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Howdy, Modi: In US, PM says, ‘revoking 370 troubled Pak’

Press Trust of India

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Houston, Sep 23: In a grand show of friendship and common vision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Sunday shared the stage at a gala event replete with symbolism and substance, as the two leaders pledged to fight ‘terrorism’ while heaping praise on each other’s achievements.

In his address, Modi hit out at Pakistan for its support to ‘terrorism’ and said India’s decision to nullify Article 370 has “caused trouble to those who cannot handle their country” as he called for a “decisive battle” against terrorism.

Making a strong pitch against ‘terrorism’ in the presence of President Trump, who joined the mega event in a rare gesture of friendship, Modi asked the crowd to give Trump a standing ovation, as he targeted Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan, without directly naming them.

 

“Article 370 encouraged terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, asserting that its nullification will allow development and prosperity in the region and end discrimination against women, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

In an apparent reference to Pakistan, Modi said that the people who cannot even manage their own country are harbouring ‘terrorism’ and supporting ‘terrorism’. “The entire world knows about this,” he added.

“Where do you find conspirators of 9/11 and 26/11 attacks,” Modi said, referring to attacks in the US and Mumbai.

“Time has come for a decisive fight against those who promote and support terrorism,” he added.

He emphasized that Trump is strongly supporting India in the battle against terrorism. The audience gave standing ovation to President Trump.

Modi gave tacit support to Trump’s 2020 re-election bid at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event, saying ‘Abki Baar, Trump Sarkar”. Trump responded with a smile. Modi’s pitch will greatly help the Republican Trump in winning votes of nearly four million Indian-Americans who have traditionally voted for the Democrat Party.

“You can feel the strength and depth of the bonds between our two nations,” Modi said in his speech to introduce Trump to a wildly cheering crowd of some 50,000 Indians living in the US at the event. “When I met him for the first time, Trump said India has a true friend in the White House. Your presence here is a great testimony to that,” Modi said.

In response, Trump praised Modi’s economic reforms and said these have lifted more than three million people out of poverty. “And that is an incredible number,” he added.

“In both India and the US, we’re seeing something remarkable: Our people are prospering like never before because we are slashing bureaucracy and cutting red tape,” Trump said.

The event is a huge diplomatic victory for Modi, who has emerged as an even taller international statesman after displaying such close rapport with Trump the two walked hand in hand after their speeches. Also, Trump did not use his official podium with the official seal, but spoke from behind one that had India and US flags on it.

Trump also did not bring up the issue of Kashmir, where India recently imposed restrictions on civilians after revoking Article 370.

Modi also underscored his government’s push for development in India, saying it is the most “discussed” word in the country as his government is “aiming high and achieving higher”.

He said the presence of such a big gathering is not confined to arithmetic and that people are seeing new history and chemistry being made.

Modi described in detail his efforts towards clean India campaign and sanitation. He also spoke about his fight against corruption.

“Energy of NRG (stadium) is a witness of synergy between India and the US…My answer to ‘Howdy, Modi’ is only this: Everything is Fine in India,” he said and repeated this in eight different Indian languages.

Emphasising that diversity is the foundation of India’s democracy, Modi said the country’s various languages are an important identity of its liberal and democratic society.

Referring to the recently concluded elections, Modi said that 610 million voters participated in the elections twice the size of American population.

“Indians are known for patience, but now we are impatient for the development of India in the 21st century,” he said.

“We are challenging ourselves,” he said, adding that India today is challenging the mindset that nothing will change ever.

Modi also referred to the recent decisions of his government to liberalize and reform the economy including reduction in corporate tax.

He said that he expects positive results from his talks with President Trump in the next few days. “He (Trump) calls me a tough negotiator. But he is an expert in art of the deal. I am learning a lot from him,” Modi said.

Modi invited Trump to India with family.

Addressing the gathering, Trump vowed to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and said border security is vital to both America and India as he emphasised on bolstering further the Indo-US security relationship.

“India and the US also understand that to keep our community safe, we must protect our borders. Border security is vital to the US. Border Security is vital to India. And we understand that,” he said as Modi clapped.

He emphasised on working closely with India to enhance space co-operation. He praised the contributions of the Indian-Americans, saying they have enriched “our culture and uplifted our values. We are proud to have them as Americans.”

Some Sikh and Kashmiri separatist groups staged anti-India protests in the city.


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Northern Army Commander visits Siachen

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 20:Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Sunday visited forward posts in Siachen Glacier. He was accompanied by Lieutenant General Harinder Singh, General Officer Commanding, ‘Fire & Fury Corps’.

“Complementing the troops deployed in the Sector for their dedication and perseverance, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that the nation is proud of the valour and sacrifices of the ‘Siachen Warriors’,” an army spokesperson said.

“He exhorted them to continue to uphold the high standards of professionalism and commitment, even while deployed in the face of extreme challenges posed by the highest battlefield in the world. He also laid a wreath at the Siachen War Memorial, as a mark of respect for the martyrs of Operation MEGHDOOT,” he added.

 

Lieutenant General Singh later visited ‘Heritage Abode’ – the residence of one of the greatest heroes of Ladakh, Late Colonel Chhewang Rinchen at Sumur Village in Nubra Valley.

Colonel Chhewang Rinchen was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra twice and a Sena Medal, for his acts of valour during the various battles fought in the Ladakh Sector. Paying his respects, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh said that Colonel Chhewang Rinchen will continue to inspire future generations of Indians.

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No merger on cards, J&K Bank has strong fundamentals:Chhibber

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 20: Putting all the speculations about the J&K Bank’s merger at rest, J&K Bank Chairman and Managing Director R K Chhibber today stated, “The recent crisis of Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank in the country has worried bank customers in general but the rumors of J&K bank’s merger by some vested interests has raised apprehensions among our depositors particularly in J&K. Let me put all those speculations at rest by assuring you that no merger is on the cards and the bank’s fundamentals are very strong.”

In a press statement, he further said, “Let me assure all the stakeholders of the bank that their beloved bank is in safe hands of more than 12000 strong J&K Bank family under the supervision and guidance of a professionally strong board of directors with a robust accountability framework in place for transparency and efficiency. The only way to go for the bank is up and above, towards higher levels of accomplishments.”

Commenting upon the effect of recent political developments in J&k upon the bank, he said, “We certainly believe that the recent developments that have taken place in state won’t affect the essence of this institution, which is to financially serve the people of J&K and catalyze the economic development of this region.J&K Bank has witnessed far bigger challenges in the past, and we believe, as always with the emotional equity of the people, support of J&K Government and unmatched commitment of our staff, we shall meet every challenge head-on and come out stronger and more successful.”

 

While reiterating that J&K Bank has strong fundamentals with all its major financial indicators performing well, the Chairman also asserted that few of the large loans, made some years ago that have turned Non Performing Assets (NPAs) and are being investigated; have been adequately provided for by the bank and shall have no impact on the profitability of the bank.

“Let me assure you that we are here to be with you and lead you towards a more promising and fulfilling economic future”, he said.

Reflecting upon the long and eventful journey of the bank, the Chairman said, “It has been a long, eventful and challenging journey of over eighty years that has shaped up not only this great institution but the very structure and the substance of J&K’s economy. For all this, we acknowledge and admit the instrumental role of our shareholders and customers whose unwavering trust and cooperation has been the guiding light for us during eight decades of our existence.”

Expressing his gratitude for the bank’s main stakeholders, Chairman said, “In particular we appreciate the unflinching support of our main stakeholders i.e.the J&K Government, the Board of Directors, and employees at large. J&K Government has always come forward to support the bank in all spheres and have already raised their stake to 59 pc in the bank by providing capital of Rs 532 Crfor business growth and regulatory requirement. Thegovernment has also indicated to extend additional capital support in near future to meet our Basel III capital requirements.”

Notably, thevery reason for the establishment of Jammu & Kashmir Bank by its founders in 1938 has been to empower the people of the state financially so that an era of development could be ushered in.Today we see that vision transformed into reality as J&K Bankleads from the front with market share of more than 65 pc, more than 12 million account holders from two million households and a total business around 1.65 lac Cr.

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Market Intervention Scheme: Govt procures 1.5L apple boxes, disburses Rs 8 cr

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 19: Jammu and Kashmir government has procured 1.5 lakh apple boxes and paid around Rs 8 crore to growers under the ambitious Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) so far.

Launched last month in association with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), MIS was aimed at easing difficulties of the apple growers in the valley.

Director Horticulture, Kashmir, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, said around 4000 growers have been registered under the scheme so far.

 

“We have procured 1.5 lakh apple boxes, which roughly comes to 2000 metric tonnes of fruit. We did business of around Rs 10 crore and almost Rs 8 crore have been disbursed to apple growers so far,” Bhat told The Kashmir Monitor.

Director Horticulture noted that there has been a good response since October 7, when government revised the rates of apples.

“As per government order, the payment has to be disbursed within three days after procurement of apple. Sometimes it may take five days. We will continue this scheme till December 15. It can be extended if need arises. This scheme is working in a hassle free manner and apple growers are benefitting,” he said.

 The initial rates for A grade apple were Rs 52 per kilo, Rs 36 for B grade and Rs 15.75 for C grade apple. The revised rates for A grade apple are Rs 58 per kilo, Rs 42 for B grade and Rs 22 for C grade apple.

Bhat said six lakh metric tonnes of apple have been exported so far. This includes 2000 metric tonnes exported under market intervention scheme.

“Kashmir grows around 21 lakh metric tonnes of apple and over 25 percent has been exported so far. Most of the growers have exported apples on their own without benefitting from the scheme,” he said.

Kashmir’s fruit season starts in May when first crop of cherry is harvested. It is followed by pears and other fruits which hit the market in the following months. Apple is almost the last crop that hits the market in autumn. Bulk of the apples is exported to the markets in Delhi. Some of the crop is also sold in Bangalore, Mumbai, Ahmadabad and other cities.

Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy with seven lakh families directly and indirectly associated with the sector. The horticulture contributes seven percent to the Gross State Domestic Product of Jammu and Kashmir.

More than 3.38 lakh hectares of land is under the fruit cultivation in the valley. Of which 1.62 lakh hectares is under the apple cultivation. Last year the fruit production including dry fruits touched 23.30 lakh tonnes last year compared to 22.34 lakh tonnes in 2017.

Jammu and Kashmir is the largest producer of apple in the country with production touching 18.28 lakh metric tonnes last year. The apple production was 17.27 lakh metric tonnes in 2017.

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