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Will review India-China relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective : PM Modi

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi before his all-important meeting with the Chinese President on Thursday said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping will review Sino-Indian relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective when they meet at Wuhan on April 27-28.

In a statement made in New Delhi, he said: “President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance.”

“We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation,” he said.

“We will also review the developments in the India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.”

After a 73-day military stand-off between the two countries on the Doklam plateau in the India-Bhutan-China trijunction last year, the upcoming meeting is said to have its own importance in resolving the relationship between both the countries.

Two ministers from the Modi Cabinet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) ministerial meetings earlier this week.

PM Modi’s visit is being compared to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s 1988 visit, who met then China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and reset the bilateral ties strained since the 1962 war.

 

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Taliban say no peace with ‘occupation,’ want US talks

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Kabul  |  The leader of the Taliban said today there will be no peace in Afghanistan as long as the foreign “occupation” continues, reiterating the group’s position that the 17-year war can only be brought to an end through direct talks with the United States.

In a message released in honour of the Eid al-Adha holiday, Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzadah said the group remains committed to “Islamic goals,” the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war.

The Taliban have had a major resurgence in recent years, seizing districts across the country and regularly carrying out large-scale attacks.

Earlier this month, the Taliban launched a major assault on the city of Ghazni, just 120 kilometres from the capital, Kabul. Afghan security forces battled the militants inside the city for five days, as the US carried out airstrikes and send advisers to help ground forces.

The battle for Ghazni killed at least 100 members of the Afghan security forces and 35 civilians, according to Afghan officials.

A year ago, President Donald Trump announced that he would send additional U.S. forces to confront the Taliban. But since then the insurgents’ profile has risen, both on the battlefield and in the diplomatic sphere.

The Taliban sent a delegation to Uzbekistan to meet with senior officials earlier this month, and say they recently met with a senior US diplomat in Qatar for what they called “preliminary talks.” The US neither confirmed nor denied the meeting.

Earlier this week, the Taliban’s top political official, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, led a delegation to Indonesia, where he met Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi as well as Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia’s deputy president, according to a statement the Taliban sent to The Associated Press.

The three-day trip ended on Wednesday. The statement said Stanikzai discussed the presence of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan and the need for them to leave if peace is to return to the country, said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman based in the group’s Qatar office.

While in Indonesia, Stanikzai also “exchanged views on bilateral relations,” Shaheen said in the statement, without elaborating.

From 1996 until 2001, the Taliban ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Women were barred from education and forced to wear the all-encompassing burka whenever they left their homes, and the country hosted Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

The Taliban have refused to enter into talks with the Afghan government, which they view as a U.S. puppet, saying they will only negotiate the end of the war directly with Washington. The group has said it is committed to regional security and would not pose a danger to other countries.

However, it has also demanded the complete withdrawal of all US and NATO forces. Although NATO officially ended its combat mission at the end of 2014, it has repeatedly come to the aid of Afghan forces, and it’s unclear whether the government in Kabul would be able to remain in power without foreign military aid.

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Stocks wobble on Turkey, US-China concerns

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London  |  US and European stocks wobbled yesterday on investor concerns over Turkey and the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

A rebound in the Turkish lira was cut short by new threats by Ankara and Washington to impose more sanctions as the dispute over a jailed American pastor shows no sign of being resolved.

After spending most of the session lower, London’s blue-chip FTSE-100 rallied in the final minutes of trading to close a couple points higher. Paris closed marginally lower, while Frankfurt dipped 0.2 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks were also mixed in late morning trading, with the Dow up a tenth of a percentage point.

Asian stocks however, rallied after a positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with dealers cautiously optimistic about upcoming US-China trade talks — although worries festered over the future for emerging markets as a whole.

“The heightened tensions between the US and Turkey caused the Turkish lira to take a leg lower, and this reignited fears that the European banking system could be shaken by either defaults or non-performing loans from Turkey,” said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

Turkey on Friday vowed to respond if the United States followed through on its threat to levy further sanctions if it does not release the American pastor being held on terror charges.

After having clawed back most of its losses on Friday and Monday, when it shed 20 percent of its value against the dollar, the lira began falling again on the new sanctions threats, dropping by five percent at one point.

“The currency is not out of the woods yet and sellers are pushing to see at which level it will hold,” said City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta.

The prospect of the United States and China returning to the table instead of trading tariff increases brought some relief to investors.

“Global trade worries have not disappeared,” said OANDA analyst Dean Popplewell.

“For now, the possibility of a Sino-US trade deal has brought some calm to the market — but trade and currency wars remain,” he added.

Negotiators from Washington and Beijing will meet later this month for the first publicly announced dialogue in weeks on their bitter trade dispute, which has seen both sides impose reciprocal tariffs on goods worth 34 billion.

The news helped global markets regain composure after several days of volatility sparked by fears that Turkey’s financial crisis could infect other economies.

“Markets are optimistic but remain wary,” said FXPro analyst Alexander Kuptsikevich.

“It is worth noting that the status of officials involved in the (US-China) negotiations is not very high, which eliminates the possibility of breakthrough decisions in the near future.” Tit-for-tat tariffs by the US and China on another 16 billion of each other’s goods are due to kick in next week, and President Donald Trump has threatened to go after even more Chinese imports in the future.

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Former Pakistani cricket captain Imran Khan comes to power, becomes the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan

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Imran Khan

Chairman of Tehreek –e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan has been voted to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Asad Qaisar, Speaker of National Assembly declared the name of the Leader of the House after counting of the votes.

Imran Khan bagged in 176 votes Shehbaz Sharif candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz got 96 votes in the polling for the Leader of the House in the National Assembly of the 342 seat on Friday.

Khan required a simple majority of 172 votes to come to power.

Former Indian cricket star Navjot Singh Sidhu is also among the special guests invited by Khan’s team to attend the ceremony.

Khan, who famously captained the national cricket team to World Cup glory in 1992, has also invited some of his former teammates to witness his formal ascension to the top ministerial job in the country.

The PTI emerged as the single largest party with 116 seats in July 25 elections. Its number increased to 125 after nine independent members joined it and final tally reached 158 after it was allotted 28 out of 60 seats reserved for women and five out of 10 seats reserved for minorities.

Khan’s government will be the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf announced elections after serving as president from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.

The Pakistan Peoples Party formed the government in 2008, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013.

Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947.

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