Pakistan claims backing of 60 countries on its Jammu and Kashmir statement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Pakistan claims backing of 60 countries on its Jammu and Kashmir statement

The text of the statement was posted on the website of the Foreign Office after it was delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, but Pakistan did not identify the nations purportedly supporting it.

INDIA Updated: Sep 12, 2019 09:52 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents

Hindustan Times,
Security personnel and police at a barricade in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India on Friday, September 06, 2019.
Security personnel and police at a barricade in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India on Friday, September 06, 2019. (Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

Pakistan has submitted to the UNHRC a “joint statement” on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir which it said was supported by some 60 countries that it didn’t publicly identify, triggering questions about the backing for the move.

The text of the statement was posted on the website of the Foreign Office after it was delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, but Pakistan did not identify the nations purportedly supporting it.

A member of the Pakistani delegation at the UNHRC in Geneva said a list of these countries would be handed over to the Indian delegation but people familiar with developments said this hadn’t happened.

The people cited above said the statement reportedly had the backing of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Pakistan’s all-weather ally China.

However, diplomats from several OIC member states, such as Indonesia, distanced themselves from the move during their interactions with their Indian counterparts, the people said.

“The fact that the list hasn’t been made public means there is something amiss. Pakistan could have sounded out the countries privately but these countries haven’t publicly spoken on the issue,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also watch | ‘False, concocted’: India’s stinging rebuttal to Pak at UN meet

‘False, concocted’: India’s stinging rebuttal to Pak at UN meet | J&K-Art 370
India delivered a stinging riposte to Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.
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The Indian side is keeping a close eye on Pakistan’s efforts to present a resolution or push for an “urgent debate” on Kashmir at the UNHRC but the prevalent view in New Delhi is that Islamabad won’t be able to muster the numbers to take either of them forward, the people said.

“A simple majority of UNHRC members present and voting is required for a resolution or an urgent debate. Abstentions will reduce it further,” said a person who didn’t want to be named.

The UNHRC has 47 members from across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and Indian diplomats have mounted an extensive outreach programme in New Delhi and key capital to shore up support for the country’s position on the Kashmir issue.

The people said out of the UNHRC’s members, only China and Pakistan had mentioned the Kashmir issue in their national statements while others made no reference to it at all, reflecting greater understanding for India’s position.

Pakistan’s joint statement referred to the “worsening” rights and humanitarian situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated several of the demands raised by foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his speech at the UNHRC on Tuesday.

It said the world community should seek the protection of fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people, immediate ending of the communications shutdown and release of detained people, immediate halt to use of force, access for human rights groups and international media and setting up of a UN commission of inquiry to probe alleged rights violations.

It also sought the “peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UNSC resolutions”.

There was no response to the joint statement from Indian officials. However, the Indian delegation at the UNHRC said on Tuesday that Pakistan is using the Kashmir issue to support jehad and cross-border terrorism. It also said the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reorganisation of the state were “entirely internal to India”.

Also read | ‘Created a lot of terror’: Lashkar terrorist who shot at Kashmiri toddler killed

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 00:00 IST

India: Jaish chief Masood Azhar secretly released from Pakistan jail: Intelligence report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Jaish chief Masood Azhar secretly released from Pakistan jail: Intelligence report

According to an intelligence input, Pakistan has released Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks.There are also reports of a Pakistan plan to carry out a “big action” in Sialkot-Jammu and Rajasthan sectors in the coming days.

INDIA Updated: Sep 09, 2019 09:43 IST

Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar(AFP file photo)

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government about the deployment of additional Pakistani troopers along the border near Rajasthan and said Islamabad has released Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks, according to two officials aware of the developments. HT has also accessed an input issued in this regard.

According to the input, Pakistan is planning “big action” in Sialkot-Jammu and Rajasthan sectors in the coming days in response to the government’s move to revoke Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir some autonomy and prevented non-residents from buying property and getting government jobs in the state. The input warned that Pakistan has started deploying additional troops near the Rajasthan border as part of the plan.

The input has been conveyed to the respective Border Security Force and army field formations in Jammu and Rajasthan sectors “to avoid any surprises” from the Pakistani army and the troops have been asked to remain alert, the officials cited above said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday threatened “fullest possible response” to India’s moves in Jammu and Kashmir. Khan added the global community would be responsible for any “catastrophic” aftermath as he continued his rhetoric amid rising tensions with New Delhi since the government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

The comments by Khan, who last week said there was a risk of India-Pakistan war, came on a day Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said they were prepared to “go till any extent”. Bajwa added they were ready to “give sacrifices for our Kashmiri brothers, fulfil our duty till the last bullet, last soldiers and last breath”.

Amid rising tensions between the two countries, the IB input said Pakistan has “secretly” released Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar to plan terrorist operations while other terror organisations were also working openly. There were uncorroborated reports after the February 14 car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that Pakistani agencies had taken Azhar into protective custody.

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Navy chief reveals intel of Jaish-e-Mohammad training ‘underwater wing’
Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, revealed that intelligence alerts suggest that Jaish-e-Mohammad is providing training to its ‘underwater wing’.
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JeM took responsibility for the attack in which 40 paramilitary troopers were killed and prompted India to carry airstrikes on the group’s camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26.

One of the officials cited above said Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had no inkling that the Indian government would revoke Article 370 on August 5. “It is being considered the ISI’s biggest intelligence failure in history and now they are under pressure to act,’’ the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official added while the Pakistani army will try to play mischief, militants like Azhar have been unleashed to carry out terror attacks in India. “Pakistan may try to use the current situation and the Indian government’s focus in Jammu and Kashmir to target somewhere else.”

Azhar, who is wanted in India for several attacks, including the 2016 Pathankot airbase attack, was among four people declared as individual terrorists on August 4 under a new anti-terror law passed in August.

In an interaction with journalists on Saturday, national security adviser Ajit Doval said Pakistan is trying to create trouble and some 230 terrorists have been spotted across the border.

There have been sporadic skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border since August 5. Army chief General Bipin Rawat told HT last week that Pakistan has reopened terror training camps and attempted to push infiltrators. He said that the Indian Army is ready for any eventuality.

Internal security expert Ajay Sahni said Pakistan sees the abrogation of Article 370 as a provocation and has to be seen doing something about it, saying: “Also, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure from the international community over terrorism, failing the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] yardsticks, the economic situation, and others, which are limiting its capacity to respond. It is difficult to predict how Pakistan will respond.” Sahni, however, cautioned against taking all the IB inputs at face value.

First Published: Sep 09, 2019 05:27 IST

India: ‘J&K move timed to avoid fresh violence, checkmate Pak’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

‘J&K move timed to avoid fresh violence, checkmate Pak’: Army chief Bipin Rawat

FATF, a multilateral watchdog, placed Pakistan on its “grey list” in June 2018 for failing to counter fund-raising by terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

INDIA Updated: Sep 05, 2019 08:21 IST

Harinder Baweja
Harinder Baweja
New Delhi
Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat visited troops on the Line of Control to review prevailing situation and operational readiness of the units of White Knight Corps. The army chief said he was offering a peaceful gesture towards the terrorists and appealed them to stop the bloodshed.
Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat visited troops on the Line of Control to review prevailing situation and operational readiness of the units of White Knight Corps. The army chief said he was offering a peaceful gesture towards the terrorists and appealed them to stop the bloodshed. (ANI Photo)

One month after the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has backed the timing of the move, and called upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the militants to give peace a chance.

“Another phase of violence was going to start and the timing was right because Pakistan was also under pressure of being placed on theblack list by the Financial Action Task Force. I told the government the army would provide the military support it needed to implement the decision,” Rawat said in an interview with Hindustan Times,

FATF, a multilateral watchdog, placed Pakistan on its “grey list” in June 2018 for failing to counter fund-raising by terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Following an assessment meeting in June in Florida, it urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan to counter terror financing by October 2019. “Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress,” the watchdog said, indicating it may place the country on its “black list”, which entails harsher financial sanctions.

Also Watch | ‘When was Kashmir ever a part of Pakistan?’: Rajnath Singh in Leh

‘When was Kashmir ever a part of Pakistan?’: Rajnath Singh in Leh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched a scathing attack on Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. He said that Kashmir has never been a part of Pakistan and hence it has no locus standi to speak on the issue.
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In the interview, the army chief said the people of Kashmir and the militants should give peace a chance.

“There has been violence for 30 years and you have been through difficult times. Leave the anger behind and give peace a chance,’’ Rawat said.

He said he was offering a “peaceful gesture” to the terrorists. “We are not going after the terrorists because we don’t want a gunfight to vitiate the atmosphere. I don’t want to lay cordons and conduct searches, but we have to clap with both hands. Think about it and drop your guns. This generation has not seen peace,” he said.

The general blamed “some instigators” for continuing restrictions, saying the minute the curbs were relaxed, there is trouble and the Valley is locked down again. “The instigators are not allowing the benefits of the process of integration (through the nullification of Article 370) to come in.”

On August 5 and 6, Parliament effectively revoked Article 370 of the Constitution that conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir, and Article 35A that reserved benefits like government jobs and property ownership for people deemed to be permanent citizens of the state. The state is to be divided into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Pakistan has stepped up re-opening terror training camps and attempting to push infiltrators across the line of control. Asked about Pakistan’s continuing war rhetoric, Rawat said, “I am ready for whatever Pakistan wants. If it wants a BAT (border action team) action, I am ready. If it wants limited action with India, I am ready and if it wants war with India, the Indian army is ready.”

Rawat said that Pakistan has only exposed itself through its rhetoric. It was telling the world that it was not sending terrorists to India but by speaking up now, it is in effect owning up to its support of terror.” You cannot prepare terrorists in 15 days. On the line of control, we remain ever prepared and in the Valley, we remain every deployed,” he said.

Asked if the rising anger in the Valley would lead to more local Kashmiris joining the ranks of militants, he said, “Whether there are 300 or 500, we are concerned with their capacity to strike. If they strike, who will it affect? Violence is detrimental to the local Kashmiri and the loss is not of the Indian establishment.”

Firmly denying allegations of torture and of his men telling Kashmiri women that they would now marry them, Rawat said, “Kashmiris are very good at maligning the forces to the media. Our men do not do this. Give me the name of one of my men and I’ll punish that man. We are running goodwill schools and the attendance is better there than in other schools. If we are so bad, why do you come to us?”

Defending the government’s move to nullify Article 370, Rawat said, “The only way to address the alienation was by removing the Article. We want to embrace the Kashmiri by becoming one integrated nation.”

Asked if the battle for the hearts and minds of Kashmiris was being lost, the general said, “Battles are not lost in one month. The government is looking at easing pressure and removing restrictions gradually.”

First Published: Sep 04, 2019 23:33 IST

India: Center working on a plan to create 50,000 jobs in Jammu and Kashmir

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Center working on new plan to create 50,000 jobs in Jammu and Kashmir

The measures include a paramilitary and military recruitment drive in the two newly-formed Union territories and efforts to develop the food processing and dairy industries, an official aware of the details said on condition of anonymity.

INDIA Updated: Aug 27, 2019 23:42 IST

Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Centre is set to announce a slew of development measures for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh soon to boost the local economies and generate employment, according to officials aware of the development.
The Center is set to announce a slew of development measures for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh soon to boost the local economies and generate employment, according to officials aware of the development. (AP Photo)

The Center is set to announce a slew of development measures for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh soon to boost the local economies and generate employment, according to officials aware of the development.

The measures include a paramilitary and military recruitment drive in the two newly-formed Union territories and efforts to develop the food processing and dairy industries, an official aware of the details said on condition of anonymity. The government is considering recruiting as many as 50,000 young people for the paramilitary forces from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on Tuesday held a high-level inter-ministerial meeting to discuss the measures to be rolled out. “A meeting was held with various departments to access the implementation of central schemes in Jammu and Kashmir and initiatives to be taken to expedite the return of normalcy,” a home ministry spokesperson said without giving details.

The Center stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and divided it into two Union territories earlier this month. Restrictions were imposed on people’s movement and telecom connectivity was suspended as a pre-preemptive measure to prevent unrest and protests against the move.

The government has said that curbs are being removed in a phased manner. High schools in areas unlikely to witness agitations will be opened from Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said.

Officials said the proposed development measures will be presented before the Union cabinet soon. The measures to be announced are primarily aimed at achieving fast-paced development, helping the young acquire skills for employment, they added.

Officials said a pilot project is being launched in seven districts of the Kashmir Valley and two in the Jammu region and Ladakh. They added district-level “skill planning” committees will also be formed and will comprise industry representatives, academics and corporate entities. Developing the food-processing and dairy industries will be one of the keys areas of focus, they added.

Officials said the Center was keen that the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh understand the benefits of the removal of Constitution’s Article 370 that gave the erstwhile state special status.

“The Centre is keen that the people understand that removal of special status is not detrimental but on the contrary beneficial for them and the next generation,” said a government official, who is a part of the exercise of rolling out the measures, on condition of anonymity.

The government is also considering opening career counselling centers. And with the help of the corporate sector, it also wants to hold “job melas,” or fairs, in the Union territories.

First Published: Aug 27, 2019 23:28 IST

India: Government to push Aadhaar enrollment in Kashmir

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Government to push Aadhaar enrollment in Kashmir

The process will accelerate once the bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories is complete on October 31, the officials added.

INDIA Updated: Aug 27, 2019 07:30 IST

Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The move is also significant as J&K will also go for polls after it is formally made a Union Territory.
The move is also significant as J&K will also go for polls after it is formally made a Union Territory. (Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)

The Center plans to intensify Aadhaar enrollments in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), particularly the Kashmir Valley where the penetration of the unique ID that is the key to government benefits is very low, so as to ensure that benefits of welfare schemes reach to all residents, three government officials said requesting anonymity.

The process will accelerate once the bifurcation of the region into two Union Territories is complete on October 31, the officials added.

“Aadhaar is a successful tool for the transfer of subsidies and implementation of welfare schemes. The government is committed for development of J&K, and Aadhaar will be one of the key tools that will help the Center in fulfilling its commitment,” one of the officials said.

Although Aadhaar coverage in J&K has reached about 78%, there are pockets where its penetration is still very low, the official said referring to the Aadhaar dashboard run by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the statutory authority that is mandated to issue the Aadhaar numbers to Indian residents.

The Lok Sabha on August 6 gave its nod to the resolution scrapping special status to Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and paved way for the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories – J&K (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature). The Rajya Sabha passed the resolution on August 5. The President, on August 9, gave ascent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. The changes will facilitate the complete integration of the region with India and ensure that all welfare programs of the Center apply to the erstwhile state as well, Union home minister Amit Shah said in Parliament.

Also Read| India’s Jammu and Kashmir move historic blunder: Imran Khan

Aadhaar enrollment has been happening in J&K but certain areas, mainly in the Valley, need special attention, which can be done through banks, post offices and Common Services Centers (CSCs), a second official said. The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is willing to open CSCs at panchayats for this purpose, this person added. About 300,000 CSCs help the Center in implementing its eGovernance programs throughout the country.

“An intensive campaign [for Aadhaar enrollment] is expected after October 31 and CSCs need no more than a week to launch it in the entire J&K,” the first official said. The purpose of the government is to ensure that every household in the Valley must get benefits of Central schemes such as Ujjwala yojana, he explained.

Also Watch: Shehla Rashid defends tweets alleging army excesses in Jammu & Kashmir

 

Shehla Rashid defends tweets alleging army excesses in Jammu & Kashmir
Former JNU student Shehla Rashid has defended her tweets where she accused the Army of torturing people in the Kashmir valley following the abrogation of Article 370.
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Spokespersons of UIDAI and MeitY did not immediately respond to queries seeking comment.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), was launched by the Narendra Modi government on May 1, 2016 to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households especially in rural areas. The deposit-free cooking gas connections have not only helped more than 70 million poor households but also generated tremendous amount of goodwill to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The move is also significant as J&K will also go for polls after it is formally made a Union Territory.

First Published: Aug 27, 2019 05:44 IST

India: J&K remains out of bounds for politicians

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

J&K remains out of bounds for politicians, oppn delegation sent back from Srinagar

The Jammu and kashmir administration’s decision to send back the opposition delegation was largely expected given that the government has not allowed any political leader to enter the newly created union territory.

INDIA Updated: Aug 24, 2019 18:38 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Congress had tweeted that the visit led by its former president Rahul Gandhi was an attempt to review the reality in the region after the abrogation of Article 370. (ANI photo)
The Congress had tweeted that the visit led by its former president Rahul Gandhi was an attempt to review the reality in the region after the abrogation of Article 370. (ANI photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday sent back a delegation of opposition leaders comprising Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, D Raja, Sharad Yadav, Manoj Jha, Majeed Memon, and others shortly after they landed at the Srinagar airport from Delhi.

The delegation had flown to Srinagar to assess the situation in Kashmir valley. The government has not allowed any political leader to enter the newly created union territory ever since Article 370 was abrogated and the decision to send back the delegation was on expected lines.

The Congress had tweeted that the visit led by its former president Rahul Gandhi was an attempt to review the reality in the region after the abrogation of Article 370.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had been stopped twice earlier – once at the Srinagar airport and once at the Jammu airport and CPI leader D Raja was sent back from Srinagar airport since the restrictions were imposed ahead of the Centre revoking the special status for Jammu and Kashmir and dividing the state into two union territories on August 5.

Watch: Rahul Gandhi, other opposition leaders sent back from Srinagar

 

Rahul Gandhi along with opposition delegation sent back from Srinagar
Opposition leaders were sent back from Srinagar airport. Leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, D Raja, Sharad Yadav, Manoj Jha, Majeed Memon, and others were returned shortly after they landed.
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Ahead of Saturday’s visit, Congress leader Azad said the government was contradicting itself by not allowing people to visit the valley while claiming that the situation was normal.

Also read: Article 370 is gone. It is time to open Kashmir’s political space

“On one hand government says situation is normal, and on the other hand they don’t allow anyone to go. Never seen such contradictions. If things are normal then why political leaders are under house arrest?” Azad told ANI.

Majeed Memon of the Nationalist Congress Party, another member of the delegation of opposition leaders said the administration’s fears that they would be creating disturbance was unfounded.

“Our motive is not to go and create disturbances. We aren’t going in as the government’s opposition, we are going in government’s support so that we too give suggestions as to what must be done,” ANI quoted Memon as saying.

“Senior Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi @DinTri to visit Srinagar on Saturday along with other Opposition leaders. They will see the situation in the valley after abrogation of Article 370,” the TMC had tweeted ahead of the delegation’s visit.

Raja said that the delegation was made up of recognised national leaders. “We are public faces, and they should not stop us. Will they now pump bullets into us when we land,” said Raja.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had asked the delegation to call off the visit because they would be putting other people to inconvenience.

“They would also be violating restrictions that are still there in many areas. Senior leaders should understand that top priority would be given to maintaining peace, order and preventing loss of human lives,” the administration tweeted.

It also said political leaders should not make attempts to disturb their efforts to protect the people of the state from the threat “of cross-border terrorism and from attacks by militants and separatists”.

Gandhi last week asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to quell apprehensions about Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik dismissed his concerns and invited him to travel to the state. He even offered a plane to Gandhi.

But Malik withdrew that offer after Gandhi tweeted that he and other opposition leaders would visit Kashmir. He said they won’t need an aircraft but “the freedom to travel and meet the people, mainstream leaders and our soldiers”.

Leaders of regional parties, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, are still under house arrest.

First Published: Aug 24, 2019 16:30 IST

In ‘New India’, noose tightening on corruption, nepotism: PM Modi in France

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

In ‘New India’, noose tightening on corruption, nepotism: PM Modi in France

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora in Paris during his visit to France on Friday amidst chants of “Modi hai to Mumkin hai” at the UNESCO headquarters.

INDIA Updated: Aug 23, 2019 17:21 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Indian community in France at UNESCO HQ in Paris,France, Friday, Aug 23, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Indian community in France at UNESCO HQ in Paris,France, Friday, Aug 23, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/ @MEAIndia)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was the strength of 1.25 billion Indians that had powered the big decisions taken by his government in the first 75-days of re-election amidst chants of “Modi hai to Mumkin hai” during his address to the Indian diaspora at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Friday..

He listed criminalizing the practice of “Triple Talaq” and indirectly referred to removal of the “temporary” provision of Article 370 that had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir along with several other welfare schemes among the “big” decisions taken by his government.

“Triple Talaq, was an inhuman practice, we have ended the practice that hung like a sword over hundreds of thousands of Muslim women for years,” he said, adding that his government had set some goals for the country that were considered “impossible to achieve earlier”. He listed the “record number of new bank accounts” and the beneficiaries under PM’s Central health scheme as some important milestones.

“We have showed red card to several evil social practices in the last five years,” he said and added “In new India, the way in which action is being taken against corruption, nepotism, loot of people’s money, terrorism, this has never happened before.”

Watch | Modi’s Paris diplomacy: Macron fully backs India’s stand on Kashmir issue 

Modi’s Paris diplomacy: Macron fully backs India’s stand on Kashmir issue
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed media with French president Emanuel Macron on the first day of his three-nation tour. He spoke about Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s diplomatic campaign against India.
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“There was no place for temporary in India,” he said in a veiled reference to his government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “It took us 70-years to remove temporary,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, the mandate given to him in 2019 elections was “not just to run India but to create a new India”, adding that the country had seen “several positive developments in the last five-years during which the youth, women, farmers and the poor were put at the center of government’s programmers.” He also said that several studies had confirmed rapid eradication of poverty in India.

The Prime Minister, who is on day long visit to France, said India-France ties were beyond friendship. There was no single platform in the world where the two countries had not worked together. So, I devote this day to India-France relations,” he said.

He said India and France partnership could be summed up by combining words “IN” (for India) with “FRA” (for France) to create “INFRA”. INFRA, he said, represented the joint efforts between the two nations in the field of “Solar Infra”, “Technical Infra” and “Space Infra” among others.

Also read | We met goals once considered unachievable: PM to Indians in France

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 15:14 IST

India: Concerns over organised mass protests, possible attacks in Valley

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Concerns over organised mass protests, possible attacks in Valley

The communication blackout, which has caused a great deal of resentment in the local population, has also helped prevent the organisation of protests across the Kashmir Valley, people familiar with developments said.

INDIA Updated: Aug 23, 2019 16:41 IST

Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Rezaul H Laskar
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Rezaul H Laskar

Hindustan Times, Srinagar
CRPF personnel stand guard in front of closed shops in Srinagar on Thursday. (ANI Photo)
CRPF personnel stand guard in front of closed shops in Srinagar on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Organised mass protests and possible attacks by Pakistan-based terror groups are among the main concerns weighing on the minds of officials responsible for security in Jammu and Kashmir.

The communication blackout, which has caused a great deal of resentment in the local population, has also helped prevent the organisation of protests across the Kashmir Valley, people familiar with developments said.

“We are aware of the situation caused by the snapping of phone lines and the Internet and these are being gradually eased in parts of Srinagar. More restrictions will be removed in the time to come,” said a person who declined to be identified.

The people cited above pointed to the potential damage that could be caused by even one message that could be forwarded on messaging apps by elements intent on taking advantage of the existing situation.

The focus of security agencies has been on minimizing casualties and possible violent protests that could lead to confrontations, the people said.

 

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US President Donald Trump repeated his Kashmir mediation offer. “Will do the best I can (to help) to mediate or do something,” he said. Trump sought to portray Kashmir issue as a result of differences between Hindu and Muslims.
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So far, the only death reported has been of a teenager who drowned in river Jhelum on August 5 while trying to evade paramilitary troopers, though there are reports that close to 100 people have been injured.

On Thursday, there were reports that pamphlets urging people to march towards the office of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had been distributed in the hot spot of Soura. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently verify the reports.

The army also distributed pamphlets across the Kashmir Valley highlighting the benefits of the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35a of the Constitution.

Security agencies are also keeping an eye on all moves made by Islamabad’s military establishment and Pakistan-based terror groups, with the people pointing to the Jaish-e-Mohammed as the biggest concern.

“The Pakistani side did take some steps – for whatever reasons, including pressure from the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] – such as shutting down camps and cutting off financing. But none of this is irreversible,” said the first person cited above.

“More than the other groups, it is the Jaish-e-Mohammed that is the most active,” the person added.

Over the past few years, the number of terrorists being pushed across the Line of Control (LoC) has been an average of about 300 a year, the people said. Though the armed forces have been able to neutralise a number of these terrorists during infiltration attempts, others have managed to get through to the Kashmir Valley, they said.

Though Pakistan has taken steps to control the activities of terror groups and there continues to be pressure on the country from the international community — a crucial meeting of the FATF in Paris in October will decide whether Pakistan is to be placed on a blacklist for failing to counter terror financing – there continue to be concerns that Islamabad could again open the jihadi tap, the people said.

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 00:26 IST

India studying early Chinese proposals on boundary issue

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India studying early Chinese proposals on boundary issue

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is evaluating the “early harvest” proposals sent by Beijing to build trust between the two sides ahead of the meeting.

INDIA Updated: Aug 18, 2019 08:15 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, Beijing/ New Delhi
Senior Chinese diplomats said Beijing was very serious about getting the longstanding boundary issues with both India and Bhutan out of the way.
Senior Chinese diplomats said Beijing was very serious about getting the longstanding boundary issues with both India and Bhutan out of the way. (HT File Photo )

The 22nd round of the India-China Special Representatives dialogue on the boundary issue will take place in New Delhi in mid-September. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is evaluating the “early harvest” proposals sent by Beijing to build trust between the two sides ahead of the meeting.

Dates for the meeting between Doval and Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, the interlocutors, haven’t yet been finalised, Hindustan Times learns from Chinese and Indian diplomats.

The foreign ministers dialogue on August 11-13 in Beijing and the Special Representative talks are precursors to the October 11-12 informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in India for which Varanasi is being considered as the potential venue.

Senior Chinese diplomats said Beijing was very serious about getting the longstanding boundary issues with both India and Bhutan out of the way, and that Wang had sent “early harvest” proposals to India.

Neither side is willing to share the contents of the proposals. However, Beijing, as indicated by HT’s conversations with Chinese diplomats, is showing no signs of changing any positions with New Delhi, be it India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or full political support to its “all weather ally” Pakistan.

The trust factor between the two sides has also taken a hit after China, joined by the United Kingdom, still living in its imperial past, supported Pakistan in the informal United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Monday against the Narendra Modi government’s decision to nullify Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir.

The overall sense from the UNSC meeting was that both countries were hopelessly outnumbered and outmanoeuvred in their quest for a formal outcome by the remaining 13 members led by the US and France.

In his meeting this month in Beijing with State Councillor Wang, who is also foreign minister, external affairs minister S Jaishankar had made it very clear that both countries should be sensitive to each other’s core concerns. “If Beijing wants India to support One China that includes Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, then it also must support One India,” said a top official.

Indian diplomats based in the US said the latest Chinese move in support of Pakistan on Kashmir will lead to a cooling of ties; Article 370 and Article 35 A have nothing to do with beaching either the UN Charter or the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan, they say. Despite Chinese diplomats vehemently denying it, Beijing wants to play elder brother to South Asia as the dominant power in the region and will support Pakistan for its own economic and strategic interests.

In the circumstances, mutual trust between the two countries can only be built if President Xi, or Xi Dada (elder brother as he is called), can overrule the status quoits in Beijing and opt for a mutually beneficial and mutually acceptable solution to the long-pending dispute over the boundary.

First Published: Aug 18, 2019 07:07 IST

UN Security Council to discuss J&K in closed-door consultation today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

UN Security Council to discuss J&K in closed-door consultation today

China on Wednesday threw its weight behind its all-weather ally Pakistan’s call for convening an “urgent meeting” of the Security Council to take up the agenda item “India-Pakistan Question” to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following India’s decision to end the state’s special status and split it into two Union Territories.

INDIA Updated: Aug 16, 2019 08:11 IST

Yashwant Raj and Rezaul H Laskar
Yashwant Raj and Rezaul H Laskar

Hindustan Times, Washington/New Delhi
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard in Srinagar on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019.
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard in Srinagar on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP)

The UN Security Council is set to take up the situation in Kashmir during closed door informal consultations on Friday, instead of the open and formal meeting Islamabad sought along with the right to address it, people familiar with developments said on Thursday.

China on Wednesday threw its weight behind its all-weather ally Pakistan’s call for convening an “urgent meeting” of the Security Council to take up the agenda item “India-Pakistan Question” to discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following India’s decision to end the state’s special status and split it into two Union Territories.

China’s statement backing Pakistan’s call for the meeting said the 15-member Security Council should hold “closed consultations under the agenda ‘India-Pakistan Question’” and invite the Department of Political and Peace building Affairs and Department of Peace Operations to brief the body. If China had wanted a broader formal meeting, it would have said so instead of seeking “consultations”, the people said.

Watch | Jaishankar meets Chinese minister amid Beijing’s objection to Art 370 move

Jaishankar meets Chinese minister amid Beijing’s objection to Art 370 move
India’s External Affairs Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, is in China.
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“The UN Security Council will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16,” Poland’s permanent representative to the UN and current Security Council president, Joanna Wronecka, was quoted as saying by Geo News channel. Poland holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency for August.

Russia’s acting UN envoy, Dmitry Polyansky, told reporters that Moscow did not object to the holding of such a meeting but that the issue should be discussed behind closed doors. Security Council members need to coordinate their positions first because the Kashmir issue hasn’t been on the agenda for quite a while, he added.

“Consultations” and an “open” or a “closed meeting” are technically and substantively different, reflecting the gravity of the issue. According to the UN’s definitions, both open and closed meetings are formal meetings of the Security Council, though closed meetings are not open to the public and no verbatim record of statements is kept and the council issues a communiqué. Consultations are informal meetings of the council members and aren’t covered in the repertoire.

The Security Council holds such consultations frequently, sometimes thrice a week, and members can raise any issue and several topics can come up at these discussions. China has inserted Kashmir into the agenda and it will be one of them on Friday, the people cited above said. The session will neither be recorded nor telecast live and Pakistan won’t get to address the members, they added.

France had even proposed the council should discuss the issue in a less formal manner – known as “any other business” – next week, Reuters quoted unnamed diplomats as saying.

Russia has already said India and Pakistan should address their differences bilaterally, a position also adopted by Poland and the European Union. The US, too, has ruled out mediation on the Kashmir issue and called for a dialogue between India and Pakistan.

A letter sent by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the Security Council president on August 13 said a representative of the Pakistani government should be allowed to join the meeting. Experts said if this request were to be accepted by the council, an Indian representative would also have to be allowed to participate in the discussions.

The experts said much depends on the format of discussions and their outcomes – such as whether there is a binding or non-binding resolution and whether the minutes are recorded.

The people cited above also said that though Pakistan had tried many times to internationalise the Kashmir issue, the situation on the ground had changed since the Indian government’s decision on August 5 to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

“In the past, such efforts to internationalise the matter were aimed at discussing the status of Kashmir. This is no longer the case now as the status has changed,” said a person who did not want to be identified.

The people noted that Pakistan was persisting with efforts to portray a “doomsday picture”, including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public remarks and tweets, and Qureshi’s letter to the Security Council. Qureshi wrote in his letter that the situation in Kashmir poses “an imminent threat to international peace”. Qureshi also referred to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, killed by security forces in 2016, as a “popular resistance leader”.

“There is, furthermore, a clear and present danger that India will provoke another conflict with Pakistan to divert attention from its recent actions in Jammu & Kashmir,” Qureshi wrote in the letter.

He added, “Pakistan will not provoke a conflict. But India should not mistake our restraint for weakness. If India chooses to resort again to the use of force, Pakistan will be obliged to respond, in self-defense, with all its capabilities.”

The Indian government hasn’t formally responded to the remarks by the Pakistani leadership and the people cited above said the changes in Kashmir were purely an internal issue.

First Published: Aug 15, 2019 23:28 IST