November 15, 2019 8:55:41 am
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spelt out the government’s approach to foreign policy in his first major speech in New Delhi Thursday. Delivering the fourth Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture, on the topic “Beyond the Delhi Dogma: Indian Foreign Policy in a Changing World”, Jaishankar provided an assessment of the last 70 years of India’s foreign policy choices and challenged past positions — from dealing with China on boundary issues and handling Pakistan to managing ties with the US.
Taking a step ahead to form a government with the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena attended the first joint meeting of the three parties to evolve a common minimum programme (CMP). Some of the key poll promises made by the two sides in their respective manifestos — blanket farm loan waiver, monthly allowance for unemployed youth, and 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in education — are also likely to be part of the CMP.
In Thursday’s 3:2 Supreme Court ruling on the Sabarimala case, the court has allowed the 2018 order to continue until the larger Bench is set up and decides on a gamut of issues around religion, essentiality of religious practices, and constitutional provisions relating to freedom of religion. Based on what that Bench decides, the review can be dismissed or the 2018 order can be modified. For now, the court has sown the seeds of a complex legal debate.
The top court’s decision on Ayodhya needs to be viewed beyond the mandir-masjid or Hindu-Muslim issue. It is about the idea of Bharat. Do we want a Bharat which represents the legacy of Babar, Ghazni and Ghori or the legacy represented by Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Dara Shikoh, Kabir and APJ Abdul Kalam? The call has to be taken by Muslims in Bharat and the ball is in their court now, writes Rajiv Tuli.
Indicating a “new direction and new energy” in bilateral ties between Indian and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that the new ‘high-level mechanism on trade and economy’, decided at the Mahabalipuram summit, should meet at an early date. They also discussed the RCEP. India has refused to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, and a key reason is the fear of Chinese imports flooding the Indian market. The two leaders met in Brasilia on Wednesday.
There has been a sharp spike in “emergency” requests for user information from Indian government and law enforcement agencies to Facebook, according to the company’s latest transparency report. The report, released on Wednesday, said there were 1,615 such requests in the first half of 2019, up from 861 in the second half of 2018. In all, there were 1,478 “emergency” requests last year, more than a three-fold jump from 460 in 2017.
A day after the House Intelligence Committee held its first public impeachment hearing in two decades, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the evidence uncovered in the inquiry pointed to “bribery” as President Donald Trump “abused his power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid… in exchange for an investigation into his political rival”. The allegation puts a name to the president’s wrongdoing — bribery is an impeachable offence — and concentrates on a specific set of charges.
The Indian badminton contingent which is in Hong Kong’s Kowloon for the World Tour Super 500 tournament were in for a “different experience” this time. They were handed out a list of guidelines asking them to not step out of their hotel. This has been done in view of the fresh bout of violent pro-democracy protests in the island nation which has been going on for almost five months now, Shivani Naik reports.
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