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16 Apr 2018

Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 percent

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"The official Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 percent to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month. INFLATION The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 2.47% (provisional) for the month of March, 2018 (over March, 2017) as compared to 2.48% (provisional) for the previous month and 5.11% during the corresponding month of the previous year. Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.47% compared to a build up rate of 5.11% in the corresponding period of the previous year. Inflation for important commodities / commodity groups is indicated in Annex-1 and Annex-II. The movement of the index for the various commodity groups is summarized below:- PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 22.62%) The index for this major group declined by 0.5 percent to 127.4 (provisional) from 128 (provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items which showed variations during the month are as follows:- The index for ‘Food Articles’ group declined by 0.4 percent to 137.2 (provisional) from 137.8 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of egg (5%), gram, tea, coffee, poultry chicken and condiments & spices (3% each), rajma (2%) and fish-inland, masur, bajra, fruits & vegetables and beef and buffalo meat (1% each). However, the price of ragi (3%), jowar and fish-marine (2% each) and peas/chawali, moong, betel leaves, wheat, paddy and pork (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Non-Food Articles’ group declined by 0.3 percent to 120.2 (provisional) from 120.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of guar seed (7%), niger seed (6%), floriculture (5%), raw cotton, cotton seed, skins (raw) and gingelly seed (3% each), copra (coconut) (2%) and linseed, castor seed, raw jute, groundnut seed and rape & mustard seed (1% each). However, the price of raw silk (7%), mesta and hides (raw) (5% each), sunflower (4%), soyabean (3%), fodder (2%) and raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Minerals’ group declined by 2.0 percent to 119.7 (provisional) from 122.2 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of copper concentrate (14%) and phosphorite (1%). However, the price of iron ore (15%), chromite (13%), manganese ore (6%), limestone (5%) and zinc concentrate and lead concentrate (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas’ group declined by 0.5 percent to 80.2 (provisional) from 80.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of crude petroleum (1%). FUEL & POWER (Weight 13.15%) The index for this major group declined by 0.1 percent to 98.0 (provisional) from 98.1 (provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items which showed variations during the month are as follows:- The index for ‘Mineral Oils’ group declined by 1.4 percent to 88.5 (provisional) from 89.8 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of LPG (6%), naphtha (3%) and HSD, bitumen, petrol and furnace oil (1% each). However, the price of petroleum coke (11%) and kerosene (2%) moved up. The index for ‘Electricity’ group rose by 2.9 percent to 105.4 (provisional) from 102.4 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of electricity (3%). MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS (Weight 64.23%) The index for this major group rose by 0.4 percent to 115.7 (provisional) from 115.2 (provisional) for the previous month. The groups and items which showed variations during the month are as follows:- The index for ‘Manufacture of Food Products’ group rose by 1.0 percent to 127.7 (provisional) from 126.4 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of processed tea (9%), vanaspati, palm oil, buffalo meat, fresh/frozen and rice bran oil (5% each), manufacture of macaroni, noodles, couscous & similar farinaceous products, honey and cotton seed oil (3% each), rice products (2%), manufacture of health supplements, spices (including mixed spices) and basmati rice (2% each) and coffee powder with chicory, soyabean oil, wheat bran, sunflower oil, ghee, manufacture of processed ready to eat food, manufacture of prepared animal feeds, ice cream and chicken/duck, dressed - fresh/frozen (1% each). However, the price of molasses (16%), salt (4%), condensed milk and processing & preserving of fish, crustaceans & molluscs & products thereof (3% each), gram powder (besan) and other meats, preserved/processed (2% each) and groundnut oil, mustard oil, rice, non-basmati, rapeseed oil, powder milk, sooji (rawa), butter, sugar and copra oil (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Beverages’ group rose by 0.4 percent to 119.8 (provisional) from 119.3 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of beer (2%) and wine (1%). However, the price of rectified spirit (2%) and country liquor (1%) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Tobacco Products’ group declined by 0.4 percent to 152.1 (provisional) from 152.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of cigarette (2%). However, the price of biri (1%) moved up. The index for ‘Manufacture of Textiles’ group rose by 0.4 percent to 114.1 (provisional) from 113.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of viscose yarn, manufacture of knitted & crocheted fabrics, synthetic yarn and weaving & finishing of textiles (1% each). However, the price of manufacture of cordage, rope, twine and netting and texturised and twisted yarn (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Wearing Apparel’ group declined by 0.9 percent to 137.8 (provisional) from 139.0 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of manufacture of wearing apparel (woven), except fur apparel and manufacture of knitted & crocheted apparel (1% each). The index for ‘Manufacture of Leather and Related Products’ group declined by 0.9 percent to 120.5 (provisional) from 121.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of belt & other articles of leather (6%), gloves of leather (3%), athletic/sport shoes and canvas shoes (2% each) and harness, saddles & other related items, leather shoe, vegetable tanned leather and travel goods, handbags, office bags, etc. (1% each). The index for ‘Manufacture of Wood and of Products of Wood and Cork ‘ group rose by 0.6 percent to 131.7 (provisional) from 130.9 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of lamination wooden sheets/veneer sheets (2%) and wooden splint and wooden panel (1% each). However, the price of wooden box/crate (1%) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Paper and Paper Products’ group rose by 0.8 percent to 120.9 (provisional) from 120.0 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of paper bag including craft paper bag (17%), duplex paper (3%), newsprint and paper carton/box (2% each) and map litho paper and laminated plastic sheet (1% each). However, the price of card board (6%), base paper (3%) and kraft paper and corrugated paper board (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Printing and Reproduction of Recorded Media ‘ group rose by 0.8 percent to 144.6 (provisional) from 143.5 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of hologram (3d) (3%) and journal/periodical and printed books (1% each). However, the price of printed labels/posters/calendars (2%) and sticker plastic and printed form & schedule (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Products’ group rose by 0.2 percent to 115.2 (provisional) from 115.0 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of hydrogen peroxide (16%), aniline (including pna, ona, ocpna) (6%), gelatine and organic surface active agent (5% each), plasticizer, carbon black and sodium silicate (4% each), acetic acid and its derivatives, catalysts and tooth paste/tooth powder (3% each), nitric acid, hair oil/body oil, polyester chips or polyethylene terepthalate (pet) chips, insecticide and pesticide, di ammonium phosphate, polyester film(metalized), xlpe compound, acrylic fibre, polyester fibre fabric, varnish (all types) and poly vinyl chloride (pvc) (2% each) and nitrogenous fertilizer, others, alkyl benzene, other inorganic chemicals, liquid air & other gaseous products, mosquito coil, powder coating material, mixed fertilizer, ethylene oxide, other petrochemical intermediates and viscose staple fibre (1% each). However, the price of sulphuric acid and creams & lotions for external application (4% each), caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) (3%), menthol, paint, aromatic chemicals, toilet soap, ammonium sulphate, agro chemical formulation, adhesive tape (non-medicinal), rubber chemicals and poly propylene (pp) (2% each) and polyethylene, fungicide, liquid, ethyl acetate, amine, phosphoric acid, fatty acid, detergent cake, washing soap cake/bar/powder, organic chemicals, alcohols, mono ethyl glycol, printing ink and polystyrene, expandable (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals, Medicinal Chemical and Botanical Products’ group rose by 0.2 percent to 121.0 (provisional) from 120.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of vaccine for hepatitis-B (8%), digestive enzymes and antacids (5%), anti cancer drugs (4%), antidiabetic drug excluding insulin (i.e. tolbutam) and antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory formulations (2% each) and plastic capsules and anti-retroviral drugs for HIV treatment (1% each). However, the price of vaccine for polio (3%) and sulpha drugs, antioxidants, simvastatin, vials/ampoule, glass, empty or filled and antiseptics and disinfectants (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Rubber and Plastics Products’ group rose by 0.5 percent to 107.8 (provisional) from 107.3 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of V belt (9%), rubber components & parts (6%), plastic box/container (3%), rubber moulded goods, plastic film, elastic webbing and condoms (2% each) and rubber crumb, plastic tape, plastic bag, plastic bottle, plastic button, acrylic/plastic sheet, tooth brush and thermocol (1% each). However, the price of rubber tread (4%), rubber cloth/sheet, tractor tyre, medium & heavy commercial vehicle tyre and conveyer belt (fibre based) (2% each) and 2/3 wheeler tyre, polypropylene film, plastic components, plastic tank, plastic furniture, polythene film, processed rubber, rubberized dipped fabric and motor car tyre (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of other Non-Metallic Mineral Products’ group declined by 0.5 percent to 113.8 (provisional) from 114.4 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of toughened glass (4%), graphite rod (3%), clinker (3%), porcelain crockery (2%) and fibre glass incl. sheet, granite, ordinary portland cement, pozzolana cement, porcelain sanitary ware and lime and calcium carbonate (1% each). However, the price of plain bricks, ordinary sheet glass, ceramic tiles (vitrified tiles) and cement superfine (3% each), non ceramic tiles and slag cement (2% each) and marble slab, railway sleeper, cement blocks (concrete), opthalmic lens and stone, chip (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Manufacture of Basic Metals’ group rose by 1.5 percent to 109.5 (provisional) from 107.9 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of stainless steel pencil ingots/billets/slabs (13%), gp/gc sheet and pig iron (4% each), other ferro alloys, ferrochrome, hot rolled (HR) coils & sheets, including narrow strip and alloy steel wire rods (3% each), angles, channels, sections, steel (coated/not), cold rolled (CR) coils & sheets, including narrow strip, silicomanganese, ms wire rods, stainless steel bars & rods, including flats, mild steel (MS) blooms and ferrosilicon (2% each) and ferromanganese, stainless steel coils, strips & sheets, galvanized iron pipes, stainless steel tubes, cast iron, castings, ms pencil ingots, aluminum foil, lead ingots, bars, blocks, plates and zinc metal/zinc blocks (1% each). However, the price of aluminium disk and circles (4%), alloy steel castings and steel cables (3% each) and copper shapes - bars/rods/plates/strips, aluminium shapes-bars/rods/flats and aluminium ingot (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Fabricated Metal Products, Except Machinery and Equipment’ group rose by 0.4 percent to 112.2 (provisional) from 111.8 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of sanitary fittings of iron & steel (14%), hand tools (4%), steel drums & barrels (3%), steel container and steel pipes, tubes & poles (2% each) and jigs & fixture and bolts, screws, nuts & nails of iron & steel (1% each). However, the price of forged steel rings, iron/steel cap and electrical stamping- laminated or otherwise (2% each) and copper bolts, screws, nuts, aluminium utensils, stainless steel utensils, metal cutting tools & accessories and pressure cooker (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Computer, Electronic and Optical Products’ group declined by 0.3 percent to 110.4 (provisional) from 110.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of x-ray equipment (4%) and colour tv, ups in solid state drives and capacitors (1% each). However, the price of electronic printed circuit board (pcb)/micro circuit, meter (non-electrical) and microscope (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Manufacture of Electrical Equipment’ group rose by 0.1 percent to 109.5 (provisional) from 109.4 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of jelly filled cables (6%), light fitting accessories (5%), solenoid valve, electric switch gear control/starter and acsr conductors (2% each) and electric wires & cables, electric welding machine, rubber insulated cables, connector/plug/socket/holder-electric, fan, dry cells such as torch light batteries, copper wire, incandescent lamps, safety fuse, electrical relay/conductor and insulating & flexible wire (1% each). However, the price of fibre optic cables and a c motor (3% each) and aluminium/alloy conductor, washing machines/laundry machines, electrical resistors (except heating resistors), electric filament type lamps and domestic gas stove (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Machinery and Equipment’ group rose by 0.3 percent to 110.0 (provisional) from 109.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of printing machinery (8%), water purifier and cranes (5% each), chemical equipment & system (4%), loader, filtration equipment, air gas compressor including compressor for refrigerator and packing machine (3% each), open end spinning machinery, conveyors - non-roller type, pressure vessel and tank for fermentation & other food processing and solar power system (solar panel & attachable equipment) (2% each) and pharmaceutical machinery, moulding machine, mining, quarrying & metallurgical machinery/parts, deep freezers, clutches and shaft couplings, harvesters, material handling, lifting & hoisting equipment, air filters, mixing machine, machinery for plastic products-extruded, pneumatic tools and chillers (1% each). However, the price of precision machinery equipment/form tools (7%), hydraulic pump (3%), gasket kit, roller mill (raymond), oil pump and agriculture implements (2% each) and roller & ball bearings, manufacture of bearings, gears, gearing & driving elements, injection pump and lathes (1% each) declined. The index for ‘Manufacture of Motor Vehicles, Trailers and Semi-Trailers’ group declined by 0.1 percent to 111.0 (provisional) from 111.1 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of steering gear control system (3%), brake pad/brake liner/brake block/brake rubber, others and crankshaft (2% each) and minibus/bus (1%). However, the price of chain (4%), shafts of all kinds and release valve (2% each) and silencer & damper, chassis of different vehicle types, gear box & parts, filter element, engine and shock absorbers (1% each) moved up. The index for ‘Manufacture of Other Transport Equipment’ group declined by 1.3 percent to 110.6 (provisional) from 112.0 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of motor cycles (2%). However, the price of bicycles of all types and scooters (2% each) moved up. The index for ‘Manufacture of Furniture’ group rose by 2.7 percent to 123.9 (provisional) from 120.7 (provisional) for the previous month due to higher price of foam and rubber mattress (10%), steel shutter gate (2%) and iron/steel furniture (2% each) and wooden furniture and plastic fixtures (1% each). However, the price of hospital furniture (7%) declined. The index for ‘Other Manufacturing’ group declined by 2.5 percent to 104.1 (provisional) from 106.8 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of gold & gold ornaments and playing cards (3% each) and cricket ball and stringed musical instruments (incl. santoor, guitars, etc.) (1% each). However, the price of plastic moulded-others toys (1%) moved up. WPI FOOD INDEX (Weight 24.38%) The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index consisting of ‘Food Articles’ from Primary Articles group and ‘Food Product’ from Manufactured Products group decreased from 0.07% in February, 2018 to (-) 0.07% in March, 2018. FINAL INDEX FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY, 2018 (BASE YEAR: 2011-12=100) For the month of January, 2018, the final Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) stood at 116.0 as compared to 115.8 (provisional) and annual rate of inflation based on final index stood at 3.02 percent as compared to 2.84 percent (provisional) respectively as reported on 14.02.2018."

16 Apr 2018

JNPT to roll out Direct Port Delivery transport solution next month

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"Four logistics companies have won the bid for 5 routes 1600 importers to benefit from the system The Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust has been working on an innovative transport solution to achieve seamless and faster movement of cargo from the port to respective destinations through Direct Port Delivery. Four successful bidders have won the mandate for five routes- from JNPT to Gujarat, to Goa and Bengaluru, to Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Indore and Hyderabad, to Ahmednagar and to local regions in and around Mumbai. A meeting of these bidders was held at JNPT last week to take stock of the preparedness for the roll out of the new system from May 2018. DPD is increasingly being accepted as the optimal way of transporting cargo directly from the port to the importers and accounts for close to 39 per cent of the total cargo traffic from JNPT at present. About 1600 importers who have opted for DPD mode of transport will benefit from this process. An exporter or importer will be able to book his cargo sitting in his office, through a technology backed platform. This new transport solution will promote Easy co-ordination between port and customers End to end delivery Faster evacuation of containers from the Port area 24X7 Vehicle tracking Container tracking through mobile 24x7 Customer service"

16 Apr 2018

Milaha Takes Part in Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference

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"Milaha, a Qatar-based maritime and logistics conglomerate, is taking part in the Qatar-India Business and Investment Conference on 16-17 April 2018, which aims at strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in light of the significant growth these ties have witnessed in recent years. Mr. Abdulrahman Essa Al Mannai, President and CEO of Milaha, said: "Qatari-Indian relations are historic and distinguished at all levels, and we are pleased to be represented at this important conference to discuss with our Qatari and Indian partners in the public and private sectors how we can further strengthen this cooperation through the exchange of investment opportunities and business partnerships to serve the interests of both countries." Mr. Al-Mannai added: “We, at Milaha, are proud to support the development of the bilateral ties through our enhanced direct feeder service which we launched in 2015 and which now has 5 weekly calls at 3 Indian ports, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, and Kandla. This service connects traders, importers, and exporters throughout India, Southeast Asia, and the Far East with their counterparts in the Arabian Gulf, which helps facilitate trade between these vital regions of the world.” In addition to its direct container shipping service between Qatar and India, Milaha’s bulk shipping vessels carried 320,000 tons of construction material from India to Qatar in 2017, while its Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) unit continues to facilitate the transport of cargo between the two countries. The NVOCC unit arranged the transport of 235,000 tons of cargo, 15,600 TEUs, and 1,400 reefer containers of perishable cargo between Qatar and India with a total of more than 170 vessel calls at Indian ports in 2017."

16 Apr 2018

Watch Out, the Robot Shipbuilders Are Coming

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"A robot invasion is underway in one of the last labor-intensive industries -- shipbuilding. In search of lower costs and speedier construction times, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. -- the world’s two largest -- are embracing automation to build critical sections of their giant container ships, some of which extend 400 meters (430 yards) in length. Boosting productivity is mission critical in an industry that needs about 200 people to build one vessel and faces severe pricing pressure. A sharp drop in oil since the second half of 2014, when a barrel of oil fetched more than $100 compared with about $64 now, has hit vessel orders hard, forcing shipmakers to cut thousands of jobs and shutter some docks. Ship prices have tumbled close to 10 percent during the past three years. “In this current environment, it’s very important to cut costs wherever possible,” said Lee Jae-won, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea Co. in Seoul. “These automation efforts will begin to pay off once orders start to show clearer signs of recovery, probably from the second half of this year.” In what Hyundai Heavy claims is a global first, a 670-kilogram (1,480-pound) industrial robot -- designed and tested in-house -- can curve and weld steel plates for the front and back of vessels through remote connectivity between the machine and design software. The Ulsan-based shipbuilder plans to start using the robot next year, a move that would cut welding time by two thirds, reduce the number of skilled workers, and save about 10 billion won ($9.4 million) annually, a company spokesman said. Hyundai Heavy plans to build an automated plant, also employing robotic arms, to supply these steel parts to its two affiliated shipbuilding units, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. To further automate its shipyards, Hyundai Heavy is developing more robots for other welding and paint jobs. Over at Daewoo Shipbuilding, the company has been using a 16-kilogram robotic arm to weld steel parts in its construction of ice-breaking liquefied natural gas carriers, delivering five of these vessels since 2016. Nicknamed Caddy, these arms are able to work on the hull to fuse steel structures together in a confined space, a spokesman for the Geoje-based company said. The Ulsan-based shipbuilder plans to start using the robot next year, a move that would cut welding time by two thirds, reduce the number of skilled workers, and save about 10 billion won ($9.4 million) annually, a company spokesman said. Hyundai Heavy plans to build an automated plant, also employing robotic arms, to supply these steel parts to its two affiliated shipbuilding units, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. To further automate its shipyards, Hyundai Heavy is developing more robots for other welding and paint jobs. Over at Daewoo Shipbuilding, the company has been using a 16-kilogram robotic arm to weld steel parts in its construction of ice-breaking liquefied natural gas carriers, delivering five of these vessels since 2016. Nicknamed Caddy, these arms are able to work on the hull to fuse steel structures together in a confined space, a spokesman for the Geoje-based company said. Still, shipbuilders are investing in technology to reap benefits when the industry rebounds. South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the world’s third-biggest shipyard, expects vessel prices to recover this year. There are signs that orders are picking up. The three shipbuilding units in Hyundai Heavy Industries Group have received contracts for 29 vessels this year, compared with 21 in the same period in 2017. Daewoo Shipbuilding has won 12 vessels, rising from four. “Technology is going to be the key to the shipyards’ future,” said Park Moo-hyun, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment Co. in Seoul. “Those who innovate will have the advantage."""

13 Apr 2018

ReCAAP ISC Reports Halving of Piracy Incidents in Asia During the First Quarter of 2018

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"A total of 14 incidents (comprising nine actual incidents and five attempted incidents) were reported in Asia during January-March 2018 compared to 27 incidents (comprising 21 actual incidents and six attempted incidents) during the same period in 2017. This accounts for a 48% decrease in the number of incidents reported during January-March 2018 compared to January-March 2017. Of the 14 incidents reported during January-March 2018, one was an incident of piracy and 13 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. The improvement of the situation during January-March 2018 was due to a decrease in the number of incidents at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Philippines. There was no actual incident of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Sea; and no incident of hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo during January-March 2018. However, of concern was an attempted incident reported in the Sulu-Celebes Sea involving container ship, Kudos 1 on 16 Feb 18. In comparison, the incidents reported during January-March 2018 were less severe than incidents reported during January-March 2017. There was no CAT 1 and CAT 2 incidents reported during January-March 2018. Of the nine actual incidents reported during January-March 2018, three were CAT 3 and six were CAT 4 incidents. As for January-March 2017, of the 21 actual incidents, three were CAT 1, one was CAT 2, five were CAT 3 and 12 were CAT 4 incidents. During January-March 2018, several arrests of perpetrators and recovery of stolen items were reported. The ReCAAP ISC commends the authorities for their quick action in response to the ship’s timely reporting. In these incidents, the authorities were able to recover the stolen items; and arrest the perpetrators. The ReCAAP ISC encourages ship master and crew to exercise enhanced vigilance and make timely reporting of all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State; and enforcement agencies to provide quick responses to reports of incidents, and render assistance to victim ships."

13 Apr 2018

China holds 'biggest ever' naval drill in disputed S China Sea

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"More than 10,000 personnel, 76 fighter jets and 48 warships took part in the exercises attended by President Xi Jinping. Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen what is being labelled as the country's largest naval military drill in the contested South China Sea. Clad in military fatigues and as determined as ever to modernise the People's Liberation Army, Xi on Friday presided over a large military parade involving the country's only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. ""Building a strong navy has never become so urgent as today. We will carry out the thought of building a strong military in a new era,"" Xi was filmed telling service men and women. Also included in the tour de force were 10,000 personnel, 76 fighter jets, 48 naval vessels and a nuclear-powered submarine, according to the defence ministry. Reporting from Beijing, Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown said Xi's remarks came as three US navy aircraft battle groups passed through these same contested waters. ""Just 48 hours earlier, before an audience that included world leaders, President Xi had sought to present China as the guarantor of free trade."" ""Now in the South China Sea, which contains some of the busiest shipping lanes, he had another message 'these are our waters, and we have the strength to defend them,'"" Brown said. China's navy announced on Thursday it will be holding a live-fire drill in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the first such exercise in over 20 years. 'Protect our country' Taiwan for its part held its own military drill on Friday amid rising tensions between the two countries. Authorities in Beijing have long considered Taiwan, a self-ruled island republic, a breakaway province that forms an integral part of mainland China. The naval exercise was the first of its kind since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen assumed power in 2016. ""I believe our nationals should feel very confident about our army's determination to defend and protect our country"", Tsai said onboard a warship off the country's east coast. Asked to comment on Beijing's planned fire-drill in the Taiwan Strait, Tsai said the exercise amounted to a ""routine drill"" which the Taiwanese navy has made the relevant preparation for and will fully monitor. Tsai, however, warned against what she called China's ""military expansion"", a reference to Beijing's increasing military drills around Taiwan. China's air force alone conducted some 25 drills around Taiwan between August 2016 and December 2017. On March 20, the Liaoning aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait on the same day Xi warned against attempts to separate Taiwan from China. The US has recently given the green light to defence contractors to help the island state construct its own submarines, adding to existing tensions between the two neighbours."

12 Apr 2018

On day four of his visit to South Korea, Shri Nitin GadkariAddresses Korea-India Infrastructure Cooperation Forum

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"Invites Korean business to collaborate in the Highways, Shipping and River Development sectors in India Also meets the Korean Minister for Land and Infrastructure An India – Korea Memorandum of Cooperation in the infra sector expected soon On the fourth day of his visit to the Republic of Korea, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkariaddressed the delegates of the Korea-India Infrastructure Cooperation Forum in Seoul today.Leading members from the infrastructure business of both countries participated and exchanged views on the potential for doing business for mutual benefit. Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkarisaid that India has plans to construct 12 expressways with an investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore. This, he said, would presents huge opportunities for Korean businesses. Similarly developing the national waterways for commercial navigation in India, and the plans to develop shipbuilding, fisheries and the port sector will also create investment opportunities, he said. Shri Gadkari also conveyed the Indian Government’s commitment for facilitating all foreign businesses who wished to invest in India. Shri Gadkari earlier met the leading members of the Korean Financial Sector to explore ways of greater RoK involvement in financing interlinking of rivers, highway construction, developing logistics parks and shipbuilding activity in India.. An important part of the cooperation would be to enhance training and discussion among experts from both sides. Indian highway engineers and shipbuilding engineers can be trained at specialised training institutions of Republic of Korea to expose them to the systems in place there. Korean companies expressed keenness to work on the Nagpur Mumbai expressway project. Shri Gadkari also met the Korean Minister for Land and Infrastructure (MOLIT) Ms Kim Mee Hyun in Seoul today. The two Ministers discussed the prospects of cooperation in developing smart highways.Ms Hyun said thatRoK is committed to enhance cooperation based on the commitments made during the visit of PM Modi in 2015. A draft Memorandum of Cooperation in the Infra sector is likely to be finalised soon. This will provide a sound institutional framework for enhancing bilateral engagement. In another meeting with theRoK Minister for Environment Ms. KIM Eungyung, Shri Gadkari discussed bilateral cooperation in the area of river cleaning and rejuvenation."

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