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HYDERABAD/KALABURAGI: The flood situation in parts of Telangana and Karnataka remained grim on Sunday as overnight spell of rains in Hyderabad battered the city yet again while the Army was pressed into service in four affected districts in Karnataka.

Incessant downpour since Saturday caused flooding in parts of Hyderabad, leaving three people dead in separate rain-related incidents.

The Telangana capital had witnessed one of the worst deluges in recent times following unprecedented downpour in over a century early this week, with about 20 cm of rains being recorded in the city and its surrounding areas.

The flood situation in Karnataka was equally a matter of concern in four districts with Krishna and Bhima rivers in spate as the Army, the national and state disaster response forces undertook rescue work, evacuating hundreds of marooned people, officials said.

In Hyderabad, rains since Saturday evening led to lakes and other water bodies overflowing with the water inundating several low-lying areas, including parts of the city affected last week, here and the outskirts, police and civic officials said.

A total of 37,409 families were affected in various localities that were inundated in the city due to the recent floods and ration kits and blankets were being distributed among them, a release from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said.

Disaster Response Force personnel, GHMC staff and police swung into action since Saturday night itself, evacuating those stranded.

At least three people, including two children died in rain-related incidents reported from different parts of the city over the past 24 hours here, police and civic officials said.

The state capital bore the brunt as a depression dumped the heaviest rains (nearly 20 cm) since 1916 for October on Tuesday and triggered flash floods.

The rains abated since Wednesday with the flood water receding in most parts while the government in a preliminary estimate had pegged the losses at over Rs 5,000 crore.

However, since Saturday night, several parts of the city and neighbouring districts again were battered by torrential rains with Saroornagar in adjoining Rangareddy district recording the maximum of 16.9 cm while Hyderabad Airport registered 7.2 cm.

On Sunday, GHMC Commissioner D S Lokesh Kumar said the civic body has launched steps to restore normalcy in areas affected by the latest spell and intensified relief works.

In view of forecast of heavy rains, as a precautionary measure, citizens staying in low lying areas were being evacuated, GHMC officials said.

Special drive on demolition of dilapidated structures continued by GHMC officials and citizens living in such structures were requested to vacate the buildings voluntarily to protect their lives from danger of collapse and cooperate with it in taking further action.

The India Meteorological Department has warned that thunderstorms accompanied by lightning were very likely to occur at isolated places over Telangana and heavy rain is very likely at isolated places from Sunday till October 21.

In Karnataka, which has been witnessing the monsoon fury for the past few days, many villages in Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Vijayapura and Raichur districts were either completely or partially submerged due to floods caused by heavy rains last week, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said.

He would undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas on October 21.

According to the Karnataka Disaster Management Authority (KDMA), a total of 20,269 people, including 15,078 in badly-hit Kalaburgi, have been evacuated so far by the personnel of the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) besides local police and district authorities.

There was no loss to human lives anywhere in the flood- hit areas whereas two cattle died in Vijayapura, KDMA Commissioner Manoj Rajan said.

“Two NDRF, one SDRF and one Army column have been deployed in Kalaburagi while two Indian Air Force helicopters are on standby. Similarly, the NDRF and the Army personnel are deployed in other three districts. Situation is under control,” Rajan told PTI.

Yediyurappa said the floods have also resulted in damage to the crops.

Officials said river Bhima continued to remain in spate in Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Yadgir districts while the surging Krishna river affected villages in Raichur.

Bhima, the major tributary of Krishna, has been in spate for the past one week due to heavy rains in neighbouring Maharashtra and in parts of Karnataka.

The river was flowing 4.45 metres above the danger level and 1.61 metres above its previous Highest Flood Level, the Central Water Commission in an update said.

Expressing solidarity with the flood-hit people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the state of cooperation from the Centre.

This is the third time Karnataka has been hit by floods in the past three months following heavy monsoon rains.

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

India calls for complete ceasing of support to terrorist forces in Middle East

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UNITED NATIONS: India has called on all concerned parties to completely stop supporting terrorist forces, like the ISIS, while urging all stakeholders in the Middle East to work constructively for peace, stability and development.

India underscored that it has invested considerably in the peace and stability of the region by deploying its personnel as part of UN peacekeeping forces, through humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, capacity building, and will continue contributing towards peace-building in the Middle East.

“India calls on concerned parties to completely stop support to terrorist forces, like ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and others. India also urges all parties in the region to work constructively and in good faith to promote peace, stability and development for the benefit of all people in the Middle East,” India said in a written statement on Monday on the Security Council’s open debate on ‘The Situation in the Middle East’.

India said the truce between Israel and the Hamas has eased the humanitarian situation in Gaza and expressed hope that the temporary truce is converted into a permanent ceasefire, which can save precious human lives on both sides and create a conducive environment for talks.

“It is an unfortunate reality that the interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges faced by the people of the Middle East have not yet been resolved. Political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the region. The COVID-pandemic has only exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges,” India said.

The statement made India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador T S Tirumurti, will go as part of the official record of the Council.

India said it appreciates the agreement between Fatah and Hamas for holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections and also elections for the Palestinian National Council, which will help fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.

India also welcomed the agreements for normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. “India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood,” India said.

Further, India said the commencement of discussions on the disputed border between Israel and Lebanon is a significant development, expressing hope that this will provide an opportunity to resolve the longstanding issue between the two countries.

India highlighted that Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign and independent state are yet to be fulfilled and stressed that New Delhi has been unwavering in its commitment to the Palestinian cause and continues to remain supportive of a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue.

“India has supported the two-state solution as a just and acceptable solution to the conflict. Establishment of a Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, within mutually agreed borders should be achieved through negotiations directly by the two parties,” India said adding that any stalemate could strengthen the hands of extremists and shut the door to cooperation thereby jeopardising the security, stability and prosperity of the people on both sides and the region.

Accordingly, India urged Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at the earliest and called upon the international community to take concrete steps towards resuming and facilitating these negotiations quickly.

India noted that the decade-long armed conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives, displaced 6.2 million people internally and compelled another 6.3 million people to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

“While we are heartened to see return of normalcy to major parts of the country, we are also reminded of the enormous resources that would be required to provide urgent humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure, enable return of the refugees and restore a normal and dignified life of all Syrians,” the statement said.

India said in the statement that it is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria, but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.

India voiced concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and said the recent exchange of prisoners by the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, who had been detained in connection with the conflict, is a welcome development.

“India hopes that the parties will take more confidence building measures to provide the necessary impetus for the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement,” the statement read.

India also hopes for peace and stability in Iraq with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India noted that in the aftermath of the August blast that brought destruction to vast swathes of Beirut and inflicted heavy loss of lives, India stood in solidarity with Lebanon.

New Delhi sent emergency humanitarian aid of over 58 metric tons to Beirut. “We look forward to the swift formation of a new government that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon,” the statement said.

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INDIA

US, India must focus on threat posed by China: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo

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NEW DELHI: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Tuesday stressed on the need for Washington and New Delhi to work together to counter the threat posed by Beijing to “security and freedom”

Pompeo’s comment came during the crucial 2+2 dialogue between India and the US, which saw the signing of a crucial defence agreement between the two countries.

“There is much more work to do for sure. We have a lot to discuss today: Our cooperation on the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom to promoting peace and stability throughout the region,” Pompeo said during talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Pompeo was joined by defence secretary Mark Esper.

Esper too focussed on the apparent threat posed by China, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our focus now must be on institutionalising and regularising our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” Esper said.

The comments assume significance as India is locked in a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.

In June this year, 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of PLA soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, hardening the mood in India against China and driving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to seek closer military ties with the United States.

In the US, President Donald Trump has made being tough on China a key part of his campaign to secure a second term in next week’s presidential election and Pompeo has been trying to bolster allies to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

This month, India invited Australia to join naval drills it holds each year with the United States and Japan, brushing off Chinese concerns that the exercises destabilise the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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INDIA

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper meet NSA Doval

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NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper on Tuesday held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, covering key aspects of growing strategic ties between the two countries.

Issues of strategic importance were discussed at the meeting, sources said.

The meeting took place ahead of the third edition of 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Esper and Pompeo arrived here on Monday for the crucial talks aimed at further boosting the defence and security ties between the two countries.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate talks with their US counterparts on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, both the top US administration officials visited the National War Memorial and paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes.

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