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Was Erdogan’s Kashmir proposal a planned move?

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Was Erdogan’s Kashmir proposal a planned move?

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The Turkish strongman’s offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue is a reflection of his strong ties with Pakistan.

By Abu Turab

The recent visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to New Delhi, with an appeal to India and Pakistan to start multilateral dialogue for resolving the Kashmir issue was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Pakistani media.

Erdogan, in his pre-visit interview to India’s WION TV channel, asked the two countries to “build bridges, strengthen dialogue between stakeholders” to resolve Kashmir dispute. It was welcomed by Pakistani press as “pleasant surprise” since, it believes, “the international community has tended to stay away from the problem”.

Erdogan reportedly said that both India and Pakistan are Turkey’s friends and they must keep the channels for dialogue open and engage different stakeholders. He said, “India is our friend in the region. Pakistan is our friend in the region. And there are certain aspects that contribute tremendously to our ancient relations. In terms of faith, in India, we have followers of the Muslim faith. And, in Pakistan, there are Muslims and this brings us even closer.

India, however, dismissed the proposal of multilateral dialogue. Gopal Baglay, the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said in a veiled reference to Pakistan, that the Kashmir issue has a “prominent dimension of cross-border terrorism” that needs to be stopped by “those who are perpetuating it”. He further elaborated that “our case essentially was that Kashmir is an issue of terrorism that has dogged us for 40 years”.

Describing the reason of its opposition to multilateral dialogue, the spokesperson said, “We are ready to address any issue between India and Pakistan bilaterally through peaceful means as has been stipulated in the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.” India was always ready to talk about Kashmir and all other issues with Pakistan so that “peaceful solutions can be found bilaterally,” Bagley added.

The Karachi-based newspaper Dawn, in its editorial published on May 3, said “President Erdogan showed the statesman’s way forward by broaching the subject of Kashmir with the Indian media ahead of his trip to India.” It advised that “other international leaders should take their cue from the Turkish leader and demonstrate a courageous and principled stand by speaking directly to India about the need for it to move forward on the Kashmir dispute”.

The News International, another Pakistani newspaper published from Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, in its editorial, said that India’s economic and political clout has made Kashmir a diplomatic minefield and for Erdogan to try to step in, and that too he was about to embark on an important visit to India, took moral courage. It further says that Erdogan’s offer to lead international talks on Kashmir is in keeping with what he said about the disputed region while visiting Islamabad last year, where he took the position that the movement there (in Kashmir) was one of genuine liberation.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Times, in its editorial, while commenting on Erdogan’s adventurist statement on Kashmir, said  that Erdogan, a friend of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly expressed support for Islamabad’s positions over Delhi’s, and this has come in the way of deeper ties between India and Turkey. He has also supported position of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Kashmir.

It would be interesting to note that Sana Ahmed Sani, a regular author for Pakistan ka Khuda Hafiz (www.pakistankakhudahifiz.com), in her article, Historical overview of Pakistan-Turkey relations, described the issue on November 27, 2016. “Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir conflict is openly supported by Turkey. It also recognises Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan and the Turkish Ambassador spent a week in the capital of Azad Kashmir (what India know as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)), Muzaffarabad, to show Turkish solidarity with Pakistan.” She also reminded President Recep Erdogan’s recent address in Parliament when he reportedly said, “We know well the pain and problems of Kashmiris and we condemn the brutality of India in Kashmir.”

Sana further writes, “Turkey also maintained military and political support during the wars with India. …Large number of Turks volunteered to fight for Pakistan against India and a number of nurses to serve Pakistan flew in from there. In December 1965, the then President Ayub Khan visited Turkey and expressed his profound gratitude to the Turkish President Gural for the moral and material support during Indo-Pak war in 1965.”

Turkish Foreign Ministry website says, “positive reflection of the excellent bilateral relations can also be seen in the international fora.” Turkey and Pakistan are supporting each other in all international platforms. Pakistan also adopts a highly supportive approach on international matters, which are of special interest to Turkey.

Meanwhile, after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Erdogan condemned all forms of terrorism. “Turkey will always be by the side of India in full solidarity while battling terrorism,” he said.  He condemned the recent terrorist attack on April 24 on CRPF personnel by Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.

President Erdogan said India was a strategic partner to Turkey because of its location, resources and its economy. The present trade volume between two countries is at around $6.5 billion which should be increased to at least $10 billion as soon as possible, he added. The Turkish President said the two countries will look at ways to expand cooperation in the energy and infrastructure sectors, in particular.

Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during their bilateral talks, two leaders took stock of all political, economic and cultural engagements. He talked of encouraging stronger partnership of Turkish companies with Indian government’s flagship programmes.

Analysts believe that President Erdogan’s India visit at a time when Kashmir was experiencing turmoil was of utmost importance. He proposed multilateral dialogue for “resolving” Kashmir issue, which was completely against India’s longstanding policy of Kashmir being a bilateral issue. Even Pakistani media expressed pleasant surprise on Erdogan’s statement proposing multilateral dialogue on Kashmir.

It would be interesting to an eye on the progress in the bilateral economic and trade ties between the two countries. If the intention was just to rake the Kashmir issue on the international arena, then implementation of the memorandums of understanding signed during the visit will experience slow progress. Some analysts believe that Erdogan, in a desire to rise as a towering leader of the region, has thrown his hat into the most vexed issue in the region. He probably wished to project his image as a strong leader among Muslim nations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto’s parties strike deal on Pakistan coalition Govt, Shehbaz Sharif to be PM

The PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

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Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a new coalition government after days of intense negotiations, as per the senior party leaders.

On Tuesday night, in a joint conference, the PPP Chairman Bhutto announced that PML-N president, 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif will be the Prime Minister of Pakistan once again and the PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari, 68, is set to assume the role of the President of Pakistan again.

Speaking to reports, Bhutto said the PPP and PML-N have achieved the required number, and now they were in a position to form the government.

He said the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party-backed candidates and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) could not achieve a simple majority in Parliament to form government in the Centre.

Bilawal hoped that the political alliance with PML-N to form a coalition government would result in a positive market response since the cash-strapped country faced a hung Parliament after the February 8 elections.

Independent candidates, who were supported by the 71-year-old Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, managed to secure 93 seats in the National Assembly.

Shehbaz Sharif, in his speech, expressed confidence that his PML-N party, along with the PPP, now has the necessary numbers to form the next government. He also thanked the leadership of both parties for successfully concluding the talks.

According to the reports, the former prime minister highlighted the unity between the two political parties and their strong position to form the government at the Centre.

The PML-N secured 75 seats in the election, while the PPP came in third with 54 seats. Additionally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) has agreed to support the two parties with their 17 seats.

To form a government, a party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly or the lower house of Parliament.

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Poland Minister Wladyslaw T Bartoszewski says India is a superpower, should play role in World affairs

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

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Secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Poland Wladyslaw T. Bartoszewski on Monday said that India should play a bigger role in global politics. He said India is a superpower now and hence India should play a role that fits superpower at the global scale. He said the relations between Poland and India have been extremely good. He said they have not had any problems.

The Polish Minister said it is time to take the relations between the the two countries to a higher level. He said India has developed into a phenomenal country and is the 5th largest economy in the world. The minister said the Polish economy has also developed and both the countries have much more to offer each other.

He said the Polish government wants India to play a more active role in World Politics. He said India is the largest democracy in the world and shares values with Poland as to how the world should be organised. The Polish Minister said he is looking to partner with India. He said Poland is looking at potentially creating the India-Central Eastern European Forum to discuss amongst a few countries.

He said there are a lot of topics and Poland wants to partner with India to play its role in the world affairs. Bartoszewski highlighted the remarkable economic growth India has made under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said Warsaw would like to work in closer co-operation with New Delhi. India and Poland share strong bilateral ties.

After the Ukraine war began, Poland helped in India’s Operation Ganga by aiding in the evacuation of Indian students from the war struck country in 2022.The Polish minister commented on the Russia-Ukraine war which has been going on since the last two years. He said the war will end if immediately if Russian President Vladimir Putin withdraws his forces from neighbouring Ukraine.

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71st Miss World contestants visit Raj Ghat and pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

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Miss World contestants, accompanied by Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss world Organisation, visited the Raj Ghat, also known as the Gandhi memorial, on Monday, where they paid their respects to Mahatma Gandhi. The 71st Miss World participants also visited the Gandhi Museum.

The 71st Miss World will take place between February 18 and March 9 which will unfold across various venues, including the Bharat Manadapam in New Delhi. 120 contestants from countries around the world will participate in various competitions and charitable initiatives, serving as ambassadors of change.

Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss World Organisation said in a statement that her love of India is no secret and having the 71st Miss World Festival in this country means a lot to her. She thanked Jamil Saidi for his herculean efforts to make the return of the event to India a reality. She said the Miss World Organization has assembled the best team for the 71st edition.

The 71st Miss World will end with a dazzling grand finale at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai. India last hosted the international pageant in 1996. Manushi Chhillar was the most recent Indian to win the pageant, having bagged the crown in 2017. Previously, Reita Faria Powell, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas have also won the competition.

India is currently hosting Miss World 2024 in Delhi and Mumbai after 28 years. The competition will begin on  Februray 18, with the grand finale scheduled  on March 9, the 71st Miss World Pageant will feature 120 contestants from 120 countries and territories, which includes India and will feature various competitions and charitable initiatives. The 21-day fashion and beauty event will feature a variety of events that will empower young women as change agents and future leaders.  

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