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Pakistan’s ‘one-trick pony’ act on Kashmir has no resonance in UN: India

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New York | With Pakistan expected to rake up the Kashmir issue during the high-level UN General Assembly session this week, India said a “one-trick pony” can “regurgitate” the same act but “single act plays” have no resonance on multi-lateral platforms like the United Nations.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said the UN General Assembly session is a global platform to address global issues, yet each country is sovereign and can do what they feel is in their best interests.

“If somebody else would like to be a one-trick pony, it is for them to regurgitate and act. We have handled this act many times in the past and are confident that we will do so again,” Akbaruddin told reporters here Sunday.

He was responding to a question on Pakistan expected to rake up the Kashmir issue “at a higher decibel” during the high-level session of the 73rd UN General Assembly beginning at the world body’s headquarters Monday.

“Our contention is that the UN works best on multilateralism and multi-lateral platforms work best when nations work in partnerships.

“Single act plays have no resonance in such matters. Anybody can try and be a solo player. However solo players in a multi-lateral context have neither the past or a future,” he said adding that it is a country’s call on how they spend the time allocated to them during the UNGA session.

India works in partnerships, Akbaruddin said, adding that India is proud that its priorities during the General Assembly have great resonance in the international community.

Pakistan has consistently used the platform of the UN General Assembly to rake up the Kashmir issue and its leaders have sought to internationalize it during their addresses in the General Debate. India responds strongly to Pakistan, whose attempts to raise the Kashmir issue every year at the multi-lateral forum have found no resonance with the international community.

Following India’s acceptance of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request for a meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi were slated to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

However, India called off the meeting, citing the brutal killings of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad releasing postage stamps “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.

Khan had tweeted that he is disappointed at the “arrogant and negative” response by India to his call for resumption of the peace dialogue.

When asked about Khan’s response, Akbaruddin said India is a multi-literalist nation and responds to multi-lateral issues of a global nature that it is confronted with. What you have raised is an issue relating to our bilateral ties. Those will be addressed bilaterally in the format that we desire to address them.

On whether India will raise strongly the issue of cross-border terrorism during the UNGA session, Joint Secretary for UN Political in the Ministry of External Affairs Dinesh Patnaik said the issue of cross-border terrorism has been raised by the country since 1996 when it put in the idea of the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism. Akbaruddin said the scourge has been and is a concern for India.

“It’s a global concern. Terrorism is threatening countries across vast spades of land in diverse continents,” he said adding that terror outfits such as Boko Haram and Islamic State are a threat to several countries across Africa and West Asia.

“Even in our neighbuorhood, terrorism has increased as a major threat. This has been our perennial concern and obviously perennial concerns will be articulated in unison with many other countries who are raising this,” he said.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is expected to highlight the situation in Kashmir during his the General Assembly address, Pakistani media reported on Monday.

Qureshi arrived in New York over the weekend and is scheduled to address the annual world body session on September 29.

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Rafale steals the show at Aero India

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Bengaluru | Political row hit Rafale jet was the cynosure of all eyes as the breathtaking display of manoeuvres by military aircraft and the aerobatic team cast a spell at Aero India, Asia’s premier air show here on Wednesday.

The city’s skies dazzled with somersaults and stunts by the metal birds, which also paid tributes to the Surya Kiran aircraft pilot killed in a mishap during rehearsal on Tuesday.

The might of the Rafale jet was in full flow as it roared into the skies at the Yelahanka air base, the venue for the event, giving a dazzling display with breathtaking manoeuvres.

The Rafale aircraft flew at low speed to pay tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who died in a mid-air collision between two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatics team ‘Surya Kiran” during rehearsal on Tuesday.

Three Rafale jets have landed in Bengaluru for Aero India- two for flying and one on static display.

Rafale has been participating in the Aero India shows since 2011.

India has signed an Inter-Government Agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafales– to form two squadrons.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been carrying on a sustained campaign against the Modi government on Rafale, accusing it of favouring Anil Ambani’s firm as an offset partner and saying it was crony capitalism.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament recently revealed that the Rafale deal negotiated by the NDA government to procure 36 fighter jets was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the UPA’s 2007 offer.

The Jaguar, Tejas and Sukhoi 30 aircraft flew in the ‘missing man’ (aerial salute) formation in honour of Gandhi.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba were also present.

Thebiennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition – Aero India 2019 was inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Enthralling stunts were performed by Sarang aerobatics teams with daredevil crosses and spins, that has been the mainstay of the Aero India for many editions.

The air display began with vintage Dakota aircraft, followed by formations of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv and Light Utility Helicopter, DO-228, Hawk and HTT40 aircrafts.

Then came the flypast and thrilling manoeuvres by MIG 21, Sarang team, Saras PT1, Embraer along with Sukhoi, Boeing P8I, LCA Tejas, HTT40, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, LUH, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Airbus 330 and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber, among others.

LCA also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who named it as Tejas, by performing certain sets of manoeuvres.

On static display among other things at the air show are HAL’s Light Utility Helicopter(PT-1), Light Combat Helicopter (TD-2), Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra) and ALH MICU (Medical Intensive CareUnit).

The Aero India official website said a total of 61 aircraft would be on display and 403 exhibitors would be part of the show.

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Vande Bharat Express hits motorcycle, no damage: Railways

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New Delhi | The Vande Bharat Express hit a motorcycle near Allahabad on its third commercial run on Wednesday, the railways said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

The incident occurred hours after stones were hurled at the train near Tundla in Uttar Pradesh in the morning.

The incident took place near Phaphamau, around 42 km from Allahabad.

“The train hit a motorcycle, which was abandoned by its owner on the tracks as he saw the train approaching while illegally trespassing on the tracks. While the vehicle has completely been damaged, the Vande Bharat Express suffered none. No one was injured and the train will run as per schedule,” Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.

The train, made indigenously at a cost of around Rs 97 crore, has been plagued by issues since its trial runs commenced in November last year. It had suffered damage to its window panes when stones were hurled on it on two occasions previously.

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India, Saudi agree on need for increasing pressure on countries supporting terror: PM Modi

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New Delhi| India and Saudi Arabia agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday after holding talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Prime Minister Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince explored ways to further deepen strategic ties against the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack.

The barbaric terror attack in Pulwama last week is a cruel symbol of the scourge spread over the world by this anti-humanitarian danger, Modi said in his press statement with Salman by his side.

“In order to deal effectively with this threat, we agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on the countries supporting terrorism in any manner,” Modi said, without naming Pakistan.

He asserted that destroying the terror infrastructure and punishing terrorists as well as their supporters was “very important”.

Prime Minister Modi also called for a strong action plan for combating extremism and so that the powers spreading violence and terror cannot mislead the youth.

The Saudi Crown Prince, in his press statement, said his country will cooperate with India in tackling terrorism, including by intelligence sharing.

The crown prince arrived here on a less than 30-hour visit Tuesday night, a day after concluding his high-profile tour of Pakistan where he said the dialogue was the only way to resolve “outstanding issues” between India and Pakistan.

In a special gesture, Modi received Salman at the airport here, signifying the importance India attaches to the visit by the leader of the Gulf nation.

In a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday called for avoiding “politicisation” of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group’s chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.

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