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India says it rushed medical supplies when some nations took undue advantage of pandemic




NEW YORK: In a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan and China, India on Monday said that when some countries are “busy” taking undue advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic by increasing their support to terrorism or to adopt aggressive policies, New Delhi has focussed on immediately extending medical assistance and supporting countries vulnerable to the pandemic.

The remarks by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti came while addressing the 3rd anniversary of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

The Fund, established in 2017, has so far supported 59 projects in 48 countries, through $47.8 million in contributions from a $150 million multi-year pledge by the Government of India.

“At a time when some countries are busy taking undue advantage of Covid-19 to spread divisive disinformation or to enhance even more their support to terrorism or to adopt aggressive policies, India’s answer has been to immediately come to the support of countries vulnerable to the pandemic, rush urgently needed medical supplies, strengthen national health capacities and mitigate the diverse socio-economic impact of this crisis,” Tirumurti said.

While Tirumurti did not name Pakistan and China, the reference to the two nations was clear as he noted that some countries are taking advantage of the circumstances arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic to increase their support to terrorism or to adopt aggressive policies.

He told the virtual commemoration that India has through history prioritised cooperation over conflict, co-existence over the competition, sharing over receiving, plurality over hegemony and inclusivity and democracy over exclusion and control. “This has underpinned our approach to development cooperation as well.”

Noting that India has always remained a strong votary of non-earmarked resources for development in multilateral institutions, Tirumurti said sustainability has been the focus of India’s developmental efforts.

“India shuns any effort to impose conditionalities or to create indebtedness or to constrain developmental space for developing countries.

In this quest, the Fund has successfully focussed on LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, Africa and other developing countries and regions and covers a diverse set of thematic areas,” he said, reiterating India’s full commitment to realising the true potential of this remarkable partnership for peace, prosperity and development.

He said that in the context of India, the term South-North cooperation is more appropriate since, through history, the country has always shared with others its knowledge in science, mathematics, astronomy, the arts and has later gone on to share the unique tools of our freedom struggle to inspire countries to free themselves of colonialism and, closer to our times, shared the tools for human resource development, development partnership and nation building. Development partnership is not new to India.

Tirumurti cited renowned Indian philosopher and thinker Swami Vivekananda to say that “Each nation must give in order to live. When you give life, you will have life; when you receive, you must pay for it by giving to all others.”

The Fund’s project portfolio covers all regions of the South, all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and is guided by partnering government priorities, South-South cooperation principles and sustainable development approaches, he said.

The Fund was established in collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. Embodying the spirit of South-South cooperation, the Fund is guided by the priorities of the partner countries to foster sustainable development and is completely demand driven.

The Fund has made remarkable contributions in the area of poverty reduction and livelihood development. In Chad, a project trained 200 local farmers in innovative farming techniques while also seeding 28,000 plants across 70 hectares to reverse deforestation.

Contributing to climate resilience, a project across 7 Pacific Island Countries established a climate early warning system, including installation of weather monitoring equipment and enhanced government technical capacities to analyse and act on data.

Women’s empowerment has been another key priority for the Fund. In Liberia, a project built a 6-room educational resource centre, contributing to improving the reading proficiency of 300 students.

In cases involving natural disasters and emergencies, the Fund has demonstrated speed and responsiveness.

In the last few months during the Covid-19 global pandemic, the Fund has provided financial support to nine developing countries to procure medical supplies and protective equipment as well as to implement socio-economic response measures: Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.

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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PM Modi speaks to Japan’s Yoshihide Suga




NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga and said they agreed that stronger India-Japan ties would help meet the challenges of the current regional and global situation.

“Had a very good conversation with PM Suga Yoshihide. We exchanged views on the tremendous progress in our relationship in the last few years, and the future direction of our Special Strategic and Global Partnership. @sugawitter,” Modi tweeted on Friday.

We agreed that stronger India-Japan ties would help meet the challenges of the current regional and global situatio…

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1601034901000

He added, “We agreed that stronger India-Japan ties would help meet the challenges of the current regional and global situation. I look forward to working with PM Suga to further strengthen our all-round partnership.”

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Opposition members boycotted last day of session due to some political compulsions: Om Birla




NEW DELHI: Opposition members boycotted the last day of the Monsoon Session due to some “political compulsions,” Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday, noting that they conveyed they have no issues with him.

Birla said he called the floor leaders of all opposition parties for a meeting over a cup of tea and requested them to attend the valedictory proceedings of the house.

“The opposition leaders boycotted the last day of the session due to some political compulsions, while they conveyed to me that they had no issues with me,” the speaker said.

Birla was addressing a press conference here on the conclusion of the Monsoon Session.

Underlining that the productivity of the Lok Sabha was at a historic 167 per cent, he said that despite the threat of Covid-19, the average attendance of MPs in the Lower House, during this session, was more than 300 which sends a very positive message and strengthens peoples’ faith in democratic institutions.

He credited the cooperation from all political parties for higher productivity of the Lower House.

“The Lok Sabha sat for 60 hours instead of the allotted time of 37 hours. In fact, despite the curtailment of the session due to Covid-19, the Lok Sabha was able to function optimally with minimal loss of productivity,” Birla said.

Describing unruly scenes on the last day of the Rajya Sabha as “unfortunate,” Birla said he doesn’t want to comment on the proceedings of the other House and efforts should be made to further strengthen the democratic institutions.

On the issue of the Question Hour, Birla said that members were given ample opportunities to raise matters concerning peoples’ welfare through written questions and the Zero Hour.

Highlighting the enhanced participation of members during the Zero Hour, Birla said it shows that they were given enough opportunities to express their views and were encouraged to participate in the discussions.

Talking about curtailment of the session, Birla said the decision was taken with a consensus in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which started on September 14, concluded on September 23, eight days before the scheduled end on October 1.

When asked about new Parliament building, Birla informed that the construction work has started and it will be completed within 21 months.

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DNA samples of 3 men killed in Shopian encounter match with families from Rajouri: J&K Police




SRINAGAR: The DNA samples of three men who were killed in an alleged fake encounter with the Army in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district in July have matched with their families from Rajouri, a senior police officer said on Friday.

Asked whether the three men were indeed labourers, as claimed by their families, and not involved in terrorist activities, he said it is a matter of further investigation.

On July 18, the Army had claimed three terrorists were killed in Amshipura village in the higher reaches of south Kashmir’s Shopian. It initiated an inquiry after social media reports indicated that the three men were from Rajouri and had gone missing in Amshipura.

The families of the three men claimed they worked as labourers in Shopian and lodged a police complaint.

The police also launched an investigation and collected the DNA samples of the three families from Rajouri to match with the slain men.

“The DNA report has come and matching has taken place,” inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar told reporters here.

Asked if he meant that the DNA samples of the three men have matched with the families from Rajouri, he said, “There is positive matching with the families from Rajouri.”

On whether it had been established that the three men were labourers and not involved in any militant activities, Kumar said, “The police are now taking up further investigations in the case.”

The Army completed its inquiry into the matter in a record four weeks.

On September 18, the force said it had found “prima facie” evidence that its troops “exceeded” powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) during the encounter and has initiated disciplinary proceedings.

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