India, Japan join hands to break China’s ‘string of pearls’

TOKYO: Despite Beijing’s fulminations, India and Japan on Wednesday lifted their strategic convergence to a new level by vowing to work together for ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of growing muscle-flexing by China.

As Japan pledged financial assistance for big-ticket projects like the Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor and third line of Mumbai Metro and displayed willingness for early conclusion of India’s effort for civil nuclear cooperation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe spoke of a partnership of the two democracies against use of force to change the order in Asia: diplomatic shorthand for Chinese attempt to arm-twist Japan and other nations into making territorial concessions. Continue reading

Russia and India Sign $3 Billion Weapons Agreement

India agreed Monday of last week to buy $2.9 billion worth of Russian military equipment, as Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the longtime Kremlin ally. The quantities at play here mean these transactions are, literally, a big deal. It’s the equivalent of one fifth of Russia’s total defense sales in 2012. Germany, the world’s third-largest arms exporter, approved a total of $7.1 billion worth of exports in 2011.

The agreement says India will buy kits to assemble 42 Sukhoi-30 fighter jets for $1.6 billion, and 71 Mi-17 military helicopters for $1.3 billion. Russia has custom designed the jets specifically for India, and they are engineered to become the very backbone of the nation’s air force. Russia and India have also recently collaborated on a supersonic missile for the Sukhoi-30s, and India is rumored to be equipping this jet to deliver its nuclear weapons. “We agreed to strengthen the partnership of Russia and India in the area of military equipment cooperation further and advance new projects, including creating joint ventures and transferring technology,” Putin said after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Continue reading