Thursday, July 16, 2020

India asks Pakistan to give incoditional access to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], July 16 (ANI): India has asked Pakistan to give unconditional access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, sources told ANI on Thursday.

Earlier Pakistan had claimed that he had refused to file a review plea. India said that he had been coerced into doing that.

India had last Thursday said it is assessing all legal options in the case related to Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan and assured that it is committed to protecting the life of Indian nationals.

Pakistan had earlier claimed that Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, has refused to initiate review petition of his sentence and conviction.

"We had pointed out how Pakistan's claim that Kulbushan Jadhav has refused to initiate a review petition, is a continuation of the farce playing out for the last 4 years. We are assessing our legal options and we remain committed to protecting the life of our Indian nationals," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said during a media briefing.

India had also dismissed Pakistan's claims that Jadhav has refused to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his conviction and stated that the Indian national was coerced by Islamabad to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance that allowed the High Court to review the sentence awarded by Pakistan's military court.

"Pakistan's claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan's custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case," Srivastava had said in the statement.

Jadhav was purportedly "arrested" from Balochistan by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, after he allegedly entered the country from Iran as claimed by Islamabad. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations about Jadhav's involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business.

Srivastava had said: "Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment". (ANI)

Important for India, EU to work together to fully use technology benefits: PM Modi

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New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that it is important for India and the European Union (EU) to work together to fully use the benefits of technology. The Prime Minister said that the 15th India-EU summit was "extremely fruitful" and discussions on COVID-19, multilateralism, trade and investment, among others. The EU was represented by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

"Today's India-EU Summit was an extremely fruitful one. @eucopresident @CharlesMichel, @EU_Commission, President @vonderleyen and I interacted on a variety of subjects including the COVID-19 situation, multilateralism, environment, trade, investment, digital economy and more," Modi tweeted. "The future belongs to technology. It is important to work together to further the usage of latest technology for the benefit of our people," the Prime Minister said.

Vikas Swarup, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West), said that five documents were released post the conclusion of the India-EU summit. He said, "The joint political statement summarises the deliberations and convergences between the two sides on various dimensions of bilateral cooperation, global issues of common interest and joint coronavirus response."

"The India-EU Strategic Partnership: Roadmap to 2025 summarises the framework of our dialogue and cooperation covering wide-ranging areas including foreign and security policy, trade and investment, modernisation, sustainable development, research and innovation, education and exchange of scholars, migration and mobility, and global governance," Swarup said. Discussions were also held on the India-European Atomic Energy Community Agreement on research and development cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy will enable collaboration between the Department of Atomic Energy and EURATOM on issues such as civil applications of atomic energy in areas such as (agriculture, healthcare, industry), radioactive waste management, fusion, nuclear safety and security.

"Renewal of Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement for another five years will enable the continuation of scientific projects and research exchanges in areas such as biotechnology, clean energy, e-mobility, energy efficiency, marine sciences, etc," Swarup said. The joint declaration on resource efficiency and circular economy will enable dialogue and cooperation in areas such as policy and regulations, exchange of best practices and capacities and technical exchanges in areas such as energy efficiency, waste management, recycling, circular business models; and in areas such as mobility, ICT, mobility, construction, food and textiles sector. (ANI)

New French PM says battle against 'radical islamism' an absolute priority

French Prime Minister Jean Castex

Paris (ANI): The new French Prime Minister jean Castex, has promised to be intransigent in defending the nation's official secularism. He gave his word to fight 'radical Islamism in all its forms" as "an absolute priority", reported Al Jazeera today.

Presenting his new government's policy in Paris on Webnesday, Castex said to the National Assembly that the French republic was being "shaken to its foundations" by "the coalition of its enemies - terrorists, conspiracy theorists, separatists and communitarians".

Castex, who graduated from the elite National School of Administration, stated that a new law to counter "separatism" was going to be intrduced.

It would aim to "avoid certain groups becoming closed in around ethnic or religious identities", he said.

China, India achieve progress in easing border situation during corps commander meeting: Chinese foreign ministry

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Beijing [China], July 16 (ANI): China and India have achieved progress in the further disengagement process and easing situation at the western sector of China-India boundary during 4th round of commander-level talks, Chinese Foreign Minister said on Wednesday.

Chinese and Indian border troops held 4th round of commander-level talks on Tuesday.

Addressing the media, Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying expressed hope that India will work with China to implement consensus with "concrete actions and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border areas".

The meeting between Corps commander-level officers including Lt Gen Harinder Singh lasted for close to 15 hours. It started on July 14 at 11:30 am and ended at 2 am on July 15, the Indian sources said.

"Chinese and Indian border troops held 4th round of commander-level talks on July 14. Building on the common understanding reached at previous three rounds of commander-level talks and corresponding implementation work," Hua said.

"The two sides achieved progress in further disengagement between border troops and easing situation at the western sector of China-India boundary. We hope India will work with China to implement consensus with concrete actions and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in border areas," she said.

The sources said the Chinese have agreed for complete withdrawal from other friction points including the Galwan Valley, Hot Springs, and Gogra post area in Eastern Ladakh.

"In the talks, the Chinese showed reluctance for complete withdrawal from Finger area as they want to maintain some elements in areas near Finger 8," a source said.
In the areas near Finger four, the Chinese troops have started dismantling their infrastructure from Blacktop and Greentop, the sources said.

However, India has made it clear that it will not accept anything less than both sides going back to their permanent locations which existed in the April-May time frame, the sources said. (ANI)

China trying to intimidate foreign, Chinese citizens overseas through Hong Kong law: Analyst

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Washington [US], July 16 (ANI): The draconian Hong Kong Security law not only impact those sitting in Hong Kong but also applies criminal penalties for vague political offences to anyone, anywhere in the world, regardless of whether they have a substantial connection to the city, The Diplomat reported.

The extraterritoriality of the law makes the measure even more expansive than the mainland's own National security law, The Diplomat reported citing legal experts.

The author of the report, Sarah Cook, a senior research analyst at Freedom House said that Article 38 of the Hong Kong security law is the only one of several steps that Chinese authorities have taken over the past month to assert control overviews expressed abroad and to intimidate both foreign and Chinese citizens overseas.

"Taken together, these moves are forcing people around the world to reassess travel itineraries, business models, and communication methods. While some policymakers, foreign leaders, and civil society groups have been outspoken in their criticism of Beijing's actions, they may ultimately be the outliers in a new global wave of self-censorship," she wrote.

Cook believes thousands of Hong Kong students currently overseas who have publicly supported the territory's pro-democracy protesters on foreign university campuses and social media are at the risk.

However, this is not clear yet whether Article 38 of the law will be applied retroactively punishing speech from before the law took effect.

Cook says that Article 38 exposes a much wider array of individuals including herself to the risk of detention and prosecution.

On June 30, a court in Beijing sentenced Canadian citizen and businesswoman Sun Qian to eight years in prison for practising Falun Gong, the meditation and spiritual discipline banned in China but practised freely in Canada and elsewhere around the world.

Cook says that the Chinese government has wielded its control over access to the mainland as a cudgel to enforce self-censorship among the Chinese diaspora, journalists, academics, politicians, international corporations, and even Hollywood film studios.

"In one fell swoop, the Chinese leadership has demonstrated a willingness and ability to upend the established rules of permissible speech and activity in a matter of days; abruptly absorbed a major Asian hub for international finance, media, and activism into its repressive jurisdiction; and added support for human rights in Hong Kong to an already long list of strictly taboo topics," she wrote.

"Hong Kong's border with the mainland was once like a levee separating the unfree world from the free. After years of erosion, that barrier has now been decisively breached, and unless we all work together to hold the water back, we will all be less free as a result," she added. (ANI)

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