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Consensus between PM Modi, Xi Jinping to be reflected in SCO summit: Indian Envoy

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Beijing: The consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan would be reflected at the Qingdao summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, India’s envoy to China Gautam Bambawale has said on the eve of the meeting on June 8.
Modi would attend the two-day summit of the eight-member SCO in the estern Chinese city of Qingdao. This is the first summit of the organisation after the admission of India and Pakistan as full members last year.
During his stay in Qingdao, Modi will also hold several bilateral meetings with the leaders of the SCO member countries including Xi.”The focus on of SCO members is in the areas of security cooperation, countering terrorism, economic development as well as cultural exchange,” Bambawale told state-run China Daily and China Global Television Network (CGTN).
“We will continue to expand our cooperation in these areas. India will work with the other member countries in this direction,” he said.
The SCO members include China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
He said that India would take part in the SCO enthusiastically. Bambawale highlighted the consensus reached between Modi and Xi at their informal summit at the Chinese city of Wuhan in April and said it would be reflected at the Qingdao summit.
He said the two leaders reached consensus in two areas. The first was that India and China are partners in progress and development. “Second there are many more commonalities between India and China, many more areas where we cooperate with each other than where we differ with each other,” he said.”Obviously, between any two countries, including India and China, there are some areas which we do not see eye to eye, where we have our own opinions. But the two leaders decided to work on the areas where we have common approaches. We will see that in Qingdao summit,” he said.
On India-China security cooperation in view of their differences on the border, he said, “India and China must work together in the security area too”. “We might have our differences in terms of where our border lies. We don’t have a final resolution of India-China border. But I think it is very important for India and China to ensure that peace and tranquillity is maintained in the India, China border areas,” Bambawale said.”If we are able to achieve this, we should not have any doubts about our wisdom and our abilities, especially of our leaders to achieve this objective and this goal,” he said.
“If we are able to achieve this, then we will have an impact on security, not only within this region, the Indo-Pacific or the Asia Pacific region but it will have impact across the world,” he said.
On India’s participation in the SCO, he said, “We have been a very enthusiastic member of the SCO. We have participated in all the meetings of the SCO. We are looking forward to much close cooperation between India and other member countries in the SCO.”
He also highlighted the significance of Modi’s informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi on May 21 “where they discussed how India and Russia view global developments and the position they take on these issues”.
“As all three countries, (India, China, Russia) are members of the SCO, we believe that the organisation can play an important role in global affairs,” he said.
The main areas of the SCO’s work are security, counter-terrorism, economic development and economic growth, and cultural harmony and cultural exchange, he said. “So India and China worked very closely in the past one year in all areas and to enhance the Shanghai spirit of the SCO,” he said.
Asked about the opportunities and challenges faced by the SCO in the backdrop of the current international situation, particularly the rising protectionism, he said the SCO has many opportunities to reiterate the values that it stands for, including multi-polarity, the positive effects of globalisation, adhering to global rules, working together to uphold existing institutions and contributing positively towards inter-cultural harmony. “India believes that the SCO can work towards these goals” he said.
On India’s concerns over large deficit in bilateral trade with China, he said while the trade is growing touching about USD 84.4 billion last year, “there are some non-tariff barriers in China which need to be removed for this to happen”.
“We need to move towards more balanced trade between our two countries since only then will our commercial interaction be sustainable,” he said.
India has been asking China to open its IT and pharmaceutical sectors to address the trade deficit which climbed to over USD 51 billion last year.


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National

‘This Lok Sabha election was like pilgrimage for me,’ says Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told his ministerial colleagues that this Lok Sabha election was like a pilgrimage for him.

Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “PM Modi said that he has seen many elections but this election’s campaign did not seem like a campaign. He said it was like a pilgrimage for him.”

“Terming the completion of the NDA government’s tenure as a successful experiment, PM Modi said the alliance should be further strengthened,” Tomar said.

 

PM Modi on Tuesday had a meeting with the members of his Council of Ministers and congratulated them for successfully working as a team for the last five years.

The 2-hour long meeting was attended by all the ministers, who on their part congratulated PM Modi for the development works that the government did in the last five years under his leadership.

Fully confident to return to power, Union Minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur said: “We are 110 per cent forming the next government. The opposition is staring at their defeat.”

On the allegations about drawbacks in electronic voting machines (EVMs), Kaur said: “When they won the Assembly polls in three states, EVMs were good for them but when the exit polls have shown their defeat, they have started blaming EVMs.”

Seeking apologies for their baseless allegations against PM Modi, Giriraj Singh said: “Opposition parties should apologise to the public for their baseless allegations. They have won elections when it was conducted by EVMs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Delhi.”

Predicting more than 300 seats for BJP and 350 plus for the NDA, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said: “Scared of defeat, the opposition parties indulged in violence and bloodshed. They are not able to digest the defeat.”

Union Minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan also thanked PM Modi for running a strong government at the Centre for five years.

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EC wants to set new precedent of ‘dark secrets’, ‘secluded chambers’: Cong

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New Delhi: A day before the counting of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Wednesday termed as “constitutional travesty” the EC’s rejection of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded and alleged that the poll watchdog wanted to set a new precedent of “dark secrets” and “secluded chambers” in performing its duties.

“A Constitutional travesty! ECI wants to set a new precedent of ‘dark secrets’ & ‘secluded chambers’ in doing its constitutional duties. If CEC can’t play fair in its functioning, can it play fair in ensuring a free & fair election?,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.

His comments came a day after the Election Commission (EC) decided not to record the dissents put forward by the members of the “full commission”, overruling Lavasa.

 

On Tuesday, the poll panel rejected with a majority vote Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations, days after the simmering tension within the EC over the issue came out in the open.

The “full commission” of the panel, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other members — Lavasa and Sushil Chandra — deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the EC said dissent notes and minority views would remain part of the records but would not be part of its orders. Lavasa had dissented on a series of clean chits given by the EC to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches during the election campaign.

As his demand for recording his dissent notes in EC’s orders was not met, Lavasa recused himself from cases relating to violations of the Model Code of Conduct. The counting of votes for the just-concluded, seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will be taken up on Thursday.

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Pawar plays matchmaker, looks for new partners for a non-BJP front

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Mumbai: The Opposition’s leading players are reaching out to other political leaders who can swing numbers in case the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) falls short of majority. The exit polls, however, predicted otherwise.

Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar has played a role of matchmaker between various parties for a non-BJP front.

Pawar has reached out to YSR Congress’s Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhar Rao and Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, reported NDTV.

 

According to Hindustan Times report, the functionary said KCR confirmed to Pawar that his party would be open to supporting the United Progressive Alliance in the event of a hung Parliament.

He had reportedly made calls for support in case Opposition gets a chance to form the government. He has been in touch with Chandrababu Naidu who has been touring across nation for discussion with leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

On Tuesday, Chandrababu Naidu met Karnataka Chief Minsiter HD Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda of JD(S), which is in alliance with Congress.

Jagan Reddy is yet to return calls from the opposition. Reddy is also being pursued by the NDA.

Last year, Naidu broke the alliance with NDA over the delay of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Exit polls on Sunday predicted over 300 of Lok Sabha’s 543 seats for the NDA, well past the majority mark of 272. The Congress and its allies were given 122 and non-aligned parties, 114.

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