ਮੁੱਖ ਖ਼ਬਰਾਂ 

Defence cooperation with India important

for Indo-US ties: Trump admn

Washington - The Trump administration has told US Congress that defence cooperation with India would be an important pillar in the bilateral relationship as it needs the country to be a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Trump regime has informed the Congress that it “strongly supports” transfers of F-18 and F-16 fighter proposals put forth by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, respectively.
These proposals have the potential to take Indo-US defence ties to the next level, it said.
“The reason why defence cooperation with India is so vital to US interests is because we need India to be a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific, a region that serves as the fulcrum of global trade and commerce, with nearly half of the world’s 90,000 commercial vessels–many sailing under the US flag, and two-thirds of traded oil travelling through the region,” Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for the South and Central Asian Affairs told a Congressional Subcommittee in a written submission.
Wells is scheduled to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on ‘Maintaining US Influence in South Asia: The FY 2018 Budget’ on Thursday.
She said in her submission that the Indo-Asia Pacific region is also home to nearly half of the planet’s population and some of the fastest growing economies on earth.
“Working with like-minded partners, India has the strategic and economic potential to uphold the international order that has served so much of humanity over the past seven decades. The investments we make in our security partnership now will pay dividends for decades to come,” she said.
As fellow democracies, countering terrorism is the critical priority for both India and the United States, she asserted.
“India is situated in a dangerous neighbourhood, where terrorist attacks have killed both Indians and Americans alike. Joint training and capacity building are essential to expanding our CT cooperation,” she said, citing the State Department Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program in which more than 1,100 Indian security personnel have received training from the US since 2009.
Wells said India is among America’s most important strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
“In the words of President Trump, the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better,” she said in the testimony.
“The President’s first meeting with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi in June set a positive tone and ambitious agenda for strengthening bilateral ties, particularly in the areas of defence, energy and trade,” she added.
Talking about the trade between the US and India in her written submission, Wells said the economic relationship had largely been on a positive trajectory and America needed to do more to balance the trade deficit between the two countries, which totalled nearly USD 30 billion last year.
“We are working closely with USTR and the Commerce Department to address the concerns of the US business community regarding India, including tariff and non-tariff barriers, subsidies, localisation policies, restrictions on investment, and intellectual property concerns that limit market access and impede US exporters and businesses from entering the Indian market,” Wells said.
“Our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last decade from USD 45 billion in 2006 to more than USD 114 billion in 2016. US exports to India support more than 260,000 American jobs across all 50 states,” she said.
Last year alone, investment from Indian companies supported more than 52,000 jobs in the United States, she added.
She said the Trump administration is committed to ensuring that the trade relationship with India is fair and reciprocal, and continued to press India to further open its markets and create a level-playing field for US companies.
According to Wells, tremendous opportunities lay in India’s civil aviation market.
In early January 2017, SpiceJet, a private Indian airline, announced an order of 155 new Boeing 737 MAX 8s, taking its tally for the aircraft model to 205 total planes.
The final assembly of the MAX 737 takes place at the Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington.
“...these transactions have an estimated value of USD 23 billion and according to Boeing, would create or sustain more than 130,000 jobs in the US,” she said.
Another private Indian carrier, Jet Airways, ordered 75 737 MAX 8s in 2017, she added.
“We also see significant opportunities in the energy sector. India is the third-largest energy consumer in the world after China and the United States, and its large and growing population ensures it will remain one of the largest energy consumers for decades,” she added.
“India’s state gas utility, for example, signed a 20-year supply agreement with US-based LNG producer Cheniere Energy and has already taken delivery of multiple shipments of gas,” said the top American diplomat.

Modi suggests 10 commitments for BRICS

leadership in global transformation

Xiamen - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday suggested 10 commitments to be made by the BRICS nations, including counter-terrorism efforts, for their role in global transformation.
Speaking at the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries in the course of the 9th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit here, Modi said that the bedrock of India's development agenda laid in the notion of "sabka saath, sabka vikaas" (collective effort, inclusive growth).
Stating that India has mapped each of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to its own development programmes and scheme, he said: "Our programmes are geared to accomplish these priority goals in a time-bound manner. To cite just one example, our three-pronged approach of providing a bank account to the unbanked, providing a biometric identity to all, and using innovative mobile governance solutions, has enabled direct benefit transfers to almost 360 million people for the first time." Stating that the BRICS nations represented half of humanity, he said that for the bloc to play a role in global transformation, it should follow the "10 noble commitments".
"Creating a safer world by organised and coordinated action on at least three issues: counter-terrorism, cyber security and disaster management;" Modi said.
The Prime Minister called for creating a greener world by taking concerted action on countering climate change, through initiatives such as the India-initiated International Solar Alliance.
Another suggestion was for creating an enabled world by sharing and deploying suitable technologies to enhance efficiency, economy and effectiveness.
Reiterating his vision for a digital economic and financial system, Modi called for creating an inclusive world "by economic mainstreaming of our people including in the banking and financial system".
"Creating a digital world by bridging the digital divide within and outside our economies.
"Creating a skilled world by giving future-ready skills to millions of our youth." Modi also called for creating a healthier world: by cooperating in research and development to eradicate diseases, and enabling affordable health care for all.
In creating an equitable world, he said the BRICS nations should provide equality of opportunity to all, particularly through gender equality.
In terms of a connected world, he suggested enabling of free flow of goods, persons and services.
He also called for creating a harmonious world "by promoting ideologies, practices, and heritage that are centered on peaceful coexistence and living in harmony with nature".
"Through these agenda points, and action on them, we will be contributing directly to the welfare of the global community in addition to welfare of our own people.
"And in this, India stands ready as a willing and committed partner to enhance cooperation and support each other's national efforts," Modi added.

Protests in Tamil Nadu after Dalit girl who took

NEET fight to SC kills self

Ariyalur (TN) - The death of Anitha, the Dalit girl who spearheaded the fight against the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) exam, has triggered strong reactions from all quarters.
Students' Federation of India members held protests in Chennai.
Superstars such as Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have also expressed grief over the incident.
The daughter of a daily wage labourer, 17-year-old Anitha was one of the respondents against NEET in a Supreme Court case.
Despite scoring 1,176 in her class XII State Board examinations, she was unable to join MBBS course due to low scores in NEET.
Anitha was reportedly upset after it became known that Tamil Nadu will not be exempted from the ambit of National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET).
Daughter of a daily wage earner, Anitha, dreamed of becoming a doctor.
She was found hanging on Friday at her house in a village in this district, police said.
The Dalit girl had approached the apex court last month opposing a plea seeking admissions to under graduate medical courses only on the basis of the NEET score.
The police said they were investigating the matter. Meanwhile, the residents held a 'road roko' in the village, slamming the AIADMK-led state government for the death of the girl.
"District police superintendent, district collector and other senior officials are present on the spot for coordinating the legalities post the death of the girl," a police official told PTI.
The body has been taken to a government hospital for autopsy, he said.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar told reporters that he was deeply pained by the death of the girl.
Education Minister C Sengottaiyan expressed grief and anguish and said steps were being taken to prepare students for any competitive exam. He said such instances must never be repeated.
DMK working president M K Stalin expressed concern over the death of the girl and called the government "inept".
"Students are the future of the nation and they should never attempt to do such things," he said while asking the state government to own up responsibility for the death.
Various political parties have been cornering the state government for its failure to get exemption from the NEET.
Actor Rajinikanth also condoled the death of the teenage girl. "What has happened to Anitha is extremely unfortunate. My heart goes out to all the pain and agony she would have undergone before taking the drastic step. My condolences to her family," he said in a tweet.
VCK chief Thol Thirumavalan, a Dalit leader, expressed anguish at the death of the girl and said no student should attempt ending their lives as there were a lot of opportunities to pass examinations.
Anitha had scored an impressive 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in class XII board examinations. In NEET, she did not fair well and missed out on getting a medical seat.
Although she could not get admission to MBBS, she had the high score to secure the admission for several other courses, including engineering.
She was even reportedly offered a seat in the prestigious state-run Madras Institute of Technology here for aeronautical engineering.

Three-storey building collapses in Mumbai;

many feared trapped

Mumbai - A three-storey residential building collapsed near the JJ junction in the Pakmodia street of the Dongri area of Mumbai on Thursday morning.
The building, named Husaini building, is located at the Bohari Mahal and falls under the jurisdiction of the JJ Marg Police Station.
As many as 20-25 people are fear trapped under the debris.
The DCP Zone 1, Dr Manoj Sharma, said three people have been rescued from the debris, and the look-out for more survivours is underway.
Meanwhile, a police team, a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the fire brigade and ambulances have been rushed to the spot.
Further details are awaited.
Mumbai has been receiving heavy rain since Tuesday disrupting the normal life of the people. The city received over 300 mm rain on August 29 alone, almost touching the July 26, 2005, deluge.
As many as 791 buildings had been identified as "most dangerous" in a pre-monsoon survey in Mumbai.

Panchkula, Sirsa limp back to normal;

curfew relaxed in Punjab till noon

Sirsa/Panchkula - There were no reports of violence since last night in Panchkula and Sirsa, which houses the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters, police said, asserting that the situation was under control in the state.
However, Section 144 and heavy security has been deployed in both the places.  Meanwhile, in Punjab, curfew has been relaxed at all places, except Patiala, till 12 noon and may be extended till 2pm if all goes well in the state.
Precautionary measured are being taken in Pataila as most Dera followers will cross the place while returning to Sirsa.
Sources say that Dera chief will be lodged in a special cell and get an assistant to stay with him.  
At least 30 people were killed and 250 injured in widespread violence, arson and police firing in Haryana yesterday, triggered by the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a sexual exploitation case.
While 28 people were killed in Panchkula, the epicentre of the violence, two died in Sirsa.
"The law and order situation is under control as there has been no report of violence since last night," said a senior police officer.
Last night, Army carried out a flag march in the area to maintain law and order. The normal life has come to a standstill due to curfew-like restrictions imposed by the authorities to prevent any untoward incident.
Two companies of the Army and 10 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed. Police personnel have asked locals to stay indoors.
In Panchkula yesterday, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh held Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old flamboyant chief of the dera, guilty of rape in a case that was registered on the basis of an anonymous written complaint in 2002 that he had sexually exploited two female followers.
On the basis of the report, a case was registered against him in December 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The quantum of sentence against Ram Rahim, who enjoys 'Z' category security, will be pronounced on August 28.

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