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Post Dokalam stand-off, China’s ties with India still fragile, says Global Times op-ed

An opinion piece in a Chinese daily has described China`s ties with India as still being fragile, especially after troops of both countries were engaged in a military stand-off near the trilateral boundary that they share with Bhutan on the Doklam Plateau.The opinion piece further rubs in the fact that Beijing exhibited its prowess and strength and emphatically sent out a message in the neighbourhood that it could not be messed around with when it came to its sovereignty over the territory.”This summer witnessed the Doklam standoff between China and India. The two sides eventually resolved the crisis peacefully. Yet the incident exposed how fragile Sino-Indian ties are, while indicating (at the same time) Chinese capability to push back provocations from other nations (Read India) through its own strength,” says the opinion piece in the state-run Global Times.Also readPost Dokalam stand-off, India and China are working to ‘take their relationship forward’Doklam or Zhoglam (in Standard Tibetan), known as Donglang in Chinese is an area with a plateau and a valley, lying between Tibet’s Chumbi Valley to the north, Bhutan’s Ha Valley to the east and India’s Sikkim state to the west.In June 2017, a military standoff occurred between China and India as China attempted to extend a road on the Doklam Plateau southwards near the Doka La pass and Indian troops moved in to prevent the Chinese.Also readWill continue to engage with China for Dokalam solution: IndiaIndia claimed to have acted on behalf of Bhutan, with which it has a ‘special relationship’. Bhutan also then formally objected to China’s road construction in a disputed area.On August 28, 2017, it was announced that India and China had mutually agreed to a speedy disengagement on the Doklam Plateau, bringing to an end to the military face-off that lasted for close to three months.The Chinese foreign ministry, however, sidestepped the question of whether Beijing would continue the road construction.Latest reports and satellite images of the area indicate that China is continuing with road construction activity on its side of the trilateral boundary.”Needless to say, the neighbourhood around China is the most complex one among major powers. Without stability in the region surrounding the country, the Global Times simultaneously adds that “it is (would be) impossible for Beijing to take its strategic initiative around the world.”Describing China as a rising power, the daily says that “China is getting to know better how to adapt to its surrounding nations. Although individual problems and crisis had at time been troublesome, the strategic stability following the emergence of China has increased.”On tensions related to the South China Sea, it says that the year 2017 has seen an improvement in Beijing’s ties with the ASEAN and this momentum being maintained and sustained with the help of a framework for establishing a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.”Beijing’s diplomatic efforts have played a significant role in cooling troubled waters. The rise of China is a fact..Tensions in the South China Sea have tested relevant nations in this regard and consensus concerning those questions has been accumulated..The biggest challenge in China`s periphery in 2017 is the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The almost uncontrollable confrontation between Washington and Pyongyang mirrored the limitations of China`s ability to shape the landscape around it,” the Global Times opines.”Yet 2017 tells us that emerging China has the resources to solve and control the problems even as they increase.The self-healing ability of crisis in our neighbourhood is also growing stronger.The biggest driving force for solving China`s problems on its periphery is development. As long as Beijing keeps its strong development momentum, China will be able to implement ever greater strategic initiatives,” the opinion piece concludes.

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4 soldiers killed in Keri sector: Army says no mutilation of bodies

The Army today clarified that the bodies of its personnel killed in firing by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir were not mutilated and the injury marks were due to splinters and gunshots. An Army major and three soldiers were killed yesterday after Pakistani troops targeted the Army patrol at Brat Galla in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. “The injuries suffered are due to splinters and gunshots sustained due to firing by the enemy on the patrol,” Army sources said here. Responding to media reports, they said that there has been no mutilation of bodies.Congress slams govt’s Pak policy: The Congress today attacked the Centre over the killing of four Indian soldiers along the LoC by Pakistani troops, saying the incident raises questions over the government’s ability to protect the country’s borders.Also readArmy Major, 3 soldiers killed in Pak firing in Keri sector, J&K CM pays tribute Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said yesterday’s incident along the Line of Control (LoC) was an outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “flip-flops and somersaults” on Pakistan. Pakistani troops opened fire on an Indian Army patrol, killing a Major and three soldiers in Keri sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, yesterday. Tewari claimed that there have been 900 attempts of incursion by Pakistan this year, out of which 780 cases have been reported along the LoC and 120 along the International Border (IB).”There were 583 major ceasefire violations in 2014 (between June-December), 400 in 2015, 450 in 2016 and 900 this year. The prime minister points fingers at others, accuses people who have occupied top posts of committing treason but this government seems incapable of protecting our borders,” the former union minister told reporters. Modi, during the Gujarat assembly polls campaign, had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the Assembly polls in the state.The government and the Congress are involved in a face- off over prime minister Modi’s ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh. Tewari said that the BJP government’s Pakistan policy is driven by “flip-flops, somersaults and adhocism” and demanded that the prime minister comes clear on his agenda behind his 2015 stopover in Lahore or the Centre’s decision to allow ISI personnel at the Pathankor terror attack site.He said India’s neighbourhood policy was in tatters under the BJP dispensation as apart from the “frequent” Pakistani shelling along the border and incursions, the new Nepalese government was overtly tilting towards China. “In Sri Lanka, growing Chinese influence is a matter of concern. Maldives has signed an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with China disregarding India’s position. China has constructed permanent structures in Dokalam,” he said.

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Doval meets Chinese State Councillor as India, China hold first border talks after Doklam standoff

India and China agreed today that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, and exchanged ideas on various confidence building measures (CBMs) in this regard as the two sides tried to put behind them the Doklam episode.After a meeting between the Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China on the Boundary Question – Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor of India and Yang Jiechi, State Councillor — the external affairs ministry said the talks were “positive”.During today’s border talks, first since the 73-day-long military standoff in Doklam, the two sides underlined the need to build on their convergences while seeking mutually acceptable resolutions of their differences with due respect for each other s concerns, sensitivities and aspirations.Also readPost Doklam, Indo-China boundary talks on FridayWhile the MEA statement did not say whether the Doklam issue was discussed, in Beijing, a spokesperson in Chinese foreign ministry skirted a question on whether it figured during the talks and instead said, “This mechanism is not only a high-level channel for dialogue on border issues between the two sides but also important platform for strategic communication between China and India.”Also readAhead of NSA-level talks, China says lessons should be learnt from Doklam stand-off The Doklam standoff began on June 16 after the Indian troops intervened and stopped the Chinese army from building a road in the area claimed by Bhutan as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its north-eastern states. The two armies “disengaged” on August 28.”The two sides agreed that pending the final resolution of the boundary question, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas. In this regard, the Special Representatives exchanged ideas on various confidence building measures,” the MEA said in a statement.It further said, “The talks were positive and focused on bringing out the full potential of the Closer Developmental Partnership between the two countries.”The SRs undertook a comprehensive review of earlier rounds of the talks and agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries.They re-emphasised their commitment to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the India-China boundary question at an early date.

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Hope Maldives will be sensitive to our concerns, says India

India said on Thursday that it attaches a lot of importance to its ties with the Maldives and hoped that the country will be sensitive to its concerns.Replying to questions on an anti-India editorial in a Maldivian newspaper, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Raveesh Kumar said it should not be taken seriously.The Maldives recently signed a free trade agreement with China, which is seen as Beijing’s growing influence over the island nation.”We have to see our relationship with Maldives in a broader perspective. It is an important country. We do attach lot of importance to our relationship with the country,” Kumar said.At the same time, he said India expects and hopes that the Maldives will be sensitive to New Delhi’s concerns.Also readMaldives to restore death penalty after 60 years – officialOn the FTA between China and the Maldives, he said India was trying to understand its implications.”We should look beyond these developments and we should have diplomatic discussions between the two sides to address any issue between the two countries,” said the MEA spokesperson.He said much attention should not be paid to things which are going around.Kumar also referred to a tweet by Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim few days back in which he called the India-Maldives ties time-tested.”Relations with #India is time-tested and is based on people to people contact & cooperation in several sectors. We remain committed to further enhancing and strengthening existing ties,” Asim had tweeted.Meanwhile, asked about the the visit of the mother and wife of Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to Pakistan to meet him, Kumar said the modalities of the trip were being worked out.”The modalities of the meeting are being worked out and who goes when, how do they go, how the meeting takes place, I think this is something the two countries are engaged in discussion,” said Kumar when asked about media reports quoting Pakistani officials that the mother and wife of Jadhav will be flying to Islamabad than taking the road trip via Wagah.Asked about the comment of a Pakistani official that Islamabad may allow the two women to interact with media if India does not have any objection, Kumar did not give a direct reply, saying, “We will see.”To a separate question, Kumar said Pakistan is under international obligation to protect the minorities in the country.On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that India will take up at the highest level in the Pakistan government reports of Sikhs being forced to convert to Islam by a government official in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).Her reaction came after leading Pakistan daily The Express Tribune published a news story about the Sikh community raising serious concerns after being forced to convert to Islam by the government official in the Hangu district of K-P.

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Post Doklam stand-off, next round of India-China border talks from Friday

India and China will hold the next round of border talks here on Friday, the first after the 73-day-long military standoff between the two countries in Doklam in summer months.Issuing a brief statement today, the external affairs ministry said at the invitation of Ajit Doval, the National Security Adviser and the Special Representative on the boundary question, Yang Jiechi, State Councillor and China’s Special Representative on the issue will visit India on December 22 to hold the 20th SR-level meeting. Ahead of the talks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing that this SR meeting is not only a high-level channel for the border issue discussion but also the platform for strategic communication.”In 2017, China-India relations have maintained a good momentum generally but the Doklam incident posed a major test for the two countries. We should learn lessons from this incident to avoid any further conflict of this kind in the future,” Hua said. Chinese and Indian troops were locked in the border standoff from June 16 when Indian soldiers stopped Chinese personnel from building a key road close to India’s ‘chicken’s neck’ corridor. On August 28, India announced the “disengagement” between the soldiers of the two countries. The road was being built by China in an area also claimed by Bhutan.

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Makeshift Gangotri Bridge linking Uttarkashi to China border collapses

The lone bridge linking Uttarkashi to the China border collapsed today, disconnecting dozens of villages and causing inconvenience to daily commuters, especially school-going children and teachers.The makeshift Gangotri bridge collapsed around 6 am when two trucks were crossing it, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said. No one was hurt in the incident, he said.According to rules, only one truck can pass through the bridge at a time, he said. A magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the Public Works Department (PWD) have been asked to open an alternate route as soon as possible.Daily commuters who used the bridge, especially school- going children and teachers, have been inconvenienced by its sudden collapse, he said. A number of vehicles are stranded on either side of the bridge with no alternate route available at the moment, he said.

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BJP is directionless in Gujarat, says Rahul Gandhi

BJP has become directionless in Gujarat and the party leaders are raising issues that do not have a direct relation with the state, Congress president designate Rahul Gandhi said in Gandhinagar on Monday.Addressing a gathering of close to 12,000 people, Gandhi said that no power in the world can stop Congress from coming to power in Gujarat and now BJP workers are privately admitting it.”After misguiding the state for almost two decades, BJP is now faced with harsh reality, which it is unable to cope with. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is raising issues of China and Pakistan in Gujarat which do not have a direct impact on Gujarat,” he said.On the other hand college professors, health workers and many other sections of the society are complaining about inadequate wages.Gandhi said farmers are complaining of inadequate water and electricity and the middle class is trying to get their children educated in costly colleges and healthcare costs have sky rocketed.”Modiji, this is Gujarat. Talk about the future of the youth. You have nothing to offer to the youth, farmers and the masses,” said Gandhi adding that Modi is now engulfed with truth and is finding no way out.”Now you have been exposed. People of Gujarat know you very well. This state gave Mahatmas Gandhi, Sardar Patel. They defeated powerful with love. We will also defeat you with love,” the Congress president designate said.Modi betrayed people of India: Nana PatolePrime Minister Narendra Modi has betrayed the trust of the people of India, former BJP MP from Maharashtra Nana Patole said here on Monday. He also termed demonetisation as the biggest ever scam in the history of India, ‘where black money has been converted into white’. Citing an incident of meeting of MPs from BJP with the PM, Patole said that when one of the senior MPs questioned the PM, he was silenced and insulted.

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Modiji please devote two-three minutes of your speech to talk about Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talking about Pakistan, China, Afghanistan and Japan in the Gujarat elections but avoiding speaking about his home state.Gandhi, who was declared elected as Congress president today, said Modi was frequently shifting his campaign plank in Gujarat. He said, first it was the Narmada water, but after farmers started saying it has not reached their fields, Modi changed tack and began speaking about OBC issues. When that also did not find favour with people, he went for development issues “but people punctured it”, he said.”Now, Modiji speaks about Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Japan. Modiji, this is the election about the future of Gujarat. Please say something about Gujarat also,” he told a well-attended rally here in Banaskantha district. Gandhi was apparently targeting the prime minister over his yesterday’s suggestion that Pakistan was trying to influence the Gujarat Assembly polls and that some current and former officials of that country had met Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence a day before Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark against him.Also readIt’s official! Rahul Gandhi is new Congress president, to assume office on December 16The Congress leader said, in his speeches in the last couple of days, the prime minister devoted half the time to Congress-bashing. “On one hand he is claiming that he has finished the Congress party from India, and on the other, he devotes half of his time to Congress. The other half of his speech is devoted to Narendra Modiji himself,” the 47-year-old leader said. “Modiji please devote two-three minutes of your speech to (talking about) the future of Gujarat,” he said. Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Hardik Patel denied roadshow permission by Ahmedabad Police Gandhi reaffirmed his promise that the Congress, if voted to power in Gujarat, will waive farm loans within 10 days. He claimed the NDA government waived Rs 1.30 lakh crore loans of 10 richest people in the country. He said when farmers also ask for a loan waiver, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and the prime minister say it is not their policy.”Why the loans of farmers are not waived,” Gandhi asked, and in the next breath gave the reply “as they do not fly in planes, they do not have big cars, and they do not have suit worth Rs 15 lakh.”Gandhi again alleged there was corruption in the Nano deal between the Gujarat government and the Tatas. “The Congress allocated Rs 35,000 crore to MNREGA, while the BJP government gave Rs 33,000 crore to the Tata Nano factory. The water from Narmada went to that factory. The factory gets electricity for 24 hours even when you get it only at night,” he alleged.The Congress leader claimed land in villages in and around Mundra were given to the Adani group at the rate of Re 1 per square metre, which the latter sold back to the government at Rs 3,000 for every square metre. Assailing the government over demonetization and the GST, he said half the money of common people was “looted” by the note ban and the rest by the “Gabbar Singh Tax”.Tomorrow is the last day of campaigning for the second and final phase of Gujarat polls which has been high-pitch and vitriolic, with both Modi and Gandhi often making personal attacks against each other. Polling will be held on December 14. Votes would be counted on December 18.

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Jawaharlal Nehru divided the nation, Sardar Patel united it: RSS leader Indresh Kumar

RSS leader Indresh Kumar today said those who do not love India should leave the country and a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the tricolour. Alleging that the Congress divided the nation, he said it was a big lie that it helped India attain Independence. “If you cannot love Bharat then leave Bharat. And, a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the country or the national flag,” Kumar said at an event here. “It is a fact that the Congress divided India and it is a big lie that it helped the country attain Independence. Who divided the nation – Jawaharlal Nehru. Who united the nation – Vallabhbhai Patel,” he said. Kumar said there was no “temporary article in any constitution in the world like Article 370 in the Constitution of India”. There was a need to bring the people of Kashmir into the mainstream, he said. The RSS leader said China had to bow down to India on the Dokalam issue under diplomatic pressure.

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India warns on Bitcoin as investors rush in

The Bitcoin bull run has been welcomed by many but regulators are still trying to understand it.

Despite Russia’s efforts, China says no change in its stand on India’s membership to NSG

China today asserted its opposition to India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), saying there is no change in its stand and efforts were on to forge “consensus” among the 48-member elite nuclear club about the admission of new members.”China’s position on this remains unchanged,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here responding to Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s remarks in New Delhi yesterday that Moscow was speaking to China for India’s membership into the NSG. “China supports the NSG to follow the principle of consensus through consultation through transparent and fair intergovernmental process to deal with this issue,” Geng said.China, a key member of the NSG, has been stridently opposing India’s bid primarily on the grounds that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its opposition has made India’s entry into the group difficult as the NSG works on the principle of consensus. China’s repeated stonewalling of India’s membership bid in the NSG has become a major stumbling block in bilateral relations. After India’s application for entry into the elite group which controls nuclear trade, Pakistan, China’s all-weather ally, too had applied with the tacit backing of Beijing.Also readSpeaking to China at ‘all levels’ to include India into the Nuclear Supplies Group: RussiaPakistan’s application came despite serious allegation of proliferation of nuclear technology by its scientist A Q Khan. Ryabkov yesterday said that Russia is unwavering in its support to India’s membership of international nuclear control regimes and Moscow was speaking to China in this regard. Asked for his reaction to Ryabkov’s comments, Geng said all the members of the NSG supported the two-step approach-to find non-discriminatory solution that applies to all non-NPT countries then on that basis discuss the application of the non-NPT counties.He said the focus is on some non-NPT countries who hope to join the group in the capacity of nuclear weapons free countries. “At the same time they will not sign the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement (CSA) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)” which is mandatory under the NPT, he said. “In this circumstance if we agree for the above-mentioned applications, it will have two consequences, that is to recognise the nuclear weapons status of the Non-NPT countries. Secondly, it will cause other than nuclear weapons free countries to follow suit not to sign CSA with IAEA,” he said.”This will subvert the NPT and whole international non- proliferation regime,” he added. China suggested that the NSG can pool the wisdom and further explore on this issue and find a solution which can be accepted by all relevant parties and can uphold the international non-proliferation regime with NPT as a cornerstone. “On this we will further discuss application of non-contracting parties,” Geng said. Asked whether the issue will figure in the Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in Delhi on December 11, Geng said that the meeting will focus on pragmatic cooperation. At the same time they will exchange views on international issues of common concern.
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India admits its drone lost contact and crossed into China

Responding to China’s statement that over a drone crashing into Chinese territory, the Ministry of Defence on Thursday issued a statement where they admitted to the incident taking place.“An Indian UAV which was on a regular training mission inside the Indian territory lost contact with the ground control due to some technical problem and crossed over the LAC in the Sikkim Sector. As per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV. In response, the Chinese side reverted with the location details of the UAV. The exact cause of the incident is under investigation. The matter is being dealt with in accordance with the established protocols through institutional mechanisms to deal with situations along the India- China border areas,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statementEarlier, Beijing expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with New Delhi on Thursday after ‘recent crash’ of the drone in its territory.Also readIndia drone crashed near our border, invaded our air space, claims ChinaBeijing also said that the ‘incident’ that could cause further friction along the two countries’ disputed border.”This action by India violated China’s territorial sovereignty. We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition,” said Zhang Shuili, a senior military official in China’s western battle zone command, according to a Defence Ministry statement.”China’s border defence forces took a professional and responsible attitude in conducting an inspection of the device,” Zhang said, adding that the military would resolutely defend national sovereignty and security.It said only that the drone crashed in “recent days” and did not give a location.The drone report comes months after the border stand-off near Doklam in Sikkim sector..In June, July and August, Indian and Chinese troops had been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau .The two sides agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops there about a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in an effort to mend ties at a summit hosted by China in September.In November, China again ‘criticised’ a visit by President Ram Nath Kovind to Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims, saying China opposed any activities by Indian leaders in disputed areas.
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China claims Indian drone ‘invaded airspace in crash’

China is “strongly dissatisfied” at what it calls an “invasion of airspace”, report state media.

Babies’ brains damaged by pollution, Unicef says

Toxic air is putting the brain development of millions of infants under one at risk, Unicef says.

Amid China’s naval build-up, India begins project to build 6 nuclear-powered submarines

India has kick-started an ambitious project to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines that is expected to boost the Navy’s overall strike capabilities in the face of China’s naval build-up and increasing military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific region.Confirming the launch of the mega project, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba also gave a clear indication that Indian Navy was ready to play a bigger role including under the proposed quadrilateral coalition among India, the US, Australia and Japan. In a press conference on the eve of Navy Day, Admiral Lanba also touched on a range of key issues confronting the Navy including acquisition of a range of submarines, warships and weapons systems, asserting that it was ready to face any traditional and non-traditional threats.”It has kicked off and I will leave it at that. It is a classified project. The process has started. I will not comment further,” Admiral Lanba said, replying to a question on the project.On the evolving security scenario in the maritime sphere around India, he said it was odd for China to deploy submarines for anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean region and that a threat assessment is being carried out by the Indian Navy on it. “We are all aware of the prevailing security scenario in our maritime domain. The continued presence of both traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain demand constant attention and robust mitigating measures,” he said. He also spoke about possible security challenges in case of presence of Chinese warships in the strategically-important Gwadar port in Pakistan which is being developed by China.”It will be a security challenge. We will have to look at it and mitigate,” he said.Also readWho is Shubhangi Swaroop? 5 things you must know about Indian Navy’s first woman pilotThe Navy Chief said eight ships of Chinese PLA Navy were deployed in the Indian Ocean region at any point of time and that there was a unique situation in August when the numbers had gone up to 14. Additional deployment of Chinese warships and submarines were reported during the over two month-long standoff between Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam. On expanding the Indian Navy’s presence in critical sea lanes, Admiral Lanba said it was gradually increasing its deployment in Andaman seas, Malacca Strait, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, North Arabian and Sunda and Lumbok.”In short, our ships and aircraft are deployed from the Gulf of Aden to the Western Pacific on an almost 24×7 basis,” he said. Referring to the bilateral naval agreement between India and Singapore providing for deeper cooperation including logistics support, he said similar agreements are being negotiated with a number of countries. “We are negotiating similar pacts with a number of other countries,” he said adding the Navy has activated the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US by taking fuel at sea from the US three months ago.Also readIndian Navy’s pilotless aircraft crashes in KochiTalking about the controversy in the Russian media that a US team was allowed to board nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra, the Admiral said “No US official has even seen it from close quarters.” Talking about modernisation of the Navy, he said 34 ships are under construction and projects worth Rs 40,000 crore have been identified for participation of the private shipyards. He said 23 Indian private sector shipyards have qualified for participation in indigenous shipbuilding projects on the basis of their capacity, capability and infrastructure.The Navy chief said work on Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, IAC 1, is progressing well, adding he was hopeful that the ship would join the Navy by 2020. He said steps have been taken to bolster the aviation arm of the Navy by induction of new fighters, surveillance aircraft and ship-borne helicopters. “The Indian Navy is at the threshold of joining a select league of navies capable of providing Submarine Search and Rescue in the Indian Ocean Region with two Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel Systems scheduled for induction next year,” he said.
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Pakistan yet to give a sovereign guarantee about safety and security of Kulsbhushan Jadhav: VK Singh

Pakistan is yet to give a sovereign guarantee about the safety and security of Indian prisoner on death row Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife if she visits that country to meet her husband, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said today.Talking to journalists on the sidelines of an event here, Singh rubbished as “rumour” reports that China has erected a 400 metre high wall to camouflage the construction going on in Dokalam, the scene of a prolonged stand-off between Indian and Chinese armies.The minister also said India “does not care” about 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed approaching the United Nations to get his name struck off the list of designated terrorists.”Talks are still in progress. They (Pakistan) are yet to provide guarantee on the safety aspect.”Pakistan’s foreign office had earlier this month said it will allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife.Responding to Pakistan s offer of arranging a meeting between the former naval officer and his wife, India also requested that his mother be allowed to meet him too.A military court in Pakistan had in April this year sentenced Jadhav, a former navyman, to death on the charge of his alleged involvement in espionage and terror attacks. India strongly denied the allegation.The International Court of Justice has stayed Jadhav’s execution.Talking about Saeed, Singh said, “The government has been saying this from the beginning…Those who are terrorists are terrorists. We have no doubt about it. We don’t care where a terrorist goes and approaches whom to seek protection.” Saeed has petitioned the UN seeking removal of his name from the list of designated terrorists on the ground that none of the allegations against him either related to terrorism or otherwise have been proved in the Pakistani courts.The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head, who carries a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free on Friday after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under house arrest since January this year.”Do not believe in such rumours,” he said when asked to comment on reports about China having built a 400 metre high wall to hide construction activities in Dokalam on Sikkim- Bhutan-Tibet trijunction.Singh said India wanted its citizens going abroad to believe that their government will help them in the event of any trouble.He said India was working on maintaining healthy relations with every country.
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‘Ready to strengthen connectivity…’: China hints it may rename CPEC to address India’s ‘concerns’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A week after a proposal by Chinese envoy to India to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to address New Delhi’s concerns, Beijing has hinted that it mayn rename CPEC if India joins OBOR initiative.China’s ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui during an interaction with experts on Chinese affairs and students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last week offered to rename the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as build an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir.However, On Lu’s reported remark about building an alternative corridor through Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign ministry said, “China is ready to strengthen connectivity with all neighbouring countries and promote regional economic cooperation and common prosperity”.According to The Times of India, the Chinese ministry neither endorsed or denied Luo’s statement, indicating that it may be willing to discuss the issue with New Delhi while ensuring that the move does not affect its ties with Pakistan.The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said China s stand is that the CPEC is an economic cooperation initiative and has ‘nothing to do with territorial sovereignty disputes’. The CPEC “does not affect China and Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue,” it said.India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in May this year due to its sovereignty concerns over the nearly $ 60 billion CPEC, a flagship project of China’s prestigious One Belt One Road (OBOR), which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).India has raised concerns over the project as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The CPEC is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking southern Pakistan, and the Gwadar Port, to China’s restive Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.In his address to the United Services Institution in New Delhi on May 5, Luo Zhaohui had echoed similar views.His remarks were, however, subsequently removed from the transcript of his address posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy amid reports that Pakistan sought a clarification on it.

110 Chinese people travel 3800 km to reach Bodh Gaya

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of 110 Chinese traveled for 3800 kilometres to reach Bihar’s Bodh Gaya to reminisce the visit of Chinese traveler Xuanzang to India and strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries.There were 110 women and men were more than 65-years-old.The trip started from China’s Ziyang city.Head Monk of Bodh Gaya China Temple, who was leading this trip, said after travelling for 3800 km, the group reached its destination.Travelling across Cambodia and Vietnam they finally landed in Kolkata and from there they continued their journey for Bodh Gaya.The Monk said they travelled with the flags representing both China and India to portray a brotherly and harmonious relation.Meanwhile, Chaya, who was leading the group of women, said after reaching Bodh Gaya it felt like home.

Here’s why UNSC permanent members are wary of India’s nominee winning ICJ election

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The permanent members of the UN Security Council are ‘unnerved’ by the prospect of India’s nominee Dalveer Bhandari winning against Britain’s candidate in the election to the last seat of the World Court as it would set a precedent that may challenge their power in the future, observers here feel.Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election to the Hague-based International Court of Justice, the sources say. The permanent members of the Security Council — the US, Russia, France and China — appeared to have rallied behind Greenwood. Britain is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council. In the 11 rounds of election so far, Bhandari has been receiving support of nearly two-third of the members of the General Assembly, but is trailing by three votes against Greenwood in the Security Council.The 12th round of elections has been scheduled for today. Britain on Friday in an informal consultation of the UN Security Council members mooted the idea of joint conference mechanism as it feels that this could be their only face saving exit strategy, informed sources said. As shared with other members of the Security Council during informal consultations, Britain would prefer to stop voting on the ICJ elections after the first round as it fears that otherwise India could well cross the two-third mark. In that scenario it would be very difficult for the UN Security Council stop India’s candidate from being elected to the ICJ.
ALSO READ ICJ election: Amid Britain resorting to ‘dirty politics’, India and UK face off today for last seatHowever, the prospect of India winning against a P5 member through democratic means is something that this elite club of veto-wielding countries Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are unnerved with, because this would set a precedent that they do not want to be repeated. “Today it is Britain, tomorrow it could be any one of us” is the argument which has brought all these five countries together, sources say.”If the one (of the P5) is going to be knocked off today, the other fear that they might be knocked off tomorrow,” according to a source.
ALSO READ Desperate for ICJ seat, UK pushing for joint conference of UNSC and UN Gen AssemblySuch an assessment of the UN insiders is based on informed sources, as voting for the ICJ election in both the Security Council and the General Assembly are based on secret ballots and there is no way to know who voted for whom. In all the rounds of the election so far, Greenwood has consistently got nine votes and Bhandari five in the Security Council. It is likely that on Monday India might increase its tally.It is understood that both New Delhi and Permanent Mission of India to the UN have been working overtime to convince the members of the Security Council on the need to go by the voice of the majority of the General Assembly.
ALSO READ Ahead of ICJ election, UK resorting to ‘dirty politics’ at UN to beat India: SourcesBut by Sunday evening it appeared that Britain was ready to execute its plan, as per which after the first round of voting they would call for a meeting of the Security Council and would seek a mandate to stop any further round of voting, and would call for adoption of joint conference mechanism, which was last adopted in 1921. However, this might come as a silver lining for India, sources said. This is because the Security Council vote to stop further rounds of the ICJ election would be open and not through a secret ballot.As a result, countries, many of whom have been pledging friendship with India but secretly voting against its candidate would be exposed in the open of raising their hands against India. This is something that members of the Security Council would avoid. Of the Permanent Five members, the US under President Donald Trump has just come out a 100-year plan of friendship with India and renamed Asia-Pacific and the Indo-Pacific region. Incidentally, hours before the ICJ election, Trump would be meeting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the White House.It is not sure, if Trump plans to weigh in on this issue in favour of India. Trump has repeatedly called himself as the “best friend of India and Indian Americans” in the White House.Russia is an all-weather tested friend of India. Over the past several decades, France has emerged as a reliable friend of India. The stand of China on a lot of issues is well known including India s membership to the Security Council and Beijing vetoing a move to designate Azhar Masood as a global terrorist by the UN. So, it would be quite a surprise, if China favoured an Indian candidate. “When chips are down, you always get support from developing countries,” commented one India watcher at the UN. The voting in the General Assembly which overwhelmingly favours India is reflective of the new global order, which is not pleasant to the world powers.Despite best of the British effort, their vote tally in the General Assembly has decreased with every other round of voting.”That’s why they are trying to find a face saver to get out of this,” a source said. India has been seeking that the democratic process need to be played its full course in both the Security Council and the General Assembly and there should not be an intervention or adoption of a process that has never been used before or the one that undermines the voice of the majority. The British move to stop voting after the first round might create bad blood between two important wings of the world body, which could have a long-term implication. The General Assembly might think that it has been denied its right to vote.Hours ahead of the scheduled vote the UN General Assembly president and Security Council president is likely to hold another round of consultation with the stakeholders to explore what are their options.

India is proud of your accomplishments: PM Modi to Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s Manushi Chhillar today won the coveted Miss World 2017 crown at a grand event in China, bringing to an end the country’s dry spell of 17 years at the top pageant contest.The 20-year-old from Haryana, who is a medical student, edged out top five contestants from England, France, Kenya and Mexico.Chhillar was presented the crown by Stephanie Del Valle, the last year’s Miss World winner from Puerto Rico at the event in Sanya City Arena in China which was televised live globally.Taking to Twitter, PM Modi congratulated Chhillar saying India was proud of her accomplishment. He was joined by Haryana CM ML Khattar, union minister Suresh Prabhu and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma.

6.9 earthquake hits Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh; no casualties so far

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A strong earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale jolted the Nyingchi city and surrounding areas in Tibet, close to the border with Arunachal Pradesh, in the early hours on Saturday.No casualties were reported immediately but the quake caused power failure and damage to properties and roads in several villages of the region.The epicentre of the quake was detected at a depth of 10 km in Nyingchi, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.Four minor aftershocks measuring between 5 and 3.1 on the Richter scale were reported from the city’s rural areas.Basang Cering, party chief in Zhaxigang village of Lunang Township, told Xinhua that he could not stand still inside his house when the quake struck. Six houses in his village were damaged in the jolt.Sources with local electricity supply said the power grids of both the Tibetan province and Nyingchi are operating normally, though an emergency response mechanism has been launched.The China Seismological Bureau observed that the highest seismic intensity of the quake affected an area of 500 square metres, which is sparsely populated.The tremors triggered falling rocks, blocking a highway linking Nyingchi’s city proper with Tangmai, one of the quake-hit townships. Armed police transport troops are clearing the road.The Fire Department of the Ministry of Public Security said fire fighters from Nyingchi are ready in Tangmai Township. Another team of rescuers will take helicopter to Gyalha village at the epicentre, after road to the village was blocked by rocks.The Ministry of Transport has also dispatched staff to investigate the safety condition of bridges in the affected area.The Tibet subsidiaries of Chinese telecom providers China Mobile and China Tower said that their networks are operating normally. But the Tibet branch of China Telecom reported the disruption of an optical cable for broadband service in Pome and Zayul counties.

Believe it or not, Cement bag costs Rs 8000 at this border town in Arunachal Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People living in Vijoynagar town of Arunachal Pradesh pay Rs 8,000 for one bag of cement, that too if it is available.Vijoynagar, a sub-divisional town under Changlang district with just 1500 residents, has no proper surface communication. People have to walk for five days from the nearest thoroughfare in Miao to reach the town.Though there is a weekly helicopter service for transporting supplies but that is largely subjected to weather condition.”People in this town, mostly inhabited by Chakmas and Hajongs, charge Rs 8,000 for a bag of cement and flat Rs 2,000 for WC pan,” Public Health Engineering department junior engineer Jumli Ado told PTI.The PHE department is undertaking construction of Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) in the town, a project partially funded by Centre – Rs 10,800 from the central government and Rs 9,200 by the state for one IHHL.”All materials are transported to Vijoynagar, at the India-China-Myanmar tri-junction, through Namdapha National Park by Chakmas. They charge Rs 8,000 per bag of cement (Rs 150 per kg),” Ado disclosed.They carry those materials physically and walk down 156 km for five days to reach the destination, Ado said, adding one could imagine the challenges this hilly state faces in achieving the open defecation free (ODF) status by December.Ado, while taking part in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – Gramin (SBA-gramin) awareness programme at Namphainong village of the district on November 4, had said despite numerous challenges IHHL project is moving at a fast pace.State Civil Supply Minister Kamlung Mossang, who represents Miao assembly constituency, said the state government has approved a road construction project for the area.Bordumsa village (headman) Shekhep and ODF consultant Nyabon Pongtey added that journey to Vijoynagar by foot is a herculean task. Development naturally moves at a snail’s speed in this part of the state, they said.”Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had announced in Itanagar in July 2014 a central government proposal to populate nearly 100 villages situated along the border. Though Arunachal shares international boundary of 1,680 km with Bhutan, China and Myanmar, the the project has not seen the light of the day,” Shekhep lamented.Development is still a mirage in this sensitive border state for lack of connectivity even after three decades of establishment. Many of the inhabited villages in far-flung areas are inaccessible and deprived of essential commodities.The North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA), largest among seven NE states, was created in 1954. It became a union territory and was renamed Arunachal Pradesh on January 20, 1972 and finally statehood on February 20, 1987.The Central Purchase Organization (CPO) with base at Mohanbari in Assam’s Dibrugarh district, now known as the public distribution system (PDS), was very effective in the 80s when essential items were airdropped in many remote areas.With the PDS proving ineffective, today salt which costs Rs 20 per kg in state capital is about Rs 250 in many border areas, including Vijoynagar.”People living in the border areas are forced to migrate to urban places for lack of basic amenities. These ghost towns along the border are one of the reasons why China is entering the territory,” former finance minister Late Kalikho Pul had told a tribal ministers’ conference in New Delhi on October 28, 2014.

India, China hold first border consultation mechanism meet after Doklam standoff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Friday held their first meeting on the border consultation and coordination mechanism here after the Dokalam standoff and reviewed the situation in all the sectors of their border and exchanged views on enhancing CBMs and military contacts.The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said.The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas.It was established to deal with the tensions over recurring border incursions as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between the border security personnel.The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.Today’s talks were held in a constructive and forward- looking manner, the release said.Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations, it said.The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-to- military contacts, it said.The talks between the delegations headed by Pranay Verma, Joint Secretary (East Asia), Ministry of External Affairs and Xiao Qian, Director General, Department of Asian Affairs, were the first such dialogue between the two countries after the 72-day-long standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim section.The standoff which began in mid-June ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor. India objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.This is the first round of talks between the two countries after Chinese President Xi Jinping began his second five-year term as the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China last month.Today’s talks took place ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s planned to visit to India to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting expected to be held in New Delhi next month.Chinese officials earlier said Wang is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj as well as top Indian leaders.The contentious issues bedeviling both the countries, including the $ 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Bejing’s veto blocking UN listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist are expected to be discussed during Wang’s talks with Indian leaders.Ahead of the talks, Chinese officials have expressed optimism that differences over the listing of Azhar by China in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council may be resolved soon. China has blocked India’s application last year and vetoed a similar resolution sponsored by the US, the UK and France twice this year.Also the 20th round of India-China border talks headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, who are the designated Special Representatives, are expected to be held in New Delhi next month.The dates for both RIC and border talks are yet to be announced.The Special Representatives were also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations.The delegations at today’s talks comprised of diplomatic and military officials from each side.The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the WMCC at a mutually convenient time, the release said.

6.9-magnitude quake strikes Tibet near Arunachal Pradesh border

Updated: Nov 18, 2017, 07:58 AM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A strong intensity earthquake measuring 6.9 on Richter Scale hit Tibet’s Nyingchi prefecture, located close to Arunachal Pradesh border, in the early hours on Saturday.The quake struck at 6:34 a.m (Beijing Time), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).The quake struck at a depth of about 10 km, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.It was followed by 5-magnitude earthquake at 8:31 a.m (Beijing time) around the same place in the Tibet Autonomous Region.The second quake struck at a depth of about 6 km.Reports of any casualties and damage are awaited.

RSS affiliate organises Tawang pilgrimage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though India-China relations are not at an all time high, but the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will be holding Tawang Pilgrimage from November 19 to 24. The pilgrimage has been organised by RSS-affilate Bharat Tibet Sahyog Manch. RSS pracharak Indresh Kumar is the chief patron of this body. During the pilgrimage, devotees are taken across several holy places in Northeast India till the Indo-Tibet border where they perform dharti pujan or worship the land which is seen as a form of protest against Chinese aggression in 1962 and the annexation of Tibet.Indresh Kumar is one of the most vocal anti-China voices in the RSS and was instrumental in organising massive anti-Chinese goods rallies and symposiums across the country. The pilgrimage is set to cover a lot of places in Arunachal Pradesh that has been at the core of boundary disputes between India and China. High on nationalistic undertones, one of the most celebrated destinations in the entire pilgrimage is Jaswantgarh, the place where rifleman Jaswant Rawat showed exemplary courage during the Indo-China war. Rawat was awarded Maha Vir Chakra posthumously. Despite China being sensitive about the state, the pilgrimage would go through Bhalukpong, called the gateway of Arunachal Pradesh. Another stop is Bomdila which was captured by the Chinese forces of aggression in 1962.

Ring Road: Dilemma over China link now

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new hurdle has stalled much awaited Jaipur ring road project. NHAI is in dilemma over China connection of Haryana based ‘Gawar’ company, which placed the lowest bid for this project. The matter was sent to union ministry of surface transport and national highway, which forwarded it to ministry of external affairs. Now, the NHAI will wait for foreign ministry’s nod to go ahead with bidding process.Ring road project has been facing problems from the beginning. Initially, the company, which was awarded contract in 2011 couldn’t complete the project in stipulated 24-months due to tussle with its partner. Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) then handed over project to NHAI but went too slow in annulment of contract with the old company. Now, there is a new hurdle. Of the 15 companies in race for this project, Gawar had the lowest bid but before NHAI could issue letter of interest (LOI) to the company, it was revealed that a Chinese has 5% stake in Gawar. The NHAI then sent the matter to union surface transport ministry and subsequently it reached ministry of foreign affairs. Sources said that LOI can now be issued only after clearance from the foreign ministry.After years of delay, the government was hoping that the NHAI would complete the project by September 2018.MONEY MATTERSProject cost Rs 1,190 crore
Rs 960 crore for first phase of six-lane CC road
Rs 230 crore second phase, includes three flyovers

After India-US-Japan-Australia quad, France to deepen ties with India in Indian Ocean Region

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>France aims to enhance cooperation with India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the issue will figure prominently in the upcoming high-level talks between the two sides, the French envoy here said today.Alexandre Ziegler’s comment comes against the backdrop of a quadrilateral meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan and Australia on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN Summit in Manila.The meeting assumes significance as it is seen as an attempt to counter China’s growing dominance in the region.The issue will also figure during French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian’s engagements during his upcoming visit to India from Friday and President Emmanuel Macron’s trip in early 2018, the envoy said.Zieglar said issues that form the major framework of the strategic partnership between the two countries, including “growing cooperation” in the IOR, defence and space will be addressed during the talks.Briefing reporters on the French foreign minister’s visit, the ambassador said he will also travel to Jaipur on Saturday where he will inaugurate a four-month-long mega ‘Bonjour India’ festival which will have performances, debates, seminars and exhibitions.Separately queried about the recently-held quadrilateral meeting, French diplomatic sources said while France was not averse to joining the multilateral fora, it wants to ramp up bilateral cooperation in this sphere.”We have specific interests in the region and naval bases in one of the islands. So there is scope for greater cooperation in the region. But we are also open to multilateral cooperation,” a source said.France has around 10 islands in the region with Reunion being the biggest one with a population of over one million.It has military bases in Reunion as well as Djibouti, which borders the Indian Ocean.The move to set up the quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.The use of the term “Indo-Pacific” by US President Donald Trump has led to speculation that Washington may be preparing the ground for a revival of the quadrilateral alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s rise.

PM Modi holds key bilateral meetings with Abe,Turnbull to formulate new strategy for Indo-Pacific

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held separate talks with his counterparts from Japan Shinzo Abe and Australia Malcolm Turnbull focusing on crafting a new strategy for the Indo-Pacific region in the backdrop of emerging configuration of a key quadrilateral alliance.On the second day of the ASEAN summit here, Modi also held bilateral meetings with Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and discussed ways to further ramp up cooperation in various key areas like trade and investment and maritime security. The prime minister s meetings with Abe and Turnbull came a day after he held “very expansive” talks with US President Donald Trump on intensifying overall security and defence cooperation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region where China is strengthening its military build up.On Sunday, India, Australia, Japan and the US held their first meeting to give shape to the much talked about quadrilateral alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific region “free and open”.The issue was discussed during the Modi-Trump meeting yesterday and is understood to have figured in the prime minister s talks today with both Abe and Turnbull. “My friend @AbeShinzo and I had an excellent meeting in Manila. We reviewed the ground covered on various aspects of India-Japan ties and discussed ways to deepen cooperation between our economies and people,” Modi tweeted. Without giving much details, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the two leaders held a “wide ranging and engaging” discussion on “intensifying” Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries.Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours the quadrilateral dialogue to further boost strategic partnership among the four countries. On his talks with Turnbull, Modi said he was delighted to meet the Australian Prime Minister and that their discussions today added new vigour to the friendship between the two countries. In a tweet, Turnbull described the meeting as “productive” and said the discussions focused on increased economic cooperation, security, and counter-terrorism.The MEA spokesperson said the two leaders discussed ways to optimise significant potential for further cooperation across a broad range of areas. A number of issues including bilateral cooperation in defence and security sphere were discussed in Modi s meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart. “Vietnam’s PM, Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc and I held wide ranging deliberations on enhancing India-Vietnam friendship, which can greatly benefit our citizens and region,” Modi tweeted.The Modi-Phuc meeting came days after Trump’s visit to Vietnam where he offered to mediate in the South China Sea dispute between several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, and China.China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei have counter claims.India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the South China Sea in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.Modi described his meeting with the New Zealand prime minister as “wonderful” adding they discussed deepening economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.On his meeting with the Sultan of Brunei, Modi said the “extensive talks” will broaden bilateral ties between the two countries. “Glad to have met Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei. Our extensive talks will broaden bilateral ties between our nations,” he said in another tweet. Kumar said both leaders had fruitful discussions on expanding bilateral partnership, specially in trade and investment, renewable energy, culture and people to people contacts.

Subhash Desai takes jibe at Gujarat govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking potshots at the BJP-ruled Gujarat, industries minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said that despite the hype around the state being a magnet for industries, the conversion of proposals into actual investments was poor.Desai charged that while many states held programmes like “Vibrant Gujarat,” and claimed to attract proposals running into crores, the conversion into actual investments was low. He also dismissed charges by the Congress that Karnataka had edged out Maharashtra when it came to attracting industrial investments.He added that Maharashtra had attracted investment proposals worth Rs 30,401 crore from 44 industries in the electronics sector. These units were expected to start in three to five years and create one lakh jobs.”In this financial year, we may see 54,000 new jobs being created due to the completion of 77 projects worth Rs 31,000 crore,” said Desai. He added that of the MoUs worth Rs 7.94 lakh crore, around Rs 4 lakh crore was at various stages.Desai said Maharashtra had attracted 44.3 per cent of the FDI inflows into the country in 2016-17, which was more than 13.7 per cent in 2013-14.Claiming that Maharashtra topped the actual implementation of investment proposals between January to September 2017, Desai said the state had commissioned 50 proposals worth Rs 9,122 crore, which were more than Gujarat’s Rs 6,743 crore (42 projects) and Karnataka (15 projects and Rs 1,595 crore).However, Desai admitted that the proposed investment of Rs 35,000 crore by electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn in Maharashtra had failed to materialise due to reasons like geo-political tensions between India and China. “There is no progress on Foxconn. Things are not moving forward due to the tensions between India and China. But, we are not depending only on Foxconn for investments in the electronics sector but also attracting other players like Sterlite and Twinstar,” said Desai.

‘PoK is integral part of India’, says Nitish Kumar on Farooq Abdullah’s comment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asserted that entire Kashmir, including the areas occupied by Pakistan, was an integral part of India.”We have always held that Kashmir is an integral part of India. This has been our unequivocal stand on the issue. We hold that the whole of Kashmir, including the areas occupied by Pakistan, is an integral part of the country,” he told reporters on the sidelines of his weekly “Lok Samvad” (public interaction) programme.Kumar was responding to a query on a statement of National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah that Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) belonged to Pakistan.Kumar is also the national president of the JD(U), which is a coalition partner of the BJP in the Bihar government.Abdullah had, on Saturday, said talks of an independent Kashmir were “wrong” as the landlocked valley was surrounded by three nuclear powers — China, Pakistan and India.He had also claimed that PoK belonged to Pakistan and that “this will not change”, no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fought against each other.The remarks had kicked up storm with the BJP and its NDA allies reacting sharply against it.

Not bothered with someone else’s stand on Arunachal: Nirmala Sitharaman snubs China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rebuffing China’s objection to her visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the northeastern state is an Indian territory and the country is not concerned about someone else’s opinion on it.On Monday, China had objected to Sitharaman’s first visit to the border state on Saturday and Sunday, saying her tour of the “disputed area” was not conducive to peace in the region. India had rejected Beijing’s objection and asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country. “What is the problem? There is no problem. It is our territory, we will go there,” she said in a reply to a query on China’s reaction on her visit to Arunachal Pradesh.”We are not concerned with someone else’s opinion on this,” the minister, who is campaigning for the BJP in poll- bound Gujarat, said in a press conference here. Sitharaman had visited forward army posts in remote Anjaw district of the state bordering China to take stock of defence preparedness. The minister had visited Nathu La area on the India-China border in Sikkim last month and greeted the People’s Liberation Army soldiers across the border. Her “friendly gesture” had earned appreciation from the Chinese media.Asked if giving shelter to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was the reason for strained relationship between India and China, she said it was not so. “One issue can not make or break a relationship. There are many issues. Every issue has its own weight,” she said.

Ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Manila, Donald Trump bats for India’s inclusion into 21-member APEC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President Donald Trump will be pushing for India’s membership to the 21 member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC ) early next week when Prime Minister Modi and President Trump will be at the APEC summit in Manila, according to Dennis Wilder, former high ranking CIA expert on China and who is currently professor of Asian Studies at the Georgetown University in Washington, DC.In an exclusive interview with ANI, Wilder said, “This idea has been kicking around between the US, Japan, Australia and India for a while. I think President Trump and Prime Minister Modi have a very good relationship and when they meet in Manila they will discuss APEC. The US will take a stand and be vocal about India’s participation and the importance of India joining the forum.”The support of the United States for India’s inclusion into APEC will not only be seen as a major gesture towards Prime Minister Modi’s government by the Trump administration, but will also be a move that would be a boost to India’s economy and will give India a stronger control and a better standing in its relationship with China. “It would be a step towards realising the United States’ strategic objective of involving India more fully into the region something I think that will help India to stand with China,” said Wilder.Apart from pushing for India’s full membership to the APEC, the Trump administration is also keen on expanding the Malabar naval exercises which currently involve India, Japan and US to include Australia. A meeting of the India-Japan-US-Australia quadrilateral is expected in Manila on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. These four regional democracies would ideally like to emerge as guarantors of free trade and defense cooperation across a stretch of ocean from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean to Africa, said Wilder.A communique that came out of Tokyo during President Trump’s first leg of the Asia visit stated that “There was a discussion that came up on the Indo-Pacific concept and the idea that there is a need to work on infrastructure, just what the Chinese are doing on the One Belt, One Road project as a competitive strategy,” said Wilder in the interview. “Indo- Pacific is the new geopolitical word game that is being played out by the US lately. Trump administration officials have started to refer to Asia as the ‘Indo-Pacific,’ rather than the ‘Asia-Pacific’ region.“The United States is an Indo-Pacific power,” said a senior administration official traveling with Trump. “We’ve been one since the dawn of our republic. Our security and our prosperity depend on the United States maintaining access for free flow of commerce to this region, because we’re a Pacific nation.” In the Indo – Pacific Worldview of the Trump Administration India plays an important role.Asked if the new policy was aimed at containing China’s rise, Wilder said ‘certainly not’ and instead emphasised the importance of India, which views China as a political rival and potential military threat ‘to U.S. security and prosperity. “We have strong and growing ties with India. We talk about an Indo-Pacific in part because that phrase captures the importance of India’s rise. If you look at President Trump’s Asia trip so far, the phrase Indo Pacific has traveled with him. It has clearly become the new American strategy. “Experts say China reads ‘Indo Pacific’ wordplay as a containment strategy and the Chinese have immediately jumped into calling the Indo US alliance as a containment strategy because that’s the easy way to knock it down. “It’s not a containment strategy, because there is a substantial amount of trade that China does with the US and also with India. Who is containing China? We are not containing China? The White House is very clear this is not a containment strategy, but it is a competitive strategy. Now, is that going to worry China if India and US get closer? Obviously it will,” said Wilder a former CIA expert on China.The Trump administration is also going to offer a much closer Defence relationship to India in line with the President’s Indo-Pacific Worldview. The US will offer not just military components but will also include economic, geopolitical and cultural components that will together form a stronger Washington-Delhi strategic partnership, said Wilder. It would be upto India to take the next steps towards the Asian partnership that President Trump is proposing, said the former CIA expert on China.President Trump in his speech in Vietnam has initiated the process by praising India’s growth story and this say experts is a clear signal from the U.S. Government to the Modi Government to come forward

Are China made electric buses for BEST acceptable to Shiv Sena now?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just a couple of months after Shivsena’s Punjab unit chief called for a ban on Chinese products in the country, Aditya Thackeray, Chief of Yuva Sena will preside over handing event of pure-electric buses to BEST on Friday afternoon which happens to have been made by a Chinese company.Interestingly, the bus manufactured by Hyderabad-based Goldstone group is being made in association with China’s BYD Auto Industry Company Ltd which is the largest maker of pure-electric vehicles in the world. The company walked away with two contracts recently outbidding major Indian players including Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. Goldstone will be supplying 25 fully built electric buses to Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) and 6 buses to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) in Maharashtra’s state capital Mumbai. The electric buses or EV which it is casually called is fast gaining traction as a mode of public transport in the major metropolis of the world as it not only controls air pollution but is also silent on ears.According to political observers, it is very common for the political parties to raise demand for ban whenever it suits them and then revoke it at other times. The demand for the ban on Chinese products erupts every time whenever the tension between the two neighbours rises.Talking to reporters in the first week of August during the Doklam border issue, Sena’s Punjab state vice president Inderjit Karwal had urged the central government to ban the sale of Chinese products in the Indian markets. He claimed that the public was already “wary of buying” China-made products and the central government should initiate measures to ban them to hit China’s economy. “On one hand, China is provoking Pakistan to foment trouble in India, while on the other hand, it was vetoing in the UN in the matter of declaring Masood Azhar a global terrorist” Karwal was reported as saying.

Delhi air pollution: All you need to know

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>New Delhi, the capital city of the India, remains engulfed in dense smog. City residents woke up to witness a thick blanket of grey smog hovering around Delhi.The air quality index in the city has reduced to an alarming rate. Blaming the slow winds, cold temperature and the crop stubble burning in the neighbouring cities, airborne pollutants have been recorded as ‘hazardous’ in the city. The Indian Medical Association has declared a state of health emergency in the capital. Recommending to cancel Delhi’s half-marathon, IMA also urged the government to issue preventive measures for the current environmental crisis. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research explains the air quality index as follows:SUDDEN DEVELOPMENT @850hpa and @700 hpaWind Speed: 15-20kmph (Strong Winds)Wind Direction: 315 degree (North-West) Punjab-HaryanaFire counts: High on Past 24 hr (More than 21)@SURFACEWind Speed: 2.2kmphVentilation Coefficient: Very SmallBoundary Layer height: Less than 800 meterWind Direction: 315 degree (Westerly)In simple words the ‘safe limit’ set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is 100 µg/m3 for PM 10 and 60 µg/m3 for PM 2.5. Anything recorded beyond 400 µg/m3 indicates severe air quality, and between 300 and 400 µg/m3 is seen as very poor.Meanwhile, the air quality index recorded for Delhi by the CPCB, based on as many as 15 monitoring stations, on Tuesday, was 351 µg/m3.It also remained “very poor” for Noida and Gurgaon as well at 349 µg/m3 and 343 µg/m3 while neighbouring Ghaziabad and Faridabad had “severe” air quality with 439 µg/m3 and 410 µg/m3.Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has directed the Delhi government to impose all conditions under the severe category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) under severe category; start preparedness for tougher action and appeals to governments to take this public health emergency seriously and to undertake massive and drastic action to control air pollution The drop in temperature is also not good sign for air pollution. Decrease in temperature leads to reduced wind speeds. The reduced wind speed ensures the pollutants suspended in the air are not able to disperse and thus remain hanging in the air.PREVENTIVE MEASURES BY GOVT. Forcing the authorities to swing into action, certain emergency preventive measures have been issued. 1.Deputy CM Manish Sisodia declared that the primary schools in and around the city remain closed. 2.Government also proposed on increase in the parking fare to 4 times the actual amount in order to encourage usage of public transport.3. Intensify the enforcement of non-destined goods traffic into Delhi by physically checking all vehicles and turning them back – also, putting out public announcements of the numbers that are turned back. 4. All brick kiln in and around Delhi to shut down. EPCA also directs the government to close all hot mix plants and crushers. 5. Immediate scaling up of public transport has been directed, by increasing the number of buses and reliable services in Delhi.6. Fines shall be imposed on all construction agencies for dust spread. Fines upto 5000 per day shall be levied.7. Ban on use of diesel generators to be continued in the city.8. Deployment of police personnels in the blocked ares of the city and traffic prone spots. 9. Intensification of mechanized road sweeping and sprinkling of water10. The Delhi government has put out health advisories for high-risk groups, mainly the children.SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUESAccording to World Health Organisation (WHO) air pollution is a major environmental issue for health. Extremely high pollution levels in air can increase risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma. Major environmental health problems are witnessed in developed and developing nations. Air pollution leads to acute respiratory infections, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer among adults. “Exposure to ozone is a major factor in asthma morbidity and mortality, while nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide also can play a role in asthma, bronchial symptoms, lung inflammation and reduced lung function,” states reports by WHO. In 2012, some 72% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease and strokes, while 14% of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute lower respiratory infections, and 14% of deaths were due to lung cancer.Well the only good thing about all these environmental crisis is that Delhities are not the only ones battling the gas chamber. Beijing, China’s massive capital had also declared health emergency because of air pollution in the city. Beijing who holds the worst reputation when it comes to air pollution in world was able to deal with the various steps taken by them.According to the amendments of China’s environment protection laws in 2014, the law gave more to environmental officials against polluting businesses and business men. After Beijing was covered in thick blanket of smog the government officials took ‘tough measures for tough tasks.’ More than 100 factories were shut temporarily and one-third government vehicles were reduced from the streets. Strict control measures were issued for heavily polluting industries and vehicles. STEPS TAKEN IN PAST A plan with various traffic restrictions and the shutdown of a major power plant, was announced after Delhi saw severe pollution last year. Desperate measures to reduce toxic air were taken by the AAP in 2016 in Delhi. Delhi Government decided to follow the odd-even number concept to reduce the number of private vehicles plying on roads. Supreme Court had banned the sale and distribution of fireworks in Delhi ahead of the festival of Diwali. All these preventive measures and guidelines are emergency plans, cannot become a long term plan to battle the health crisis in the city. The government needs to gear up soon and take decisive actions in order to cut down the air pollution in Delhi.

CPEC is connectivity project, doesn’t involve Kashmir dispute: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China today said India’s stand on its multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is wavering, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of the project, does not involve any territorial dispute as claimed by New Delhi.China has been reiterating that the US$ 50 billion CPEC which traverses through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a connectivity project and will not affect its stand that the Kashmir issue should be resolved between India and Pakistan through talks.India has objected to the CPEC as it is being laid through the disputed territory and boycotted a high-profile Belt and Road Forum organised by China in May. Reacting to a question on Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Kudashev’s comments yesterday that India and China should resolve differences over the project, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said since this question is being asked repeatedly by the Indian media, “it shows India is quite wavering” over the BRI.Hua also said, the CPEC does not involve any territorial dispute. “The BRI will bring benefits to more countries along the BRI. We also said many times that the CPEC is an economic cooperation not targeted at any third party and does not involve territorial disputes,” Hua said. “We hope that countries and parties with shared vision will work with us to allow the practical cooperation to bring more benefits to our people. We remain open and inclusive to cooperation involving BRI,” she said. Her comments as well as that of the remarks by Kudashev came ahead of the Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting expected to be held next month in New Delhi.”The BRI will bring benefits to more countries along the BRI. We also said many CPEC corridor is an economic cooperation not targeted any third party and does not involve territorial dispute,” Hua said. Since the BRI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, its progress was smooth. “It has won the widespread support from the international community and increasing number of countries have engaged in it,” she said.The recently concluded once-in-a-five-year Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) included the BRI in its constitution. “We believe that the BRI will create more room for China s opening up and development and present more opportunities for global economic development,” she said.

Note ban and GST have broken the legs of Surat: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Lashing out at the Centre, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said note ban and GST rollout have broken the legs of Surat as he observed a “black day” in the country’s textile and diamond hub.Gandhi interacted with industry representatives and workers at Nirman Industries’ loom factory in Katargam industrial development area after he arrived in the Surat city of the poll-bound Gujarat.”There was an attack on India’s economy one year back,” he said.”I interacted with the people here and they told me that notebandi (demonetisation) and then GST have broken Surat’s legs. The industry has been finished by the twin blows not only here, but in the entire country,” Gandhi said.”The people said that they have been threatened. But truth cannot be suppressed, it will come out,” the Congress leader told reporters.He said, “Surat is the place which can compete with China and has been doing it. Jobs will either come to India or China. But instead of helping them, the government has destroyed their strength.”Hitting out at the new tax regime rolled out by the NDA government on July 1 this year, Gandhi said, “We had told (Prime Minister) Narendra Modiji and (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitleyji not to implement the GST in this way.” He said, “This is not a political thing, this is not between the Congress and the BJP. This is about India’s competitiveness, we have to compete with China. You please do not kill our industries and businesses. But they said that we are going to implement it at 12 midnight,” he said.”You press (media) people were asking us, why we are not allowing GST to be implemented, because we wanted to save Surat and the country,” he said.”GST means one nation, one tax. But this GST, implemented by Modiji, which has five layers will not work. We had said that maximum cap on taxes should be 18 per cent but they did not listen to us,” the Congress leader said.Gandhi is expected to have a formal interaction with traders in Adajan area of the city this evening.He is also likely to participate in a candle light vigil, to mark the “black day”, near Vivekanand statue in Chowk Bazar area of Surat.The prime minister had announced demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes as a measure to fight black money, corruption, fake currency and terror funding on this day last year.The opposition is observing a “black day” today.

JeM Chief Masood Azhar is a ‘bad guy’, should be called global terrorist: US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar is a “bad guy” and should be declared a global terrorist, the US today said as China blocked a bid at the UN to list Pathankot terror attack mastermind as a designated terrorist. Last week, China for the fourth time had blocked a proposal backed by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist, citing a lack of consensus among the members of the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits. “We certainly think that he is a bad guy. We would like to have him on that list,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press conference when asked about China’s move.“There are some committee discussions that are underway over whether to add him or the entity to the sanctions list. That list is confidential under the United Nations, so unfortunately, I am not going to be able to comment on the deliberations at the UN under that,” Nauert said. “I’d have to refer you to the Chinese Government to explain why they voted the way they did, but we certainly think that this guy is a bad guy,” she said when asked about China’s action.“We consider the organisation to be a foreign terrorist organisation under the US law,” Nauert said. A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations. Notably, China was the only country opposing the designation of Azhar by the Security Council as a terrorist.All other 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council were supporting the bid to place Azhar on the sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. Azhar is accused of several terrorist attacks in India, including one on the Pathankot air force station in January 2016.

Himachal polls: Rahul Gandhi cites Niti Aayog report to counter PM Modi’s corruption allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said today that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would undergo sweeping changes to provide relief to traders, consumers and other sections hit by it, after his party comes to power at the Centre in 2019.He also hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his charge of rampant corruption in Congress-ruled Himachal Pradesh claiming that according to a NITI Aayog report, graft levels in the hill state were way below others. Himachal fared far better than BJP-ruled Gujarat on development parameters, he said citing the report. He also accused Modi of speaking “selectively” on the issue of corruption and demanded to know where the jobs that the BJP had promised were.”We will completely change the GST after coming to power in 2019 to mitigate the sufferings of the people hit by it,” Rahul Gandhi said addressing poll rallies at Paonta Sahib, Chamba and Nagrota in the poll-bound hill state. Responding to the claims of BJP leaders that the tax was passed with Congress support, he said that GST that has been implemented by the Modi government was not what was proposed by his party. “The government implemented the GST in haste with the highest tax slab of 28 per cent and a very complicated procedure of filing returns which has ruined businesses,” the Congress vice president said.
ALSO READ Son vs protege: CM’s son Vikramaditya faces tough challenge from Pramod Sharma in HimachalHe said the agitation planned by the Congress on the first anniversary of demonetization on November 8 was aimed at highlighting the plight of small businesses, youth, women and farmers, who had suffered the most. Taking on Prime Minister Modi over his allegations of widespread corruption in Himachal, Rahul Gandhi said that as per a NITI Aayog report, corruption level was lowest in Himachal and it was also adjudged the best in the country in education, health and cleanliness.Comparing the data for Himachal and Gujarat, he claimed that the hill state was ahead on all parameters be it health, education, employment or any other sector. The Congress vice president accused Modi of speaking selectively on issues related to corruption and alleged “he never spoke about the Vyapam scam, Lalit Modi scam or any other scam surfacing in BJP ruled states and has skipped mention of Jai Shah, or his crorepati business friends”. He blamed the prime minister for “squeezing employment opportunities” in the country and asked “where are the two crore annual jobs, promised by the BJP in 2014?”. Demonetization and GST have not only resulted in big job losses but also destroyed the basic structure for creating job opportunities, he claimed adding that the government policies were helping only a few corporate houses.
ALSO READ Congress has left the battlefield, it is one-sided contest in Himachal Pradesh: PM Narendra Modi Drawing a comparison with China, Rahul Gandhi said it gives jobs to 50,000 people every 24 hours while the Modi government provides employment to only 450 people which means that jobs?provided by China in two days equals the jobs provided by Modi government in an year. “The prime duty of the prime minister should be job creation for the unemployed youths,” he said adding that it was not being done which was a betrayal. Questioning the prime minister on the benefits of the “painful exercise of demonetization”, Rahul Gandhi said that it was “a loot of people’s hard earned money”.He said Prime Minister Modi should tell the nation where the “black money” recovered during demonetization was.He asked the people to beware of BJP claiming that false promises and steps like demonetization and GST were the real face of the saffron party. Quoting from the speech of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi said that “there are two categories of people; first those who just believe in the working, and second who don’t believe in working but are quick in claiming credit”. “Modiji is very quick in taking the credit but poor in working, while the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, followed the teachings of Bhagwat Gita :’kam karo aur phal ki chinta mat karo’ and worked relentlessly,” he claimed.Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Singh said the he was committed to granting tribal status to the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district and his government had raised this issue time and again with the Union government.Singh said that he was not afraid of the BJP’s “wrong allegations”, claims and campaign as he was confident that the people of the state were with the Congress.

India dismayed at China’s move not to blacklist Masood Azhar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Thursday expressed dismay at China’s plans to again block the move to have Masood Azhar, who heads terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), blacklisted by the UN. In response to a question, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar said such double standards and selective approach will only undermine the international community’s resolve to combat terrorism.China’s veto is set to create new friction with India, which has been pressing for sanctions that would freeze Azhar’s assets and ban his international travel. India, backed by the United States, France and the United Kingdom, has been trying to get Azhar added to a UN list of groups with ties to Al Qaeda.India believes JeM is responsible for a series of deadly attack on Parliament in 2001 and the last attack on the Uri military base in which 17 personnel were killed. China, which is a member of the UN Security Council with the right to veto, said it has rejected the move as “there is no consensus” on Azhar’s role in the said terror attacks. “Such decisions must be based on cast-iron evidence,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.Reacting to China’s move, Kumar said, “We are deeply disappointed that once again, a single country has blocked international consensus on the designation of an acknowledged terrorist and leader of UN-designated terrorist organisation, Masood Azhar. India strongly believes that double standards and selective approaches will only undermine the international community’s resolve to combat terrorist.”While UNSC has blacklisted JeM, Azhar has not been put into the list. Last year, China was the only member in UNSC to block India’s application against Azhar.

66% of women’s work in India is unpaid: World Economic Forum

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proportion of “unpaid work” per day is far higher for women than men globally, while in case of India on average 66 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, says a World Economic Forum report.Unpaid work measures the average minutes spent per day on routine housework, shopping, care for household members, care for non-household members volunteering, travel related to household activities and other unpaid activities for men and women aged 15-64 years.According to the WEF Global Gender Gap Report 2017, on an average 66 per cent of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12 per cent of men’s.In case of China, 44 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, while for men the figure stood at 19 per cent.Even for developed countries, like the United Kingdom, which was ranked 15th on the Global Gender Gap list, 56.7 per cent of women’s work is unpaid, as against 32 per cent men’s.In the USA also, 50 per cent of women’s work is unpaid while in case of men the figure stands at 31.5 per cent.An analysis of Global Gender Gap Index over the past years points to a continued under-use of the ever-increasing numbers of educated women than ever before, the report said.”While much of this imbalance is explained by the discrepancy in care-giving and unpaid work, institutional and policy inertia, outdated organisational structures and discrimination, one additional explanatory factor is the skills differentials in the types of degrees women and men seek out in their education,” it added.As per the report, the global average annual earnings for a female stood at USD 12,000, while for a male it was as high as USD 21,000.India has slipped 21 places on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index to a lowly 108.Globally also for the first time since the WEF began measuring the gap across four pillars — health, education, the workplace and political representation — the global gap has actually widened.

Sardar Patel predicted India’s wars with China and Pakistan, Doklam in 1950: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had predicted India’s wars with China and Pakistan, fought over a decade later, in 1950, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.In a three-page letter written to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Patel had also predicted the Doklam issue, Parrikar said on Tuesday.He was speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of Patel and the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi.Parrikar said he got an opportunity to read about Patel when he was defence minister.”I read one of his letters written to Jawaharlal Nehru. In the letter, the subject was about our enemy or adversary along the northern border,” Parrikar said.”In 1950, Sardar Patel had predicted what would happen in 1965 (India-Pakistan war)…the war that happened with China, even the Dokalam issue, which has come up in the recent times,” he added.”He (Patel) was so accurate and perfect,” the Goa chief minister said.Parrikar also made a reference to Kashmir and said the current situation exists because Patel’s views were not considered.India and Pakistan fought wars in 1965 and 1971. The India-China war was in 1962. Earlier this year, Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a prolonged face-off in Doklam near Sikkim.

Bhutanese King lands in India on a 4-day tour amid tension over Doklam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three months after the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, accompanied by Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuk and Prince Jigme Namgyal Wangchuk, arrived here on Tuesday on a four-day visit. The visit assumes significance as throughout the Doklam crises Bhutan, despite allurements, supported India. The royal couple was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the airport in New Delhi. “Special gesture for a valued friend. EAM @SushmaSwaraj receives Their Majesties, The King, The Queen and The Gyalsey (Prince) of Bhutan,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.”The visit would provide an opportunity to both the sides for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, including plans for befitting celebrations of golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in the year 2018, and to advance the special bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation,” a statement issued by the MEA read. “The visit of His Majesty the King of Bhutan is in keeping with the long standing tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries,” it added.Experts here believe that visit of the King at this juncture will help India send a strategic signal to China, which is trying to make inroads into the tiny Himalayan kingdom. India is resisting Beijing’s efforts to bypass New Delhi and bilaterally settle border dispute with Bhutan. According to India, the area falls in a tri-junction ie, between Bhutan, India and China, and can be settled only after an agreement between all three parties.

China denies report of plan to build 1,000- km long tunnel to divert Brahmaputra waters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China rejected as ‘false and untrue’ a media report that it was planning to build a 1,000- km long tunnel to divert water from the Brahmaputra river in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh to the parched Xinjiang region.Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Monday said that Chinese engineers were testing techniques that could be used to build the tunnel, the world’s longest.”This is untrue. This is a false report,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing when asked about the report.China will continue to attach great importance to cross- border river cooperation, she said.According to the report, the proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world’s highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would provide water in China’s largest administrative division, comprising vast swathes of deserts and dry grasslands.The water would be diverted from the Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet, which turns into the river Brahmaputra once it enters India, to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang, the report had said.India as riparian state has already flagged its concerns to China about various dams being built by it on the Brahmaputra river, which is known in China as Yarlung Tsangpo.Beijing has been assuring India and Bangladesh that its dams were not designed to storing water.

Growing Chinese presence in Doklam raises concerns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of various political parties, including Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, raised questions over reports of China maintaining a sizeable presence of its troops near the site of the Doklam standoff as a Parliamentary panel on Monday took up briefings from top officers of ministries of Defence, Home and External Affairs.The matter came up when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, examined the issue of Sino-india relations, including Doklam, the border situation and co-operation in international organizations.The briefing was made by officials on the topic ‘Sino-India Boundary Disputes and Border Security including Doklam’.Officials who briefed the panel included Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.A media report recently showed satellite images of Chinese troop build-up near standoff point on the Doklam plateau. Alluding to it, Rahul Gandhi, according to sources, asked the government officials about reports in media that China is augmenting its military presence in areas close to Doklam.Responding to it, the foreign secretary said the Chinese army is within its own territory and even Indian forces are present on the other side in good number.A source said some members also raised questions about growth possibility of trade between the two countries vis-a-vis road construction activitiesThe over two-and-half-month-long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam had begun mid-June over the Chinese Army constructing a road close to the tri-junction.At the height of the controversy, the government had held two special briefings on the issue for Opposition members the same month during which both sides have batted for resolving the issue diplomatically.The panel, which had earlier also discussed the issue on October 18, has now decided to call experts for a briefing on the issue of Sino-India relations in the next meeting.Monday’s meeting was attended by only odd a dozen of the total 30 members in the panel, prompting a BJP MP to ask Tharoor questions about quorum for holding such a meeting.In the panel’s last meeting as well, Gandhi had asked a number of questions to the government regarding the Doklam issue.BJP had in past attacked Gandhi when he had met the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi in July during the peak of the Indo China row over Doklam. Gandhi had defended the move saying It was his job to be informed on critical issues.SINO-INDIAN RELATIONSThe matter came up in a meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs
The committee is chaired by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor
The meeting was held on the topic ‘Sino-India Boundary Dispute, including Doklam.
The panel has decided to call in experts for a briefing in the next meeting

China plans world’s longest tunnel to divert Brahmaputra water from Tibet to Xinjiang

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese engineers are testing techniques that could be used to build a 1,000-km long tunnel, the world’s longest, to divert water from Brahmaputra river in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh to the parched Xinjiang region, a media report said today.The move, that is expected to “turn Xinjiang into California”, has raised concerns among environmentalists about its likely impact on the Himalayan region, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.The proposed tunnel, which would drop down from the world’s highest plateau in multiple sections connected by waterfalls, would provide water in China’s largest administrative division, comprising vast swathes of deserts and dry grasslands.The water would be diverted from the Yarlung Tsangpo River in southern Tibet, which turns into the river Brahmaputra once it enters India, to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang.China’s longest tunnel is the 85-km Dahuofang water project in Liaoning province, while the world’s longest tunnel is the 137-km main water supply pipe beneath the city of New York.India, a riparian state, has already flagged its concerns to Beijing about various dams being built by it on Brahmaputra river, which is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in China.Beijing has been assuring India and Bangladesh, which is also a recipient of the waters from the river, that its dams were of the run of river projects and not designed to storing water.Wang Wei, a researcher who helped draft the latest Tibet- Xinjiang water tunnel proposal, which was submitted to the central government in March, said more than 100 scientists formed different teams for the nationwide research effort.He was part of the team which was led by China’s top tunnelling expert, Wang Mengshu.The team, according to the report suggested to drain Brahmaputra at Sangri county in southern Tibet, close to Arunachal Pradesh.”Sangri county featured a large, relatively flat valley that was ideal for the engineering project. An artificial island would be built in the middle of the river to create rapid turbulence, which could filter out sediment, and direct water to a well. The well could control the amount of water flowing into the tunnel,” the report said.The Chinese government started building a tunnel in the centre of Yunnan province in August that will be more than 600-km long.Researchers said building the Yunnan tunnel would be a “rehearsal” of the new technology, engineering methods and equipment needed for the Tibet-Xinjiang tunnel, which would divert the Brahmaputra river to the Taklimakan Desert in Xinjiang, it said.Chinese engineers say the Tibetan Plateau, often referred to as “the roof of the world”, stops the monsoon from Indian Ocean reaching Xinjiang leaving the Gobi Desert in the north and the Taklimakan Desert in the south unsuitable for human settlement.In recent decades, Chinese government departments, including the Ministry of Water Resources, have come up with engineering blueprints involving huge dams, pumps and tunnels, the report said.The project’s enormous cost, engineering challenges, possible environmental impact and the likelihood of protests by neighbouring countries have meant it has never left the drawing board.But Zhang Chuanqing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics in Wuhan, Hubei province, said China was now taking a quiet, step-by- step approach to bring it to life.”The water diversion project in central Yunnan is a demonstration project,” said Zhang, who has played a key role in many major Chinese water tunnel projects, including the one in Yunnan.”It is to show we have the brains, muscle and tools to build super-long tunnels in hazardous terrains, and the cost does not break the bank,” he was quoted as saying by the Post.The construction of the tunnel on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the country’s second-highest, would make political leaders more confident about the Tibet-Xinjiang project and more likely to approve it, he said.

431 Pakistani minorities, mostly Hindus, will be eligible to get PAN and Aadhaar cards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 431 Pakistani nationals, mostly Hindus, have been granted long-term visas by the government, thus making them eligible for PAN and Aadhaar cards as well as allowing them to buy property, a home ministry official said.The move, amidst the strained India-Pak relations, is in line with the Narendra Modi government’s policy to help minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who come to India after facing alleged persecution in their home country.”The Ministry of Home Affairs granted long-term visas to 431 Pakistani nationals last month. They are from minority communities of that country,” the official told PTI.Under the latest policy of the Centre, those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, namely –Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians– staying in India on long-term visas, are allowed to purchase a small dwelling unit sufficient to serve the needs of a family for self-use and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.However, they are barred from buying immovable property in and around restricted or protected areas, including cantonment regions.Such communities are also allowed to obtain PAN cards, Aadhaar numbers and driving licences, take up self-employment or do business, and are allowed free movement within the state of their stay and transfer of long-term visa papers from one state to another.The 431 Pakistani nationals with long-term visas will now also be able to open bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.The home ministry had also recently given security clearance to 1,800 Pakistani nationals of the Ahmadiyya community to attend the 123rd ‘Jalsa Salana’ at Qadian in Gurdaspur district of Punjab from December 29 to December 31.’Jalsa Salana’ is an annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya community.No Pakistani national was given visa to attend the congregation last year, while 5,000 Pakistani nationals had attended the event in 2015.The grant of long-term visas to a large number of Pakistanis and security clearance to Ahmadiyya community members of Pakistan were the highest in a single month in nearly two years, even as India-Pakistan relations nosedived after the January 2, 2016, terror attack in the Pathankot air base in which seven security personnel were killed.The terrorist attack on an Army station in Uri, the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army on terror infrastructures in PoK and the regular violation of ceasefire by Pakistani forces have further deteriorated bilateral relations.The statement of Pakistani leadership eulogising Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani after his killing in Jammu and Kashmir in July 2016 further soured the relations between the neighbouring countries.The home ministry had also approved over 4,000 visa applications of people belonging to Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and a few select countries in September.A total of 6,025 visa applications were received in September, out of which 4,057 were cleared, another home ministry official said.Prior approval is required from the home ministry for issuing visas to nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and a few other countries.The Pakistani nationals, whose visa applications were approved, would be given the travel document mostly under the medical visa category.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been prompt in responding to distress calls of Pakistani nationals seeking visas for medical emergencies.These medical visas were sought by the Pakistani nationals for undergoing liver transplant surgeries, cancer treatment etc, in India.

After Tillerson’s admonition, China asks world to recognise Pakistan’s ‘efforts in fighting terrorism’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China today asked the international community to recognise Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism, amid mounting pressure on its all-weather ally to act against terror groups and dismantle their safe havens on its soil.Reacting to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks in New Delhi that terror safe havens in Pakistan will not be tolerated, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that for many years Islamabad has made positive efforts and “great sacrifices” on counter-terrorism front.”Pakistan has made important contributions for world peace and maintaining regional stability. We believe that the international community should recognise the efforts made by Pakistan in counter-terrorism,” he said.
ALSO READ US will provide India with best tech for military modernisation: Rex TillersonGeng pledged China’s support to the international community in the fight against terrorism.Referring to Tillerson’s visit to Islamabad, Geng said, “We welcome Pakistan and the US to conduct counter-terrorism cooperation based on mutual respect and jointly committed regional and world peace and stability.”
ALSO READ Eradicate terrorists operating in Pakistan: Rex Tillerson’s blunt message to PM AbbasiTillerson and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a joint statement after their comprehensive talks on a range of key issues yesterday asked Pakistan to take action against terror groups, which the US said are now threatening the stability of the Pakistani government as well.”Terror safe havens will not be tolerated,” Tillerson had said while assuring full support to India in fighting terrorism.Speaking on Indo-US ties, Geng said, “We welcome India and Pakistan and all other countries in the world to develop friendly cooperation. We believe this relationship is conducive the regional stability besides regional development and prosperity.

Time for Pak to make a choice: Afghan President Ghani slams Islamabad for supporting terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Lambasting Pakistan for its support to terrorism, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today said time has come for Islamabad to make a clear choice, suggesting the country may have to pay a price under the US’s new South Asia policy if it does not stop backing the terror groups.On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he mentioned about the sovereignty issue raised by India and said if Afghanistan was not given transit access to Wagah and Attari for trade with India via Pakistan, then Kabul will also restrict Islamabad’s access to central Asia.Hailing India’s role in Afghanistan, he said the new US policy was an important tribute to the importance of New Delhi in bringing peace and stability to the region, hit by the spectre of terror.Ghani was delivering an address at Vivekananda International Foundation, attended by a select gathering of a number of foreign envoys, former diplomats and strategic affairs experts.Identifying terrorism as a major challenge facing the region, Ghani, in a clear reference to Pakistan, said unfettered support is being provided to the terror groups which are destabilising the entire region.”Sanctuaries are provided, logistics are provided, training is provided, ideological base is provided… Pakistan has come to a juncture and it needs to make a choice,” he said, asserting, “Our reaction will be determined by its choices.”Talking about the peace process, Ghani suggested that he does not ignore India’s role in bringing peace and stability to the war-ravaged country. He said the next round of Kabul process will be held in January next year.He said the South Asia strategy announced by the Trump administration was a “game changer” as it recommends multi- dimensional condition-based approach for the region.”It (the strategy) singled out India for engagement in this approach,” he said.Asked about defence cooperation with India, he referred to supply of four attack helicopters to Afghan Air Force by India.”Our collaboration with India is very open. We are delighted with the four helicopters. More Mi 35 helicopters are welcome,” he said refusing to elaborate further.The Afghan president also rejected suspicion in Islamabad that India and Afghanistan have joined hands against Pakistan.”There is no secret agreement between Afghanistan and India. There are no secret Indian facilities. There is no destabilisation of any neighbours from Afghanistan taking place through implicit or explicit collusion. Let’s get out of the world of fiction,” he said.Ghani also talked about announcement of USD 1 billion package to Afghanistan last year by India, saying it was like contribution of USD one dollar by every Indian to his country.Talking about the fragile peace process in Afghanistan, he said efforts will be to win the war morally.”We would like to see a push back from Pakistan vis-a-vis Taliban and not a Pakistan-managed peace process with the Taliban. We want peace with Pakistan and that is a fundamental issue for our stability,” said the Afghan president.Seen as a message to Pakistan, he said if the “hand of peace” is rejected, then he was “ready to serve with honour as the commander in chief to the last breath into the last drop of blood”.Indicating hostilities against Afghanistan by Pakistan, Ghani, in a lighter vein, said Afghanistan cannot exit its neighbourhood as its like a Catholic marriage.He said lack of a regional consensus has eluded peace and stability in Afghanistan and rued about “fragmented response” to terrorism.”Our objective is to pursue the goal of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan within the context of a stable and peaceful region,” he said.Ghani said connectivity was key for integration of the Asian economy and all stakeholders must work unitedly to realise the true potential of trade and commerce of the region.”We are clear, we want to be what we call an Asian roundabout. This is important for integration of the Asian economy,” he said.Ghani also quoted poet Iqbal and said Afghanistan is at the heart of the region and peace in the country will translate into peace in the entire region.

50 new ITBP posts along China border, troops to learn Chinese: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government is considering building 50 more ITBP posts along the India-China border and using technology to ensure a round-the-year temperature of 20 degrees Celsius in all its high-altitude bases, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.Addressing jawans and officers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) during its 56th Raising Day celebrations here, Singh announced a slew of measures to bolster its capabilities.These include construction of 25 border roads in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh; special lightweight winter clothing for troops deployed above 9,000 feet and an enhanced fleet of snow scooters to patrol the high-altitude areas of the 3,488-km-long Sino-Indian frontier.”We are committed to enhancing your operational and infrastructure capabilities. Recently, we got a proposal to build 50 new border posts for the force and we are working on it,” the home minister said.There are 176 border posts along the India-China border at present.He said the government is considering using technology to ensure a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius is maintained in all high-altitude ITBP posts that bear the brunt of snow blizzards and sub zero climate.A senior officer said the move is aimed at ensuring that forward border posts are not abandoned during extreme snow and cold.”We have created a model border post in Ladakh where a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can be maintained. We will create more such BoPs in Sikkim and the eastern sector of this border,” he said.Singh said he was not satisfied with housing and infrastructure facilities available with the 1962-raised force and he was “seriously” working to improve these areas.The minister said 35 old border posts of the force in very high-altitude areas are being upgraded as “composite” units.”We are working to enhance road, mobile and satellite connectivity in the border areas for the ITBP,” he said.The minister asked ITBP troops to ensure and build good relations with border dwellers as they are “strategic assets” of the country and important stakeholders in keeping the borders safe.Keeping in mind the frequent face-offs between the Indian and Chinese troops, ITBP personnel are now learning Chinese during their basic training, he said.Lauding the force, Singh asked ITBP officers to take responsibility for at least one family of personnel killed in the line of duty.The ministry is also working to help jawans who have suffered 50 percent disability during operations through the Bharat Ka Veer benevolent fund, he said.ITBP Director General (DG) R K Pachnanda said the force has been nominated as the “nodal agency” for obtaining and channelising satellite communication for all border-guarding forces in the country.He said the home ministry has also approved the ITBP’s proposal to hire helicopters for high-altitude border posts.The paramilitary was also enhancing its intelligence setup, he added.

Doklam stand-off was ‘safely resolved’ after several rounds of talks: PLA official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The 73-day-long Doklam standoff was “safely resolved” after several rounds of talks with India, a top Chinese military official said today on the sidelines of the ongoing Congress of the ruling CPC.People’s Liberation Army (PLA) official Liu Fang spoke about the resolution of the Doklam standoff citing it as an example of how the Chinese military is trying to resolve issues through dialogue mechanisms with different countries. “We also conducted a lot of practical cooperation,” she said referring to the Doklam standoff which began on June 16 when the Chinese military attempted to build a road in the territory claimed by Bhutan close to the Chicken’s Neck area connecting India’s north eastern states with the mainland.The standoff ended on August 28 with mutual understanding after China halted the construction of the road. “Of course it is safely resolved right now,” Liu said. “My colleagues in the military and other ministries worked very closely and held negotiations with the Indian side many times,” while China clearly reiterated its position, she said. “All of this contributed a lot to the peaceful resolution of China-India cross border dispute,” she said, referring to the standoff.Observers attach significance to the PLA acknowledging peaceful resolution of the Doklam standoff, at the CPC Congress which is set to endorse a second term for President Xi Jinping.The Chinese military is working hard to build up new platforms and measures to improve international cooperation she said, adding, “we already have dialogue mechanisms with 28 organisations”. Referring to the address of President Xi at the once-in- five-years Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18, Liu said she is “very very inspired” by the report delivered by him outlining “tremendous progress and achievements”.In his address, Xi had spoken about plans to turn the PLA into a world class force. Terming the speech as “profound and fundamental,” she said “we totally agree with it”. Besides being president, Xi also heads the CPC and the country’s military as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the 2.3 million-strong PLA, the world’s largest army. Liu said China is playing a larger and greater role in increasing its international influence.China is making efforts in international peacekeeping, maritime cooperation and disaster relief. “All this shows our responsibility as a big power nation. We keep our voice louder and louder at the international stage,” she said. The Chinese military is showing its confidence in the international arena and its spokesmen actively interacted with the international media to explain the version of Chinese army and also correct misunderstandings, she said.”By doing so we want to convey the correct, clear and accurate information about China’s military development,” Liu said.She along with other young military officials interacted with the media sharing their experiences in the military and their appreciation of Xi’s leadership. The Chinese military, which has undergone a massive reform drive since Xi took power in 2012, has an annual budget of over USD 141 billion, next only to the US.

RSS-affiliate seeks economic clarity with a ‘Chinese cell’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RSS-affiliated economic body Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has sought a separate “Chinese cell” at the Centre to assess the economic damage caused by Chinese imports to India and deliberate on the possible ways to nullify them.Upping its ante against Chinese goods, it has also organised a mega rally towards the month end seeking boycott of Chinese goods by people in national interest and urging the government to adopt policies helping the domestic industries. SJM has been advocating indigenous production and has campaigned against purchase of Chinese firecrackers ahead of Diwali.Dr Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch told DNA that he had sought the establishment of the Chinese cell in the Ministry of Commerce from the Centre that will not just study the impact of Chinese imports in the domestic market, but also chalk out a plan to mend the “injury.” He added that he is hoping that the cell would come up soon.”Indians understand the importance of boycotting Chinese products. The government is also realising the damage caused by Chinese imports and hence at its end, taking several initiatives on its end to control the influx of Chinese goods. The Chinese cell will help in a concrete assessment,” Mahajan said.He added that the anti-dumping duty on several Chinese products is already in effect and around 40 more are in the pipeline. This includes recent notifications on products like tempered glass and imports of certain steel wire rods for five years.Mahajan said different ministries are also working on a way to bar participation of Chinese companies in certain bids of sectors, where Indian companies are not allowed to participate in China.

Mum-Nagpur Expressway: MSRDC submits list of cos

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has submitted a list of 33 international and domestic consortium who have bided for the construction of Mumbai-Nagpur Expressway, to the Union Home Ministry for seeking a security clearance.Two weeks ago, the MSRDC had opened the technical bids of the potential bidders wherein it was revealed that 33 companies — including the ones from belonging to South Korea, Italy, Taiwan, China, Russia and Germany — are interested.A senior MSRDC official, said, “We have sent the list to the Union Home Ministry and the companies who are given security clearance will only qualify for the further bidding process, and rest will be stand disqualified.” Recently, in July 2017, Union Home Ministry had denied security clearance to Chinese consortium who were keen on the construction of 22-km-long Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).The companies whose names have been submitted include, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Projects, Navayuga Engineering, Ircon International, Reliance Infrastructure, IL&FS Transportation. Among other bidders, whose names have been submitted include, Gammon Engineers and Contractors Pvt Ltd, CQCE-Roadway Solutions India Private Ltd joint venture, Dilip Buildcon, Gayatri Projects, China Harbour Engineering Company, Oriental Structural Engineers Private Ltd, Sadbhav Engineering, PNC Infratech, Ashoka Buildcon, NCC, Todini Construzioni Generali, Cengiz Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret AS, Guangdong Guanyue Highway & Bridge Company, Guangdong Provincial Changda Highway Engineering Company.

China has started to understand that India is no more weak: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the country’s borders were “completely safe” and China has also understood that “India is no more weak”.Singh said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has become a powerful country and its prestige at the international level has grown.”India’s borders are completely safe, and China has started to understand that India is no more weak. Its strength has grown,”he said. Singh, who represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha, was addressing people at a programme organised here by the Bhartiya Lodhi Mahasabha.”Since the formation of government at the Centre under the leadership of PM Modi, India has become a powerful country in the world. India’s prestige at the international level has grown,” he said.The Union home minister also hit out at Pakistan for “sending terrorists” to India. “It (Pakistan) tries to break India, but our security personnel every day kill two to four terrorists,” he added.

Doklam effect: In major infrastructure push, India to build roads along China border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of Chinese infrastructure expansion near Doklam, the Indian government is learnt to have taken steps to boost the connectivity along in the border areas.In what can be called a Dokalm after-effect, the defence ministry has delegated more administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation for a speedy completion of the projects along the border with China. As part of major infrastructure push, four major passes have been identified in Uttarakhand to be developed by the end of 2020.The roads will connect Niti, Lipulekh, Thangla and Tsangchokla pass over the next three years, sources have told WION.In an Army commanders’ conference, it was decided that “infrastructure and capability development” would be the key focus over the next few years.Shakti Chaudhary, mayor of Gangtok had told WION earlier that roads are necessary so that the military can immediately access the border in times of crisis.The decision to boost infrastructure along the border with China comes at a time when there are reports that Beijing is aggressively building raods in Doklam and other strategic areas.China has resumed building a road on Doklam plateau, latest media reports say.The current road construction is taking place just 10 km from the last stand-off site between India and China.According to media reports, there are about 500 Chinese troops present at the site guarding the construction.India has yet not objected the construction as it is not southwards towards the militarily-sensitive Jampheri Ridge area like last time.The bulldozers and other material that were used last time have been shifted to the new site by China.All this comes almost two months after both India and China agreed to “expeditious disengagement” over Doklam.The diplomatic success came at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit China for the BRICS summit.The stand-off started in mid-June when Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory to build a road, sparking India’s intervention, citing agreements to maintain a status quo in the region. India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.

Gautam Bambawale, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, will be country’s next envoy to China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Seasoned diplomat Gautam Bambawale, India’s high commissioner to Pakistan, was today appointed as the country’s next envoy to China.This was announced tonight by the external affairs ministry.A 1984 India Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Bambawale is expected to take up the assignment shortly, the ministry said.He will replace Vijay Gokhale.A deft hand in Sino-India relations, Bambawale opted to learn Mandarin Chinese as his foreign language and served in Hong Kong and Beijing between 1985 and 1991.He was first the desk officer for China in the Ministry of External Affairs and served as director in the Americas Division of the ministry, responsible for relations with the US and Canada (1993-94).He has also functioned as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Beijing.His appointment comes at a time when India and China are trying to put behind the Dokalam standoff, and work on a “forward-looking” approach in their ties. PTI PYK ZMN

IMF cuts India growth forecast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) liberal scissoring of current fiscal’s economic growth outlook last week, International Monetary Fund (IMF) also on Tuesday joined a long list of agencies that have snipped their forecast for India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the current year.In its World Economic Outlook (WEO) report, released on Tuesday, the global multilateral lending organisation trimmed its projection for economic growth in 2017 to 6.7 per cent from the earlier 7.1 per cent citing government’s demonetization of high value currency and disruption of economic activities due to introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as reasons for its slower growth outlook.According to IMF’s outlook, China is likely to grow 10 basis points (bps) ahead of India at 6.8 per cent this year but India would more than catch-up on growth with its Asian neighbour next year.The Fund projects India’s economic growth to recover in 2018 to 7.4 per cent, while China’ growth at 6.5 per cent.”In India, growth momentum slowed, reflecting the lingering impact of the authorities’ currency exchange initiative as well as uncertainty related to the mid-year introduction of GST.Strong government spending and data revisions in India led to an upward revision of 2016 growth to 7.1 per cent (6.8 per cent in April), with upward revisions of about 0.2 percentage points, on average, for 2014 and 2015,” it said in its latest WEO report.The IMF’s slash in India’s GDP growth forecast has come after similar downward revision by other agencies such as Fitch Ratings, which has brought it down to 6.9 per cent from 7.4 per cent; India Ratings and Research that has cut it to 6.7 per cent from 7.4 per cent and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has lowered it to 7 per cent from 7.4 per cent.On Monday, World Bank’s South Asia Economic Focus (Fall 2017) report also marginally snipped India’s GDP growth forecast to 7 per cent for the current fiscal from its earlier prediction of 7.2 per cent. Like IMF, it also expects a turnaround in India’s economy to 7.4 per cent by 2019-20. Similarly, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) has also revised downward its estimates for current fiscal’s economic growth to 6.7 per cent from 7 per cent.DK Srivastava, chief policy advisor, EY India, said IMF and other agencies’ GDP growth projections were in line with RBI’s outlook but a turnaround, as predicted by them, would depend a lot on the government’s “accelerated GST reforms and fiscal stimulation”.”Their projection is very much in line with RBI’s projection but much will depend on the reforms that the government undertakes to change this picture. If they (government) undertake further accelerated GST reforms and fiscal stimulation then the turnover would be quicker,” he said.He said, by GST reforms he meant its accelerated simplification and further easing of compliance burden.”Public spending can be undertaken as far as it can be made without compromising with the fiscal deficit target. They (government) should try to adhere to the (fiscal deficit) target,” said EY’s economist.The central bank wrote in its review report of monetary policy that next fiscal growth would jump to 7.4 per cent, “assuming a normal monsoon, fiscal consolidation in line with the announced trajectory, and no major exogenous/policy shocks”.India’s GDP growth has been tumbling since the middle of last year after the government undertook demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes late last year and launched the new unified indirect tax – GST – from July this year. Economists attribute these structural reforms as reasons for slowdown in economic growth but expect a recovery in the medium term.The lowering of India’s GDP growth by IMF has come at a time when it has raised the global growth estimate marginally to 3.6 per cent.

Lack of timely decisions led to gaps in IAF, committed to fill them: Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday blamed the past regime for not taking timely decisions resulting in gaps in the Indian Air Force. Speaking at the bi-annual conference of IAF commanders, the defence minister assured that governement is fully committed to fill these gaps. She only advocated for service chiefs to ‘fully utilise’ their power. Sitharaman’s statement comes at a time when India and Pakistan continue to remain in loggerheads and relationship with China has hit a rough end even after though the Doklam stand-off was resolved amicably. IAF though has repeatedly said that it is fully equipped to face any kind of eventuality.The government is lcurrently ooking to bulk up IAF’s acquisition. Currenly it has has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. Sitharaman in her speech stressed on the need of exploring greater possibility of Make in India in the defence sector. She urged IAF to work with the DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board, a state-run defence equipment maker in this regard. According to IAF release, the minister said, budgetary allocations “should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary”. The three-day conference is to deliberate on host of issues to charter the future course of IAF. With PTI inputs

Side effects of demonetization, GST: IMF lowers India’s growth forecast for year 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IMF on Tuesday lowered India’s growth projection to 6.7% in 2017, 0.5 percentage points less than its previous two forecasts in April and July, attributing it to demonetization and introduction of the GST.It also lowered the country’s growth for 2018 to 7.4 %, 0.3 % less than its previous two projections in July and April.India’s growth rate in 2016 was 7.1%, which saw an upward revision of 0.3 % from its April report.”In India, growth momentum slowed, reflecting the lingering impact of the authorities, currency exchange initiative as well as uncertainty related to the midyear introduction of the country-wide Goods and Services Tax,” the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report.”Strong government spending and data revisions in India led to an upward revision of 2016 growth to 7.1% (6.8% in April), with upward revisions of about 0.2% , on average, for 2014 and 2015,” it said.The latest report, released ahead of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank here this week, puts China slightly ahead of India in terms of growth rate for the year 2017. China is projected to grow at 6.8% in 2017, which is 0.1% more than its two previous projections in April and July.However, India is likely to regain the tag of the fastest growth emerging economies of the world in 2018, with China projected to grow at 6.5% in 2018, it said. The GST, which promises the unification of India’s vast domestic market, is among several key structural reforms under implementation that are expected to help push growth above eight per cent in the medium term, the report said.”In India, simplifying and easing labour market regulations and land acquisition procedures are long-standing requirements for improving the business climate,” the report said. Between 1999 and 2008, India on an average grew at a rate of 6.9%, IMF said adding that for the next three years its growth rates were 8.5% in 2009, 10.3 in 2010 and 6.6 in 2011.In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 it grew at a rate of 5.5%, 6.4 and 7.5 respectively. In 2015, India clocked a growth rate of 8% points. For the year 2022, the IMF has projected a growth rate of 8.2%, as against its growth projection of 6.7 in 2017 and 7.4 in 2018.

The ‘vikaas’ war: From Amethi to Vadodara, Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah battle it out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From Congress’s ‘Bhajapno vikas gando thayo chhey’ to BJP’s ‘shehzaada’ jibe, Tuesday witnessed a high political drama of attacks and counter attacks.While Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was seen slamming the ruling NDA government for giving all jobs to Chinese youth in Vadodara, BJP president Amit Shah was in Gandhi bastion Amethi giving ‘hisab’ of all work done by the Narendra Modi government.The battle began with the second leg of Gandhi scion’s Gujarat trip, where he held an interaction session with students in Vadodara.From economic downturn to the BHU violence, Gandhi’s scathing attack on the BJP set the tone for the political mood in Gujarat that goes to poll later this year.Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive take on BJP’s ideology showed that the Congress will fight it out in the state elections.“Inka (BJP) main sangathan RSS hai. Kitni mahila hain usme, kabhi shaakha mein mahilaon ko dekha hai shorts mein? Maine to nahi dekha (RSS is the main organisation of BJP. Have you ever seen any women in shorts at any shaakha? I haven’t seen one),” Gandhi said.He also lamented on how the BJP is not doing enough for women’s empowerment.Without naming the BHU violence, Gandhi went on slamming the BJP for its oppresive mindset. “Inki (BJP) thinking ha jab tak mahila chup rahe, kuch bole na tab tak mahila theek hai jaise hi mahila ne muh khola usko chup karvao (BJP’s thinking is that till the time a woman is silent, it’s fine, but the moment she speaks up, then they force her to shut up).Talking about lack of jobs, Gandhi said that all jobs are going to China. “Job creation is India’s main problem. 29,550 out of 30,000 new jobseekers are unable to secure their livelihoods…Selfies are fun but most phones are Made In China, helping their youth find jobs, not ours. Buy Indian phones,” Gandhi said.If morning was all about Rahul Gandhi, the second part of the day belonged to the BJP.The top brigade of the ruling party, both in the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, descended in Gandhi’s home turf — Amethi.Union Minister Smriti Irani, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and BJP president Amit Shah were all in Amethi to show some ‘home truth’ to Congress.Irani and CM Yogi both spoke about how Congress has failed to develop Amethi.But the most formidable attack on the Opposition party was by BJP chief Amit Shah.Not only did he talk about the development work done by the Narendra Modi government, he also took jibe at Gandhi for attacking the ‘Gujarat model’.“People of Gujarat know what development means. You talk about ‘vikaas’, just see what you have done in Amethi,” Shah said.He continued with his ‘Rahul Baba’ jab and talked about 106 schemes launched by the Centre.Tuesday saw the two parties battling it out over the issue of development.While the Congress is saying that ‘Gujarat model’ has failed, the rally by BJP top command in Amethi was a stuning counter-attack.

Ordered soldiers to give fitting reply by ‘firing countless bullets’ if Pakistan opens fire: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that he has ordered Indian soldiers not to fire at their Pakistani counterparts first, however, give them a fitting reply by ‘firing countless bullets’ if Pakistan opened fire.The minister also said that Indian soldiers along the India-Pakistan border had been neutralising at least five-six terrorists every day, reported PTI.Speaking at the 9th Vishwakarma Jayanothsav in Bengaluru, Singh said that if India was a weak country, it could not have been in a position to resolve the Doklam issue with China”India is no more a weak nation, but a strong country. You ought to know how India resolved the Doklam issue with China, especially when most people across the globe were anticipating an India-China conflict,” the home minister said.The Indian Army and the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had, on August 28, decided to disengage their troops from Bhutan’s Doklam plateau after a months-long stand-off.Tensions rose between the two countries when China began constructing a road in the plateau at Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

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