Nature of the project
The houses will not be built by the Pakistanis themselves, who will only fund the project. A total of 220 homes will be built with the one million dollars. Each family will be given approximately Rs. 2.6 lakh to build their houses. The houses will be built on an owner driven model, wherein the amount is given to the beneficiaries in the form of installments at different stages of progress. The Sri Lankan government will disburse the funds given by Pakistan through local government agencies. A predominantly Muslim village will be covered first under Pakistan’s project, which will eventually expand to include some Sinhala and Tamil families.
India’s housing project
Notably, India is currently building 6,000 homes in Mannar for families displaced due to war. These houses are also built on an owner driven model, wherein the owner builds it. However, instead of handing over the funding to Sri Lanka, India has enlisted the assistance of agencies like the UN Habitat to implement its housing project in different villages.
Mannar is a coastal district in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. Mannar has a majority of Tamil speakers. It has a unique ethnic and religious composition which include sizeable number of Muslims, Catholics, Hindus and some Buddhists. Mannar houses the largest number of Muslims in the province.
Unprovoked heavy firing and shelling across the 192 km Indo-Pak border shows no signs of abating, with the political and military set-up in both countries showing no willingness to compromise. Pakistani Rangers targeted 40 border out posts and 25 border hamlets along the International Border in Jammu and Samba districts of J & K. According to India, this has been Pakistan’s 17th breach of ceasefire in the month of October.
BSF (Border Security Force) has been returning fire in many places along the border, especially in Pargwal. This has led to intensive exchange of fire between the Indian and Pakistani forces. There has been no loss of life or property to BSF as of now. However, the civilian casualty has been significant, and rising, on both sides of the border.
The people bearing the brunt of the exchange of fire have been the civilians. Thousands of people have been displaced, or have fled their villages to escape the firing. Around 1000 people have been shifted to camps. Six people have been killed and 50 others including BSF personnel have been injured in firing along the LoC and the international border.
From October 1 to October 6, there have been ceasefire violations in different areas along the border intermittently but on every single day without exceptions. On October 2, Pakistani Rangers targeted civilian villages, leading to six persons being hospitalized with injuries
Response by the Indian government/Action taken
National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, held a high-level meeting that included the Home Secretary, Chief of Intelligence Bureau and BSF representatives. The bureaucrats were briefed on the violence along the border by the BSF representative, and the situation was discussed.
Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley, said that Pakistan would face heavy military response from India if their ceasefire violations continued.
PM Modi’s first speech before the UNGA has been commended by his supporters and critics alike. He touched upon various topics concerning India and the world in his address, which was delivered in Hindi. The speech which lasted a little more than thirty minutes was read from a prepared text, and some parts were extempore too. Some of the points he made in his speech are as follows:-
- The PM asserted that India’s future was tied with that of its neighbors. Citing instances of his government’s attempts to reach out to different neighbors, he also made it clear that no stable relationship could be built under the shadow of terrorism
- Condemning terrorism and rising extremism in various parts of the world, he insisted that all nations of the world would have to function in unison to deal with such a menace. He also called for genuine dialogue and engagement between countries
- In a rebuke to Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s reference to Kashmir in his speech, the PM said that it was pointless to raise bilateral issues in international forums like the UN
- He also stated that it was now up to Pakistan to establish an atmosphere that was conducive to resuming talks
- Rejecting unilateralism, he said that countries would have to work together to resolve the issues before them. Drawing on India’s ancient history and wisdom, he stated that India viewed the world as one. Even though India is a developing nation it is ready to share its modest resources with the world, he stated. He also questioned the necessity of various grouping of nations like G8 etc when a multilateral body like the UN existed.
- He also called for reforms to the UNSC
- He highlighted issues faced by nations and it people due to globalization and climate chang
- He said that democratic principles and unity were on an upsurge in various parts of the world, highlighting Afghanistan and Nepal as examples. He also mentioned that the world was experiencing increasing levels of prosperity and stability, especially in Latin America
- The PM drew on India’s soft power across the globe by making references to yoga and calling for celebration of International Yoga Day