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BJP seeks headcount of illegally staying Rohingya, Bangladeshi Muslims in Jammu

Jammu: Following the outcry in Kashmir Valley over providing the identity certificates to the Hindu West Pakistani refugees, BJP MLAs have now slammed their own government for being lax in allowing the settlement of over 6,000 Rohingya Muslims in Hindu dominated Jammu region even as they have the got the work permits from the government of India to carry out different jobs in the state.

The saffron party members have also asked the state government to take measures to “stop” the illegal settlement of Bangladeshi Muslims.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

As per government figures, there are over 6,000 Rohingya refugees who are living in different areas of the Jammu city, a predominately Hindu majority area and are settled there for more than six years now. Over 1,200 Burmese refugee families comprising nearly 6,000 people are settled in some of the congested areas of Jammu city including Narwal. Inspector General of Police, Jammu range, Danish Rana, said that the Rohingya Muslims have been given the work permits by the government and are not “living illegally in Jammu areas”. “The number of people is over 6,000 and they are staying legally here. They have the work permit which has been issued by the government of India. They are Rohingya Muslims from Burma and are settled here due to the differences with Buddhist population in their own country.”

He said that the Rohingya Muslims started coming to Jammu region over six years back and “over a period of time their number has increased”. “They are mostly doing odd-jobs and are rag-pickers and even do begging to eke out a living,” Rana said.

However, the BJP MLAs have now demanded that the state government should spell out a policy on “whether Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims can stay in the state.” BJP’s Nowshera MLA, Ravinder Raina, said that the matter will be taken up in the upcoming budget session of the state assembly which is beginning in Jammu from 2 January.

“The government should spell out a policy on Rohingya Muslims. It is a very serious matter and the government should find out how have they come to the state. They are living without permission and could be a threat to the security of the state. We will ask the government to be serious about the issue and clear its policy,” Raina said.

BJP’s Ram Nagar MLA, Ranbir Singh Pathania, said that those Bangladeshi and Rohingya Muslims who are living illegally here should be dealt sternly. “Thos who are living illegally shall be dealt as per the law,” Pathania said.

Police officials, however, admit that many of the Bangladeshi nationals are living illegally. “Yes there are many who are living illegally,” said Rana. He said that there are many who are overstaying the period for which they have been permitted against valid travel documents adding there “were others who have entered illegally by crossing the border.’’ A senior police official said, “Since many of the Bangladeshi nationals having entered clandestinely there is a difficulty in having an exact record of those who are settled in the state.”

Legislator Raina demanded that a head count of the people who are residing in the state should be done. BJP MLAs have sought a clear policy even as the New Delhi has advised the government of Myanmar that “communal harmony” should be maintained in the Rakhine state of the country where the Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have shown frequent differences. As per government documents, “the developments in the Rakhine state of Myanmar including the importance of maintaining communal harmony has been taken up by GOI (government of India)with the government of Myanmar.”

The government records reveal that the number of foreign nationals including those from Bangladesh who have been deported to their countries was significantly lesser in Jammu and Kashmir than other states. The number of those who have been deported from Delhi in the year 2009, 2010 and 2011 was 1,645, 989 and 161 respectively. However, from Jammu and Kashmir, the number per year has remained between one to three only.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:03 IST

Manipur ambush: Terrorists kill two jawan, injure eight in Chandel district

Militants killed two policeman and injured eight during two surprise attacks in two different places in Manipur’s Chandel district on Thursday.

According to PTI, one of the attacks took place in Lokchao village in Chandel district, 21 kilometres from the border town of Moreh, along the Imphal-Moreh route killing one personnel on the spot and injuring seven others.

News18.com report said that team of Manipur Police were travelling from Moreh (near India-Myanmar border) to Tengnoupal District for a scheduled programme of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, when they came under attack. The jawans were attacked with improvised explosives and bullets by terrorists on reaching Lokchao, the report said, adding that injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.

One wounded personnel succumbed to injuries later, a police officer told PTI. Ibobi was scheduled to inaugurate the newly created district of Tengnoupal, carved out from the existing Naga-dominated district of Chandel.

The two dead Manipur Police personnel have been identified as Md Ayub Khan and Hc Ngarei Marring, the police officer said.

While the no terrorist outfit has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, News18 said that the police suspect the terrorists who attacked near Lokchao village to belong to the Naga outfit, National Security Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah(NSCN-IM).

In the second ambush that took place at Bongyang area in the same district, one personnel of the state forces was also severely injured. Of the eight injured, three personnel who received critical injuries have been rushed to Imphal for further medical treatment, the police officer said.

Incidentally, Chandel district, which sits close to the Myanmar border, has been seeing a lot of deadly attacks on security forces in the recent past. According to reports, on 26 November, five security forces personnel were injured in an ambush in Sajik Tampak in Chandel district. In similar incidents, according to Indian Express, “eighteen soldiers were killed in the district on 5 June 2015” whereas, “on May 23 this year, six personnel of the Assam Rifles were killed in an ambush in Chandel”.

According to News18, the entire area has been put on high alert following the incident.

With PTI inputs

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 10:17 IST

Indo-US military logistics pact is ‘mundane’: Richard Verma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Wednesday said the military logistics memorandum agreement signed with India was mundane in nature and was only limited to logistics.”The logistics memorandum agreement between India and the US is only limited to logistics and mundane in nature. There is no question of India compromising on its security by signing the pact,” Verma told reporters at thePress Club here. He said the agreement would enable both countries to share bases, fuel and food and was a good recognition of where the bilateral ties stood today. CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had earlier demanded the contents of the military logistics pact between India and the US be made public. Verma, who had been in office in India for the last two years, said the defence ties with India “stand on its own.” “Defence relations with India stand on its own and is not a buyer-seller relation,” the Ambassador said.He said both countries had important defence deals in the past as well. “We have a special cell in the Pentagon that looks only after these matters and the US does not have this kind of arrangement with any other country,” he said. “US and India are the world’s largest two democracies with 1.6 billion people. If the two countries are close friends, then the world will be a safer and a prosperous place. There is a ripple effect,” Verma said. To a query on the US’ position on Pakistan as an “exporter of terrorism”, Verma said there has been condemnation of cross-border terrorism from their side. “The US has been speaking about condemnation of cross-border terrorism which has to end. We want to see that kind of unity in our relations with India. With Pakistan, it is complex, based on cross-border terrorism. With India it is on a different plane,” he said.Asked about the future of Indo-US relations under the new dispensation, he said, “In the coming years, US and India relations will continue as it is today.” “Relations between India and US is on an upward trajectory and irreversible. Indians settled in the US will continue be the natural bridge between the two countries,” Verma said. “We believe it is the strategic interest of the US to see a stronger India. We strongly believe in that,” he said.On the economic front, he said US was the largest trading partner of India with two-way trade hovering at USD 100 billion. There were 500 US companies in India and 100 Indian companies in the US, he said. Verma was in the city to attend a seminar on regional connectivity where participants from Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand were present, besides USA and India. He also said US was ready to share its best practices on dealing with border security to help countries in protecting their citizens.

Militants ambush army team in Manipur, five commandos wounded

Imphal: Five Special Forces personnel of the Indian Army were on Saturday injured in an ambush by militants in Chandel district of Manipur.

Army sources said an IED blast was triggered during a combing operation by the commandos. This was followed by
firing from light arms by the militants.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW), an umbrella grouping of the anti-talk factions of Assam’s United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Boroland, the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang, the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation and Coordination Committee of several militant outfits of Manipur, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

They said that even though five of the team were injured, the commandos fought back and managed to rescue those injured.

The sources said the incident happened in Sajik Tampak in Chandel district, which is close to the Myanmar border.

Chandel has witnessed many deadly attacks on security forces in the recent past.

Eighteen soldiers were killed in the district on 5 June 2015 in an ambush.

On 23 May this year, six personnel of the Assam Rifles were killed in an ambush in Chandel.

The injured personnel were flown to the Army hospital at Leimakhong in Sadar Hills in a helicopter.

The condition of two of them was stated to be serious.

A statement issued by the ULFA’s anti-talk faction claimed responsibility. “A group of Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) attacked the 21 Para Regiment of Indian Army between Aisi and Khunmulen near Sajik Tampak in Chandel District on Saturday morning. Five or more Indian soldiers are seriously injured,” it said.

With input from PTI

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 22:38 IST

Spiritual retreat for the mind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 10-day meditation retreat only a short distance from the city, that requires one to unplug from the outside world and submit to a rigourous schedule would raise enough eyebrows in surprise and disbelief. It’s practically impossible for the modern urban individual to imagine switching off their phone or take out 10 days from their daily routines to live disconnected in voluntary silence. But it’s exactly this overload of sensory input that one needs to break away from to be able to experience the best of what Vipassana meditation can offer.One of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation, Vipassana was first taught by Gautam Buddha 2,500 years ago after which it was passed down the generations through an unbroken chain of teachers and students. In recent times, the technique was preserved in its original form in Myanmar (Burma), where SN Goenka, the foremost lay teacher of the technique, learnt it from his teacher Sayagyi U Ba Khin for 14 years. Goenka brought the technique back to India and began teaching it in 1969 as a 10-day residential course. Participants follow a strict code of conduct which includes abstaining from killing, lying, stealing, sexual activity and intoxicants.Following the registration formalities on the first day, which include surrendering electronic devices and any kind of reading material, participants enter a vow of ‘noble silence’, which is to be maintained until the tenth day of the course. This is crucial to learning the technique of Vipassana, which requires one’s mind to be free of agitation and external stimuli.The course begins by teaching students the basic technique of anapana meditation in which one needs to focus on the natural breath as it is. Three days of concentrating on the breath, as it enters and exits the nostrils, focuses the mind enough to not be as distracted by thoughts as it was on the first day. This prepares the individual for the fourth day on which instructions for the technique of Vipassana meditation are given. By now the mind which is concentrated enough is able to recognise sensations all over the body that were earlier missed because of their subtle nature and distractions in the form of external stimuli.From the fourth day onwards, students are encouraged to shift the scope of their concentration from the breath to scanning the entire body for sensations. Once the mind becomes aware of these sensations which range from tickling, tingling, itching, throbbing or pain, its immediate reflex is to react and relieve the body of discomfort. However, the challenge of Vipassana meditation is to remain equanimous and simply observe the sensation for what it is without trying to avoid or want more of it. With each passing day, participants are encouraged to take the difficulty level up a notch which includes challenging themselves to sit cross legged without changing their posture and meditate with eyes closed for an hour non-stop. Aversion and craving, says Goenka, are the two vices of the human mind. Anyone who has tried to meditate even for a few minutes would know that the pattern of thoughts that enter one’s mind belong to either one of these categories. Our mind usually indulges in pleasant thoughts with craving and tries to avert the unpleasant ones. This inability to keep our mind from getting entangled in thoughts that seem beyond our control leads to larger repercussions of split second reactions in our daily life such as a misdirected outburst of anger that we often regret later.Regular practice of Vipassana meditation trains the mind on a fundamental level to remain balanced, not give in to either craving or aversion and simply let the moment pass. Over time, this training of the mind brings about a change in our behaviour as an individual. It gives a breather between our thought and action as we notice that we don’t react as quickly as we did before, or take a moment to think before saying or doing something in the heat of the moment.The meditation technique which is taught in a non-sectarian format does not involve rituals or religious activities of any kind and is open to students from all communities and faiths. Each day of meditation ends with a video of SN Goenka who explains the theory and scientific basis of the technique being practiced by the students. He explains why the course requires students to follow a basic vegetarian diet free of excess oil and spices, detailing how the food we consume influences our emotions, thoughts and practice of meditation.To find out more about the technique, centres near you and schedules visit www.dhamma.org.

Akhilesh Yadav says black money helped Indian economy during recession, cites experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a controversial remark, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said economists were of the opinion that black money helped the Indian economy in times of global recession.”I am very clear on this…black money should not be generated. Economic experts say the magnitude of the global economic crisis at times is not felt in India because of strong (parallel) economy of black money,” he said.”I am opposed to black money. I do not want it,” he said on the sidelines of Indo-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Car Rally flag off.
ALSO READ Demonetization ended terror-funding, stone-pelting in Kashmir: ParrikarHis remarks come in the wake of the government’s sudden decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes to stamp out black money, resulting in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs.Akhilesh also said that whichever government had troubled the poor, it was shown the door by the masses. “This government has caused immense pain to commoners,” he said.
ALSO READ Demonetization: PM Modi’s mother walks to bank to exchange old currency notesThe chief minister was of the view that demonetisation will not serve the purpose of checking black money.”It’s good that corruption is checked and people become aware that there should not be (any) corruption. But this problem cannot be overcome merely by changing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes…Those who used to keep such notes are now waiting for Rs 2000 notes…,” Akhilesh had said on Saturday.

New Delhi: City welcomes specially-abled International artists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the first time that Australian national Joanna, 20, a visually challenged artist, is visiting India. And she is not alone. Artists from as many as 15 countries around the world have gathered in the Capital for Sambhav — a three-day festival dedicated to specially-abled artistes.“I’m both excited and nervous at the same time,” said Joanna, who had started learning music at the age of eight. Now, she and four other artists have brought a slice of Australian music to the national Capital.Organised by NGO Association for Learning, Performing Arts and Normative Action (ALPANA), Sambhav, an initiative to celebrate the artistic abilities of specially-abled people, kicked off at the India International Center on Sunday.“Sambhav was started in 2006. Initially, we invited participants from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations. Gradually, we started inviting participants from other nations as well,” said ALPANA president Alpana Nayak, adding that this year, the participating countries include Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Kenya.The festival will comprise a variety of performances from multiple nations, right from Bhutanese music to unique dance forms of Myanmar. “We are performing different dances from Myanmar and Burma, with the music on guitar,” said Brant, 18, a visually challenged artist from Myanmar.A three-member team of artists has come from Vietnam as well. “We have prepared Vietnamese music and dance performances for Sambhav this year,” said Khinkh from the country.A painting exhibition is also a part of the offerings at the festival. “We have some really talented hearing-impaired and mentally challenged students at the NGO who made these extraordinary paintings,” said Alka Aggrawal, who teaches painting and crafts at the NGO.Abhinav Rana, a partially-blind artist said: “I love playing with watercolours, though I can’t see them clearly. My muses are sky, sea, trees and rain.” From inside the country, teams have come from Odisha, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, among other states. “On Monday, our artistes will perform a fusion dance form, portraying 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu,” said Sushmita Rautray, who has come with a team of six from Odisha.According to Sambhav organisers, they are are creating a space for the specially-abled people to present their views, ideas and experiences through the media of art and performances. “We don’t believe in ‘helping’ the specially-abled. They don’t need help. They are as much a part of society as we are. All we need to do is to hold their hands and walk along with them,” said ALPANA vice-president BK Das.All praises for the effort, Nitisha Sharma, a visitor said: “It was a wonderful experience to see the artists performing with such confidence and vigour.”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit: Myanmar needs Asian giants India and China for its development

Myanmar needs both Asian giants — India and China’s help for its development and wants to keep an equal distance from both. Aung San Suu Kyi, who calls the shots in the government, is keen to follow the non-aligned path laid out by her freedom fighter father Aung San and Jawaharlal Nehru. The two were fast friends and worked together for the independence of their respective countries. The new democratic regime in Myanmar will not play favourites: It needs India’s institution-building capacity as well as China’s infrastructure projects. So the new regime will strive to have good relations with both Asian powers.

Myanmar, which is taking baby steps towards democracy, naturally wants to learn from India how to reconcile the different elements of a fragmented society. “We as a nation are struggling to make democratic culture take root in our country… We believe that India with its experience so similar to us will help us in our endeavour… We are building a very young democracy and India is helping us, especially with capacity building of our legislators to make sure rule of law is established in our country,” State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said, after talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Terrorism naturally came up during the discussions. Aung Suu Kyi condemned the Uri attack, while PM Modi expressed his sympathy for the policemen killed in attacks in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state. In the joint statement, released after the talks, there were significant paragraphs on terror.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday.PTI Photo(PTI10_19_2016_000248B)New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Wednesday.PTI Photo(PTI10_19_2016_000248B)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in New Delhi. PTI

Pakistan was not named, but the statement was obvious. “Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as well as all acts, methods and practices of terrorism wherever, by whomever, against whomsoever committed and agreed that the fight against terrorism should target terrorists, hold to account terror organisations, networks and also states that encourage, support or finance terrorism in any way. Both sides also agreed that terrorism is first and foremost a violation of human rights and that there can be no justification for extending support, financing, provision of material resources or training to terrorists who destroy innocent lives. Both countries called for the expeditious finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism presently being negotiated in the United Nations.” New Delhi will be happy with this.

In a statement to the media, Prime Minister Modi, welcomed Suu Kyi to Delhi, “her second home”. She had spent much of her girlhood here when her mother was the ambassador to this country in the early 60s. She is a product of Jesus and Mary School and Lady Shri Ram College and has a lot of friends and admirers in the Indian capital.

Though Suu Kyi was miffed when India began engaging with the military junta since 1992 on fears of China’s large footprints in that country, much of it is now in the past. Though for strategic reasons, Delhi opened a channel to the military dictatorship, the pro-democracy refugees were also welcomed and hosted by successive governments.

For India, Myanmar is of strategic importance as it borders its sensitive North Eastern states. The two countries share a 1,600 km-long border. “We have agreed that a close coordination to ensure security in the areas along our border, and sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests, will serve the interests of both our countries,” Modi said as the two sides decided to ramp up border vigilance.

Myanmar is also India’s bridge to the larger Asean market and an integral part of Prime Minister Modi’s “act east policy”. The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which will open the waterways for transport of goods in the region, forms an important part of Delhi’s connectivity aims. The project had faced long delays but is likely to be completed by the year end. The trilateral Asian highway is also nearing completion.

Aung Suu Kyi condemned the Uri attack, while PM Modi expressed his sympathy for the policemen killed in attacks in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state

Prime Minister Modi said that, “We [India] are sharing our resources and expertise with Myanmar. India’s nearly $1.75 billion of development assistance is centered on people. And is in line with the priorites of Myanmar government and its people.”

As in Afghanistan, India wants its projects to touch the lives of ordinary citizens of the country. So agriculture now plays a major role in India’s development plans. The PM said that India will help to develop a Seed Production Centre in Myanmar, which will improve the quality of seeds. Power supply from Moreh to Tamu in Myanmar will be ramped up, the PM said. Renewable energy and power are two other important items on the developmental agenda.

Three MOU’s were signed during the visit: Cooperation on power, help in framing professional and academic programs for insurance, and banking supervision between RBI and Central Bank of Myanmar. In short, India will help in both the banking and insurance sectors.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counsellor, made China her first destination after taking over as foreign minister. The idea was to repair ties with Beijing and placate Chinese sentiments over the cancellation of a $3.6 Myitsone Dam project in 2011. China was furious over the scrapping. Beijing had been a staunch supporter of the military junta during the period it was under sanctions from the rest of the world. But the Burmese generals were unhappy with the project and there had been many skirmishes between people living in the border areas of the two countries. The scrapping happened at a time when Myanmar was taking tentative steps towards democracy and had freed Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. The generals, feeling the pinch of tough economic sanctions was opening up to the West. A host of Western dignitaries, including US President Barak Obama visited Myanmar.

But the Chinese remained irritated. So ahead of her visit, Aung San Suu Kyi announced a panel of experts to look into the Myitsome dam issue. Clearly the state ends

Aung Suu Kyi meets PM Modi, India and Myanmar to enhance security, trade ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As Myanmar embarks on a journey of democracy and development, India today assured it of unstinted support as the two traditionally close neighbours agreed to enhance ties in a range of areas including security and trade during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar’s top leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi.The two sides signed three agreements to boost cooperation in power, banking and insurance sectors besides deciding to step up ties in areas of oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy and health care.It is Suu Kyi’s first visit to India after her National League for Democracy wrested power from the military junta in a landmark election earlier this year. Suu Kyi, who could not become Myanmar’s President due to a constitutional provision but has full control over the government, holds the position of State Councillor and Foreign Minister.Welcoming Suu Kyi, the Prime Minister described India as her second home and assured that “India and its friendship will stand with you in full support and solidarity.” “You are no stranger to the people of India. The sights, the sounds and vibrancy of Delhi are familiar to you. Welcome back, Excellency, to your second home! “Excellency, you are an iconic leader,” he said in a media statement. Suu Kyi had done her graduation from Delhi University.In her comments, the Myanmerese leader invoked Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and said Myanmar drew huge inspiration from the two Indian leaders in its struggle for democracy. The Prime Minister said as close and friendly neighbours, the security interests of India and Myanmar are closely aligned. The two countries agreed that close coordination to ensure security in the areas along border, and sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests, will help both neighbours, he said.Myanmar, considered one of India’s strategic neighbours, shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of northeastern states including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur. Giving details of the talks, Modi said the two countries agreed to enhance engagement in several areas including agriculture, power, renewable energy and power sector. “Let me assure you, Excellency, that as you lead Myanmar to become a modern, secure, economically prosperous and better connected nation, India and its friendship will stand with you in full support and solidarity,” Modi said.Effusive in his praise, Modi said, “Your clear vision, mature leadership, struggle and eventual success in establishing democracy in Myanmar has inspired people across the world. “It is indeed an honour for us to receive you in India. We are also grateful for your participation at the BIMSTEC and the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach Summit in Goa a couple of days ago.” Modi said Myanmar has commenced a “new journey” under Suu Kyi’s able leadership and India will always extend full support to it. “It is a journey of hope and much promise.” Talking about importance of connectivity, the Prime Minister said Myanmar’s new government was keen to connect more deeply with South Asia and South East Asia. Calling the talks “extensive and productive”, Modi said India has a robust development cooperation programme with Myanmar and that India’s nearly USD 1.75 billion of development assistance is being utilised in line with the priorites of Myanmarese government and its people.”From the mega connectivity projects like Kaladan and Trilateral Highway, to projects in the fields of human resource development, healthcare, training and capacity building, we are sharing our resources and expertise with Myanmar,” he said. The Prime Minister said India will develop a Varietal Development and Seed Production Centre in Yezin in Myanmar to enhance the quality of seeds.”We will also work to develop a mutually beneficial arrangement for trade in pulses. We have offered to scale up the power supply from Moreh in Manipur to Tamu in Myanmar. We will also partner in a pilot LED electrification project at a site designated by the Government of Myanmar.” He said the MOU on cooperation in the power sector will help create the framework for advancing linkages in the sector. The Prime Minister said India has also offered assistance in restoring pagodas damaged in the recent earthquake in Myanmar. Both the delegations had a working lunch.”The Archaeological Survey of India will also soon begin work on restoring two old temples and inscriptions of King Mindon and King Baygyidaw in Bodh Gaya,” he said. Suu Kyi’s visit here came nearly one-and-half months after Myanmerese President U Htin Kyaw visited India.

PM Modi and Aung San Suu Kyi discuss India-Myanmar ties; talk on border security, development

Myanmar Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi is on a four-day visit to India. After attending the Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit in Goa, the de facto leader of Myanmar met President Pranab Mukherjee and held talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday. She met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup called Suu Kyi “an old friend of the East” and tweeted that the Prime Minister and Myanmar State Counsellor are deliberating on the details of a developmental partnership.

Modi in the press conference welcomed Suu Kyi to her “second home” and said that her clear vision, mature leadership and struggle has inspired people across the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

In his brief address, Modi announced India’s cooperation programme and India will support its neighbour as Suu Kyi leads her country to become a “modern and prosperous nation”. He said that the two countries have agreed on security coordination in border areas and sensitivity to each other’s strategic interests.

Suu Kyi called India “the greatest democracy in the world” in her press briefing and said that Myanmar is a young democracy, “The time has come for us to say that, yes we can do this”.

This is her maiden visit to India after the National League for Democracy came to power in March. Suu Kyi told a television channel on Tuesday that though terrorism in any form is unacceptable, there is a need to lay down the principles of surgical strikes as it is also a violent form of attack.

“I don’t think we should lay down our principles saying that all surgical strikes are acceptable. We have to look at these instances case by case, otherwise we will be on a slippery slope of deciding that all strikes are acceptable,” she said according to PTI.

Myanmar itself has been struggling to tackle the crisis over Rohingya Muslim situation. The longstanding discrimination by majority Buddhists against Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine exploded into violence in 2012. More than 1,00,000 people, mostly Rohingyas, are still in displacement camps. Buddhist nationalists have sought to brand the group as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, while the movement of Rohingya living in camps are severely restricted. Suu Kyi has been criticised by some human rights activists for not speaking out forcefully in support of the Rohingya.

On 12 October, 12 people died in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state in clashes between armed men and troops.

It’s hardly a surprise that Suu Kyi held a discussion with Swaraj on India’s role in supporting Myanmar’s agenda of national reconciliation. MEA sources told PTI that the two leaders also discussed socio-economic development and strengthening democracy.

“The Myanmar state counsellor outlined her priorities in the areas of agriculture, training, capacity building, job creation, infrastructure and health care and sought India’s assistance in these areas. Swaraj in turn offered all possible assistance from India,” the official source said.

At the Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit in Goa, Suu Kyi said that the Bimstec region was confronted with numerous security threats, including terrorism, climate change, natural and man-made disasters.

She called for collective stepping up of pressure on human trafficking, which she said was “modern day slavery and “one of the most pervasive human rights violations”.

“We need to step up to intensity in the global efforts to combat global trafficking in a collective and a concerted manner,” she said.

Brahma Chellaney wrote for The Times of India that Suu Kyi’s first major state visit was to Beijing in an attempt to smooth bilateral ties with China. He writes that Myanmar is an important ally to India and should have a proactive policy of implementing projects and promoting trade between the two countries “to help reduce the salience of Chinese influence”.

According to The Irrawaddy, “Burma will re-engage India under a new government that is obviously struggling to rebalance its strategic relations with powerful China.”

While Suu Kyi’s India visit will redefine bilateral ties between the countries, Myanmar has to do the balancing act to keep Beijing and New Delhi happy, as Rajiv Bhatia writes for Hindustan Times writes, “She (Suu Kyi) may have a delicate role to play, especially now when India-China relations are under marked stress.”

With inputs from agencies

India, Myanmar sign three agreements in sectors of power, banking and insurance

New Delhi: India and Myanmar on Wednesday signed three agreements following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the southeast Asian nation’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi.

“#IndiaMyanmar: Partners in Progress – The two leaders witness exchange of agreements in sectors of power, banking and insurance,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

One memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on cooperation in the power sector.

A second MoU was signed on banking supervision between the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Myanmar while a third MoU was inked for designing an academic and professional building programme for the insurance industry of Myanmar.

Suu Kyi met Modi on the third and concluding day of her state visit to India.

On Tuesday, she met President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Though Suu Kyi is not the President as Myanmar’s constitution bars her from this post, the Nobel peace laureate is effectively the de facto ruler of the country.

This is the first official visit of Suu Kyi to New Delhi since her National League for Democracy (NLD) assumed power in Myanmar in March this year.

Prior to reaching New Delhi on Monday for the state visit, she attended the BRICS-Bimstec Outreach Summit in Goa on Sunday.

Her visit comes after Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw’s visit to India in August this year.

India doubts Pakistan’s intention to fight terrorism, says Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a ‘Regional Editors Conference’ Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that if Pakistan is serious about fighting terror, then India is ready to help them eradicate it, but added that he had doubts about Islamabad’s intention to fight terrorism mushrooming in its own backyard.”Pakistan has forgotten the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters. Terrorism in India is mostly sponsored from across the border…If Pakistan is serious about fighting terror then we are ready to help them eradicate terror, but their intention is not that,” Singh said, referring clearly to the September 18 Uri terror attack.”Cyber crime is also a major challenge and we are working towards tackling it, as the National Security Council has taken it up,” he addedTo safeguard against cross-border terror, Singh asserted that the international border with Pakistan will be sealed by December 2018.”We have also strengthened India’s coastal security post the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Our security agencies are better prepared today. We have (also) stepped up vigil in the North Eastern region alongside the international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar,” he added.

Bimstec countries condemn terror, want constructive partnership with Brics

Benaulim: Bimstec leaders on Sunday called for sustainable development, economic progress, poverty eradication and comprehensive stamping out of terrorism and closer relation with Brics even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the region faces many challenges but also has many economic opportunities.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit, he said: “Unequal development, food and energy insecurity, poverty eradication, the impact of climate change, and growing threats posed by terrorism and transnational crime define our governance priorities.

“But, alongside these challenges, there exists a large basket of economic opportunities. With 1.5 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion, the countries of Bimstec have shared aspirations for growth, development, commerce, and technology.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Brics and Bimstec leaders in Goa on Sunday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Brics and Bimstec leaders in Goa on Sunday. PTI

Modi said that the convergence of Brics and Bimstec would provide a perfect opportunity to frame economic and development partnership, shape ties in the fields of energy, agriculture, technology, fisheries, and culture, structure trade, investment and commercial partnerships and resources to fight terrorism and transnational crime.

He also said, that in particular, areas of commerce, connectivity, culture, security and disaster management appear promising as far as identifying collaborative possibilities is concerned, adding that India, being a member of both blocs, would be “happy to take a lead in this direction”.

Following the Uri attack in September, India, as host of this year’s Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, chose to invite countries belonging to the Bimstec grouping over those of Saarc.

Countries belonging to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) are India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

As New Delhi has launched a diplomatic blitz to isolate Islamabad in the international community, the invitation to Bimstec countries instead of the Saarc countries is being seen as another step in this direction.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Maldives are the members of the South Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that are also not members of Bimstec.

Speaking at the summit, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi said that the Bimstec region was confronted with numerous security threats, including rising terrorism, climate change, natural and manmade disasters.

Suu Kyi also called for collective stepping up of pressure on human trafficking, which she said was “modern day slavery and “one of the most pervasive human rights violations”.

“We need to step up to intensity in the global efforts to combat global trafficking in a collective and a concerted manner,” she said.

Like her, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who in their speeches collectively expressed solidarity with India, in view of the series of terrorist strikes, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also condemned the terror strike and said that her country has “zero tolerance to terrorism and violent extremism”.

Hasina also said that the potential and strategic advantage of both the Brics and Bimstec regions was enormous and both needed to mutually take advantage of each other’s potential.

“Brics has to engage with Bimstec. Bimstec needs to develop quality infrastructure and attract investment,” she said, adding that the new banks floated by the Brics bloc could help channelise investment in the low income countries in Bimstec.

Hasina also said that a sizable part of the population in the bloc were grappling with challenges posed by poverty, sanitation, climate change and appealed to Brics nations to partner with them for collective benefit.

Small countries, she said, cannot be left behind, when one speaks of collective development.

Prachanda underlined poverty as one of the major issues confronting the Bimstec region and said sectors like agriculture, energy, clean development, connectivity, etc.

“Importance of physical connectivity for landlocked countries is vital and cooperation in field of energy can be game changer in socio-economic development,” he said.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India on Oct 16; strengthen bilateral ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her first visit after becoming State Counsellor, Myanmarese leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will arrive in India on October 16 on a four-day trip during which she will attend BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Goa and hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra on key bilateral and regional issues.Announcing her visit on Wednesday, External Affairs Ministry said Suu Kyi, who will be here at the invitation of Modi, will pay a State Visit to India from October 17-19, 2016.The State visit will take place immediately after the conclusion of the BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit to be held in Goa on October 16, to which the State Counsellor will lead the Myanmar delegation, it said.Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy brought down curtains on five decades of military rule and assumed power in March this year, is the country’s foreign minister. “The visit of the State Counsellor will provide an opportunity for the two sides to discuss issues of mutual interest and seek ways to further strengthen the close and friendly ties that exist between the two countries,” MEA asserted.Suu Kyi will be accompanied by several key Ministers and senior officials. According to sources, during the bilateral meeting, border management and ways to contain militant activities along the Indo-Myanmar border will be among the issues that are likely to figure. Both sides are also likely to discuss ways to boost trade ties.Earlier in August, Myanmarese President U Htin Kyaw had visited India and held extensive talks with Prime Minister Modi. Myanmar has assured India that it would not allow any insurgent group to use its territory against India.During her visit, the State Counsellor will call on President Pranab Mukherjee and also meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. She will also attend a business event during which she will interact with leading Indian business leaders on ways to bolster bilateral economic and commercial relations.

Myanmar’s Foriegn Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India

New Delhi: In what can be seen as a milestone in New Delhi’s “Neighbourhood First” policy, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi will pay a state visit to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from 17 to 19 October.

“The State Counsellor will be accompanied by several key Ministers and senior officials,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

“During her visit, the State Counsellor will call on President of India Pranab Mukherjee and have meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj,” it stated.

A file image of Aung San Suu Kyi. ReutersA file image of Aung San Suu Kyi. Reuters

A file image of Aung San Suu Kyi. Reuters

Suu Kyi will also attend a business event during which she will interact with leading Indian business leaders on ways of bolstering bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“The visit of the State Counsellor will provide an opportunity for the two sides to discuss issues of mutual interest and seek ways to further strengthen the close and friendly ties that exist between the two countries,” the statement said.

This will be first official visit of Suu Kyi to New Delhi since her National League for Democracy (NLD) assumed power in Myanmar in March this year.

Last month, Modi met Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the 14th India-Asean Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Suu Kyi spent a considerable part of her early life in India and was educated at Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi.

On 6 April this year, the 70-year-old Nobel peace laureate assumed charge as State Counsellor as she was constitutionally barred from the presidency after becoming the country’s first female foreign minister on 30 March.

Prior to visiting New Delhi, Suu Kyi will attend the Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit to be held in Goa on 15 and 16 October.

In August, Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw was in New Delhi on his first official visit abroad after assuming charge.

His visit came less than a week after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Nay Pyi Taw.

Sharad Pawar slams those seeking proofs of surgical strikes by Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday supported the Narendra Modi government over surgical strikes by Army in PoK, saying it was necessary to teach a lesson to terrorists and those exporting terror and similar action were taken during the UPA regime but the then government did not boast about them. The former Defence Minister also slammed those seeking evidence of the Army action, saying they were “foolish and most irresponsible”.”The government and Indian Army’s decision (to carry out the cross-LoC surgical strikes) was absolutely right for teaching a lesson to the terrorists and those exporting terror,” Pawar said during a meet-the-press programme. He, however, said it would not be in the national interest to discuss about the Army operation.”No other government or country normally discusses such things on public platforms…No country is insane to talk publicly about the military operations,” he said.”It is foolish and most irresponsible on the part of those demanding evidence of surgical strikes by the Army…It will be unnecessarily discussing the operational details of Army in public domain,” the NCP chief said.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Sanjay Nirupam have sought proof in support of the claim that the Indian Army had conducted the strikes across the LoC in PoK targeting seven terror launch pads.Earlier, while speaking at a party convention here, he said, “There were four surgical strikes (across the LoC) when we (UPA) were in power. However, we did not publicise it.” Congratulating the Modi government over the surgical strikes, Pawar objected to the Army operation being made public. “Some things should not be made public,” he said.”Our government carried out surgical strikes in Myanmar, but our operation was limited and we never tried to capitalise on it,” he said.About PM telling his cabinet colleagues not to create hysteria over the strikes, Pawar said the BJP leaders should avoid making statements (over the Army operation). “There is no need to make such statements,” Pawar said.

Four surgical strikes during UPA, but didn’t publicise it: Sharad Pawar

Four surgical strikes during UPA, but didn’t publicise it: Sharad Pawar

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Nagpur: Amid a raging debate over the surgical strikes carried out by the Army across the LoC, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, a former Defence Minister, on Thursday said there were similar strikes during the UPA regime, but the then government didn’t boast about the action.

File photo of Sharad Pawar. PTIFile photo of Sharad Pawar. PTI

File photo of Sharad Pawar. PTI

“There were four surgical strikes (across the LoC) when we (UPA) were in power. However, we did not publicise it,” Pawar said in Nagpur.

Although Pawar congratulated the Modi government over the surgical strikes, he objected to the Army operation being made public. “Some things should not be made public,” he said while speaking at a party convention here.

“Our Government carried out surgical strikes in Myanmar, but our operation was limited and we never tried to capitalise on it,” he said.

About Modi telling his cabinet colleagues not to create hysteria over the strikes, Pawar said the BJP leaders should avoid making statements (over the Army operation).

“There is no need to make such statements,” he said.

The Uri aftermath: A game of snakes and ladders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In June 2015, Indian Special Forces, evidently, conducted a cross-border raid in Myanmar against hideouts of insurgent groups operating in the North East states, neutralizing several terrorists. This was in retaliation against the ambush on a military column which resulted in 18 soldiers being martyred earlier that month. The action reflected a more pro-active policy on the part of the Indian government. It had then been welcomed by Union Minister of State, Rajyavardhan Rathore, and several of his colleagues. They went so far as to suggest it was a message that neighbours who harbour terrorists would do well to heed. The Pakistan military and political establishment had then belligerently responded; the country’s Interior Minister, Nisar Ali Khan, unequivocally warned against any such misadventure, stating that “Pakistan is not Myanmar and India should not think of repeating such an exercise within Pakistani territory.”Given Pakistan’s unadulterated support for terror groups and their efforts at fanning separatist flames in the Kashmir Valley, it was only a matter of time before some serious enough provocation forced the Modi Government to explore more robust solutions. Pakistan engineered the Uri incident and also, possibly, timed it with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s appearance at the United Nation General Assembly. However, it is unlikely that Pakistan wanted the incident to be seen as anything other than a showpiece of reactions by locals against gross human rights violations committed by Indian security forces. Unfortunately, the unexpectedly large number of casualties had upset all calculations. Though Pakistan continued to stick with its narrative, the event forced the Modi Government to act so as not to lose all credibility. Despite Narendra Modi’s earlier rhetoric against the UPA government’s lackadaisical response to Pakistan in face of terror attacks in the past, the prime minister must be complimented for resisting pressure and not indulging in a purely knee-jerk reaction, which is devoid of substance.The targeted cross-border raids which were conducted on Wednesday night by elements from two of our Parachute (Special Forces) battalions, reportedly against seven terror launch pads within 2-3 km from the LoC in Pakistan Occupied territory in the Valley and the Rajouri-Poonch Sector was, therefore, not unexpected. Much has already been written about these raids, most in the realm of speculation, to bear repetition. Despite Pakistan’s denials, it is no longer in doubt that these raids happened, and militants along with some Pakistan army personnel were killed. Contrary to popular perceptions, it suffices to say that the Indian army has had a robust special operations capability since independence that has been used on several occasions, even abroad. One may recall their employment in Sierra Leone when our Parachute (Special Forces) elements led rescue operations to free our troops held hostage while serving on a UN Mission. Therefore, it can be clearly stated that despite the hoopla, this was a routine task for which they have been trained over the years. Having said that, such high-risk missions are always fraught with danger and success is never guaranteed.What has been different in this case is the political will displayed by the Indian government, not just in the matter of permitting the military to conduct these high-value raids, but also the preparation that has gone into organising them and the media blitz that has followed. Its selection of targets was clearly restricted to so-called “non-state actors” and not the military and the operation took place in territory that India claims is illegally occupied by Pakistan. By stating that this show of force was a preemptive defensive action against terrorists preparing to infiltrate, the government is clearly suggesting it was not keen to escalate the situation further. The coordination and assistance provided by the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) and the Research and Analysis Wing(R&AW) in providing real-time intelligence on the chosen targets have been unprecedented. These factors have played a major role in the successful completion of the attack.Most importantly, despite its stated objective of not wanting to escalate the situation further, the government has taken precautions by evacuating villages along the international border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. This clearly indicates its willingness to hang tough and, if required, up the ante and launch a counter-strike in the event Pakistan decides to respond. The government may even be signaling that in the case of escalation, it would be willing to put in motion the military’s Cold Start Doctrine that envisages capture of territory in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan.So where does all this leave Pakistan? For one thing, it suggests that Pakistan’s policy of nuclear blackmail and threats to deal with any Indian provocation by using tactical nuclear weapons appears to have run its course. As does its untrammeled and open support for militants working in tandem with the army. With the use of terror as state policy over the past few decades, Pakistan finds itself isolated on this issue by large sections of the international community. Thus, any escalation on its part is unlikely to be viewed kindly and can only make matters more difficult for it. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to suggest that the strikes are a figment of the Indian imagination, the credibility of its own denials have been greatly damaged, given the different voices emanating from the military and political establishment. There is a distinct possibility that public opinion may force Nawaz Sharief’s hand, in which case he may find himself between a rock and a hard place. The next few weeks will reveal whether this subcontinent finds itself plunged into another futile war or focuses on the more pressing challenges of countering endemic poverty and hunger that haunt both the nations.

Narendra Modi isn’t talking of war because internal security lapses are at an all-time high

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not talking of war even after the Uri attacks. Rather he is speaking his trademark jargons on growth, development and peace as eloquently as he used to. It might be because a thundering statement on war, threatening the neighbouring trouble monger may sound hollow at a time when internal security lapses stand at all-time high, due to apathy through decades.

The attack on a military camp at Uri by four terrorists is not the only exemplifier of India’s lacking in security. In fact, there are many.

The Uri incident was followed by the arrest of six Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh militants from Assam and West Bengal. Three out of six were Bangladeshi nationals camping in Indian territory and planning subversive attacks in northeast and south India.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersFile image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

On the very same day that these terrorists were arrested, Ulfa threatened an organisation in Assam for appealing the people to boycott Chinese products as a retaliation to China’s support to Pakistan. It was certainly seen as a measure to appease China, the country that is presently hosting Paresh Baruah the commander-in-chief of Ulfa.

Paresh Baruah, once a close associate with ISI, now continues to run his terror business in the northeastern states of India from a secret base in Yunan province in China.

These are some examples, other than the Uri attacks, that point towards the security lapses and threats the country faces. Perhaps these lapses in India’s internal security, built through years of apathy, prevent the prime minister from speaking of a war.

Both JMB and Ulfa share close links with the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, and both have access to India through the porous international borders northeast that India shares with the nations adjacent to it.

Ghanashyam Murari Srivastava, IPS, who has served as a cop in Assam and Tripura for a considerable long period, says that presence of ISI-linked Islamic terrorists is not a new phenomenon in northeast India. They have been in prowl in Assam for more than a decade.

“In the late nineties itself Assam Police made 13 Islamic militants surrender with their sophisticated weapons,” he says. “It would be naïve to say that they never existed in Assam,” he adds.

Northeast India has always been an easy target for Islamic terrorists given the region’s porous border with neighbouring Bangladesh.

The international border that the northeastern region shares with Bangladesh stand as fenceless and as unmanned now, when recently JMB militants camped in various parts of India sneaking through it, as it did when the first set of Islamic militants entered the state in the nineties.

Sources in the Assam Police say that now terrorist groups have an even safer jungle route from Bangladesh to Guwahati in Assam through Garo hills in Meghalaya. This route that is now guarded by Garo Nationalist Liberation Army which stands unchecked by Indian security forces.

Similarly, the insurgency by Ulfa (Independent) heavily depends on the India’s inadequacy to deal with cross-border terrorism in India. A top cop in Assam police on condition of anonymity said that Paresh Baruah was based in Bangladesh before moving to China, but Indian government failed to nab him there.

“Paresh Baruah has been playing hide and seek with the Government of India for a long time now. He shifted his base to Myanmar from Bangladesh when India’s relationship got better with Bangladesh. He again shifted to China as soon as India’s terms got better with Myanmar. But on every occasion it was the Indian government that failed to nab him,” said the source.

Now Paresh Baruah threatens the Government of India with his hate speeches and terrorist activities from China.

“All these anti-India elements can cumulatively turn ‘enemies within’ and might try to fail India at the times of a war with a neighbouring country,” says GM Srivastava.

No wonder with scores of such ‘enemies within’, those have been nurtured by decades of lapses in security measures, makes it difficult for the Prime Minister to talk about a war.

DRI makes single-biggest catch of smuggled gold in New Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested two persons in New Delhi on Monday, little did they know that they have stumbled upon the single-biggest catch of smuggled gold in the country. And more surprise was in store. The two have been using Jet Airways for the illegal trade all the time – 617 in all. Every time, they used to declare smuggled gold as valuable cargo.They have been at it for a long time and their ‘overall business report’ read 7,000 kg of smuggled gold, worth over Rs 2,000 crore.They used to get gold from smugglers who would sneak into India from Myanmar and bring the booty to Guwahati for onward transmission to New Delhi. The two accused, Guwahati-based businessman Narendra Jain and his New Delhi-based aide Sartaaz, have been remanded in judicial custody.Jain is no stranger to DRI. He has been involved in several instances of gold-smuggling and 37 kg of gold worth Rs 9 crore were seized from him in the past. In fact, he was even arrested by the Guwahati unit of the DRI in February 2015 for smuggling 12 kg of gold, but was released on bail later.He fell into DRI net again on Monday when officers of the Delhi Zonal Unit (DZU) seized 10 kg of gold at the domestic cargo terminal of the IGI airport during the intervening night of September 1, 2016. The market value of the total seized goods is around Rs 3.1 crore.Intelligence agencies said that Moreh in Manipur and Zokhawthar area in Mizoram along Myanmar are hotspots for gold-smuggling because of the topography and porosity of the land border.The DRI has been busting big gold-smuggling rackets since 2015.In March 2015, it seized 87 kg of gold at Siliguri and 58 kg in Kolkata in August 2016. Twelve persons were arrested. In another case, 12 kg of gold were seized in Mumbai on August 5, 2016. Investigations revealed that the same group had smuggled 700 kg gold, worth over Rs 200 crore, in 18 months.On September 11, 2016, $750,000 (Rs 5 crore) were seized near Siliguri, meant to be smuggled into Myanmar for buying gold to be brought into the country, from a truck bound for Manipur.In September, DRI Guwahati seized 27.5 kg of gold, worth Rs 8.56 crore, which was smuggled from Myanmar through the Moreh border, from a Bolero.During April-July 2016, illicit gold import has drastically come down to about 107 metric tons, worth Rs 24,000 crore, as compared to 274 metric tons, worth Rs 60,700 crore, in the corresponding period of the last financial year. Total gold import in 2015-16 was about 855 metric tons, worth about Rs 1,79,172 crore.Jet Airways reacts”The said authorities had contacted Jet Airways to seek information on the carriage of cargo from Guwahati to Delhi from certain customers. The airline fully cooperated and provided all information. Jet Airways complies with rules, regulations and laws of the land they operate in, including matters relating to carriage of all types of shipments,” the airline said in a statement.

Sushma Swaraj in Myanmar; holds talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Htin Kyaw

Nay Pyi Daw: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Nay Pyi Daw on Monday to hold talks with the top Myanmarese leadership, including State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, in pursuance of India’s ‘Act East Policy’.

The one-day trip by Swaraj, accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior Ministry of External Affairs officials, is the first high profile Indian visit after Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a historic landslide election last year that finally brought an end to five decades of military rule.

She also called on President U Htin Kyaw, apart from meeting Nobel laureate and democracy icon Suu Kyi, who is the de facto leader.

Sushma Swaraj in Myanmar. Twitter ?@MEAIndiaSushma Swaraj in Myanmar. Twitter ?@MEAIndia

Sushma Swaraj in Myanmar. Twitter/ @MEAIndia

Banned from becoming president by a junta-era Constitution, Suu Kyi has a strong control over the country’s first civilian-led government.

The Constitution effectively bans her from the top post as it rules out anyone with foreign-born children or spouses from becoming president — Suu Kyi married and had two sons with a British national.

The military also retains control of the key home, defence and border affairs ministries, while 25 percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for unelected soldiers.

Incidentally, Swaraj’s visit comes just days after Suu Kyi made a high-profile trip to China.

The discussions between Swaraj and Suu Kyi are expected to focus on New Delhi’s bilateral relations with Nay Pyi Daw, as well as plans for the upcoming Brics-Bimstec Outreach Summit scheduled to be held in Goa.

Security issues concerning certain Myanmar-based militant groups operating in India’s North East could also come up for discussion.

India and Myanmar share close relations with a robust development cooperation programme in areas such as agriculture, IT, human resource development, infrastructure development, culture among others.

The visit reaffirms India’s commitment to heighten partnership with Myanmar in the areas of priority by the new government of Myanmar, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

India, Thailand sign key pacts to boost economic and defence ties

New Delhi: India and Thailand on Friday decided to ramp up cooperation in the fields of economy, counter terrorism, cyber security and human trafficking besides forging closer ties in defence and maritime security.

The announcement was made here after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive talks with his visiting Thai counterpart General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The leaders said early conclusion of a balanced Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement is a shared priority.

Modi said both the countries have prioritised completion of India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral highway and early signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between India, Thailand and Myanmar.

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-chan. AP

Thai PM General Prayuth Chan-o-chan. AP

Following the delegation-level talks, in which also Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag was also present, two agreements — Executive Programme of Cultural Exchange (Extension of CEP) for 2016-2019 and an MoU between Nagaland University and Chiang Mai University, Thailand — were signed.

In a bid to attract tourists from Thailand, especially to the Buddhist sites in the country, Modi announced that India will soon facilitate double entry e-tourist visas for Thai citizens.

Talking about the issue of terror, the Prime Minister said both countries were aware that rapid spread of terrorism and radical ideology pose a common challenge.

In our shared objective to combat these challenges, Indiais particularly grateful to Thailand for its assistance and cooperation, he said.

“Beyond terrorism, we have agreed to further deepen our security engagement in the fields of cyber security, narcotics, transnational economic offences and human trafficking,” Modi said while addressing the media.

Noting that India and Thailand were also maritime neighbours, he said both the countries have agreed to forge a closer partnership in the fields of defence and maritime cooperation.

“A partnership to meet our bilateral interests and to respond to our shared regional goals,” he said.

On trade and commerce, Modi said a more “diversified commercial engagement” between both countries would not only benefit the respective economies but also enable greater regional economic prosperity.

He welcomed the first meeting of the India-Thailand Joint Business Forum to be held later on Friday.

He said that besides trade, there are also ample avenues or greater manufacturing and investment linkages.

“We see a particular synergy between Thai strengths in infrastructure, particularly tourism infrastructure, and India’s priorities in this field.

“Information Technology, pharmaceuticals, auto components and machinery are some other areas of promising collaboration. We also see early conclusion of a balanced Comprehensive Economic and Partnership Agreement as our shared priority,” he said.

The Thai Prime Minister said when it comes to comprehensive economic and partnership agreement, both countries should focus on what can be done first.

Modi said both the leaders are fully aware that smooth flow of goods, services, capital and human resources between the economies needs a strong network of air, land and sea links.

“Connectivity is also an area of priority for India’s development. Improving access to Southeast Asia from our north-eastern states benefits both our peoples,” he said.

Stronger connectivity is essential not just for expanding bilateral trade ties, it also brings people closer and facilitates enhanced science, education, culture and tourism cooperation, he said.

Modi also announced that the Indian Constitution will soon be translated into Thai language.

A joint statement released later said that in addition to the wide range of cooperation, Thailand and India have compatible strategies of Look West and Act East respectively, that has been now evolved into a comprehensive partnership.

The two Prime Ministers held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, with a common goal to work closely towards the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and beyond, it said.

Both the countries recognised the importance of bilateral trade and noted that the economic relations are deep rooted in the existing framework, including bilateral Free Trade Agreement, ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement and Early Harvest Scheme, the release said.

Modi welcomed Thai investments in India in the potential areas under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, especially in the manufacturing sector, infrastructure development, tourism and hospitality facilities.

He said Thai companies will invest in the development of the Buddhist Circuit and construction of five high-end hotels.

“The Prime Minister of Thailand invited Indian investments to Thailand under the cluster development policy, which is a newly initiated program aimed at enhancing investment in focused areas,” a joint statement said.

The policy will help expand the investment network between the two countries in various mutually beneficial sectors, including information technology, pharmaceutical, automotive parts, chemical products, machinery and parts, bio-technology, and R&D, it said.

Myanmar, India to cooperate on border security

Yangon: Myanmar and India vowed on Thursday to cooperate on issues of border security and stability, sources with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. AFPNational Security Adviser Ajit Doval. AFP

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. AFP

The pledge came as Myanmar Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi met Ajit Doval, the Indian National Security Adviser who is visiting Nay Pyi Taw as a special envoy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reports Xinhua News Agency.

Their discussions also covered development of long-term advantages from road connectivity between the two countries.

In June last year, there were clashes between the Indian Army and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) near the Myanmar-India border.

The Myanmar Army then assured India it would not tolerate any rebel groups on its soil. Doval last visited Myanmar in June 2015.

Manipur: 6 Assam Rifles personnel killed by militants in ambush

A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and five jawans of Assam Rifles were killed on Sunday in an ambush by militants in Chandel district of Manipur near the Indo-Myanmar border.An Assam Rifles convoy was attacked by heavily armed militants around 1 PM in Joupi Hengshi area of Chandel when the security personnel were returning after inspecting a landslide site in the interior tribal district, defence and police sources said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The slain personnel belonged to 29 Assam Rifles. It is suspected that two or more militant groups jointly carried out the attack. More troops were rushed to the area and a massive search operation is underway, they said.The incident occurred near Joupi village within the limits of Molcham Police Station, a police officer said. Last year, 18 army personnel were killed in the same district in an ambush by NSCN (K) militants.

At least two killed, 70 injured in Assam earthquake

At least two people have lost their lives and more than 70 have been injured in Assam after an earthquake measuring 6.8 at the Richter scale rocked eastern and north eastern parts of the country last evening.An earthquake, which hit Myanmar, triggered tremors in parts of Kolkata, Guwahati, Patna, Bhubaneswar and, also, Delhi.The earthquake also affected power supply, communications and rail services in some pockets for sometime in the region. National Centre for Seismology said in New Delhi that the epicentre of the quake was located in Myanmar, 100 KM off the India-Myanmar border.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”PM @narendramodi spoke to CMs of Assam & Manipur regarding the earthquake in the region. PM @narendramodi spoke to the CM of Nagaland regarding the earthquake in the region,” the official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister Office said.

6.9 earthquake rocks Bengal, Delhi and Bihar: Epicentre at Myanmar border

An earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale hit Myanmar, tremors of which shook the northeast, several parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and even Delhi and NCR.

Jolts were also felt in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, said J L Gautam, Operations Head at the National Centre for Seismology.

There was no immediate report of any casualty or major damage.

According to National Centre for Seismology, the earthquake occurred around 7:25 PM at a depth of 134 km. The US Geological Service said the epicenter of the earthquake measured 6.9 on the Richter scale and was 74 km South East of Mawlaik in Myanmar.

According to National Centre of Seismology (NCS), the earthquake occurred at 7:25 PM at the depth of 134 km.

“The epicenter is in Myanmar, some 100 km off the India-Myanmar border. Since the quake occurred at a depth of 134 km, the impact could be felt at a large distance,” Gautam said.

This is the second quake in the day in the northeast as a medium intensity temblor measuring 4.6 hit areas around Manipur capital Imphal at 9:26 AM.

In West Bengal, the impact was more in the northern districts. Metro Railway service was stopped for five minutes immediately after the quake, Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

Tremors were felt in Patna, Begusarai, Vaishali, Kishangaj and other districts of Bihar, Patna MET director A K Sen said.

In neighbouring Jharkhand, there were jolts in Ranchi, Dumka, Godda, Deoghar, Sahibganj and Jamshedpur, geologist Nitish Priyadarshi said.

Officials at the Regional Seismological Centre in Shillong said the quake was located at latitude 23 degree north and longitude 94.9 degree east.

In Guwahati, some people reported cracks in buildings while there was power outage for some time in Shillong.

Tremors were also felt in the northeastern states of Mizoram and Nagaland.

All the northeastern states are categorised under zone V in the country’s seismological map and are considered highly vulnerable.

Did Kolkata air traffic control lose contact with 85 flights carrying 25,000 passengers?

A communication breakdown between Kolkata’s air traffic control room and 85 flights put the lives of nearly 25,000 fliers in danger on Thursday. The fiasco lasted for 10 minutes, according to NDTV.com. Multiple radars and vital VHF radio link failure continued for 1 hour 40 minutes, as 35 controllers scrambled for mobile phones to contact nearby ATCS to alter flight levels of aircrafts.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A controller was quoted saying: “What happened is a controller’s nightmare. Even landlines were not working. But, we managed to contact Nagpur and Varanasi ATC to relay information to pilots,” a controller said. The DGCA and AAI have ordered a probe into the incident which started at 7:35 AM. According to TOI, of these 85 planes, 30 planes weren’t reachable at all and controllers also lost touch wither counterparts in Dhaka and Myanmar.In another report on CNN-IBN, the AAI said that the information is not correct and they were prepared to handle the situation. “This information is not correct and there was no safety issue at all. It was technical issue and generally the ATC is prepared to handle such technical failures. The link failure resulted in data loss from certain radars. For approximately a radius of 400 kms around Kolkata there was no link failure and that’s good enough for us,” said Sanjay Jain, Regional Executive Director, Eastern Region, AAI, told CNN-IBN.

World Health Organization wants South East Asia to be more cautious of diabetes

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday urged the Southeast Asian countries to promote educational campaigns regarding self-management of diabetes and make its treatment cost effective.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Diabetes is of particular concern in the South East Asian Region. More than one out of every four of the 3.7 million diabetes-related deaths globally occur in this region,” said Poonam Khetrapal, director for WHO South East Asian region.

“If diabetes prevalence continues to rise, the personal, social and economic consequences will deepen,” Khetrapal said.

The South East Asian Region is generally considered to be made up of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, and East Timor.

World Health Day this year focuses on diabetes and calls for scaling up efforts to prevent, care for and detect the disease to arrest the global epidemic which is hitting the low and middle income countries the most.

According to WHO records, over 96 million people in the world do not know that they are suffering from diabetes.

“Diabetes rarely makes headlines, and yet it will be the world’s seventh largest killer by 2030 unless intense and focused efforts are made by governments, communities and individuals,” said Khetrapal.

Nearly 90 percent of all diabetes cases are of Type 2 diabetes, largely the result of excess bodyweight and physical inactivity, she said.

“Diabetes is both preventable and treatable if detected early. If not properly managed the disease causes serious damage to every major organ in the body, resulting in heart attacks, strokes, blindness and nerve damage,” said Khetrapal.

World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948.

India took 180-degree turn in Myanmar policy: Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: India took a “180-degree turn” in its approach towards Myanmar from being pro-democracy and anti-junta when Jaswant Singh was External Affairs Minister as it could not afford to surrender its influence on the country to China and Pakistan, former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on Monday said.

He said that successive governments too followed the same policy as it did not want to miss out on the economic benefits after the discovery of natural gas in that country.

“India took a 180-degree turn. President (Pervez) Musharraf going to Yangon…and literally a week after, our Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh (was) following suit and changing the policy approach. And all governments, thereafter, decided that they cannot afford to be estranged with the next door neighbour.

“India felt it cannot afford to allow its neighbour to foment trouble on its borders in the Northeast. It could not afford to surrender its influence to China and Pakistan… It could not afford to surrender the economic benefits of natural gas and the democracy was not going to come by opposing military junta,” Tharoor said.

Shashi Tharoor. AFP

Shashi Tharoor. AFP

The former Minister of State for External Affairs was speaking at the launch of a book ‘Democratisation of Myanmar’.

Noting that India could not remain estranged with its neighbour when the Myanmarese government supported rebel groups, bandits and drug smugglers, Tharoor said when the 1990 elections were set aside in the country, India was the staunchest supporters of Myanmarese democracy.

“India was not only rhetorically on the side of democracy and freedom in Burma, something which many other countries were at a safer distance, it gave asylum to fleeing students, allowed them to offer their resistance movement within India, offered financial help, which was off the book and supported a pro-democracy newspaper and a radio station.

“In the first half of 1990s, India was the most tangible supporter of democracy movement in Myanmar,” Tharoor said.

Quoting from a piece he wrote in 1990s after the shift in India’s policy, Tharoor, whose initial posting during his stint in the UN was in Southeast Asia, said “India’s policy be governed by the head rather than the heart but in the process we are losing a little bit of our soul.”

“He was too harsh at that time,” he added.

“When the 1990 elections were set aside, NLD leaders and workers were either exiled or arrested and then the two and half decades of ruthless and remarkably opaque military rule followed. During that period, India began by being staunch and most vocal supporter of Myanmarese democracy,” Tharoor said.

He said with Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) sweeping the polls, it was “troubling” to see Htin Kyaw, her close confidant, chosen to be the country’s new president as the real power will be not in his hands. On the other hand, people have given mandate in the name of Suu Kyi but she still cannot be the President.

“It’s troubling in two ways. It’s clear that the people have voted for her and her party and for her to preside over the political destiny of the country and yet the constitution undemocratically disqualifies her from the position that will exercise the legal constitutional powers.

“But it is equally bad as a President has been elected through a Constitutional process and who in fact will not be the true ruler of the country. That is disturbing,” he said.

“I find it difficult to accommodate a situation where the Office of the President will be run somebody more powerful than the President, where the Foreign Minister outranks the person who chairs the Cabinet meetings and where the decision will be in effect through a system through an informal authority rather than a Constitutional democracy,” Tharoor said.

He added that principles of democracy will remain “hollow” in Myanmar if ethnic minorities, which constitute around one-third of the population, especially the Rohingya Muslims are not given an equal treatment.

PTI

Govt wants to make North East hub of trade with South East Asia: Rajnath Singh

The NDA government wants to make the Northeast a hub for trade with South East Asian countries but for that peace must prevail in the region, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.Addressing a ‘Sainik Sammelan’ on the occasion of 181st Raising Day of Assam Rifles in Shillong, Singh said for development of any region, connectivity is of utmost important as it enhances contacts that leads to more trade.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want to make the Northeastern region as the hub of our trade with South East Asian countries. But for that peace must be prevailed,” he said.Singh said Assam Rifles, with its glorious past, has to play an important role in ensuring peace in the Northeast.”With increased connectivity, contacts will be enhanced and that will boost cross-border trade,” he said.The Home Minister said the kind of development that had to take place in the Northeast has not been happened even after almost seven decades of independence.”Our priority is fast-pace development of the Northeast,” he said.Singh said insurgency continued to plague the region while there have been Maoists activities in some pockets of the region. He said several forces have been trying to destabilise and weaken India through their nefarious deigns.”Our army, paramilitary forces and police are taking on such challenges. You (Assam Rifles) will have to defeat all destructive forces operating in the Northeast,” he said.Complimenting Assam Rifles for beginning the process for inducting a batch of 127 women in its rank, the Home Minister stressed the need for increasing the number of women in the force on the lines of other paramilitary forces of the country.Singh said insurgency was at its lowest now in the Northeast and there has been a 30 per cent decrease in violence. Level of violence was lowest last year in the Northeast in the last 18 years, he said.Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force in the country and it was set up in 1835 with Shillong as its headquarters.Over the course of its history, the Assam Rifles and its predecessors have served in a number of roles, conflicts and theatres in World War I and II during which it had served in Europe, Middle East and Myanmar.The Assam Rifles, under the control of Ministry of Home Affairs, at present is serving in different capacities, including maintaining internal security, anti-insurgency operations and guarding the Indo-Myanmar border. Singh, who is on a two-day tour of Meghalaya, had yesterday said the Centre was ready for talks with insurgent groups in the Northeast if they shun violence.”We are ready for talks with anyone who gives up violence. I appeal to everyone to shun violence,” he had told reporters.There are two militant groups in Meghalaya, HNLC and ANVC, active in Khasi hills and Garo hills regions respectively. The central government is in talks with a number of insurgent groups, including NSCN-IM and ULFA(pro-talks).However, several outfits are against any kind of negotiation and continue to indulge in violence that include NSCN-K, PLA in Manipur and Paresh Baruah-led faction of ULFA.

Two NDFB(S) militants killed in police encounter in Assam

Guwahati: Two NDFB (Songbijit) militants were killed in an encounter with police at Hatipota village in Udalguri district of Assam today.

File image of Assam police. Reuters

File image of Assam police. Reuters

The encounter took place at about 1.15 am between a group of NDFB(S) militants and a police party comprising Udalguri Superintendent of Police, Addional SP, Mazbat PS Officer in Charge and other police personnel, IGP Dr L R Bishnoi said.

The two Myanmar trained cadres from NDFB(S) were identified as Daoharu and Jackpot, Bishnoi said.

The arms and ammunition recovered from the spot included two 7.65 mm pistols, two 7.65 mm magazines, four 7.65mm ammunition, five empty cases of 7.65 mm ammunition, four 9mm empty cases, besides one SIM card.

A search operation is on in the Assam-Arunachal border area against the underground outfit, Bishnoi said.

PTI

Myanmar military questions Aung San Suu Kyi picks ahead of presidential vote

Myanmar’s powerful military questioned Aung San Suu Kyi’s picks for president and vice president on Monday as tension simmered between the two sides a day before parliament votes on who should get the top job.Relations between the armed forces and Suu Kyi will define the success or otherwise of Myanmar’s most significant break from military rule since the army seized power in 1962, even though the constitution bars her from taking the presidency.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The democracy leader says she will run the country whoever becomes president, and her choice looks certain to be confirmed by parliament as her National League for Democracy (NLD) holds a sizeable majority after winning a landslide victory in a general election in November.Last week, the NLD picked a close friend of Suu Kyi, Htin Kyaw, as its presidential candidate and Henry Van Thio to be a vice president to represent numerous ethnic minorities.The military, which holds a quarter of the seats in parliament, picked a third candidate.On Monday, the military member of a parliamentary commission formed to vet candidates abstained from voting on Htin Kyaw because he is not an elected MP, even though the constitution does not stipulate a candidate must be a lawmaker.The military MP, Major General Than Soe, opposed Henry Van Thio because the armed forces needed time to look into whether his stay abroad might disqualify him, said the chairman of the joint houses of parliament, Mahn Win Khaing Than.The candidates were confirmed anyway as the NLD held sway on the commission, but military disapproval highlighted a widening rift between Suu Kyi and the armed forces as her party prepares to take power on April 1.”We will have a new democratic president tomorrow anyway. The people will prevail,” said Zaw Thein, an NLD lawmaker.Suu Kyi has made it clear she would run the country through a presidential proxy.Sources in Suu Kyi’s camp say she has grown increasingly frustrated with military intransigence on issues ranging from amending the constitution to relatively minor formalities such as the location of the handover of power.”LIKE A FOREIGNER”NLD lawmakers also privately said the military’s choice of Myint Swe as its candidate went against the spirit of reconciliation Suu Kyi says she is seeking to foster.Myint Swe served the junta as head of the feared military intelligence and is on the US sanctions list. If the vote on Tuesday goes as expected, he will become one of two vice presidents.In his first public comments since Myint Swe’s selection, Brigadier General Tin San Naing, the spokesman of the military caucus in parliament, told Reuters Suu Kyi was “like a foreigner”, when answering a question on how the military planned to work with the NLD.He repeated the military’s opposition to any changes to the junta-drafted constitution which bars her from presidency because her children are British.”She is not qualified as president according to the constitution, as she has attachments to a foreign country,” said Tin San Naing. “It is very important for the security of the country. It’s impossible to amend the constitution.”Dr Zaw Myint Maung, an NLD spokesman and senior party leader, objected to the remarks, noting that Suu Kyi’s father, Aung San, was the founder of the country’s modern army.”General Aung San is the father of the military. Aung San Suu Kyi is born from two Burmese citizens. It’s sad that they said she is a foreigner,” he told Reuters.Tin SanTin San Naing dismissed suggestions that Myint Swe, who is close to former dictator Than Shwe, was a hardline candidate, and said he was highly qualified for the job.”He has military and governing experience,” he said.The president picks the cabinet that will take over from President Thein Sein’s outgoing government on April 1, with the exception of the heads of the home, defence and border security ministries, who will be appointed by the armed forces chief.

87 World War Two bomb shells discovered in Manipur

87 bomb-shells, believed to be from the World War 2 period, have been found at the border town of Moreh during excavation work for construction of a power sub-station.A senior police officer said the bombs were dug out by labourers on Sunday at Chanou locality of Moreh, bordering Myanmar, and is believed to be dating back to the World War 2 period when Japanese troops came to the country in 1944.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Further digging was immediately called off and state forces were guarding the site since Sunday night. The digging resumed this morning after bomb experts rushed from Imphal. The recovered explosives were taken to Moreh police station to be defused, the officer said. The ‘Battle of Imphal’ was a decisive victory for the allies (British India) against the Japanese forces in 1944.Read: Italy closes route over Brenner mountain pass to defuse World War Two bombAlso Read: World War II bomb discovered at German airport, 7 flights cancelled

Arrested woman commits suicide in police station cell

A 55-year-old woman, arrested for alleged possession of heroin, committed suicide inside the police station cell at Khawzawl town in Champhai district on Mizoram-Myanmar border on Thursday morning.Police said the woman hung herself from the bar of her cell with a blanket. She was arrested on Wednesday while returning from Champhai town for possessing 14 gm of heroin, reportedly smuggled from across the international border, police said.The woman had been arrested earlier too for possessing cannabis.

Nations which support terrorism must be named and shamed: Indian foreign secy S Jaishankar

Jaipur: India on Wednesday said that countries which support terrorism must be named and shamed, asserting the need for united efforts to combat terror.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar while stating this at a security conference in a veiled reference to Pakistan also said that some countries believe that they can buy peace at home by supporting groups for terror outside, which he said, was “delusional”. He did not name any country.

S Jaishankar. Image courtesy: PIBS Jaishankar. Image courtesy: PIB

S Jaishankar. Image courtesy: PIB

He said India will continue to be in touch with Pakistan with regard to the probe in the terror attack on an IAF base in Pathankot last month.

“Nations which support terrorism must be named and shamed,” Jaishankar said at the Counter Terrorism Conference 2016 here.

He called for fostering greater international cooperation to fight terrorism while pointing out that even so-called victims of terror do not cooperate on fighting terror on international stage.

Jaishankar said that governments must show solidarity through a united message condemning terror attacks.

“Since Pathankot attack happened, we have been in touch with Pakistan. We have been in touch at my level and the NSA level because only by remaining in touch, we can expect them to progress on the basis of information which we have provided to them,” he said.

On terrorism in eastern parts of the country, the Foreign Secretary said the Indian government had discussions with Myanmar on fighting terrorism and there is a greater responsiveness to the concerns of India.

We had some problems with Myanmar and we have also some discussions with them. Some developments took place in the last few months and possibility of terror attacks occurring in the East from beyond the border would come down,” he said in response to a question related to terror activities in the eastern parts of the country.

PTI

Suu Kyi allies to form Myanmar ruling party after decades of struggle | Reuters

NAYPYITAW After decades of struggle, hundreds of lawmakers from Aung San Suu Kyi’s camp will form Myanmar’s ruling party on Monday, with enough seats in parliament to choose the first democratically elected government since the military took power in 1962.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) won some 80 percent of elected seats in November’s historic vote, but the junta-drafted constitution means it will have to share power with the army that for years has suppressed, often brutally, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and her allies.

The first sitting of the NLD-dominated parliament is another step in Myanmar’s drawn-out transition which started with the election and will go on until the NLD government officially starts its term in April.

“We are likely to announce the president in the second week of February,” said Win Htein, a senior member of the party. Other NLD officials said the presidential nomination process may begin towards the end of the month.

This week, the party will focus on appointing parliamentary speakers, who were announced last week. It will also prepare for the start of state and regional assemblies on Feb.8, some in places dominated by large ethnic minorities such as Shan State in the east or Rakhine in the west.

Each of the parliament’s two chambers will appoint its presidential candidate and the military officials who hold a quarter of seats will put forward their nominee. Combined chambers will then vote on the candidates. The winner will become president. The other two will serve as vice presidents.

Expectations are towering for Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest after the NLD swept to power in 1990 but was barred from taking office, and is regarded with an almost religious-like zeal in the Southeast Asian nation.

Myanmar’s 51.5 million people expect the NLD to quickly fix everything from bringing peace to fracted ethnic states to stopping the abuse of the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine by the Buddhist majority.

“They (people) hope that every problem will be solved automatically after the NLD becomes the government, FDI will come in,” said Shwe Mann, the outgoing speaker of parliament who is close to Suu Kyi, referring to foreign investment.

But under the 2008 constitution, Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president because her children are not Myanmar citizens. She has given no indication as to who will take over from outgoing President Thein Sein and the NLD has no clear number two.

Suu Kyi has said she will be “above the president”, and in complete control of the government, but the NLD has not explained how she will do this.

“To accomplish the challenges, they need to choose the right people and put them in right positions,” said Shwe Mann. “This is also my main concern, because it will decide the performance of her government.”

(Editing by Antoni Slodkowski and Nick Macfie)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Jet Airways flight makes emergency landing at Yangon

A Ho Chi Minh City-bound Jet Airways flight via Bangkok carrying 184 passengers on board from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport here made an emergency landing at Myanmar’s Yangon airport due to a snag in the Boeing 737 aircraft.Jet Airways flight 9W-070 from Mumbai to Bangkok was diverted to Yangon on January 5, 2016 due to technical reasons. The aircraft landed safely at 1410 hours local time in Yangon, the airline said in a statement today.Jet Airways operated a relief flight from Delhi to Yangon to fly the stranded passengers to Bangkok, it said. The incident, which happened yesterday, forced the airline to cancel its flights to Ho Chi Minh City from Bangkok and vice versa.The airline said that as a result of the diversion, its flights from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City and from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok were cancelled. The airline made alternate travel arrangements for guests travelling between Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, it said adding at Jet Airways safety of our guests and crew is of prime importance. We regret any inconvenience caused to guests.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Pathankot: Two terrorists still holed up, operations intensified

Three Defence Security Corps (DSC) personnel also succumbed to injuries during the intervening night of January 2 and 3. Garud commando Gurusewak Singh and two members of the DSC were killed in the gunbattle on Saturday at the air base, located barely 35 km from the Indo-Pak border.

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