TEHRAN: Defence minister
on Saturday arrived in Tehran where he will meet his Iranian counterpart and discuss bilateral defence ties, a day after he urged the Persian Gulf countries to resolve their differences through dialogue based on mutual respect.
Singh arrived in Tehran from Moscow after concluding his three-day visit to Russia where he attended a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers. He also held bilateral talks with his counterparts from Russia, China and the Central Asian countries.
“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh reached Tehran this evening. He will be meeting the Iranian Defence Minister (Brigadier General Amir Hatami) during his visit,” his office said in a tweet.
India on Friday said that it was “deeply concerned” about the situation in the Persian Gulf and called upon the countries in the region to resolve their differences by dialogue based on mutual respect.
A series of incidents in the Persian Gulf involving Iran, the US and the UAE in recent weeks have flared up tension in the region.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reached Tehran this evening. He will be meeting the Iranian Defence Minister dur… https://t.co/eRuuvPTrh9
— ANI (@ANI) 1599325803000
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf,” Singh said in his address at a meeting of the SCO here.
“We call upon countries in the region – all of which are dear and friendly to India, to resolve differences by dialogue based on mutual respect, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of each other,” he said in his address at the combined meeting of defence ministers of the SCO, Collective Security Treaty Organisation and Commonwealth of Independent States member states.
Last month, Iranian navy briefly seized control of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker in what the US said were international waters near the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond.
Iran has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States tries to strangle its economy.
The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region.
Iran has observer status in the SCO, which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005. Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc in 2017.
India, China agree to stop sending more troops to frontlines in bid to defuse LAC tensions
NEW DELHI: India and China took initial steps on Monday with the first decision to stop sending more troops to the frontlines in eastern Ladakh. This is intended to ensure a halt to the relentless build-up on the LAC, as a precursor to further steps in the disengagement exercise. That, according to sources familiar with developments, was the limited achievement of the meeting.
Halting the build-up is the first step towards disengagement, without prejudice to current positions held by both sides.
Given the trust deficit between the two sides and the fact that this was the first commanders’ meeting after almost two months, the aim of the two sides, according to high level sources, was to reopen communications and stop sending troops.
In the past few weeks, the ground situation too has changed in a way that is less disadvantageous to the Indian side. Therefore, the Indian side too is unwilling to give up its new positions. That particular discussion will only happen down the line, not immediately.
However, sources from the meeting said the discussions were reasonably positive. “The understanding is to keep the situation stable until agreement on disengagement is reached for which further rounds of talks have been proposed.”
This was not a meeting that would have achieved full agreement on disengagement. That was not the intention, according to sources. In the future rounds of talks, both sides will get an opportunity to both test their intentions and ability to follow through on their decisions, they said.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul return from abroad after her medical check-up
NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi returned from abroad early Tuesday, sources said.
Gandhi, 73, had gone to the United States for her routine medical check up on September 12, two days ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi had accompanied her during the visit.
Sources had said her medical check-up was overdue and was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gandhi had cleared the Congress’ organisational restructuring before leaving for the US
Maratha quota: Post SC stay, Maharashtra announces sops for community
MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday took several measures to give relief to the agitating Marathas, including giving community members benefits meant for EWS, in the light of the Supreme Court staying the implementation of quota in jobs and education for the community.
According to an official statement, the Maharashtra Cabinet also decided to offer jobs in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to heirs of those who lost lives during the Maratha quota protests.
It said action will be taken on proposals in this regard within a month of their submission.
The government’s decisions came after the Supreme Court earlier this month stayed the implementation of the 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs.
This was followed by community members staging protests on the issue in several parts of the state.
The Maratha community members will get the benefits announced by the government on Tuesday till the Supreme Court vacates the stay on quota, the statement said.
The Maharashtra government on Monday filed an application before the larger bench of Supreme Court, seeking to vacate the apex court’s stay on implementing the quota, the statement said.
“The benefits meant for economically weaker section (EWS) will be given to those from socially and economically backward category (SEBC),” the statement said.
The government said the Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulkh Shishyavrutti Yojana, a scholarship scheme earlier meant for SEBC students, will now be made applicable to EWS students too.
“The state government has approved Rs 600 crore fund for the current fiscal. Provision will be made if there is a need for additional funds,” the statement said.
Similarly, the Panjabrao Deshmukh Hostel Maintenance Allowance Scheme meant for SEBC students will be applicable to the EWS students, the statement said.
“Rs 80 crore fund has been approved for the same. More funds will be made available if need be,” it added.
The government said substantial funds and manpower will be made available to the SARTHI institute.
The Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) is a non-profit government company for research, policy advocacy, training etc. for socio-economic and education development of Maratha, Kunbi communities and families dependent of agriculture.
“SARTHI has demanded Rs 130 crore fund for the current financial year. Provision will be made if more funds are required,” the statement said.
The statement said financial assistance is being provided to unemployed youth through the Annasaheb Patil Financially Backward Development Corporation, and the capital for its has been increased by Rs 400 crore.
Speaking on the process of withdrawing cases against Maratha quota protesters, the state government said only 26 were pending and action on them will be taken in a month.
Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said the government moved the vacation application before the Supreme Court’s larger bench after holding discussions with ministers, opposition leaders, representatives of Maratha outfits and legal experts.
Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who accompanied Chavan during the press conference, said, “The chief minister and the cabinet has taken a decision that there will be no shortage of funds. These decisions will give relief to the community.”
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