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As cases mount, India studying Russian proposal for Covid-19 vaccine

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NEW DELHI: As Covid-19 cases continue to mount in India, the Russian ambassador here, Nikolay Kudashev, has said Moscow is talking to the Indian government “on different levels” about cooperation that could include “supplies, co-development and co-production” of Sputnik V, the first anti-Covid vaccine in the world. The vaccine, according to a Lancet study, has been found in initial trials as causing no serious side effects.

Official sources here confirmed to TOI that Russia had shared formally modalities of cooperation with India on the vaccine and that the Indian government was examining the details.

“As far as we know, after some necessary technical steps, the vaccine would be ready to be widely used, including abroad,” said Kudashev.

The issue is also likely to come up during foreign minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow this week. Kudashev also said though that Russia hoped to work with India for a “just and multipolar” world order at a time some countries were playing “geopolitical games” despite the pandemic and creating “close-door exclusive blocs”.

This is significant as India, in the face of increasing Chinese military adventurism, looks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific and Quad policies. In fact, the government only last week announced it will be holding the second Quad ministerial meeting this year in India.

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Despite its grand military exercise with India in the Andamans, and also its recent discussions with India and Japan for a trilateral mechanism, Moscow continues to abhor even the term Indo-Pacific, calling it a US-led initiative meant to contain Beijing. India though has sought to address some of these doubts by emphasising in bilateral meetings that the Indo-Pacific is a free, open, transparent and inclusive concept with ASEAN at its centre and that it doesn’t exclude any country.

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” Unfortunately we have to admit that in spite of the pandemic some countries keep playing geopolitical games and unilateral extraterritorial sanctions (sic), trying to create close-door exclusive blocs, politicise international institutions including the UN, OPCW, WHO and others. Such policy is obviously increasing mistrust, instability and uncertainty taking us away from the vital solutions,” said Kudashev, addressing a conference.

Kudashev said there was a lack of goodwill and constructive approach and that this had led to chances of enhanced confrontation, arms race and global disorder.

“We hope to further expanding our cooperation with India and other friendly countries to prevent such scenarios (and) move towards just and equal multipolar world order, democratisation of global governance, collective solutions to global and regional problems and close coordination for this purpose at various multilateral institutions,” said Kudashev, adding that the two visits by defence minister Rajnath Singh to Moscow this year, and the upcoming one by Jaishankar, were of huge significance for the same reason.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Congress no-confidence motion against Yediyurappa govt defeated

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BENGALURU: The no-confidence motion moved by the opposition Congress against the BJP government in Karnataka led by chief minister B S Yediyurappa was defeated by voice vote on Saturday night.

After a fierce debate for about six hours, the no-confidence motion moved by leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah was defeated by a voice vote.

“The motion is in favour of numbers. The motion is defeated by the voice vote,” speaker Kageri said as he winded up the current session of the Karnataka assembly.

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INDIA

SAD walks out of NDA alliance

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CHANDIGARH: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in protest against the three farm bills and for insensitivity towards Punjabi language and Sikh issues.

Terming the bills anti-farmers and anti-Punjab, the core committee of the party decided unanimously to pull out of the BJP -led NDA alliance. The party held the center’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir the reasons for the decision.

The meeting was presided over by the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal who said that SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular. He said that the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab especially party workers and farmers. Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.

He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, but the government did not listen to repeated pleas of honouring the sentiments of farmers.

The SAD leader said that the party opposed these bills in the parliament and voted against them and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, lone representative of the party in the union Cabinet, resigned.

While slamming BJP for not paying heed to repeated pleas of SAD not to force anti-farmers bills, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said that there is no point in continuing in alliance.

SAD had first forged an alliance with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP’s predecessor, during state assembly elections in 1969. It later entered into coalition with BJP in 1997 during the state election. SAD joined BJP-led alliance at centre in 1998.

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INDIA

Akali Dal pulls out of BJP-led NDA over farm bills

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CHANDIGARH: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition in protest against the three farm bills and for insensitivity towards Punjabi language and Sikh issues.

Terming the bills anti-farmers and anti-Punjab, the core committee of the party decided unanimously to pull out of the BJP -led NDA alliance. The party held the center’s “stubborn” refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir the reasons for the decision.

The meeting was presided over by the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal who said that SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular. He said that the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab especially party workers and farmers. Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.

He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, but the government did not listen to repeated pleas of honouring the sentiments of farmers.

The SAD leader said that the party opposed these bills in the parliament and voted against them and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, lone representative of the party in the union Cabinet, resigned.

While slamming BJP for not paying heed to repeated pleas of SAD not to force anti-farmers bills, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said that there is no point in continuing in alliance.

SAD had first forged an alliance with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP’s predecessor, during state assembly elections in 1969. It later entered into coalition with BJP in 1997 during the state election. SAD joined BJP-led alliance at centre in 1998.

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