Seoul: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday stated that India has never been an aggressor in history but would not hesitate in using its strength to defend itself.
“India has never been an aggressor in its history nor will it ever be. But that does not mean that India would balk at using its strength to defend itself,” said Singh while addressing a special session of ‘Seoul Defence Dialogue’ in South Korea’s capital.
The Union Minister who arrived here on Wednesday with an aim to intensify defence and security ties also outlined that defence diplomacy is “a key pillar of India’s strategic toolkit.”
“In fact, defence diplomacy and maintaining a strong defence force are two sides of the same coin,” he added.
Advocating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘India’s Neighborhood First Policy’– which accords primacy to nations in India’s periphery– the Union Minister noted that a key feature of the approach is also its engagement with its neighbours in sub-regional groupings of Indian-Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), apart from a trilateral maritime cooperation with Sri Lanka and the Maldives to improve Maritime Domain Awareness.
He also gave new mantras to build an open and inclusive architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.
“If we work together on the basis of the five principles that have characterised Indian thought and policies for centuries – the principles of Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Sahayog (cooperation), Shanti (peace) and Samriddhi (prosperity), our success is assured,” the Defence Minister tweeted.
Singh also said that countries working in harmony among each other must provide the right of equal access to the use of common spaces on sea and in the air to all the nations.
“We advocate an open and inclusive architecture for the Indo-Pacific region, with ASEAN centrality and equal access to the global commons,” he added.
Singh further stated that he is being optimistic about the outcome as long as all concerned parties are committed to building peace together.
“I thank the Govt of the Republic of Korea for inviting me to address at the ‘Seoul Defense Dialogue’ which is a prestigious multilateral security dialogue, a forum that offers a sound platform for discussions of the pressing defence and security issues facing the world today,” he said.
Singh noted that India and South Korea have ancient cultural links between each other. Buddhism spread from India to East Asia and was introduced in Korea over 2000 years ago, he said.
The Minister said that the people of the two South Asian countries are linked through family ties that can be traced to the legendary Queen Heo Hwang-ok, who travelled all the way from Ayodhya to marry King Suro of Gaya in present-day Gimhae.
“These linkages form a strong underpinning for our contemporary ties,” he said.
The Defence Minister also laid a wreath at the National Cemetery in Seoul today.
Upon his arrival here yesterday, Singh met South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yon and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to bilateral ties.
The two leaders further noted with appreciation that South Korea’s ‘New Southern Policy’ and India’s ‘Act East Policy’ shared the same perspective and goals. The elevation of bilateral relations to a Special Strategic Partnership in 2015 has heralded a new era in India-Korea relations.
Prime Minister Lee expressed that the South Korean government’s desire for active cooperation with India in diplomatic as well as national security and defence policy arenas.
During yesterday’s meeting between the South Korean Prime Minister and Defence Minister sides also shared the view that the CEOs Forum will serve as a catalyst for greater industry-level cooperation. The two sides conveyed their good wishes to each other for their efforts in the Korean peninsula and Kashmir respectively.
Singh is also expected to hold talks with counterpart Jeong Kyeong-Doo, the Minister of National Defence.
The Defence Minister will also be attending a CEO’s Forum today followed by a Business-to-Government (B2G) meeting with the participation of members of the Defence Industry from both sides with an aim to encourage co-operation between defence Industry of India and the Republic of Korea.
India is developing strong military hardware cooperation with South Korea as the Indian Army has already inducted the K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers built in partnership with the Indian firm Larsen and Toubro.
Abrogation of Article 370 : Constitution bench to begin hearing from December 10
NEW DELHI: The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 by the Centre and the reorganisation of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories from December 10.
The matter was listed for hearing on Thursday but the top court postponed the hearing in the case till December 10.
It may be recalled that a batch of petitions had been filed in the top court by leading Kashmiri politicians and activists challenging the Centre’s August 5 move to abrogate Article 370 that gave special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In its October 24 order, the Supreme Court had said that the petitions challenging the validity of provisions of Article 370, which was abrogated by the Centre on August 5, and Article 35-A would be dealt with by its 5-judge Constitution bench which is hearing the Kashmir matter.
Some of the petitioners had then told the top court that they have filed pleas challenging the existence of provisions of Articles 370 and 35-A which granted special status to J&K before the Centre came out with the decision to abrogate them.
The five-judge constitution bench had on October 1 given four weeks to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to file counter-affidavits on the petitions and also put an embargo on the filing of any fresh writ petition challenging the constitutional validity on abrogation of Article 370.
In 2014, an NGO ‘We The Citizens’ had filed a petition in the apex court challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A. Later, six other pleas were also filed in the top court on the issue.
The top court had then dismissed the pleas and directed the petitioners to approach the high court.
Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accorded special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state.
It denied property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their right over property, also applied to their heirs.
However, after the Centre’s move to scrap the Article 370, the provisions of Article 35A became null and void and all central rules became applicable in J&K after it was formally split in two Union Territories on the night of October 31.
Article 370 was included in the Constitution as a “temporary provision”. Courtesy this section, the residents of J&K lived under a separate set of laws dealing with property ownership and citizenship. Article 370 also fanned separatist emotions and enabled terrorism, the ruling BJP had contended while introducing the bill.
The two new UTs came into existence on the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who played a crucial role in integrating 560 princely states into India.
After the bifurcation of J&K, the number of states in India stands at 28, and UTs at nine.
Pakistan exporting ‘terror’, stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains: India at UNSC
UNITED NATIONS: India lashed out at Pakistan for raising the issue of women’s rights in Kashmir in the UN Security Council, saying the country represents a system that has been exporting militancy and “regressive” extremist ideologies and “stifling” women’s voices for narrow political gains.
India’s strong response came after Pakistan’s outgoing UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi commented on the situation in Kashmir, revocation of Article 370 and women’s rights in the Valley during the debate on October 29.
“As everyone today focuses on collective action, one delegation rhetorically regurgitates about women’s rights in my country,” First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said Monday at a Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security.
Without naming Pakistan, Tripathi said the delegation “represents a system that has been exporting terrorism and regressive extremist ideologies, and stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains. This has devastated lives of generations of women and their families, in our region and beyond.”
Alluding to Islamabad’s habit of raking up the Kashmir issue at various UN forums and committees, Tripathi said the country habitually makes baseless allegations without any relevance to the agenda under consideration and this has “become a staple for this delegation.”
She referred to Lodhi’s comments on Jammu and Kashmir during the October 29 debate as well as during a previous debate on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”.
Asserting that India firmly rejects the baseless allegations, Tripathi said “the Council has not paid attention to such deceitful narratives in the past, and we are confident that the Council will continue to do so, to ensure that its agenda is not used as a ploy for furthering territorial ambitions.”
In her remarks to the debate, Tripathi underscored that violence against women and girls perpetrated by terrorists remain rampant and subjugation of women in public and in private spheres continue across situations that are on the agenda of the Council.
“It is important that the Council strives to effectively integrate women, peace and security considerations into sanctions regimes, including by listing terrorist entities involved in violence against women in armed conflicts,” she said.
Further, Tripathi highlighted the positive impacts of greater participation of women in UN peacekeeping but voiced concern that women make up only 4.2 per cent of military personnel in UN peacekeeping missions.
“We ought to encourage participation of all women units to achieve the set targets in this regard,” she said.
Tripathi pointed out that a trend in which in order to accommodate those who cannot fulfill the commitments of providing all women units to peacekeeping missions, mixed units are being given preference by diluting the policy frameworks.
“If this continues, we possibly cannot achieve the set targets,” she said as she added that India remains committed to increasing the number of women peacekeepers and has deployed a Female Engagement Team in UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) earlier this year.
MeT predicts rains,snowfall from Nov 6 to 8 in J&K
Jammu, Nov 5 : The weather department on Tuesday predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in the hills and plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories for three days starting from Wednesday.
The weather system is likely to cause temporary disruptions on surface transport especially over passes like Zojila, Srinagar-Jammu, Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal Road due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.
‘There is an active Western Disturbance. Its interaction with Cyclone MAHA (currently lying over East central Arabian sea) is most likely to cause widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh during 6th to 8th November’, Director, State Met department, Sonam Lotus said.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan on Monday chaired a meeting of officers to review the position of winter stocks of food grains and other essential commodities in Ladakh and Kashmir division.
Besides, Deputy Commissioner Leh and officials of District Administration, Kargil attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Directing officials to ensure adequate stocks of commodities, the division commissioner said people in these areas should not face any difficulty during winter months.
The meeting was informed that all essential commodities for winter including food grains, fire wood, LPG, medicine and other items have been stocked