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Coast Guard vital for coastal trade, maritime security: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu

PANAJI: Union minister for railways Suresh Prabhu[1] on Tuesday asserted that in the next 10-15 years, India would be one of the top three economic powers in the world but for India to achieve that goal, a multi-modal coastal transport remained a vital cog. Speaking while commissioning Indian Coast Guard[2] ship Shaunak[3] at Goa Shipyard Limited[4], Prabhu[5] said that coastal security was key to India’s security and economic prosperity.

“I believe that in the days to come, based on the way our economy is growing currently, in 10-15 years, India will be the second or third largest economy in the world. Trade has always been an important factor for the economic development and international trade will be equally important,” Prabhu said while interacting with the media.

Most of India’s import and export trade passes through the country’s major shipping ports along the country’s eastern and western coast. “If you see, quite a large part of the rail network runs along the coast and in a way, the coast guard[6] helps protect this rail network. Multi-modal transportation is going to be an important thing… Rail infrastructure is susceptible and the Coast Guard helps in its protection,” Prabhu said. Stay updated on the go with Times of India News[7] App. Click here[8] to download it for your device.

References

  1. ^ Suresh Prabhu (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  2. ^ Indian Coast Guard (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  3. ^ Shaunak (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  4. ^ Goa Shipyard Limited (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  5. ^ Prabhu (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  6. ^ coast guard (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  7. ^ News (play.google.com)
  8. ^ here (get.timesofindia.com)

Defence expansion would break the budget if Australia ditches US alliance: Angus Houston

Scrapping the US alliance would force Australia to meet its own defence costs, hammering the federal budget, former chief of defence Angus Houston has warned, while also counselling the Turnbull government against over-reacting to China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea. He said Australia should not contemplate naval exercises close to the recently constructed islands, and should instead focus on diplomatic representations designed to halt further militarisation.

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Tillerson talks tough about Russia, China

At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Russia “poses a danger” and that China should be denied access to islands it has built in the South China Sea. Sir Angus, arguably Australia’s pre-eminent defence elder, said the US-Australia and New Zealand defence pact known as ANZUS, had been the institutional key to Australia’s national security since the blackest days of World War II.

“It has been the cornerstone of our defence policy ever since,” he said during an address to the National Press Club on the topic of Australia’s US alliance.

Picking up the tab for defences provided as an alliance obligation by Washington, would see pressure put on already stretched health and education commitments. He estimated the replacement cost of the US alliance would cause a virtual doubling of the current spending on defence to as high as 4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.

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In 2016-17, Australia will spend $33.931 billion on defence, which constitutes 1.94 per cent of GDP. If Australia were to increase to 4 per cent, its projected defence spend in 2017-18 would go from just over $35 billion to more than $72 billion – a jump of $37.3 billion. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is currently in Washington to strengthen the relationship with Trump administration officials, and is expected to discuss a possible request for an increased Australian contribution in Iraq in the fight against IS, and the refugee resettlement agreement.

Defence Expansion Would Break The Budget If Australia Ditches US Alliance: Angus Houston Sir Angus Houston addresses the National Press Club in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

Australian concerns over the reliability of the alliance have increased in recent months, fuelled by the volatility of policy emanating from President Donald Trump, who has railed against alliance partner countries that duck the full costs of their own protection. Speaking in Munich on Monday, US Vice-President Mike Pence, pointedly stopped short of withdrawing his boss’s warning that the failure of NATO member states to meet their obligations could see the US refuse to to come to their aid under the terms on that agreement.

Defence Expansion Would Break The Budget If Australia Ditches US Alliance: Angus Houston Illustration: Ron Tandberg.

“We vowed in that treaty to contribute our fair share to our common defence,” Mr Pence said.

“The promise to share the burden of our defence has gone unfulfilled for too many for too long and it erodes the very foundation of our alliance. When even one ally fails to do their part, it undermines all of our ability to come to each other’s aid.”

Asked about China’s creation of artificial islands, Mr Houston said a diplomatic course was required, warning that engaging in direct freedom of navigation voyages within the 12-mile zone would be counter-productive.

“Frankly, I don’t see a need to put a ship in close proximity to an artificial island claimed by China, I thinks that’s something that may result in consequences that we’d rather avoid,” he said. Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating has proposed a more independent stance for Australia, arguing our security should be more rooted within the region than it has been in the past.

“Our future is basically in the region around us in South-East Asia,” he told the ABC’s 7.30.

“It’s time to cut the tag. It’s time to get out of it.”

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References

  1. ^ Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com)

Trump just made a fantastic choice for his new national security adviser

Trump Just Made A Fantastic Choice For His New National Security AdviserUS Army

President Donald Trump just named Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his next national security adviser[1]. The 54-year-old Army officer is the epitome of the warrior-scholar, and he’s as well known for his heroics in battle as he is for his intellectual pursuits. Though Michael Flynn, whom McMaster is replacing, was rather controversial the retired general peddled conspiracy theories and ultimately resigned amid accusations he misled Vice President Mike Pence about a phone call with Russia’s ambassador to the US I don’t suspect anything other than professionalism and solid advice being given to the president by McMaster.

Here’s why.

He commands a great deal of respect from his troops

Much like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was revered by his troops while serving as a general in the Marine Corps, McMaster has earned a great deal of respect from soldiers. That’s because his career has been marked by personal heroism, excellent leadership, and his tendency to buck traditional ways of thinking. As a captain during the Gulf War in 1991, McMaster made a name for himself during the Battle of 73 Easting[2]. Though his tank unit was vastly outnumbered by the Iraqi Republican Guard, he didn’t lose a single tank in the engagement, while the Iraqis lost nearly 80. His valor and leadership that day earned him the Silver Star, the third-highest award for bravery. Then there was his leadership during the Iraq War, during which he was one of the first commanders to use counterinsurgency tactics. Before President George W. Bush authorized a troop “surge” that pushed US forces to protect the population and win over Iraqi civilians, it was McMaster who demonstrated it could work in the city of Tal Afar[3].

He’s far from a being a ‘yes’ man

McMaster is the kind of guy who says what’s on his mind and will call out a wrongheaded approach when he sees one. That tendency is something that junior officers love, but those maverick ways are not well-received by some of his fellow generals. Put simply: McMaster isn’t a political guy, unlike other officers who are trying to jockey for position and move up in their careers. In 2003, for example[4], McMaster criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Iraq War plan that placed too much of an emphasis on technology. McMaster also pushed back on his boss’ refusal to admit an insurgency was starting to take hold in 2004. He has been held back in his career because of it he was passed over two times[5] for his first star but it wasn’t because of incompetence. Instead, his fight to be promoted from colonel to brigadier general was seen as pure politics, and McMaster doesn’t like to play. He was eventually promoted in 2008, but that hasn’t made him any less outspoken.

He’s a strategic thinker with a Ph.D.

McMaster has a lot in common with another well-known general: David Petraeus. In fact, he was one of a select few officers who were in the Petraeus “brain trust[6]” during the Iraq War. McMaster is an expert on military strategy, counterinsurgency, and history. And he, like Petraeus, stands out among military officers, since both earned advanced degrees. McMaster holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, where his dissertation went far beyond the readership of just a few professors.

Titled “Dereliction of Duty[7],” McMaster’s dissertation became an authoritative book on how the US became involved in the Vietnam War. Much of the book’s focus is on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whom McMaster criticized for failing to push back against President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“McMaster stresses two elements in his discussion of America’s failure in Vietnam: the hubris of Johnson and his advisors and the weakness of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” a review on Amazon says[8]. Whether McMaster can transition well from the Army to the White House is the big question now, but he’s one of the best people Trump could have picked. And like Mattis, he seems unafraid to challenge the president’s views.

“He’s not just a great fighter and not just a conscientious leader,” one Army officer told me of McMaster. “He’s also an intellectual, a historian, and a forward-thinking planner who can see future trends without getting caught up in bandwagon strategic fads.”

That’s exactly the kind of person Trump needs. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

References

  1. ^ as his next national security adviser (www.businessinsider.com)
  2. ^ Battle of 73 Easting (www.benning.army.mil)
  3. ^ in the city of Tal Afar (www.newyorker.com)
  4. ^ for example (www.newyorker.com)
  5. ^ over two times (www.slate.com)
  6. ^ brain trust (www.washingtonpost.com)
  7. ^ Dereliction of Duty (www.amazon.com)
  8. ^ says (www.amazon.com)
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