India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

U.S. asks Pak. to curb nuke arsenal

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8.U.S. asks Pak. to curb nuke arsenal

The U.S. has asked Pakistan and all other nuclear-armed countries to exercise restraint in expanding their nuclear capabilities after two American think-tanks said Pakistan could have the third largest stockpile of atomic weapons in about a decade.

“We continue to urge all nuclear-capable states, including Pakistan, to exercise restraint regarding furthering their nuclear capabilities,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday.

He was responding to a question on a latest report by two top American think-tanks, according to which in a decade or so, Pakistan would have more than 350 nuclear weapons that would be third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons after the United State and Russia.

The 48-page report titled “A Normal Nuclear Pakistan” by two renowned scholars Tom Dalton and Michael Krepon of Stimson Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says that the growth path of the country’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by its officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices.

The report said that Pakistan will retain its capabilities for the foreseeable future as a necessary deterrent against perceived existential threats from India. — PTI

9.Follow Indian model in ties with Afghanistan, China told

Lauding India’s constructive role in Afghanistan, the U.S. has asked China to follow the Indian model of engagement and developmental efforts in the war-torn country.

India has played a constructive role over the last several years inside Afghanistan, and we would look to other nations like China to do the same,” State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters yesterday.

India has so far given financial assistance worth over $2 billion to Afghanistan and has been involved in massive developmental efforts in this war-torn country.

“I think everybody in the international community could benefit from an Afghanistan that is secure and stable and prosperous. We want to make sure that we’re all pulling on the same oars here to get Afghanistan to that better future,” Kirby said. — PTI

10.Kim Jong-Un credits nukes for peace deal

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said nuclear weapons, not negotiating skills, secured this week’s “landmark” deal with South Korea.

Chairing a meeting of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), Kim credited the North with striking the deal that ended a tense military standoff with the South, Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency said on Friday. The deal pulled both sides back from the brink of an armed conflict and committed them to starting an official dialogue.

Top officials dismissed

The meeting “dismissed some members of the Central Military Commission and appointed new ones and dealt with an organisational matter,” it said, without elaborating on the reason for the dismissals.

11.U.S. security adviser in China ahead of Xi’s trip

The U.S. national security adviser met with President Xi Jinping on Friday amid final preparations for the Chinese leader’s visit to Washington next month, with both sides expressing optimism despite their differences.

Susan Rice’s visit to Beijing comes as China is dealing with fallout from a sharply sliding stock market and slowing economic growth that have rattled global markets. A move to devalue its currency and make Chinese exports more competitive has brought criticism from some U.S. politicians, in a throwback to past years when Beijing was accused of manipulating its currency.

The economic setbacks are seen as weakening Xi’s clout as he prepares to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House in late September. — AP

12.U.S. court rules in favour of NSA phone snooping

A U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned a ruling that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records was illegal, saying the plaintiffs failed to show they were victims.

The court’s decision on the NSA’s collection of phone metadata was consistent with the Obama administration’s stance that the intelligence gathering programmes are constitutional, the White House said on Friday.

The federal court threw out a judge’s ruling that would have blocked the NSA’s metadata collection. A lower court, in a preliminary 2013 ruling, said the programme was probably unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.”

But the appellate panel said the case should not proceed because the plaintiffs failed to show they had been targeted for surveillance as part of the programme. — Agencies

13.Seychelles may join India-led maritime security alliance

Days after India reset its relations with 14 Pacific Island countries, Seychelles, a key power in the Indian Ocean, declared it might join an India-led trilateral security framework that also includes Sri Lanka and Maldives. 

On a visit to India, President James Alix Michel, President of Seychelles told a select audience at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA), "with regards to safeguarding maritime domain, Seychelles is actively considering invitation by the Indian government to join the tripartite maritime security framework which encompasses India, Sri Lanka and Maldives." In words that would be music to Indian ears, Michel asserted that the Indian Ocean region "belongs" to countries sharing maritime boundaries here. 

"... One thing that Seychelles does recognize is that Indian Ocean belongs to us. It belongs to the countries in the region. In terms of peace, security and stability these are questions we must look at in terms of the presence of foreign forces, foreign naval forces, and foreign countries in our region... In terms of geopolitics we need an ocean that is free from politics. We also recognize the right of other countries to be present and work with us in terms of economic prosperity and in the concept of blue economy," Seychelles foreign minister Joel Morgan said. 

"We cannot leave it to others to secure our maritime space. The need is more relevant than ever. Today we have with India an exemplary partnership in defence and security sectors. India's determined and proactive action in fight against piracy is highly commendable," Michel said. 

Modi had made Seychelles one of the stops in his big Indian Ocean foray in March. India has extended the Indian Ocean security framework by inviting Mauritius and Seychelles to the last meeting as observers. That outreach has been strengthened by the Narendra Modi government. In fact, as Maldives becomes a less stable nation in a crucial part of the world, India is hoping to invest more in Seychelles and Mauritius, to offset the difficulties created by Maldives. Although during a recent visit by the Maldives foreign secretary, the Maldivian president, Abdulla Yameen asserted that he would not let a new land law affect the security of the Indian Ocean region, India is clearly hedging its bets. Seychelles too has a close relationship with China but India is betting on its growing presence and interest in the Indian Ocean country. 

Both with the Pacific island countries and in the Indian Ocean region, India is pushing the mantra of the "blue economy" to expand its partnerships. 

From Fiji to Nauru and Tuvalu, New Delhi has opened up travel opportunities to India by giving them gratis visas. India has big attractions in terms of helping these countries build capacities, both human as well as in agriculture and marine activities. Fiji officials said India's innovations are cheaper and easier to adapt to their conditions. "With a little investment, India can achieve a lot," they said. The same goes for Seychelles, which is an enthusiastic user of India's pan-African e-network, particularly for medical diagnosis.

 14.India poised to gain from China crisis

Amid the global economic gloom, triggered by a slowing Chinese economy, most economists maintained that India's growth prospects were brighter than those of other emerging markets.

1.China muscles loss can lead to six-pack India: Arvind Panagariya

Panagariya said in his view the developments in China and their knock-on impact were better categorised as 'turmoil' than as a 'crisis'.Panagariya said this presented a huge opportunity for India.

2.Foreign media sees India benefiting from China’s slowdown

India stands to benefit from China's slowdown thanks to its resilient consumer spending and improving macroeconomic fundamentals.

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