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Minister Holds Talks With Gulf Council Chief, Seeks Vaccine Certificate Recognition – dot newz

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Foreign Minister S Jaishankar held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi with Al-Hajraf.

New Delhi:

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday held talks with Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf and sought further easing of restrictions by the GCC countries on air travel from India as well as mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.

Mr Jaishankar held wide-ranging talks in New Delhi with Al-Hajraf, who is on his first official visit to India on November 10-11, 2021.

“A detailed review of India-GCC relations with Secretary General @GCCSG Dr. Al-Hajraf. Discussed our growing political, trade and investment relationship. Agreed to convene the next India-GCC Troika Political Dialogue at an early date,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted.

Also, exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, he said.

Both leaders recalled the historic and friendly India-GCC relations, which have seen robust progress in recent years, and undertook a detailed review of the relations as well as discussed ways to further enhance them, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

The GCC Secretary General lauded the contribution of the Indian community to the Gulf countries and said that GCC wants to be a partner of India in its economic growth.

Mr Jaishankar thanked the GCC countries for taking care of the large Indian diaspora in their countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and medical assistance provided during the second wave in India in April-May 2021, the MEA said.

The minister also apprised the Secretary General of the progress made by India in its vaccination programme and both leaders expressed satisfaction at India-GCC cooperation in handling the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, it said.

Mr Jaishankar hoped for further easing of restrictions by GCC countries on air travel from India and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. the statement said.

Both leaders also discussed trade and investment relations between India and GCC and they expressed satisfaction that essential trade between India and GCC continued even during the Covid lockdowns.

Both sides agreed on the need for further securing supply chains, including in the areas of energy security, food security and health care, the MEA said.

Mr Jaishankar highlighted India’s attractiveness as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), including for sovereign wealth funds in GCC countries, it said.

The EAM and GCC Secretary General also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Mr Jaishankar also congratulated Secretary General for the constructive role played by GCC in promoting stability and prosperity in the region.

Both sides decided to convene the next India-GCC Troika Political Dialogue at an early date. The last round of the Dialogue was held virtually in November 2020.

Both sides also agreed to further institutionalise the annual meetings between EAM and GCC Troika by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the coming months, the statement said.

Al-Hajraf will also hold discussions with Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Thursday

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Questions On China Met With Wall Of Silence: Congress’s Manish Tewari – dot newz

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Manish Tewari said the government has scuttled all discussion on Chinese transgressions.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has been shy about answering questions in parliament on Chinese incursions, Congress leader Manish Tewari said on Thursday, accusing the government of trying to dodge accountability in an effort to protect its muscular image.

“For the last 18 months, there has been not one substantive discussion in the parliament on the situation in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh,” Mr Tewari said at the launch of his new book ’10 Flash Points; 20 Years – National Security Situations that Impacted India’.

“Every question that I have asked of the government on the Chinese transgressions has been refused in the name of national security… there has been kind of a blanket attempt that no discussion will be permitted in parliament,” he said.

“The government had given an assurance that they would brief the opposition leaders – this was in the September of 2020 – and they reneged on that commitment. Every time an attempt is made to raise the Chinese transgressions in parliament, they are met with a wall of silence,” he added.

The Congress has been training its guns at the BJP-led government at the Centre over its response to Chinese incursions in Ladakh as well as reports of the country setting up settlements in what India officially considers to be its territory in Arunachal Pradesh.

Last month, after NDTV reported new satellite images that showed how China had constructed a second enclave or cluster of at least 60 buildings in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress questioned PM Modi’s silence on the issue and accused the BJP government of “deception and deliberate distortion”.

While the Prime Minister has not spoken about Chinese transgressions since his statement last year over the deadly clash in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley when he said, “No one has intruded and nor is anyone intruding, nor has any post been captured by someone,” and there have been few statements in parliament on the subject, his government last month acknowledged China’s efforts of strengthening its hold on illegally occupied Indian territory with a tactic commonly referred to as “salami-slicing”.

Responding to a question on a US government report, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had told journalists that China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along border areas, including in areas it has “illegally occupied over the decades.”

“India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims,” he said.



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High Altitude Areas In Uttarakhand Receive Season’s First Snowfall – dot newz

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The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places (File)

Dehradun:

The Himalayan temple of Kedarnath and the high altitude areas of Chamoli district received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday while it drizzled in the lower areas intensifying the chill across the state.

Besides the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, the Musk Deer Park, Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district also received snowfall, officials in Dehradun said.

The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places, including state capital Dehradun.

The temperature recorded in Dehradun on Thursday was 15.4 degrees Celsius, Tehri 10 degrees Celsius, Pantnagar 18.4 degrees Celsius, Mukteshwar 8.4 degrees Celsius and Almora 13.4 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department in Dehradun said.



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37 Years On, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Still Await Adequate Compensation – dot newz

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“In 1984, Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at Centre”: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Minister

Bhopal:

Thirty-seven years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the survivors and the family of the dead are still waiting to be compensated fairly with an organisation working for them claiming that each victim has so far received less than one-fifth of the allotted sum.

The leak of methyl isocyanate, a toxic gas, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, had killed over 3,000 people and left 1.02 lakh others affected at that time. However, the number of affected later rose to over 5.70 lakh.

Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishvas Sarang said, “In 1984, the Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre. The two governments did not put forth the case of the victims in a right manner to enable them to get more compensation.”

Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) co-convener ND Jayaprakash said the Supreme Court assisted settlement on February 14-15, 1989 worth Rs 705 crore was based on the assumption that only around 3,000 persons died and 1,02,000 were affected.

“This compensation was a complete sham as each gas victim ended up being given less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of that unjust settlement,” he added.

When asked to explain, he said that the financial aid was USD 470 million in 1989. The dollars turned into more than Rs 3,000 crore in 2004, when the disbursements started.

“But the number of the victims swelled to 5.73 lakh and this amount was distributed among them. So, each victim got one-fifth of the compensation,” he added.

“The failure on the part of the Supreme Court to hear the long-pending curative petition against the unjust settlement of 1989, has had an adverse impact on the interests of the gas victims,” he said in a media statement.

The curative petition (civil), which was filed by the Union of India on December 3, 2010 to challenge the unjust settlement of 1989 and to seek additional sum of at least another Rs 7,724 crore as compensation was last listed before the Constitution Bench of the Court on January 29 last year, he said.

“However, the hearing was postponed to February 11 last year. Sadly, the matter was never listed on that date or ever since then,” he said.

Failure to dispose of the curative petition has also meant the indefinite postponement of the hearing of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed on March 17, 2010 by eight members of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) and BGPSSS, he said.

In the SLP, the two NGOs have sought enhancement of settlement sum by a factor of five in terms of the magnitude of the disaster as assessed by the claim courts and in terms of the gravity of injuries suffered by the gas victims on the basis of their medical records, Jayaprakash said.

Failure to dispose of the pending curative petition and the SLP for over a decade has effectively denied the gas-victims several thousands of crores of additional compensation that they are legitimately entitled to, he added.

In the curative petition, the Centre has sought Rs 7,724 crore as additional funds from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, for giving compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre, in its plea, is seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,722 crore additional amount over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million in 1989 for paying compensation to the gas tragedy victims.

On June 7, 2010, a local court had convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years of imprisonment in connection with the incident. The then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court had declared him an absconder. He died in the US in 2014. 



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