Advisor to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Sunday concerted action is needed for peaceful resolution of regional conflicts and “blame games” will not help toward achieving peace.
Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference underway in Amritsar, India, Aziz said peaceful resolution of unresolved conflicts would boost regional cooperation and communication.
Eluding to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s allegations that Pakistan was giving “sanctuary” to terrorists, Aziz said concerted policy and action, not blame games, are needed to establish peace in Afghanistan. Such blame games will not bring peace to Afghanistan, he said.
Aziz said that Pakistan’s attendance at the Conference, despite escalating tensions with India, shows Pakistan’s resolve to establish peace in Afghanistan and the overall region.
The foreign policy advisor said a serious review of peace efforts in Afghanistan is needed. Despite Ashraf Ghani’s comments about Pakistan, Aziz praised the efforts of the Afghan President and Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in development of Afghanistan.
“Afghan forces have combated terrorism bravely,” Aziz said.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani earlier on Sunday accused Pakistan of providing ‘sanctuary’ to terrorists and mocked the neighbouring country over its promised aid to Afghanistan.
Addressing the Heart of Asia Conference underway in Amritsar, Ghani said the $500 million promised by Pakistan for Afghan reconstruction would be better utilised in ‘fighting terrorism’.Sartaj Aziz said earlier Pakistan is ready to hold talks with India and discuss the issue of terrorism within the framework of a comprehensive dialogue agreed upon on the sidelines of last year s Heart of Asia.
Sartaj Aziz told the Indian newspaper The Sunday Express on Saturday that he was in Amritsar to show his commitment to Afghanistan’s peace and security.
“I am here to attend the Heart of Asia meeting and by coming here we are showing our commitment to first of all to the importance of Heart of Asia for Afghanistan s peace and security. I am also here to show our commitment to peace and security of the region and commitment to promote multilateral peace for this purpose,” Aziz said.
He said that his presence in India was an indication that Pakistan was ready for bilateral talks.
“If India shows any interest I would certainly like to meet. I do not think we need to request for a meeting. We are here so we will see how it goes,” Aziz said.
Pakistan, he said, is desirous of peace. Peace requires dialogue and any issues can be discussed across the table than through the media, he said.
“If we do not have structured dialogue then the dialogue through media increases hostility and increases negative perceptions,” Aziz said. “Whenever India is ready we will be ready. Terrorism is a subject under the comprehensive dialogue when we meet we can discuss that also.”
Sartaj Aziz met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani during the Conference earlier today (Sunday) where the two leaders held talks on peace and progress in the region and security situation in Afghanistan in particular.
Sartaj Aziz arrived in Amritsar on Saturday to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference, where he also attended a banquet hosted in honour of representatives from different states and international observers.
The dinner was hosted for the visiting dignitaries at a heritage village named ‘Sadda Pind (our village)’ located on the outskirts of Amritsar. Indian Premier Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also attended the banquet hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Sartaj Aziz shook hands with PM Narendra Modi, where the latter inquired with him about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Aziz conveyed PM Sharif’s best wishes to Narendra Modi, which the Indian premier reciprocated with his well wishes for his Pakistani counterpart.
Earlier upon his arrival, he was received by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and joint secretary of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
Sartaj Aziz also sent a bouquet to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence extending his sincere wishes for her speedy recovery.
The advisor is representing Pakistan in the Heart of Asia Conference with focus on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, and the efforts for durable peace in the war-ravaged country.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter today said that the defence relationship between America and India, the world’s two largest democracies has never been as close it is now.
Mr. Carter said, the US-India defence relationship is the closest it has ever been. He said, through our strategic handshake with America reaching west in the rebalance and India reaching east in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls his Act East policy, two nations are exercising together by air, land, and sea like never before.
Mr Carter, who will be in India next week, said this in his address to the Regan National Defence Forum in Simi Valley, California. He said, both countries also have a technological handshake as the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, grasps hands with Mr Modi’s Make in India campaign that is helping the countries move toward more diverse co-development and co-production of weapons systems. The outgoing US Defence Secretary’s last overseas trip includes Japan, India, Israel, Bahrain, Italy and the UK.
Delhi and Mumbai hosted European style fan park screenings. Former LaLiga stars Luis Garcia and Frederic Kanoute attended the events in Delhi and Mumbai respectively and engaged with the fans
LaLiga, Spain’s leading football league, who launched their India office in New Delhi recently. LaLiga hosted European style live screening events in Delhi and Mumbai of the match between FC Barcelona & Real Madrid CF,which is popularly known as the ‘El Clasico
’. The match ended in a draw with some high octane action in the last minute of the game. Both cities saw unprecedented support from the fans, as they thronged to the stadiums to support their respective clubs.
Both clubs have a large fan following in India, and for the first time, their fans had a chance to experience the El Clasico in a fan park atmosphere with a football carnival focussed around the match. The evening included giant screens, food & beverage stalls as well as a number of competitions and fan engagement activities, both in Delhi (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium) & Mumbai (Khar Gymkhana). To add some stardust to the events, fans got to watch the match with former LaLiga superstars, Luis Garcia (Delhi) and Frederic Kanoute (Mumbai), who attended the screenings.
LaLiga President, Javier Tebas said, “Our aim is to take LaLiga all across the world, and further establish the league as one that is global and inclusive. We feel that the most important way to grow is to be closer to our fans, and provide tem with newer, more exciting experiences. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona enjoy huge popularity in India and we feel that we owe the passionate fans of the league, a chance to experience such an event. This is a big step, and what we believe will be a great start to our journey in India.”
Luis Garcia, who played for FC Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid in LaLiga, said “ It was a fantastic atmosphere at the screening and it was wonderful to see such enthusiasm from the crowd, It was a high intensity match and all the fans who turned out will be happy with the result at the end.”
Former Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute who attended the Mumbai screening. Kanoute said, “It was a wonderful experience watching the match with the fans, I am glad to see such tremendous support for Spanish football in India, it was an evenly fought contest and was a treat for all of us present here. Screenings as such will definitely help grow the popularity of the sport in the future”.
Rajesh Kaul, President – Distribution and Sports, Sony Pictures Networks India, LaLiga’s official broadcasters in India said, “El Clasico is among the most viewed annual sporting events in the world and we are enabling football fans who cannot watch the match live at Barcelona’s Camp Nou, an opportunity to experience one of the most heavily anticipated games of the season with football legends, Luis Garcia and Frederic Kanoute, at a live match screening in Delhi & Mumbai. Fans can look forward to coming together at a single venue to watch the live broadcast of the game on a giant screen, meet the legends of LaLiga and cheer on their favorite team with friends and family.”
The National Security Service of Azerbaijan say their team has killed a man who tried to blow himself up near a shopping mall in the country’s capital, Baku. “During a special operation, the National Security Service of Azerbaijan eliminated Emin Azizagaoglu Jami, who on December 3 tried to set off a suicide belt during his arrest near the ‘Bina’ shopping mall,” a press statement from the Security Service said, as quoted by RIA Novosti. According to the officials, an investigation is currently on the way. The man in question, an Azerbaijani citizen, received a prison sentence back in 2007 for being a member of a terrorist group. After being freed this year, Jami once again took part in the anti-government movement and terrorist organizations, allegedly planning a terrorist attack on the territory of Azerbaijan, the statement noted
Russia’s security forces have neutralized five militants in the village of Talgi in Dagestan, the North Caucasus, where a counter-terror operation regime was imposed on Saturday, a law enforcement source told Russian media. “A house in the village of Talgi not far from Makhachkala [Dagestan’s capital] where the militants were hiding was blockaded. They responded with fire to the suggestion to surrender. Five militants were neutralized,” the source said, adding that the number of killed militants is likely to rise. Their identities are currently being established. The counter-terror operation regime has been reportedly put on hold until Sunday morning.
Scientists have discovered a way to convert nuclear waste into radioactive black diamond batteries which last more than 5,000 years.
Researchers at the University of Bristol have found a means of creating a battery capable of generating clean electricity for five millennia, or as long as human civilization has existed.
Scientists found that by heating graphite blocks – used to house uranium rods in nuclear reactors – much of the radioactive carbon is given off as a gas.
This can then be gathered and turned into radioactive diamonds using a high-temperature chemical reaction, in which carbon atoms are left on the surface in small, dark-colored diamond crystals.
These man-made diamonds produce a small electrical charge when placed near a radioactive source.
The radioactive diamonds are then encased safely within a layer of non-radioactive diamond. The surface of a complete diamond emits less radiation than a banana.
The Bristol scientists have already created a working diamond battery from nickel-63, a radioactive isotope more stable than carbon-14, which is prevalent in nuclear waste.
They will create their first carbon-14 batteries in the New Year.
There are no moving parts involved, no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation,” said Tom Scott, Professor in Materials at the University of Bristol Interface Analysis Centre.
“By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”
A diamond battery containing 20g of carbon-14 would deliver a small electrical charge of 300 joules per day. By contrast, an AA battery outputs 14,000 joules per day.
Scientists at NASA are reportedly interested in using the technology in space flight, while tech firms could incorporate the batteries into smaller, internet-enabled devices.
Chair of Heart of Asia : Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, the 500 million dollars promised by Islamabad for Afghan reconstruction will be better used to fight terrorism. He said, there is a need to identify cross-border terrorism and a fund to combat terrorism. He said, Taliban has acknowledged that it gets support from Pakistan.
Mr Ghani said, India Afghanistan ties show convergence of interests and values. He said, India’s support to Afghanistan aimed at improving people’s life and is transparent with no strings attached. He said, trilateral Chabahar agreement signed between India, Afghanistan and Iran is a major step in transforming Afghanistan from a land locked country to land bridge.
The issue of firming up an air cargo service pact between the two countries is understood to have figured in the talks which will give India a leverage in Afghanistan as Pakistan continued to deny transit link through its territory. In the meeting this morning, Mr Modi assured Mr Ghani of India’s continued support for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Co-Chair: Heart of Asia :Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged world leaders to demonstrate strong collective will to defeat terror network that cause bloodshed and spread fear.
In his inaugural address at the 6th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Amritsar today, Mr Modi said, terrorism and externally induced instability pose the gravest threat for Afghanistan’s peace, stability and prosperity. He said, silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and in South Asia region will only embolden terrorists and their masters. He said, support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough and it must be backed by a resolute action.
The Prime Minister also called for action not just against forces of terrorism but also against those who support, shelter and finance them. Mr Modi said, since the turn of the century, the international community has extensively engaged in Afghanistan and the Heart of Asia conference re-affirms commitment of the international community to durable peace and lasting political stability in Afghanistan. He said, the nations must protect and build on the gains of the last fifteen years and march ahead.
He said, as India implements its additional commitments, it is also open to work with other like-minded partners for the development of Afghanistan. Mr Modi said, India’s commitment to its brave Afghan brothers and sisters is absolute and unwavering. The Prime Minister also stressed on working together to build stronger positive connectivity between Afghanistan and other countries of the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today held bilateral talks focusing on a range of key issues including boosting trade and investment and strengthening defence and security partnership. During the meeting in Amritsar, Afghanistan sought enhanced supply of military hardware from India to strengthen its armed forces.
Briefing media persons, Mr Ghani thanked India for its consistent support to Afghanistan. Earlier, Talking to reporters, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said, there is much to be done to tackle challenges like terrorism and radicalism.
Last week, India had given Afghanistan the last of the four military helicopters. India has trained hundreds of Afghan security personnel. India and Afghanistan have also been exploring various connectivity projects for better bilateral trade.
In May, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed an agreement to set-up a trade and transport corridor with Chabahar in Iran as the hub. Meanwhile, Mr Modi and Mr Ghani jointly inaugurates the ministerial deliberations at the 6th Heart of Asia conference, which will see participation of more than 30 countries.
Both leaders reached Amritsar, Punjab yesterday evening. Our correspondent reports that the conference will discuss peace, cooperation and economic development in Afghanistan.