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Union environment ministry issues fresh directions to control air pollution

The MoEF&CC and environment ministers of the five NCR states had met three times this year to take steps on the issue of air pollution. Preventing stubble burning of crops in Punjab and Haryana and burning of biomass was also one of the issues taken up during these meetings and for which the ministry issued directions on Wednesday.

dna Correspondent

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Nawaz Sharif thanks PM Modi for Lahore visit; says high time India, Pakistan set aside hostilities <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaAAP govt to take a call on Badarpur power plant closure dateIndiaAfter 100 smart cities in 2015, 132 smart villages in 2016IndiaBMC has a New Year gift for Bhendi BazaarIndiaCentre takes the high road, clears coastal road projectIndiaGujarat: Patanjali products sent for testingIndiaAI plane hit by catering van at Newark airport in US <!– /.block –>

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Maharashtra govt gives Rs 258 crore to tribal panchayats, fails to train them on spending

Of the 35 districts in the state, the TSP areas fall in 15 districts —Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Amravati, Yavatmal, Nagpur, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nanded. There are 47 tribes or tribal groups in Maharashtra, including Bhils, Gonds, Mahadeo Kolis, Pawras, Thakurs and Warlis.

Kanchan SrivastavaInfoPrincipal Correspondent at dna Mumbai, have interests in politics, education and energy sectors. A postgraduate in Biochemistry and Lucknow University alumnus. I had worked at Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow for two and half years as Junior Reseach Fellow. Also holds a PG diploma in international studies from Mumbai University. Have won UNFPA-Laadli Media National Award in 2011 for best writing (Hindi) on gender issues. Besides, NBC Newsmakers Achievers Award 2015 for best journalist (English, print)

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Also ReadIndiaAmritsar: Nine killed, 15 injured in accident as bus hits motorised cartIndiaNarrow escape for 171 passengers of AI flight as dog strays on runwayIndiaNoida jinx will keep Akhilesh Yadav away from meeting PMIndiaMaharashtra: Sales tax on kidney-related medicines waived offIndiaDelhi govt suspends two officers; 200 colleagues threaten to go on mass leaveIndiaUP girl students barred from hockey, cricket, football <!– /.block –>

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India-Pakistan talks: Sartaj Aziz warns against ‘unrealistic expectations’

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DDCA row: Gopal Subramanium writes to NSA Ajit Doval asking for officers from CBI, IB

“As I made it clear that the purpose of the inquiry must be the game, the benefit to the game as well as restructuring of the DDCA in the event of such need being present…I am very happy to say that the terms of reference are indeed set out to obtain a level of fairness and objectivity in the inquiry,” he said.

dna Web Team

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Jet Airways, SpiceJet announce year-end discounts on air fare <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaBarack Obama invites PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif to Washington next yearIndiaDDCA row: Gopal Subramanium writes to NSA Ajit Doval asking for officers from CBI, IBIndiaSC upholds Kerala government’s liquor policy; only 5-star hotels can serve liquorIndiaHere’s the list of holidays in 2016 in IndiaIndiaDownload GATE 2016 admit cards/hall tickets at www.gate.iisc.ernet.inIndia14-year-old girl allegedly gang-raped by armymen on Howrah-Amritsar Express <!– /.block –>

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‘What has war yielded, neither zameen nor jannat’: What Modi told Sharifs and struck a chord

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Newfound bromance? Sharif dons Rajasthani pink turban gifted to him by Modi

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If steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal help set up Modi-Sharif meet, then why this pretense of spontaneity?

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Engaging Pakistan is welcome, but it is too much, too late

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Hope thet India-Pak peace process will gain momentum: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

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If steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal help set up Modi-Sharif meet, then why the pretense of spontaneity?

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PM Modi’s stopover in Lahore: How Pakistan army was at the heart of the ‘impromptu’ meeting

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Behind the scenes: Pakistan’s military helped revive talks between Modi and Sharif?

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AAP, BJP hit out at Vadra for remarks on even-odd scheme

Defending Vadra’s remarks, Congress spokesperson Tom Vaddakan said he is expressing the view of the citizens of Delhi and “rightly so, when there is no operational facility available in terms of transport, in terms of metro and the last mile factor and the connectivity is not there.” He said while the disabled and patients are exempted by AAP government, the doctors are not. Judges are permitted but lawyers are not.”If democracy is to be throttled in this way and the provisions of aadm aadmi is all about ‘khas aadmi’ by these VIP exemptions, questions will be asked by people of Delhi,” Vaddakan said. Vadra in his facebook post has said, “Odd and Even ways !! Creating parallel lists of exemption, is complete hypocrisy. If a law is implemented in the interest of the people, we all must adhere, and not be VIPs.”The Delhi government has announced a scheme of allowing vehicles of even and odd numbers alternatively on Delhi roads in its bid to control pollution in the national capital, but has come out with exemptions for VIPs. The scheme is to be enforced from January 1.

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Also ReadIndiaReality Check: Don’t expect much from Indo-Pak talks in January, says Sartaj AzizIndiaTamil Nadu elections: PMK says it will give Dy Chief Minister post to BJPIndiaDelhi govt’s odd-even formula to be a failure: Sheila DikshitIndiaNDA wants to honour all who fought for the country: Ravi Shankar PrasadIndiaVypam scam: Dummy candidate among two get 3-yr jail for forgeryIndiaShiv Sena Punjab asks PM Narendra Modi to apologise for going to Pakistan <!– /.block –>

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Kolkata: One dead, 150 shanties gutted in Dum Dum Park fire

Bidhannagar Corporation Mayor Sabyasachi Dutta, said three medical teams have already reached the spot to extend medical assistance. “The teams will there for the night. We have arranged for an alternate shelter in a marriage hall in the area for the affected people. Blankets and food have also been sent. A detailed assessment of the damage will be done tomorrow and all assistance will be provided to rebuild the dwellings,” Dutta said.

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Why criticise Modi’s trip to Lahore? They were just a Hindu and a Muslim breaking bread on Christmas

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I am all for peace: Amarinder Singh on PM Modi’s Lahore visit

“Captain (Amarinder) has rightly said that you need to make a distinction between the desire to normalize relations with Pakistan and the manner in which you want to do. It the manner in which Prime Minister is attempting to do it is undermining India’s national security, it is undermining our strategic interest,” Tewari said. “PM needs to tell people what really has changed between India and Pakistan. Have they (Pakistan) decided to handover Dawood Ibrahim to you… have they decided to expedite 26/11 trial…,” he said.

PTI
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Rahul Gandhi needs to speak up more in Parliament: Ashok Chavan

An explanation as to why the Congress opposes certain moves will connect him directly to the people, he said. “While Sonia ji (Congress President Sonia Gandhi) prefers to meticulously plan her rally speeches as she is not very comfortable in Hindi, Rahul ji tends to take it little lightly because he is well versed with the language. This, at times, proves to be a lacunae which can be changed,” he said. He added people now tend to watch serious live debates of the Parliament and that Gandhi needs to ensure they understand the reasons behind the Congress party’s stand on various issues.

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<!– /.block –>Bigg Boss 9: Who is this surprise visitor on the show this weekend? <!– /.block –>
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Controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som claims he got death threat from ISIS

Som said that he had received such threats in the past and has also been attacked once, but he is not afraid of such incidents. Earlier in August, Som had been accorded Z category security by the Centre based on intelligence inputs that the BJP MLA from Sardhana could be targeted by extremist elements.

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Delhi University Professor GN Saibaba ‘linked with Naxals’ surrenders

Pournima Upadhyay, an activist, had written a letter to the Chief Justice of Bombay HC which was treated as PIL and thereafter temporary bail was granted to Saibaba for three months on health grounds by the Principal Bench based in Mumbai.

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‘The biggest surprise of all’: US media praises PM Modi’s visit to Lahore

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UP CM Akhilesh Yadav sacks minister Ompal Nehra after he asks Muslims to help build temple

“Where can a Ram temple be built if not in Ayodhya? It is an emotional issue. In Mathura, where we worship Krishna, how can there be a mosque there. Muslims should think about it and in fact come forward for Kar Seva (voluntary work) and say build the temples at these places. We should not fall in their (VHP’s)trap,” Nehra has said in Bijnore.

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Now for the real talks: India, Pakistan Foreign Secretaries to meet on January 15

Today, in a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lahore and greeted his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday. They held talks and decided to open ways for peace for the “larger good” of the people of the two countries.

PTI
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Saag to Kashmiri tea: What PM Modi was served at Nawaz Sharif’s home

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Modi’s birthday diplomacy: A hug in Lahore stirs hope in Kashmir

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Modi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s Lahore visit ‘step in the right direction’, says J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed

Sayeed was yesterday admitted to AIIMS here after he complained of uneasiness at his residence in Srinagar and was flown to Delhi in a state aircraft. The 79-year-old PDP leader was admitted in the private ward of the premier medical institute.

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<!– /.block –>Employees provident fund debuts on Facebook, Twitter <!– /.block –>
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Modi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s Lahore visit ‘step in the right direction’, says J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Sayeed hoped that the meeting between the two leaders will provide the much-needed momentum to the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues between the two countries.
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Keep it up: PM Narendra Modi tells ITBP squad at Kabul Embassy in Afghanistan

A Christmas Miracle: Twitter reacts to Narendra Modi’s ‘impromptu’ Pakistan visit!

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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<!– /#sidebar-second –>UK cities under ISIS threat for Boxing Day: Expert<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>

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A courageous gesture by Modi in Lahore, but where it will lead is not yet clear

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Watch: PM Narendra Modi greeted by PM Nawaz Sharif at Lahore airport

A PM House spokesman here said the Indian premier would stay in Lahore for about two hours. A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa which is taking place today at the Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence. “I cannot confirm but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,” he said.

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Narendra ModiNawaz SharifPakistanPakistan RangersAfghanistanModi in PakistanAtal Bihari VajpayeeSushma Swaraj
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Modi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s Lahore visit ‘step in the right direction’, says J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Sayeed hoped that the meeting between the two leaders will provide the much-needed momentum to the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues between the two countries.
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Keep it up: PM Narendra Modi tells ITBP squad at Kabul Embassy in Afghanistan

A Christmas Miracle: Twitter reacts to Narendra Modi’s ‘impromptu’ Pakistan visit!

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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PM Modi’s Pakistan visit path-breaking departure from protocol-driven politics: BJP

“We had the Ufa statement which was focused on our primary concern that is terrorism. There were hiccups after that. Then we had the Bangkok talk. Our Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan. “If the two countrioes can try to have a positive approach and work out a relationship that brings peace not only between them but to the entire region and therefore to the world, then that is something that should be welcomed,” he said.

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Narendra ModiNawaz SharifRam MadhavSushma SwarajAtal Bihari VajpayeeIndiaPakistanBharatiya Janta Party(BJP)
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Keep it up: PM Narendra Modi tells ITBP squad at Kabul Embassy in Afghanistan

A Christmas Miracle: Twitter reacts to Narendra Modi’s ‘impromptu’ Pakistan visit!

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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Modi in Pakistan Live: PM Narendra Modi departs for Lahore to meet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif

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Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday departed for Lahore for his surprise visit to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. The two Prime Ministers would be meeting at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.Earlier, confirming the news, the Prime Minister tweeted, “Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif and wished him on his birthday. Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi.”Prime Minister Modi had earlier today extended his wishes to the Pakistani counterpart on his 65th birthday. The two Prime Ministers had last met at the Paris Climate Summit COP21

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif tells ministers not to make anti-India remarks: Reports

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The ministers and senior officials have been stopped from issuing statements which could damage the peace process, the report said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
File Photo
Getty Images
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed his ministers and aides not to make anti-India statements that can affect the recently resumed peace dialogue, according to a media report.”There will be statements only that encourage the dialogue process rather than digging out the past. The Prime Minister has asked close aides and cabinet members to promote peace,” a close aide of Sharif was quoted as saying by The Nation.The measure was taken to let peace process move forward after being set in motion this month. The ministers and senior officials have been stopped from issuing statements which could damage the peace process, the report said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharif’s aide was quoted as saying that the Prime Minister was optimistic about better ties with India which would benefit the whole region. He said Sharif was annoyed by some statements from India but understands this is not the Indian government’s policy. Sharif, the aide said, wanted to give top priority to Kashmir, terrorism and trade when the two sides sit on the table to discuss peace.Another official was quoted as saying that the Prime Minister and the military leadership were on the same page to make peace with India.”There is no difference of opinion and both agree that there should be no compromise on the stated position on key issues,” he said.Analysts say it was a positive development that Pakistan and India agreed to resume comprehensive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan earlier this month during which she called on Prime Minister Sharif and met his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.After the meetings, the two countries decided to re-engage under the ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’. The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet next month to work out the details of the dialogue.

Nawaz Sharif instructs his ministers to not make anti-India remarks

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Pakistan attaches great importance to good ties with India, says PM Nawaz Sharif aide

Fatemi said it would help strengthen the common desire of the two countries to establish peace and stability in the region.

Pakistan accords great importance to good ties with India and the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at a regional meet here would strengthen the common desire of peace and stability in the region, a top aide of Premier Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs (SAPM), Syed Tariq Fatemi, during a farewell call by outgoing Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan, described Swaraj’s participation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference as a “welcome gesture”. “Stressing that Pakistan attached great importance to establishing good neighourly relations with India, the SAPM underscored that the Indian Foreign Minister’s presence in the ‘Heart of Asia: Istanbul Process’ was a welcome gesture,” Foreign Office said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fatemi said it would help strengthen the common desire of the two countries to establish peace and stability in the region. He appreciated the services of Raghavan for his efforts to improve relations between Pakistan and India during his tenure as India’s High Commissioner. Fatemi expressed hope that the incoming Indian High Commissioner would also continue to promote cordial ties between the two countries. Swaraj last week travelled to Pakistan where she attended the ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference on Afghanistan.During her two-day visit, Swaraj called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and held talks with her counterpart Sartaj Aziz. In the meeting, the two countries decided to engage in a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet next month in Delhi to work out the details of the dialogue.

Meetings with Modi, Swaraj yielded encouraging results: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

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India to discuss PoK with Pakistan: Envoy TCA Raghavan

“The first application to the UN was moved by India and it was on the grounds that a part of the state, which had acceded to India, is now under the illegal occupation of the Pakistan Army,” Raghavan said.

Image Courtesy: MEA

Ahead of the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks next month, Indian envoy in Islamabad on Monday said his country will discuss Kashmir which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan T C A Raghavan, while giving a lecture, gave a historical perspective of the Kashmir dispute.”The first application to the UN was moved by India and it was on the grounds that a part of the state, which had acceded to India, is now under the illegal occupation of the Pakistan Army,” Raghavan said.”So when you say what is it that India is going to discuss or what is it discussing, it is really, if you ask most Indians, and what is our position — it is the part of that state which is still under the control of Pakistan,” he said during the lecture at the Centre for Security Studies, a private think-tank in the capital.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the broader sense, he said Kashmir will be part of talks with Pakistan.Raghavan’s remarks came just days after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit here during which she called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and met Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.After the meetings, the two countries decided to re-engage under the ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’.The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet next month in Delhi to work out the details of the dialogue.

A step back: India will discuss only Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at peace talks, says diplomat

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Swaraj briefs Rajya Sabha on Pak visit amid ruckus; says Indo-Pak talks to mark beginning of peace, development

Indo-Pak talks to mark beginning of peace, development – Representational Image
File Photo

India on Monday expressed hope that re-engaging with Pakistan under a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ will mark beginning of peace and development as continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region.Making a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha on her last week’s visit of Islamabad and recent developments relating to ties between the two neighbours, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the environment conference in Paris “again re-engaging with each other.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The underlying sentiment, on which I am confident that this House concurs fully, was that the continued estrangement of two neighbours was a hurdle to the realisation of our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous region,” she said. At the same time, there was also a “sharp awareness” that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.She read out her statement as members of several opposition parties were in the Well vociferously raising slogans on several issues.Swaraj said following her visit to Islamabad a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ with Pakistan will begin with the objective of “removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern.” Also, it aims at “exploring and establishing cooperative ties,” she said, adding initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust.”The new Dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region,” she said.Following Modi-Sharif meeting on November 30, it was decided that the two sides should hold the NSA-level meeting. “The National Security Advisors of the two countries accordingly met on December 6” in Bangkok, Swaraj said. The two NSAs focussed on “peace and security, terrorism, tranquility along the Line of Control and Jammu and Kashmir – the state which has been most directly impacted by terrorism and violation of LOC,” she said, adding her visit to Islamabad came on the back of these “constructive talks”.Swaraj said in her talks with Sharif and Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, which where held in the backdrop of this “positive development”, the “two sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace.””There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” she said.Following this, it was decided to begin a dialogue with Pakistan under the new title ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ and foreign secretaries have been tasked to work out modalities and schedule of the meetings under the new dialogue, she said. “I would like to assure the House that this Government accords the highest priority to the country’s security. In order to meet any threats in this regard, the government will take all steps, including through diplomatic channels,” she said.The Government, she said, was “committed to building an environment of peaceful and cooperative relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan, so that the efforts for peace and development in South Asia, initiated by the Government on the day of assuming office itself, are taken further forward.” Swaraj said the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on December 8-9 in Islamabad was devoted to the themes of security and connectivity. “The Conference provided to us an important opportunity on a vital regional platform for political consultations and regional cooperation to reiterate India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development and our faith in its future,” she said.The process, she said, brought together friends of Afghanistan from its immediate and extended neighbourhood as well as supporting countries and international organisations to promote political consultations and regional cooperation for a united, democratic, independent, strong and prosperous Afghanistan. “My visit to Islamabad underlined India’s strong commitment to that cause,” she said, adding New Delhi at the conference sought full and direct transit for Afghanistan through Pakistan.”In the context of relations between India and Pakistan, I advocated working together for peace and development in South Asia, with self-confidence and maturity,” she said.Swaraj said the beginning of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue was announced in a joint statement following her meeting with Aziz in Islamabad on December 9. “This decision of the Government follows the recent developments and engagements between the two countries, especially the constructive discussions between their National Security Advisors in Bangkok on December 6, 2015.”The meeting of the NSAs resulted from discussion between our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Paris on November 30,” she said.The Minister said Prime Minister of Pakistan was invited in May 2014, among other SAARC leaders, by Modi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government. “This was a demonstration of our commitment to good neighbourly ties with Pakistan, in line with our vision for peace and development in the region through deeper regional integration in South Asia,” she said.In their first meeting, India’s views on ties between the countries and its concerns on terrorism and violence were conveyed to the Pakistani authorities. The meetings as decided between the two sides in May 2014, however, did not take place, she said. The two leaders met in Ufa, Russia in July this year and agreed that the two countries had collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development, Swaraj said. “They condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menance from South Asia.”At the Ufa meeting, they decided on a meeting of the NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. They also stated that the two nations were prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. “During the Ufa meeting, PM was extended an invitation by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Islambad for attending the SAARC Summit in 2016,” she said, without saying if Modi will visit Pakistan.Swaraj said the expected meetings of NSA and Directors General of Military Operations, as envisaged at Ufa, did not materialise “for the reaons that we all know.” Against this backdrop, when Modi and Sharif met during the COP-21 Summit in Paris on November 30, “there was a discussion on how the two countries could build an atmosphere conducive for again re-engaging with each other,” she said.

BJP welcomes decision to hold comprehensive talks between India and Pakistan

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Friendly neighbours? Tensions between India and Pakistan are thawing, says Pak daily

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India, Pakistan to resume dialogue; Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen among issues to be discussed

Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris only ten days ago, it was announced here that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue. Pakistan has assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.

Reuters
Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan on Wednesday announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris only ten days ago, it was announced here that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue. Pakistan has assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan who had recently met in Bangkok, will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries. The joint statement came after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Sharif and later his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz here on the concluding day of her two-day visit for attending a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.In another significant step towards betterment of ties, Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit likely to be held in September. The “comprehensive bilateral dialogue” will also include Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Baragge/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People-to-People exchanges and religious tourism.The joint statement condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. Swaraj and Aziz noted the successful talks on terrorism and security-related issues in Bangkok by the two NSAs and decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. At a joint press conference with Aziz, Swaraj said that she had a “very good meeting” with both Aziz and Sharif. She said we have decided to start afresh the dialogue, which was going on under the composite dialogue earlier and then in the name of resumed dialogue, and call it Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD).”The CBD will have all the pillars of Composite Dialogue and some additional components. How this dialogue process should be taken forward will be decided in a meeting between our Foreign Secretaries, who will work on scheduling and modalities of the process.”Scheduling means which all pillars, when, what modalities and who all Secretaries will hold it,” Swaraj said adding “It will have additional components apart from those in the composite dialogue.”Earlier, speaking at the ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference on Afghanistan, Swaraj extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying it was time the two countries displayed “maturity and self-confidence” to do business with each other and offered to move cooperation at a pace Pakistan is comfortable with.”Let me take this opportunity to extend our hand to Pakistan as well. It is time that we display the maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation. The entire world is waiting and rooting for a change. Let us not disappoint them.”For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with. But today, let us at least resolve to help Afghanistan – in the best traditions of good neighbourliness – through more effective transit arrangements,” she said.Swaraj, who was accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan and envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha, said terrorism in that country has grown in both intensity and scope in the last few months and that India was ready to work with the Afghan government to strengthen its defensive capability.Swaraj will make a detail statement on her Pakistan visit in Parliament tomorrow. Asked what was the “big change” for India to commence a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, sources said the NSA-level meeting to address terror-related issues went off constructively and that was a big change.They said Pakistani side showed that they understand India’s concerns over the Mumbai attacks trial on which the Pakistani side assured India of the steps to expedite the judicial process. On the Swaraj-Aziz meeting, the sources said some amount of time was spent on the Mumbai trial case.On renaming the dialogue process, they said, “the sense was that we could re-engage but there are other issues like fishermen and religious tourism which needed to be discussed…” The sources said the dialogue process is not disowning the past but taking forward the broad-based dialogue. “We wanted more than the existing subset in the composite dialogue that is why it was renamed,” the sources said.They said the Bangkok meeting was a good meeting and the issues were complex but were not dealt in an accusatory manner but in a constructive way. Swaraj’s meeting with Sharif was multi-lingual where Urdu, Hindustani and Punjabi were used for the conversation.She also met Sharif’s family which included four generations of his family — his mother, wife, daughter and granddaughter. The effort was to unblock ties and move forward, the sources said.In her meeting with Aziz, Swaraj discussed a number of issues with the Pakistani side showing an understanding to India’s concerns over terror. Asked about the progress in ties, the sources said this goes back to Paris where the two Prime Ministers desired to find a way to go forward and India saw the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference as a good opportunity and to convince Pakistan to have NSAs meeting before the External Affairs Minister comes here.

Full text of joint statement made by India and Pakistan

Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris only ten days ago, it was announced here that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue

Sushma Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz

Reuters
Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan on Wednesday announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris only ten days ago, it was announced here that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JOINT STATEMENT1. The External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj led the Indian delegation to the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process in Islamabad on December 8-9, 2015. She called on the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and held discussions with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sartaj Aziz.2. The EAM and the Adviser condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. They noted the successful talks on terrorism and security related issues in Bangkok by the two NSAs and decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial.3. Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and directed the Foreign Secretaries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the Dialogue including Peace and Security, CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and religious tourism.

Afghanistan seeks help to fight terror

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tells a security conference in Islamabad that ‘regional and international terror groups’ are responsible for the violence in his country.

Indian minister in Pakistan for talks

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is in Islamabad for a security conference on Afghanistan and talks with Pakistani officials.

My expectations are good and positive from talks with Sushma Swaraj: Sartaj Aziz

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Was India made to talk Kashmir in Bangkok, asks Omar Abdullah

Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday asked BJP to answer if India was “made to talk Kashmir” during the meeting between the National Security Advisors of the two countries in Bangkok as there was no mention of it when their prime ministers had met in Ufa.”If Pakistan was made to talk terror, was India also made to talk Kashmir since J&K had found no mention in Ufa (sic)?” Omar wrote on Twitter. Abdullah was reacting to BJP’s statement in which the party had yesterday claimed: “The follow up of Ufa talks has happened. Pakistan has been made to talk terror, which they refused so far.” He asked BJP to make it clear as to what was discussed about Jammu and Kashmir during the talks in the Thai capital.”Perhaps now Mr (Nalin) Kohli will care to make his party’s position clear on what was discussed about J&K (sic),” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”. On the talks at various levels between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said it is “like cabs when it’s raining – don’t get one for ages and then suddenly 3-4 come around all at the same time.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at COP21 Summit in Paris last week, which was followed by the NSA and foreign secretary level talks in Bangkok yesterday. The foreign ministers of the two countries are expected to meet later this week in in Islamabad where Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to attend a conference on Afghanistan.

NSA meeting in Bangkok: Away from domestic media frenzy, India and Pakistan create scope for mature talks

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High-level India-Pakistan talks held

India and Pakistan describe their high-level talks in Bangkok as ‘candid, cordial and constructive’.

India, Pakistan NSAs talk terror and Jammu & Kashmir in Bangkok

Secret meeting also covers other issues; Up next will be meeting between foreign ministers

Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an animated discussion with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris last Monday, many wondered what they could have discussed. In the absence of any official release about the talks, the media could only speculate about the contents. On Sunday, the answer became clear to all and sundry. In an unusual turn of events, the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the two countries – Ajit Doval and Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua – met in Bangkok, away from media limelight.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> This time, there was an official statement. “The discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and others, including tranquility over the Line of Control,” a Ministry of External Affairs statement said. The statement said the two sides also agreed to carry forward constructive engagement. What it signals is a possible meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Swaraj is set to visit Islamabad on Tuesday for the Afghanistan-related Heart of Asia ministerial conference. A meeting between the two ministers on the sidelines of the conference is highly possible now. Any forward movement in these talks will also prepare the ground for Modi’s visit to Pakistan, the first one after Vajpayee’s in January 2004. Pakistan is hosting the SAARC summit next year. Interestingly, the NSA-level Bangkok meeting coincided with the Track-II, 17th Chaophraya Dialogue between Indian and Pakistani journalists in the same city. However, it seems none of them got any hint of the meeting, till the foreign offices of both countries put out a joint statement. The timing and the venue of the meeting were kept a secret, lest it gets derailed. Last Monday’s meeting between Modi and Sharif in Paris was the first between the two leaders since they met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Ufa, Russia, in July this year. They had then agreed on a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries and had also directed the foreign secretaries to renew talks. However, talks between NSA Ajit Doval and his then Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, scheduled in New Delhi in August this year, were cancelled after the Pakistan high commission insisted on inviting Hurriyat leaders for a reception in honour of Aziz. India also wanted to skip the word Kashmir and other bilateral issues and concentrate only on terrorism during the talks, which was unacceptable to Pakistan. Last month, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, Sharif had told British Premier David Cameron that Islamabad was ready for unconditional talks with New Delhi. Though no country will acknowledge it, it seems the Paris meeting, which sparked hopes of a renewal of the dialogue process, was an outcome of nudging by big powers. Senior journalists at the 17th Chaophraya Dialogue, who met under the aegis of Jinnah Institute (JI) and Australia-India Institute (AII), called upon both the governments to delink confidence-building measures from dialogue process, and called for encouraging cross-LoC interactions. They expressed the hope that the two countries would meet soon to increase bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and urged Pakistan to give Non-Discriminatory Market Access status to India.

Breaking the impasse: Will India, Pakistan make the right moves at the Heart of Asia meet?

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US welcomes Modi-Sharif meeting in Paris

Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.

PTI
The US has welcomed the brief meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris on Monday.”We always welcome these kinds of exchanges and dialogue between India and Pakistan,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters yesterday when asked about the meeting between the two leaders.”A constructive relationship between the two countries is not only good for the two countries but good for the region and the stability of the region,” Toner said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.

Why the fuss over the Modi-Sharif handshake?

Tongues have started wagging about the future of the talks.

The handshake offers a ray of hope. One hopes that this gesture turns out to be ice-breaker before the winter chill sets in.

File Photo
News and social media went into frenzy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked up to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of a climate change summit in Paris and shook hands. Many jumped the gun and started discussing the fate of the stalled talks between the two countries. Was the handshake a mere courtesy photo-op, or was there something more to it? And so on and so forth. Well, one just does not know what the two leaders discussed, but one thing is certain that they did not discuss the climate of Paris. But what mattered most was the handshake which replaced the most important Paris climate talks as the lead story in Indian and Pakistani newspapers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tongues have started wagging about the future of the talks. What a prosaic interpretation? Is there any doubt about resumption of talks? Absolutely not! It is just a matter of time when the two countries will again start talk the talk, but what is more important is whether they will walk the walk. No two neighbours can remain in a perpetual mode of denial for long. In the past also, the two countries have been involved in talks despite going to full-fledged wars three times and a brief conflict in Kargil in 1999 since their independence. But they were back to talks after sometime. It is an on and off exercise which will go on before the two nations regain trust about each other to operationalise the full-scale structured talks. The leadership of both the countries is mature enough to understand that war would only lead to catastrophe and complicate the matters beyond repairs. Dialogue can only take them forward to any meaningful and lasting solution to the issues that bedevil their relations.But for that to happen, a congenial atmosphere is the basic requirement. Incidents in the last few months have only widened the trust deficit as both the countries view each other with suspicion. The media of the two countries has also played a devilish role by resorting to jingoist rhetoric forcing the hands of the leadership of both the countries to move cautiously. The cross-border firing, increase in militant activities in Kashmir, the recent arrest of agents affiliated to Pakistan’s intelligence agency in India do not augur well for the immediate resumption of talks, even though cosmetic, in the immediate future.The handshake offers a ray of hope. One hopes that this gesture turns out to be ice-breaker before the winter chill sets in. This was their second meeting this year after they met in the Russian city of Ufa in July and decided to give a push to the stalled talks by agreeing to a meeting of National Security Advisors. But sadly, the meeting just failed to take off as both the sides stuck to unreasonable grounds. There was another opportunity a month later in the United Nations General Assembly session for them to meet. But by then the ties had soured and the two leaders intentionally decided to stay away from public glare by only waving at each other.Talks for the sake of talks should be avoided. Both the countries should do some serious introspection and adopt a pragmatic approach if they are really serious in taking the talks forward. Nawaz Sharif’s recent offer of unconditional talks with India during his meeting with British Premier David Cameron on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit in Malta has largely gone unnoticed in India as New Delhi has not even bothered to take note of it, leave aside making any comments. Pakistan needs to understand that talks and terror can?t go hand in hand. At a time, when the world has been rattled by a series of bloody terrorist activities, the sentiments are running high against terrorist groups. And to expect India to enter into talks with Pakistan as long as it is seen as in collusion with terrorist groups is asking for too much. Pakistan needs to make some forward movement in this regard before it can hope for resumption of normal ties.The use of terrorism as a state policy is falling apart as the nations themselves are feeling the pinch. Who knows is better than Pakistan which has suffered the most? The same groups whom it cradled have started turning their back on it and are causing the maximum damage. Terrorism today poses a major threat to the world than anything else. The Paris attacks have only emboldened the resolve of the global community to formulate a common and concerted strategy to defang this monster which is spreading its tentacles.There is an opportunity before Pakistan to join the global war against terrorism to regain its bruised image. India is not the only country which views its estranged neighbour with suspicion. The list is endless. Pakistan has been ticked off by major powers from time to time. It should listen to the sage counsel and launch a war against terrorism. There is no doubt that it will feel the pain initially, but this pain is worth suffering, because if it is allowed to fester it will become a deadly disease and amputation will be the only recourse. It is up to Pakistan to decide which path it wants to tread. Talks with India can wait.Vikas Khanna is a senior journalist and the views expressed by him are personal.

Congress dubs Modi-Sharif meet as ‘sixty second selfie’

“It looked like a sixty-second selfie rather than any substantive dialogue. In any case, this government has no policy towards Pakistan. It drifts from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari said.

The Congress Party on Tuesday referred to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit as a ‘sixty second selfie’ and asked the government to frame a substantive policy towards Pakistan.”It looked like a sixty-second selfie rather than any substantive dialogue. In any case, this government has no policy towards Pakistan. It drifts from the sublime to the ridiculous,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”At times, they hug and kiss Nawaz Sharif and play verbal kabaddi with him. It is high time that this government sorts out its Pakistan policy,” Tiwari added.Prime Minister Modi and Sharif met briefly yesterday in Paris as the climate conference began in the French capital. The two leaders warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat amidst frosty ties between the two neighbours.The two leaders had earlier met in Russian city of Ufa and had agreed that their National Security Advisors would meet.

PM Modi calls on SAARC nations to join hands for disaster preparedness

“After the earthquakes in Nepal, I called Prime Minister Sharif and suggested him that all SAARC nations must hold joint exercises for disaster preparedness,” Modi said.

Modi calls SAARC nations to join hands for disaster preparedness

PTI
Stressing on the need of preparedness to deal with disasters in the South Asian region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he had proposed to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif that all SAARC nations must hold joint exercises for disaster preparedness.”After the earthquakes in Nepal, I called Prime Minister Sharif and suggested him that all SAARC nations must hold joint exercises for disaster preparedness. I am glad that Delhi saw a table talk exercise and a seminar workshop of best practices by all SAARC countries. This is a good beginning,” he said. Prime Minister Modi also expressed his concern over the floods in Tamil Nadu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: PM Modi speaks about climate change, wants to turn ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’ into scheme “Low pressure over southeast Bay of Bengal brought rains to Tamil Nadu that claimed 184 lives. However, rains continue to lash many parts of the state, including Chennai and its suburbs. Kelambakkam (Kancheepuram) and Kodavasal (Tiruvarur) received the maximum of 4 cm and 3 cm of rain, respectively,” he said.”The state has already received a rainfall of 483.6 mm, which is higher than the total rainfall it receives during the entire northeast monsoon season, which was 440.4 mm which went up to December,” he added.Prime Minister Modi said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced a relief of Rs. 4 lakhs each to the families of the victims. The Prime Minister had on November 23 instructed immediate release of financial assistance of Rs 939.63 crores to deal with the flood situation in Tamil Nadu.

Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi speaks about climate change, wants to turn ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’ into scheme

The PM stated that a national registry for organ donation had been opened on October 27.

PM Narendra Modi

PTI
Speaking on the Tamil Nadu floods, PM Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address on Sunday said that the Central government’s team was working in Tamil Nadu to relieve people from distress.”Flood crisis during the festive season is saddening. Central government’s team is in Tamil Nadu, I have full faith in strength of Tamil Nadu,” said Modi.Subsequently, Modi also called on SAARC nations to show preparedness for disaster management and said that he had spoken to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on the issue after the Nepal earthquake.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Decrying the slash and burn agricultural practices of certain farmers, the PM said these practices were not helpful in the long term. However, he praised Indian farmers, comparing their contributions to those of scientists. Modi then addressed the issue of organ donation. “Organ donation can save valuable lives, in a way it brings immortality. What could be a bigger donation than this?”, he said.The PM stated that a national registry for organ donation had been opened on October 27. He also stressed on the need to fight against climate change and global warming. “The entire world today is concerned about climate change. Earth’s temperature should not further increase, this is a responsibility of everyone. The best way to make sure that Earth’s temperature is not further increased, is by energy conservation,” said Modi.Speaking out in support of persons with disabilities, Modi said that on December 3 India would mark ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’. “Differently-abled people are a source of inspiration for us. Their determination and courage is remarkable. On 3rd December we will mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, their courage is remarkable”, the PM stated.The PM announced that the government wished to turn ‘Ek Bharat, Sreshth Bharat’ into a scheme. “On Sardar Patel’s Jayanti I mentioned ‘Ek Bharat,Shrestha Bharat’. I want to turn it into a scheme. I invite your suggestions,” Modi said.To conclude, he advised one and all to remain fit through exercise, during the harsh winter season that is beginning to set in in several parts of India.

Entire Indian Army cannot defend Kashmir against terrorists; dialogue only option, says Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: Dialogue is the only way forward for a resolution to the Kashmir issue, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said even as he held that nothing has been done to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from the neighbouring country while reiterating views that have invited criticism.

“The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution (to the Kashmir issue),” the National Conference leader said at a function in Jammu.

“Ever since I came into politics, I have always said that this state (PoK and J-K) can never become one. Neither do we have the power to take back their part (PoK) nor have they (Pakistan) the power to take our part; we are a nuclear power and they, too, are,” he said at a discussion by civil society to explore the ways for bringing peace and reconciliation between the two countries.

“How much can the army defend us; even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution,” he stressed.

Farooq Abdullah. AFPFarooq Abdullah. AFP

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

He said he was hopeful that the Kashmir issue would be solved during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but that did not happen.

In the wake of his comments on Friday, he blamed the media for hyping up his statement and said his views about Pakistan continuing to hold PoK and India keeping J&K could not be the only scenario and he would accept any decision which was acceptable to the majority of people in India, Pakistan and J&K.

“I never said it was the ultimate solution that they keep their part and we keep ours. If you have a better solution acceptable to a majority of Indians, Pakistanis and J&K citizens, it is also acceptable to us,” he said while urging that dialogue has to be started for reaching a resolution.

Referring to the 1994 Parliament resolution on PoK, Farooq said nothing has been done following its adoption unanimously to reclaim area under Pakistani occupation.

“They say there is a resolution in Parliament; but tell me what the Parliament has done so far to reclaim that part.

“You passed the resolution, tell me how many resolutions are there in United Nations regarding Kashmir; have any of those been implemented. People on both sides are suffering due to the cross-border firing,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP on Saturday sought an apology from Abdullah for his remarks that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival.

“For how many years have we been saying that it (PoK) is part of India. What have we done so far, have we ever taken it back,” he had said on Friday.

The former J&K chief minister said that even though Nawaz Sharif was heading the government in Pakistan, the real power was in the hands of the army there.

Further, claiming that if Pakistan army wanted, it would not take more than two minutes for it to get Sharif removed, he said, “The day problems between India and Pakistan are resolved, Pakistan army will lose its significance.”

He said that a former Pakistan external affairs minister had told him that before the Prime Ministers of the two nations decide to meet, all roadblocks that may impede any meaningful dialogue need to be removed.

On the issue of the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, he said that the country has till date not been able to accomplish that.

“When I tried to do it, the very same day two massacres took place in Ganderbal and Budgam in which innocent and unarmed Kashmiri Pandits were killed.

“How will the situation improve till the time Pakistan does not understand that this part of J&K will never become their part,” he said.

Recalling that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had tried to find a way out in Egypt’s Sharm-al-Sheikh, Abdullah said that the attempt had evoked a backlash in the country and within Congress.

“There was a hue and cry in India and even in his own party which said that if you talk friendship with Pakistan we will lose elections. Let these elections go to hell which divide the people,” he said.

“Every election makes India weak and does not strengthen it”, he said, adding that “we get divided into religions and even divide religion into small parts”.

Seeking to caution India and Pakistan against America, he claimed that the country was a friend of neither of the two South Asian neighbours and was only interested in selling its weapons to both.

Talking about the Kashmir problem, he said that it was not an economic but a political one.

“We are saying we have got a Rs 80,000-crore package, now we will do everything. This is not an issue of development. It is a political issue which has to be resolved. If it was only about money, then the country has already spent billions on this state, but the issue still lingers,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an apparent attack on PDP, he charged that “they (PDP) claim Abdullah used to say that we will drop bombs; ask them, when our houses were being blown, when our hospitals and schools were being blown, when our people were being fired upon because they were the ones who were carrying Tricolour, what was their fault.

“They were killed inside their houses. What should have Farooq Abdullah said, to keep quiet.”

Without taking any names, he further said that “man was being made an enemy of another man and now they are ruling and saying such things… they don’t have a conscience. God knows what attraction they have with each other.”

Turning to Pakistan, he stressed that he was proud to be an Indian and an Indian Muslim.

“I want friendship but I don’t want to be their slave. I am for sure a Muslim, but I am not a Chinese, Pakistani or an English Muslim; I am an Indian Muslim, I am born an India, live as an Indian and will die as an Indian,” he said.

“Today Farooq Abdullah is sitting amongst you, he might not be there tomorrow. Tomorrow, some terrorists will kill me but I am not afraid. I am only afraid of Allah,” he added.

He said that the need of the hour was to strengthen the unity amongst the different religions in the country.

“We have to strengthen the bond between Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other religions and our survival is not possible without the survival of
India,” he said.

PTI

Pakistan ready to hold talks with India without pre-conditions: Nawaz Sharif

Ties have been strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has indicated that Pakistan is ready for a dialogue with India without pre-conditions for sustainable peace, according to Pakistani TV channel Geo News. Sharif is said to have given this indication during a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here yesterday. The channel reported that Sharif said Pakistan intends to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ties have been strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations. Talks between National Security Advisors of the two countries were cancelled in August because of a dispute over the agenda. India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir. The Pakistani Prime Minister told Cameron that Pakistan was deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and that his country, itself being victim of terrorism, could feel the pain of French people.The two leaders expressed long term commitment to work together for greater security and prosperity of their countries. Both prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership for countering the shared threats of terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration, the report said.It said Sharif and Cameron agreed to continue close collaboration in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and security and the British Prime Minister lauded Pakistan s efforts in eradication of militancy and extremism.

Pakistan ready to hold talks with India: Nawaz Sharif

Sharif said Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and was deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

File Photo
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his country is ready for bilateral talks with India as it wants to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours.According to The News International, Sharif’s statement came on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Maltese capital. Sharif and his British counterpart David Cameron agreed to continue close collaboration in diverse fields, particularly trade, investment and security. They expressed long-term commitment to work together for greater security and prosperity of their countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharif said Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and was deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. He said Pakistan itself being a victim of terrorism could feel the pain of the French people. This was the third time the two Prime Ministers met during the current year, with earlier meetings taking place in April and September respectively. PM’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Pakistan?s Ambassador in Malta resident in Tunisia Zaheer Pervaiz Khan were present.

BJP labels Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar as ISIS propagandists

“When it comes to condemnation atleast Azam Khan’s statement was condemned by Samajwadi Party(SP) and they disassociated with it completely, but Congress party has chosen to not do so in this context against Salman Khurshid and Mani Shankar Aiyar,” she added.

Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday labelled Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid as propagandists for the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) following their very public criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “While the world is getting together against terrorism, the Prime Minister’s words and agenda to fight terrorism have been accepted the world over. It is in this context the G-20 summit has happened. Hundred and thirty people have been killed in Paris on an open assault to civilization and it seems that these people (Congress) are behaving and conducting themselves as propagandists for ISIS and Taliban,” BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When it comes to condemnation atleast Azam Khan’s statement was condemned by Samajwadi Party (SP) and they disassociated with it completely, but Congress party has chosen to not do so in this context against Salman Khurshid and Mani Shankar Aiyar,” she added. Mani Shankar Aiyar who went to Pakistan before the Bihar Assembly polls courted a controversy by saying that Islamabad should help India in defeating Prime Minister Modi and ensure that the Congress is back at the Centre.Related read: Ex-Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid criticises Modi govt and praises Nawaz Sharif in PakistanKhurshid also during his visit to Islamabad said: “India has not responded to Pakistan’s overtures for peace in South Asia the way it should have. If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, far-sighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit of Nawaz Sharif at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.”Related read: Mani Shankar Aiyo – Congress leader says Modi must be removed for proper Indo-Pak talks

Nawaz Sharif encouraging separatists by writing to Asiya Andrabi, says Congress

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written a letter to Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appreciating her struggle in raising the Kashmir issue and said that Pakistan will continue raising this issue on all ‘international’ platforms.

Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed on Monday alleged Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of encouraging the Separatists in the valley following his letter to Asiya Andrabi appreciating her struggle in raising the Kashmir issue.”This is a very shameful step taken by the Pakistan Prime Minister. It has been decided in the Simla agreement that any issues between both countries would be resolved bilaterally. Encouraging Separatists of our nation by a foreign prime minister is not appropriate,” Ahmed told ANI here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written a letter to Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appreciating her struggle in raising the Kashmir issue and said that Pakistan will continue raising this issue on all ‘international’ platforms.According to Daily Pakistan, Sharif said this while responding to a letter by Andrabi and asserted that Pakistan will continue its moral and political support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for right to self-determination that has been acknowledged by the United Nations.He also accused India of going back on its promise to the international community that Kashmir would be given the right to choose its political future through the exercise of self determination and that this was a betrayal, the daily reports.

Nawaz Sharif lauds separatist leader Andrabi, says Pakistan will continue raising Kashmir issue

“Received your letter and I respect your feeling and appreciate you being a well wisher for the people of Pakistan. The issue of Kashmir is an international one and has been pending since 1947. Pakistan knows its responsibility about Kashmir issue and will continue to raise this issue on all international levels,” Sharif said in his letter addressed to the Separatist leader.

File photo

Getty Images
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written a letter to Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appreciating her struggle in raising the Kashmir issue and said that Pakistan will continue raising this issue on all ‘international’ levels.According to Daily Pakistan, Sharif said this while responding to a letter by Andrabi and asserted that Pakistan will continue its moral and political support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for right to self-determination that has been acknowledged by the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Received your letter and I respect your feeling and appreciate you being a well wisher for the people of Pakistan. The issue of Kashmir is an international one and has been pending since 1947. Pakistan knows its responsibility about Kashmir issue and will continue to raise this issue on all international levels,” Sharif said in his letter addressed to the Separatist leader.He also accused India of going back on its promise to the international community that Kashmir would be given the right to choose its political future through the exercise of self determination and that this was a betrayal, the daily reports.Sharif appreciated the ‘sacrifices’ made by Andrabi saying that the people of Kashmir were carrying out an ‘exemplary’ struggle under her leadership.”No matter what India says, the resolution of Kashmir can be only achieved through a free and fair right to self determination,” Sharif wrote.The Prime Minister had earlier called for a third party intervention into the Kashmir issue since Pakistan had not received adequate response from India.India, however, has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in the Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally.

War with India not an option, we have always been for talks: Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad: War with India is not an option as use of force could only worsen the situation, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said while hoping to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Sharif, during a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain on Friday, wished to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogue as he believed the use of force could only worsen the situation, The Nation reported quoting a senior government official who cited the conversation between the two leaders.

The Pakistan Prime Minister said war with India was not an option, according to the report.

Sharif said his government desired friendly ties with India, all its neighbours and the world at large for sustainable development.

Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and Dr Asif Kirmani, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs, also attended the meeting.

“They (Sharif and Hussain) discussed the regional situation and reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to have friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries for peace and prosperity in the region,” an official statement said.

The government official said the “LoC violations by India” were discussed and Sharif told Hussain he raised the issue with the US when he recently visited Washington to meet President Barack Obama.

Sharif said the US and world powers wanted Indo-Pak dialogue but alleged it was New Delhi which was not cooperating, according to the official.

“We have always been for talks,” he was quoted as saying.

Another official said the Premier was a bit concerned about the discrimination by the US on the civil nuclear deal.

He pledged to continue efforts to convince the US for an India-like agreement.

The official statement said that Prime Minister Sharif discussed matters regarding relief and rehabilitation of earthquake affectees, overall law and order and economic situation in the country and operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’.

The two leaders noted that work on different projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was proceeding at a satisfactory pace and hoped that successful completion of the CPEC will usher in an era of unprecedented development and prosperity not only in Pakistan but in the entire region.

“We will not allow any group to slit throats of others in the name of religion,” Sharif said referring to militants.

He said none of the terror groups will be allowed to dictate terms or change political structure of the country.

“Pakistan will be run according to law and not on the whims of anyone,” he said.

Sharif also criticised his political adversary Imran Khan for trying to destabilise his government through protests last year.

PTI

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