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PM at Davos meet

Sheshadri Chari

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi catapulted a resurgent India on the global economic map in his key note address at the 48th edition of the World Economic Forum. Making a fervent appeal for developed countries to shun unhealthy competition and protectionism, Modi quoted extensively from ancient scriptures to highlight India’s world view of considering the entire universe as one family and the emphasis on inclusive growth for all.

India International

Pakistan militants carried out 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Nawaz Sharif admits

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Nawaz Sharif

Contradictory to Pakistan’s continuous denial of its role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday allegedly admitted that militant organisations which are active in the country were behind the dreadful terror strikes which claimed 166 lives.

While responding to a question on national security in an exclusive interview with The Dawn, Sharif asked why Pakistan was unable to complete the trial in the case even after nine years. “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” — a reference to the Mumbai attacks-related trials which have stalled in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court,” he said.

Ten Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists had sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 people and injuring over 300 in November 2008.

The case has entered into the 10th year but none of its suspects in Pakistan has been punished yet, showing that the case had never been in the priority list of the country that appears to be keen to put it under the carpet.

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India International

India-Nepal like family, misunderstandings over: Modi

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Emphasising that the recent election and its results would be written in golden words in Nepal’s history, the Indian Prime Minister said relations between India and Nepal are special and “I am visiting at a special time. “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said all misunderstandings with Nepal are over and the bilateral ties are heading to a new high.

“India stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Nepal. India-Nepal ties are above inter-governmental relations. It is more like a family,” said Modi. “I, the Indian government and the Indian people heartily felicitate the Nepali people for the progress made under federal democratic setup.”

In a quest to reach out to the new communist government in Nepal, Modi held an articulate discussion with his counterpart and senior government officials to better the bilateral ties that are all set to reset after New Delhi’s repeated attempt to cultivate Oli-led government in Nepal in the recent months.

After the talks, Modi and Oli reached to some mutual understandings.

Meeting Oli twice in less than two months, Modi assured him that all genuine and necessary grievances of Nepal would be addressed in a time-bound manner.

In this respect, Nepal and India have reached half dozen major understandings during the two-day state visit of Modi that is expected to give momentum in bilateral ties in future.

However, India remained silent on exchanging banned Indian notes parked in various financial and banking institutions and held by general people, and on Nepal’s request to add four additional air routes via India.

India is ready to partner with Nepal for cross-border connectivity and agreed to commence survey to link Kathmandu with the Indian Railways’ survey soon.

“We are connected with Nepal through rail, water, transmission line, petroleum pipeline,” Modi told the media.

The two leaders also agreed for an early meeting for the construction of 4,600 MW Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project jointly by India and Nepal.

“We have evaluated the partnership between Nepal and India. Some of the projects have gained progress and some are in the process of achieving good progress. We have agreed to review comprehensively the trade and transit treaty,” said Modi.

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India International

PM Modi’s Nepal visit today will focus on rebuilding trust and goodwill

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A key element of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus during his Nepal visit will be engaging with all political streams in Nepal, including, the elected government of the day, and sending signals of support and reassurance to all.“This is a working visit. The PM will focus on bilateral projects and steps needed on both sides to expedite it. But another element will be political engagement with all sides,” said a person on the visit.

The PM will extensively interact with his host, Prime Minister KP Oli, with whom India shared difficult ties in the past. It was during the congratulatory call after he got elected that Oli invited Modi to come to Nepal soon, and Modi had promised he would do so.

Oli stuck to tradition and made India his first foreign port of call in April after becoming PM. Such a quick reciprocal visit, in just over a month, is unusual for Modi. “It signals the PM’s personal commitment to working with the elected government of the day in Kathmandu,” said the person quoted above.

Oli had long requested a one-on-one meeting with Modi, without the presence of any official, and got it in Delhi.

“Trust-building with Oli began with Sushma Swaraj’s visit before he had taken over, his own visit, and the one-on-one meeting. The PM’s visit will deepen it,” said the person cited above.

But the Prime Minister will also meet other key stakeholders in Nepal’s polity.

The Nepali Congress (NC), the key opposition force, has sent messages to Delhi that it believes that in its outreach to Oli, India has neglected it’s older allies, two NC leaders confirmed. Modi will meet NC president and former PM, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and his party representatives.

“We will assure NC that India plans to maintain all its old contacts and relationships. We believe they are vital participants in Nepali democracy,” the person said But if the opposition has expectations that India will undermine the elected government, or ‘play politics’, this will not happen, he said.

Modi will also have a ‘goodwill meeting’ with Oli’s key ally Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre). Maoists and Oli’s party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) are discussing a possible merger, but this has got delayed.

Large sections of the hill population were upset with Indian backing for Madhesi protests at the border which crippled essential supplies. But as Delhi mended ties with Kathmandu, Madhesis began harbouring a sense of resentment that India had dropped their cause.

“We are conscious that this is a federal system. And any assistance we announce has to be routed through the centre in Kathmandu,” the person involved in planning the visit added.

Modi will also meet the leaders of the two prominent Madhesi parties and convey a message that Madhesi forces should remain united.

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