India, Australia ink pact to expand counter-terror cooperation

first_imgNew Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) A pact to significantly expand counter-terror cooperation was among six agreements India and Australia inked today as the two countries called for strong action against those financing and providing sanctuary to terror groups.However, no breakthrough was achieved during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull who merely decided to direct their respective officials to hold an early round of negotiations for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA).During their talks, the two leaders decided to significantly expand their ties in several key areas including defence, trade, energy and education.While Modi thanked Turnbull for passage of a legislation by the Australian parliament with bi-partisan support paving way for the country to export uranium to India, Turnbull said he was looking forward to starting the supply “as soon as possible”.Both the prime ministers anticipated that commercial exports of Australian uranium could begin soon, opening up a new avenue for Australia to support Indias energy requirement.The entire expanse of bilateral ties was reviewed at the talks including issues relating to Indian students studying in Australia and ways to deepen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.”We took a number of forward-looking decisions to further strengthen our partnership, including the decision to soon hold the next round of negotiations on a CECA,” Modi said at a joint media event with Turnbull.Using cricket analogy, Modi, in a lighter vein, said “I am, of course, glad that our decisions are not subject to the DRS review system.” Decision Review System (DRS) is a technology-based mechanism in cricket to review controversial umpiring decisions.advertisementOn CECA, Turnbull did not give a timeline for the deal but said, “I think its fair to say that progress has not been as fast as either of us would have liked.”The two prime ministers have now asked negotiators on both sides to find a way out and list their priorities soon so that talks on it can move forward. There were indications that sticking points on the pact included issues relating to agriculture.On the threat of terrorism, the two leaders asserted that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terror, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.”They emphasised the need for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism and violent extremism and radicalisation and expressed their determination to take concrete measures to step up cooperation and coordination among the law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations,” a joint statement said.The MoUs signed provided for deeper cooperation in areas of health and medicine, sports, environment, climate and wildlife, civil aviation security and cooperation in space technology.Expressing happiness over cooperation in the energy sector, Modi said, “With the passage of a legislation in the Australian parliament with bi-partisan support, Australia is now ready to export uranium to India.”He also thanked Turnbull for Australias decision to join the International Solar Alliance.Referring to cooperation in the maritime sphere, Modi said peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific was key for economic growth.”We, therefore, agree on the need for a secure and rule- based Indo-Pacific. We are also aware that in this globalised world, challenges like terrorism and cyber security extend beyond the boundaries of our region and, therefore, require global strategy and solutions,” he said.Modi said cooperation between the two countries in the area of defence and security has reached new heights.The two prime ministers highlighted their shared desire to ensure that Indian Ocean architecture keeps pace with regional issues and addresses emerging threats and challenges in the region.Noting that both the countries have been victims of terrorism, Modi and Turnbull said the signing of the MoU on cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational organised crime will help both countries to address global and regional security threats.”Our strong and vibrant strategic partnership is of course important for the security and well-being of our societies. But, it is also a major factor for peace, stability and security in our region,” Modi said.He said student exchanges are an important element of bilateral education cooperation and referred to more than 60,000 Indian students studying in the country.After ceremonial reception accorded to him at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Turnbull said ties between the two countries “are strong and will be stronger” because of this visit.Heaping praise on Modi, Turnbull said the Indian PM is leading this most remarkable nation on an extraordinary journey of growth and development.advertisement”The achievements of India are an admiration of the world. We in Australia look forward to working even more closely than we have done in the past.”We are bound together, ties of history, our values but above all of the peoples. So many people over so many years -? half-a-million Australians are of Indian background,” he said. PTI MPB/PYK SClast_img read more

Hunter knew Bear 148 was wearing tracking collar before making legal kill

first_imgEDMONTON – The hunter that killed a notorious female grizzly bear in B.C. after the bear wandered into the province from Alberta knew the animal was wearing a research tracking collar but shot it anyway.The Alberta government had moved the grizzly, known as Bear 148, in July from its home range in a popular developed area west of Calgary to a remote park north of Jasper to protect public safety.The grizzly, which is a threatened species in Alberta, hadn’t hurt anyone but had gotten too close to people too many times around the Canmore and Banff area.The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the bear was shot on Sunday in the McBride region by a non-resident hunter who was with a guide.“The guide and hunter knew that the bear was collared prior to harvest,” the service said in an email. “This was a legal hunt and no investigation is underway.”No information on the hunter was given.Last month, B.C. announced it would end the grizzly bear trophy hunt as of Nov. 30, saying it is inconsistent with the values of most British Columbians.Brett Boukall, a senior wildlife biologist with Alberta Environment, said data from Bear 148’s tracking collar suggests the grizzly had not been a problem before it was killed.“It was kind of being the perfect bear doing bear things away from people,” he said. “To my knowledge, there had been no reports of any conflicts.”After the bear was relocated in July, it wandered around its new range in the northern Alberta wilderness.The tracking data suggests it crossed into B.C. on Friday after a storm dumped snow in the region, perhaps making it more difficult for it to find food, Boukall said. It was wandering toward the Fraser River when it was shot.“Myself and my colleagues felt disappointed that this has occurred, but at the same time recognized that this is something that is a part of being a bear in today’s busy landscape with the ability for legal harvest on the B.C. side,” he said.Conservationists are concerned about the death of Bear 148, which was nearing the age to have cubs.Candace Batycki of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative said the fact the bear had to be relocated from its home range in the highly developed Bow Valley west of Calgary shows how difficult it is for grizzlies to survive.Batycki said more must be done to protect them.“Bear 148 was not in a protected area when she was killed but she was in grizzly bear habitat,” she said. “Her death highlights the need for collaborative cross-border conversation between B.C. and Alberta.”Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips called the death of Bear 148 a case of bad timing.“The new government has not moved forward with their regulations yet because they are new and the grizzly hunt remains legal across the border in British Columbia.”There are about 700 grizzly bears in Alberta. It has been illegal to hunt grizzlies in the province since 2006.last_img read more