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Kashmir’s intractable challenge had to be met: Jaishankar

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Washington, Oct 2 : The revocation of special status of Kashmir was part of India pitting “long-term thinking over short-term calculations”, which involved “deep structural changes and ambitious socio-economic initiatives” and what also “what were presumed to be intractable challenges” had to be addressed, “not ducked”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said.

Addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, on the topic, “Preparing for a Different Era”, he said: “Preparing for a more competitive and complex era will require a different mindset. For a nation like India, this would be in addition to the changes induced by its climb up the global power hierarchy.

“As a broad approach, it will be reflected in the primacy of long-term thinking over short-term calculations. It would encourage undertaking deep structural changes and ambitious socio-economic initiatives that can transform both habits and attitudes.

“In this world, what were presumed to be intractable challenges will have to be addressed, not ducked. An example to point is that of the recent changes in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir.”

On Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, he said that for many years, “India sought a solution while Pakistan was comfortable with continuing with cross-border terrorism”.

“The choice as this Government came back to power was clear. Either we had more of past policies and the prospect of further radicalization. Or we had a decisive change in the landscape and a change of direction towards de-radicalization.

“The economic costs of the status quo were visible in the absence of entrepreneurship and shortage of job opportunities. The social costs were even starker: in discrimination against women, in lack of protection for juveniles, in the refusal to apply affirmative action and in denial of the right to information, education and work.

“All this added up to security costs as the resulting disaffection-fed separatism and fuelled a neighbour’s terrorism. At a broader level, these realities also contradicted our commitment that no region, no community and no faith would be left behind.

“The legislative changes made this summer put India and the entire region on the road to long-term peace. That is the reality today in the making. And this is the India that will navigate the world which I have described just now,” Jaishankar said.

Earlier, he described the global balance as being fluid.

“In this different era, there will be convergence with many but congruence with none. Finding common points to engage with as many power centres will characterize diplomacy at its highest level. For this reason, India finds it perfectly natural to engage a Chinese leader at Wuhan, the Russian one at Sochi and then go on to do the ‘2+2’ meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers with the United States.

“At the G-20 in Buenos Aires last year, it engaged back to back, in fact this year as well, in two trilaterals: US-Japan-India as well as Russia-India-China. The country that fares the best is the one which has least problems with its peer group and the broadest acceptance beyond.

“For a number of reasons, the game has now become one of positioning and optimizing. The reality is that India either reaches out in as many directions as possible and maximizes its gains or takes a more defensive approach of avoiding engagement. This is not just about greater ambition; it is also about not living in yesterday. In this intensely competitive world, India’s goal should be to move closer towards the strategic sweet spot.”

But Jaishankar also cautioned that a world of “all against all” is neither desirable nor indeed probable.

“Thus, even as we look at an era of more dispersed power and sharper competition, the way forward is more likely to be new forms of accommodation rather than pure transactions. While nations will naturally each strive to advance their particular interests, similarities and affinities will always remain a factor. So, while this is an exposition on changes in international affairs, I would emphasize that the direction is towards a new architecture rather than the absence of one.”

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Delhi Schools Unlikely To Reopen Until Covid Vaccine Is Available: Manish Sisodia

While several restrictions have been eased in different ‘unlock’ phases, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

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Manish Sisodia

Schools in the national capital which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic are unlikely to reopen until a vaccine is available, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday.

Universities and schools across the country were closed on March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Until we get some vaccine, schools (in Delhi) are not likely to open,” Sisodia, who is also Delhi’s Education Minister, told reporters.

He had announced on October 30 that schools will remain closed until further orders, saying parents were not in favour of sending their ward to schools yet.

“We keep getting feedback from parents that they are really concerned about whether it is safe to reopen schools. It is not. Wherever schools have reopened, COVID-19 cases among children have risen. So we have decided that as of now schools in the national capital will not reopen. They will continue to be closed till further orders,” Sisodia had said then.

A nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25.

While several restrictions have been eased in different ‘unlock’ phases, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

According to ‘Unlock 5’ guidelines, states can take a call on reopening schools in phases. Several states also began the process of reopening schools. While some of them announced closure again due to rise in coronavirus cases.

Earlier, schools were allowed to call students from Class 9 to 12 to school on voluntary basis from September 21. However, the Delhi government decided against it.

Delhi recorded 4,454 fresh COVID-19 cases on Monday and a positivity rate of 11.94 per cent while 121 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 8,512, authorities said.

These relatively low number of fresh cases came out of the 37,307 tests conducted on Sunday, including 18,046 RT-PCR tests, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Delhi health department.

On last Friday, authorities had said that 23,507 RT-PCR tests, the highest till date, were conducted a day before.

The highest single-day spike till date here — 8,593 cases — was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded.

As many as 121 fatalities were recorded on Monday, same as the previous day.

This is the sixth time in the last 12 days that the daily number of deaths has crossed the 100-mark.

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India

Uttar Pradesh okays ordinance against conversion for marriage, violators face up to 10 yrs in jail

He said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one and five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000.

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Yogi Adityanth

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday approved a draft ordinance to deal with religious conversion for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

An official spokesperson said the state Cabinet gave its nod to the ordinance at its meeting chaired here by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In recent weeks, BJP-run states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have revealed plans to enact laws to counter alleged attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage, which Hindu activists refer to as love jihad .

“The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard, Cabinet minister and UP government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said.

He said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one and five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000.

But if the woman involved is a minor or belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the jail term would range from three to 10 years, he said. The fine would increase to Rs 25,000.

In the case of mass conversions, the punishment is from three years to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 on the organisations which indulge in it,” the minister told reporters.

Singh said if anyone wants to change religion after marriage, then he or she can do so.

But the district magistrate has to be informed two months in advance in a prescribed form, and the person can convert once permission is granted.

He claimed that this will resolve law and order problems.

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India

S Jaishankar To Begin 6-Day Tour Of Bahrain, UAE And Seychelles

The external affairs minister will also hold talks on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest with Bahraini leaders.

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eam jaishankar european parliament

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will embark on a six-day tour of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles beginning today, in a visit seen as important as it comes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said Jaishankar’s first destination will be Bahrain from where he will travel to the United Arab Emirates. He will travel to Seychelles in the third and final leg of his visit.

In his two-day visit to Bahrain from November 24 to 25, Jaishankar will personally convey condolences on behalf of the government and people of India to the Bahraini leadership on the sad demise of Prime Minister of Bahrain Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa on November 11, the MEA said.

The external affairs minister will also hold talks on bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest with Bahraini leaders.

“Bahrain hosts more than 350,000 Indians and both countries have worked together to face the Covid-19 pandemic. Flights are operational between both countries under an air bubble arrangement,” it said in a statement.

On November 25 and 26, Jaishankar will visit the UAE where he is scheduled to meet his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Both leaders will take forward the excellent cooperation between India and the UAE under our comprehensive strategic partnership and exchange views on various regional and international issues,” the MEA said.

Jaishankar will also discuss ways for Indian workers to resume their jobs in UAE in the post-COVID scenario. More than 3 million Indians live and work in the UAE.

India and UAE have maintained high-level contacts in the last few months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the midst of the pandemic.

Jaishankar has also spoken to the UAE foreign minister several times in the past few months.

In the last leg of his tour, the external affairs minister will travel to Seychelles on November 27 and 28.

In Seychelles, Jaishankar will call-on the newly elected President, Wavel Ramkalawan, to present greetings of Prime Minister Modi and will discuss with him the priorities of the new government and avenues for further strengthening of bilateral relations, the MEA said.

Jaishankar will also hold bilateral consultations with the newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde, it said.

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