In a snub to China, India goes for virtual SCO, BRICS summits - The Daily Guardian
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In a snub to China, India goes for virtual SCO, BRICS summits

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In what is being seen as a snub to China, India did not approve of Russia’s “proposal” to hold the upcoming SCO and BRICS “in-person” summits. India strongly insisted on both the summits being held virtually so that there could be no possibility of any one-on-one, pull-aside or bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

Sources told The Daily Guardian that Russia pushed the proposal strongly to ensure that these summits are held in-person. But New Delhi did not allow Moscow to make these summits in-person. Hence, now the virtual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be held on November 10, and that of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping will take place on November 17. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping are expected to join both the summits. But there will be no bilateral conversations between the two leaders.

Apart from these summits, the G20 will be held during November 21-22, which is also likely to be attended by PM Modi and Xi Jinping. Saudi Arabia is hosting the G20 summit. However, Saudi did not send any proposal for in-person meeting and it will also be held virtually, sources said.  

This summit will also be held virtually. Sources said, “With China adamant on its position along LAC in Ladakh and the military standoff continuing to be unresolved, PM Modi was not interested to have any bilateral, pull aside or even face-to-face with Xi Jinping.” Russia’s proposal for in-person meetings was extensively discussed by MEA and PMO. The proposal was struck down saying that it is not possible for the PM to travel to Russia due to the Covid-19 pandemic, say sources.  Finally, Russia anounced virtual meetings of SCO and BRICS saying that “leaders of several countries were reluctant to travel amid the continuing spread of Covid-19.”

Sources told TDG that China has got the message as to why India did not agree to the proposal of in-person meetings. “That the Indian leadership has given a snub to Chinese President over PLA’s misadventure along the Line of Actual Control is the message which has been sent out to Beijing,” said sources.   

Meanwhile, the leaders of India and China are also expected to be part of the East Asia Summit on November 11 and the SCO council of heads of government meeting on November 30, which will be hosted by New Delhi.

The virtual SCO summit will be the first time that PM Modi and Xi will join an online meeting since the border standoff in Ladakh emerged into the open in May.

“There will be no bilateral engagements as the meetings are being held virtually,” said an official. There is no scope for any kind of such bilateral conversations between the leaders, he added.   

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Mizoram reports only one new COVID-19 case in last 24 hrs

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Aizawl (Mizoram) [India], March 3 (ANI): Mizoram reported only one new COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases in the state to 4,427, the state health department informed on Wednesday.
The state now has 20 active cases, while 4,397 people have recovered from the disease.
The death toll in the state stands at 10.
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday kicked off the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country by getting vaccinated.
As of 9:30 am on Tuesday there have been 39 lakh registrations for COVID-19 on Co-Win 2.0 portal, the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had earlier informed.
Meanwhile, India’s total COVID-19 active caseload stands at 1,68,358 on Tuesday as the country added 12,286 new cases in the last 24 hours, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (ANI)

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Fire breaks out in Thane auto garage

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Thane (Maharashtra) [India], March 3 (ANI): A fire broke out at an auto garage in the Daighar area of Maharashtra’s Thane district on Wednesday.
As per the Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), a fire tender reached the spot to douse the fire but around 15 two-wheelers parked at the garage were destroyed in the fire.
The situation is under control and no casualties have been reported so far, the RDMC added. (ANI)

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BJP MP’s son shot at in Lucknow

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Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): The son of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Kaushal Kishore was injured when he was shot at by unidentified assailants in Lucknow, police said on Wednesday.
The assailants who were riding a bike shot at Aayush, 30, in the Madiyava area of the district and fled.
Uttar Pradesh Police admitted him to the trauma centre for treatment where has been declared out of danger.
“Ayush, son of the MP, has received a gunshot injury in his chest and was brought to the hospital for treatment. His condition is stable now. The case will be investigated,” Raees Akhtar, DCP North told reporters.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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Priority is not to let any fascist force come to power in WB: Tejaswi Yadav

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Patna (Bihar) [India], March 3 (ANI): Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and son of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav, on Tuesday said their priority and duty is not to let any communal and fascist force come to power (in poll-bound West Bengal).
“It is our priority and duty to not let any communal and fascist force come into power (in West Bengal). We have decided to strengthen Mamata ji’s hands and give our unconditional support to her,” Tejashwi Yadav told reporters.
He said, “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called us and we will be there, wherever she needs us.”
On March 1, the RJD leader had announced his full support to her in the coming assembly polls in the state.
Addressing the media after meeting the TMC supremo at Nabanna, the state secretariat here, Tejashwi told reporters, “It is Lalu ji’s decision to provide full support to Mamata Ji. Our first priority is to stop BJP from coming to power in Bengal.”
He also took a jibe at the “baraat” of BJP leaders in the recent weeks arriving in West Bengal to campaign for the party and questioned their ability to run the government in the state better than Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The BJP is such a big party. The BJP has brought a ‘baarat’ (procession) of all the union ministers to West Bengal. Who is their groom? Name a single BJP leader who is more experienced than Mamta Banerjee in running the government. Will you hand over power to a leader who does not have any experience?” Tejashwi Yadav asked.
West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
While Mamata Banerjee is seeking her third consecutive term, BJP has set a target of winning 200 seats in the 294-member state Assembly. Congress and the Left have stitched an alliance for the polls.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state. (ANI)

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Innovation should be affordable for people, accessible to masses: Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Addressing the Global Bio-India Startup Conclave, 2021, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that innovation has to be affordable for the people, accessible to the masses, and should have an impact on society.
“Innovation has to be affordable for the people, accessible to the masses and should have an impact on society,” the Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry said at the Conclave organized by the Department of Biotechnology on Tuesday.
Piyush Goyal said in a statement that our startups, young professionals, innovators, thinkers and scientists will be at the cutting edge of technology worldwide, and at the forefront of India’s development to ensure a better future for our children.
Expressing his hope towards the growth of the country, Goyal said that newer technologies will serve the country and ensure we convert future challenges into opportunities.
Goyal complimented all the young startups for their ingenuity, their forward-looking thinking and all the good ideas demonstrated by them.
“Our startups need to be encouraged to experiment, to go beyond the run of the mill thinking. Stressing on the need to ensure they are not afraid of failure. It is only when somebody fails, he knows how not to do something, and the learning helps in the future,” he added.
Lauding the efforts of DBT, the minister said that they have demonstrated India’s capability and prowess in research, innovation and new technologies. He said that the forward-looking, contemporary thinking and professional approach of the department has ensured that there are over 4,000 startups in the country in the field of Biotechnology.
During the event, the project development cell of DBT was launched. Five new technologies were also launched. (ANI)

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Ex-serviceman who won star medal during Indo-China war now drives an auto

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 3 (ANI): An ex-serviceman, who was a star medal awardee during the 1971 Indo-China war, now drives an autorickshaw in Hyderabad for a living and has appealed to the state government for help.
Sheikh Abdul Kareem, an ex-Army personnel is a Star Medal recipient, a special award for his contribution to the 1971 Indo-China war.
Speaking to ANI, Kareem said, “I was recruited into the Indian army after the death of my father who worked for the British Army and then for the Indian army. In 1964, I entered the Indian army.”
“I participated in the 1971 Indo-China war and was posted in Lahaul area. I was awarded with Star Medal and was the special award recipient in 1971,” he said.
Kareem said, “During the reign of Indira Gandhi, as there were surplus army personnel, many of them were removed from the postings and I was one of them. While in the army, I applied for government land and was given five acres of land in Gollapalli village in what is now Telangana.”
He said, “After nearly 20 years, the five acres land that was given to me has been distributed among seven village persons and after complaining about the same, I was offered another five acres under the same survey number but was denied the original land. Now it has been nearly about one year and till now the document of the land details are not ready.”
He said that after being removed from the army, he faced a lot of problems. He said that he does not even own a home and currently, at the age of 71, is driving auto-rickshaws to feed his family.
“I offered my services to this nation as an army personnel for nine years, but was removed and am now driving an auto-rickshaw at the age of 71. It has been difficult to feed my family. I do not even have my own house so that I can look after my family,” he said.
He also urged the government to provide ex-servicemen who are homeless with the double bedroom flats that are given to the poor.
“Despite winning a good service medal, I have not even received any sort of pension or any financial support from the government. I also request the central government to financially suport ex-servicemen who are in need of help,” he said. (ANI)

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