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India-Pakistan hold Track II dialogue in Islamabad



India-Pakistan hold Track II dialogue in Islamabad

Two sides agreed to resolve all issues through talks

After a long gap in bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, the experts and former officials, having support from their respective governments have recently met in Islamabad under Track II initiative and discussed the thorny issues including Kashmir, Sir Creek, Siachen and even Afghanistan.

According to Indian sources in Islamabad, the original Track II initiative known as Neemrana Dialogue, which began in 19990s, received a fresh start with the visit of Indian experts and former officials to the Pakistani capital. The interaction took place from April 28 to 30.

The Indian side was led by former foreign secretary Vivek Katju and other experts including Rakesh Sood, while Pakistani side included former foreign minister Inam-ul-Haq, another former minister Javed Jabbar and Ishrat Husain, former governor of State Bank of Pakistan.

Husain’s name is being discussed in Pakistani media as one of the candidates to become caretaker prime minister during forthcoming general elections scheduled to be held in July this year.

Read More: India, Pakistan DGMOs allege escalation and LoC violations

According to a diplomatic source, “The two sides discussed all aspects of bilateral relations and agreed that all issues between the two countries should be resolved through talks”.

The issues discussed during the interaction included:  Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, terrorism, tension on LoC and regional issues including Afghanistan. Experts and former officials will present their proposals to their respective governments for consideration.

Reports from Islamabad say that the Track II interaction was kept under tight wraps and no details were shared officially by the organizers.

Read More: India protest against Pakistan’s support to Sikh separatists

Neemrana Dialogue was launched in early 1990s and included influential former diplomats, military veterans and academics with official backing from both the governments.

Dawn, a leading Pakistani daily reports that Neemrana Dialogue is one of the oldest Track-II initiatives between the two countries. The first meeting was held in Neemrana Fort in Rajasthan in October 1991 with the United States Information Service (USIS) sponsorship.

The daily further said that Neemrana Dialogue meetings did not take place over the past few years as ties between the two neighbours dipped to new lows. The Islamabad meeting is being seen as the revival of the process. The daily said, “It was particularly important that the Indian delegation travelled to Pakistan for the meeting”. Therefore, it renews hopes that the “dialogue could lead to further improvements in bilateral relationship”, it added.

Read More: Pakistan asks World Bank to vouch India abiding IWT

Dawn further reports, “Its importance lies in the fact that it gets recognition from the foreign ministries of both countries. Even this time round, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua hosted a dinner for the participants of the dialogue on Friday”, it said.

The relations between India and Pakistan had strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan based terror groups in 2016, including attack on Air Force base in Pathankot and on security forces in Uri.  The sentencing of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to death by Pakistan’s military court in April last year further soured the ties.

Read More: Pakistan wants India play bilateral cricket series

Recently, India has said that it would participate with Pakistan in a multi-national counter-terror exercise In Russia under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) framework.

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.



Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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Dubai sky turns green during storm in UAE, video goes viral

The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain.



1 person was killed in UAE as it witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday, stranding commuters, flooding roads, disrupting trains and flights and resulting in water leakage from mall ceilings. The UAE witnessed record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday and the National Centre of Meteorology recorded 254 mm of rainfall in less than 24 hrs in the Khatm Al Shakla area in Al Ain. It is being said that the rainfall was the highest documented since the start of data collection in 1949.

The heavy rainfall in UAE came days after a similar situation in neighbouring Oman, where 13 people were killed in flash floods. Many parts of Oman saw torrential rains, which caused students to be trapped in buses and swept away motorists and trapped people in their homes.

Videos from Dubai circulating on social media showed widespread waterlogging on roads in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other important cities. This left daily commuters in cars and other vehicles struggling to get back home. Dubai metro station too was seen flooded and closed.

One such video circulating on social media shows the aerial view of the city of Dubai from the top of a building. In the video the stormy winds are seen blowing over the city of Dubai. As the storm intensifies the Dubai sky turns green and ultimately gets covered by heavy rainfall. The video has gone viral on social media with more than 1.1 million views.

Another video showed water leakage from the ceilings of shopping malls, flooding the floors and destroying goods. A video which was shot in the famous Mall of the Emirates, showed pieces of ceiling falling as the rainwater gushed inside. Videos from many outlets of the Deira City Centre mall chain showed escalators being rendered unusable. Majid Al Futtaim, the company which owns the Mall of Emirates, said that the shopping complexes have been kept open and the customers are being sent away from the flooded areas. 

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Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda says statements on reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have no ground

Devananda told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu as elections are taking place in India.



Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda has said the statements from some political leaders in India on reclaiming Katchatheevu from the island nation have no ground. He told the media on Thursday that it is not unusual to hear such claims and counterclaims about the strategic island as elections are taking place in India.

The Sri Lankan Minister said he thought India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area. According to the 1974 agreement, Devananda said Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen can go fishing in the territorial waters of both countries until the pact was reviewed and amended in 1976.

The amended agreement resulted in fishermen from both countries being barred from fishing in neighboring waters. India’s ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday steered clear of the row surrounding Katchatheevu island. To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu issue, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reffered to External affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comments on the matter.

He said he would like to talk about the issue that has been raised. He added the External Affairs minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat and has clarified all the issues. He said everyone should look into the press engagements and they would find the answers to their questions there.

The remarks from Devananda, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came days after the Narendra Modi government accused the Congress and its ally DMK in Tamil Nadu of overlooking national interests by handing over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The BJP has also been slamming the 2 parties for not ensuring the rights of the fishermen wanting to fish in waters around the island.

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