Congress President Sonia Gandhi says India-China relationship has the potential to become the “one of the foremost and most substantive” relationships of the 21st century, observing that it must be a key instrument in shaping the changing world order. There may be some issues on which both sides have differences of approach and that’s natural given the size and complexity of the two countries, Gandhi said. “The leaderships of both India and China are engaged in deepening political understanding which fosters respect for each others’ sensitivities,” she said in a written interview to China’s official Xinhua news agency, coinciding with the 90th anniversary celebrations of the ruling communist party. “Such a dialogue should address all vital issues of mutual concern through visits, seminars and a productive exchange of ideas, skills and experiences.”
Currently, India and China are engaged in building a strategic and cooperative partnership and it is significant that China has already emerged as India’s largest trading partner, she said. “The future beckons us to build what has the potential to become one of the foremost and most substantive relationships of the 21st century and one that is of lasting benefit for the people of both our countries,” Gandhi said. Asia, which embraces India and China, is set to play an increasingly important role in world affairs and the India-China relationship must be a key instrument in shaping the changing world order, she said.
Gandhi also called for stepping up exchanges among younger leadership of Congress and Communist Party of China to enhance mutual understanding. Those areas could include infrastructure building, inclusive growth, employment generation and environment protection, among other things, Gandhi said. Recalling her visits to China in 2007 and 2008 as Congress President, she said the Indian National Congress, and CPC signed a MoU in 2008. One of the key components of MoU was a shared commitment to strengthen exchanges amongst the younger leadership in the two parties. More visits and exchanges, particularly among the youth wings of the two parties and between students of the two countries, are extremely important, she said. “That’s to ensure that the generation of young leaders in China and India know and understand each other well, she said, thus deepening the relationship between the two parties, the two peoples and the two countries,” she said.
The INC and CPC have engaged in useful dialogue and exchanges over the years, she said. India and China have pursued different paradigms of development as they have different political systems, natural resources and endowments, Gandhi said. Both countries have scored many achievements since independence and liberation respectively, but they also face challenges to greater development and prosperity, she said. Both countries have the potential to learn from each other, she said. She also recalled her 1988 visit to China with her late husband, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. She described the visit as a “historic one” that initiated a new chapter in the relations between India and China and had a far-reaching positive impact on bilateral interactions between the two sides.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.