Putin May Attend G20 Summit In India: Kremlin

Putin May Attend G20 Summit In India: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin may attend the G20 summit in India later this year, but no decision has yet been made, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

“It cannot be ruled out,” the Kremlin spokesman said when asked if Putin’s participation in the summit in India was being considered. “But no decision has been made yet,” Peskov clarified, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The G20 summit is scheduled to take place in India in September.

When asked if Putin’s participation in the summit in India was being considered, “It cannot be ruled out,” the Kremlin spokesman said but no decision has been made yet, Peskov clarified.

“Russia continues its full participation in the G20 format, we intend to continue it,” Peskov pointed out.

He further said that the Group of Seven (G7) format does not reflect the global economy as a whole, which is why Moscow focuses on the G20 and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), Peskov told reporters on Monday.

Asked to comment on Western analysts’ report saying that the share of BRICS nations in the global GDP has surpassed that of G7 countries, he said: “Irrespective of the findings by these experts, it is safe to say that the economic clout of BRICS countries in the global economy is constantly growing.

Russia believes that the G7 format “obviously” fails to reflect the economic wants and needs of the planet because the global economy is far from being limited to G7 nations. “The broader grouping, the G20, far more closely reflects the real state of affairs, which is what we are concerned with,” he added.

The G7 is an integration of developed countries, which consists of the UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, the US, France, and Japan. It mainly focuses on searching for solutions to global political and social problems. The organization existed in a seven-member format from 1976-1997. After Russia joined the organization it was called the G8. In March 2014, as a result of the events in Ukraine and the ensuing crisis in relations between Moscow and the West, the organization decided to return to the G7 format.

Last year, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov headed the Russian delegation at the G20 leaders’ forum. In 2020 and 2021 Putin took part in the G20 summits via video link, and in 2019 he came to the meeting of heads of state, which was held in Japan. (ANI)

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Govt Recognise Same-Sex Marriage

Govt Opposes Plea To Recognise Same-Sex Marriage

Centre, in its affidavit, has opposed the plea seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage, saying that living together as partners by same-sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit and they are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically.

The Centre has filed the affidavit countering the demand made by various petitioners seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
In the affidavit, Centre has opposed the plea and said that pleas seeking legal recognition of same-sex ought to be dismissed as there exists no merit in these petitions.

Same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships are clearly distinct classes which cannot be treated identically, the government said as its stand against the petition seeking legal recognition of LGBTQ marriage.

It is for the legislature to judge and enforce such societal morality and public acceptance based upon Indian ethos, the Centre said in its affidavit and added that western decisions sans any basis in Indian constitutional law jurisprudence, cannot be imported in this context.

In the affidavit, Centre apprised the Supreme Court living together as partners by same sex individuals, which is decriminalised now, is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children.

Centre submitted that the principles of legitimate state interest as an exception to life and liberty under Article 21 would apply to the present case. Centre submitted that the statutory recognition of marriage as a union between a “man” and a “woman” is intrinsically linked to the recognition of the heterogeneous institution of marriage and the acceptance of the Indian society based upon its own cultural and societal values which are recognized by the competent legislature.

“There is an intelligible differentia (normative basis) which distinguishes those within the classification (heterosexual couples) from those left out (same-sex couples). This classification has a rational relation with the object sought to be achieved (ensuring social stability via recognition of marriages),” the government said.

Centre submitted before Supreme Court that statutory recognition of marriage as a union between a “man” and a “woman” is intrinsically linked to the recognition of the heterogeneous institution of marriage and the acceptance of the Indian society based upon its own cultural and societal values which are recognized by the competent legislature.

Centre submits that the fundamental right under Article 21 is subject to the procedure established by law and the same cannot be expanded to extend to include the fundamental right for a same-sex marriage to be recognized under the laws of the country which in fact mandate the contrary.

Despite the decriminalization of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Petitioners cannot claim a fundamental right for same-sex marriage to be recognized under the laws of the country, Centre made it clear in its affidavit.

“Recognition of marriage necessarily brings with it the right to adopt and other ancillary rights. It is, therefore, necessary that such issues are left for being decided by the competent Legislature where social, psychological and other impacts on society, children etc., can be debated. This will ensure that wide-ranging ramifications of recognizing such sacred relationships are debated from every angle and legitimate state interest can be considered by the Legislature,” Centre said.

Adding further, the government said that marriage between a biological man and a biological woman takes place either under personal laws or codified laws and the parties entering into marriage create an institution having its own public significance as it is a social institution from which several rights and liabilities flow.

“Seeking declaration for solemnisation/registration of marriage has more ramifications than simple legal recognition. Family issues are far beyond mere recognition and registration of marriage between persons belonging to the same gender. Living together as partners and having a sexual relationship with same-sex individuals [which is decriminalised now] is not comparable with the Indian family unit concept of a husband, a wife and children which necessarily presuppose a biological man as a ‘husband’, a biological woman as a ‘wife’ and the children born out of the union between the two – who are reared by the biological man as a father and the biological woman as mother,” the affidavit said.

Countering the petitioner’s submission, the government submitted that registration of marriage of same-sex persons also results in violation of existing personal as well as codified law provisions -such as ‘degrees of prohibited relationship’; ‘conditions of marriage’; ‘ceremonial and ritual requirements’ under personal laws governing the individuals.

If marriage is to be solemnised and registered under any personal law; ‘requirements for registration’, if marriage is to be registered under the Special Marriage Act; ‘restitution of conjugal rights’; ‘judicial separation’, ‘divorce’; ‘conditions of divorce’; ‘alimony and maintenance pendente lite’, ‘permanent alimony and maintenance’; ‘expenses of marriage proceedings’; ‘disposal of property’, ‘adoption’, ‘guardianship’, etc will be affected, which is the exclusive domain of the Legislature, the government said.

The government submitted that the Parliament has designed and framed the marriage laws in the country, which are governed by the personal laws/codified laws relatable to customs of various religious communities, to recognise only the union of a man and a woman to be capable of legal sanction and thereby claim legal and statutory rights and consequences.

Any interference with the same would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country and in accepted societal values, Centre submitted.

Various petitions are being dealt by Supreme Court seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage under Foreign Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act and other laws.

One of the petitions earlier has raised the absence of a legal framework which allowed members of the LGBTQ+ community to marry any person of their choice. According to the earlier petition, the couple sought to enforce the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to marry any person of their choice and said that, “the exercise of which ought to be insulated from the disdain of legislative and popular majorities.” The petitioners, further, asserted their fundamental right to marry each other and prayed for appropriate directions from this Court allowing and enabling them to do so. (ANI)

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Operation Trishul CBI

Operation Trishul: CBI Extradited 33 Absconders In One Year

Under Operation Trishul, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has extradited 33 people hiding in other countries, involved in various criminal activities.

A senior official with the agency said that since the launch of Operation Trishul, CBI has successfully extradited 33 criminals since January 2022 that includes six criminals in 2023.

CBI being the nodal agency for India coordinates with national central bureaus of other countries.

In the recent case, Red Notice subject Mohammed Haneefa Makkatt wanted by Kerala police in Kunnamangalam Police Station in Kozhikode for the kidnapping and murder of one Karim in 2006 has been extradited from Saudi Arabia and brought back to India on Sunday, the official said.

Earlier based on an Interpol red notice, the wanted accused was located in Saudi Arabia.

Interpol Saudi Arabia informed about the location of the accused and requested to send a team for taking the subject to India for extradition.

The wanted accused has been brought back by the Kerala police team.

On March 7, CBI arrested Harchand Singh Gill, a director of the Pearls Group, who was deported from Fiji in connection with a multi-crore ponzi scam allegedly orchestrated by his company. Gill had a red notice issued against him by Interpol.

The official said that they are coordinating with Nodal agencies of other countries regarding absconding accused hiding in various countries. Several cases are under process, and the absconding accused will be extradited soon, officials said. (ANI)

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India Australia bilateral Trade

India, Australia Discuss Ways To Boost Bilateral Trade

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell met on Sunday to discuss steps for further enhancing the bilateral economic relationship.

According to a joint statement, they discussed implementation of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), negotiations for the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and further developing two-way investment.

Last year, on December 29, India and Australia implemented an economic cooperation and trade agreement (ECTA) and are now negotiating to expand its scope for the CECA.

Ministers also discussed engagement in the G20, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The Ministers noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese look forward to swift progress in negotiations and for an early conclusion of an ambitious CECA, which will build on the foundation laid by the ECTA, including new areas of trade, investment and cooperation.

According to the joint statement, CECA will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare in both countries. Ministers look forward to concluding CECA as soon as possible, are pleased with the progress resolving various bilateral technical market access issues and look forward to continuing engagement.

Minister Farrell reiterated Australia’s strong support for India’s G20 Presidency. They agreed that the G20 needs to help the world navigate a pathway back to strong, sustainable and inclusive growth, including accelerating progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Further, ministers reaffirmed the importance of the multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core. They agreed to build on the success of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva and reaffirmed their commitment towards improving WTO functions and having a fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024.

The statement added they agreed to work towards a productive engagement in the run up to the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024.

Ministers acknowledged that Australia and India are important trading partners. Notably, India-Australia bilateral trade exceeded USD 31 billion last financial year.

“Both agreed that given the trade complementarities between the two countries, there is considerable potential for significantly enhancing bilateral trade within the next 5 years,” the statement added. (ANI)

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Jaishankar is Right; India Should be Really Scared of China

India should be scared of China

Last month India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar, who is building a sort of reputation for delivering gaffes, came under fire of the Opposition when, after the recent India-China border stand-off in the north east, he remarked that India could not pick a fight with China because the latter had a much bigger economy. The Opposition tore into him, saying that he was suffering from Stockholm syndrome (which may have been a reference to Jaishankar’s stint during his foreign service days as India’s ambassador to China) and Indian military veterans, notably those who have fought in India’s wars and skirmishes with China, termed his attitude as “defeatist”.

Factually, however, Jaishankar’s statement about China, while probably not befitting in the pride and patriotism-fuelled world of diplomatic norms, is quite correct. China is much larger and more powerful than India on most measures. India might take pride about the fact that, according to the World Bank, its GDP growth for last year was 7%, making it one of the world’s best-performing economies, while China’s growth figure was well below its official target of 5.5% and probably the worst in the history of modern China. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the sobering fact to note is that China’s GDP is $14.69 trillion, and India’s is $3.18 trillion. In that context, getting giddily excited about growth percentages is a bit stupid.

Militarily too China is far ahead of India. According to Global Firepower, which ranks countries on the basis of their military strength, China is No. 3 and India No. 4 (USA is No. 1 and Russia No.2) and in terms of personnel in military service the difference between India and China may not be huge. India has 14.5 lakh active personnel; and China has 20 lakh. But consider defence budgets of the two countries: India spends $72 biillion on defence but China spends $225 billion. That is a difference of $147 billion.

China’s economic strength and military power are not the only formidable factors that India should be concerned about. Last week, US intelligence agencies, in their annual global threat assessment report, warned that after the clash between India and China in 2020 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is a notional demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the Sino-Indian border dispute, there is a real threat of a full-blown armed confrontation between the two countries that could require the intervention of the US. The report said that “previous standoffs have demonstrated that persistent low-level friction on the Line of Actual Control has the potential to escalate swiftly.”

Changes in China that could further impact India

Last week, when Chinese premier Li Keqiang bid farewell to 800 or so senior government officials, he is said to have said the following words: “Heaven is looking at what humans are doing. The firmament has eyes.” The segment of his address in which he said those words has unsurprisingly not been aired by the state-run China Central Television but unofficial videos that capture him saying that have been circulating.

Interpreting what Li meant is not difficult. Also last week, an unprecedented third term for Xi Jinping, China’s all-powerful president was officially and unanimously approved by the country’s legislature, which is in effect a rubber-stamp institution in country that Xi runs single-handedly and with authoritarian might. In that context, the nuance of what outgoing premier Li said is easy to see.

In China’s Communist ideology, the people are supposed to be the lead players in politics and in governance of the country. The state council, which is the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China and the supreme organ of state power, is supposed to interpret the common people’s voices and shape policies based on that. Li’s comments about “heaven” looking at what humans are doing is likely a nuanced reference to how, under Xi, who has been in office since 2013, how the state council has been overshadowed by the Communist Party’s central committee that he runs with near-absolute control.

Xi’s philosophy and objectives have been variously interpreted as throwback to an era where economic , political and international policies of China were centralized and heavily controlled. Xi’s policies have put private sector players in China back under central control after an era of near-capitalistic market freedom. But more importantly, his policies regarding the west and the rest of the world are being interpreted as being aggressive and expansionist. This is why the relations between China and US have turned southward and this is another major reason for India, which shares a 3,488 km border with China ought to be worried.

Rahul Gandhi gets flak over comments “against India”

Congress leader, MP, and member of the Congress party’s elite family (there is no other way of describing the sometimes enthusiastic and sometimes reluctant leader), Rahul Gandhi, came under severe criticism for what supporters of the ruling regime in India called “anti-India” remarks. While on a visit to the UK, Gandhi, 52, criticized the Indian foreign minister’s comments about China as being “cowardly”, accused the government of stifling democracy and was quoted as saying that the Indian government was intolerant of criticism and accused it of trying to silence the Opposition.

Among other things, Gandhi alleged that his phone was being surveilled, and that in Parliament, microphones were often switched off when Opposition party members wanted to protest against government action and policies. While there is probably a degree of truth in what Gandhi has ranted about in his meetings and public engagements in the UK, the fact that he chose a foreign country to make such allegations is what seems to have angered his opponents.

Australia-India ties and the Quad initiative

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), or Quad, is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States and is interpreted as a grouping that seeks to counter China’s growing dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. In that context, the visit of Australia’s prme minister Anthony Albanese to India last week was of significance. The countries seek to strengthen ties by engaging in more trade, investment and defence relations.

In the engagement, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian prime minister Albanese also attending a cricket match between the teams of the two countries, the importance of China loomed. Both India and Australia want to become bigger trade partners as both countries want to detach from China. As of now, China is Australia’s largest trade partner. India could now become Australia’s second-largest trade partner. The two countries last year signed an interim trade deal that was close to a full free trade agreement.

Artificial Intelligence for brewing beer

After humanlike chat interactions on platforms such as ChatGPT, Bing and Bard, it is breweries where artificial intelligence may be making inroads. Beer making might be an ancient skill: the oldest recipe for beer dates back to 1800 B.C. in Mesopotamia where Sumerians are said to have brewed the drink from fermented barley bread.

But today, breweries are beginning to use artificial intelligence to get the perfect brew. An Australian brewery is putting QR codes on its beer cans and bottles so that customers can scan them and give feedback on the taste and other attributes of the beer that they are drinking. The feedback is directly transmitted to company’s brewery where an algorithm tweaks the formula of the brew.

This is how it works: The Adelaide based company, Deep Liquid, which partners with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, helped a local brewery, Barossa Valley Brewing to create AI2PA: The Rodney. It is an AI-generated IPA. On each can of AI2PA, a QR code allows drinkers to send in their comments and views on the beer’s flavor, smell, taste, etc. The feedback in real time is converted to a set of data that can be used by an algorithm to change the recipe of the beer according to what consumers want. So, tipplers get to drink the beer that they actually prefer. Cheers!

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India Suffers One Stroke Death Every 4 Minutes: Expert MV Padma Srivastava

India Suffers One Stroke Death Every 4 Minutes: Expert MV Padma Srivastava

Brain stroke is the second most common cause of death in India with one patient succumbing to the disease every four minutes, a top health expert flagged on Thursday.
Padma Shri awardee Dr (Prof) MV Padma Srivastava, who is the most renowned neurologist in the country and is a Professor of Neurology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, participated in the celebration of International Women’s Day event at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital today.

Delivering a keynote address at the event titled, “Stroke care and its primary preventive methods in poor resource settings in India”, Dr Srivastava said, “Stroke is the second most common cause of death in India. About 1,85,000 strokes occur every year in India with nearly one stroke every 40 seconds and one stroke death every 4 minutes.”

She further referred to the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) and said that most incidents of stroke were recorded in the country.

“India bore most of the burden of stroke with 68.6 per cent incidence of stroke. 70.9 per cent stroke deaths and 77.7 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost. These figures are alarming for India with many living in poor resource settings. Another alarming and important finding of the GBD 2010 stroke project is 5.2 million (31 per cent) strokes were in children aged less than 20 years. The stroke burden is greater in India and more so among younger and middle-aged people,” she said.

The health expert flagged the lack of necessary infrastructure to deal with the alarming data in the country.

“In spite of these alarming figures, many Indian hospitals lack the necessary infrastructure and organization required to treat stroke patients quickly and efficiently and do not deliver adequate stroke care. The stroke services across the country especially in public sector hospitals are deficient in many aspects,” Dr Srivastava said.

The Padma Shri awardee further listed the solutions to boost the infrastructure needed to tackle the rising numbers.

“One of the solutions for this deficiency in rich and poor resource settings in India is to adopt Telestroke models in poor resource settings. Implementation of Telemedicine / Telestroke facilities is an important step for bridging the economically and geographically challenged and underprivileged sections of the society,” she said.

This program also included inspirational talks by three distinguished faculty members of the hospital.

The members included Dr Jayashree Sood, Chairperson, Institute of Anesthesiology, who spoke on how to maintain the balance between work and life, especially for women, Prof Kusum Verma, Advisor Cytopathology who spoke on her experiences mitigating professional challenges and Padma Bhushan Dr Neelam Kler Chairperson of Department of Neonatology who talked about her belief in the saying ‘Never say Never’.

This program was hosted by the department of Research and chaired by Prof NK Ganguly, former director general ICMR and Chairperson department of Research, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

The department of research at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has a robust PhD program and a state of art equipped laboratory with a focus on basic and translational research in varied fields including neurobiology, cancer biology, stem cell biology, immunology, autoimmune and infectious diseases. (ANI)

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Modi, Australian PM At Gujarat Stadium For India-Australia Test

Modi, Australian PM At Gujarat Stadium For India-Australia Test

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, on Thursday arrived at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad to watch the first day of the final Test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023.

PM Modi welcomed his Australian counterpart at the venue, the largest stadium in the world.
Albanese will watch the first hour’s play between India and Australia in the company of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Australia captain Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat versus India at the toss for the fourth and final Test for the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.

Both the Prime Ministers were greeted with loud cheers as they did a lap of honour at the stadium prior to the match.

Earlier, PM Modi arrived at the venue and was received by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi. BCCI president Roger Binny and BCCI secretary Jay Shah were also present at the felicitation.

The Australian PM who arrived in India on Wednesday. Banners of Prime Minister Modi and his Australian counterpart went up at the Narendra Modi stadium ahead of the final Test.

India is currently leading the series 2-1. However, the hosts need to secure an outright victory in the final Test to qualify for the final of the ICC World Test Championship where they will be facing Australia in London from June 7 onwards.

“One of the things that bind both countries is cricket and it will be great to see the leaders of India and Australia on day one of the matches in Ahmedabad,” Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell said.

Yesterday, Albanese participated in Holi celebrations along with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and the Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhawan in the state capital Gandhinagar.

“Honoured to celebrate Holi in Ahmedabad, India. Holi’s message of renewal through the triumph of good over evil is an enduring reminder for all of us”, tweeted Australian PM Anthony Albanese with colourful pictures of Holi celebrations with flowers and colours.

The Australian Prime Minister on the same day visited the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel accompanied the Australian PM on his visit to the Ashram. During the visit, Albanese took a complete tour of the Ashram.

The Australian PM, upon his arrival in India, tweeted: “An incredible welcome to Ahmedabad, India. The beginning of an important trip for Australia-India relations.” (ANI)

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Under Modi, India More Likely To Respond Militarily: US Intel

Under Modi, India More Likely To Respond Militarily: US Intel

According to the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations.

The report said the crises between India and Pakistan are more conderning because both are nuclear-armed states. However, Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India terrorist groups
But, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations, than it was in the past, the threat assessment report said.

“Crises between India and Pakistan are of particular concern because of the risk of an escalatory cycle between two nuclear-armed states. New Delhi and Islamabad probably are inclined to reinforce the current calm in their relationship following both sides’ renewal of a cease-fire along the Line of Control in early 2021,” the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community report said.

It further said, “Pakistan has a long history of supporting anti-India militant groups, and under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is more likely than in the past to respond with military force to perceived or real Pakistani provocations.”

“Each side’s perception of heightened tensions raises the risk of conflict, with violent unrest in Kashmir or a militant attack in India being potential flashpoints,” it said.

Interstate conflict, state instability, and other governance challenges pose direct and indirect challenges to US interests at home and abroad, and to its allies and partners.

Rising tensions underpinned by intensifying strategic competition present numerous consequences for US and partners’ national security.

Countries’ increased military operations across a number of geographic hotspots risk the possibility of inadvertent escalation and the potential for interstate conflict, the statement.

Russia’s war in Ukraine coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic has increased poverty, hindered economic growth, and widened inequality, raising the conditions that are ripe for domestic unrest, insurgencies, democratic backsliding, and authoritarianism.

The war in Ukraine has demonstrated how interstate conflict affects not only the parties directly involved, but can have broader cascading security, economic, and humanitarian implications on a regional–and even global–scale. The following are a few of the potential conflicts between states that could spillover with repercussions that may require immediate U.S. attention, the Threat Assesment Report said.

This annual report of worldwide threats to the national security of the United States reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community, which is committed every day to providing the nuanced, independent, and unvarnished intelligence that policymakers, warfighters, and domestic law enforcement personnel need to protect American lives and America’s interests anywhere in the world.

This assessment focuses on the most direct, serious threats to the United States in the upcoming year. (ANI)

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Relations With India Top Priority: Saudi Foreign Minister

Relations With India Top Priority: Saudi Foreign Minister

Terming the relationship with India a “top priority”, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Farhan Al-Saud said that the relationship between both nations has grown exponentially, adding that there is a need for measurable progress in all sectors especially the economic and trade relationship.

Highlighting the strong relationship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the minister said that both leaders want to see actual results, progress in relationship between the countries.

“The relationship with India is a top priority and we need to have measurable progress in all sectors especially the economic and trade relationship,” the Saudi Foreign Minister said in an interview with President of Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Samir Saran at Raisina ‘Ideas Pod’.

Al-Saud said the relationship between India and Saudi Arabia in the last five years, has grown exponentially.

“Part of that is the very strong relationship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince who have a very strong working relationship. Both of them are very similar in the sense that they both are very result oriented. They don’t want just a nice talk, they want to see actual results, they want to see progress and that means that we in the government have a very clear direction,” he said while defining the similarities between both the leaders who believe in action.

Emphasizing on India’s rising global stature, he said, “India is a fantastically dynamic country with huge potential and we’ve seen that especially in the last five years, the trajectory for India is fantastic. The potential that India holds is almost unmeasurable.”

Acknowledging the fact that India has played an important role in the developmental journey of the Kingdom for several decades given the large Indian diaspora in Saudi Arabia, he said, “The connection has existed even before that, you know hundreds of years given the trade relationship. We’re now building on that connection, on that relationship in a way that is not just benefiting both of us, it’s really benefiting the international Community.”

He also said that India’s huge size offers great potential as a huge amount of India’s trade to Europe passes through the Red Sea.

“We are of course India’s most important energy partner as that’s the case for traditional energies but we’re also looking to continue that into the renewable era,” he added.

Earlier, Saleh Eid Al Husseini, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India, said that he wants to bring this relationship to the highest level. Speaking on the celebrations of the Kingdom’s founding day here, the envoy said he was happy to have a strong and friendly relationship between the two countries.

Underlining the strong relationship between the Kingdom and India, Husseini said, “We are very happy to have a strong relationship with our friendly country India. Also for a long time, we have had this relationship and we have been asked to bring this relationship to the highest level that we can.”

While speaking on the foundation day celebration, the envoy highlighted the Kingdom’s governance and how the youth has been its focus as the next generation.

“We are very proud to have a country that started in 1727 and this year as I said reflects good governance and we hold our future, our children and all our Saudi Arabia is now focussing on youth on the next generation”, said the Envoy.

“Our country is celebrating around 300 years and this reflects nations’ governance, reflects equity, to have the prosperity of their people. To bring modernization and at the same time to regain the culture of the society. It’s not by chance to be 300 years old unless the state is caring about its neighbours, caring about its people, seeking peace all over the world”, added the envoy. (ANI)

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Meghalaya, Nagaland CMs To Take Oath Today; PM To Attend Events

Meghalaya, Nagaland CMs To Take Oath Today; PM To Attend Events

Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s Neiphiu Rio and National People’s Party (NPP) chief Conrad Sangma will take oath as a Nagaland and Meghalaya Chief Ministers respectively today in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national President JP Nadda are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony of both the Chief Ministers.
Nagaland political stalwart and its longest-serving chief minister Neiphiu Rio is set to assume office for a fifth consecutive term after the convincing win.

Rio on Saturday had tendered his resignation as Chief Minister of Nagaland to Governor La Ganesan and staked claim to form the new government in the state.

The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-Bharatiya Janata Party retained power in the Nagaland election, with the two parties having secured 37 seats in the 60-member assembly, as per the data by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Rio won the Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency, trouncing Seyievilie Sachu of the Congress by a mammoth margin of 15,824 votes. He bagged a total of 17,045 votes, which comes to 92.87 per cent of the total votes polled in the seat.

Notably, a history was scripted in Nagaland when the state elected its first women legislators in its 60 years of statehood. The state, which has had 13 Assemblies so far, never had a woman MLA before Thursday’s result.

The two women lawmakers – Hekhani Jakhalu and Salhoutuonuo Kruse of the ruling NDPP defeated the sitting MLAs in Western Angami and Dimapur-III seats respectively.

The Northeast state saw a triangular contest as Congress and CPIM, which have been arch rivals for years, stitched a pre-poll alliance to defeat the ruling BJP.

In Meghalaya, the NPP-led alliance, with the support of 45 MLAs two of the BJP has staked claim to form the government in the state.

Among the allies, the eight cabinet berths will go to the NPP, two to the United Democratic Party (UDP) and one each for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP).

Sangma’s NPP won 26 seats in the Assembly elections and is all set to form the government in as the chief minister for a second consecutive term.

The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Raj Bhawan in Shillong where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be present.

Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma won from the South Tura constituency with a margin of 5,016 against Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bernard N Marak, as per the data shared by the Election Commission of India on March 2.

United Democratic Party (UDP) bagged 11 seats in the results of assembly polls announced on Thursday. Congress won five seats. Trinamool Congress, which had inducted all Congress MLAs in the previous assembly, also got five seats.

BJP, People’s Democratic Front and Hill State People’s Democratic Party bagged two seats each. Voice of the People Party got four seats. Two seats were won by independent candidates.

BJP and NPP were partners in the outgoing government but fought the assembly polls separately. (ANI)

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