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Modi to pay key bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Riyadh from Washington on Saturday on the third and last leg of his three-nation tour to pay a two-day bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to the Gulf kingdom after the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2010.

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During that visit, the relationship between the two countries was elevated to “strategic partnership”.

This was after the Delhi Declaration made during then King Abdullah’s historic visit to India in 2006, the first by a Saudi monarch in five decades.

There are four key aspects to India’s relationship with Saudi Arabia: energy cooperation, the nearly three million-strong expatriate Indian community, Haj pilgrimage and security cooperation.

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Saudi Arabia is India’s largest crude oil supplier accounting for one-fifth of the total imports. In 2015, India imported $21 billion worth of crude oil from that Gulf nation.

Saudi Arabia is also India’s fourth largest trading partner with exports to that country exceeding $11 billion.

At over 2.96 million, Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia and are crucial to the Indian economy as they send over $10 billion in remittances every year.

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Over 134,000 Indians go for the Haj pilgrimage every year and almost 300,000 for Umra.

A key aspect of the strategic partnership between the two countries is the defence cooperation agreement signed during then Crown Prince Salman’s visit to India in 2014.

With Saudi Arabia upping the ante against terrorism, security cooperation also has become an important cornerstone of the relationship. In recent times, Riyadh handed over to New Delhi key terror operatives like Abu Jundal and Abdul Aziz alias Gidda.
“India’s ties with Saudi Arabia are special,” Prime Minister Modi said in a statement ahead of his departure from New Delhi.

“Robust people-to-people ties constitute a key component of our engagement. I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. Discussions on the regional situation would also be on the agenda,” he said.

The prime minister also said that he wanted Saudi businesses to partner in India’s development plans.

Soon after his arrival in Riyadh on Saturday afternoon, Modi will visit the historic Masmak fortress.

The fortress was taken over by King Abdulaziz in 1902 in a sudden attack which marked the start of the history of the third state of Saudi Arabia.

Thereafter, Modi will meet with members of the Indian community which will be followed by a visit to the L&T workers’ residential complex.

L&T is doing $2 billion worth of work on the $600-billion Riyadh Metro Project.

On Sunday, the prime minister will visit the Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) all-women IT centre.

“It is a very happy thing that he will be doing because this centre provides employment opportunities to Saudi women and this is empowerment of Saudi women,” Mridul Kumar, joint secretary (Gulf) in the external affairs ministry, said at a media briefing in connection with the visit.

“When the centre started two or three years back, there were 80 people in that centre. It has now grown to over 1,000,” he said, adding that 80 percent of the workers there were local Saudi girls.

Stating that this was the first BPO operation by any company in the world in Saudi Arabia, Kumar said that “it is a very important statement that we will be making there”.

After this, Modi will meet with select top Saudi business leaders.

The official ceremony at the Royal Court will start in the afternoon when King Salman will receive the prime minister

King Salman will host a lunch in Modi’s honour in which key Saudi ministers and other leaders will be present,

This will be followed by a delegation-level meeting and signing of agreements.

The prime minister will leave for New Delhi late Sunday afternoon.

IANS

 

India

Credit to armed forces for Chinese army retreat behind LAC: Congress

“The Prime Minister should himself come forward and tell what is the truth though in the all-party meeting, he had said that no Indian territory has been occupied,” he said

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India China Ladakh Border

New Delhi, July 6 : In wake of reports that Chinese Army has retreated two km behind the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Congress, which has been questioning the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Chinese transgressions, on Monday credited the armed forces for the development.

“We know that the PLA can”t withstand the Indian forces, so they have retreated but the Prime Minister has to reply to tough questions,” part spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a press conference here on Monday.

The Prime Minister should himself come forward and tell what is the truth though in the all-party meeting, he had said that no Indian territory has been occupied, he said.

“We demand that Prime Minister should tell the facts to the nation,” Khera said, assuring that his party will not raise questions if Modi says that his earlier statement in the all-party meeting was not correct.

On reports that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after which Chinese forces withdrew, Khera said that this government has to decide that it needs ministers who should do their jobs.

“What is the Foreign Minister doing?” he asked.

Taking potshots at the Modi government, Khera said there is no system in the government as sometimes businessmen talk (in case of Pakistan) and sometimes foundations talk (in case of China).

“Why did the Prime Minister visit China without agenda?” asked Khera.

Indian and Chinese troops have retreated two kilometres behind 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 on June 15.

Top official sources told IANS that both sides retreated two km simultaneously on Sunday, following several rounds of talks which had begun after the clash on June 15. The disengagement between Indian and the People”s Liberation Army (PLA) happened as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commander”s meeting.

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India

JP Nadda a poorer version of malicious BJP spokespersons: Congress

Attacking the BJP president, Surjewala raised question about deduction of Rs 11,000 crore ”dearness pay” of the armed forces.

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J P Nadda

New Delhi, July 6 : After Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief J.P. Nadda attacked former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for not attending the parliamentary committee on defence’s meeting, the Congress, here on Monday, launched a counter-attack and said the BJP chief had become a “poorer version” of malicious BJP spokespersons.

Hitting out Nadda, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Daily insidious comments are making you look like a poorer version of malicious BJP spokespersons.”

“Had the BJP and the Narendra Modi government spent its energy in fighting China and supporting our armed forces, you wouldn”t need to lie on the Chinese transgressions to mislead the nation,” he said.

Attacking the BJP president, Surjewala raised question about deduction of Rs 11,000 crore ”dearness pay” of the armed forces.

“Didn”t the estimates committee of Parliament, headed by former BJP chief M.M. Joshi, submit a report saying the defence expenditure was the lowest in 56 years — since 1962,” Surjewala remarked.

“Didn”t the standing committee on defence, headed by Gen B.C. Khanduri, say 68 per cent of our equipment is vintage and there are insufficient resources for construction of strategic roads on the China border,” he said.

When it sought the Prime Minister”s Office”s intervention for adequate allocation in the defence budget, the PMO chose not to act, Surjewala added.

The Congress also raised the issue of shelving of the plan to carve out 90,000-strong “Mountain Strike Corps” to counter the Chinese build-up on borders.

Surjewala said China had committed 2,264 transgressions on our territory since 2015 under the Modi government and asked why didn”t the BJP government act upon this Chinese design.

“There are reports that Chinese troops are retreating, but the Prime Minister said no one ever occupied our territory. Did he then mislead the nation,” the Congress leader said.

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Delhi’s remote teaching-learning initiative receives overwhelming response

Around 23,000 students watched the live lessons on YouTube. Till the writing of this report, the videos have been accessed by more than 1.35 lakh people on YouTube.

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Manish Sisodia

New Delhi, July 6 : Delhis Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday congratulated the teachers and parents on the successful launch of Delhi governments remote teaching-learning initiative.

On July 2, the initiative was announced in the wake of the closure of schools till July 31. The Directorate of Education has devised an alternate plan to reduce the academic loss of students in classes KG to XII of all government and aided schools of Delhi.

On the first day of the programme, students from KG to Class XIII received their first worksheet. It contains engaging and syllabus agnostic activities to promote reading, writing, basic numeracy and happiness among children.

Similarly, students in Class IX and X received worksheets for Hindi, Science and Mathematics. Henceforth, they will receive 2-3 worksheets daily.

Around 4.15 lakh students have accessed the worksheets on the first day, said the government in a statement. All the worksheets were shared with the students by the class teachers through a WhatsApp group created at the class level.

The students will now be working on the worksheets and share them with their teachers in the respective groups.

“For those students who do not have access to WhatsApp, the teachers will get the printouts of the worksheets and hand them over to their parents on a weekly basis,” the city government stated.

Sisodia said, “Our teachers have worked very hard in creating and distributing the worksheets so that the learning does not stop for the school students.”

For the Class XII students, shortlisted teachers of Delhi government schools took online classes in English and History.

The classes were streamed live on YouTube and students were asking their doubts through comments, which were solved by the teachers.

Around 23,000 students watched the live lessons on YouTube. Till the writing of this report, the videos have been accessed by more than 1.35 lakh people on YouTube.

Sisodia said that it is very important to engage creatively with the students on digital platforms and the teachers have created a very engaging content.

“This has raised the confidence of the teachers who are working hard to reach out to every child,” he said.

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