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“The samples have been collected following instruction given by the state (Gujarat) health department after some of the products failed in lab testing,” the official said, adding that these samples have been sent to a Vadodara-based lab. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Sushma Swaraj promises to reunite Geeta with her parents

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured Geeta, the mute-deaf girl who returned to India in October this year after being stranded in Pakistan for over a decade, that the government is trying hard to locate the whereabouts of her parents.Geeta, who returned to India on October 26 after inadvertently crossing into Pakistan over a decade ago, is staying here at a facility of a hearing and speech impaired institute run by a local NGO.
on Tuesday, Swaraj met the girl.”Sushma called Geeta to a hotel here last night. As soon as the girl reached Sushma’s place, the overwhelmed Minister hugged her. In a 30-minute meeting, the Minister assured the girl that the government is employing all possible means to trace her parents to re-unite her with them,” the institute’s sign language department head Monika Punjabi Verma said on Wednesday. Geeta showed Swaraj a cloth which she had knitted after which the minister admired her talent, the sign language expert added. On December 18, the Minister had tweeted Geeta’s photographs snapped during days when she got separated from her parents, mentioning some of her birth marks, in an apparent attempt to reach her parents.On Tuesday, a 40-year-old woman from Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh claimed herself to be mother of Geeta. The woman, Aneesa Bi gave an application seeking permission to meet Geeta by describing her as her daughter, Najjo. According to her, she had disappeared from Gotegaon in Narsinghpur district about 13 years back. The woman also submitted a passport size photograph of her lost girl, District in-charge collector, Ashish Singh told PTI.He said Aneesa’s application was forwarded to Social Justice Department. The officer recalled receipt of four similar applications in the past staking claim for Geeta and sought permission to meet her. “These (applications) too were forwarded to Centre,” he said.Earlier, in November, a (Mahato) family from Bihar had come forward claiming that Geeta was their daughter after she felt that they were her parents. However, DNA tests conducted on her proved otherwise.Mahato claimed Geeta was his first child and her name was Heera who was lost in a fair in 2004. Geeta had failed to recognise the Mahato family after arriving here though after seeing their photographs had earlier identified them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

If all goes well, PM will go to SAARC summit next year: BJP

It was at a lunch hosted by a union minister on a sunny Christmas Day that BJP spokespersons got messages at 1.39 pm that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was going to meet his Pakistani Counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his way from Kabul to Delhi.”This came as a pleasant surprise. We felt the Prime Minister had shown that he could take such out of the box decisions,” said a party leader. The conversation, which had till then revolved around former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose place the BJP leaders had visited earlier in the day on his birthday, turned to Modi.”Looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” the message conveyed to the party spokespersons from Modi said.Just minutes before that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj got a call from Modi to tell her that during their telephone conversation, Sharif suggested that he drop in for tea and he had agreed. This was conveyed to BJP spokespersons when Swaraj called them to the ministry at 4 pm. She told spokespersons about the development and said that it was a welcome surprise for all. Swaraj said it was a spontaneous reaction and appreciated it saying there was no need for formality in relations with neighbours, spokespersons said.The Prime Minister’s Lahore visit not only created a sense of euphoria in the party but changed the mood as he stole the headlines, pushing BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension over the DDCA row to the backdrop.Party veteran LK Advani, who along with three other senior leaders had met a day after Azad’s suspension, and was critical of the leadership after the Bihar debacle, came out in support of Modi’s initiative. “The efforts initiated by Vajpayee ji, should be taken forward by present leaders like Modi ji and others, regarding the relationship of India and Pakistan…. The friendship between both the nations must get stronger so that both can get rid of the terror outfits which have been created in last few days,” Advani said.The BJP, which has taken a tough ideological position vis–a-vis Pakistan, has been unflinching in its support for Modi’s surprise gesture. A party leader said the Prime Minister was convinced that India cannot be a world power unless it showed flexibility in its approach towards neighbours. SAARC was the “larger circle” through which he could resolve bilateral ties, the leader said.Speaking of the ideological position of the BJP, the leader said even the RSS, the party’s ideological mentor, has accepted the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.On Saturday, BJP fielded party spokesperson MJ Akbar to brief the media on Modi’s Lahore stopover. “This gives us all hopes that there will be one happy consequence. And, if all goes well, the Prime Minister will undertake the visit to SAARC Summit next year,” said Akbar.Describing as extraordinary the way the peace process has been revived, he said it gave “another opportunity to write a new chapter in a difficult history. But it cannot be written by one. It requires two authors reading from the same page.”Akbar said the PM had created a “transformative moment in the subcontinent” with
his “courage, vision, skill and imagination” and that the pursuit of peace in the complex region with its history of fraught ties between the two countries required such courage.Dismissing the Congress criticism as “childish”, he said the move was “symptomatic” of the diplomatic thaw in the sub-continent”.However, in an interview released on Saturday, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav reiterated the RSS stand about “akhand Bharat”. The party was evasive on it, with one leader saying there was democracy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Will Modi’s Pak visit lead to action against terror, Dawood, Saeed: Sena, VHP

He said “we also sincerely hope that Modiji will compel Pakistan to take effective action against Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi both of whom have been roaming scot-free in the neighboring country despite their involvement in the dastardly terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

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Give me proof of any-party activities: Kirti Azad to Amit Shah

“As you (Shah) have not mentioned DDCA corruption, I believe that the party has nothing to do with this matter and (it) is purely out of its preview,” he added. BJP had on Wednesday suspended Azad from its primary membership three days after his press conference attacking Jaitley and subsequent acts of defiance both inside and outside Parliament, over alleged irregularities in DDCA.

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Also ReadIndiaPM Modi returns home after concluding his three-nation tourIndiaGive me proof of any-party activities: Kirti Azad to Amit ShahIndiaFadnavis’ proposal for 10-yr rural service by med grads faces oppositionIndiaWelcome home: Sushma Swaraj confirms three Indian workers abused in Saudi Arabia will be back tomorrow IndiaModi in Pakistan: PM Modi’s favourite dish among other delicacies at Pak PM Sharif’s homeIndiaModi in Pakistan – PM Modi visit to take Indo-Pak relations to new height: Ram Madhav <!– /.block –>

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

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

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

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

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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Modi’s stopover in Pakistan: Sushma Swaraj says PM Modi acted like a ‘statesman’

Earlier, Modi had wished Sharif on his birthday. “Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif and wished him on his birthday,” Modi had tweeted. Modi’s sudden visit comes within days of both countries deciding to re-engage in “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue”. The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet next month to discuss modalities about the dialogue.

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

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

Modi in Pakistan: Here is how separatists are reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore
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Shiv Sena slams Arvind Kejriwal over his allegations against Arun Jaitley

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Shiv Sena also said that the previous Parliament session was rocked by allegations against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and alleged that people who were trying to defame her were from her party as well.
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Reuters
Shiv Sena on Wednesday mounted a scathing attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his allegations against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of financial irregularities in Delhi cricket body when he headed it.”Now, Kejriwal has levelled allegations against Jaitley, who has termed them baseless and has filed a defamation suit against him, while Kejriwal says that attempts are being made to scare his party in which Jaitley will not succeed,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Filing a defamation suit is Jaitley’s right. Kejriwal can say what he wants to, sling mud on people, but the person who is being defamed by all this cannot even answer back. What kind of goondaism is this,” the ruling alliance partner said.Further hitting out at AAP leader, it said “Arvind Kejriwal first levelled allegations against Nitin Gadkari while he was the BJP’s national president. All the allegations were proved to be incorrect when Gadkari filed a defamation suit against Kejriwal. At that time, there was a possibility of Gadkari getting another term as party president.””Due to the Income Tax raids against Gadkari then, he was defamed and he lost the chance to get a second term. Had he got a second term as the BJP president, he would have been a strong contender for the Prime Minister’s post,” the ruling alliance partner said.”At that time, the instigators of the episode were from the party itself,” it alleged.The Sena also said that the previous Parliament session was rocked by allegations against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and alleged that people who were trying to defame her were from her party as well.

India’s global profile has risen in past 18 months: Sushma Swaraj

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In an address at an industry chamber, Sushma Swaraj touched upon various dimensions of foreign policy being pursued and said it has been successful in advancing India’s economic growth, defence requirement, addressing security concerns besides projecting its rich heritage.
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dna Research & Archives
India’s global profile has improved significantly and taking forward ties with Pakistan was the “most challenging” in the last 18 months, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday, while commending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and rising influence at the world stage.In an address at an industry chamber, Swaraj touched upon various dimensions of foreign policy being pursued and said it has been successful in advancing India’s economic growth, defence requirement, addressing security concerns besides projecting its rich heritage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Complimenting Modi, she said though he had not played any role at the international stage before becoming prime minister, he made an image of himself in the last 18 months and now is being counted among the most influential leaders in the world.”He is someone who was chief minister for 15 years but never played any role at the global stage. Leave alone prime minister, he was never even a minister at the Centre. The man in the last 18 months have made an image of himself and is now being counted among the most influential leaders of the world. More importantly, he is not only rising. Along with him India is also emerging,” Swaraj said at FICCI.She said India’s relations with all major powers including the US, Russia, Japan, Britain and Germany, have seen an upswing across the board since NDA came to power.”The overall image of India that we have managed to project, even in a short while, is of a country that is serious about meeting its commitments and responsibilities. This has made us a more credible player at international events, as you would have noticed in Paris recently,” she said.On China, the External Affairs Minister said it has been engaged with a greater sense of confidence, whether it is on the boundary problem or on exploring economic opportunities.”Ties with Pakistan have predictably been the most challenging to take forward. However, the recent NSA-level dialogue on security and terrorism and the establishment of a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue following my visit to Islamabad now offers a pathway,” she said.”Countering terrorism has become an increasingly salient feature of our national security calculations. It has also become prominent in the public discourse about foreign policy. Much of it centres on our relationship with Pakistan, but there are also aspects beyond,” she said.On Nepal, she said India’s traditionally close relations were taken to the next level.”By calling for an inclusive Nepal and urging a political solution to long pending political problems, we are committed to unity, peace and stability of Nepal which will create a more durable foundation for our bilateral relations to prosper,” she said.Swaraj cited declaration of International Yoga Day on June 21 by the UN, evacuation of Indians from Yemen, forceful representations of India’s security concerns and pushing its economic agenda as major achievements on the foreign policy front.About ties with the US, Swaraj said resolution of the long-pending nuclear liability “problem” and working together by the two countries on various global issues reflected the intensity.”It is India’s diplomacy that has today created a situation, where we have ready access to defence technologies from all the key global sources. Not many countries can claim that privilege. Accelerating long-pending procurement decisions at home complements the opportunities that we have created abroad. India’s relations with major powers have seen an upswing across the board since we assumed office,” she said.The External Affairs Minister said the current dispensation is an accountable government and people have right to ask what have you done. She said significant improvement on bilateral ties have been achieved with all the neighbours. “In respect of Myanmar, we are preparing for a political transition, confident that India’s interests are recognised by all parties.”Swaraj said, following the Indo-Africa summit, the ties with the African continent have seen new energy while the summit of Pacific Island States underlined India’s new approach to Pacific island nations.”There is no doubt that India’s international profile has been significantly enhanced in the last 18 months. Our views on key international issues be it on trade, climate change, terrorism or maritime security – are also being given greater consideration,” she said.She said declaration of the International Day of Yoga by UN, which was supported by 177 countries at the UN was symbolic of India’s growing stature.Talking about initial days of Modi government, she said, “Beset by terrorist attacks sponsored from abroad and insurgency at home, there was a growing feeling that a firmer hand was required to steer national security.”Noting that focussing on national heritage has been key aspect of the foreign policy, she said “The India of today aspires to project its own heritage on the global scene. In today’s parlance, we could say that it is to build our national branding.””Even in our short tenure, we have demonstrated our commitment to their well being by organising evacuations in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. In fact, there has been a sea change in how an Indian in distress perceives the Government,” she said.Swaraj said “two images of the MEA have emerged. One about being influential and the other is about being sensitive.” She said by connecting directly with the diaspora, the Prime Minister has increased their enthusiasm to contribute to the changes underway in India.

5 Indian sailors abducted in Nigeria are safe, says external Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said all five Indian sailors have been abducted by pirates in Nigeria but are safe.

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dna Research & Archives
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said all five Indian sailors have been abducted by pirates in Nigeria but are safe.A day after Swaraj sought a report on the abduction of the Indian nationals, the minister said, “Our High Commissioner in Nigeria A R Ghanshyam met President of Nigeria on 12 December. He is making all efforts to secure their release.”I have the report on abduction of five Indian sailors in Nigeria. The contact with pirates is established. Indian sailors are safe.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, a request seeking help was made on Twitter about five Indian sailors being kidnapped in Warri, Nigeria on December 11 and that they are still not freed, to which Swaraj had tweeted that, “I have asked for a report on the abduction of 5 Indian sailors in Nigeria.”

26/11 Mumbai attacks: Accused used fake stamps to attest false identity, says Pakistan witness

During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this month, Pakistan assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.

Indian national Fahim Ansari, earlier accused of being an LeT member and co-conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai attack case, used fake Pakistani official seals to attest his false identity under which he travelled to Pakistan, a government witness told the anti-terrorism court. “Fake stamps of my department for attestation of the fake computerised national identity card (CNIC) of Hammad Hassan were used,” Sadiq, an employee of the Parliament House, testified in the ATC Islamabad which held the hearing at the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi yesterday, according to a court official. “Subsequently on the same identity, a passport was issued (which was used by Fahim Ansari to travel to Pakistan under the name of Hassan before the attack),” the official said. Sadiq told the court that he would present the public record in this regard during the next hearing. The court adjourned the hearing till December 21.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit earlier this month, Pakistan assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long. A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official was also to testify in yesterday’s hearing but could not reach the court due to a delay in his flight from Karachi.According to the FIA, the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) of Karachi airport shows that Ansari, who has been acquitted by Indian courts, had travelled to Pakistan under the name of Hammad Hassan before the Mumbai attacks. Ansari allegedly made a map of targets in Mumbai.In August 2012, India’s Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, the two Indians accused of being co-conspirators in the Mumbai attack. The trial court and the Bombay High Court, too, gave a clean chit to the duo. Ansari allegedly obtained a Pakistani passport on November 1, 2007 by using forged documents. The passport was seized from him after his arrest in Uttar Pradesh in another case on February 10, 2008.The trial against LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Sadiq, Shahid Jamil, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum has been underway since 2009 for their alleged role in the Mumbai attack.Lakhvi, 55, secured bail in December last year and was subsequently released from the Adiala Jail on April 10 after the Lahore High Court set aside the government’s order to detain him under a public security act.

War with Pakistan not an option, talks only way to end terror: Sushma Swaraj

When BJP member Ganesh Singh asked whether India was exploring options like the US did to hunt down terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, Swaraj said India is talking to Pakistan on the terrorist camps existing in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as “war is not an option”.

PTI
Declaring that “war is not an option”, India on Wednesday said it had decided to hold dialogue with Pakistan as it is the only way to remove “the shadow of terrorism”.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Lok Sabha that India and Pakistan decided to hold talks on terror when the Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Ufa (Russia) in July and then in Paris recently.”We said we can talk so that terrorism comes to an end. So talks (between NSAs) took place in Bangkok where we discussed about terrorism. But one meeting will not bring a solution to all the problem. So we will continue the dialogue,” she said during Question Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When BJP member Ganesh Singh asked whether India was exploring options like the US did to hunt down terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, Swaraj said India is talking to Pakistan on the terrorist camps existing in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as “war is not an option”.”We have decided that through talks we will resolve the issue of terrorism as talks is the way forward so that the shadow of terror is removed. But we want to make it clear, our Prime Minister has made it clear that talks and terror can’t go together. Dialogue is drowned by the sound of explosion,” she said.Swaraj was speaking against the backdrop of recent decision to re-start the ‘Comprehensive’ dialogue with Pakistan under which various subjects, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, will be discussed.The External Affairs Minister said Modi had said there was a need for talks to resolve the issue of terrorism.”The Prime Minister said let’s talk on terror. For talks we will have to put in faith. There is no third party. Through talks, both the countries are trying to resolve the issue of terrorism,” she said.Swaraj said following Modi’s conversation with Sharif in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of climate change summit and in line with the Ufa understanding between the two leaders, the National Security Advisors of the two countries met in Bangkok on December 6.”They held candid and constructive discussions. During my recent visit to Pakistan on December 8-9, the two sides decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial,” she said.

Pakistan HC-Hurriyat meet proves nothing has changed between India-Pak: Shiv Sena

“We have been watching this mutiny for 50 years and the way they have been rebelling against India in Delhi. Yes, I approve of talks between the two countries but the nation is pained which an incident as this happens,” Raut added.

Sanjay Raut
File Photo
RNA
Backing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent statement that nothing has changed between India and Pakistan, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the meeting between the Pakistan High Commissioner and Hurriyat leaders on Monday in the national capital was concrete proof that the ties between the two nations remained hostile.”I just read Sushma’s statement where she is saying that nothing has changed on ground between India and Pakistan and it is true and the example of that happened yesterday. On our soil, in the national capital, under our noses the Pakistan High Commissioner is inviting people who want to wage a war on India and we are simply watching the show,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asserted that if the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan had done something similar then his office would have been sealed and he would have been sent back to India in cuffs.”We have been watching this mutiny for 50 years and the way they have been rebelling against India in Delhi. Yes, I approve of talks between the two countries but the nation is pained which an incident as this happens,” Raut added.Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Swaraj admitted that “nothing has changed on the ground” between India and Pakistan and said while it was not possible to give the assurance of an “uninterrupted” dialogue, the government had no intention of being provoked by those who want halt the bilateral talks between the two nations.”We want to ensure we are not provoked by saboteurs who want to stop the dialogue process. We have elevated the level of terrorism. Now talks related to terrorism will happen at the NSA level, the rest will be taken up during secretary-level talks,” Swaraj said briefing the Lok Sabha on her recent visit to Pakistan.Later in the evening, a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and discussed Swaraj’s recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to an APMC release, Hurriyat leaders Peer Saifullah and Altaf Ahmad Shah discussed ‘Kashmir policy’ with Basit.”The Hurriyat delegation also handed over a message of their chairman Syed Ali Geelani to Basit, wherein he has stated that Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy, and should play an active role in highlighting human rights violations committed by the Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir in international forums,” the release stated.

Hurriyat Conference leaders meeting Pakistan not in the interest of nation: Congress

Meeting between Hurriyat Conference leaders might not be talks for peace, but for forwarding seperatist agenda.

Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

File Photo
The Congress party on Tuesday said that the meeting between Hurriyat Conference leaders with Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit was not in the interest of the nation and added that talks between India and Pakistan should be held for peace and not for encouraging separatism.”It is because of such incidents that talks were cancelled last time. Pakistan encouraging the separatists is not in the interest of the nation. The talks should be held, it should held for peace and not to encourage separatism,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the talks were cancelled last time after they met separatists, then the government should clarify why talks should continue after these talks,” he added.On Monday, a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Abdul Basit and discussed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.According to an APHC release, Hurriyat leaders also discussed ‘Kashmir policy’ with Basit.Last week, during Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan, it was announced that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on January to discuss the details of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue.According to the joint statement released by both nations, the discussions will involve peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and religious tourism.

Amid thaw SAS Geelani asks Pakistan to remain firm on Kashmir policy

During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.

A two member Hurriyat delegation of SAS Geelani led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi on Monday to discuss in detail the implications of the fresh thaw in relations between India and Pakistan during recent Pakistan visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to According to the Hurriyat spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, the personal secretary to S A S Geelani, Peer Saifullah and chief organizer APHC (G) Altaf Ahmad Shah conveyed the message to Basit that “Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy and play an active role in highlighting the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir on the international forums.”Though Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.

Talks with Pakistan on the basis of trust: Sushma Swaraj

The minister also assured the Lok Sabha that dialogue will continue uninterruptedly. “There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” she said.

Underlining the importance of talks with Pakistan, India on Monday admitted that the deadlock had adversely affected the progress of SAARC and peace in the region. Rejecting the impression that there have been several flip flops in talks with the neighbouring country in the last few months, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told both Houses of Parliament that talks have been re-started on the basis of trust and there is a need to bridge the gulf in relations with Pakistan.The minister also assured the Lok Sabha that dialogue will continue uninterruptedly. “There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During half-an-hour discussion on her statement on her recent visit to Islamabad to attend Heart of Asia conference, Swaraj said dialogue is the only way forward hoping that anti-dialogue elements will not be able to provoke and effect the dialogue process. She also categorically stated that there is no involvement of any third party in talks held at Bangkok, Ufa in Russia and Paris. She also told Parliament that expansion of list of trade items through Wagah and Muzaffarabad routes is on the agenda of the talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. The minister said that religious tourism, which was not part of previous composite dialogue process, has now been included in the new comprehensive bilateral dialogue process.She further said the new dialogue mechanism has twin aims of removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern, and exploring and establishing cooperative ties. She said that initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues will contribute to welfare of the entire region, and promote better understanding and mutual trust.In the morning, in a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha, amidst ruckus created by Opposition benches on the issue of a killing in Punjab, Swaraj hoped that re-engaging with Pakistan will mark beginning of peace and development as continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region. She said the foreign secretaries of both the countries have been tasked to work out modalities and prepare schedules of the meetings under the new dialogue. She said, the government will take all steps, including through diplomatic channels to meet any security threat. Swaraj also noted that there was a sharp awareness that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.Following Modi-Sharif meeting on November 30, it was decided that the two sides should hold the NSA-level meeting. “The national security advisors of the two countries accordingly met on December 6” in Bangkok, Swaraj said.The two NSAs focussed on “peace and security, terrorism, tranquility along the Line of Control and Jammu and Kashmir — the state which has been most directly impacted by terrorism and violation of LOC,” she said, adding her visit to Islamabad came on the back of these “constructive talks”. Swaraj said in her talks with Sharif and Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, which where held in the backdrop of this “positive development”, the “two sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace.”Swaraj said the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia conference on December 8-9 in Islamabad was devoted to the themes of security and connectivity.”The conference provided to us an important opportunity on a vital regional platform for political consultations and regional cooperation to reiterate India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development and our faith in its future,” she said. Swaraj said the expected meetings of NSA and directors general of military operations, as envisaged at Ufa, did not materialise “for the reaons that we all know.” Against this backdrop, when Modi and Sharif met during the COP-21 Summit in Paris on November 30, “there was a discussion on how the two countries could build an atmosphere conducive for again re-engaging with each other,” she said.

Modi govt bereft of roadmap and strategy on how to deal with Pakistan: Congress

Anand Sharma

Congress on Monday sought to pick holes in the government’s Pakistan policy, wondering why the Narendra Modi dispensation was accommodating Islamabad so much and agreeing to move at a pace convenient to it.Reacting to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement in Parliament on her recent visit to Pakistan, senior party spokesperson Anand Sharma said it indicated that the Modi dispensation was “bereft of a roadmap and a strategy on how to deal with Pakistan”. “Why is India accommodating Pakistan so much? Why are we agreeing to move at a pace comfortable to them?” he asked while speaking to reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that it was a matter of concern that the government was dealing with Islamabad in “fits and starts”. Claiming that India seems to have accepted a position that it opposed in August, Sharma said there is a need to get some assurances from Islamabad. He faulted that there was no mention of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and the expeditious trial of the Mumbai terror attacks accused, and also took exception to the statement making no reference about either cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan or the three attacks on the Indian Mission there.While dealing with Pakistan, he said, India should also move at a pace comfortable to Afghanistan. “At the same time, Congress has always said that India and Pakistan must engage with each other. Dialogue is the only way forward,” he said. Rejecting any “flip flop”, Swaraj on Monday asserted that the decision to re-start talks with Pakistan was based on “trust” and said the intent would be to have an “uninterrupted” dialogue process despite provocations by the “saboteurs”, an apparent reference to terror groups.

Indo-Pak talks: Parties welcome but urge Modi govt to be alert

13 members from various parties made their observations and asked questions in Lok Sabha after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement on the resumption of the dialogue process

Reuters
As India prepares to re-start dialogue with Pakistan, political parties from various hues on Monday welcomed it even though some asked the government to be alert in view of the neighbouring country’s history of “stabbing in the back” and a few wondered whether it could be trusted.13 members from various parties made their observations and asked questions in Lok Sabha after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement on the resumption of the dialogue process. All of them welcomed the initiation of the dialogue process as they batted for peaceful relations with Pakistan. However, several members talked about the past and cited how Pakistan had “stabbed” India in the back repeatedly.B Mahtab of BJD referred to the 26/11 incident and the lingering case in Pakistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A mere assurance has been given to us that action will be taken against them (Mumbai terror attack perpetrators)… But are we not all aware that since last so many years what Pakistan has been saying, it has not been keeping its word? “This happened in the form of the Kargil war (of 1999) after our Prime Minister had gone there in a bus trip and extended a hand of friendship but we were stabbed in the back,” Mahtab said. Echoing similar views, Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena) said: “Pakistan has a history of stabbing in the back. We should be wary of trusting Pakistan and remain alert.” Jayadev Galla (TDP) asked government if it was confident that Pakistan’s long-held policy of “plausible deniability” is ending or they continue to follow the same path. “If so, how do we get rid of the trust-deficit between the two countries?” A P Jithender Reddy (TRS) said India has to be “alert” and not be at ease thinking that Minister for External Affairs had gone there and everything will be all right.”I have my doubt in that aspect. So, some action has to be really taken and security should be enhanced,” Reddy said. Welcoming the decision to have talks, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said: “When relations between the two countries turn sour, its people of Jammu & Kashmir who suffer the maximum”. She said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken steps to better relation between two countries and between 2003 to 2008 there was ceasefire along the border.She wanted to know if some more cross-LoC confidence-building measures were in the offing. Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM), while welcoming the resumption of dialogue, termed it a “clumsy climbdown” by India. “This is a procedural breakthrough but not a substantive breakthrough.” Swaraj replied to members’ concern saying: “Whenever talks happen, that is based on trust… There is a need to bridge the gulf (with Pakistan)”.

Sushma Swaraj to make statement in Parliament on her Pakistan visit

A Parliamentary Affairs Ministry release said that Swaraj will make a statement on her recent visit to Islamabad and developments relating to ties between India and Pakistan in both the Houses of Parliament during the next week of Winter session.

Reuters
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement in both Houses of Parliament on Monday on her two-day visit to Pakistan and the recent developments relating to bilateral ties.”I will make a statement on my recent visit to Islamabad tomorrow at 11 am in Rajya Sabha and at 2 pm in Lok Sabha,” Swaraj tweeted on Sunday. A Parliamentary Affairs Ministry release said that Swaraj will make a statement on her recent visit to Islamabad and developments relating to ties between India and Pakistan in both the Houses of Parliament during the next week of Winter session. “This is one of the major agenda items for next week,” the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan had on December 9 announced in Islamabad that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.Capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Paris about a fortnight days ago, it was announced there that the Foreign Secretaries will meet to decide the modalities and schedule of the dialogue.The two sides came out with a joint statement, which happened after Swaraj met Sharif and later his Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz there on the concluding day of her two-day visit (December 8-9). She was in Pakistan to attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.

Indo-Pak talks: Foreign Secretaries to meet in Delhi next month to chart dialogue path

Aziz said it was also decided that terrorism would be discussed by the two National Security Advisers as part of this Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.

AFP
The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet next month in Delhi to work out the details of the newly-announced Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue after the two countries decided to re-engage.Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, while making a statement in Parliament, said the Secretaries will decide on the modalities and schedule of the comprehensive dialogue the two countries have decided to engage in. Sources said the meeting will take place in Delhi. Aziz briefed the Parliament about the recently held ‘Heart of Asia’ conference and his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during which it was decided that the two countries would engage in a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aziz said all issues, including Kashmir, would be part of the peace talks under the agreed formula for the fresh re-engagement with India. “It was decided that the two Foreign Secretaries will meet next month to work out the details of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and the level of interaction in various Working Groups,” Aziz said. “This dialogue includes all the subjects of the Composite Dialogue, with some additions,” he told the Parliament, a day after lawmakers demanded that the government apprise them under what conditions the talks with India will be held.Aziz said it was also decided that terrorism would be discussed by the two National Security Advisers as part of this Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. “We had emphasised that Pakistan is a victim ofterrorism. We have lost tens of thousands of lives in the fight against terrorism. Zarb-e-Azb is the largest counter-terrorism operation of its kind and is being internationally acknowledged and appreciated,” he said. Aziz lauded the vision of Prime Ministers of the two countries — Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi — for starting of talks after their meeting in Paris on November 30 paved way for the meeting of the two National Security Advisers in Bangkok on December 6.”Both the delegations were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia,” he said. Aziz said it was decided in the meeting with Swaraj to continue the constructive engagement between Pakistan and India.He said as announced in the joint statement, the two sides agreed to a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue to discuss security, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Baragge/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter- Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People-to-People exchanges and religious tourism.Earlier, the lawmakers had criticised the government for agreeing on a joint statement which they said “favoured” India.

EAM Sushma Swaraj to discuss Indo-Pak developments in Parliament

Responding to a notice of adjournment motion by Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Swaraj will make a statement in the House and the government is also willing for a discussion.

Sushma Swaraj
File Photo

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement in Parliament on the recent developments in India Pakistan relations on Friday, government said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.Responding to a notice of adjournment motion by Saugata Roy (Trinamool Congress) on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Swaraj will make a statement in the House and the government is also willing for a discussion. He said usually there is no discussion after a statement but the External Affairs Minister is willing for a debate on the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Several developments have taken place in between. I spoke with the minister (who was in Islamabad on Wednesday) and she will make a statement…we are willing for a discussion,” he said apparently responding to Roy’s notice on the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris during climate change talks.India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to start a comprehensive bilateral dialogue as Swaraj confirmed that Prime Minister Modi will visit Islamabad next year to attend the SAARC summit.

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

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

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

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

The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan who had recently met in Bangkok, will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries

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

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.

Pakistani channel says PM Modi to visit Pak for SAARC meet next year

Geo TV quoted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is here for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, for the news report but Indian officials said she had made no such statement.

A leading Pakistani TV channel on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Pakistan for the SAARC Summit next year.Geo TV quoted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is here for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, for the news report but Indian officials said she had made no such statement.However, the officials made it clear that 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.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is slated to be held in Pakistan late next year.

Govt under pressure to have ‘pointless’ talks with Pakistan: Shiv Sena

“Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.

Maintaining their stand against Pakistan, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said that it was pointless to have talks with the hostile neighbour and alleged that the government was under duress to hold dialogues. “Have been saying from the start that it’s pointless to have talks with Pakistan is pointless. It seems as if the government is under pressure and is being forced to talk to them. Terror groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan are waging a war on India, is the government blind to that?” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. The Shiv Sena had earlier condemned the India-Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks happened in Bangkok, saying that having talks with the hostile neighbour was futile as their main goal was to destroy India by sponsoring terrorism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who is in Islamabad attending the Heart of Asia Summit, called for a mature relationship between India and Pakistan in their trade relation and said that the world is rooting for change between the relations of the two hostile neighbours.Post the opening address at the Summit, Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and is slated to hold bilateral talks with him and his adviser Sartaj Aziz later in the day.

Heart of Asia conference: Sushma Swaraj ‘extends a hand to Pakistan’, says we must display maturity in doing business

India on Wednesday extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying 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.

India on Wednesday extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan, saying 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.Speaking at ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference, that began with an aim to intensify efforts for regional linkages and to promote peace and stability in war-torn Afghanistan, Swaraj said, “India’s vision for Afghanistan is one of interlinked trade, transit, energy and communication routes with the country as an important hub.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She further added, “Nothing can benefit Afghanistan more than full and direct overland access to India’s markets. India is willing to receive Afghan trucks at Attari. We are willing to join Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade & Transit Agreement.”Further stating that let me take this opportunity to extend our hand to Pakistan as well, she added, “It is time that we display the maturity and self-confidence to do business with each other and strengthen regional trade and cooperation. The entire world is waiting and rooting for a change. Let us not disappoint them.””For its part, India is prepared to move our cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with. But today, let us at least resolve to help Afghanistan – in the best traditions of good neighbourliness – through more effective transit arrangements,” she said.Swaraj also said that it is our collective duty to ensure that the forces of terrorism and extremism do not find sanctuaries and safe havens in any name, form or manifestation.Earlier, Sharif, in his inaugural address, said, “Afghanistan is the heart of Asia and if there is trouble in the heart, the entire region will be turbulent.”He said peace was vital for development and extended full support for the elected government of Afghanistan, saying it was the “only representative of the Afghan people”.Sharif also called for a collective approach to combat the menace of extremism and terrorism.”Working for the achievement of a peaceful neighbourhood is a cardinal principal of Pakistan’s foreign policy. We firmly believe that peace is vital for development, and development is vital for durable peace.” he said.The Pakistan Prime Minister welcomed the delegates and promised full support to all efforts for increasing peace in the region with the emphasis on stabilising Afghanistan.

‘I have come with a message to move forward’, says EAM Sushma Swaraj in Islamabad

“I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj.

Image Courtesy: MEA

Setting the tone for their talks on Wednesday, foreign ministers of India and Pakistan on Tuesday expressed optimism and desire to improve ties which have witnessed strain in the past few months, maintaining the effort will be to carry forward the engagement.After arriving on a two-day visit, primarily to attend a multilateral meet on Afghanistan, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said relationship between the two countries should be better and that she will hold talks with Pakistani leaders to find ways to improve bilateral ties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj.Swaraj will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaz Aziz and call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the conference on Wednesday.Aziz said he was expecting a “good and positive” outcome from the meeting and both sides should take forward the engagement to improve ties.Swaraj’s visit comes after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.Later in the night Sushma Swaraj met her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz during a banquet hosted by him for the heads of delegates participating in a multilateral conference on Afghanistan.Aziz greeted Swaraj warmly and both engaged in a brief conversation. Aziz later sat next to Swaraj.The fifth ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, an annual gathering of Asian and other countries, is aimed at enhancing cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the region.The high-ranking delegations from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international and regional organisations are participating in the two-day conference.

India to host next ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in 2016

External Affairs Minister is currently in Islamabad attending the Heart of Asia 2015.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

AFP photo
India will host the next multilateral meeting on Afghanistan in the last quarter of 2016.Talking to reporters after the meeting of the senior officials of the participating nations at the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad, Indian delegates said that the gathering was working on a declaration which will call for denial of sanctuaries and safe havens to terrorists in the region.The senior officials’ meeting was part of the ‘Istanbul Process’ aimed at enhancing cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The significant development is that India is going to host the next Heart of Asia conference in the last quarter of 2016,” officials said.Giving details of the ongoing deliberations, the officials said the aim is coordinate the efforts of the countries in the region to support Afghanistan in achieving peace and stability.

Sushma Swaraj meets Sartaj Aziz in banquet for Heart of Asia delegates

After arriving here, Swaraj said relationship between the two countries should be better and that she will hold talks with Pakistani leaders to find ways to improve bilateral ties

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz during a banquet hosted by him for the heads of delegates participating in a multilateral conference on Afghanistan. Aziz greeted Swaraj warmly and both engaged in a brief conversation. Aziz later sat next to Swaraj. Swaraj arrived here on a two-day visit, primarily to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan tomorrow.She will hold talks with Aziz and call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the conference tomorrow. The fifth ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, an annual gathering of Asian and other countries, is aimed at enhancing cooperation for countering security threats and promoting connectivity in the region. The high-ranking delegations from 14 participating states, 17 supporting countries and 12 international and regional organisations are participating in the two-day conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After arriving here, Swaraj said relationship between the two countries should be better and that she will hold talks with Pakistani leaders to find ways to improve bilateral ties. “I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj. Swaraj’s visit comes after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.

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

Immediately after arriving in Islamabad, Sushma Swaraj said the relationship between India and Pakistan should be better and that she will hold talks to find ways to improve bilateral ties.
File Photo
PTI
Ahead of his talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said he was expecting a “good and positive” outcome from the meeting on Wednesday and both sides should take forward the engagement to improve ties.”My expectations are good and positive from talks tomorrow,” Aziz told PTI.Immediately after arriving in Islamabad, Swaraj said the relationship between India and Pakistan should be better and that she will hold talks to find ways to improve bilateral ties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My message is also that we should take our engagement forward and improve ties,” Aziz said when asked about Swaraj’s comment that she has come with a message that ties between the two countries should be “good and move forward”.Swaraj is in Islamabad to lead the Indian delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan. Swaraj will hold talks with Aziz and call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the conference tomorrow.Swaraj’s visit comes after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement. Aziz had said on Monday that the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent.During his talks with Swaraj, Aziz said he would discuss various matters with focus on resumption of composite dialogue process between the two countries.

Indo-Pak Talks: Top Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir’s account hacked, makes bizarre comments about Sushma

He wrote on Twitter: “I have been receiving a lot of twitter password reset requests recently. Someone trying to hack me.I have changed my twitter email and recovered the password. Thank God.”

File Photo

On Tuesday, Hamid Mir, one of the top Pakistan’s journalist’s Twitter account seemed to have been hacked as whoever was handling his account made some rather mischievous comments. Mir wrote on Twitter that he had been receiving lots of password resets.He wrote on Twitter: “I have been receiving a lot of twitter password reset requests recently. Someone trying to hack me.I have changed my twitter email and recovered the password. Thank God.”The account before it was allegedly recovered made a host of bizarre comments including one which suggested India’s External Affair Minister was having an affair with PM Nawaz Sharif. His tweet read: “According to my sources, sushma swaraj is having secret relationship with PM Nawaz Sharif and she is here to have some fun :).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
There were other bizarre tweets as well, along with various emails from Hamid Mir’s personal account.This comes at a time when Sushma Swaraj is leading a delegation to improve bilateral ties with the country. She was quoted saying: “I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj, who is in Islamabad to lead the Indian delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday.She refused to share what she would be discussing with Pakistani leaders, but said, “What will happen during the talks will be known after meeting.””Heart of Asia conference is very important for India because it is associated with Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to participate. Since it is happening in Pakistan it is necessary and appropriate for me to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold talks with my counterpart Sartaz Aziz to talk about improving the bilateral ties and take them forward,” Swaraj said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reaches Islamabad

Upon her arrival in Islamabad, Swaraj said that the Heart of Asia conference holds immense importance.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday reached Islamabad to attend a multilateral conference, during which she will hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz and meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on Wednesday. In Islamabad, she will hold talks with Aziz and call on the Pakistani Prime Minister.Upon her arrival in Islamabad, Swaraj said that the Heart of Asia conference holds immense importance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Heart of Asia conference is important because its associated with Afghanistan, that is why I came specially to attend this. I will meet Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif and my counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Efforts will be on to improve relations,” Swaraj said.Aziz had said on Monday that the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent and the focus of the meeting would be on the resumption of the stalled composite dialogue process.Swaraj’s visit comes three days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.

Sushma Swaraj to visit Pakistan for ‘Heart of Asia’ meeting, talks with Sartaj Aziz on cards

Swaraj’s visit comes two days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on Sunday in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.

During her visit, Sushma Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.

PTI
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel on Tuesday for a multilateral conference in Islamabad, where she will also hold talks with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, who said the focus would be on the resumption of composite dialogue process.”External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to lead Indian delegation for ‘Heart of Asia’ 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.Swaraj’s visit comes two days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on Sunday in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement. She will call on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and meet his Adviser on Foreign Affairs Aziz on the sidelines of the Afghan meet on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Islamabad, Aziz told reporters that Swaraj is arriving tomorrow to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ Conference and during her visit she will also call on Sharif. Aziz said the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent.During his talks with Swaraj, Aziz said various matters with focus on resumption of composite dialogue process between the two countries will be discussed. Swaraj’s visit comes three years after former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna travelled to Islamabad in 2012 when the countries also inked a visa liberalisation pact.During her visit, Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.The joint statement after the meeting of NSAs said the talks were held pursuant to a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the climate meet in Paris, rejecting the version given by the Indian side then that it was a mere “exchange of courtesies” although Sharif had told Pakistani media that he had a “good meeting” and “doors of dialogue should open”.Before Paris, Modi and Sharif had held bilateral meeting in Russian city of Ufa where they decided that their NSAs would meet to discuss all “terror-related” issues. However, Pakistan had called-off Aziz’ visit after New Delhi had made it clear that he would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in the Indian capital.

India yet to confirm Sushma Swaraj’s visit: Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

Heart of Asia conference, which will discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan, is scheduled to begin in Islamabad on December 9.

Amid reports of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s likely visit to Pakistan to attend a conference, Pakistan Ambassador to India Abdul Basit on Friday said that they are yet to get confirmation in this regard from the Indian government.”We have not got confirmation yet,” the Pakistan Envoy told exclusively to ANI when asked about Swaraj’s participation in the conference on Afghanistan to be held in Islamabad. If Swaraj visits Pakistan then it will be the first bilateral visit at the Foreign Minister’s level to Pakistan under the NDA government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heart of Asia conference, which will discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan, is scheduled to begin in Islamabad on December 9.India has been invited for the conference. But, the MEA has not yet given any indication as to who will represent India there.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj likely to visit Pakistan next week

A Foreign Office (FO) official said that Pakistan has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries including India for the meeting. “We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far have not confirmed high-level participation,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Sushma Swaraj
File Photo

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to visit Pakistan next week for a regional conference on Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said on Thursday.Pakistan is co-hosting a ministerial-level conference on December 9 to discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan and officials of about 27 countries are expected to attend it.A Foreign Office (FO) official said that Pakistan has invited the Foreign Ministers of different countries including India for the meeting. “We hope for maximum participation, though some of the countries like India so far have not confirmed high-level participation,” he said on condition of anonymity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another FO official said there was “greater possibility” that Swaraj would come to Pakistan for the regional conference after the brief interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart in Paris on the sidelines of the UN climate summit. According to Dawn, a senior Pakistani official said that Swaraj was “highly likely” to attend the meeting.The Express Tribune quoted officials at Pakistan’s Foreign Office and an Indian diplomat that “Swaraj will most likely attend the conference following this week’s unscheduled meeting between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India in Paris”.Modi and Sharif had a brief meeting during which they warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat, with the Indian side describing the encounter as a “brief exchange of courtesies” but Pakistanis terming it as a “good” meeting.Swaraj’s possible visit may also indicate breaking of impasse created in Indo-Pak ties after the cancellation of a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries in August amid mutual blame game.

Yogendra Yadav claims AAP MLA from Hari Nagar threatened to beat him up

He said that he told his Ravinder, his associate that would come to Yogendra Yadav’s home and slap him.

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav has claimed that AAP MLA from Hari Nagar Jagdeep Singh threatened him by telling his associate that he would beat him up. He said that he told his Ravinder, his associate that would come to Yogendra Yadav’s home and slap him.He said that the MLA was most welcome to his house, but not to take his title ‘Chief Whip of AAP’ seriously.

India reiterates need for political solution to Nepal’s crisis

New Delhi: With the political impasse in Nepal showing no signs of easing, India on Wednesday asked its neighbour to normalise the situation as soon as possible while asserting that it has always stood for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal which also is in India’s interest.

During her meeting with visiting Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told him that India has gone out of the way to ensure medical supplies to the Himalayan nation while rejecting any hindrance to supplies from the country.

Sushma Swaraj. AFPSushma Swaraj. AFP

Sushma Swaraj. AFP

On his part, Thapa briefed Swaraj on the political dialogue with various stakeholders and informed her that the ministerial level dialogue has been upgraded to the top leadership level in his country.

Swaraj “reiterates need for urgent political solution to political problems facing Nepal”, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

She also told Thapa “that there is no hindrance to supplies from India. But Nepal needs to normalise situation as soon as possible”, the Spokesperson added.

The minister also underlined the fact that India has gone out of the way to ensure medical supplies to Nepal during the talks.

The visiting dignitary told Swaraj that there has been focused discussions on four key issues concerning a section of Nepalese population i.e – constituency delimitation, political representation, citizenship and demarcation of provinces.

Thapa, who is visiting India for the second time in less than two months, hoped for an early resolution of the issues, official sources said. During his first visit in October within days of assuming office, Thapa had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj after which Indian officials had agreed to re-route the vehicles carrying essential supplies to Nepal from those border points which are less disturbed.

Since the promulgation of the Constitution in Nepal in September, the Indian-origin Madhesi population has been agitating as they believe the country’s new Constitution discriminates against them, denying them equal standing with other Nepalis.

The agitation obstructed supply of essential commodities including petrol thereby creating a crisis in Nepal, which accused India of imposing a “economic blockade”. India has denied the charge and has been asking that country to take steps which should ensure broad-based ownership and acceptance of the Constitution by all section of the society including those disaffected agitating forces.

Meanwhile, in Parliament, Swaraj said India would continue to maintain close engagement and bilateral exchanges, as well as extend all assistance in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal, for peace, stability and socio-economic development of the country.

PTI

PM seeks justice for TN woman whose hand was chopped off by Saudi employer: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent meeting with Saudi ruler Salman Al Saud in Turkey sought justice for Kasthuri Munirathnam the woman from Tamil Nadu whose arm was chopped off recently by her employer in Saudi Arabia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTIExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

PM Modi met the king Salman Al Saud in Turkey on the margins of the G20 Summit on 16 November.

The 56-year-old maid hails from Mungileri village near Katpadi in Tamil Nadu. She has returned home since the brutal attack in Riyadh in October.

Swaraj said when the incident of Munirathnam came to light, the Indian Embassy immediately contacted the Saudi Arabian authorities and insisted on registering an attempt to murder case,”However, I am pained to say that the Saudi authorities soon issued a statement saying she fell down while trying to flee the house of her employer… We have not accepted this and continue to pursue the case to get her justice.”

The External Affairs Minister said the government was working with several Gulf countries to stop the exploitation of Indian labourers in those countries.

Swaraj, who is also Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, said that it was a common complaint that many employers in Gulf countries seize the passports of their Indian employees to ensure that they do not return home easily.

To help such distressed Indian workers, she said, Indian missions often hold public grievance meetings to help them and try to retrieve such passports from their employers…If these efforts do not bear fruit, such distressed Indians are given emergency exit permit for their return.

The Minister said the government has already decided that all Indians going abroad as domestic help must go through government-registered recruitment agencies so that no exploitation takes place.

Swaraj futher added that those who go abroad through unregistered recruitment agents in an unscrupulous manner would be held under human trafficking and that the government is trying to bring such activities under the ambit of Anti-Human Trafficking Act.

PTI

Sushma Swaraj leaves for Malta to attend Commonwealth Summit

The Summit of the 53-member bloc, born out of the British empire, comes two weeks after the deadly terror attack in Paris and it is expected to deliberate extensively on finding effective ways to counter terrorism and radicalisation.

Sushma Swaraj leaves for Malta. Image Courtesy: MEA

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday embarked on a visit to Malta to attend the Commonwealth Summit beginning on Friday which is likely to focus on combating terrorism and violent extremism as well as tackling climate change.The Summit of the 53-member bloc, born out of the British empire, comes two weeks after the deadly terror attack in Paris and it is expected to deliberate extensively on finding effective ways to counter terrorism and radicalisation.India is Commonwealth’s biggest member country and Swaraj will articulate India’s position on a number of key issues at the Summit which is likely to be attended by more than 30 heads of state and government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Adding Global Value, with the Commonwealth! EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for the CHOGM Summit in Malta,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.The three-day long Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is also going to discuss a range of issues relating to climate change and it will try to drum up political support before the Paris Summit.A special Executive Session on Climate Change will discuss various issues to tackle climate change with particular focus on producing a unified commitment by the Commonwealth countries at the Paris summit.UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius are likely to attend the session.CHOGM is held after every two years and the theme for this year’s meeting is Adding Global Value. The Summit is also likely to deliberate on issues relating to trade and commerce and migration among others.In 2013, the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh did not participate in the CHOGM summit held in Colombo in view of opposition by parties in Tamil Nadu as well as a section in Congress over alleged human rights abuses by the host during the 26-year civil war.The Commonwealth countries are home to around 2.2 billion people of which over 60 per cent are under the age of 30. The grouping includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Thirty-one of its members are small states, many of them island nations.The Summit, likely to be attended by Queen Elizabeth II, will also deliberate on ways to tackle radicalisation and extremism.Malta, a Southern European island country comprising an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is hosting the CHOGM for the second time.

Government to brazen it out in winter session, as Opposition plans ‘intolerance’ offensive

The meeting attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and ministers of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, was held at the residence of Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu.

Anticipating an Opposition onslaught in the winter session of Parliament on the “intolerance” issue, the government appears all set to brazen it out. Senior ministers, who met on Tuesday to discuss strategy for the session, were of the view that there was no reason for the government to go on the defensive, according to sources.The meeting attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and ministers of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, was held at the residence of Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They discussed recent incidents like Dadri and Kalburgi killing, which have triggered a debate on “rising intolerance” with the Opposition targeting the BJP-led NDA government. In an indication that the government tactic would be aimed at turning the tables on Opposition parties, the ministers were of the view that such incidents were strictly in the domain of state governments, the sources said. The ministers said that the NDA government and BJP had nothing to do with it and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already responded in the matter.Further, they decided that if Opposition wanted to discuss the issue, government would agree despite these being state subjects. Government would also be willing to facilitate discussion on any matter of larger concern sought to be raised by opposition, the sources said. The meeting was held even as Aamir Khan’s intolerance comments had sparked off a political row.The strategy for passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Real Estate Regulation bills, which top the government agenda for the session, and other legislations, was also discussed at the meeting.A series of meetings will be held on Wednesday, a day before the Parliament session begins on November 26. While an all-party meeting has been convened by the government in the morning, meetings of the NDA floor leaders and BJP parliamentary party, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will be held in the evening. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will be meeting leaders of parties in Lok Sabha.The government is likely to fine tune its strategy for its counter-offensive after the Prime Minister returns from Singapore on Wednesday.

AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar gets thrown out of Assembly for criticising Arvind Kejriwal govt

The Timarpur MLA, who is an active member of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-run Swaraj Abhiyan, accused the government of having “failed” to provide better education to children.

Pushkar also attacked Goel saying the Speaker was “misusing his post by not allowing him to speak.”

Dissident AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar was today marshalled out of the Delhi Assembly after he raised the issue of lakhs of government school students having “failed” the mid-term exams. The action was taken after Pushkar persistently raised the issue which was seen by the Speaker as disruption of House proceedings. “Out of 3 lakh class 9 students studying in Delhi government schools, 2.5 lakh students failed the mid-term exams. Government doesn’t want to allow me to take up this issue in the Assembly,” Pushkar said.The Timarpur MLA, who is an active member of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-run Swaraj Abhiyan, accused the government of having “failed” to provide better education to children. “With the failing of lakhs of students you can well imagine what type of education is being imparted in govt schools,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pushkar also attacked Goel saying the Speaker was “misusing his post by not allowing him to speak.” Pushkar termed the recently tabled Education Bills as an “eyewash” and alleged that they were being introduced “on the behest of private schools.”

‘We want Ramzan to unite with his mother’, says Sushma Swaraj

“I have asked my mother to come here. I have told her that I am being treated well here. I want to go to Pakistan,” he said.

“The Pakistan High Commission has not said anything about it yet,” Swaraj told the media here. (File Photo)

AFP
External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said India wants 15-year-old Pakistani boy Ramzan, who has been stranded in Bhopal for over two years, to unite with his mother. “Ramzan told me that his mother has told him that she wants to come to take him from here. We want Ramzan to unite with his mother. Now it’s up to Pakistan if they want to accept him as a citizen because Pakistan will give that visa. The Pakistan High Commission has not said anything about it yet,” Swaraj told the media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When I learnt about Ramzan’s case, I asked the Indian High Commission to Pakistan to meet Ramzan’s mother and ask her if she wishes to come to India. If Ramzan’s mother is ready to come to India, then we are willing to give her visa for that time,” she added. Swaraj further said if Ramzan’s mother does not have any document or proof to give to the Pakistan High Commission then the DNAs can be matched. Meanwhile, Ramzan looked quite relaxed and expressed his desire to go back home. “I have asked my mother to come here. I have told her that I am being treated well here. I want to go to Pakistan,” he said.Ramzan, who hails from Karachi, was separated from his mother at age of 10 when his father Mohammad took him to Bangladesh and remarried. After being tortured by his step-mother, the boy crossed the border alone in 2011 with the hope of coming back to his mother in Pakistan.Ramzan travelled to many states before landing in Bhopal.

India, France discuss ways to deal with terrorism

The two leaders also discussed the recent Paris attack in which at least 130 people were killed as well as the Mali hostage crisis.

Swaraj expressed her deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Paris attack, the sources said.

India and France on Friday held extensive discussions on ways of enhancing cooperation to deal with increasing menace of terrorism internationally with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj strongly advocating an early adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN. During talks with her visiting French counterpart Laurent Fabius, Swaraj also insisted that it was important for the international community to speak in one voice which was the only way to address terrorism effectively, official sources said.The two leaders also discussed the recent Paris attack in which at least 130 people were killed as well as the Mali hostage crisis. Swaraj expressed her deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Paris attack, the sources said. “Standing shoulder to shoulder with France. EAM @SushmaSwaraj meets with French Foreign Minister @LaurentFabius,” the Spokesperson in the MEA tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the bilateral front, Swaraj and Fabius, who had earlier called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also took stock of the implementation of the bilateral agreements done during Modi’s visit to France earlier this year.Swaraj hosted a working dinner for Fabius which was also attended by Power and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal during which they discussed India’s ambitious targets to scale up energy production through renewable sources including solar and wind.

India undecided on whether Sushma Swaraj will attend Pakistan conference

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup confirmed that a formal invitation has been received for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference on Afghanistan that will take place in Islamabad on December 7 and 8.

Sushma Swaraj

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India is undecided on whether External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will participate at the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference for which host Pakistan has invited her, it was officially said in New Delhi on Thursday. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup confirmed that a formal invitation has been received for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference on Afghanistan that will take place in Islamabad on December 7 and 8. But added that “We are yet to decide on the level of our participation.” The pros and cons of Pakistan’s invitation are being weighed with one view being that Swaraj should attend the conference given India’s strategic interest in Afghanistan and any low-level participation to the ministerial meet may not be good.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, a counter view to this was that Swaraj’s travel may undermine India’s concerns over terror emanating from Pakistan and she may have to hold a bilateral meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz which is not how India wants to sequence its interactions with that country. Swarup also made it clear that India was “more than willing” to start the process that was agreed in Ufa between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Under the Ufa understanding, the next meeting should be between the National Security Advisors of the two countries on all issues pertaining to terror.Asked about Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s remarks on Wednesday that unilateralism and preconditions were a recipe for gridlock in relations and his assertion that “aspirations of Kashmiris can neither be ignored nor suppressed”, Swarup said there was nothing new in the comments.

Acid attack on Russian: Sushma Swaraj seeks report from UP govt

The 23-year-old Russian national had suffered 46 per cent burn injuries after a local youth threw acid on her on November 13 in Nand Nagar area of Varanasi.

The Union minister also noted that the accused has been arrested.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the incident of acid attack on a Russian woman in Varanasi. “As I learnt about the acid attack on the Russian girl in Varanasi, I asked for a report from UP Government,” Swaraj said in a tweet. The Union minister also noted that the accused has been arrested.The 23-year-old Russian national had suffered 46 per cent burn injuries after a local youth threw acid on her on November 13 in Nand Nagar area of Varanasi. The victim has been shifted to a Delhi hospital after initial treatment in Varanasi.She has dual citizenship of Russia and Bulgaria. During her stay at the Varanasi house, she came close to the landlord’s son Siddharth Srivastava, who is a student of music at Banaras Hindu University, a senior police officer had said. “Srivastav was unhappy over the decision of the woman to return to Russia. They had a quarrel over the issue after which Srivastav threw acid on her,” Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhary had said.Srivastav’s mother heard the woman’s cries and rushed her to hospital.On the next day, Srivastav, who had fled to Allahabad after committing the crime, was nabbed when he came back to visit the victim in the hospital, Kulhary said. A guilt-ridden Srivastav said at a press conference called by police, “I really feel shameful for my act, I don’t know whether I would ever be able to meet her in my life.” The victim was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi yesterday.Varanasi District Magistrate Rajmani Yadav told PTI that her health condition is stated to be stable. He also said that UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sanctioned Rs 5 lakh from the CM Relief Fund for the woman’s treatment.

US-bound Sushma Swaraj returns from mid-way in wake of Paris attacks

Los Angeles: The terror assaults in France have cast a shadow over the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was on her way to the US to inaugurate the event, returning to India from mid-way in the wake of the attacks.

The Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas kicked off on Saturday with hundreds of attendees honouring the victims of the horrific attacks with a minute’s silence.

File photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFPFile photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFP

File photo of Sushma Swaraj. AFP

Swaraj, who was on her way to the US, returned to New Delhi from mid-way in view of the Paris terror attacks.

Officials in New Delhi said Swaraj, who had a transit halt at Dubai on her way to the US, came back from there itself after hearing about the attacks in Paris that claimed over 120 lives.

Gen (rtd) V K Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, is now expected to attend the two-day event.

As the nearly 1,000 Indian-Americans attending the two-day event in Los Angeles mourned the loss of lives in the Paris terror attacks, top American lawmaker from California Brad Sherman said the attack in the French capital had all the hallmarks of the Mumbai terror attack that was launched in November 2008 by Lashkar-e-Taiba with the support of the Pakistani Army and its intelligence agencies.

“Today we should take a moment to reflect the attacks in Paris, New York, Iraq… and Mumbai. The Paris attack is based on model of the Mumbai terrorist attack,” said Sherman, a former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-committee on Terrorism.

The Paris and Mumbai attacks have shown how a small group of people can create havoc in a city.

“Attack on Mumbai was supported by LeT, Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency. The planning for this took several years,” he said adding that now ISIS has adopted the Mumbai model in Paris.

“We have to stand up to terrorism to say enough is enough,” Sherman said.

In his address at the event, Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh said there is an increasing desire among the Indian-Americans to connect with India.

Among the Indian diaspora, there is consciousness about the growing opportunities in India, he said.

Referring to the steps taken by the Narendra Modi-led government in the last 18 months, the Ambassador said with the changes happening in India there are growing opportunities in the country.

In the first six months of this year, India received the maximum FDI. India also topped the degree of confidence index this year, he said .

Indian-Americans, Singh said, have been contributing a lot to the development of both India and the United States.

The Indian government yesterday announced new internship programme for Indian-Americans youths in India.

“Indian American community is playing an essential role in America in every way,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu, Chairman of the powerful Asian Pacific American Caucus.

At the event, Kali P Chaudhuri, Chairman and Founder of the KPC Group of Companies, was presented with the NRI of the Year Award.

The Indian Consul General at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco Venkatesan Ashok also spoke on the occasion.

Anil K Agarwal, Secretary in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, said the Indian Diaspora is making a very important contribution to the India-US relationship.

Noting that somewhere deep in the heart of the Indian-Americans there is desire to make India a country of opportunities as is this country, he said, “We in Ministry our task to provide you with a platform to fulfil this desire of yours.”

The theme of the event is ‘The Indian Diaspora: Defining a New Paradigm in India-US relationship’ which aims to capture the ethos of the India-US relationship.

Los Angeles is only the second US city to host the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (RPBD), after New York.

Previous venues for RPBD events were London, Sydney, Toronto, Singapore, Durban, Mauritius and The Hague.

The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) of the Confederation of Indian Industry also organised an Indian Diaspora Business Meet on the sidelines of the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Officials from Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Kerala also participated in the business meet.

The inaugural event was followed by a cultural extravaganza.

PTI

Paris attacks: All Indians safe in France, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

At least 127 people were killed and nearly 200 others injured in a series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular restaurants, in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
File Photo
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No Indian casualty has been reported in the dreadful terror attacks in France that killed at least 127 people and injured nearly 200 others, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.”I have spoken to Indian Ambassador in France. He has informed me that all Indians are safe. France has advised citizens to stay indoors,” Swaraj, who is in Los Angeles to attend Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), tweeted.Earlier, Manish Prabhat, Indian Deputy Chief of Mission here had told PTI that “So far, no casualty of any Indian has been reported as per the information available with us. We released a helpline number following the information of attacks and throughout the night have received calls, but no incident involving an Indian has been reported.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are trying to reach out to the Indian community members here also using the social media and are advising them to further reach out in their circles for any information,” he added.At least 127 people were killed and nearly 200 others injured in a series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular restaurants, in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II.

AAP suspends NRI cell co-convener Munish Raizada for ‘anti-party activities’

AAP has alleged that Raizada was recently involved in “anti-party activities” by putting its internal affairs in public domain and the action came after his reply failed to convince the leadership, party sources said

Munish Raizada

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has suspended its Chicago-based co-convener of NRI cell Munish Raizada from the primary membership for indulging in “anti-party activities by putting internal affairs in public domain.” Raizada, who had been handling AAP’s overseas affairs, was associated with the party right from its formation and before that with India Against Corruption (IAC).AAP has alleged that Raizada was recently involved in “anti-party activities” by putting its internal affairs in public domain and the action came after his reply failed to convince the leadership, party sources said. A disciplinary notice was sent to Raizada on November 7 and he was suspended from the membership yesterday, which was convyed to him through an e-mail sent by the party’s overseas affairs wing. The email states, “You (Raizada) have not only put internal party correspondence in public domain but also shared it with undisclosed recipient(s), clearly showing that you have no intention of stopping your anti-party activities of creating structures or forums without the permission of the party and misleading volunteers.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We thereby relieve you from any organisational responsibility given and suspend your primary membership of AAP with immediate effect,” it said. The mail has also been sent to AAP leaders Kumar Vishvas, Adarsh Shastri, Preeti Sharma Menon and others. Refuting the charges levelled against him, Raizada said, the truth is that AAP has lost its democracy within. “I was trying to keep it alive by having talks on common platform. I have been suspended from the party, but as a solider of democracy and the party, I would be striving for it,” he told PTI from Chicago.Raizada, along with Jai Nath Misra of London have launched an internal group called Lokpal, which they said was a platform of volunteers of AAP and its main objective was to have an assessment whether AAP was on the path of Swaraj and inner democracy or not. “Every volunteer is Lokpal in himself. It is an attempt to channelize the energy of the volunteers and well wishers of the party to preserve the ideals for which Aam Aadmi Party was founded,” said Raizada, adding that AAP has deviated from its base.Raizada, an MBBS from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, and practising as neo-natalogist in the US, said he had made sacrifices for the party and never thought that its internal democracy would fade away so soon. “I sacrificed my job and took long leaves to strengthen the party across the country. I was very much impressed with the ideology with which (AAP convener) Arvind Kejriwal had raised a hope among all the Indians. Even I donated from my pocket into the party fund. But I did not anticipate that internal democracy from the party would die this way,” he said.He also termed expulsion of leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from AAP as “unfortunate” and said that had there been internal democracy in the party, this situation would not have arisen.”

‘Occupy UGC’: Yogendra Yadav to spend night at protest venue

As the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement entered 15th day on Tuesday, Yadav along with Swaraj Abhiyan leaders marched from Constitution Club to the UGC office near ITO where students have been camping

Yogendra Yadav

Swaraj Abhiyan leader and former UGC member Yogendra Yadav on Tuesday decided to spend a night with the students protesting outside the Commission’s against scrapping of non-NET fellowships.As the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement entered 15th day on Tuesday, Yadav along with Swaraj Abhiyan leaders marched from Constitution Club to the UGC office near ITO where students have been camping. Earlier in the day, a resolution was passed in the Swaraj Abhiyan Youth Summit, rejecting UGC’s decision to scrap the fellowship as “non-acceptable”. “We welcomed this protest on the very first day. I know what happens inside the commission, I have earlier also said that this committee was constituted to expand the scope of the fellowship and not to discontinue them. Today, I will sit the entire night with the protesters,” Yadav said while addressing the protesting students.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protesters burnt effigy of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that their fellows who conducted a similar protest in Kolkata yesterday were lathicharged by police. Students from Allahabad University also joined the “Occupy UGC” protesters on Tuesday. Besides Yogendra Yadav, former AAP leaders Anand Kumar, Prashant Bhusan and Dharamveer Gandhi also came to the protest venue to express solidarity with the students.”The government is anti-people. The only thing that they do is issue diktats what to wear, what to eat, whom to marry.They are cutting funds in education we will fight them inside Parliament and outside too,” Gandhi said. UGC had resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, citing shortage of resources. Amidst protests by the students against the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship, the government had last week appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC, which, meanwhile, has been asked to continue all existing grants.The students, however, have been continuing their protests as they rejected the government’s statement as an “eyewash” and are demanding that the review criterion be changed and the fellowship amount increased. “The committee is non-committal about extending the fellowship to all state universities or increasing the amount… The Review Committee constituted by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has members with questionable credentials,” Sucheta De, one of the protesters, said.On Monday, the ‘Occupy UGC’ movement had spread to other parts of the country with students holding similar agitations in Kolkata, Pune, Allahabad and Varanasi. Today, students from Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu also held an agitation outside the regional UGC office.

India, Africa united by goals of progress: Sushma Swaraj

India and Africa are united by their common goals of peace, progress and prosperity, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said as she sought cooperation and partnership between the two in the spirit of “sabka saath, sabka vikas.”

India and Africa are united by their common goals of peace, progress and prosperity, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said as she sought cooperation and partnership between the two in the spirit of “sabka saath, sabka vikas.”Speaking at the third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, she said the gathering of Heads of Governments and States was like a “family reunion” and pointed to the shared history of struggle against imperialism, colonialism, racial discrimination and apartheid.Swaraj said at one time India and Africa were one landmass, united by geology and today are “united by our common goal for progress, prosperity and peace around the world.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She said two are also joined together by the 2.7 million strong Indian diaspora in Africa, which is contributing actively to its economic development.”India has always stood for and with Africa. Ours is a relationship forged in the crucible of the shared struggle against imperialism, colonialism, racial discrimination and apartheid. That era is now behind us, but the solidarity engendered by that shared struggle continues,” Swaraj said.She said the modern partnership between India and Africa rests on the pillars of economic growth, development and empowerment and is a consolidation of engagement at various levels bilateral, regional and pan African.”The longstanding and multifaceted India-Africa development partnership is based on the principles of equality, friendship and solidarity. It represents one of the finest examples of South-South cooperation,” Swaraj said adding that she was confident that the Summit will chart a bold new course for future cooperation.”We want to travel far on the path of development and we want to travel together with our African friends and partners, in the true spirit of sabka saath, sabka vikas (Together with all, Development for all).

BJP petitions EC for cancelling Aam Admi Party’s registration

Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951.

PTI
Delhi BJP on Wednesday filed a petition before the Election Commission of India seeking deregistration of Aam Admi Party for “violation” of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of Peoples Act.Ashwini Upadhyay, a spokesperson of Delhi BJP, has filed the petition before the ECI for deregistering AAP for not “fulfilling” its poll promises of passing Janlokpal Bill and Swaraj Bill, in violation of Model Code of Conduct and Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951. “During entire election campaigns in 2015 and 2013, AAP leaders including present Chief Minister of Delhi promised to pass Janlokpal and Swaraj Bill within 15 days if AAP gets full majority but after coming to power, AAP government is conveniently ignoring both Bills,” he said in his petition before ECI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Janlokpal Bill and and Swaraj Bill were part of AAP manifestos in 2015 and 2013 but despite the thumping 96 per cent majority in Delhi assembly, both Bills are not enacted into law, he said. Delhi Cabinet passed Janlokapl Bill on February 3 and Swaraj Bill on February 13, 2014 and both Bills are property of Assembly. There is no constitutional or legal impediment in passing them, he stated in his petition.Upadhyay claimed to be actively associated with Janlokpal movement of India Against Corruption.”Petitioner is one of the founder member of Aam Aadmi Party and had been National Council member too. During the 2013 Delhi state election, petitioner was authorised signatory of AAP for election related matters,” Upadhyay stated in his petition. Upadhyay had joined the BJP in last November.

Geeta given rousing welcome in Indore

At the function organised by the institute to welcome her, Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, who accompanied her to the city from New Delhi, assured that the government will extend all possible help to Geeta for her future life.

PTI
Geeta, the deaf and mute girl who returned to India on Monday over a decade after inadvertently crossing into Pakistan, was accorded a grand welcome at the Ahilyabai Holkar airport in Indore on Tuesday night.Former State Minister Archita Chitnis, Indore Mayor Malini Gaud and several other political leaders received her. From the airport, she was taken to the premises of the institution for hearing-impaired where she would be staying for time being. At the institute, she was greeted by children who were eagerly waiting for her arrival.At the function organised by the institute to welcome her, Union Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot, who accompanied her to the city from New Delhi, assured that the government will extend all possible help to Geeta for her future life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Geeta, who had accidentally crossed over to Pakistan over a decade ago, had returned here to a grand welcome on Monday. However, she had failed to recognise a family which she had initially identified from photographs.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, addressing a press conference on Monday, had said Geeta refused to recognise the Mahato couple from Bihar which she had identified from photographs earlier. Swaraj said Geeta will be kept in the Indore institution for hearing-impaired people till her “real family” was found.Geeta was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation’s Bilquis Edhi and lived with her in Karachi.Her story came to light after the release of Salman Khan starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in which the hero unites a girl separated from her Pakistani mother who was visiting India.

Geeta’s story gets complicated, refuses to recognise Indian family

A team of doctors from the AIIMS, took blood samples of Geeta. Janardhan Mahato, who claims to be her father

Geeta with Sushma Swaraj

The story of deaf-mute Geeta got further complicated on Monday when she refused to recognise the Mahato family. Stranded in Pakistan 15 years ago, she arrived here to a rosy welcome. The family from Bihar had claimed Geeta as their lost daughter. In the chambers of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, where Mahato family was made to sit face-to-face, Geeta didn’t make any emotional bonding and preferred to stay with Indore based sign language expert Monika Punjabi.A team of doctors from the AIIMS, took blood samples of Geeta. Janardhan Mahato, who claims to be her father. The father has also already given his blood samples and is currently being tested at the Hyderabad based Central Forensic Laboratory.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Pakistani media had highlighted her case way back in 2012, it created ripples only after movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan which had a story on similar lines. Sushma took a political swipe at the previous UPA government for not showing pro-activeness, saying, “We came to power in 2014…There is a need to show pro-activeness on certain levels to settle such issues.”Recounting that when after the Salman Khan blockbuster hit screens and the electronic media raised the issue of Geeta, minister of external affairs immediately asked Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghavan to visit Karachi along with his wife to verify claims of Eidhi foundation and Geeta.Armed with sketchy details and pictures, which were displayed and broadcast through media, four families from Punjab, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had approached the ministry of external affairs claiming the mute girl is their child. “I asked chief ministers of these four states to verify claims. And finally it was only the Bihar family which was somewhat closer to reality. She (Geeta) responded to their pictures as well, when she was shown it in Karachi,” said Sushma. Sushma, however, hastened to add that their were loopholes in Mahato story as well. “They said Geeta had been married and had left her husbands’ home. But she was just 11, when she wandered over the border. And Geeta also denies she had married. But we still took their story, but called for DNA testing,” said the external affairs minister.Swaraj, said: “It doesn’t matter if we find her parents or not. She is a daughter of India and we will take care of her.” The government has already identified an Indore-based NGO working with speech and hearing impaired people to teach Geeta. At first, she was kept at a children’s home in Lahore, where she was given the Muslim name Fatima. She would point at maps of India, especially to an area somewhere in Bihar until she was able to finally communicate she was from India, and not a Pakistani.Manoj, claiming to be Geeta’s brother, said Geeta must have been confused right now and hoped once after settling down, she will recognise her family. He claimed that Geeta was married and used to live with her husband when she got lost from a ‘Baisakhi fair’.

Plot Mein Twist: Geeta refuses to identify Mahatos as her family

As Geeta made her way out of the ceremonial lounge of IGI around 11.30 PM, the family tried to make their way forward carrying rose petals and marigold garlands but she was whisked away by security personnel.

File Photo

Elated over Geeta’s return from Pakistan after a gap of 15 years, the Mahatos from Bihar today turned up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to accord a warm welcome to their “family member”, only to be left dejected hours later as she refused to recognise them.As Geeta made her way out of the ceremonial lounge of IGI around 11.30 PM, the family tried to make their way forward carrying rose petals and marigold garlands but she was whisked away by security personnel.Later, addressing a press conference, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Geeta refused to identify the Mahatos as her family. Earlier, she had identified them through pictures sent by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.Talking to a huge media posse outside the lounge, one Manoj, who claimed to be Geeta’s brother, expressed his “disappointment” over not being given the chance to garland the 23-year-old.”We want to meet her. Wanted to welcome her properly. It’s a great moment for us. We had lost all hope. Want to thankthe media, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, our lawyer. It’s like lord Rama’s homecoming after spending 14 years in exile. This is our Diwali,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Contrary to her categorical denials in this regard, he also claimed that Geeta was married and used to live with her husband when she got lost from a “Baisakhi fair”. Janardhan Mahato, who claims to be her father, thanked Swaraj and Pakistani officials for ensuring her return. “She will recognise us all and will embrace us the moment we meet her. She is not a girl anymore, she’s god.” Geeta was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. Indian government has said that Geeta would be handed over to the rightful family only after DNA test.