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China must respect norms, use diplomacy to resolve border issue with India: Top US Congressman

Eliot L Engel, who heads the powerful House panel on Foreign affairs, said, “China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law.”

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India China Border Sikkim

Washington, June 2 : The US censured China for resorting to aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India and not resolving the conflict as per the international law.

In the first comments from Capitol Hill on the ongoing tension along the India-China border, a top US Congressman — who heads the powerful House panel on Foreign affairs — has expressed “concern”, called China a “bully”, and “strongly” urged China to “respect norms and use diplomacy” to resolve its border questions with India.

In a statement late on Monday night, US Congress’ House Committee chair Eliot L Engel said, “I am extremely concerned by the ongoing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control on the India-China border.”

“China is demonstrating once again that it is willing to bully its neighbours rather than resolve conflicts according to international law. Countries must all abide by the same set of rules so that we don’t live in a world where “might makes right,” he said.

“I strongly urge China to respect norms and use diplomacy and existing mechanisms to resolve its border questions with India.”

Engel, an influential Democrat Congressman, has long been a supporter of India. However, External Affairs minister S Jaishankar had cancelled a meeting with Engel and other Congress members in Washington DC last December, over Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s inclusion into the delegation.

In July last year, after US President Donald Trump had falsely claimed that PM Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir, Engel had spoken with then Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

“Engel reiterated his support for the longstanding US position on the Kashmir dispute, saying he supported dialogue between India and Pakistan, but reaffirmed that the dialogue’s pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan,” he had said in a statement.

During the call, Engel “reaffirmed that in order for dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan must first take concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure” on its soil, the statement had said.

Last week, on May 29, Trump had claimed that he spoke to PM Modi about the India-China border, but sources in New Delhi said there has been “no recent contact” between the two leaders and the last conversation took place almost two months ago, on April 4.

Trump had claimed that he had spoken to Modi, who was “not in a good mood” about what’s going on with China. The US President made those remarks in response to questions at the White House.

“They have a big conflict going with India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people. Two countries with very powerful militaries. And India is not happy, and probably China is not happy. But I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He’s not — he’s not in a good mood about what’s going on with China,” the US President had said.

That had been the only comment so far from the US on the ongoing India-China border tension.

India

Congress raises issue of students in US affected by change in policy

According to the IIE, F-1 students participate in academic course work while M-1 students are students of ”vocational course work.

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Abhishek Manu Singhvi

New Delhi, July 8 : After the US Department of Immigration and Custom Enforcement said that students whose classes are going completely online will not be issued visas for the next semester nor will such students be allowed to stay, the Congress has lashed out at the government for not paying heed to the sufferings of these students.

The Congress said the government should have settled the issue with their “so called friend Donald Trump.”

The US had more than one million international students enrolled in various graduate and undergraduate programmes in 2018-19, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). That”s about 5.5 percent of the total student community in the country.

Out of these, nearly three-quarters were from Asia – 48 percent Chinese and 26 percent Indians.

According to the IIE, F-1 students participate in academic course work while M-1 students are students of ”vocational course work.

The Congress has also hit out at the government over the law passed in Kuwait which can make 8.5 lakh Indians jobless in the country.

Kuwait has approved the draft of a migrant quota bill and 8 lakh Indians may have to leave the country. The Indian community is the largest expatriate community in Kuwait, with a total population of about 1.45 million. Kuwait has a population of 4.3 million.

Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked what was the government doing when such a law was passed while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting these states frequently.

The party alleged that 120 million jobs were lost in April due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

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India

RGF has nothing to hide, why holy cows not questioned: Congress

The official said that a Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate will head the committee.

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Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

New Delhi, July 8 : After the Centre set up an inter-ministerial committee to probe alleged violations of legal provisions by the Gandhi family”s Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, the Congress on Wednesday hit back saying the RGF had nothing to hide.

Party Senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “RGF has nothing to fear, you have every ”yantra” and ”tantra”, we are here as law abiding persons.”

“But you have to be ”exposed fully”, you are not asking similar questions to any holy cows, like the Vivekananda Foundation, India Foundation, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and for that matter the RSS,” said Singhvi.

He said, “Whose blue eyed boys and girls are these organisations, which are never asked anything.”

Singhvi said, “There are two laws, for that matter there were many sets of rules for different entities for the government.”

Singhvi said the RGF was not going to be cowed down and will continue its work as an NGO and was prepared to give truckloads of papers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs constituted committee will coordinate investigations into the violation of provisions like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by these foundations, a Home Ministry Spokesperson tweeted on Wednesday.

The official said that a Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate will head the committee.

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was established on June 21, 1991. The foundation works on a range of issues, including literacy, health, disability, empowerment of the underprivileged, livelihood and natural resource management. Its current focus areas are education, disability and natural resource management.

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram are members of the board.

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India

Kerala gold smuggling: Brother not in talking terms with accused Swapna Suresh

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

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Kerala gold smuggling

Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 : Swapna Suresh, the high-profile lady who moved in the corridors of power, rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in Kerala, was reportedly not in talking terms with her elder brother.

Swapna Suresh, a consultant with the Kerala IT department, is reportedly on the run after her name came up in the investigation into the gold smuggling scandal, which links her with top smugglers operating from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

“We are three siblings, and I am the eldest one. We were all in the UAE and when I turned 17, I left for the the US from where I graduated. Now I am settled in the US and work with a telecom company. Swapna is the second sibbling while our youngest brother is settled in India,” said Suresh.

Their parents are settled in the suburbs of the state capital.

“When I went home a few years back, she had threatened me and warned me that if I didn’t return to the US, my hands and legs will be chopped. She was upset because she felt that I would get a share of the property, which she didn’t want. Me and my brother occasionally speak, and that’s it. I interact with my mother. My parents will decide on the property. I earn my own living,” said Suresh.

On Sunday, the Air Customs attached to the Thiruvananthapuram airport had seized 30 kg gold that arrived on a cargo flight and was kept in a warehouse for release. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and is understood to have been marked to the UAE Consulate which has its office in the heart of the state capital.

The Consulate’s PRO, Sarith, has been arrested, while the prime suspect in the smuggling racket, Swapna, a woman who wears many hats, is on the run. She also happens to be close to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in the state.

She had worked in the Consulate office here for a while and was in good terms with Sarith.

It was only after the arrest of Sarith that the revelations turned murky as Swapna, who is presently a consultant with the Kerala IT department, was very close to senior IAS officer and Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, M. Sivasankar, who was also the IT Secretary.

With both the Congress and the BJP demanding that Vijayan should come clean, Sivasankar was on Tuesday removed from his office as well as from the post of IT Secretary.

Sivasankar later applied for a year”s leave, which has been sanctioned.

With the case getting huge media attention, the Union government has taken it up at the highest level, even as Vijayan on Tuesday night said that he was ready to face any probe.

“We have no say in the matter. We are ready to face any probe and the Centre can decide which agency should probe the matter,” said Vijayan.

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