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Akbaruddin isolated Pakistan at UN, engineered India’s ICJ win over UK

The Fund also distinguishes itself from China’s controversial aid programmes by providing assistance multilaterally through the UN.

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Syed Akbaruddin United Nations

United Nations, May 29 : Having deft diplomacy to successfully isolate Pakistan on the Kashmir issue at the UN and engineered India’s unprecedented victory for the judgeship of the World Court over a Security Council permanent member, Syed Akbaruddin has wound up his term as India’s Permanent Representative to the world body.

Akbaruddin, who retired after a 35-year career in the Indian Foreign Service this month, helped create history when the members of the UN overwhelmingly voted for the re-election of Dalveer Bhandari in 2017 rebelling against the hegemony of the permanent members and forced Britain to withdraw its candidate Christoper Greenwood, who had the majority support in the Security Council.

It marked a clear shift in the balance of power at the UN, from old colonial powers of the last century to the emerging nations of this.

“I was lucky to represent India when our global image was on the rise,” Akbaruddin told IANS, attributing the nation’s successes during his tenure to that and an appreciation of how New Delhi engaged with countries around the world.

Pakistan’s persistent, intensive diplomacy to internationalise the Kashmir issue was checkmated with 189 of the 193 members repudiating it.

Besides Pakistan, only Malaysia and Turkey have raised it in the General Assembly, and even that only once and giving up after being isolated.

China tried twice to bring it up in the Security Council but couldn’t even get a statement acknowledging that it had been discussed in closed-door consultations.

He helped rip China’s protective mantle over Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and have him listed as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council.

Of his diplomacy, Akbaruddin said: “The only way to succeed here is through partnerships.”

And partnerships he had built aplenty winning the regard of fellow-diplomats and UN leaders.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande described him as a “great diplomat”.

He told IANS: “Syed Akbaruddin was one of the very best. I can tell you, I cannot imagine anyone of us who has worked with Syed who will say anything differently. He is a very wise man, very, very sincere, very knowledgeable.”

Muhammad-Bande added that he would congratulate India for producing diplomats like him.

Akbaruddin projected India’s soft-power at the UN, organising grand concerts by maestros A.R. Rahman and Amjad Ali Khan at the General Assembly chamber.

The UN issued a stamp honouring the classical Carnatic singer MS Subbulakshmi in 2016, commemorating her UN concert 50 years earlier that year in 1966.

And during the International Yoga Days he literally had ‘asanas’ projected on the UN headquarters building and for Diwali a greeting, the image of which became the backdrop for a Diwali stamp set issued by the UN postal system.

Quick to seize opportunities for India’s image-building, he promoted the construction of the 50-kilowatt Gandhi Solar Park on a UN building to provide clean electricity to the UN complex as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres prioritised a global move away from fossil fuel-generated power.

Akbaruddin’s tenure also saw the launch of the UN-India Partnership Fund that provides aid to small developing countries. Starting in 2017 with a project to provide a climate early warning system for seven island nations in the Pacific region, the programme has grown into a 10-year programme with a goal of $150 million.

Currently there are 40 projects covering 39 countries.

The Fund also distinguishes itself from China’s controversial aid programmes by providing assistance multilaterally through the UN.

An avid user of social media, who pushed its multimedia use by the mission, Akbaruddin was ranked the diplomat at the UN with the second-highest number of Twitter followers after then-US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley.

A second generation diplomat – his father Syed Bashiruddin was India’s Ambassador to Qatar – Akbaruddin joined the foreign service in 1985. Among his many diplomatic assignments was that of the spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry and acting as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s spokesperson on his travels abroad.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

India

Terror hideout busted, ammunition recovered in J&K

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A large quantity of arms and ammunition was recovered after a terrorist hideout was busted by the security forces in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.

According to details, the security forces received specific input about the presence of a terrorist hideout in a forested area in Mandi.

A joint team of the Border Security Force, police and army carried out the operation.

The hideout was busted and a large quantum of arms and ammunition was recovered including one AK-47 rifle, three AK-magazines, 82 AK rounds, three Chinese pistols, five pistol magazines, 33 rounds of pistol ammunition, four hand grenades and one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL).Searches were undergoing in the area.

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India, China to hold 9th round of talks to resolve border dispute

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Indian and Chinese militaries will hold a ninth round of talks aimed at resolving the border disputes in Eastern Ladakh after a deadlock prevailed since the last negotiations in November 2020, sources said.

The latest “Corps Commander level meet is likely to take place in the next few days, probably in a day or two”, the sources, adding contours of the dialogue were being worked out and some changes are expected.

A Ministry of External Affairs representative is likely to be part of the dialogue.

The eight round had taken place on November 6, 2020.

Though the talks ended in a deadlock, both countries agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through military and diplomatic channels, and also to take forward the discussions, push for the settlement of other outstanding issues, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

Earlier this month, Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane had said that the force is ready for a long haul along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), while hoping for an amicable solution in its nine-month-long conflict with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“We are prepared to hold our ground where we are for as long as it takes to achieve our national goals and interest,” he had said.

On August 30, 2020, India had occupied critical mountain heights on the southern bank of the Pangong Lake like Rechin La, Rezang La, Mukpari, and Tabletop that were unmanned till now.

India has also made some deployments near Blacktop also after the Chinese tried to make a provocative military move.

Now, dominance at these 13 peaks allow India to dominate Spangur Gap under the Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.

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India reports 14K new Covid-19 cases, 152 deaths

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 With 14,256 new coronavirus infections reported in the last 24 hours, India on Saturday continued with its low streak of single-day cases, increasing the overall tally to 1,06,39,684, the health officials said.

.For the past 16 days, the country has been recording less than 20,000 daily new infections even as the toll remained below 300-mark for just short of a month.

On January 19, India had reported 10,064 new coronavirus infections, the lowest single-day spike in seven months. The country had recorded over 10,000 cases on June 6 last year.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday said that with 152 fresh deaths, the overall toll in India stood at 1,53,184.

As per the Ministry’s data, 10,300,838 people have recovered so far and currently there are 1,85,662 active cases.

The recovery rate stands at 96.82 per cent, while the fatality rate at 1.44 per cent.

About 84 per cent of the daily new cases are reported from eight states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.

The nationwide immunisation drive began across the country on January 16, with approval of two Covid vaccines in the country. As many as 12,72,097 beneficiaries have received the Covid vaccine jabs so far.

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