TOKYO: Union Minister Rajnath Singh today arrived in Tokyo on the first leg of his five-day visit to East Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea, with an aim to strengthen military and defence ties.  

"Landed in Japan today for an important bilateral visit. India and Japan share a special, strategic and global partnership," the Defence Minister said on Twitter.

"I am hopeful that this visit will lead to substantial strengthening of the bilateral defence relations between the two countries," he added.

The Defence Minister will be in Japan on September 2 and September 3 following which he will visit South Korea from September 5 and September 6 for a bilateral visit.

As part of his visit to Japan, the minister will also co-chair the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue with his Japanese counterpart, a media statement said.

"The ministerial dialogue will aim to further strengthen India-Japan special strategic and global partnership and will include wide-ranging discussions to enhance the bilateral defence and security engagements between the two countries," he said.

During his visit, Mr Singh will also call on the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

India and Japan have developed strong ties over the last five years and there is also a personal bonding between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart.

In South Korea, the Defence Minister will have a bilateral dialogue with his counterpart Jeong Kyeong - Doo. He will also call on the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak - Yon.

A CEO's forum followed by a Business-to-Government (B2G) meeting will also be held in Seoul that will have the participation of members of the defence industry from both sides. It will aim to encourage co-operation between defence industry of India and the Republic of Korea.

India is developing strong military hardware co-operation with South Korea as the Indian Army has already inducted the K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers built in partnership with the Indian firm Larsen and Toubro.

DK Shivakumar appears before ED for third time

NEW DELHI: Senior Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in a money laundering case for the third time on Monday, officials said.

He arrived at the ED headquarters at Khan Market here around 11 am, they said.

The investigating officer of the case had grilled him for over four hours on Friday and about eight hours on Saturday as part of the probe.

The former Karnataka cabinet minister's statement was recorded during the last two occasions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

His statement is being recorded on Monday too, they said.

While making his first appearance on August 30, after he arrived by air from Bengaluru, the MLA from the Kanakapura assembly seat, had said he would cooperate with the ED in the probe.

"It is my duty (to appear).... I have to respect the law. We are lawmakers and law abiding citizens. They (ED) have summoned me.... I don't know why they have called me under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)."

"But, let me see, hear them. I am ready to face them (ED)," he had told reporters outside the ED office.

Shivakumar had to appear before the agency after the Karnataka High Court on Thursday dismissed his petition challenging the summons issued to him by the ED.

Shivakumar had denied any wrongdoing and had said that his being "instrumental role" in ensuring safe stay of Gujarat Congress MLAs in a Karnataka resort during the Rajya Sabha polls in 2017, amid allegations that the BJP was trying to poach them, was the reason for the I-T searches and subsequent ED action against him.

The central agency had in September last year registered a money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others.

The ED case has been filed based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income Tax Department against him last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores.

The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.

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