India Worried About Its Exports Due to Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the government is worried about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on India’s foreign trade, particularly farm sector exports.

In a post-budget interaction with business and industry leaders in Tamil Nadu, Sitharaman said the government is closely monitoring the evolving situation in the Russia-Ukraine region and assessing the impact of the conflict on the country’s trade.
“We are rightly worried about what comes from there but I am more worried about what is going to happen to our exporters who are doing very well, particularly the farm sector, to Ukraine and Russia,” the Finance Minister said.

“The government is already looking at the emergent situation. But I will have to have a complete assessment through the various concerned ministries and only then will be in a position to comment on it,” she said.

The Finance Minister pointed out that Ukraine is a major supplier of sunflower oil seeds and fertilizers and the disruption in supply would impact essential commodities like edible oil.

“But you can be assured that we are fairly seized of the matter in its granular form because it’s going to have an impact on the essentials which come,” she said. (ANI)

India’s Daily COVID-19 Cases Drop Below 10,000

With 8,013 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, India on Monday witnessed a drop in the daily cases, the Union Ministry of Health informed.

India’s active COVID caseload, as per the Ministry’s press release, is presently at 1,02,601, constituting 0.24 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
The weekly positivity rate in India currently stands at 1.17 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is reported to be 1.11 per cent.

As many as 16,765 patients have recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours. The cumulative tally of recovered patients, since the beginning of the pandemic, is now at 4,23,07,686.

In the last 24 hours, 119 deaths were also reported, taking the COVID death toll 5,13,843.

The Ministry further informed that with the administration of nearly 5 lakh (4,90,321) COVID vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 177.50 crore (1,77,50,86,335) as per provisional reports till 7 am today.

“This has been achieved through 2,03,49,590 sessions,” the release read.

The last 24 hours saw a total of 7,23,828 COVID tests being conducted. India has so far conducted over 76.74 crore (76,74,81,346) cumulative COVID tests, the Ministry informed. (ANI)

Reach Rly Station For Journey To West Ukraine: Indian Embassy

The Indian embassy in Kyiv on Monday informed that the weekend curfew was lifted in the capital city of Ukraine and advised students to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts of the country.

“Weekend curfew lifted in Kyiv. All students are advised to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts. Ukraine Railways is putting special trains for evacuations,” the embassy said in a tweet.
On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the government of India has launched a multi-prong evacuation plan titled ‘Operation Ganga’ to evacuate Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine.

As intense fighting is underway in Kharkiv, Sumy and Kyiv, Shringla held a special briefing on ‘Operation Ganga’ and said, the government of India has launched a multi-prong evacuation plan titled ‘Operation Ganga’ to evacuate Indian citizens stranded in Ukraine.

The India Government is bearing the cost of evacuation given the emergency situation prevailing. Indian Embassy in Kyiv as well as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi issued a number of advisories prior to the situation developing, requesting Indian citizens to leave Ukraine.

Specific border crossing points were identified with each of these countries and the MEA had deployed teams, Russian-speaking officers to go there and assist in the evacuation process.

Shringla further said that border crossing to Hungary and Romania are functioning, however, the exit point to Poland has been clogged as lakhs of Ukrainian and foreign nationals are trying to leave the country from that point.

Earlier today, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said that two more flights under Operation Ganga left from Budapest for Delhi, carrying some 500 Indian students. (ANI)

7 Uttarakhand Students Return From Ukraine

Seven students from Uttarakhand who are studying in Ukraine, returned to Dehradun early Monday morning.

According to Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), the students were evacuated from Ukraine on Flight AI 1942 and reached the state at 6 am.

The students include Tamanna Tyagi, Prerna Bisht, Shivani Joshi, Attaulla Malik, Mohammad Mukarram, and Urvashi Jantwal. (ANI)

US Special Envoy Condemns North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Test

The US special envoy Sung Kim has condemned the recent ballistic missile test by North Korea which “violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions and presented a serious threat to regional stability”.

As per a press statement from US State Department, the special representative for North Korea Sung Kim held calls with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiroto and South Korea Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk to discuss North Korea’s February 26 ballistic missile launch.
While condemning the launch, Kim underscored the United States’ commitment to close trilateral coordination with its Japanese and South Korean allies and readiness to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy with North Korea.

Reiterating US commitment to the defence of Japan and South Korea, he reaffirmed the shared goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Notably, North Korea test-fired an unidentified projectile on Sunday, Sputnik news agency reported citing Japan’s coast guard.

The projectile fired toward the Sea of Japan and likely a ballistic missile, appears to have fallen outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, according to Kyodo news agency. (ANI)

Manipur Polls: Vote For Insurgency, Blockade Free Manipur, Says Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday urged the people of Manipur, especially the youth, to vote in large numbers in the ongoing polling for Manipur Assembly.

Shah further said that the people in the state should come out and vote for a prosperous Manipur.
“I urge the people of Manipur, especially the youth, to vote in large numbers. Your one vote will keep this beautiful state free from insurgency, blockade and corruption. So come out and vote for a prosperous Manipur,” tweeted Shah.

As the first phase of Manipur Assembly elections commenced on Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged all the voters, especially the young and first-time voters, to exercise their franchise.

Polling in as many as 38 constituencies spread across five districts, including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi, commenced for the first phase of Manipur Assembly elections.

A total of 173 candidates, including 15 females, are in the fray for the poll.

Voting will continue till 4 pm. The voters who are COVID positive or are under quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour, between 3 pm to 4 pm.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh is contesting from his traditional home seat, Heingang constituency of Imphal East. Notably, the Chief Minister is seeking the fifth term in Manipur.

The BJP formed the government in Manipur in 2017 with the support of the National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). However, this time the BJP decided to go solo and is contesting all 60 seats alone. (ANI)

Over 100 Students Return From Ukraine, CM Patel Greets Them

Nearly 100 students from Gujarat, who are studying in various universities of Ukraine, were welcomed by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Monday morning as they arrived in Gandhinagar.

These students landed from Ukraine in Mumbai and Delhi under Operation Ganga and were brought back to Gujarat in Volvo buses.

Last evening, as many as seven students reached Rajkot after they were evacuated from the war-torn country.

In Vadodara, 17 students, studying in Ukraine reached the city.

Parents and teachers expressed relief and happiness after their wards returned home. (ANI)

Blinken, G7 FMs Speak With Ukrainian FM, Express ‘United Support’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday held a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of G7 countries and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

“Today, G7 FMs and I spoke with Ukrainian FM @DmytroKuleba (Dmytro Kuleba)
to express our united support for Ukraine. We will hold Russia accountable for its premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified invasion and will continue to provide security, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine,” Blinken said in a tweet.
The G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union were also present at the meeting.

“Together we are supporting the Ukrainian people and imposing severe costs and consequences to hold Russia accountable for its war of choice. We stand with Ukraine and recognize the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people,” said a US state department readout.

The meeting comes after the news on Sunday of Ukraine agreeing to meet a Russian delegation in Belarus. The talks are expected to take place in the Gomel region at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, Belta news agency reported.

The Ukrainian delegation that is expected to hold talks with Russia was reported to be headed to Belarus via Poland and the meeting is expected to start on Monday morning (local time) as per Sputnik News Agency. (ANI)

Embassy Urges Indians To Head To Railway Station As Curfew lifts in Kyiv

Indian Embassy in Ukraine has issued a second advisory for the Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine on Monday and advised them to reach the railway station as the weekend curfew in the city has been lifted.

“Weekend curfew lifted in Kyiv. All students are advised to make their way to the railway station for onward journey to the western parts,” said the advisory.
It added that Ukraine Railways is putting special trains for evacuations. It urged Indian nationals/students to remain calm, peaceful and united.

“A large crowd can be expected at the railway stations, therefore, it is advised that all Indian students remain patient, composed and especially not to exhibit aggressive behaviours while at the railway stations,” as per the advisory.

It also alerted students for the possible delay in trains’ schedule, even cancellation at times and long queues. It guided the Indian students to carry their passport, sufficient cash, ready to eat meals, easily accessible winter clothing and only essential items, to ensure easy mobility.

“Be mindful of your belongings at all times. Ukrainians both civilians and authorities have been remarkably supportive in facilitating evacuation efforts of Indian citizens, especially considering these critical and dangerous times. You are all requested to respect this sentiment,” the statement said.

The fifth flight carrying 249 stranded Indian nationals have departed from Romania’s Bucharest for Delhi under operation Ganga, informed External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Monday.

“The fifth #OperationGanga flight, carrying 249 Indian nationals, departed from Bucharest (Romania) for Delhi,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

Amid the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis, the Indian Embassy in Kyiv has advised Indian citizens against moving to any of the border checkpoints without prior coordination with government officials at border posts.

In an advisory to Indian nationals on Saturday, the embassy stressed that the situation at various border checkpoints is sensitive and it is working continuously with Embassies in the neighbouring countries for coordinated evacuation of our citizens.

“All Indian Citizens in Ukraine are advised not to move to any of the border posts without prior coordination with Government of India officials at the border posts and the Emergency numbers of Embassy of India, Kyiv,” the advisory read.

“Embassy is finding it increasingly difficult to help the crossing of those Indian nationals who reach border checkpoints without prior intimation,” it added.

The embassy further advised Indians to stay in western cities of Ukraine where access to water, food, accommodation, and basic amenities is relatively safer.

This comes as the Russian military continues to advance in the capital city of Ukraine, according to media reports. Explosions in parts of Kyiv were heard on Friday as Russian forces approached the city, media reports said on Saturday.

Videos from eyewitnesses show explosions taking place in the Ukrainian capital city. (ANI)

Polling For 1st Phase Of Manipur Assembly Elections Begins

Polling for the first phase of Manipur Assembly elections began in 38 constituencies spread across five districts including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi on Monday.

The polling began at 7 am and will conclude at 4 pm today. The voters who are COVID positive or are under quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour, between 3 pm to 4 pm.
The polling officials and securities for the first phase have reached their respective polling stations.

“Security personnel is present in large numbers from Assam and Manipur, smooth polling is expected”, said Presiding Officer, Dr Syed Ahmed.

A total of 173 candidates, including 15 females, are in the fray for the poll scheduled for today.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh is contesting from his traditional home seat, Heingang constituency of Imphal East. Notably, the Chief Minister is seeking the fifth term in Manipur.

PWD Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh who had joined the BJP in 2015 is contesting polls from the Thongju Assembly seat, whereas Govindas Konthoujam Singh who recently joined BJP is fighting from the Bishenpur constituency.

The BJP formed the government in Manipur in 2017 with the support of the National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). However, this time the BJP decided to go solo and is contesting all 60 seats alone.

On the other hand, Congress has formed an alliance of six political parties and named it Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance (MPSA). The coalition partners in MPSA include Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Janata Dal (Secular).

In the 2017 Manipur Assembly elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party winning 28 seats followed by the BJP which settled with 21 seats. The National People’s Party (NPP) and Naga People’s Front (NPF) bagged four seats each while the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) managed to secure only one constituency. BJP bagged 36.28 per cent vote share while Congress received 35.11 per cent of the total vote.

Later, BJP stitched a coalition with the NPP, NPF and LJP to form the government under the leadership of Biren Singh.

The high-octane poll campaigning in Manipur came to an end on Saturday. Elections for the 60-member Manipur Assembly are taking place in two phases, that is, February 28 and March 5. As many as 38 seats will go to the polls in the first phase while voting in 22 constituencies will take place in the second phase. (ANI)