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India cautious on trade sanctions by the US; may negotiate

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New Delhi: After the trade sanctions imposed by the United States, India is carefully looking at means to calm things down. Bloomberg has reported that India may negotiate terms with the US after the latter withdrew the duty-free status of 2000 products being exported by the former.

The concession granted to India was not mandated by any trade agreement or treaty but offered voluntarily by the USA. This is the reason India may not retaliate by raising tariffs on the imports from the US. Any retaliation would put India in a bad light under World Trade Organisation norms.

The matter would be taken up for discussion on June 6 in the meeting between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and various trade associations.

 

Last year, when the US imposed higher tariffs on imports from India, the reciprocal message was sent from India following the steps taken by the European Union and China.

The recent move ended concession to goods amounting to $5.7 billion that India shipped to the USA. The items included jewelry, leather goods, pharmaceuticals, chemical and other farm produces.

The reason India is unable to actively deal with trade disputes is because of its reliance on the USA for defence deals. The USA has been leading a group of nations including Australia and Japan to contain China’s growth in the region.

“Given the rising tempo of U.S.-India strategic ties on matters chiefly pertaining to defense interoperability, India may take a tempered approach,” said Kashish Parpiani, a fellow at Observer Research Foundation, a private think-tank. The U.S.’s arms exports to India rose by over 550% in the five years to 2017, making it India’s second-largest arms supplier, Parpiani said.

India tried to reduce the $21 billion trade surplus with the USA by stepping up imports from America. It termed the withdrawal of benefits as “unfortunate.”

While India will continue to work on improving ties with the USA, its trade decisions would be guided by its own “development imperatives and concerns,” India’s trade ministry said.


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Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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