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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

‘Why are forces vacating our land at LAC’? Congress

The reports say that disengagement between Indian and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commanders’ meeting.

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India China Ladakh Border

New Delhi, July 7 : The Congress has questioned the government on reports of withdrawal of Indian troops from Galwan valley in Ladakh.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the country wants response on it.

Surjewala said in a tweet “Respected Prime Minister, do you remember your words and do your words mean something and will you tell that why are our forces leaving our motherland?”

The Congress leader was commenting on reports of Indian and Chinese troops have retreated two kilometres each along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley, where 20 Indian and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a violent face-off last month.

The Congress questioned the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement during the all-party meting held in June where the party said that the Prime Minister had claimed no one had occupied Indian territory and so it demanded Modi should apologise for that statement.

The reports say that disengagement between Indian and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commanders’ meeting.

With the retreat from both sides, a four kilometre no-man zone has been created. “Four kilometres in the highly mountainous terrain like Galwan valley, deprives both sides to see each other’s installations and reinforcements,” sources said.

The two sides have also agreed, sources said, not to do any aerial surveillance of the retreated area, to rebuild trust which was badly damaged due to the June 15 clash.

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Economic mismanagement a tragedy, will destroy millions: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader has been raising the issue of economic problems Indians are facing due to the lockdown amid coronavirus pandemic.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, July 7 : Reacting to a research report that Indians are worst-hit on the economic front and that 8 out of 10 rural households had lost income during the coronavirus pandemic, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that the economic mismanagement was a tragedy that was out to destroy millions.

“India”s economic mismanagement is a tragedy that is going to destroy millions of families,” he tweeted.

He said that it would no longer be accepted silently.

The Congress leader has been raising the issue of economic problems Indians are facing due to the lockdown amid coronavirus pandemic.

Rahul Gandhi was quoting research by University of Chicago and Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, which said that 80 per cent rural and 75 per cent urban households have suffered loss in income.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal in a statement on Tuesday said that the country lost nearly 13 crore jobs, with many states reaching unemployment figures of 40 per cent.

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India

May-June status can’t be new normal at LAC: Shashi Tharoor

The Congress has been targeting the government on the Chinese incursions in the Galwan Valley for quite some time.

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Shashi-Tharoor

New Delhi, July 7 : Congress leader and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, reacting to the disengagement at the LAC, cautioned the government that the May-June status cannot become the “new normal.”

He emphasised that status quo ante should be restored at the LAC.

“Disengagement” is welcome, but means little unless the status quo ante is restored, said Tharoor.

The Thiruvananthapuram MP said that “Otherwise we”ll yet again see both sides declare peace, with China having changed the “facts” on the ground and moved the LAC closer to where it wants.”

“The May-June status cannot become the “new normal,” added Tharoor.

Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had asked when national interest is paramount then “why has status quo ante not been insisted on?”

He also raised questions on why was China allowed to “justify” the murder of 20 unarmed Indian soldiers in our territory? Why is there no mention of the territorial sovereignty of Galwan valley?

The Congress has been targeting the government on the Chinese incursions in the Galwan Valley for quite some time.

Indian and Chinese troops on Monday retreated two kilometres each along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley, where 20 Indians and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed in a violent face-off last month.

The disengagement between India and the People”s Liberation Army (PLA) happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commander”s meeting.

With the retreat from both sides, a four kilometre no-man”s land has been created. “Four kilometres in the highly mountainous terrain like Galwan valley, deprives both sides from seeing each other”s installations and reinforcements,” sources said.

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