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Ahead of Macron visit, France, India to speed up Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra

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 Laying the groundwork for President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed visit in early 2023, France and India on Tuesday discussed ways to revive and speed up the massive nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, languishing for several years now, officials said.

Science and Technology Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh met visiting French Minister Chrysoula Zacharopoulou with her high-level delegation in this regard in New Delhi and discussed Indo-French collaboration in the nuclear energy sector.

The two countries also discussed ways to speed up the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra, part of an umbrella nuclear deal signed between India and France in September 2008.

The agreement envisages setting up six European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) of 1,650MW each, making it the largest nuclear power generation site in the world, to come up with French technical collaboration – but stuck owing to various hurdles for the past nearly 15 years.

While India has accorded its ‘In Principle’ approval for the project in December 2021, French company EDF submitted its binding techno-commercial offer to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) last year, followed by meetings in May.

Jitendra Singh assured Zacharopoulou that the technical, financial and civil nuclear liability issues would be resolved at the earliest by both sides well before the scheduled visit of the French President to India, preceded by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire’s trip in mid-December.

The two sides reaffirmed the commitment to the success of the strategic Jaitapur project for reliable, affordable and low-carbon energy, and resolved to clear out all pending issues on priority.

The NPCIL will construct and commission the units, obtain all necessary permits and consents in India including certification of the EPR technology by the Indian regulator, and own and operate the Jaitapur plant in future.

Dr Singh said that the net zero targets are expected to be met through a combination of various clean energies like nuclear power, and currently the country’s nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW is planned to be increased to 22,480 in the next 10 years after various ongoing projects are sanctioned and completed.

The two ministers also dwelt on the recent meetings between President Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris, in the meeting attended by France’ Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain, Nuclear Counsellor Thomas Mieusset and others.

International News

OIC: General Secretariat strongly condemns!!

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The OIC General Secretariat strongly condemns the treacherous attack against the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 27 January 2023, killing the Embassy’s head of security service and injuring two security guards.

The General Secretariat calls for bringing the perpetrators of the heinous attack to justice and underlines the necessity of ensuring the security and safety of diplomatic missions.

The OIC Secretary General, Mr. Hissein Ibrahim Taha, while expressing his solidarity with the Government and people of Azerbaijan, offered his condolences to the family of the deceased and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

(Source: OIC OFFICIAL)

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Crime

Israeli fighter jets strike Gaza in response to rockets firing

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Israeli fighter jets on Friday carried out a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to militant groups in the Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from the coastal enclave, witnesses said.

Israeli army drones and fighter jets were heard buzzing in the air, and several explosions were heard in central Gaza Strip, the witnesses told Xinhua news agency.

They added that more than 14 missiles were fired at a military post that belonged to Gaza militant groups.

Palestinian medical sources said that no injuries were reported during the strikes that mainly targeted posts and facilities that belong to the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The airstrikes were in response to the firing of two rockets at southern Israel, said a spokesman from the Jewish state’s army.

No group has claimed responsibility for firing the rockets, which was a response to the killing of nine Palestinians during an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp, deemed to be the most deadly in nearly two decades.

During the Israeli airstrikes on Friday, militants in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave also fired at least five rockets at southern Israeli communities close to the borders with the Gaza Strip and anti-craft missiles were fired at Israeli fighter jets by Hamas militants, sources close to Hamas security told Xinhua.

Media outlets in Gaza quoted an Egyptian source as saying that Egyptian intelligence is in intensive contact with the Palestinian factions to prevent an escalation in Gaza.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to the UN, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions have been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month.

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International News

Armed attack targets Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran

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Armed attack targets Azerbaijan's embassy in Iran

A guard has been killed in an armed attack on Azerbaijan’s embassy compound in Iran, the nation’s foreign ministry has said.

Two people were also wounded in Friday’s attack.

“The attacker destroyed the guard post with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon and killed the head of the security service. Two security guards of the embassy were also injured while preventing the attack,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said.

The ministry said it would evacuate its embassy staff in Tehran.

The Iranian capital police chief, General Rahimi, said the attacker entered the embassy with his two children.

“Preliminary investigation shows that the attacker’s motive was personal and family problems,” Iran’s local Mehr News Agency reported.

Act of terrorism’

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said that an attack on his country’s embassy in Iran was “an act of terrorism” and demanded a swift investigation and punishment of the “terrorist”.

“I fiercely condemn the terrorist attack perpetrated against our Embassy in Tehran today,” Aliyev said on Twitter.

“We demand that this terrorist act be swiftly investigated and the terrorists punished,” he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has condemned the “treacherous attack” in a tweet.

“Azerbaijan is never alone,” Cavusoglu added.

Separately Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement regarding the deadly attack, saying that Türkiye which has been subjected to similar attacks in the past, deeply shares the pain of the Azerbaijani people.

“It is very important that those responsible for this heinous attack should be immediately apprehended and brought to justice,” the ministry said.

Suspect detained

Nasser Kanani, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran also condemned the attack and said the suspect was detained.

“Police and security forces immediately intervened and arrested the assailant, who is currently under investigation,” the spokesman said.

The foreign ministry also noted that the situation is under investigation with dimensions of action and the motive of the assailant.

Azerbaijan borders Iran to its northwest. There have been tensions between the two countries as Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought over the Karabakh region.

Iran in October launched a military exercise near the Azerbaijan border, flexing its martial might amid the nationwide protests rocking the Islamic Republic. 

Azerbaijan also maintains close ties to Israel, which Tehran views as one of its top regional enemies.

(Source: TRT WORLD)

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