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Siachen non-negotiable, country lost more soldiers in proxy war than all wars combined: PM Modi

Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said in a speech made during his visit to Leh that the Siachen Glacier was non-negotiable as he held Pakistan responsible for continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir in which India has lost more soldiers than all wars combined.

He promised Rs 8,000-crore package to build better roads connecting major cities in Jammu & Kashmir. He also laid the foundation stone of the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar power grid. It would be completed by 2017 at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore, with the Centre funding 95% of the cost.

Modi’s stance on Siachen matches those of successive Army Chiefs, who had held that withdrawing from the glacier would be ‘hara-kiri’ as it would allow the Pakistan-China combine to cut off northern Ladakh.

The glacier is in India’s possession since 1984. Pakistan had, in the past, suggested demilitarization of the 2,600 square km glacier.

PM Modi promised:

  • Completion of Leh-Kargil-Srinagar power grid by 2017 at a cost of Rs 1,800 crore, with Centre funding 95% of the cost.
  • ‘One rank one pension’ to be effected
  • National war memorial to be built
  • 3 Ps to develop Ladakh:  Prakash (light), Paryavaran (environment), Paryatan (tourism)
  • Special attention to ‘kesar’ grown in Valley, ‘pashmina’ and solar energy schemes.

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British parliament to debate ‘rights violation’ in Kashmir

British parliament’s House of Commons has agreed to hold a special debate on the state of human rights in Kashmir.

British MP David Ward informed the backbench business committee that “ongoing Kashmir dispute a threat to regional and global peace” and that the new Indian government has been “quite aggressive in terms of its stance towards Kashmir” which was “opening up a whole new area of uncertainty”.

Ward also informed that he had the support of 40 MPs who would like Westminster to hold a debate on the human rights violations in Kashmir.

Though a formal date for the debate has not been decided as  yet, Britain’s decision to agree for a debate on Kashmir hasn’t been well received by Friends of India and Southeast Asian think-tanks. They said “Why should Kashmir be discussed in the parliament when Britain has always been of the view that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan?”

Ward informed that “Kashmir has been a constant source of misery over many years to many people. In the region of 500,000 to 600,000 Indian Army troops are in the area on a permanent basis. It is an area of tension and some 500,000 people have died there in the past 60 or so years”.
Ward who represents Bradford East in the British parliament also cited what he called the “uncertainty about article 370”.

Ward expressed concerns that the members of the new India government are talking about the abrogation of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir. He sought a debate on a motion from a petition that has been signed by 40 MPs, 10 MEPs and also 50,000 members of the public.

The petition says that “the ongoing Kashmir dispute is a threat to regional and global peace; further that the dispute is causing insecurity, instability and human rights violations; and further that the state of Jammu & Kashmir should be given the right to self-determination”.

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Ghana’s proposal of land to Punjab farmers accepted by Punjab Government

The Punjab Government has agreed to the Ghana Government’s proposal offering land to Punjab farmers. As per the proposal, the government of Ghana would provide fertile farmland on a long-term lease to Punjab farmers for farm activities. Ghana has made this proposal to promote agriculture as a tool of progress in Ghana and if possible then by Punjab’s expertise in farming.

Punjab Government has assured Ghana that a high-level delegation of officers as well as an expert from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, would be sent to Ghana to study the suitability of the entire project.

Ghana also offered Punjab to export finished goods to Ghana. It has invited Punjabi entrepreneurs to visit Ghana to start manufacturing facilities in the country and take advantage of Ghana’s natural resources like various minerals, timber, oil, cocoa, palm oil fish and cotton.

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