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China quietly resumes its activities in Doklam area: US official

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WASHINGTON: China has quietly resumed its activities in the Doklam area and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it, a top US official has said while comparing Beijing’s actions in the Himalayan region with its manoeuvres in the disputed South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over all of South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.

“I would assess that India is vigorously defending its northern borders and this is a subject of concern to India,” Alice G Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing while responding to a question on China’s increased road-building activities along the border.

India and China have clashed repeatedly over territories in the Himalayas. Most recently Chinese and Indian troops faced off on the disputed Doklam plateau between Bhutan and China after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army began building roads through the area, Wagner said.

“Although both countries back down, China has quietly resumed its activities in Doklam and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it. China’s activities in the Himalayas remind me of its south China Sea policies. How should our failure to respond to the militarisation of the South China Sea inform the international response to these Himalayan border disputes?” Wagner asked.

As the US looks to the Indo-Pacific strategy put forward by the Trump administration, Wells said it has been taken in light of the ‘South China Sea’s Strategy’.

“How do we maintain the region to be open, to have maritime security, to not have militarisation that would imperil the 70 per cent of global trade?” she asked.

“We need to do that by giving authority to sovereign nations to have choices in how they develop, to have choices in their partnerships,” Wells said.

Congressman Ted Yoho, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific, raised the issue of China’s aggressive posture in South Asia.

“What are your thoughts on what is the best way to counter China in that region?” Yoho asked.

US should not be seeking to compete with China dollar for dollar, Wells responded, adding that instead of a state lending on terms that may not be to the benefit of countries or their citizens, the US and its companies are providing $850 billion in foreign direct investment in the region, which is far more than what has been injected by China.

“We’re trying to gather likeminded countries who can bring resources to the table, who can coordinate assistance and an effort so as to provide countries with meaningful alternatives,” Wells said.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16 last year after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed tri-junction by the Chinese Army.

Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face-off ended on August 28.

Story Sorce : TOI

India

Without comprehensive reforms, UN faces ”crisis of confidence’: PM Modi

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti introduced Prime Minister Modi’s pre-recorded statement from the UN General Assembly Hall.

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Narendra Modi

United Nations, Sep 22: The United Nations faces a “crisis of confidence” without comprehensive reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, asserting that the world needs a reformed multilateralism that reflects today’s realities, gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges and focuses on human welfare.

Prime Minister Modi’s call for reformed multilateralism assumes special significance as it comes on the eve of India taking a seat at the powerful UN Security Council as an elected non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2021.

“We cannot fight today’s challenges with outdated structures. Without comprehensive reforms, the UN faces a crisis of confidence,” Modi said on Monday in his video address to the High-Level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

As the UN marks 75 years of its existence, the 193-member UN General Assembly adopted a forward-looking political declaration that gave a clarion call for strengthening mechanism to combat terrorism, reformed multilateralism, inclusive development and better preparedness to deal with challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting that the declaration also acknowledges the need for reform of the United Nations itself, Modi said, “For today’s interconnected world, we need a reformed multilateralism that reflects today’s realities, gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges and focuses on human welfare.”

He said India looks forward to working with all other nations towards this end.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti introduced Prime Minister Modi’s pre-recorded statement from the UN General Assembly Hall.

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8 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs’ protest stretches into the night

The Congress has announced it will take to the streets, launching a mass movement across the country from September 24 to demand withdrawal of the farm bills.

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8 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs

New Delhi: The eight members of Parliament (MPs), who were suspended by Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, have been protesting near the Gandhi statue in the premises.

Their protest has been going on since the time Naidu ordered their suspension for unruly behaviour in the House during the passage of two farm bills on Sunday.

These MPs – Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress leaders Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora and Syed Nasir Hussain and KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem of the CPI(M) – are sitting with placards which read ‘we will fight for farmers’.

They were suspended for a week under Rule 256(2).

West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said that she is in touch with the MPs and the protest will continue through the night. “In Delhi also, the protest is going on under Gandhi Murti and it will continue the entire night, I am in touch with them,” Banerjee said in Howrah.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday that the conduct of Opposition leaders on Sunday was “shameful” and “irresponsible”.

Stating rule 256, Prasad said a member is expected to leave the House immediately if suspended by the Chairman but the Opposition leaders did not pay heed to Naidu’s words.

The Congress has, meanwhile, announced it will take to the streets, launching a mass movement across the country from September 24 to demand withdrawal of the agricultural bills.

“The decision was taken at a meeting of members of the auxiliary committee, the general secretaries and the state in-charges,” former Union Minister AK Antony said in a press conference.

The party has set a target of collecting signatures of 2 crore farmers and handing them over to the President on November 14.

It has termed the suspesion of the MPs, including three of its own, as “undemocratic” and “one-sided”.

Rajya Sabha witnessed unruly scenes on Sunday as Opposition members stormed the well and reached the deputy chairman’s seat to protest against the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. These legislations were passed through voice vote.

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20 opposition MPs urge President to not grant assent to Agri Bills

The Opposition MPs said that the issue raised is, however, of much wider importance.

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Opposion MPs

New Delhi, Sep 22 : At least 20 opposition MPs on Monday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him not to grant assent to the controversial Agriculture Bills, alleging that the way they were passed without any debate was a “murder of democracy”.

“We, belonging to diverse political parties cutting across India’s political and geographical spectrum, bring this representation to you to respectfully draw your urgent attention to the absolute and total murder of democracy, ironically in the most hallowed temple of democracy, parliament,” read the letter signed by leaders of the Congress, the Left, the NCP, the DMK, the Samajwadi Party, the Shiv Sena, the Janat Dal-Secular, the Trinamool Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, among others.

The Opposition MPs said that the issue raised is, however, of much wider importance.

“We are concerned with something which affects the very backbone of the Indian Republic viz its ‘annadata’, the community of farmers,” they said.

It said that on issue like this, “majoritarian, insensitive and uncaring” governance has no role and all stakeholders have to listen, absorb, imbibe and thereafter act with humility. There is no place for the politics of ‘zid’ (stubbornness) and arrogance. Instead the voice of those speaking for the farmers was sought to be stifled.

“Most unfortunately, the latter was in full force in government instructions to all, given with the brazen object of ramming legislation down the throat of disagreeing Parliamentarians without allowing it to be tested freely and fairly by vote by division,” it said.

It further said that the Bills were purportedly treated as passed though were never voted upon.

“Division, asked not by one but innumerable Members, was denied,” it alleged, adding that motions and statutory resolutions, including for amendments were not even looked at, much less considered.

“No attempt was made to even try for a sense of the House or a consensus as to whether the House should sit beyond the strictly prescribed 1 p.m. or continue the next day. September 20, most inexplicably and mysteriously, was treated as if it was the last day of the Session and as if heavens would fall if voting with division was heald on September 21,” it said.

It further said that massive show of force was exerted by security personnel invited inside the House in numbers exceeding those of the MPs present.

“Almost half the Rajya Sabha was seated in the LOk Sabha chamber and the chair neither looked towards them; large parts of the proceedings in the RS chamber were not even audible to those of the RS in the LS chamber. It further said that the egregious and brazen acts of the government, in clear collusion with the legislative organ of our Republic, is also proof positive of the lack of numbers and lack of support with the government qua passage of these Bills.

“It is clear that the government was fully aware that the Bills could not and would not be passed due to wide opposition, cutting across political lines, including strong opposition from several NDA allies and supporters and consequently tactics were adopted to supposedly pass the Bills in a tyrannical manner unknown to our Constitution,” it alleged.

“We pray that you return the bills and do not append your signature,” it said.

In the morning, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu suspended eight MPs, minutes after the House reconvened. These lawmakers from the Trinamool Congress, the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Aam Aadmi Party were accused of creating ruckus in Parliament on Sunday.

The motion was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan, following which the House suspended Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen of the Trinamool, Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora, and Syed Naseer Hussain of the Congress, Sanjay Singh of the AAP and K.K. Ragesh and E Kareem of the CPI-M.

The opposition members indulged in sloganeering after the resolution was moved by voice vote.

Earlier, Naidu said that it was a “sad day for democracy” and “unfortunate” and “condemnable”, as he rejected a no-confidence motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed bedlam on Sunday as the government sought to get cleared two of the three contentious farm Bills amid unrelenting opposition protests. O’Brien allegedly tore a rule book while Satav and Sanjay Singh climbed on a table in the House to protest.

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