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Friday,12-August-2022

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Modi, Putin discuss bilateral ties, Afghanistan situation

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi on Monday during the 21st annual India-Russia summit and discussed the emerging security challenges facing the region.

After welcoming Putin, Modi said: “Our meeting today will strengthen our special and privileged strategic partnership. The initiatives that we take today will further increase the scope of our cooperation to new areas.”

Modi, who hosted Putin at the Hyderabad House in the national capital, said the Covid-19 pandemic could not dent the relationship between both the nations and the ties continue to strengthen between the two countries.

He said the relationship between India and Russia is truly a unique and reliable model of interstate friendship, even when the world has witnessed many fundamental changes and different kinds of geopolitical equations emerged in the last few decades.

Putin said that Russia perceives India as a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend.

“The relations between our nations are growing and I am looking into the future,” said the Russian President.

Putin also expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan, and termed “fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime” as the key challenges on which both the countries will have to cooperate.

“We continue to cooperate jointly on a global agenda. Our positions are quite similar in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime,” Putin said.

“It is natural that we’re concerned about the developments in Afghanistan,” Putin said in his opening remarks.

Earlier in the day, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had their Russian counterparts Sergey Lavrov and General Sergey Shoigu, respectively. They discussed key bilateral, regional and international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

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Imran’s arrest may trigger ‘bloody politics’, warns ex-Minister

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 Reacting to the Pakistan governments move to file references against the PTI chairman in prohibited funding and Toshakhana cases, former Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has warned that attempts to arrest Imran Khan or break the party would trigger “bloody politics” in the country.

Rasheed said that the security of the country is more important than politics and power, adding that the instability in Afghanistan will also affect peace in Pakistan, Geo News reported.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched a probe into the illegal funding and has summoned senior PTI leaders to appear before it.

The government is tightening the noose around PTI after the ECP ruling in the prohibited funding case and a smear campaign against the military following the Balochistan helicopter crash.

Warning the ruling alliance in a series of tweets, Rasheed said that the economic collapse, political instability, increasing extortion and terrorism incidents will bury their politics, Geo News reported.

He further added that China is thinking well of Pakistan and the rulers should understand its signals and don’t make Independence Day “a day of destruction”.

“Arresting Imran Khan and plans to break PTI will be the start of bloody politics.”

He maintained that their agenda is to disqualify Khan and make Nawaz Sharif eligible.

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Noida Police declares Rs 25,000 bounty on Shrikant Tyagi

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Noida Police on Monday declared a reward of Rs 25,000 for the person who gives information on the location of absconding politician Shrikant Tyagi accused of assaulting a woman during an argument, three days ago over the plantation of palm trees near his apartment here.

According to sources, an intense operation to nab the absconding accused is currently underway and multiple teams of the Noida Police are currently working in coordination to zero in on his location.

Sources told IANS that Tyagi’s last location was traced in Uttarakhand between Haridwar and Rishikesh and multiple police teams went there but still he was not found.

Earlier in the day, the district administration, acting tough on the accused, demolished a structure that was illegally constructed by the self-claimed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

Tyagi had encroached the common area of the society and constructed a wooden shed that had multiple pillars below it.

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Truce between Israel, Palestinian militants holds; Gaza crossings reopen

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An Egypt-brokered ceasefire to halt a flare-up in fighting by Israel and Palestinian militants was holding on Monday, with crossings into the besieged Gaza Strip also reopening.

An Israeli army spokesperson said no new rockets had been fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire to end three days of violence that Palestinians said left more than 40 dead took effect late Sunday, reports dpa news agency.

The Israeli army had not attacked any new targets in the coastal enclave, the spokesperson added.

Israel on Monday also announced the re-opening of border crossings into the Mediterranean coastal strip for humanitarian deliveries.

The Israeli military had launched the “Breaking Dawn” military operation on August 5 with airstrikes against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

Two military chiefs were killed during the operation.

The group, closely linked to Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

Israel Defense Forces said the group had been planning a major attack along the border involving anti-tank missiles and so pre-emptive action was taken by launching a wave of strikes against Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza.

Tensions began to rise with the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, Bassem Saadi, on August 1.

Since August 5, Palestinian militants have fired more than 1,000 rockets at Israeli settlements, according to the Israeli military, with some 200 hundred of them falling short and hitting the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza, 44 people have been killed and 360 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Among the dead were said to be 15 children and four women.

The Palestinians blamed the Israeli strikes. Israel said misguided jihadi rockets had caused the civilian casualties.

There have been no reported deaths in Israel, with the Iron Dome defence system intercepting most of the rockets.

After assessing the security situation, the Erez border crossing and the Kerem Shalom goods crossing were open again, Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced Monday.

The first fuel tanks and humanitarian supplies passed through the border in the morning, according to a spokesperson.

The power supply in Gaza had been reduced from 12 to four hours on August 6 due to a lack of fuel. The Palestinian Health Ministry had warned of major impacts on medical services.

Around 2 million people live in very poor conditions in the territory on the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas seized power in 2007, prompting Israel to tighten a blockade of Gaza, a move that is also supported by neighbouring Egypt.

Both Israel and Egypt justify the measure with security interests.

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