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Jamia convocation on Jan 19, PM Modi expresses inability to attend

“Degrees/Diplomas will be awarded to those candidates who have passed their examinations in the year 2014. Medals will also be given to the toppers of the same year. PhD scholars whose results have been notified up to November 30, 2015 will also be awarded degrees,” it added.

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2016 may be a watershed year in Indo-Pak ties

If the year-end turned out well for India-Pakistan relations, 2016 holds greater prospects.After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore, he is set to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the Swiss city of Davos, on the margins of the World Economic Forum between January 20 and 23.This is the third meeting between the two leaders in less than two months – the first being in Paris. It will take place a few days after the meeting of the foreign secretaries in Islamabad on January 15.Both prime ministers will have another opportunity to meet in Washington in March. US president Barack Obama has invited both the leaders for the Nuclear Security Summit to be held on March 31 and April 1.Experts here believe that the frequent summit meetings are designed to put pressure on bureaucrats to carve out a road map for peace, ahead of Modi’s tete-a tete in Islamabad with Sharif in September, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.Insiders believe that a combination of factors pushed the Modi government into chalking a new line, cloaked in optics and symbolism.Western nudges, fears of extremism in South Asia, security situation in Kashmir, repeated requests by J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and worries of disruptions to a thaw – all played a part.Also, after repeated setbacks, the US and Russia appear to have concluded that the recent peace attempts between the Afghan government and the Taliban represent the last opportunity for a resolution in Afghanistan.Given Pakistan’s centrality in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the US has, for weeks, been nudging New Delhi and Islamabad to resume dialogue, last suspended in 2013.US president Barack Obama, in October and November, had hosted both Nawaz Sharif and his army chief Raheel Sharif. The US secured an assurance from both that they were keen on avoiding exacerbation of tensions with India.While welcoming Modi’s diplomatic outreach, the J&K CM recalls that during his October 15 meeting with Modi, he had conveyed to the latter that development and success of his PDP-BJP coalition was linked to peace with Pakistan.”I was assured that an effort was on,” he said.Pakistan’s recent appointment of a former army general, Naseer Khan Janjua, as its national security adviser, has also opened a fresh window for early negotiations on terrorism and cross-border violence.”That the Pakistan NSA represents the views of his military establishment is good because the shadow-boxing is over,” said former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy.The “mother of all coups” – Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar described Modi’s December 25 visit to Lahore – also had an important fall-out.Modi’s optics have succeeded in convincing Pakistani leaders once again that a hardline BJP was more decisive than the Congress.Congress prime ministers, right from Rajiv Gandhi to Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh, despite having agreed to settle issues like Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir, backed out because of indecision.Ministry of External Affairs officials concede that what Modi had achieved was something Manmohan had dreamt of for a decade, but was not allowed by his own party – the Congress.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

US President Barack Obama most popular leader in world, PM Modi stands 7th: Survey

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Modi evoked a favourable view from 24 % of people polled throughout 65 countries around the world as opposed to 20 % unfavourable, giving him a score of +4 % in the WIN/Gallup survey for ORB International’s ‘International World Leader Index’.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been voted as the seventh most popular leader in the world in a new poll topped by US President Barack Obama. Modi evoked a favourable view from 24 % of people polled throughout 65 countries around the world as opposed to 20 % unfavourable, giving him a score of +4 % in the WIN/Gallup survey for ORB International’s ‘International World Leader Index’.Modi was however beaten by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was named the sixth most popular leader but had a higher unfavourable score than the Indian leader — 30 %. Obama grabbed the topmost spot with a score of +30 % with a whopping 59 % in his favour and 29 % unfavourable.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”President Obama is significantly more admired around the world than anyone else,” the survey said.Obama is followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (+13 %) with British Prime Minister David Cameron completing the top three with a score of +10 %. Cameron scored a 37 % favourable rating while another 28 % viewed him unfavourably.People in South Asia were the most friendly to the British leader, with 53 % saying they viewed him favourably and just 12 % saying they viewed him unfavourably. He was also popular in the rest of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, where 44 % of people viewed Cameron favourably.The other leaders that made it to the top 10 include French President Francois Hollande (4th), Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (5th), Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (8th), Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud (9th) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (10th).

Obama, Modi have strong, productive relationship: US official

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“It was a quite extraordinary fact that within the space of four months there were two head of the state visits, one first to the United States in September of 2014 and then Prime Minister Modi invited the President to India just four months later in January,” the official said.

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have developed a strong and productive relationship between them, a top American climate change official has said.”President Obama and Prime Minister Modi have a very, strong and productive relationship, not just on climate change but broadly,” Todd Stern, the US Special Envoy on Climate Change said yesterday.”It was a quite extraordinary fact that within the space of four months there were two head of the state visits, one first to the United States in September of 2014 and then Prime Minister Modi invited the President to India just four months later in January,” the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thereafter the two leaders have been close communications with each other. “They met on the margins of the UNGA in New York and they met on the first day of the Paris meeting,” Stern said.According to Stern the meeting was a very warm and positive, cordial and detailed.”In fact, they talked so long that they were both supposed to go and did go finally, but they were a little bit late to the announcement of this big Mission Innovation idea on R&D that both well, the United States, India, China, many other countries ultimately were part of,” the US official said.”So I think, that the call later, sort of more towards the end, was a check-in call to see how we were doing and to urge us all on together toward a successful conclusion. And I think it was done in that spirit, not in the spirit that there was some specific thing that had to be done before the agreement could get completed,” Stern said.

Obama calls up Modi to thank him for role in Paris climate deal

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US assures Sikh community of safety and security

Over 125 Sikhs from all over the country joined the White House celebrations, a regular feature of the Obama Administration.

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The US has assured Sikh community of their safety and security in the wake of a spur in hate crimes against the community following a shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 people. “President Obama stands with, he stands behind you and he stands in solidarity with you. And we all have a responsibility to remind Americans what makes us great,” Valerie Jarrett, Senior political advisor to the US President told a gathering of Sikhs at a White House celebration of Guru Nanak’s birth-anniversary on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Over 125 Sikhs from all over the country joined the White House celebrations, a regular feature of the Obama Administration. The programme included a Sikh hymn on classical instruments like Taus, Dilruba and Jodi performed by Manpreet Singh and Raghubir Singh from New Jersey. The Keynote address was given by Professor Amritjit Singh of Ohio University and discussed about “Guru Nanak: Equality and Social Justice”. Welcoming Sikhs to the White House, Jarrett hoped that they would feel at home at the White House. “You are part of such a vital member of our community and a big and vibrant part of what makes our country so great. So when your community comes under attack, we are all in danger,” she said. “When your place of worship is vandalised, or temples churches and mosques should be uneasy as well. It is in times like these when we should step back and need to focus on the teachings of Guru Nanak,” Jarrett said. “For when we focus on the values that bring us together as a nation, we can accomplish so much more than we are divided,” she said. Welcoming the assurance from the White House, Dr Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said this sends an assuring signal to the entire community that this nation stands behind it. “President Obama gesture to hold Guru Nanak’s gurpurab every year at the White House displays his love for the community,” he said. The American-Sikh community, numbering nearly half-a- million, has seen a spur in hate-crimes against them after a Pakistani-origin couple who federal officials say were inspired by Islamist extremists opened indiscriminate firing on December 2 at a holiday luncheon and killed 14 people. Last week, a Sikh temple in California was vandalised and a group of Sikh men were harassed by security staff and denied access to a stadium in San Diego city in California for an American football game because they were wearing turbans. Earlier in 2012, a white supremacist has opened fire at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee, killing six people.

World sets new target to save planet, adopts climate accord

The agreement will be formally ratified at a high-level signature ceremony of the United Nations on April 22, 2016 and at least 55 countries will have to accept for it to come into effect.

China and India representatives at the Paris climate talk

Reuters
History was made on Saturday night in Paris. As many as 196 countries adopted a new climate accord – to be known as the Paris agreement – that commits to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, while pursuing efforts for an even ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels. More importantly, by adopting the agreement, countries across the globe have committed to end fossil-fuel domination and they have to ensure that net greenhouse gas emissions are zero in the second half of the century. The agreement will be formally ratified at a high-level signature ceremony of the United Nations on April 22, 2016 and at least 55 countries will have to accept for it to come into effect.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> For India, who was seen by the US and European Union as a potential deal-breaker, the agreement protected its interests in the near future. Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar said, “We are happy to note that all concerns of India have been taken on board.” The final text of the agreement makes several mentions of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility that was a crucial demand made by India throughout the negotiations. This ensures that India does not have the burden of scaling up their emission cuts or providing climate finance to other nations. But, the United States and other industrialised countries have offset its ‘historical responsibility’ by ensuring that the final text does not include this term. Speaking after the deal’s adoption, Javadekar said, “This (deal) recognizes development imperatives of India and is happy that it acknowledges climate justice, CBDR and equity. We are happy that agreement differentiates between developed and developed nations. We are of the opinion that the agreement could have been more ambitious and actions are far below historic responsibilities and limiting temperature below 2 degrees will be difficult.” The deal also allowed industrialised nations another relief as the issue climate finance – funds provide by richer countries to fight against climate change – was not included in the legally binding section of the agreement. Developed nations will have to provide $100 billion by 2020 and are to scale it up. The Paris agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Under the 1997 agreement, developed nations were asked to cut down their emissions. But the Paris agreement is more holistic as each of the participating country has submitted their action plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. French President Francois Hollande told the assembled delegates: “You’ve done it, reached an ambitious agreement, a binding agreement, a universal agreement. Never will I be able to express more gratitude to a conference. You can be proud to stand before your children and grandchildren.”
Accord weak, unambitious: Think-tankEnvironmental think-tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) called the Paris deal unambitious. “On the whole, it continues to be weak and unambitious, as it does not include any meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions,” said CSE director Sunita Narain. Outcome has no winners or losers: ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi said the outcome of Paris agreement had no winners or losers and climate justice was the lone winner. “Climate change remains a challenge but agreement demonstrates how every nation rose to challenge,” Modi tweeted. ‘Best chance’ to save planet: ObamaUS President Barack Obama said the landmark deal is a “turning point” for the world and represents the “best chance” for mankind to save the planet. “I believe this moment can be a turning point for the world,” Obama said in an address to the nation.

Hotline Talks: When Narendra Modi spoke to Barack Obama for an hour about climate change

“Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” the White House had said.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama spoke for an hour over a hotline on Tuesday to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations in Paris. The call “lasted for over an hour”, the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma said in his address to the Brookings Institute, a top American think-tank. This was only the second ever telephonic conversation between the two leaders over the hotline or secure line of communication, which was established this summer. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Obama had telephoned Modi to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations currently underway in Paris. According to a readout of the call issued by the White House, the call was initiated by Obama and the two leaders discussed primarily climate change issues in the context of the ongoing negotiations in Paris. “Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” the White House had said. While there is no official record in public domain of the duration of Obama’s telephonic conversation with foreign leaders, the White House in the past did refer to the lengthy telephonic call the President had with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro last December.At a news conference last year, Obama had told reporters that when he spoke with Castro for the first time he started with a lengthy statement. “At the end of my remarks, I apologised for taking, you know, such a long time,” Obama had said. The call had lasted for 45 minutes. “Don’t worry about it, Mr President. You’re still a young man, and you have still the chance to break Fidel’s record. He once spoke for seven hours straight,” Castro said according to Obama. PTI LKJ

Barack Obama calls PM Modi, discusses climate change

“I can tell you that earlier today, the (US) President placed a telephone call to Prime Minister Modi of India to discuss the ongoing negotiations,” Earnest said.

US President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations currently underway in Paris, the White House said.Early this morning President spoke with Prime Minister Modi, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.It is likely that Obama would also be talking over phone with his Chinese counterpart too, he said.A day earlier, Obama had spoken with his Brazilian counterpart.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earnest said the US President is closely following the developments in Paris where more than 180 countries are trying to hammer out a deal on climate change.”I can tell you that earlier today, the (US) President placed a telephone call to Prime Minister Modi of India to discuss the ongoing negotiations,” Earnest said.”I would anticipate that over the course of this week as the negotiations continue, the President would be in touch with other world leaders,” he said.Obama is getting regular updates from his team in Paris about the status of the negotiations, he added.In Paris last week, Obama had met Modi on the sidelines of the climate change summit. He had also met his Chinese counterpart.Earnest said the US President is optimistic about the success of the Paris summit.”Well, again, he is, but primarily for the reasons that he said when he was in Paris last week, which is even in advance of the Paris negotiations, we saw the international community mobilise to make significant commitments to cut carbon pollution,” he said.

Along with the first family of US, Indian Americans showered with expensive gifts by visiting foreign dignitaries

As is the custom, the Office of the Chief of Protocol annually releases the list of gifts to the federal employees from foreign government sources.

When foreign dignitaries and world leaders made their official visit to the United States of America last year, it was not just President Barack Obama and his family — wife Michelle, daughters Sasha and Malia– or the key leaders of the US Federal Government that they took gifts for. Among the assortment of expensive and quirky presents lavished upon the first family as a part of soft diplomacy, recipients also include Indian-American officials who rank among the top 10 of the most valued gifts.As is the custom, the Office of the Chief of Protocol annually releases the list of gifts to the federal employees from foreign government sources. The list for the year 2014 was released on November 25 with names of the receivers and dignitaries presenting the gifts and details as well as its valuation estimated at $ 3.4 million.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Diplomatic gifts usually include items symbolic of the culture and tradition of the country. For his part, Obama received bottles of wine, (French President Francois Hollande), white tulip vases (Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte) silk jackets and computer tablets (Chinese President Xi JinPing), black leather boots (Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott), a 98 million-year-old fish fossil (Lebanon) along with paintings, sculptures, gems encrusted vase, rare books, traditional clothing, photo portraits from heads and monarchs of more than 95 countries who came to the US on official visits.The most expensive gifts however came from the House of Saud: a white gold men’s wristwatch with leather band worth $67,000 and 48 inches gold-plated brass replica of the Makkah Clock Tower on marble base estimated $57,000, gold and silver men’s wristwatch with leather band amounting to $18,240 all gifted by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on different occasions. The Saudi Royal also made special gifts for the first lady: diamond and emerald jewelry worth $560,000. But the luxurious of all presents two individual diamond and emerald jewelry set and a diamond and ruby jewellery set were reserved for the teenage daughters Sasha and Malia, estimating a whopping $80,000.King Abdullah also presented Vice President John Kerry, his wife and other staff of the White House with exclusive gifts. Among the key staff are officials of Indian origin who figure in the 2014 list. Prem Kumar former acting Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa, was given a silver wristwatch with leather band of $19,628. Puneet Talwar, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs received gifts including Khanjar knives, sheath, and belt with detailed silver work and silver bracelet with green stone from the Sultanate of Oman. Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, received gold-plated serving set $1,150 from President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov.Sangeeta Shields, wife of ambassador Daniel Shields is another recipient of high valued gifts worth $21,000 including Prada handbag, Dior ladies’ jeweled watch, Purple and gold material Saree, and ornaments from the majesty of Brunei Darussalam, where Shields was last posted as the US ambassador.As is evident from the list, visiting dignitaries made gifts for officials who they know personally or have developed a special relation with during the term of their tenure According to the rules, the recipients must hand over the presents to the government usually for display at the National Archives and Records Administration or storage at the State Treasury. If they wish to keep any of the items they are to be purchased at current market value.Kishan Rana, retired ambassador and a veteran who has studied, authored and taught on diplomacy said diplomatic gifts are a part of courtesies and gestures. “Good diplomacy includes gifts that are of distinct of the country’s culture of limited value but symbolic in nature. Each country has its own practice and regulation to follow but giving expensive and excessive gifts is not ethical.’’The giftsModi’s presents to Obama table cloth, drawstring pants, kurtas, bags, books and rare recordings worth $8165Digital recordings, titles: ‘‘Visit of Reverend Martin Luther King to India,’’ ‘‘Visit of Mrs. Coretta Scott King to Accept Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding to Reverend Martin Luther King (Posthumously) for the Year 1966 in January, 1969,’’ and ‘‘The Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi.’’Pink-red and sheer tan tablecloths with gold thread embroidery border. Golden fabric bag with a gold and diamond pendant.Books: Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Special-edition book, title: Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi.Short tan kurta, vest with golden thread, tan pants with drawstring, tan tunic. Two dresses (purple and blue) with multi-colored embroidery of peacocks, and golden embroidery-gems in stripe and leaf pattern. Two Pashmina shawls.Photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. setting flowers at Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial at Rajghat in 1959. Rogan Art paintings. Sandalwood carved screen with paintings.Congress leader Krishna Mohan also presented Obama with a Montblanc desk clock worth $930

PM Modi leaves for Paris COP21 climate change conference

Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.

PM Narendra Modi

dna Research & Archives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for France where he will take part in the Paris Summit on Climate Change along with 150 heads of nations.During his two-day visit, the Prime Minister will speak at the Leaders Event in which he is expected to touch upon issues pertaining to global warming and assert India’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi speaks about climate change, wants to turn ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’ into schemeThe two-week long summit is being seen as a key event aimed at addressing the climate change challenge. An international agreement on climate change focussed on curbing the emission of greenhouse gases is expected to come out of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.One of the important challenges looming over mankind in recent times is to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Prime Minister Modi has always taken a strong stand on climate issues. He has time and again urged the leading nations in the world to take steps to curb emissions in order to give clean environment to the future generations.Related Read: Climate change: India ready to be part of solution, says Prakash Javadekar

Negotiators at U.N. climate talks to meet Sunday, a day early | Reuters

OSLO Government negotiators at a U.N. climate conference in Paris will meet on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, to let them get down to work before world leaders arrive for a summit on Monday.

The U.N. Climate Secretariat said on Wednesday that senior officials from almost 200 nations would meet in the conference hall on the outskirts of Paris on Nov. 29 at 1600 GMT.

Until now, they had been due to meet for the first time only after about 140 world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended on Monday to give speeches of encouragement.

Officials who oversee the talks “considered that an early opening of the session will offer an opportunity to make the best possible use of the very limited time available to finalise negotiations”, the Secretariat said in a statement.

The conference, lasting until Dec. 11, is seeking to agree a deal that signals a break with a rising reliance on fossil fuels, blamed by a U.N. panel of scientists for causing more floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Obama to meet Modi, China’s Xi at Paris climate talks – White House | Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. President Barack Obama will meet China’s president and India’s prime minister on the first day of Paris climate talks on Nov. 30 to give momentum to the two-week U.N. negotiations, White House officials said.

Obama’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of the two-week climate summit “send a strong message to the world about their strong commitment to climate change,” White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

Nearly 140 world leaders confirmed their attendance at the opening day of the U.N. Climate Change conference that runs until Dec. 11, even after the Nov. 13 attacks by Islamic State militants rattled the host city.

Rhodes said Obama is likely to pay tribute to the people of Paris during his trip, and said he and other world leaders will attend the climate talks as a “clear sign of strength and resilience in the face of terrorism.”

Paul Bodnar, senior director for energy and climate change at the White House National Security Council, said Obama’s meetings with Xi and Modi are not expected to yield new announcements but to consult on key issues of the negotiations.

“These two countries are two of our most important partners in dealing with global climate change,” he said.

Obama will also meet with French President Francois Hollande, as well as with leaders of island nations such as the Seychelles and Marshall Islands that are threatened by rising sea levels.

The administration officials said Obama will be joined in Paris by key members of his cabinet, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh and Chizu Nomiyama)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

PM Narendra Modi now has more than 16 million Twitter followers

Narendra Modi’s Twitter account gets an addition of another million followers, taking the total follower count to 16.1 million.

Online campaigns upheave Modi’s Twitter following

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Number of followers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, @narendramodi, on social media site Twitter has crossed 16 million mark, by adding record number of followers in last one year.”In a span of two months, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account gets an addition of another million followers, taking the total follower count to 16.1 million,” Twitter said in a statement.Modi’s follower number crossed 15 million on September 22, 2015. Since the time he was sworn into office on May 26, 2014, he has added 11.9 million followers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”PM Modi has also set new records as the largest increase in the number of followers in a 12-month period for an Indian account (8.8 million followers from Sep 17, 2014 to Sep 17, 2015),” Twitter said.TWITTER RACEUS President Barack Obama (@barackobama) tops the list with 66.1 million followers
Modi is the most followed Indian politician, and the 2nd most followed politician in the world after Barack Obama
Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) runs with 17.8 million followers and Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) at 16.2 million followers
​Modi has used twitter for campaigns like #MakeInIndia, #SwachBharat, #MannKiBaat and #SefieWithDaughter to reach and connect with the citizens for development and progress.”Recently, PM Modi’s umbrella initiative #MakeInIndia, one of the largest economic development initiatives planned by the government, became the first non-US brand to launch its own Twitter emoji to a worldwide audience,” the statement added.The #MakeInIndia emoji symbolises the success of the brand campaign on Twitter with nearly 500 million impressions this year to promote India as a great place for foreign direct investment to transform the country into a global manufacturing hub.

French President Francois Hollande to be 2016 Republic Day chief guest: Reports

The development was tweeted by a South Asia Correspondent with Le Monde, who later said that the news was confirmed by French authorities.

French President Francois Hollande

French President Francois Hollande will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2016, several media reports said on Saturday. The development was tweeted by a South Asia Correspondent with Le Monde, who later said that the news was confirmed by French authorities. This year, the Republic Day Parade saw US President Barack Obama as the chief guest, who was accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama.The news about Hollande’s visit comes shortly after the deadly attack in Paris last week that left nearly 130 people dead and several others injured. While Paris was declared to be in a state of emergency, President Hollande cancelled an impending trip to Turkey for the G20 summit. More details about his visit are not known yet. The Telegraph had reported in October that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended an invitation to Hollande to be the chief guest at the next Republic Day parade. The report said that the visit may help work the Rafale deal which has been stuck for a while now.

PM Modi meets Turkey President, Saudi King on the margins of G-20 summit

Modi first met the host of the G20 Summit, Erdogan to discuss threat posed by terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations

Antalya : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, presents a photo album to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Saudi King Salman Al Saud as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the margins of the G20 Summit to discuss combating terrorism and other bilateral issues but a structured meeting with US President Obama did not take place.Modi first met the host of the G20 Summit, Erdogan to discuss threat posed by terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two nations. With Erdogan, Modi discussed economic cooperation, including in the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Smart City’ initiatives. “He sought Turkey’s support for India’s membership for four export control regime,” foreign office spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was referring to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Swarup added that UN Reform, civil nuclear cooperation, and cooperation in space and agricultural research also came up for discussion. Modi followed it up with a meeting with Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, where terror again figured in talks.Cooperation in the areas of Railways modernisation, defence manufacturing, renewable energy and marine security were also discussed. The Prime Minister termed the discussions “comprehensive” and “fruitful”. “Enhancing relations with a very dear friend from Middle East,” he tweeted about his meeting with King Salman. Swarup described Saudi Arabia as “a very important partner in the Gulf Region” as he posted photographs of the two leaders holding discussions. However, there was no structured meeting with Obama. Modi and Obama were together at many working sessions at the two-day G20 Summit as well as dinner hosted by Erdogan. “He has met him of course (at the Summit). There are various pull asides. What I mean is a structured bilateral meeting with President Obama has not happened. But they were together in the leaders lounge for over 45 minutes. They were together at lunch, they were together at dinner. So I am sure they have had conversations,” Swarup said.Modi had earlier tweeted that Obama had called him to greet on Diwali and they agreed to meet in Turkey on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

Modi-Obama bonhomie sees 30% jump in Indian students going to US

Prime minister Narendra Modi and US president Barack Obama’s warm personal ties have helped America’s higher education sector growing at extraordinary rate in last one year. Number of Indian students going to the United States has gone up by a whopping 29.4 per cent within a year, compared to 6% previous year following three years of consistent decline, reveals the latest ‘Open Doors Report’ which is being released in the US Monday.Nearly 1.33 lakh students are studying in various US universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at present compared to only 1.02 lakh students a year ago. However, only 4,588 US students came to India in 2013-14 (4.7% rise over the previous year), and that too for short-term and semester-long courses, says the report. Last time the US witnessed a comparable growth rate of Indian students (29%) was in 2000-01 when the number of Indian students exceeded 50,000 for the first time. That time too the BJP government was in power in India with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the prime minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “While China remains the top country of origin of international students in the US, increasing by 11 per cent to 3,04,040, India’s growth outpaced China’s this year, with students from India increasing by 29.4 perc ent to a record high of 1,32,888. This is the highest rate of growth for Indian students in the history of the Open Doors project, which spans back to 1954/55,” reads the report. Overall, US saw a rise of 10% in international students in 2014-15 with 9.74 lakh students from various countries studying in its univarsities.International expert on politics give credit of this steep rise to improvement in diplomatic relations between India and US recently due to personal cordial relations between the two state heads. Modi’s visit to the US in September 2014 generated enough euphoria in India and this was followed up by Obama, who became the first American president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi in January 2015. In a joint presser in Delhi, Modi’s address to Obama as “Barack” led to interesting discussion. “India and US have had conflicting views in issues related trade, climate change and foreign policy for years. Now on a range of issues, such as the rise of China, the future of Afghanistan and international terrorism, New Delhi and Washington are increasingly on the same page,” said a professor of Pune University. Besides, a strong Indian rupee, reviving global economy and increased efforts of US varsities in wooing Indian students are also major factors behind this jump, say experts.”The apprehensions and negative sentiments are changing now. Moreover, US varsities have gained on a declining interest of Indians for UK universities in last three years mainly due to introduction of stricter visa norms by the UK government,” says an overseas education expert. Some academicians, however, blamed the slow pace of the Modi government in the most crucial sector behind this “exodus” of youngsters towards US. “Students are unable to see ‘Ache din’ in the higher education sector which suffers from rot since years. Expansion of quality university education is the need of the hour or else we would continue losing out higher number of bright brains to the West along with foreign reserve,” said a professor of Mumbai University.An MHRD official defends, “We are working on a new education policy which aims to address the brain drain as well.” Box 1Head: Figure it outYearNumber of Indian students in US% change from the previous year2014-151,32,88829.4%2013-141,02,673+ 6.1%2012-1396,754-3.5%2011-121,00,270-3.5%2010-111,03,895-1%(Source: Open Doors report 2014-15) Box 2Head: Top US varsitiesNew York University, University of Southern California, University of Illinois and Columbia University are the top choice of international students. Each hosted more than 10,000 international students.Box 3International students contribute $30 billion to the US economy in a year.International students contributed more than $30 billion and supported more than 373,000 jobs to the US economy in 2014. Chinese students constitute 31% of the international students’ population in the US followed by Indian students who constitute 13.6% at present.

Obama vows effort to eliminate Islamic State as G20 seeks common Syria strategy | Reuters

BELEK, Turkey U.S. President Barack Obama vowed on Sunday to step up efforts to eliminate Islamic State in Syria and prevent it from carrying out attacks like those in Paris, while European leaders urged Russia to focus its military efforts on the radical Islamists.

Speaking at a G20 leaders summit in Turkey, Obama described the killings in Paris claimed by Islamic State as an attack on the civilised world and said the United States would work with France to hunt down those responsible.

The two-day summit brings Obama and fellow world leaders just 500 km (310 miles) from Syria, where a 4-1/2-year conflict has transformed Islamic State into a global security threat and spawned Europe’s largest migration flows since World War Two.

“Traditionally the G20 has been a forum primarily to discuss economic issues facing the globe … (but) the sky has been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago,” Obama said in a statement after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

“The United States and its allies will redouble efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria and prevent Islamic State militants from perpetrating attacks like those in Paris.”

Obama and his Western allies now face the question of how the West should respond after Islamic State again demonstrated it posed a threat far beyond its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Washington already expects France to retaliate by taking on a larger role in the U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign against Islamic State.

But European Council President Donald Tusk said Russia too should focus its military operations on Islamic State, rather than on the Syrian opposition battling President Bashar al-Assad, urging cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

“It should be our common aim to coordinate our actions against Daesh (IS) and for sure the cooperation between the United States and Russia is a crucial one,” he said.

OBAMA-PUTIN HANDSHAKE

Russia joined the conflict a month and a half ago with air strikes in Syria, but has been targeting mainly areas controlled by the moderate Syrian opposition fighting Assad, its ally, rather than Islamic State, its critics say.

Turkey and Western allies, by contrast, want Assad out.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomed the renewed sense of urgency to find a solution to the war in Syria after the Paris attacks, adding the world had a “rare moment” of diplomatic opportunity to end the violence.

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have no formal bilateral meeting planned. As the leaders moved into place for a group photo on Sunday, Putin approached Obama and they shook hands, exchanging words for only a few brief moments.

Obama is also seeking to coax other European and Middle Eastern countries into more tangible steps to show their military commitment and will hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, U.S. officials said. In a call late last month, the two leaders affirmed the need to cooperate in fighting Islamic State.

Obama said he had also discussed in his meeting with Erdogan the progress made by foreign ministers in Vienna, who on Saturday outlined a plan for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years, although differences over Assad’s fate still remained.

MIGRATION CONCERNS

The coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris on Friday puts Obama and other leaders of the world’s major economies under increased pressure to find common cause.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Washington itself has an appetite for much deeper involvement after already stepping up air strikes and committing small numbers of special operations troops to northern Syria to advise opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State.

The Paris carnage, in which 129 people were killed in attacks on a concert hall, restaurants, bars and a sports stadium, also poses a major challenge for Europe, with populist leaders rushing to demand an end to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

In a diplomatic coup for Europe and for Turkey, the G20 leaders will agree that migration is a global problem that must be addressed in a coordinated way, according to a draft communique seen by Reuters, although it has yet to be accepted by all and is due to be published only on Monday.

Europe and Turkey, the most heavily hit by the crisis, had been pushing for the G20 to recognise the issue as a global problem and help to deal with it financially, despite opposition from China, India and Russia. A million migrants from the Middle East and Africa are expected to come to Europe this year alone.

According to a separate statement due to be released later on Sunday, a draft of which was also seen by Reuters, they also agreed to step up border controls and aviation security in the wake of the Paris attacks, which they condemned as “heinous”.

The summit follows not only the Paris attacks but also comes two weeks after a suspected bomb attack on a Russian airliner killed 224 people in the Sinai Peninsula.

It also comes just over a month after two suspected Islamic State suicide bombers blew themselves up in Ankara, killing more than 100 people in Turkey’s worst such attack.

(Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly, Denis Dyomkin, Jan Strupczewski, Dasha Afanasieva, David Dolan, Humeya Pamuk, Orhan Coskun, Asli Kandemir; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Keith Weir)

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Obama speaks to Modi, first call via Indo-US hotline

Noting that the conversation represented the first use of the new hotline line between the two leaders, Obama reaffirmed the importance of the US-India partnership in addressing both regional and global issues, it said.

Modi-Obama

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have made the first use of the secure hotline set up between Washington and New Delhi as they reviewed progress on key areas of cooperation and discussed global issues ahead of the upcoming G-20 summit.”President Obama spoke today by phone with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to review joint efforts on key areas of bilateral cooperation and to preview global issues ahead of the upcoming G-20 summit, East Asia Summit, and Paris Climate Conference,” the White House said yesterday. Noting that the conversation represented the first use of the new hotline line between the two leaders, Obama reaffirmed the importance of the US-India partnership in addressing both regional and global issues, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Both leaders shared their perspectives on developments in South Asia and discussed the progress they have made on shared economic and security priorities, including implementation of the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and addressing the global challenge of climate change,” the White House said.The secure line between the two countries was agreed to in January, when Obama became the first sitting US president to visit India twice. After his visit to the United Kingdom beginning on November 12, Modi will travel to Turkey to attend the G20 Summit to be held on November 15-16. The Summit is being held at a critical juncture after the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals agenda at the United Nations and ahead of the climate change Summit in Paris.

Obama wishes Modi on Diwali

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday night called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to greet him on Diwali and they agreed to meet in Turkey on the sidelines of the G20 Summit to be held early next week.”A short while ago @POTUS (President of the United States) called. We exchanged Diwali greetings. This was our first conversation through the newly-established hotline,” Modi tweeted. “President Obama & I look forward to meeting in Turkey during the G20 Summit,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi said President Obama and he “discussed a wide range of other issues as well. It was good knowing how @WhiteHouse is marking Diwali.” After his visit to the United Kingdom beginning on November 12, Modi will travel to Turkey to attend the G20 Summit to be held on November 15-16.The Summit is being held at a critical juncture after the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals agenda at the United Nations and ahead of the climate change Summit in Paris on November 30 to December 1. “During the Summit (in Turkey), we will review the progress on decisions taken at the Brisbane Summit and take up issues of climate change, terrorism, refugees, weak growth in global economy, strategies for growth and employment, investment strategies, trade, energy and financial sector resilience,” the Prime Minister had said in a Twitter post a few days ago.

U.S. can still close Guantanamo before Obama leaves – White House | Reuters

WASHINGTONThe Obama administration still has time to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison before the president leaves office, the White House said on Friday, adding that it is continuing to work on transferring detainees from the center.

The United States is working to reach agreement with countries around the globe to transfer 53 eligible Guantanamo prisoners from the facility in Cuba, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, adding that some transfers would take place by the end of the year.

“Absolutely it’s still possible. It’s still something that we are working very hard to accomplish,” Earnest said.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters “there is a very real possibility” that the number of inmates at Guantanamo, now at 112, could be reduced to less than a hundred by the end of the year.

“We’re aiming for this,” the official said, but added that there was no guarantee of hitting that milestone by Dec. 31.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Roberta Rampton, Ayesha Rascoe, and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Christian Plumb)

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CIA chief’s hacked e-mail: Pak uses militant proxies to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan

“Pakistan’s desire to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan and concerns about US long-term commitments to Afghanistan increase Pakistan’s interest in hedging its bets by ensuring that it will be able to have a working relationship with the Taliban to balance Indian and Iranian interests if the US withdraws,” Brennan wrote on November 7 in 2008.

CIA chief’s hacked email: Pakistan uses militant proxies to counter India’s growing influence in AfghanistanPakistan uses militants as proxies to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan, according to a set of documents released by WikiLeaks from the hacked personal email account of CIA Director John Brennan.The documents, released by the whistle-blower website and deemed classified by the CIA, contained reports on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and also ideas for US policy towards Iran.Brennan, three days after Barack Obama was elected US President in November 2008, wrote to him in a position-cum- strategy paper that Pakistan uses the Taliban to counter India in Afghanistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Pakistan’s desire to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan and concerns about US long-term commitments to Afghanistan increase Pakistan’s interest in hedging its bets by ensuring that it will be able to have a working relationship with the Taliban to balance Indian and Iranian interests if the US withdraws,” Brennan wrote on November 7 in 2008.Brennan, then a top foreign policy and counter-terrorism adviser to Obama, then a president-elect, was in the running to be CIA Director. The post, however, went to Leon Panetta.Obama initially made Brennan his top counter-terrorism adviser, and in January 2013 he nominated him as CIA Director.Brennan’s views on Pakistan was disclosed in a 13-page executive summary of key findings and recommendations on Afghanistan and Pakistan.Brennan, in the summary, said efforts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been challenged by Pakistan’s ambivalence towards, and perhaps outright support for, the Taliban.”While the US Intelligence Community differs on the extent of the relationships, at least some elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services appear to be ambivalent about the anti-Taliban and anti-militant mission in the FATA, in part due to their history of close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan’s conflict with the Soviet Union and Pakistan’s use of militant proxies in its conflict with India,” he wrote.Coalition forces have won every major battle with Afghan insurgents, but these tactical successes have not resulted in a strategic victory, largely because insurgents are free to regroup in sanctuaries across the Af-Pak border, he wrote.On Wednesday, WikiLeaks began publishing documents from “Brennan’s non-government email accounts”. They appear to date back to 2007-09, when Brennan worked in the private sector.

Barack Obama deeply values his relationship with PM Narendra Modi: White House

President Barack Obama deeply values his relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two leaders have a strong partnership specifically on expanding economic opportunities, the White House has said.

PM Modi and Barack Obama on Republic Day

President Barack Obama deeply values his relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the two leaders have a strong partnership specifically on expanding economic opportunities, the White House has said.”I can tell you that the President deeply values his relationship with Prime Minister Modi; that the United States and India have worked together very closely,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters on Friday at his daily news conference.”They have a strong partnership specifically on expanding economic opportunities. That’s something the President has worked hard on,” he said in response to a question.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He’s directed his team here at the White House and throughout the administration to focus on our relationship there and seek opportunities to expand cooperation,” Schultz said.Related Read: India open to peace talks, rules out third party role in Kashmir: MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup

India open to peace talks, rules out third party role in Kashmir: MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup

India on Friday welcomed a joint pledge by the United States and Pakistan to fight militant groups it suspects of attacking Indian targets, but ruled out any third-party mediation to end a long-running dispute over Kashmir.

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup

Twitter (MEA)
India on Friday welcomed a joint pledge by the United States and Pakistan to fight militant groups it suspects of attacking Indian targets, but ruled out any third-party mediation to end a long-running dispute over Kashmir.Although the Indian foreign ministry accused Pakistan of state-sponsored terrorism, New Delhi’s tough rhetoric did not preclude the possible resumption of peace talks that were derailed by recent tensions.”India has always desired resolution of all issues with Pakistan bilaterally through dialogue and peaceful means,” Vikas Swarup, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, told a news briefing in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is Pakistan who has chosen to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy. And this visit shows that the international community is deeply concerned about its support to, and sponsorship of, terrorism.”Related Read: Obama-Sharif meet: US President urges Pakistan to avoid raising nuclear tensions with new weaponsAt talks in Washington on Thursday, US President Barack Obama and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged “to promote peace and stability throughout the region and to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism.”For the first time, Pakistan committed to take “effective action” against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan that India blames for an attack by suicide commandos on Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people died.The joint statement also named, among other groups, the Haqqani Network that Indian and US intelligence believe was responsible for an attack on its embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul in the same year.”This is the first time that Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani Network have been specifically mentioned in a US-Pakistan joint statement,” said Swarup. “We would naturally hope that they deliver on these commitments.”An agreement to revive peace talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours – who have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir – was reached between Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Russia in July.But escalating tensions over Kashmir, derailed plans for the national security advisers of both countries to hold talks on containing terrorism. Just before travelling to the United States, Sharif named a former general as his new national security adviser. Reacting, Swarup said that India “remains open” to holding talks between the two countries’ national security advisers.

‘No US role in Indo-Pak peace process unless both jointly ask’

“President (Barack) Obama and his interlocutors discussed with the Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) and his team the situation in the LoC (Line of Control). Pakistan has often made a request for the United States to be engaged in it,” the Administration official told Indian reporters on Thursday.

The US has categorically ruled out any role for itself in Indo-Pak peace process unless both the countries jointly ask for it, according to a senior official who asserted that the best way to resolve issues is through direct dialogue between the two neighbours.”President (Barack) Obama and his interlocutors discussed with the Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) and his team the situation in the LoC (Line of Control). Pakistan has often made a request for the United States to be engaged in it,” the Administration official told Indian reporters on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”(During the meeting) we affirmed the US commitment that we would be engaged only if this is something that India and Pakistan would like. This is not any change in any policy of the United States.”This has been a reiteration of the continued policy of the United states for both countries to work out these issues bilaterally and of course we and other countries would be willing to provide facilitating and other supporting role if India and Pakistan together ask for,” the official added.The official, requesting anonymity, did acknowledge that it has received set of dossiers from Pakistan on alleged Indian activities in parts of Pakistan.”In the meeting with Secretary of State, John Kerry (on Wednesday) Prime Minister did share, hand over written material relating to certain concerns that Pakistan has about security in the region,” the official said.”As we have long said, and as the Secretary underscored, the best way to resolve issues is through direct dialogue between the two neighbors. We stand ready to support such dialogue in any way we can. We have just received these dossiers. We have not reviewed them and we do not have any comment on the contents at this point,” the official said.”A dialogue between India and Pakistan, the parameters of which, it is for India and Pakistan to work out. It is not the policy of the US to try to influence or try to set terms or otherwise even make recommendations for how that dialogue should take place. This is our policy for many years. That policy of the US has not changed,” the official said.”We just hoped that India and Pakistan do have a dialogue, normalise relations and work together to move the peace in the region and prosperity of the respective countries,” the official said, adding that there is no US shift towards India or Pakistan.”There is no tilt towards any country. The US has very important relationship towards India and Pakistan. They stand on their own. They are not zero some. US has global interest and has interest in peace and stability in the region,” the official added.

Obama meets Pakistan’s Sharif to stress nuclear worries, seek help on Taliban | Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. President Barack Obama met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House on Thursday to stress concerns about Pakistan’s expanding nuclear arsenal and seek help in bringing the Afghan Taliban back to peace talks.

Washington has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of “restraint” over its nuclear program but Pakistani officials said Sharif would tell Obama Islamabad will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear weapons, given the threat posed by India.

A joint statement after the White House meeting referred to nuclear security and said both leaders had stressed the need for “all sides” to act with restraint and work towards strategic stability in South Asia.

It also said Obama and Sharif expressed their commitment to advance the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and called on Taliban leaders to enter direct talks with Kabul, which have staled since inaugural discussions in Pakistan in July.

The 14-year Taliban insurgency has escalated since tens of thousands of U.S.-led NATO combat troops withdrew ahead of an end-2014 deadline, hampering Obama’s efforts to withdraw remaining U.S. troops.

Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center think tank said that as well as seeking Pakistan’s help on the talks, Obama would have stressed the need for it to do away with militant sanctuaries inside its borders used as bases from which to target the U.S.-backed Afghan government and U.S. forces.

“Obama knows that a political solution is needed to end the Afghan war, and for that you need help from the Pakistanis,” he said.However, Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution said it was not clear Sharif had the clout with his own army to get military leaders to pressure the Taliban back into talks.

Despite the tensions, the Obama administration sees Pakistan as vital to regional and global security and is preparing to sell Islamabad eight F-16 fighter jets in a bid to bolster ties, a U.S. source familiar with the matter said.

The joint statement made no mention of the sale, which Congress could block, but said Sharif “expressed satisfaction with the cooperation achieved in defence relations.”

U.S. concerns have been growing about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal amid a fresh round of tensions between Islamabad and India, Pakistan’s nuclear-armed rival and neighbour.

Pakistan insists smaller tactical nuclear weapons would deter a sudden attack by India, but Washington worries they may further destabilize an already volatile region because their smaller size makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war – and harder to prevent from falling into militant hands.

The statement said the two leaders discussed the continuing threat of nuclear terrorism and stressed the importance of improvement in Pakistan-India relations.

“The two leaders underscored that all sides should continuously act with maximum restraint and work jointly toward strengthening strategic stability in South Asia,” it said.

Pakistani officials say Washington is demanding unreasonable limits on its nuclear weapons while not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognised recipient of nuclear technology.

The Federation of American Scientists said this week that since 2011, Pakistan had deployed two new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles and a new medium-range ballistic missile and was developing two extended-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and two nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

It estimated Pakistan’s stockpile had grown to 110 to 130 warheads from 90 to 110 in 2011 and could reach 220 to 250 by 2025, making it the world’s fifth-largest nuclear-weapons state.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Additional reporting by Julia Edwards, Roberta Rampton, Idrees Ali and Andrea Shalal; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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Pakistan to tell U.S. it won’t accept limits on tactical nuclear arms | Reuters

ISLAMABAD Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will tell U.S. President Barack Obama this week that Islamabad will not accept limits on its use of small tactical nuclear weapons, Pakistani officials said on Wednesday.

Pakistan insists smaller weapons would deter a sudden attack by its bigger neighbour India. But the United States worries tactical weapons may further destabilise an already volatile region because their smaller size makes them more tempting to use in a conventional war.

Sharif and Obama are due to meet on Thursday.

The United States wants Pakistan to commit to not using tactical nuclear weapons but Islamabad wants to keep its options open as a way of deterring a potential Indian attack, said Maria Sultan, head of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute.

Pakistan says the United States is demanding unreasonable limits on its use of nuclear weapons and not offering much in return apart from a hazy promise to consider Pakistan as a recognised recipient of nuclear technology.

“Pakistan’s nuclear programme is … India-centric. And it exists to make war a non-option … Tactical nuclear weapons block off this room (for war) completely,” said a security official with knowledge of Pakistan’s nuclear program. “No one can dictate what kind of weapons we will make or use.”

Pakistan was working on developing a nuclear submarine, he added. “The goal is a sea-based second strike capability,” he said, referring to a submarine that could carry nuclear warheads and strike in case land-based nuclear weapons were wiped out.

Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers, have fought three wars since becoming separate countries in 1947. Both claim the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. India frequently accuses Pakistan of supporting militants operating on Indian territory.

For the past two years, Pakistan has tested missiles that can reach India’s outermost territories, and very short range missiles that could be used if Indian troops cross onto Pakistani soil.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told state television on Tuesday this was a reaction to Indian threats to make a limited, lightning raid with conventional forces in case of militant attack, an idea known as the “Cold Start” doctrine.

“In India, they brought the cold start doctrine,” he said. “So we have also preserved our deterrence capability.”

Nonproliferation experts worry that Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons further destabilize an already volatile region.

“The smaller they (nuclear weapons) are, the more tempting it becomes to use them against a conventional force,” said nuclear physics professor Pervez Hoodbhoy.

“The development and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons is a complete change of strategy. Earlier, nuclear weapons were instruments for deterring war, but now they’re seen as weapons for actually fighting a war.”

Maria Sultan, head of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute, said the United States was demanding that Pakistan increase its threshold for launching a nuclear attack and crack down on anti-India militants.

But it did not offer Pakistan what it craved, she said – recognition as a legitimate supplier of nuclear technology.

(Additional reporting by Amjad Ali; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi wins Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award

Washington: In another recognition of his contribution to the field of child rights and abolition of child slavery, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kailash Satyarthi has been honoured with Harvard University’s prestigious 2015 Humanitarian of the Year award. He is the first Indian to receive this honour.

The child rights activist received the award during a ceremony organised at the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Friday.

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. ReutersChild rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Reuters

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Reuters

“I humbly accept the award on behalf of millions of left out children, for whose rights we strive to work for. Let us all pledge together to eradicate child slavery from the world,” Satyarthi said in his acceptance speech.

“We believe that your notable contributions to Indian child rights deserve special recognition,” wrote S Allen Counter Jr, director of the Harvard Foundation, to Satyarthi in the recognition letter.

The annual award is given to an individual whose work has served to improve the quality of life of people and inspired them to reach greater heights.

Recently, Satyarthi succeeded in getting child protection and welfare-related clauses included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The crusader for child rights expressed the hope that he would “see the end of child labour” across the globe in his lifetime.

“I am positive that I would see the end of child labour around the world in my lifetime as the poorest of the poor have realised that education is a tool that can empower them,” Satyarthi had told IANS on the sidelines of a media interaction organised at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in 2014.

“Hence, they are educating their children while the number of child labourers are gradually decreasing around the world,” Satyarthi added.

Quoting figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), he said the latest data has shown that the number of child labourers around the world is 168 million as compared to 260 million in the mid ’90s.

Calling children his religion, Satyarthi said the issue of child labour has received a lot of attention after he won the Nobel prize but the momentum should be maintained.

“I never go to temples but when I see a child I see god in them. Children are my religion…This issue must not die. The children need a voice and they need everybody’s support especially the media,” he told IANS.

Satyarthi, along with Pakistan’s Malala Yousufzai, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

In January this year, Satyarthi met US president Barack Obama during his three-day visit to India to attend the annual Republic Day parade in Delhi.

He told Obama that he felt “tremendous moral pressure to work even harder than before” after winning the Nobel.

Satyarthi has worked for child rights for over 30 years through the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO which is credited with freeing over 80,000 children from bonded labour across India.

IANS

Obama to discuss nuclear security concerns with Pakistan | Reuters

WASHINGTON The United States will discuss concerns about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal during a visit to Washington next week by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the White House said on Thursday.

The News York Times reported on Thursday that the Obama administration was concerned that Pakistan might be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon that would be harder to protect from falling into hands of militants.

The paper said the administration was also seeking to prevent Pakistan deploying missiles that could reach beyond its main foe India, and was thus exploring a possible deal to limit the Pakistani arsenal that could involve relaxing restrictions on access to nuclear technology.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest played down the prospect of an agreement when asked if there was a serious effort to reach a deal with Pakistan on nuclear technology in the run-up to Sharif visit, which is expected to start on Tuesday.

“I would not be overly excited about the prospects of reaching the kind of agreement that is being speculated about publicly,” he told a regular news briefing, adding that it was “not likely to come to fruition next week.

“But the United States and Pakistan are regularly engaged in a dialogue about the importance of nuclear security. And I would anticipate that that dialogue would include conversations between the leaders of our two countries.”

Earnest added that the administration was confident the Pakistani government was “well aware of the range of potential threats to its nuclear arsenal” and that “Pakistan has a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance and the high priority that the world places on nuclear security.”

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is troubled by violent Islamist militancy, and the prospect of a nuclear device falling into the hands of radicals has long been a worst-case fear of Western security officials.

The New York Times said the United States had spent as much as $100 million during the Bush administration on a programme to help secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, an effort that had continued under Obama.

The paper said U.S. officials were concerned that smaller, short-range nuclear weapons Pakistan designed to use against any Indian invasion were easier to steal and to use if they should fall into the hands of a rogue commander.

Pakistan maintains there is no chance of Islamist militants getting their hands on atomic weapons.

Pakistan has had the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, and a report by two U.S. think tanks this year said its expansion “goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials.”

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center said Pakistan had the capacity to add 20 warheads annually and could have as many as 350 weapons in 10 years time.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Centre is not serious about women’s safety, claims AAP

The party also wondered what the basis was for Delhi Police’s estimate that Rs 400 crore was required for installation of CCTVs in the national capital.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Raising the issue of security of women, AAP on Thursday charged that the Centre was “not serious” about the same and accused it of not installing CCTVs in the national capital.Referring to observations by Delhi High Court regarding women’s safety in Delhi, the party said that if Delhi Police could install 25,000 CCTV cameras for the four-day visit of President Barack Obama, why could it not do the same for the sake of ensuring the security of women.High Court on Wednesday told the Centre that while it follows austerity measures vis-a-vis increasing the strength of Delhi Police personnel, it should ensure that life and liberty issues “do not take a backseat”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing the court’s observations regarding women’s safety in Delhi, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, “When the US President came to India, the Centre installed around 25,000 cameras in the national capital for his security for four days.”If you could instal so many cameras for the security of Obama, why can’t you instal these for the security of the women in the capital.”Regarding installation of CCTV cameras in Delhi, the court was told that a meeting was held between the city government and Delhi Police officials on October 8 where it was agreed to set up cameras at locations provided by the police, including 44 sensitive areas.”Delhi Police have informed time and again that there is a shortage of 16,000 police personnel in its force and the Union Finance Ministry has shot down the proposal (to raise its strength) saying it will require Rs 483 crore for this. In case of CCTVs, HC had directed Delhi Police to instal cameras across the national capital, but MHA shot it down saying it will require Rs 400 crore for this purpose,” claimed AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Dilip Pandey.The party also wondered what the basis was for Delhi Police’s estimate that Rs 400 crore was required for installation of CCTVs in the national capital.”On what basis have Delhi Police and Home Ministry decided that a budget of Rs 400 crore is required for the installation of CCTV cameras because, according to our estimates, the budget would be lower. Rs 400 crore is nothing for the security of our mothers, sisters and daughters, but we want to know the basis on which they have calculated the amount,” he added.AAP also raised the issue of shortage of staff in Delhi Police and said there was an urgent need of 16,000 more personnel. The party claimed that as per its promise, its government has installed CCTV cameras in 200 buses in the city and has also appointed 1,500 guards to ensure a safe commute for women.

Obama: Afghan troops not as strong as needed, U.S. forces to stay | Reuters

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama said on Thursday Afghan troops were still not as strong as they needed to be as he announced his decision to maintain 9,800 U.S. troops in the country through most of next year.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Obama said at the White House. “As commander in chief I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again.”

Obama said the decision should show the Taliban that the only way to achieve a full drawdown of U.S. troops was to reach a settlement with the Afghan government.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

dna Must Reads for evening: Aarushi murder case, Barack Obama, Shahid Kapoor & more

Here are 5 top stories on dnaindia.com at 6pm.

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now. ​1) After a book and movie came out questioning CBI’s action in the Aarushi Talwar murder case, CBI puts all court orders on its website​The 210-page exhaustive order by the then special judge Shyam Lal has gone into arguments of defence as well prosecution for nearly a year before the dentist couple were sentenced for life for the crimes.​ Read our full report here: Aarushi Talwar murder case: CBI puts all court orders on its website<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Delhi government to soon install CCTV cameras, tweets Arvind KejriwalDelhi government has asked the PWD to light up ‘dark spots’ across the capital and decided to bring a proposal to install CCTV cameras soon, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday. Read more here.3) Barack Obama surprises couple at their wedding!While visiting California, President Obama enjoyed a round of golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, where Stephanie and Brian were about to tie the knot on Tuesday.Read more here: Best surprise ever: When President Obama gatecrashed a wedding4) President Mukherjee addresses Indian diaspora in Jerusalem​”Indians all over the world are successful not only as dedicated professionals and hard working businessmen, but also as model citizens,” said President Pranab Mukherjee at the event. To read more what he said, click here.5) Shahid Kapoor defends wife Mira Rajput when questioned about her making a Bollywood debut’Leave my wife out​,’ is what Shahid had to say to reporters when prodded about Mira Rajput. Read more here.

Nawaz Sharif to take up Indo-Pak dialogue issue with Barack Obama, says Sartaj Aziz

Talking about border skirmishes, Aziz said that the rising tension between Pakistan and India was a threat to world peace.

Nawaz Sharif

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of suspended Indo-Pak peace process with President Barack Obama during his US visit next week, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz has said.”Yes, this issue (Pakistan-India stalled peace process) and several other issues would be discussed between the US President and PM Nawaz Sharif,” Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security, told reporters on Monday. Sharif is expected to meet Obama on October 22 in Washington during his US trip for which he was invited by the US President.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aziz also hinted on sharing with the US dossiers on India’s alleged involvement in “subversive” activities, saying that documents shared with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would also be shared with “other friendly countries”. He accused India’s state institutions, including the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), of allegedly supporting militants to destabilise Pakistan.India has always rejected such allegations made by Pakistan.Aziz also rejected New Delhi’s assertion that Pakistan was supporting non-state actors in India. Talking about border skirmishes, Aziz said that the rising tension between Pakistan and India was a threat to world peace.Talking about the suspension of the Samjhauta Express, Aziz said Pakistan has asked the Indian High Commission to extend the visa for those who were scheduled to travel to India by the train.The train service has been suspended since Thursday due to farmers protest on the Indian side.

Nawaz Sharif to take up Indo-Pak dialogue issue with Barack Obama, confirms Sartaj Aziz

Nawaz Sharif is expected to meet Obama on October 22 in Washington during his US trip for which he was invited by the US President.
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of suspended Indo-Pak peace process with President Barack Obama during his US visit next week, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz said on Monday.”Yes, this issue (Pakistan-India stalled peace process) and several other issues would be discussed between the US President and PM Nawaz Sharif,” Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security, told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharif is expected to meet Obama on October 22 in Washington during his US trip for which he was invited by the US President. Aziz also hinted on sharing with the US dossiers on India’s alleged involvement in “subversive” activities, saying that documents shared with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would also be shared with “other friendly countries”.He accused India’s state institutions, including the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), of allegedly supporting militants to destabilise Pakistan. India has always rejected such allegations made by Pakistan. Aziz also rejected New Delhi’s assertion that Pakistan was supporting non-state actors in India.Talking about border skirmishes, Aziz said that the rising tension between Pakistan and India was a threat to world peace. Talking about the suspension of the Samjhuta Express, Aziz said Pakistan has asked the Indian High Commission to extend the visa for those who were scheduled to travel to India by the train. The train service has been suspended since Thursday due to farmers protest on the Indian side.

Manish Tewari attacks PM Modi; says his diplomacy, meetings with Obama yielded zero results

“This is despite the fact that India has almost ended up subscribing to the US’ vision of Asian security. They (Modi Government) has not been able to get anything substantive out of the United States,” the Congress leader said.

Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy, Congress leader Manish Tewari has said his 14 months of diplomacy, including meetings with US President Barack Obama, has yielded “zero” results for India.”Prime Minister of India has travelled abroad 29 times in last 14 months (sic), essentially about twice a month. He has got eight more visits, planned in the next three calendar months. The fact is that expect for the spectacularisation of diplomacy, there has been no substantive takeaway from any foreign visit at all,” Tewari, a former Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiwari, who is currently in the US, on Friday addressed a conference on ‘Democracy Rebooted – The Future of Technology in Elections’ by the Atlantic Council, a top American think tank.”Prime Minister Modi has met President (Barack) Obama five times. There he has not walked away with a single big take away from any of those meetings. After the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, there is not a single big idea as to how to move the relationship to the next level. In fact there is no fresh idea in the relationship at all,” Tewari said on the status of the Indo-US relationship since May 2014.”This is despite the fact that India has almost ended up subscribing to the US’ vision of Asian security. They (Modi Government) has not been able to get anything substantive out of the United States,” the Congress leader said.Highly critical of the Modi’s effort of engaging the diaspora in particular addressing meetings attended by thousands, the Congress leaders said India has got nothing out of it.”The sum total of Prime Minister Modi’s 14 months of diplomacy for India is a big zero,” he said.”Please stop making diplomacy a spectacle,” he said.”The classic example of that is the manner in which it has handled the relationship with Pakistan,” he alleged.India, he argued, is no longer in the loop on Afghanistan.”Today the US is talking of having a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan,” he said.”Foreign policy is a ideological subset of a party through which you view the world. And therefore the ideological prism of both the Congress and the BJP are completely different whether they come to the idea of India or to the foreign policy,” he said.

Obama apologizes to MSF for air strike on hospital – White House | Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned the head of Medecins San Frontieres and apologized for a deadly air strike on the aid group’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the White House said on Wednesday.

On the call with the medical charity’s president, Joanne Liu, Obama also said the U.S. investigation into the incident would “provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident. And that, if necessary, the president would implement changes to make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is calling for an independent international fact-finding commission to be established to probe the bombing, which took place over the weekend.

Obama also called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to express condolences for the lives lost of patients and staff during the strike, Earnest said.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Roberta Rampton and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Heavey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Top U.S. general calls Afghan hospital strike a mistake made within U.S. command chain | Reuters

WASHINGTON The deadly air strike that hit a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was a mistake made within the U.S. chain of command, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan said on Tuesday.

Army General John Campbell also made clear he favoured a rethink of a plan to withdraw almost all U.S. troops by the end of next year. He said rising threats in Afghanistan from the Islamic State and al Qaeda were among factors informing his recommendations to the White House on future troop levels.

Saturday’s strike on an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), killed 22 people and deeply angered the medical charity. MSF officials have blamed the United States, demanding an independent investigation into the incident and calling it a war crime.

Campbell said U.S. forces had responded to a request from Afghan forces and provided close air support as they engaged in a fight with Taliban militants in Kunduz, a provincial capital that the Taliban captured late last month.

“To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command,” Campbell said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added that U.S. special forces nearby were communicating with the aircraft that delivered the strikes.

“A hospital was mistakenly struck,” Campbell said. “We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility.”

Campbell’s comments were the most direct acknowledgement yet by the U.S. government that the strike on the hospital was carried out by U.S. forces. In a statement on Monday, Campbell said only that U.S. forces had responded to a request for support from Afghan forces.

President Barack Obama expected steps to be taken to prevent such an incident from recurring, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

The government of President Ashraf Ghani, heavily dependent on Washington for military support and far less critical of the United States than his predecessor Hamid Karzai, has held back from directly criticizing the United States.

But an Afghan military officer took issue with the idea that Afghan forces had called for a strike against the hospital.

Abdullah Guard, commander of Afghan special forces in Kunduz, said his men had been under heavy fire in the area near the hospital, fighting a Taliban force estimated at around 500 men.

“It is possible our forces might have called for an air strike to hit the enemy position, but that doesn’t mean to go and bomb the hospital,” he told Reuters. He was speaking before Campbell’s testimony on Tuesday, in which the American general made clear the decision to conduct the strike was a U.S. one.

Campbell said on Tuesday he had directed forces under his command to undergo training to review operational authorities and rules of engagement to prevent further incidents like Kunduz.

RENEWED ATTENTION ON MISSION

The incident, along with the Taliban’s capture of Kunduz, has cast renewed attention on the 14-year-long U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Many members of Congress are deeply concerned about Obama’s plans for a final withdrawal of U.S. forces. The president is reassessing the timetable for a drawdown that currently envisages removing all but about 1,000 U.S. soldiers by the end of 2016.

“The world walked away from Afghanistan once before and it descended into chaos that contributed to the worst terrorist attack ever against our homeland,” said Senator John McCain, the Republican chairman of the armed services committee, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that were planned by al Qaeda militants sheltered by the then-ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.

“We cannot afford to repeat that mistake,” McCain said.

Campbell said counterterrorism missions would be less effective if the U.S. presence in Afghanistan was limited to a small force based in the capital. He said there were some 1,000-3,000 Islamic State members in Afghanistan, although many of them were disaffected Taliban members who were “rebranding” themselves.

He declined to provide specifics about recommendations he had made to the White House about force levels, but said they included an option for more troops than just a small embassy-based force. There are currently around 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan.

“Conditions on the ground have changed since 2014,” he said.

When asked by Senator Angus King whether his judgment was that conditions in Afghanistan would require revision of the withdrawal plan, Campbell responded: “Yes, sir.”

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, Patricia Zengerle and Doina Chiacu, Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

PM Modi thanks people on first anniversary of ‘Mann Ki Baat’

PM Modi in his last ‘ Mann ki Baat’ spoke about how the programme has led to positive impact in the society.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday thanked the people of the country for enriching every episode of the Mann Ki Baat programme on it completing one year.”This day, this time, last year first Mann Ki Baat programme was held, marking the start of a special journey. I thank you for enriching every ‘Mann Ki Baat’ episode with your thoughts, inputs and anecdotes. They add life to the programme,’ tweeted Prime Minister Modi. PM Modi in his last ‘ Mann ki Baat’ spoke about how the programme has led to positive impact in the society. He said that Khadi sales have nearly doubled, awareness regarding Clean India has increased. PM also said about how many middle class families have given up their LPG connection. In one of the edition of ‘ Mann Ki Baat’, US President Obama co-hosted the show with PM Modi. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With ANI inputs

India PM Modi talks climate with Obama

Climate change dominates talks between India PM Modi and US President Obama on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York.

PM Modi leaves for home after concluding US & Ireland visit, says ‘a lot of ground has been covered’

“My USA demonstrates the extraordinary depth and diversity of our relationship. A lot of ground has been covered in these few days,” Modi tweeted before his departure.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for home after concluding his two-nation tour of Ireland and the US.”My USA demonstrates the extraordinary depth and diversity of our relationship. A lot of ground has been covered in these few days,” Modi tweeted before his departure.The Prime Minister will fly straight for New Delhi after a brief stopover at Frankfurt.”An extraordinary visit ends, with a relentless focus on the future. PM Modi emplanes for New Delhi,” Ministry for External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister added, “I got the opportunity to attend a wide spread of programmes, each of which generated many positive outcomes that will benefit India.””I shared my thoughts on key global issues at the UN & also met many world leaders to strengthen India’s ties with the global community,” Modi said.The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the people for their warm welcome and hospitality.”My gratitude to the American people for the very warm welcome & the hospitality wherever my delegation & I went,” he said in another tweet. In the first leg of his seven-day trip, Modi visited Ireland, marking first Prime Ministerial visit from India in almost 60 years.In Dublin, he held talks with Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland.On September 23, he flew to New York, where he addressed a UN Sustainable Development Summit and participate in a Summit on peacekeeping hosted by US President Barack Obama.The Prime Minister also met several world leaders and have interactions with leading investors and financial sector firms. There was a working dinner where major Fortune-500 companies were present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India.He also traveled to West Coast where he visited Facebook Headquarters for a Townhall Q&A with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.He also visited Google campus and Tesla Motors.In San Jose, he interacted with the Indian community on September 27.On the last day of his visit, Modi met leaders of the three permanent members of the UN Security Council — US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.(With agency inputs)

US, UK, France support India’s permanent membership in UNSC

Within a matter of few hours, Modi met US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and the French President Francois Hollande, which External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup described as “power Monday”.

PM Narendra Modi at G4 Summit with Germna Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japan PM Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Saturday.
File Photo
PTI
The United States, Britain and France on Monday reaffirmed their support to India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council as text-based negotiations to expand the most powerful wing of the world body begins in November.During their meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leaders of the three countries also extended support to India’s desire to become a member of the four export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).Within a matter of few hours, Modi met US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and the French President Francois Hollande, which External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup described as “power Monday”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On UN Security Council reforms, President Obama reiterated the support that he has publicly articulated in favour of India being a permanent member of the UN Security Council. There was discussion that now that the inter-governmental negotiations process is going to start on the basis of a text, how India and US can collaborate on that front,” Swarup told reporters at a news conference.Responding to a question on India’s push for reforms in the 70th year of the United Nations, Swarup said discussions were on that level of specificity.”As you know, US is also participating in the inter-governmental, India is also participating. But the fact that President Obama reiterated support for India’s candidature as a permanent member is significant. Now, we need to see how the inter-governmental negotiations process advances,” he said.

Modi, Obama to push strategic cooperation on areas of security, terrorism

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama on Monday decided to “further refine” the Indo-US strategic partnership while pushing ahead with cooperation in the areas of security, counter-terrorism, defence, economy and climate change.

During the talks, Modi underlined the need for concrete outcomes at the upcoming global conference on climate change in Paris even as Obama said India’s leadership at the meet will set the tone for decades to come.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs US President Barack Obama in New York on Monday. PTI Photo/TwitterPrime Minister Narendra Modi hugs US President Barack Obama in New York on Monday. PTI Photo/Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs US President Barack Obama in New York on Monday. PTI Photo/Twitter

“We discussed how we can further refine our strategic vision,” said Obama after the hour-long talks, third between the two leaders in over a year.

He said the two leaders discussed how to move forward in various areas like security, economy, trade and investment as also cooperation to defence procurement.

“On all these issues, the Prime Minister has been an outstanding partner,” Obama said.

Appreciating the US President’s “friendship, vision and commitment for the relationship”, Modi said the bilateral partnership addresses a broad range of strategic and security concerns – counter terrorism, cyber security, training.

“Our defence cooperation, including defence trade and training is expanding. As existing terrorism threats grow and new ones emerge, we have resolved to further deepen cooperation on counter-terrorism and radicalism,” the Prime Minister said.

With regard to climate change, both Obama and Modi expressed their commitment to meet the challenge faced by the world.

“Much of our discussion today was focussed on the upcoming Climate Conference in Paris. We are encouraged by the aggressive nature of Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to clean energy,” the US President said about the meet beginning November 30.

“I think India’s leadership in the upcoming conference will set the tone not just for today but for decades to come,” he said, adding he has confidence in the ability of the two countries to partner with other large countries like China in this regard.

Modi said, “President and I share an uncompromising commitment on climate change, without affecting our ability to meet the development aspirations of humanity. We have both set ambitious national agendas.”

Pressing the need for developing mechanisms to ensure affordable as well as accessible sources of clean energy, the Prime Minister said, “We look forward to comprehensive and concrete outcome in Paris with a positive agenda on combating climate change.

He said the outcomes of the Paris meet should focus on access to finance and technology for the developing world, especially the poor countries and small island states.

“I also thank President Obama for his positive response to my call for a global public partnership for developing affordable clean energy sources that will enable faster adoption of clean energy across the world,” he said.

PTI

Modi in US 2015: Barack Obama and Narendra Modi hold talks in New York

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama and discussed a host of issues, including stepping up economic engagement and climate change, during their third meeting in about a year.
Obama warmly received Modi by hugging him before their meeting, the third between them since May last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Barack Obama and discussed a host of issues, including stepping up economic engagement and climate change, during their third meeting in about a year.Obama warmly received Modi by hugging him before their meeting, the third between them since May last year.The meeting gave the two leaders an opportunity to build on the discussions they had in New Delhi in January when Obama travelled to India to attend the Republic Day Parade as its chief guest.Modi arrived in the US last Wednesday on a six-day official visit during which he travelled to Silicon Valley and met top IT CEOs of the region and also addressed a meeting of some 18,000 Indian Americans in at the SAP Centre in San Jose.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, Modi also held bilateral meetings with his British counterpart David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande. They met last year during Modi’s US visit and then in January earlier this year.The Modi-Obama meeting comes close on the heels of the conclusion of the inaugural Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the US and India.In the dialogue, India and the US today agreed to deepen cooperation in fighting terrorism and asked Pakistan to bring to justice the 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators. Ahead of the Obama-Modi meeting, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had said, “We are deeply committed to strengthening the US-Indian relationship, building our economic and commercial ties, advancing our political and security cooperation in Asia and around the world.”Rhodes said India was critical to a successful global effort to combat climate change and therefore the issue was important in bilateral discussions. “The two leaders will certainly address their shared vision of how to approach the upcoming meetings in Paris,” he had said.

World has to stand united against terrorism: PM Modi

San Jose: On the eve of his meeting with US President Barack Obama and leaders of France and Britain, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked the international community to unitedly combat increasing challenges posed by terrorists across the globe.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

Devoting the last phase of his speech at the SAP Centre on the fight against terrorism, Modi rued that so far the international community – the UN in particular – have not even been able to have a definition of terrorism or identify who can be called a terrorist.

Observing that India has been a victim of terrorism for the past 40 years, Modi said the West and many other countries woke up to the menace of terrorism only after bomb blasts or terror attacks in their nation.

“We cannot let 21st century to be stained with terrorism,” Modi said, adding that he would be raising the issue again before the United Nations tomorrow when he is scheduled to address a UN Peacekeeping Summit.

And before that he would hold three important back-to-back meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Obama.

“The world has to stand united in tackling terrorism,” he said.

“Terrorism is Terrorism, there is no difference between good terrorism and bad terrorism,” he said.

“We cannot waste time in defining ‘terrorism’,” he said, adding that India is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha who preached peace and non-violence to the world.

“The world has to realise that terrorism can hit anyone at anyplace, and it is the world’s responsibility to recognize it and unite against terrorism,” the Prime Minister said in an unusual aggressive speech on terrorism.

Several top American lawmakers were present on the occasion.

PTI

dna Must Reads for afternoon: From Bihar polls to JNU students, professors being tagged ‘Naxals’ by Subramanian Swamy

RK Singh

1. Bihar Polls: BJP MP RK Singh slams party, alleges tickets being sold to criminalsFormer Union Home Secretary and BJP MP RK Singh has dropped a bombshell, accusing the Bihar unit of the party of taking money for distributing tickets. Read more here.2. Sikhs, Patels protest against PM Modi outside UN headquarters<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of Sikhs and the Patidar community supporters have demonstrated outside the UN headquarters in New York, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Sustainable Development at a special UN summit. Read more here.3. Modi agrees to Indian American couple’s request, will write to Obama about Diwali stampPrime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to write to USPresident Barack Obama on issuing of postage stamp on Diwali by the US Postal service, an individual behind the years long campaign has said. Read more here.4. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act applies to Muslims too: Gujarat High CourtGujarat High Court has ruled thatProhibition of Child Marriage Act will also apply to a Muslim person, adding that those who didn’t allow change in the Muslim Personal Law have done a great disservice to the community. Read more here. 5. Subramanian Swamy dubs JNU students, professors as ‘naxals’Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leaderSubramanian Swamy has made another controversial remark by calling the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and professors “naxalites.” Read more here.

Modi in US 2015: Flag that PM signed not national tricolour, says govt

A controversy erupted on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi autographed an Indian “flag” to be gifted to US President Barack Obama by celebrity chef Vikas Khanna, evoking sharp reactions after which the government insisted that it was not the national tricolor. Social media was abuzz with the issue of Modi signing on the tricolour which Khanna said he will hand over to Obama. Khanna had prepared the menu for the Prime Minister’s dinner with Fortune 500 CEOs last night. The chef also displayed the signed piece of cloth to the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government spokesman Frank Noronha denied that the Prime Minister had signed the national flag and said it had not been confiscated as reported. Noronha, Director General (Media and Communication), Press Information Bureau, said in New Delhi that the piece of cloth was a work of handicraft prepared by physically- challenged daughter of the chef and the Prime Minister had autographed it on compassionate basis after Khanna and his family made a request. “The piece of cloth does not have white colour nor the wheel….It has been prepared by Khanna’s daughter with her toe and the Prime Minister was compassionate,” he said.He termed as “absolutely false” that it had been confiscated. The Indian Flag Code, 2002, states that putting any kind of inscription upon the Indian national flag is construed as disrespect to the flag. It also states that lettering of any kind shall not be put on the tricolor.The reactions in the virtual world came thick and fast as the controversy continued to rage. Asked whether the Prime Minister’s action of signing on a national flag was an offence under IPC, Congress Party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in New Delhi, “we are not petty like BJP. We respect the office of the Prime Minister”.At the same time, he said that the Prime Minister must look within and take corrective action as respect for the national flag is the responsibility of 125 crore people, more so for the Prime Minister. “However high you may be, the National flag is above you, you should understand this,” Surjewala said.Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted, “Has PM read Para 2.1 sub para 6& Para 3.28 of Flag Code 2002 that states lettering on National Flag is misuse.3 yrs jail under PINH Act 2003.” BJP accused Congress of “raking up a controversy where none exists” and making “irrelevent and unwarranted” comments on Modi.Prime Minister told the chef that he had done him proud by preparing an elaborate menu for his guests — over 50 top American CEOs who met him at the Waldorf Astoria hotel here.

India PM meets Fortune 500 CEOs

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets 47 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies, during a five-day visit to the US.

Chef Vikas Khanna to present PM Modi-autographed flag to Obama

Renowned chef Vikash Khanna will be presenting an Indian Tri-colour, signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the United States President Barack Obama.

Vikas Khanna

Image courtesy: ANI
Renowned chef Vikash Khanna will be presenting an Indian Tri-colour, signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the United States President Barack Obama. “Prime Minster has given this flag for President Obama, I will be meeting him,” Chef Vikash Khanna said. “There were total 26 dishes, which we served to the Prime Minister Modi. They were based on the different festivals of India. The dishes were served in totally new form,” he added.

PM Modi to meet Obama and other leaders in New York

“There would be discussion also on the political, bilateral, regional and global issues,” Singh said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would meet US President Barack Obama and top leaders of a dozen other countries during his stay here over the next several days, officials said.In his meeting with Obama the third bilateral between the two leaders in about an year Modi would discuss bilateral, regional and global issues and the decisions taken by the two governments during the recently concluded inaugural Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Washington DC.”They (Modi and Obama) would discuss a range of bilateral, regional and global issues. Economic engagement would certainly be a part of things being discussed,” Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There would be discussion also on the political, bilateral, regional and global issues,” Singh said.Obama-Modi meeting has been scheduled on September 28, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.Indian officials did not disclosed the venue of the Obama-Modi meeting.A day earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said President Obama is looking forward to his meeting with the Prime Minister.The two leaders for the first time met in September last year in the White House. Thereafter Obama travelled to India to attend the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest.During his six days stay in the United States, Modi would spend most of his time in New York, except for two days sojourn to the Silicon Valley to interact with top CEOs there and address a meeting of Indian-Americans on September 27.Giving a preview of Modi’s engagements with global leaders, Swarup said the Prime Minister has bilateral meeting with leaders of about dozen heads of state including that of France, Jordan, Bhutan, Mexico, Sweden, Qatar and Palestine.Modi would be meeting his Japanese counterpart, the German Chancellor and Brazilian President in a G-4 Summit meeting in New York on September.However, all eyes would be on the Modi-Obama meeting on September 28, which comes close on the heels of the conclusion of the inaugural Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.Singh said the main purpose behind adding commercial aspect to the existing strategic component of the dialogue was that the two countries need to make special effort towards economic engagement.”When President Obama had visited India in January, the two leaders had declared a goal of taking their bilateral trade to a level of USD 500 billion from the present level of USD 120 billion. So it would be important to see what kind of new opportunities, we can create in the economic sector,”the Indian Ambassador said.He said this is the reason why one of the important aspects of the Prime Minister’s current US trip is focusing on economics.

Indian, Pakistan PMs should decide on their meeting: US

Describing the relationship between India and Pakistan as “a very complex” one, Biswal said that the US is encouraged that the two leaders continue to seek opportunities to engage and to advance constructive dialogue.

As the prime ministers of India and Pakistan head towards New York to attend the UN General Assembly session raising the possibility of a meeting, the US has said it is for the two leaders to decide on the time and place for their meeting, but it would encourage them to do so.”They (leaders of India and Pakistan) have to determine what is the right place and right time (for a meeting). We would certainly welcome it, whether it is on the margins of the UN or any other venue and timing. That is really for the two countries to determine,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When specifically asked if the US would like the two prime ministers to meet in New York, she reiterated that it is for them to decide on the time and the place and the character of that. “So I do not think it is helpful for us to really reign on that,” she said.India and Pakistan have so far not indicated about any possible meeting between the two prime ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.Describing the relationship between India and Pakistan as “a very complex” one, Biswal said that the US is encouraged that the two leaders continue to seek opportunities to engage and to advance constructive dialogue.”We were disappointed that the NSA (National Security Advisor) talks did not materialise. I understand that there were very complicated dynamics under way. We continue to believe that for there to be true security, stability and prosperity there needs to be a constructive relationship between the two countries,” said Biswal, the Obama Administration’s point person for South and Central Asia.”It is for the two countries to advance that and we have always said that it is for India and Pakistan to determine how and how and where they engage. But we do think that they need to engage. And we would be supportive of those efforts. And we are willing to support that in any way the countries determine. But it is for them (to decide),” she said.Biswal denied that the US is pushing leaders of India and Pakistan to meet. “I would not say that we are really pushing them. This needs to be driven by the two countries, but we certainly welcome it, support it and encourage it,” she said.When asked about the fact that perpetrators of the terror attacks in India are roaming freely in Pakistan, she said the US has been very clear that it stands against terrorism in all its manifestations across the region.”India has suffered greatly. The United States has suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists. And Pakistan has suffered probably the greatest number of casualties. So it is in the interest of all of us to combat extremism and terrorism and take a very unequivocal stand against terrorism and we continue to engage very deeply on those issues,” she said.”While we have seen some very substantial progress by Pakistani government in reigning in, in combating and in addressing terrorism inside their borders, that clearly there is more that needs to be done,” she said.”We are very clear with our stand with them on their discussions and that we do not make any distinction of good or bad terrorists. That all acts of terrorism and all the groups that are responsible for those acts we believe that there needs to be unequivocal stand against,” she said.

PM Modi to visit Ireland, USA; address UN Sustainable Development Summit and meet Mark Zuckerberg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Ireland and the United States from from September 23, 2015 to September 29, 2015, says Zee News. In a series of Facebook posts, Modi said:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PTI photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Ireland and the United States from from September 23, 2015 to September 29, 2015, says Zee News. In a series of Facebook posts, Modi said:”On 23rd September 2015 I will visit Ireland. It is after almost 60 years that an Indian Prime Minister will visit Ireland. In Ireland I will hold talks with Mr Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland. We hope to further develop strong people-to-people and economic ties with Ireland in the years to come. In Ireland I will also interact with the Indian community. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On 24th September 2015, I will commence my visit to USA. This visit seeks to build on the substantial ground covered during my last visit to USA and President Obama’s visit to India early this year. I am going to USA at a historic moment when the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary. India attaches great importance to the United Nations. In July, I had written a letter to heads of governments of 193 nations outlining India’s vision for UN agenda and reforms. I am glad that leaders of several nations wrote back appreciating our vision. In New York City, I will address the UN Sustainable Development Summit for formal adoption of post-2015 new sustainable development agenda. Coming from a culture that regards harmony as central to its ethos, I am glad to have an opportunity to address this forum. The new goals are closely aligned with India’s vision for sustainable development and our flagship programs for the same. I will also participate in a summit hosted by President Obama on peacekeeping. India has historically been one of the largest contributors to the UN peacekeeping forces. Over 180,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions – more than from any other country. We are proud of our peacekeeping forces spread across the world, ensuring peace in difficult circumstances. I will pay homage to all those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for peace. And I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how to make peacekeeping more effective. This year, India will host a summit of G-4 leaders in New York where the main agenda would be the UNSC reforms. The 70th anniversary of the UN is an apposite moment for reform discussions to be accelerated. Recently, the UN General Assembly finally adopted a document after over 20 years that would form the basis of formal discussions on this matter. I will be meeting several world leaders during the visit. Also, I will have interactions with leading investors and financial sector firms. There will be a working dinner where major Fortune-500 companies will be present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India. We have been interacting with several American business leaders over the last year and the outcomes have been encouraging. During my USA visit I will be visiting the West Coast on 26th and 27th September, where I will join several programmes. It would be after a gap of almost 33 years that an Indian PM would be visiting the west coast – the home of start-ups, innovation and technology. I will be part of a Townhall Q&A at the Facebook HQ along with Mr Mark Zuckerberg. We will discuss some global issues and issues relating to India, particularly on the economy and society. This is a Townhall you shouldn’t miss. I have already invited you all to share your questions through Facebook or the ‘Narendra Modi Mobile App.’ I will also see some recent technological innovations at the Google (Alphabet) campus and Tesla Motors. I will address a Renewable Energy Roundtable with USDOC and Stanford University. An event that I am enthusiastic about is the ‘India-US Start-up Konnect.’ India is emerging as a hub of start-ups in a wide range of areas and we aspire to take this further. We want the world to see our innovation capabilities in the start-up sector. At this event, a group of Indian start-ups will showcase their innovations and forge partnerships with the vibrant American start-up industry. In San Jose, I will interact with the Indian community on the 27th September. The Indian diaspora has left no stone unturned in strengthening India-USA ties. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our diaspora that has made immense contributions to both our societies. I am sure my US visit will be fruitful and further deepen the bond between the world’s oldest and largest democracies.”

dna Morning Must Read: From Baidyanath dietary supplements being under US FDA scanner to latest updates from US Presidential elections and more

Here is a list of top 5 curated stories.

1. Mukul Roy all set to form Nationalist Trinamool Congress Party?Once closest aide of West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, former Union Minister MP Mukul Roy is all set to form a new political party, reports Zee 24 ghanta. Read More <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Now, USFDA finds lead in Baidyanath dietary supplementsAfter Swiss multinational Nestle faced heat in India over lead in its Maggi noodles, it is turn of Indian ayurvedic pharma firm Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan to get the metal rap in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a recent update, has asked consumers in the US to immediately stop using ayurvedic dietary supplements of Shree Baidyanath as they contained high levels of lead and/mercury. Read More 3. NGO founded by Gujarat CM faces MHA scrutiny?In April this year when the ministry of home affairs (MHA) cancelled registration of nearly 9,000 NGOs for not submitting annual returns from 2009 to 2012, the name of Gramshree Trust, an NGO founded by the current Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel back in 1995, was missing in the list. Read More 4. Prominent Democratic Party donors urge Joe Biden to challenge Hillary Clinton in 2016 raceA group of prominent Democratic Party fundraisers on Friday began circulating a letter to encourage a hesitant Vice President Joe Biden to enter the 2016 race for US president.The letter, signed by nearly 50 people, calls the Obama-Biden administration a “spectacular success.” It cites job creation, a lower unemployment rate, new health insurance policies for nearly 9 million Americans and the end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read More 5. Barack Obama nominates first openly gay service secretary to lead ArmyUS President Barack Obama nominated Eric Fanning to become the next secretary of the Army, the White House said on Friday, paving the way for the first openly gay leader of a military service branch in US history.Fanning is currently serving as acting Army undersecretary, and previously worked as Air Force undersecretary and chief of staff to US Defence Secretary Ash Carter. His nomination to the post must still be confirmed by the US Senate. Read More With agency inputs

India presents a wonderful opportunity for US: Pentagon

“I’m excited by the opportunities we have with India by the work that the Secretary of Defence has done and the Assistant Secretary of Defence Kendall has done with regard to the DTTI, the defence initiative with India, to help them build up their military and help them build an aircraft carrier, and aircraft carrier capability,” Harris said in response to a question.

File Photo: Ashton Carter (L) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi

AFP
India presents a wonderful opportunity to the United States, a top US Pacific command official has told lawmakers as the Obama Administration proceeds ahead with its ambitious plan to strengthen its defence ties with India.”India presents a wonderful opportunity for us. They share our values and our norms. One of my objectives is to improve that relationship with India,” Admiral Harry B Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) told members of Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on maritime security strategy in the Asia Pacific.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I’m excited by the opportunities we have with India by the work that the Secretary of Defence has done and the Assistant Secretary of Defence Kendall has done with regard to the DTTI, the defence initiative with India, to help them build up their military and help them build an aircraft carrier, and aircraft carrier capability,” Harris said in response to a question.In his testimony, David B Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said in South Asia, the US is working with the Indian Navy on aircraft carrier technology sharing and design.The US-India Joint Aircraft Carrier Working Group (JACWG) had its first formal meeting in August, led by Vice ADM Cheema, the Commander in Chief of India’s Western Fleet, he said.Shear was in India last week holding talks with Indian officials on developing strategies to implement the vision of the leaders of the two countries — US President Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with regard to the Asia Pacific region. “When President Obama was in India for meetings with Prime Minister Modi in January, they issued a joint strategic vision on the Indian Ocean and East Asia. And we’re in the process of devising ways of implementing that joint strategic vision,” he said.In response to a question, Shear said the US already has a robust bilateral cooperation with the India.”We’ll be looking at together ways to strengthening partnership. We conduct an annual exercise, the Malabar exercise in which we and Indians have just decided to include the Japanese. So that will be every year now. That will be a strong trilateral exercise in the region,” he said.”We are looking at other, particularly in maritime domain awareness to strengthen what we do with the Indians because we have very strong common interest,” Shear said.

Pentagon sets up first-ever country special cell to speed up defence ties with India

Given the new thrust on India-US defence relationship under Carter, officials say there is quite a few on the waiting list who have shown keen interest in working at the Pentagon’s India Rapid Reaction Cell.

File Photo: Ashton Carter (L) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi

AFP
The Pentagon has established a first-ever country special cell to speed up its defence ties with India and accelerate the process of co-development and co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.Established soon after Defence Secretary Ashton Carter assumed Pentagon’s leadership role in February, India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) is headed by Keith Webster, Director, International Cooperation Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind inside the Pentagon.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Currently, seven persons are working on this cell, representing various wings of the US Department of Defence.Given the new thrust on India-US defence relationship under Carter, officials say there is quite a few on the waiting list who have shown keen interest in working at the Pentagon’s India Rapid Reaction Cell.”The purpose of India Rapid Reaction Cell is to work all the initiatives that we have ongoing under (India-US) DTTI (Defence Trade and Technology Initiative) both the initiatives that for example came out of the joint statement between the (US) President and the Prime Minister in January (in New Delhi) to move quickly and timely and be through, which in my opinion requires dedicated support to ramp up the operational tempo,” Webster told PTI.”We are embarking on some new initiatives and the operational tempo is not declining at all,” he said.In the next coming months, a series of high-level exchanges are scheduled to take place, including that of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the Pentagon.Defence and Strategic relationship would be a key topic of discussion when US President Barack Obama meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.India Rapid Reaction cell, he said, has been instrumental in accelerating the DTTI projects and has started the process to send some new proposals to India for co-production and co-development.The mobile hydroelectric initiative and for-the-next- generation initiatives required negotiations, conclusion and signing of bilateral agreements.”Statistically, such a negotiation between US and India which was done before many times takes on an average a year and half to three years. We were done within three months on the US side with India,” he said, adding that the documents were finally signed by the Indians last month.Similar fast-track progress is being made on the other initiatives announced during Obama’s trip to India in January.In a joint statement, the two countries announced four products for co-produced – next-generation Raven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), ‘roll-on, roll-off’ intelligence- gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, mobile electric hybrid power sources and uniform integrated protection ensemble increment-2 (chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers).In addition, Obama and Modi announced that working groups will be set up to explore development of aircraft carrier technologies and jet engines.The India Rapid Reaction Cell is looking into another 25 proposals that has come from American defence industry for co-development and co-production.The cell received these proposals after Under Secretary of Defence Frank Kendal, who is the US-lead for DTTI, wrote in a recent letter to the US industry, urging them to come up with proposals and ideas for ambitious and path-finding projects by the end of August.”I encourage industry partners to continue identifying opportunities that offer exclusive co-development and/or co-production in India, meet expressed Indian interest, including ‘Make in India’ and have potential for global market sales,” Kendall wrote in his letter.Webster said after the review of these 25 projects is completed, the Pentagon would submit another set of proposals of pathfinder projects to India in the coming months for co-development and co-production.

US offers India’s VVIPs, celebrities a hassle-free entry

India is expected to forward a list of 2000 select personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, Ambani brothers, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan former Presidents and Prime Ministers to get the benefit of GEP

The change in US’s attitude is being viewed as part of the closer ties that Obama administration is trying to build with India

Select VVIPs, business tycoons and famous personalities from India may soon be able get hassle-free entry in the US instead of bearing the ignominy of standing in immigration queues like different breed of common man and going through extensive security checks.Modi government is all set to get a concession from Obama administration to be a part of the select community of countries who enjoy US global entry programme (GEP) and get hassle free entry at several international airports in USA.To begin with India is expected to forward a list of 2000 select personalities like Sachin Tendulkar, Ambani brothers, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Adani, honchos of software giants like Narayanmurthy, Azim Premji and former Presidents and Prime Ministers to get the benefit of GEP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On several occasions in the past, important Indian personalities, including President APJ Abdul Kalam, have been subjected to tough security drills at US airports drawing flak from the Indian governments. Their inclusion in the GEP will reduce the risk of such blunders.This list may extend to 15,000 persons in due course for which the US government has already given the nod but the Indian government wants to go slow and see how it works, sources said.More than 1.8 million members are enrolled in Global Entry from a select group of countries. As of December 2014, Global Entry was available at 42 US airports and 12 pre-clearance locations.Global Entry helps a person clear US customs and Border patrol faster regardless of where he or she are traveling from. The program is designed for low-risk travellers to receive expedited clearance upon arriving arrival into the United States.A Global Entry member can skip the lines at customs and Border Protection and instead use touch-screen kiosks in the arrivals area of airports. They are also allowed to go through an expedited TSA security line, where they don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, coats, and laptops.Though India was offered membership to the US Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network Program in September 2013, the US government continued to deem Indian citizens ineligible for application to the program. The change in US’s attitude is being viewed as part of the closer ties that Obama administration is trying to build with India for various reasons.Slow and steady approach of IndiaThis list may extend to 15,000 persons in due course for which the US government has already given the nod but the Indian government wants to go slow and see how it works, sources said.More than 1.8 million members are enrolled in Global Entry from a select group of countries. As of December 2014, Global Entry was available at 42 US airports and 12 pre-clearance locations.

Teachers Day- I have no fashion designer, I only dress simple: PM Narendra Modi on his dressing style

“I come from a humble background…the weather in Gujarat is not that cold. So I wore kurta-pyjama,” says Modi on his humble upbringing.

“I didn’t have money to get my clothes ironed, so I ironed my kurta with charcoal in a lota (pot),” he said.

AFP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose dressing style and dapper appearance have often drawn attention, on Friday said he does not have a fashion designer for his outfits, including the signature short-sleeved kurta. “It is just rumours that I have a fashion designer. I only dress simple,” Modi told a student who complimented him on his “unique sense of dressing” and described him as “brand ambassador for Indian clothing” during an interaction with school children on the eve of Teachers’ Day.The student also asked, “Modi kurta has become so very popular. What do you have to say about it?” “I come from a humble background…the weather in Gujarat is not that cold. So I wore kurta-pyjama. I had to wash my own clothes and full sleeves took more time to clean. So I cut off the sleeves and made it the sleeveless kurta. It made my work easier so I started wearing short-sleeves,” Modi said with a smile. The outfit is popularly known as ‘Modi-Kurta’ now and has found many connoisseurs especially in the ruling party. 64-year-old Modi also had some tips for the young people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I always made it a point to look tidy. I didn’t have money to get my clothes ironed, so I ironed my kurta with charcoal in a lota (pot),” he said. The Prime Minister also said that to whiten his shoes, he took chalk sticks from his school. “After the class, I collected chalks and whitened my canvas shoes with that. This is all I did. I have no fashion designer. But yes, we should be tidy and dress according to occasion,” he said. Modi was interacting with students across India for Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated on September 5 to mark the birth anniversary of India’s second president and scholar Dr S Radhakrishnan. The Prime Minister has often received praise for his dapper appearance especially when abroad, be it formal attire of bandhgala jacket or his signature kurta-churidar. However, he had drawn much flak for wearing monogrammed pinstripe suit during the visit of US President Barack Obama in January, with his critics calling him “megalomaniac”.

US rules out cancelling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit

The occasion would be used by the US President, Barack Obama to convey its message and areas of concerns to the Chinese leadership.

Reuters
The US has ruled out cancelling the scheduled state visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping as demanded by Republican presidential candidates and said it will use the occasion to narrow differences with China.”I can tell you that we have high-level interactions, such as next month s visit, precisely so that we have the opportunities for the President to resolve, or, if not possible, narrow our differences with the Chinese,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said.The occasion would be used by the US President, Barack Obama to convey its message and areas of concerns to the Chinese leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dates of Xi’s visit to the US next month have not been announced yet.”It is through engagement with China that the United States has been able to make progress on issues that are important to US businesses and to the American people — from increasing access to the Chinese market for US firms, to securing an ambitious climate change agreement,” Schultz said.He was responding to questions on demand being made by Republican presidential candidates to cancel Xi’s State visit next month.”The President is going to speak candidly about the differences we have in this exceptionally and admittedly complex relationship. But the President in last year’s visit to China didn’t pull any punches, and I wouldn’t expect him to this fall either,” the White House official said.

Modi-Obama hotline becomes operational, but yet to be used

The decision regarding Obama-Modi hotline was made during Obamas’s historic visit to New Delhi to attend Republic Day on January 26, as its chief guest.

Modi-Obama

The hotlines or secure lines of communication between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama and their national security advisors have recently become operational, though it has not been put to use during its short lifespan so far.”It (hotline has) just recently been established,” Peter R Lavoy, Special Assistant to US President and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, told PTI. “It (hotline) has not been used so far,” he said when asked if the two leaders have used this latest tool of secure communication.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision regarding Obama-Modi hotline was made during Obamas’s historic visit to New Delhi to attend Republic Day on January 26, as its chief guest. “Hotline has connotation of some crisis management phone or system that was used during the cold war to defuse crisis. That’s not what we have,” Lavoy explained.”This is a secure line between two very very close partners so that they can exchange views at the heads of state level…exchange views and co-ordinate approaches to solving real problems,” said the top White House official.With this India becomes only the fourth country after Russia, Great Britain and China with which the US has a hotline. For India this is the first hotline at the level of head of state.In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to establish hotlines at the level of foreign secretaries, and in 2010 New Delhi and Beijing announced to establish a hotline at the foreign minister level. According to publicly available information the hotline between India and Pakistan was established with the help of US military. India-China hotline is yet to become operational.The establishment of hotline or secure line of communication between leaders of the two largest democracies of the world is part of efforts of Obama and Modi to increase the frequency of level of communication and frequent discussion between them on key bilateral, regional and global issues. At a joint press meet with Obama in New Delhi on January 25, after their meeting, Modi said the two leaders have decided to give this critical partnership its due trust and sustained attention.”For this, we have agreed that India and the United States must [have] regular summits at greater frequency. And we also established hotlines between myself and Barack and our national security advisors,” Modi had told reporters at the Hyderabad House on January 25. During their New Delhi meeting the two leaders also decided to meet frequently. The two are most likely to meet in New York late September when Modi comes to the US to attend the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Not aware of PM Modi’s planned visit: White House

Modi is also expected to travel to San Francisco to address the Indian Diaspora on September 27 and meet corporate leaders in the Silicon Valley

The US has said it is not aware of any planned visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House during his trip to the country to attend 70th annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York next month.”I’m not aware of any planned visits by Prime Minister Modi to the White House in conjunction with his travel to the US for the United Nations General Assembly,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday.Responding to questions on possibility of Modi meeting President Barack Obama, Earnest said the White House was oblivious of any such development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi is also expected to travel to San Francisco to address the Indian Diaspora on September 27 and meet corporate leaders in the Silicon Valley, becoming the fourth Indian Premier to visit US’ West Coast. In a five-day visit to the US in September last year, Modi had met Obama and sought investment from prominent CEOs besides exhorting the Indian-American community to take up a greater role in the development of India.

India and Bangladesh swap enclaves

India and Bangladesh swap control of 160 pockets of land on each other’s territory, ending a complex and long-running border dispute.

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