Archive | December, 2015

US media hails PM Modi’s Lahore stopover

Posted on 26 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 27th December 2015

Washington, Dec 26 (PTI) The mainstream American media has hailed the brief Lahore stopover of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, reporting it as a significant development in the relationship between the two South Asian neighbours

The Wall Street Journal described Modi’s surprise move as “likely to add momentum to a tentative reconciliation process” between the nuclear-armed neighbours, while The Chicago Tribune noted it as “potential sign of thawing” relations

It is “the biggest surprise of all” of Modi’s diplomatic moves since he came to power on May 26, 2014 for which he had invited leaders of the South Asian countries, the Time magazine wrote

“It’s the first trip to the country by an Indian head of state in a decade ? and could be a sign of improving relations between the two neighbours,” the popular National Public Radio said

According to The Los Angeles Times, with his Lahore visit Modi “breathed new life into a long troubled” relationship

The New York Times, which quite often has been critical of the Prime Minister, while underscoring the significance of Modi’s impromptu trip to Lahore said the Indian leader in the past has moved from one policy to the other and described it as “a diplomatic dance”

Twitter ? where the Prime Minister first informed the world about his visit to Lahore ? was abuzz with his decision to meet Sharif. All major American news outlets took to Twitter and other modes including SMS and emails to inform their readers about the breaking news from South Asia

Even on a Christmas Day, a number of think tank experts and academicians expressed their views about Modi’s Lahore visit on the social media

“Unexpected but welcome visit” by Modi to Lahore, said Richard N Hass, president, Council on Foreign Relations, a top US think tank. There is “need to make high-level” India-Pak “diplomacy routine”, he wrote on Twitter

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of the opposition Peoples Party of Pakistan, welcomed the Prime Minister’s surprise stoppage at Lahore. “Constant engagement is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Swaraj says PM Modi has acted like a ’statesman’

Posted on 25 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 26th December 2015

New Delhi, Dec 25 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has acted like a statesman in deciding to visit Pakistan and this is how relations with neighbours should be.

“That’s like a statesman. Padosi se aise hi rishte hone chahiyen (This is how it should be with neighbours),” Swaraj said on twitter to the news of Modi’s visit to Lahore to meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Modi today made a surprise announcement of a stop-over in Lahore as he wrapped up his brief Afghanistan visit.

“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” the PM tweeted.

Earlier, Modi had wished Sharif on his birthday.

“Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif and wished him on his birthday,” Modi had tweeted.

Modi’s sudden visit comes within days of both countries deciding to re-engage in “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue”.

The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet next month to discuss modalities about the dialogue.

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PM lands in Pak on surprise visit, meets Sharif

Posted on 25 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 26th December 2015

Lahore, Dec 25 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Lahore today for a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in a surprise visit to this country–the first visit to Pakistan by an Indian premier in more than 10 years.

Modi was received by Sharif with a warm hug at the tarmac of Allama Iqbal International Airport after his unexpected stopover here on his way back home after a day-long trip today to Afghanistan where he went after concluding a two-day visit to Russia yesterday.

Modi was accorded a red carpet welcome as PM’s special IAF Boeing 737 plane made a smooth touchdown at 4.20 local time(4.50 IST). He then took a chopper to proceed to Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence in the outskirts of Lahore.

“Looking forward to meeting PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore today afternoon, where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” tweeted Modi, who was on his first to Pakistan, as he wound up his visit to Afghanistan.

“Spoke to PM Nawaz Sharif & wished him on his birthday,” Modi added in another tweet. Sharif turned 66 today.

The visit came more than two weeks after Modi and Sharif had an unscheduled meeting at climate change talks in Paris.

The agenda of the meeting is not known but the two leaders are expected to discuss major issues which have rocked ties between the two countries.

The relations between India and Pakistan have witnessed some positive developments after chill for several months. The two countries recently decided to launch a comprehensive dialogue after Modi-Sharif meet in Paris.

“That’s like a statesman,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted about the surprise visit by Modi. “One should have such relations with the neighbours,” she added.

The last visit to Pakistan by an Indian prime minister was in 2004 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose 91st birthday fell today and who is credited with bringing about a thaw in relations with Islamabad.

Pakistani authorities put security on high alert in Lahore especially around the airport area following the announcement of Modi’s brief visit to the eastern city.

A heavy contingent of police and Pakistan Rangers have reached the Allama Iqbal International Airport and taken charge of the security.

“Security in Lahore has been put on high alert,” a senior police official told PTI. He said police have also been deployed on the adjoining areas of the airport.

A PM House spokesman here said the Indian premier would stay in Lahore for about two hours.

A PML-N source told PTI that Sharif had invited Modi to attend the marriage of his granddaughter Mehrun Nisa which is taking place today at the Sharif’s Raiwind palatial residence.

“I cannot confirm but there are chances that Modi goes to Raiwind and holds meeting with PM Sharif at his residence,” he said.

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Posted on 24 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 25th December 2015

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Disproportionate, irrational approach of Cong hurting institutions: FM

Posted on 24 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 25th December 2015

New Delhi, Dec 24 (PTI) Castigating Congress strategy of disrupting Parliament session after session, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the party should rue over the fact that “disproportionate and irrational” approach was hurting institutions.

With Congress not agreeing to pass the landmark Goods & Services Tax (GST) bill that will make India one market, Jaitley in a facebook post titled ‘Stray Thoughts After the Winter Session’ asked if the country has not lost out by delaying the GST since the last year’s Budget Session.

Crediting first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for laying down healthy precedents in the initial years of Indian democracy, he said “the current generation in control of the Congress Party will find a place in history of having weakened what their ancestors established.”

“How far is it desirable to pass important legislations on the last day without discussion? Statistically, we have passed a law. But has Parliament applied its mind to the law?,” he asked.

Commenting on the Winter Session of Parliament that concluded yesterday, Jaitley said parliamentary protests are not unheard of in India and there are precedents of disturbance in extreme cases in the past.

“But the last two sessions have witnessed a clear stand of the Congress Party that Parliament shall not be allowed to function.

“Most of the Congress leaders, in private, have expressed helplessness over the decision of their leadership that Parliament must be disturbed continuously. The moot question which arises for the Congress Party is, ‘how does India legislate?’,” he said. .

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‘Achhe din’ only for Modi, not aam aadmi: Rahul in Amethi

Posted on 23 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 24th December 2015

Amethi, Dec 23 (PTI) Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today kept up his tirade against the Narendra Modi government and said ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the aam aadmi who are groaning under unprecedented price rise.

On a two-day visit to his Amethi parliamentary constituency, Gandhi, who led the opposition attack against the NDA government in and outside Parliament, said, “There is no achhe din for aam aadmi, achhe din is only for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“Inflation is at its peak. Nothing has been done for the farmers and the youth,” he said, addressing a roadside meeting at Nigoha village here.

The Congress vice-president said that during the Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every person’s account after bringing back the black money stashed away abroad. “Has it been deposited,” he asked on a sarcastic note.

Gandhi said his party would strongly fight the BJP and its communal and divisive policies across the country.

Promising to carry on development work in his Lok Sabha constituency, Gandhi said, “We will complete the development works in Amethi. We will fight unitedly as a single person cannot struggle.

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PM leaves for Russia; looks to deepen economic, energy, security ties

Posted on 23 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 24th December 2015

New Delhi, Dec 23 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left on a two-day visit to Russia that is expected to take the already close strategic partnership between the two countries to a higher trajectory as he said the trip will deepen bilateral cooperation in economic, energy and security spheres.

Setting the tone for the visit, the Prime Minister said Russia remained one of India’s “most valued” friends in the world and that he was “very optimistic” about outcomes of the annual summit talks with President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

“Our relation with Russia is unique, covering almost every field of human endeavour,” said Modi before leaving for Moscow. The “time-tested” partners are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors, including nuclear energy and defence, after the 16th summit talks between the two countries at the highest level which have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.

“I am very optimistic about the outcome of this visit.

History is witness to the close ties India and Russia have had over the decades. Russia remains one of India’s most valued friends in the world,” Modi said in a Facebook post.

He further said, “My visit will deepen the cooperation between India and Russia in the economic, energy and security spheres. We also want to increase cooperation in science and technology, mining, among other sectors. Trade ties between India and Russia can increase even further, to benefit not only our two nations but also the world.”

Tomorrow, Modi and Putin will interact with a group of Indian and Russian CEOs in Kremlin.

The Prime Minister’s engagements in Moscow also include addressing a gathering of ‘Friends of India’ and around 3,000 people are expected to attend the event tomorrow.

“The visit will witness extensive deliberations with President Putin. There will be an interaction with Russian businesspersons to invite them to invest in India. I will also attend a ‘Friends of India’ programme. I am certain that this visit will substantially take forward the already strong people to people ties between our nations,” the Prime Minister said.

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Cong protests over Jaitley forces two adjourns in RS

Posted on 22 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 23rd December 2015

New Delhi, Dec 22 (PTI) Congress today continued to press for the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha over alleged irregularities in Delhi cricket body DDCA for the second day, forcing two adjournments before noon.

Slogan-shouting Congress members moved to the aisles and later into the Well, disrupting the proceedings.

Soon after the papers were laid, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed Kumari Selja (Cong) from raising the issue of “a ruling BJP MP levelling serious allegations” against Jaitley over the functioning of DDCA. Jaitley headed DDCA till 2013.

“Jaitley istifa do (Jaitley should resign),” they shouted forcing Kurien to adjourn the House first till 1130 hours.

“A very serious issue has come up with a member of ruling party levelling serious allegations against Finance Minister,” she said without referring to BJP lawmaker Kirti Azad.

Kurien disallowed her motion to suspend business to discuss the issue, saying the procedure for raising allegations against a member of the House was not followed.

“I am not asking you not to raise the issue. All I am saying is there is a procedure. If there is an allegation against a member, you should give written intimation to the Chairman, you should give written intimation to member also.

Without that, you cannot raise the allegation,” he said disallowing the motion.

He asked her if she had given written notice to the Chairman and Jaitley. “Have to you done that. You have to intimated the member,” he asked.

“For an allegation of incriminating nature, advance intimation has to be given. Then only such an allegation can be taken up,” he said.

As Kurien called for Zero Hour mentions, Congress members moved into aisles shouting slogans.

“Why do you obstruct Zero Hour? Zero Hour is time for members to raise important issues. What is the rational of doing this I am not able to understand,” he said before adjourning the House till 1130 hours.

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India, Pak appear interested in boosting understanding: US

Posted on 22 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 23rd December 2015

Washington, Dec 22 (PTI) Welcoming the recent effort by India and Pakistan to revive talks, the US has said leaders of the two countries now appear to be “genuinely interested” in fostering greater understanding among them.

“We continue to welcome efforts by India and Pakistan to work bilaterally to solve these very difficult, complicated issues. And so that they have started to do that,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

“…(leaders of India and Pakistan) appear to be genuinely interested in fostering greater understanding between the two countries, that’s welcome,” he said yesterday, adding that the US continues to encourage that.

When asked about reported direction by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his ministers not to make anti-India statements, Kirby said “there’s always a balance to be struck here. And without having more detail about his comments or the context in which they were made, I’d really be loath to go further than that”.

He also said that for more than a decade now, the US has been talking with Pakistan on terrorist safe havens.

“We’ve been crystal clear for well over a decade now, bilaterally with Pakistan, about our concerns about terrorism in the region, to include the safe havens that we know terrorist organisations have along that spine between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“So look, this is a relationship that remains vital to us. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see eye to eye on the threat of terrorism since so many Pakistani citizens and Pakistani soldiers have fallen victim to it,” Kirby said.

He added that “whether it is in this country or many other countries around the world, to see that terrorism remains a real and challenging threat that it behooves everybody to try to get their hands around”.

Breaking the logjam in their ties earlier this month, India and Pakistan announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dial

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HC junks PIL seeking freeze on BJP’s lotus symbol

Posted on 22 December 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 22nd December 2015

New Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a plea seeking freezing of BJP’s election symbol “Lotus” on the ground that it “represents the manifestation of God” and its use during elections was “illegal”.

“There is no public interest involved in it,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.

“You (petitioner) came after 35 years,” the court said, adding that “this was done long back in 1980, since then what were you doing”.

The court also took into consideration the submissions made by the counsel for central government, advocate Nagender Benipal, who said that similar petitions have been dismissed by the high court earlier, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

The NGO, in its plea said, “Direct respondent no.1 and 2 (Ministry of Law and Justice and Election Commission of India) to remove Lotus from list of free and unrestricted symbol of poll panel as well as from the election symbol of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the interest of national Justice.”

Lotus represents the manifestation of God, and is also a symbol of purity and tenderness, the plea added.

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