Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that it is important to maintain security and stability along the long land and maritime borders of India and Myanmar. After holding talks with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw today, Mr Modi said, deepening relationship with Myanmar is a priority for India as a neighbour and also in the context of Act East Policy. He said, India would like to contribute to Myanmar’s development efforts as part of our Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas initiative.
Prime Minister said, India stands with Myanmar over the issue of violence in the Rakhine state which has led to loss of innocent lives. The Prime Minister said, India wants all stake holders to work towards preserving Myanmar’s unity and territorial integrity. Mr Modi also announced to grant gratis visa to Myanmarese citizens who wish to visit India. He also announced that 40 Myanmar citizens languishing in Indian jails will be released soon. Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Suu Kyi thanked India for taking a strong stand on the terror threat that Myanmar faced recently. She said, together India and Myanmar can ensure that terrorism is not allowed to take root on our soil or on the soil of neighbouring countries.
India and Myanmar also signed a number of agreements for mutual cooperation. The agreements, which were signed in presence of Prime Minister and Ms. Suu Kyi, includes areas such as healthcare, culture, science and technology, conduct of election and media.
Bitter bilateral relations between NATO members Turkey and Germany are on rise with Turkey on flow of Syrian refugees to Europe.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused German politicians of indulging in populism after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would seek an end to Ankara’s European Union membership talks, but added that he hoped strained relations would improve.
“We hope that the problematic atmosphere that made Turkish-German relations the victim of this narrow political horizon will end,” Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, tweeted.
Media reports said, Relation are bound to spill over to the European Union, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek to suspend or end Ankara’s arduous membership bid, a move which can ultimately prove costly for Berlin, analysts said.
Merkel appeared to have sharpened her rhetoric on Turkey during Sunday’s debate when her challenger Social Democrat (SDP) leader Martin Schulz vowed to stop Ankara’s bid to join the European Union if he were elected chancellor.
Merkel, who has been at odds with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on many issues since last year, said “the fact is clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU.”
The chancellor put her words into practice on Tuesday, by announcing that she’ll bring up the future of Turkey’s accession bid with fellow EU leaders during their next month’s summit, raising the prospect of a formal end to Ankara’s membership aspirations.
“I will recommend that we discuss the future status of Turkey, including whether to suspend or end talks,” Merkel said in a speech to lower-house lawmakers in Berlin, causing a drop in the Turkish lira and bonds in the financial markets.
“In the short term Turkey can lose this dispute, but in the long term it will prove costly for Germany,” said Huseyin Bagci, professor of international relations at Middle East Technical University (METU).
“Ultimately Turkey will watch Germany’s powers being tested inside the EU,” where central and eastern European countries are hostile to Berlin’s ever growing influence.
Also, if Turkey decided to open the floodgates on his own accord toward Europe and not abide by a controversial agreement concluded in 2016 after a mass inflow of Syrian refugees, it could damage European solidarity with Merkel, as the eastern countries will be the first concerned by a new crisis.
“What we are witnessing is a geopolitical and geoeconomic uprising of Turkey. Let us not forget despite all criticism a regional player being a member of the G20, NATO and the Islamic Organization conference,” Bagci said.
“The path taken by Merkel is a mistake but Erdogan, for his part, is also taking a big risk,” he noted.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin accused Monday Germany of “indulgence in populism.”
“It is certainly not a coincidence that our president was the main topic of the debate,” he said on his twitter account, implying that German lawmakers were diverting attention to Turkey from other political questions.
Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued an official stance against Austria, highlighting “unacceptable election campaigns of politicians in both countries against Turkey.”
“We are very unhappy with the disgraceful campaigning of political leaders in Germany and Austria, with a focus on opposing Turkey and blocking its negotiations process with the EU,” the ministry said in a statement.
Turkey has arrested some 50,000 people following the failed coup in July 2016. At least 55 are known to hold German citizenship, among whom is a German journalist imprisoned on terror charges.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have sharply deteriorated since the Turkish government’s crackdown against followers of the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his shadowy network of businesses and charitable organizations.
Ankara accuses Gulen of being behind the plot that killed nearly 250 people and wounded 2,000 others.
Turkey also accuses Germany of acting as a safe haven for militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Gulen followers.
In recent months, President Erdogan has repeatedly referred to Germany’s Nazi past, saying the country, where there is a big Turkish diaspora of some 3 million people, is becoming “racist.”
Erdogan has not forgotten that neither Germany nor other EU countries made any response for weeks after the coup while Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first leader to offer sympathy, noted Bagci.
In months, a series of differences, which seemed benign at first, transformed “Merkel, the leader who advocated the most for Turkey inside the EU, to somewhat of an enemy number one,” he added.
Germany refuses to extradite dozens of suspected coup plotters seeking asylum in the country and accuses Ankara of silencing all forms of dissent, while Turkey argues that the state of emergency and the subsequent crackdown are a must to free the state of terrorist elements.
“The notions of justice for the two countries are different and incompatible, but Germany has to renounce her attitude of lesson given to other countries and try to understand and take concrete steps toward Turkey’s requests” of extradition, said Bagci.
Turkey joined a customs union with European countries and began difficult negotiations to became a member of the EU in 2005, but the discussions didn’t advance very far and has stalled for months, with several EU countries reluctant to grant citizenship to the 80 million Muslim Turks.
Turkey’s image as a secular and democratic country has sharply deteriorated in Europe in recent years and Erdogan has been accused of authoritarian rule, especially after the narrow win in a April contested constitutional referendum granting him sweeping executive powers.
In response to the mounting speculation among member states, the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Federica Mogherini said “Turkey continues to be a candidate for EU membership,” despite her acknowledgment that there were problems in relations.
“At the point, all political parties in Germany, whether they are from the right or the left wing, are hostile to a progress in Turkey’s accession bid to the EU,” Professor Birgul Demirtas from political sciences and foreign relations department at TOBB University, told Xinhua.
This analyst explained that Germany is the locomotive of the European bloc with a major political and economic power and similar voices opposing Turkey’s membership were being heard from other member states.
But “Germany has the most seats in the European Parliament. Even though it can not define on its own Brussel’s policy toward Turkey, it can nevertheless have an impact,” Demirtas said.
“Such a decision (suspend or end negotiations) is not for Germany alone but all member states to take,” European Commission Spokesman Maragaritis Schinas said Tuesday.
On a positive note, Demirtas argued that as problematic as they are, there is always light at the end of the tunnel for both sides since they both need each other.
“The ties between the two countries have still the potential of returning to normal in time, but if differences spill over to other fields, military or tourism, it will be to the disadvantage of both countries,” he noted.
Germany is one of the biggest investors in Turkey and a major economic partner. In the wake of deteriorating ties, Berlin has threatened to impose commercial sanctions on Ankara.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe told Russian state TV on Tuesday he believes Moscow plays an indispensable role in settlement of word’s most brewing issues, such as international terrorism, the Korean problem, the Syrian crisis and the situation in Ukraine.
Abe went on to note, that it is impossible to solve these issues without Moscow’s exerting its influence on the relevant parties. “That’s exactly why I have never cut contacts with Vladimir Putin,” Abe said
NAPM strongly condemns the targeted political assassination of senior journalist, editor and activist Gauri Lankesh
Demands time-bound high-level judicial inquiry into the crime and conspiracy
Govt. inaction in the political murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, and Prof. M M Kalburgi responsible for murder of another independent critic and fearless voice against communal fascist forces.
Murder of constitutional rights, fearless critical voices:
Irreparable loss to the nation and initiatives of communal harmony
New Delhi | September 06, 2017: National Alliance of People’s Movements is deeply shocked and shattered at the cowardly and cold-blooded murder of well-known journalist, editor and fearless firebrand activist, Gauri Lankesh who, time and again, locked horns with divisive, communal and casteist forces, in particular the right-wing Hindutva brigade. We have enough reason to believe that her political assassination is a direct consequence of her publicly expressed progressive positions as well as the lack of conviction of the murderers responsible for the calculated political killings of M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, even after months and years! It is precisely this tacit and active support by the current regime in India that is further emboldening the right wing Hindutva forces to commit more brazen crimes, against progressive and people’s voices.
Gauri was widely known and loved across Karnataka and the country for her relentless writings, talks and campaigns in solidarity with the oppressed – be it dalits, adivasis, women, students, minorities etc. As one of the fiercest contemporary critics of divisive politics, she worked hard to counter the growth of Hindutva politics that created an atmosphere of fear and intolerance. Alongside, she also continued to write on and engage with various social and developmental issues and constantly raised her voice against injustices. She extended and expanded by many bounds the legacy of her father P. Lankesh, an eminent journalist and a well known writer and literary critique.
Gauri openly and publicly questioned and challenged politicians, bureaucrats, judiciary, chauvinists and stood by the oppressed. Her last post on social media on the inhuman denial of refuge to the persecuted Rohingyas by Indian Govt. speaks of her concern and compassion for the oppressed humanity. We salute the conviction and courageous life of Gauri and commit to joins hands with all progressive forces across the country to bring justice to her, her values and intensify our struggle against the silencing of democratic and dissenting voices.
The spate of killings, threats, ban on food and personal choices, books, movies, artistic works and fast spreading atmosphere of hatred against rational, scientific and constitutional temper with tacit support from popular governments to keep their vote banks intact is shameful in a modern democracy. We are constantly being pushed in the dark ages, where rational and critical thinking is being silenced, mythologies are being promoted as science and scientific knowledge and temperament is derided. It is with this tendency to wipe out a secular and socialist outlook in the country that text books are being ‘re-written’ and new dominant Hindutva narrative is being promoted all in the name of cultural and national pride.
It is nothing but an absolute failure of Indian Government that rationalists and human rights defenders are being murdered, one after the other, by fascist forces with complete impunity. As reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 27 Indian Journalists were murdered due to their fearless independent writings between 1992 and July 2016, but the state governments failed to secure a conviction in even one of them ! This is a compete shame for India where journalists, rationalists, fearless and critical voices are important for a positive and progressive change in society. In her own words, Gauri Lankesh said “Along with that, my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system … makes my critics brand me as a Hindu hater. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue – in my own little way – the struggle of Basavanna and [social reformer] Dr [Bhimrao Ramji] Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.” There is ample evidence, therefore, suggesting that this is a political assassination since Gauri’s views have not found favour with the Hindutva hardliners and goondas !
NAPM unequivocally condemns the heinous gunning down of Gauri Lankesh and deeply mourns the irreplaceable loss of an outspoken human rights activist and a voice of conscience, communal harmony and sanity. We demand the following:
Govt. of Karnataka must immediately institute an independent, high level and time bound judicial inquiry, with a Special Investigation Team to nab all those guilty of committing and conspiring this grave crime. The unlawful and terror-infusing role of groups such as theHindu Jagarana Vedike, VHP, Bajarang dal, Srirama Sene, Sanathana Samsthe and all other affiliates of RSS must also be inquired into by this Judicial Commission and strictest action must be taken, as per law.
Taking cognizance of the common pattern in the murders of Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kalaburagi and Gauri Lankesh and assassinations carried out by a organised terror group/s which evidently holds an ideology opposed to secular, democratic and constitutional forces,Govt. of India must constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee to take stock of such groups and their political benefactors, responsible for such actions and serious erosion of constitutional values, freedoms, rights and spaces and recommend action against all those conspiring to tear the secular fabric of India as well as assassinate voice of reason and constitutional justice.
The murderers of M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar must also be identified and convicted at the earliest.
Even as were are aroused by the outpour of outrage across the country, we call upon media fraternity, people’s organizations and all progressive and concerned citizens to stand up and fight this cowardly act and rise up to the defence of rights, freedom and the constitutional values which are under attack today from right wing fascist forces in a consistent manner. We hope all like-minded persons and groups would to keep the spirit of Gauri Lankesh alive by questioning injustices even when it is committed by the powerful people in power.
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh – Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM-AP
Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, AP
Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-AP,
Prafulla Samantara, – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & NAPM, Odisha;
Lingraj Azad – Samajwadi Jan Parishad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha;
Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka
Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai and NAPM, TN;
Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, my esteemed BRICS Colleagues, Distinguished Leaders
I am delighted to be here with you all today. Your countries are close and valued partners of India. And I am pleased to exchange perspectives with you on the shared priority of achieving comprehensive sustainable development. I thank President Xi Jinping for bringing us together for this dialogue.
Two years since the adoption of UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the imperative of collaborative action to achieve the goals is even stronger. Recently in July, India completed its first voluntary national review of SDGs. The bedrock of our development agenda lies in the notion of “SabkaSaath,SabkaVikaas” – that is: Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth. We have mapped each of the SDGs to our own development programmes and scheme, both at the federal and state level. Our Parliament too has taken the initiative to organize Parliamentary debates on SDGs. 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.
We would like to see such domestic efforts buttressed by strong international partnerships. And, for this, we stand ready to do our part. India has a long tradition of partnerships with fellow developing countries, while pursuing our own aspirations for growth. At every step, we have shared our experience and resources across a range of sectors: from strengthening democratic institutions to deploying high-tech solutions for public good. Earlier this year, we launched the South Asia Satellite to benefit willing regional partners in meeting their developmental goals in education, healthcare, communication, and disaster management. For over half a century, India’s flagship initiative – Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, ITEC – has offered training and skill development to 161 partner countries from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific Island states. From Africa alone, over the last decade, over 25,000 students have trained in India on ITEC scholarships. At the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, with participation of all 54 African countries, we decided to double the number of ITEC scholarships to 50,000 over a period of only 5 years. The “Solar Mamas” of Africa, trained in India, are lighting up thousands of homes across the African continent. Our growing engagement with Africa has led to the African Development Bank holding its Annual Meeting outside Africa for the first time, in India earlier this year. Our development partnerships projects are providing water, electricity, roads, healthcare, tele-medicine, and basic infrastructure to people in dozens of countries across the world. And, in all of this, our “no strings attached” model of cooperation is driven purely by the requirements and priorities of our partner countries.
The countries present here together represent almost half of the humanity. Whatever we do, will impact the world substantially. So, it is our solemn duty to make a better world – brick by brick, or, through BRICS. Yesterday, I had spoken about the BRICS driving the global transformation in the next ten years for it to be a Golden Decade. I suggest that this can be brought about with our proactive approach, policies, and action, on the following ten Noble Commitments:
1. Creating a Safer World: by organized and coordinated action on at least three issues: Counter Terrorism, Cyber Security and Disaster Management; 2. Creating a Greener World: by taking concerted action on countering Climate Change, through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance; 3. Creating an Enabled World: by sharing and deploying suitable technologies to enhance efficiency, economy and effectiveness; 4. Creating an Inclusive World: by economic mainstreaming of our people including in the banking and financial system; 5. Creating a Digital World: by bridging the digital divide within and outside our economies; 6. Creating a Skilled World: by giving future-ready skills to millions of our youth; 7. Creating a Healthier World: by cooperating in research and development to eradicate diseases, and enabling affordable healthcare for all; 8. Creating an Equitable World: by providing equality of opportunity to all, particularly through gender equality; 9. Creating a Connected World: by enabling free flow of goods, persons and services; and, 10. 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; I look forward to our progress together on this path. I commend President Xi for ably steering the BRICS Chairmanship for the year 2017, and for his warm welcome and hospitality in this beautiful city of Xiamen. I also welcome President Zuma and commit India’s full support for Johannesburg Summit next year.
ADB and Centre sign 250 mn dollar loan agreementON JANUARY 31, 2018 BY NARESH SAGARLEAVE A COMMENTEDIT
Asian Development Bank and the Centre have signed a 250 million dollar loan to finance the construction of over 6,200 kilometres all-weather rural roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
The program is aimed at improving rural connectivity, facilitating safer and more efficient access to livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for rural communities through improvements to about 12 thousand kilometres Rural Roads across the 5 States.
Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions) in Department of Economic Affairs Sameer Kumar Khare signed the loan agreement on behalf of Government of India. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Khare said, the ADB-funded investment program will provide continued assistance to the PMGSY and support the Government’s long-term goal for rural development.
He said, the programme is li…