The US has mounted a massive diplomatic offensive against belligerent China, with the Biden administration’s several key diplomats and ministers visiting various nations in Asia with the agenda of countering the Dragon. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting India 27-28 July to meet External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources say China’s aggression and ways to counter it will top the agenda to be taken up during these meetings. Pakistan’s terror financing will also be part of the agenda of discussion. Top MEA sources told The Daily Guardian that India and the US will discuss the ways to step up pressure on Pakistan to stop terror funding. Rapid surge of Taliban will also figure during the talks between Blinken and Jaishankar.
Blinken’s visit to India is a key part of the larger US’ diplomatic mission against Chinese aggressive behaviour. But the US is in a big action mode diplomatically. Blinken’s deputy Wendy Sherman is in China “representing the interests of the US and its allies during talks with Beijing’s top diplomats”. Sources say Shermon has gone to China with a tough message from President Joe Biden, “The US will act to defend its interests”. Sherman is scheduled to meet Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tianjin on July 26. As part of the US’ diplomatic mission, US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman has already visited Japan, South Korea and Mongolia, obviously with China as top agenda. Sources said that with China in mind Blinken’s deputy reaffirmed “the US commitment to working with allies and partners to promote peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and to upholding the international rule-based order.” According to sources, the Biden administration wants to send out a clear message to all the countries which are facing problems due to China’s belligerent behaviour that the US is always with them in their efforts to counter the Dragon.
In another significant visit as part of this diplomatic agenda, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin will be in Singapore, Vietnam and Philippines next week with Chinese aggression in South China Sea becoming a major election issue in Manila. As a result of the Biden administration’s diplomatic campaign, European countries have joined the US in imposing sanctions on the Chinese over the treatment of UiAghars in Xinjiang province and joined the US along with other allies and NATO last week to call out China on hacking.
Modi and Joe Biden are expected to meet later in the year at an in-person summit of the leaders of the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) involving Australia, Japan, India and the US, which is likely after October. The Biden administration has also started preparation for the same. Blinken’s visit to India is important from that point of view as well. Blinken and Jaishankar will also discuss the agenda for the Quad meet, with China and Indo-Pacific being the main topic. The MEA said, “Secretary Blinken’s visit is an opportunity to continue the high-level bilateral dialogue and bolster the India-US global strategic partnership. Both sides will review the robust and multifaceted India-US bilateral relations, and potential for consolidating them further.” The state department said Blinken will hold discussions on “a wide range of issues including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis”.
Officials say that Afghanistan will also be a key topic of discussion as US withdrawal of troops, which will be wrapped soon, could be followed by the Taliban’s return to power. India has watched with concern as the Taliban have rapidly expanded areas under their control, raising fears of the return of their brutal and regressive policies and practices.
Sources said that dates are also being finalised for the next 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of India and US. It will be hosted by the US this year. The last one was held in New Delhi last October, with then secretaries of state and defence Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper travelling to India.
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Jammu and Kashmir: 1 terrorist killed in Budgam encounter
In the ongoing encounter in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir, one terrorist was killed on Wednesday.
“The encounter broke out in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday between terrorists and security forces,” police said.
Taking to Twitter Kashmir Zone Police said, “Encounter has started at Waterhail area of Budgam. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow.”
Earlier today, terrorists of proscribed terror outfit The Resistance Front (TRF)/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were trapped by security forces. They were trapped in the ongoing encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police trapped Lateef Rather who killed several civilians including Rahul Bhat and Amreen Bhat.
“3 terrorists of terror outfit LeT (TRF) including terrorist Lateef Rather trapped in the ongoing encounter. Terrorists Lateef is involved in several #civilian #killings including Rahul Bhat and Amreen Bhat,” Kashmir Zone Police said.
Earlier on 12 May, Chadoora Tehsil Office employee Rahul Bhat was shot dead by terrorists in his office. While Amreen Bhat Kashmiri TV actress was killed in Budgam’s Chadoora on May 26.
Prophet row: SC extends protection, transfers all FIRs against Nupur Sharma to Delhi Police
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court combined and forwarded all FIRs filed to the Delhi Police against BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma, who has been suspended. The apex court also granted Sharma temporary protection while the Prophet’s comment controversy is being investigated.
The court also gave the suspended BJP leader permission to file a petition with the Delhi High Court to have FIRs filed in other states over her remarks dismissed. After allegedly uttering some offensive remarks about the Prophet Mohammad during a debate on a TV channel, Sharma has become embroiled in a significant scandal.
Protests quickly ensued, both inside and outside the nation, and several Muslim countries officially registered their objections with the relevant Indian embassy. The BJP then suspended Sharma and expressed distain for her comments. A statement was also made in this regard by the ministry of external affairs.
Large-scale upheavals were also caused in various regions of the nation. Also murdered by radical Muslim groups in Rajasthan and Maharashtra were two people who sent messages of support for Sharma on social media.
Sharma had received harsh criticism from the apex court for her remarks made on May 26 during a TV discussion debate, but it later granted her protection in the case.
Nitish Kumar calls Lalu Yadav before oath ceremony; RJD supremo congratulates him
Ahead of Nitish Kumar’s oath-taking ceremony RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav called him and discussed the political developments. Prasad congratulated him as well.
RJD supremo hailed Kumar’s decision to split from the NDA and reunite with the Mahagathbandhan.
“Nitish Kumar called Lalu Prasad Yadav amid political developments in Bihar, discussed several issues, Lalu Yadav congratulated him and his decision to break away from the BJP and join the Grand Alliance,” a family member said.
Earlier in the day Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the eighth time. The oath ceremony was held at the Patna Raj Bhavan on Wednesday.
After a huge political turmoil in the state, Kumar broke the alliance of BJP-JDU on Tuesday. Later Kumar announced to form of a new “Grand Alliance”.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, his wife Rajshri, former CM Rabri Devi, and RJP leader Tej Pratap Yadav.
“Seven parties including 164 MLAs along with independent MLA in our Mahagathbandhan,” Nitish Kumar said at a joint presser with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav.
Meanwhile, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav also took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state.
However, on Tuesday Nitish Kumar submitted his letter of resignation as chief minister to Governor Phagu Chauhan at Raj Bhavan.
Tejaswi all set to combat unemployment, promises bumper jobs in a month
Tejashwi Yadav, the new deputy chief minister of Bihar, said the nation must follow the example set by his state. After Nitish Kumar severed ties with the BJP, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader took the oath for the top two positions in the state alongside him. He promised that within a month, hundreds of jobs would be available for the underprivileged and young people.
Yadav claimed that his battle had been with unemployment and that the job offers would be grand in a previously unheard-of way.
“Bihar took the necessary action for the nation. We have led the way for them. We have been fighting against unemployment. Our CM understood how the underprivileged and young felt. Within a month, we’ll offer kids and the poor bumper jobs.” The newly appointed deputy chief minister predicted that it would be an enormous event that had never occurred before.
He claimed that the Mahagathbandhan, or grand alliance, is so powerful that the BJP would be the only party left standing as the opposition in the Assembly.
He further added, “A difficult decision taken by CM Nitish Kumar is a decision which was needed (to be taken). Communal tensions were being spread by BJP, they were trying to kill regional parties.”
Omicron’s new sub-variant detected in Delhi
A new sub-variant of COVID’s Omicron variant was detected in New Delhi on Wednesday. The variant is more transmissible.
The new sub-variant has been identified as BA-2.75. This sub-variant was detected in a study report of 90 samples sent for genome sequencing.
Meanwhile, Dr. Suresh Kumar, Medical Director of LNJP Hospital said that the new variant has more transmissibility. These can infect even those with antibodies.
“Omicron’s subvariant BA-2.75 has been found in the report. It has more transmission rate. This has emerged in the study report of 90 samples sent for genome sequencing. This new sub-variant also attacks people already having antibodies and also those who have taken the COVID vaccines in their body,” Dr. Suresh Kumar said.
However further details into the matter are awaited.
Shiv Sena condemns the Maharashtra government, says “Murder of democracy”
The Shiv Sena issued a statement to condemn the coliation of Eknath Sindhe’s party and the Bhartiya Janta Party, in its mouthpiece “Saamana”, following the Cabinet expansion.
The Saamana editorial said that it amounted to “murder of democracy and the constitution” and noted that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a number of disqualification applications against various Shinde-camp parliamentarians on Thursday.
They also mocked Governor BS Koshyari, who sworn in the ministers on Tuesday.
“…but the governor has sworn in an illegal government 40 days ago and has insulted the constitution by giving oath to the ministers of this illegal government,” the editorial said. “It is the murder of democracy and the constitution to administer an oath to some of the legislators whose disqualification petitions are being heard by the Supreme Court. But such murderers have been let loose in the country and matters of state are being run through them. “
The Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut wrote an editorial in the mouthpiece opposing the idea that the “pleasure of the nine ministers who defected to the Eknath Shinde camp will be short-lived.”
The spokesperson added that the Maharashtrian people will “never forgive” the “defectors” for their “treachery.”
The state administration hasn’t yet responded to the development.
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