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North Korea urges South to stop military drills with US

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Pyongyang, May 18: North Korea has urged South Korea to stop its joint military drills with the US and stop using northern defectors to attack Pyongyang, so that inter-Korean talks could be resumed.

Pyongyang suspended inter-Korean talks on Wednesday to protest a two-week-long large-scale US-South Korean air drill which will last until May 25.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country of North Korea, was quoted by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying that South Korean authorities launched “the extremely adventurous 2018 Max Thunder joint air combat exercises with the US which was aimed at precision strike on key strategic objects of the North Korea and the seizure of the air control.”

“On the other hand, they let human scum hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of North Korea and its social system and speak ill of the historic Panmunjom Declaration at the ‘National Assembly’,” he said, in reference to the appearance of northern defectors at the South Korean parliament, Xinhua reported on Friday.

North Korea took “a resolute step” to postpone the north-south high-level talks indefinitely until the South Korean authorities “take a responsible measure, and notified it to them and made this public through a KCNA report,” he said.

Holding South Korea completely responsible for the suspension of inter-Korean talks, he also blamed Seoul for expressing regret over Pyongyang’s decision to suspend the talks, “far from thinking over the meaning of the step taken by North Korea and taking necessary follow-up measures.”

“All the confrontation rackets kicked up by them have had something in common with the nature of the conservative regime which had been engaged in inciting hostility and division in the past,” said the North Korean official in charge of several rounds of inter-korean talks at Panmunjom.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met on April 27 for a historic summit at Panmunjom and issued a joint declaration calling for improving inter-Korean relations and working for complete denuclearisation of the peninsula.

IANS

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Pakistan wants to flood Jammu and Kashmir with weapons before winter

On September 8, alert troops recovered a AK-47, an M-4 Rifle, two magazines, six pistols which was smuggled through International Border sector.

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New Delhi, Sep 25 : Ahead of winter, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence has planned to flood Jammu and Kashmir with weapons to create unrest in the Valley, government sources said. To do so, ISI has procured a sizable number of Hexacopters from a Chinese firm associated with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the pretext of protecting China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) assets.

The sources said that due to the strong anti-infiltration grid established by India’s security forces, Pakistan is unable to push neither terrorists nor weapons to increase violence levels in the Valley.

“Pakistan’s ISI has been given an ultimatum to push in maximum infiltrators along with weapons into Kashmir before onset of winter, when the undergrowth/bushes in most infiltration prone areas will die down due to dew and snowfall,” the source said.

It was further stated that the ISI has reportedly analysed the rules of engagement followed by Indian Security forces that they do not fire when an intruder along the Line of Control is seen without a weapon.

“Therefore, this modus operandi to infiltrate terrorists without weapons and sending weapons separately by drones or other means has been instituted to reduce the risk of terrorists getting eliminated at the Line of Control itself,” the source said

ISI has procured Hexacopters from a Chinese firm associated with the CPEC.

Recently, security forces have recovered EMEI Type 97 NSR rifles manufactured by Norinco company of China, which is a standard issue to PLA soldiers and also gifted to Pakistan Frontier Force as part of CPEC cooperation.

On the intervening night of September 23 and September 24, two suspected persons travelling in a Mahindra Bolero from Jammu to South Kashmir were arrested while transporting one Chinese-made Norinco/EMEI Type 97 NSR rifle, four magazines with 190 rounds, one AK-47 rifle with four magazines with 218 rounds and three grenades. Reportedly this consignment was dropped through a drone at Samba.

On September 23, 2020, five AK-47 rifles, and two Pistols were recovered in Ferozpur Mamdot sector. Two AK assault rifles, one pistol, three AK magazines and 90 rounds which were airdropped by a Pakistani drone in a village in Akhnoor region were seized by Jammu and Kashmir Police on September 22.

Again on September 18, two AK-56 rifles, two pistols and four grenades were recovered along the Line of Control in Rajouri Sector.

Intelligence inputs suggest that the weapons were likely to have been dropped by Pakistani drones.

On September 14, in the Gurez sector of North Kashmir when a group of terrorists attempting to infiltrate from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir were challenged, they abandoned their rucksacks before jumping into the Kishenganga river. One Chinese-made Norinco QBZ 95 rifle was recovered along with other weapons and bodies of two terrorists who drowned in the river recovered. The Chinese-made QBZ 95 is used by soldiers of Pakistan Frontier Corps.

Border Security Force troops on September 12 recovered a AK-47 rifle, a M16 Rifle and two pistols which were smuggled across the International Border fence in Ferozpur Kudian.

On September 8, alert troops recovered a AK-47, an M-4 Rifle, two magazines, six pistols which was smuggled through International Border sector.

Security forces have stated that they think before winters Pakistan would push in more weapons in the Valley through temporary underground tunnels across the LoC.

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at [email protected])

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Ditto! Imran Khan UNGA 2020 speech almost replica of 2019 litany

Khan’s speech was ordered almost no differently from last year: A wide swipe at the world, “corrupt elites”, tree planting, Islamophobia, RSS, Modi, Kashmir and then more Kashmir.

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United Nations, Sep 26 : If you blinked, you could have mistaken Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) as the one he delivered in 2019.

Retrofitted with pandemic era phrases, nips and tucks, Khan belted out what was effectively an abridged version of last year’s gig, at half past noon on Friday.

The layering of the two years’ speeches seems like a Khan riff on a wild moment from recent US politics.

“Person, woman, man, camera, TV” was a phrase that US President Donald Trump used as an example of a question from a cognitive test he took. Trump explained that remembering the words in order got extra points.

Khan’s speech was ordered almost no differently from last year: A wide swipe at the world, “corrupt elites”, tree planting, Islamophobia, RSS, Modi, Kashmir and then more Kashmir.

The Prime Minister’s address was rescheduled from a late afternoon EST slot to the 14th spot in the morning session, which aligned with traditional evening primetime hours in the Pakistan area.

Framed against a flag festooned backdrop and a painting of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the wall behind him, Khan sat at a desk amidst a haze of green coloured props and rattled off a bucket list of macro-level grievances. This was the warm-up routine, quite in line with last year.

Khan’s speech began at 12.31 p.m. local time. Ten minutes in came the big leap. At 12.42 p.m., his claims on carbon emissions and the promise to plant 10 billion trees came to a screeching halt so that some scraps of geopolitical red meat could be flung around.

A side by side reading of Khan’s 2019 and 2020 speeches show up a fairly predictable pattern in the text flow. The new inserts were mostly about the coronavirus and some chunks from last year’s 50 minute speech were cut out entirely.

This year, Khan made no mention of women and Hijab, unlike last time when he waded in. “A woman can take off her clothes in some countries but she cannot put more on? And why has this happened? Because certain western leaders equated Islam with terrorism,” he said early in his 2019 speech.

Sample this excerpt from 2019: “…We planted a billion trees in five years. Now we are targeting 10 billion trees.”

Khan’s 2020 lines have minor edits, some adjectives tossed in: “We have launched an extremely ambitious program to plant 10 billion trees in the next three years as a contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change.”

In 2019, he ‘explained’ to the UNGA the concept of the RSS: “I have to explain what the RSS is. Mr Modi is a ‘life member’ of RSS. An organisation inspired by Hitler and Mussolini. They believed in racial superiority the same way that the Nazi’s believed in the supremacy of the Aryan race.”

Here’s how Khan took off on the RSS on Friday, in the context of “Islamophobia”: “The reason behind this is the RSS ideology that unfortunately rules India today. This extremist ideology was founded in the 1920s, the RSS founding fathers were inspired by the Nazis and adopted their concepts of racial purity and supremacy.”

Next on the Khan rundown: Kashmir. That stayed in the same slot, after climate change, RSS and Modi.

The 2019 readout: “Now I want to move on to talk about Kashmir. When we came into power; my first priority was that Pakistan would be that country that would try its best to bring peace” and “This is the time when you, the UN, must urge India to lift the curfew; to free the 13,000 Kashmiris who have disappeared meanwhile and this is the time when the UN must insist on Kashmir’s right to self determination.

“Mr. President, For over 72 years, India has illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and in blatant violation of the resolutions of the Security Council.”

“India is playing a dangerous game of upping the ante against Pakistan in a nuclearised environment,” he added.

In 2019, it was, “if a conventional war starts between two countries, nuclear countries…anything could happen”.

India slammed Khan’s 34-minute “litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan’s persecution of its own minorities”.

“The only crowning glory that this country has to show to the world for the last 70 years is terrorism, ethnic cleansing, majoritarian fundamentalism, and clandestine nuclear trade,” India said in its right of reply late Friday.

The main resolution on Kashmir – No. 47 – demands that Pakistan withdraw its troops and personnel from Kashmir.

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India targets Pakistan at UN body over counter-terrorism record

The webinar was part of the UN body’s virtual counter-terrorism week, and India pointed out that terrorists have made innumerable attempts to infiltrate India “from their safe abodes across the border to carry out attacks”.

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Mahaveer Singhvi

India on Tuesday mounted a sharp attack on Pakistan during a virtual meeting of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, accusing it of sheltering and supporting terrorists and pushing a false narrative on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mahaveer Singhvi, joint secretary (counter-terrorism) in the external affairs ministry who led the Indian delegation for the webinar organised by the UN body, pointed out the meeting was being held on a day when the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by a Pakistan-backed terror group 12 years ago and Indians and Afghans were killed.

“It is very unfortunate that a country which perpetrated terrorist attacks in Mumbai (2008), Pathankot (2016), Uri and Pulwama is now preaching to the world community,” Singhvi said in his intervention during the meeting with the theme “The global scourge of terrorism: Assessment of high risk threats and trends including the rise of violent extremism and hate speech in a pandemic environment”.

“While the world is coming together to battle the pandemic, it is unfortunate that Pakistan, a state which sponsors cross-border terrorism, continues to use every opportunity to peddle false narratives and make baseless, malicious and egregious allegations against India and interfere in our internal affairs,” he said, adding that the statement by Pakistan’s representative at the meeting was part of this pattern.

Singhvi added, “Even as Pakistan provides shelter and support to terrorists, it continues to peddle a false and motivated narrative on the situation in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is seeking to portray its military, financial [and] logistical support to cross-border terrorism against India as a freedom struggle. It is also peddling misinformation about India’s domestic legislation and policies.”

The webinar was part of the UN body’s virtual counter-terrorism week, and Singhvi pointed out that terrorists have made innumerable attempts to infiltrate India “from their safe abodes across the border to carry out attacks and have even used unmanned aerial systems to smuggle weapons across our borders”.

At the global level, terrorists have tried to exploit financial and emotional distress caused by the pandemic, and used the increased presence of people online and on social media to disseminate misinformation through hate speech, fake news and doctored videos, he said. Another disturbing trend is the collection of funds by proscribed terror groups ostensibly for charitable activities but which would be used to finance terror, he said.

Singhvi described Pakistan’s statement claiming credit for eliminating al-Qaeda as “ludicrous” and said the group’s founder, Osama Bin Laden, was recently glorified as a “martyr” by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament. “This is a chilling reminder of the patronage that international terrorists receive in Pakistan,” he said.

Khan had publicly acknowledged the presence of up to 40,000 terrorists in Pakistan and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council had reported that about 6,500 Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are operating in Afghanistan, he said.

“Pakistan’s role as epicentre of terrorism has been well documented by numerous international organisations including UN and FATF. Unlike Pakistan, India does not make any distinction between terrorists and invariably condemns terror attacks anywhere in the world, including the one in Karachi, referred to by Pakistan’s representative in his statement,” Singhvi said.

The Indian official also criticised human rights violations in Balochistan, Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the discrimination against religious and cultural minorities.

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