Yuva Sai Sagar

Online news channel!

Tag: ambassador

Norway ‘child abuse’: India wants child united with natural parents, says Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After an Indian woman from Norway wrote to Sushma Swaraj about her son being taken away by Norwegian authorities, the Minister of External Affairs has said that India will convey to the officials that it wants child’s restoration with its parents. Gurvinderjit Kaur, whose son has been taken away by the Norwegian authorities, had approached the Indian Embassy in Oslo seeking government’s intervention, following which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it will now chalk out the future course of action in the case. Kaur had approached the Indian government with the “formal written” request in this regard, BJP leader Vijay Jolly said.”Our Ambassador in Norway is meeting the Norwegian authorities today regarding Aryan. I refuse to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than the natural parents. The foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture and our food habits.”We want restoration of Aryan to his natural parents. This is our firm stand and Indian Ambassador will convey this to the Norwegian authorities,” she said.Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that authorities in that country have taken away their 5-year-old son Aryan, also a Norwegian national, on a frivolous complaint of abuse. In its response, the Norwegian Embassy had asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.According to Jolly, the Indian Ambassador “is slated to meet highly placed Norwegian officials in Oslo on December 27”. Jolly also maintained that according to the mother, the child is being “daily served porridge and bread while he is fond of Indian food”.This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway.The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.With agency inputs.

India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.

Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse. While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.

“I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.

Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

“The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

“Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.”

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Later, briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Embassy in Oslo is following up the matter.

“Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child. The mother, however, is an Indian passport holder. Following the custody of the child by Norway’s Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody,” he said.

The ministry has been informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court, Swarup said.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our Embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:55 IST

Norway child ‘abuse’: India to provide help on boy’s mother’s request, says Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse.While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.
ALSO READ Sushma Swaraj seeks report on 5-year-old child taken from Indian couple in Norway”I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.”The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.” This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Sushma Swaraj seeks report on 5-year-old child taken from Indian couple in Norway

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday sought a report from Indian Ambassador in Norway on the allegations made by an Indian couple that the Norwegian authorities have taken away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse.”I have asked Indian Ambassador in Norway to send me a report,” Swaraj tweeted.BJP leader Vijay Jolly had written to her and the Indian Ambassador in Norway after the couple sought his help in getting back the custody of their child.Meanwhile, MEA officials said, “Our Embassy officials in Oslo have spoken to the boy’s father Anil Kumar Sharma and extended full support. However, Sharma informed the mission that he has hired a lawyer to represent him in the case.” When contacted, Norwegian Embassy spokesperson said, “The Embassy became aware of this case yesterday evening. We have asked relevant authorities in Norway to provide us with further information, and are awaiting their response.” In his letter to Indian Ambassador Debraj Pradhan, Jolly had raised concern on “forcible custody” of the boy Aryan by Child Welfare Department of Norway on “baseless and fabricated complaint” in Oslo on December 13. Sharma is a member of ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’.Jolly said he has received a call from a senior MEA official saying that help will be given to the Indian couple.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years.Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

DNA Evening Reads: Kiren Rijiju denies role in power project scam, Trump picks Secretary of State, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress alleges Kiren Rijiju involved in Rs 450 crore Arunachal power project scam, demands his resignationCongress on Tuesday demanded the sacking of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju alleging his “involvement” in the ‘Rs 450-crore Arunachal power scam’ and said the Prime Minister’s “tall claims” of bringing transparency have “fallen flat”. Read more here Rs 12.44 lakh crore demonetized notes back in the system: RBIReserve Bank of India, Deputy Governor R Gandhi stated that as of Tuesday, the central bank has collected Rs 12.44 lakh crore at banks in demonetized notes. Read more here Trump picks Exxon Mobil CEO and Putin associate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of StateExxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson was chosen as the new US Secretary of State by President- elect Donald Trump, a nomination that could face intense scrutiny due to the veteran oil executive’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read more hereKohli climbs to 2nd spot in ICC Test Rankings for batsmen, Ashwin extends lead at top amongst bowlersIndian captain Virat Kohli climbed to the second spot in the ICC Test Rankings for batsmen on Tuesday. Read more herePriyanka Chopra appointed as UNICEF Goodwill AmbassadorActress Priyanka Chopra, appointed as UNICEF’s newest global Goodwill Ambassador, urged people from across nations to become the “collective voice” of oppressed children in the world and join forces to leave a better future for the coming generations. Read more here

Demonetization: Russia lodges protest, says cash shortage affecting working of its Mission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Russia has strongly protested with India on cash shortage affecting the working of its Mission after demonetization, and wants a quick resolution of the issue, failing which it may explore other options including summoning Indian diplomat in Moscow.In a letter, Russian Ambassador Alaxander Kadakin has raised the issue of diplomats not being able to withdraw enough money hampering the normal functioning of the mission and sought intervention of the External Affairs Ministry so that the withdrawal restrictions for diplomatic staff are lifted.”We are awaiting a reply from the MEA and hope that this is resolved quickly. Otherwise, we will be forced to explore other options which may include raising the issue in Moscow with your Embassy by summoning Indian Minister Counsellor,” a senior Russian embassy official said here.Other options may also include restriction on the cash withdrawals for Indian diplomats posted in Russia, the official indicated.There are approximately 200 staffers in Russian mission here.There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side on the complaint.Earlier, the Dean of Diplomatic Corps had also raised the issue, complaining about the problems faced by the missions.It is also understood that some other countries like Ukraine and Kazakhstan have also protested to the ministry.After the demonetization last month, MEA had said it has approached Department of Economic Affairs over three or four types of requests including those related to maintaining sufficient flow of funds to diplomatic missions following the demonetization and was awaiting a decision from it.

Jayalalithaa’s demise: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma condoles Tamil Nadu CM’s death

Jayalalithaa’s demise: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma condoles Tamil Nadu CM’s death

Chennai: US Ambassador to India, Richard R Verma, on Tuesday condoled the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.

File image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFPFile image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFP

File image of US ambassador to India Richard Verma (right). AFP

“Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will be remembered for her years of public service to Tamil Nadu and as a supporter of closer ties between the United States and India. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu during this time of sorrow,” he said in a statement.

Jayalalithaa, hospitalised since 22 September and who had suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, passed away on Monday night at 11.30.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 08:09 IST

Indian Embassy in US to hold open house on visa-related issues from January

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Embassy here and its five consulates in the US will hold an open house every fortnight starting from January to address the grievances of people on issues related to visa, passport and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card. “I would like to announce an initiative today. We would institute from the first week of January next year an open house in the Indian Embassy,” Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna, said yesterday at a reception held in his honour by top Indian-American community organisations of greater Washington DC area.Addressing several hundred Indian-Americans from in and around Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, Sarna said “the Open House would be held every fortnight wherein people with their grievances related to passports, visas and OCI cards can simply walk in and the senior embassy officials would address them. We would put out on the website once a fortnight, a designated day and a time where somebody who may have put in his papers and is not getting a response; somebody who actually have a particular problem which he wants to come and discuss with some body at the Embassy; somebody who is facing a problem in communication; somebody who does not have a paper for OCI, but still wants to have it; they would be able to come and we will have the our senior officers and the nodal officers will meet them and attend to their problem,” he said.”We will also institute a similar arrangement in all our consulates in the United States,” the Indian Ambassador said.His announcement was welcomed by the community leaders present at the reception, who also felicitated the outgoing Deputy Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who now heads to Colombo as the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.In his second stint to the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, Sarna acknowledged that problem persists despite best of the efforts and improvement in the system. “I know one place where we always go wrong is passport, visa, OCI. No matter, how, where we do, we outsource it, we monitor it and this is the nature of the beast, nobody’s fault… no matter how efficient the machinery is this is ultimately a human error… there will always be a problem when you rang and nobody picked up the phone,” he said.”When you actually send the passport and for some reason they are stuck in the post, where you actually wanted to use the electronic visa system, and they did not accept your card. “These happens, because these are new systems. These are being put through the teething problems. They need to be improved upon. In a couple of years, I can assure you will laugh at these problems,” he said. ‘In his remarks, Sandhu highlighted the role of the Indian American community in strengthening India US relationship. Among other things, he stressed on the need to involve second generation Indian Americans in community activities and strengthening India US ties.

Sushma Swaraj assures action in ‘gangrape’ of US national; says guilty won’t be spared

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said those guilty of an alleged gangrape of an American woman in March this year at a luxury hotel in the national capital won’t be spared and has asked Delhi Police to register a case.

However, a case was yet to be filed even as the woman had, in an email written to Delhi Police, said that she was raped by five men at a Connaught Place five-star hotel during her visit to India.

Taking cognizance of media reports about the alleged rape, Sushma Swaraj in a series of tweets said she spoke to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Indian Ambassador in US Navtej Sarna about the matter.

“I have seen the media reports about gang rape of an American tourist in Delhi in March this year,” she said.

She said she told Jung that “police should register a case and bring the guilty to book.

“I have also asked the Indian Ambassador in the US to contact the victim and assure her that we will not spare the guilty,” Sushma Swaraj added.

Delhi Police had earlier received an e-mail complaint from the woman about the alleged gangrape.

The woman has said she had hired a tourist guide who, she alleged, was one of the rapists.

Police sources told IANS that they were investigating the allegations and have questioned some employees of the hotel. “A case will be registered soon on the basis of the victim’s statement,” a police officer said.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 15:46 IST

Hope India, Pakistan will resolve water issue themselves: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed hope that India and Pakistan will bilaterally resolve issues over water-sharing, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan.”We will take a look at the issue on water. Obviously, we hope it’s something that the two parties can resolve themselves,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the daily press briefing here yesterday when asked about Modi’s remarks on the Indus Water Treaty amid escalating tensions between the two nations.Addressing a rally in Punjab last week, Modi had said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan and he will ensure that Indian farmers in India utilise it. PTI YAS “Now, every drop of this water will be stopped and I will give that to farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and Indian farmers. I am committed to this,” he had said.Last week, during a Security Council debate on water, peace and security, Ban had cited the Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan as well as other similar agreements “as instruments promoting stability and peace” and said “shared water resources often generated cooperation”.During the debate, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had warned against use of water as instrument of coercion or war.She had said the 1960 Indus Water Treaty is an example of what can be achieved through bilateral agreements but also a case study of what could wrong if such agreements are not honoured or threatened with abrogation by a state party.Separately, Ban had also expressed deep concern last week over the deterioration of the situation along the Line of Control in Kashmir in recent days, saying he “trusts” India and Pakistan can find “common ground” and work towards a sustainable peace.The UN Chief had called on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life.When asked during the briefing about Indian-Pakistan tensions at the border, Dujarric referred to Ban’s remarks saying the increasing tensions over the Line of Control are of “great concern to the Secretary General”.

Donald Trump’s TPP bombshell sets off trade tremors in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President-elect Donald Trump’s policy outline to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within his first 100 days in the Oval Office has sounded alarm bells in India. The policy means the death knell for outgoing President Barack Obama’s strategic outline of a “pivot” to rebalance Asia, in which India and Japan would be the two anchors. Though an economic alliance, the TTP was meant to counter China’s rise through enhanced military, political and economic cooperation with regional allies.Compared to the previous UPA government’s preference to steer clear of the US-China rivalry, Prime Minister Modi’s tenure so far has been responsive towards US proposals for cooperation in the defence sector. Soon after taking over, the PM has pushed for active partnership with the US ensuring Obama’s strategic outline of the pivot was very much on the cards.Professor Harsh V Pant, author of the book ‘The US Pivot and Indian Foreign Policy: Asia’s Evolving Balance of Power’, said there was a convergence of interests in India’s Act East policy and the US pivot to Asia.Former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao said the scrapping of TPP would lead to a more assertive China. “Do we have a dog in this fight? We were never part of TPP. Perhaps the way forward for the region is to intensify efforts towards a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Watch the Asia-Pacific space for an even more assertive China.” The RCEP includes 10 members of the Southeast Asian grouping ASEAN plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Notably, it excludes the US.Rao’s remarks struck a chord. Commenting on the China factor, senior analyst Ambassador P Stobden said that China had already made a significant move to counter the American ‘Asia Pivot’ strategy. “When President Xi visited Southeast Asia in October, he outlined a maritime Silk Road plan to expand sea-lane connectivity. Xi also scored many strategic points during the East Asia Summit where President Obama failed to turn up due to domestic reasons,” he said.The Ambassador also added that India’s strategic community had failed to highlight the point that China had long ‘Pivoted West’ by seeking out backdoor territorial advantages since the Soviet collapse.”The Chinese have moved beyond the former-Soviet space to enter Europe, Africa, West Asia, Latin America, and even in South Asia. Remarkably, Beijing has found development partners in all these continents without pursuing containment strategy. Even in the maritime domain,” he said.Earlier, the US President-elect said the TPP, signed in 2015 between a dozen countries that comprise 40 per cent of the global economy, was “a potential disaster” for his country. He said his administration would instead “negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry onto American shores”.Trump’s remarks come as a disappointment for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who last week became the first foreign leader to sit down with the President-elect during a 90-minute meeting in New York City. Just hours before Trump’s YouTube clip, Abe had warned him that TPP would be “meaningless” without the US’ participation.The TTP is a 12-nation trade arrangement which came up after seven years of negotiations aiming to liberalise the flow of goods amongst the Pacific Rim countries and also to counter China’s rise in the region. It was seen as a signature achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency, cutting tariffs on thousands of items and attempt to unify copyright laws across its members.But with Trump seeking to revoke it, the balance of power could drastically shift in Asia, which according to experts may also mean a review of Act East policy.

Pakistan hands over dossier on India’s ‘ceasefire violations’ to UN military observer group

Mon, 21 Nov 2016-10:45am , Islamabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has said it handed over a dossier to the UN military observer group on alleged ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control (LoC). Representatives of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) met Pakistani officials on Sunday at the General Headquarters Rawalpindi, where they were handed over a dossier on repeated “violations of the ceasefire agreement” by India, Pakistan Foreign Office said.The detailed dossier was given to UNMOGIP representatives in view of the death of four people, including three children, in firing by Indian forces in Khuiratta Sector of the LoC, Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said on Twitter. Pakistan has asked the UNMOGIP to investigate the incident, he said. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had earlier also reportedly written to the UNSC President and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon alleging that Indian troops in Kashmir had launched artillery barrages.

Govt offers helping hand to diplomats, tourists and NRIs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The demonetization of high value Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes have not only hit the factories rolling out fake Indian currency notes in foreign countries, but other neighbours Bhutan, Nepal, diplomatic missions in India as well as the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). After receiving several requests, the government here on Thursday set up an inter-ministerial committee under the additional secretary finance including a joint secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)to find solution to issues confronting neighbouring friendly countries as well as visa sections of diplomatic missions.Official spokesman of MEA Vikas Swarup confirmed they have received four types of requests including those from diplomatic missions. “Some have wanted to know if they could collect consular and visa fees in old notes. If so collected, they have sought to know how will those be exchanged,” he said. Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, who also holds the rotating post of the dean of Diplomatic Corps in the country held a meeting with the MEA officials saying diplomatic missions as well as tourists, students, medical tourists, delegates and diplomats are experiencing problems following demonetization.Swarup said the NRIs having legal Indian currency abroad and are travelling to India immediately, have also sought solutions to the issue. “The third set of issues is by the money changer associations abroad. This is quite interesting because we don’t have full convertibility…So, they have asked us the same question that what they would do with the stacks they have. How do they convert those?,” the spokesperson said. The issues have been referred to an inter-ministerial committee. “We wait their guidance, their advice and their recommendation which can then be shared with those various categories who have approached us,” Swarup said.Dean of Diplomatic Corps in India said all diplomatic missions were supporting the government move to fight corruption. But want solution to the crisis faced by diplomats and missions. He sought measures like setting up separate counters for embassies at the banks and a dedicated desk at MEA to address troubles faced by them.Within hours of announcement of demonetization, the diplomatic missions had sent detailed advisories to their citizens about currency restrictions in India and what their citizens can do on arrival. The UK embassy, which has been regularly updating its advisory, says citizens should be prepared for long queues at banks and the ATM.Also two eastern friendly neighbours Nepal and Bhutan are also experiencing problems, as they are only countries that allow Indian travellers to carry up to Rs25,000 in paper currency. Bhutan’s Central Bank has even deputed its officials at the Indo-Bhutan border to ensure that there was no shortage in cash for exchange over the counter. After discussions between Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) and the RBI, Nepal government banned all financial transactions in Indian rupees. This has come a boon for Indian security agencies, who believe that Kathmandu was the main hub, for funnelling fake currency into the Indian market.

Support India on terror, ours not a friendship to hide: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Friendship between India and Israel is at work “day in, day out” and is not a relationship “we should be hiding”, said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he pledged full support to India in fighting terrorism.Rivlin arrived on Monday on an eight-day visit to India, the first by any Israeli President in nearly two decades.In a wide ranging interview to PTI, the Israeli President acknowledged differences with India on the Palestinian issue but spoke warmly about the growing Indo- Israeli ties as the two countries prepare to celebrate 25 years of establishment of full diplomatic ties between them next year.Pledging full support to India in fighting terrorism, Rivlin said that his country was proud to “stand with India in its defence of the values of democracy”.”Terror is terror is terror, whoever carries it out and whoever are its victims. And we all have the duty to condemn in our words, and fight with our deeds against this terrible evil,” asserted the President, whose country is one of the biggest suppliers of defence equipment to India and is cooperating with it in a major way in dealing with terrorism.Answering a question on “murmurs” in Israel that India keeps under wraps their relationship because of close ties with the Arab world and domestic political considerations, Rivlin said, “Israel is proud of our friendship with India and I believe that India is proud of its friendship with Israel.”Again, this is not just a friendship of leaders and governments. It is a friendship between people in all walks of life, in all fields of study, in all areas of trade. This is not a friendship we should be hiding. This is a friendship that we see at work day in, day out, at the very forefront of building a better world for Israelis, for Indians, and for all peoples,” he said.In reply to a question on India’s continued support for an independent Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital, Rivlin said, “Friends may not always see eye to eye on everything, and as friends we can agree to disagree with respect and understanding.”Israel understands and indeed shares India’s desire to see a just and lasting solution to the conflict between us and the Palestinians. But no solution that may ever be found has a chance of success lest we work now to build confidence between peoples,” the President said, and asserted that Israel and Palestine need to work towards “direct negotiations”.Rivlin, who is accompanied by a strong delegation of businessmen, will hold comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow on key bilateral and regional issues.On the long-pending FTA, negotiations for which were launched nearly five years ago between India and Israel, Rivlin said it is a “tool” that can have huge impact and boost the partnership. As the two sides build and cultivate the growing partnership, there is a need to seek ways to help business sectors to work together in an inviting environment, Rivlin said.”We need to supply them with the tools that will ease their way and will provide them incentives. An FTA is a tool that can have a huge impact and boost the partnership.”Both Israel’s Ambassador in India, and India’s new Ambassador to Israel are playing an important role in this, which is a matter in progress and I hope we can see it signed in the near future,” the President said.He also asserted that his visit was a chance not only to reaffirm Israel’s commitment to continue building on all that has been achieved in the past 25 years of diplomatic relations, but to look at ways the two countries can work together to stretch even further the boundaries of innovation and imagination.”Importantly, this visit will focus on three areas of this cooperation, namely agriculture, water and education.These three areas in particular highlight what our two great nations are engaged in sowing the seeds for the future,” he added.During his meeting with Modi, Rivlin will reiterate his country’s invitation to Prime Minister Modi.Asserting that Indo-Israel was a growing partnership and there is still much potential to develop it further, Rivlin said Israel in particular has tremendous appreciation for the ‘Make in India’ initiative of Prime Minister Modi.”Israel is ready and committed – motivated by our innovations and technological development – to be India’s partner in all areas….”Some of the key areas we will be focusing on during the visit will be; water treatment and conservation, solar power systems, technology in agriculture, and food production,” the visiting President said.Noting that his delegation included university heads and leading scholars, he said this was also a crucial area where he believed the cooperation could grow.A great number of Indian students already study in Israel, and the rate of exchange and collaboration can be increased even further, he said, adding both Israel and India cherish the academic growth – as two great historic civilizations and two of the great innovating nations of the modern age.

‘Black money one of the main sources to fund terrorism’: Afghanistan welcomes India’s decision on demonetisation

New Delhi: Underlining that black money is one of the main sources of funding terror activities, Afghanistan on welcomed India’s decision to demonetise high-denomination currency, saying the move will benefit the region.

Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said the move will help curb economic terrorism by foiling the usage of counterfeit currency for terror activities.

“Black money is one of the main sources of funding for activities related to terrorism. And therefore it will help in fighting against it. Terrorism certainly has no boundary and so India’s move will help the region too,” he said on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ seminar in New Delhi.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The two-day seminar, organised by International Council for World Affairs (ICWA), is being held in the run-up to the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Amritsar in December, which India will co-chair with Afghanistan. Earlier, speaking at the event, Abdali appreciated the role of ‘Heart of Asia’ in the stabilisation of Afghanistan and the region while pitching for for bold, result-oriented regional leadership.

“The National Unity Government of Afghanistan took unprecedented steps to address the question of terrorism and improve our relations with Pakistan. We have exchanged with Pakistan several delegations, to secure Pakistan’s cooperation in ending war and violence,” he said. “We appreciated the initial gestures of goodwill of the Pakistani government…but we are yet to see tangible steps to be taken towards the peace process,” he said.

He said zero-sum postures must be discarded and win-win strategies adopted to secure Afghanistan against the same threats that undermine the security of every nation in South Asia and Central Asia, and the countries that neighbour these resourceful regions in Asia.

Abdali said a well-defined regional counter-terrorism strategy was a necessity and no longer an option for stabilisation. The seminar is being attended by representative from several member and supporting countries of ‘Heart of Asia’.

There are 13 member countries, which include Afghanistan, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Besides, there are 30 supporting countries which include the US, the UK and Germany.

India hits out at UNSC for delay in putting sanctions on JeM chief Masood Azhar

United Nations: India has strongly criticised the Security Council for taking months to consider sanctioning leaders of groups it has itself designated as terror entities, in an obvious reference to the “technical hold” on India’s bid to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.

Asserting that the Security Council is stuck in its own “time warp and politics”, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin on Monday slammed the Council’s inability to sanction the leaders of terrorist organisations.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“While our collective conscience is ravaged everyday by terrorists in some region or another, the Security Council gives itself 9 months to consider whether to sanction leaders of organisations it has itself designated as terrorist entities,” Akbaruddin said at a session on equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council.

Earlier this year, China had extended the “technical hold” on India’s move to get Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN. The six-month validity of the technical hold lapsed in late September and China sought another three-month extension on India’s bid.

He lamented that the snail-paced and “never-ending carousel of discussions” on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reforms, saying “it is time to break the impasse” to urgently reform the body that is “unresponsive” to the current global situation.

The inability to respond to humanitarian situations, terrorist threats and peacekeeping vulnerabilities during this year itself are part of the price that is being paid for the international community’s lack of progress on the critical matter, he noted.

“On issues pivotal to international security such as Syria, there is inaction, and on other situations like dealing with the peacekeeping crisis in South Sudan we see fragmented action which is not implemented even months after being agreed upon,” Akbaruddin said.

“The Security Council, stuck in its own time warp and politics, can only be described as working randomly on the basis of a mix of ad-hocism, scrambling and political
paralysis. Need one say more about the urgency of the need for reform of this relic which has long been unresponsive to the needs of our time,” he said.

Akbaruddin said the never-ending carousel of discussions on UNSC reforms leaves many in the international community perplexed as the crucial reform of the Security Council has been delayed despite both its importance and its urgency.

He pointed out that the Council’s global governance structure does not cease to surprise the international community with its persistent inability to even effectively
engage with the tasks at hand.

“The lack of representativeness of its membership, especially in the permanent category, which was decided upon 70 years ago adds to its lack of legitimacy and credibility,” he added.

The ambassador expressed hope that under the current UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, a process on furthering the reform will be put in place that can help move from discussions to negotiations.

“It is time to break the impasse. It is time to reflect the different hues in a text so that everyone can discern the trend lines and trajectory of thinking of Member States,” he said.

Young Indian lawyer elected to UN’s top body of legal experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant victory, a young Indian lawyer won a hotly-contested election in the UN General Assembly for membership to the world body’s top body of legal experts, garnering the highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group.Aniruddha Rajput, 33, is among the 34 individuals elected by the General Assembly as members of the International Law Commission, the UN organ tasked with the progressive development of international law and its codification.The newly elected members will serve five-year terms of office with the Geneva-based body beginning January 2017.The members have been elected from five geographical groupings of African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean and Western European states.Rajput got 160 votes, topping the Asia Pacific group in voting that was held by way of secret ballot yesterday.Amongst the youngest to be elected to the nearly 70-year old body, Rajput is India’s first time candidate to the Commission, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told PTI.A practicising lawyer of India’s Supreme Court, Rajput is also the first Indian nominee chosen from outside a close circle of lawyers of the Ministry of External Affairs.An alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Rajput was member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study and comment upon the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India, according to his profile submitted to the UN.He has written several books, chapters, articles, conference papers on diverse legal subjects and his areas of expertise in international laws include Sources of International Law, International Arbitration, Law of the Sea, Use of Force, UN Law & Practice and International Trade Law (WTO Law).In response to a congratulatory tweet by Singapore s Ambassador to the United Nations Burhan Gafoor on Rajput s election, Akbaruddin replied, “We are deeply appreciative of support extended by many, many friends of India to ensure Dr Rajput’s election by a huge margin.”Japan’s Shinya Murase got the second highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group at 148, followed by Mahmoud Daifallah Hmoud of Jordan and Huikang Huang of China with 146 votes each, Korea’s Ki Gab Park with 136 votes, Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri of Qatar with 128 votes and Hong Thao Nguyen of Viet Nam with 120 votes.

Nepal can benefit from India’s economic transformation, says President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee has said that rapid economic transformation that is taking place in India presents unprecedented opportunities for the people of Nepal.Addressing a gathering of state dignitaries at a banquet, hosted by Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday, President Mukherjee, who is on a three-day visit to Nepal, invited them to be stakeholders in India’s growth story.President Mukherjee emphasised that together both the countries can achieve the full potential of the increasing mutually beneficial cooperation in varied areas such as trade, investment, agriculture, hydro-power, infrastructure development and connectivity projects. He said that India is proud of the achievements of the people of Nepal and in the success of the development partnership with Nepal.The President stressed that the canvass of India’s bilateral cooperation involves dimensions of human endeavours too. He said that India and Nepal has age-old historical relations. He also said that the socio-economic, cultural and people to people relation between the two countries provide vitality and dynamism to unique, time-tested and multi-faceted relations.On Wednesday, Nepal’s Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun and Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, also known as “Prachanda” called on President Mukherjee.The Indian President also visited ‘India House’ for a welcome reception organised by Indian Ambassador to Nepal in his honour.

NSG bid: India, China meet for ‘substantive and constructive’ discussions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Monday held “substantive and constructive” discussions on India’s bid for NSG membership during the second round of talks between their top nuclear experts in Beijing. Following the first such meeting in New Delhi on September 13, India and China continued their discussions on the NSG issue in Beijing on Monday when JS (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill met Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun, sources said.”The talks were substantive and constructive. The engagement will continue as per the directive of the leadership,” sources said. During the talks, India once again asserted to the Chinese side that its implementation of Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) principles was “second to none”.Today’s talks come ahead of a possible informal consultations in next two months on India’s membership in a NSG panel, headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT. Wang, who was the Chief negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, had told reporters that signing of the NPT “is a must”, maintaining that the rule has not been set by China but by the international community.Wang had also warned “if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non- proliferation regime will collapse altogether”.China has been maintaining that the question of the non- NPT states’ participation is, in essence, a multilateral issue, and can only be subject to multilateral solution by the Group. China also pointed out that the issue of the non-NPT states’ participation in the NSG raises new questions for the Group under the new circumstances, and the crux of the above question is how to address the gap between the existing policies and practices of the non-NPT states and the existing international non-proliferation rules and norms based on the NPT as the cornerstone.

United Nations headquarters lights up for Diwali for the first time

United Nations: Diwali was commemorated for the first time at the United Nations, with the world body’s imposing headquarters lit up especially on the occasion of the Indian festival of lights.

The facade of the UN headquarters was lit in bright hues and the words ‘Happy Diwali’, along with the image of a traditional ‘diya’, projected onto the building.

“Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

“Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative,” Akbaruddin said in another tweet, thanking General Assembly President Peter Thomson for the initiative.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

He also tweeted a picture of passers-by clicking photographs of the building as well as being themselves clicked against the illuminated UN headquarters in the background.

Thomson also tweeted a picture of the UN building lit up in bright blue for Diwali and said “Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!”

The UN Secretariat building will be lit up for Diwali from 29-31 October.

It is for the first time that the Indian festival of lights is celebrated at the world body after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December, 2014 that acknowledged the “significance of Diwali”.

Noting that the festival is observed in many UN member states, the resolution had called on UN bodies to avoid holding meetings on Diwali, declaring it a no-meeting day.

From 2016 onwards, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN, India’s Permanent Mission to the world body said in a special video message.

Earlier in June, the UN building was lit up on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, with images of Yoga postures projected on the imposing headquarters.

In a first, UN headquarters lit up for Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diwali was commemorated for the first time at the United Nations, with the world body’s imposing headquarters here lit up especially on the occasion of the Indian festival of lights. The facade of the UN headquarters was lit in bright hues and the words ‘Happy Diwali’, along with the image of a traditional ‘diya’, projected onto the building.”Lighting up. @UN lights up for #Diwali for 1st time,” India’s Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted. “Happy Diwali! @UN celebrates Diwali for 1st time. Thank you @UN_PGA for this initiative,” Akbaruddin said in another tweet, thanking General Assembly President Peter Thomson for the initiative.He also tweeted a picture of passers-by clicking photographs of the building as well as being themselves clicked against the illuminated UN headquarters in the background.Thomson also tweeted a picture of the UN building lit up in bright blue for Diwali and said “Light over darkness, hope over despair, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil – the UN lights up. Happy Diwali!”The UN Secretariat building will be lit up for Diwali from October 29-31. It is for the first time that the Indian festival of lights is celebrated at the world body after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December, 2014 that acknowledged the “significance of Diwali”.Noting that the festival is observed in many UN member states, the resolution had called on UN bodies to avoid holding meetings on Diwali, declaring it a no-meeting day.From 2016 onwards, Diwali was made an optional holiday for the UN, India’s Permanent Mission to the world body said in a special video message. Earlier in June, the UN building was lit up on the occasion of the International Yoga Day, with images of Yoga postures projected on the imposing headquarters.

Will not redefine Hindutva now: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court (SC) is not going to redefine the term ‘Hindutva’. It will only examine whether invoking religion in election amounts to corrupt practice or not.Clearing the air, a seven-judge Constitution Bench on Tuesday made it clear that it would not revisit its 1995 judgment, which had defined Hindutva as a way of life. “We will not go into Hindutva at this stage,” the Bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said.”Whether Hindutva means Hindu religion or not is a larger debate. We are not going to examine it,” Justice Thakur said. The Bench clarified it after Senior Advocate KK Venugopal, who appeared for OP Gupta, former Ambassador to Finland and author of two books on Hinduism, sought permission to hear him before taking a final call.The Constitution Bench is examining whether an appeal by a politician or a religious leader to his followers to vote for a particular party or candidate falls under the ambit of electoral malpractice under Section 123 (3) of the Representation of People Act. During the course of hearing on Tuesday, the Court asked the counsel whether a Dalit candidate seeking votes from his community amounts to corrupt practice.Earlier, the Chief Justice had observed that religion, in any form, should not be allowed in elections. The Bench also comprised Justices MB Lokur, SA Bobde, AK Goel, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao.A bunch of applications have been filed by many individuals, including activist Teesta Setalvad, and organisations before the Bench. In her plea, Setalvad had sought a ban on the use of Hindutva in elections. She said religion and politics should not be mixed and a direction be passed.However, the Court declined to take up any of the applications at this stage. Two election petitions were filed against former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Sunder Lal Patwa and BJP leader Abhiram Singh from Maharashtra whose election was set aside by the Bombay High Court on the grounds that religion was invoked during polls. The issue has been pending for more than two decades.

By 2030, India will lead world in almost every category: Richard Verma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing confidence that by 2030 India would lead the world in “almost every category”, US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma on Tuesday said people are excited about the Indo-US partnership which is poised to strengthen further.”I look out into the future in India…just take 2030. By 2030, India will lead the world in almost every category… You will have the most people, largest middle class population, college graduates, patent holders, massive investment in infrastructure, urbanisation and discoveries,” he said while interacting with the students of IIT and IIM at the Government Engineering College in Raipur.”That’s why people are so excited about India’s rise and what’s happening here. That’s why I am excited about the partnership we have with you (India)…we can’t agree on every issue, but we can get really a lot of important things done,” he added.Verma termed the last two years as the best period in the relationship between the two countries. He said US President Barack Obama wants India to be a strong, prosperous and a successful global power.”We changed, India has changed…We were on two separate tracks for many a decade. Those tracks are now coming together. If you ask (US) president about how he feels about India, he would say he wants India to be strong and prosperous,” he said.Speaking about various fronts on which both the countries have collaborated and succeeded, he stressed that the two countries broke records in several categories last year.”We had the highest two-way trade between the two countries ever of USD 110 billion. US was the largest export market for India. About 1.1 million visitors from India travelled to the US and equally, one million Americans visited India last year which was an all-time high. Last year, 1.40 lakh Indian students were studying in America. The highest defence trade number last year was USD 15 billion,” he said.Verma, however, said the two countries can do a lot more on peace, prosperity, climate change, defence and strategic affairs which he feels will have big impact on people.Expressing hope that the ties between the two nations, would strengthen, he said, “If I look ahead to the future, I’m really optimistic and really excited. I don’t think our relationship (will be) on roller coaster. I don’t see it going down, I only see it’s going up.”He also noted that the visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have strengthened ties between the two countries. He quoted Modi’s speech at the US Congress earlier this year, where the PM had said they have overcome the hesitation of history and India is on course of making the US its indispensable partner. The US envoy also stressed the role India and the US can play in ensuring peace and harmony in the world. ON HIS ARUNACHAL VISIT:On Monday, China had objected to Richard Verma’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and had said that any interference by Washington in the Sino-India boundary dispute will make it ‘more complicated’ and ‘disturb’ hard won peace at the border. Talking about his Arunachal visit, Verma said, “Visit to Arunachal was terrific, we went there for Tawang festival. We are looking to incerase our trade and eco oppurtunities.”

Vladimir Putin’s India visit unaffected by Russia-Pak exercises: Russia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Russia said on Thursday its recent military exercises with Pakistan had not affected the preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s India visit this week. “The Indian partners did not link in any way their concerns (over military exercises with Pakistan) with the president’s visit,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.He made the remarks in response to a question about “whether the recent Russia-Pakistan military exercises in the zone considered by India as a disputed territory had affected the preparation of the Russian leader’s visit”. Russian President Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks in Goa on Saturday, ahead of the BRICS Summit.The Kremlin aide said that apart from the bilateral agenda, “the Russian and Indian leaders would discuss the situation in Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, and also the fight against terrorism”. Putin and Modi will also discuss cooperation in nuclear power engineering and military-technical cooperation, he said.
ALSO READ India conveys its opposition on Russia-Pakistan military exercise to Moscow Ahead of their annual bilateral Summit, India had conveyed its opposition to Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan, a nation which “sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of State policy”, saying it will create further problems. “We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan which is a state that sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of state policy is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems,” Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran had said in an interview to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Pak epicentre of terrorism but makes baseless claims about Kashmir: Syed Akbaruddin at UN

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN again hit out at Pakistan over their Kashmir claims. He said: “We look away (on the issue of dealing with terrorism) as some amongst us stall our collective efforts, as they use terrorists as proxies in their territorial quests. We have heard one such lone voice a short while ago, making claims to an integral part of India. A country which has established itself as a global epicenter of terrorism. Such claims find no resonance amongst the international community.”Referring to Sharif’s speech at UNGA, he said “Just less than 10 days ago the GA Debate witnessed a singular lack of support for Pakistan’s baseless claims. Need one say more. Abandon your futile quest. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain so. No amount of misuse of international fora by Pakistan will change that reality. The sell by date of Pakistan’s anachronistic approach is over.”Pak snub at UNThe UN Security Council has not been discussing the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Russia’s envoy to the UN and Council president for October said, in a clear snub to Pakistan which had raised the Kashmir issue and surgical strike by India in the world body.”I don’t want to go there, don’t want to go there. No no please, I don’t want to go there,” Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said as he quickly interrupted a question on India and Pakistan tensions during a press briefing. Churkin was addressing the media as Russia assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of October.When asked why he would not comment on the issue, Churkin said “because I am President of the Security Council. The Security Council has not been discussing it (the India Pakistan situation). “Sorry sir, I don’t want to go there. No comment, no comment, sorry please,” Churkin said.When asked again why he and Russia were “so reluctant” to discuss the India-Pakistan situation, Churkin said, “I’m sure you know. There are so many other things.” Churkin’s remarks come as a clear snub to Pakistan, which had approached the Security Council just last week on the surgical strikes conducted by India to target terror launch pads across the Line of Control as well as on the Kashmir issue.Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq was asked what the UN position is on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj s remarks in her address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan should “abandon” its Kashmir dream since Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.”We have issued a statement on the situation between India and Pakistan. I would refer you back to that,” Haq said.When asked again why the UN did not “say anything” to Swaraj’s remarks that Pakistan should stop dreaming about Kashmir, Haq said, “We don’t comment on every speech made in the General Assembly, but we have been commenting on the situation on Kashmir, and like I said, we issued a statement on that just last Friday.”Pakistan s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had met New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and had raised the issue of the surgical strikes in “informal consultations” of the Council.She had also met UN Secretary General Ban on the issue but the UN Chief had called on the governments of India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, peacefully through “diplomacy and dialogue”.India s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had last week said that Pakistan approaching the UN Chief and the Security Council over the surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance at the world body.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too had tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue, raising it with almost every world leader he held bilateral talks with on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly last month.

India criticises UNSC for being indecisive about sanctioning leaders of terrorist entities

United Nations: India strongly criticised an “unresponsive” Security Council on Wednesday for being indecisive about sanctioning leaders of organisations it itself designates as terrorist entities after China extended its “technical hold” on India’s bid for a UN ban against JeM chief Masood Azhar.

File image of India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin. Facebook

File image of India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin. Facebook

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin told the UN General Assembly that the 15-nation Security Council, the “principal organ” tasked with the maintenance of peace and security, has in a variety of ways become “unresponsive to the needs of our time and ineffective to meeting the challenges it is confronted with”.

Without naming China, Akbaruddin referred to its technical hold on India’s bid against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Azhar, saying the Council is a body that “ponders for six months on whether to sanction leaders of organisations it has itself designated as terrorist entities”.

“Then, unable to decide, it gives itself three more months to further consider this issue. One has to expectantly wait for nine months before the process is completed to know if Council members have decided on a single issue,” he said in the General Assembly debate on the Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organisation.

On 31 March this year, China – a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council – had blocked India’s move to put a ban on Azhar under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council. China was the sole member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the
1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

The Chinese technical hold had lapsed on Monday, and had China not raised further objection, the resolution designating Azhar as a terrorist would have been passed automatically. However, Beijing on Saturday announced the extension of its “technical hold”.

“The extended technical hold on it will allow more time for the Committee to deliberate on the matter and for relevant parties to have further consultations,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang had said in Beijing. Akbaruddin said in certain instances, the Council does not even begin the nine-month process of identification and listing of publicly announced leaders of listed entities.

“At best, it is now a body that can be described as an interesting and random mix of ad-hocism, scrambling and political paralysis. This global governance architecture now calls for comprehensive reform,” the Indian envoy said.

Every country has the right to defend its territory from terrorism: Germany backs India’s surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>German Ambassador to India Martin Ney said that Germany will stand with India in its fight against terrorism. Responding to a query on the recent surgical strikes by the Indian Army across LoC, he told reporters here, “There is a clear international norm that every state has the right to defend its territory from international terrorism.” “Let me put it this way..it is absolutely clear that there are two norms in international law governing this issue (cross-border terrorism). The first clear norm is that every state under legal occupation should ensure that no terrorism is emanating from its territory. “Secondly, there is a clear international law that any state has the right to defend its territory from any form of global terrorism,” Ney said. “When it comes to counter terrorism, Germany stands side by side with it its strategic partner (India). And these (statements) are not empty words. It is quite clear in the political declaration signed by Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Merkel,” he said. “I can assure you standing with India side by side against terrorism are not empty political words but backed with concrete projects,” Ney said. On the bilateral trade between India and Germany, the German envoy said his country was the sixth largest partner of India and the largest trading partner in European Union. Ney was speaking at a function held here to appoint Cyient Ltd Founder and Executive Chairman and former NASSCOM Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy as the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany.Earlier Russia also backed India post the surgical strike. Russia’s Ambassador to New Delhi Alexander M Kadakin also said his country had always been with India in fighting cross-border terrorism. “Greatest human rights violations take place when terrorists attack military installations and attack peaceful civilians in India. We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has right to defend itself,” Russian embassy quote d Kadakin as having told a news channel. He also assured India that it does not need to worry about Russia-Pakistan joint military exercise, saying it did not take place in “Pakistan-Occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.Last week, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement had said Russia stands for “decisive struggle” against terrorism in all its manifestations. “We are concerned with the aggravation lately of the situation along the line of control between India and Pakistan. “We are calling on the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations. We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations.”We expect that the Government of Pakistan should take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorist groups in the territory of the country,” the statement said.Earlier, Russia’s foreign ministry blasted Pakistan in a strongly worded statement. Speaking about the LoC incident, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out a statement saying: “We are concerned with the aggravation lately of the situation along the line of control between India and Pakistan. We are calling on the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations. We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations. We expect the government of Pakistan to take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorists’ groups in the territory of the country.”Other world powers, who seem to side with India over the surgical strike include the USA who said terrorist attacks like Uri obviously escalates tensions. “Obviously, an (terrorist) attack like that (in Uri) escalates tensions. What I don’t want to do is try to get into, you know, some sort of broad characterisation one way or the other but obviously an attack like this is horrific and…”, the State Department Spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters.The spokesperson was interrupted by a reporter mid-way that her question was about India’s response to the September 18 Uri attack. “But the Indian response is that — is that the kind of escalation that Secretary Kerry was warning against?” the journalist asked referring to the telephonic conversation between the Secretary of State John Kerry and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier this week.Kirby was quick to clarify that he was referring to the Uri terrorist attack. “Oh, I thought you were talking about the Uri attack,” the spokesman said.On September 27, Kerry spoke with Swaraj. For technical reason, the conversation was spread over two separate calls. “I can confirm for you that the secretary spoke with — on the 27th, so earlier this week, with Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj and reiterated his strong condemnation of the September 18 Uri attack. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and he cautioned against any escalation intentions,” he said.Responding to questions, Kirby called for de-escalation of tension between the two countries. “We’ve seen those reports (of Indian surgical attack), we’re following the situation closely as I think you can understand. We also understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication,” he said. “We believe that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions. We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that terrorism poses to the region and we all know that terrorism in many ways knows no border,” Kirby said.”We continue to urge actions to combat and de-legitimise terrorist groups like LeT, and Haqqani Network, Jaish-E-Mohammed. So, this is something that we’re obviously keenly focused on,” Kirby said in response to a question.Counter-terrorism co-operation, he said, is something that the United States is always working at with its partners in the region. “We’re always trying to get better at combating terrorism in the region. There are many ways you can do that, you know, through information sharing regimens and increasing communication between all parties involved,” he said.But he refused to entertain question on if there was any co-operation between India and the United States on the latest Indian operation. “I don’t have a specific laundry list here to read out to you because, frankly, it’s something that we’ve been constantly working at with our partners in the region,” he said. Kirby said America’s message to both sides has been the same in terms of encouraging them to increase communication to deal with this threat and to avoid steps that escalate the tensions.”I think I’m not going to get into characterising each and every step along the way there. “But obviously, what we want to see is increased cooperation against what is a very shared common threat for both countries, and to see steps being taken to deal with it by all sides,” Kirby said. Meanwhile the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, who was in Washington DC has rushed back to New Delhi.”As far as I know, he’s returning to New Delhi. My understanding is that he believed that it was, appropriate for him to go back.”He has got a big job. There a lot of responsibilities that come with it. And, obviously it’s a very dynamic situation and he felt it was prudent to go back. We support that,” Kirby said.Earlier, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali applauded New Delhi for ordering counter terrorism operations across the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday and Thursday.‘I applaud Prime Minister Modi for his boldness and his seriousness to fight terrorism more effectively, and all other countries should support him, so that we can be free from terrorism,’ Abdali said. Condemning the countries giving refuge and support to terrorist organisations, the Afghan envoy said should be should be dealt with strongly and taken out from wherever they exist.On Islamabad’s consistent rejection of the charge that it was harboring terrorists, Abdali said ‘Deniability has a limit. This cannot be denied if there are facts on the ground on how they exist and how they operationalise their activities.’South Korea also supported India’s stance against terrorism emanating from Pakistan as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan apprised its President Park Geun Hye about the surgical strike carried out by the Indian army at the terror camps across the LoC. The issue came up when Mahajan, who is leading a Parliamentary delegation, called on the President.During the discussions, the Speaker informed the Korean President about the “strong action” taken by India against terrorism, said a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, referring to the cross-LoC surgical strike.Apprising Park about the continuous terrorist activities being carried out from the territory of Pakistan, Mahajan told her that “India believes in non-violence and peace, but it will not hesitate to use its retaliatory power to safeguard its interests,” the statement said. “While supporting India’s strong views on terrorism, Park condemned terrorism of every type,” it added. The President said India and South Korea stand together against terrorism.With agency inputs

Pakistan hands over dossier to US on ‘human rights violations’ in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has handed over a dossier to the US on ‘grave human rights violations’ by India in Kashmir and sought the country’s intervention in the matter.Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani on Monday met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson at the State Department and handed over a dossier containing information on the “gross human rights violations” by the Indian security forces in Kashmir, Foreign Affairs Ministry said here.Jilan said that the international community, especially the US, should take note of the “inhuman and degrading treatment” being meted out to the innocent civilians in Kashmir. The US, being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, should impress upon India to immediately end the “state-sponsored terrorism”, the Ambassador was quoted as saying by the Ministry in a statement. It was also emphasised during their meeting that the right to self-determination was granted to the people of Kashmir by the United Nations which “could not be unilaterally denied by India”, according to the statement.Jilani further underscored that the international community must ensure that India as a member of the United Nations, should allow access to international human rights and humanitarian organisations to assess the factual situation in Kashmir.

UNSC has not been discussing escalating India-Pakistan tensions: Russia

United Nations: The UN Security Council has not been discussing the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Russia’s envoy to the UN and Council president for October said, in a clear snub to Pakistan which had raised the Kashmir issue and surgical strike by India in the world body.

Russia said that the UNSC has not been discussing India-Pakistan ties. AFP

Russia said that the UNSC has not been discussing India-Pakistan ties. AFP

“I don’t want to go there, don’t want to go there. No no please, I don’t want to go there,” Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said as he quickly interrupted a question on India and Pakistan tensions during a press briefing at the United Nations on Monday.

Churkin was addressing the media as Russia assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of October.

When asked why he would not comment on the issue, Churkin said “because I am President of the Security Council. The Security Council has not been discussing it (the India-Pakistan situation).”

“Sorry sir, I don’t want to go there. No comment, no comment, sorry please,” Churkin said.

When asked again why he and Russia were “so reluctant” to discuss the India-Pakistan situation, Churkin said, “I’m sure you know. There are so many other things.”

Churkin’s remarks come as a clear snub to Pakistan, which had approached the Security Council just last week on the surgical strikes conducted by India to target terror launch pads across the Line of Control as well as on the Kashmir issue.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq was asked what the UN position is on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s remarks in her address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan should “abandon” its Kashmir dream since Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.

“We have issued a statement on the situation between India and Pakistan. I would refer you back to that,” Haq said.

When asked again why the UN did not “say anything” to Swaraj’s remarks that Pakistan should stop dreaming about Kashmir, Haq said, “We don’t comment on every speech made in the General Assembly, but we have been commenting on the situation on Kashmir, and like I said, we issued a statement on that just last Friday.”

Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had met New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and had raised the issue of the surgical strikes in “informal consultations” of the Council.

She had also met UN Secretary General Ban on the issue but the UN Chief had called on the governments of India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, peacefully through “diplomacy and dialogue”.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had last week said that Pakistan approaching the UN Chief and the Security Council over the surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance at the world body.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too had tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue, raising it with almost every world leader he held bilateral talks with on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly last month.

In clear snub to Pakistan, UNSC president Russia says council not discussing India-Pak tensions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The UN Security Council has not been discussing the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Russia’s envoy to the UN and Council president for October said, in a clear snub to Pakistan which had raised the Kashmir issue and surgical strike by India in the world body.”I don’t want to go there, don’t want to go there. No no please, I don’t want to go there,” Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said as he quickly interrupted a question on India and Pakistan tensions during a press briefing here yesterday.Churkin was addressing the media as Russia assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation Council for the month of October.
ALSO READ Every country has right to defend itself: Russia openly backs India after surgical strike When asked why he would not comment on the issue, Churkin said “because I am President of the Security Council. The Security Council has not been discussing it (the India Pakistan situation).”Sorry sir, I don’t want to go there. No comment, no comment, sorry please,” Churkin said.
ALSO READ ‘Modi must expose Pak lies’: After Kejriwal, Cong asks for proof of surgical strikeWhen asked again why he and Russia were “so reluctant” to discuss the India-Pakistan situation, Churkin said, “I’m sure you know. There are so many other things.” Churkin’s remarks come as a clear snub to Pakistan, which had approached the Security Council just last week on the surgical strikes conducted by India to target terror launch pads across the Line of Control as well as on the Kashmir issue.Earlier in the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq was asked what the UN position is on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj s remarks in her address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan should “abandon” its Kashmir dream since Kashmir is and will remain an integral part of India.
ALSO READ Pak should take effective steps against terrorists: Russia backs India after surgical strike”We have issued a statement on the situation between India and Pakistan. I would refer you back to that,” Haq said.When asked again why the UN did not “say anything” to Swaraj’s remarks that Pakistan should stop dreaming about Kashmir, Haq said, “We don’t comment on every speech made in the General Assembly, but we have been commenting on the situation on Kashmir, and like I said, we issued a statement on that just last Friday.”Pakistan s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had met New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and had raised the issue of the surgical strikes in “informal consultations” of the Council.She had also met UN Secretary General Ban on the issue but the UN Chief had called on the governments of India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, peacefully through “diplomacy and dialogue”.India s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had last week said that Pakistan approaching the UN Chief and the Security Council over the surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance at the world body.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too had tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue, raising it with almost every world leader he held bilateral talks with on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly last month.

Russia supports surgical strikes against Pakistan: India mustn’t neglect old friends

Amidst news of Russian soldiers landing in Pakistan for their first military exercise, there was welcome news for India when Moscow’s envoy in New Delhi extended unstinted support for last Thursday’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin said that the Russian Federation was the only country to say in plain words that terrorists come from Pakistan. What should be music to Indian ears is the ambassador’s categorical stand that India had been wronged and it was justified to take retaliatory action. “The greatest human rights violations take place when terrorists attack military installations and attack peaceful civilians in India. We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has right to defend itself,” he said.

Assuring India that it does not need to worry about Russia-Pakistan joint military exercise, he pointed out that the exercises didn’t take place in the “Pakistan-occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Russian envoy further said that “India should not be concerned about military exercises between Russia and Pakistan because the theme of the exercise is anti-terror fighting. It’s in India’s interests that we teach the Pakistani Army not to use itself for terror attacks against India. And the exercise was not held in any sensitive or problematic territories like the Pakistan-occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.

File image of Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin. Getty Images

File image of Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M Kadakin. Getty Images

The announcement of Russia-Pakistan military exercise evoked concern in India and there were fears that New Delhi’s growing closeness to Washington had led Moscow to take such a decision. However, the Russians have for weeks tried to dispel an impression that Moscow was getting closer to Islamabad. Russia named Pakistan as the home of terror groups and allayed concerns in New Delhi’s foreign policy establishment when the ambassador stated that the small-scale military exercise was not held in, what he called “Pakistan-occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Moscow daily Pravda published a commentary that stated that the exercises were “not an index of friendly relations”, but these were the first drills ever to be held with Pakistan. Before that, Russia abstained from military-political contact with Pakistan country, mainly because of very friendly relations with India in the military-political sphere and uncompromising opposition between India and Pakistan, Sergey Lunev, professor at the Oriental Studies Department of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations told Pravda.

The Modi-Putin meeting

Russia’s affirmation of faith in the relationship with India and its categorical stance on Pakistani support to terrorism must be used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to Russian president Vladimir Putin when he visits India in the next fortnight. On the sidelines of the Brics Summit in Goa, Modi and Putin will hold an India-Russia Summit. Unlike his numerous meetings with the US president Barack Obama, the Indian prime minister has only met Putin twice apart from meetings at international conferences.

Growing India-US relations seemed to push India’s old and dependable partner Russia to the background, and the decision to upgrade ties with US to a strategic partnership level, and plans to sign the logistics agreement with Washington have naturally caused concern in Moscow.

Modi will use the October meeting with Putin in Goa to put their relations in perspective.

Russia remains India’s main partner for military technical cooperation with Russia accounting for 40 percent of India’s weapon imports. Additionally, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is expected to progress smoothly. In September, the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) met in New Delhi to review the status of the ongoing bilateral projects and further broaden strategic cooperation in the critical areas of trade and commerce, energy, space and high technology.

At the end of the IRIGC meeting it was agreed to launch an industry-level Working Group to fuel energy cooperation, and collaboration in pharmaceuticals under the Russian “Pharma 2020” programme and an impetus on enhanced connectivity.

In fact, Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Russia visit last month would have seen the two countries sign agreements through which Moscow will share real time intelligence on terrorism and cyber security. Postponed due to the Uri attack, this agreement will significantly enhance cooperation between the two in such a critical area.

Next year will mark 70 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations. As India deepens ties with the US it would be essential not to take an all-weather friend for granted. The Modi government must use multilateralism to strengthen ties with Russia and seriously look at its proposal for a Russia-India-China Forum that Moscow is keen to build.

An old and trusted ally should not be ignored while a new partnership is being forged with the US.

Indians have carried on Gandhi’s legacy: Barack Obama on India’s ratification of Paris deal

Washington/New Delhi: The US today welcomed India’s ratification of the Paris climate agreement with President Barack Obama saying that by joining the pact Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian people have carried on Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy.

“Gandhiji believed in a world worthy of our children. In joining the Paris Agreement, @narendramodi & the Indian people carry on that legacy,” Obama tweeted.

Obama, whose presidential term comes to an end in January next year, wants to be remembered as the president who saved the world from climate change and he played a significant role in concluding the Paris climate deal last year.

Obama and Modi, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Laos last month, had discussed climate change issues as an immediate priority of Indo-US ties.

A file photo of Barack Obama. AP

A file photo of Barack Obama. AP

Terming it as a “bold and decisive” step, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma in New Delhi also lauded India’s ratification of the Paris climate agreement.

“In joining the Paris climate agreement today, India has taken a bold and decisive step in combating climate change,” Verma said.

He also commended Prime Minister Modi for his leadership and thanked all those who have worked on the agreement over many years.

“India’s ratification provides indispensable political momentum to securing entry into force of the Paris Agreement this year, sending an enduring and irreversible market signal that low-carbon development is 21st century development,” Verma said.

“… (It) will yield tremendous benefits not only for producers and consumers in India, but for those around the world,” he said.

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, today ratified the landmark Paris climate deal, giving a major boost to the deal which appeared tantalisingly close to enter into force by the end of this year.

Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin handed over the Instrument of Ratification signed by President Pranab Mukherjee, to Santiago Villalpando, the Head of the Treaties Division at the UN, at a special ceremony here attended by top UN officials and senior diplomats to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 147th birth anniversary.

“We look forward to continuing our close friendship with India and furthering our work together on climate change and clean energy, so that we may provide future generations a world to be proud of and treasure,” Verma said.

The ratification formalises pledges made by each country, including India, to take actions to curb or lower greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards and try to keep the rise in average global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India, the world’s third biggest carbon emitter after China and the US which are responsible for around 40 per cent of the global carbon emissions, accounts for 4.1 per cent of global emissions.

Nuclear states should show more restraint: USA slams Pak after it threatens India with N-attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It seems like India’s global isolation plan is going rather well. On Friday, Russia tore into Pakistan in an official statement saying: “We are concerned with the aggravation lately of the situation along the line of control between India and Pakistan. We are calling on the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations. We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations. We expect the government of Pakistan to take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorists’ groups in the territory of the country.”Now, USA joined the chorus saying nuclear states should show more restraint. With Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton asserting that Islamabad is running at full speed to develop tactical nukes in their continuing hostility with India, the United States has called on Pakistan to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. Addressing the media, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said in a clear message to Pakistan that nuclear-capable states have a very clear responsibility to exercise restraint regarding nuclear weapons and missile capabilities.Pak defence minister Asif said: “actical weapons joh hain, joh hamne yeh progammes develop kiya hua hai, yeh apne hifazat ke liye develop kiya hua hai. Hamne devices jo hain just as showpieces toh nahin rakhe hue. Lekin agar hamare salamati ko khatra hua, toh hum nestanabhut kar denge unko (Tactical weapons, our programmes that we have developed, they have been developed for our protection. We haven’t kept the devices that we have just as showpieces. But if our safety is threatened, we will annihilate them (India).”Talking about the continued surge in tensions between India, Pakistan especially after the recent surgical strike by the Indian Army in Pakistan occupied Kashmir on terror launch pads, Toner stated that the U.S. is following the situation on the ground very closely and urges calm and restraint by both sides. We understand that the Pakistani and Indian militaries have been in communication and we believe that continued communication between them is important to reduce tensions. I think we certainly dont want to see any kind of escalation and certainly any kind of break in that communication, he said.Re-iterating that the U.S. condemns the deadly Uri attack, he added that the Barack Obama-led government has repeatedly and consistently expressed its concerns regarding the danger that cross-border terrorism poses for the region.And we continue to urge actions to combat and de-escalate and delegitimize, rather, terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, rather Haqqani Network, as well as Jaish-e-Mohammad, Toner said.Asserting that U.S. does not want to see tensions between India and Pakistan escalate any further, the spokesperson stated that the Secretary of State John Kerry is engaged and talking to senior Indian leadership consistently regarding the matter. India has said Pakistan approaching the UN over the issue of surgical strikes in PoK has not found any resonance in the world body and rejected claims that the UN mission monitoring ceasefire “has not directly observed” any firing along the LoC.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin dismissed remarks made by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) “has not directly observed any firing across the LoC related to the latest incidents”, a reference to the surgical strikes conducted by India on September 29 targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.Akbaruddin told reporters at the Indian Permanent Mission here yesterday that the facts on the ground do not change whether somebody has “observed” it or not.”I have nothing to say because what (Dujarric) said was ‘directly observed’. It’s a call that they have to take. I cannot place myself in their boots and directly observe something,” the Indian envoy said when asked to comment on Dujarric’s remarks.Akbaruddin said the “facts on the ground do not change whether somebody acknowledges or not. Facts are facts, we presented the facts and that’s where we stand.” India on Thursday carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.When pressed at the daily press briefing to explain how UNMOGIP can say it did not observe any firing even as India said it has conducted the surgical strikes, Dujarric repeated that UNMOGIP has not “directly observed” any of the firing.”They are obviously aware of the reports of these presumed violations and are talking to the relevant concerned authorities,” he had said.Akbaruddin said while Pakistan has reached out to the UN Chief and the 15-nation Council over the issues of the surgical strike and Kashmir, it’s call for intervention by the world body has not found any resonance as there was no further discussion on the matter.”Yesterday there was some action. You are also aware of the reaction,” Akbaruddin said referring to Pakistan’s envoy Maleeha Lodhi meeting New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, president of the Council for the month of September, and raising in the UNSC the issue of the action by India.”Yesterday the Pakistan ambassador did approach New Zealand. What they didn’t tell you after that was what happened. Did anyone raise anything after what was explained to in the UN Security Council. The answer that I know of is that there was no further discussion of this (surgical strike and Kashmir matter),” Akbaruddin said. He said Pakistan had raised the issues through the New Zealand ambassador in “informal consultations” of the Council.”Was there a resonance. I didn’t hear that, nor did anybody else in those informal consultations. We are a responsible state. It is not our intention to aggravate the situation.”However as a responsible state we will not tolerate any impunity. We will not be indifferent to territory being used to kill innocent citizens of our country,” Akbaruddin said adding that India hopes and expects “support from Pakistan also in that endeavor”.”Ultimately they are committed to a bilateral understanding on this.” The Indian envoy also added that Pakistan had raised the Kashmir issue in the General Assembly but asked how many nations “supported” it.”By my count there were none,” he said adding that there is “no resonance” among UN member states for Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir.”At the high-level General Debate, there was a specific and long Pakistani submission (on Kashmir). I did not hear any resonance of that among any of the member states who took the floor. Ultimately 193 of them took the floor. There was no resonance. If you find anything contrary I’m willing to listen,” Akbaruddin said.Akbaruddin stressed that as a responsible state, India will not be “indifferent to impunity” as an option.”Our approach is that the response (surgical strike) we undertook yesterday…was a measured, proportionate, counter-terrorist strike. It was reflective of our desire to stop a clear and imminent threat. Our objectives have been met and that effort has since ended,” he said.He reiterated that India’s effort as a “responsible state” is to respond proportionately and in a measured manner and achieve its objectives.”In that case, we consider our objectives fulfilled. What spin somebody puts, whether somebody has seen it or not seen it, is not a germane to the issue. That it was undertaken, that we feel that it achieved our objective is important for us as a country,” he said.On whether India has been approached by the office of the Secretary General or the Security Council regarding de-escalation of the situation, Akbaruddin said, “I did not hear any response to the submission (by Pakistan) yesterday.” He said as a normal diplomatic practice, if there are any requests to him or other Indian diplomats on any matter, “it is our job as diplomats to respond to them.” “In the UN we have a very expansive agenda. We have an agenda that deals with peace and security and also climate change, sustainable development goals. It also deals with having a culture of peace integrating and working together with others.”We are focused on that expansive and extensive agenda. We are not a one agenda state,” he said.The surgical strike by India came just days after the attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on the Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir that killed 18 jawans.With inputs from agencies

India’s claim of surgical strike false: Pakistan tells UN chief Ban Ki-moon

United Nations: Pakistan has told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that India’s claim of carrying out a surgical strike across the LoC was false and insisted that the responsibility for the “escalating crisis rests entirely on India”.

In her meeting with the UN chief, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi told Ban that Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint but would respond forcefully to any acts of aggression and provocation.

Pakistan's Permanent Ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday. Facebook: Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations

Pakistan’s Permanent Ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday. Facebook: Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations

Lodhi said India’s “claim” of carrying out a surgical strike across the Line of Control was “false” but added that India had by its own admission “committed aggression” against Pakistan, according to a statement by the Pakistan mission here.

She added that the responsibility for the “escalating crisis rests entirely on India”, the release said.

Briefing him about the escalating situation, Lodhi said, “India has, by its declarations and actions, created conditions that pose an imminent threat to regional and international peace and security.”

She said India provoked the crisis to divert international attention away from the “Indigenous Kashmiri uprising” and asked the Secretary General to intervene in bringing an end to the alleged grave human rights in Kashmir.

Lodhi further said the Secretary General is “bound by the UN Charter” to “intervene boldly and unequivocally” by calling on India to halt its “aggressive actions and provocations”, lest these lead to an even more dangerous situation.

During a briefing, Ban’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said that Lodhi’s meeting with Ban was held at her own request and added that Ban’s office does not give readouts of his meetings with Permanent Representatives.

Pak should take effective steps against terrorists: Russia backs India after surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It seems like Pakistan is running out of friends fast. The latest to hit out is Russia whose foreign ministry blasted Pakistan in a strongly worded statement. Speaking about the LoC incident, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out a statement saying: “We are concerned with the aggravation lately of the situation along the line of control between India and Pakistan. We are calling on the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations. We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations. We expect the government of Pakistan to take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorists’ groups in the territory of the country.” Other world powers, who seem to side with India over the surgical strike include the USA who said terrorist attacks like Uri obviously escalates tensions. “Obviously, an (terrorist) attack like that (in Uri) escalates tensions. What I don’t want to do is try to get into, you know, some sort of broad characterisation one way or the other but obviously an attack like this is horrific and…”, the State Department Spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters.The spokesperson was interrupted by a reporter mid-way that her question was about India’s response to the September 18 Uri attack. “But the Indian response is that — is that the kind of escalation that Secretary Kerry was warning against?” the journalist asked referring to the telephonic conversation between the Secretary of State John Kerry and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier this week.Kirby was quick to clarify that he was referring to the Uri terrorist attack. “Oh, I thought you were talking about the Uri attack,” the spokesman said.On September 27, Kerry spoke with Swaraj. For technical reason, the conversation was spread over two separate calls. “I can confirm for you that the secretary spoke with — on the 27th, so earlier this week, with Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj and reiterated his strong condemnation of the September 18 Uri attack. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and he cautioned against any escalation intentions,” he said.Responding to questions, Kirby called for de-escalation of tension between the two countries. “We’ve seen those reports (of Indian surgical attack), we’re following the situation closely as I think you can understand. We also understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication,” he said. “We believe that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions. We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that terrorism poses to the region and we all know that terrorism in many ways knows no border,” Kirby said.”We continue to urge actions to combat and de-legitimise terrorist groups like LeT, and Haqqani Network, Jaish-E-Mohammed. So, this is something that we’re obviously keenly focused on,” Kirby said in response to a question.Counter-terrorism co-operation, he said, is something that the United States is always working at with its partners in the region. “We’re always trying to get better at combating terrorism in the region. There are many ways you can do that, you know, through information sharing regimens and increasing communication between all parties involved,” he said.But he refused to entertain question on if there was any co-operation between India and the United States on the latest Indian operation. “I don’t have a specific laundry list here to read out to you because, frankly, it’s something that we’ve been constantly working at with our partners in the region,” he said. Kirby said America’s message to both sides has been the same in terms of encouraging them to increase communication to deal with this threat and to avoid steps that escalate the tensions.”I think I’m not going to get into characterising each and every step along the way there. “But obviously, what we want to see is increased cooperation against what is a very shared common threat for both countries, and to see steps being taken to deal with it by all sides,” Kirby said. Meanwhile the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, who was in Washington DC has rushed back to New Delhi.”As far as I know, he’s returning to New Delhi. My understanding is that he believed that it was, appropriate for him to go back.”He has got a big job. There a lot of responsibilities that come with it. And, obviously it’s a very dynamic situation and he felt it was prudent to go back. We support that,” Kirby said.Earlier, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali applauded New Delhi for ordering counter terrorism operations across the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday and Thursday. ‘I applaud Prime Minister Modi for his boldness and his seriousness to fight terrorism more effectively, and all other countries should support him, so that we can be free from terrorism,’ Abdali said. Condemning the countries giving refuge and support to terrorist organisations, the Afghan envoy said should be should be dealt with strongly and taken out from wherever they exist.On Islamabad’s consistent rejection of the charge that it was harboring terrorists, Abdali said ‘Deniability has a limit. This cannot be denied if there are facts on the ground on how they exist and how they operationalise their activities.’ South Korea also supported India’s stance against terrorism emanating from Pakistan as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan apprised its President Park Geun Hye about the surgical strike carried out by the Indian army at the terror camps across the LoC. The issue came up when Mahajan, who is leading a Parliamentary delegation, called on the President.During the discussions, the Speaker informed the Korean President about the “strong action” taken by India against terrorism, said a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, referring to the cross-LoC surgical strike.Apprising Park about the continuous terrorist activities being carried out from the territory of Pakistan, Mahajan told her that “India believes in non-violence and peace, but it will not hesitate to use its retaliatory power to safeguard its interests,” the statement said. “While supporting India’s strong views on terrorism, Park condemned terrorism of every type,” it added. The President said India and South Korea stand together against terrorism.With agency inputs

Uri attack: US NSA calls Doval, says expects Pak to take ‘effective action to combat terror’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US National Security Advisor Susan Rice called her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and condemned the Uri terrorist attack saying the White House expects Pakistan to take “effective action to combat and delegitimise” UN-designated terrorist groups.”Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimise United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e Muhammad, and their affiliates,” Spokesperson of National Security Council Ned Price said.In the telephonic conversation with Doval, the first after Uri-terrorist attack, Susan strongly condemned the September 18 cross-border attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters and offered condolences to the victims and their families.”He affirmed President Obama’s commitment to redouble our efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world,” Price said.”Ambassador Rice discussed our shared commitment with India to pursue regional peace and stability and pledged to deepen collaboration on counter-terrorism matters including on UN terrorist designations,” Price added.

US National Security Advisor calls Ajit Doval, condemns Uri terror attack

Washington: US National Security Advisor Susan Rice called her Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and condemned the Uri terror attack, saying the White House expects Pakistan to take “effective action to combat and delegitimise” UN-designated terrorist groups.

Ajit Doval. AFP

Ajit Doval. AFP

“Ambassador Rice reiterated our expectation that Pakistan take effective action to combat and delegitimise United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and their affiliates,” Spokesperson of National Security Council Ned Price said.

In the telephonic conversation with Doval, the first after Uri terror attack, Susan strongly condemned the 18 September cross-border attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters and offered condolences to the victims and their families.

“He affirmed President Obama’s commitment to redouble our efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world,” Price said.

“Ambassador Rice discussed our shared commitment with India to pursue regional peace and stability and pledged to deepen collaboration on counter-terrorism matters including on UN terrorist designations,” Price added.

Yashvardhan Sinha appointed India’s High Commissioner to UK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior IFS officer Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha was on Tuesday appointed as India’s High Commissioner to the UK succeeding Navtej Sarna. Sinha, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1981 batch, is currently serving as India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. Sarna has been appointed as India’s Ambassador to the US.Earlier this month, the government had appointed 1988- batch IFS officer Taranjit Singh Sandhu as the next High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka to replace Sinha. Sinha, who is expected to take up his assignment shortly, is a seasoned diplomat and in his career spanning 35 years he has handled several important assignments at the MEA and in Indian diplomatic missions in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America and the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations headquarters in New York.Before coming to Sri Lanka, he was the Additional Secretary heading the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division at the Ministry of External Affairs. He was Ambassador of India to Venezuela from January 2007 to August 2009 and Consul General of India in Dubai from August 2003 to December 2006. Earlier, he served as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi (UAE) from March 2002 to July 2003.

PM Modi interfering in Islamabad’s internal affairs: Pak Foreign Secy Aizaz Chaudhry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry has hit out against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement in Kerala warning of action against the Uri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it violates all United Nations and international charters against non-interference in internal affairs of other countries.In an exclusive interview to Dawn, Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, stated that the Prime Minister’s statement shows India’s ‘nervousness’ with the situation in Kashmir.Responding to his address in Kerala, the two diplomats asserted that several UN resolutions recognised Pakistan as a party to the Kashmir dispute and India too recognised that status, however, adding that India has no justification for interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs.Stating that it was unfortunate the Indian leadership ‘continues to indulge in a vilification campaign against Pakistan by making provocative statements and hurling baseless accusations’, Chaudhry said that such display of behaviour at the highest political level was regrettable.”It is evident that, as an act of desperation, India is trying to distract world attention from the atrocities perpetrated by its occupation forces against innocent and defenceless Kashmiris, including women and children,” he said.Further accusing India of continuing to sponsor terrorism in Pakistan directly through its ‘state apparatus’, the Foreign Secretary said that the arrest and confessional statement of intelligence operative, Kulbhushan Jhadav, had proved India’s involvement.He also pointed out that the international community had taken notice of ‘human rights violations’ in Kashmir, with concern expressed by several countries as well as the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.Ambassador Jilani said that by making such statements, Indian leaders were trying to hide the atrocities against the people of Kashmir.”We reject the statement. This is highly irresponsible. The content of the statement is a distortion and counter-intuitive. With such statements, they cannot draw a curtain on their brazen acts of terrorism and crimes against humanity in Kashmir,” he said.Meanwhile, during their interaction with world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York this week, Pakistani diplomats dismissed the notion of a war with India.”There will be no war. We have no intention of starting one and India also realises that a war at this stage will destroy its economy,” said one diplomat.

India’s High Commissioner to UK Navtej Sarna appointed Ambassador to the US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s High Commissioner to UK Navtej Sarna was appointed as Ambassador to the US on Thursday, a high-profile posting where he will face the task of engaging with a new administration in Washington following the November 8 Presidential poll.Sarna, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1980 batch, was serving as Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs before he was posted in London in January. He succeeds Arun Singh, who is due for retirement. The 59-year-old diplomat was among the longest-serving spokespersons of the MEA. He had held the post between 2002 and 2008. “He is expected to take up the assignment shortly,” the External Affairs Ministry said.Government has also appointed 1988-batch IFS officer Taranjit Singh Sandhu as the next High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka. He will replace Yash Sinha. In Washington, Sarna’s main task will be to ensure continuity in Indo-US relations when a new dispensation takes charge.Sarna has authored many fiction and non-fiction books, with the most recent being ‘Second Thoughts: On Books, Authors and the Writerly Life’ released last year. He was also India’s Ambassador to Israel from 2008 to 2012. For two years from August 2012, Sarna had served as additional secretary in-charge of international organisations in the MEA.Sarna had served at various Indian missions including in Moscow, Warsaw, Tehran, Geneva, Thimphu and Washington.Yash Sinha, tipped to be Indian High Commissioner to the UK, is a seasoned diplomat and, in his career spanning 35 years, he has handled several important assignments at the MEA and in Indian diplomatic missions in South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South America.

Teaching resilience to students can prevent violent extremism: UNESCO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Education imparted in schools can play a very pivotal role in combating violent extremism, which is a result of many factors like marginalisation, discrimination, poverty etc. This was the highlight of the UNESCO International Conference on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education: Taking Action held in Aerocity here on Monday.The two-day event which is being co-organised by UNESCO Headquarters and the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, was attended by delegates from across the globe who deliberated upon global terrorism, indoctrination of youth and its prevention using schools as one of the most effective tools.Discussing what entails the real reasons behind impressionable minds taking to extremism, Soo-Hyang Choi, director, Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO Headquarters said that apart from alienation, the prospect of stable employment, earning money, strong leadership in a well-structured environment were the ‘push and pull’ factors for rising xenophobia. Talking about how schools are among the significant weapon in handling this, she argued that schools can teach resilience to students, preparing them to be tolerant of those with divergent views. “Students must be taught the ability to not fall prey to simple black and white messages. Schools can also encourage critical thinking for different point of views,”she added.Taking the plenary session further, George Godia, Ambassador of Kenya to UNESCO said that schools must impart education that is relevant to employable sector. “Labour skills must form an important part of curriculum as it increases job prospects, and in the process, protects youth from getting waylaid by extremists. Schools must also adopt to changing society and teachers too need to move ahead with times,” he stated, adding that one of the challenges is the failure of families in reinforcing school’s goals.Godia also urged the media to act “responsibly” in its reportage, asking it to refrain from glorifying extremism. “Media requires to have some self-regulating norms,”he said.

China refutes India’s allegation, says ‘many countries had views’on NSG bid of non-NPT countries

Days after India blamed “one country” for blocking its entry into NSG, China on Monday said “many countries” had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the nuclear trading club as it harped on the need for forging consensus over the issue.”As we have learnt, the plenary meeting issued a news release that the meeting held discussions on technical legal and political issues regarding the accession of non-NPT members and agreed to continue with such discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing. Asked about India blaming “one country” of blocking the entry of new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by raising procedural objections, Hong said at the plenary meeting in Seoul “many countries had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the group.” “We believe that they should forge a consensus and then make a decision based on consultations and thorough discussions regarding the entry of the specific country,” he said, without directly referring to India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to reports about the appointment of Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi as the “facilitator” for informal consultations on India’s admission into NSG, Hong said, “We have never heard of any follow up steps.” Hong also did not respond to a question on reports that NSG is expected to meet again later this year after Mexico’s initiative to discuss the entry of non-NPT members into the grouping. “This is what we know about this plenary meeting. I also want to point out that for quite a long time, including in plenary in Seoul, China has been prompting the NSG to have thorough discussions on accession of non-NPT countries,” Hong said.India and Pakistan, who applied for membership of the 48-member NSG, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which China insists is a must for joining the grouping. China was unrelenting in thwarting India’s NSG bid last week despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India’s case on its merits.An upset India later accused “one country”, a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.

NSG forms informal panel for India’s bid; likely to meet again this year

Looks like all is not lost yet for India’s bid for NSG membership. According to NDTV, NSG will meet again this year to discuss the process to allow countries like India who have not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report says that Mexico suggested that another meeting should be held for considering India’s NSG bid. Sources said that Mexico’s suggestion was also opposed by China but it found support from a large number of countries including the US.The report adds that an informal panel has been set up by the NSG to focus on India’s membership and it will headed by Argentinian Ambassador Rafael Grossi.The United States on Friday had said that there is ‘a path forward’ for India to become a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of the year, hours after the group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition.”We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year,” a top Obama administration official said.”It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the official said on condition of anonymity.Vikas Swarup, spokersperson for Ministry of External Affairs said, “There are some processes which take longer,I’d evaluate the NSG membership process in that category. India to continue discussion with China on NSG issue. There is a possibility of India’s inclusion.”He said only China stood between Indi’s NSG bid. “Some countries did raise procedure-related issues but not a single country apart from that one country opposed India’s membership of NSG. There was only one country which persistently raised procedural hurdles as a result of which no decision could be arrived at.”Swarup said India had fulfilled all criteria to become a member of NSG. He said, “Our position on NPT is very well known. As far as NSG is concerned, NSG said implementation of NPT is important. As far as India is concerned we have already implemented all NPT provisions. To the extent that goal post remains implementation of NPT, we believe we have met criteria amd have all credentials to be NSG member.”With agency inputs.

Indian national arrested in Zimbabwe for rape not associated with cricket team: MEA

Amid floating media reports that a member of the Indian cricket contingent has been arrested on charges of rape in Harare, Zimbabwe, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs refuted the claims and said that the Indian national who was arrested is no way associated with the Indian cricket team, reported CNN-News 18.

According to the ANI, the person arrested is an Indian affiliate with one of the sponsors of the matches, has been arrested on allegations of raping a local woman. The agency also reported that the accused has claimed to be innocent and has agreed to cooperate with the probe and undergo DNA tests.

Official sources in India stated that the person arrested was in fact affiliated to one of the sponsors of the ongoing limited-overs series.

“Regarding media reports of an Indian cricketer being involved in an alleged case of rape in Harare, we have spoken to our Ambassador to Zimbabwe. The report is totally false. No Indian cricketer is involved,” the sources said.

The BCCI, on its part, refused to comment, claiming that it is yet to ascertain the exact facts of the issue. “We are keeping a close watch on the development. It is a serious issue. Being aware of the sensitive nature of the issue, the BCCI won’t make comments without ascertaining facts,” said a top Board official on condition of anonymity.

Earlier on Saturday, media reports emerged that an Indian cricketer was arrested on rape charges in Harare. A Zimbabwe news portal, New Zimbabwe quoted police spokesperson assistant commissioner Charity Charamba as saying “There are allegations of rape against an Indian national by a Zimbabwe woman.”

The Zimbabwe news agency also reported the presence of Indian ambassador at The Meikles Hotel, where the Indian cricket team is currently staying, to thwart the “un-named player’s arrest”. The reporter further said that attempts were made to broker an out of court settlement with the woman.

The reports were picked up by Pakistan media as well. The reports also stated that India’s ambassador to the African nation, R Masakui, had tried to prevent the player’s arrest last night at a Harare hotel.

Further details on the case are awaited.

The Indian team is currently on a tour to Zimbabwe for the T-20 series. The Indian team had won ODI matches 3-0 against the hosts, however, it has lost the first of T-20 matches by two runs to the host in the ongoing series.

India to be a member of Missile Technology Control Regime, confirms Norwegian envoy

New Delhi: India is all set to become member of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a key anti-proliferation grouping, as it cleared final hurdles in getting membership of the bloc that will help it access high-end missile technology.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Diplomatic sources said there was “no objection” to India’s applications for the membership of the MTCR and that the deadline for member countries to object to it had expired on Monday.

They said the plenary meeting of the 34-nation grouping will take place later this year in Seoul during which India will be formally inducted as the new entrant into the bloc.

“Mission almost accomplished. Only some procedural formalities remain before India becomes member of #MTCR,” Roald Naess, Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland tweeted.

Membership of the MTCR will help India procure high-end missile technology and surveillance systems by leading manufacturers which are allowed to be accessed by only MTCR member countries.

Sources said India had applied for the MTCR membership last year and its application was under consideration as part of a “silent procedure” which ended yesterday without any objection from any country.

There were certain formalities to be completed before India is inducted into the bloc, added the sources.

The development comes as India was expanding its diplomatic outreach seeking support for its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India has developed a range of missile systems including Brahmos, Agni and Prithvi missile systems. Brahmos is a joint venture with Russia.

India’s application at the NSG is expected to be taken up for discussion by the NSG at its plenary meetings on 9 June in Vienna and 24 June in Seoul. China has been opposing India’s bid arguing that it was not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Modi discusses upcoming challenges with chiefs of US think tanks; thanks nation for return of artefacts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid a wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers and paid homage to Indian-American astronaut late Kalpana Chawla at Arlington National Cemetery here.”Honouring sacrifice, saluting valour. Formal engagements begin with a solemn ceremony,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.”In homage to heroism and indomitable courage,” Swarup said in another tweet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also had a brief interaction with the husband and family members of Chawla, senior officials from NASA, Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams and her father at Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial.US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter accompanied the Prime Minister. Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal were also present on the occasion.Modi also thanked the US for returning over 200 cultural artifacts estimated at US $100 million to India at a ceremony here attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”A focus on heritage & culture…I thank the US government for the return of precious cultural artefacts to India,” PM said at the ceremony held at the Blair House.”For some, these artifacts may be measured in monetary terms but for us this is beyond that. It’s a part of our culture and heritage,” he added.Items returned included religious statues, bronzes and terra cotta pieces, some dating back 2,000 years, looted from some of India’s most treasured religious sites.Modi also interacted with heads of the United States’ think tanks. Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Kumar Singh said the aim of the interaction was to understand from them how they see the global trends in the coming years.”The aim of the interaction was to understand from them how they see the global trends in the coming years, the challenges and what the US and India could work together, keeping in mind the templates that the Prime Minister has articulated is what can the US and India do together for the world and that was really the theme,” said Singh.Divulging details about the think tanks, he said they were from Brookings, Council on Foreign Relations, Centre for American Progress, the Atlantic Council, Houston Institute, Central for National Interest, Global Energy Capital, Carnegie Endowment, the Asia Group, Pew Research Centre, the US Institute of Peace and the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.”So, this is sort of think tanks representing whole spectrum of opinion here,” said Singh, adding, “So, it was in that framework that different current global issues were in a medium and longer term perspective, and we looked at opportunities and ways for us to be able to work together.”On June 8 (Wednesday), the forenoon is devoted to events in the US Congress.He would be going to the US Congress, meeting the Speaker, the Congressional leadership. And he would be delivering an address to the joint meeting of the US Congress. This would be followed by a lunch, which is hosted by the Speaker in honour of the Prime Minister, followed by a reception, which will be jointly done by the House and Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and the India Caucus and a brief community reception.

Will take up problems faced by Indian workers in Qatar, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday night assured Indian workers in Qatar that he will take up problems faced by them during his talks with leaders of this Gulf nation.Addressing Indian workers at a medical camp in downtown Doha, Modi said he is aware of the issues being faced by Indian workers and the companies that bring them here.”I Am aware of the issues you are facing. I will talk about it when I meet the authorities,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi will hold detailed talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani tomorrow.Modi noted that his first engagement during his two-day visit to Qatar on the second leg of his five-nation tour was a visit to the camp of Indian workers here.
ALSO READ Watch | Modi in Qatar: PM meets Indian workers in Doha, shares meal with them”I came to Doha in the evening and the first programme on my schedule was to meet you all,” he said. Qatar is home to over six lakh people of Indian origin.Modi also interacted with workers after his brief address and shared refreshments with them.He shook hands with several workers during his 30-minute stay at the camp.The prime minister said he wants to congratulate doctor friends for the good work they are doing in Qatar.”Happy to see regular health check ups being conducted here,” he said.Modi also struck a chord with the Indian workers when he said, “When someone from your land, speaking your language comes, I am sure that would make you very happy.””If you have some issues on changing some rules and regulations, I will work with you all to bring about these changes,” he told the audience.Modi said he believed that the leadership in the Gulf has a lot of love and belief in the Indian community in the region.In this context, he spoke about the visit of Qatar’s Emir to India last year and referred to his praise of the “unmatched contribution” of the Indian community to the development of his coutnry.Modi also said India’s global image is not made by its prime minister or its Ambassador but, “it’s all of you through your behaviour, who earn India a good name.” “This global goodwill is the biggest international reserve currency,” he added.Modi told the Indian workers in Qatar that monsoon this year will be good.”This year the best news is that it is going to be a good monsoon. When such news come, they bring with them a lot of happiness,” he said.India Meteorological Department had said earlier this week that there is no possibility of a “deficient” monsoon this year and 96 per cent chances are that the rainfall would be “normal to excess”.The Prime Minister also appreciated the wellness centre for the workers, saying that it offered facilities like yoga and relaxation techniques.At the event, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohammad Al-Kuwari and Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi were also present.Modi said he enquired about the health problems being faced by the workers and found that counselling and diabetes were the two main issues of concern.”Do work hard, but while doing so, please do focus on keeping your health and body fighting fit,” he said.

India-US sign key pact on sharing information on terror

India and the US on Thursday signed a key pact for exchange of intelligence on terror on a real time basis that include biographic information of known and suspected terrorists.An arrangement between the authorised Indian governmental agencies and the government of the United States of America for exchange of terrorist screening information was signed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per this pact, India and the US will provide each other access to terrorism screening information through the designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations, an official spokesperson said.The agreement would enhance the counter terrorism cooperation between India and the US. With signing of the key pact, India has formally entered into the US Homeland Security Presidential Directive-6 (HSPD-6), which will enable it to access ‘unclassified biographic information of known and suspected terrorists’ maintained by the US on a reciprocal basis.The HSPD-6 is a model text agreement for exchange of terrorist screening information between Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the US and an Indian agency. There have been several rounds of discussions between the interlocutors of the two countries in the past one year and both sides have narrowed down their differences on several key issues with the aim of signing the pact. The US has already finalised such agreements with 30 countries.TSC is a multi agency organisation administered by FBI which consolidates several terrorist watch lists maintained by different US government agencies into single terrorist database on terror suspects. The database includes the name of the terror suspect, nationality, date of birth, photos, finger prints (if any) and passport number.Officials said, initially some Indian security agencies had expressed their reservations saying the arrangement primarily protects US interests.TSC. The Intelligence Bureau will be the nodal agency and designated as the Indian party to the agreement.

Naseeruddin Shah-Anupam Kher row: You don’t have to be an egg to make an omlette

I have known Naseeruddin Shah off and on (more off) since the Manthan days when he was part of the Shyam Benegal bandwagon. More a theatre person, he did bring to cinema a certain intellectual elan that was reserved for the likes of Victor Bannerjee and his ilk.

Not being much of a movie maniac, I do recall his movie on Wednesday in which he fights for the little people and models himself on the common man made famous by cartoonist RK Laxman. When Naseer made that movie, he didn’t choose a specific colour or caste or religion for the common Joe. Nor did he live on a hot, tin roof. It was a powerful and across-the-board identification with an individual who just kept receiving the thin edge of the wedge and Naseer rose to reflect the man’s plight.

Naseeruddin Shah. Reuters

Naseeruddin Shah. Reuters

Naseer has often been quoted as saying that this being his favourite movie. Which makes it all the more strange that he would elect to get into an argument with Anupam Kher, a fellow actor, over the condition of Kashmiri Pandits.

It is a tenuous indictment when you predicate it to not having lived in Kashmir to defend their cause as one.

I believe in the Palestine cause and I am not even Palestinian, let alone having been there. You might believe in ending the wars in Yemen and Syria and righting injustices without being Yemeni or Syrian. Many Europeans opened their doors to Syrian refugees without even knowing where the country was on the map.

Individuals and organisations have walked that extra mile; the Peace Corps, Mother Teresa’s army, even the cinematic likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie leaving a positive mark. Salman Khan does not stop running Being Human for kids because he has grown out of it and become an adult. Priyanka Chopra, UN Ambassador for the right of Indian children to go to school, did not say, no, no, no, only Hindu Punjabi children. Shilpa Shetty donated her earnings from Big Brother to AIDS Research not because she has it but because she wants to help. Shabana Azmi adopted a village called Mizwan and opened up a school for village children and she isn’t from there nor does she intend to move there any time soon.

The old adage holds true: you don’t have to be an egg to make an omelette. And it is truly unedifying for two actors of worth to engage in a sniping contest.

I recall speaking to Susan Sarandon who starred in Lorenzo’s Oil over her efforts to cure ALD. She went from her role in the movie to spending years generating support to find that elusive cure.

It would have been so much more salutary if these hurtful tweets had been replaced by Kher and Shah starring together in a sensitive, humane and relevant film on Kashmir.

Why make digs that have no logical basis and why get involved in unnecessary controversy that will take you nowhere?

We all identify with causes and have beliefs and often give of ourselves and our time and our support and even our wealth without having any direct co-relation or being integral to the situation.

You didn’t have to live in South Africa to be against apartheid.

You don’t have to be a whale to fight whaling.

You don’t have to be a tree to combat the decimation of forests.

Sarcasm is not always the best weapon just because it is sharp. I can only hope that these two gentlemen, endowed with intelligence, blessed with success and each of them having a strong following, will not take this absurd slurring further.

Come on, Naseer, you are a better man than this. Stop already.

And there is no cause for Kher to up the ante.

Neither of you will win the jackpot. People will only feel sorry (and a little bit angry) that despite having so much going for you, you would mock the fates.

Apex court relaxing bail for Italian marine sets row between Centre and Kerala

The Supreme Court decision on Thursday allowing an Italian marine Salvatore Girone, under investigation for the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast to go home has set off a row between the Centre and the new Left Front government in Kerala. Attacking the Centre, new chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed Centre’s ‘wrong response’ for the Supreme Court’s decision.The Central government defended conveying its no objection to Italy’s application for relaxation of bail conditions, attributing it to the order by the UN arbitration tribunal which was binding on India under international law.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, however, said that Girone will remain under jurisdiction of the apex court. The other marine Massimiliano Latorre is already in Italy on health grounds and his stay there was recently extended by the apex court till September 30 this year.”It is here that the examination and trial has to be held. But a big foul play has been held in this case right from the beginning by the Centre. We were against the Centre’s approach before also and we had strongly criticised it,” said Kerala chief minister.”It is the wrong response of the central government that led to the court passing this order. That is what I understand,” he said. Girone, who has been living in the Italian embassy in New Delhi, was one of two marines arrested in 2012 on suspicion of killing the fishermen during an anti-piracy mission on an Italian oil tanker.A vacation bench of Justices PC Pant and D Y Chandrachud said that Girone can return to Italy while the United Nations tribunal decides on a jurisdictional issue between India and Italy. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha told the court that the Indian government won’t object to the ruling “on humanitarian grounds,” subject to Girone’s compliance with the conditions imposed by the court’The apex court sought a fresh undertaking from the Italian Ambassador in Delhi stating that if the International Arbitral Tribunal (IAT) decides jurisdictional issue in India’s favour, he will be responsible in bringing back the marine within one month.Four conditions imposed on the marine to let him go home include reporting to police station in Italy on first Wednesday every month and the Italian government has to inform this to the Indian embassy in Rome, give an undertaking to remain under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and not to tamper with any evidence nor influence any witness in the case. The Court ruled that his bail will be cancelled if any condition is violated.Girone, who presently is in the custody of the Supreme Court and residing in Italian embassy here, had filed the application through lawyer Jagjit Singh Chhabra, also seeking a direction that Ministry of Home Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office to provide him with the “necessary residential permit and exit visa.”Govt won’t object SC ruling: ASGA vacation bench of Justices PC Pant and D Y Chandrachud said that Salvatore Girone can return to Italy while the United Nations tribunal decides on a jurisdictional issue between India and Italy. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha told the court that the Indian government won’t object to the ruling “on humanitarian grounds,” subject to Girone’s compliance with the conditions imposed by the court.’ The apex court sought a fresh undertaking from the Italian Ambassador in Delhi stating that if the International Arbitral Tribunal (IAT) decides jurisdictional issue in India’s favour, he will be responsible in bringing back the marine within one month.

Visited 21 states to know about developments, says US ambassador Richard Verma

Bhopal: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said he travels extensively to learn about developments in states with an investment point of view and to have a better interaction with people.

“We travel as much as we can to learn about what’s happening in states from investment point of view, clean energy point of view, people-to-people exchange and things we can do to deepen our relationship, to meet government officials, and that makes a big difference in how you can carry out your work in New Delhi,” Verma told PTI after visiting the Taj-ul-Masajid in the old city area.

The US Ambassador arrived here on a day-long visit for the first time.

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIBUS Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

“You have a better appreciation of what’s happening in important state like this and talk to the people and hear their mind. That’s why we come here,” said Verma, who has been travelling all over the country.

“We have been travelling all over the country. In fact, I have been to 21 states, 55 cities and we travel as much as we can to learn about what’s happening in states,” he said when asked about the purpose of his visit before he headed to meet Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

He described the historic Taj-ul-Masajid as an “amazing place.”

“It’s an amazingly beautiful place. It was an honour to meet the leaders of the mosque, their place of learning, place of history and place of culture,” he said.

“It is a great place of history and we wanted to be here and pay respect and to know about this amazing structure,” he said.

The envoy wrote in the visitor’s book, “Thank you for showing me this amazing place of worship, inspiration and learning. It was a great honour to be here.”

Upon arrival at the grand mosque, Verma was welcomed by Darul Uloom Taj-ul-Masajid committee head and other members.

The committee’s communication head Mohammd Aamir Ansari and other members showed him various parts of the mosque.

Pakistan calls for justice to Samjhauta blast victims

Pakistan on Thursday accused India of trying to exonerate individuals, involved in Samjhauta Express attack, that resulted in the killing of 42 Pakistan citizens. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammed Nafees Zakaria said the issue had also figured during the meeting between the two foreign secretaries last month in New Delhi. “It is only through fair, timely and judicious administration of justice that any society can sustain itself as a respected member of global community,” he said, when asked about clean chit to Sadhvi Pragya and others in Malegaon and other terror related cases. The spokesperson further said normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan would require sincere efforts, good faith and commitment from both the countries. “We have already conveyed that the dialogue process will not be a concession from one side to the other but a modest modus vivendi in inter-state relations,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also denied that Pakistan during its strategic dialogue with the US has agreed to sign the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), asserting that Islamabad will only sign if other countries in the region also sign it, putting the onus on India.On Afghanistan’s disinterest in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting that involved the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan to rope in Taliban in talks, Pakistan spokesperson said doubting his country’s intention was not only wrong, but it also strengthens those elements that do not want to see peace in Afghanistan. Afghan representation was at a very low level at the 5th QCG meeting in Islamabad. The Afghan Ambassador in Islamabad Dr Omer Zakhiwal even blamed the Haqqani Network and Pakistan’s reluctance to act against them. In a big blow to Pakistan, Afghan government on its own has finalised a peace deal with a militant group Hizb-e-Islami, while Taliban have rejected the talks. Zakhiwal had even lamented that despite best efforts, misunderstandings between the two countries cannot be removed. Pakistan spokesperson said In context of the statement of the Afghan ambassador, both sides realise that their relationship is rooted in history, bound by similarity of cultures and religious affinity. He cautioned that differences would only serve the interests of the adversaries who do not want to see peace in Afghanistan.

After Salman and Sachin, AR Rahman becomes Olympic Goodwill Ambassador

New Delhi: Oscar winning music composer AR Rahman on Thursday agreed to be the Goodwill Ambassador of the Indian Olympic contingent, joining cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, ace shooter Abhinav Bindra and Bollywood star Salman Khan.

AR-Rahman_AFP

Tendulkar, Salman and Olympic gold medallist Bindra had earlier accepted the role offered by the Indian Olympic Association.

The IOA said that it has also received an official written confirmation from Rahman.

“It’s absolutely an honour and my pleasure to be a goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent scheduled for August 2016,” Rahman said in a release issued by the IOA.

Welcoming Rahman on board, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said, “I would like to welcome AR Rahman on board as a goodwill ambassador of Indian contingent for Rio Olympics. It’s our privilege to have the Oscar winning living legend-music composer on board to spread awareness and promote the Olympic movement.

“As per our plan to reach out to maximum people in the country for Olympic Sports, we are happy that Mr. Rahman has come forward from the field of music to support our athletes and we already have Salman Khan from Bollywood, Abhinav Bindra from Olympic Sports and Sachin Tendulkar from Cricket. I am sure Mr. Rahman will inspire our sportspersons.”

There was a huge uproar after Salman was appointed Goodwill Ambassador ahead of other sporting luminaries. Former and current athletes were up in arms against Salman’s appointment and demanded to know why someone from the field of sports was not named by the federation.

The IOA immediately went into damage-control mode and requested Beijing Games gold medallist shooter Bindra and Tendulkar to be Goodwill Ambassadors.

Denial of fundamental rights to Kashmiris an injustice: Pakistan

United Nations: Raking up the issue of Kashmir in the UN, Pakistan said denial of fundamental human rights to Kashmiris is an “injustice” and the failure to address prolonged outstanding disputes would be seen as “double standards” practised by the world body.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said at a General Assembly debate on peace and security that it is the “duty” of the global community to ensure UN resolutions on the issue are fulfilled.

Sovereign equality of nations, settlement of international disputes by peaceful means and avoidance of the use or threat of use of force are fundamental principles entrenched in the UN Charter, said the Ambassador.

The UN, however, “will be seen to practice double standards if it continues to condone military aggression or foreign interventions, ignore persisting situations of foreign occupation and denial of the right of self-determination to people living under occupation and also if it fails to address prolonged outstanding disputes,” she said here yesterday.

The Ambassador said the United Nations was created with the “very purpose to prevent and stop these injustices – injustices such as the denial of fundamental human rights to the people of Palestine and Kashmir”.

“Isn’t it our collective and solemn duty to keep the promises made to them through numerous resolutions of this body? How can this body command the respect it deserves if its own edicts are flouted,” she said.

Lodhi added that UN member nations need some introspection as to why the Security Council is “reluctant” to refer legal disputes to the International Court of Justice.

“And if we have no credible answers to these questions except the imperatives of realpolitik, the world at large will view the United Nations as little more than a political tool in the hand of the powerful few. This impression would hardly inspire trust,” she said.

Pakistan has repeatedly raised the issue of Kashmir at various UN platforms but India has strongly asserted that references to Kashmir by Pakistan in UN fora is unwarranted and constitute a clear interference in its internal affairs.

Nepal rejects reports on government mulling Indian envoy Ranjit Rae’s expulsion

Nepal has dismissed rumours that the government was mulling expulsion of Indian envoy Ranjit Rae as ‘baseless’ and aimed at damaging bilateral ties.Media speculation was rife that the Nepalese government was mulling Rae’s expulsion in the backdrop of cancellation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s maiden foreign visit to India and the controversy surrounding the recall of Nepal’s envoy to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay by the Nepalese government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Media reports had suggested that the government was preparing to declare Rae persona non-grata (PNG), meaning his diplomatic immunity would be withdrawn.However, the Nepalese government rubbished such rumours with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa terming them as “baseless”.”Some media speculation regarding Nepal govt mulling expulsion of Indian Ambassador Rae is baseless and aimed at damaging Nepal-India relations,” Thapa tweeted.Nepal’s Ambassador to India Upadhyay has continued to stay put in his post in New Delhi, two days after his country’s government was said to have ordered his recall, and was reported to have denied he had colluded with India to topple the K P Oli dispensation back home.Nepal had on Friday cancelled the visit of its President to India hardly 72 hours before her departure for Delhi.Though no reason was assigned for cancellation of the trip, it was believed to indicate Nepal’s unhappiness with India over the latter’s alleged meddling in the internal affairs of the Himalayan nation.

Nepal denies rumours of expelling Indian ambassador Ranjit Rae

Kathmandu: Nepal has rubbished rumours of plans to expel Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae following the cancellation of President Bidhya Devi Bhandrai’s visit to New Delhi and the recall of its envoy from New Delhi.

File image of Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. AFP

File image of Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. AFP

Rumours were circulating in Kathmandu from Sunday that the government was preparing to declare Rae, who was said to have breached several diplomatic norms – including the Vienna Convention, as persona non-grata (PNG). This means his diplomatic immunity would be withdrawn.

The rumours gained ground after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli cancelled Bhandarai’s visit and recalled Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Uphadhya apparently in retaliation of India’s supposed hand in toppling his government.

After some media outlets reported that a closed door meeting at Oli’s residence discussed the possibility of declaring Rae PNG, this simultaneously created turmoil in New Delhi and Kathmandu prompting Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa to issue a statement on Sunday evening saying: “Some media speculation regarding Nepal government mulling over the expulsion of Indian Ambassador Rae is baseless and is aimed at damaging Nepal-India relations.”

VVIP chopper scam: Let them take my name, I am not afraid, says Congress chief Sonia Gandhi

Amid political blame game between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress over the 2013 Augusta VVIP chopper deal, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said that she is not afraid and has nothing to hide.Speaking to media, Sonia Gandhi said, “We have nothing to hide. Let them take my name, I am not afraid.”The Congress chief also said that all allegations are baseless and questioned why the government did not complete the inquiry when they are in power for two years.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Where is the proof? Its part of their strategy of character assassination,” Sonia Gandhi added.Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha also witnessed ruckus over allegations of bribery in the Rs.3,6000 crore VVIP helicopter deal during the UPA regime, with Sonia Gandhi clearly being the target of the ruling party’s attack.The Italy court judgment that sentenced the Italian defence firm Finmeccanica’s former chief Giuseppe Orsi to jail for four years and former CEO of Finmeccanica’s UK-based helicopter subsidiary AgustaWestland in the case, also suggests that the then UPA government did not cooperate with the Italian probe team.Notes in the order copy pointed that Sonia Gandhi is the “driving force” behind the deal. Manmohan Singh’s name too figures in the order and details that Orsi, by then already in jail, asked his men to contact then Italian Prime Minister Monti or Ambassador Teracciano to call Manmohan Singh.

CSE Chief Sunita Narain hits out at Richard Verma for ‘leaving’ her out of Time’s Influential List congratulatory message

The CSE chief and environmentalist Sunita Narain, who was listed among six other Indians in the Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people, called out on the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma when he did not include her in the congratulatory message.Richard Verma on Friday posted a tweet congratulating six of the seven Indians on the Times list including RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, tennis player Sania Mirza, Microsoft CEO Sundar Pichai, actress Priyanka Chopra and Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. However, the situation soon became uncomfortable when the seventh person named on the list, Sunita Narain asked Verma if he had left her out of the message due to her critical views against the US government on climate change.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Verma tweeted:Sunita Narain replied to Verma’s post with a tweet:The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) in a report titled ‘Captain America’ had taken a critical stance against the US government and its consumerist tendencies.Verma soon replied to Narain’s post saying that his post did not intend to contain the complete list. He tweeted:

Why makers of iconic Ambassador car have lost faith in India

Former workers of Hindustan Motors, makers of India’s iconic Ambassador car, tell the BBC why they are boycotting the state elections.

Panama Papers: Amitabh Bachchan denies being formally approached for ‘Incredible India’

After reports on Monday came out stating the decision to name Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador of Incredible India has been put on hold, the actor has released a statement denying being even approached for the post. Amitabh Bachcan I wish to state that I have not been formally approached for this position (Brand Ambassador for ‘Incredible India’). The speculation of the media regarding its discontinuance is, therefore, not relevant as far as I am concernedOn Monday, ANI reported stating sources that the decision will be taken by the government only after Amitabh was given a clean chit in the Panama Papers scandal. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaks from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have embarrassed several world leaders and shone a spotlight on the shadowy world of offshore companies by revealing the financial arrangements of prominent figures. Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson stepped down earlier this month after documents linked him to an offshore company.Soon after the leaked documents were published, Bachchan had said his name might have been “misused”.”I do not know any of the companies referred to by Indian Express – Sea Bulk Shipping Company Ltd, Lady Shipping Ltd, Treasure Shipping Ltd, and Tramp Shipping Ltd. I have never been a director of any of the above stated companies. It is possible that my name has been misused,” he had said in a statement.Bachchan was said to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first choice as brand ambassador of the mega publicity campaign. The superstar became the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism when Modi was the state’s Chief Minister. Bachchan is also the ambassador for Maharashtra’s ‘Save Tiger’ project.Though it was believed that Aamir Khan was eased out of the Incredible India campaign in January after being associated with it for several years for his remarks on intolerance, the Tourism Ministry had clarified that he was not hired by the government for it and that the contract with the advertising agency which engaged him had expired. (With PTI Inputs)

© 2020 Yuva Sai Sagar. Theme by Anders Norén.