External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday met UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan and thanked him for his guidance in taking bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to greater heights.
Jaishankar also conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings to President Zayed al Nahyan. “Thank HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan for receiving me. Conveyed the personal greetings and warm wishes of PM @narendramodi. Highly value his guidance in taking our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to greater heights,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Jaishankar was on a three-day visit to the UAE to review the entire spectrum of ties between the two countries. During the visit, EAM met several UAE dignitaries.On September 1, Jaishankar co-chaired the 14th India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
The two ministers were joined by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi – UAE MOS for Foreign Trade, Vinay Kwatra – Foreign Secretary of India and Ambassadors and senior officials from both sides.
During the 14th round of JCM, the foreign ministers of both countries expressed their deep satisfaction at the continued high growth trajectory of bilateral relations between India and UAE.
In this context, they noted the regular high-level political interactions between both sides, especially the meeting between PM Modi and UAE President on June 28 in Abu Dhabi, their Virtual Summit on February 18 and their participation in the virtual I2U2 Summit in July 2022.
Both ministers noted the cooperation between the two countries in various multilateral forums and international organizations, in particular in the UN Security Council.Both Ministers expressed happiness at the entry into force of the landmark Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on May 01 and the organisation of various activities and events for the effective implementation of the Agreement.Both ministers reiterated their commitment to achieving the goal of USD 100 billion of bilateral trade in the next five years. They also positively assessed the investment partnership between both countries and the growth of UAE investments in India in diverse sectors.
“It is expected that the next meeting of the High-Level Task Force between the two countries will be held shortly in India,” the MEA said.The progress in various elements of bilateral cooperation identified in the Vision Statement adopted by the two leaders on 18 February 2022 was also reviewed. The two ministers noted the commitment on either side to strengthen long-term energy partnership, including two-way investments.
They also noted the progress in discussions on various aspects related to renewable energy and Green Hydrogen. An MOU on Climate Action was signed in May 2022.“Both ministers reviewed the ongoing discussions between the two sides in the area of food security, including in the I2U2 framework. They expressed happiness at the forward movement in healthcare and education cooperation,” the MEA said in a statement.
A team consisting of both government and private sector representatives from India and UAE visited Kenya and Tanzania recently to identify opportunities for joint projects in the health sector.
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Pak-Afghan ties take a nasty turn over Durand line conflict
The border conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan over Durand Line that divides not just the two countries but also the Pashtuns remains a bone of contention between the two nations, however, both chose to remain silent on several issues related to human rights.
According to Al Arabiya, the growing rancour between the two countries was manifested in a recent incident on September 19, wherein Afghan security guards posted at Pakistan Consulate, Jalalabad mistreated Pakistan diplomats. They also stopped the President and two members of the Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce from meeting the Pak Consulate General.
The Durand Line passes through the present-day Pakistani provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.
It also includes 10 provinces in Afghanistan. Disputed in the context of the struggle for the Pashtun homeland, it has of late become the cause of heightened border tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to reports.
While Pakistan accuses Afghanistan of harbouring anti-Pakistan elements, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on its soil, the Taliban do not recognize the Durand Line which separates the two countries and divides the home of ethnic Pashtuns.
Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistan has been trying to persuade the Afghan Taliban to crack down on TTP. Instead, the Afghan Taliban mediated talks between Pakistan and TTP that led to the release of dozens of TTP prisoners in Pakistan, reported Al Arabiya.
Islamabad was partly optimistic in the wake of the Taliban takeover. It hoped that the Taliban regime would accept the Durand Line’s legitimacy and leverage its links with the proscribed organization Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to broker a peace agreement.
While Taliban links have facilitated Islamabad-TTP talks, which led to a ceasefire, the Taliban seems reluctant to apply total pressure on the TTP. The Taliban is also in no mood to grant any concessions on the issue, given that skirmishes between themselves and Pakistani troops continue.
In the wake of this, there have been repeated reports of firing and clashes between the security forces of the two countries at the border.
Recently footage of the Taliban forces driving into Pakistan’s side of the Durand line surfaced on social media.
In quest for power, China opens illegal police posts across globe
In a quest to emerge as a global superpower, the Chinese government has opened numerous illegal police stations across the world including in developed countries like Canada and Ireland, triggering concerns among human rights campaigners.
Such informal police service stations affiliated with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) across Canada have been set up to antagonize China’s adversaries, Investigative Journalism Reportika stated citing the local media. According to local media reports, Fuzhou has established informal police service stations affiliated with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) across Canada.
At least three of these stations are located in the Greater Toronto Area only.
Moreover, the Chinese government is also influencing the elections in certain countries through these illegal police stations, according to Investigative Journalism Reportika.
The Fuzhou police say it has already opened 30 such stations in 21 countries.
Countries like Ukraine, France, Spain, Germany, and the UK have such arrangements for Chinese Police Stations and the leaders of most of these countries question the rise of China and its worsening human rights records on public platforms and are themselves a part of that issue.
Human rights campaigners have accused the ruling Communist Party of China of committing widespread abuses across the country in the name of security, steps which include confining people to internment camps, forcibly separating families and carrying out forced sterilization.
For its part, China has said these facilities are “vocational skills training centres” that are necessary to “counter” extremism and improve livelihoods. Chinese officials said in late 2019 that most “trainees” had “graduated” from the centres.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet recently visited China and Xinjiang.
Complete loyalty to Xi sole criterion for party Congress delegates’ election
Ahead of the 20th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) due to take place on October 16, the CCP completed the process of carefully selecting 2,296 loyal delegates to the Congress on the basis of complete loyalty to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This was done to ensure a trouble-free and dissent-free approval of the third term of power to Xi, reported The HK Post. These delegates will represent more than 96 million party members and more than 4.9 million grass-roots party organizations, “bear the ardent expectations of the people of all ethnic groups in the country, and honourably attend the party’s twentieth national congress”
The party bigwigs are happy that it will not face any problems from the elected delegates when the political, economic and international resolutions are put to vote, reported The HK Post.
The agenda says, “(they) meet the requirements stipulated by the CPC Central Committee, are highly qualified ideologically and politically, possess and demonstrate good work styles and moral conduct, are competent in discussing state affairs, and have made remarkable achievements in their work.”
Meanwhile, Xinhua in its reports left none in doubt that principles of democracy were conspicuous by their absence when the selection process was underway, reported The HK Post.
“Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the delegates were elected in accordance with the Party Constitution, the CPC Central Committee’s requirements, adopting methods required by the CPC Central Committee. The process upheld the Party’s nature and purpose, adhered to and enhanced the Party’s overall leadership, and fully embodied intraparty democracy.”
An editorial in the People’s Daily issues a sermon to the delegates that their duty begins and ends with expressing loyalty to President and General Secretary Xi Jinping.
“Take the lead to deeply understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments, strengthen the ‘four consciousness’ and ‘four self-confidence’, in order to achieve the two safeguards; study and implement the spirit of the important speech of General Secretary Xi Jinping at the symposium for leading cadres at the provincial and ministerial levels on July 26; study, understand and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era;’ organically combine Party history study with understanding ideas around strengthening Party spirit; strengthen ideals and beliefs, continuously enhance political judgement, understanding, and execution, and maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core in terms of ideology, politics, and actions.”
Patience is running out, says UN envoy on engagement with Taliban
Patience is running out for many in the international community when it comes to effectively engaging with the Taliban, the UN deputy representative for Afghanistan Markus Potzel, told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Despite some positive developments over the past few months, the senior UN envoy for the country said they have been “too few and too slow and the negatives outweigh them”. “I am afraid that patience is running out by many in the international community regarding a strategy of engagement with Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities,” he said.
Potzel drew attention to the ongoing ban on girls’ secondary education and growing restrictions on women’s rights, as “signals that the Taliban are indifferent to more than 50 per cent of the population” and are willing to risk international isolation. “The relegation of women and girls to the home not only deprives them of their rights, but Afghanistan as a whole is denied the benefit of the significant contributions that women and girls have to offer,” he detailed.
This comes as armed clashes and deadly terrorist attacks have spiked in the country.
“Our earlier warnings about the capabilities of Islamic State Khorosan Province (ISKP) were dismissed by the Taliban,” he told ambassadors. “But ISKP has demonstrated in the last few months alone that it can carry out assassinations of figures close to the Taliban, attacks against foreign embassies, as well as fire rockets across Afghanistan’s border to attack its neighbours – all while maintaining its long-standing sectarian campaign against Shia Muslims and ethnic minorities,” said Potzel. And armed clashes are continuing between Taliban security forces and armed opposition groups in the Panjshir, Baghlan, Kapisa, Takhar, and Badakhshan provinces, the UN envoy continued.
“There are disturbing reports, as well as videos and photos, indicating possible serious human rights violations committed in Panjshir,” he said, calling for an investigation into allegations of extra-judicial killings there. He added that the mission will continue to carefully monitor these and other reports of serious human rights violations.
Top Pakistani diplomat accused in Europe visa scam: report
Already a “mastermind of human trafficking” to Europe, a top Pakistani diplomat, Israr Husain, has now been accused for his alleged involvement in issuing visas to Pakistani citizens for Europe in exchange for bribes, media reports said.
The complaint was lodged by a senior Pakistani official who is also in charge of issuing visas. It is worth noting that Husain has held top ranks in the past, such as assistant secretary for Europe at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad and ambassador at the diplomatic office in Prague, a position from which he had to resign following allegations of corruption, Difesa Online reported.
This incident has triggered speculations about whether Islamabad diplomats are carrying out a global scam of fake passports and visas for Europe. Pakistan has long been involved in such activities and therefore this is not the first incident of its kind.
These activities by Pakistanis are spread across various European countries so much so that the European Parliament had to intervene to sound an alarm on the pertinent issue, Difesa Online reported.
For Instance, in 2020, Member of European Parliament (MEP) Dominique Bilde accused Pakistan of leading a racket to grant falsified passports and visas. Already in 2012, the then High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in Islamabad, Adam Thomson, had called Pakistan “the world leader in counterfeiting visas.”
Furthermore, as per the data in 2021, a total of 4,000 Pakistani citizens were reported for trying to obtain passports using forged documents.
North Korea fires missile ahead of Kamala Harris’ visit to Demilitarized Zone
North Korea fired an apparent ballistic missile on Wednesday evening, just a day ahead of US Vice President Kamla Harris’ visit to Demilitarized Zone dividing South and North Korea.
Notably, this is the second launch from nuclear-armed North Korea in four days, The Japan Times reported. South Korea’s military also confirmed the launch of an unidentified ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan.
After the missile launch by North Korea, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida issued an instruction where it stated that one needs to dedicate maximum effort to gather and analyze the information and provide the public with speedy and adequate information.
The second one was to ensure the safety of aircraft, vessels, and other assets. Lastly,
“Take all possible measures for precaution, including readiness for contingencies.”
Earlier, on Sunday, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile for its first major weapons test since early June
This apparent missile launch came as US Vice President is all set to visit the Demilitarized Zone dividing South and North Korea on Thursday, Voice Of America reported.
Harris is spending most of this week in South Korea and Japan, two East Asian nations the Biden administration sees as alternative options in the region as China grows bolder.
Harris was among dozens of foreign dignitaries in Tokyo on Tuesday to pay respects to assassinated former Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, who was killed on July 8.
“The alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” Harris said. “And this is something we prioritize because we also believe it is in the best interest of the American people in terms of their security and prosperity and we do believe the same for Japanese people,” she added as quoted by Voice of America.
In the last week, Kim Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, accused the US of compelling the DPRK to adopt a law on the policy of nuclear forces.
While speaking at UNGA, Kim Song said, “The United States compelled the DPRK to adopt a law on the policy of nuclear forces in defiance of the US hostile hostility.”
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