the defense minister and the secretary, cabinet secretariat will also be members of the panel.

The other members are a secretary, department of revenue; secretary, department of atomic energy; secretary, department of space; director, Intelligence Bureau, and secretary, National Security Council Secretariat.

Representatives of other ministries and departments will be invited to the meetings of the group as and when necessary.

It will assist the National Security Council and undertake among other tasks, a long-term strategic review of the country’s security affairs.

It will be the principal mechanism for inter-ministerial coordination and integration of relevant inputs in the formulation of national security policies.

The NSA will convene the meetings of the SPG and the cabinet secretary will coordinate implementation of the group’s decisions by union ministries and departments, and state governments.

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Union Home Secretary launches ‘e-Sahaj’ portal for grant of Security Clearance

The Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba launched an online ‘e-Sahaj’ portal here today for grant of Security Clearance. The portal will facilitate an applicant to submit an application online and also to view the status of his application from time to time.

About Security clearances:

MHA is the nodal Ministry for security clearances in certain sensitive sectors before the issue of license/permit, permission, contract etc, to companies/ bidders/individuals by the administrative Ministry.

The objective of national security clearance is to evaluate potential security threats, including economic threats, and provide risk assessment before clearing investment and project proposals in key sectors.

The aim is to strike a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country.

The significance of the portal:

With the introduction of the online portal, the process has become standardized, resulting in a process which will be faster, transparent and easy to monitor. Various functionaries can access the application and documents online and take timely decisions.

MHA has cleared about 1,100 cases of security clearance in the past one year. Although the given timeline is 90 days, MHA strives to decide Security Clearance cases in 60 days (average time per case in 2018 is 53 days), which is being reduced further. In 2016, there were 209 cases which were over 6 months old; in 2017, this came down to 154 cases and further down to 47 cases in 2018.

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Counter-drone strategy for airports ready

Aviation security watchdog BCAS has finalized a strategy to neutralize drones near airports, with the government set to unveil a framework to regulate unmanned aircraft systems in the country.

The counter-drone plan prepared by a committee headed by Director General of BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security) Kumar Rajesh Chandra has proposed neutralizing drones through a “soft kill” approach which will include entrapping or jamming drones instead of destroying them.

The strategy deals with drones operating near aerodromes as the body is mandated to ensure aviation security. The Ministry of Home Affairs may prepare a separate plan to deal with drone attacks in sensitive zones such as Parliament, said a government official.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had released draft rules for unmanned aircraft systems in November last year and proposed to ban their operation within 5 km radius of an airport and 50 km from an international border.

About BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security):

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is an attached office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India.

It is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India.

It is headed by an officer of the rank of Director General of Police and is designated as Commissioner of Security (Civil Aviation).

Commissioner of security (CA) is the appropriate authority for implementation of Annexure 17 to Chicago convention of International civil aviation organization (ICAO)

Commissioner of security (CA) is responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme.

The main responsibility of BCAS is laying down standards and measures in respect of the security of civil flights at International and domestic airports in India.

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Uruguay Army official appointed as head of UNMOGIP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed a veteran Uruguay Army general as the chief military observer of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, which New Delhi says has outlived its utility and relevance after the Shimla Agreement.

The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established in January 1949 with first team of unarmed military observers arriving in Jammu and Kashmir to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan, and to assist the Military Adviser to the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), established in 1948 by the UN Security Council.

Following the India-Pakistan war in 1971 and a subsequent ceasefire agreement, the tasks of UNMOGIP have been to observe, to the extent possible, developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of December 17, 1971, and to report to the Secretary-General.

India has maintained that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Shimla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.

UNMOGIP, one of the oldest UN mission, was deployed in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The tasks of UNMOGIP have been to observe, to the extent possible, developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of 17 December 1971 and to report thereon to the Secretary-General.

The group, based in Rawalpindi, is composed of 43 military observers and 23 international civilian personnel.

Since the Simla Agreement of 1972, India has adopted a non-recognition policy towards third parties in their bilateral exchanges with Pakistan over the question regarding the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The military authorities of Pakistan have continued to lodge alleged ceasefire violations complaints with UNMOGIP.

The military authorities of India have lodged no complaints since January 1972 limiting the activities of the UN observers on the Indian-administered side of the Line of Control, though they continue to provide the necessary security, transport, and other services to UNMOGIP.

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ARMY FINALISES AMMUNITION PRODUCTION PROJECT

After years of deliberations, the Army has finalised a mega Rs 15,000-crore project under which a range of ammunition for its critical weapons and tanks will be produced indigenously to overcome long delays in imports and address the problem of a dwindling stockpile.

Official sources told that 11 private firms would be involved in the ambitious project, the implementation of which is being monitored by the top brass of the Army and the Defence Ministry.

The immediate aim of the closely guarded project — said to be the biggest ever initiative for the indigenisation of ammunition — is to create an inventory for all major weapons to enable the forces to fight a 30-day war while the long-term objective is to cut dependence on imports.

Initially, ammunition for a range of rockets, air defence system, artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles, grenade launchers and various other field weapons would be produced under “strict timelines”, a source said.

The production targets would be revised based on the result of the first phase of the implementation of the program.

The sources indicated the broad contours of the project were discussed at a conference of the Army’s top commanders here last month.

The initiative is seen as the first serious attempt by the government to address growing concerns voiced over the last many years by defence forces over the fast dwindling stockpile of key ammunition when China has been significantly ramping up its military capability, an issue that has been discussed by successive governments.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been pushing for fast-tracking the procurement of weapons and ammunition for the world’s second-largest standing Army, considering the evolving security threats in the region.

In July last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in a report tabled in Parliament, said a stock of only 61 types of ammunition out of 152 varieties was available, and these would only last for 10 days in the event of a war.

According to laid down security protocol, the stockpile should be adequate for a month-long war.

The sources said long delays in negotiations and subsequent procedural hurdles in the import of ammunition had adversely impacted the country’s defence preparedness and that was why the indigenisation program had been initiated.

Last year, the government had empowered the Army to directly procure ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapon systems and equipment after an internal review found the optimum level of “war stores” was not being maintained.

Considering the Army’s demand, the government has already finalised one of the biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which large numbers of light machine guns, battle carbines, and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore.

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MHA gives security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals in 4 years

The Home Ministry has given security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals, including Foreign Direct Investment, in the last four years.

The ministry has expedited the security clearance procedure after completely revamping the entire process and relaxing various norms.

The home ministry granted the security clearance to 815 investment proposals in 2014, 1,201 proposals in 2015 and 1,260 in 2016, a ministry official said.

In 2017, security clearances were given to around 1,200 investment proposals, the official said. In addition, 543 proposals were automatically cleared in 2015 due to an implementation of the revised policy guidelines.

Policy for national security clearance:

The Ministry of Home Affairs has formulated a policy for national security clearance for certain sensitive sectors of the economy by codifying all existing practices. In addition, the policy has also liberalized certain investment restrictions existing earlier.

The new policy is aimed at bringing about a healthy balance between meeting the imperatives of national security and facilitating ease of doing business and promoting investment in the country.

Under the new policy, fifteen parameters have been laid down where inputs from security agencies will be sought.

The parameters on which inputs would be sought by the security agencies would be money laundering charges against the promoters, terrorist angle, financial fraud and scam, passport fraud, links with external intelligence agencies and conviction for any serious crime like murder.

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