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Saturday,26-September-2020

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We are terminating relationship with WHO: US President Donald Trump

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While addressing the breifing in the White House Rose Garden, US President Donald Trump said the US will be terminating relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO) right away.

In his today’s briefing, he also attacked China on several issues like origin of the coronavirus, recent development in Hong Kong, border disputes in the South China Sea and human rights abuses. He also announced measures aimed at punishing China, the BBC reported.

We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organisation and directing those funds” to other global public health charities, Trump said.

“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he says, adding that China “instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives”.

China, he said, “pressured the World Health Organisation to mislead the world” about the virus.

“Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” he adds.

Trump’s criticism of the WHO started last month when he threatened to permanently withdraw US funding if the body did not “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days”.

“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump wrote in a letter to the WHO director-general on May 18.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organisation is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China.”

In today’s White House speech, Trump said “China has total control over the World Health Organization”, despite paying the organisation a fraction of what the US does.

China has accused the US of being responsible for the spread of the virus on its own soil, attributing the outbreak to American “politicians who lie”.

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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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China hands over 5 ‘missing’ Arunachal Pradesh youth to India

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Five youngsters from Arunachal Pradesh, who went missing on September 2 but were later found to be in Chinese territory, were handed over to India by the People’s Liberation Army on Saturday amid the ongoing stand-off between the two sides at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

The five returned to India nearly 10 days after they were allegedly abducted, defence sources said.

The youth were handed over to Indian authorities in Damai near Kibithu in Anjaw district of eastern Arunachal Pradesh.

“The Indian Army took custody of the five individuals at Kibitu on Saturday after completing all the formalities. They will now be quarantined for 14 days as per Covid-19 protocol and thereafter handed over to their families,” Defence PRO Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande said in a statement.

The Kibithu (Arunachal)-Damai (China) area is a place where Indian and Chinese armies hold border meetings.

Local media had reported that Toch Singkam, Prasat Ringling, Dongtu Ebiya, Tanu Baker, and Ngaru Diri — all belonging to the Tagin community — had gone to the forest for hunting when they were reportedly kidnapped near Nacho in Upper Subansiri district.

The PLA had on Tuesday conveyed to the Indian Army that the five youth, who went missing on the Sino-Indian border in Upper Subansiri district, were found by them in their territory.

Defence sources had said that persistent efforts of the Indian Army led to the whereabouts of five missing hunters, who had inadvertently crossed the LAC.

Lt Col Pande said that Arunachal Pradesh is known for its rich natural heritage and adventurous people fond of exploring the nature for medicinal herbs and possessing traditional flair for hunting, which involves surviving off the land for weeks in jungles and far-flung remote areas.

“During such adventurous forays, at times, youth inadvertently stray to other side of LAC. The Indian Army has always been proactive in tracing the lost locals and helping them return home. Three such incidents, including the latest one, took place in the current year in Upper Subansiri and West Siang districts. All such individuals were brought back home safely after consistent efforts and coordination by the Indian Army,” he said in a release.

The defence spokesman said: “The Indian Army had approached the PLA on hotline to trace and return the youths. On September 8, a response on the hot-line confirmed that the missing individuals had been traced. The Indian Army, true to its ethos, has once again worked tirelessly for the well-being of the people of north-east.”

According to the local media, the incident first came to light when two members of the group returned home from the forest and informed the villagers that the five were “abducted” by the PLA from Sera-7, an Indian Army patrol zone located about 12 km further north of Nacho.

Nacho is the last administrative circle along the McMahon line and is around 120 km from the Upper Subansiri district headquarters Daporijo, which is itself 280 km from state capital Itanagar. Arunachal Pradesh’s northeast region shares a 1,080 km-long border with China.

Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday announced that the PLA had confirmed to the Indian Army to hand over the youths from Arunachal Pradesh to India.

On Tuesday, he had said that the PLA had responded to the hotline message from the Indian Army about the youths.

Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi, had urged Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure the safe return of the five youths amid local media reports that the youths had been kidnapped.

On September 3, the Indian Army had provided food, warm clothes, and medical assistance to three Chinese who had lost their way in sub-zero temperatures in a border area in north Sikkim, at an altitude of 17,500 feet.

The Indian troops deployed in the area also guided these Chinese, including a woman, to return home. The Chinese expressed gratitude to India and the Indian Army for their prompt assistance.

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