Sushma's China visit will test India's multi-vectored diplomacy
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has arrived in Beijing to insulate and advance a growing economic relationship with China, from the headwinds of competing geopolitical interests in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific.
- Observers point out that an expansion of Chinese investments is crucial for Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” campaign, aimed at boosting manufacturing in India. Ms. Swaraj is expected to meet top Chinese investors. China is investing in two major industrial parks in India, focused on manufacturing automobile parts and electrical equipment. The Chinese are also set to conduct a feasibility to establish a New Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway link.
- China has already trained two batches of Indians in its railway academy in Beijing. Ms. Swaraj’s visit is also seen as preparation for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China later this year.The Prime Minister is expected to visit Kailash Mansoravar, which has now been connected by a new route through Nathu La in Sikkim.
- New Delhi is in a good position to leverage its relationship with the U.S. to move into strategic areas of cooperation with China and Russia.
- There will also meeting of Russia-Indian-China (RIC) grouping, and a dinner hosted by Mr. Wang.
- China has invited India to join its 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, but New Delhi is biding its time before making a firm commitment. However, India has become a staunch supporter of China-initiated, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is also likely to be used for funding MSR projects.Ms. Swaraj is expected to discuss in greater detail with her hosts, the Bangladesh-China-India-Mynamar economic corridor.
Canister-firing of Agni-V missile successful
- The flight-trial of the country’s Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), Agni-V, from a canister(Shot or bullets packed in a metallic cylinder, to be fired from a cannon; case shot; shrapnel) was a grand success on 31st January, marking another technological milestone in the strategic missile programme.
- At 8.09 a.m., the missile smoothly shot out of the confines of a canister mounted on a TATRA truck on the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast, and traversed its full range of more than 5,000 km before plunging into the Indian Ocean.
- The missile was launched in its final, deliverable configuration. It can carry a nuclear warhead weighing 1.1 tonnes. This is the third success in a row for Agni-V but it is the first time that it is being launched from a canister. A canister launch means it can lift off from a truck on roads or open spaces anywhere.
- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed the 50-tonne, 17-metre-long, three-stage missile.
- A happy Avinash Chander, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and DRDO Director General, called it “India’s first-ever ICBM launch from a canister and a giant leap in the country’s deterrence capability.”
- With its range of 5,000 km, the missile can reach a vast portion of China and Europe.