Thursday, September 10, 2020

India calls on UN for comprehensive action to counter threats to children by terrorist groups

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New York [US], September 10 (ANI): India on Thursday called on United Nations member states to demonstrate the greater political will to hold the perpetrators of terrorism and their collaborators, as well as their sponsors, to account in order to fulfil Council's child protection obligations as these terror networks are directly or indirectly responsible for abusing child rights.

In a statement during the 'Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict', New Delhi said that terror networks spread their tentacles across borders threatening peace and stability. Children are worst affected as they live with a looming sense of fear and uncertainty and are often deprived of their right to education, it added.

New Delhi said that there should be greater recognition and comprehensive action to counter threats to children posed by terrorist groups in different parts of the world

"In order to advance child protection agenda of the Council, its synergies with counter-terrorism need to be translated into action. Terrorist outfits and individuals proscribed by the Council are directly or indirectly responsible for abusing child rights. Member States need to demonstrate the greater political will to hold the perpetrators of terrorism and their collaborators and sponsors, especially those sanctioned by the Council, to account, to fulfil the Council's child protection obligations," the statement read.

India said that lack of access to schools and treacherous learning environments lend children vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment by terrorists and other non-state actors.

It also noted that despite persistent focus from the international community, grave violations against children and attacks on spaces of learning persist. These trends are often both causes and consequences of complex conflicts.

"Lack of access to schools and treacherous learning environments lend children vulnerable to exploitation and recruitment by terrorists and other non-state actors. Education facilities are often used as vehicles for radicalization and indoctrination to violent extremist ideologies. Much of these happen in absence of opportunity for quality formal education for children," the statement noted.

India highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the already existing child protection challenges. It explained that the crisis has also demonstrated the power of technology, especially education technology to provide learning opportunities to children affected by armed conflicts. "The international community must cease this momentum to use the full potential of technology to fulfil hitherto unkept promises to the children," it added.

Citing an example of Sahel region of Africa, New Delhi said the region calls for greater attention of the Security Council where attacks on schools are on a surge as a consequence of a complex regional conflict.

"The terrorists and armed groups are increasingly targeting education facilities leading to school closures. Occupation of schools for military purposes in violation of international humanitarian law is also a contributing factor in this crisis. This has set in motion a range of negative impacts on children especially girls," the statement said.

India highlighted six points in the context including that the Security Council must do all that is possible to support efforts of governments to protect schools and other learning spaces, students and teachers to ensure uninterrupted education for children. It also said that the UN peace operations, both military and political, should have clear and unambiguous mandate and commensurate resources to protect children and their education facilities as per humanitarian and human rights law.

"Third, the Council needs to factor in the stark reality that non-state parties to armed conflicts have little regard for upholding their obligations under international law. This creates asymmetric dynamics in the field vis-a-vis the states or the UN peace operations. The Council, therefore, needs to ensure that those who are engaged in protection children on its behalf have the necessary resources, pre-deployment and in-mission training to operate and deliver in extremely challenges situations," it added

"Fourth, there should be greater recognition and comprehensive action to counter threats to children posed by terrorist groups in different parts of the world. Fifth, we need more objective reporting by the UNSC mandated officials based on complex dynamics of the situations and obligations of different parties to the armed conflict. The tendency of 'mandate creep' must be checked to maintain efficacy and sanctity," the statement further said,

For Sahel region, New Delhi said that a military response to the situation can only bear desired results if these are integrated with inclusive regional and national strategies towards security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues and ownership by the Governments especially in upholding rule of law

"Sahel must continue to remain a clear priority for the Peacebuilding Commission. The Council on its part also should remain engaged in implementation of the military and political missions as well as promoting dialogue and intercommunal harmony in the region. The Council must keep up its engagements with the regional bodies. The child protection priorities must be integrated to the core of such engagements," it recommended. (ANI)

Over 70 per cent COVID-19 patients recover in Nepal despite spike in cases

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Kathmandu [Nepal], September 10 (ANI): The number of COVID-19 recoveries and infection has continued to rise simultaneously in recent days in Nepal, record from Ministry of Health and Population has shown.

By Thursday Nepal has recorded total of 50,465 cases of Coronavirus cases while 35,700 patient
s has been discharged from hospitals around the nation. Number of recovered patients account to about 70 per cent of total infections recorded by the Himalayan Nation.

"Recovering from COVID-19 infection in last 24 hours stands at 1,818. Till date a total of 35,700 patients have been discharged. On the basis of province a total of 3, 218 have been discharged from Province 1; 10,152 from Province 2; 6,007 from Bagmati Province; 2,077 from Gandaki Province; 6,133 from Province 5; 2,424 from Karnali Province; 5,689 from Far-Western Province. The recovery rate from COVID-19 infection now stands at 71 per cent," Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, Spokesperson at Ministry of Health and Population said in regular press briefing.

Till Thursday, the Himalayan Nation has conducted a total of 810,485 tests using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test out of which only 11,144 tests were conducted in last 24 hours. On Thursday only, an addition of 5 people succumbed to the virus taking the toll to 317.

Kathmandu Valley by late afternoon of Thursday recorded 572 new cases in last 24 hours. Kathmandu solely reported 495 cases while Lalitpur recorded 43 and Bhaktapur recorded 34 new cases of the deadly virus.

Kathmandu alone hosts more than 5500 cases of COVID-19 which also has been announced as hotspot and has entered the phase of community transmission. It is one of the districts that hosts the highest number of infection throughout the nation.

The Sunsari, Sarlahi, Kathmandu, Chitwan and Rupandehi now hosts cases exceeding 500 which has halved from 12 districts earlier at one point. The Dopla, Mugu, Humla, Solukhumbu, Myagdi, Mustang and Manang have zero number of cases. (ANI)

India, Argentina holds consultations, review bilateral cooperation

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New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): The 5th Foreign Office Consultations between India and Argentina were held via videoconference on Thursday during which the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation within the framework of their strategic partnership.

The Indian side was led
 by Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) and the Argentine side was led by Pablo Anselmo Tettamanti, Deputy Foreign Minister of Argentina.

"During the consultations, the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation within the framework of their Strategic Partnership. The consultations covered political, trade and economic cooperation as well as cooperation in defence, space, energy, science and technology, pharmaceuticals, mining, culture, and enhancing people-to-people contacts," Minister of External Affairs said in a release.

According to the release, the two sides reviewed the implementation of existing agreements as well as those under negotiation and agreed to take forward the bilateral agenda, including by holding regular meetings of the institutionalised bilateral mechanisms.

"They agreed to explore holding of the Joint Commission Meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers, at an early date," it said.

"The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, and agreed to enhance cooperation in the multilateral arena. They also shared views and experiences on combating COVID-19 pandemic," it added. (ANI)

Another 74 stranded Pakistanis return home from India

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New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): A batch of 74 Pakistani nationals who were stranded in India due to coronavirus pandemic returned to Pakistan through Attari Wagah border on Thursday, the country's high commission announced.

"Today, another 74 Pakistanis, who were stranded in different Indian 
cities due to COVID-19 pandemic, were repatriated to Pakistan via Attari-Wagah border," the high commission said in a statement.

Since March 20, more than 760 stranded Pakistanis have returned home.

Pakistan High Commission said it will continue to extend all possible assistance to the remaining stranded Pakistanis in India for their earliest, safe and smooth repatriation. (ANI)

PM Modi invites Shinzo Abe, his wife to visit India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday invited his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe to visit India at their leisure, sources said.

Prime Minister Modi extended the invitation during a telephonic conversation with Abe earlier today.

"PM Mo
di invited PM Abe and his wife to visit India at their leisure," a source said.

During the weekly briefing, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that the two leaders exchanged greetings and recalled their earlier memories of their meetings at Varanasi, Sabarmati, Kobe and Kyoto.

An MEA statement said the two leaders reviewed the status of ongoing cooperation, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, under the framework of the India-Japan special strategic and global partnership.

They expressed confidence that the strong momentum attained by the India-Japan partnership in the last few years will continue "unabated" in the future.

They also agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a critical role in charting the course for the global community in the post-COVID world.

The statement regarding the talks between the two leaders came hours after Indian Defence Ministry announced that New Delhi and Tokyo have signed an agreement concerning the reciprocal provision of supplies and services between the armed forces of India and Self-Defense Forces of Japan.

The two leaders welcomed the signing of the agreement. "They concurred that the agreement will further enhance the depth of defence cooperation between the two countries and contribute to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region," the statement said.

The two leaders agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a critical role in charting the course for the global community in the post-COVID world. (ANI)

Need to discuss further steps to promote cooperation between SCO and UN: Russian Foreign Minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (File photo)

Moscow [Russia], September 10 (ANI): Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has emphasized on the need to discuss further steps to promote cooperation between the SCO and the UN, and ensure that the organisation makes greater contribution to shaping the multipolar world order.

"I believe that we nee
d to discuss further steps to promote cooperation between the SCO and the UN, and ensure that our organisation makes an even greater contribution to shaping the multipolar world order with the central coordinating role of the UN and its Security Council," the Russian Foreign Minister said in his remarks at the SCO Foreign Ministers Council meeting.

"We are glad to welcome you to the official Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States, and would like to extend our sincere gratitude to you for accepting our invitation to gather in the Russian capital," he said.

The Russian Foreign Minister said this meeting opens the final stage in preparing the SCO Heads of State Council Meeting. "As President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said yesterday, it will take place in November via videoconference due to the sanitary and epidemiological situation," he said.

The Russian Foreign Minister said that the coronavirus infection has triggered complex political and economic processes around the world and has had a heavy impact on the entire system of international relations, testing the resilience of country-to-country ties and multilateral institutions.

"Building on its rich experience in ensuring equal and fruitful cooperation in politics, economy and humanitarian ties, as well as its effective working mechanisms, the SCO has been able to come up with adequate responses to the emerging risks and threats," he said.

The Russian Foreign Minister stated that the SCO's considerable potential is especially relevant today, when the "pressing need for collective efforts and cooperation is felt as never before in order to overcome the political and socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic." (ANI)

Shocker from Pak: WWF Goodwill Ambassador harassed on road in Islamabad

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Islamabad [Pakistan], September 10 (ANI): Goodwill Ambassador for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and an adventure athlete, Samar Khan, on Thursday said that she had been harassed in Islamabad by a motorcyclist.

The athlete took to Twitter and shared the entire harassment episode, Ary News reported.

She s
aid that she was cycling in the capital when an office going person groped her.

"He was carrying an office bag and slowed down his vehicle near my cycle," she said adding that the man then groped her and patted her back multiple times.

Samar Khan said that the man sped away after the incident as she tried to follow him on her cycle. "Since I was on a cycle, I lost his sight," she said adding that she would have set an example out of that man if he would have been caught.

She further lamented over the behaviour of the passers-by and asked as to why such incidents are taken casually and people just move on without taking serious notice of such acts.

"Three to four people saw it happening but did nothing to stop it," the WWF goodwill ambassador narrated.

Pakistan is ranked by the Global Gender Gap Index 2018 as the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women and the second-worst in the world (ranked 148th) in terms of gender equality.

Sexual crimes, domestic violence, abductions, forced conversions and the trafficking of women and girls is rapidly rising.

A Lahore-based non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Pakistan reported that 47,034 women faced sexual violence, over 15 000 cases of honour crimes were registered, and over 5,500 kidnappings of women took place between 2004 and 2016.

The US State Department also in its 2018 Trafficking in Persons report stated, "The Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking." Also, the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan, UN Women and other agencies estimate that the numbers of victims of trafficking in Pakistan run into the thousands. (ANI)

UK govt announces new 'points-based' student visa route

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New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): The United Kingdom has introduced a new visa route for international students that will open on October 5. It will be a new points-based immigration system that will replace the previous tier 4 visa route, making the process more streamlined for students.


Accor
ding to the British High Commission (BHC), under the new system, students will require a total of 70 points to be granted a visa.

"They will achieve the required points if they can demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK. Students will also now be able to make a visa application up to 6 months before their course starts (up from 3 months under Tier 4), and they will not be required to resubmit proof of academic qualifications with their visa application," the BHC release stated.

Jan Thompson, Acting High Commissioner to India, said: "India accounts for one of the UK's largest group of international students and our world-leading education system has always been a key part of our bilateral relationship. Last financial year, nearly 50,000 Indian nationals were granted a study visa - they are the ambassadors of the Living Bridge that connects our countries."

"Now that we have left the EU, we can introduce this streamlined visa route and the Graduate Route in summer 2021, to ensure the brightest and the best students continue to pick the UK," Thompson added.

Barbara Wickham, Director, British Council India, said: "The new Student Route is a welcome announcement for thousands of Indian students who opt for a UK education every year to gain international exposure. It offers greater flexibility and ease of immigration for applicants. With the post-study work benefits of the Graduate Route and the launch of the Student Route, the UK has further solidified its commitment towards international students, and enabling more than ever, their dreams of pursuing a world-class education."

The UK recognises that, as a result of Covid-19, some overseas students are choosing to defer their entry onto courses in the UK until the Spring semester of 2021, BHC said.

"Introducing the new route now means that these students will be able to benefit from the new process whilst still giving sponsoring institutions time to adapt after their Autumn intake," the further release stated. (ANI)

Android 11 to launch apps 20 percent faster

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Washington D.C. [USA], September 10 (ANI): The recently launched Android 11 has numerous new features including the capability to launch applications at a 20 percent faster speed.

According to The Verge, the new version of Android is supposed to work on devices that have a RAM of either 2GB or less.


Phones that support Android 11 will have the feature of grouped notifications from chat apps in the notification bar. Besides that, it also grants apps one-time permission for usage of things like microphones, and camera.

Android 11 adds a gesture-based navigation system you can use to swipe around the phone's UI, reports The Verge. (ANI)

WWF Goodwill Ambassador 'harassed' on Islamabad road

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Islamabad [Pakistan], September 10 (ANI): Goodwill Ambassador for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and an adventure athlete, Samar Khan, on Thursday said that she had been harassed in Islamabad by a motorcyclist.

The athlete took to Twitter and shared the entire harassment episode, Ary News reported.

She s
aid that she was cycling in the capital when an office going person groped her.

"He was carrying an office bag and slowed down his vehicle near my cycle," she said adding that the man then groped her and patted her back multiple times.

Samar Khan said that the man sped away after the incident as she tried to follow him on her cycle. "Since I was on a cycle, I lost his sight," she said adding that she would have set an example out of that man if he would have been caught.

She further lamented over the behaviour of the passers-by and asked as to why such incidents are taken casually and people just move on without taking serious notice of such acts.

"Three to four people saw it happening but did nothing to stop it," the WWF goodwill ambassador narrated.

Pakistan is ranked by the Global Gender Gap Index 2018 as the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women and the second-worst in the world (ranked 148th) in terms of gender equality.

Sexual crimes, domestic violence, abductions, forced conversions and the trafficking of women and girls is rapidly rising.

A Lahore-based non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Pakistan reported that 47,034 women faced sexual violence, over 15 000 cases of honour crimes were registered, and over 5,500 kidnappings of women took place between 2004 and 2016.

The US State Department also in its 2018 Trafficking in Persons report stated, "The Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking." Also, the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan, UN Women and other agencies estimate that the numbers of victims of trafficking in Pakistan run into the thousands. (ANI)

India expresses hope for early resumption of negotiations between Israel, Palestine

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New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): India on Thursday expressed hope for the early resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a "sovereign, independent, viable and united state" of Palestine living within "secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace" with Israel.

The remarks were made by Sanjay Bhattacharyya, secretary (consular, passport and visa and overseas Indian affairs), in the External Affairs Ministry, during India and Palestine third round of bilateral Foreign Office Consultations.

The Palestine side was represented by Amal Jadou Shakka, Palestine Deputy Foreign Minister.

During the dialogue, both sides comprehensively reviewed the bilateral relations, and also took stock of the progress achieved on decisions taken at the last Joint Commission Meeting held in Ramallah in November 2016 and during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Palestine in February 2018.

"Reaffirming India's principled and consistent support to the Palestinian cause, Secretary (CPV & OIA) expressed the hope for early resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to achieve a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Both sides exchanged views on issues confronting the broader West Asia region. Bhattacharyya briefed Shakka about developments in India's neighbourhood. They also exchanged views on the Covid-19 situation and discussed the steps being taken to address the public health and socio-economic challenges posed by the pandemic.

According to the ministry, Shakka thanked India for COVID-related medical assistance and repatriation of Palestinians stranded in India through Vande Bharat Mission flights.

Shakka and Bhattacharyya agreed on the importance of continuing the upward momentum in the relationship between India and Palestine through the exchange of regular visits, and bilateral meetings on the margins of international fora.

The ministry said that the two sides appraised the progress of eight ongoing projects in Palestine implemented under a cumulative grant of USD 59 million, and agreed on fast-tracking them where feasible.

"These projects include the construction of three schools, an IT park, a women empowerment centre, a diplomatic institute, and a super speciality hospital and supply of equipment for their national printing press. Both sides will sign additional protocols for extending the time-lines of some of the projects in the coming weeks," the statement read

"Education and capacity building cooperation is an important plank of India-Palestine relations. Apart from 150 ITEC slots and 100 ICCR scholarships given annually, the Government of India has been organizing several tailor-made training programmes for Palestinian government officials. The Indian side offered grant of scholarships to Palestinian students for degree courses in nursing, pharmacy, pathology, paramedics, etc. and internship programmes for their doctors in Indian hospitals," it added.

Ministry of External Affairs said that it will further sponsor the training of Palestinian solar mamas at Barefoot College, Tilonia; organise an artificial limb fitment camp in Ramallah in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), and undertake a number of quick impact community projects as per requirements of the Palestinian side. (ANI)

Committed to resolve current situation on India-China border through peaceful negotiations: MEA

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivasatava

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): India and China are in touch with each other through military and diplomatic channels to resolve the ongoing situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

"Both India and China are in regular touch through mili
tary and diplomatic channels to resolve the situation. This was also the consensus when the two Defence Ministers met," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during virtual weekly briefing.

"As we have reiterated several times in the past, Indian side is committed to resolving the current situation on India-China border through peaceful negotiations," he said.

Chinese soldiers fired in the air while attempting to close in on Indian positions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the Indian Army said on Tuesday adding that Chinese troops have been "blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres."

In a statement, the Army said on Tuesday that the Chinese troops were "attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate."

India recently outflanked China by taking control of strategic height near Pangong Lake's southern bank. It thwarted an attempt by the Chinese soldiers to transgress into Indian areas near the southern bank of Pangong Tso near Chushul in Ladakh.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June.

Last Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the SCO dialogue in Moscow that attempts by Chinese troops to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC was in violation of the bilateral agreements, and Beijing should work with New Delhi for complete disengagement from all friction areas including Pangong Tso. (ANI)

Committed to resolve current situation on India-China border through peaceful negotiations: MEA

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): India and China are in touch with each other through military and diplomatic channels to resolve the ongoing situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

"Both India and China are in regular touch through mili
tary and diplomatic channels to resolve the situation. This was also the consensus when the two Defence Ministers met," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during virtual weekly briefing.

"As we have reiterated several times in the past, Indian side is committed to resolving the current situation on India-China border through peaceful negotiations," he said.

Chinese soldiers fired in the air while attempting to close in on Indian positions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the Indian Army said on Tuesday adding that Chinese troops have been "blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres."

In a statement, the Army said on Tuesday that the Chinese troops were "attempting to close-in with one of our forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by own troops, People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate."

India recently outflanked China by taking control of strategic height near Pangong Lake's southern bank. It thwarted an attempt by the Chinese soldiers to transgress into Indian areas near the southern bank of Pangong Tso near Chushul in Ladakh.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan Valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June.

Last Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of the SCO dialogue in Moscow that attempts by Chinese troops to unilaterally alter the status quo along the LAC was in violation of the bilateral agreements, and Beijing should work with New Delhi for complete disengagement from all friction areas including Pangong Tso. (ANI)

Don't cross the line: Taiwan's stern message to China

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Taipei [Taiwan], September 10 (ANI): Taiwan on Thursday warned China not to "cross the line" saying that it wants peace but will defend its people.

"Don't cross the line. China again flew fighter jets into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone today. Make no mistake, Taiwan wants peace but we wil
l defend our people," Vice President of Taiwan, Lai Ching-Te said in a tweet.

During US Health Secretary Alex Azar's historic visit to Taiwan last month, China deployed fighter jets that briefly crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, South China Morning Post had reported citing Taiwan's Defence Ministry.

The ministry had said it had tracked the PLA fighters with its land-based anti-aircraft missiles and had "strongly driven them out".

The US has repeatedly criticised China and urged nations to push back against the Asian country, saying that Beijing is bullying its neighbours and militarise features in the South China Sea, rather than helping the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the threat of China endangering Taiwan's security, the country's defence ministry had late last month released a video showing troops firing anti-aircraft, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles in defence of the island against a mock invasion from across the Taiwan Strait, South China Morning Post had reported.

While releasing the video, the ministry reportedly issued a warning to China saying that the latter should not underestimate the island nation's capability to defend itself.

South China Morning Post had quoted the ministry as saying, "The most egotistical country can thoughtlessly provoke a war and the most ignorant government can be caught in the flames of war."

The ministry had said that repeated provocations by China's People's Liberation Army will no longer work. (ANI)

Chabahar projects discussed during Rajnath, Jaishankar's Iran visits: MEA

MEA's spokesperson Anurag Srivastava


New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): All issues of bilateral and regional significance including connectivity on the Chabahar projects were discussed during the recent back to back visits by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Iran, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

Singh met his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Amir Hatami in Iran on Sunday during his stopover visit while returning to India from Russia on Sunday. Two days after his visit, Jaishankar on Tuesday flew to Tehran and met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that during these meetings, both sides noted that the traffic by Chabahar port is increasing.

In 2018, Iran and India had signed an agreement worth USD 85 million to develop the Chabahar Port. Located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, the port provides an alternative route for trade between India and Afghanistan.

"During the technical halt in Iran, both EAM (Jaishankar) and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had meetings with their counterpart. Iran is the country which is in our extended neighbourhood. we share deep civilisational ties with this country. It is a historical relationship," Srivastava said during a weekly briefing.

"During these meetings, all issues of bilateral and regional significance including connectivity particularly on the Chabahar projects were discussed. Both sides noted that the traffic by Chabahar port is increasing and we are seeing the increase in Cargo movement through this port," he added.

Jaishankar on Tuesday said that he had a 'productive meeting' with Zarif and discussed strengthening of bilateral cooperation. Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, "A productive meeting with FM @JZarifduring a stopover in Tehran. Discussed strengthening our bilateral cooperation and reviewed regional developments. Thank him for his gracious hospitality."

Jaishankar's Tehran visit came following the unprecedented arrival of Singh to Tehran on September 6 when he held meetings with his Iranian counterpart Brigadier Amir Hatami, IRNA reported.

Talking about his visit to Iran, Singh said he had a "very fruitful" discussion with Hatami and discussed regional security situation including Afghanistan and issues of bilateral cooperation.

"The meeting between the two Ministers (Singh and Hatami) took place in a cordial and warm atmosphere. Both the leaders emphasized upon the age-old cultural, linguistic and civilizational ties between India and Iran," the Defence Minister's office said in a tweet. (ANI)

PM to address conclave on 'School Education in 21st Century' on Sept 11

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the conclave on 'School Education in 21st Century' under the National Education Policy 2020 at 11 am on September 11, through video conferencing.

According to an official release, the Ministry of Education is organising
 this two-day conclave on September 10 and 11 as a part of the 'Shiksha Parv'.

Earlier PM Modi also delivered the inaugural address at the conclave on 'Transformational Reforms in Higher Education' under NEP-2020 on August 7. Modi also addressed the Governors' conference on the NEP on September 7.

"NEP is the first education policy of the twenty-first century which was announced after 34 years of the previous National Policy on Education 1986. NEP-2020 is directed towards major reforms in both school and higher education level," the release stated.

As per the NEP 2020, at the school level emphasis is to be given to the universalisation of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for children up to the age 8; 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure; development of new comprehensive National Curricular Framework for school education; assessment reforms and 360-degree holistic progress card of a child.

The release stated that NEP is targeted to bring about a "paradigm shift" in the country's education system and create an "enabling and reinvigorated" educational ecosystem.

Shikshak Parv is being celebrated from September 8 to 25 to felicitate the teachers and to take New Education Policy 2020 forward. Various webinars, virtual conferences, and conclaves on various aspects of National Education Policy 2020 are being organised across the country. (ANI)

India takes on Chair of RIC process, says EAM Jaishankar

India takes on the Chair of the RIC process, said EAM S Jaishankar (Photo tweeted by EAM)

Moscow [Russia], September 10 (ANI): India has assumed the chair of RIC process, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said on Thursday after attending the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting in Moscow.

"Attended the RIC Foreign Ministers Meeting hosted by FM Lavrov in Moscow. Thank him for his war
m hospitality. India takes on the Chair of the RIC process," said EAM in a tweet.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers' meeting here on Thursday.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov were also present in the meeting.

The SCO currently comprises eight member states -- China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Both India and Pakistan became SCO members in 2017.

Before the SCO meet, Jaishankar held separate meetings with his Tajik, Uzbek and Kyrgyz counterparts to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation in various sectors and issues of mutual and regional interest.

Jaishankar also posed for a group photograph with the SCO Foreign Ministers. (ANI)

Khalistan a project nurtured by Pakistan, says Canadian think-tank

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Ottawa [Canada], September 10 (ANI): A major Canadian think-tank has released a report in which it has asserted that Khalistan movement is a geopolitical project nurtured by Pakistan which threatens the national security of Canadians and Indians.

Veteran journalist Terry Milewski's report released by Macdonald-Laurier Institute titled "Khalistan: A project of Pakistan" researches the Khalistan movement and discovers its reality as a geopolitical project nurtured by Pakistan, threatening the national security of Canadians and Indians.

This week, reports from India continue to demonstrate the threat that Pakistan-sponsored Khalistani terrorism poses", it said.

"It might seem surprising that 35 years after Khalistani extremists bombed Air India Flight 182, the deadliest attack on aviation before 9/11 that a new generation of violent extremists has now emerged in Canada and India", wrote Terry Milewski.

Given Pakistan's continued campaign of agitation, "It's clear who's really driving the Khalistan bus: Pakistan," writes Milewski. In truth, "the Khalistan movement has been going nowhere in the Sikhs' home state."

For Canadians, Pakistan's actions pose a real and present national security risk. As the Khalistani cause has little traction in Punjab, Pakistan's support of Khalistani extremists entails leveraging extremists based in Canada, including supporters with ties to terrorism.

Terry Milewski said, "With a looming "referendum" scheduled for November 2020 by proponents of an independent Khalistan, there has been skepticism from Sikh communities around the world. For its part, the Canadian government has stated it will not recognize it".

However, the report warns that the referendum provides oxygen that fuels extremist ideologies, radicalizes young Canadians, wreaks havoc on reconciliation, and usurps legislatures.

In the foreword to this report, Ujjal Dossanjh, former British Columbia Premier and former federal Liberal Cabinet Minister, and Shuvaloy Majumdar, MLI Program Director and Munk Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy, argue, "The Milewski report should be essential reading for any who wish to understand Pakistan's influence in guiding the Khalistan proposition, its perversion of the Sikh faith, and its ongoing campaign of extremism and terrorism in two of the world's important democracies."

In 2018, an international lobby campaign advocating for an independent Khalistan successfully removed references to "Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements," from the Ministry of Public Safety's Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada.

In response, the federal government took the unprecedented step of amending its national security statement, placating a vocal domestic constituency, and replacing the original language with "Extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India."

In the ensuing domestic debate, a more important issue was obscured. This was also the first time that Canada's national security community elevated violent extremists advocating for an independent Khalistan into a top-five threat to Canadian national security. (ANI)

Foreign Ministers of India, Russia discuss cooperation in nuclear, space sectors, agree to work closely in UNSC

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Wednesday met his Russian counterparts Sergey Lavrov. (Photo: ANI)


New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): The Foreign Ministers of Russia and India held discussions on cooperation in nuclear and space sectors and agreed to work closely in UNSC during India's forthcoming tenure as non-permanent member, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

External Af
fairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the SCO summit and said the talks reflected the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

"On the sidelines of Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting, EAM has had bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of member countries. He met the Russian FM on September 9 and as you know we have a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during weekly virtual media briefing on Thursday.

"This year marks the 20 years of our strategic partnership. This was the first physical meeting after the covid situation and there was excellent discussion on bilateral matters, regional developments and international issues of concern," he added.

According to MEA spokesperson, the two Ministers also followed up on outcomes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Vladivostok for the fifth Eastern Economic Forum in September 2019.

"In this meeting, bilateral, economic issues and cooperation in the development of far eastern region of Russia was also discussed. We also discussed cooperation in nuclear and space sectors. The two ministers agreed to work closely in UNSC during India's forthcoming tenure as non-permanent member," he said.

The MEA spokesperson also informed that EAM Jaishankar also had bilateral meetings earlier with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

During these meetings, ways to further enhance our strategic partnership were discussed, he said.

"Today morning, EAM had bilateral meeting with Uzbekistan and Kazakhastan before he joined the CFM meetings. CFM meeting reviewed preparation for the forthcoming summit which is scheduled in the near future and exhanged views on regional and international issues. This meeting was followed by lunch of RIC Foreign Ministers," said the MEA spokesperson. (ANI)

13.74 lakh Indians repatriated under Vande Bharat Mission so far: MEA

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Over 13.70 lakh Indians stuck abroad due to coronavirus pandemic have so far been repatriated under Vande Bharat Mission.

"As of September 10, 13.74 lakh Indians have been repatriated through different modes under this mission and these modes include Air India 
fights, private and foreign carrier, chartered flight and naval ship and land border crossing," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at the regular media briefing on Thursday.

The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

The mission is in its sixth phase which will continue till October 24.

"Phase 6 became operational on September 1 and 1,007 international flights have been scheduled in this phase and we expect to repatriate two lakh people," Srivastava said. (ANI)

PM Modi speaks to Shinzo Abe, reviews status of India, Japan ongoing cooperation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe (File photo)

New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday had a telephonic conversation with his Japenese counterpart Shinzo Abe, during which the two leaders reviewed the status of ongoing cooperation, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, under the framework of the India-Japan special strategic and global partnership.

During the conversation, the two leaders expressed confidence that the strong momentum attained by the India-Japan partnership in the last few years will continue "unabated" in the future, according to a statement by Ministry of External Affairs.

They also agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a critical role in charting the course for the global community in the post-COVID world.

The statement regarding the talks between the two leaders comes hours after Indian Defence Ministry announced that New Delhi and Tokyo have signed an agreement concerning the reciprocal provision of supplies and services between the armed forces of India and Self-Defense Forces of Japan.

The MEA said the two leaders welcomed the signing of the agreement. "They concurred that the agreement will further enhance the depth of defence cooperation between the two countries and contribute to peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region," the statement informed.

"The two leaders reviewed the status of ongoing cooperation, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, under the framework of the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership. They agreed that the strong and enduring partnership between the two countries will play a critical role in charting the course for the global community in the post-COVID world," the statement read.

"The two leaders expressed confidence that the strong momentum attained by the India-Japan partnership in the last few years will continue unabated in the future. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his intention to work closely with the new government of Japan and wished Prime Minister Abe the very best for the future," it added.

The ministry said the two leaders expressed appreciation for the support provided to resident citizens in each other's countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed that such efforts must be continued to sustain the strong people-to-people ties between the two countries.

Reaffirming their mutual trust and friendship, the two leaders recalled their shared experiences during visits to each other's countries.

Prime Minister Modi expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Abe for his personal commitment and leadership in greatly strengthening the relationship between the two countries. (ANI)

AstraZeneca CEO says COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by end of year despite pause in trials

Representative Image

London [UK], September 10 (ANI/Sputnik): AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot on Wednesday expressed hopes that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus developed by the pharmaceutical company would be ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021, despite having to pause clinical trials.

Earlier this week, the UK
-Swedish company reportedly froze the trials after discovering that one participant was sick with transverse myelitis. This condition results in the inflammation of parts of the spinal cord and may be caused by infections, among other things. The Financial Times newspaper subsequently reported that AstraZeneca might resume clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine early next week.

"We could still have a vaccine by the end of this year, early next year," Soriot said at an event hosted by the Tortoise media group, as quoted by The Guardian newspaper.

According to the CEO, it is common to have such pauses in trials. The only difference is that usually, the whole world is not watching.

"Even so, I still think we are on track for having a set of data that we would submit before the end of the year [for regulatory approval]," he added.

The vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the Oxford University's Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group is in phase 3 trials, which is the final stage before safety and efficacy data can be submitted to health regulators for approval.

More than 50,000 people worldwide have been taking part in the clinical studies to see whether the candidate vaccine, known as AZD1222, can develop an immune response to COVID-19. (ANI/Sputnik)

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