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2017: A year of roller-coaster India-China relationship

India and China had a roller-coaster relationship in 2017 which was repeatedly blighted by issues like the Doklam standoff, blocking of India’s NSG membership bid and moves to declare the JeM chief a global terrorist, but the year ended on a promising note with both sides vowing to create favourable conditions for development of their ties.”The year 2017 is set to be a special year in the history of China-India relations,” Long Xingchun, Director of the Centre for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, said as he summed up the bilateral ties in outgoing year.”The Doklam standoff pushed the two Asian powers to the brink of war, becoming the biggest crisis between them in the past 55 years,” he said in a recent write up in the official media, highlighting the challenges faced by leaderships of the two countries to navigate ties out of the growing “contradictions”.Also readPost Doklam stand-off, next round of India-China border talks from Friday The two sides, however, ended the torrid 2017 on a promising note with the most candid talks during the visits of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to New Delhi followed by the 20th round of the border talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi this month.But analysts say there is no respite as Beijing’s latest move to extend its ambitious USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan and the victory of the pro-China Communist Party of Nepal (UML) leader K P S Oli in the just concluded polls in Nepal added to the long list of challenges New Delhi and Beijing will have to handle in 2018.Also readDiplomacy in Xi-Modi era: India-China to hold Track II talks to avoid Doklam-like crisisThe list includes China blocking India’s membership bid in Nuclear Suppliers Group and moves in the UN to declare Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and the CPEC capped by a 73-day standoff at the Doklam where the two armies dug in for a long haul despite its resolution.The Doklam standoff began on June 16 after the People’s Liberation Army began building a road in area claimed by Bhutan. The Indian troops intervened to stop the road as it posed a security risk to Chicken Neck, the narrow corridor connecting India with its north-eastern states.The standoff ended on August 28 following mutual agreement under which China stopped the construction of road and India withdrew its troops. But after the standoff, China stationed its troops close to the standoff area ending its customary practice to vacate the area during the winter.In September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to China to attend the 9th BRICS Summit on the sidelines of which he met Chinese President Xi Jinping and held extensive talks.Putting behind the Dokalam standoff, the two sides agreed to move forward in their ties with Xi telling Modi that he wants to put the relationship on the “right track”.Long says the bilateral ties have been blighted by three major strategic contradictions: the border dispute, the Tibet issue, and India’s reckoning that China-Pakistan friendship poses a threat.”However, it is unlikely that the three interwoven conundrums will be solved in the near future; control and management are the only way out,” he said.Other analysts say 2017 also demonstrated India?s resolve to resist China?s pressure tactics.India did not attend the Belt and Road Forum, a mega event held by China with the presence of leaders of several countries this year to highlight its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), denting Beijing?s attempt to showcase its influence.The BRI has become an issue for India as the controversial CPEC is part of it. India has protested over the project as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.Also India did not withdraw its troops from Doklam during the standoff despite a massive media blitzkrieg by China followed by aggressive moves by its military until PLA stopped the construction of the road.There was, however, some silver lining this year as for the first time in recent years, India?s exports to China showed promise of steady increase though the trade deficit continued to be disquietingly high.Since this year, India’s exports which were on the decline for a number of years started showing increase.In the first seven months, the exports registered 40.69 per cent year-on-year to reach USD 10.60 billion.In October alone, India’s exports to China increased by 53.04 per cent year-on-year to reach USD 1.24 billion. However, the trade deficit which last year accounted to USD 52 billion in about USD 70 billion total trade continued to climb reaching USD 44.51 billion in the first seven months.China?s investment in India, specially by mobile phone makers like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi besides ecommerce giant Alibaba were on the rise. The total investment were stated to be around USD 3.5 billion so far.Long says China and India have huge potential despite long list of differences.”2017 is the worst year for China-India relations. But if India would like to meet China halfway and make concerted effort, 2018 will probably become the best year for their bilateral ties,” he wrote in the article in the state-run Global Times.

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World Bank panel seeks six months time to decide if probe is required against AP govt over Amaravati construction

A World Bank inspection panel, which had recommended a probe into the charges of forcible land pooling and others, against the Andhra Pradesh government for the construction of capital in Amaravati, has now sought six months time to decide if a probe is required or not.The AP government is expecting USD 300 million loan from the World Bank for Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project.In September this year, the panel had visited Amaravati to look into the complaints it received from some farmers, who alleged that they were forced to part their land, and also claimed harm from a land pooling scheme (LPS) being implemented to assemble the land required for the city, as well as from other project activities.The “requesters” (farmers and other stake holders) claim harm related to their livelihoods, environment and food security.On September 27, 2017, the panel submitted its report and recommendation to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors. It recommended “an investigation into the alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance with bank policies, especially relating to involuntary resettlement”.On November 27 this year, the bank management submitted to the panel an addendum offering clarifications, an update on project preparation and additional actions to “complement and clarify” the actions presented in its July 21, 2017 response in order to fully address the requesters’ concerns.The management indicated the addendum was based on the recent field missions and discussions with the panel.”Based on the addendum and the proposed actions, the panel deferred its recommendation for up to six months as to whether an investigation is warranted. The board on December 12, approved the panel decision to defer its recommendation and to report back to the board in the next six months,” the World Bank said yesterday in its project update.Officials of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA), the implementing agency of the capital, were not immediately available for comments.The total financing for the project is USD 715 million, of which the World Bank lending is proposed to be USD 300 million through an IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development )investment project financing loan.The AP government is providing USD 215 million for the project, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is considering co-financing the project by providing USD 200 million.The state government has so far pooled over 33,000 acres from farmers for construction of the new capital under different categories of agreements.The Bank’s financing is planned to be used within the 217 sq km area designated for the development of Amaravati Capital City in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh. The Bank will help finance infrastructure spread across 26 revenue villages.

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Debt-ridden Air India seeks Rs 1,100 cr loan to modify planes for VVIPs

Disinvestment-bound Air India is seeking loan worth over Rs 1,100 crore for modification of two Boeing aircraft scheduled to be acquired next month for ferrying VVIPs, according to an official document.The two Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft are to be delivered in January 2018 and the cost for “modification in its (planes) interior configuration” is estimated to be USD 180 million. At current exchange rates, the amount will translate to over Rs 1,160 crore.These planes will be used to ferry the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.Also readAir India seeks to raise short term loans around Rs 1500 croreIn a tender document, the national carrier said it would like to avail a bridge loan of up to USD 180 million to finance the cost of modification.”Government of India has indicated that they would issue its guarantee for the financing cost of modification of the two B777-300 ER aircraft for a period of 12 months or less,” the document issued last week said.Also readWant to make Air India vibrant, govt working on ‘alternative mechanism’: Ashok Gajapathi RajuThese planes will undergo re-configuration.The proposed loan amount will be availed during the period from January to April 2018. The first instalment of USD 135 million would be taken next month, while the remaining amount will be borrowed in a quantum of USD 15 million each in February, March and April, respectively.Also readAir India’s domestic, global ops to be sold together, says Jayant SinhaLast month, an Air India official had said after required modifications, the two planes will join the fleet used to carry the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister.According to the airline, no commitment fee would be paid to the lender for the USD 180 million loan. “Prepayment/ short closure of the loan should be allowed without any extra cost to Air India as the loan would be repaid as soon as the funds are made available by Government of India,” it added.”The Indian Income Tax Act imposes withholding tax on interest payments to lenders outside India. The rate of withholding tax on interest payments will be considered in financial evaluation of the offers to determine the all-in cost of your offer,” the document said.Last month, Air India had sought loan to the tune of USD 535 million to finance the acquisition of three Boeing planes, including the two aircraft to be used for ferrying VVIPs. At that time, the amount was around Rs 3,460 crore.Air India has a debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore and these loans would further increase the debt level.In 2006, Air India placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft 27 Dreamliners, 15 B777-300 ERs, eight B777-200 LRs and 18 B737-800s. Of these, the state-run carrier has already taken the delivery of 65 planes. At present, the flagship airline has a fleet of 115 aircraft.The government is in the process of finalising the modalities for the strategic disinvestment of debt-laden Air India as part of efforts to revive the carrier.

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India has not caused climate change, a victim of it: Suresh Prabhu

India has not caused climate change but is its victim, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said, expressing unhappiness over ‘some countries’ walking away from the Paris agreement.The “saddest part” is that despite India acting on the Paris climate agreement, some countries were walking out of the deal, he added.Prabhu’s comments come amid the uncertainty over the US role in the deal after President Donald Trump announced in June that his country was withdrawing from the Paris deal, arguing that it gives undue advantage to countries like India and China.The world’s third-largest carbon polluter, India along with more than 190 nations, reached a pact in December 2015 with an aim to prevent an increase in the global average temperature and keep it well below 2 degrees Celsius.The deal, which replaced the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, was ratified in October 2016.”Unfortunately, despite the fact that we had a good agreement, I would not say the best, but some good pathway towards salvaging the situation in Paris, and now some countries are questioning Paris (pact) itself…”Despite the fact that we acted, now some countries are walking out and that’s the saddest part of it,” Prabhu said here at a conference on climate change.India has not caused climate change, but is a victim of it, he added.The commerce and industry minister made a case for creating markets for green products and channelising public money towards fighting climate change.He said the world must also develop new ideas of semi- financial instruments which can promote technology transfers, global action and collaborative solutions.”The IFC (International Finance Corporation) must think about the new concept of bringing in private capital as well as countries who are supposed to contribute to it, they must also contribute a substantial part of it so that we can blend it and make it an instrument which can actually promote ideas related to climate change,” he added.Prabhu said the government is engaged in formulating a new industrial policy which will create new industries, linking India to global supply chains and increasing the share of manufacturing in the GDP to 20%.”We have a GDP of almost USD 2.5 trillion and in the next 7 to 8 years, we will be touching the USD 5 trillion mark. I have asked the industries that we must touch the GDP for manufacturing to at least 20% of GDP, that means in the next few years time, the GDP for manufacturing must touch the trillion dollar mark,” he said.On his upcoming visit to WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said that while economic growth is imperative, there is a need to ensure that it is sustainable in the long term and green growth will be the driving force going forward.
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Yogi Adityanath

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‘Provide evidence or stop crying’: LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s son-in-law tells India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>.A day after 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed filed a plea in United Nations to remove his terrorist tag, his son-in-law has asked India to stop crying and provide evidence against him. The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and 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.“India is always crying internationally. Why don’t you provide evidence instead of just using television clips of the Mumbai attacks?,’’ Khalid Waleed, the son-in-law of Hafiz Saeed told Hindustan Times.He also said that the America has asked for Hafiz Saeed’s re-arrest only because of pressure from India and he would continue to fight for the liberation of Kashmir. ALSO READ ‘I am not a terrorist’: LeT founder Hafiz Saeed files petition in UN to remove tagHe also questions how Saeed can be rearrested when he has been released by a three-judge bench of the review board.Meanwhile, influential Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard termed as ‘ridiculous’ the release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest.”Not only did Pakistan give refuge to Bin Laden, responsible for attacks against US on 9/11, Pakistan set free a terrorist who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head,” she said.The US has sought immediate re-arrest of Saeed, warning Islamabad that there would be repercussions for bilateral ties if it fails to act. ALSO READ Remembering 26/11: Hafiz Saeed’s release shows Pakistan not serious about bringing perpetrators to justice”If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Sanders said.India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that Saeed’s release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN.”It also appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi. ALSO READ Committed to implementing UN sanctions, says Pak as US seeks Hafiz Saeed’s re-arrest

ASEAN: PM Modi takes veiled jibe at China, says India supports rules-based security architecture

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly pitched for putting in place a rules-based regional security architecture, reflecting growing convergence among major players like India, the US and Japan to have a coherent approach to deal with China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific region.In an address at the ASEAN-India summit, Modi identified terrorism and extremism as the major challenge facing the region and said time has come for the countries of the region to join hands to collectively deal with it. Seen as a reference to China’s military maneuvering at the South China Sea (SCS) which has cast a shadow over the ASEAN summit, Modi said India will continue its support to the ASEAN for achieving a rules-based security architecture in the region.”India assures the ASEAN of its steady support towards achieving a rules-based regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development,” he said. Modi’s comments came a day after he and US President Donald Trump discussed shared commitment of the two countries for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The issue is understood to have figured in Modi’s talks with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.
ALSO READ PM Modi showcases reforms, seeks global investment at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 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”. Prime Minister Modi also called for concerted efforts by countries of region to deal with terrorism and extremism. “We have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area,” he said.Favoring deepening of trade ties, Modi said, “Maritime links established thousands of years ago between India and ASEAN countries have enabled our trade relations in the past and we have to work closely to further strengthen them.” The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.The issue of China’s aggressive posturing figured prominently during the ASEAN summit also. China claims sovereignty over all of SCS, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei have counter claims. India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the SCS in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.The ASEAN has been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the SCS but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism. Prime Minister Modi also talked about shared values and common destiny between India and ASEAN.”The befitting theme of ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’ for our 25th anniversary celebrations has been jointly celebrated with a number of commemorative activities. I look forward to a befitting culmination of the commemorative year and receiving you at the India-ASEAN Special Commemorative Summit on 25 January 2018 in New Delhi,” he said. Modi said 1.25 billion people of India are keen to welcome the ASEAN leaders as the Chief Guests at India’s 69th Republic Day Celebrations.Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei are the members of the ASEAN. The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing. The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years accounting for more than 17 per cent of India s total FDI. Prime Minister Modi also participated at a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.

China reacts cautiously over possible US quadrilateral with India, Japan, Australia

China today reacted cautiously over a proposal by the Trump administration for a working-level quadrilateral meeting with India, Japan and Australia, saying Beijing hopes that it would not target or damage a “third party’s interest”. The US was looking at a “working-level” quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia and offer countries in the Indo-Pacific region an alternative to predatory financing or unsustainable debt, the State Department had said last month. The proposal was, however, seen by China as an attempt to counter its influence in the region. Reacting to it, the Chinese Foreign Ministry hoped that such an arrangement will promote mutual trust among countries in the region and not harm its interest.”China hopes the collaboration among relevant countries could comply with the trend of times, which refers to peace, development, and cooperation and shared benefits, and also conform to the prospects of the regions and nations for common security and development,” the ministry said in a written response to a query from PTI here. “We hope it would be beneficial for improving the mutual trust among countries and regions, at the same time safeguarding and promoting peace, tranquillity, and prosperity within the area, without targeting or damaging a third party’s interest,” it said.State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells had said: “As we explore ways to deepen and try to inculcate some of the values -? freedom of navigation, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, transparency -? obviously, Australia would be a natural partner in that effort as well”. The freedom of navigation is mostly referred to unhindered movement of ships and flights in the disputed South China Sea as China claims most of the busy trade route through which goods worth over USD 5.3 trillion pass every year. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the resource-rich area.The US has been periodically sending naval ships and planes to assert the freedom of navigation, much to the chagrin of China.Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said earlier that Tokyo would propose a “top-level dialogue with the US, India and Australia” to promote free trade and defence cooperation across the Indian Ocean. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to bring up the same issue during his meeting with US President Donald Trump who is currently visiting Tokyo.The US President would arrive in Beijing on a three-day visit from November 8. Besides the proposed grouping, President Xi Jinping is expected to discuss with Trump, America’s new South Asia policy piling up pressure on China’s close ally Pakistan over terror safe heavens and Japan’s proposal to jointly work out an alternative Silk Road plan with the US and India to counter China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which includes USD 50 billion CPEC.India has opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it traversed through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). The quadrilateral idea has drawn criticism from sate-run Chinese media. Although Wells refuted reports that the move is aimed at containing China, statements by other senior US officials sound suspicious, an article in Global Times said recently. Wells said that the mechanism will offer countries in the Indo-Pacific region an alternative to predatory financing or unsustainable debt, while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently rebuked China for being an irresponsible international actor prone to predatory economic policies, the article said. “Investment and trade are an important means to promote world economy. If the US, Japan, Australia and India can coordinate and support infrastructure construction and economic development of Indo-Pacific countries, they are more than welcome. But if they try to incorporate values into economic issues and display prejudice and hostility toward other countries, they will not bring stability to the region,” it added.

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.

China urges India to shed reservations on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’; says it won’t change stand on Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Thursday said India should shed its reservations over President Xi Jinping’s ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and join the project as it will not change Beijing’s stand on the Kashmir issue.The BRI, which includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has been included in the Constitution of the ruling Communist Party of China in the just concluded once-in-a- five-year Congress.”We welcome other countries including India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of voluntarism,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media briefing on Thursday.The BRI’s goal is to promote connectivity between regional countries and common prosperity of all countries, the spokesman said.”The initiative will not affect China’s position on relevant issues and our position on relevant initiatives will not be changed,” he said.China has been reiterating that the USD 50 billion CPEC which traverses though 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.The BRI will bring tangible benefits to those who are participating in the project at an early date, Geng said.BRI has been included in the CPC Constitution as part of President Xi’s ideological thought putting more pressure on Chinese officials to work for early harvest from the massive amount of investment being poured by China in Pakistan and other countries.According to a senior CPC official, the Chinese firms so far have invested USD 560 billion overseas under the BRI since 2013 and paid over USD 100 billion in taxes and created millions of jobs.

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.

Army wants 900 body bags, 150 caskets lying in warehouse for 17 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Army has sought early handing over of 900 body bags and 150 caskets procured in 1999 lying in a warehouse for the past 17 years after allegations of kickbacks in the USD 4 lakh deal and subsequent CBI probe into it.The Army’s renewed pitch for getting custody of the body bags and caskets comes at a time when images of bodies of seven military personnel wrapped in plastic sacks and tied up in cardboard triggered outrage last week.The military personnel were killed in an Mi-17 helicopter crash in Tawang on Friday. Official sources said the Army has requested the CBI again to facilitate the handing over of the body bags and caskets as the probe into their procurement was over and the case was closed in 2013.When contacted, CBI sources said they are looking into the matter. In the aftermath of the Kargil war, the then NDA government had ordered procurement of 3,000 body bags and 500 aluminium caskets. However, following allegations of kickbacks in the contract, the deal was cancelled but the company which was given the contract had supplied 900 body bags and 150 caskets by then. The CBI had carried out probe into the allegations. A Delhi court in 2013 had discharged three former Army officials who were charge sheeted by the CBI.A senior Army official said CBI had found that a typographical error at a clerical level triggered these allegations. He said the actual weight of each casket should have been mentioned as 55 kg but instead, it was written 18 kg.The official sources said, however, an observation by a government auditor favouring scrutiny of the pricing of the body bags and caskets held back their release. They said a city court had issued directions for release of the caskets and body bags.They said the US government had also bought body bags and caskets from the same company at almost the same period when India had finalised the deal and the auditor suggested to find out the rates at which the American government had procured them. The images of bodies of the seven military personnel wrapped in plastic sacks had triggering outrage prompting the Army to call it an “aberration”. Former Northern Army commander Lt Gen (Retd) HS Panag had said proper military body bags must be used to transport bodies from forward locations until ceremonial coffins were available.

Google commits $1 million for flood victims in India, Nepal

Updated: Aug 31, 2017, 06:25 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Google.org and Google employees have committed USD 1 million to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts in India and across South Asia.In a company blog, Google Vice President (South East Asia and India) Rajan Anandan said millions of people have been affected by severe flooding and landslides across Bangladesh, India and Nepal.At least 1,200 people are known to have died, and tens of thousands of houses, schools, and hospitals have been destroyed, leaving people in urgent need of support during and after flood waters recede, he noted.

HC steps in to ensure USD 500000 mistakenly transferred is

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court has stepped in to ensure that an amount of USD 5,00,000 that was inadvertently credited to an account operated by two Mumbai- based businessmen 16 years ago, is finally returned to the bank. An international bank had mistakenly transferred the sum into the account of Sharad Agarwal and Atit Agarwal. In an order passed on August 4 this year, Justice Suresh Gupte held that it was clear that the amount had been credited accidentally, and restrained the businessmen from selling off their assets or creating any third party rights on all immovable properties that they own in India. The directions came on a suit filed by the bank, BNP Paribas, against the Agarwals. As per the suit, In November 1999, the two businessmen opened a Swiss bank account with BNP Paribas. In September 2001, the bank mistakenly credited an amount of USD 5,00,000 to this account. The Agarwals realised the bank’s mistake and promptly emptied their account. In 2003, the bank’s auditors realised the mistake and directed the two men to return the money. When they refused to do so, the bank sent them a legal notice and registered a criminal complaint against them in Geneva. The Agarwals, however, failed to respond to the summons sent to them by the Swiss authorities. And in 2008, a Geneva court ordered that the duo return USD 5,00,000 in question, pay an interest of five per cent on the amount, and that they also pay an additional USD 39,000 as the legal fees incurred by the authorities. When the duo failed to follow the court’s order, the bank filed a suit in the Bombay High Court. The bank sought that the duo be directed to act in accordance with the Swiss court order. It also sought that till the final hearing of the suit in the Bombay HC was completed, they be restrained from selling or disposing of their assets and properties to ensure that they do not shift their assets out of the country and evade payment to the bank. Sharad and Atit Agarwal in turn challenged the suit on the ground that while they were based in Mumbai for business purposes, they were citizens of Caribbean nations Belize and Grenada, respectively. They also argued that the Swiss court order was an ex- parte one since they were not present in the court at the time, and that the limit of three years that the Indian law fixed for such recoveries to be made, was already over. Justice Gupte, however, held that the Geneva court’s order was passed on merit, and that since they operated a business out of the city, they came under the high court’s jurisdiction. He also held that considering the two realised the bank’s mistake and still “wiped off their Swiss account”, there was every chance that they would try to “shift their assets out of India to defeat the dues payable to the bank”. Justice Gupte has now posted the matter for final hearing. He, however, granted four weeks to the Agarwals to file an appeal against the order.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Drone sale to India would cement bilateral ties with US’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US decision to sell 22 Sea Guardian drones to India at an estimated cost of USD 2 billion will create around 2,000 jobs in the US and “cement” bilateral ties, an American executive involved in the deal has said. “This should be viewed as a significant step in cementing the US-India bilateral defence relationship,” Vivek Lall, chief executive US and international strategic development, General Atomics, told the Atlantic Council yesterday. Lall echoed Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, who tweeted, “Drone Sale Would Cement US-India Ties.” The announcement in this regard was made by Trump in June when he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House. This prospective purchase of drones manufactured by General Atomics marks the first of its kind from the US by a country that is not a member of the NATO, Lall said. With China focused on South China Sea, Lall hopes that India has an opportunity to help create and lead a regional balance of power to protect its interests in the Indian Ocean region by building maritime engagements with regional and extra-regional partners. The Sea Guardian is a variant of the tested MQ-9 platform which allows for greater interoperability with the US and allied forces, in a way other platforms do not permit demonstrating the centrality of General Atomics’ products to India’s defence needs, he said. “This platform has 4 million hours in combat, will be able to certifiably fly in Indian civilian airspace and can remain airborne more than a record setting forty hours. Additionally, it has a 40,000-hour design life demonstrating its unique resilience. General Atomics maintains that this platform and its proven performance stands independently of and is unaffected by Israel’s Heron sales to India,” he said. This summer, India received 10 advanced Heron drones from Israel for USD 400 million, making Israel a weapons supplier competitor to the United States. According to Lall, use of the Sea Guardian drones by the Indian Navy will also develop India’s credible capabilities, which is significant for Indian maritime security and naval power projection. “Additionally, India faces a several complex security challenges in this domain such as piracy, terrorism, environmental degradation and narcotics trafficking. Maritime domain awareness would allow the Indian Navy an advantage in patrolling the Indian Ocean, and in tackling its pressing security challenges to achieve grander Indian strategic objectives,” he said. Responding to a question, Lall said at least 2,000 jobs directly related to the sale, and countless indirect jobs, will be created or saved in the US. Lall noted that this is the first major defence deal announced since the designation of India as a major defence partner.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indo-Japan ties special, for global peace: Ashwani Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar today hailed the Indo-Japan relationship, saying it had assumed a “very sharp, strategic dimension” and become an engagement for peace and stability not only in Asia but in the entire world. “We have seen what is happening in Doklam. We have seen what is happening in Pakistan. We are seeing who the friends of Pakistan are. We have seen what is happening in South China. “We have seen the open defiance of the international legal regime by some countries…India and Japan seek harmony and friendship with all our neighbours, with all the countries,” he said. The former law minister was speaking at an interactive session at the PHD Chamber of Commerce here. “India and Japan’s engagement is an example of a special, strategic and global relationship in all its dimensions,” Kumar said. The Malabar Exercise in the Indian Ocean was intended to secure the sea links, which were the lifeline for not only for the economy of the entire Indian Ocean region, but also a guarantee for peace, stability and security in the world, he said. “We also know that the road to peace is through power not through weakness. And it is for that peace the India and Japan relationship have also assumed a very sharp, strategic dimension so that this engagement have become an engagement for prosperity, peace and stability not only in Asia but in the rest of the world,” he said. Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said Japanese companies would further accelerate their pace of investments in India’s manufacturing, services and retail sector since the strategic alliance between the two is deepening with transformational tendencies surfacing in ease of doing business in India in the last five years. “With the Japanese prime minister coming to India in very near future, another comprehensive package is likely to be announced to strengthen Indo-Japan trade ties, as the two countries are preparing for better security, defence cooperation including better exchanges between the armed, naval and air force of the two nations. “Economic trade in 2015 was USD 2.6 billion which rose to USD 4.7 billion in 2016,” he said. To a question, the ambassador said the dedicated freight corridor project would be completed by 2019 whereas the real construction on Mumbai-Ahmedabad train project would commence in 2018, to be completed by 2023.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maha launches joint platform to address water resources crunch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to address the critical water resources challenges in Maharashtra, the state government and 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) launched the Maharashtra Water Resources ‘Multi-Stakeholder Platform’ (Maharashtra Water – MSP), a project which is expected to attract a funding of around USD one billion. The platform, chaired by the state chief secretary Sumit Mullick, aims to bring together key decision-makers from the public sector, private sector and civil society to forge partnerships for sustainable and scalable solutions, empowered by 2030 WRG’s hydro-economic analysis. “The government can only solve the serious water problem with the active and enthusiastic participation of the private sector and civil society. We have an opportunity to work together, to ensure there is enough water for our farmers to grow their crops, for our industries to provide employment and for the rivers to continue flowing,” Mullick said. He further said if Maharashtra is to keep growing while maintaining social equity and environmental sustainability, “we need to not only balance competing needs but also significantly improve the efficiency of our water use”. Maharashtra reportedly faces a high risk to climate change with longer dry spells and more frequent droughts. “Already, farmers in rain-fed areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha are hard hit by recurrent droughts. But the productivity in the rain-fed areas can be increased with more efficient use of water and its management,” Mullick said. Commenting on the partnership, 2030 WRG Co-Lead, Asia, Bastiaan Mohrmann said it will be working together to develop a comprehensive program that improves the livelihoods of and strengthens the resilience of marginal and small-holder farmers in Maharashtra. “We are developing a project proposal for USD 270 million in funding from the Green Climate Fund, a body which aims to scale up climate change adaptation in rain-fed agricultural areas, to be implemented across Marathwada and Vidarbha, and aligned with the World Bank-funded Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture (PoCRA), resulting in nearly USD 1 billion worth of investments towards drought-proofing Maharashtra rain-fed agriculture,” he added. Under the program, two task-forces would be set up, including command area water productivity and water and livelihood security in rain-fed agricultural areas. “The objective of the task forces would be making financing and implementation arrangements for drip irrigation in sugarcane as well as adoption of water-efficient technology and better farming practices along with development of market linkages and value chains and promotion of innovation and agri-entrepreneurship,” Secretary of Command Area Department of water resources department CA Birajdar said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Commodity trade at 4 Indo-Bangla border haats allowed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has allowed trade of several commodities such as locally produced vegetables and garments at four border haats between India and Bangladesh, the commerce ministry today said. The commodities will be allowed to be traded in the border haats at — Baliamari-Kalaichar, Lauwaghar – Balat, East Madugram and Middle Place of Sagaria – Srinagar, and Tarapur – Kamalsagar. The products include fruits, spices, bamboo, bamboo grass, items of cottage industries, agricultural equipment, fruit juice, toiletries, cosmetics and stationary. The list of items may be expanded or modified by mutual consent, it said. The ministry also said vendors and vendees who are allowed to sell their products or buy products would be the residents of the area within five km radius from the location of border haat. The number of vendors would be limited to about 50 from each country. “The commodities will be allowed to be exchanged in the designated border haats in local currency and/ or barter basis,” the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) said in a public notice. DGFT, which looks after foreign trade related issues, is under the commerce ministry. “Estimated value of such purchases shall not be more than respective local currency equivalent of USD 200 for any particular day,” it said. This arrangement was agreed upon by both the countries under a memorandum of understanding in April.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Climate change to have devastating effect in Asia, claims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in the Pacific and Asia, a new report today warned and said Southern India may witness a decline in rice yeilds by five percent in 2030s. Unabated climate change could severely affect the future growth of these countries, reverse current development gains, and degrade quality of life, the report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) claimed. According to the report, Asia has the highest number of people exposed to flooding from possible storm surge events, particularly in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. It said meanwhile, 130 million people in low-elevation coastal zones in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, are at risk of being displaced by the end of the century in worst-case scenarios. “While rice yields could potentially increase in the northern states of India, rice yields may decline by 5 per cent in the 2030s, 14.5 per cent in the 2050s and 17 per cent in the 2080s in the southern states,” it said. The report titled “A region at risk: The human dimensions of climate change in Asia and the Pacific” also said different modeling approaches are relatively consistent in terms of projecting a yield reduction in wheat production of 8 per cent in India. Flood exposure is apparently increasing in coastal cities due to growing populations and assets and subsidence, it said. “Studying the 136 largest coastal cities, the authors estimate that the average global flood losses in 2005 were approximately USD 6 billion per year and will increase to USD 52 billion by 2050. “Of the top 20 cities with the largest increase of annual losses between 2005 and 2050, 13 are located in Asia- Guangzhou (PRC), Mumbai, Kolkata, Shenzhen (PRC), Tianjin (PRC), Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam), Jakarta (Indonesia), Chennai, Surat, Zhanjiang (PRC), Bangkok (Thailand), Xiamen (PRC), and Nagoya (Japan),” it said. The report said recent studies reveal that flood risk is projected to increase significantly in Southeast Asia and India under global warming. “The global climate crisis is arguably the biggest challenge human civilisation faces in the 21st century, with the Asia and Pacific region at the heart of it all,” said Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, PIK Director said that the Asian countries hold Earth’s future in their hands. Noting that the challenge is two-fold, he said Asian greenhouse-gas emissions have to be reduced in a way that the global community can limit planetary warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in Paris 2015 while on the other . “Yet even adapting to 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise is a major task. “So, on the other hand, Asian countries have to find strategies for ensuring prosperity and security under unavoidable climate change within a healthy global development,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress takes swipe as PM reviews FDI policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have reviewed the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy at a meeting here today, sources said.The meeting was attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek among other senior officials, official sources told PTI.The officials, however, remained tight-lipped about the deliberations held in the meeting. There was no official communication about the outcome of the meeting. The government has relaxed FDI norms in over a dozen sectors, including defence, civil aviation, construction and development, private security agencies, real estate and news broadcasting.It is considering relaxing FDI norms in sectors such as including retail and construction, print media, single brand and multi-brand retail trading. The government is relaxing norms to provide investor friendly climate to foreign players and in turn attract more FDI to boost economic growth and create jobs. Foreign direct investment in the country grew by 9 per cent to USD 43.47 billion in 2016-17. Earlier, before the meeting, Congress took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him not to relegate the opportunity to “photo-ops” and to take measures to boost oversea inflows. Congress’s communications department in-charge Randeep Surjewala said his party-led UPA government had taken several measure to liberalise the economy and boost investment, but Modi and the BJP had “virulently opposed” FDI in retail in 2012. “We hope that the prime minister will move beyond rhetoric to ensure growth in the investment climate in India. We also hope the current meeting will also not be relegated to photo-ops and platitude,” he said.Surjewala said there were reports that the government had been considering relaxing FDI norms in retail and bring FDI in single-brand retail under the automatic route. He said the Congress permitted 51 per cent FDI in multi- brand retail in metropolitan cities without hurting Indian producers, small-scale industries, and wholesale and retail trade.But Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat then, had opposed it, he said.Surjewala quoted Modi as saying then, “It (FDI in retail) will immensely harm small shopkeepers, hit the domestic manufacturers and create joblessness. It will also mean that cheap goods produced outside will be dumped in our country.” On December 2, 2012, the BJP moved a motion in the Lok Sabha opposing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, but it was defeated, the Congress leader said.On March 7, 2013, the then Leader of the Opposition and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated that the BJP would fight against FDI in retail “till its last breath”, he said. “We have seen a lot of talk on investment, but minimum results in the three years of the BJP government. No wonder that over 71 FDI proposals running into a few billion USD have been pending on the table of the prime minister since 2015. That is his commitment to ease of doing business, he said.This “spoke volumes” about ease of doing business, he said. “What is even more shocking is that private investment is the lowest in last 25 years,” Surjewala said. He said, “We are awaiting what the prime minister seeks to do and we will watch it closely.”

PM Modi in US: Meeting with Trump ‘historic and productive’, says US Vice President Mike Pence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The future of the Indo-US partnership has never looked brighter and the best days for the two nations are yet to come, Vice President Mike Pence said today.Describing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House for his meeting with US President Donald Trump as “historic and productive”, Pence said: “Today I say with confidence that our friendship would grow and deepen.” Addressing the top business executives of the United States, Pence appeared to be very enthusiastic about the future of the ties between the US and India, which he said can work together for the development, peace and prosperity of the two countries and the world as well.Pence was addressing the 42nd annual gala of the US- India Business Council (USIBC), the top industry advocacy body of American businesses having a footprint in India.Recollecting Trumps speech at the Rose Garden yesterday, Pence said: “India has a true friend at the White House” and so does all the businesses that have gathered at the event.”This is an exciting time between the US and India. As President Trump said, the future of our partnership has never looked brighter,” Pence said.Pence also had a one-on-one meeting with Modi at the White House on Monday.Pence told the business executives that Modi told him that “India-Ana means coming to India”.His comment drew a laud applause from the audience.Pence said he has accepted Prime Minister s invitation to visit India.As the governor of Indiana, Pence said, he had plans to take a business delegation to India, which he could not do because of the last years general elections.But now, he is hoping to visit India soon.”The bottom line is that the United States and India can deepen our commercial bond in many industries and areas,” he said.Pence said the US’ relationship with India is one of the most important strategic relationships in the 21st century.”Our two great nations are bound by friendship, by commerce, as partners in the fight against terrorism, and as brother-and-sister in the cause of freedom and our commitment to democracy and today, I say with confidence under the leadership of President Donald Trump, our friendship will grow deeper and our partnership will grow stronger for the benefit of both our nations, and all our people,” Pence said.With Trump taking so much steps to improve the business climate in the US, Pence said the truth is that these actions will give Indian companies record opportunities to invest in America.”I am confident that with your help, and with the commitment that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi renewed yesterday we will usher in a new era of jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for both our countries, and for all our people,” Pence said.He also praised several Indian companies for creating tens and thousands of jobs in America. Pence mentioned several Indian companies including Wipro, Infosys and Spicejet.”Thanks to the companies represented in this room, the trade relationship between the United States and India is flourishing. It’s remarkable to think that not even 20 years ago, two-way trade between our nations was less than USD 20 billion per year. But by the end of last year, it had grown by more than 500 per cent to an annual USD 115 billion,” he said.”On the other side of the ledger, Indian businesses I m glad to report are investing in America at an unprecedented rate. For instance: Earlier this year, Infosys announced it would hire 10,000 new American workers at four US-based technology centers, one of which will be in my home state of Indiana. And we thank you for investing and believing in America,” Pence said.”Our heartfelt appreciation to all the businesses represented here for your investment in our nation s future. Yet the truth is the United States and India we believe have only scratched the surface when it comes to bilateral investment and trade,” he said.”Yesterday, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi committed to expanding and balancing our trade relationship in the years ahead,” the vice president said.India is projected to become the world’s third-largest market for planes and passengers, he noted.”American companies are already providing airport infrastructure and the airplanes themselves. I just had the chance to meet with the CEO of SpiceJet who just last week placed an order for 40 brand new Boeing jets, on top of 100 new jets it ordered earlier this year,” he said.”I know that American companies are going to continue to give India s aviation industry the wings it needs to soar. And let me just take the opportunity, as the President did yesterday, to say thank you to SpiceJet for investing and believing in American workers and American businesses,” Pence said.Energy, he said, is another area for a more robust partnership.”India boasts the world s fastest-growing economy. But it can t continue without energy, and American producers and grid developers are the best-suited to provide it. From liquefied natural gas, to nuclear power, to clean coal, to everything in between, American energy and American expertise can help power India s future, he said.

PM-Modi-arrives-in-Portugal-on-first-leg-of-three-nation-tour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Lisbon, Portugal on the first leg of his three-nation tour on Saturday. Later in the day he will lead delegation-level talks with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa before signing of agreements and launch of the India-Portugal start-up hub. Prime Minister Costa, who is partially of Indian origin, visited New Delhi in January. Prime Minister Modi is the second Indian Prime Minister to visit Portugal. Earlier, former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee attended a European Union meeting in Lisbon in the year 2000. Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949. Bilateral relations, however, went into decline after 1950 over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India’s west coast. By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations, triggering a crisis which precipitated the liberation of Goa by Indian military forces, ending Portuguese rule over Indian enclaves in 1961. It brought to an end, 451 years of Portuguese overseas provincial governance in Goa. With the signing of a treaty in New Delhi on December 31, 1974, the two embassies were re-established and amicable bilateral relations were restored. Trade between the two countries has been growing steadily over the last few years but remains modest at USD 692 million in 2015-16. Portuguese investments into India amount to USD 36.4 million and Portugal ranks 56th in terms of the overall foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into India. Prime Minister Modi will definitely be eyeing ways to attract the FDI from Portugal when he interacts with the Indian-Portuguese community. Portugal has a large Indian origin diaspora with the Indian community in Portugal estimated at 65,000.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi to be first world leader to have WH dinner with Trump

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to “roll out a red- carpet welcome” to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump would host him for a working dinner at the White House on Monday, the first of its kind under this administration. “The White House is very interested in making this a special visit. We’re really seeking to roll out the red carpet. In fact, the two (leaders) will have dinner, a working dinner at the White House. This will be the first dinner for a foreign dignitary at the White House under this administration. So, we think that’s very significant,” a senior administration official told reporters at the White House on the eve of Modi’s arrival. Modi arrives in the US Capitol tonight on a three-day visit during which he would have a meeting with Trump at the White House. Beginning Monday afternoon, the two leaders would spend several hours together in various settings including one-o- one, delegation level, a reception and conclude with a working dinner. “They’ll start off with a one-on-one meeting. They’ll go from the one-on-one meeting to the bilateral meetings. That will last for about an hour. Then they will each give press statements,” the official, said clarifying that it would not be a press conference. “They’ll move from the press statements to a cocktail reception. And that will be followed by the working dinner. So it’s a long interaction, lots of time for the two leaders to get to know each other, to interact on the critical issues that face our two countries,” the official said. During the meetings, the American side would be represented by top leaders including the Vice President Mike Pence, the National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H R McMaster, and the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The Modi trip, the official said is an opportunity to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, which Trump very much views as a critical partnership in promoting stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and globally. “We anticipate that their discussions will be broad- ranging, hitting on a variety of regional and global issues that would seek to advance our common priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity,” the official added. Noting that the US is very much interested in facilitating India’s defence modernisation, and helping to enhance its role as a leader in the Asia Pacific, the official said the Trump Administration believes that a strong India is good for the US. “Now, of course, we’ve seen rapid growth in the defence and security partnership over the last few years, and President Trump very much wants to build on that momentum. And last year’s designation of India as a major defence partner was extremely important, and I think we’ll see a concrete expression of this important designation during this visit,” said the senior White House official. The Trump Administration, the official said, believes that defence trade strengthens both the countries’ security, it reinforces the strategic partnership, and it allows their armed forces to cooperate more closely and improve their interaction with one another. Observing that this defence trade has supported thousands of American jobs, the official said since 2008, India has signed over USD 15 billion in defence contracts with the US. Counter-terrorism would be another major area of discussion. “The US and India are both committed to combating all forms of terrorism and strengthening their cooperation in areas like terrorist screening, intelligence and information sharing, terrorists’ use of the Internet, and, of course, terrorist designations,” the official said. “I think we can expect to see some new initiatives on counter terrorism cooperation,” the official said. Among other things, Modi and Trump will also be discussing global cooperation and things like burden-sharing. Mentioning that India has committed more than USD3 billion in development aid to Afghanistan, the official said the US views India’s role in Afghanistan as very positive in helping to stabilise the country and promote democracy there. Noting that India has also adopted UN sanctions against North Korea in April, the official said India joins the US in sending a very strong message to the North Korean regime. “This visit will provide an opportunity for both countries to restate their commitment to common principles in the strategically vital important region of the Indo-Pacific. This includes freedom of navigation and overflight,” the official asserted. In the trade and investment area, India and the US are committed to “expanding and balancing” their trade relationship, the official said. “Right now, two-way trade in goods and services totals over USD 114 billion. Now, there are challenges in the trading sphere, and both sides look to increase their market access,” the official added. Observing that the US is looking for things like stronger intellectual property protections, reductions in tariffs, the official said this visit offers an opportunity to advance that trade dialogue and look for opportunities that will enhance prosperity and create jobs for both countries. Energy partnership is one aspect of the economic relationship that has not been highlighted as much in the past, the official said, adding that this would be an important part of the trip. Indian energy companies have signed over USD 32 billion in long-term contracts for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas, including from Louisiana and Maryland, he said. The visit will also demonstrate the strong people-to- people ties, the White House official said. Today, nearly four million Indian Americans are in the United States, and more than 166,000 Indian students are studying in the US, contributing USD 5 billion in economic activity and supporting an estimated 64,000 American jobs, the official said. Modi’s visit to the US the first under the Trump Administration — offers an opportunity for relationship- building, the official said. “I think these two leaders have a lot in common. For one, they are the world’s two most followed political leaders on social media. I think President Trump is slightly ahead of Modi, but I think this shows the kind of leaders they are. They’re both innovators, they’re both businessmen, they’re committed to bringing greater prosperity to their people and thinking about innovative ways to do that,” the official noted. “I think they’re going to find a lot of common ground in their discussions, both personally and in terms of the strategic partnership,” said the senior administration official.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Boke-borne men snatch American tourist’s bag in Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two bike-borne men allegedly snatched the bag of a 61-year-old American woman tourist in central Delhi’s Daryaganj area. The bag contained USD 101, her passport and some Indian currency and her cell phone, the police said. The incident occurred with Judy Perreira when she was roaming in Old Delhi on a cycle-rickshaw yesterday, they added. Two bike-borne men snatched her bag around 5.45 PM.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

US Prez Trump ‘looking forward’ to meet PM Modi on June 26, expand Indo-US ties: White House

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The maiden meeting between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would “set forth a vision” to expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious way, the White House has said.The leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, home to 1.6 billion people, will meet on June 26 to discuss a gamut of bilateral issues including terrorism and India’s concerns over possible changes in H1B visa rules.”I think you can expect the two of them to set forth a vision that will expand the US-India partnership in an ambitious and worthy way of both countries’ people,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.Spicer said Trump “looks forward” to his meeting with Modi on June 26 and the two leaders were expected to set forth a “common vision” on expanding the US-India partnership. He cited fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and reforms and expanding security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as shared priorities.”President Trump and Prime Minister Modi will look to outline a common vision for the United States-India partnership that is worthy of their 1.6 billion citizens,” Spicer said.Trump invited Modi to Washington after the latter rang him in January to congratulate the new president on his inauguration.”The president and the prime minister have had a number of positive phone conversations, and expect to further that discussion … whether it’s economic growth and reforms, fighting terrorism, expanding our cooperation as major defence partners,” Spicer said in response to a question.The White House said that the US-India trade has grown six-fold since 2000, from USD 19 billion to USD 115 billion in 2016, despite the recent hiccups over the H1-B visa issue.”US energy and technologies, including natural gas, are helping to build Prime Minister Modi’s vision for a new India and creating thousands of US jobs in the process,” Spicer said.Notably, Modi’s US visit, which would begin on June 25, comes in the backdrop of Trump’s announcement to withdraw the US from the historic Paris Climate Agreement signed by over 190 other countries.In his announcement of the decision for which he received a global condemnation, Trump had blamed India and China for the US withdrawal.”India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions of dollars from developed countries,” he had said.Strongly rejecting Trump’s contention, India said it signed the Paris deal not under duress or for lure of money but due to its commitment to protect the environment.During his visit to France this month, Modi even said that India would “go above and beyond” the Paris deal to protect climate for the future generations.Apart from ways to enhance trade and business cooperation, Modi and Trump are expected to discuss defence ties.

Modi govt compromising with the country’s security: Chavan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan today accused the Centre of compromising the security of the country and questioned the foreign and internal security policy of the BJP-led NDA government. He also said that the country was facing worst ever crisis after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. “You are aware of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Manipur is facing the same situation and Naxal attacks have increased manifold. There is tension with Pakistan and China, ties with Nepal and Russia have been hit, compromise is being made with security of the country,” he told reporters here. Holding Modi responsible for the prevailing situation in the country, he said prime minister wants to run the government single handedly even as he lacks the talent. “He is not allowing anybody to work freely. Modi talked about new direction during his oath taking ceremony and invited prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif,” he said. He made a sudden stop-over at that country, sari-shawl diplomacy started and he was of the thought that everything will be alright as he had developed a personal relation with Sharif, Chavan said, adding “but he forgot that Pakistan Army and its ISI decides its relation with India and not its premier”. Referring to India’s relation with Nepal, he said never in the history such deterioration had happened in the ties between the two countries. “China is brow beating us every time. China and Pakistan relation is developing CPEC and ‘One Road One Belt’ initiative is being talked about. Everyone else is becoming part of it and the BJP is rubbing its hands,” he said, adding Russia is coming closer to Pakistan and conducted military exercise there. He said that we are unable to understand where we are going. “I feel the entire failure is because of the PM as he had taken the whole work of external affairs in his own hands sidelining Sushma swaraj,” he said. Continuing his attack on the BJP-led Centre on its third anniversary, he said BJP had failed on every front and failed to fulfill its poll promises. “Nowadays, you are not hearing the prime minister talking about fighting corruption in his public addresses. It is because his government got exposed due to various scandals in BJP-led states. The height of the affairs is that there is no inquiry or progress in any of these cases,” he alleged. Speaking about Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, dam construction scandal in Arunachal Pradesh, petroleum corporation scam in Gujarat, mining scam in Rajasthan and money laundering in Chattisgarh, he said these exposed the BJP government at the Centre which had promised to fight corruption and black money. He said the UPA government received names of 1,400 people who have offshore accounts through Germany. “After the change of government, BJP got the files, but there is no progress. 500 names of Indian nationals surfaced in Panama papers but not a single case was registered, leave aside making some arrests.” He said it is on record who facilitated safe passage to former IPL chief Lalit Modi and business tycoon Vijay Mallya out of the country. Terming demonetisation as a biggest scam, Chavan said the government claimed having taken the step to end fake currency, terrorism and black money. “There is no end to corruption, black money was deposited in banks and made white. Money was spent in huge amounts in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab elections recently. From where money has come?” he asked and said RBI is not revealing how many notes have been printed and how many notes were returned. He said fake currency notes, printed in Pakistan, have been seized in large numbers after demonetisation. “Will Modi again go for demonetisation of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes? ” the Congress leader said. He said USD 753 million income was generated through export from agriculture sector in 2003-04 which was enhanced to USD 3,295 million during the UPA government but the NDA government has brought down the export to USD 1,338 million. Chavan also questioned the government for its failure to generate jobs and taking industrial sector to new heights. “Modi had promised to generate 2 crore jobs each year. Where are the 6 crore jobs? If you view government figures, only 1.35 crore jobs were created in 2015,” he said, adding demonetisation has dealt a severe below to the unorganised sector. He claimed that the youth of the country is frightened as to see his future bleak. “Youth are feeling directionless. Chavan also lashed out at the BJP government for its failure to provide relief to the people as falling oil prices resulted benefit to the tune of USD 40 million to the government.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM Modi emphasized on growing trade ties with Africa at ADB meeting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement on Friday in which it said that Prime Minister Narendra held bilateral meetings with the visiting leaders of the Africa nations of Benin; Senegal and C?te d?Ivoire on the sidelines of 52nd annual meeting of the African Development Bank in Gandhinagar on May 23. The Prime Minister met President Patrice Talon of Benin; President Macky Sall of Senegal and Vice President Daniel Kablan Duncan of C?te d?Ivoire. The MEA also said that Ghana?s former president, John Dramani Mahama also called on the Prime Minister. The statement said that India enjoys excellent bilateral relationship with all these countries and added that the Prime Minister during his meetings emphasized on the ever growing trade and economic relations with the respective countries. Our current level of bilateral trade is nearly USD 1 billion each with C?te d?Ivoire and Senegal, about USD 3.6 billion with Ghana and USD 700 million with Benin. He expressed gratitude for signing of International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement (ISAFA) by Senegal, C?te d?Ivoire and Ghana. Prime Minister Modi also requested Benin to consider early signing and ratification of the ISAFA. It may be mentioned that during IAFS-III India announced offering LoCs worth USD 10 billion for Africa, out of which, funds amounting to USD 2 billion have been earmarked for solar energy related projects. Keeping in view the potential in these countries, Prime Minister Modi encouraged the leaders to consider more projects in this area. All the visiting dignitaries profoundly thanked the Prime Minister and the Government of India for extending Lines of Credit (LoCs) for their developmental activities. Vice President Duncan of Senegal thanked India for its support for military hospitals modernisation project and Mahatma Gandhi IT & Biotechnology Park. President Sall and former Ghanaian President Mahama appreciated India for funding their respective agriculture sector projects through Lines of Credit (LoC). The Prime Minister assured the leaders of all the efforts towards implementation of projects in a timely manner and in accordance with priority assigned by respective countries. The Prime Minister raised the issue of the arrest of two Indian nationals with President of Benin and requested the latter for a fair trial for them. The leaders also discussed regional and international issues including United Nations Security Council reforms and expansion. Issues related to counter-terrorism and enhancing cooperation in different sectors were also discussed. The meetings were held in an atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood that is a hallmark of India-Africa relations.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Israel Aerospace Industries gets $630 mn deal for Indian Navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries said today it has closed another major deal worth USD 630 million with India to supply advanced long range air and missile defence systems for four ships of the Indian Navy. The deal, a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign, will be jointly executed with the Indian government’s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and comes close on the heels of Israel’s largest defence contract ever worth USD 2 billion to supply the Indian Army and Navy with missile defence systems. IAI said the USD 630-million contract is for supplying Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) systems. The LRSAM is a joint development by IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. It comprises several key state-of-the-art elements, advanced phased-array radar, command-and-control system, launchers and missiles with advanced radio-frequency (RF) seekers. The system provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial, naval and air borne threats. It is currently operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defence Forces. The Indian Army is also likely to deploy it soon. The LRSAM was last week successfully tested in India as part of operational interception trial aboard Indian Navy ship “demonstrating again the system’s operational capabilities in a representative scenario with genuine target”, a statement from IAI said. “All components of the weapon system have successfully met the goals set to them”, the company said. The contract will be carried out, for the first time, with Indian government-owned BEL which will serve as the main contractor in the project as part of the Make in India policy. “The new contract adds to other deals signed in the last decade by IAI with India’s defence forces, reinforcing IAI’s global leadership position in air and missile defence systems. The inclusion of Indian governmental company BEL for the first time, is a step up in our relationship with the Indian industry as part of the ‘Make in India’ policy,” IAI’s president and CEO, Joseph Weiss, said. “This unique project represents the close collaboration between India’s DRDO, IAI and the defence forces of both countries. We will proceed to implementing it with joint efforts,” Weiss added. “We take pride, along with our partners in India, in the great results of the trial conducted last week, which reestablishes the System’s reliability and quality as well as its advanced technological capabilities,” Boaz Levi, IAI’s executive vice president and general manager of systems, Missiles and Space Group, said. Israel last month closed a USD two billion defence deal with India, with IAI taking the lion’s share of it with contracts worth USD 1.6 billion.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

First modern artillery guns to land in India on Friday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers will arrive in India from the US on Friday. It will be the first induction of the howitzers after the Bofors scandal broke out nearly 30 years ago. The scandal had badly hit the artillery modernisation of the Indian Army. An official from BAE Systems said the first two guns will land in India ahead of the schedule over the weekend. The howitzers are being procured for the Indian Army and will be deployed along the India-China border. India has struck a government-to-government deal for 145 howitzers with the US at a cost of around USD 700 million. As per the deal, the first 25 guns will be bought directly from the US and the rest will be assembled in India. “We continue to support the US government in integrating its weapon systems with the Indian Army’s artillery modernisation programme,” the official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

6 women held for stealing USD 8,300 from foreigner aboard

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six women have been arrested for allegedly stealing a Canadian citizen’s purse containing US dollars worth Rs 5.30 lakh and passport, police said today. T Sukuraman, a Canadian citizen, took the metro from Karol Bagh and deboarded at Rajiv Chowk on May 8, they said. While alighting he found that a black purse containing USD 8,300, his passport and other documents was missing, they added. He filed a police complaint and police scanned the CCTV footage from the cameras. Within 24 hours, they arrested six women from Ghazipur for their alleged involvement in the theft.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hope to see a sovereign, united and an independent Palestine co-exist with Israel: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas of India’s “unwavering support” to the Palestinian cause, saying it hopes to see a sovereign, united and an independent Palestine, co- existing peacefully with Israel.Modi, who is scheduled to travel to Israel in July, also hoped for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution.After extensive and wide-ranging talks between Modi and Abbas, the two sides signed five agreements.Addressing a joint press event with Abbas, the prime minister said, “We hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel. I have reaffirmed our position on this to President Abbas during our conversation today.”Modi also added that “India has been unwavering in supporting the Palestinian cause. India hopes for early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli side to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution.” Modi’s remarks come ahead of his scheduled visit to the Jewish state and assume significance in the backdrop of growing proximity between India and Israel. Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.On his part, Abbas said Palestine appreciates the solidarity India extends to its cause.”India is a friend. It has influence at the international level. India can play an important role (in the resolving Palestine Israel crisis,” Abbas said.He also said that he recently had meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed possibilities of an early resolution to the long-pending dispute with a two-state solution.Modi also noted that he and the visiting dignitary had an extensive exchange of views on West Asia and the Middle East peace process and said the challenges in West Asia should be addressed through sustained political dialogue and peaceful means.The Palestine President also condemned terrorism in all forms.The two sides signed agreements for visa exemptions for diplomatic passport holders, in the fields of agriculture cooperation, IT and electronics, health sector and cooperation in the field of youth affairs and sports.”At the bilateral level, India is committed to be a useful development partner of Palestine. We would continue to support development and capacity of the Palestine. The agreements concluded today are reaffirmation of our intent to strengthen cooperation in this direction,” Modi said.Referring to the technopark jointly built by India and Palestine in Ramallah, he said it will a one-stop solution to IT-related services in Palestine.In October 2015, India has announced grant of USD 12 million for setting up the park with payment of USD 3 million each on half-yearly basis for 2 years. The Palestinian side has made the land available for the project.Abbas said India is “ahead of all friendly countries” in helping Palestine.Modi said the India is looking froward to enhance cultural exchanges by adding new elements including yoga.”I have reaffirmed our coalition on this to President Abbas during our conversation today.”President Abbas and I concluded useful and detailed discussion that will add further strength in partnership,” he said.

Jaitley hints at incentives for setting up local manufacturing in defence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has hinted that incentives are being worked out to encourage domestic manufacturing in the defence sector so as to cut imports of combat planes, ships and submarines. In an interview to PTI, he said the government is working on a policy that will incentivise companies to set up manufacturing bases in India.”We have so far liberalised our rules as far as investment is concerned… our companies, both defence PSUs and private sector companies have already started entering into arrangements with international majors with the object of establishment of manufacturing units in India,” he said.But with government being the only buyer, manufacturing units generally will be set up only after orders are secured. “Now, in the context of defence, government is the only buyer and therefore, people will establish units only if there is a likelihood of they getting business and therefore, our policies have to be tuned to this reality,” he said.Asked if the policy under consideration would lead to any change in the offset policy, he said there will be no change. Under defence offset, a foreign supplier of equipment has to manufacture a given percent of his product (in terms of value) in the buying country. This may also be through technology transfer.”Our policies have to be tuned so that we are able to incentivise people that it is worthwhile to setup manufacturing bases in India,” he said. He did not elaborate on the policy in works or whether it will include tax incentives and state support.Jaitley said the response to Make in India in defence has been encouraging. India is the world’s largest arms importer, spending some 1.8 per cent of its GDP on defence. It imports about 70 per cent of defence equipment, a proposition which the government wants to change.With its growing global clout, India — which has topped the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s list of largest defence importers for the last seven years — is looking at self-reliance in aerospace and defence industry.The government has pledged to spend USD 250 billion by 2025 on weapons and military equipment. Jaitley had last month in US stated that the policy will help major global defence companies set up manufacturing units in the country in collaboration with Indian firms.”Under our changed policy, we are in the future going to concentrate not merely in buying from the rest of the world, but encouraging global defence majors in collaboration with Indian companies to set up manufacturing units in India,” he had stated.

Snake fan hunts pythons in Florida to save other critters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Florida is paying USD 8.10 an hour to hunt invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades, but Brian Hargrove says he’d work for free. He’s enjoying special access to state-owned wetlands and reliving his teenage years, when catching snakes gave him something better to do than join a Miami gang. It’s the best job ever for a man with a cobra tattooed over his heart. “I feel like I won the lottery, and I make minimum wage,” Hargrove said. But he must kill the pythons he finds. “The last thing I ever want to do is kill a snake,” he said. “I love snakes. It’s not their fault.” There is a long list of reasons why the pythons must die: all the animals they’ve eaten. It’s estimated 90 percent of many native mammals have ended up in pythons’ stomachs — they had never faced such a voracious predator before pet pythons escaped or were dumped into the Everglades. Hargrove, of Cutler Bay, is one of 25 hunters selected to kill pythons through June 1 for the South Florida Water Management District, the state agency overseeing Everglades restoration. Traps, snake-sniffing dogs, radio-tracking implants, occasional cold snaps and two public roundups so far have failed to significantly reduce the population of the giant constrictors. Florida’s wildlife commission announced Monday new prizes and plans to hire additional contractors to boost python removals from state-managed lands. “We’re trying to save the deer, the alligator, the rabbits, the rat snakes, the rattlesnakes — everything is slowly but surely disappearing,” Hargrove said. As a teen, he never thought twice about scooping up racers and rat snakes to take home. Now the 45-year-old takes only photographs. Native snakes have become scarce — and skinny, because they have less to eat. “Thirty years ago, this place was swamped with life,” Hargrove said. “Even a raccoon is a ‘wow’ experience now.” About a mile from Everglades National Park, Hargrove found droppings he knew were from a python. The size of chicken eggs, they were bigger than any droppings from native Florida snakes like rattlesnakes or water moccasins. Walking through shoulder-high grass, Hargrove shrugged off the threat of being bitten by hidden venomous snakes. “I’d be kind of happy, actually. At least I’d have seen one,” he said. (Reporters following him hoped he was joking.) Tan-and-brown pythons are particularly good at hiding. Anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 pythons could be in the Everglades, said district spokesman Randy Smith, but they’re difficult to find unless they stretch across a road or levee. The evidence of their infestation is the apparent absence of anything else. According to the district, a python growing to 13 feet typically eats in five to seven years one raccoon, one possum, four 5-foot alligators, 10 squirrels, 15 rabbits, 30 cotton rats, 72 mice and about three dozen birds. Those birds include struggling wading birds also threatened by rising sea levels and lengthy delays in Everglades restoration projects. Larger pythons consume larger animals — the remains of three deer were found inside one 15-foot-6-inch python last year. The district also pays USD 50 per snake, plus USD 25-a- foot bonuses for snakes longer than 4 feet. Rather than collect the bounties, Hargrove would rather ship the pythons back to their native Asia. A resurgence of pythons might delight the Irula tribesmen from southern India who visited Florida this year to teach their snake hunting traditions to researchers and wildlife officials. Pythons now are rare in that region, and the visitors had never caught that species in the wild until they came to the Everglades, said University of Florida wildlife ecologist Frank Mazzotti.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India needs to address IPR, tax issues for ease-of-doing-

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To improve ease-of-doing-business, India must address issues like protection of intellectual property rights and rationalise taxes and tariffs, a senior US diplomat said here today. Markay Carlson, Charge D’Affaires at the US Embassy said as India seeks to promote domestic manufacturing, create jobs, and attract investment, it is important to recognise the crucial role that open trade plays in this process. “For this reason, we must work with our counterparts in the Indian government to identify policies and practises that can further improve ease-of-doing-business in India and incentives trade. “This includes addressing issues such as enhancing the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, rationalising taxes and tariffs, and harmonising standards with international best practises,” he said at an annual general meeting of American Chamber of Commerce in India (AMCHAM) here. Welcoming reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code, Carlson said it will reduce long-standing challenges to doing business in India, boost two-way trade and investment. “Foreign investment has also risen to unprecedented levels, with total FDI flows between the US and India at USD 37 billion in 2016,” he said. Carlson noted that defence is a “promising area” of cooperation between the two countries and the strategic defence partnership is “stronger than ever”. In the past year, the US has classified India as a major defence partner, concluded a defence logistics agreement, and expanded defence and industrial ties through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative. “We have also increased cooperation on peacekeeping, disaster assistance, maritime security, and countering violent extremism,” he noted. With India being the ninth largest civil aviation market in the world, Carlson said the US sees great potential for more engagement in the development of this sector especially in areas including airport development and planning, and air safety and security. He said with the Indian government’s target of expanding electricity access to all by 2022, engagement will continue to be a “high priority” in this sector. After the Indo-US nuclear deal, talks are on with two US companies to built 12 atomic reactors in the country. Carlson noted that India students brought USD 31 billion to the US economy over the past decade as he emphasised on enhancing “people-to-people ties”. The US will also hold ‘2017 Select USA Investment Summit’, from 18-20 June in Washington DC, he said, welcoming Indian investors for the event.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bank employee accused of USD 3.1 million theft in Macedonia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Macedonian police say an employee in one of the largest banks in the country, NLB Tutunska Banka, allegedly stole about 3 million euros (USD 3.1 million) from a vault in the bank’s headquarters. Police said today that the 40-year-old employee, identified only by his initials BS, put the cash into a bag and walked out of the building unnoticed by the bank security guards. Police said in a press release that one person had been questioned in connection with the theft. They did not specify whether the person being questioned was the suspect. Police said no further details could be released because of the ongoing investigation. The theft was reported to police yesterday at the end of the working hours by the bank’s vault manager. AP RC 04112307 NNNN(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Probe launched to investigate alleged dumping of fishing nets by Bangladesh and China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has initiated a probe into alleged dumping of fishing nets from Bangladesh and China following complaints from the domestic industry.Indian Fishnet Manufacturers Association has filed a petition before the Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) for initiation of anti-dumping investigation and to suggest imposition of the duty on fishnet imports from these two countries. The DGAD, in a notification, has stated that it has found “sufficient evidence of dumping” of the goods.”The authority hereby initiates an investigation into the alleged dumping, and consequent injury to the domestic industry,” it said. The period of investigation is from April 2015 to September 2016 (18 months). However, for the purpose of injury investigation, it will also cover the data from 2012-16. If established that dumping has caused material injury to the domestic players, the commerce ministry’s arm – DGAD would recommend imposition of anti-dumping duty on the imports. These duties are levied to guard domestic players against cheap below-cost imports. Increasing imports and dumping of goods from China have always been areas of concern for Indian companies. India’s exports to China were only USD 9 billion in 2015-16 but imports aggregated at USD 61.7 billion in that fiscal. The DGAD is also probing dumping of several other products such as certain chemicals and steel products from the neighbouring country. India is one of the most attractive markets for global producers due to its large middle class population. Imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. Both India and China are members of the Geneva-based body. The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.

Cops arrest call centre scam kingpin who ‘duped’ Americans

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police has arrested Sagar Thakkar alias ‘Shaggy,’ the alleged kingpin of a scam duping thousands of Americans of over USD 300 million by reaching them via call centres posing as US officials to extort money from them. Thakkar was arrested late last night at the Mumbai airport following his return from Dubai and was produced today before a court which remanded him in police custody till April 13, said Thane police commissioner Param Bir Singh. Singh told reporters at press conference that Thakkar, who was living in Dubai, decided to return to India after the police initiated the process to issue Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him. He seemed to have a thorough knowledge of computers and related technical know-how as well as that of the Indian and the US legal systems, said the commissioner, who interrogated Thakkar briefly before he was taken to the court. Sagar was on the run since unearthing of the scam last year. The police said the racket which he ran since 2013 through at least half a dozen call centres in Thane, targeted at least 15,000 US-based tax payers with Indian tele-callers calling them up, posing as US Internal Revenue Service or immigration officials and demanding payments for non-existent debts. The US Justice Department has charged 61 such people or entities linked to the scam. The US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had earlier said these call centres stole more than USD 300 million from their victims. The scam came to light last year when police raided call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on the night of October 4-5. Subsequently, police teams raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket. Over 70 people, mostly directors and key persons linked to these call centres, were arrested and 700 employees were detained. During interrogation of the arrested directors, the police got Thakkar’s name as the alleged mastermind of the racket, but before the police could reach him, he had fled the country on October 5 itself. The police subsequently issued a LOC (Look Out Circular) against Thakkar him on October 7. Investigators say Thakkar, 24 led a lavish lifestyle and was accompanied by around a dozen bouncers. He was a regular visitor at posh late night parties in Mumbai and was also fond of high-end cars. He began working at the age of 16 with his ‘mentor’ Jagdish Kanani, who had worked in the call centres abroad. Kanani, 33, who was arrested from suburban Borivali last October had trained him, they said. Thane police had also seized Thakkar’s Audi car worth Rs 2.5 crore from Ahmedabad in October last year. It was allegedly purchased from a leading cricketer in May.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India extends USD 4.5 billion development-linked credit line to Bangladesh, no pact on Teesta @ 4/8/2017 6:35:12 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Saturday extended a credit line of US dollars 4.5 billion to Bangladesh to help it to implement development projects. ?I am happy to announce a new concessional Line of Credit of 4.5 billion dollars for the implementation of projects in priority sectors for Bangladesh. This brings our resource allocation for Bangladesh to more than eight billion dollars over the past six years,? Prime Minister Modi said at a joint press conference at Hyderabad House here. Prime Minister Modi also announced a USD 500 million credit line to support Bangladesh?s defence-related procurements. ?I am also happy to announce a Line of Credit of US dollars 500 million to support Bangladesh?s defence-related procurement. In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh?s needs and priorities,? Prime Minister Modi said. India and Bangladesh signed 22 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and one financial agreement following delegation level talks between the two sides here. No pact on the sharing of water of the river Teesta was signed between the two nations. The Teesta river runs through both Bengal and Bangladesh and if a treaty is signed it would allowed for equal share of water. “I am very happy that the Chief Minister of West Bengal is my guest today. Her feeling for Bangladesh is as warm as my own. I assure you and the people of Bangladesh of our continuing efforts on Teesta. It’s only my government and your government that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing issue,” Prime Minister Modi said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said India’s support would help resolve all issues, including Teesta, expeditiously. The Bangladesh Prime Minister is on a four-day visit to India.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India extends USD 4.5 billion development-linked credit line to Bangladesh, no pact on Teesta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Saturday extended a credit line of US dollars 4.5 billion to Bangladesh to help it to implement development projects. ?I am happy to announce a new concessional Line of Credit of 4.5 billion dollars for the implementation of projects in priority sectors for Bangladesh. This brings our resource allocation for Bangladesh to more than eight billion dollars over the past six years,? Prime Minister Modi said at a joint press conference at Hyderabad House here. Prime Minister Modi also announced a USD 500 million credit line to support Bangladesh?s defence-related procurements. ?I am also happy to announce a Line of Credit of US dollars 500 million to support Bangladesh?s defence-related procurement. In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh?s needs and priorities,? Prime Minister Modi said. India and Bangladesh signed 22 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and one financial agreement following delegation level talks between the two sides here. No pact on the sharing of water of the river Teesta was signed between the two nations. The Teesta river runs through both Bengal and Bangladesh and if a treaty is signed it would allowed for equal share of water. “I am very happy that the Chief Minister of West Bengal is my guest today. Her feeling for Bangladesh is as warm as my own. I assure you and the people of Bangladesh of our continuing efforts on Teesta. It’s only my government and your government that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing issue,” Prime Minister Modi said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said India’s support would help resolve all issues, including Teesta, expeditiously. The Bangladesh Prime Minister is on a four-day visit to India.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Increased anti-terror cooperation plans for India-Bangladesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Bangladesh on Saturday resolved to step up anti-terror cooperation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming spread of radicalism as a “grave threat”, not only to the two countries but to the entire region.After talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Modi also announced a USD 500 million Line of Credit to support Bangladesh’s military procurement.”While our partnership brings prosperity to our people, it also works to protect them from forces of radicalisation and extremism. Their spread poses a grave threat, not just to India and Bangladesh but to the entire region. We have the greatest admiration for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s firm resolve in dealing with terrorism. Her government’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards terrorism is an inspiration for all of us,” said Modi at a joint media event with Hasina.The Prime Minister also said both sides agreed that peace, security and development for people of the two countries and for the region will remain the central engagement between the two neighbours.”Today, we have also taken a long overdue step by signing an agreement on close cooperation between our armed forces. I am also happy to announce a Line of Credit of 500 million US dollars to support Bangladesh’s defence related procurement. In implementing this line of credit, we will be guided by Bangladesh’s needs and priorities,” he said.On her part, Hasina said her government will take all necessary steps to ensure peace and security along the Indo-Bangla border and asserted that there will be zero-tolerance against terror.Her comments came amid a spate of attacks on the Hindu community in Bangladesh.

Thane call centre scam mastermind who duped thousands of Americans arrested in Mumbai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sagar Thakkar alias ‘Shaggy’, the alleged mastermind of the Internal Revenue Service call centre scam in which thousands of Americans were defrauded to the tune of USD 300 million, has been arrested by Thane Police.According to Thane Police officials, Sagar, who was on the run since the unearthing of the scam last year, was placed under arrest late last night after he arrived at the Mumbai airport following his deportation from Dubai.A team of officers from Thane Police Commissionerate picked up Sagar from the airport, the officials said.The scam, which operated since 2013 through at least half a dozen call centres in Thane, targeted at least 15,000 US-based tax payers, who were allegedly conned by Indian tele-callers.The US Justice Department has charged 61 people and entities linked to the scam where call centre agents impersonated IRS, immigration and other federal officials and demanded payments for non-existent debts.US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson had earlier said that these call centres stole more than USD 300 million from their victims.The scam came to light last year when police raided call centres at Mira Road in Thane district on the night of October 4-5. Subsequently, police teams raided and shut down five call centres in Ahmedabad which were a part of the racket.Over 70 people, mostly directors and key persons linked to these call centres, were arrested and 700 employees were detained.During the interrogation of arrested directors, police got the name of Sagar. However, by that time, he had left the country on October 5 before police could catch him.According to police, they had issued a LOC (Look Out Circular) against Sagar on October 7, two days after his escape. The kingpin was suspected to have fled to Dubai.Investigators say Sagar (24) led a lavish lifestyle and was accompanied by around a dozen bouncers. He was a regular at posh late night parties in Mumbai and was also fond of high-end cars.He began working at the age of 16 with his ‘mentor’ Jagdish Kanani, who had worked in the call centres abroad.Kanani (33), who was arrested from suburban Borivali last October had trained him, they said.Also, Thane police had seized an Audi car belonging to Sagar, valued at Rs 2.5 crore, from Ahmedabad in October last year. It was allegedly purchased from a leading cricketer in May.

Israel signs about USD 2 bn missile deal with India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Israel has signed a nearly USD two billion deal with India to supply advanced missile defence systems, bolstering bilateral military ties in a contract said to be the largest in Israel’s defence industries’ history. In a mega-contract worth over USD 1.6 billion, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (MRSAM) to the Indian Army. IAI said it would also supply additional long-range air and missile defence systems (LRSAM) for the first locally produced Indian aircraft carrier, the company said in a statement yesterday, describing the deal the largest in Israel’s defence industries’ history. The contract is worth 1.6 billion USD for IAI, with the rest going to another state-owned defence company, Rafael, that will be providing components for the systems. “The current contracts represent an enormous expression of confidence by the government of India in IAI’s capabilities and advanced technologies, which are being developed with our local partners as part of the Indian government s Make in India policy’,” IAI CEO Joseph Weiss said in a statement. President Reuven Rivlin, who is said to have discussed the deal with Indian leaders during his trip to India early this year, congratulated Weiss on the “historic” deal terming it truly “exceptional”. “Please pass on my congratulations to all who contributed to this important achievement. You have come such a long way to arrive at this point, it is truly exceptional,” Rivlin told IAI’s CEO. Weiss responded calling it a “truly remarkable achievement” and “a wonderful gift for the upcoming festival (Passover)” to be celebrated next week. Israel s willingness to share technology and form joint ventures with Indian companies to develop and manufacture military equipment supporting the “Make in India” initiative is said to have been well received in New Delhi. In the case of MRSAM, an advanced air and missile defence system that provides protection against a variety of aerial threats, the technology is said to have been jointly developed by IAI and DRDO in collaboration with Rafael and IAI s Elta division. Indian companies such as BEL and L&T are said to have also participated in the project. MRSAM’s current version is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The system includes an advanced phased-array radar, command and control, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pak money changer linked to LeT, Dawood sentenced to prison by US court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Pakistani money changer, known to have links with terror outfits like the LeT, JeM and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been sentenced to 68 months in prison and slapped with a hefty fine of USD 250,000 by a US court for laundering money for militants and criminal groups.Altaf Khanani was one of the principal directors of Khanani and Kalia International (KKI), a leading money exchange and transfer company, which had been involved in money laundering for over a decade. He was convicted on March 29 by a United States District Court in Florida after spending more than a year in a Miami jail, the Dawn newspaper reported. Khanani was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit laundering.The remaining 13 counts of actually committing money laundering were dismissed at the request of the prosecution, which cited Khanani s cooperation in the investigation after he agreed to plead guilty and “to make a full, accurate and complete disclosure of the circumstances surrounding the relevant offense conduct”, according to the plea agreement signed in October 2016. The agreement says the prosecution will recommend leniency during sentencing because Khanani “has assisted authorities in the investigation or prosecution” of his crime.For over a decade, KKI was one of the largest and most sophisticated exchange companies in Pakistan, running a global network of franchises that could move “billions of dollars” around the world for a clientele that the US Treasury department says included Chinese, Mexican and Colombian organised crime groups and designated terrorist organisations, the report said. “Altaf Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Dawood Ibrahim, al-Qa ida, and Jaish-e-Mohammed,” the treasury department said in November 2015, a few months after his arrest in the US.Upon his release, he will be handed over to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings. In June 2015, Khanani was indicted on 14 counts of money laundering, each carrying a 20-year jail term with a USD 250,000 fine, following a sting operation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The investigation spanned across the US, Australia and the UAE and was carried out by multiple law enforcement bodies, including the DEA, FBI, US Customs and Border Protection, Australian Federal Police, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the UAE Police and Central Bank.He was arrested in September 2015 and has been in jail ever since. Initially he pleaded not guilty to all charges and demanded a jury trial. But on November 1 last year, changed his plea to guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and the US Attorney s Office agreed to drop the other 13 counts and seek leniency in sentencing in return for his cooperation in the investigation.

Malaysia wants to raise ties with India to new heights: Najib

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Malaysia wants bilateral trade with India to touch USD 15 billion by 2020, visiting Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said here today. In his interaction with President Pranab Mukherjee during the welcome ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Najib, who is on a six-day visit, said India has always supported Malaysia in difficult times and his country wants to raise their relations to “new heights”. Welcoming the dignitary, Mukherjee said the two countries have taken their strategic partnership forward, particularly after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Malaysia in November 2015. There is considerable potential for Indo-Malaysia collaboration in defence production, Mukherjee said. He said relations between India and Malaysia are centuries old and are “the best ever so far”. Reciprocating the sentiments, the visiting Prime Minster said the relations between India and Malaysia are multi-dimensional. “The two countries can collaborate in a wide variety of fields. Malaysia would like to achieve target of USD 15 billion bilateral trade by 2020,” he said. Malaysia is India’s third largest trading partner in ASEAN. Bilateral trade between Malaysia and India stood at USS12.8 billion in 2015-16, as against USD 16.9 billion in 2014-15. The President said the visit is taking place as the two countries are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. “While our relations are historic, we have been able to make significant strides in the last 10 years,” he said. Mukherjee said commercial and investment relations have become the mainstay of India-Malaysia relations. “There is also considerable potential for collaboration in defence production especially under the Make in India initiative,” he said as he thanked Malaysia for the close cooperation on counter-terrorism. The Malaysian Premier inspected the Guard of Honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan and paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. He had arrived in India on March 30. In the first leg of his visit, Najib went to Chennai, where he interacted with Malaysian students and met Tamil megastar Rajinikanth. Najib met Vice President Hamid Ansari today. He will visit Jaipur during his stay in India.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

2 held for duping people on pretext of selling US dollars

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two persons have been arrested for allegedly duping people on the pretext of exchanging US dollars, police said today. Vasheem Alvi complained that he has been duped of Rs 1.90 lakh and told police that he met Raju at Sarai Kale Khan. Raju offered him US Dollar 20 and asked for Indian currency in return. Alvi obliged and later Raju asked him if he could exchange 1,134 notes of USD 20 for Rs two lakh, DCP (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad said. On March 21, they met near Shamshan Ghat in Geeta Colony to exchange the currencies. He exchanged Rs 1.90 lakh and Raju handed him over a packet. Later, Alvi found a dollar wrapped on a soap cake, she said. The call detail records were scanned and some persons inBangladesh were zeroed in. On further analysis, the accused were identified as scrap dealer Mohd Fazlu (43) and Abdul Rehman (22), who were arrested on March 28. With the arrest of the two, police claimed to have worked out six cases of cheating and recovered Rs 2.3 lakh in cash, USD 11 and four mobile phones. The two accused said they are residents of West Bengal but they were found in touch with people in Bangladesh, a senior police officer said. Their Bangladesh connection and how they procured dollars is being probed, he said. “They disclosed that they used to take money from people on the pretext of giving them dollars and gave a soap cake wrapped in a paper which looks like a bundle of dollars. “They cheated many persons on pretext of exchanging dollars with the same modus operandi,” she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

29 Indian workers rescued from Saudi Arabia: Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has rescued 29 Indian workers from Saudi Arabia and is also paying for their flight tickets, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said tonight. Swaraj was approached by Telangana minister K T Rama Rao who had sought her intervention in the rescue of the 29 migrant workers from the state held in captivity by a company in Saudi Arabia. “We have rescued those 29 workers from Saudi Arabia. We are paying for their air tickets as well,” she tweeted. Rao, who is Telangana’s NRI Affairs and IT Minister, had written to Swaraj sharing a media report which said the workers were held in captivity without any food or basic amenities and that the company had demanded USD 50,000 from each of the employees before allowing them to leave.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

No policy yet in US to curb visas, we are talking: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government today sought to allay the fears among Indian IT professionals, saying the US administration has not implemented any policy yet to curb jobs and efforts were underway to dissuade it from doing so. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha that the Indian government is talking to the Trump administration as well as the US Congressmen, giving proper data and reasoning to press home the point that the relationship between Indian IT companies with the US is mutually-beneficial. “I do agree that there is an atmosphere of uncertainty and there is a fear of job losses,” she said while responding to concerns expressed by the members over the move by the Trump government to curb H1B visas that will adversely impact Indian IT professionals. “There is no policy announced by them (US administration) yet. There are four bills that have come up in the (US) Congress on visa restrictions but no bill has been passed yet. We are talking to the US administration and Congressmen,” Swaraj said. She went on to add, “there have been no job losses yet and no policy has yet come in US. A total of 13 bills have come up in Congress that includes 6 bills on outsourcing, four bills on visa and three bills on immigration.” She said the Foreign Secretary accompanied by Commerce Secretary paid a visit to the US from February 28 to March 3 and held meetings with Cabinet Ministers and senior functionaries of the new US Administration as well as with the Congressional leadership. “We are not merely talking to them (the US administration), we are giving their proper arguments and figures… We are talking to them with data and reasoning while trying to save jobs of H1B visa holders,,” Swaraj told the members. The Minister said MPs should get satisfaction that the government is not just talking but giving proper data and reasoning to press home the idea that the relationship between Indian IT companies with the US is mutually-beneficial. Swaraj said Indian companies have made investments to the tune of USD 2 billion in US from 2011-2015 and have paid taxes worth USD 20 billion, while Indian IT professionals have contributed USD 7 billion as social security money. Likewise, she said the US companies doing business in India are earning USD 27.5 billion and “we are only telling them that all this is mutually-beneficial partnership. If you break this, then even you will be at a loss.” She said Indian IT companies has given direct employment to 1,56,000 Americans and 4,11 lakh supporting jobs and the US recognises their contribution to Us economy. Swaraj said the discussions between the Foreign Secretary and US authorities covered all issues of common interest in India-U.S. relations, including those relating to mobility of high-skilled professionals. “The new Trump Administration has so far not announced any comprehensive policy changes impacting non-immigrant work visa programmes. “In our interactions with the US Administration as well as the Congress, we have conveyed our interest and concerns and highlighted the mutually-beneficial nature of this partnership,” she said in her written reply. The Minister said the Government has emphasised that Indian skilled professionals have contributed to the growth and development of the US economy and have helped the US retain its competitive edge and innovation advantage. They are a big stakeholder in India-US relations and their backward linkages to India have helped US businesses, she said, adding that the US side has conveyed that they recognize and value the positive contributions of Indian students and IT professionals. “Government of India is closely monitoring the developments that may have a bearing upon the movement of Indian workers and professionals to the US. We remain in active dialogue with the US Administration and the US Congress at senior levels to safeguard the interests of Indian workers and professionals in the US,” she said including those relating to commitments made by US under General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of World Trade Organization.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oman’s Foreign Affairs Minister to pay 2-day visit to India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah will pay a two-day visit to India, during which the two sides are expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues. Abdullah will arrive in Delhi on April 2 at the invitation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. “During the forthcoming visit, the two sides would discuss bilateral, regional and other issues of mutual interest,” a statement issued by the MEA said. The Omani minister had earlier visited India in February and June 2014 while Swaraj paid a return visit to the Gulf nation in February 2015. India’s relations with Oman are based on historical people to people contacts and are marked by regular exchange of high-level bilateral visits. The country has over 6.88 lakh strong Indian community. It is an important trading partner of India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade exceeding USD 3.86 billion in 2015-16.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kansas attack: Indian-Americans raise $100,000 for man who took a bullet for Srinivas Kuchibhotla

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 24-year-old American, who took a bullet for an Indian, has been honoured as ‘A True American Hero’ by the Indian-American community in Houston which raised USD 100,000 to help him buy a house in his hometown Kansas.Ian Grillot, who was injured when he tried to intervene in the shooting by a Navy veteran targetting Indians at a bar in Olathe, Kansas last month, was honoured as ‘A True American Hero’ at the 14th annual gala of India House Houston here.”On behalf of the Indian-American community in Houston, India House recognised this selfless act beyond the call of duty and has extended the community’s gratitude to Ian Grillot by helping him to buy a house,” said a statement posted on the India House Houston Facebook page.India House raised USD 100,000 as part of an initiative supported by the Consul General of India in Houston Dr. Anupam Ray to help Ian buy a house in his hometown, it said.India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna handed over a cheque of USD 100,000 to Ian.”I don’t know if I could’ve lived with myself if I wouldn’t have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would’ve been completely devastating.”I do now have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not? I am honored to be at India House that serves so many families from so many communities in the Houston area,” Ian said.India House is a community center built by Americans of Indian origin in the Greater Houston area.”It is not every day that one meets a genuine hero a person who risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger. Ian Grillot is a man who reminds us of the promise of America and its greatness,” said Jiten Agarwal, a prominent Houstonian and Chair of the annual gala.

Participating in the debate, Kirit Somaiya (BJP) said

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>while the Congress made an issue out of demonetisation, it was itself “devalued” in Uttar Pradesh polls and it has now become difficult to find the party in the state. He said the recent assembly polls have shown “whose GDP has gone down”, adding the GDP of Modi and BJP has gone up. Listing the government’s achievements in the economy, Somaiya quoted a latest report by PricewaterhouseCoopers which he said placed India as the third largest economy with a total volume of USD 19.51 trillion. He said the report placed Chinese economy at the top with USD 38 trillion, while the US occupied the second place at USD 23.47 trillion. “Our government has done so much. Nostradamus had predicted that a leader from the East will emerge strongly and take his country to a new high. That leader is Narendra Modi,” said the BJP MP from Maharastra. Slamming the opposition for opposing demonetisation, Somaiya said they have been facing the anger of the people for putting hurdles in India’s development. “The economy is not being ruined, the country is not being ruined. But those creating bottlenecks for Modiji in taking forward the country are being ruined,” he said. Referring to Congress’ ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan in 1971, he wondered why the party could not rid the country of poverty in the last over 40 years. “They had given the Garibi Hatao slogan in 1971 and again talked about it 2014. Why the party could not remove poverty in 43 years? You see what we have done in last 33 months,” Somaiya said. AIADMK MP G Hari complimented the government for advancing the presentation of the budget and merging of the railway budget with the general budget. He also sought adequate funds for providing relief to those in Tamil Nadu hit by cyclone Vardah last year as well as to deal with drought in various parts of the state this year. The AIADMK MP also demanded a Rs 200 crore package for celebration of M G Ramachandran’s birth centenary.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sentences reduced for 2 whistleblowers in ‘LuxLeaks’ case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An appeals court in Luxembourg has reduced sentences for two former employees of an accounting firm who were found guilty of leaking thousands of secret documents to an investigative journalist in the so-called LuxLeaks case. The appeals court upheld today the guilty verdict returned last year by a lower court against Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet. The two ex-employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers had leaked private documents to journalist Edouard Perrin, who was investigating sweetheart tax deals Luxembourg granted to big foreign firms. Deltour was sentenced to a six-month suspended prison term instead of a 12-month suspended term, while Haled received a 1,000 euro (USD 1,063) fine, instead of a nine-month suspended term. The court also upheld the acquittal of Perrin, who used the materials dubbed “LuxLeaks” for a series of exposes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

16 Indian-origin people charged in identity theft ring in US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sixteen Indian-origin people, including a woman, in the US have been charged for their alleged role in a massive stolen credit card and identity theft operation resulting in losses of over USD 3.5 million to individuals, financial institutions and retail businesses. Muhammad Rana, 40, of Queens in New York, was the leader of the massive fraud scheme who was helped by his deputy Inderjeet Singh (24). In all 30 individuals have been charged as authorities cracked down on the extensive stolen credit card and identity theft ring. The ring was allegedly responsible for stealing the personal credit information of hundreds of consumers and costing the individuals, financial institutions and retail businesses more than USD 3.5 million in losses over the course of the alleged scheme. Others charged in the multiple-count indictment are Sonam Kukreja, 26, Balwinder Singh, 36, Ranjet Singh, 30, Ankit Chadha, 29, Kamaljot Singh, 24, Tanveer Sidhu, 25, Gauruv Chhabra, 33, Pradeep Grover, 46, and Gurbachan Singh, 55, Shingara Singh, 28, Sukhjinder Singh, 32, Tajinder Singh, 25, Vinny Maksudpuri (age not given), Varinder Singh, 27, of 118th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said yesterday many of the defendants charged are accused of going on shopping sprees, purchasing tens of thousands of dollars worth of high-end electronics and fashion merchandise with forged credit cards that contained the account information of unsuspecting consumers. As part of their alleged scheme, the defendants ordered new credit cards for cardholders and stole them out of the cardholders’ mailboxes when they were delivered, Brown added. Brown said 24 search warrants were executed earlier this week throughout Queens and Nassau Counties and numerous items recovered including USD 400,000 in cash, numerous gold coins and gold bars valued at about USD 1,300 dollars each – binders with the personal information of hundreds of thousands of individuals, firearms, card readers and various amounts of raw material, such as blank credit cards and fake identifications. Authorities said the defendants have been charged in a 389-count indictment accusing them of being members and associates of an organised criminal enterprise that operated in Queens and between April 2015 and January 2017, systematically schemed to defraud scores of unsuspecting consumers and financial institutions such as Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, American Express. The investigation leading to the indictments and arrests began in April 2015 when police officers assigned to the Police Department’s Identity Theft Squad commenced the investigation into an identity theft ring. The investigation involved physical surveillance, intelligence gathering and court-authorised electronic eavesdropping on dozens of different telephones in which thousands of conversations were intercepted, which required them to be translated from Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Spanish into English.(MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"We are pretty close and our leaders meet often and our

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>militaries exchange visits and we have set up counter terrorism and transnational crime cooperation mechanism,” Fu said, adding that on regional and international issues there is lot of common standing between the two countries. “For the past few years we have been talking to each other and advancing cooperation, while discussing differences. That is what we have been doing,” she said. On the CPEC, which is part of the Silk Road also called One Belt and One Road, she said it was connectivity programme aimed at development and it will benefit also India. “So we need to bear in mind the larger picture,” she said. After the strategic talks, Jaishankar had said CPEC concerns sovereignty issues to India as it goes through PoK and wondered how India can take part in big Silk Road, officially known One Belt and Road, summit being organised by China in the May. CPEC is part of the Silk Road initiative. Referring to trade relations between the two countries, Fu said that during her early career in the Foreign Ministry in 1990s she found that trade with India was mistakenly entered by her colleague as USD 20 billion when it was hardly USD two billion. “I thought I will never see that happen (USD 20 billion) in my life time,” she said, adding that last year the bilateral trade exceeded USD 70 billion. There were few flights earlier. Now we have 40 flights flying back and forth, she said. Jaishankar co-chaired the upgraded strategic dialogue in Beijing on February 22 which covered almost all aspects of the bilateral ties including differences over NSG and Azhar. On the Azhar issue, China has put third technical hold in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council on the Al-Qaeda terrorism issues. Last year Beijing blocked India’s move twice and this year again it put a six-month technical hold when US backed by France and UK moved the application for a ban on Azhar saying that the resolution lacked consensus.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Fu, 63, said during her early career in the Foreign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry in 1990s she found that trade with India was mistakenly entered by her colleague as USD 20 billion when it was hardly USD two billion. “I thought I will never see that happen (USD 20 billion) in my life time,” she said, adding that last year the bilateral trade exceeded USD 70 billion. There were few flights earlier. Now we have 40 flights flying back and forth, she said. Jaishankar co-chaired the upgraded strategic dialogue in Beijing on February 22 which covered almost all aspects of the bilateral ties including differences over NSG and Azhar. On the Azhar issue, China has put third technical hold in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council on the Al-Qaeda terrorism issues. Last year Beijing blocked India’s move twice and this year again it put a six-month technical hold when US backed by France and UK moved the application for a ban on Azhar saying that the resolution lacked consensus. China yesterday expressed concern over India granting permission to the Dalai Lama to visit the Arunachal Pradesh.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ajit Doval lays ground for PM Modi’s Israel visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has held talks with Israel’s top leadership here as part of preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much- awaited visit, the first by an Indian premier to the Jewish country.Modi is expected to visit Israel by the middle of this year. Doval landed in Israel yesterday and met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office. Doval also met his counterpart, Israel’s acting National Security Adviser and Head of the National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (retd) Jacob Nagel. The discussions “revolved around Prime Minister Modi’s expected visit this summer”, officials here told PTI.Doval left for India this morning after a short trip. India’s relations with Israel have made steady progress since the two countries established diplomatic relations 25 years ago in January 1992, irrespective of the party in power in New Delhi, but a prime ministerial visit to Israel has been long-awaited. President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October, 2015, in what was the first such visit by an Indian Head of State to the Jewish country.Israeli President Reuven Rivlin made a reciprocal visit last year at Mukhejee’s invitation in what was the second visit by an Israeli Head of State to New Delhi coming after a gap of almost 20 years. The only visit of an Israeli Prime Minister to India happened in 2003 when Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi. BJP-led government under Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power at that time.Modi’s visit is being discussed amid talks of a “close chemistry” between him and Netanyahu. The two leaders have already met twice on foreign soil on the sidelines of UN-related events and are said to have been in touch with each other over phone. “I am happy that often we can talk easily on telephone, we can discuss everything. It has very rarely happened. In your case it has happened,” Modi had told Netanyahu during their meeting on the sidelines of Paris climate summit in 2015.The Israeli premier had then promptly responded by saying, “in your case too”. India’s abstention in a UNHRC vote in 2015 on a UN report ACAritical of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza war of 2014 was described by many here as a sign of a “qualitative leap” in relations which had transformed into “completely normal” ties without any “hangups” with many crediting the closeness between the two prime Ministers for the “change in heart”.New Delhi, however, later clarified that the vote was a “principled” stand it had taken with the International Criminal Court having a reference in the resolution and did not mark “any shift in policy”. Starting with humble figures of USD 200 million in annual trade in 1992, the two countries registered bilateral trade of about USD 4.5 billion last year.The defence ties between the two countries have often drawn worldwide attention and acquired strategic dimensions. Modi’s visit is expected to push Israeli defence companies to set up manufacturing units in India under the much publicised ‘Make in India’ campaign.

CBI questions alleged middleman in Embraer deal probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI has recorded the statement of businessman Vipin Khanna in connection with its probe in the case of payment of alleged commission by aircraft maker Embraer to clinch the USD 208-million deal with India. The agency is probing the alleged payment of USD 5.70 million as commission to seal the deal, sources said. The deal for three aircraft, which were to be used by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for air-borne radar systems, was inked with Embraer in 2008. According to defence procurement rules of India, middlemen are strictly barred in defence deals. They said Khanna, who is a suspect in the FIR registered by the CBI, was also asked about his alleged links with people whom he is understood to have approached to influence the deal. The agency has received records from the United States about the deal. On the basis of these documents, the CBI also asked Khanna to clarify the money trail of the alleged commission. Embraer has been under investigation by the US Justice Department since 2010 when a contract with the Dominican Republic raised suspicions, the report said. The sources said 87-year-old Khanna might be called again in connection with its probe. A Brazilian newspaper had alleged that that the company had taken the services of middlemen to clinch deals in Saudi Arabia and India. After the CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry, Embraer had said in a statement, “Since 2011, Embraer has publicly reported that it has been conducting an extensive internal investigation and cooperating with the authorities on investigations regarding alleged violations of the FCPA. “The company voluntarily expanded the scope of the investigation, systematically reporting the progress of the case to the market. “The company is not party of the legal proceedings in Brazil. Therefore, it does not have access to the information contained therein,” it had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ahead of the talks, the Foreign Secretary flagged India’s

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>concerns on CPEC and counter-terrorism in an interview with the China’s-state run Global Times. “For us, there are questions of sovereignty which need to be addressed first,” he said in oblique references to CPEC passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) over which New Delhi has already conveyed its protest to Beijing. The counter-terrorism is one area in which China and India should make special efforts together, he said, without directly referring to China’s repeated technical holds since last year to block Indian and US attempts to clamp a UN ban on JeM chief Azhar. “China has a very strong, principled position on counter-terrorism. We hope the position China already has will be further implemented,” Jaishankar said, adding that discussions with China over the matter are still going on. Last year, China twice put a technical hold on India’s application to 1267 sanctions committee of the UNSC and again blocked a resolution moved by the US – and backed by France and the UK – in January. “Whether last year’s application by India or this year’s by relevant country our position is consistent. 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,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on February 17. On India’s admission into the NSG, again blocked by China, he reiterated China’s stand, “We stick to two-step approach namely, first NSG members need to arrive at a set of principles for the entry of NSG by non-NPT state parties, and then move forward discussions of specific cases.” China also defends the ambitious CPEC project, saying it is development project and made no difference to its stand that Kashmir issue should be resolve by India and Pakistan. Officials say the strategic dialogue will cover the whole gamut of bilateral ties. Two sides have been stressing that both sides are holding talks at various levels to iron out differences stressing that dialogue is the best way forward. Commenting “friction points” including Azhar and NSG, Geng said “differences between China and India are inevitable, but through various forms of in-depth exchanges, including the upcoming Strategic Dialogue, differences can be minimised and new agreement can be reached on further cooperation”. In his interview to the same daily, Shaktikanta Das, Secretary Economic Affairs, said India wants more than just investment and eying Chinese market. “India wants to export more to China. We want to have more market access in China,” Das said, urging China to further open up sectors like IT software and agricultural products. India also has been pressing Beijing to open pharmaceutical sector. India s trade deficit with China last year is over USD 46 billion in over USD 70 billion bilateral trade. India has been pushing China to invest more to compensate for heavy trade deficit.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

It’s not just Trump, but a system: Stone’s critique of US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Filmmaker Oliver Stone has said it wasn’t one leader, who is threatening the American Constitution, but an entire system is responsible for the current crisis. The 70-year-old director was addressing the Writers Guild Awards when he said despite amassing wealth, the US continues to create chaos and wars today, reported Variety. “It’s fashionable now to take shots at Republicans and Trump and avoid the Obamas and Clintons. But remember this: In the 13 wars we’ve started over the last 30 years and the USD 14 trillion we’ve spent… it wasn’t one leader, but a system, both Republican and Democrat,” Stone said. He continued that the “country has become more prosperous for many but in the name of that wealth we cannot justify our system as a centre for the world’s values. But we continue to create such chaos and wars.” Stone told the filmmakers present at the event that they can carve their own niche and can “be critical of your government and your society”. The celebrated helmer received the Laurel Award, where he sent across impassioned message to young filmmakers through his speech.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

US man who helped Indian call center banned from telemarketing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced to ban a Florida man from helping any telemarketers, as he allegedly collected more than USD 1.3 million from about 3,000 consumers in a scheme that helped Indian call center collect money from victims of IRS scam. The proposed settlement resolves an FTC complaint against Joel S Treuhaft and his company, PHLG Enterprise, LLC who collected more than USD 1.5 million from about 3,000 consumers in a scheme that helped Indian call centers collect money from victims of IRS tax scams, government grant scams and advance-fee loan scams, among others, a media release said. “The scammers behind these call centers relied on PHLG and its runners to get consumers’ money,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. FTC said, telemarketers at Indian call centers conned consumers into paying hundreds or thousands of dollars each for taxes they did not owe, or fees for services they did not receive. They often pretended to be affiliated with government agencies, telling people they owed money to the IRS, or that they would get a government grant after they paid a fee. The consumers paid via Western Union or MoneyGram cash money transfers, making it difficult for them to trace their payments or obtain refunds. The defendants paid “runners” to collect the money at retail stores that offer money transfer services, FTC said. Indian call center coordinators managed the collection process via text messaging, the complaint said. They assigned a runner to each transaction and provided the consumer’s name and location, the payment amount, and the transaction number, which the runners then used to obtain the money from the stores, it said. The FTC alleges that Treuhaft told the runners to pick up payments as soon as possible, so that consumers would not have time to cancel or reverse the money transfer. Some runners lied to store employees to retrieve a consumer’s money, including saying they were the consumer’s friends or relatives, FTC alleged. The runners went to various stores every day, for eight to 10 hours per day, to collect consumers’ money. The defendants and their runners kept a portion of the money and delivered the rest to the India-based scammers through a complex series of transactions designed to avoid detection by law enforcement, the complaint said. The obtained by the FTC bans Treuhaft and PHLG from aiding or facilitating any telemarketing, including the use of money transfers, cash reload mechanisms, gift cards, or other payment methods as payment for goods or services sold via telemarketing. It imposed a USD 1.5 million judgment that will be suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

H1-B salary hike plan: L&T Tech fears 2.5% hit on margins

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>L&T Technology Services today said its pre-tax profit margin may be hit by up to 2.5 per cent if the US hikes minimum salaries for H1-B visa holders to USD 1,30,000, and that it is working on alternatives, including shifting the jobs to India. “We have over 1,600 engineers in the US and around 65 per cent of them are on H1-B visas. If the salaries were to be hiked, our calculations suggest an impact of 2-2.5 per cent on Ebidta margins,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Keshab Panda told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Deeper Modi-Trump engagement can weather visa crisis: Gurnani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rattled by the proposed changes in its biggest market US, the USD 150-billion domestic IT industry lobby Nasscom is pinning hopes on a deeper engagement between the “pragmatic” heads of both the countries to help the tide over its current troubles. “The US’ commitment to India is very apparent. I strongly believe that this would require an engagement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump and as and when they are able to engage with each other,” Nasscom chairman C P Gurnani told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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