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India committed to enhance maritime cooperation with Asean: Modi

India shares the Asean vision for rule-based societies and values of peace.

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ASEAN-INDIA Commemorative Summit

New Delhi, Jan 25  : With Asean leaders by his side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for nations to follow international law of the seas in the Indo-Pacific region – in a veiled attack on China which has been accused by most of its neighbours of violating the rule of law in the South China Sea.

“India shares the Asean vision for rule-based societies and values of peace,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the plenary session here of the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Dialogue Partnership.

He said India is committed to enhancing cooperation in the maritime domain with the Asean regional bloc.

“We are committed to work with Asean nations to enhance collaboration in the maritime domain,” he said

The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and heads of state or government of all these countries are participating in the Commemorative Summit, themed “Shared Destiny, Common Values” . The heads of government and state from these 10 countries are here as guests of honour at the Republic Day celebrations on Friday.

Modi also called for respect for international law, especially the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), while stating that the Asean is at the centre of New Delhi’s Act East Policy.

Modi’s comments assume significance given China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea and India’s keenness to play a more influential role in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Prime Minister said that the nature of Asean-India partnership has evolved significantly.

“Our trade has grown 25 times in 25 years. Investments are robust and growing,” he said.

“We will further enhance trade ties and work towards greater interaction among our business communities.”

On his part, Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, which has assumed the Asean chair this year, said that India and the regional bloc have to increase trade and economic cooperation.

“The RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) being negotiated represents a historic opportunity to establish the world’s largest trading region,” he said.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 Asean member states and the six countries with which Asean has FTAs — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Lee also stressed on boosting land, air and maritime connectivity between India and Southeast Asia.

Earlier on Thursday, the Commemorative Summit started with a luncheon banquet hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind in honour of the visiting dignitaries.

Following this, Modi held a leaders’ retreat in which the issue of maritime cooperation and security was discussed.

Prior to the the banquet, since Wednesday, the Prime Minister also held bilateral meetings with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singapore Prime Minister Lee, and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah.

India

CM Amarinder praises farmers for lifting blockade on goods

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Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday welcomed the farmer unions’ decision to allow movement of goods trains, saying it was in the interest of the state’s economy and its revival.

Thanking the farmer unions for heeding his appeal, the Chief Minister said the farmers had shown their love and concern for the people of Punjab with this move, as it will allow the state to get its much-needed coal supplies.He pointed out that the people of Punjab had been facing a total power shutdown as a result of coal shortage due to the blockade, and the decision of the unions had come as a major relief to them.Singh said in a statement here that farmer organisations, with this decision, had also ensured that the industry would not have to suffer anymore but would get back on the path to revival.The ‘rail roko’ of the farmers had caused huge financial losses to the industry, thus compounding the crisis triggered by the Covid pandemic.

Further, said the Chief Minister, the easing of the blockade for goods trains will help the state replenish its critically low urea supplies, thus catering to the urgent need of the farming community for fertilisers.The farmers had not let the state down, and he would personally ensure that his government never lets them down, said Amarinder Singh.He reiterated his commitment to save their livelihood and lives, both of which were facing acute danger as a result of the Centre’s ‘black’ farm laws.The Chief Minister, however, urged the unions to also lift the blockade on passenger trains, which were catering to tens of thousands of Punjabis every day, especially during festive times.”The people of Punjab want to come back home to celebrate the festival season with their families,” he said, appealing to the farmers to allow the movement of passenger trains too in the interest of Punjabis.

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India

Delhi HC adjourns hearing on plea against appointing SPPs in riots cases

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Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday adjourned till November 9 the hearing on a plea against the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) in cases of riots and violence in northeast Delhi in February.

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SC allows trust to operate banks accounts to pay bills, taxes

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has permitted the Maharwal Khewaji Trust, which manages the Rs 20,000-crore property of erstwhile princely state of Faridkot, to operate bank accounts to pay salaries to staff and meet expenses on utilities bills and taxes etc.

In June, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled that the will of Harinder Singh Brar, the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state, was forged in favour of the Maharwal Khewaji Trust on June 1, 1982.

The High Court had said that his two daughters, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Maharani Deepinder Kaur, were entitled to inherit and share the properties.

The trust had moved the Supreme Court against this order. The top court had ordered for a status quo and allowed the trust to continue as caretaker.

Last Friday, a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat said: “Since the activities undertaken by the Trust are in the nature of running a hospital and other philanthropic causes, at this stage, we permit the applicant Trust to operate the accounts mentioned in Paragraph 12 of the application strictly for the purposes enumerated at serial numbers 2 to 7 in Paragraph 8 of the application.”

The expenses include those on salaries, amounts due towards security agency, utilities bills, advance tax and GST payments and the statutory payments towards ESI and EPF.

The bench ordered that details of all expenses incurred as well as credits received should be placed before it periodically.

“The first report shall be filed on or before October 30; and the second report thereafter be submitted on or before November 30, ” said the top court.

Senior Advocates V Giri and Krishnan Venugopal opposed the prayer and submitted that in the name of meeting the expenditure towards fulfilling the objectives of the Trust, the amounts are being misused and, as such, the relief prayed for should not to be granted.

The top court’s order came on an interlocutory application filed by Trust that during the pendency of these petitions it may be permitted to operate its bank accounts.

Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Dhruv Mehta, appearing for the applicant, submitted that though there was no express order of injunction, the banks concerned have frozen the Trust accounts, as a result of which its activities are getting seriously prejudiced. They urged the top court to allow these accounts to be operated during the pendency of petitions.

The top court also directed the bank managers concerned to submit statements of accounts from June 1 to October 30. The top court listed the matter for disposal on November 4.

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