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Mozambique, India To Work For ‘Safe’ Indian Ocean

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New Delhi: Visiting Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza Thursday said his country looked forward to working with India to make the Indian Ocean “safe” even as both nations set a target of achieving $1 billion in bilateral trade by 2013.

 Mozambique, India To Work For 'Safe' Indian Ocean  

Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza

“Indian Ocean is no more a safe ocean and we are on the shores of this great ocean,” Guebuza said at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of delegation level talks between the two sides.
Singh too said they shared “common concerns” as members of the Indian Ocean community. “It is in our mutual interest to ensure the safety and security of sea lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean,” he said.
Guebuza said: “We are ready to do our part against piracy and terrorism,” adding they want to “share and learn” from India. He said this will be necessary to “make our ocean peaceful and safe”.
He arrived in India Wednesday for a five-day state visit, which is his first trip to a foreign country outside Africa after his re-election in 2009.
After delegation level talks Thursday, the visiting leader of the southeast African country said the talks were “excellent and successful”.
“The challenge is to make sure, on our side, (these decisions are) to implement fully (these decisions). But based on the discussions today, we may be able to go beyond,” Guebuza said.
Three agreements were signed by both countries – on avoiding double taxation, on mineral resources and on micro, small and medium enterprises.
Singh said both nations have decided to set a target of increasing bilateral trade to $1 billion by 2013. Bilateral trade has doubled in the last five years to $427 million in 2009-10.
Concentrating on economic ties, Guebuza said he hoped to “communicate our invitation to do more” to Indian companies and to ask them to invest in Mozambique.
Besides its vast reserves of coal, the president also highlighted expansion of electricity in rural areas as an area of investment.
The Indian prime minister said both countries will create partnership based on four pillars – “greater political engagement, deepening economic cooperation, strengthening defence and security cooperation and cooperation in capacity building and human resource development”.
India has also offered a line of credit of $500 million for infrastructure projects, agriculture and energy. “India will support the establishment of training and planning institutions in Mozambique to support capacity building in the coal industry. India will also support capacity building for the defence and police forces of Mozambique,” said Singh.
Guebuza will be visiting the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) here to learn about Indian advanced research in agriculture. He will visit Ahmedabad and Mumbai, before leaving for home Monday morning.

-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

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.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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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.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

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.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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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.

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Temple

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