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India, Maldives to deepen cooperation for Indian Ocean security, boost trade

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New Delhi, Dec 17: India and the Maldives on Monday agreed to deepen cooperation to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region as New Delhi extended lines of credit worth $1.4 billion to the archipelago nation following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih here.

The two sides also signed four agreements, including on cultural cooperation, IT and electronics cooperation and on improving the ecosystem for agribusiness.

“President Solih and I agree that to maintain peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, we need to deepen our cooperation,” Modi said while jointly addressing the media with Solih after the talks.

“Both India and the Maldives share equal interest and stake in the development and stability of our region,” he said.

Stating that the security interests of the two countries are related to each other, Modi said that there is also unanimity on the sustainability of this region and to be conscious of each other’s interests and concerns.

“We will not allow the use of our countries to harm each other,” he said.

“I want to work together with President Solih for the bright future of our region, and utilise all possibilities in the relationship between India and Maldives.”

Modi also said that India is proud that the Maldives has become a medium income country from being a least developed country.

“The Maldives achieved this despite facing the challenges of sustainable development and climate change,” he said.

“In resolving these challenges, and in the sustainable development of marine resources, the role of Maldives will be important throughout the world.

“Therefore, we agree to increase mutual cooperation on the various aspects of maritime cooperation between India and the Maldives.”

The Prime Minister said that India will always with be the Solih government in its efforts to carry out ambitious plans for changing the lives of the people of Maldives, and to give a human face to development in the country.

“I am glad that as a direct expression of this commitment, for the socio-economic development of the Maldives, India will extend budget support, currency swap and concessional lines of credit worth $ 1.4 billion,” he said.

Modi also called for boosting connectivity between India and the Maldives saying that better connectivity will lead to exchange of goods and services, information, ideas, culture and people.

He assured Solih of strengthening the two nations’ partnership in health, human resource development, infrastructure, agriculture, capacity building, ICT and tourism.

In this connection, Modi offered additonal 1,000 seats in India for Maldivian nationals for training and capacity building.

The Prime Minister also called for boosting commercial relations and bilateral trade.

“I welcome the growing opportunities for investment by Indian companies in the Maldives,” he said.

On his part, Solih said that during the discussions, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to democracy.

“We agreed on the mutual need for regional stability and security in the Indian Ocean,” he said.

The Maldives President also said that both sides discussed cooperation in health, education and commerce among other areas.

He said that he has invited both President Ram Nath Kovind and Modi to visit the Maldives next year

Earlier in the day, Solih was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan during which Modi greeted him with a hug.

External Affairs Minister Suhma Swaraj also called on the visiting dignitary and discussed all aspects of the bilateral ties.

Solih arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to India, his first foreign visit since assuming office on November 17.

Relations between India and the Maldives deteriorated after Solih’s predecessor Abdulla Yameen imposed an internal emergency in February this year. Solih defeated Yameen in the elections in September to take over as President.

IANS

India

SC comes to the rescue of DU law student, gives her shot at career in law

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Delhi University

The past two years have been tumultuous for law student Ankita Meena. Amid several legal adversities, she continued to put a brave face and cleared all the hurdles in finishing her law studies at Delhi University.

In second year, she was not allowed to write her exams, as she missed classes due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy. Her miseries were quadrupled after her results for fourth, fifth and sixth semesters were also withheld. Yet she did not give up and continued the battle in the top court, which reached its finality on Friday. The Supreme Court has now directed the Delhi University to declare the fifth semester results, which would allow her to have a shot at a career in law.

On Friday, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “The IA (intervention application) and the SLP (special leave petition) are disposed of, directing the university to declare the fifth semester supplementary examination results of the petitioner and issue the provisional degree along with necessary certificates, provided she had passed the examinations, subject to the petitioner clearing the other formalities.”

Meena joined the three-year LLB course at Law Centre II, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, in August 2016. By the time she joined the course, she was already married for about five months. She completed the first three semesters without any hindrance. However, she fell short of the required attendance mark during the fourth semester, due to two difficulties: One, she gave birth to a baby in February 2018; and second, the teachers’ association went on strike in middle of March, hence classes were impacted.

In May 2018, when she was in second year, the top court declined to give her permission to write her exams as she had missed her classes due to her pregnancy. The court noted that it was “very uncomfortable” to pass an order at 1 pm on her plea to sit in the exam scheduled an hour later.

In October 2018, the top court permitted her to attend classes at her own risk on completion of the required formalities.

In February 2019, the court directed the university to permit her to attend the classes for sixth semester as per its October 2018 order. On July 5, 2019, the Supreme Court directed the university to permit her to appear in the fifth semester supplementary examination scheduled the next day.

In July 2020, the apex court directed that her results for fourth and sixth semesters be declared. Following these orders, Meena appeared for fourth, fifth and sixth semester exams.

The university had declared the results of the fourth and fifth semester examinations, but did not declare the results for the fifth semester supplementary examination. The top court noted that Meena has completed the course in entirety and the results of all the semester examinations except the fifth semester supplementary examination have already been declared.

Directing the university to declare the fifth semester results, the top court said: “This order is passed under the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.”

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CWC meet: Senior leaders engage in verbal spat over internal elections

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Ashok Gehlot

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday witnessed some heated exchange of words among Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior leader Anand Sharma and several other dissenters over internal elections, party sources said.

According to a party source, Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P. Chidambaram raised the issue of the elections for the CWC post.

Following the issue of the elections, Gehlot ticked off the dissenters without naming them and said that a few party leaders keep on demanding for the organisational elections instead of discussing how to deal with the BJP.

The source also said that the Rajasthan Chief Minister has stated that party leaders are wasting time discussing irrelevant issues like party elections.

“We should leave the matters and decisions to the party’s president,” Gehlot said.

He also questioned the party leaders: “If they don’t believe the party leadership (Sonia Gandhi) or not?”.

Gehlot was backed by senior party leader Ambika Soni, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Tariq Anwar and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Hitting back at Gehlot, Sharma said that few members of the party keep on disrespecting the senior leaders.

Following the ugly verbal spat among the senior leaders, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi intervened to placate both the groups.

However, party leaders at a press conference maintained that there was no such verbal war in the CWC, which is the highest decision making body of the party.

After the CWC meet, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K. C. Venugopal said that the party will have an elected president by June this year at any cost.

“The CWC discussed the schedule of Congress president’s elections in May-end, proposed by its election authority. All CWC members unanimously requested Congress president that the internal elections should not interfere with the Assembly polls,” Venugopal said.

Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that “don’t get misguided and don’t fall for rumours”.

“The leaders whose names have been taken are not dissenters — they are our respected leaders and they are our family members. And we all were unanimous that the party election schedule be postponed for a month,” Surjewala said at a press briefing after the meeting.

Responding to the question of senior leaders sparring over the organisational election issue, Venugopal said, “There was no big debate in the CWC. We will conduct party election as per its constitution. And the schedule will be out very soon.”

“Some change in schedule was required due to coming Assembly elections (in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Puducherry) and that was taken into consideration; the party will announce the election schedule accordingly,” he said.https://df6bd6113aa2538c990afac925a9dc43.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

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11th round of talks breaks down, deadlock on farm laws continues

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Farmers

The eleventh round of talks between the government and representatives of the farmers Union ended on Friday without any solution in sight as Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar urged the Union leaders to rethink about rejecting the government’s proposal to suspend the new farm laws for one and half years.

No date for the next round of talks has been decided and the meeting will be held whenever farmer leaders are ready for a dialogue on the proposal given by the government in the 10th round of talks, on January 20.

After the meeting, Parminder Singh Palmajra, a Bharatiya Kisan Union leader from Punjab, said the farmers will now further intensify the agitation. The ministers present in the talks — Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash — will shortly address the media about the dialogue.

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