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India, US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security: Pompeo in New Delhi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking at the third India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, amidst the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Pompeo discussed several issues from “cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region”.

As per an official statement of the US government, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar at the meeting raised the issue of security threat India is facing from China. “In the area of defence we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” he said at the bilateral dialogue.

The meeting assumes significance because the US secretaries of the Trump administration travelled to New Delhi amidst Coronavirus pandemic even as an intense ongoing campaigning for the Presidential elections due on November 3 was underway in the US.

“Our friendship and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific was clearly, clearly highly on display when we were in Tokyo this past week and a half for the Quad meeting that Minister Jaishankar and I had with our Australian and Japanese friends earlier this month,” Pompeo told his counterpart.

The US secretary of state said, “Today is real opportunity for two great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relationship. I think we’ve delivered on that over this past year. There is much more work to do for sure.”

Together, India and the US are building a better future for “our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defence ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity. I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century,” he added.

Jaishankar, at the 2+2 Dialogue said that as the global economy has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government has to quickly make up for the losses as economic downturn will have both domestic and external consequences.

According to the US Department of State statement, Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper, at the meeting with his counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out that Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the first US-India Defence framework.

“We have strengthened our defence and security partnership considerably since then, especially over the past year, during which we advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation. Our focus now must be on institutionalizing and regularizing our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” he said.

The two sides discussed key opportunities to expand their efforts on “regional security concerns” and to advance their “defence priorities”, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between their militaries.

Jaishankar in his remarks said that at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. “Together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, or creating prosperity,” he added.

India

Ahead of talks with Centre, farmers demand special Parliament session to repeal farm laws

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Farmers on Protest

Ahead of the second round of talks with the Centre, the protesting farmers Wednesday demanded that the government call a special session of the Parliament to repeal the contentious farm laws even as Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured that all their objections would be addressed.

The fear relating to the weakening of APMC mandis and minimum support price (MSP) regime are among the main factors behind the ongoing protests, as part of which thousands of farmers, primarily from Punjab, have gathered at the capital’s doorstep. Emphasising that their demand for repeal of the new farm laws was “non-negotiable”, the farmers also threatened to block other roads leading to Delhi if their demands are not met.

Addressing a press conference, president of Krantikari Kisan Union Darshan Pal accused the Centre of dividing farmer organisations. “Centre should call a special session of Parliament to repeal the three farm laws,” PTI quoted Singh as saying.

He also called for burning of effigies throughout the country to protest against the Modi government and corporate houses on December 5. Gurnam Singh Chadoni, another farmer leader, said they would take further steps in the coming days to press their demand if the Centre does not withdraw the new laws.

The leaders of around 32 farmer organisations also held a meeting that was also attended by Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait at the Singhu border. “We held talks with Tikait Ji and he told us that he is with us. We are together in this struggle,” ANI quoted Darshan Pal as saying.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held deliberations with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday on ways to dispel concerns over the new farm laws.

Tomar and Goyal, along with Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, had met representatives of over 35 farmer organisations on Tuesday. Though the over three-hour-long meeting had failed to yield any result, the two sides had agreed to meet on Thursday.

Ahead of the meeting, Tomar said the government was ready to address the concerns of farmers regarding the farm laws. “We will hold discussions with farmers’ leaders tomorrow. Let’s see to what extent issues can be resolved,” ANI quoted Tomar as saying.

“I appeal to the farmers that the laws are in their interest and the reforms have been done after a long wait, but if they have any objection to it then we are ready to address their concerns,” he added.

The farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporates. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained that the new laws would provide farmers with better opportunities and accused the opposition parties of misleading farmers.

Cong workers try to march to Haryana CM’s home, face water cannons
Workers of the Punjab Youth Congress faced water cannons as they tried to march to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s home in Chandigarh. The police also detained Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Dhillon and several others.

The activists wanted to ‘gherao’ Khattar’s home to protest against the use of water cannons and teargas against Punjab farmers last week by the Haryana Police, who had tried to stop them from entering the state.

Water Cannon used on members of Punjab Youth Congress while they are going to gherao Haryana CM Khattar’s residence in Chandigarh on farmers’ issue on Wednesday, December 2 2020. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

“We came here to wake up the Khattar government,” PTI quoted Dhillon as saying. “We will continue to fight till the farmers get justice,? he added. The roads leading to CM Khattar’s home were sealed and there was heavy police deployment near it.

Transporters threaten to halt operations in North India from Dec 8

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which is the apex body of transporters representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities, has threatened to halt operations in northern India from December 8 if the government fails to address concerns of the farmers.

“AIMTC has already extended its support to the farmer agitation from day one. We have decided on stopping our operations strategically starting from North India and if the government does not address the issue of the farmers then we may decide to go for shutting down of transport operations nationwide in their support,” AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal told PTI.

Atwal said the road transport fraternity of the country has extended its full support to farmers who are ‘ann daata’ (food providers).

AIMTC Core Committee Chairman Bal Malkit Singh told PTI, “Starting December 8, we will halt the movement of supplies in entire North India including Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. We will then escalate it to entire country if the government fails to address their issues.”

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Cities

Kerala on high alert for Cyclone Burevi: Vijayan

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Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2 : Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the state is on a high alert in view of Cyclone Burevi.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi called to find out about the state’s preparedness. We informed him that all possible steps have been taken… we are waiting for more weather updates and accordingly the necessary action would be taken,” he said.

Vijayan said that according to the present updates, it is expected to enter Kerala by Friday noon.

“Districts like Thiruvananthapuruam, Kollam, Pathanamthittta, Kottayam, Alappuzha Ernakulam and Idukki districts could have the impact of very heavy rains besides heavy winds also. People should not venture out at all. The seas also would turn very rough. Winds with speed ranging from 30 kms to 60 kms are also expected,” he added.

Vijayan said that eight teams of the National Disaster Rescue Force have already arrived, besides the Air Force base at Sulu, near Kovai is already on high alert, while the Indian Navy also is ready.

“In case of a need, we have identified 2,849 relief camps and by now 13 are already functional. If the situation warrants, depending on the weather updates, people will be evacuated. All the district authorities have been told to take appropriate action depending on the needs and none need to wait for clearance. The ongoing Sabarimala pilgrimage will be regulated, if a situation arises,” he said.

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India

Will block other Delhi roads if laws not scrapped, farmers say

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Farmers and Traffic

New Delhi: Will block other roads of Delhi if govt does not withdraw new three farm laws, say leaders of protesting farmers at press conference.

If govt does not fulfil our demands, we will have to take more steps, says farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni (PTI)

Chilla border on Noida link road has been closed for traffic, Delhi police said on Wednesday. Amid the ongoing farmers protests, the Congress on Wednesday asked the Centre to convene the Winter Session of Parliament. This comes a day after the talks remained inconclusive. Next round of talks will be held tomorrow.

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