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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The Coming Indo-Japan Security Alliance

There’s been much speculation around PM Singh’s visit to Japan between 15-18NOV12. The Times of India on 05NOV12 mirrored a piece from the Asahi Shimbun speaking of a closer security alliance between the two indicating that Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy will hold joint exercises in the Indian Ocean as well as around Japan. (India and Japan only recently  conducted their first bilateral naval exercise in June 2012.) This outcome will reportedly be part of a new bilateral forum on security matters to be announced during the visit.

According to the AS piece, the aim as we’ve often heard before is to counter China’s rising military capabilities in the region. Although that may be so, this move wasn’t hard to foresee as the US recently concluded the trilateral forum between India and Japan during a time when the issues over the Senkakus have been brought into the spotlight.

Like many have speculated, the US may be helping push Japan and India closer together in the hopes India and the US will develop a better relationship despite (what India may see as) diverging national interests.

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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China 2012 growth to hit 7.5 per cent

China’s October data indicates that full-year growth will reach 7.5 per cent, while inflation should come in just under 4 per cent, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics told reporters on 09NOV12. The projections were in line with previous government targets.

Japan to develop missile-detecting UAV

via Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports on 05NOV12 the Defense Ministry’s plans to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of detecting ballistic missiles. Accordingly, the Ministry has earmarked 3 billion yen ($372 million) over the next four years to develop the aircraft, which would come into operation in 2020.

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Zhang Zheng, China’s Carrier Commander Interviewed

On 25SEP12, China’s state-run TV station, CCTV, broadcast an exclusive interview with the Liaoning’s commander, Zhang Zheng. Here’s an excerpt from what he had to say on the country’s future naval doctrine:

I can tell you there are three things that I think are quite important: firstly, the integration of naval aviation and surface combatants — we need to establish some new kind of specialists. We have to train them and make them effective. Secondly, I think it’s quite important also to set up new safety procedures, since as you know the flight deck is … small compared to airfields on land. … Finally, I think the management of this ship is also very important … We don’t have enough experience running this type of ship. That’s why I think administration — the structure and the principles — should be modified.

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