China to overtake India as largest gold importer

Although suggested earlier this year, China is projected to overtake India as the largest gold importer by almost 50 tonnes, according to a statement from the World Gold Council (GGC). An Economic Times report from early February said India had a seven per cent fall to 933.4 tonnes in 2011, while demand from China increased by 20 per cent to 769.8 tonnes in the same period.  A report this month shows demand in gold picking up in India due to festivities (Diwali/Dhanteras) and late weddings while China sees rising demand due to stronger economic activity in Q4.

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India to train Afghan troops

According to press reporting, the Indian Army will train 600 Afghan Army officer as well as 200 Afghan cadets every year. This training (announced on 08NOV12) grew out of the strategic partnership agreement signed on 04OCT11 between the two countries, taking just over a year to work out.

In addition, NDTV reports “a company level (100-strong) contingents of ANA will be trained for four weeks at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) located at Vairangte in Mizoram.” (Prior reporting had also suggested stints at the High Altitude Warfare School in Sonmarg, Kashmir)

The agreement was reported by the Indian press as a way to help build further avenues for India’s mining companies. (Back in 2011, Steel Authority of India Ltd led a consortium of top Indian firms in obtaining the rights for $1-trillion Hajigak iron ore mine in Afghanistan).

PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin Speech at Aussie Army Conference

James Brown on the Lowy Institute’s blog posted visiting PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin’s speech to the Australian Chief of Army’s annual conference at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Lieutenant General Ren warned against Cold War notions of Containment having this to say:

Due to historical as well as realistic reasons, current security situation in Asia is not very satisfying and there are still factors destabilizing and uncertain…Asia is now in a transition towards a new type of security order, and external countries involvement complicate the process. Some countries pursue strategies such as “rebalance the Asia-Pacific” and “Looking East” and are increasing their strategic investment.

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INS Viraat arrives in Kochi for refit; IAC further delayed

INS VIRAAT in Kochi Channel (via The Hindu)

Indian press reports the INS Viraat arriving in Kochi on 02NOV12 for periodic refit at the Cochin Shipyard (CSL). The work is expected to last at least three months. (Earlier reports said the refit would take much longer leaving India without a working aircraft carrier until March 2013).

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Man arrested for ‘offensive’ tweets against Chidambaram’s son Karti

Chidambaram during the 2G scandal

On 31OCT12, PTI/IBN reported on the recent arrest of a Puducherry man after he made “offensive” messages on social media regarding the finances of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti. He was later released on bail.

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India and Indonesia Step Up Defence Cooperation

India and Indonesia on 16OCT12 decided to significantly enhance their defence cooperation with Defence Minister Shri AK Antony declaring his meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Mr Purnomo Yusgiantoro as a ‘turning point’ and an ‘excellent beginning’.

This was the first Ministerial level biennial defence dialogue between the two countries which lasted nearly two hours. The two sides exchanged views on a whole range of issues relating to regional and global security, bilateral exercises involving services, training, co-production of defence equipment and ammunitions and visits at high levels. The defence ties between India and Indonesia have been progressing steadily ever since the two sides signed the Agreement on Defence Cooperation in the year 2001.

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India and Spain Sign MoU on Roads and Road Sector

A Memorandum of Understanding between India and Spain on the Roads and Road Transport Sector was signed by the Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Minister of Railways, Dr. C.P.Joshi and visiting Spanish Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ms. Ana Pastor Julián on 26OCT12.

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