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Thursday,01-October-2020

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Mirwaiz Umer Farooq heads to Delhi, to appear before NIA

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Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq took an early flight to New Delhi to appear before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday in connection with a terror funding case, sources close to him said.

The NIA has served him three summons.

The separatist leader had earlier cited security reasons for inability to honour the first two summons and requested the NIA to question him in Srinagar.

The third summon served on him has specified that the security concerns of the Mirwaiz would be taken care of by the NIA in Delhi.

The decision to appear before the NIA was taken by the Mirwaiz on Sunday following an executive meeting of the Hurriyat group.

It was also decided that executive members of the Hurriyat, including Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone and Masroor Ansari would accompany the Mirwaiz to the national capital.

The Mirwaiz has appealed people to remain calm and peaceful and not react adversely to his being summoned to D

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India not giving accurate Covid death count, dirtying environment: Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump has said that India does not give a “straight count” on the Covid-19 deaths and is dirtying the environment.

During the presidential debate on Tuesday night with Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden, they both sparred over the extent of the deaths caused by the pandemic.

Biden said that the 200,000 people who died of the coronavirus in America were 20 per cent of the global death toll of 1 million while the US population is only 4 per cent of the world.

Trump shot back, “When you talk about numbers you know how many people dies in China? You know how many people dies in Russia? You don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t give you a straight count.”

Trump said that the pandemic was China’s fault, but Biden tried to deflect China’s role wanting to pin the blame for its ravages on Trump.

When climate change and the Paris Climate Agreement, from which Trump withdrew the US came up, he said, “China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does. India does.”

Biden made a threat to countries that will not follow his environmental agenda warning Brazil that if it continues tearing down forests, “You’re gonna have significant economic consequences.”

The first debate held in Cleveland was about domestic issues and there were no international questions on the agenda set out by Chris Wallace of Fox News, who was the moderator for the debate. The mention of India and the other two were among passing references to foreign countries.

Earlier in his news conferences he had mentioned India’s record of conducting COVID-19 tests as the second-best in the world and only behind the US.

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China wants India to vacate key heights before de-escalation on LAC

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China is insisting that India vacates strategic heights on the south bank of Pangong Lake ahead of talks on disengagement on the LAC, top Indian Army sources said.

During the Corps Commander-level talks, China told India that will not discuss disengagement in eastern Ladakh, where the build-up by both sides has triggered a war- like situation over the last four months, till the time India vacates the strategic positions.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops are adamant on resolving the situation first on the south bank where the Indian troops are in position of strength tactically, but India wants a roadmap for de-escalation all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh to be drawn out.

India stated, during the talks, that all friction areas, including Depsang, should be discussed for disengagement all along the LAC.

“Why should discussions be restricted to one or two places when there is a massive build-up all across the LAC,” a top Indian Army officer said.

India has occupied critical mountain heights on the south bank of the Pangong Lake, including Rechin La, Rezang La, and Mukpari that were unmanned till now.

This step, along with some others peaks it holds, allows India to dominate the Spangur Gap under Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side.

This has irked the PLA which has made multiple attempts to dislodge Indian troops, leading to instances of warning gunshots being fired.

India had changed the rules of engagement after the Galwan Valley clash of June 15 where 20 Indian soldiers and unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed.

Chinese had attacked Indian troops with medieval barbaric weapons like iron-studded clubs.

After that, the Indian Army had empowered its commanders on the ground to take a decision whether to use firearms if their troops face a life-threatening situation and this has been communicated to China as well, sources said.

The Indian Army has also put barbed wire obstacles near the heights under its control at the LAC, signalling to the Chinese not to enter its territory.

Three days ago, the Indian and Chinese sides, in a joint statement, after the 14-hour-long diplomatic-military talks in Moldo said that both have agreed to implement the consensus reached by their leaders over the border issue.

On September 21, senior Indian and Chinese commanders held the 6th round of Military Commander-Level Meeting.

“The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas,” Indian Army had stated.

“They agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgements, stop sending more troops to the front line, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.”

The two sides also agreed to hold the 7th round of the Military Commander-Level Meeting as soon as possible, take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area.

It was for the first time that the Indian delegation had two Lt Generals, two Major Generals and a Joint Secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Headed by Lt Gen Harinder Singh, Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, the Indian delegation also had Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon from the Army headquarters in Delhi.

Menon will eventually take over Commander of the 14 Corps in November.

Joint Secretary, East Asia, Navin Srivastava was there to ensure that deliberation with China takes place on an agreed five-point roadmap, including quick disengagement of troops, between both the countries.

The countries reached he five-point roadmap during the talks between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on September 10.

India and China are engaged in a four-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

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Nepal PM, Putin among leaders wishing Narendra Modi on 70th Birthday

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As Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned 70 on Thursday, wishes from home and abroad poured in for him.

Extending his greetings, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli tweeted: “Warm greetings to Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji on the auspicious occasion of your birthday. I wish you good health and happiness.

“We will continue working closely together to further strengthen relations between our two countries.”

In his message to Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “I look forward to continue constructive dialogue with you and work closely together on topical issues of the bilateral and international agenda.”

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind also took to Twitter to wish Modi and said: “Happy Birthday to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji. You have set an example of Indian life values and democratic tradition.

“I pray to God that he always keeps you healthy and happy and the nation continues to receive your invaluable services.”

While extending his wishes, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted: “Wishing a Happy Birthday to the most popular leader of the country who is always committed towards the service of the nation and devoted towards welfare of poor.”

In a tweet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “Greetings and warm wishes to PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji on his birthday. India has benefited tremendously from his astute leadership, firm conviction and decisive action. He has been working assiduously towards empowering the poor and marginalised. Praying for his good health and long life.”

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi too wished the Prime Minister on his birthday.

In a letter written in Hindu, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu wished the Prime Minister and congratulated him “on your hard work in taking the country to new heights”.

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