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Ram Temple dispute to be decided by court alone: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that the dispute related to Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be decided by the court alone, and exuded confidence that the construction work would commence next year.The Rajya Sabha member said Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s effort to find an amicable solution to the dispute was welcome and good for harmony but the matter would be settled and decided by the court.Speaking at the Jaipur Dialogue Forum, he said that people should be ready to go to Ayodhya by next Diwali.He said that the hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court is expected to begin in early December and end by April.The matter is expected to be decided by the court by August, he added.He expressed confidence that Hindus would win the court battle, after which the construction of Ram temple would begin.Targeting the Congress, Swamy said the opposition party was “leaderless” and would soon disappear.”Congress’s end is sure. If it lives, it can live only in Tihar jail. The corruption the Congress party (leaders) committed is now resulting in punishment by courts,” he said.He also extended support to the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s campaign against ‘love jihad’.He said that there was a need to remain alert to ‘love jihad’.

Sushma Swaraj mesmerises UNGA with her brilliant oratory, calls out Pak’s terror bluff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday asked its leaders to introspect as to why India is recognised as a global IT superpower while Pakistan is infamous as the “pre- eminent export factory for terror”.In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session, Swaraj accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.PAKISTAN – ‘ a land of pure terror’She referred to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of violating human rights and state-sponsored terrorism.”I would like today to tell Pakistan’s politicians just this much, that perhaps the wisest thing they could do is to look within. India and Pakistan became free within hours of each other. Why is it that today India is a recognised IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?” Swaraj asked.India had ripped into Pakistan yesterday, describing it as “terroristan” and a land of “pure terror” that hosts a flourishing industry to produce and export global terrorism.Speaking in Hindi for the second consecutive year at the annual UNGA session, Swaraj on Saturday said India has risen despite being the principal destination of Pakistan’s nefarious export of terrorism.INDIA- ‘a sustained democracy'”There have been many governments under many parties during 70 years of Indian freedom, for we have been a sustained democracy. Every government has done its bit for India’s development,” she said, highlighting India’s achievements in the fields of education, health, space etc.”We established scientific and technical institutions which are the pride of the world. But what has Pakistan offered to the world and indeed to its own people apart from terrorism?” she said.”We produced scientists, scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists…you have created terrorist camps, you have created Lashkar-e- Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and Haqqani network,” she said, adding that if Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today.She said the terrorist groups created by Pakistan is not only harming India, but also hurting its neighbours – Afghanistan and Bangladesh – as well.PAKISTAN- ‘world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity’She said that for the first time in the UN history, Pakistan sought right to reply (RoR) and then it had to simultaneously respond to three nations.”Doesn’t it reflect your nefarious designs,” she asked the Pakistani leader. Referring to Prime Minister Abbasi’s speech, Swaraj said that the Pakistani leader “wasted” too much of his time in making accusations against India.”Those listening had only one observation: ‘Look who’s talking!’ A country that has been the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium,” Swaraj said.PM MODI- ‘offered the hand of peace and friendship’Commenting on Abbasi’s claim that Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah had bequeathed a foreign policy based on peace and friendship, Swaraj said while it remains open to question whether Jinnah actually advocated such principles, what is beyond doubt is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered the hand of peace and friendship since he assumed office.”Pakistan’s Prime Minister must answer why his nation spurned this offer,” she said. On old UN resolutions mentioned by Abbasi, Swaraj said that the Pakistani leader’s memory has conveniently failed him where it matters.’PAKISTANI politicians manipulate memory into convenience'”He has forgotten that under the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration India and Pakistan resolved that they would settle all outstanding issues bilaterally. The reality is that Pakistan’s politicians remember everything, manipulate memory into a convenience. They are masters at ‘forgetting’ facts that destroy their version,” Swaraj said in a hard-hitting response to Pakistani prime minister’s speech.Noting that Abbasi spoke of a “Comprehensive Dialogue” between the two countries, Swaraj reminded him that on December 9, 2015, when she was in Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference, a decision was made by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that dialogue between India and Pakistan should be renewed and named it a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue”.”The word ‘bilateral’ was used consciously to remove any confusion or doubt about the fact that the proposed talks would be between our two nations and only between our two nations, without any third-party present. And he must answer why that proposal withered, because Pakistan is responsible for the aborting that peace process,” Swaraj said.

BRICS Summit: PM Modi calls for support to counter threats posed by terrorism, cyber crimes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for a coordinated action and cooperation from the BRICS member-countries to counter the threats posed by terrorism and cyber crimes.”The BRICS member-countries should form collective policies and actions on the following and noble commitments: First, creating a safe world by an organised and coordinated action and cooperation in areas on three issues – counter-terrorism, cyber security and disaster management,” Prime Minister Modi said, while addressing the ‘Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries’ in Xiamen.Prime Minister Modi said the development agenda of the BRICS countries lies with ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.”The bedrock of our development agenda lies in the notion of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and we need to work together to create a greener world and mitigate the menace of climate change,” Prime Minister Modi added.Calling for an inclusive world, where the poorest of the poor are integrated into the financial mainstream, the Prime Minister said, “The countries present here together will have an impact on the world. So it is our sovereign duty that whatever we do should make a better world brick-by-brick through BRICS.”Prime Minister Modi also urged the BRICS nations to “work collectively for a digital, skilled, healthier, equitable, and a harmonious world.”Highlighting India?s growing engagement with Africa in multiple sectors and the International Solar Alliance, Prime Minister Modi said, “The BRICS countries should team up with the International Solar Alliance for mutual gains through a proper utilisation of solar power.”The Prime Minister also pitched for setting up of a BRICS credit rating agency to counter the western rating institutions and cater to the financial needs of sovereign and corporate entities of developing nations.In the earlier address at the Plenary Session of the BRICS Summit, Prime Minister Modi had said that a separate rating agency would help the economies of the member countries as well as other developing nations. President Xi Jinping is chairing the Emerging Market Economies and Developing Countries Dialogue and said countries need to oppose protectionism and re-balance globalisation to make it more sustainable.

Civil society plays vital role in reducing friction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The delegation of prominent citizens led by former foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, who are on a visit to Kashmir Valley on Friday called on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The delegation apprised the Chief Minister about the series of meetings they had with various sections of society. Sinha also informed Mehbooba about their impressions of the situation in the State and its steady improvement. The Chief Minister appreciated the efforts of the group in reaching out to the people of the Valley while underscoring the need for continuous engagement between people and societies. She said, ?Civil society has contributed immensely in present day world in reducing frictions and acrimonies between societies and resolving issues among people?. The members of the group include Executive Director, Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), Sushobha Barve, Air Vice Marshal (Retd.), Kapil Kak and senior journalist, Bharat Bhushan.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India-ASEAN Youth Summit 2017: A good politician makes sacrifices, says Dr Chandra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Independent Rajya Sabha MP and Essel Group Chairman Dr Subhash Chandra on Friday said that he entered into politics to help people.Dr Chandra made the remarks while speaking with delegates on the fifth day of India-ASEAN Youth Summit 2017, in Bhopal.Around 300 delegates from 12 countries, including India have participated in the summit. “Everyday, I am evolving, I get to learn something new,” said Dr Chandra, while talking about his foray into politics.A Rajya Sabha member spoke on the various topic including the importance of youth in today’s democracy.To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Partnership in 2017, India Foundation and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) are organizing the India-ASEAN Youth Summit.

We will start talks the day they stop promoting terror: Sushma Swaraj on govt’s Pakistan policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India will start dialogue with Pakistan the day it stops promoting terrorism against this country, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament today, while making it clear that terror and talks cannot go together.A combative Swaraj rejected the Opposition contention that the Modi government has no policy with regard to Pakistan, asserting that it had laid the “roadmap” envisioning peace and normalcy even before it took over. “But it can’t be one-sided… Terror and talks cannot go together. The day they stop promoting terror, we will start the talks,” she said replying to a discussion on “India s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners”.”You are asking what is our Pakistan roadmap? We had declared it even before the swearing-in. We had invited prime ministers of all the neighbouring countries and all came… Bilateral meetings were also held and I was present,” Swaraj said. She recalled that the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif along with leaders of all other neighbouring countries had been invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi government in May 2014. Since then, the relations with Pakistan have been witnessing ups and downs, she said.
ALSO READ Sikkim Stand-off: Sushma Swaraj slams Rahul Gandhi for meeting Chinese envoy; says war is not the solutionThe external affairs minister said when she visited Pakistan for the ‘Heart of Asia Conference’ on December 9,2015, Sharif had said the dialogue should be started in a new format and it was given the name of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. Afterwards, Modi went to Lahore as part of that initiative, taking an ‘out-of-box’ decision, she said. The relations with Pakistan were at such height that on December 25, 2015, when Modi wished Sharif on his birthday, the Pakistani leader asked him to greet him personally. Modi then visited Lahore to so, putting protocol aside.She said even after the terror attack on Pathankot Airbase on January 1,2016, Pakistan, shedding its past practice of being in denial, set up an investigating team to probe it. “The story changed after (the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander) Burhan Wani (in an encounter) when they (Pakistan) declared him as a martyr,” Swaraj said. She also slammed the Congress for questioning the Modi government’s foreign policy, telling the Opposition party that all the concerns that it was talking about now were born during the previous UPA rule. “You are the ones who gave birth to the concerns raised now,” she said.She praised former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, saying he had done good work at international level. However, while Nehru enhanced his personal image, the present prime minister is enhancing the country’s image through his efforts across the world.

Dialogue between India and Pakistan ‘necessity’: Outgoing Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit today said a dialogue between India and Pakistan was a “pre-requisite” and a “necessity” to mend relations between the neighbours, which might require “give and take” from both sides.Basit punctuated his pitch for dialogue with his advocacy for “self-determination” of the Kashmiri populace. The Jammu and Kashmir dispute must be resolved for any real progress, he said.”Both the countries need to decide that they need to be engaged…as was decided at Sharm El Sheikh, where we took a considered decision to separate talks from terrorism. We should not be hostage to forces that do not want progress,” he said.Basit made the remarks at an event, likely to be his last public engagement in New Delhi before demiting office, organised by the ‘South Asia Forum for Art and Creative Heritage’.Pakistan maintains that a joint statement issued after talks between former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in the Egyptian city in 2009 had delinked dialogue from action against terrorism.”Engagement is the key. Dialogue is a pre-requisite and a necessity to resolve our problems. Talks may not produce immediate results,” he said, adding “compromises always involve give and take”, when asked if Pakistan was ready to make certain concessions.The Indo-Pak peace process came to an abrupt halt after the Pathankot terror attack in 2016. Since then, bilateral ties have worsened, entering a period of fresh uncertainty with the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan’sPrime Minister by the country’s top court.”Pathankot or no Pathankot, we need to decide that we will not disrupt the dialogue process. While we were cooperating on the Pathankot issue, we could have carried on the dialogue process. That would have helped,” he said.Basit was appointed as the High Commissioner to India in 2014. He will replaced by Sohail Mahmood, who is expected to take up his responsibilities next month.Basit, who was twice overlooked for the post of Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, said it was important “to get real” on the question of mending ties.”If we muster the political will, we can find a solution to our problems. Whenever we engage, we manage to get good results. We need to commence a dialogue process and ensure that the CBMs (Confidence Building Measures) are adhered to in letter and spirit. We must not allow artificial barriers between the two countries,” he said.

India’s nuclear-weapon inventory set to increase, says IISS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s nuclear-weapons inventory is expected to expand in both quantity and quality as the country is aiming to build an “adequate deterrent capacity” against China, according to a new report. The report on Asia Pacific Regional Security Assessment for 2017 released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies at the ShangriLa Dialogue here today. “Much of this will be driven by the need to build an adequate deterrent capacity against China,” the report said. “Analysts broadly agree that India holds around 100-120 nuclear warheads in its inventory, half of which are mounted on ballistic missiles,” said the US-linked IISS report. Currently, none of India’s deployed surface-to-surface missiles has the range to cover all of China unless deployed close to the Sino-Indian border, it said. However, India has at least two longer-range missiles under development, including the Agri-IV intermediate-range ballistic missile and the Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the report said. A developmental ICBM dubbed Agni-VI with a planned range somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 km was reported in local news media in 2013, it pointed out. However, the status of existence of this project is unclear, added the report. New Delhi is also developing a submarine-based nuclear force, the report said. Its first nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarine, the Arihant, began sea trial in 2014 and was reportedly commissioned in August 2016, it said. Of the nuclear-capable missiles, various reports suggest the submarine might carry, the 700-km range K-15 cannot hit mainland China from the Bay of Bengal, while the K-4 may be able to target most of China if its reported 3,500-km range is accurate. India is reportedly building four more submarines and will probably seek to develop longer-range missiles for them, said the report. The Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual gathering of defence ministers, armed forces chiefs, military strategists an experts began this evening at Singapore s posh Shangri-La hotel. It will be hearing speakers on various defence issues and security strategies tomorrow and ends at noon on Sunday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP leader Ashish Khetan claims to have received death threat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP leader Ashish Khetan today claimed to have received a “death threat” from fringe Hindu groups, and demanded that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh initiate action against the culprits. Khetan said he had on May 9 received a letter stating that he had “crossed all levels” in committing sins against Hindu saints. “It is because of you (Khetan) that Sadhvi Pragya Singh (an accused in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case) and Virendra Singh Tawde (an accused in the case of murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013) are in jail. People like you deserve only death punishment in a Hindu Rashtra,” the letter said. A former scribe, Khetan has written to the Union home minister seeking action in the matter. He also said that several journalists, writers and activists had been threatened by the right wing forces. Khetan had also received a similar threat letter last year. Reacting to this, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said this was “extremely shocking” and demanded action from the home minister. “Ashish Khaitan receives death threat. Hope Rajnath Singh ji will take action(sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. Khetan is the vice-chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission, which looks after the implementation of various polls promises made by the AAP before the 2015 Assembly polls. He had also unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from the New Delhi constituency.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India, US officials discuss maritime security cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Indian and American officials discussed ways to strengthen maritime security cooperation during the two-day India-US Maritime Security Dialogue in Rhode Island. The officials also reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken at the first Maritime Security Dialogue between the two countries. According to an official readout of the meeting that ended yesterday, “The two sides exchanged views on maritime developments in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and considered steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation.” The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary (disarmament and international security affairs) Pankaj Sharma while the American delegation was led by David Helvey, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. The next round of the dialogues will take place in India. Last month, US Pacific Command Commander Admiral Harry Harris had emphasised on increasing cooperation in between the two countries in the maritime security area.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Braj Bihari Kumar to succeed economist S K Thorat as ICSSR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Braj Bihari Kumar, editor of quarterly journals Dialogue and Chintan Srijan, has been appointed as the chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), succeeding noted economist S K Thorat. The HRD Ministry yesterday took the decision finalising his name for the top post for a period of three years. “The ministry finalised his name from a shortlist prepared by a selection panel. Others in the shortlist were I K Bajaj and PM Kamath,” a senior HRD Ministry official said. Thorat was heading the council since April 2011. 76-year-old Kumar has been serving as the editor of the two quarterly journals, published by a society called Astha Bharati, of which he is a founding member. A former principal of Sao Change Government College in Tuensang (Nagaland) and Science College in Kohima, Kumar has written, edited and co-authored 136 books.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Accepting China’s claims over Tawang a solution to Indo-China border dispute: Former Chinese diplomat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The border dispute between China and India can be resolved if New Delhi accepts Beijing’s claim over strategically vital Tawang region in Arunachal Pradesh, China’s former top diplomat has said, but Indian officials dismissed it as neither practical nor possible.Dai Bingguo, who served as the China’s boundary negotiator with India from 2003 to 2013, told Chinese media, “If the Indian side takes care of China’s concerns in the eastern sector of their border, the Chinese side will respond accordingly and address India’s concerns elsewhere.” Elaborating China’s stand, Dai who conducted border talks with five Indian Special Representatives starting with Brajesh Mishra in 2003 said, “The disputed territory in the eastern sector of the China-India boundary, including Tawang, is inalienable from China’s Tibet in terms of cultural background and administrative jurisdiction.”He said that colonial British government which drew the “McMahon Line” accepted Beijing’s claim on Tawang. China has rejected “McMahon Line” in India’s case but accepted it in settling boundary dispute with Myanmar. “Even British colonialists who drew the illegal McMahon Line respected China s jurisdiction over Tawang and admitted that Tawang was part of China’s Tibet,” Dai told the China-India Dialogue magazine.Dai was China’s top diplomat and held the post of State Councillor in the previous Hu Jintao administration. His interview was published by the magazine in its January edition ahead of India-China Strategic Dialogue held here last month co-chaired by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.Dai, regarded as a wily negotiator, did not specify where China is willing to make a concession along the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). He also did not specify this in the book he wrote in Chinese language on the border talks.Indian officials, however, said Dai’s proposal is neither practical nor possible for India to accept considering that Tawang is an integral part of Arunachal Pradesh and has sent representatives to Parliament in every election since 1950.In his interview, Dai said essential nature of the China-India boundary question is the “need to correct wrongs” made by colonialists and to restore fairness and justice. “For historical reasons, India now controls the majority of the disputed territory. The boundary question was not created by China or India, so we shouldn’t be inheriting it and letting the ghosts of colonialism continue to haunt our bilateral relations,” he said.Though published afresh in Chinese media, Beijing has been making such a demand for concession for long. Former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon who was India’s Special Representative for border talks and held several rounds of talks with Dai until the present NSA Ajit Doval took over in 2014, has mentioned the issue in his recently released book “Choices: Inside the Making of India s Foreign Policy”. While China demanded concessions in the Western sector before the 1962 war, it changed the line to East after 1980s. “Chinese officials began saying in the 1980s that Beijing would compromise only if India made major adjustments first, adding that once India indicated concessions in the East, China would indicate concessions in the West,” Menon wrote in the book.”In 1985, China specified that the concession it was seeking in the East was Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, something that any government of India would find difficult to accept, as this was settled area that had sent representatives to every Indian Parliament since 1950,” he wrote.”The Indian Supreme Court also held in the Berubari case in 1956 that the government could not cede sovereign territory to another government without a constitutional amendment, though it could made adjustments and rectifications in the boundaries of India,” Menon wrote in the book, highlighting India’s problem in accepting China’s demand.Apparently China’s stand on the border settlement was different earlier lacking consistency.Menon wrote that former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai during his visit to India in 1960 “suggested that China might recognise the McMahon line boundary in the East in return to India accepting China’s claim in the West” to provide strategic depth for China along the Aksai Chin road between Xinjiang and Tibet, which is now China National Highway 219.Menon said India for the first time had Chinese troops at the border only after the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) took control of Tibet. After the occupation of Aksai Chin area in the 1962 war, China’s stand reported to have changed. While China says the border dispute covers Arunachal Pradesh which it claims as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area.

India’s concerns over CPEC ‘unwarranted’: Chinese state media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s concerns over sovereignty relating to the USD 46-billion CPEC is “unwarranted”, Chinese state media today said, asking New Delhi to take an “objective and more pragmatic” view of China’s ambitious Silk Road project. The comments in an oped piece in Global Times comes after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on February 22 co-chaired the upgraded India-China Strategic Dialogue in Beijing. After the dialogue, Jaishankar told reporters that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), violates India’s sovereignty. The CPEC is part of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, the official name of the Silk Road initiative. Reacting to Jaishankar’s remarks, the article said India’s concerns were “unwarranted”. “China respects India’s sovereignty concerns. Taking a strong stand on territorial issues is important, but it’s hoped India could adopt an objective and more pragmatic attitude towards the One Belt, One Road proposal.” China’s Foreign Ministry is yet to react to India’s stand. The article, however, asked India to take part in the Silk Road summit to be held in Beijing in May, stressing the “potential economic benefits” of CPEC and packaging it as a project promoting greater regional cooperation. China’s President Xi Jinping has convened the summit. Leaders of about 20 nations have confirmed participation, the Chinese foreign ministry has said without identifying them. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan premier Ranil Wickramasinghe are expected to attend the event. Calling on India to soften its stand, the article said, “New Delhi fears that the CPEC, passing through the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, would serve the purpose of granting legitimacy to Pakistan’s control over the region, and by promoting the construction of the corridor, China intends to meddle in the Kashmir dispute. These concerns are unwarranted.” “China has no intention of interfering in the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. China has long believed that the two neighbours should solve their dispute through dialogue and consultations, and it has repeatedly emphasised that the construction of the CPEC would not affect its stance on the issue,” it said. China’s OBOR initiative’s stated aim is to link countries in Asia, Africa and Europe to promote “an open and inclusive global economy” by building regional trade networks and enhancing connectivity for future growth. Also, the article said, “India should not view Pakistan’s development as a threat. As long as India is willing to, China, Pakistan and India could cooperate to tap the vast economic potential in the disputed Kashmir region.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

China hopes better relations following Jaishankar’s visit for strategic dialogue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Following the visit by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s to the country for the strategic dialogue, China hopes that it has achieved its expected goals and is of positive significance for promoting bilateral relations. ?To move forward China-India relations in a sound and steady way serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. The two sides agreed to follow the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, maintain the momentum of bilateral relations, make proper arrangements for bilateral exchanges at all levels in 2017, promote practical cooperation in various fields, and enhance coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues. The Dialogue has achieved its expected goals and is of positive significance for promoting bilateral relations,? Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, told media here. The two sides agreed that China and India, similar in their national conditions, development stages and goals, share an extensive array of converging interests and boast huge cooperation potential. ?Generally speaking, our impression is that the China-India Strategic Dialogue was conducted in a friendly atmosphere. The two sides had in-depth and thorough exchanges and reached broad consensus,? Shuang added. Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held the China-India Strategic Dialogue in Beijing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jaishankar, Yang express strong commitment for Sino-India ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar today held talks China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi during which they expressed strong commitment to develop positive relations despite differences over Beijing’s reluctance to support India’s NSG bid as well as a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar. Jaishankar, who arrived here from Sri Lanka, met Yang, who is the State Councillor and Beijing’s Special Representative for border talks between India and China. In Chinese official hierarchy, State Councillor of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) is regarded as the top diplomat functioning directly under the country’s leadership. Welcoming Jaishankar at Zhongnanhai, the seat of power of Chinese leadership, Yang said despite differences, relations between the two sides had a positive growth last year. Yang praised Jaishankar’s contribution to the bilateral ties as Indian ambassador to China and said the two countries had good communication at many levels and continued good cooperation in the fields of economy, trade culture and people-to-people exchanges. Jaishankar is expected to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, besides attending an upgraded strategic dialogue with China’s Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui tomorrow. Underlining the significance of the strategic dialogue, which was upgraded during Wang’s visit to New Delhi last year, China has deputed Zhang, also the head of the influential CPC committee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, for the parleys. “We truly hope that in the year ahead our two countries can enhance our exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation so that we can jointly contribute more to peace and stability and development of our region and the world at large,” Yang said, recalling President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit last year. On his part, Jaishankar said, “it’s very good to be back (to Beijing). I come with nostalgia and very good feelings and also a very strong sense of commitment to maintain the relationship”. Referring to the first Strategic Dialogue which he will hold with Zhang tomorrow, Jaishankar said, “this is not just a meeting between me and my counterpart, it is preceded by consultations” on a host of issues. Jaishankar’s talks with Yang and later in the Strategic Dialogue were expected to cover the key India-China differences like China blocking India’s bid to join the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group and UN ban on Azhar and the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Yashwant Sinha-led group for dialogue to end bloodshed in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ‘concerned citizens’, led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, today called for an early dialogue with all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir to put an end to the bloodshed in the Valley. “The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue and demands a political solution. This can be achieved only through dialogue with all the stakeholders,” the group said in a statement issued here. In the aftermath of the summer agitation and clashes between mobs and security forces last year, which left 85 people dead and thousands injured, a ‘concerned citizens’ team, led by former External Affairs Minister Sinha, visited the Valley twice on a fact-finding mission. The team has recommended a “multi-dimensional dialogue” which includes talks with the Hurriyat, besides urging the government to improve the human rights situation in the state. The visits of the team were facilitated by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, a Delhi-based group working in Kashmir for more than a decade. The statement said, “We are deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley. The loss of lives in the recent incidents was unnecessary and avoidable.” It mentioned that it was the “realisation of this necessity” that persuaded the political parties (PDP and BJP) in the present alliance government in the state to accept this (dialogue) as the way forward in their agenda of governance. At the same time, the statement added, “We are dismayed at the complete disregard of this assurance and at the reluctance of those in authority to engage in a dialogue. The present bloodshed must come to an end and dialogue alone will achieve this.” It urged the Centre to initiate a dialogue involving all the stakeholders in the state. “We, therefore, call upon the Government of India to immediately begin the process of dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir by involving all the stakeholders,” the statement read.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Need ‘solid evidence’ to back efforts to get Masood Azhar banned by UN: China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of its strategic dialogue with India, China on Friday said “solid evidence” was needed for it to back efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN.The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on the international situation and other regional and global issues of mutual interest in the strategic dialogue which is an important communication mechanism between India and China, he said.Commenting on reports of “friction points” in the bilateral relationship, including the Azhar issue and India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Geng said “differences are only natural”.”Through all kinds of conversation and exchanges, including (the) upcoming Strategic Dialogue, (the) two sides can step up communication to narrow differences and reach new consensus on achieving cooperation,” he said.On the Azhar issue, over which China has put a technical hold on the recent US move to list the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council, Geng said China will support the move if there is solid evidence.”China upholds principles of objectivity, impartiality and professionalism and takes part in relevant discussions. Whether last year’s application by India or this year’s by (the) relevant country, our position is consistent,” Geng said.”Our criteria is only one, we need solid evidence. If there is solid evidence the application can be approved. If there is no solid evidence there is hardly consensus,” he said.Stating that China has reiterated its stand several times, Geng said, “On (the) 1267 committee, the latest development is relevant countries have made another application with the committee. Relevant members of (the) committee are in consultation and relevant parties have failed to reach consensus so far.”China last year put a technical hold twice on India’s application to get Azhar banned by the UN.This year, the US moved the proposal in the UNSC to designate Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack, as a terrorist. China once again has put a technical hold on the move.On India’s entry into the NSG, he said, “We have said many times this is a multilateral issue”.”We stick to two-step approach namely, first NSG members need to arrive at a set of principles for the entry of non-NPT state parties into NSG and then move forward discussions of specific cases,” Geng said.”Our position is consistent. Apart from India, other non-NPT state parties are also making applications. Our position on those applications is consistent,” he said.Whether the Azhar issue or the NSG issue, they are in essence multilateral issues and not bilateral ones, Geng said.”We hope India can understand China’s attitude and position on the two matters,” he said, adding that China and India are the two largest developing counties having a wide range of converging interests.”China India cooperation benefits not only two countries but the region and developing world which can contribute to our solidarity,” he said.

Foreign Secretary to tour neighbouring countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will start a whirlwind tour of neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka, China and Bangladesh, signalling the neighbourhood remains central to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy.Supervising the first India China Strategic Dialogue on February 22 in Beijing has been the most significant engagements so far. This dialogue mechanism was agreed to during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India in August 2016. The mechanism was created to discuss all issues of mutual interest in the bilateral, regional and international domain under one umbrella.Acknowledging that there are ‘friction points’ outgoing spokesperson of Ministry of External Affaris (MEA) Vikas Swarup said the dialogue will strive for a holistic view of the relations. “The idea is that through the mechanism of this strategic dialogue, the foreign secretary from our side and his Chinese counterpart can take a holistic view of India-China relations, and see to what extent the two sides can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests,” he said.India-China ties have witnessed a strain following Beijing’s rigid stand on issues crucial to India, such as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and designation of JeM chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN. On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry also said it has lodged a protest with India for hosting a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation and asked it to deal ‘prudently’ with Taiwan-related matters.Jaishankar will also fly to Dhaka on a two-day visit on February 23 at the invitation of Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque. The two Foreign Secretaries will review areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including high level visits. Foreign Secretary will start his visit from Sri Lanka on February 18 to discuss possibilities of collaboration and cooperation in a number of sectors including power, highways, airport, hydrocarbon sector, etc. “The visit would help in taking stock on various decisions taken during the meetings between the two leaderships,” said Swarup.

First Indo-China Strategic Dialogue to take place, will discuss ‘friction points’ like NSG, Azhar: MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China will hold their first Strategic Dialogue on February 22 in Beijing during which the two sides will discuss key issues of mutual “concern and interest” including “friction points” such as Masood Azhar and NSG.Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Executive Vice Chairman of China hang Yesui will co-chair the meet to discuss “all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain”, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday.Acknowledging that there are “friction points” in Indo-China ties, Swarup said the dialogue will strive for a holistic view of the relations between the two countries and see to what extent they can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests.”India and China share a close development partnership and there are number of issues also between the two countries. While there are collaborative activities, there are also some friction points.”The idea is that through the mechanism of this strategic dialogue, the foreign secretary from our side and his Chinese counterpart can take a holistic view of India-China relations and see to what extent the two sides can accommodate each other’s concerns and interests,” he said.Maintaining that the upcoming Strategic Dialogue, which was set up during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in August last year, was a new mechanism, Swarup said it is a more “comprehensive” forum.India-China ties have witnessed strain following Beijing’s rigid stand on issues crucial to India such as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and designation of JeM chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN.Not only China scuttled India’s membership bid at the meeting of NSG last year, it also opposed banning of Azhar by the UN, apparently at the behest of its “all-weather” friend Pakistan.On Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also said it has lodged a protest with India for hosting a Taiwanese parliamentary delegation and asked it to deal “prudently” with Taiwan-related matters. New Delhi dismissed the protest saying no “political meanings” should be read into such trips.

Pak needs to shut down terrorism factory: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan needs to shut down “terrorism factory” and there is now international concern about it, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar today said.He also asserted that India has not given up on SAARC, but it will keep looking for other opportunities for regional integration “since SAARC is stuck”.Speaking on ties with China, Jaishankar said “it does not help to duck issues” and admitted that there was a need to invest more to manage the relationship better.Jaishankar was speaking during a discussion on “Political change and economic uncertainties” at the Gateway Dialogue event, co-hosted by Ministry of External Affairs.He also cautioned against “demonising” US President Donald Trump. “Don’t demonise Trump, analyse Trump. He represents a thought process. It’s not a momentary expression,” he said.Trump has been facing criticism over his controversial immigration policy.Jaishankar said that western countries may not be open about Pakistan and terrorism problem but they have concerns.”Western countries may not be open about Pakistan and terrorism problem but they have concerns. The issue really here is whether Pakistan is willing to take fundamental steps.They need to shut down terrorism factory,” he said.”The thinking on Pakistan is necessarily security centric because the fact is we can live in a situation of very little threat but not in a situation of terrorism on and off, which will be the case as long as the factory keeps running,” he said.”Terrorism in the past was seen as our problem but now it’s a bigger problem. There is today international concern (on terrorism),” he said.He said India’s multilateral engagement is not just good “for branding purposes but it also works in India’s interest”.”We are approaching multi-polarity. Everyone is playing everybody,” he said.Visualising a greater role for India on international scene, he said time has come for the country to take a lead on global stage, since the major countries are ‘narrowing down’.”At a time when horizons of a lot of major countries are getting narrower…If the major (countries) are pulling back there is a space out there and it is in our interest to use that space. In my views, we should be looking at more powered position in international forum,” he said.He also said that India should not give up on SAARC.”We haven’t given up on SAARC. We can’t and we shouldn’t,” India’s top diplomat said.”When it comes to regional integration, we will keep looking for other opportunities since SAARC is stuck,” Jaishankar said.”At a time when major powers are rethinking their multilateral engagement, India’s track record stands out,” he added.

In touch with Pak through bilateral diplomatic channels: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Asserting that it wishes to have good neighbourly relations with Pakistan, the government today said it remained in touch with it through bilateral diplomatic channels, including addressing all urgent humanitarian even after cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks as agreed in December 2015.In a written reply to Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the talks envisaged between Indo-Pak foreign secretaries to decide the modalities of the Composite Bilateral Dialogue, agreed during her visit to Islamabad in December 2015, could not take place due to the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase in January 2016 and other attacks last year emanating from Pakistan. She also noted that the government’s diplomatic efforts in the wake of Pathankot and Uri attacks led to widespread recognition internationally that Pakistan’s policy to sponsor and support terrorism against its neighbours posed the biggest challenge to peace and stability in the region and beyond.”The government was also able to effectively neutralise Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise Kashmir issue, and conveyed to India’s interlocutors that normalisation of India-Pakistan relations through a peaceful bilateral dialogue can take place only in a conducive environment free from violence and terrorism,” Swaraj said. She, however, added that during this period, “the governments of India and Pakistan remained in touch through bilateral diplomatic channels, including for addressing all urgent humanitarian and other matters concerning people-to- people ties.”

Trying to convince China that India’s rise not harmful to its ascent: FS Jaishankar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the backdrop of growing unease in Sino-India ties, India today said it has been trying to convince the Chinese government that its ascent is not harmful to the rise of China and that both countries should be sensitive on matters relating to sovereignty.In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar took strong objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, saying there should have been some reflection on India’s unhappiness over it.”What we are trying to do is to convince China that our rise is not harmful to China’s rise just as China’s rise need not be to India’s rise,” he said at the gathering attended by representatives from across the world.Chill has set in Sino-India ties following China’s opposition to India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group as well as Beijing blocking India’s move at the UN to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.During the interactive session, during which he touched upon a vast array of subjects concerning international relations, Jaishankar said the SAARC has been made “ineffective due to the insecurity of one member”.Identifying terrorism as the most “pervasive and serious challenge” to international security, the Foreign Secretary said developing a serious global response to it is of the highest priority but rued that it is hard to do.On ties with China, Jaishankar said there has been overall broadening of ties, especially in areas of business and people-to-people contact, but they have been overshadowed by differences on certain political issues.”But it is important for the two countries not to lose sight of the strategic nature of their engagement, or falter in their conviction that their rise can be mutually supportive,” he said.Replying to a question on CPEC, he said both countries should show sensitivity to each other’s sovereignty.”China is a country which is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. So we would expect that they would have some understanding of other people’s sensitivity on their sovereignty,” he said.Jaishankar said the CPEC passes through a “piece of land that we call Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir which is territory belongs to India and which is illegally occupied by Pakistan”.He said the project has been undertaken without consultation with India and that its sensitivity and concerns towards it are natural.On India’s overall ties with China, he said both the countries have opened up significantly since 1945.”In a sense, both of us, if you step back and look at it, are opening up a very close international order. When people talk about change since 1945, I think two big changes are really India and China.”I would say if China had not opened up the international order the way it did, I think it would be much harder today for India also to exploit those phases. There is a high degree of shared interests,” he said.

Pakistan must walk the talk on terror if it wants to have dialogue: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Modi highlighted some of salient points regarding India’s relationship with major world powers while speaking at inauguration of Second Raisina Dialogue. Modi said that India is keen on achieving a thriving well integrated neighbourhood. Referring to his surprise Lahore visit, Modi said that India alone can’t walk the path of peace. PM said that Pakistan has to walk the talk on terror if it wants to have dialogue. Earlier PM blamed non-state actors as significant challenges faced by India. PM said, ” We need to guard against any inclination that promotes exclusion, specially in Asia. The multi-polarity of the world, and an increasingly multi-polar Asia, is a dominant fact today. Security of our citizens is of paramount importance.Self interest alone is not in our culture or behaviour.” PM Modi said that his vision for India’s neighbourhood led him to invite all the SAARC countries for the swearing-in ceremony in 2014.

Mumbai beats Delhi: CM Fadnavis launches phase 1 of free WiFi facility

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections the Maharashtra government today launched ‘MumbaiWifi’ facility with aim to empower people digitally. “Happy to dedicate Phase 1 of MumbaiWifi. From this instance, 500 Wifi hotspots go live across various locations in Mumbai,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted.”MumbaiWifi is India’s largest public Wifi service and one of the largest globally too,” he said. Prominent places where the facility is now available include the office of the Commissioner of Police, Vidhan Bhawan, Kalanagar in Bandra, Bombay High Court and many places in the eastern and western suburbs. Fadnavis has been emphasising on digitisation since he become the Chief Minister in 2014 and is also planning to digitally connect all gram panchayats in the state, as well.He said 1,200 Wifi hotspots will be active from May 1.”Meanwhile, we will monitor the progress on connectivity and speed. We are committed to give good experience to Mumbaikars and resolve issues on priority,” Fadnavis said. He said during trial period from January 2 to 8, about 23,000 users across the city signed up and downloaded more than 2 Terabyte (TB) data. Fadnavis described the decision as an important step by his government in the continued commitment of “Aaple Sarkar” (our government) for digital empowerment of Maharashtra. Providing free Wi-FI was one of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP’s poll promises before the 2015 Assembly Elections in Delhi. On June 24, a PTI report had claimed that over 500 locations across East Delhi will be made high-speed wi-fi zones by the end of 2016, allowing access to free internet till a pre-determined limit daily. Ashish Khetan, vice-chairman of Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of Delhi, which is an advisory body to the government, did not spell out the limit but said that it would be consistent with the average daily usage of an individual as defined by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).The government has also decided to lay down a common fibre-optic network across the city to make it possible for Delhiites to access the web in “gigabit speed”, Ashish Khetan had said. He suggested that 1,000 hotspot zones (wi-fi-enabled) in around 521 pre-identified locations in the trans-Yamuna region will cater to around 1,20,000 people at any given moment.”The Delhi government has prepared the wi-fi project, which is set to be the largest such project in the world. These 571 pre-identified locations will have 1,000 hotspot zones. Each hotspot zone will have three access points and will cater to around 120 people at a time,” Ashish Khetan had said. The people of Delhi, however, are still waiting for their ‘free WiFi’.

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