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Amarinder launches week-long celebrations of Prakash Purb

The Chief Minister said cleaning and lining of the right bank of the holy Bein rivulet had been complete in the Sultanpur Lodhi section at a cost of Rs 11 crore, in partnership with Sant Seechewal.

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Sultanpur Lodhi, Nov 5 : Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, here on Tuesday, ushered in the week-long celebrations of the 550th Prakash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev with an appeal not to indulge in politics or one-upmanship, but to commemorate the event.

He called upon the people to follow the Guru’s teachings of tolerance and harmony to counter the challenges of growing religious intolerance faced by the country. He invited all to participate in the main function on November 12, and also to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan.

On the occasion, he also announced a new administrative complex and a Rs 150 crore ring road around the heritage city of Sultanpur Lodhi to enhance its connectivity with other cities. The iconic Quila Sarai, which doubles up as the tehsil administrative office, would be preserved by the state government as heritage building, he said.

Amarinder Singh, along with Cabinet Minister Charnjit Singh Channi, also released four books on Guru Nanak’s philosophy, penned and edited by acclaimed Punjabi writers, including Surjit Patar.

The books “Guru Nanak’s Blessed Trail”, “Guru Nanak Bani”, “Sone Ka Birkh” (The Golden Tree) and “Guru Nanak Dev Ji Life and Relics” have been printed by the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated two exhibitions comprising relics, manuscripts and rare books associated with Guru Nanak’s life.

While one exhibition, put up by the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Department, showcases 53 panels depicting the life of the first Sikh Guru, the other has been curated by the Punjab Small Industries Export Corp.

He said the state government had undertaken many infrastructure works in Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak to turn them into modern heritage towns.

Upgradation and widening of roads, besides construction of new bridges and improvement of hospitals, had been undertaken at a cost of Rs 235 crore, the Chief Minister said. A Rs 100 crore project to develop all 70-odd ‘Pahli Patshahi de Charan Chhoe Prapt Pind’ as model villages with proper amenities has also been initiated.

The Chief Minister said cleaning and lining of the right bank of the holy Bein rivulet had been complete in the Sultanpur Lodhi section at a cost of Rs 11 crore, in partnership with Sant Seechewal.

The state had secured the Centre’s approval to develop Sultanpur Lodhi as a heritage town for Rs 271 crore on the 50:50 sharing basis, and to set up an inter-faith studies centre at the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar at a cost of Rs 175 crore.

It had also proposed establishment of a Pind Babe Nanak Da, a museum in around 75 acres, at a cost of Rs 300 crore, he added.

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Tension in UP district after mosque construction stopped

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Uttar Pradesh police up

Sambhal (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 15 A mosque allegedly being erected in Sambhal district in Uttar Pradesh, was stopped leading to tension. Police have been deployed in the area.

Work at the under-construction mosque in the Saraitareen area was halted late on Wednesday after people from another community objected to it.

The roof of the building had already been completed when the police locked up the premises to stop prayer gatherings from taking place.

District Magistrate Avinash Krishna Singh said police force had been deployed at the site to stop further construction and also to prevent any kind of clash.

According to reports, some people had started offering namaaz inside a madarsa in Saraitareen some months ago. Later construction of a mosque began inside the same madarsa premises and neighbours from the other community objected to it.

The construction was stopped after police intervened, with the sub-divisional magistrate issuing orders that no further construction could take place.

On Wednesday morning, people from the other community living in the vicinity informed police that construction was restarted the night before.

Station House Officer (SHO) Ravindra Kumar of Hayatnagar police station reached the spot and got the premises locked up.

Those who had gathered there went to a nearby mosque, from where they announced on loudspeakers that police had stopped them from offering Namaaz and thrown their holy book out of the “new mosque”.

Soon, a large crowd gathered there and the women broke the locks in the presence of police.

Sensing further trouble, senior civil and district police officials rushed to the spot and immediately deployed Rapid Action Force (RAF) to defuse the situation.

The officials then held talks with members of the community and assured them the madarsa premises would be opened and that they could continue with all religious activities barring community prayers.

District magistrate Avinash Krishna Singh said: “The situation is under control and construction has been stopped. As precaution, the RAF and police are still deployed in the area.”

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Simla agreement resulted in ‘revanchist’ Pakistan, problems in Jammu and Kashmir: Jaishankar

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New Delhi, Nov 15: External affairs minister S Jaishankar said India’s foreign policy cannot be tethered to dogmas and needs to be agile in a fast-changing global order.

Delivering the 4th Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture Thursday on the topic, “Beyond the Delhi Dogma: Indian Foreign Policy in a Changing World”, Jaishankar said: “We are now at the cusp of change.

Jaishankar further said that the Simla Agreement (inked by then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the then Pakistan President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2nd July 1972) led to a “revanchist” Pakistan and problems in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Evidence strongly supports the view that India advanced its interests effectively when it made hard-headed assessments of contemporary geopolitics. And even more so when it did not hesitate to break with its past. The 1971 Bangladesh war, the 1992 economic and political repositioning, the 1998 nuclear tests or the 2005 India-US nuclear deal are instructive examples. Indeed, it is only through a series of disruptions that India was able to bring about decisive shifts in its favour,” he said.

“A misreading of geopolitics and economics upto 1991 stands in contrast to the reformist policies thereafter. Two decades of nuclear indecision ended dramatically with the tests of 1998. The lack of response to 26/11 is so different from the Uri and Balakot operations. Whether it is events or trends, they all bear scrutiny for the lessons they hold,” he said.

Jaishankar said “the fact remains that even after seven decades of independence, many of our borders remain unsettled” and that in the economic sphere, “we may look good when benchmarked against our own past” but “it seems a little different when compared to China or South East Asia”.

India needs “greater realism in policy”, Jaishankar said. The “early misreading of Pakistan’s intentions can perhaps be explained away by lack of experience”, but “the reluctance to attach overriding priority to securing borders even a decade later is much more difficult to justify”, he said. He said India had strongly “built up an image of a reluctant power,” but it “ended up influenced by our own narrative”.

The minister also asserted that “holding the feet to the fire” is very significant in dealing with Pakistan.

“For years India’s position on the world state seemed assured, but the 1962 conflict with China significantly damaged India’s standing,” said Jaishankar, adding: “India’s record includes dark moments like the 1962 defeat against China. Or tense ones like the 1965 war with Pakistan. There are enough dichotomies in our past to generate a spirited debate on successes and failures.”

Jaishankar stated that albeit hard, yet the purposeful pursuit of national interest was necessary for changing global dynamics.
The real stumbling block to India’s rise is not anymore the barriers of the world, but the dogmas of Delhi, said Jaishankar.

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BRICS nations to deny safe haven to economic offenders

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BRICS Summit in Brazil

Brasilia, Nov 15 : The BRICS nations on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to fighting corruption, and joining multilateral efforts in denying safe haven to economic and corruption offenders and facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of crime.

In a statement, the BRICS nations said: “We reaffirm our commitment to fight corruption, inter alia, through the strengthening of domestic legal frameworks, as appropriate, to more effectively address cases of corruption. We remain committed to adopting integrity measures in the public sector and promoting integrity standards in private enterprises and to build a stronger global commitment to a culture of intolerance towards corruption.

“We will maintain our ongoing efforts on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation and returning of assets, including on civil and administrative proceedings. We will make full use of the BRICS Meeting on Asset Recovery and strengthen experience-sharing and case-cooperation on asset recovery among BRICS countries.

“We will enhance our exchange of views within multilateral frameworks such as UNCAC (United Nations Convention against Corruption) and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, with the aim of joining efforts in denying safe haven to economic and corruption offenders and to facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of crime,” it said.

The five countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, also acknowledged the continued support provided by the BRICS Revenue Authorities towards implementation of the global standards on transparency and exchange of information and the minimum standards against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) – which refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to “shift” profits from higher-tax jurisdictions to lower tax jurisdictions, thus “eroding” the “tax-base” of the higher-tax jurisdictions.

“We remain committed to addressing the tax challenges of the digitalization of the economy. We look forward to further progress in the discussion of the two-pillar approach developed by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS.

“We welcome the recent achievement on tax transparency including the progress on automatic exchange of information for tax purposes.

“We call on all jurisdictions to sign and ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. We remain committed to enhancing our efforts on the prevention of base erosion and profit shifting, exchange of tax information, and needs-based cap capacity building for developing countries. We commit to deeper exchanges and sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as to mutual learning in taxation matters,” the joint statement said.

The joint statement also noted the progress achieved by the BRICS Customs Administrations regarding the draft BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement and directed their respective appropriate authorities “to work towards its early conclusion and entry into force”.

“We also welcome the substantial progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation, especially with regard to the BRICS Authorized Economic Operator Program, which should be functional by the end of 2022, including the mutual recognition of controls and economic operators.

“We also acknowledge the positive practice of establishing BRICS Custom Training Centres and direct the pertinent authorities to continue this approach in the future. We recognize the potential of the BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee and call for enhanced intraBRICS cooperation at relevant multilateral fora, including in trade facilitation, law enforcement, use of advanced information technologies and capacity building,” it said.

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