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Seychelles President to hold talks with PM Modi; defence, security ties high on agenda

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Seychelles President

New Delhi | Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is on his first bilateral visit to India, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, including in the fields of defence and security.

Faure, who arrived in Delhi on Sunday after visiting Ahmedabad and Goa, was received by Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar.

“Connected by ‘SAGAR’ Security and Growth for All in the Region ! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure warmly received by MoS @mjakbar at Delhi airport on his first bilateral visit to India,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Faure landed in Gujarat Friday as part of his six-day India tour. He visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Saturday, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

Faure also visited the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), where he held a meeting with the institute’s director, Errol D’Souza. The visit comes just days after Faure said a joint project with New Delhi to develop a naval base at Assumption Island in his country would not move forward.

There has been growing political opposition in Seychelles to an agreement it signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region. During the visit, Faure will also visit Uttarakhand.

Faure’s state visit, part of regular high-level exchanges between India and Seychelles, will accord an opportunity to review wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership, the MEA had earlier said.

At a press conference on June 4, Faure had said Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own and that the project with India “will not move forward”.

He had also said the issue would not be discussed with the Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi.

India was keen on developing the Assumption Island as a naval base to expand its footprint in the strategically-key region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence.

The agreement on the Assumption Island between India and Seychelles was first signed in 2015 during Modi’s visit to that country. An updated version of the original deal was finalised by the two sides earlier this year.

However, opposition leaders in Seychelles came out openly against the agreement after the original document as well as the revised version of it surfaced online in March.

National

For million problems in India, there are billion solutions: PM Modi

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Narendra Modi

Mumbai | Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said films and society are reflection of each other and like cinema, India too is changing with times.

The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of the National Museum of Indian Cinema here. “The country is changing and finding its own solutions. If there are a million problems, there are also a billion solutions,” the PM said.

“Films have an important role in India’s soft power,” Modi said, while narrating how he was struck by popularity of Indian films overseas when he met and interacted with the leaders of foreign countries. He assured the film industry that effective steps are being taken to curb piracy and “camcording”.

“A single-window system for obtaining permissions for film shoots and related matters are on the anvil,” he said. Like the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, there could be a global film summit in India, the prime minister suggested.

“Films also play a big role in the growth of the tourism sector, which gives employment to even the poorest people, even ‘chaiwala’ makes money when tourism grows,” he said.

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National

Delhi court extends interim protection from arrest to Vadra’s aide till Feb 6

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Robert Vadra

New Delhi | A Delhi court on Saturday extended till February 6 the interim protection from arrest granted to Manoj Arora, a close aide of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, in a money-laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) told Special Judge Arvind Kumar that Arora was cooperating in the probe. “He joined the probe yesterday. So far he is cooperating,” Special Public Prosecutor D P Singh, appearing for the ED, said.

ED’s Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana sought two more weeks for arguments on the application which was allowed by the court. The case relates to allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property — located at 12, Bryanston Square — worth 1.9 million pounds, which is allegedly owned by Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

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Zakir Naik case: ED attaches assets worth Rs 16.40 cr under PMLA

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New Delhi | The ED has attached fresh assets worth Rs 16.40 crore in connection with its money-laundering probe against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, it said on Saturday.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), in a statement, said it had issued a provisional order for attachment of Naik’s assets, located in Mumbai and Pune, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The estimated value of the immovable assets was Rs 16.40 crore, the central probe agency said.

This is the third such attachment in the case by the ED. The agency is probing the case after taking cognisance of an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Naik, who is said to be based in Malaysia at present.

With the latest order, the total value of assets attached in the case by the ED stands at Rs 50.49 crore.

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