Thursday, October 1, 2020

India urges to Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease hostilities and keep restraint

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New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): India has expressed its concern over reports of resumption of hostilities in the Nagarno-Karabakh region of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border which took place in the early hours of September 27 and reiterated the need for the sides to cease hostilities immediately, keep restraint and take all possible steps to maintain peace at the border.

India also expressed its support for OSCE Minsk Group's continued efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"We have seen resumption of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region since the early hours of 27 September 2020 resulting in casualties on both sides. India is concerned over this situation which threatens regional peace and security," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

It said India believes that any lasting resolution of the conflict can only be achieved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations.

"We reiterate the need for the sides to cease hostilities immediately, keep restraint and take all possible steps to maintain peace at the border. In this regard, we support OSCE Minsk Group's continued efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan," the statement said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a ceasefire was reached, but there have been occasional minor clashes along the borders.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had on Monday called on Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders to take immediate steps to establish a ceasefire. (ANI)

No lathicharge on Rahul Gandhi, Cong leaders at Yamuna Expressway: Noida ADCP

Noida Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) Ranvijay Singh speaking to ANI on Thursday. (Photo/ANI)

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 1 (ANI): After Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said that party members were lathi-charged and Rahul Gandhi alleged manhandling and roughed up by police personnel when they were heading to meet the family of Hathras gangrape victim, the Noida Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) Ranvijay Singh on Thursday said that there was "no lathicharge" on anyone.

Earlier in the day, Congress leaders were detained on their way towards Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to meet the gang-rape victim's family. While Rahul and Priyanka were arrested, party leaders Randeep Surjewala and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary among others were detained for violating the Epidemic Act, imposed to combat COVID-19.

"We have stopped them here. The Epidemic Act was being violated by them. They were violating section 144 and we have also received a letter from the District Magistrate of Hathras. They were causing a lot of inconvenience on the expressway. On these ground, we did not allow them to proceed forward and requested them to go back. They were taken to Buddh International Circuit in Gautam Buddh Nagar," Singh told ANI.

Earlier in the day, Rahul alleged that he was shoved and pushed to the ground by Uttar Pradesh Police, while on his way to Hathras.

Responding to this, Singh said: "There was no lathicharge on anyone. Many police personnel fell down on the ground during the scuffle, I, myself, fell on the ground. People were continuously pushing, many people fell down. I do not know whether Rahul Gandhi fell down or not, I have no knowledge of that."

According to police, the Wayanad MP was arrested under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

Rahul, who was roughed up by the Uttar Pradesh Police at the Yamuna Expressway, alleged: "Just now police pushed me, lathi-charged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can't a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking."

Priyanka Gandhi tweeted, "Prevented us from going to Hathras. When we all went out on foot with Rahul ji, we were stopped repeatedly, used lathi in barbaric manner. Many workers are injured. But our intention is sure. The sticks of an egotistical government cannot stop us. I wish this lathi, this police would have stood in defense of Hathras's Dalit daughter."

The 19-year-old had succumbed to assault injuries in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday where she was brought on Monday from Aligarh Muslim University Medical College.

The senior police official said that the postmortem, which was conducted by a team of doctors in Delhi, has established that the death was caused by the trauma of her neck injury. (ANI)

Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday starrer 'Khaali Peeli' to get theatrical release in select overseas markets

Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 1 (ANI): Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday's upcoming flick 'Khaali Peeli', which is set to be released on OTT platform on Friday, will also hit the cinema halls in the selected overseas market.

Besides the OTT platform, the flick will also be released in the USA, Singapore, Netherlands, Austria, Fiji, Africa and Mauritius.

Film critic and movie trade analyst Taran Adarsh confirmed the same over social media.

"RELEASING IN OVERSEAS CINEMAS... #KhaaliPeeli - starring #IshaanKhatter and #AnanyaPanday - to release in *cinemas* tomorrow [2 Oct 2020] in #USA, #Singapore, #Netherlands, #Austria, #Fiji, #Africa and #Mauritius. #Overseas," he tweeted.

Helmed by debutant director Maqbool Khan and backed by filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar, Himanshu Mehra, and Zee Studios, the film also stars 'Paatal Lok' actor Jaideep Ahlawat.

'Khaali Peeli' went on the floors in September last year and was scheduled for a June 12 release but was delayed due to the shuttering of film theatres. The movie will start streaming on OTT platform Zeeplex from October 2.(ANI)

India and Myanmar discussed over border cooperation in foreign office consultations between two countries

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New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): India and Myanmar on Thursday reviewed the entire gamut of relations, including border cooperation and upgrading of border infrastructure and power and energy cooperation during the 19th round of Foreign Office Consultations between the two countries.

An MEA release said the Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the Myanmar delegation by Permanent Secretary, U Soe Han.

"During the consultations, both sides reviewed the entire gamut of relations, including border cooperation and upgradation of border infrastructure, status of India's ongoing development projects in Myanmar, trade and investment ties, power and energy cooperation, consular matters and cultural cooperation, including the ongoing restoration work on earthquake damaged pagodas in Bagan," the release said.

Cooperation in regional and multilateral fora was also discussed, it added.

The release said both sides expressed satisfaction that despite the ongoing COVID pandemic, meetings in several areas, including power, energy have been held through virtual mode, reflecting the depth of the bilateral engagement.

It was noted that the next Joint Trade Committee Ministerial Meeting to be held on October 20, will be useful in further strengthening bilateral trade and investment relations.

Both sides also held extensive discussions on the challenges posed by COVID-19 and ways to mitigate its impact, including through vaccine development, supply of medicines, equipment and technology and capacity building.

Shringla reiterated the priority India attaches to its partnership with Myanmar in accordance with India's 'Neighborhood First' and 'Act East' policies.

He stated that India remained committed to enhancing its multifaceted cooperation with Myanmar and also to explore new avenues of cooperation.

U Soe Han reaffirmed Myanmar's commitment to further strengthen its time-tested partnership with India for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

He also expressed appreciation for the COVID related and development assistance extended by India to Myanmar.

He thanked India for providing debt service relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, for the period May 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. (ANI)

Priyanka Chopra teases her memoir 'Unfinished' by sharing intriguing clip

A still from the video (Image courtesy: Instagram)

California [US], October 1 (ANI): Sharing glimpses of posters from some of her remarkable films, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas on Friday gave a teaser to her much-awaited memoir 'Unfinished.'

The 38-year-old actor took to Instagram to share an intriguing short clip featuring the posters of her films. The video that starts from a monochromatic picture of her parents, showcases some iconic characters essayed by the actor over the big screen. The video is created in form of a film reel which plays horizontally, in the same fashion as a movie plays in a cinema hall, with the sound of the reel rolling up and down.

The clip featuring the posters chronicle the journey of the actor from the very beginning. It puts on display the poster of 'The Hero: Love Story of A Spy', 'Fashion' 'Mari Kom', 'Dostana', Barfi, 'Bajirao Mastaani', 'Quantico' and 'Baywatch.' It also summaries the journey of the actor from Bollywood to Hollywood.

Alongside the clip, Priyanka wrote, "This is my story. #unfinished."

It was in June 2018 that the star first announced of making her memoir, and had said that it "gives you an indescribable sense of accomplishment" when you tick off something from your "bucket list".

'Unfinished' will be a collection of personal essays, stories, and observations by the actor, producer, singer, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chopra.

Priyanka has become a multifaceted personality with her forays into the various divergent of the entertainment industry. (ANI)

Afghanistan: 'Internal stability necessary for peace but ending malign external influence is equally important'

'Internal stability necessary for peace in Afghanistan but ending malign external influence is equally important'

Paris [France], October 1 (ANI): Days ahead of the intra-Afghan talks, a tweet by veteran US diplomat Alice G Wells on the long-standing Durand border dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan has sparked a flurry of reactions from people in Afghanistan.

'Afghan politicians of national stature know that the Durand Line is an internationally recognised border. Fanning nationalist or irredentist claims detracts from negotiating peace and economically beneficial ties between 2 countries,' tweeted Wells, the former principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia

Wells comment was in response to Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh earlier remark that "No Afghan politician of national stature can overlook the issue of Durand Line. It will condemn him or her in life and afterlife. It is an issue that needs discussions and resolution. Expecting us to gift it for free is unrealistic.'

Tanya Goudsouzian writing in Le Monde diplomatique, says Wells' views invoked the elephant in the room for the intra-Afghan talks in Doha.

The Durand Line is a 2,640 kilometre stretch between Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 1893, British diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand had divided the Pashtun heartlands by "limiting spheres of political influence of then-Afghan King Abdurrahman Khan (1880-1901) as a buffer zone between British and Russian interests".

Goudsouzian has opined that "While the negotiations in Doha between the Afghan government and the Taliban seek to reach a consensus over internal political, security and human rights issues, Pakistan remains a longer-term impediment to external stability and the Durand Line is a significant factor."

Though Afghan-Pakistan border issues do not feature in the present talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan, a "resolution of the external border dispute is as fundamental to stability as an internal peace deal as long as instability continues to flow across the border".

Meanwhile, Helena Malikyar, a historian and Afghanistan's former ambassador to Italy, was quoted as saying, "Resolution of the Durand Line does not guarantee peace and stability...Pakistan's long-held "strategic depth" policy, stemming from its fear of India's influence in Afghanistan, would not be achieved solely through the recognition of the Durand Line by Afghanistan. Islamabad will only be satisfied if it is confident of having sway over the government in Kabul."

While the ongoing Doha talks between the Taliban and the Afghanistan government are the most important peace initiative since the 2001 invasion, these talks are not sufficient conditions to achieve the end of the sufferings of the Afghan people.

According to the author of the article, internal stability is necessary but ending malign external influence is equally important and that will take settling the manifold disputes between the government of Afghanistan and Pakistan. (ANI)

Pakistan government is framing politicians under false accusations: Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam president Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman.

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 1 (ANI): Hitting out at Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam president Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman said that the Pakistan government is framing politicians under false accusations.

According to Dunya News, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had earlier summoned Rehman, accused of having assets beyond means, in an investigation regarding the acquisition of assets beyond means.

Addressing a gathering here, Rehman accused the NAB, a federal executive agency of the Pakistan government, for running a "parallel government".

"The law is irrelevant for them if we wanted to survive like this in Pakistan, then why did we start the fight for independence?" said Rehman.

Terming the Pakistan leadership as "the puppets of America", he said: "Pakistan is my home. I do not think of you as the heir of Pakistan. I am an independent man. We do not fight, but think carefully before moving on."

He also claimed that if the country keeps telling him -- "no rights are your right", then he will continue to commit the crime.

"I was imprisoned during the Zia-ul-Haq's regime, I was arrested in the name of the law. Did I get scared? I accepted their jails, but I did not accept their laws," Rehman added. (ANI)

Quad FM meet in Japan to discuss regional issues, affirm importance of free, open Indo-Pacific

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava speaking at a weekly press briefing on Thursday. (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): The India-Australia-Japan-US Ministerial meeting in Tokyo next week will discuss regional issues and the foreign ministers of the Quadrilateral grouping are expected to collectively affirm the importance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will participate in the foreign ministers meeting of the Quadrilateral grouping on October 6 during his visit to Japan.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during the regular media briefing that the agenda will be broadly focused on the post-COVID-19 international order as well as the need for coordinating responses to the challenges emerging from the pandemic.

"The second meeting of the India-Australia-Japan-US Ministerial will be held on October 6 during the visit. In this meeting, Foreign Ministers of the respective countries will be participating," Srivastava said.

"The agenda will be broadly focused on the Post-COVID-19 international order as well as the need for coordinating responses to the challenges emerging from the pandemic. There will also be a discussion on regional issues. The Foreign Ministers are expected to collectively affirm the importance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific," he added.

This grouping is seen as a response to China's growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. It will be the first meeting of Quad foreign ministers amid border tensions between India and China.

The agenda of the meeting includes maritime security, counter-terrorism, connectivity and infrastructure development with the objective of promoting peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

A meeting of Quad leaders was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last year.

The Quad meeting is expected to focus on strategic and security challenges in the region and joint strategy is likely to be discussed.

The meeting would give an opportunity to the like-minded countries to discuss and improvise on global supply chains.

Japan and India had recently signed a military pact enabling them to exchange supplies and logistical support.

Collaboration in coronavirus vaccine development and response to COVID-19 are also expected to be discussed in the meeting. (ANI)

India slams Pakistan over its Babri Masjid verdict remarks

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New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): Indian on Thursday slammed Pakistan's remarks of the recent court verdict on the Babri Masjid demolition case and said the neighbouring county with its "coercive apparatus" might find it difficult to understand ethos of democracy where both the government and people follow rule of law.

Replying to a question on Pakistan's reaction to the ruling in the Babri Masjid case, External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said:"India is a mature democracy where government and people abide by courts' verdicts. It may be difficult for a system with a coercive apparatus where people and courts can be silenced at the will of establishment to understand such democratic ethos."

On Wednesday, all the 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case were acquitted by a Special CBI court in Lucknow.

Anadolu News had quoted the Pakistan Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemning the acquittal of the accused in the case. (ANI)

Suicide attacker blows himself up in front of election commissioner's house in Kabul

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 1 (ANI): A suicide attacker on Thursday blew up himself in Kabul in front of the house of Yalda Azimi, a provincial commissioner of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), TOLO news reported.

It was further reported that the IEC official has not been harmed due to the attack.

The incident happened in the PD8 of Kabul city.

Further details are awaited. (ANI)

Tanmaya Lal appointed as the next India's ambassador to Sweden

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New Delhi [India], October 01 (ANI): Tanmaya Lal has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Sweden, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

Lal is a 1991-batch Indian Foreign Service officer and is presently the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Mauritius.

He is expected to take up the assignment shortly. (ANI)

Two dead, 3 injured in road accident in Srikakulam

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Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) [India], October 1 (ANI): Two people died and three sustained injuries in a car accident on the national highway near Tallavalasa village in Laveru Mandal of Srikakulam district on Thursday, police said.

According to Laveru Sub Inspector (SI) Ganesh, "A car was going from Sompeta to Visakhapatnam. It was passing on the national highway near Tallavalasa at around 6 am. At that time a van was halted on the highway instead of the service road. The car could not identify the van and hit it from behind."

There were five people in the car at the time of the accident and two of them died on the spot. The three injured have been shifted to RIMS hospital, Srikakulam district, Ganesh added.

"We will file a case in this matter after completing all legal formalities," the SI said. (ANI)

820 flights scheduled from 19 countries in October under phase 7 of Vande Bharat Mission

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava speaking at a weekly press briefing on Thursday. (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], October 1: The seventh period of Vande Bharat mission was operationalised on Thursday and 820 worldwide flights have been planned from 19 nations under this stage over the span of this current month. 

Tending to the week after week media preparation here, External Affairs Ministry representative Anurag Srivastava said 16.45 lakh Indians have been localized through various methods of the Vande Bharat Mission till September 30. 

"With this, Phase 6 has reached a conclusion. Under this stage, 894 worldwide flights and 142 feeder flights have been worked from 24 nations arriving at 24 air terminals across India and localizing an expected 1.75 lakh people," he said. 

"To satisfy the proceeded with need, Phase 7 of VBM has been operationalised from today. As of now, 820 worldwide flights have been planned from 19 nations to be worked under Phase 7 over the span of this current month. These incorporate fundamentally departures from among the 14 nations with which India has a two-sided 'air bubble' plan set up. These flights will arrive at 24 air terminals across India, localizing an expected 1.5 lakh individuals," he added. 

He said the MEA has attempted a further evaluation of interest for bringing home from different nations and extended the prerequisites to Air India. 

"Flights will be planned from these extra stations in the coming days," he said. 

All planned business traveler flights were suspended in India on March 25 after the Central government forced a lockdown to contain additionally spread of COVID-19. Homegrown trips in the nation continued tasks from May 25 of every a progressive way. (ANI)

'Confrontations between India, China may become regular'

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New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): Confrontations between India and China will likely become more regular as the two sides consolidate their Line of Actual Control in the western sector until there is no more ambiguity regarding their actual positions, according to an article published by the Observer Research Foundation.

Author Yun Sun in his article 'Confrontation in the Himalayas: China's growing risk tolerance' says that although China might use an overwhelming capacity to secure victory against India, the victory will not "help to alleviate China's key security challenges in the Pacific" because China gives prefers to avoid a two-front war in the West Pacific and South Asia.

Yun Sun opines that though China's assessment of India as the secondary threat and South Asia as its secondary theater is unlikely to change in the future, "the events this year have forced China to come face-to-face with a long list of factors in a real scenario of a war with India, including the heightened and sustained escalation of tension, the growing possibility of a real conflict with India and the military planning/mobilisation/preparation necessitated by it, as well as the Indian willingness to let the border issue spill over to the bilateral economic and trade relations."

"The two-front war scenario has forced China to face the reality that any of its action on Taiwan could trigger India "adventurism" along the disputed border, just like China believes that India's border movement capitalized on China's weaknesses and distraction due to the COVID-19," Sun added.

Despite the joint stated commitment to de-escalate the tensions by India and China in Moscow on September 10, the disengagement has not yet been achieved.

According to the author, there are at least three options being discussed in China for its next steps.

The first option is a war that ends war, which means that "Beijing should finally strengthen its resolve and take the initiative to deter India with a war that ends wars, just like it did in 1962." The Chinese who believe in this option say that "if China were to back off, it will only confirm to India China's reluctance and/or inability to counter India, hence inviting more aggressive behaviors from India down the road."

The author opined that this view is closely linked to that of the development in the West Pacific, specifically Taiwan.

"This proposal is closely linked to the development in the West Pacific, especially on Taiwan. China has been fraught over the deepening ties between US and Taiwan. During this freefall period of U.S.-China relations, the major arms sales package and senior U.S. government officials' visits of Taiwan have put rising strains on China's needed reaction. As it prepares for its options, especially the military option that enjoys vast popular support in China, the possibility and danger of a potential two-front war in the east and west at the same time is becoming increasingly real. For China to plan on a Taiwan contingency, the need to "tie up the loose end" in its western theater becomes even more pressing than before," Yun Sun said.

The second option is - second mover assertiveness. It means that China will prepare for a potential conflict with India but will not initiate and only react, "but forcefully and resolutely to an Indian act of provocation".

Yun Sun said, "The essence of a second mover strategy lies in China's confidence that it has the financial resources, military capacity and domestic political consensus to sustain and prevail in a protracted standoff (or war) of attrition vis-a-vis India. It reflects China's preference for peace, but also its resolve to fight a war if need be. China's 1962 war with India and the 1979 war with Vietnam both demonstrates the central position and essence of "self-defense war" concept in China's playbook. If the border standoff continues or escalates, this will be the most likely scenario."

The third option is winning without fighting, which means settling disputes with India sans any war. To this, the author opines that this approach is like putting a "Band-Aid on the most dividing and disturbing issue between two great powers in the region".

"The most fundamental problem with this approach is that if China has to concede control of territory today, it removes the premise and need of its desired future outcome anyway. Considering China's economic slowdown and India's improving international status, such a future victory nowhere guaranteed. Therefore, while this policy had in the past been prominent in Beijing's decision-making vis-a-vis Delhi on the border issue, the development after Doklam has increasingly undermined its premise," Yun Sun said.

While concluding the author has opined that the confrontations, standoffs and incidents will likely become more regular as the two sides consolidate their Line of Actual Control in the western sector till there is no more ambiguity or room for imagination regarding their actual positions, and that future Line of Actual Control will serve as the foundation and the beginning of a real border negotiation between China and India. (ANI)

Indian Ambassador Suchitra Durai calls on Thailand Senate speaker

(Photo: India in Thailand/ Twitter)

Bangkok [Thailand], October 1 (ANI): Indian Ambassador Suchitra Durai on Thursday called on President of the Senate of Thailand, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.

The Indian Embassy in Thailand said that New Delhi and Bangkok have a long history of parliamentary cooperation.

"Ambassador Suchitra Durai calle
d on the President of the Senate of Thailand H.E Mr Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. India and Thailand have a long history of parliamentary cooperation," India in Thailand tweeted. (ANI)

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

Photo credit: National Centre for Seismology/Twitter. 

Port Moresby [Papua New Guinea], October 1 (ANI): An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale jolted Papua New Guinea on Thursday.

The earthquake hit at 408 km North North-East (NNE) of Port Moresby at 4.46 pm.

"Earthquake of Magnitude: 6.1, Occurred on 01-10-2020, 16:04:46 IST, Lat: -6.09 a
nd Long: 148.69, Depth: 90 Km, Location: 408 km NNE of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea" the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) tweeted.

Papua New Guinea lies in the 'Ring of Fire', an area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, which is vulnerable to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. (ANI)

Foreign Minister Jaishankar greets Chinese government, its people on 71st anniversary of PRC

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. 

New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday extended his felicitation to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi as well as the Chinese government and the people of China on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the country.

"Extend my felicitatio
ns to State Councilor & FM Wang Yi and the Government and People of PRC on the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China." Jaishankar tweeted.

China's State Council on Wednesday held a reception in Beijing at The Great Hall of The People to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

It was attended by the Communist Party of China and state leaders Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan, as well as nearly 500 guests from home and abroad, Xinhua reported. (ANI)

'Speak against Pakistan's atrocities and oppression in Balochistan for the sake of humanity'

A Baloch woman holds the photo of her missing family member. (Photo: ANI)

London [UK], October 1 (ANI): Balochistan is unknown to the world not because Baloch people are subjected to atrocities since March 27, 1948, when Pakistan forcibly annexed it or that they are not resisting the injustices with the meager resources available to them. It is unknown because the exigencies of the world and the United Nations (UN) do not correspond to the needs of the people being oppressed there.

The Baloch and their struggle have been relegated to obscurity by the world more interested in appeasing dictators and state armies, which are ready to serve the world powers with loyalty and dedication.

The world is in the habit of being immune to the pain of people being oppressed by states that pay no heed to human rights.

The UN, which represents the world, also reflects their attitude and hasn't in all these years even tried to make Pakistan comply with conventions on enforced disappearance and torture, it brazenly refuses. This attitude has encouraged Pakistan to flout all laws and norms regarding human rights and civil liberties in Balochistan.

The situation in Balochistan is no secret because even the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court laments the human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings by the premier intelligence agencies, the Army and the Frontier Corps. He, on record, has blamed them and summoned them to court but the abductions, killings and subsequent dumping have not only continued but increased substantially.

As if to prove their point, these institutions started dumping the brutally tortured bodies of hitherto missing persons since September 10, 2012, with the start of visits by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. The Pakistani state wants to ensure that next time around there would be no fact-finding missions here to uncover their atrocities and excesses against the Baloch people.

I'm here to highlight the atrocities and excesses that have been committed against Baloch people for the last 72 years. If the world and the UNO continue to ignore the sufferings of the Baloch people, it would tantamount to being complicit in the slow-track genocide being committed in Balochistan by the Pakistani state. The world should awaken to the plight of all the oppressed nationalities being subjected to atrocities and excesses by the majorities or the minorities wielding state power.

The Baloch people have persisted with their struggle for self-determination without external support or for that matter even moral support of the world, which should have by now learned to support the oppressed wherever they may be. We appeal to the conscience of the world to help Baloch get their inalienable right to freedom from Pakistan, for before Balochistan's forcible annexation on 27th March 1948, the Baloch were independent for 227 days.

Balochistan, which is hidden from the eyes of the world, is currently suffering from a serious humanitarian crisis. In Pakistan-occupied Balochistan, the Pakistani Army embarrasses humanity.

Pakistan's inhuman atrocities in Balochistan are suppressed because there is a total media blackout.

So far the world's longest and most peaceful protest has been going on for more than 10 years in Quetta, Balochistan. It's for those who disappeared because of the Pakistani state agencies and forces, for demanding liberation.

More than 40,000 Baloch political and social activists have been abducted from Balochistan and thousands have been extra-judicially killed in the last 18 years. International human rights organisations are not being given access to the Pakistan-occupied Balochistan and they seem helpless.

Our appeal is to the civilised democratic countries: speak against the atrocities and oppression in Balochistan for the sake of humanity.

(Riaz Baloch is a political and human rights activist living in exile in London)


US, European officials mulling to create 'Asian NATO' to contain China's expansionist ambitions

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Washington [US], October 01 (ANI): The United States and European officials are mulling to create an 'Asian NATO' of regional powers to contain communist China's expansionist ambitions, Washington Times reported.

Through previous efforts for East Asian security, alliance have failed to gain lasting traction, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said China's emergence as a rising superpower is "fundamentally shifting the global balance of power" in ways should motivate NATO itself to "become more global."

Quietly, according to the report, Trump administration officials have gone further. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun recently suggested that the informal defence alignment between the US, Japan, Australia and India are already known as the Quad could be the beginning of a NATO-style alliance in Asia.

"It's something that I think in the second term of the Trump administration or, were the president not to win, the first term of the next president, it could be something that would be very much worthwhile to be explored," Biegun said at a U.S.-India strategic dialogue on Aug. 31.

Recently, senior officials of all four powers held another virtual meeting on Friday. The Ministry of External Affairs said the four countries called for a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive" Indo-Pacific region based on shared valued and respect for international law.

"It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don't have anything of the fortitude of NATO or the European Union. The strongest institutions in Asia oftentimes are not inclusive enough," Biegun said. "There is certainly an invitation there at some point to formalize a structure like this."

Last month, Biegun said that the Asian NATO would be about more than simply countering China, and could focus on broadly coordinating militaries and economies of the region's smaller nations around a rules-based value system.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center has said that as countries in past were worried about antagonizing China but not anymore.

"One country or another at one time or another has been worried about antagonizing China," said Kugelman.

"But things are different now," he added. "The Quad really has legs at this point and I think that's because there's a growing consensus among the Quad countries, as well as other nations in the region, that China's activities there are not only aggressive but increasingly threatening to global stability."

Daniel S. Markey, a former State Department official now at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said in an interview that while India may be "eager to work to push back against China," it seeks to do so "only on its own terms."

"U.S. policymakers are now well-aware that the 'ally' language doesn't get a good reception in New Delhi, so turning the Quad into a new NATO-like institution is, at least for the near future, a nonstarter," said Markey, although he acknowledged that recent Chinese actions internationally could create an opening for Washington. (ANI)

Who killed Kashmiri lawyer Babar Qadri ?

Kashmiri lawyer Babar Qadri

London [UK], October 01 (ANI): When lawyer Babar Qadri was killed, I was among those who condemned it, and demanded very strict punishment for the assassins. Also in my TV programme, My Voice, Abbas Butt and I condemned this targeted murder and demanded that the culprits must be caught and punished.

Babar Qadri was not the first innocent person to die because of his political narrative, and sadly he won't be the last one. His father-in-law, Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani Sahib, a good friend of mine with whom I had lengthy discussions in Islamabad on various aspects of the Jammu and Kashmir issue, was also murdered on his return to Kashmir.

He was killed because he advanced a narrative that was abhorred by Islamabad and their foot soldiers. They wanted to silence all sane voices, and especially voices of dissent that they can impose their agenda on Kashmir.

While talking on this subject and expressing my sentiments with a thinking Kashmiri from the valley of Kashmir, I said: 'We both are also among the killers of Babar Qadri'. He was stunned by my remarks and asked me for clarification.

I said, although I was never part of militancy, however, we both were part of the JKLF. In our own way, we strengthened the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and promoted its ideology. The JKLF, in turn, collaborated with the ISI and introduced a gun culture in Kashmir with disastrous results for the polity of Jammu and Kashmir and people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially people of the Valley.

Hizb-ul Mujahideen took the gun culture introduced by the JKLF to the next level. Militancy and gun culture became a lucrative business for some people.

Subsequently, Al Umar Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist organisations took control of the gun culture.

In my opinion, all those who supported militancy, I mean political parties, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Jihad Council, other groups and individuals are also indirectly culpable for death and the destruction that is going on since 1988.

We cannot shun our responsibilities by pointing finger at others or by using abusive language. Every human life is valuable, and we have to protect human lives rather than supporting those who want blood and dead bodies to advance their agenda.

Generally, members of the bar associations are affiliated to political parties, alliances or groups, but the bar associations as an organ do not subscribe to any political ideology or become a member of any political alliance to advance a particular ideology.

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association is unique in some ways that it officially subscribes to a political ideology, and actively advances the political programme of the APHC, which people believe was created by the ISI to advance their agenda on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Is it not better for the bar associations to defend the rights of citizens and dispense their responsibilities in accordance with the law rather than advancing a particular ideology?

Won't this prejudice rights of those who do not ascribe to this particular ideology, for example, members of the National Conference, Peoples' Democratic Party, Congress and many others.

Coming back to the tragic killing of Babar Qadri, it must be noted that he was a very outspoken and courageous man. He did not hesitate to confront and expose those who, in his opinion, were agents of India or Pakistan.

Just like the political culture of Pakistan, the political culture of Jammu and Kashmir, no evidence is required to accuse people of treason and labelling them as traitors and agents.

Babar Qadri also accused some prominent people, groups and parties.

He accused Jamat e Islami and also accused APHC leaders and Mian Abdul Qayyum, the President of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association.

Babar Qadri contested Mian Abdul Qayyum in the election for the post of president of High Court Bar Association and badly lost.

After August 5, 2019, in protest against the government over the revocation of Article 370, Mian Abdul Qayyum, as the President of the Bar Council declared to boycott the courts.

Baber Qadri defied that by taking up a case of a 12-year-old child who belonged to a poor family. They could not afford court fees. Baber Qadri, on humanitarian grounds (he did not charge any fees), fought his case.

Although what Baber Qadri did was purely on humanitarian grounds, Mian Abdul Qayyum did not appreciate his sentiments and regarded his action as non-compliance to the decision of the Bar Council and suspended his membership. This further aggravated the situation and embittered already a bad relationship.

(Disclaimer: The author of this opinion article is Dr Shabir Choudhry, who is President of Foreign Affairs Committee of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP). (ANI)

Skechers India launches 'Go Like Never Before' campaign with its first brand ambassador Siddhant Chaturvedi

Skechers White Shoes

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] October 1 (ANI/Digpu): Skechers, the global sports and lifestyle brand based in California, is launching a new campaign featuring Gully Boy actor Siddhant Chaturvedi, who will be the first Indian brand ambassador for Skechers and will represent both lifestyle and performance collections.

The "Go Like Never Before" campaign featuring Chaturvedi will be exclusive to the Indian market and emphasizes the importance of running as a sport to remain fit and encourages people to stay active in their day-to-day routine.

The campaign video features newly launched performance footwear styles from the Skechers GO RUN series including Skechers GO RUN 7+™, Skechers GO RUN Razor 3™, and Skechers GO RUN Speed Elite™ shoes built with HYPER BURST® cushioning--which is made using a "supercritical" foaming process to create spherically shaped cells in tight format.

It is the lightest and most resilient midsole foam that Skechers Performance has offered to date and delivers a highly responsive and comfortable running experience.

"We transitioned our business in India to a wholly-owned subsidiary in early 2019 because we believe in this market and see the incredible growth potential delivering our comfortable, innovative, and stylish lifestyle and performance products to the 1.3 billion consumers here. That is why we're investing in this campaign and partnering with an influential star-like Siddhant Chaturvedi," said David Weinberg, chief operating officer of Skechers.

"We are thrilled to launch the "Go Like Never Before" campaign starring Siddhant Chaturvedi. Our sole aim through this campaign is to reach out to maximum people and promote running as a fitness culture in India. Skechers understands the significance of health and fitness and encourages people to be their fittest self by something as simple as running. Making this campaign special, we are delighted to announce Siddhant Chaturvedi as the first brand ambassador of SkechersIndia. His drive for fitness resonates perfectly with the brand and with this we aim to encourage more and more people to stay healthy and GO run," said Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia Pt Ltd about the launch and on Siddhant Chaturvedi.

"Being associated with Skechers has absolutely been an exciting journey for me. I feel honoured and take immense pride to be the first-ever brand ambassador of Skechers India and to launch the campaign in Skechers Performance. I love that the brand is taking a step ahead to educate people about the importance of fitness and motivating them to stay fit whether in the field of sports or beyond. Achieving fitness goals means wearing proper footwear that elevates your performance. I have always loved comfort over style statement, but with Skechers you get the best of both worlds--you get it all," said Siddhant Chaturvedi, Bollywood celebrity on the brand association.

As a brand, Skechers stands for a combination of innovation, style, and technology and gives consumers comfort as well as the chance to stay on par with all the current trends.

In addition to offering ideal footwear for all facets of life, Skechers has launched a wide range of apparel and accessories. The Skechers GO RUN collection for men and women is available at Skechers retail stores and as well as select retail partners.

For more information, please visit

This story is provided by Digpu. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/Digpu)

India, Myanmar hold foreign office consultations, discuss range of issues

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

New Delhi [India], October 01 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a virtual meeting with Soe Han, Permanent Secretary of Myanmar, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, during which he assured the neighbouring country that it is an integral element of India's Neighbourhood First and Act East policies.

"FS @harshvshringla and Myanmar Permanent Secretary U Soe Han @SoeHan11

had a useful exchange on a range of issues at the India-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultations today (Thursday). Myanmar is an integral element of India's Neighbourhood First and Act East policies," MEA Anurag Srivastava tweeted. (ANI)

10 people killed in road accident in Afghanistan

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Kabul [Afghanistan], October 1 (ANI/Sputnik): Ten people were killed and six others injured in a traffic accident on the Herat-Kandahar highway in Afghanistan, a spokesman for Herat's governor said on Thursday.

According to the spokesman, Jilani Farhad, the accident took place this morning in the western province of Herat, more specifically the Tapa Khaki area of Dadraskan district.

Five men, three women and two children were killed, when a Flancoch-type vehicle collided with a bus, Farhad specified. (ANI/Sputnik)

Devyani Uttam Khobragade appointed Ambassador to Cambodia: MEA

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New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): Devyani Uttam Khobragade has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Cambodia, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

Khobragade is a 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service officer and is presently a Joint Secretary in the ministry.

She is e
xpected to take up the assignment shortly, according to the MEA. (ANI)

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