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Anti-China grouping with role for India remains alive:US

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New Delhi: The US has suggested that the Qadrilateral, a grouping of four democracies that purports to take on China in the disputed South China Sea, is alive.

“Recognising that the US and India share complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, they agreed to deepen cooperation towards their joint goals in the region, including in conjunction with other Indo-Pacific partners,” said a US State Department readout after a meeting between Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale in Washington.

The Indian read-out too said both sides “agreed to work with each other and regional partners to promote inclusivity, stability, peace and prosperity in the region.”

 

The affirmation of Indo-US synergy on Indo-Pacific along with other partners comes a fortnight after a US Admiral appeared pessimistic about the future of the Quad, a US-led grouping that includes India in the second prominent role besides Japan and Australia.

The Quad has had a fitful existence for over a decade and intends to preserve the existing order in the main sea lanes of communication in the region. Its sole military outing together was in 2007 but officials have kept it alive at the political level by meetings and frequent airing of the concept.

The Indian readout further said the two sides “exchanged views on building convergences in the Indo-Pacific”. The emphasis on Indo-Pacific in both Foreign Office statements comes shortly after the US twice sent long-range bombers over the disputed shoals in South China Sea.

The Indian statement said both sides called on Pakistan to meaningfully address the concerns of the international community on terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. But there was no mention of India’s number-one priority in the US State Department statement.

Gokhale and Hale also discussed counterterrorism cooperation and several global issues, including the current situation in Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela. India is searching for a role in Afghanistan and is under pressure from the US to substantially cut back its ties with Iran and Venezuela.

The two sides also decided to intensify work on advancing initiatives undertaken as part of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue process.


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National

SC dismisses plea seeking ban on roadshows, bike rallies during polls

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by a former DGP of Uttar Pradesh seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to ban roadshows and bike rallies during polls.

“We are not inclined to entertain this,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepka Gupta told advocate Virag Gupta, who was appearing for petitioners Vikram Singh and Shaivika Agrawal.

Singh, a former Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, said in his petition that the roadshows and bike rallies violate EC’s instructions and cause damage to the environment.

 
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Will give PM Modi whistle, cap if he wants to be ‘chowkidar’: Owaisi

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Hyderabad: Akbaruddin Owaisi, the leader of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for adding ‘chowkidar’ as a prefix in his name on twitter and said that he would provide him with a whistle and a cap if the Prime Minister is interested in such a job.

Speaking at a rally here on Sunday, Owaisi said, “I have seen on Twitter where the names have become as ‘Chowkidar Narendra Modi’, ‘Chowkidar Amit Shah’. Why only one twitter? He should also mention ‘Chowkidar’ in his Aadhaar card, voter-id and passport.”

“We want a PM not a ‘Chaiwala’, ‘Pakodewala’…I am surprised at those who vote for Modi, what kind of person they vote for? If Modi is so interested in being a ‘Chowkidar’, he should come to me, I will offer him a Chowkidar’s cap and a whistle,” he said.

 

Akbaruddin had won from the Chandrayangutta Assembly seat in the last year’s assembly polls in Telangana.

In December 2018, Owaisi was elected as floor leader of AIMIM in the Telangana Legislative Assembly.

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Delhi HC seeks ED’s reply on Vadra’s plea seeking quashing of PMLA case

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New Delhi: Division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vinod Goel of Delhi High Court on Monday refused to grant interim relief to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra and Manoj Arora on their plea for quashing of FIR/ECIR by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

The Delhi HC said that it does not want to interfere since the anticipatory bail plea is being heard in the Patiala House Court.

Although, the Delhi HC Court has sought response of ED on their plea that challenges the Constitutional validity of certain sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It has also directed the ED to supply a copy of ECIR to Robert Vadra and Manoj Arora.

 

The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for May 2.

Robert Vadra had moved Delhi High Court seeking quashing of FIR against him filed by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case.

The Directorate has questioned Vadra multiple times in connection with the case which pertains London-based properties bought between the years 2005 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the ED filed a reply in the lower court alleging that Robert Vadra is the beneficial owner of various properties under investigation in the case which has been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

The Enforcement Directorate, in its application, had said that investigation is still ongoing and is at a crucial stage. In its reply, it had also sought a ‘free’ hand to a thorough interrogation.

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