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Amid tensions, Sartaj Aziz, NSA Ajit Doval meet on sidelines of ‘Heart of Asia’: Reports

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ongoing tension between India and Pakistan over the continuous ceasefire violations and cross-border terrorism, reports on Sunday said that Pakistan Premier’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz and India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) met on a sideline of the Heart of Asia conference.According to reports, the duo met after the delegation level dinner late on Saturday.However, though there is no confirmation if they actually met, a photo of Aziz and Doval walking along with Pakistan’s envoy Abdul Basit has surfaced on social media.Aziz who arrived on Saturday also exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before attended a dinner.Interestingly, in a goodwill gesture, Aziz sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, extending his “sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery” from illness.Tension between the two countries escalated after the cross-border terror attack on an army base in Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir.Pakistan and India had held a meeting during the 2015 Heart of Asia Summit in Islamabad during which both countries had agreed to start a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ which was to cover all outstanding issues. The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January 2016.Earlier this week, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India was ready.India has made it clear it will never accept continued cross-border terrorism as the ‘new normal’ in bilateral ties with Pakistan and that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of “continued terror”.

Heart of Asia: Pak PM’s foreign advisor exchanges pleasantries with PM Modi, no clarity over bilateral meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the midst of heightened Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz arrived this evening to attend the Heart of Asia conference amid speculation about whether the two sides will have bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conclave to break the ice in ties. Hours after his arrival, Aziz attended a dinner where he exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Aziz was earlier scheduled to arrive here tomorrow but came a day early due to prevailing weather condition. Almost the entire northern India has been affected by thick fog for the last two days, delaying flights and train operations. Aziz advanced his visit after he was informed about the weather condition, sources said. There was no clarity on whether there will be a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the conference. Interestingly, in a goodwill gesture, Aziz sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, extending his “sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery” from illness. Swaraj, undergoing treatment for renal failure, is not attending the Heart of Asia conference and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head the Indian delegation at the Ministerial deliberations.Aziz, who arrived here on a special flight, was received at the airport by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit. Pakistan and India had held a meeting during last year’s Heart of Asia Summit in Islamabad during which both countries had agreed to start a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ which was to cover all outstanding issues. The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year.Earlier this week, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India was ready.India has made it clear it will never accept continued cross border terrorism as the ‘new normal’ in bilateral ties with Pakistan and that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of “continued terror”. Tension between the two countries escalated after the cross border terror attack on an army base in Nagrota. During tomorrow’s proceedings at the conference, India is likely to step up its efforts to corner Pakistan diplomatically by mobilising support for concrete action against state-sponsored terrorism. Afghanistan, which has also been witnessing increased attacks from terror groups operating from Pakistani soil, is set to push hard for a regional counter-terror framework with binding commitment at the annual HoA conference, a platform set up in 2011 to assist the war-ravaged country in its transition.

Less men, more tech is BSF’s new mantra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major change is under way along the western International Border (IB) with Pakistan to reduce the human interface and replace it with technological solutions to check infiltration.By implementing a system known as Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), the Border Security Force (BSF) plans to bring down patrolling and replace it with Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs).”We decided to implement CIBMS as humans, howsoever alert they are, cannot make the border leak-proof. There are limits to human alertness and they cannot see and hear the way sensitive gadgets can. Moreover, maintaining men at borders is a very costly affair. We cannot afford to deploy lakhs of soldiers to cover every inch,” said a senior BSF official.”Two pilot projects of CIBMS are already under way in Jammu. We will soon implement three more in Punjab and Gujarat. Another one will be taken up at Dhubri in Assam,” said BSF Director-General KK Sharma.Sharma said that infiltration could have been checked effectively or could have been avoided at Chamliyal, had CIBMS been there.”Human eyes cannot clearly see beyond 200 metres but a hand-held thermal imager can see up to 2 km and hand-held radar up to 5-6 km, even if the weather is inclement. Our effort is to integrate all these high-end equipment to analyse information and reduce men on border,” said Sharma.”In place of making a human chain supported by gadgets for detection and then responding to situations, we are trying to use human resource to actively analyse inputs from ultra-modern intelligent gadgets and give precise and calibrated responses free of psychological and physical fatigue effects,” added Sharma.The integration of technology, sources said, can help reduce up to 50 per cent men who are engaged in tough patrolling duties in difficult weather conditions. It may take 3-4 years to completely integrate the whole border with CIBMS.”Once the project is implemented, border security will depend on three main elements – inputs from equipment, analysis of the technolgical input by a dedicated team of officials and QRTs deployed at vantage points close to the border to act in case intrusion takes place,” said a senior BSF official.A major component of this system will be the smart fence, which will be a seamless virtual fence, comprising various sensors and laser- based technologies. Other components of the system to augment Smart Fence will be data transmission and communication centres, command and control system and response mechanism, said the BSF official.

Sartaj Aziz to visit India on Sunday for Heart of Asia meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is set to visit India on Sunday to attend the Heart of Asia meet in Amritsar, according to a media report.The two-day conference is being held in Amritsar this weekend (December 3-4) and Aziz visit Amritsar on Sunday, Dawn News reported.Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of the process that focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for improving connectivity and tackling security threats. But no meeting with Indian officials is scheduled on the sidelines, the report said.”For now we don’t see any willingness on their part…the ball is in India’s court, for they know we are willing but we don’t know whether they are willing,” an official was quoted as saying.Pakistan and India had held a meeting in Islamabad at the last Heart of Asia ministerial meeting and agreed to start ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ that was to cover all outstanding issues.The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year.An official was also quoted as saying that Pakistan had not formally reached out to India for a bilateral meeting in Amritsar.Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit, while participating in BBC Urdu’s ‘Facebook Live’ interaction yesterday, said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India is ready.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not attending the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting.”Since Sushma Swaraj is not attending, it’s difficult to have a meeting with anyone else,” the daily quoted a Pakistani diplomat as saying.”The Pakistani side believes that the way out of the current stalemate in ties is India giving up its intransigence,” the daily said.”India has to make up its mind. They are not willing to discuss Kashmir,” the official said.India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.

Will ‘positively consider’ if India proposes talks on Heart of Asia sidelines: Abdul Basit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ahead of a visit by its Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s to India to attend Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, Pakistan on Monday said it will “positively consider” if India, as a host, proposed a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the forum.However, none of the two has approached each other in this regard, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said. “As a host, if India approaches us with a proposal (for talks on the sidelines), Pakistan will positively consider it,” Basit told Aaj Tak news channel.Aziz’s would be the first high-level visit from Pakistan after the announcement of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) in December last year which never took off in the wake of terror strikes, including the Pathankot airbase attack by Pakistan-based terror groups in January, and subsequent incidents which led to intense tension between the two countries. India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.

No confirmation yet on Aziz’s participation in Heart of Asia summit: MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Thursday said it is yet to receive confirmation from Pakistan about its participation in the Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference to be held in Amritsar on December 3 and 4 which a top aide to its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had maintained he would attend.”We have not yet received any confirmation of Pakistan’s participation in the HoA conference,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. He was asked about reported comments of Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that he would travel to India to attend the conference on Afghanistan, asserting that the trip could be a “good opportunity” to “defuse” Indo-Pak tension.”Unlike India, that had sabotaged SAARC summit in Pakistan by pulling out, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia being held in India. It’s a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” PTV quoted Aziz as saying.Last year in December, the meeting of the HoA process was hosted by Pakistan and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had attended it after which she had bilateral talks with Aziz. The two sides had also announced resumption of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD), which never took-off due to terror strikes, including the Pathankot attack by Pakistan-based elements.India had recently boycotted the SAARC summit which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad. Citing continuous cross-border terrorism from Pakistan following the Uri attack, India had said, “In the present circumstances” it was unable to take part in the SAARC summit.

There should be no glorification of terrorists: India and UK talk tough

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and the UK agreed to start a strategic dialogue on home affairs issues on Monday covering areas like visas and organised crime even as they voiced concern over terrorism, which they saw as threat that was not a “limited security challenge” and whose arc spread “across nations and regions”. After holding extensive talks which covered a wide range issues including trade, investment, security and defence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May called for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist strike in Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attack to justice.Addressing a joint press event with May, Modi said they discussed ways to purposefully work together to combat the growing forces of radicalisation and terrorism. “We agreed that it is not a limited security challenge. Its arc of threat spreads across nations and regions. Terrorists move across borders with ease and endanger the entire humanity. “I conveyed our deep concern to Prime Minister May regarding cross-border terrorism and the need for the international community to take strong action against States that support and sponsor terrorism,” he said.On her part, May said the two countries face the shared threat of terrorism as individual countries, as partners, and global powers, and have agreed to strengthen cooperation, in particular by sharing best practices to tackle use of internet by violent extremists. “We have also agreed to establish a strategic dialogue on Home affairs issues covering visas, returns and organised crime. As part of this we will step up speed and return of those Indians who have no right to be in the UK,” May said.The joint statement issued after the talks said May strongly condemned the September terrorist attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters in Uri and offered condolences to the victims and their families. In an obvious reference to Pakistan hailing slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani as “martyr”, the joint statement said, “There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal.”Strongly affirming that terrorism is a serious threat to humanity, the leaders reiterated their strong commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds. They shared the view that there should be zero tolerance to terrorism, the statement said. Acknowledging that terrorism and violent extremism posed one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, Modi and May called for concerted global action against them “without selectivity”. They pitched for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation.The two Prime Ministers affirmed that the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and bring to justice terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.The statement also noted that both India and the UK had suffered the human cost of terrorism and now worked in partnership to tackle the threat terrorism and violent extremism posed. Our two countries understand the increasingly transnational challenge of terrorism which demands multilateral as well as bilateral cooperation. International cooperation to combat terrorism is at the core of successfully denying terrorists the space to radicalise, recruit and conduct attacks, they said.The leaders also noted the two countries continued to build upon 2015 Defence and International Security Partnership to deepen cooperation, including on countering terrorism, radicalisation, violent extremism and cyber security. “We will jointly set out areas on defence and security which make clear our future ambitions to design, make, exercise, train and co-operate together. And we will continue to consult and co-ordinate, across a range of global policy security challenges, in pursuit of our shared goal of a more secure world,” the joint document said.The leaders welcomed the recent UK-initiated joint statement on Preventing Violent Extremism launched at the Global Counter Terrorism Forum in New York. The two leaders also called for strengthening the existing international counter terrorism legal framework including through the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

Narendra Modi, John Key discuss terrorism, look to adopt CCIT soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefed his Kiwi counterpart John Key on Wednesday about terrorism emanating from Pakistan and the recent Uri attack after which the two sides sought elimination of terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disruption of terrorist networks and their financing, and a halt to cross-border terrorism.According to official sources, Modi “forcefully” conveyed India’s concerns over cross-border terrorism and last month’s Uri attack which was carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists killing 19 jawans. “Terrorism remains one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security. Today, the financial, logistical and information networks of terror span the entire globe. The barriers of geography do not safeguard against the threat of radicalisation and terrorism. Nations who believe in humanity need to coordinate their actions and policies to counter this threat.””Prime Minister Key and I have agreed to strengthen our security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security,” Modi said at a joint media event with Key.A joint statement issued after the talks said the two Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation, bilaterally as well as in the framework of UN and especially in 1267 Committee, to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations. “They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism.”Both sides called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that would contribute to the further strengthening of the international counter-terrorism legal framework,” it said. The two Prime Ministers also pledged to continue the close coordination between the two countries on issues of mutual interest during and beyond New Zealand’s UNSC term, including terrorism sanctions, peacekeeping policy and UNSC reform, the statement added.New Zealand also welcomed India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime, which would strengthen global non- proliferation objectives. Asserting that his government was committed to relations with India, Key said the bilateral partnership was growing in several areas including cyber security and trade. “Both Prime Minister Modi and I underlined a strong intent in advancing nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation,” Key added.The two leaders also underlined the fact that India and New Zealand are both maritime nations with a strong interest in the Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions being stable and prosperous, including by ensuring the safety and security of sea lanes and freedom of navigation.Accordingly, they agreed to further strengthen the political, defence and security relationship and to drive this enhanced political-security relationship, the two Prime Ministers agreed that the sides establish a Bilateral Ministerial Dialogue through annual meetings, either in India, New Zealand or on the margins of regional or global gatherings.

With 42% increase in trade, India-NZ agree to amend Double Taxation Agreement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and New Zealand decided to amend the bilateral tax treaty and expressed commitment to work towards a comprehensive free trade agreement with a view to boost economic ties on Wednesday. The two sides also vowed to press for successful negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said the joint statement issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with New Zealand counterpart John Key. The two-way trade between the countries stood at US $1.8 billion, showing an increase of 42% in the past five years.”The Prime Ministers expressed their wish for greater bilateral trade and investment,” said the joint statement. The two countries also agreed to amend “the bilateral Double Taxation Agreement to bring its tax cooperation provisions into line with international best-practice”.India has been revising double taxation avoidance pacts with countries with a view to check tax evasion and bring them in line with OECD norms. As regards the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the statement said both sides committed to work towards a “high-quality, comprehensive and balanced bilateral FTA which would deliver meaningful commercial outcomes to both sides.They vowed to ensure that India and New Zealand contribute to a high-quality, comprehensive outcome to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, of which both countries are parties. The RCEP talks started in Phnom Penh in November 2012.The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world’s economy, estimated to be more than US $75 trillion. The 16-member bloc RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.At their meeting on Wednesday, the two countries also announced conclusion of a Food Safety Cooperation Arrangement to encourage greater coordination between New Zealand and Indian food safety authorities, and supporting more efficient trade in food products, the statement said.

Decision on India’s NSG bid to be taken soon: New Zealand PM John Key

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.After the “productive” talks between the two Prime Ministers, the two sides inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues. Asserting that they had detailed and productive discussions on all aspects of the bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation, Modi at a joint media event with Key said, “I am thankful to Prime Minister Key for New Zealand’s constructive approach to the consideration of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”There was no clear word of support on India’s entry into 48-nation NSG from the visiting leader, who only said, “New Zealand would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.” Noting that they had a “detailed” discussion on India’s NSG bid, Key also said, “New Zealand is committed to working with NSG members to reach a decision as soon as possible.” New Zealand acknowledged the “importance to India of it joining the NSG”, a joint statement issued after the talks said, adding that India stressed that this would provide the predictability necessary for meeting India’s clean energy goals in the context of the Paris agreements.New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in nuclear material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).On security and counter-terrorism ties, Modi said they have agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. According to the joint statement, the two Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation, bilaterally as well as in the framework of UN and especially in 1267 Committee, to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations.”They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism. Both sides called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would contribute to the further strengthening of the international counter-terrorism legal framework,” it added. Asserting that trade and investment ties were one of the key areas during the talks, Modi said they recognised the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in the global economy. It was agreed that expanding business and commercial ties should continue to be one of the priority items of the partnership, he said, adding that the large business delegation accompanying Prime MinisterKey will witness firsthand the investment opportunities on offer in India’s growth story. Identifying food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation, Modi said New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both the societies. “We also agreed that actions by both governments should also promote greater business connectivity, including through movement of skilled professionals, between our two economies and societies. “In this regard, we have agreed to continue to work closely towards an early conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” he said.He further added that along side extensive bilateral engagement, the bilateral cooperation also extends to the global arena. On regional issues, the two sides have agreed to enhance cooperation, including in the East Asia Summit process. Noting that reform of international governance institutions is a shared priority for both of them, Modi said, “We are thankful for New Zealand’s support to India joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. “As we make our own contribution to the developmental efforts of the Pacific Island countries, we will continue to consult closely with New Zealand to complement and supplement each other’s efforts.”Modi also said it was a particular pleasure to receive Prime Minister Key in India during the festive season given that it was now a regular feature for the New Zealand Parliament to celebrate the festival of Diwali and, Key has also participated in several of these festivities.

CBSE likely to reintroduce Class X board, final decission on 25 October

New Delhi: The CBSE’s Class X board examinations, which were scrapped six years ago in order to reduce pressure on students, are likely to be reintroduced following concerns about academic standards being affected.

The final decision in this regard will be taken on 25 October in a meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) which will be chaired by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Representational image. FirstpostRepresentational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

“There have been representations from academicians as well as organisations of parents saying that scrapping the exam and with the no-detention policy being in place, the academic standards are being affected,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.

“Also, it is being observed that students are unable to take the pressure of appearing directly for Class XII boards which are an important deciding factor for the career they choose,” the official said, adding, while no consensus has been reached yet on when to reintroduce the system, 2018 is considered to be an approachable target.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class X examination was scrapped in 2010 and replaced with the current Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) that provides for tests and grading through the year as a means to reduce pressure on students.

The issue of bringing amendments in the no-detention policy is also on the agenda of the CABE meeting. The policy, which applies to students upto Class X at present, is likely to take into account students till Class V only for no-detention.

If the decision is taken in this regard, states may get an opportunity to devise their mechanism of re-tests for students from Class VI to VIII while beyond Class IX students may be detained if their performance is not up to the mark.

India lauds Brazil’ support for actions to combat terror: Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India appreciated Brazil’s support for its actions to combat terrorism on Monday and said the two countries agreed that the world must come together to fight the menace without distinction or discrimination. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also thanked Brazilian President Michel Temer for “understanding India’s aspiration” for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. “My country deeply appreciates Brazil’s support for India’s actions in combating terrorism,” Modi said after a bilateral meeting with Temer, who is here for the 8th BRICS Summit which concluded yesterday. “We agreed that the world must come together to fight this menace without distinction or discrimination,” the Prime Minister said.He said India will continue to work with Brazil as an important partner in early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).”Both bilaterally and multilaterally, the partnership between India and Brazil is filled with possibilities that we are keen to harvest,” he said. Modi said the two countries made progress in opening new areas of cooperation in drug regulation, agricultural research and cyber security during Temer’s visit. “I am happy to note that India and Brazil are close to finalising the text of a bilateral investment agreement. President Temer and I have reviewed the full range of bilateral cooperation,” he said.He said that the bilateral relations between India and Brazil have grown for the better and there has been increased interaction at all levels. “This visit (by Temer) takes place as both countries mark a decade of our strategic partnership,” the Prime Minister said. Modi and the Brazilian leader also witnessed exchange of four cross-sectoral MoUs between the two countries.The first MoU is on genetic resources, agriculture, animal husbandry, natural resources and fisheries while the second one is on pharma products regulation. The third MoU is on cattle genomics and assisted reproductive technologies and the fourth is on investment cooperation and facilitation treaty.

BRICS Summit 2016: Member nations adopt Goa Declaration, to focus on combating terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-nation powerful grouping of BRICS on Sunday asked all countries to prevent “terrorist actions” from their territories and called for expeditious adoption of an India-backed global convention by the UN to fight the menace effectively. A declaration adopted at the annual summit of grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa called upon all nations to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, violent extremism, radicalisation, recruitment, movement of terrorists including foreign terrorists and blocking sources of financing terrorism.”We call upon all nations to work together to expedite the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN General Assembly without any further delay,” the Goa declaration issued at the end of the Summit said. It also asked the countries to adopt a “holistic” approach in successfully combating terrorism.Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for decisive action to deal with terrorism and described Pakistan as a mothership of global terrorism. The BRICS said sources of terror funding like organised crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases, and countering misuse of the internet including through social media by terror entities should be focus areas.”Successfully combating terrorism requires a holistic approach. All counter-terrorism measures should uphold international law and respect human rights,” the declaration said.Stressing UN’s central role in coordinating multilateral approaches against terrorism, the BRICS urged all nations to undertake effective implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and reaffirmed its commitment on increasing the effectiveness of the UN counter terrorism framework.In the declaration, the BRICS said it reaffirmed commitment to the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) international standards on combating money laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation.The FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering. In 2001 the purpose expanded to act on terrorism financing. It also called for swift, effective and universal implementation of FATF on combating terrorist financing, including effective implementation of its operational plan.

Brics summit Day 2: PM Modi refers to Pakistan, calls it ‘mothership of terrorism’

Benaulim: In a clear reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the “mothership of terrorism” was in India’s neighbourhood and linked to terror modules across the world.

Modi’s speech at the restricted Brics leaders’ meet, parts of which were tweeted by External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, also said that the neighbouring country sheltered not just terrorists but also “nurtures a mindset” which backs terrorism for political gains.

PM Modi. Courtesy: PIBPM Modi. Courtesy: PIB

PM Modi. Courtesy: PIB

“In our own region, terrorism poses a grave threat to peace, security and development. Tragically, the mothership of terrorism is a country in India’s neighbourhood. Terror modules around the world are linked to this mothership,” Modi said at the meeting attended by Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Michel Temer of Brazil.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also attended the restricted meeting.

“This country shelters not just terrorists. It nurtures a mindset. A mindset that loudly proclaims that terrorism is justified for political gains. It is a mindset that we strongly condemn,” Modi said, exhorting Brics states to “stand and act together” and speak in one voice against the threat.

Modi also said that the growing arc of terrorism today threatened the Middle East, West Asia, Europe and South Asia and that terrorism’s “violent footprints put at risk the security of our citizens and undercuts our efforts aimed at economic growth”.

Modi called on Brics countries to work together for early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and step up practical cooperation against terrorism.

The Prime Minister also spoke of critical challenges that confront the world and underlined the need for a clear roadmap to revive the global economy.

“Our increasing inter-dependence means that our march towards economic prosperity cannot be separated from the emerging geo-political context. BRICS, therefore, must play an active role in setting a direction that supports our common aspirations and goals.

“I firmly believe that the simultaneous development of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India is the best bet for global growth and development,” Modi said.

Modi said the “unhindered flow of skilled talent, ideas, technology, and capital across borders was imperative to kickstart the growth process”.

With inputs from IANS

US welcomes BRICS effort of constructive engagement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US has welcomed the efforts of BRICS countries to engage constructively in global issues of importance. “US welcomes BRICS effort of constructive engagement,” a State Department spokesman said. The spokesman was responding to a question on the eighth BRICS Summit being hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Goa.BRICS Summit followed by the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit will be held on Saturday in Goa.Ahead of the Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he was looking forward to building bridges to new partnerships and finding common resolve and solutions to entrenched problems of the region.Modi, who will also hold bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders on the sidelines of the Summits in Goa, said they will discuss ways to address “pressing international and regional challenges that stand in the way of our goals”.The five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – represent over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world population and they have a combined GDP of US $16.6 trillion.India is likely to push for unity among the BRICS members to remove the logjam at the UN on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) for effectively dealing with terror.Initiated by India, the CCIT is stuck at the UN due to lack of agreement among its members about the definition of terrorism.

Swaraj Swaraj rips apart Pak at UNGA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj may have sounded restrained but her words delivered a stinging rebuttal to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had spoken at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week. Speaking in chaste Hindi, Swaraj strongly rebutted Sharif’s contention that India has put “unacceptable preconditions before engaging in dialogue”, stating that India had repeatedly held out the hand of friendship to Pakistan, only to be rewarded with terror strikes.“We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well-being. Did all this come with preconditions? And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri,” she said.After her speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Congrats to EAM @SushmaSwaraj for a firm, effective & fine articulation of a wide range of global issues at #UNGA.”Apart from rebutting Sharif’s claims, she also chose to focus on human rights violations in Balochistan, a continuation of the Modi government’s policy, ever since the Prime Minister mentioned the ‘B’ word in his Independence Day speech this year. The foreign minister also said that those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to introspect and see what egregious abuses they were perpetrating in their own country. “The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of state oppression,” she said.Swaraj asked member countries to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, proposed by India in 1996, and lamented that despite the passage of two decades, it is still not concluded. Unlike Sharif, Swaraj refused to remain unifocal, living up to the global community’s expectations of India being a responsible power. Swaraj spoke on a range of issues from poverty, climate change, reforms at the UN Security Council and other sustainable goals, in which she highlighted India’s achievements.While India remained a business-friendly country, the government was conscious of its other obligations and responsibilities, she said. Swaraj told world leaders about the Indian government’s Clean India campaign and other endeavours such as Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao, aimed at educating the girl child. While Swaraj won much acclaim, back home her own party leader and former minister Yashwant Sinha and Opposition leaders were unimpressed. The Congress called her speech placid and ineffectual. They demanded to know why Swaraj had not called Pakistan a “terrorist state” and why she did not demand military and diplomatic sanctions. Chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjiwala said that the Modi government “had made India a laughing stock in the world”.Another Congress spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, asked the government to immediately declare Pakistan a “terrorist state” and convene a one or two-day special session of Parliament to review the security situation and declare Pakistan as a nation exporting and promoting terrorism. He also demanded the scaling down of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi as also the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. He asked as to what was the delay in granting asylum to the 33-year old rebel Baloch leader Brahumdagh Bugti.But not everyone agreed. Officials and the country’s former diplomats praised the foreign minister for delivering a crafty and a balanced speech. “It (the speech) was neither tame nor meek. She mentioned Pakistan’s role in detail. It had to be stated in an understated manner. Sanctions are a technical thing, and if you raise it, it is also a trap. She didn’t fall into that trap,” said veteran diplomat Vivek Katju.Officials were also pleased that Swaraj had made India’s stance on Kashmir absolutely clear. Swaraj had said: “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India,” and warned Islamabad to “abandon this dream” about using terror attacks to “obtain the territory it covets”. Such language sent a strong message to Pakistan and the world that India remained committed to peace in the subcontinent but would no longer tolerate the language of terror.

‘Sushmaji presented India’s viewpoint very well’: Arvind Kejriwal leads praise for Swaraj’s speech at UNGA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India asked the global community to urgently adopt a long-pending global treaty on terrorism as well as implement the UN Security Council reform, saying the world needs a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism and a Council that is less outdated.Highlighting the two pending tasks of General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said despite the passage of two decades, the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which was proposed by India in 1996, is yet to be implemented.”…we will be judged by our action and equally by our inaction. What goals have we achieved and what objectives remain unfulfilled?,” she said.”As a result, we are unable to develop a norm under which terrorists shall be prosecuted or extradited. Therefore it is my appeal that this General Assembly acts with fresh resolve and urgency to adopt this critical Convention,” she said.On Security Council reform, Swaraj said just as the world needs a more contemporary approach to combating terrorism, there is also need for a Security Council that is less outdated and that continues to reflect the world order of an earlier era.”The vast majority of nations share the belief that the UN should not remain frozen in 1945, just to serve the interests of a few. Whether it is institutions or issues, we must come to terms with present day realities and the challenges that confront us,” she said.Swaraj added that an expansion in the Permanent and non-Permanent membership of the Council to reflect contemporary realities is an urgent necessity.”We must move forward substantively towards text-based negotiations. If both these long pending issues are addressed during your Presidency, the success of this Session will be ensured,” she said.”The 21st century has begun in the shadow of turmoil, but we can turn this into a golden age in the history of civilisation through united and concerted efforts. But what happens tomorrow will depend on what we do today,” she said. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, one of BJP’s most vocal critics led the praise for Swaraj. Here’s how Twitter reacted:

India urges world to adopt pact on terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coinciding with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s address at the UN General Assembly on Monday, India is building up a momentum once again to push for consensus amongst member countries to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), a draft of which, it had proposed way back in 1996, at the height of Kashmir militancy.Confirming such a move also as part of India’s strategy to isolate Pakistan internationally, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the CCIT would give “legal teeth to prosecute terrorist acts”. He described terrorism the single-biggest threat to international peace and security. India’s ambassador at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, even went further. He was quoted as saying that India was considering all options, including forcing “voting” on the CCIT. The voting will force countries to spell out their stands and exhibit seriousness and sincerity in combating terrorism.A victim of terrorism for decades now, India had long ago recognised the need for such a convention.Former chief of UN Peace Keeping Forces Lt Gen (retd) Satish Nambiar said long before the more powerful countries of the developed world had begun to take cognisance of the threat, India had proposed this draft with the aim to take a holistic approach and collective action to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice. The conclusion and ratification of such a convention by member states would bind them to action on the contents.Over many years, since the draft was proposed, there has been opposition from the three main blocs, the US, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Latin American countries. The most contentious part has been the definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will have to adopt into their own criminal law. Other provisions will bind countries to ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps regardless of their stated objectives, to prosecute all terrorists under special laws, and to make cross-border terrorism an ‘extraditable’ offence worldwide. In 2013, however, modifications into the draft had admitted the US concerns, which pertained to state sponsored terrorist acts.The US apprehended that it would fix its military forces involved in various human rights abuses in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new draft now says “the activities of armed forces during an armed conflict” will not be governed by the present convention. Even, though India has tried to reach out to the OIC countries bilaterally to adopt the convention, but there is concern of its impact on Israel-Palestine conflict.At the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had particularly referred to the proposed convention, asking the world to back its ratification and unite against terrorism. Swaraj’s address is likely to push towards stronger consensus towards the CCIT. Swarup also said “you can expect a continued focus from India on the theme of terrorism which is today undoubtedly the single biggest challenge to international peace and security.”She is also expected to give a stinging response to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the UN General Assembly, in which he focused elaborately on Kashmir.The CCIT draft is being currently discussed at the Sixth Ad Hoc Committee of the United Nations, set up by the General Assembly to supplement existing conventions against terrorism. Though, ia consensus still eludes on the provisions of the CCIT, the Committee over past few years has adopted three other treaties: International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted on December 15, 1997; International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted on December 9, 1999; and International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted on April 13, 2005.

India is monitoring Brexit development, says Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: India is monitoring the developments of ‘Brexit’ as it would have a bearing on the
country’s trade with European Union and the UK, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

She said that although decline in exports is bottoming out, “we will have to watch the two obvious developments globally as a result of which your international trade related matters are going to have a bearing such as the Brexit”.

File photo of Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. AFP

File photo of Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. AFP

“We will assess the impact (as in) what happens if Britain continues or go out (from EU), she said when asked about the possible impact of Brexit on India. EU is one of the India’s major trading partner. It accounts for about 15 percent of the country’s exports.

She also said that the contracting economies and developments in nations, including Venezuela, too would have some impact on India’s trade. “…EU demand is waiting for the outcome of Brexit. We still have some way to go before we say, yes there is a revival (in exports). But we can see it is bottoming out. To see the pick up (in exports), I want some international developments also to happen whichever way it happens,” she added.

The remarks assume significance as exports fell the 18th month in a row in May, though marginally by 0.79 percent, to $22.17 billion as several non-oil sectors such as engineering and gems and jewellery saw a rise in outward shipments.

When asked about start-ups, she said the government has taken lot of steps for the budding entrepreneurs like helping them in a way to find investors also.

“There are issues with incubators…start-ups are not going out of India,” she said adding there would a start-up function in Hyderabad in September where investors would also participate.

On the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, she said there is no pressure and talks are progressing.

On the issue of pulses prices, she said the government is taking lot of steps to rein in the prices including importing from countries and getting into government-to-government deals.

On GST, she said, the Finance Minister is talking to all the political parties.

Tamil Nadu has certain issues as that is a manufacturing state and they have some natural reservations and “I expect that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister will support the GST”.

India to examine Ghana’s civil nuclear cooperation request

India has, in principle, agreed to look into Ghana’s request for cooperation in civil nuclear energy field, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday as he wrapped up his six-day visit to three African countries which he said will “reinvigorate” the already “strong and time-tested” bonds with them. “Although the details are yet to be worked out, in principle, we have agreed that we will examine civil nuclear cooperation,” he said on the question of proposal from Ghana seeking cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President said, “There are questions of cooperation in technology, cooperation in the supply of raw material, availability of uranium and also in sharing the experiences because we are also new in the area of the nuclear technology.”India has got strong support from the countries he visited — Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Namibia– on the urgent need for reforms in the United Nations Security Council. “There was agreement that the present structure does not reflect current realities and that reforms have been delayed for too long. The leaders of all three countries expressed the view that there is a need for urgent reforms of the UN. India, with one-sixth of the world’s population, as well as the African continent must be represented in the UN Security Council,” Mukherjee said.The President also underlined the issue of international terrorism and dangers posed by it to the civilised world. “I conveyed that the scourge of terrorism must be fought jointly, without any distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorism. “I called for an early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism,” he said.India has also got assurance from Namibia that it will work towards ironing out issues which are hindering the implementation of an agreement with it for supply of uranium for peaceful nuclear energy use, he said. “We have already entered into an agreement with Namibia on supply of uranium. Up to now that has not been done so I requested the President to take special care to meet the commitment of the past President and he agreed and also it was suggested that two technical teams will exchange details as there are various lack of understanding or misunderstanding about the supply of uranium,” he said.Mukherjee said some believe that one has to be member of NSG to supply uranium which is not correct and he pointed that out during bilateral talks with Namibia. “Therefore it is not a new agreement. Agreement has already been signed. Supply of uranium has not taken place that’s why I raised this issue and I requested the President to look into it and twice he assured,” he said.The President also emphasised on improving connectivity or opening new lines of connectivity with African countries as it is one of the most important aspects of improving relationship. “I believe my visit to these countries has helped reinvigorate our already strong and time-tested bilateral relations. They provide fresh momentum to our overall relations with Africa,” Mukherjee said. The President said India is committed to further consolidate its cooperation with all African countries.These visits conveyed the message that India takes its engagement with Africa seriously and intends to follow up with determination on the announcements made at the Third India Africa Forum Summit, he said. “Drawing lessons from our own colonial experience, we will continue to focus on capacity building, with a view to strengthening their self reliance. We will remain an active partner in Africa’s nation building efforts even as we strengthen our political, economic and trade relations with all 54 countries of the continent,” he said.Mukherjee said warmth with which he was received in all these three countries is testament to the unparalleled and historic bonds of friendship that exist between India and Africa. “We seek today to build on this strong foundation and forge new relations based on shared values of mutual benefit,” he said. The President said all three countries sought increased investments from India to tap the full potential of trade and economic relations.”I assured them that both public and private sector companies in India are enthusiastic about the opportunities in their countries. “I requested them to create a conducive environment for investment and initiate a dialogue with our industry,” he said.

Modi in US: India-US firm up ties as ‘major defence partners’

India and the US on Tuesday finalised the text of an Information Exchange Annex (IEA) on the critical Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation even as the former is working on a 60,000-tonne to 65,000-tonne super aircraft carrier design. A joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama met in Washington heralded a major build up on the overall India-US defence ties.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Recognising India as a ‘major defense partner’, the US has committed to “facilitate technology sharing” to a level “commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners”. This would entail India receiving a license-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies in conjunction with steps that India has committed to take to advance its export control objectives, the statement said.India and the US have also finalised the text of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) after the two nations, in April, agreed in-principle to sign it to allow military logistic sharing between the two countries.The two sides will increase cooperation on co-production and co-development of technologies under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and welcomed the establishment of new DTTI working groups to include items covering Naval Systems, Air Systems, and other Weapons Systems. India and the US have also committed to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity and moving towards finalizing the Framework for the US-India Cyber Relationship in the near term. Cyber collaboration on critical infrastructure, cybercrime, and malicious cyber activity by state and non-state actors, capacity building, and cybersecurity research and development are on the cards.Notably, last month, USA had backed India’s claim to the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the 48-nation exclusive bloc that trades nuclear supplies among them.The US also helped India in getting a waiver from the NSG on the civil nuclear deal as India has neither signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), considered a basis for NSG membership. However, India recognises the NSG consensus.Currently, the Indian Navy is on an operational deployment in South China sea and is going to take part in the prestigious Malabar exercise alongside the US and Japan navies. India and the US last month held their first maritime security dialogue too in New Delhi. The dialogue concerned Asia-Pacific maritime challenges, naval cooperation, and multilateral engagement.

India-US join hands against terrorism, ask Pakistan to bring perpetrators of Mumbai, Pathankot attacks to justice

India and the United States have called for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and the 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice.Acknowledging the continued threat posed to human civilisation by terrorism and condemning the recent terrorist incidents from Paris to Pathankot, from Brussels to Kabul, India and the United States resolved to redouble their efforts, bilaterally and with other like-minded countries, to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism anywhere in the world and the infrastructure that supports them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a joint statement issued after the third major bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama, the leaders committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Daesh/ISIL, Jaish-e Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, D Company and their affiliates, including through deepened collaboration on UN terrorist designations.
ALSO READ Modi In US: Obama backs India’s NSG bid, vows to be with India in fight against Pak-based terrorIn this context, they directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of the US-India Counter terrorism Joint Working Group.Building on the January 2015 US-India Joint Statement commitment to make the US-India partnership a defining counter terrorism relationship for the 21st Century, as well as the September 2015 US-India Joint Declaration on combating terrorism, both leaders announced further steps to deepen collaboration against the full spectrum of terrorist threats.
ALSO READ Modi in US: What PM Modi has achieved in his previous three trips to the nationRecognising an important milestone in the US-India counter terrorism partnership, the leaders applauded the finalisation of an arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorist screening information. The leaders affirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

Govt may announce new Metro lines in Mumbai Metropolitan Region

In the next couple of years, there is a possibility of the state government announcing new Metro lines in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to connect various municipal areas with each other and with Mumbai. Among the first two, that are likely to be executed are Kasarvadavli-Thane-Wadala and Kalyan-Bhiwandi-Thane Metro routes.In order to identify which Metro lines will be feasible to enhance the connectivity in MMR, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has initiated the process to revise and update its Comprehensive Transport Study (CTS) report, so that new Metro lines and other transportation as well as infrastructure options can be looked at. Bid has been floated to appoint an agency for updating the CTS.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A lot has changed in the last decade since the existing CTS study was conducted in the MMR. There has also been substantial rise in the population in MMR. There is need to update the CTS report,” said UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA. The research for the last CTS study was done between 2005 and 2007 and was published by the MMRDA in 2008.”We already have Kasarvadavli-Thane-Wadala Metro line in pipeline. The next would be Kalyan –Bhiwandi-Thane corridor. Once the CTS is updated then other Metro lines in the MMR too will be identified for implementation,” said Madan.Once of the prime factors for having these two routes is to establish connectivity with the Kalyan Growth Centre planned by the MMRDA. The development authority is Special Planning Authority for Kalyan-Ambernath areas.Moreover, the state government has plans to make Bhiwandi a formal logistics hub because of numerous godowns. Various establishments operating in Mumbai, have their storage facility in Bhiwandi for cheaper real estate.Though various measures were recommended in the CTS report, but not even a quarter of them have been converted into reality by the development authority or through the urban local bodies in the MMR.Some of the recommendations include upgrading the existing suburban rail network, having a network of Metro rails, multiple sea links of the western coast of Mumbai, Sewri-Nhava Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, passenger water transport on both the coastlines of Mumbai, etc.

Include ‘Yoga’ in CCE activities of students and give grades for it: CBSE to schools

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has advised schools to include yoga as an activity for assessment under Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation (CCE) of students and provide grades for it in the report card.The Board has also asked schools to see to it that the controversial ‘Common Yoga protocol’, developed by the Ministry of AYUSH, which begins with the chanting of ‘Om’ and Shlokas, is regularly practised by children of classes VI and above.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a circular issued to Principals of all affliated schools, CBSE secretary Joseph Emmanuel has asked them to participate in the International Yoga day events on “voluntary basis” and advised them to carry out activities for the whole academic year so as to “make it a part of daily school routine.””Such assessment/grades shall be depicted in the Student’s Annual report card,” the circular said.Referring to the protocol devised by the AYUSH Ministry, senior CBSE officials suggested that “the common yoga protocol must regularly be practised by the children of class VI and above.”Several muslim organisations have raised questions over chanting of ‘Om’ as suggested under the protocol. AYUSH Ministry officials have, however, maintained that it was not mandatory.In the circular, the senior CBSE official also said that the entire school’s population may participate in mass yoga demonstration “at least once a week early in the morning during assembly hours.”CBSE has also asked schools to send one yoga or physical education teacher for a certification course being organised by AYUSH Ministry in collaboration with Quality Council of India.When contacted, a CBSE official said that yoga is already listed as an activity under the CCE activities, and the circular has only reiterated that.

Defying China, Pak, US supports India’s entry into NSG

The US have backed India’s claim to the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the 48-nation bloc that trade nuclear supplies among themselves.”I’d point you back to what the president said during his visit to India in 2015, where he reaffirmed that the US view was that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership,” US State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington on Thursday, while replying to a question on Pakistan and China joining hands to oppose India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US support came on Friday, amidst China’s claim that it had the support of several NSG members that didn’t want India to join the group.Pakistan and China are reportedly lobbying against India on this and Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs, recently said that China was helping Pakistan to block India’s bid for NSG.Notably, US State department’s remark also came a day after Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told the US Congress that a substantial progress has been made on the US-India civil nuclear deal and also close on the heels of the two nations agreeing in-principle to sign the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in April that will allow military logistic sharing.The US also helped India in getting a waiver from the NSG on the civil nuclear deal as India has neither signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), considered a basis for NSG membership. India, though recognises the NSG consensus.Apart from India, other UN members that have not signed the NPT are Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan.The NSG membership will help India’s nuclear energy programme as it will allow it to tap the global market.UN Security Council permanent members UK, France and Russia too have extended support in the past to India’s NSG bid.

Policies adopted in name of green revolution be reviewed: RSS

Policies adopted in the name of “green revolution” led farmers to depend more on multinational companies and large industries, RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi said today and advocated their “strong review”.”The policies that we have accepted in the name of green revolution had resulted in farmers depending more on large companies for seeds and fertilisers than the self-sustainable model that was in vogue prior to it,” Joshi said. He was addressing a session on agriculture during the ‘International Vichar Mahakumbh’ being organised as part of the ongoing month-long Simhastha fair. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Government, society, scientists and farmers should strongly review it and should seriously ponder over what we have achieved in the last 60 years by adopting modern agriculture at the cost of traditional one,” Joshi said.He said, “We cannot support mechanisation totally as this type of agriculture is pushing farmers towards the path of dependability. They have to depend on large industries for agri-equipments.” Demanding formulation of “Comprehensive Agriculture Policy”, Joshi said the government should take into account climatic conditions of different regions of the country while framing it. “It’s the duty of country’s scientists and policy-makers to frame schemes by striking a balance between traditional and modern agriculture by keeping in mind the current scenario,” Joshi said. In his address, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev said the time has come to “expose” false claims made while pushing people towards chemical-based agriculture and that they should be motivated to go for organic and nature-based agriculture. Slamming multi-national companies for “profiteering”, Ramdev said the purchase of branded products is “ideological pollution”. Ramdev said he will aggressively promote swadeshi products. He also announced wearing only hand-woven cotton cloths henceforth. Addressing the session, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said though chemical-based agriculture is not good but it cannot be replaced overnight. Therefore, the state government will develop “model agriculture farms” based on traditional methods to present alternative ways of farming to the people, he said, adding mixed agriculture with different crops will also be encouraged. Chouhan said agri-MNCs whose sole aim is profiteering should be bundled out of the country. Speaking on the occasion, environmental activist Vandana Shiva claimed that Rs 70 billion go waste every year due to chemical-based agriculture and its related ill-effects. She opposed the royalty being realised by MNCs and demanded that country’s seed diversity, organic diversity and food security be protected from foreign companies.

Accusations, plain speaking mar India-Pak foreign secretaries meet

The flash meeting of the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference here remained inconclusive, with both sides engaging in plain speaking, accusation and counter-accusation. Neither any agenda was drawn up for the meeting, neither any decision was taken to lay a road map for the resumption of a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue” as agreed in December. India, however, indicated that onus on resumption of normal dialogue process was on Pakistan, emphasising the need for early and visible progress on the Pathankot terrorist attack investigation, as well as the Mumbai case trial.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While both sides exchanged ideas on taking the relationship forward and agreed to remain in touch, foreign secretary S Jaishankar clearly conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry that his country cannot remain in denial mode on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship. He said terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity. Sources told dna, that Jaishankar while welcoming Chaudhry in his chamber in the south block frankly conveyed that terrorist incidents act as speed breaker and hamper path of peace process.Replying to Pakistan’s accusations on India’s involvement in Balochistan with reference to arrest of alleged RAW official Kul Bhushan Jadav, sources said that Jaishankar firmly rebutted allegations and asked Pakistan foreign secretary, to tell him “which spy agency would put their agent in the field with their own passport and without a visa.”During the meeting, India raised the issue of ‘abduction’ of Jadhav, saying he has been taken to Pakistan, and sought immediate consular access. This is for the first time India has categorically said Jadhav was abducted.A statement issued by Pakistan, even when foreign secretaries had not yet emerged out of meeting, said Chaudhry brought up the issue of Kashmir emphasising that it remained the ‘core issue that requires a just solution in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions and wishes of Kashmiri people’. Though, it was pointed out a breach of protocol, but the Pakistan High Commission officials, insisted that statement was issued after the meeting was over.The statement by Pakistan also said, ‘In line with our PM’s vision of peaceful neighborhood, the foreign secretary underscored Pakistan’s commitment to have friendly relations with all its neighbours/India. All outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute were discussed.’ On Samjhauta Express blast, Chaudhry conveyed concerns ‘over efforts by Indian authorities for the release of the prime suspects. He further pointed out that, despite repeated requests India has not shared investigation reports of blasts, in which 42 Pakistanis had lost their lives.The low-key meeting between the two foreign secretaries was supposed to restore the dialogue derailed by the Pathankot attack, but no timetable could be drawn up for further talks, except for exchanging “ideas on taking the relationship forward and remain in touch.”

Outcome of Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary talks will be futile: Shiv Sena

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the outcome of the meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process’ conference in New Delhi, would be futile.”We have become tired speaking on this issue (Indo-Pak talks). What would be the benefit of these talks? The two prime ministers met in Lahore. But then what happened. We had the Pathankot terror attack,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is no use of these stop-start talks. We know the outcome, it’s futile. The people of this country have been bored with such moves by the government,” he added.Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry held bilateral talks focusing on a range of sticky issues including Pathankot terror attack probe, the first such formal meeting between the two top diplomats after talks were deferred in January following the strike by Pakistani terrorists.They are also believed to have deliberated on ways to take forward the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) which has been stagnant.​India has been pressing for action against terrorists responsible for the audacious attack on the premier IAF base, to move ahead in the talks.

Foreign Secretary-level meet between Indo-Pak tomorrow; Pathankot terror strike to be the focus

In a sudden move, the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on Tuesday during which the issues dogging the bilateral ties including the Pathankot terror strike will be discussed.Primarily, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will be in New Delhi on a day-long visit to attend the ‘Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process’. An announcement to this effect was made in Islamabad.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the sidelines of the meet, Chaudhry will hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to review the status of bilateral ties and Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue (CBD), which is stagnant.According to sources, “the focus of the talks would be on the investigation into the Pathankot terror strike and a possible visit by NIA team to Pakistan in this connection.” This will be first formal meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry after the announcement of CBD by the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad last December. The two secretaries had a informal brief interaction during a SAARC meeting in Nepal in March this year.The efforts to resume CBD at the Foreign Secretary-level hit a deadlock after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in January that India said was carried out by militants from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.The meeting comes in the backdrop of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s recent comments that the bilateral peace process was suspended, evoking a sharp reaction by Indian side, which maintained that communication channels were on at various levels but also made it clear it wants to see action on terror and Pathankot first before the dialogue could be resumed. Announcing Chaudhry’s visit, the Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement in Islamabad had said,”Pakistan delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the meeting.”Pakistan looks forward to active participation in the forthcoming Heart of Asia meeting, reflecting “our commitment to efforts for promoting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan”, it added. Pakistan had hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on December 9, 2015.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary to visit India for ‘Heart of Asia’ meeting; to meet counterpart S Jaishanker

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will visit India on Tuesday to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ regional conference where he will meet with his Indian counterpart after bilateral talks were derailed following the Pathankot terror attack.The Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement here that the Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process will be held in New Delhi on April 26.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will lead the Pakistan delegation to this meeting,” it said.
ALSO READ Bridging the gap between India and Pakistan with literatureIn New Delhi, government sources said Chaudhry will also have a bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishanker.The Foreign Office said Pakistan looks forward to active participation in the forthcoming Heart of Asia meeting, reflecting “our commitment to efforts for promoting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan”.
ALSO READ Indo-Pak peace talk: Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit does a U-turnIt said that Pakistan delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the meeting.Pakistan has continued to play an active role in the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process, which was established in 2011 as a platform to discuss regional issues including security, economic cooperation and connectivity among Afghanistan, its neighbours and regional countries with a view to promote lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Foreign Office statement said.Pakistan had hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on December 9, 2015.The conference had adopted a forward-looking Islamabad Declaration entitled ‘Emphasising Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Regional Connectivity’.The efforts to resume the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue at the Foreign Secretary-level hit a deadlock after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in January that India said was carried out by militants from the Pakistan- based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.

CCE system of evaluation for CBSE Class X to continue, board exams unlikely to make comeback

Speculations of the CBSE Class X board examinations making a comeback may be unfounded, as the government is likely to continue with the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system currently in place since 2011.According to a report by a leading English daily, the CCE system may however, be tweaked to weed out problems and make it more effective. “We found out that CCE has general acceptance and so is the practice of school-based Class X examinations. Also, the system of weekly tests has helped,” the report said, citing sources.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But there is a need to mend flaws in the CCE system to avoid problems like copy-paste and make it easier for children from poor families to do regular projects. HRD minister Smriti Irani has reportedly had a word with state education ministers and will be holding a meeting with stakeholders of the CCE system soon.

PM Modi’s inclusive development agenda has found resonance world over: Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the conferment of its highest civilian honour on him by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to claim the government’s agenda of “inclusive development” has found resonance even in the Muslim world.”This is a matter of pride for the entire nation. It illustrates that the guiding principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ has resonated all over the world and is being widely appreciated,” Shah said in a statement, noting that the Saudi King is the custodian of two most holy mosques of Muslims. He said Saudi Arabia is a very important nation in the geopolitics of the world and home to the holiest Islamic pilgrim centres. “The importance of Saudi Arabia in the world s cultural milieu is immense.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He termed the honour bestowed on Modi as one more fitting recognition for the “progressive and dynamic foreign policy” of the NDA government under him. “Modi has always believed that India’s diversity and harmony is its strength and will make India the leading economic superpower of the 21st century,” he said. He called it a “historic visit with historic outcomes”.”Comprehensive discussions on broadening economic and people-to-people ties will benefit not only India and Saudi Arabia but also the entire world,” he said. Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia also illustrates the importance he attaches to relations with the West Asia as so many Indians live and work there, he said and referred to his trip to the workers’ residential complex where he shared snacks with them.”This gesture has been uniformly hailed. He raised the issue of Indians serving sentences for minor offences and the Saudi government has agreed to look at these cases sympathetically and constitute a review mechanism with immediate effect,” Shah said.Hailing the government’s foreign policy, he said it has led to record foreign investment coming to India and enhanced India s prestige on the world stage. Relations with existing friends have improved and, at the same time, avenues of cooperation with other regions and nations have widened, he said. “India has risen to the occasion and helped every Indian in duress be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen to name a few,” he said.

Sushma Swaraj meets Prince of Abu Dhabi; discusses IS threat, radicalism

Ways to combat Islamic State threat and containing radicalism besides situation in war-ravaged Syria figured prominently when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday. Swaraj also briefed Al Nahyan about the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, official sources said.The Crown Prince arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday evening on a three-day visit during which both countries will discuss ways to enhance cooperation in a range of areas including energy, economy and security.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the meeting between Swaraj and Al Nahyan, the two leaders discussed the challenge posed by the ISIS, which has under its control vast swathes in Iraq and Syria, and emphasised on the need to work closely to defeat terrorism.The issue of a Saudi Arabia-led alliance against IS also came up for discussion, sources said. In this regard, Swaraj also complimented UAE for supporting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to effectively deal with the menace globally.India has been pressing for adoption of the CCIT by the United Nations. The two leaders also deliberated on the need to contain radicalism, the sources said.Al Nahyan is accompanied by a power-packed delegation for his three-day trip till February 12 which includes several top ministers and over 100 business leaders and CEOs of top companies. He will hold detailed talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

Sushma Swaraj meets Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Al Nahyan, talks about fighting terrorism together

New Delhi: Ways to combat Islamic State threat and containing radicalism besides situation in war-ravaged Syria figured prominently when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday.

Swaraj also briefed Al Nahyan about the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, official sources said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyan in New Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndiaExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyan in New Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyan in New Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

The Crown Prince arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday evening on a three-day visit during which both countries will discuss ways to enhance
cooperation in a range of areas including energy, economy and security.

In the meeting between Swaraj and Al Nahyan, the two leaders discussed the challenge posed by the Islamic State, which has under its control vast swathes in Iraq and Syria, and emphasised the need to work closely to defeat terrorism. The issue of a Saudi Arabia-led alliance against IS also came up for discussion, sources said.

In this regard, Swaraj also complimented UAE for supporting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to effectively deal with the menace globally. India has been pressing for adoption of the CCIT by the United Nations.

The two leaders also deliberated on the need to contain radicalism, the sources said.

Al Nahyan is accompanied by a power-packed delegation for his three-day trip till 12 February which includes several top ministers and over 100 business leaders and CEOs of top companies. He will hold detailed talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

PTI

Nawaz Sharif hopes Indo-Pak talks will move forward soon

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday voiced hope that the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process between Pakistan and India would move forward in days to come as he underlined that “differences” on all outstanding issues, including on Kashmir can be resolved only through talks.Addressing a joint session of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s ‘assembly’ in Muzaffarabad to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Sharif also said that Pakistan is ready to cooperate with India on every matter, including terrorism.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Pakistan is most affected by terrorism. Who wants eradication of terrorism more than Pakistan?” he said. “Difference of opinion between two countries is not unheard of. What is unusual is that for 6-7 decades, we have not been able to get rid of these differences,” he said.Sharif said that solution to all outstanding issues with India including Kashmir lies in dialogue. “I brought this up with the Indian leadership and would like to reiterate that the solution to our problems lies in dialogue. Unless we sit together and talk about these issues, they won’t be resolved,” he said. He expressed hope that Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue process between Pakistan and India would move forward in days to come.Indo-Pak ties have recently witnessed many ups and downs after the decision to engage in a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.The India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks, scheduled for January 15, were deferred in the wake of the Pathankot air base terror attack, for which India has blamed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and has been seeking action against the terror outfit and its chief Masood Azhar. Sharif said that Pakistan wants peace in entire South Asia, of which Kashmir is an important part.”Pakistan has tried to give a new vision to the region aimed at bringing peace to the area. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part of these efforts,” he was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. The Prime Minister said that the corridor would benefit the PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.Announcing 250 million rupees for development projects in PoK, he said many hydro-electricity projects are being initiated in the area and a railway link from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad is in the pipeline. “We want to build a railway link from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad and a highway from Mirpur to Muzaffarabad,” Sharif said, adding that a project to construct expressway from Murree to Muzaffarabad is also under consideration.Speaking on the occasion, PoK’s ‘Prime Minister’ Chaudhry Abdul Majeed lauded Sharif for “taking a clear stance on Kashmir in the United Nations.”Every year February 5 is observed as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to pledge support for the people of Kashmir. The day features seminars, protests marches and speeches by various parties and groups. The day is a national holiday in Pakistan.

We must delink religion from terror: Sushma Swaraj tells Arab League

Strongly pitching for delinking terrorism from religion, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said India and the Arab world must join hands to eliminate the terror menace as she warned that those who silently sponsor terror groups could end up being used by them.”Those who believe that silent sponsorship of such terrorist groups can bring rewards must realise that they have their own agenda; they are adept at using the benefactor more effectively than the sponsor has used them,” Swaraj told the Foreign Ministers of Arab League states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at the first First Ministerial Meeting of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum which she described as a “turning point” in India’s ties with the Arab world, she made a strong pitch for delinking religion from terrorism, saying the only distinction is between those who believe in humanity and those who do not.”Terrorists use religion, but inflict harm on people of all faiths,” said Swaraj, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit. She cited “India’s model of unity in diversity” as an example for the world to counter indoctrination and radicalisation.Swaraj’s citing of India’s religious and cultural diversity at the world stage assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of the intolerance debate that had raged recently in the country with many writers, artists and civil society members expressing alarm over the issue.”We in India have citizens who belong to every existing faith. Our Constitution is committed to the fundamental principle of faith-equality: the equality of all faiths not just before the law but also in daily behaviour. In every corner of my country, the music of the azaan welcomes the dawn, followed by the chime of a Hanuman temple’s bells, followed by the melody of the Guru Granth Sahib being recited by priests in a gurdwara, followed by the peal of church bells every Sunday,” she said.”This philosophy is not just a construct of our Constitution, adopted in 1950; it is the essence of our ancient belief that the world is family,” she asserted. Swaraj, in her speech, also quoted from the Quran, saying that faith harmony is the message of the Holy Quran as well.”I will quote only two verses: La ikra fi al deen (Let there be no compulsion in religion) and La qum deen o qum wa il ya deen (Your faith for you, and my faith for me),” she said in her address to the key Arab nations.She stressed that dangers of radicalisation and indoctrination cannot be ignored.”We have seen repeatedly that terrorism does not respect national borders. It seeks to subvert societies through its pernicious doctrine of a clash of civilisations,” Swaraj said.”The only antidote to this violent philosophy is the path of peace, tolerance and harmony, a path that was illustrated centuries ago by Buddha and Mahavira and which was taken into the modern age by the Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi. As he famously said, ‘an eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind’,” she said.Swaraj’s strong push for anti-terror cooperation comes at a time when there have been a spate of terror attacks across the globe from the Paris carnage and the Pathankot airbase assault to the blasts in Indonesia as terrorism has risen as one of the most significant challenges of the world.”As the spectre of terrorism and religious hatred raises its ugly head across the world, particularly in those cherished cities of history, it is time once again to reach back in time and redeem the essence of our civilisational spirit. We must pledge to halt the physical violence that has spread like a plague,” Swaraj said.She stressed on the need for equally addressing the violence in “our minds, a poison that has been spread by terror groups, harnessing the power of modern technology and social media platforms to infect our youth those ideologies and beliefs that regard one s own brother as a stranger, one s own mother as accursed.””We should not underestimate the power of this illusion, clothed in a false interpretation of faith,” she asserted.Swaraj also highlighted the importance of the passage of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations, saying it will remove a “significant lacuna” in the global community s fight against this menace.”We, who represent the stable and civilised world, must meet the challenge, or we risk destroying the most precious inheritance of our forefathers,” Swaraj said.”But not only do we need to condemn all acts of terrorism but we need to join hands regionally and globally to remove the scourge of terrorism completely,” she said.Stating that today’s meeting marked a “turning point” for India-Arab relations, she said that nations were experiencing a major turning point in history as well when the forces of terrorism and violent extremism are seeking to destabilise societies and inflict incalculable damage to cities, people and the very social fabric.”Ever since the NDA government assumed office in 2014, we have paid special attention to our ties with the Arab world and we have also had extensive engagements with various high level visits,” she said and referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “path-breaking” visit to the UAE, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in 34 years.”For so long, the ties that bind India and the Arab world have provided prosperity, enhanced wisdom and enriched our civilisations. It is therefore imperative more than ever before that we stand together and recognise the danger to our world for what it is,” Swaraj said.Swaraj said the ministerial meeting was aimed at giving a new shape, direction and energy to the centuries-old relations between India and the Arab world.”Today, we have the opportunity of translating the vision of India-Arab solidarity into concrete avenues of cooperation,” she said.