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PM Modi arrives in Brazil to attend the 11th BRICS Summit

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NEEDED, SOME PROACTIVE DIPLOMACY: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping ahead of the BRICS Summit in Goa, UNI

PM Modi has arrived in Brasilia to attend the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. A large business delegation from India is also expected to be present during the visit, to attend the BRICS Business Forum where PM will address. The theme of this year’s summit is “Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.” 

Before his departure, Prime Minister in a series of tweet said, he is looking forward to exchanging views with leaders to enhance cultural and economic linkages between BRICS nations.  This is Prime Minister’s second visit to Brazil and his first since President Jair Bolsonaro took the charge this year. 

The Prime Minister also said the visit to Brazil will give him an opportunity to hold talks with President Jair Bolsonaro on ways to deepen the India-Brazil strategic partnership as there is great potential in sectors like trade, defence, agriculture and energy.

Interestingly, besides representatives from these nations, civil society members, labour union leaders, researchers and political activist from these countries had also gathered in Brasilia, on November 11 and 12 for the People’s BRICS to set the pro-people agenda to be deliberated at the Summit.

BRICS comprises of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It was proposed to be a platform for regional cooperation to counter the economic hegemony of U.S and dollar and Brettenwood institutions in the world market. But the narrow geopolitical interests and political tension among and between the member countries didn’t help them in their collective objective. Since last year, the United States and China are engaged in trade-war and have been imposing embargo and increased tariffs against each other. Indo-China relations have never been better off-late and there is no chance that it will get any better in the future as well. Political instability is at its helm in Brazil. Similarly, Russia is facing U.S illegal trade and economic sanctions for various reasons.

The expansion of New Development Bank is also on the agenda at the annual summit. New Development Bank (NDB) was created in 2014 when five BRICS nations came together to set up a financial institution to cater to developing nations need for money. The idea of NDB was initially propounded by India which after two years of negotiations materialized. NDB as a development bank was set up with a vision to challenge the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on one side, and on the other side to finance sustainable development projects in developing countries. Five years since its inception, the NDB has failed in fulfiling its objectives and promises. Recently, it approved loans for projects which are environmentally threatening which includes trans-Amazonian highway in Brazil, a highly controversial project that has resulted in heightened deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest. 

The Chinese officials claimed that the BRICS Summit will mark the beginning of a new “golden decade” of cooperation between the five nations. However, this time Brazil, Russia and India have an uncanny similarity. All the three countries are now either ruled by right-wing governments which can hopefully be seen as a potential for cooperation. Under Modi, India has shown some allegiance to the U.S, but it needs to play its diplomacy quite well this time in order to keep the interest of China and Russia.

 

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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.

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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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US reiterates its call for fair, transparent, legal process for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, speaks on Congress frozen accounts

The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections.

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A day after India summoned an US diplomat over their remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the liquor policy case, the US reiterated its call for fair, transparent, timely legal processes on Wednesday.

Responding to questions on India summoning Gloria Berbena, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that they will continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Notably, the meeting at the foreign ministry’s South Block office lasted nearly 40 minutes yesterday with India objecting strongly to the US remarks on the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal.

Matthew Miller also responded to a question on the Congress party’s frozen bank accounts. The US spokesperson said that they are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections. He added that the US encourages fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of the issues.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested last week by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection to the Delhi liquor policy scam. Earlier, AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh were arrested in the same case.

The External Affairs Ministry had earlier stated that states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others, and this responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies, adding that it could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents.

The Ministry further emphasized that India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary which is committed to objective and timely outcomes. It mentioned that casting aspersions on India’s legal procedure is unwarranted.

The United State’s remarks followed days after Germany’s Foreign Office stressed that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is entitled to a fair and impartial trial. The Indian government labelled their remark as blatant interference in internal matters.

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5 Chinese nationals killed in suicide bomb attack in Pakistan

This is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

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Nearly five Chinese nationals were killed in an explosion during an attack on their convoy by a suicide bomber in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday. Reportedly, the suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers travelling from Islamabad to their camp in Dasu, situated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Regional police chief Mohammad Ali Gandapur said that five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver were killed in the attack. As yet, none has claimed responsibility for the attack. Bisham Station House Officer (SHO) Bakht Zahir asserted that the incident was a suicide blast and the authorities concerned were collecting the evidence.

The Station House Officer further added that security arrangements were tightened at the spot and the bodies were being shifted to a hospital. He added that they will investigate from where and how the vehicle of a suicide bomber came and how it happened. Notably, this is the third major attack on Chinese interests in Pakistan within a week.

Previously, two attacks hit an airbase and a strategic port in the southwest province of Balochistan where China is investing billions in infrastructure projects. Several Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for multiple years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

Notably, Dasu is home to a significant dam project, has been a target of previous attacks. Earlier in 2021, the attack in Dasu resulted in the deaths of nine Chinese nationals, along with two Pakistani children. The incident occured when a bus carrying Chinese engineers and workers to the Dasu Hydropower Project site was targeted.

There was confusion surrounding the nature of the attack initially, with some reports suggesting it was a bus accident. Nonetheless, subsequent investigations revealed that it was indeed a terrorist attack. The bus was hit by a blast, leading it to plunge into a ravine.

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