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India, Pak have recalled 8 staffers each from missions: Govt in Lok Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and Pakistan have withdrawn eight officials each, including senior diplomats, from their missions in each other’s country following the expulsion of Pakistani High Commission staffer, Mehboob Akhtar, over alleged spying.In written reply to question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, on November 2, Pakistan government withdrew six High Commission officials, whose names had reportedly appeared in media following the interrogation of Akhtar, who was accused by Delhi police of running a spy ring. Pakistan withdrew two more officials along with seven family members on November 16, she said.Noting that on November 2, Pakistani media prominently carried names of eight Indian High Commission officials, alleging they were involved in “subversive and terrorist activities”, Swaraj said on November 3, at it weekly media briefing, Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs also officially released their names and designations. “The litany of baseless charges against them was repeated,” she said. In view of safety and security of these officials and their family members, all of them returned to India in three batches on November 8, 10 and 12, 2016, the minister said.”The allegations against Indian officials represent an afterthought on the part of Government of Pakistan and constitute a crude attempt to tarnish the image of India. “The manner in which their names and photographs were prominently published in Pakistani media along with baseless allegation reiterated without any corroboration by Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is against the Vienna Convention and also violates the norms of established diplomatic practice and courtesies,” she added.As per the understanding between India and Pakistan, the effective strength of their respective diplomatic missions cannot exceed 110 at any point of time.

New report questions China’s commitment to NSG, lays bare Pakistan dubious ways to nuke tech

China’s commitment to the NSG at a time when it so religiously throws the rulebook to block India’s bid to become a part of the elite nuclear club, stands on a dubious platform as a new report published by the King’s College of London exposes Pakistan’s web of lies and Beijing’s firm hand behind it.

Competing with India, Pakistan had also applied for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with the implicit backing of China. Apart from its attempt to compete with India, it was also successfully lobbying against New Delhi’s membership and ensuring at least a delay in the decision.

Similar to India’s strategy to meet leaders from other countries and secure their support for its bid, Pakistan’s officials too embarked on a visit to Belarus and Kazakhstan to gain their backing.

The 48-member group will discuss the matter on 11 and 12 November during a plenary session in Vienna. At the NSG’s plenary session in Seoul, China had blocked India’s bid for membership. The meeting ended after an agreement was pushed by Australia and Mexico that a special meeting would be held in November to discuss the criteria for India’s entry.

China has refused to change its decision on India’s membership bid ahead of the Vienna meet. It said that it would only change its stance once rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group.

Pakistan may hope to be considered for the NSG membership too in the Vienna meeting on Friday. It had told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that “the exemplary measures Islamabad had taken to strengthen nuclear safety establish its eligibility credentials,” according to a report by Dawn.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said that Islamabad had implemented a comprehensive export control regime and ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material among other measures which make it eligible to become an NSG member.

According to the King’s College report carried by The Hindustan Times, Pakistan’s continued use of front companies and other deceptive methods to obtain dual-use goods for its nuclear programme means it cannot expect to be welcomed into the NSG.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PTI

Although China remains mum on its support to either India or Pakistan’s bid, its implicit support to Pakistan is evident from Islamabad’s move of applying formally to the group immediately after Beijing blocked New Delhi’s bid.

“Pakistan has the expertise, manpower, infrastructure, as well as the ability to supply NSG controlled items, goods and services for a full range of nuclear applications for peaceful uses,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office had said, according to a report by The Times of India.

However, the report by King’s College contradicts these claims. It also contends that China is either privy to Pakistan’s programmes, or negligent of its control over state-owned enterprises.

Project Alpha of the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College concluded that Pakistan has a “deliberate strategy of using deceptive methods to obtain dual-use goods”. The country also has a network of at least 20 trading companies in China, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore.

Islamabad “continues its forty-year history of covert procurement for its nuclear weapon programme largely unabated” and even keeps its nuclear fuel cycle off-limits to IAEA inspection. It remains to be seen how it will reconcile its activities to be in resonance with the rules of the grouping.

Further, the report also reveals that China is the most important supplier of all forms of goods to Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes. China and its private entities continue to knowingly supply Pakistan’s strategic programmes.

This brings into question China’s adherence to the rules and requirements of the NSG group. It is almost impossible for Pakistan to single handedly become a nuclear exporter, as the report points out. It needs the assistance of its all-weather friend, who is interestingly a part of the elite group.

The report suggests that Beijing will have to adjust its sales relationship with Pakistan to avoid international criticism.

However, this brings the dubious nature of China and its commitment to the group to the front. Stalling India’s bid with the help of Pakistan might just be a clever move by Beijing. It is not in China’s interest to allow India a greater role in international politics or to ease India’s path to growth where its economic or military clout will challenge China, as R Jagannathan points out in this Firstpost article.

The report raises pertinent questions like, is China using Pakistan for all its nuclear activities while keeping a clean front itself? Or, is it strengthening Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions for its own benefit?

Nevertheless, it is also time for the group to take a note of this report and launch an inquiry against China.

Ahead of NSG meet, China refuses to budge on India’s bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of this week’s NSG meet in Vienna, China stuck to its guns on Monday saying there was “no change” in its stand on India’s membership bid which it has indicated would be considered only after rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group. “This Friday in Vienna a plenary session of the NSG will be held. Our position is subject to no change as of date,” Lu Kang, Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a media briefing here. Referring to the November 4 meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and China in Hyderabad, Lu said China is in close contact with relevant parties including India and have been having constructive dialogue and coordination on this issue. NSA Ajit Doval had held talks with Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad during which the issue had reportedly figured.The talks were held ahead of the meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna on November 11-12, where according to media reports the group could discuss the two-stage process to admit new members who have not signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).India and Pakistan which have applied for NSG membership have not signed the NPT. Last week, China, after the second round talks with India on its entry into the NSG, had said that it will first seek a solution to admit all countries who have not signed NPT and then discuss India’s specific application. “On India’s accession to the NSG, I can tell you that China’s position is very clear and consistent” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had said. “We will seek a solution that applies to all Non-NPT countries and then we will discuss the specific application of relevant non-NPT country,” she had said. The issue had also been discussed in the talks here between Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun on October 31. That meeting was held ahead of Doval and Yang meeting in Hyderabad.China has also been holding simultaneous talks with Pakistan on its admission into the NSG. Officials say that the focus now shifts on the kind of modalities being worked out by NSG which can accommodate India, whose non-proliferation record is regarded positive by a majority of the group’s members contrary to Pakistan’s record in nuclear proliferation. About the outcome of Doval and Yang meeting at Hyderabad, Kang said the two officials exchanged views on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of common interest.Asked whether India’s concerns over China blocking UN ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar, Lu said they discussed issues that have “cropped up” in bilateral relations. They agreed to maintain contact, and control and manage relevant issues to ensure steady development of bilateral relations, he said.

NSG bid: India wants China to see ‘logic in its entry’ to 48-nation grouping

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group next week in Vienna is set to deliberate on admitting non-NPT members, India on Thursday hoped China will see the “logic” in its entry into the 48-nation grouping. When asked about the upcoming NSG meeting, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said it was for members of the grouping to take a call on India’s application.NSG special envoy Rafael Grossi is likely to place a proposal for admitting non-NPT members into the bloc during the grouping’s meeting in Vienna on November 11-12. “It is not really for us to comment as we are not inside the room. However, after the NSG Plenary in Seoul we have had continued conversations with NSG members and remain engaged in the process. We have lodged our application. Now it is for the NSG members to consider it and take a decision,” Swarup said.Asked about China’s position on India’s membership bid, he said both sides had “fruitful talks” recently and hoped that China will eventually support India’s bid. Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun had held talks on the NSG issue in Beijing last week. After the talks, China had said it will first find a solution that applies to all non-NPT countries seeking entry into NSG and will then discuss India’s application.
ALSO READ Will first seek solution to admit non-NPT states in NSG: China on India’s bid “As far as Chinese position is concerned, as you know we had second round of fruitful talks between the head of our disarmament and international security affairs division and Chinese lead negotiator on the NSG issue. Both sides have very freely and frankly discussed their positions and had agreed to continue the engagement. So we remain hopeful that eventually China will see the logic of India being inside the NSG which ultimately benefit the global non-proliferation regime,” Swarup said.Asked about Friday’s meeting between India’s NSA and China’s State Counsellor in Hyderabad, he said a range of bilateral, regional and global issues are likely to be discussed.

India accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorists as they spar again at the UN Human Rights Council

India is dealing with a “terrorist state” which channels billions of dollars to support terrorist groups. It still awaits “credible action by the Pakistani government to bring the perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2016 Pathankot attacks to justice,” India told the UN Human Rights Council in a hard-hitting statement on Monday.

“The latest terrorist attack in Uri, where 18 Indian soldiers lost their life and over 20 injured, only underlines that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan remains active,” India said using its Right of Reply (RoR), during a general debate on the implementation of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, responding to a statement made by Pakistan.

“The recovery of GPS, grenades with Pakistani markings, communication matrix sheets and equipment and other stores made in Pakistan, and patterns of infiltration and attacks, is clear evidence of involvement of terror organizations based in Pakistan or territory under its control,” India stated.

It (India) “deeply regrets” its neighbour’s continued misuse of the Council to make “tendentious references” about internal matters pertaining to its state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Pakistan has a “selective approach” in dealing with terrorists inside Pakistan as well as outside its boundaries and its continued support to terrorists in J&K is the main challenge to protecting the human rights of the citizens in the state, India said.

“In Pakistan, our region is dealing with a terrorist state, which has for years with complete impunity channelized billions of dollars from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours,” the statement said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Internationally proscribed terrorist entities and their leaders continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with State support; even raising funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations.

“We await credible action by the Government of Pakistan to bring all those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack and the 2016 Pathankot attack to justice,” India told the Council.

The “irresponsible and short-sighted” Pakistani policy of using terrorism as a state policy has not only affected India but has had deleterious impact on the stability of South Asia as a whole and beyond.

“We call upon the Council to urge Pakistan to engage in honest introspection and focus its energies on acting against perpetrators of terrorist attacks on its neighbours from its own territory. Countering terrorism emanating from Pakistan, that has turned out to be the most acute violator of human rights, is the only way to address the risk to peace and stability of the region,” India said in the RoR statement.

Pakistan, earlier during the debate, had stated that it is “regrettable” that decades since the adoption of the UN Charter and the two covenants (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights), the people of “Indian-occupied J&K” are still being denied the right to self-determination.

“The repression and brutality they [Kashmiris] face is constant,” Pakistan said.

The Council is being asked to believe the “absurd narrative” of India that the situation in J&K is about terrorism, Pakistan said, adding that the Kashmiri people were being “bludgeoned and brutalized” by an occupying power so that they give up their “just” right to self-determination.

“Genuine human rights defenders like Khurram Parvez are stopped by India from speaking at the Council. This is a clear case of reprisals. Mr. President, you need to take action,” Pakistan said.

It’s upto govt to calibrate action in Indus waters treaty: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress on Monday said it was upto the government to calibrate action on the Indus Water Treaty even as termed the pact as another element in the multi-pronged multi-faceted approach against Pakistan.”Indus Water Treaty is yet another element in the multi- pronged multi-faceted approach against Pakistan. “These are ultimately for the Government to calibrate and it does not necessarily start from abrogation although let me remind you that Article 62 of the Vienna Convention provides for such withdrawal,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said at the Congress briefing.He said that short of withdrawal also, there are “many other methodologies and methods” available to the government. Citing an example, he said, India can construct many more dams, which are allowed under the Treaty.At the same time, he made it clear that he was not making any suggestions or demands. “There are many options. All I can say is that we cannot be silent spectator to the muscular jingoism everyday with no action on the ground.”

India set to prepare dossier on Pakistan’s involvement in Uri attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home minister Rajnath Singh is currently engaged in a high-level security review meeting with NSA Ajit Doval and other top security officials. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who was asked to cut short his visit to Vienna and Geneva, is also attending the meeting at the North block office.Ostensibly, the meeting is reviewing the evidence that intelligence agencies have gathered on the Uri terror attack. BSF, military intelligence and other central security agencies have handed over their respective reports on the infiltration by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists. Sources said that the agencies are looking into the possible role played by the locals in helping foreign terrorists.Sources said that the meeting also discussed dossier that India plans to give the world community to expose Pakistan’s role in Uri terror attack.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told the officials of security establishment to prepare a full dossier detailing Pakistan’s involvement at the earliest and take it to different global fora, including the ongoing UN general assembly meet, to name and shame Pakistan.

PM Modi ‘misleading’ country on NSG membership: Anand Sharma

Congress on Monday demanded that the Narendra Modi government apologise for ‘misleading’ the country that making India a member was on the agenda of the just concluded meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at Vienna.”Government must apologise to the nation for telling the country that India’s membership was on the agenda of the NSG. It was not on the agenda”, party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters claiming that there was “no discussion” on the issue at the meeting. Sending the signal that progress on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation was started by the Congress-led UPA, he recalled that the 123 Agreement was signed by the then External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at the government, he said while there has not been any discussion on the issue at the NSG meeting, they say that “the film is ready”. Sharma said MTCR is still a “work in progress.” He said that opposition from “northern neighbour” is still there. Yesterday, a report from Beijing had it that notwithstanding a US push for India’s NSG membership, members of the elite club “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and insisted that there “was no deliberation” on the bid by India and other nations at the Vienna meeting.”There was no deliberation on any items related to the accession to the NSG by India or any other countries that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei had said in a statement while referring to the Vienna meeting that took place last week. He had said the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Chair Argentine Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi convened an unofficial meeting of the 48-member group on June 9.”India must get the Membership of the NSG but please Shri Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – you are less and inadequately informed, on these matters, please do not mislead the people by continuously making false and tall claims about your achievements,” he said. Targeting the Prime Minister, Sharma said the just concluded National Executive meeting of the BJP in Allahabad, saw Modi “characteristically indulging in self-praise and attacking the Opposition for being anti-Development”.Insisting that the Congress has cooperated with the Government in the passage of important legislation, he said the government should refrain from giving advice to the opposition. Tearing apart the claims of boost to the economy, he challenged the Prime Minister to release the list of all youth from tehsil to the state level who have got jobs in the last two years. “The BJP promised 2 crore jobs a year. In 2 years, we were supposed to have 4 crore jobs. But, they managed a mere 1.4 lakh jobs”, he claimed.

NSG divided on non-NPT nations becoming members: China

Beijing: Notwithstanding a US push for India’s NSG membership, China on Sunday said members of the elite club “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and insisted that there “was no deliberation” on the bid by India and other nations at the Vienna meeting.

“There was no deliberation on any items related to the accession to the NSG by India or any other countries that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said in a statement while referring to the Vienna meeting that took place last week.

Representational image. Getty imagesRepresentational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

He said the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Chair Argentine Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi convened an unofficial meeting of the 48-member group on 9 June.

“The Chair said that this meeting has no agenda and is only convened to heed opinions from all parties on the outreach of the NSG and prepare for a report to be submitted at the NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul later this month (24 June),” he said.

However, diplomatic sources in Vienna had said earlier that India’s membership was discussed at the meeting and talks had remained inconclusive.

China has maintained that non-NPT signatories should not be admitted into NSG on the grounds that it would undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.

Calling for “full discussions” within the NSG to reach an agreement on India’s admission, Hong said China would take part in the deliberations in a “constructive manner.”

“China has noted that some non-NPT countries aspire to join the NSG but when it comes to the accession by non-NPT countries, China maintains that the group should have full discussions before forging consensus and making decisions based on agreement,” he said.

“The NPT provides a political and legal foundation for the international non-proliferation regime as a whole. China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries and targets no one in particular,” Hong said, without directly mentioning India’s application to join the Vienna-based group.

China has been reportedly backing Pakistan’s bid to join the nuclear trading club.

“The fact is that many countries within the group also share China’s stance,” Hong said in response to a question about China, New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria objecting to India’s accession to the NSG at its meeting in Vienna.

“There has been some discussion within the group on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries, but NSG members remain divided on this issue,” Hong said.

India’s NSG bid to come up at Seoul plenary in June

Vienna: India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be deliberated upon by the atomic trading club at its plenary later this month in Seoul as a meeting in Vienna on India’s bid remained inconclusive.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Though the US was strongly pushing India’s case and most member countries supported it, it was China which opposed it arguing that the NSG should not relax specific criteria for new applicants. The NSG controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.

A number of countries, which were initially opposed to India’s bid on the ground that it was yet to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), eased their positions and were ready to work out a compromise. However, China stuck to its position.

In the meeting, China did not openly oppose India’s membership directly but linked it to signing of NPT.

The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle India’s bid.

Besides China, the member countries in the 48-nation group which were opposed to India’s membership were New
Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria.

Sources here said chair of the NSG has taken note of views expressed by member countries and will list the matter
for further discussion at NSG plenary scheduled to be held in Seoul on 24 June.

It is understood India was hopeful of getting support from China as it had supported India’s case in 2008 when India got a waiver from the NSG to allow US’ nuclear trade with India.

India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a
precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.

Mexico yesterday backed India’s NSG bid during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi there. The Mexican support
followed that of the US and Switzerland. Japan too has expressed its support for India’s inclusion in the grouping.

The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export
nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.

The US has been pushing for India’s membership.

Ahead of the meeting here, US Secretary of State John Kerry had written a letter to the NSG member countries which
are not supportive of India’s bid, saying they should “agree not to block consensus on Indian admission”.

A joint statement issued after talks between Modi and Obama said the US called on NSG participating governments to
support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary later this month.

PTI

NSG membership: India’s bid to be deliberated upon in next plenary in Seoul later this month

India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be deliberated upon by the atomic trading club at its plenary later this month in Seoul as a meeting in Vienna on India’s bid remained inconclusive.Though the US was strongly pushing India’s case and most member countries supported it, it was China which opposed it arguing that the NSG should not relax specific criteria for new applicants. The NSG controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of countries, which were initially opposed to India’s bid on the ground that it was yet to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), eased their positions and were ready to work out a compromise. However, China stuck to its position.
ALSO READ NSG membership: Most members positive to India’s bid, China still playing spoilerIn the meeting, China did not openly oppose India’s membership directly but linked it to signing of NPT.The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle India’s bid.
ALSO READ NSG membership: Pakistan steps up diplomatic efforts, reaches out to Mexico, Italy seeking supportBesides China, the member countries in the 48-nation group which were opposed to India’s membership were New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria.Sources here said chair of the NSG has taken note of views expressed by member countries and will list the matter for further discussion at NSG plenary scheduled to be held in Seoul on June 24.
ALSO READ NSG membership: China continues to oppose India’s bid as 48-nation club meet in ViennaIt is understood India was hopeful of getting support from China as it had supported India’s case in 2008 when India got a waiver from the NSG to allow US’ nuclear trade with India.India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.Mexico yesterday backed India’s NSG bid during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi there. The Mexican support followed that of the US and Switzerland. Japan too has expressed its support for India’s inclusion in the grouping.The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.The US has been pushing for India’s membership.Ahead of the meeting here, US Secretary of State John Kerry had written a letter to the NSG member countries which are not supportive of India’s bid, saying they should “agree not to block consensus on Indian admission”.A joint statement issued after talks between Modi and Obama said the US called on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary later this month.

Nepal denies rumours of expelling Indian ambassador Ranjit Rae

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sushma Swaraj rejects Manish Tewari’s allegation of not rescuing ‘Christian’ Thomas Uzhunnalil

Sushma Swaraj has hit back at Manish Tewari after he alleged that the government did nothing to save Father Thomas Uzhunnalil who was reportedly being crucified on Good Friday. The Congress on Tuesday alleged that the Modi-led BJP government did nothing to save him. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “So ISIS allegedly crucified Father Thomas Uzhunnalil & BJP government did nothing.” Tewari also questioned if the effort to save him was less as he was a Christian, saying “Mr PM, he was also a fellow Indian.”Uzhunnalil had gone missing in Yemen after Islamic State terrorists allegedly attacked a care home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. The gunmen had stormed the refuge for the elderly earlier this month and killed a Yemeni guard before tying up and shooting 15 other employees.Swaraj showed how her ministry acted when the reports of priest’s abduction came out.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to a report in Washington Times, Thomas Uzhunnalil was crucified by ISIS on Good Friday.His execution was reportedly done in the same method that Romans were believed to have used on Jesus on Good Friday. The report claims that his execution was confirmed at the Easter Vigil Mass by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna.However, quoting government sources, PTI reported that there was ‘no verifiable information’ about the fate of the priest.Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that India was making all efforts to secure the release of the priest.

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