<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the forest department have re-forested the land at Dasturi Naka in Matheran, an eco sensitive zone, where hundreds of trees died due to highly nitrogenous dung from illegally stabled horses, the issue is far from being resolved. Horse owners are now suspected to having moved deeper into the forests.Dasturi Naka had lost most of its green cover, as the soil quality was affected due to horse dung and acidic urine from horses that were illegally stabled under trees.With the area now off-limits for stabling horses, the equines are parked in the deeper parts of Matheran’s forest, said Manoj Khedkar, former councillor. Loss of Matheran’s green cover can be bad news, as the entire Navi Mumbai region depends for its drinking water.The Bombay Environmental Action Group that worked on the re-planting and barricading of the Naka said the Joint Forest Management (JFM) needs to be strengthened for a permanent solution.While only about 460 horses have license to operate, over 1,000 horses ply in peak season. “Most of them are brought from from Neral and Jummapatti. Handlers tie horses to trees that shrivel due to the dung and acidic urine, thus leaving a trail of dead trees,” a local said. In the past, horses brought from outside would be taken back at night.Stables in areas like Indira Nagar and Valmiki Nagar being converted into lodging, as it is more profitable, have compounded the problem. Councillor Prasad Sawant said, “We need to create a facility for horses to be stabled.”Divisional Forest Officer Alibaug Jayoti Banerjee said, “Now that Dasturi Naka has been saved, the department is working on a solution with major stake holders.” In the meanwhile, the officials have been carrying out surprise raids to reduce illegal stabling.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Security Advisors of India and China will meet next week to discuss measures to improve bilateral ties which are strained by differences over a host of issues including India’s admission into NSG and Beijing’s attempts to block UN ban on JeM Chief Masood Azhar.National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi will meet in Hyderabad in November first week for informal dialogue on the state of bilateral relations, specially the irritants bedevilling the development of ties, officials said.Besides blocking India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China had put a second technical hold on India’s move to bring about a UN ban on Azhar. Also India has been protesting over the US $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).While India is concerned over the Pakistan factor creeping into India-China relations making the bilateral ties more complex, China too is airing its apprehensions over the movement to boycott Chinese goods in India as well the visit of US Ambassador to New Delhi, Richard Verma, to Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers as Southern Tibet and India’s permission to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the area.Chinese officials say Beijing is apprehensive about India moving closer to US and Japan broadening its strategic and defence ties with both the countries.Doval and Yang who are the designated Special Representatives of the India-China boundary talks, also periodically meet to discuss the whole gamut of the Sino-Indian relations.Yang was the former foreign minister of China before he was elevated to the rank of State Councillor of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) after President Xi Jinping took over power in 2013. In Chinese power structure, State Councillor is more powerful than the Foreign Minister on foreign policy issues.Both Doval and Yang have been meeting regularly to discuss the problems affecting the bilateral relations. Officials say that the Hyderabad meeting is not Special Representatives dialogue on border but an informal consultation in which all issues including those relating to the borders may figure.Their meeting is set to take place in the backdrop of the just concluded plenary meeting of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) which conferred the status of “core leader” on Xi, broadening his power base both in the party and military.On India’s admission into the NSG, both sides held in-depth talks over the issue. India has been pressing China to relent on its opposition saying that vast majority of the 48 member group back New Delhi s case.China, which is opposing India’s membership on the ground that India is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says the group need to work out a proposal on the accession on all the non-NPT countries meaning Pakistan’s admission too.After talks with India, Chinese officials also held talks with Pakistan on the same issue.On the issue of ban on Azhar, China has not reacted to Pakistan’s reported move to freeze his bank accounts and keeping him under house arrest. Beijing’s technical hold in the UN on Azhar s ban issue is due to expire in December.Doval and Yang were expected to touch on these issues as well as India’s concerns over the ballooning trade deficit which according to Chinese officials touched over US $51 billion last year in little over US $70 billion trade between the two countries.China has been promising to step up investments in India besides opening up markets for Indian IT and Pharmaceuticals.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing India’s diversity and pluralism, Myanmar’s iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, saying people of her country drew huge inspiration from the two Indian greats in their yearning for democracy. Suu Kyi, who led her National League for Democracy to wrest power from the military junta in a historic election earlier this year, said the new government wants to significantly deepen engagement and expand existing cooperation with India, asserting that the intention is to “depend on each other”.”In our struggle for democracy, we have been helped greatly by the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The two great leaders of Indian Independence movement have inspired with their vision and with their belief,” Suu Kyi said in her press statement in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Modi held extensive talks with her covering entire expanse of bilateral ties, signalling the importance she holds in Myanmar’s polity and government though she is the State Councillor and Foreign Minister.Describing her visit here as “happy and extremely fulfilling”, Suu Kyi said the visit has confirmed the “long-standing friendship and trust” that exist between the two countries. She said “very very” wide range of subjects were covered in her talks with Modi.”It is our intention to engage more closely together, to depend on each other,” she said. Her comments were seen as allaying apprehension here that Myanmar was getting close to China which has been increasing its footprint in that country and making huge investments in several major projects there.”We as a nation struggling to make democratic culture take root in our country, we believe India will be able to help us. We are going to be cooperating in areas of construction, energy, culture and education,” she said.Referring to her meeting with top business leaders, Suu Kyi said she urged them to invest in “trust” so that trade can flourish. “We have much to do. We are behind India in the field of development and in the field of politics. But we are confident that we will be able to make up for the lost time,” she said.Observing that Myanmar was much ahead of many other countries in South Asia a few decades ago, she said, “Things change, life changes unexpectedly but with good friends and with commitment and endeavour on our side, we are confident of making up.” Suu Kyi said her aim now was to bring peace and stability to Myanmar and to the region and beyond. “We have been trying to bring peace to our country for decades. We hope that time has come for us to be able to say we have made the breakthrough and we are now firmly set on the path to a union, that will be a union which will be just to people. For this too we look up to India with its experience of federalism, to teach us how we bring all our people into the process and to be part of our search for peace, stability and enduring federalism,” she said.Talking about India’s spiritual resources, she said the country’s pluralism and federal structure were inspiration to Myanmar. “We always admired India as the greatest democracy in the world and for being able to maintain the system despite many challenges that have raised their heads since Independence,” she said.