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Government committed to electrification of villages: PM Modi

“Against a target of 1,900, we have electrified over 3,000 villages in around 100 days,” Modi had said at the inaugural function of Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2015.

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Modi in Pakistan Live: PM Narendra Modi departs for Lahore to meet Pak PM Nawaz Sharif

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

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

Modi in Russia: PM Modi, Vladimir Putin begin annual summit talks

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After the talks, the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in key areas, including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin began the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit talks here on Thursday evening. “From inside the Kremlin! PM @narendramodi & President Putin begin the 16th Annual Summit with a restricted meeting,? tweeted Vikas Swarup, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs. After the talks, the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in key areas, including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade. The talks between the two countries, bound by special and privileged strategic ties, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000. Besides bilateral issues, the two leaders are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism. The talks between the two countries, bound by special and privileged strategic ties, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000. It will be prime Minister Modi’s second summit with Mr Putin who had traveled to New Delhi last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.

In Russia, Narendra Modi will regale 3,000 ‘friends of India’

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks aimed at further expanding the defence ties by signing $1 billion agreement to produce military helicopters in India and focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.

Determined to unveil mystery of the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is set to seek cooperation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to request access to secret Russian files to probe the missing link. Many authors have alleged that under the instructions of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Russian dictator Jospeh Stalin had confined Bose in Siberia’s Yakutsk city, some 6,000km away from Moscow and he could have been buried there.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks aimed at further expanding the defence ties by signing $1 billion agreement to produce military helicopters in India and focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two events, Modi has specifically included in his itinerary, are a detailed briefing at Emercom, Russia’s emergency response agency during disasters, to get an overview of tackling natural catastrophe, so frequent in India over past few years.The Emercom is world famous dynamic force, known in the field of humanitarian response and emergency relief operations. Further, while there is no significant Indian community in Moscow, to recreate the aura of New York’s Madison Square Garden, UK’s Wembly or Dubai’s cricket stadium buzz, ministry of external affairs has identified 3,000 Russians, whom they describe, ‘friends of India’ to listen to the Prime Minister at the Moscow exhibition ground. Weary about Russia warming up and even having agreed to supply military equipment to Pakistan, officials said the summit will provide an opportunity to both countries to look at regional and global issues. Russian ambassador in India few months ago had publicly expressed concern at India’s growing closeness with the United States and switching to alternative defence markets. But the foreign secretary S. Jaishankar said the envoy’s comments were in a context. “If the Russian ambassador does not promote Russian aircraft, whose aircraft he will promote? He is doing his job,” he said. Major challenge between the two countries is that despite being all-weather friends, trade has remained limited. Foreign Secretary said expanding economic ties would be a ‘very big priority’ Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the United States and China, has been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. India is also likely to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Zone and is sharing details of the study it conducted in this regard.Last week, the defence ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore. It will be Modi’s second summit with Putin who was in India last year for the 15th India Russia Summit.On Wednesday, Putin will host a private dinner for the prime minister and the two leaders will interact with a group of Indian and Russian chief executive officers in Kremlin on Thursday.After the summit talks last year, it was announced that Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors besides manufacturing advanced dual-use helicopters. The two countries had signed 20 agreements in oil, gas, defence, investment and other key sectors.

Sushma Swaraj confirms PM Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan for SAARC meet in 2016

Earlier, Indian officials said Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to attend the SAARC Summit was reflected in the Ufa joint statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the SAARC Summit likely to be held in September 2016, in what will be the first prime ministerial visit here from India in 12 years. The disclosure of Modi’s visit was made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here in yet another indicator of a positive turn in bilateral ties after recent chill. “He will be coming,” Swaraj told reporters when asked if Modi will visit Pakistan to attend the Summit. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the last Indian Prime Minister to visit Pakistan who had come here in January 2004 and attended the SAARC summit besides holding talks with then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.Vajpayee’s successor Manmohan Singh did not undertake any visit to Pakistan despite his desire to do so.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, Indian officials said Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to attend the SAARC Summit was reflected in the Ufa joint statement. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited Modi for the SAARC Summit when they had met for a bilateral meeting in the Russian city of Ufa in July. The meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is slated to be held in Pakistan in September next year. Sharif had attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in May 2014 which had generated lot of goodwill. However, ties were strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations in the last few months.Talks between India-Pakistan National Security Advisors were cancelled recently because of a dispute over the agenda as India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir. The two National Security Advisors met in Bangkok on Sunday last, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement. Swaraj arrived here on a two-day visit to attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.In her address at the meet today, she said it was time the two countries display “maturity and self-confidence” to do business with each other as the world was rooting for a change and offered to move cooperation at a pace Pakistan is comfortable with.

Mulayam as PM and Rahul his deputy: Akhilesh’s formula for alliance with Congress

Akhilesh made the comments in the course of a conversation at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi in the presence of the Congress vice president. However, Rahul refused to comment when asked to respond.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday suggested that an alliance with Congress is possible in an arrangement where Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi his Deputy.Akhilesh made the comments in the course of a conversation at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi in the presence of the Congress vice president. However, Rahul refused to comment when asked to respond.The UP Chief Minister was replying to a question on whether he was ready to extend his “good” personal relationship with Gandhi to a political level with the Congress.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”You are asking me because I am a Samajwadi (socialist) and you also say that I get rebuked by my father (Mulayam). I also want that Netaji’s dreams are fulfilled and that I work for him. He becomes the Prime Minister and he (pointing at Rahul) Deputy Prime Minister. I am in agreement with this and will make an alliance now,” if it is found acceptable, Akhilesh said, smiling.He, however, sidestepped a question on whether an alliance with its rival BSP, like the one in Bihar where JD(U) and RJD came together, is possible in UP for the 2017 Assembly polls.”Her (Mayawati) choice is that stone made elephant statues come up. So how is that possible? I have already told you my formula,” was Akhilesh’s response, referring to his conditions for a possible alliance with Congress.Earlier, he categorically said, “there is no talk of any coalition at this point. It’s better if we don’t talk of it now.”The 42-year-old chief minister of India’s most populous state asserted that any relationship with the BJP or any of its associate organisations was not possible “because of the kind of divisions they produce and the language they use.”

Parliament is running and the credit goes to all parties, says PM Modi

He began his speech at 1015 am shortly before the scheduled commencement of Parliament session at 11 am.

“The good news is Parliament is running,” remarked Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday as he sent his audience at an event into peals of laughter.Modi was delivering the inaugural address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here and 35 minutes into his speech inquired from his hosts whether he had some more time.He began his speech at 1015 am shortly before the scheduled commencement of Parliament session at 11 am.”I have to go to Parliament. The good news is that Parliament is running,” he said, and hastened to add,” the credit does not go to Modi but to all the parties”. The audience at the event comprised dignitaries from various walks of life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The prime minister made the reference about the functioning of the Parliament against the backdrop of the virtual washout of its Monsoon session over various issues.

Centre, States must work together for India’s progress, says PM Modi

“States have the most important role in India’s progress. India can move ahead only on the strong shoulders of the states and not from Delhi alone. If we walk together shoulder to shoulder then results will automatically come,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government was taking states on board for development of the country, asserting that India can move ahead only on the “strong shoulders” of the states and not from Delhi alone.”India is not going to progress from Delhi,” Modi said while delivering the inaugural address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi.Citing various measures taken by his government like setting up special departments for states at the Centre in taking them along, Modi said the states have the most “important role” in India’s progress.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”States have the most important role in India’s progress. India can move ahead only on the strong shoulders of the states and not from Delhi alone. If we walk together shoulder to shoulder then results will automatically come,” he said.Modi said it is important that the world knows about our states and their strengths.During his 40-minute speech that was laced with humour, the prime minister also said that a decisive mandate given to his party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was crucial to the country’s progress.Having a stable Government is a very big thing and this can’t be ignored. Fractured mandates always have uncertainty,” he said, adding, there was “despondency” all over before his government took over office in May last year.

Obama backs Modi, says he is an honest politician with a clear vision for India

On Monday Obama met Modi in Paris on the sidelines of the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit

PTI
US President Barack Obama, who has held several meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, found him to be an “honest and direct” politician having a clear vision for India, according to the White House.”President Obama has found Prime Minister Modi to be somebody who is honest and direct, somebody who has good command of the facts, somebody who has a clear understanding of the issues that confront his country and our relationship,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Monday Obama met Modi in Paris on the sidelines of the United Nation’s Climate Change Summit. This was the sixth meeting between the two leaders since they met first at the White House last September. “He (Modi) also is somebody that has a clear vision for where he wants to take his country, and it makes him not just an effective politician, but an effective Prime Minister,” Earnest said. “Obama certainly does respect Prime Minister Modi and has appreciation for his skills and abilities as a politician. He also is somebody who is given a very difficult challenge of sitting atop the world’s largest democracy,” he said.”That’s not easy to work and it’s not easy work and the president of the US has special insight into how difficult it is,” he added. Referring to the frequent meetings between the two leaders, Earnest said Obama had the opportunity to consult with Modi on a number of occasions.”I think that isn’t just a testament to their good working relationship, it actually is a testament to the important issues that are at stake between our two countries and the ability of the leaders of our two countries to work through those issues and to advance our shared interests is a good thing,” Earnest said. “It’s a good thing for the world, it’s also a good thing for the citizens of our two countries,” he said.

Bilateral talks, solar energy, innovation summit: Here’s what Narendra Modi did in Paris

Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a packed schedule at the  Monday the COP 21 summit in Paris as he addressed the conference, launched the International Solar Alliance with French President Francois Hollande, spoke at the Innovation Summit with other world leaders and held bilateral talks with several leaders including US President Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe. Modi also had a conversation with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines.

Addressing the COP 21 summit, he cautioned against any unilateral steps that will lead to an economic barrier in the battle against climate change as he hoped that the developed countries would mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation.

“The principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities must remain the bedrock of our collective enterprise,” Modi said, adding that there should be aggressive mitigative action by developed countries by 2020.

Modi also underlined the need for a national will and genuine global partnership while taking steps to hammer out a climate change deal.

PM Modi speaks at the launch of the International Solar Alliance. PTIPM Modi speaks at the launch of the International Solar Alliance. PTI

PM Modi speaks at the launch of the International Solar Alliance. PTI

“We look to the developed countries to mobilise 100 billion US Dollars annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation,” he said.

Noting that conventional energy was still needed, he said it should be made clean and an end to its use should not be imposed. “And, there should be no place for unilateral steps that become economic barriers for others.” Modi called on the developed nations to fulfil their commitment in a credible, transparent and meaningful manner.

As negotiators from over 190 countries sit down over the next few days to hammer out an agreement, Modi said developed nations, which have a larger carbon footprint, should take the lead in addressing the climate change issues.

“It is not just a question of historical responsibility. We hope advanced nations will assume ambitious targets and pursue them as they have the most room for impact,” Modi said at COP 21 plenary.

At the start of his address, Modi refereed to the horrific Paris attacks earlier this month that claimed over 120 lives.

“The pain of Paris is yet to heal. So, I speak in admiration for your resilience and resolve. And, I salute the world for standing, in full strength, with France and Paris,” Modi said.

India’s role

The Prime Minister also told the audience that democratic India must grow rapidly to meet the aspirations of 1.25 billion people, 300 million of whom are without access to energy.

“The prosperous still have a strong carbon footprint but the world’s billions at the bottom of the development ladder are seeking space to grow,” Modi said.

“We will succeed if we have the wisdom to craft a collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities,” he said.

Modi asserted that conventional energy was needed but it should be made clean.

He noted that over next few days, nations will decide the fate of this planet.

“We do so when the consequences of the industrial age powered by fossil fuel are evident, especially on the lives of the poor,” Modi said.

Asserting that the choices are “not easy”, Modi said, “we have awareness and technology. We need now national will and a genuine global partnership.” Modi also listed India’s ambitious targets to tackle climate change. By 2030, India will reduce emissions by 35 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of its installed capacity will be from non-fossil fuels, he highlighted.

“We will achieve it by expanding renewable energy — for, example, by adding 175 Gigawatts of renewable generation by 2022. We will enlarge our forest cover to absorb at least 2.5 billion tonnes worth of carbon dioxide,” Modi said.

“We are reducing dependence on fossil fuel through levies and reduction in subsidies; switching sources of fuel where possible; and, transforming cities and public transportation,” he said.

Modi stressed that climate justice demands that, with the little carbon space that is still available, developing countries should have enough scope to grow.

“This also means aggressive mitigation action by developed countries before 2020, including ratification of 2nd Commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, removing conditions and revisiting targets,” the Prime Minister said.

Responsibility of Developed Countries 

He asserted that equity means that national commitments must be consistent with the carbon space nations occupy.

He said there was a need for a strong agreement on adaptation and loss and damage.

“Developed countries must fulfil their responsibility to make clean energy available, affordable and accessible to all in the developing world. This is in our collective interest,” Modi said.

“Energy is a basic human need. So, we need an ambitious technology initiative, driven by a public purpose, not just market incentives. For this, we need to scale up Green Climate Fund that will improve access to technology and intellectual property,” he said.

Modi highlighted that the presence of 196 countries gives a message that there is a chance to unite behind a common purpose.

“We will succeed if we have the wisdom and courage to craft a genuinely collective partnership that balances responsibilities and capabilities with aspirations and needs. I am confident that we will,” he concluded.

Paris Climate Conference will for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

Launch of International Solar Alliance

Earlier, Modi and French President Francois Hollande launched the International Solar Alliance and pledged India’s assistance of $30 million for the initiative that brings together developed and developing countries.

Modi also announced that India will host the initiative in the premises of the National Institute of Solar Energy in Gurgaon, Haryana.

He said that India will provide land and contribute about $30 million to build the Secretariat infrastructure.

“We will support operations for five years, and together we will raise long terms funds to achieve our goals,” Modi said.

“This is an alliance that brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise,” he said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance.

“This day is the sunrise of new hope — not just for clean energy, but for villages and homes still in darkness; and for our mornings and evenings filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun,” the Prime Minister said of the launch of the initiative supported by over 100 countries.

Modi said that as the developing world lifts billions of people into prosperity, the hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold global initiative.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Francois Hollande during the International Solar Alliance in Paris. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Francois Hollande during the International Solar Alliance in Paris. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Francois Hollande during the International Solar Alliance in Paris. PTI

He stated that advanced countries need to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow. “That is natural climate justice,” Modi asserted.

Hollande lauded Prime Minister Modi’s initiative as a paradigm shift.

Modi said, “to my long cherished dream of International Solar Alliance, President Hollande responded with immediate support.”

UN Secretary General also hailed Prime Minister Modi’s initiative saying, “I welcome the initiative of PM Narendra Modi, the UN will work to make it a success.”

Importance of solar energy 

To highlight the importance of solar energy, Modi said that in Indian tradition, sun is the source of all forms of energy.

“As Rig Veda says, Sun God is the Soul of all beings, moving and non-moving. Many in India begin their day with a prayer to the Sun,” he said.

“Today, when the energy sources and excesses of our industrial age have put our planet in peril, the world must turn to Sun to power our future,” he added.

Modi highlighted that India has a capacity of 4GW and has set a target of adding 100 GW of solar power by 2022. “By the end of next year, we would have added 12 GW.”

The idea of solar alliance was mooted by Modi during the the India-Africa Forum Summit last month.

Noting that energy sources and “excesses” of industrial age have put the planet in peril, Modi said the world must turn to sun to power the future.

A book on quotations about nature whose preface is written jointly by Modi and Hollande was also released. The Prime Minister dedicated the new edition of his book Convenient Action to the French President.

“I am honoured to co-author the preface with him,” Modi said, adding that, “since ancient times, different civilisations have given a special place to Sun.”

Modi called on advanced countries to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow as he said this would mean a growth path with lighter carbon footprint.

“So, convergence between economy, ecology and energy should define our future. The vast majority of humanity is blessed with generous sunlight round the year. Yet, many are also without any source of power. This is why this alliance is so important,” he said.

“We want to bring solar energy into our lives and homes, by making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to grid. We will collaborate on research and innovation. We will share knowledge and exchange best practices,” he added.

Investments in the solar project

Modi said as part of the initiative, countries will cooperate on training, building institutions, discussing regulatory issues and promote common standards.

“We will attract investments in the solar sector, encourage joint ventures and develop innovative financing mechanisms. We will partner with other international initiatives on renewable energy,” Modi said of the alliance.

“There is already a revolution in solar energy. Technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving. It is making the dream of universal access to clean energy has become more real,” Modi said.

“I am delighted with the industry response. As you put clean energy within the reach of all, it will create unlimited economic opportunities that will be the foundation of the new economy of this century,” he said.

Officials said that there are over 100 countries which are solar-rich, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

These countries, all potential members of the ISA are united by a shared vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all, they said.

Solar energy also is a practical and efficient way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

With this in mind, countries have been invited by the objective of significantly augmenting solar power generation in their respective countries with a view to contributing to global, sustainable development.

On Sunday, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said at this conceptual phase, around 50 countries will attend the launch.

He had said that there will be an international steering committee which will deliberate on Wednesdays on the contours and framework of this alliance.

There are around 15-16 countries which have expressed interest to part of the committee.

Innovation Summit

Developed nations must leave enough room for developing countries to grow, PM Modi also said, asserting that the life of a “few” should not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at Mission Innovation in Paris on Monday as French President Francois Hollande, US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates watch. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at Mission Innovation in Paris on Monday as French President Francois Hollande, US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates watch. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at Mission Innovation in Paris on Monday as French President Francois Hollande, US President Barack Obama and Bill Gates watch. PTI

Noting that innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice, Modi also urged the world to come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all.

“We have to ensure, in the spirit of climate justice, that the life of a few does not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder. The advanced countries must leave enough room for developing countries to grow. We must strive for a lighter carbon footprint on our growth path,” Modi said at the Innovation Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP 21).

“For that we must come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all. Innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice. We need research and innovation to make renewable energy much cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to transmission grids,” he said.

Noting that there is a need to make conventional energy cleaner while developing newer sources of renewable energy, Modi said this is a global responsibility for the collective future.

“Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property. That also means strong public commitment by suppliers to developing countries,” Modi said.

“That will make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all. This partnership will combine the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. We will double our investments in research and innovation and deepen collaboration among ourselves,” he said.

Modi observed that there should be an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on renewable energy and said innovation must be backed by means to make it affordable and ensure adoption.

“We have very successful models of public-private partnership with many countries present here. India is also building renewable capacity in developing countries, including small island states,” he said.

“The progress on clean energy technology and costs is impressive. If we raise the level of our efforts, we can transform the world. We will also lay the foundation of a new economy in new low carbon age,” Modi asserted.

“We will restore the balance between ecology and economy, and between our inheritance and obligation to the future. And, live up to Gandhiji’s call to care for the world we shall not see,” he added.

Modi highlighted that a vast section of humanity lives at the edge of poverty and in darkness after the sun sets and they need energy to light up their homes and power their future.

“They are also the most vulnerable to the consequences of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel. Access to energy and a better life is a universal aspiration. So are clean environment and healthy habitats. As the world’s majority works its way to prosperity on a planet left with very limited carbon space, we have to do many things,” he said.

Earlier, Modi and Obama met as part of “Mission Innovation” which was announced by the US earlier.

It is an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy.

Departure for Delhi

PM Modi left for New Delhi on Monday night after wrapping up his two-day Paris visit which included the crucial climate change conference and launch of the India-mooted International Solar Alliance.

Modi also met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the climate conference and held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe.

Modi also met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and a host of other world leaders.

Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif also had a “casual meeting” on the sidelines of the climate summit, warmly shaking hands before sitting down for a brief chat.

Just before the Prime Minister departed for New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted:

With inputs from PTI

‘Passionate’ PM Modi not under any ‘compulsion’ in Paris, says Piyush Goyal

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern towards the climate changes came from his ‘passion’ for the cause and not due to any ‘compulsions’, Union minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy Piyush Goyal said that India can be proud of its role in the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

File photo

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern towards the climate changes came from his ‘passion’ for the cause and not due to any ‘compulsions’, Union minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy Piyush Goyal said that India can be proud of its role in the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.”This is a very important conference and India is taking it very seriously. The Prime Minister is himself in Paris and he has articulated on many occasions that concerns for the environment, developing more and more green energy is an article of faith for him. It is not something that he is doing under any compulsion; rather it is something that he deeply and passionately believes in,” Goyal told ANI exclusively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stressing on the importance of the awareness of global warming, he added that its impact was quite visible in the past few years and the world has now realised that if the issue is not addressed soon, the end result could be catastrophic.Talking about the statement made by US Secretary of State John Kerry that India would be a ‘challenge’ at the Summit as the Indian government seemed hesitant to accept more of a role in addressing global warming, Goyal said that the formed needed to view the problem in a holistic manner.”Well I think he (Kerry) needs to look at the whole issue more holistically. The base load in India is coal base. It cannot be anything else as we don’t have gas and without a base load we can’t even do renewable energy. We are a developing nation. We are rapidly creating infrastructure, setting up manufacturing, creating jobs for our people, setting up of homes, all of which the United States and the European nations did in the last 150 years on the back of low carbon base or coal-based energy,” he said.”Having already developed their nations, they have now realised the inconvenient truth after finding low-cost shale gas. I think it’s very important that the world recognises what Prime Minister Modi articulated as convenient action,” Goyal added.The Union Minister expressed confidence that India was one of the nation’s which was showing leadership in terms of expanding renewable energy, looking at innovations, technology, ways to expand energy security and raising concerns for the environment.Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Paris on Sunday to attend the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) where about 150 heads of state and governments will gather to set agenda for the Summit.The Prime Minister will address the summit in the plenary conference hall “Seine” on Monday at the leaders’ event where the aim of the summit is to reach a landmark global deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.During the twelve-day conference, India’s 25 member delegation will focus on Prime Minister Modi’s call for ‘Climate Justice’ that he had made in his address at the United Nations General Assembly last month.

Modi should visit Pakistan to improve bilateral ties: Sudheendra Kulkarni

Kulkarni, who was attacked by the Shiv Sena activists last month over the launch of a book by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, also said Pakistan should “stop with a heavy hand” the cross-broder terrorism.

Sudheendra Kulkarni

Former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make a bilateral visit to Pakistan as he pitched for “uninterrupted and “uninterruptible” dialogue between the two countries.Kulkarni, who was attacked by the Shiv Sena activists last month over the launch of a book by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, also said Pakistan should “stop with a heavy hand” the cross-border terrorism. Addressing an event the Pakistan High Commission, he made it clear that no military solution is possible to the Kashmir issue which, he said, was a pre-condition for any genuine reconciliation and abiding peace between the two countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said both India and Pakistan can co-administer a combined state of Jammu and Kashmir. Praising Modi, Kulkarni welcomed Prime Minister’s trip to countries around the world. “It shows that he is raising India’s profile abroad and it also shows that the rest of the world is now more and more appreciative of what India has achieved,” he said. Noting that Modi has visited all neighbouring countries except Pakistan, Kulkarni said he would strongly urge him to go to Pakistan unlike former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who did not, despite having been born there.He said the besides attending the upcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad, Modi should also undertake a bilateral visit. Recalling Modi’s words at the SAARC Summit in Nepal, where he said the countries in the bloc were closer but not together, Kulkarni said Pakistan’s visit would help his dream of getting everyone together. “The soil is really ready for a breakthrough. Prime Minister Modi with a huge mandate can make a difference.” Talking about the contentious Kashmir issue, Kulkarni said an early and amicable solution to the dispute is a pre-condition for any genuine reconciliation and abiding peace between the two countries.”The two governments must share, must accept the reality that neither India can ever recapture the Pakistan held part of Kashmir nor can Pakistan hope to get that part of Kashmir which is India,” he said, adding that there is no possibility of Jammu and Kashmir or Kashmir becoming independent.”No military solution can secure this goal in favour of either India or Pakistan. The only viable and working solution to the Kashmir dispute is India and Pakistan bringing the two sides of Kashmir together”.He said both can co-administer its affairs with a large degree of autonomy to the people of two sides of Kashmir with the consensus of the people who have the biggest stake. Kulkarni said the possibility of co-administering Kashmir was what the interlocutors, appointed by then Prime Minister Singh and President Pervez Musharraf, were working on. He also spoke about the partition of India and blamed both the Congress and the Muslim League, headed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Talking about terror, Kulkarni said he often feels there is insufficient recognition in Pakistan about the pain, anguish and anger that cross-border terrorism has caused in India.”I come from Mumbai, a city that has been the biggest victim of terrorism originating from Pakistan. This reality is one of the reasons why some people in Mumbai, react strongly indeed, irrationally and fanatically against any attempts to initiate cultural, sports and intellectual interactions with Pakistan,” he said. He said though he does not in the least rationalise it or support it, one cannot ignore this reality.Kulkarni was sprayed with black paint by Shiv Sainiks for organising former Pakistan foreign minister Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai on October 12. Kulkarni said that there is an urgent need to change the content and complexion of India-Pakistan relations.”We cannot we simply cannot live in a relationship of perpetual hostility, tension, non-cooperation and conflict… We cannot remain prisoners of the past. We must break out of this deadlock, and must leave behind a better future for our children, grandchildren and the coming generations,” he said. He added that India and Pakistan present one of the worst examples of bad-neighbourly relations anywhere in the world.He said those who are opposed to normalisation of our bilateral relations are indeed a minority. “But let’s make no mistake they are a powerful, influential and vocal minority,” he said, adding their voice remains vocal and powerful because those in the ruling establishments in both India and Pakistan have not been able to firmly decide that normalisation is the only option they should pursue.

Divine Bovine controversy: While battling the demon of intolerance, let’s not forget the monster of literalism

The recent controversy over the Divine Bovine, an installation mounted at the Jaipur Art Summit, underscores the threat literalism poses to our imagination, in the process negating symbolism, stifling irony, and insisting on affixing one meaning to our reading of texts, works of art, and even our past. The rise of intolerance in the country is indeed linked to the rise of literalism.

All these dangers emanating from literalism came remarkably to the fore at the Jaipur Art Summit, evident from a bewildering exchange of meanings there. For those late on the story, the Bovine Divine had its creator, Sidhhartha Kararwal, suspending a life-size plastic cow mid-air using a balloon. Spurning literalism, Kararwal did not provide a caption to explain to his viewers the meaning of his installation.

Art often lies in its ambiguity. To explain to the viewers the meaning of his artistic expression was to tell them that they had to see it the way Kararwal did. Once the installation kicked up a storm, and it was summarily brought down, Kararwal thought it prudent to explain the intent behind the Divine Bovine.

Kararwal said, “The purpose of the display was to draw attention to the plight of abandoned animals who end up scavenging, eating plastic and choking to death.” Considering the raging debate over cow-slaughter in the country, it should have been construed as an artistic intervention pleading for better treatment of the cow, not leaving it to feed on what could kill it.

Divine Bovine takes flight. IBNLive

The Divine Bovine installation in Jaipur. IBNLive

But this wasn’t how the Divine Bovine was necessarily viewed. There were some who claimed it had hurt their religious sentiments, prompting the police to bring down the cow to the ground. Puja was performed before the cow was garlanded – and, subsequently, removed from the venue.

What hurt their sentiments? The Indian Express quoted Deputy Commissioner of Police Kunwar Rashtradeep thus: “According to the calls that we received, people were confused whether it was a real cow, whether the message was to kill and hang cows.” What people wanted was an explicit explanation, bewildered as they were by their own incomprehension of the installation.

Instead of taking the challenge their bewilderment posed to them, and seeking to tease out the possible meanings of the installation, they chose to impose one meaning on it — that the Divine Bovine was a show of disrespect to their religious sentiments. Literalism fuelled their anger: cows are supposed to have their four legs on the ground; any other posture is demeaning of the cow — and, therefore, of those who worship it.

Literalism demands adherence to the certitudes of the reader or viewer, obvious, for instance, from the remarks of the Jaipur-based animal rights activist, Suraj Soni. He said, “There was no slogan (meaning caption) accompanying the art work and one could easily misconstrue the installation as a portrayal of cruelty on animals.”

The viewer should have thought that there might be other meanings he or she couldn’t grasp. On seeing the cow, the question Soni should have asked was: What purpose would the artist have had in suspending a plastic cow mid-air? But literalism eschews questioning and asks us not to think, not to hit upon answers that challenge our existing notions and prejudices. This is why literalism insists there can only be one meaning to a text or work of art.

Then there was the VHP, the ever-keen arbiter of what hurts sentiments. Its Jaipur chief, Narpat Singh, seemed to ostensibly accept Kararwal’s explanation that his installation sought to highlight the plight of cows dying because of eating plastic. But he was opposed to the method Kararwal chose to depict his message. As Singh said, “The artists should express their emotions after weighing them. Rather than the controversy, there should have been a discussion on how to arrange a place to live and fodder for them.”

Indeed, literalism demands expressions without ambiguity. This was evident in Kararwal’s recapitulation of the questions the police asked of them. As he said to the press, “A key issue that seemed to bother them was: ‘Why fly a dead cow?’… When we explained that the cow was not dead, we were asked if it was alive.” Literalism seeks answers in the binary of either this or that, black or white.

Against this backdrop, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s reaction should be commended. She said she was “saddened” by what happened at the Art Summit, spoke and apologised to the artist-supporters of Kararwal who were mishandled and whisked away for questioning, and transferred the SHO who had taken action against them.

In Jaipur at least, literalism has claimed more famous victims earlier, quite a paradox for a city which hosts India’s most famous literary festival. In 2013, for instance, political psychologist Ashis Nandy had a case of foisted on him for declaring, in a panel discussion, that “most corrupt people come from Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes.”

Nandy had intended his remark as an irony in a discussion on corruption, pointing out that the corruption of the upper caste is invisible, largely because they rely on the elite network to promote their interests. For instance, when an influential bureaucrat or academic pulls strings to get his or her child admitted to an elite institution, that’s not considered corruption, he said.

By contrast, OBC, SCs and STs resort to corruption because it is their method of “equalising” the advantages that accrue to the upper caste because of their network, inherited wealth and privileges. The furore his remark created had him issue a statement saying the corruption of Dalits, tribals and OBCs gives them “access to their entitlements. And so long as this equation persists, I have hope for the Republic.”

The irony of his statement didn’t dissuade the then Congress government from instituting a case against him. And the case continues, taxing his energy and resources. Anyone who has read Nandy would know he couldn’t have possibly aired caste superiority. But it is impossible to argue against the literalist who abhors ironies, and who is disinclined to read a statement in its context. No wonder the literalist lacks humour.

It was, again, literalism which drove out from India the late painter MF Hussain, who painted Hindu Goddesses in the nude. His paintings were deemed disrespectful even though it wasn’t his intention. Hussain was dipping into the tradition of Indian art for his artistic expression.

Or take Salman Rushdie, who was once denied participation in the Jaipur Literary Festival because of vociferous protests from local Muslim leaders. It was literalism which prompted the Congress government to ban his Satanic Verses. The novel was labelled offensive because it sought to probe, through the device of fiction, the question scholars had already discussed: Was the Quran revealed to Prophet Mohammad or was it a case of him hallucinating?

Then again, it is literalism which has the BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to insist that ancient India had mastered modern technology such as plastic surgery, aerodynamics, and cloning. Their very mention in ancient texts is taken as proof of these technologies having existed then, ruling out the possibility of authors having imagined them.

Literalism abhors imagination. This is because imagination enables us to portray the world in shades other than black and white, making it difficult for us to judge it in simplistic terms of right and wrong. It is indeed literalism which is at the roots of our disputes over history. From the literalist’s perspective, either Muslim rulers were tolerant or they were intolerant. It can never be a mix of both, driven by the exigency of circumstances.

This is why the literalist must rewrite history, efface or underplay evidence which creates a fuzzy picture of the past. For instance, long before the Muslim came to India, Hindu kings too plundered and destroyed temples their rivals patronised, and often ferreted away the deities the vanquished ruler worshipped. Were the Muslim rulers merely subscribing to policy extant in pre-modern time? How do we reconcile their destruction of temples with them giving land grants to maintain other Hindu sacred sites?

Or again, how do we square the fact that the largest number of those who converted to Islam lived on the margins of the Muslim empire, far away from the Doab region which was directly under the control of Muslim power? Shouldn’t the incidence of conversion have been the highest closer to the centre of power of the Muslim empire?

The literalist will not ask these questions because he or she can’t, like the modern-day judge, then deliver a verdict on the past. Passing judgement is the defining trait of the literalist. India’s paradox is that as it has become increasingly literate, it has also become less educated.

The author is a journalist in Delhi. His novel, The Hour Before Dawn, has as its backdrop the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It is available in bookstores.

Oceans should not become new theatres of contests: PM Modi in Singapore

Singapore: Amid a standoff between China and some East Asian nations over South China Sea, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said oceans, space and cyberworld should not become “new theatres of contests” but be the avenues of “shared prosperity” and offered to work in this direction.

Delivering a lecture in Singapore, he talked about how India and China have kept their border region peaceful and stable despite the “unresolved issues”, including the boundary question between the two countries.

PM Narendra Modi. APPM Narendra Modi. AP

PM Narendra Modi. AP

“In the flux and transition of our times, the most critical need in this region is to uphold and strengthen the rules and norms that must define our collective behaviour,” he said.

“…We must all come together, in East Asia Summit and other forums, to build a cooperative and collaborative future, not on the strength of a few, but on the consent of all,” Modi said in his 20-minute ’37th Singapore Lecture – India’s Singapore Story’ – soon after his arrival on a two-day visit.

In an apparent reference to the standoff between China and some East Asian Nations over South China Sea, he said, “India will work with countries in the region and beyond, including the US and Russia, our East Asia Summit partners, to ensure that our commons – ocean, space and cyber – remain avenues of shared prosperity, not become new theatres of contests.”

The statement is significance as tensions are growing over South China Sea with the US now getting involved and China warning it to keep away.

Prime Minister Modi said India and China will engage constructively across the complexity of their relationship as two self-assured and confident nations, aware of their interests and responsibilities.

“Just as China’s rise has driven the global economy, the world looks to China to help advance global and regional peace and stability,” he said.

Noting that India and China constitute two-fifth of humanity and two of the world’s fastest growing major economies, Modi said, “China’s economic transformation is an inspiration for us.”

“As it (China) rebalances its economy, and as India steps up the pace of its growth, we can both reinforce each other’s progress. And, we can advance stability and prosperity in our region,” Modi said, adding that both the nations together can be more effective in addressing the common global challenges, from trade to climate change.

Prime Minister Modi also called for delinking terrorism from religion and said it does not just take a toll of lives, but can derail economies.

“Nations must cooperate more with each other. Societies must reach out within and to each other. We must delink terrorism from religion, and assert the human values that define every faith,” he added.

Noting that terrorism’s shadow stretches across societies and nations, both in recruitment and choice of targets, Modi said the world must speak in one voice and act in unison.

“There will be political, legal, military and intelligence efforts. But, we must do more,” he asserted.

“Countries also must be held accountable for sanctuaries, support, arms and funds,” he said.

Though he did not name any country, his mention about sanctuaries was an apparent reference to Pakistan where several terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani Network are based and nurtured by the establishment.

Talking about next week’s Climate Summit, Modi said, “We are a few days away from Paris, where we must achieve concrete outcome, in accordance with the principles of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is especially important for our region, particularly the small island states.”

Modi also promised a greater role for Singapore in India’s growth story and said the city-state will be a major trading partner for India.

The Prime Minister said he was conscious of the fact that he was following the footsteps of leaders who have shaped India in delivering this lecture.

“Destiny of India and Singapore are deeply linked.”

Before Modi, other Indian leaders who have delivered the annual Singapore Lecture of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute include former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former Prime Ministers P V Narsimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“Few countries can celebrate the first fifty years of existence with a sense of pride and satisfaction that Singapore deserves to. And, I can do no better than to begin with homage to one of the tallest leaders of our time and the architect of modern Singapore – Lee Kuan Yew,” Modi said.

“For me, he was a personal inspiration. From his Singapore Stories, I drew many lessons,” he added.

Singapore is a nation that has become a metaphor for reality of dreams. The lack of resources is no constraint for inspiration, imagination and innovation, he added.

“It has inspired this region’s progress and led in its integration,” Modi said, adding that Singapore’s success became an aspiration for Indians. “And, in turn, India became the hope for a more peaceful, balanced and stable world.”

Noting that India and Singapore have been together at many crossroads of time, Modi said, “We stood together at the dawn of freedom…Singapore success has become India’s springboard to the world and gateway to the East.”

“We have comprehensive defence and security cooperation. Singapore is the biggest investment source,” Modi said.

Starting from the first IT park in Bengaluru, the partnership has now moved to the newest city of Amaravathi, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, he noted.

“We are linked by geography and history in case of each ASEAN member. We look forward to a more dynamic partnership between India and ASEAN,” the Prime Minister said.

“With almost entire region, India has economic cooperation frameworks. We will upgrade our partnership agreement and look for an early Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” Modi said at the event also attended by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore is a leading investor in India and several Indian companies are expanding their operations to Singapore.

India expects to conclude a ‘strategic partnership’ with Singapore during Modi’s visit, while the two countries are also expected to sign an enhanced defence cooperation pact, along with other MoUs, including on cyber security, culture and training on urban management.

Singapore has approximately 350,000-strong Indian diaspora out of its total population of 5.5 million.

The bilateral trade with Singapore is about USD 17 billion and Singaporean companies are very active in India since early 1990s, including in equity markets.

Singapore is the second-largest source of FDI into India at about USD 35.9 billion (total for April 2000 to June 2015), which is about 13.9 per cent of total FDI into the country. The Indian investments into Singapore are also fairly large at USD 37 billion.

Singapore has a strategic location with status as a financial, aviation and maritime hub. The flow of investments, presence of a large Indian diaspora and its expertise in urban and skill development make it very important for India.

PTI

Artists in Jaipur detained for cow art installation; Rajasthan govt removes police officials responsible

Image credit: Chintan Upadhyay’s Facebook post

In a strange yet shocking incident, a piece of art displayed at the Jaipur Art Summit, meant to spread awareness about saving cows from plastic consumption, created a furore on Saturday leading to the detention of two artists, reports The Indian Express. The event was hosted by the Jawahar Kala Kendra, a centre of cultural and artistic activities.The Rajasthan government on Sunday removed a Station House Officer and a constable for alleged dereliction of duty and not tackling the situation properly. “SHO of Bajaj Nagar Police station, Mahendra Gupta, and constable Sumer Singh have been sent to police lines for dereliction of duty and not tackling the situation properly,” Jaipur Police Commissioner JS Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Artist Siddhartha Kararwal who created the installation called ‘Bovine Divine’ had put up a styrofoam cow suspended mid-air by a balloon. He said that the aim was to show “how cows consume plastic and die due to its consumption”. However within 30 minutes of the work being put up for the show, police came and asked them to take down the artwork immediately, even before the show began. Artists Chintan Upadhyay and Anish Ahluwalia tried to reason with the police but the conversation turned into an argument. They both were taken to Bajaj Nagar police station and detained for at least three hours. Commissioner JS Rao said that as per media reports, the cops dragged artist Aneesh Ahluwalia by his hair along with another artist Chintan Upadhya to the police station after they protested the removal of the installation.According to Scroll.in the police asked the artists why they were flying a dead cow. “When we explained that the cow was not dead, we were asked if it was alive,” Kararwal said. He said that the police told them to write essays and paint to create awareness about the issues.The installation was taken down, it was relocated by a bunch of people who performed a puja and garlanded the cow. Dear allThis is to share the unfortunate events of this morning at Jaipur Art Summit, Shilpagram, Jawahar Kala…
Posted by Iram Ghufran on Saturday, November 21, 2015Please ShareDear allThis is to share the unfortunate events of this morning at Jaipur Art Summit, Shilpagram,…
Posted by Chintan Upadhyay on Saturday, November 21, 2015According to The Hindu, SHO Mahendra Gupta said that the artists were not detained but taken to the police station just to explain to them that certain sections could create an issue about the artwork and hence it had to be dismantled.The incident comes after a newly appointed governing council of Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra was scrapped. The council included Anish Kapoor, Jeet Thayil and Ranjit Hoskote. Kapoor had written a damning piece on PM Narendra Modi a day before the council was dissolved.Related read: Rajasthan govt removes Anish Kapoor’s name from cultural panel two days after nominationRajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje tweeted saying that the police had extended an apology.

PM Modi unveils Swami Vivekananda statue in Malaysia, hails him for spreading message of spirituality

The Indian PM also praised Vivekananda for travelling to the west at the age of 30 to spread the message of spirituality.

PM Narendra Modi

AFP photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday unveiled a statue of Swami Vivekananda and paid a floral tribute at Ramakrishna Mission in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on the sidelines of a crucial summit of South East Asian nations.Speaking on the occasion, Modi said that Vivekananda was a representation of India’s ancient culture and the soul of India. He added that India’s cultural tradition is very rich and ancient, from the Vedas to Vivekananda.”Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) was not out looking for a guru or any kind of religion, what he was in search of was the truth. If we are able to maintain the true identity of who we are (as Indians), then we will be able to instill values of Swami Vivekananda in ourselves,” Modi said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi pointed out that like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahansa was also not looking for a disciple, he was searching for truth. “One was dedicated to the truth, while the other was searching for it. It is this quest that brought them together,” Modi said.”Swami Vivekananda used to say that service of humanity is service of God. During a visit to Kolkata, some youngsters asked Vivekananda how they could find God. Go play football, play it with full passion and intensity. Perhaps then you will find God, he replied,” said Modi.The Indian PM also praised Vivekananda for travelling to the west at the age of 30 to spread the message of spirituality.Claiming that Vivekananda was also behind the concept of ‘One Asia’, the Indian PM said, “It was Swami Vivekananda who first gave the concept of One Asia that ASEAN is speaking of today”. Modi also claimed that while the world was talking of global warming today, Indian tradition had always seen God in plants. “In fact all our gods and goddesses are linked to some forces of nature. We personify them through trees, animals, birds. The message is very simple – that nature should not be exploited, we should live in harmony with nature. This is what can save the world,” Modi said.Praising the tradition of Yoga, Modi said that the western world is today attracted to the practice, which holds great promise for healthcare, and helps lead a tension-free life.Earlier, PM Modi in a speech at the ASEAN Summit had called for new strategies to combat Islamist terrorism.Related Read: ASEAN Summit: PM Modi calls for new strategies to combat terrorism, Obama vows to destroy ISIS

ASEAN Summit: PM Modi to address Indian community, unveil statue of Swami Vivekananda

PM Modi will then attend a lunch hosted by Najib Razak before going to the Ramakrishna Mission at Petaling Jaya in the afternoon to unveil a statue of Swami Vivekananda.

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the East Asia Summit on the second day of his visit to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. He will meet a 2 million strong Indian Diaspora in a community event as well, according to Hindustan Times.Modi arrived in Kuala Lumpur early on Saturday to attend two weekend summits and hold several bilateral meetings on the margins of the ASEAN Summit. He has pitched India as an ideal investment destination and called for boosting regional connectivity.Modi will first witness the signing of 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Establishment of ASEAN Community and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Then, he will attend the East Asia Summit to be chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The summit is expected to discuss matters such as global terrorism in the wake of ISIS attack on Paris, irregular migration, the maritime dispute in the South China Sea and the situation in the Korean Peninsula.It is also expected to adopt seven statements and declarations, including the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the 10th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit, Declaration on the Global Movement of Moderates, Statement on Countering Violent Extremism, Statement on Issues Related to Security of and in Use of Information and Communications Technologies, Statement on Enhancing Regional Health Security Relating to Communicable Diseases and a Joint Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations.PM Modi will then attend a lunch hosted by Najib Razak before going to the Ramakrishna Mission at Petaling Jaya in the afternoon to unveil a statue of Swami Vivekananda.Modi will meet S Subramaniam, president of the Malaysian Indian Congress and the health minister, and MPs and legislators of Indian origin before the community event at the MINES International Exhibition and Convention Centre, in the evening, reports HT.Following this, Modi will meet Samy Vellu, Malaysia’s special envoy on infrastructure for India and South Asia. He will also meet winners of the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award and attend a reception hosted by the Indian high commissioner in the evening.

ASEAN Summit: Tricolour upside down as Modi, Abe shake hands; Twitterati wonder how PM failed to notice

Narendra Modi greeting Shinzo Abe of Japan at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Malaysia with the Indian flag hung upside down in the background.

ANI
In an embarrassment for India, the tricolour was seen hoisted upside down during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo-op with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe before bilateral talks on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit.The national flag was in the background of Prime Minister Modi and Abe’s customary handshake at the Summit and was hoisted on a stand next to that of Japan.The flag is seen with the green at the top and the saffron below as the two leaders met for the second bilateral on the sidelines of 13th ASEAN-India Summit here.”It was an inadvertent mistake in the rush of things. It was unfortunate,” official sources requesting anonymity told PTI<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to comment on it Meanwhile, Twitterati wondered how PM failed to notice. Some also said that it was careless mistake by the organisers, demanding an explanation too.Prime Minister Modi is in Malaysia for the summit and will be addressing the Indian diaspora there on Sunday. In his speech he emphasised on India’s economic growth, strong fundamentals, regular reforms and a welcoming environment setting the premises for asking investors to look at India. At the ASEAN Summit in Malaysia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked the global investment community to invest in India and draw comfort from its fast economic growth, strong fundamentals, continuous reforms and a welcoming environment. “By almost every major economic indicator India’s doing better than when we took office 18 months ago,” Modi spoke.

PM Narendra Modi leaves for Malaysia and Singapore

“Leaving for Malaysia & Singapore. Will attend 2 crucial summits, participate in bilateral meetings & seek greater investment to India,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet before his departure for Kuala Lumpur, on the first leg of his trip.

File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight left for four-day visit to Malaysia and Singapore, during which the focus would be on building trade ties and attracting investments to India. “Leaving for Malaysia & Singapore. Will attend 2 crucial summits, participate in bilateral meetings & seek greater investment to India,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet before his departure for Kuala Lumpur, on the first leg of his trip. In Malaysia, Modi will be attending the ASEAN-India Summit tomorrow and the 10th East Asia Summit the next day, besides holding talks with Prime Minister Najib Razak and some other world leaders who would be attending the Summits.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He had said the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits are being held at a critical juncture and “together, we will discuss the pressing security issues. The looming threat of terror and the prevailing situation in West Asia will also be a part of the discussions.” In Singapore, Modi will hold deliberations with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on ways to enhance bilateral ties on the occasion of commemoration of 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties. “My visits to Malaysia and Singapore are aimed at making our economic ties with these nations stronger and to also strengthen the security cooperation between us,” Modi has said in a series of Facebook posts.Talking about Malaysia, the Prime Minister had said it is “at the core of our ‘Act East Policy’.” “India’s partnership with ASEAN nations has gathered immense momentum over the years… We want to further scale up our trade and economic ties. I will expand on the need for closer economic cooperation and investment opportunities in India at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit..,” he said.”The ASEAN nations have welcomed India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and we in India are extremely enthusiastic to have better relations with the ASEAN family in areas such as defence, security and cultural ties.”Robust India-ASEAN ties will give great impetus to our collective dream of making this century an ‘Asian Century’,” Modi had said.With regard to the East Asia Summit, he said India attaches a lot of importance to it.

Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks on Pakistan channel stoke controversy

Aiyar, according to news agencies, had made the remarks during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel.

It was polemics versus polemics between Congress and BJP on Tuesday. After Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar was reported to have said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed to be removed if talks between India and Pakistan were to resume, the BJP retaliated by describing the main opposition party as India’s Pakistani agent.Aiyar, according to news agencies, had made the remarks during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel. When asked what should be done to end the stalemate in relations between the neighbouring countries, he said “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimistic and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don’t think so.” He also was reported to have said that the Congress should be brought back to power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Congress said Aiyar had communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi attacked him and his party colleague Salman Khurshid saying it seemed like they were behaving like propagandists for ISIS.”While the world is getting together against terrorism and Prime Minister’s words to fight against terrorism has been accepted the world over and it is in this context the G-20 Summit has happened…. 139 people have been killed in Paris in an open assault to civilisation and it seems that these people are behaving and conducting themselves as propagandists for ISI and IS or Taliban,” she said at a press conference.However, Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said “this is absolutely nonsense. I have a letter with me written by Mr Aiyer in which he categorically denies saying anything like that. So there is no question of distancing from it.”

PM Modi leaves for India after 5-day overseas tour

During his interventions at the G20 Summit here, Modi said terrorism is the principle global challenge and sought a unison global action to deal with the menace.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wrapped up his five-day visit to Britain and Turkey after making a strong case for a united global fight against terrorism. “Goodbye Turkey! After successful participation in @G20Turkey2015 PM @narendramodi heads home,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted. During his interventions at the G20 Summit here, Modi said terrorism is the principle global challenge and sought a unison global action to deal with the menace. The two-day summit, which ended today, was overshadowed by terror attacks in Paris which left over 129 people dead and over 352 injured. Modi also participated in the meeting of the leaders of BRICS nations in which he called for effective steps to end funding, supplies and communication channels of terrorists and also stressed on global cooperation to prevent use of cyber networks by militant groups.In his earlier leg of the overseas visit in the UK, Modi met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and addressed the Indian diaspora at the Wembley stadium, along with his British counterpart David Cameron. Modi also visited Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover factory in the West Midlands region of England and met top industry leaders.

World must act against radicalisation without any political consideration: PM Modi

“We must isolate those who support and sponsor terrorism; and, stand with those who share our values of humanism. We need to restructure the international legal framework to deal with the unique challenges of terrorism,” he said.

PTI
Pressing for the need to delink terror from religion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said some countries still use terrorism as “an instrument of state policy” and the world must act against radicalisation without any political consideration.Modi said terrorism is the main global challenge today and “from regions in conflict to the streets of distant cities, terrorism extracts a deadly price”.Speaking here at the G20 Summit, being held against the backdrop of deadly Paris attacks, the Prime Minister said, “Old structures of terrorism remain. There are countries that still use it as an instrument of state policy.” “The world must speak in one voice and act in unison against terrorism, without any political considerations. There should be no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between states.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We must isolate those who support and sponsor terrorism; and, stand with those who share our values of humanism. We need to restructure the international legal framework to deal with the unique challenges of terrorism,” he said.He was making an intervention at G-20 Working Dinner last night on the issue of ‘Global Challenges Terrorism and Refugee Crisis’.Modi said the world is seeing a changing character of terrorism with “global links, franchise relations, home-grown terrorism and use of cyber space for recruitment and propaganda”.While there is a new level of threat to pluralist and open societies, the territory of recruitment and the target of attacks are the same, and that is society, he added.Modi said the global framework for security was defined for another era and for other security challenges and there was no comprehensive global strategy to combat terrorism.”And, we tend to be selective in using the instruments that we have,” he said and asked G20 leaders to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism “without any delay”.He also pressed for increased international cooperation in intelligence and counter-terrorism.”We should strengthen efforts to prevent supply of arms to terrorists, disrupt terrorist movements, and curb and criminalise terror financing.”We have to help each other secure our cyber space, and minimise use of the Internet and social media for terrorist activities,” he added.

India asks G20 for $100-billion a year green climate fund by 2020

PM Modi also pushed ahead his proposal for forming an alliance of solar-rich countries at the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris and said G20 countries must build support systems focused on nations with maximum growth potential.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit working session on inclusive growth, in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday.

PTI
Pledging to quadruple India’s renewable power capacity to 175 gigawatt by 2022 and cut fossil fuel subsidies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked world’s top economies to ensure reaching the target of USD 100 billion a year green climate fund by 2020. He also pushed ahead his proposal for forming an alliance of solar-rich countries at the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris and said G20 countries must build support systems focused on nations with maximum growth potential.In his lead intervention at G20 Working Lunch on Development and Climate Change, he offered seven points for consideration which include shift from ‘carbon credit’ to ‘green credit’ and increase in share of traffic on public transport in cities by 30 per cent by 2030.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I propose that we consider how G20 can build support systems that focus on countries with maximum growth potential, help address specific bottlenecks there and facilitate implementation of country strategies,” he said, adding that the grouping of world’s top 20 economies including US and China must continue to focus on infrastructure.Clean energy and environment friendly infrastructure, he said, will address both development and climate change.”Bridging the current gap in infrastructure finance in the developing countries should remain our key priority, he said, while adding that G20 can play an effective role in supporting the multilateral goals of increasing research and development to develop affordable renewable energy. We should also ensure that finance and technology is available to meet the universal global aspiration for clean energy. We must meet the target of USD 100 billion goal per year by 2020.”The industrialised nations had earlier committed to long term financing support in form of a green climate fund worth USD 100 billion a year to support concrete mitigation actions by the developing countries.”When we speak of targets, we must not only reduce the use of fossil fuel, but also moderate our life style. Development in harmony with nature is the goal of my proposal to launch, along with the French President Francois Hollande, an alliance of solar-rich countries at the time of COP-21 meeting (in Paris later this month),” Modi said.

Development & combating climate change not competing objectives for India: PM Modi at G20 Summit

He began by condemning the terror attack in Paris which led to the death of at least 129 people.”Today, we meet in the tragic shadow of dreadful acts of terrorism. Combating it must be major priority for G20,” he said.

“e have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are days away from charting a sustainable future for our planet,” he said.

PTI
PM Narendra Modi on Sunday began the lead intervention at the G20 Summit.He began by condemning the terror attack in Paris which led to the death of at least 129 people.”Today, we meet in the tragic shadow of dreadful acts of terrorism. Combating it must be major priority for G20,” he said. “This year is a milestone. The UN turned 70. We have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are days away from charting a sustainable future for our planet,” he said.PM Narendra Modi also outlined how India’s developmental goals are aligned with the SDGs. “We in India don’t see development and combating climate change as competing objectives. This is centred on the unity of humanity and nature” PM said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Modi also outlined India’s plan for action on climate change and approach to UN Climate Change Conference 2015 in ParisThe PM also offered seven points for consideration to act with respect to the climate change. He called for a target date before 2030 to reduce high costs of transferring remittances.

PM Narendra Modi leaves for Turkey after three-day UK visit

Modi’s three-day tour had a packed schedule that included delegation-level talks with his British counterpart Cameron, lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, a speech to British MPs and an address to the Indian diaspora at the Wembley Stadium.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday wrapped up his three-day UK visit and left for Turkey where he will attend the G20 Summit. After visiting a Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover factory in the West Midlands region of England, Modi boarded a flight from Heathrow Airport to Antalya in Turkey to take part in the G20 summit, which opens tomorrow. “My gratitude to the British people & Govt. Special thanks to PM @David_Cameron for his personal attention to all the aspects of my visit,” Modi tweeted before his departure from the UK.”The progress on the economic front was satisfying. India & UK are partners in development & our economic cooperation is all set to increase,” he said. “Goodbye UK. This visit was memorable because of the wide range of programmes I attended. The ground covered will transform India-UK ties,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi’s three-day tour had a packed schedule that included delegation-level talks with his British counterpart Cameron, lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, a speech to British MPs and an address to the Indian diaspora at the Wembley Stadium.In Turkey, Modi will attend the G20 Summit, chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The summit will focus on the current state of the global economy, sustainable growth, development and climate change, investment, trade and energy.Participating leaders are also expected to discuss political issues such as global terrorism and the refugee crisis in addition to the economic agenda.

India’s potential to be UNSC member has stronger resonance: President Pranab Mukherjee

India is also playing an enhanced role in diverse fora by working with like-minded nations in the UN and other multilateral organisations, he said

Referring to the recent “successful” hosting of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit by India, he said the participation of all 54 African countries in it,

India’s potential to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council “now has a stronger resonance”, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday as he referred to the enhanced engagement with foreign countries reflected by the hosting of India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS). He said that participation of all the 54 African countries in the IAFS held here last month marks India’s entry into the club of a select group of nations having the capacity and ability to engage all of Africa simultaneously.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is also playing an enhanced role in diverse fora by working with like-minded nations in the UN and other multilateral organisations, he said. “India has intensified engagement with the neighbours and friendly countries across the globe,” Mukherjee said while inaugurating the 35th India International Trade Fair 2015 here at Pragati Maidan.Referring to the recent “successful” hosting of the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit by India, he said the participation of all 54 African countries in it, “in foreign policy terms moved the country into a select group of nations having the capacity and ability to engage all of Africa simultaneously.” The President added that, “India is also working with like-minded countries in multilateral organisations, including United Nations, to play an enhanced role in diverse fora, from the Arctic Council and the Pacific Alliance to the UN Security Council, where India has made a legitimate claim for permanent membership. The potential of India now has a stronger resonance.”For long, India has been pitching for its inclusion in the expanded UN Security Council as a permanent member so that it can be part of the decision-making processes of the powerful world body with regard to global affairs.

G20 Summit: Terrorism, climate change to top PM Modi’s agenda

Modi, who was scheduled to arrive here late tonight from London after completing his three-day UK visit, is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with some of the G20 leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to raise issues related to terrorism, climate change and global cooperation to unearth black money, among others, during the two-day G-20 Summit beginning tomorrow, where talks would be dominated by attacks in Paris and war in Syria. The Summit of leaders from 20 top economies of the world, being held at a time when the global economic growth is slowing down, is expected to be attended by US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others. As world leaders congregate in this Turkish resort town, Friday night’s ghastly terror attacks in Paris, ongoing war in nearby Syria, the migrant crisis in the region and the need for strengthening the crackdown against terrorism will take the centre stage.French President Francois Hollande cancelled his visit for the G20 meeting in the wake of the attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The host country has been pressing for a discussion at the 10th G20 Summit on the conflicts in Syria and the worst migrant crisis since World War II. Some world leaders including Modi are also likely to voice concern over delay in implementation of the quota reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aimed at giving more voice and voting power to the emerging economies as well as providing a pitch for cutting transaction cost for transferring money from abroad.Earlier this week, China has also pitched for IMF quota reforms and said it wants the G20 to reform the voting rights at the multilateral lending agency to give emerging economies a larger role. Modi, who was scheduled to arrive here late tonight from London after completing his three-day UK visit, is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with some of the G20 leaders on the margins of the Summit, as also with IMF Chief Christine Lagarde. On the sidelines of the event, BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — will meet to review progress of their two recent initiatives – the BRICS bank and the contingent reserve arrangement.The G20 countries account for 85 per cent of the world economy, 75 per cent of the global trade and two-third of the world’s population.

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.

World praises Nehru-Indira, Modi govt heaps insult, says Assam CM Tarun Gogoi

Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday said the Narendra Modi government has relegated the rich legacy of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi to the backdrop, while African leaders heaped praises on them at the India Africa Forum Summit 2015.In a statement, Gogoi said the African leaders sang paeans on Nehru and Gandhi in front of Modi on Thursday fondly remembering their contribution in building India’s relations with their countries. Modi has “insulted” the legacy of Nehru and Indira through some recent “outrageous actions”, he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The ‘myopic and partisan vision’ of Prime Minister Modi vis-a-vis relegating the contributions of the two great visionary leaders, who created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and India and laid the foundation of a modern India, stands totally exposed,” Gogoi, a Congress chief minister, claimed.”The two great visionary leaders created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and India on which the Modi government is treading upon today. “Instead of giving them the recognition they so richly deserve, it chooses to ignore them through some recent outrageous acts,” Gogoi alleged. “Prime Minister Modi’s actions in belittling the contributions of the two great leaders have only helped to demean his so-called stature of a visionary leader before the rest of the world,” he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee at India-Africa summit: Diversity is our lifeblood, we value peace

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee has reiterated the importance of diversity, saying it is “our lifeblood” and ensures that “we value co-existence, dialogue, mutual understanding and peace”.

Mukherjee made the remarks on Thursday night at a banquet he hosted for leaders of the 54 African nations who arrived in New Delhi for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit. The president hailed the drive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the summit.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

India and Africa understand each other and for both “diversity is our lifeblood” as it “enriches us and makes us even stronger. It ensures that we value co-existence, dialogue, mutual understanding and peace”, President Mukherjee said.

“These are perspectives on the human development that India and Africa share, these are perspectives that we can together contribute to the rest of the world for handling conflicts and crises”, he added.

The remarks came against the backdrop of some recent incidents like Dadri lynching in Uttar Pradesh, beef controversy and burning of a Dalit family in Haryana, which had communal and casteist overtones.

Mukherjee said the difficult decades of colonial rule and cruel oppression, economic deprivation and racial discrimination may be behind us but the challenges are far from gone. They have changed.

“We have still to overcome poverty and disease, terrorism and drug trafficking, lack of education and training,” he said.

He said both India and Africa have stood together in days of struggle and “we will stand together in this challenging dawn of development. India is ready to share its democratic experience, its agricultural expertise, its capacity building potential, its healthcare institutions, its peacekeepers with our partners from Africa”.

“Once again we are determined that our struggle will be based on principles – the principles of equality and partnership, of mutual benefit, of human dignity. For India and Africa, guided by the vision of Mahatma Gandhi who belonged to both, that is the only path,” he said.

Referring to terrorism, Mukherjee said India and Africa should fight it together as it “knows no boundaries or borders and has no ideology except that of wanton destruction”.

He also spoke about extending cooperation in the field of agriculture between India and African countries.

The president said India is committing to assist Africa in charting its own course through infrastructure development, institution building and technical and vocational skill development.

“India’s development partnership with Africa complements the various priorities set out in the Agenda 2063 vision document adopted by the African Union,” he added.

Complimenting Prime Minister Modi for the summit, the president said it is the prime minister’s drive which has “brought us together for this event”.

Going down memory lane, Mukherjee recalled the days before India had its “green revolution”.

“We were not self-sufficient in food. In those days, we literally lived from ‘ship to mouth’. Though India today is self-sufficient in food production, the land available for agriculture is continuously decreasing due to rising population,” he said.

Noting that Africa is blessed with large areas of fertile, cultivable land, Mukherjee recalled the words of first president of Ghana, Kwameh Nkrumah. who had pointed out that “the Congo Basin alone can produce enough food crops to satisfy the requirements of nearly half the population of the whole world”.

Agricultural growth is not only important in addressing Africa’s quest for food security but it also remains a key component of Africa’s overall development.

Mukherjee told the African delegates that he hopes they “would have discussed collaboration in the areas of increasing productivity, smart agriculture, environment-friendly farm mechanization, promotion of gene pool and better seeds, and other modern agricultural concepts”.

IANS

Full speech: PM Modi’s addressal at the third India-Africa Forum Summit

“Today, Africa and India are two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy,” PM Modi said.

PM Modi at the third India-Africa Forum Summit

Image Credit: ANI
Full text of PM Narendra Modi’s speech at the Inaugural Ceremony of the third India-Africa Forum Summit on 29th October 2015:Your Majesties, Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency Robert Mugabe, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Madam Dlamini-Zuma, Excellencies, The fabric of this world is richer because of the 54 sovereign flags of Africa. Today, their brilliant colours have made Delhi the most special place in the world. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> To the 41 Heads of State and Government and the other eminent leaders; to the hundreds of senior officials, business leaders and journalists from Africa, I say this: we are deeply, deeply honoured by your presence today. To our visitors from the land where history began, humanity grew and new hope rises; From the deserts of the north, where the glory of human civilization shines through the shifting sands of time; From the south, where the conscience of our age has been forged – from Mahatma Gandhi to Albert Luthuli to Nelson Mandela; From the shores of Atlantic that has been at history’s tragic crossroads and now at the frontiers of many successes; From our neighbours on the resurgent east coast; From Africa’s heart, where Nature is generous and culture is rich; And, from the sparkling gems of island states;
A very warm embrace of welcome and friendship from India. Today, it is not just a meeting of India and Africa. Today, the dreams of one-third of humanity have come together under one roof. Today, the heart beat of 1.25 billion Indians and 1.25 billion Africans are in rhythm. We are among the world’s oldest civilisations. We are each a vibrant mosaic of languages, religions and cultures. Our histories have intersected since ages. Once united by geography, we are now linked by the Indian Ocean. The currents of the mighty ocean have nurtured the ties of kinship, commerce, and culture through centuries. Generations of Indians and Africans have travelled to each other’s land in search of their destiny or by the force of circumstances. Either way, we have enriched each other and strengthened our ties. We have lived in the long shadow of colonialism. And, we have fought for our liberty and our dignity. We have struggled for opportunity, and also for justice, which, the African wisdom describes, is the prime condition of humanity. We have spoken in one voice in the world; and, we have formed a partnership for prosperity among ourselves. We have stood together under blue helmets to keep peace. And, we have fought together against hunger and disease.
And, as we look to the future, there is something precious that unites us: it is our youth. Two-thirds of India and two-thirds of Africa is under the age of 35 years. And, if the future belongs to the youth, then this century is ours to shape and build.
Excellencies, Africa is already on that path. We are all familiar with Africa’s ancient achievements. Now, its modern strides are catching the attention of the world. The continent is more settled and stable. African nations are coming together to take responsibility for their development, peace and security. African struggles and sacrifices are upholding democracy, combating extremism and empowering women. Women now constitute around 20% of the elected Members of Parliament in Africa. To one who has played a role in that, President Sirleaf, I extend our best wishes on your birthday today. Africa’s economic growth has gathered momentum and has a more diversified base. African initiatives are replacing old fault lines with new bridges of regional economic integration. We see many successful examples of economic reforms, infrastructure development and sustainable use of resources. They are turning adrift economies into dynamic ones. Four hundred thousand new businesses were registered in Africa in 2013; and, mobile telephone now reaches 95% of the population in many places. Africa is now joining the global mainstream of innovation. The mobile banking of M-Pesa, the healthcare innovation of MedAfrica, or the agriculture innovation of AgriManagr and Kilimo Salama, are using mobile and digital technology to transform lives in Africa. We see strong measures that are radically improving healthcare, education and agriculture. Primary school enrolment in Africa now exceeds 90%. And, across its magnificent landscape, Africa is setting standards in wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. Africa’s sports, art and music delight the entire world. Yes, Africa, like the rest of the developing world, has its development challenges. And, like others in the world, it has its own concerns of security and stability, especially from terrorism and extremism. But, I have confidence in African leadership and the African people to rise to those challenges. Excellencies, for the past six decades, so much of our independent journeys have been together. Now, so much of India’s development priorities and Africa’s lofty vision for its future are aligned. Today, Africa and India are two bright spots of hope and opportunities in the global economy. India is honoured to be a development partner for Africa. It is a partnership beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits. It is formed from the emotional bonds we share and the solidarity we feel for each other.
In less than a decade, our trade has more than doubled to over 70 billion dollars. India is now a major source of business investments in Africa. Today, 34 African countries enjoy duty free access to the Indian market.
African energy helps run the engine of the Indian economy; its resources are powering our industries; and, African prosperity offers growing market for Indian products. India has committed 7.4 billion dollars in concessional credit and 1.2 billion dollars in grant since the first India-Africa Summit in 2008. It is creating 100 capacity building institutions, and developing infrastructure, public transport, clean energy, irrigation, agriculture and manufacturing capacity across Africa. In the last three years alone, nearly 25,000 young Africans have been trained and educated in India. They are the 25,000 new links between us. Excellencies, There are times when we have not done as well as you have wanted us to. There have been occasions when we have not been as attentive as we should be. There are commitments we have not fulfilled as quickly as we should have. But, you have always embraced India with warmth, and without judgement. You have rejoiced in our success, and taken pride in our achievements. And, you have stood for us in the world. This is the strength of our partnership and our friendship. And, as we travel on the road ahead, we will do so with the wisdom of our experience and the benefit of your guidance. We will raise the level of our support for your vision of a prosperous,integrated, and united Africa that is a major partner for the world. We will help connect Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, from Marakesh to Mombassa; help develop your infrastructure, power and irrigation; help add value to your resources in Africa; and, set up industrial and information technology parks. Excellencies, As the great Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka insisted, human entity remains the primary asset in overall development. Our approach is based on the same belief: that the best partnership is one that develops human capital and institutions; that equips and empowers a nation to have the freedom to make its own choices and shoulder the responsibility for its own progress. It also opens doors to opportunities for the youth. So, development of human capital in every walk of life will be at the heart of our partnership. We will open our doors more;we will expand tele-education; and we will continue to build institutions in Africa. The Egyptian Nobel Prize winning writer Naguib Mahfouz said, “Science brings people together with the light of its ideas…and prods us towards a better future.” There can be no better expression of the ability of science to unify people and advance progress. So, technology will be a strong foundation of our partnership. It will help develop Africa’s agriculture sector. Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land reserves, and just 10% of the global output. Agriculture in Africa can drive the continent’s march to prosperity, and also support global food security.
India’s expertise in healthcare and affordable medicines can offer new hope in the fight against many diseases; and give a newborn a better chance to survive. We will also collaborate to develop Indian and African treasures of traditional knowledge and medicines.
We will make available our space assets and technology. We will use the possibilities of digital technology to transform development, public services, governance, disaster response, resource management and quality of life. We will expand and extend the Pan Africa E-Network, conceived by late President APJ Abdul Kalam, which links 48 African countries to India and to each other. This will alsohelp set up your Pan Africa Virtual University. We will work to reduce digital divide within Africa and between Africa and rest of the world. We will cooperate for sustainable development of Blue Economy that will become important future drivers of our prosperity. For me, Blue Economy is part of a larger Blue Revolution to reclaim our blue skies and blue waters, as we move on the path of clean development. Excellencies, When the sun sets, tens of millions of homes in India and Africa become dark. We want to light up lives of our people and power their future. But, we want to do it in a way that the snow on Kilimanjaro does not disappear, the glacier that feeds the River Ganges does not retreat and our islands are not doomed. No one has done less to contribute to global warming than India and Africa. No one can be more conscious of climate change than Indians and Africans. This is because we are the inheritors of Nature’s most precious gifts, and of traditions that respect them the most; and, our lives remain most connected to Mother Earth. We are each making enormous efforts with our modest resources to combat climate change. For India, 175 Gigawatts of additional renewable energy capacity by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33-35% by 2030 are just two aspects of our efforts. We will also deepen India-Africa partnership on clean energy, sustainable habitats, public transport and climate resilient agriculture. But, it is also true that the excess of few cannot become the burden of many. So, when the world meets in Paris in December, we look to see a comprehensive and concrete outcome that is based on the well established principles in the UN Convention on Climate Change. We will all do our part for it. But, we also want to see a genuine global public partnership that makes clean energy affordable; provides finance and technology to developing countries to access it; and the means to adapt to the impact of climate change. I also invite you to join an alliance of solar-rich countries that I have proposed to launch in Paris on November 30 at the time of COP-21 meeting. Our goal is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities. India and Africa seek also seek a global trading regime that serves our development goals and improves our trade prospects. When we meet at Nairobi Ministerial of the WTO in December, we must ensure that the Doha Development Agenda of 2001 is not closed without achieving these fundamental objectives. We should also achieve a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security and special safeguard mechanism in agriculture for the developing countries. Excellencies, This is a milestone year when we are setting the agenda for our future and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The world is undergoing political, economic, technological and security transition on a scale and speed rarely seen in recent history. Yet our global institutions reflect the circumstances of the century that we left behind, not the one we are in today. These institutions have served us well, but unless they adjust to the changing world, they risk becoming irrelevant. We cannot say what will replace them in an uncertain future. But, we might have a more fragmented world that is less capable of dealing with the challenges of our era. That is why India advocates reforms in global institutions. This is a world of free nations and awakened aspirations. Our institutions cannot be representative of our world, if they do not give voice to Africa, with more than a quarter of UN members, or the world’s largest democracy with one-sixth of humanity. That is why India and Africa must speak in one voice for reforms of the United Nations, including its Security Council. Excellencies, Today, in many parts of the world, the light of a bright future flickers in the storm of violence and instability. When terror snuffs out life on the streets and beaches, and in malls and schools of Africa, we feel your pain as our own. And, we see the links that unite us against this threat. We also see that when our oceans are no longer safe for trade, we all suffer together. And, when nations are caught in conflict within, no one around remains untouched. And, we know that our cyber networks bring opportunities, but also carry huge risks. So, when it comes to security, distance no longer insulates us from each other. That is why we wish to deepen our cooperation in maritime security and hydrography, and countering terrorism and extremism; and, why we must have a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. We will also provide support for Africa Union’s peacekeeping efforts. And, we will train African peacekeepers here and in Africa. We must also have a stronger voice in decisions on UN Peacekeeping Missions. Excellencies, From connecting lives to collaborating for our prosperity, from keeping our people safe to advancing our global interests, the agenda of our partnership stretches across the vast territory of our linked aspirations. To add strength to our partnership, India will offer concessional credit of 10 billion US dollars over the next five years. This will be in addition to our ongoing credit programme. We will also offer a grant assistance of 600 million US dollars. This will include an India-Africa Development Fund of 100 million US dollars and an India-Africa Health Fund of 10 million US dollars. It will also include 50,000 scholarships in India over the next five years. And, it will support the expansion of the Pan Africa E-Network and institutions of skilling, training and learning across Africa. Excellencies, If this century is going to be one in which all humans have a life of opportunity, equality and dignity; stand in peace with each other; and live in balance with nature, then India and Africa must rise together. We will work together: From the memory of our common struggles; and, the tide of our collective hopes; From the richness of our heritage; and, the commitment to our planet; From the pledge to our people; and, the faith in our future; From the generosity of the African saying that a small home can hold hundred friends; From the spirit of India’s ancient belief: सन्तः स्वयं परहिते निहिताभियोगाः that great souls are always taking the initiatives to do good to others; From the inspiration of Mandela’s call to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Today, we pledge to walk together, with our steps in rhythm and our voices in harmony. This is not a new journey, nor a new beginning. But, this is a new promise of a great future for an ancient relationship. Your presence here today, Your Majesties and Excellencies, is the strongest proof of our resolve and our commitment. Thank you! Thank you very much!!

Narendra Modi holds 31 separate bilateral meetings with Africa heads

Africa Summit may bring smiles to 16 Indian families held in prisons. Leaders call for setting mechanism to monitor Indian aid.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria, Robert Mugabe President of Zimbabwe and Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya at Hyderabad House in New Delhi
B B Yadav
dna
Even though restrictions and chaos on roads has brought the national capital to a gridlock, the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) is set to bring smiles to the families of Indian citizens held as prisoners in African nations of Togo and Nigeria. A day ahead of the formal summit meeting, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a record 31 structured bilateral meetings with visiting African leaders separately, discussing issues of extending more line of credit (LoC), boosting trade and investment and also combating challenges of terrorism and working together to push reforms at the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> During his meeting with the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, Modi specifically raised the issue of 11 Indian prisoners, arrested last year for sailing into that country’s waters. Their ship had left Ghana for Cameroon and due to technical snag, was forced to anchor in the Port of Brass. On July 25 last year, the Nigerian navy arrested the workers of the ship and handed them over to the Economic Financial Crime Commission of Nigeria. Earlier Swaraj raised the issue of five Indian prisoners held in Togo with its foreign minster Robert Dussey. “They were told to look into accentuating judicial process,” said the MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop. Togo foreign minister told Swaraj that his country would look into chances of presidential pardon as well, to expedite release of Indian prisoners. A common theme running across all the meetings was African leaders asking India to ensure to setup a monitoring mechanism and regular follow ups so that aid and Line of Credit is disbursed quickly to accentuate completion of projects. They highlighted that due to complexity of procedures and lack of communication and absence of regular monitoring, commitments are getting derailed, even though they appreciated India’s development projects in the continent and sought deepening of ties in diverse sectors including healthcare, education and capacity building. There was also an agreement to work together to ensure reforms at the United Nations. Foreign Minister of Mauritius Usha Dwarka Canabady added a new dimension demanding Indian support to the small island developing states for a dedicated seat at the UN Security Council. In his meeting, South African President Jacob Zuma said it was important that all like minded countries come together to ensure reform of the UN, observing that many conflicts in the world including the Syrian crisis could not be resolved because of veto powers of the UNSC member countries. African leaders also held detailed discussions with Modi on terrorism. While some central and north African countries sought defence cooperation to build capacity to counter terrorist outfit Boko Haram, Modi asked them to support an overarching convention on combating terrorism. “Fight against terrorism need global as well as legal action also. There are 17 sectoral conventions, but not an overarching convention,” Modi told leaders, adding the world should not dismiss the convention, by getting embroiled in the debate of definition of terrorism. “We will not be able to fight terrorism, if we remain entangled in such a debate,” he added. The South African leader also said coming together of African countries with India showed to the world that they no longer are dependent on former colonial powers. The Prime Minister also met Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, and Chairman of African Union. Mugabe is the co-chair for the India Africa Forum Summit, and the two leaders reviewed the preparations for the Summit. Earlier Swaraj while addressing India-Africa business summit asked African nations to take steps to attract investments from India, particularly for manufacturing and processing activities. “I would also encourage Indian and African business enterprises to take advantage of our ‘Make in India’ initiative to work towards mutually beneficial joint business ventures,” she said.

India-Africa Summit: Will Africa back India’s line on state-sponsored terrorism?

Delegates at the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi on Tuesday

PTI
As India hopes to engage with African governments seeking their support for a seat at the high diplomatic tables and an alternate investment destination for Indian capital, diplomats on Tuesday continued to struggle to include a condemnation to “state sponsored terrorism” in the final political document, to be adopted at the summit-level meeting on Thursday.While inaugurating the ministerial conference, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj asserted that the scourge of terrorism was rising in view of the fast-growing linkages of terrorist groups across the globe, strongly advocating a stepped-up cooperation through intelligence exchange and training with 54 African countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, over the past two days, since the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) began here, both at the meetings of senior officials as well as of foreign ministers, who are shaping the two outcome documents, North African countries in particular objected to the term “state sponsored terrorism” and instead confined to condemn “the menace of non-state actors and cross-border terrorism.”India has been accusing Pakistan of using terrorism as a tool of its foreign policy and inclusion of state-sponsored terrorism would have been a diplomatic coup, even though no country was mentioned in the document, which is still under preparation. African ministers and officials said targeting any state for promoting terrorism requires a credible and irrefutable evidence.Foreign minister of Uganda Sam K Kutesa almost took Pakistani line by emphasising on addressing the root causes of conflicts. “We must address the root causes of conflict among us. We have to deepen our integration, including through developing cross-border infrastructure,” he said.Swaraj hoped that the international community will cooperate with urgency to adopt the Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism. Many African countries, particularly Cameroon, asked for India’s assistance in capacity building in defence sector to allow them to take on the terrorist outfit Boko Haram.But what Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be confronting most over the next two days is complaints from African nations on under-utilisation and lack of monitoring of aid New Delhi had committed during past two summits in 2008 and 2011. Further many countries wanted more concessions in the line of credit (LoC) since debt ratio has increased and in view of the new IMF conditions. In the last decade, a total of almost $9 billion in concessional credit has been approved for nearly 140 projects in more than 40 African countries by India. So far only 60 projects have been completed.Out of nearly $ 7 billion concessional credit announced during last two summits just $3.5 billion worth projects have been realised. The foreign ministers asked for putting in place clear mechanism to support implementation.Ugandan minister said it was important to think about setting time-frames for implementation of commitments. Foreign minister of Burkina Faso Moussa B Nebie was even more scathing by concluding his speech saying that two projects – a female training centre and a vocational training centre – committed during last summits were strugglling to start due to complexity of procedures, lack of commitment and absence of regular monitoring of the result framework. But, still most of the delegates wanted India to take a pro-active interest in African continent as they felt more connected. A few visiting leaders also have studied in India like Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud (Barkatullah University, Bhopal) and Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Tamil Nadu).Swaraj also made a pitch for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council for India as well as for African continent. “Although Indians and Africans comprise nearly 2.5 billion people, our nations continue to be excluded from appropriate representation in the institutions of global governance. India and Africa can no longer be excluded from their rightful place of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” she said.Noting that over 1,80,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions, more than from any other country, she said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced that India will further scale up its participation in UN

Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to visit India for India-Africa Forum Summit

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will visit India to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit where he would highlight the country’s keenness on boosting bilateral ties, a senior official has said.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will visit India to attend the third India-Africa Forum Summit where he would highlight the country’s keenness on boosting bilateral ties, a senior official has said.Sisi appreciates the close historical bilateral relations between the two countries. Both countries are interested in developing the relations and build on it, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said on Saturday late evening.”Egypt’s participation in the Summit is to highlight its leading role in Africa and internationally. It also highlights Egypt’s keenness on boosting relations with Africa and India,” Youssef said, adding that the president will start his trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE, India and Bahrain.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The summit will discuss ways to develop the economic cooperation between India and Africa and enhancing the investments exchange as India became one of the best commercial partners to Africa,” he added.Sisi will meet India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a number of officials and businessmen.During the meetings, he will discuss boosting economic cooperation between the two countries and increasing investment in Egypt especially in the new Suez Canal project.Sisi will also meet a number of African leaders on the sidelines of the summit to discuss security issues in the continent, Youssef said.Trade between India and Egypt during the last financial year (April 2014 – March 2015) has been recorded at USD 4.76 billion. Most importantly, India is the sixth largest trading partner of Egypt – the second largest export destination.India’s imports from Egypt were worth USD 1.74 billion during 2014-15. There has been diversification in the export basket of Egyptian products to India. Indian exports to Egypt during 2014-15 have been recorded at USD 3.02 billion.Out of the 50 Indian companies operating in Egypt with a combined investment of almost USD 3 billion, approximately half are joint ventures and wholly owned Indian subsidiaries.After Sisi’s visit to India, he will visit Bahrain to meet King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa to discuss strong relations.The President will start his international trip on Tuesday by visiting the UAE to discuss ways of boosting relations in different fields.India-Africa Forum Summit, the biggest diplomatic event to be hosted by India in the last three decades, will begin on Monday. The four-day congregation will see participation by 54 nations. The forum is seen as India’s effort to consolidate the historical ties with African continent, endowed with large reservoirs of minerals and hydrocarbons.

Civic bodies trying to tarnish our image: deputy CM Manish Sisodia

The explanation came in the wake of MCD’s sanitation workers threatening to go on strike demanding hike in their salaries.

The AAP government on Friday accused the BJP- ruled civic bodies of Delhi for spoiling its image ahead of the four-day India-Africa Summit starting on Novembet 26. In a press meet on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed that his government had released enough funds to the three civic bodies of Delhi to pay its workers, as compared to the corresponding period last year, when Delhi was under LG’s rule. The explanation came in the wake of MCD’s sanitation workers threatening to go on strike demanding hike in their salaries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “An attempt is being made to create an chaotic atmosphere in Delhi before India-Africa Summit and Diwali,” Sisodia said. He added that against the 58 percent disbursal of funds released by Delhi government to the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Oct 2014, the AAP dispensation had released 75 percent of total funds. For South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the AAP government released 69 percent of the money by Oct whereas in it was 57 percent in 2014. Sisodia claimed these bodies were not demanding Rs1,400 crore due on the Delhi Development Authority which reports to the centre.

Karnataka govt upset over not being invited for NASSCOM event attended by PM Modi and Angela Merkel

According to the Chief Minister’s office, Siddaramaiah did not get an official invitation either from NASSCOM or Prime Minister’s Office.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Indo-German Summit 2015, organised by the NASSCOM and Frauenhofer Institute, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

PTI
Upset over Chief Minister Siddaramaiah not being invited for a NASSCOM event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bengaluru, Karnataka Government on Wednesday said it had sent a “bad message” and virtually blamed the PMO for it.”Not inviting the Chief Minister for the programme (Nasscom event) – it has sent a bad message. We are all upset with that,” State Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters on the sidelines of the cabinet meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Siddaramaiah accompanied Modi and Merkel in their visit to the facility of German automotive major Bosch but he stayed away from the Indo-German Summit organised by National Association of Software and Services Companies jointly with the German Fraunhofer Institute in Bengaluru on Tuesday.According to the Chief Minister’s office, Siddaramaiah did not get an official invitation either from NASSCOM or Prime Minister’s Office.Questioning Modi’s often-repeated statements about strengthening federal structure, Jayachandra said, “He always speaks of strengthening the federal structure and sundry other things, but ultimately what is he doing? Is he taking all the parties together?”According to the protocol, the participation of Chief Minister is necessary and it is in the “norms” that the PMO invites him for any event, Jayachandra said.”Shouldn’t the PMO inform the state about the visit of the Prime Minister? The Chief Minister necessarily has to be the guest also,” he said.Asked whether the state government would write a letter to the Prime Minister on the issue, he said the ministers had impressed upon the Chief Minister to convey it to the PMO.”We have impressed upon the Chief Minister also that it should be made known to the PMO, and let us see what action the Chief Minister takes,” he said. NASSCOM has not reacted to the issue.Congress on Wednesday targeted Modi for not inviting Siddaramaiah, asking, “Is this Cooperative Federalism which PM talks about? CM Karnataka not invited in NASSCOM function attended by PM and German Chancellor in Bangalore. Is this Cooperative Federalism which PM talks about? Would CM Gujarat also have not been invited if this function was in Gujarat?” party General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said on micro-blogging site Twitter.Singh is General Secretary in charge of party affairs in Karnataka. Modi had taken part along with the German Chancellor at the meet, ‘Indo-German Summit 2015: Digitizing Tomorrow Together’, organised here as part of the three-day state visit to India by Merkel.The Prime Minister also hosted a special lunch for Merkel with leading Indian CEOs at the summit which was attended by several industry biggies, including Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group Kumar Mangalam Birla, Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and L&T Chief A M Naik.Siddaramaiah had received and seen off the Prime Minister at the HAL airport in Bengaluru and exchanged greetings and pleasantries.

PM Modi returns after visit to Ireland and US

After concluding his week-long two nation tour to Ireland and United States of America, PM Narendra Modi is back in New Delhi.

In San Jose, he interacted with the Indian community on September 27.
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home on Tuesday night after concluding his week-long two-nation tour of Ireland and the US.”Returning to Delhi after a visit that has created several successful outcomes & opportunities for India,” he tweeted on landing at Delhi’s Palam Technical Airport. He was received by some BJP leaders, including Vijay Goel, at the airport.Earlier, while leaving from New York, he had tweeted, “My USA demonstrates the extraordinary depth and diversity of our relationship. A lot of ground has been covered in these few days (sic).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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 participated in a Summit on peacekeeping hosted by US President Barack Obama. The Prime Minister also met several world leaders and had 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 travelled 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.Before his departure, Modi also held bilateral meetings with Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Pakistan PM Sharif raises Kashmir issue at UN, wants UN military observer group strengthened

United Nations: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised the Kashmir plebiscite issue with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday and wanted the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) strengthened, Pakistani media reported.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

However, at the UN headquarters, Ban’s spokesman only said in a statement that during their meeting “the secretary-general stressed the necessity for Pakistan and India to continue their peaceful dialogue”.

The statement said that they also discussed “the fight against terrorism and violent extremism” and that Ban also asked Pakistan “to continue engaging Afghanistan in order to help stabilize the country”.

India considers the Kashmir dispute a bilateral issue and opposes any international involvement.

However, when Sharif spoke soon afterward at the UN Summit on sustainable development goals, he focused on development and stayed away from bilateral or international issues. He said that “development strategies remain first and foremost national undertakings”.

IANS

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi calls for child-related SDGs at UN summit

Satyarthi said for the success of goals, nations need to act on 4 Cs of children, collaboration, compassionate intelligence and changemakers.
File Photo
AFP photo
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Saturday made a strong call to world leaders to give priority to child-related Sustainable Development Goals in their national legislation, warning that the international community will “fail” to accomplish most of the goals if child labour and violence against children continues.”Slavery still exists in its cruelest form in these modern times. If slavery, trafficking, child labour and violence against children continues, we will fail to accomplish most of the development goals,” he said in his address to the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A sustainable economy and society can never be built on the foundation of slavery. Today, we have framed a will for a better future. What matters is the will in the words, not the words in the will,” he added.Satyarthi said for the success of goals, nations need to act on 4 Cs of children, collaboration, compassionate intelligence and changemakers. He said governments must prioritise child-related SDGs in national legislation and planning and invest fully in education, health and child protection.The SDGs also provide a new opportunity for civil society, faith organisations, governments and businesses, to build genuine and innovative partnerships to make child slavery history. The private sector must also shoulder its responsibility for the world’s children, he said.”Truly visionary corporate leaders must safeguard children throughout their supply and value chain,” he said.Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel peace prize with Pakistani girls education activist Malala Yousafzai, put out a challenge to children and youth to transform themselves into leaders and changemakers.”Their idealism and desire to change their world is our biggest capital,” he said.Giving a clarion call to nations to be the first generation to end slavery, Satyarthi warned that if nations fail to harness and channel the drive of youth, their energy will turn into “frustration, intolerance and violence”.

Modi in US: India hosts G-4 Summit; pushes for UNSC reform in ‘fixed timeframe’

In a joint statement later, the G-4 leaders stressed that “a more representative, legitimate and effective Security Council is needed more than ever to address the global conflicts and crises, which had spiraled in recent years.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at G4 Summit in New York on Saturday.

PTI
India, Japan, Germany and Brazil on Saturday declared themselves as “legitimate” candidates for permanent membership of the UNSC as they pushed for its reform in a “fixed timeframe”, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the task should be accomplished immediately.Hosting a Summit of leaders of Germany, Japan and Brazil under the G-4 format in Silicon Valley, he said the UN Security Council “must include the world’s largest democracies, major locomotives of the global economy, and voices from all the major continents” to carry “greater credibility and legitimacy”. He said the four countries are ready to assume global responsibilities as he pressed for change, saying the world body reflects the mindset of a century “we left behind” and is not in tune with “new concerns” like terrorism and climate change. It will make it more representative and effective in addressing the challenges of the 21st century, he said at the Summit meeting with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the first since 2004.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi noted that “some movement” had been seen recently in the decades-old endeavour when the UNGA took the “significant step” to commence text-based negotiations on the reforms but said it has to be taken to its “logical conclusion” during the current 70th session of the global body.In a joint statement later, the G-4 leaders stressed that “a more representative, legitimate and effective Security Council is needed more than ever to address the global conflicts and crises, which had spiraled in recent years.” They strongly emphasized that the process underway in the UN to bring about the reform of the Security Council should be conducted, given its urgency, in a fixed timeframe.The leaders emphasized that the “G-4 countries are legitimate candidates for permanent membership in an expanded and reformed Council and supported each other s candidature.”The G-4 “noted with concern that no substantial progress had been made since the 2005 World Summit where all the Heads of State and Government had unanimously supported early reform of the Security Council as an essential element of the overall effort to reform the United Nations.” Leaders of the 11-year-old grouping, which has been jointly pushing for UNSC reform and their entry into it as permanent members, “expressed determination to redouble their efforts towards securing concrete outcomes during the 70th session of the General Assembly”.They felt that legitimate reforms can be “achieved by reflecting the realities of the international community in the 21st century, where more member states have the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to maintenance of international peace and security.”The four nations pledged to work together with all member states and to accelerate outreach towards achieving an “early and meaningful reform” of the UNSC, the joint statement said. They supported Africa’s representation in both the permanent and non-permanent membership in the UNSC, while noting the importance of adequate and continuing representation of small and medium sized member states, including the small island developing states, in an expanded and reformed Council. They also affirmed their resolve to continue contributing to the fulfillment of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, it said.”The reform of the Security Council within a fixed time frame has become an urgent and important task,” Modi said.Noting that the modern age faces challenges like trends in demography, urbanization and migrations, he said, “Climate change and terrorism are new concerns. Cyber and Space are entirely new frontiers of opportunities and challenges.”The Prime Minister added, “Our institutions, approaches, and often mindsets, reflect the wisdom of the century we have left behind, not the century we live in. This is especially true of the United Nations Security Council.” Modi, while making initial remarks, said the subject of reforms in the UNSC has been the focus of global attention for decades but “unfortunately, without progress” so far.”We live in a fundamentally different world from the time the UN was born. The number of Member States has grown four-fold. Threats to peace and security have become more complex, unpredictable and undefined,” Modi said.”We live in a digital age. The global economy is changed, with new engines of growth, more widely dispersed economic power and widening wealth gap,” Modi said, adding “In many ways, our lives are becoming globalized, but fault-lines around our identities are growing.”He referred to the recent decision of the UNGA to commence text-based negotiations on UN reforms and said, “after decades, we finally see some movement. The 69th Session of the General Assembly has taken a significant step forward”.At the same time, he said, “this is just the first step. We should aim to take this process to its logical conclusion during the 70th session.”Talking about G-4, he said, “Our Group of four countries came together in 2004, bound by our shared commitment to global peace and prosperity, our faith in multilateralism and our willingness to assume our global responsibilities that the world expects from us.”In her remarks, Merkel said the G-4 was not any “exclusive group” and it believes in taking others also along in its pursuit of ensuring reform of the UNSC. Abe, while terming the meeting as a “golden opportunity”, said there was a “mounting momentum for change” and “voices of great nations should be heard”. Rousseff also underlined the need for urgent reform of the world body.The joint statement said the leaders welcomed the adoption by consensus of the General Assembly decision to use the text presented by the President of the 69th General Assembly in his letter dated July 31, 2015 as the basis for negotiations within the IGN (Inter-governmental negotiations).”They also pledged to support and cooperate with the President of the 70th General Assembly,” it said.The leaders also noted with appreciation the efforts of member states in moving towards text-based negotiations.

LIVE Updates: PM Modi at G-4 Summit bats for reform of UNSC, wants largest democracies to be included

India is the host at G-4 Summit.

Image credits: Vikas Swarup Twitter
PM Narendra Modi is currently hosting the G-4 summit in New York. The G-4 bloc of India, Japan, Brazil and Germany will give a “strong push” to inter- governmental negotiations for achieving early UNSC reform in the summit, a top official had said earlier.The summit came together as an event only after the September 14 consensus adoption by the General Assembly of a negotiating document and the decision to commence text-based negotiations on UNSC reforms in the current session.The joint statement after the G-4 Summit came to an end said that the leaders emphasise upon a reform in the Security Council in a fixed time frame. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Joint Press Statement at G-4 Summit G-4 leaders stressed that a more representative, legitimate and effective UNSC needed. They strongly emphasised that process to bring about the reform of the Security Council should be conducted given its urgency, in a fixed time frame. The leaders emphasised that the G-4 countries are legitimate candidates for permanent membership in an expanded and reformed Council and supported each other’s candidature. They pledged to work together with all Member States and accelerate outreach towards achieving an early,meaningful reform of UNSC.Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the leaders at the summit felt it was important and mobilize support for long delayed reform of UNSC. “They agreed that we must push for text based negotiations and a complete outcome in this 70th anniversary year of the UN. It was a very imp summit meeting as it came in the backdrop of recent decision of the General assembly to commence text based negotiations. And for this purpose they will mobilise as broad a coalition of like minded countries as possible. The leaders felt that this was the very important occasion for the international community to mobilise support and come together for the long delayed reform of the security council.”Earlier updates:PM Modi makes the inaugural address:*I’m delighted to welcome you all, thank you for attending this meeting, want to specially thank PM Abe who has just arrived here. Thank you for meeting this early on a Saturday, want to specially thank PM Abe who just arrived in US*A group of 4 countries came together in 2004 bound by our shared commitment to global peace and security.I’m delighted that we are meeting after 10 years*Trends in demography and migrations are posing new challenges, climate change and terrorism our new concerns*Security Council must include the world largest democracies.The reform of UNSC has become an urgent and important task, it must include World’s largest democracies*I am sure that this meeting today will give impetus for our efforts in this direction*Reforms in United Nations Security Council has been the focus of global attention for decades – unfortunately, without progress so far.Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaking at G4 summit. *The results achieved so far have not been very substantial*We need a representative and effective security councilGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at G4 Summit*We need reform of security council which reflects distribution of power in the World*We need to try to find allies and we need to talk to others to meet our goals* It will carry greater credibility & legitimacy and will be more representative and effective in addressing challenges of 21st centuryJapanese PM Shinzo Abe speaking at G4 Summit * We need to communicate our results to rest of the world*We have a resolve and we have to communicate our resolve to rest of the World. I hope this will lead to a concrete outcomePM Modi took forward the discussion:*We finally see some moment, the 69th session of General Assembly has taken a significant step forward to commence text based negotiations*This is just the first step. We should aim to take this process to its logical conclusion during the 70th sessionMinistry of External Affairs vikas Swarup tweeted from the event:Swarup further said that UN reform is not restricted to an overhaul of the Council but also includes reforms in the world body’s governance structure Underscoring that the expansion and reform of the 15- nation Council is very important, Swarup said when the world body was formed there were only 51 countries but today its membership has reached to 193 countries.The Council has been expanded only once between 1963-1965 when a resolution was passed to increase the non-permanent members from 11 to 15.

PM Modi makes strong pitch for UNSC reforms, outlines India’s green goals

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed for reforms in the UN Security Council in order to maintain its relevance and credibility as an international body and for proper representation in the core UN body so that countries can strive to reach their goals more effectively.

In an address on Friday at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, Modi, speaking in Hindi, also outlined India’s goals for fighting climate change and said he hoped developed countries would make separate provisions for fighting climate change without slotting it under the head of development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN. PTI

Making a strong pitch for reforms in the UNSC and its expanded membership, Modi said: “Change is necessary in the UNSC in order to maintain its relevance and credibility, as also proper representation by countries so that we are able strive for our goals more effectively.”

Modi spoke of the need for reducing dependence on energy so that the world can strive towards “sustainable consumption”. He suggested a global education programme to prepare future generations to protect the environment to make it sustainable.

“I hope that developed countries will fulfill their financial commitments towards development and climate change without in anyway putting the two under the same head,” he said.

Modi outlined India’s climate change goals saying he represents a culture that calls the earth “mother” and that India over the next seven years will create 175 GW of renewable energy capacity.

“I represent that culture that calls the earth Ma… The Vedas says that the earth is the mother and we are its sons,” he said in Hindi at the summit.

He said that India has outlined ambitious programmes to fight climate change.

Besides creating 175 GW renewable energy capacity, the country would also stress on energy efficiency, tree plantation, coal tax, clean environment, cleaning up of rivers, waste to wealth movement and sustainable development.

He outlined the government’s programmes towards financial inclusion, saying 180 million new bank accounts had been opened, which he termed as the biggest empowerment for the poor. He said the government was working towards a Pension Yojana to ensure pension reaches the poor.

Modi said earlier there was talk only of the private sector or public sector, but his government has focused on the “personal sector”, like individual enterprise through micro finance, innovation, start ups, creating opportunities and providing clean water, power, health, education, hygiene for all — all that is needed to live a decent life.

He said the government has fixed a time limit for the programmes, and added that women empowerment is a major part of his government’s policy through “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (Save the girl child, educate the girl child), which the government has made into a household mantra. Another was to make agriculture more remunerative by connecting fields to markets.

Modi said his government is taking steps to mitigate the agrarian crisis, revive the manufacturing sector, improve the services sector, and stressing on investments in the infrastructure sector and focusing on creating smart cities, which are sustainable and the centres of development.

He said India’s path is linked to sustainable development as it is linked to India’s tradition of calling the earth Ma.

He said in the UN international cooperation should be at the centre of sustainable development and to fight climate change.

“The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our enterprise for a sustainable world,” he stressed.

He called for an international partnership to fight climate change.

IANS

No bilateral meeting scheduled between Modi, Sharif in US: MEA

When asked if there will be a “deliberate attempt” to ensure that paths of the two leaders do not cross, Swarup replied in the negative.

File Image

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not have a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during his current visit to the US, officials said.”As of now there is nothing, no bilateral meeting on the schedule,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters in New York. Modi and Sharif are staying in the same hotel in the city – the iconic Waldorf Astoria. When asked if there will be a “deliberate attempt” to ensure that paths of the two leaders do not cross, Swarup replied in the negative.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There will be no deliberate attempt (at paths not crossing). If a hand shake happens, you will get to see it. If a pull aside happens you will get to see it,” he said. Sharif is slated to reach New York tomorrow evening.Modi will address the Sustainable Development Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 25, when the new and ambitious post-2015 development agenda will be adopted.Sharif is scheduled to address the high-level meeting on September 27.Modi will be in California on September 26 and 27 and will return to New York on September 28, when apart from meeting US President Barack Obama, he will attend the high-level Peacekeeping Summit at the UN headquarters. Since Sharif will also be attending the summit, the multilateral gathering will provide a forum for the leaders of India and Pakistan to come face-to-face.Modi, who arrived in New York on Wednesday for his second US visit, will depart for India late September 28 or the early morning of September 29 but Sharif will remain in the city. He will address the annual debate of the General Assembly on September 30, a day before India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the gathering of world leaders on October 1.

Mumbai in US Strong Cities Network against terror

Initiative called Strong Cities Network intends to focus on large metro cities and their policing

In the backdrop of series of terror attacks that rocked Mumbai in the last decade, the United States has decided to include the city as part of a first of its kind initiative called Strong Cities Network. The initiative intends to focus on large metro cities and their policing when it comes to terror threats. The main aim of the Strong Cities Network is to create the first international hub to systematically strengthen strategic planning, policies and practices among local government practitioners involved in building community resilience to counter violent extremism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top sources in the state home department has confirmed that the event scheduled to take place on September 29 and 30 at the United Nations General Assembly regarding this will be attended by Dr Ranjit Patil, minister of state for home affairs. “We recognise that the cities around the world are developing innovative responses to the challenge of violent extremism: We must capitalise on these isolated experiences in order to share learning, pool shared resources, and build a community of cities that can inspire local action on global scale. The Strong Cities Network represents the first global network of municipal leaders and local government practitioners involved in building community resilience to counter violent extremism,” reads the invite sent by the US-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue.The need to build such a network was first highlighted at the Summit to Counter Violent Extremism held in The White House in February 2015. The Summit, which included participation of mayors and municipal leaders from around the world, underlined the critical role of local governments and their communities in challenging and building resilience to violent extremism at a local level. Sushma lauds initiativeExternal affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is currently in the Unites States, has welcomed the US initiative to invite Mumbai to join the Strong Cities Network. As per an ANI report, Swaraj said: “Terrorism is the biggest menace and also the greatest challenge. We reiterate the threat posed by al Qaeda, LeT, JeM, D company and the Haqqani Network and other regional groups.” She also added that both nations will join hands on their efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

PM Narendra Modi leaves for seven-day visit to Ireland, US

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday left for a two-nation tour of Ireland and USA amid his confidence that his visit will help further deepen ties with these two countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday left for a two-nation tour of Ireland and USA amid his confidence that his visit will help further deepen ties with these two countries.In the first leg of his seven-day trip, he will visit Ireland, marking first Prime Ministerial visit from India in almost 60 years.In Dublin, he will hold talks with Enda Kenny, the Taoiseach of Ireland.Taking to micro blogging site, Modi said, “Leaving for Ireland, where I will hold delegation level talks with Mr. Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of Ireland & interact with Indian community. After Ireland, will travel to New York City.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In New York, Modi will address a UN Sustainable Development Summit and participate in a Summit on peacekeeping being hosted by US President Barack Obama.The Prime Minister will also be meeting several world leaders and 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.He will also travel to West Coast where he will visit Facebook Headquarters for a Townhall Q&A with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He will also visit Google campus and Tesla Motors.In San Jose, he will interact with the Indian community on September 27.Ahead of the visit, Modi said he was going to USA at a “historic moment” when the UN is celebrating its 70th anniversary. “India attaches great importance to the United Nations.”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,” he said.This year, India will host a summit of G-4 leaders in New York where the main agenda would be the UNSC reforms.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel reviews progress of MoUs inked at Vibrant Gujarat Summit

Of the total 22,000 MoUs signed during last Vibrant Summit, 85 per cent MoUs were proposed to be set up in 13 different districts, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Valsad and Kutch among others.
File Photo
PTI photo
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday held a high level review meeting to take stock of progress made in the implementation of MoUs signed during Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January this year.During the meeting, Patel suggested that all the district collectors should hold review meetings at their level every two months to see smooth implementation of proposed projects of MSME sector which are in the final stages for going on stream in various districts, an official release said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister asked the collectors to make sure that upcoming MSME projects don’t face problems in acquiring various permissions, industrial plots and other infrastructure facilities. She also directed officials of state Industries Department to start consultation with various nationalised banks to facilitate finance for MSME units having less than Rs 10 lakhs of proposed investment under MUDRA project.Patel asked officials of all the districts to stay prepared to provide all the necessary help to upcoming industrial units in their regions. She directed the Collectors to take proactive approach to extend every possible help to the industry in their areas, it added.Of the total 22,000 MoUs signed during last Vibrant Summit, 85 per cent MoUs were proposed to be set up in 13 different districts, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Valsad and Kutch among others.Collectors of these 13 districts gave details about the progress in their respective regions through video conference.

Modi, Sharif to stay in same hotel in US, meeting on cards?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will stay at the same hotel in US, as speculation grows on whether the two leaders will meet when they arrive in the city for the landmark 70th UN General Assembly session this week.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will stay at the same hotel in US, as speculation grows on whether the two leaders will meet when they arrive in the city for the landmark 70th UN General Assembly session this week.Modi, who arrives tomorrow evening, will stay at the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel, as will Sharif when he reaches New York on the evening of September 25, sources said.While there has been no official announcement about any possible bilateral meeting, it is interesting to note that Modi and Sharif will be staying at the same hotel.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It remains to be seen whether the two leaders will come face-to-face by chance during their stay in the hotel.Modi will address the Sustainable Development Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 25, when the new and ambitious post-2015 development agenda will be adopted. Sharif is scheduled to address the high-level meeting on September 27.Modi will be in California on September 26 and 27 and will return to New York on September 28, when apart from meeting US President Barack Obama, he will attend the high- level Peacekeeping Summit at the United Nations headquarters.Since Sharif will also be attending the summit, the multilateral gathering will provide a forum for the leaders of India and Pakistan to come face-to-face.The peacekeeping summit will be addressed by the UN Secretary-General and Obama.India is the single largest contributor to UN peacekeeping and so far 180,000 Indian troops have participated in 44 of the 69 operations mandated by the Security Council. Pakistan is also among the troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions.Modi will depart for India late September 28 or the early morning of September 29 but Sharif will remain in the city.He will address the annual debate of the General Assembly on September 30, a day before External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses the gathering of world leaders on October 1.The Waldorf Astoria has traditionally been the hotel of choice for US Presidents when they visit the city for the annual UN General Assembly sessions.However, last year a Chinese company purchased the hotel, triggering concerns of potential cyber intrusions by Chinese hackers if Obama stayed there.The President and his staff will be staying instead at the New York Palace Hotel this time.The New York Palace has traditionally been the hotel where Indian heads of government stayed when they came for the UNGA. Last year Modi and before him Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stayed at the New York Palace.

India to focus on number of critical issues at UN General Assembly

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji told reporters here yesterday that Modi will address the summit on the morning of September 25.

India will focus on critical issues of Security Council reform, peacekeeping, terrorism, climate change and development agenda at a landmark session of the UN General Assembly here next week, a top Indian official said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrives in New York on September 23, will address the high-level Sustainable Development Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 25, when the new and ambitious post-2015 development agenda will be adopted.Slated to be one of the largest ever gatherings at the UN, the Sustainable Development Summit will be attended by more than 150 heads of state and world leaders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pope Francis will also address the UN General Assembly on September 25.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji told reporters here yesterday that Modi will address the summit on the morning of September 25.The Prime Minister “has given a lot of attention to the substance of the development agenda. The focus of his speech will be Agenda 2030,” Mukerji said.Outlining the priorities of India during the 70th session of the General Assembly, Mukerji said India’s focus will be peacekeeping, Security Council reform, terrorism and climate change.Modi will then head to the West Coast to visit San Francisco on September 26-27 and will return to New York on September 28, when he is expected to have a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama, who will be in the city to address the General Debate on its opening day.On UNSC reform, Mukerji said “we are very upbeat” after the General Assembly endorsed beginning of negotiations on reform of the powerful UN body on the basis of a text.”We are looking forward to beginning the negotiations when the General Assembly convenes on this agenda item in early November,” he said.India’s focus will also be to conduct “active outreach” in taking matters forward on the reform process, he added.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will deliver India’s statement in the General Debate in the morning session on October 1.Modi will also speak at the Second Peacekeeping Summit on September 28 at the world body’s headquarters, that will also be addressed by the UN Secretary-General and Obama.Mukerji said Modi will hold bilateral meetings during his visit to New York but did not give any further details.He also did not comment on whether the leaders from India and Pakistan could meet next week on the sidelines on the Assembly session.When asked to comment on Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz planning to present a dossier to the UN on Kashmir, Mukerji said, “it is for him to do what he wants to do. When he does what he does, then we will see what to do.” On terrorism, India will continue to strive for progress towards finalisation of the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.It will also “initiate action” for the listing of terrorists of security concern to us by the Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committees of the Security Council.On peacekeeping, Mukerji said the session will see action on the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Peace Operations chaired by Jose Ramos Horta as well as on the Implementation Report being prepared by the Secretary General.An approach paper prepared by the Indian mission for the session said India’s effort will be to ensure acceptance of the recommendation relating to the primacy of political solutions so that mandating of peacekeeping missions only takes place when there is peace to keep and not with offensive or interventionist mandates.Other focus areas for India during the UNGA will be international peace and security, human rights and disarmament.India will call for continued engagement of the international community through support in security, political and economic areas to the Afghan government to ensure the country does not re-lapse into conflict, according to the approach paper.”The international community must continue to focus on and address the support for terrorists and armed groups that fuels conflict in Afghanistan,” the paper said.India also supports UN efforts to assist the national authorities in the Middle East region, including Syria, Yemen and Libya to promote internal dialogue and reforms with a view to resolving the crises and ensuring stability and prosperity.India will also continue to support initiatives at the UN for an early realisation of a sovereign, independent and united state of Palestine side by side and at peace with Israel, it said.India will also be hosting the meeting of the G4 foreign ministers but Mukerji said the time and date of the meeting are still being worked upon keeping in mind the convenience and availability of the ministers.Mukerji said India is the “biggest canvas” for the sustainable development goals and the country is looking at a time-bound manner to implement the targets.”The success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will depend on the success of India in many ways, especially on eradication of poverty,” he said.He added that for India the three areas of interest in the SDGs are the provision of financial resources for development, transfer of dissemination of technology for development and empowerment of women for development.Mukerji said India is striving to accomplish several SDG targets at the national level including providing access to sanitation and clean water by October 2, 2019, coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.Another target relevant to the SDG goal on energy is to shift by 2022 the mix of energy in India in favor of solar and renewable energy.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will also be arriving in the city later this month to participate in a high-level climate change meeting, Mukerji said.Mukerji stressed that through the past UNGA sessions, India has demonstrated that it believes in “inclusive and holistic approach” and not in an “approach of confrontation”.

Quite a buzz about PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley: US Ambassador

The Prime Minister will be in San Francisco to attend a United Nations summit on sustainable development on September 25.

The US investments in India have soared from a total of USD 7.7 billion in 2004 to USD 28 billion today

US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Monday said that there is quite a buzz about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit to Silicon Valley and hoped that it will provide an opportunity to explore new technology that would help India in development of Smart Cities and other infrastructure facility. “There is quite a buzz about PM s visit to San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the US, and not just from the vibrant Indian-American community there, which over the last two decades has helped transform the high technology sector and bring our nations culture of innovation and entrepreneurship even closer,” he said here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister will be in San Francisco to attend a United Nations summit on sustainable development on September 25. He will visit Silicon Valley, California, on September 27 as part of his US visit. Modi’s visit will provide an opportunity to explore how new technologies can help India with issues such as building safe, clean, and smart cities, providing opportunity for a quality education, securing reliable electricity for hundreds of millions of its people, and much more, he said. American businesses are very eager to partner with India to find new solutions to these issues, he said in his address to 11th Indo-U.S. Economic Summit here. “We are looking forward for this visit…everything is shaping up very well and we are all excited about it,” he said on the sidelines of the summit.Verma said “under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President (Barack) Obama, our governments are working together on increased engagement and new initiatives to reach the $500 billion goal in the years to come. We have made incredible progress in the past year and look forward to even greater strides going forward.” Highlighting that India has become the second largest source of investment in the US, he said, according to a survey, more than 91,000 jobs were created and 15 billion dollars invested in the US.The US investments in India have soared from a total of USD 7.7 billion in 2004 to USD 28 billion today, he said, adding, there are over 500 US companies active in India, while the number of Indian companies operating in the United States has increased from roughly 85 in 2005 to over 200 now. “Indian companies collectively have a geographical footprint in every state in the nation, are diversified in sectors from IT to automotive to construction, and the overwhelming majority of these companies intend to make additional investments and hire more employees in the US in the next five years,” he said.

Excited to announce that PM Modi will be visiting Facebook headquarters: Mark Zuckerberg

New York: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Facebook’s headquarters in California for a townhall question and answer session on 27 September.

Mark Zuckerberg (left) with PM Narendra Modi.

Mark Zuckerberg (left) with PM Narendra Modi.

During the visit, Modi and Zuckerberg will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges.

“I’m excited to announce that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India will be visiting Facebook HQ later this month for a Townhall Q&A,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook.

Zuckerberg asked Facebook users to send in their questions for the session and said, “Please ask them in the comments below (the post) and we’ll try to get to as many as possible.”

The live video of the session will be available on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page and also on PM Modi’s official page in the social media website.

Recalling his meeting with Prime Minister Modi in India last year, the Facebook CEO wrote, “…it’s an honor to have the chance to host him here at Facebook.”

India has the largest Facebook userbase outside the US. In June, the company had said 125 million users of its global base of 1.44 billion come from India.

Last year, Zuckerberg had made his maiden trip to India. The young billionaire had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss digital expansion in the country.

PTi

South Indian films technically superior, says Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

South Indian films are technically “far superior” than most of the movies being made in north, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman interacts with the FICCI President, Jyotsna Suri, during the ‘FICCI Global skills Summit 2015’ , in New Delhi on Thursday.

PTI photo
South Indian films are technically “far superior” than most of the movies being made in north, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.”I am not a film buff but I can tell you with bit of a risk that the technical quality of the south Indian films are far superior to many other films I have seen in the north,” she said at a Ficci function – Global Skills Summit 2015. She said it requires a lot of technical knowledge and diverse skills to produce an entertaining film.”You need people with all those different skills (in film industry) and it is not at all easy,” she added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to famous film actor Kamal Hassan, who is also chairman of Media & Entertainment Skills Council (MESC), she said, “I am glad to see that you have somebody here who himself is skills personified, who acquired skills and excelled in his own field.”Recently, ‘Baahubali’, a South Indian movie made waves for its special effects and was compared to the likes of Hollywood chart busters ‘300’. The minister said the south Indian film industry does intense work and takes risks “but that requires a lot of grilling with people”.”It is that kind of thing which is required in very industry be it manufacturing or IT every where. It is that last minute finish and acquiring of that value addition to the qualification you need which makes you a different employee from another,” she added.Further, Sitharaman said the government is taking several steps to boost skill development. She said that World Economic Forum has brought out a Human Capital Index ranking and it speaks of how countries utilise their human capital and in that of total 124 countries India ranked at 100. This ranking is “not at all something which we can feel proud about”.

dna Must Read @ 1 PM : From Sheena Bora murder to Smart Cities

A curated list of five top stories.

Here’s a curated list of five top stories that have happened since the morning. These stories will give you an update on the major developments.1) Sheena Bora murder: Peter Mukherjea’s son Rahul questioned again; motive of murder remains a mysteryMumbai Police on Wednesday questioned Rahul Mukherjea, son of media baron Peter Mukherjea, in connection with the Sheena Bora murder case, the second time he was summoned within a span of a few hours. He was also quizzed late last night by Khar police. According to police officials, Rahul, who is Peter’s son from previous marriage, was again grilled about his ‘relationship’ with Sheena and why he did not pursue a missing complaint about her. Read More<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Want to ensure that no child in India dies due to lack of vaccination: PM Modi at Global Call to Action Summit​Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the ‘Global Call to Action Summit-2015’ in Delhi. At the summit, PM Modi said, “We will ensure every woman and child that can be saved, will be saved.”He also added, “This is a landmark occasion and for the first time this summit is being held outside USA. This summit will provide a highly effective platform to address common challenges that will help us achieve desired goals.” Read more3) Arvind Kejriwal shown black flags at Patna airport by Anna Hazare supportersDelhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was shown black flags by the protestors, who claimed to be the supporters of veteran social activist Anna Hazare, on his arrival at the Patna airport today. The protestor alleged that Kejriwal has betrayed Hazare. Read More4) BJP MPs Adityanath, Sakshi Maharaj raise alarm over Muslim population; demand Uniform Civil CodeA day after Census 2011 data on Population by Religious Communities was released by the Registrar General of India, Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath said that the rise in Muslim population in the past decade “is an alarming and dangerous situation for the country,” reports said. Read more5) Centre unveils list of 98 Smart Cities that emerged winners of nationwide competition​Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Rae Bareli will be developed as Smart Cities as the Urban Development Ministry formally announced the names of cities being selected for the NDA government’s flagship project on Thursday. Read More

184 districts identified for focussed healthcare: PM Modi

Listing out achievements and strides made by India especially in materal and child health, he exuded confidence that India would reach close to achieving the millennium development goal of reducing under-five mortality rate.

Promising to provide equitable healthcare that addresses intra-state disparities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said 184 poorest performing districts have been identified where more resources would be infused and focussed programmes will be carried out.Listing out achievements and strides made by India especially in materal and child health, he exuded confidence that India would reach close to achieving the millennium development goal of reducing under-five mortality rate.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the country needs to institutionalise a system where marginalised communities receive universal healthcare and financial protection as “unfortunate health espisodes” are making people financially weak.”One of our major concerns is equity. As a step towards ensuring equitable health services across regions that suffer from intra-state disparities, and to bring about sharper improvements in health outcomes, a total of 184 poorest performing districts all over the country have been identified.”Special efforts are being made to put in more resources and focussed programmes in these areas,” he said here while addressing the ‘Global Call to Action’ Summit 2015 being attended by representatives of 24 nations.The summit seeks to ensure cohesion among countries to end preventable maternal and child death.Talking about India’s achievement in eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus much before the global target date of December 2015, Modi extended his government’s commitment to the global community with technology and programme intervention to combat disease.

India committed to talks but Pakistan has to take a call: MEA Vikas Swarup

Pakistan has invited Kashmir separatists for a reception and talks with Aziz, setting off a confrontation with India.
File Photo

India put the ball in Pakistan’s court on Friday over the much-hyped NSA talks, saying that hosting of Kashmiri separatists would be contrary to the Ufa spirit where the two countries had decided to have talks on terror. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said here that India wanted the talks to happen and had conveyed to Pakistan its agenda three days back, response to which was still awaited.”We want talks to happen.India is ready for talks.We are committed to the talks. Now it is up to them (Pakistan),” he said when asked about the fate of the talks between the NSAs which looks in jeopardy after Pakistan’s invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders for meeting with its NSA Sartaj Aziz.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have made it clear to Pakistan that hosting of Kashmiri separatists will be contrary to the spirit of the Ufa understanding. We have conveyed our position on their reported meeting with them (separatists) and sought clarity on the agenda,” said Swarup who is here in connection with the Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Islands Conference to be attended by 14 nations. He said India had also communicated to Pakistan the agenda for the NSA talks and was yet to get any response officially.Pakistan has invited Kashmir separatists for a reception and talks with Aziz, setting off a confrontation with India.

India is ready for talks, but now it’s up to Pakistan, says MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup

Jaipur: India on Friday put the ball in Pakistan’s court over the much-hyped NSA talks, saying that hosting of Kashmiri separatists would be contrary to the Ufa spirit where the two countries had decided to have talks on terror.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in Jaipur that India wanted the talks to happen and had conveyed to Pakistan its agenda three days ago, response to which was still awaited.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We want talks to happen. India is ready for talks. We are committed to the talks. Now it is up to them (Pakistan),” he said when asked about the fate of the talks between the NSAs which looks in jeopardy after Pakistan’s invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders for meeting with its NSA Sartaj Aziz.

“We have made it clear to Pakistan that hosting of Kashmiri separatists will be contrary to the spirit of the Ufa understanding. We have conveyed our position on their reported meeting with them (separatists) and sought clarity on the agenda,” said Swarup who is here in connection with the Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Islands Conference to be attended by 14 nations.

He said India had also communicated to Pakistan the agenda for the NSA talks and was yet to get any response officially.

Pakistan has invited Kashmir separatists for a reception and talks with Aziz, setting off a confrontation with India.

PTI

PM Modi expected to address high-level UN summit on sustainable development on 25 Sept

United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address a high-level summit on sustainable development hosted by the UN on 25 September when the new and ambitious post-2015 development agenda will be adopted.

PM Narendra Modi is expected to attend a UN summit in September. Reuters

PM Narendra Modi is expected to attend a UN summit in September. Reuters

The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September at the United Nations and will be convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly.

Slated to be one of the largest ever gatherings at the UN, more than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the Sustainable Development Summit to formally adopt the outcome document of the new agenda.

Modi is expected to address the gathering on 25 September after which he will head to the West Coast to visit San Francisco, sources told PTI.

The 70th session of the General Assembly will open on 15 September.

The annual high-level General Debate will begin on 28 September and will run through 6 October.

Since Modi is likely to return to India around 28 September, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to represent the country at the General Debate.

According to the first provisional list of speakers for the General Debate, released by the UN, India will be represented by its “Minister” who is scheduled to address the gathering of Heads of State and Foreign Ministers in the morning of 1 October.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to address the UNGA on 30 September, according to the UN provisional list.

It remains to be seen if Modi and Sharif would meet on the sidelines of the Sustainable Development Summit, depending on when Pakistan Premier arrives in New York.

However, since the speakers’ list released is still provisional, the country representatives and the date and time when they address the debate could change in the weeks ahead.

Modi is expected to travel to San Francisco after his address to the Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September, becoming the fourth Indian Premier to visit US’ West Coast.

He had given his maiden address to the UN General Assembly last year and had then travelled to Washington to meed US President Barack Obama.

As is the tradition, Brazil will open the General Debate on the morning of 28 September, followed by an address by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The 193 Member States of the United Nations reached agreement on 2 August on the outcome document that will constitute the new sustainable development agenda that will be adopted this September by world leaders at the at the Sustainable Development Summit.

Concluding a negotiating process that has spanned more than two years and has featured the unprecedented participation of civil society, countries agreed to the ambitious agenda that features 17 new sustainable development goals that aim to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment by 2030.

Welcoming the agreement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it “encompasses a universal, transformative and integrated agenda that heralds an historic turning point for our world”.

This is the people’s agenda, a plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere and leaving no one behind.

It seeks to ensure peace and prosperity and forge partnerships with people and planet at the core.

The integrated, interlinked and indivisible 7 sustainable development goals are the people’s goals and demonstrate the scale, universality and ambition of this new agenda.”

The September Summit, where the new agenda will be adopted, “will chart a new era of sustainable development in which poverty will be eradicated, prosperity shared and the core drivers of climate change tackled”, he said.

The new agenda builds on the success of the Millennium Development Goals, which helped more than 700 million people escape poverty.

The eight Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included slashing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation by 2015.

Ban said the new agenda will also contribute to achieve a meaningful agreement in the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in December.

PTI

US welcomes Modi-Sharif meeting

Modi and Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa on Friday on sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit and are expected to discuss the status of the bilateral ties and the future direction.

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The US has welcomed the scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Russia on Friday, saying the tension between the two South Asian neighbours is not in anyone’s interest.”We welcome the (upcoming) meeting between Indian and Pakistani leaders there on the sidelines of this conference,” State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday at his daily news conference when asked about the Modi-Sharif meeting in Ufa. “We also welcome any steps that both countries can take to try to reduce the tensions. That’s been our longstanding position,” Kirby said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want to see the tensions reduced, and we want to see these issues resolved bilaterally between the two countries. It’s in nobody’s interest for the tensions to rise and to increase, and for the tensions in the region to become less stable in many ways than they already are,” he saidResponding to a question, Kirby said both the leaders want peace; and that’s certainly what the US wants as well. “There’s an awful lot of kids living in that part of the world who I think everybody wants to make sure they have a better future. I think that’s what we would hope the leaders in both countries are also trying to pursue. But these are issues that we want to see them solve bilaterally,” Kirby said.Modi and Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa on Friday on sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit and are expected to discuss the status of the bilateral ties and the future direction.

PM Modi, Nawaz Sharif to hold bilateral talks today

Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup had taken to twitter on Thursday to share the information. “It is confirmed. PM @narendramodi and PM Nawaz Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa tomorrow at 9.15 am on sidelines of SCO Summit,” he had posted.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Ufa, Russia on Friday. Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup had taken to twitter on Thursday to share the information. “It is confirmed. PM @narendramodi and PM Nawaz Sharif will have a bilateral meeting in Ufa tomorrow at 9.15 am on sidelines of SCO Summit,” he had posted. According to reports, Prime Minister Modi will, during the talks, strongly raise India’s concerns on terror and the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhavi with Pakistan. The meeting between the Prime Ministers of both countries comes a day after Pakistani troops had fired at a Border Security Force forward post in Kashmir, killing a jawan. This was the second such incident in the past week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Setting the tone for Friday’s formal meeting, Modi and Sharif on Thursday night exchanged pleasantries and chatted briefly when they came face-to-face at a dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for leaders of five BRICS countries and 10 SCO nations here.The two leaders, who are here to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, are expected to discuss the status of the bilateral ties and the future direction.Officials said the two leaders would be reviewing the relationship and all issues could be on the table. “Terrorism for India is a major concern,” an official said, indicating that the issue could be taken up by Modi at tomorrow’s meeting.In Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said bilateral issues of importance will be discussed in the Modi-Sharif meeting. “India has proposed a meeting and Pakistan has positively responded to it,” the spokesman said.Indian officials, while insisting that expectations should not be raised on tomorrow’s meeting, likened India- Pakistan relations to a cricket match. “You never know how the match will progress till it ends,” a senior official said.The official was commenting while contending that there have been positive gestures in India-Pakistan relations in the recent months, like Modi calling up Sharif to greet him on Ramzan which was followed by release of fishermen by both the countries.Earlier, Pakistani navy evacuated some Indians from war-torn Yemen while India evacuated some Pakistanis from quake-hit Nepal, he pointed out.When pointed out that in between Pakistan was angry at some remarks made by Modi in Bangladesh with regard to Pakistan, the official said, “sometimes a cricket match is disrupted by rains.” Modi and Sharif were last together in Kathmandu in November last for the SAARC Summit but they did not have a bilateral meeting because of acrimony between the two countries at that time.

PM Modi to meet Sharif on sidelines of SCO summit on 10 July

Ufa: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Ufa on 10 July.

PM Narendra Modi (left) and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. PTI

PM Narendra Modi (left) and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. PTI

According to sources, the two leaders, who will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, will be meeting on the sidelines of it.

However, the details of the meeting were not officially confirmed.

Modi and Sharif had last met in Kathmandu in November at the SAARC Summit where they did not, however, hold any bilateral meeting.

Earlier at the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan, the Prime Minister had called Sharif and extended his best wishes while stressing the need for having peaceful and bilateral ties.

During his telephonic conversation, Modi had also conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart India’s decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen on the occasion of Ramzan.

The call was seen by many as an attempt to reach out to Pakistan after leaders from both sides exchanged sharp comments after Modi’s critical remarks about Pakistan during his Bangladesh visit and in the wake of India’s military action in Myanmar.

PTI

PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif to meet on sidelines of SCO Summit in Russia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Russia on July 10.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif will meet on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Russia on July 10.According to sources, the two leaders, who will be present in Ufa to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, will be meeting on the sidelines of it. However, the details of the meeting were not specified.Modi and Sharif had last met in Kathmandu in November at the SAARC Summit where they did not, however, hold any bilateral meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier at the beginning of the holy month of Ramzan, the Prime Minister had called Sharif and extended his best wishes while stressing the need for having peaceful and bilateral ties. During his telephonic conversation, Modi had also conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart India’s decision to release detained Pakistani fishermen on the occasion of Ramzan.The call was seen by many as an attempt to reach out to Pakistan after leaders from both sides exchanged sharp comments after Modi’s critical remarks about Pakistan during his Bangladesh visit and in the wake of India’s military action in Myanmar. Pakistan on Monday said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will hold “important bilateral meetings” on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Russia this week but did not specify whether he will have an interaction with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.Prime Minister Sharif will attend the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia, on July 9-10, the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister will also hold important bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SCO Summit,” it said. A Pakistani official on condition of anonymity said the Sharif-Modi meeting was likely to take place but refused to give details.Last week, Pakistan had said no formal request was made by either side for a meeting but such interactions often take place on the sidelines of multilateral fora.”No side has contacted the other for a meeting so far. However, as you would be aware, in any multilateral setting, meetings among Heads of State and Government is a normal feature,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah had said when asked about the possibility of a Sharif-Modi meeting in Russia.