Vladivostok, Sep 5: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday explained to his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad the rationale behind New Delhi”s decision on Jammu and Kashmir and sought the extradition of controversial Indian televangelist Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India for fuelling “terrorism”.
Prime Minister Modi met the Malaysian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held here in the Russian Far East Region.
“Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik”s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on PM Modi”s meeting with Mahathir.
Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.
He has been banned from from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese on August 8.
Prime Minister Modi also discussed with Mahathir the “reorganisation” and the developments related to Jammu and Kashmir. They growing threat of terrorism also figured in their talks.
“PM Modi explained to Mahathir the rationale behind the reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in terms of both giving effective governance and delivering socio-economic justice. And in that context the two leaders discussed the focus was on terrorism, on how to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” Gokhale said.
“PM Mahathir acknowledged that terrorism was a global problem and Malaysia is against any form terrorism,” he added.
India revoked Jammu and Kashmir”s special status on August 5 and has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality. Pakistan is trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India”s decision on August 5.
Hours after India”s move, Prime Minister Imran Khan held phone conversation with Mahathir and sought support on the issue.
Prime Minister Mahathir expressed hope that India and Pakistan would exercise “utmost restraint” to prevent further escalation that could be detrimental to the peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is the second meeting between the two leaders, the first was in May last year when Prime Minister Modi called on 94-year-old Mahathir in Putrajaya.
Gokhale said that the meeting between the two prime ministers was “very warm”.
“Modi also described Mahathir”s election as a historic one and said India was looking forward to working with Malaysia,” Gokhale added.
There was also discussion on trade and ways to diversify the bilateral ties to benefit people in both the countries.
“Mahathir acknowledged that there was a growing trade between the two countries, but that Malaysia had a surplus in trade. He assured Modi that while we should grow this trade, Malaysia is looking at ways by which we can balance this trade. He (Mahathir) said, Malaysia would consider importing more from India so that India”s exports to Malaysia grow,” he said.
“Meetings continue in Vladivostok. Prime Ministers @chedetofficial and Narendra Modi discuss ways to diversify India-Malaysia cooperation for the benefit of people in both countries. Strengthening ties with an important ASEAN partner,” the Prime Minister”s Office said in a tweet.
Modi arrived in Russia on Wednesday to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the EEF. On his arrival, Modi received a guard of honour at Vladivostok International Airport.
The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region.
The EEF is being held in Russia”s Far East port city of Vladivostok on September 4-6.
Trump hints at some announcement at ‘Howdy Modi!’ event in Houston
US President Donald Trump has hinted that there “could be” some announcement by him at the mega “Howdy Modi!” event in Houston on Sunday, where he would join Prime Minister Narendra Modi in addressing the 50,000-strong Indian diaspora.
The White House on Monday announced that Trump would join Modi at the mega Houston rally on September 22 as a “special gesture” by the US President to underscore the special bond between the two countries.It is for the first time that Trump and Modi would share a stage together. The event is the third meeting between the two leaders in three months, after the G-20 summit in Japan in June and the G-7 summit in France last month.
“Could be. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Modi,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday aboard Air Force One on his way back from California to Washington DC. He did not elaborate.He was responding to a question if there would be any announcement when he goes to Houston for the rally with the Indian leader.
According to media reports, officials of the two countries are trying to finalise a trade deal before Modi and Trump meet in Houston.
Trade tensions between India and the US have been rising with Trump complaining that tariffs imposed by New Delhi on American products were “no longer acceptable”.
The US in June terminated India’s designation as beneficiary developing country under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme.
India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples from June 5, after the Trump administration revoked its preferential trade privileges.
Reacting to a record number of 50,000 Indian-Americans registering for the event, Trump said the crowd for the event had now become bigger after it was announced that he would be going there.
“He (Modi) has got a big crowd coming and I guess the crowd just got a lot bigger because they just announced–he asked, would I go, and I will go,” Trump said.
After the Houston event, Trump would travel to Ohio for an event with the visiting Australian Prime Minister.
“Then we’re stopping in Ohio on the way back and then I guess we do the United Nations the following week,” the US President said.
Trump also said that he had a great relationship with both India and Pakistan.
Modi will be visiting the US from September 21-27 for the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). It is his first US trip after winning a second term as prime minister in May.
The two leaders are again scheduled to meet later in the week in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session.
Kashmir may not be a major topic during PM Modi-Xi Jinping summit next month: China
China on Tuesday said the Kashmir issue may not be a “major topic” of discussion during the planned 2nd informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, notwithstanding the high voltage campaign by its close ally Pakistan over India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.
A senior Chinese official said it should be left to Modi and Xi on the issues they would like to discuss.
“As for Kashmir will be on the agenda, I’m not sure because this is kind of informal summit and leaders’ meeting I think better we need to give the leaders much time to discuss whatever they would like to discuss,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.
“For this kind of informal summit, I think it is better to leave the leaders much time to discuss whatever they would like to discuss,” she said.
Hua said Kashmir may not be a major topic of discuss between the two leaders. “I think for those things like Kashmir, I don’t think it will be a major topic occupying the talks, that is my understanding,” she said.
“But for the leaders, they will be free to talk about whatever they like,” Hua said, responding to a question.
China, the all-weather ally of Pakistan, already tried to take the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council last month. But a closed-door meeting of the UNSC, in a snub to both Beijing and Islamabad, ended without any outcome or statement.
European Parliament set to discuss Kashmir
Brussels, Sep 17: The European Parliament is expected to hold discussions on the Kashmir issue on Tuesday, the media reported.
After India scrapped its Constitution”s Articles 370 and 35A, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and divided the state into two union territories, Islamabad has been crying foul over New Delhi”s move and continuously trying to highlight the issue on a global level.
However, Pakistan has failed to get the international community to censure India.
The report said that in early September, the European Parliament “had debated an urgent resolution for the horrible conditions, including human rights violations, in Indian-occupied Kashmir”.
The European Union”s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, delivered a detailed policy statement on the Kashmir situation on September 17, it said. (IANS)