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Amid new Russia sanctions, Modi sticks to India-first mantra

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Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.

As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.

The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.

Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.

India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.

Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While

German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”

With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”

In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.

The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.

(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.

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Independence Day: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee joins dance and folk artistes

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Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hoisted the national flag in Kolkata on Monday. On the occasion of Independence Day, Banerjee also joined artistes during their performances.

Meanwhile, artistes across the eastern state were seen performing at the event where CM was seen first cheering and lauding the performances. Earlier, Banerjee also extended her wishes on the 76th Independence Day.

“On the completion of 75 years of Independence, India must awaken to the real essence of Independence. We must stay true to the vision of our forefathers and keep the aspirations of our future generations at heart. My heartfelt greetings to all my fellow citizens. Jai Hind!,” CM Banerjee tweeted.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign. He called upon the people of the country to join it. PM Modi said that the tricolor not only has three colors, but it is also a reflection of our commitment to the present, our past glory, and our dreams for the future.

However, Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the government to celebrate 75 years of Independence. The national flag will be hoisted in every house of the country till 15th August.

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UK approved Modern vaccine targeting Omicron

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Omicron

The updated Moderna vaccine against COVID-19, which targets both the original form and the Omicron variant, was approved by the UK on Monday, making it the first nation to do so. The bivalent vaccination produced by US pharmaceutical company Moderna as a booster for adults has received approval from the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) authorised the vaccine for adult booster doses “after it was found to meet the UK regulator’s standards of safety, quality and efficacy” and to elicit a “strong immune response” against both strains, according to a statement.

Clinical study data that indicated the booster elicited “a significant immune response” against both Omicron (BA.1) and the original 2020 virus, according to the MHRA, were the basis for the agency’s approval.

The MHRA also highlighted a preliminary analysis in which it was discovered that the shot produced a strong immunological reaction against the two currently predominant Omicron offspring, BA.4 and BA.5.

MHRA chief executive June Raine said in a statement, “The first generation of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK continue to provide important protection against the disease and save lives.”

“What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armoury to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve.”

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Srinagar encounter update: Police Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad killed in J&K’s Srinagar

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Kashmir

Police Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad who succumbed to injuries during the encounter died on Monday. The encounter broke out in the Nowhatta area of Srinagar on Sunday.

Taking to Twitter Jammu and Kashmir police said, “Police personnel namely Ct Sarfaraz Ahmad R/O Batote Ramban who was injured yesterday during an anti-terrorist operation, succumbed to his injuries & attained #martyrdom. We pay rich #tributes to the #martyr for his supreme #sacrifice made in the line of duty. @JmuKmrPolice”

Earlier, the police officials seized the vehicle (scooter) used by two LeT terrorists and one AK-74 rifle, and two grenades.

“Vehicle (scooter) used by two #terrorists of #terror outfit LeT seized from the incident site. Besides, one Ak-74 rifle and two grenades have been recovered. Search still going on,” the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Meanwhile, the officials informed about Ahmad’s injuries during the combat. “In the ongoing encounter, one police personnel namely Constable Sarfaraz Ahmad, resident of Batote Rambon got injured. He was evacuated to the hospital for treatment. One terrorist also got injured. Search still going on. Further details shall follow,” the Jammu and Kashmir said.

However, further details are awaited.

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Children rejecting foreign toys reflect “AatmaNirbhar Bharat”

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Narendra Modi

On the 75th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech from the Red Fort’s ramparts, saying that even a 5-year-old child would not play with foreign toys, reflecting the spirit of independent India in him and the fact that “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” runs through his blood.

He said, “I want to salute the little children between 5 and 7 years of age. The nation’s consciousness has been awakened. I have heard from countless families that 5-7-year-old children tell their parents that they do not want to play with foreign toys. When a 5-year-old child makes such a resolution, it reflects the spirit of self-reliant India in him and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ runs through his veins.”

The PM also praised the Indian toy business in his monthly “Mann ki Baat” radio show in July, stating that exports had increased to Rs 2,600 crore from Rs 300-400 crore.

Last year, the prime minister urged people to be “vocal for local toys,” noting that India imports roughly 80% of toys, with millions of rupees flowing to foreign countries. He stressed the importance of changing this situation.

Modi had made a pitch for boosting the nation’s position in what he called the “Toyconomy,” or the economic aspects of the toys and gaming industry, noting that India’s share of the global toy market, which is estimated to be 100 billion dollars (over 7.5 lakh crore), is only about 1.5 billion dollars (over 11,000 crore).

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Celebrating India’s achievements at 75

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Statue of Unity

As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, India has channeled her civilizational strengths and cultural diversity into a brand new shared future, and opportunities for achievement, progress, and prosperity for its billion-plus citizens. Here is a list of what we have achieved since 15 August 1947.

Indian Premier League (IPL)

Indian Premier League (IPL) is an Indian professional T20 cricket league established in 2008. Lalit Modi proposed the idea of IPL and superheaded the IPL effort. It was founded by the Board of Control of Cricket in India in 2007. It is usually held between March and May of every year. In a high-profile ceremony in New Delhi, the first season was slated in 2008. The first season of IPL was won by Rajasthan Royals, captained by Shane Warne. To date, there have been fifteen seasons of the IPL tournament. Moreover, there are 10 teams they are; Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Titans, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Sunrisers Hyderabad. The teams representing different Indian cities compete against each other. IPL is the most-attended cricket league in the world which revolutionized the game.

Success of Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has become the best-performing real-time ecosystem in the world with nearly 6 billion transactions a month. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, India’s digital economy could create $1 trillion in economic value in 2025. Earlier on 11 April 2016, NPCI conducted a pilot launch with 21 member banks by Dr. Raghuram G Rajan, Governor, RBI at Mumbai. On 25 August 2016 onwards Banks started to upload their UPI-enabled Apps on the Google Play store. These are the top seven UPI apps used in India; Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, BHIM App, Amazon Pay, BHIMSBI Pay, and MobiKwik. Meanwhile, from 21 banks in April 2016, the total number of banks linked to the UPI platform as of Feb 2022 is 304.

Vaccination Drive of India

The ongoing COVID-19 vaccine drive in India rolled out the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive. The COVID-19 vaccination drive in India was started on 16 January 2021 across 3006 vaccine centers in all its states and union territories. The vaccination drive in India has been initiated with two types of vaccines: Covishield and Covaxin, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd. and Bharat Biotech International Ltd. On the first day itself, 1,65,714 people were vaccinated and were administered to a sanitation worker at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. As of now, 2,08,25,13,831 vaccines have been administrated to the people. Earlier, on 30 January 2020, India reported its first case of COVID-19 in Kerala.

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. The Mangalyaan was launched from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (Sriharikota Range SHAR), Andhra Pradesh. For the launch Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 was used. Mangalyaan was the world’s cheapest mission to the red planet which cost just Rs 447.39 crore. “Unlike the Mars mission, which was a one-time project when cleared, the GSAT program envisages launching several more satellites. Therefore, the money saved from its launch is with Isro to be used for future satellites,” a senior official said. The spacecraft instruments which were used are Mars Color Camera, Lyman Alpha Photometer, Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer, and Methane Sensors for Mars.

Statue of Unity

The Statue of Unity is the World’s Tallest Monument and is the most prolific creator in recent times. The Statue of Unity is dedicated to one of India’s founding fathers, and the country’s first Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with a height of 182 meters. It has been created as a tribute to the ‘Iron Man of India’. The Statue of Unity is divided into 5 zones out of which 3 are accessible to the general public. It can accommodate 200 visitors at a time and location at a height of 153 meters. It is located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, in Kevadia, Gujarat.

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Har Ghar Tiranga: 44 million Tiranga Selfies uploaded so far

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Har ghar tiranga

On the Har Ghar Tiranga website, nearly 44 million people have posted selfies with the Indian flag, and the government has changed the caller tunes on phones to urge more people to follow suit.

Culture ministry official stated, “Our aim is to run it throughout the day to promote the Har Ghar Tiranga movement and encourage people to upload selfies with the flag.”

The website reports so as of 11:59am, 44963700million selfies have been submitted, and the number is increasing every second, the official stated.

Additionally, the website has been pinned with more than 50 million digital flags.

Amit Shah, the home minister, as well as the cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma and the actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth, and Anupam Kher have also posted selfies.

The union government has contracted with roughly 200 manufacturers, including small and medium-sized businesses and self-help organisations, to produce the flags in order to have them displayed in 200 million homes between August 13 and August 15 in honour of 75 years of independence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially commenced the government’s 75-week countdown to the 75th anniversary of Independence from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 2021.

These events, which are spread over 28 States, 8 UTs, and more than 150 countries, are centred on 5 major themes that guide our commemorative and festive endeavours. (Freedom struggle, [email protected], Reso[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]).

The movement, a ministry of culture initiative to commemorate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebrations for India’s 75th year of independence, will help “deepen our bond with the national flag,” PM Modi said in a tweet

Taking to Twitter he wrote, “This year, when we are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, let us strengthen the Har Ghar Tiranga Movement. Hoist the Tricolour or display it in your homes between 13th and 15th August. This movement will deepen our connect with the national flag,

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