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President hails elevation of India-UAE ties




New Delhi, Feb 11 : President Pranab Mukherjee expressed “great satisfaction” at the elevation of the relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The president’s remarks came when Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a three-day visit to India, called on him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

“Welcoming the crown prince, the president conveyed that India shares UAE’s desire for a closer partnership between the two countries,” a statement issued by the President’s Secretariat said.

Mukherjee said India appreciated the vision of the crown prince’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the personal commitment of the crown prince to strengthen bilateral ties with India.

“President said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the two countries have decided to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership,” the statement said.

Mukherjee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE in August last year, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years, has resulted in increasing mutual understanding and bonds of friendship between the two nations.

“The joint statement issued during that visit reflects the desire to intensify cooperation between the two countries in a wide range of sectors – political, economic, security as well as on regional and multilateral issues,” he said.

Mukherjee also expressed happiness over the establishment of good institutional mechanisms including a joint commission between India and the UAE and said close collaboration through these institutional dialogues and mechanisms would address pending issues and progress cooperation to the desired levels.

Stating that India attached high priority to enhancing bilateral investment ties with the UAE, Mukherjee said that through bilateral trade ties between the two countries were growing satisfactorily, UAE investment in FDI in India – of about $3 billion – is far below the existing opportunities and potential.

“The president said during the prime minister’s visit to the UAE, the two countries had agreed that investment institutions in the UAE would be encouraged to invest in India’s infrastructure, including through the India-UAE Infrastructure Investment Fund and a target of $75 billion is set for the same. India looks forward to working together with UAE to achieve this,” the statement said.

Warmly recollecting his meeting with the crown prince in May 2008 during his visit to the UAE as the then external affairs minister, Mukherjee presented the visiting dignitary a historical photograph of him calling on Sheikh Zayed during the latter’s visit to New Delhi in 1975.

The crown prince warmly reciprocated the president’s views and expressed his desire to create a strong bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and the UAE.

Although our relationship have crossed many milestones, that doesn’t stop us from opening new horizons for this relationship to grow and prosper,” WAM news agency quoted Sheikh Mohamed as saying.

“We expect all the mutual groups between the two countries to meet the desire of the leaderships of the two nations by working on creating new opportunities for economic, developmental and cultural partnerships,” he said.

The two sides also discussed regional and international developments and exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied in the visit by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court among others.

Mukherjee hosted a private lunch in honour of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi which was attended by Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, other dignitaries from India and the UAE as well as business leaders.

Earlier on Thursday, the crown prince, who arrived here on Wednesday, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He then paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and also held a restricted meeting with Modi at the latter’s residence at 7, Race Course Road.

Delegation-level talks between Modi and Sheikh Mohamed are scheduled to be held on Thursday evening following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed.


Rahul takes on Modi over Chinese firms” donations to PM Fund

The Congress has also been critical of the BJP over the handling of border faceoff with China in Ladakh.




Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, July 11 : Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi again trained his guns at the Prime Minister over the PM-CARES Fund saying why Narendra Modi was not sharing details when everyone knew which Chinese companies donated to it.

“Why is the PM so scared of disclosing the names of those who donated money to him for PMCares? Everyone knows Chinese companies Huawei, Xiaomi, TikTok and OnePlus gave money. Why doesn”t he share the details?” he tweeted.

His remarks came after the Public Accounts Committee, one of the most important parliamentary panels that scrutinises key reports by the auditor general and has taken up issues, like the 2G spectrum scam, in the past, failed to arrive at a consensus on Friday on examining the government”s response to the Covid-19 pandemic or the PM-CARES Fund, set up to tackle the crisis.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which enjoys a majority in the panel led by senior leader Bhupender Yadav, blocked Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s attempt to name the PM-CARES Fund for examination, saying its funding was not sanctioned by Parliament and therefore it couldn”t be taken up by the committee.

The Congress has also been critical of the BJP over the handling of border faceoff with China in Ladakh.

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Cancel final-year exams of central varsities, Kejriwal urges PM




Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi, July 11 : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the final-year examinations of Delhi University and other central universities across the country.

“I request the central government and the University Grants Commission to change their guidelines in the larger interest of the students and cancel their final-semester examinations,” Kejriwal wrote in a letter to Modi.

This came after the Delhi government announced cancellation of all examinations, including final-semester examination, in the state universities due to the coronavirus crisis.

“For the sake of our youths, I urge the PM to personally intervene and cancel final- year exams of DU and other central government universities and save the future,” Kejriwal added.

The national capital has state universities such as Delhi Technological University, National Law University, Ambedkar University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, among others. Delhi University is a central varsity.

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PUCL moves SC for SIT probe into Vikas Dubey encounter




Vikas Dubey.

New Delhi, July 11 : A plea has been moved by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in the Supreme Court seeking direction to set up special investigation team, having officers who have not served in Uttar Pradesh, to probe into the encounter deaths of gangster Vikas Dubey and his aides.

The petitioners have also urged the apex court to constitute a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to enquire into the encounters that have been taking place in Uttar Pradesh and also the prevalent criminal-politician nexus in the state.

The petitioner cited the petition filed in May 2018, which took into account the over 1,000 encounters that had taken place, during January 2017 to March 2018, resulting in death of 49 persons and injuries to 370. “During pendency of the petition before this court, the number of encounters increased to 2,000 and deaths to 66 as mentioned in the rejoinder affidavit on October 8, 2018. The number has increased to 5,178 encounters in which 103 persons have been killed and 1,859 have been injured in 2019,” said the plea.

The petitioner said it has taken up the issue pertaining to police encounters, among several other human rights issues, as it defies the rule of law and administration of law enforcing machinery in accordance with the Constitution.

“It is further submitted that police encounter/administrative liquidation is a serious crime – murder/culpable homicide and is an offence against the entire society. If such a crime is committed with the support of the state or where the state condones such an offence, it takes a very serious dimension, questioning the entire rule of law and governance in accordance with the Constitution”, said the plea.

The petitioner contended that the UP government is flouting an earlier judgement of the Supreme Court, and indulging in massive encounters with impunity.

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