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‘Leaders without vision put population in trouble’

Leaders with visions are able to create strategies to reform societies. It is quite natural for them to face problems and find solutions. Success is abstract and the book is an attempt to compile the success of six leaders … reports Anasudhin Azeez

Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor of the US Dr Henry Kissinger believes that leaders without a vision are putting people in trouble.

Dr Henry Kissinger @C Jurgen Frank

Addressing a press meet organised by Foreign Press Association (FPA) in London as part of his book release, Kissinger said, “Transformational changes are taking place across the world. My book, ‘Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy’, is my concern about the changes. Leaders with visions are able to create strategies to reform societies. It is quite natural for them to face problems and find solutions. Success is abstract and the book is an attempt to compile the success of six leaders.”

Responding to a question on Ukraine, 99-year-old Kissinger said leaders should have a clear idea about their political objectives and should be aware about the military situation. “You can’t simply go on fighting without any objective,” he added.

In May 2022, speaking at the World Economic Forum, Kissinger advocated for a diplomatic settlement that would restore status quo, effectively ceding Crimea and the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russian control.

Kissinger also urged Ukrainians to “match the heroism they have shown with wisdom,” arguing that “pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected Kissinger’s suggestions, saying Ukraine would not agree to peace until Russia agreed to return Crimea and the Donbas region to Ukraine.

In his latest book, Kissinger analyses the lives of six extraordinary leaders through the distinctive strategies of statecraft which he believes they embodied. After the World War II, Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany, brought defeated and morally bankrupt Germany back into the community of nations by what Kissinger calls ‘the strategy of humility’.

According to Kissinger, Charles de Gaulle set France beside the victorious Allies and renewed its historic grandeur by ‘the strategy of will’.

During the Cold War, US President Richard Nixon gave geostrategic advantage to the United States by ‘the strategy of equilibrium’.

Regarding the Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat, he said the assassinated leader brought a vision of peace to the Middle East by a ‘strategy of transcendence’.

Against the odds, Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kwan Yew created a powerhouse city-state by ‘the strategy of excellence’.

In the book, he has praised British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her determination to stay with the US despite opposition from her own party. Kissinger said that Thatcher wanted Britain to be a bridge between the US and Europe.

“Although when she came to power Britain was known as ‘the sick man of Europe’, Thatcher renewed her country’s morale and international position by ‘the strategy of conviction,’” he said.

To each of these studies, Kissinger brings historical perception, public experience and – because he knew each of their subjects and participated in many of the events he describes as personal knowledge. The book is enriched by insights and judgements such as only he could make, and concludes with his reflections on world order and the indispensability of leadership today.

Dr Henry Kissinger’s new book
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Pak envoys trigger diplomatic faux pas

Illegal business … Murder plot…Pak envoys are embroiled in non-diplomatic issues in South Africa and London. Pretoria has imposed a ban on the sale of used vehicles at the Pakistan Embassy.  The revenue department has accused two top Pakistani diplomats of selling the vehicles by importing them into the country for the diplomatic purpose. In another incident, a London court heard the role of a Pak diplomat in an assassination attempt on a dissident at Rotterdam…. A special report by Kaliph Anaz

The misconduct of some Pakistani diplomats abroad turned into a major embarrassment for the country. A diplomat is considered to be the flag bearer of its image in foreign lands. The conduct of diplomats in alien lands can make or break the perception about it in an increasingly globalised world. Some recent incidents involving top Pakistani diplomats in host countries have not just caused a strain in relations with these countries but dealt a blow to Pakistan’s image makeover efforts.

A recent case involves top officials posted in the Pak embassy in South Africa. According to a report published by Geo News, the South African revenue department has initiated a probe against the Pak embassy in connection with importing and illegally selling vehicles in the market. Diplomatic ties between the two countries have strained after South African authorities decided to impose an unannounced ban on the transfer and registration of vehicles of the Pakistani embassy in the country.

The most appalling aspect of this scandal is the involvement of top layer of embassy officials. However, Islamabad’s response to South African concerns on the issue has been of denial and vengeance. In place of initiating own inquiry into the matter, the government of Pakistan has resorted to imposing a similar ban on the registration and transfer of vehicles of the South African embassy in Islamabad.

The latest case reminds South Africa of an illegal immigration network which was actively aided by a Pak diplomat posted in the neighbouring country, Zimbabwe. In 2020, an official of the Pak embassy in Harare was found helping three Pakistani nationals to illegally enter into South Africa through the border town, Beitbridge. The matter came to light following the arrest of these individuals in Zimbabwe. The Foreign Ministry of Zimbabwe then issued a diplomatic note to the Pak embassy and ordered the immediate deportation of the concerned official. Some media accounts had also indicated the involvement of other diplomats in the human trafficking racket to smuggle individuals into South Africa.

Such corrupt practices appeared to be endemic to Pak missions worldwide. In April 2021, Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and six other officers working in the embassy in Riyadh had to be recalled over complaints by the Pakistani community in the kingdom alleging harassment. Damage control efforts were apparent in the statement issued by the Pak Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Office later, which assured the formation of a committee to probe into the working of Embassy/ Consulates in the Kingdom. Among other things, the committee was to look into extorting and fleecing Pakistani expatriate workers and overseas Pakistanis, causing delays on one pretext or another, resulting in extraction under duress. The then-Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan had to ask the Missions’ officials not to mistreat their own expat community living in Gulf countries.

 Earlier, a London court heard Muhammad Gohir Khan was offered £100,000 to carry out the murder in Rotterdam. However, he failed to track his target down and was arrested on his return to the UK. He was sentenced to 13 years in jail for his crime. During the trial, the court heard the role of a Pakistani diplomat in providing the finance.  The intended victim, Waqass Goraya, has told the BBC he is sure the Pakistani intelligence services were ultimately behind the plot and that it forms part of a wider crackdown on dissenting voices both inside and outside Pakistan.

There are many similar cases too.  Ayesha Siddiqa, a London-based academic who has written extensively about the Pakistani military, received a visit and letter from police in Britain warning of “credible information” that her life was in danger if she travelled back to Pakistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Image: Twitter@ShkhRasheed)

Dr Siddiqa shared the letter with the BBC, and said her own inquiries had led her to find out, “there was a contract on my head given to some Afghan warlords to be eliminated on return to Pakistan… if the temperature was raised I could be targeted in the UK as well.”

Like Mr Goraya, Dr Siddiqa told the BBC she believed the Pakistani intelligence services were behind the threat. “I have no one else to suspect.” Three other Pakistanis living in the UK confirmed to the BBC they had contact with the police over the possibility of them being targeted in Britain.

While Pakistanis living abroad are feeling hopeless in face of the highhandedness and corrupt ways of Pak diplomats, the institutions and citizens of host countries can hardly expect an honest approach from them. If Islamabad genuinely wants to portray a positive image in other countries, it needs to begin with addressing the ethical issues surrounding its overseas staff.

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SPECIAL: Paucity of goods & services dog Pakistan

Pakistan is witnessing an unprecedented economic crisis fuelled by the shortage of different commodities and essential services. It has not only affected its food supplies but has had a negative impact on other important sectors such as medicine, power supplies and even education… A special report by Dr Sakariya Kareem

Pakistan is witnessing an unprecedented economic crisis fuelled by the shortage of different commodities and essential services. It has not only affected its food supplies but has had a negative impact on other important sectors such as medicine, power supplies and even education. The power crisis in Pakistan has reached the next level as commercial markets and government officers are forced to shut down much before their scheduled time.

Expressing the inability to find a solution to the power crisis, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said: “We are facing a severe crisis… We desperately need to take energy conservation measures. We need to tap on every option to save on energy.”

So offices are made to work just five days a week from earlier six-days a week while official fuel allowance has been reduced by 40 per cent.

Power generation projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have failed to ensure optimum energy supply in Pakistan. Now inadequate LNG supply due to increasing global prices has added to Pakistan’s power generation woes.  The deteriorating financial situation is making it difficult for the Islamabad government to arrange the resources and materials required for enough power generation.

The shortfall of around 7,000 megawatts, which accounts for one-fifth of Pakistan’s power generation capacity, is affecting the industry, especially, textile production which has a lion’s share in the country’s exports.  “The textile industry is in a state of emergency,” Qasim Malik, the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, said in Sialkot.

Besides daily power cuts of up to eight hours, there have been curbs on social programmes and commercial activities. There cannot be a wedding after 10 pm and markets have to shut by 8.30 pm. This has added to the problems of common households in Pakistan, who are already facing the problem of food shortage.

 Food prices have gone up while people’s income has reduced, thus aggravating the problem of food insecurity. According to the World Food Programme, about 43 per cent of the Pakistani population is facing a food shortage. Think tank- International Forum For Rights and Security (IFFRAS) blamed the Islamabad government for inconsiderate planning and mismanagement of agricultural sources for the problem.  “We are an agricultural country, but we are also a food scarce country. We import wheat, lentils and edible oil. We can’t even grow enough to feed our country. When your industry and agriculture is ruined, you have zero growth and zero jobs,” said Dr Kaisar Bengali, a leading economist in Pakistan.

People of Pakistan have been struggling to get life-saving drugs including paracetamol, Panadol and Azomax for months. This has aggravated the risk for people infected by Coronavirus. Drug manufacturers blamed the Islamabad government for imposing a 17 per cent tax on imports of raw materials required to manufacture these drugs.

According to Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, the country is facing a shortage of 40 types of medicines, and 100 more medicines are likely to be added to the list, thanks to rising prices of raw materials. 

“Our cost of raw material and shipping has increased five to six times in the last six months. If the sales tax is not withdrawn, it will lead to a further shortage of medicines and an increase in their prices,” said Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, chairman of the association.

Even as a new academic session is about to start, many students are not likely to get textbooks thanks to the paper crisis in the country. Publishers and Booksellers Association of Pakistan said the 200 per cent hike in the price is responsible for the ongoing paper crisis.

“If the prices of paper are not stabilized, booksellers will not be able to provide textbooks to millions of students this year,” said Aziz Khalid, chairman of the association.

Pakistan government has failed to keep the rising prices of paper under control as well as to reduce heavy taxes on paper imports. “Due to this, textbook boards of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will not be able to print textbooks,” said Dr Bengali.

The falling Pakistani rupee against the US dollar has disrupted businesses especially those rely on imported inputs. This has put an additional burden on the Islamabad government which is struggling to address the problems arising due to the shortages.

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New Global Development Partnerships

The common denominator at the two high-level summits – BRICS and G7 – was the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India so far, has neither endorsed the Chinese president’s GPI nor has commented so far on Biden’s new initiative, writes Asad Mirza

Within a week two strong messages have emanated from the two sparring world powers, aimed at controlling the world or realigning the current global order.

US President Joe Biden on June 26 and the Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 23 have announced two new global initiatives at BRICS and G7 Summits, respectively.

China v/s US

Last week in his address on June 22 at the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and the next day, on June 23 at BRICS Summit in Beijing, the Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the need to forge greater synergy amongst countries for greater international development and close the development gap, by pooling resources, platforms and networks of development partnerships.

Noting that the international community is keen to achieve more equitable, sustainable and secure development, Xi said it is important to seize opportunities, meet challenges head-on, and work on the implementation of the ‘Global Development Initiative’ (GDI) to build a shared future of peace and prosperity. The Chinese president proposed the GDI in his speech to the 76th Session of the UNGA in September last year. The plan charts a course for international development, based on China’s goals and priorities.

Meanwhile at the recent G7 Summit at SchlossElmau in the Bavarian Alps, Germany, President Biden on 26 June relaunched his initiative to provide infrastructure funds to poor and developing countries only a year after a largely similar scheme was unveiled at the G7 conference in Cornwall last July under the label ‘Build Back Better World’.

The fund was relaunched at the start of the G7 in Germany on Sunday as the ‘Global Investment and Infrastructure Partnership’. The avowed aim of this initiative is to become an alternative to the Chinese belt and road initiative (BRI) that Beijing has used for more than a decade to expand its economic ties and influence with developing countries.

The partnership aims to generate $600 billion of private and public funds by 2027, with $200bn over the next five years coming from the US.

Projects cited at the event include a secure sub-sea cable linking Europe and south-east Asia, an industrial MRNA vaccine plant in Senegal, solar projects in Angola, a modular nuclear reactor plant in Romania and a port linking Christmas Island with the rest of the world.

Initiatives Galore

However, up until now, little has been heard of ‘Build Back Better World’ since last year, while in January the EU launched its own infrastructure fund for developing countries, called the ‘Global Gateway’, aiming to mobilise �300 billion ($53 billion) in investments between 2021 and 2027.

Initially, EU declared that this fund would work alongside ‘Build Back Better World’, and not be a rival. The UK, outside the EU, launched its own infrastructure project called the ‘Clean Green Initiative’. There are reports that Japan is planning to raise $65bn over the same period for regional connectivity, though this fund/project has not been christened, yet.

All these various funds, though uniquely targeted against China have just created confusion for the politicos and the common man alike. Perhaps realising this Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor in his speech on June 26, implicitly acknowledged the confusion, saying there were advantages if the G7 countries showcased their offers under a common roof.

It is reported that Biden, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, met in November at Cop26 in Glasgow to evaluate their differing projects, and whether by duplicating their efforts they were weakening what they were offering to poor countries. However, it does not appear from the statements that the funds are being fully merged into one funding stream, but instead are being more closely coordinated.

The Guardian quoted Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser and an important member of the project, saying at an event hosted by the Centre for a New American Security last week that the US-initiated partnership will cover global infrastructure, physical health and digital infrastructure and will provide “an alternative to what the Chinese are offering”. “We intend for this to be one of the hallmarks of the Biden administration foreign policy over the remainder of his tenure,” he said.

On its part China has criticised the initiative as based on a “zero-sum game approach”. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said the relevant initiative from the US side ignores the desire of all countries for common development and win-win cooperation.

G-7: Next Steps

Though the avowed aim of the G7 Summit was to discuss, among other issues, the war in Ukraine and ways to stabilise energy markets and lessen dependence on Russian gas and oil, the announcements made seems very little, apart from moral support to Ukraine. The G7 leaders heard the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and promised him more arms, four of the G7 nations moved to ban imports of Russian gold from 26 June onwards to tighten the sanction squeeze on Moscow and cut off its means of financing the invasion of Ukraine.

However, metal analysts say this may not have a bearing on the international prices of gold, as they have held the same level since May last year. This follows reports that oil my move up again, and in this background the stalled Vienna talks might be resumed to ensure flow of Iranian oil in the market.

Indian diplomacy

The common denominator at these two high-level summits was the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This underlines the importance, which both China and the US attach to India currently. It is majorly due to its independent and realistic foreign policy, that the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised India for calling out the West at the GlobSec 2022 Bratislava Forum, earlier this month, where Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar had said that New Delhi and Beijing can manage their bilateral relationship on their own, and stressed the need for the world to come out of its Eurocentric mindset.

India so far, has neither endorsed the Chinese president’s GPI nor has commented so far on Biden’s new initiative. It continues to pursue a completely independent international foreign and trade policy and due to its geo-political and economic importance, and its unwavering stand has endeared it to both the blocs, and both seem to be courting it seriously.

Meanwhile, on June 28, the US announced a new alliance for the Pacific including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the UK to boost economic and security ties with the Pacific island nations.

Also, on the heel of the G7 summit, the NATO summit, to be held in Madrid this week, will for the first time include the top leaders of four Asia-Pacific countries, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and also for the first time, the bloc will identity China in its new strategic concept, a key document on NATO’s future security trial and military development will be adopted at the summit.

This underlines India’s central role in the new thrust for the Indo-Pacific by the western nations led by the US and if India plays its cards well, it could translate into benefits for the country in both defence and economic & trade areas.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs)

ALSO READ: G7 reaches deal on Russian oil price cap

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G7 reaches deal on Russian oil price cap

The agreement comes as Western countries are trying to deal with rising energy prices and inflation as a result of their sanctions and embargoes on Russian oil…reports Asian Lite News

The Group of Seven (G7) leading Western economies reached an agreement on Tuesday to set a price cap on Russian oil exports, Politico reported, citing unnamed officials.

The details of the agreement have not been revealed. However, according to reports, the US suggested lifting sanctions on insurance for ships that transport Russian oil only if countries agreed to buy it at a settled maximum price, thus enforcing a price cap, RT reported.

G7 member states also rejected the idea of a worldwide price cap on oil prices, proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday. The proposal was reportedly waived by the US and Germany, and France had agreed to withdraw it.

The agreement comes as Western countries are trying to deal with rising energy prices and inflation as a result of their sanctions and embargoes on Russian oil.

While the restrictions are aimed at depleting the “Russian war chest” allegedly used to fund the ongoing military operation in Ukraine, Moscow has been earning more money from its energy exports than prior to the sanctions due to higher prices, RT reported.

The idea of a price cap was first introduced by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier this year, and then taken up by the G7, which has reportedly been holding “constructive” talks on the matter over the past three days, at its annual summit in Germany.

ALSO READ: Russia bans 25 Americans including Biden’s wife, daughter

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India bans Twitter accounts of several Pak journos, diplomatic missions

India has banned the official Twitter accounts of several Pakistani diplomatic missions, journalists and some prominent personalities under the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad has claimed

 The banned accounts include accounts of the Pakistani Embassy in UN, Turkey, Iran and Egypt.

 “Deeply concerning that #India has blocked the flow of information to Indian Twitter by withholding access to the following official accounts,” Geo News quoted the Ministry as saying in a tweet on Monday night, while listing down the banned accounts.

 “Diminishing space for plurality of voices & access to info in India is extremely alarming,” the tweet added.

 The Ministry called out Twitter, saying that social media platforms should abide by the applicable international norms.

 It said that the government of Pakistan is urging the tech company to restore access to the restricted accounts immediately and ensure adherence to democratic freedoms of speech and expression.

 Meanwhile, the Twitter handles of journalists, including The News and Geo News reporter in London, Murtaza Ali Shah and CJ Werleman have also been withheld by the company under India’s Information Technology Act, 2000, Geo News reported.

 Murtaza Ali Shah has around 550,000 followers on his verified Twitter @MurtazaViews account.

 He has been associated with The News and Geo for more than 17 years.

 Shah confirmed he received an email notice from Twitter about India’s legal action against his account.

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Modi pitches clean energy tech at G7

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said a huge market for clean energy technologies is emerging in India, calling G-7 countries to invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing in this field…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said a huge market for clean energy technologies is emerging in India, calling G-7 countries to invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing in this field.

Modi, during his speech at the session on ‘Investing in a better Future: Climate, Energy, Health’ at G7 Summit in Germany, said ancient India has seen a time of immense prosperity.

“Then we have also tolerated the centuries of slavery, and now independent India is the fastest-growing big economy in the whole world.

“But during this whole period, India did not let its commitment to the environment get diluted even a single bit. 17 per cent of the world’s population resides in India. But, our contribution of global carbon emissions is only 5 per cent. The main reason behind this is our lifestyle, which is based on the theory of co-existence with nature,” he said.

He further said: “All of you will also agree with this that energy access should not be the privilege of the rich only – a poor family also has the same rights on energy. And today when energy costs are sky-high due to geopolitical tensions, it is more important to remember this thing. By taking inspiration from this principle, we delivered LED bulbs and clean cooking gas door-to-door in India and showed that millions of tons of carbon emissions can be saved while ensuring energy for the poor.

“Our dedication to climate commitments is evident from our performance. We have achieved the target of 40 per cent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time. The target of 10 per cent ethanol-blending in petrol has been achieved 5 months before time. India has the world’s first fully solar power operated airport. India’s huge railway system will become net zero in this decade,” said the Prime Minister.

Modi said when a large country like India shows such ambition, other developing countries also get inspiration.

“We hope that the rich countries of G-7 will support India’s efforts. Today, a huge market for clean energy technologies is emerging in India. G-7 countries can invest in research, innovation, and manufacturing in this field. The scale that India can provide for every new technology can make that technology affordable for the whole world. The core theories of the circular economy have been an integral part of Indian culture and lifestyle,” he added.

“I called for a movement called LIFE – Lifestyle for Environment – in Glasgow last year. This year on World Environment Day, we launched the Global Initiative for LiFE campaign. The goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle. We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister further said humans and planet health are interconnected.

“Therefore, we have adopted the approach of one world, one health. During the pandemic, India found many creative ways to use digital technology in the health sector. G7 countries can help India to take these innovations to other developing countries. Recently we all celebrated the International Day of Yoga. In times of the Covid crisis, Yoga has become a great tool for preventive health for people all over the world, this helped many people to maintain their physical and mental health,” PM Modi said.

Modi, Macron meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Germany for the G7 Summit, held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

Modi shared pictures of him having tea with Macron as they discussed bilateral relations.

The Prime Minister earlier met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“Excellent meeting with @Bundeskanzler Scholz. Thanked him for the warm hospitality during the @G7 Summit. We discussed cooperation in key sectors like commerce and energy. We also had deliberations on furthering environmentally friendly growth for our planet,” he tweeted after meeting German Chancellor.

The PM also met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Biden reached out to PM

US President Joe Biden’s outreach to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by stepping out to greet him at the G7 summit in Germany is being perceived as a calculated political move to garner his support on the Quad and other multilateral issues on the table.

TV grabs and pictures of the event have gone viral especially in India and on the internet raising curiosity as to why would Biden do such a thing unless there was an agenda behind it, sources not wishing to be named said.

The US needs India’s support on the Russia Ukraine war where India has maintained a low-profile ambivalent stand in the Quad group with India’s External Affairs Ministry not making any statement that could reportedly upset the balance in the long traditional ties India has had with Russia over the years and with multibillion dollar military supplies at stake, even though the BJP-led NDA has come off to the world as an ultra-right wing party aligned more with the west than the east, analysts feel.

While Biden might persuade India to restrict oil imports from Russia and look at the global demand supply management in several countries including India where inflation is soaring, India would reiterate its position that it is unfairly being targeted for its imports from Russia on oil while most of the west looks to Russia for energy supplies and imports minerals, fertilisers and ores.

ALSO READ-G-20 in J&K: An unparalleled diplomatic win for India

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Modi meets world leaders at G7 summit

PM Modi attended the summit along with leaders of Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa, as five invitees to the summit….reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met with French President Emmanuel Macron at Schloss Elmau in Germany, on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit.

The meeting between PM Modi and President Macron came a month after the two leaders met in Paris.

“A strategic partnership for the ages between India and France, led by two leaders PM @narendramodi and President @EmmanuelMacron with great belief in the value of this partnership for a better world. Meeting in Germany after their May meeting in Paris,” said Jawed Ashraf, Ambassador of India to France and Monaco.

PM Modi attended the summit along with leaders of Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa, as five invitees to the summit.

“Friendship at the highest level: President @EmmanuelMacron and Prime Minister @narendramodi at a crucial #G7 summit for collective decisions on global challenges and world stability,” said French envoy to India Emmanuel Lenain.

India and France have traditionally close and friendly relations.

The areas of Defence and Security cooperation, Space cooperation and Civil nuclear cooperation constitute the principal pillars of our Strategic Partnership with France.

India and France are increasingly engaged in new areas of cooperation like security in the Indian Ocean region, climate change including the International Solar Alliance, and sustainable growth and development among others.

India and France share a close degree of convergence on a range of regional and global issues. In the economic domain, while there exists vast potential, French economic capacities, its business and industry, its capital and technologies have forged linkages with Indian economy and India’s developmental goals.

Modi meets Indonesian President Joko Widodo

On the sidelines of the G7 Summit on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between both countries.

“PM @narendramodi and President @jokowi had a productive meeting. Their talks will add strength to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Indonesia,”The office of the Prime Minister said today.

“Both leaders also discussed ways to boost connectivity and business linkages,” it added.

Indonesia is the first country with which India has adopted a shared vision of maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was established in May 2018 during PM Modi’s visit to Indonesia. President Widodo was among one of the Chief Guests invited for India’s Republic Day celebrations in Delhi in

Both leaders last met on the sidelines of the G20 Rome Summit in 2021. Indonesia is the second-largest trading partner of India in ASEAN region. The Bilateral trade of over USD 26 billion between 2020 to 2021. India and Indonesia also share cultural civilizational linkages.

The 9th century Borobudur Buddhist temple and Prambanan Shiva temple are examples of the shared cultural heritage.

Ramayana and Mahabharata are key inspirations for Indonesian folk art. Around 8,500 Indians in Indonesia engaged in qualified professions like Chartered Accountants, Software Professionals, Teachers, Engineers.

Prime Minister Modi is attending this year’s summit being held under the German Presidency. India is among the five partner countries invited to attend the G7 Summit.

With Germany’s Olaf Scholz

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) summit at Schloss Elmau in Germany and deliberated on areas of cooperation including commerce and energy.

“Excellent meeting with @Bundeskanzler Scholz. Thanked him for the warm hospitality during the @G7 Summit. We discussed cooperation in key sectors like commerce and energy. We also had deliberations on furthering environmentally friendly growth for our planet,” PM Modi tweeted.

The leaders of the G7 nations, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday held discussions on the impact of Russia’s war on food and energy supplies including the global economy and said the bloc is determined to support Ukraine in producing and exporting grain, oil, and other agricultural products as well as to address the causes of the evolving global food crisis.

On Sunday the Chancellor welcomed the heads of state and government of the G7 to the summit under the German presidency.

“We are united by our view of the world. We are also united by our belief in democracy and the rule of law,” said Chancellor Scholz at the beginning of the summit.

In a first working session on Sunday, the heads of state and government of the G7 discussed global economic issues.

“All G7 countries are concerned about the crises that are currently to be overcome — falling growth rates in some countries, rising inflation, shortages of raw materials and disruption to supply chains. These are no small challenges and it is therefore important to share responsibility,” said Scholz.

India and Germany established a strategic partnership in 2000. In 2011, the two countries launched Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC), for a comprehensive review of the cooperation and identification of new areas of engagement between the two countries. The heads of governments of both countries along with multiple ministers from both sides participated in IGC.

Notably, India is among a select group of countries with which Germany has such a unique biennial dialogue mechanism for the government of both countries to coordinate across a spectrum of bilateral matters.

in May 2022, the two countries held the 6th IGC with the intent of establishing a Green and Sustainable Development Partnership.

During the IGC, the two countries agreed to develop the Indo-German Green Hydrogen Taskforce and established Indo-German Renewable Energy Partnership focusing on innovative solar energy and other renewables.

Besides, the two nations decided to establish lighthouse cooperation on Agroecology and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources to benefit the rural populations and small-scale farmers in India. They also decided upon ways to deepen cooperation in restoring forest landscapes and sustainable use of green technologies.

Speaking of the economic ties, Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. The two countries had a bilateral trade worth USD 24.84 billion in 2021-22. Germany is also one of the largest Foreign Direct Investment sources for India with total a total FDI of over USD 13 billion between April 2000-March 2022.

Over 1,700 German companies operate in India and more than 213 Indian companies operate in Germany.

PM Modi arrived in Munich on Sunday to attend the G7 summit where he will hold meetings with G7 and partner countries to hold discussions on issues ranging from environment and energy to counter-terrorism.

On reaching Germany, the Prime Minister interacted with the Indian community in Germany at the Audi Dome, Munich. Thousands of members of the vibrant Indian community in Germany participated in the event.

He highlighted India’s growth story and mentioned various initiatives undertaken by the government to further achieve the country’s development agenda. He also lauded the contribution of the diaspora in promoting India’s success story and acting as brand ambassadors for India’s success.

In his address to the Indian diaspora, PM Modi said, “Today’s India has come out of the mentality of ‘it happens, it runs like this’. Today India takes a pledge to have to do, have to do, and have to do on time,” he said.

Modi holds talks with EU chief

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Monday and held productive discussions on the sidelines of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit.

Both leaders reviewed India-EU cooperation in trade, investment, climate action and welcomed the resumption of negotiations on the Trade, Investment and GI Agreements.

“Productive discussions held between PM @narendramodi and President @EU_Commission @vonderleyen on the margins of G7. Reviewed India-EU cooperation in trade, investment, technology, and climate action. Welcomed resumption of negotiations on the Trade, Investment and GI Agreements,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tweeted.

The Prime Minister held an “outstanding” meeting with the EU chief during which they discussed important issues including efforts to combat climate change and ways to boost digital cooperation.

“President @EU_Commission @vonderleyen and I had an outstanding meeting earlier today. We discussed ways to deepen investment linkages, efforts to combat climate change, boosting digital cooperation and other important issues,” PM Modi tweeted.

Earlier, PM Modi and President von der Leyen agreed to launch the India-EU Trade and Technology Council at their meeting in New Delhi on April 25.

During the bilateral talks, both sides reviewed the progress in , implementing the India-EU Roadmap 2025 and the outcomes of the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in May 2021.

Modi, Trudeau discuss bolstering trade ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and agreed to expand trade and economic linkages as the two leaders took stock of India-Canada relations.

“Useful exchange between PM @narendramodi and Canadian PM @JustinTrudeau at Schloss Elmau. Leaders discussed bilateral ties and agreed to expand trade and economic linkages, cooperation in security and counter-terrorism, as well as P2P ties,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said both leaders took stock of the India-Canada friendship and discussed ways to further strengthen it across various sectors.

“Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @JustinTrudeau meet on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in Germany. They took stock of the India-Canada friendship and discussed ways to further strengthen it across various sectors,” PMO tweeted.

This is the first meeting following the diplomatic row over the Canadian PM’s remarks on farm laws protests in New Delhi. India had taken up this matter with the Canadian authorities and conveyed that the comments pertaining to the internal affairs of India were unwarranted and would damage bilateral relations.

This is their first meeting after Trudeau’s 2018 India visit.

Back in September 2021, the Prime Minister congratulated Trudeau on his victory in the elections.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Congratulations Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau on your victory in the elections! I look forward to continue working with you to further strengthen India-Canada relations, as well as our cooperation on global and multilateral issues.”

Recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

This was their first in-person meeting after Joly assumed charge following the September 2021 general elections in Canada.

Jaishankar described the conversation as “open and productive”. They exchanged views on international issues including the Commonwealth, Ukraine conflict and the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)

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G7 plans $600 bn package to rival BRI

The US has promised to raise £162bn of the total through grants, federal funds and private investment, while the EU has announced a further £257bn…reports Asian Lite News

G7 leaders have detailed plans to mobilise $600bn in funding for the developing world in a move seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road plan.

The Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) relaunches a scheme unveiled at last year’s G7 talks in England.

US President Joe Biden said the plan would deliver returns for everyone. China’s multi-trillion dollar infrastructure initiative is criticised for hitting nations with too much debt.

“I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity,” Mr Biden said of the G7’s PGII scheme. “It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone.”

The scheme would allow countries to “see the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies,” the US president added.

The plan calls on G7 leaders to raise $600bn over five years to fund the launch of infrastructure projects in middle and low-income countries.

The US has promised to raise $200bn (£162bn) of the total through grants, federal funds and private investment, while the EU has announced a further 300bn euros (£257bn).

The initiative will be geared towards tackling climate change, improving global health, achieving gender equity and building digital infrastructure.

Some of the highlighted initiatives include a solar-powered project in Angola, a vaccine manufacturing facility in Senegal, and a 1,609 km submarine telecommunications cable connecting Singapore to France via Egypt and the Horn of Africa.

The plan has been pitched as a way to counter China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Launched by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI provides financing for emerging countries to build infrastructure like ports, roads and bridges.

While it has developed trade links, it has also been criticised as a means of providing “predatory loans”, forcing debt-saddled countries to cede key assets if they fail to meet their debt repayments.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the aim of the latest project was to present a “positive powerful investment impulse to the world to show our partners in the developing world that they have a choice”.

The infrastructure plan was first unveiled at the 2021 G7 summit in Britain. Called the Build Back Better World at the time, the US-driven plan faltered from a lack of progress, and the project was renamed to PGII before being resuscitated at the 2022 summit.

Boris wants G7 to balance values with doing business with China

Balance between protecting shared values and doing business with China can be found, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday as world leaders convened in Germany for the G7 summit.

“China is a gigantic fact of our lives…Every country gathered here today at the G7 does a huge amount of business with China. The question is can we continue to do that,” Johnson said during an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, adding: “I think there is a balance to be struck…It may be difficult but that’s what we have got to try and do.”

G7 to use Russia trade tariffs to fund Ukraine

G7 leaders have agreed that money collected from higher trade tariffs imposed on Russian exports should be funnelled as aid to Ukraine, the White House said Monday.

President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders “will seek authority to use revenues collected by any new tariffs on Russian goods to help Ukraine and to ensure that Russia pays for the cost of its war,” a senior US official said.

Japan PM bats for united G7

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, on Sunday, stressed the importance of presenting a united front by the Group of Seven (G7) leaders in order to prevent other nations from drawing the “wrong lessons” from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to local media reports, his statement was an evident reference to China’s growing aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. During the ongoing G7 summit in Germany, Kishida emphasised the significance of the security situation surrounding Japan. He highlighted Beijing’s deployment of ships to the Senkaku Islands’ surrounding waters and its gas field explorations in the East China Sea as attempts to enact a violent change in the status quo.

“We have seen attempts to change the status quo by force continuing and increasing in the Indo-Pacific. We need to ensure other countries do not draw wrong lessons from the situation in Ukraine,” Kishida told his G7 counterparts, Kyodo News reported.

The Japanese Prime Minister also called for the safeguarding of the rules-based international order and demanded that China enhance its nuclear arsenal’s transparency.

While speaking at the G7 conference on diplomacy and security, Kishida also explained that Japan will fundamentally strengthen its military within five years with a significant increase in relevant investment. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations’ spending target for defence budget is 2% of Gross Domestic Product, and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has requested that the Kishida government increase the defence budget to at least that level.

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UN human rights chief blasts US abortion ruling

According to the UN, more than 50 countries with previously restrictive laws have liberalized their abortion legislation over the past 25 years…reports Asian Lite News

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has denounced the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade that established a constitutional right to abortion, saying that it was a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality.

“Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human right law and is at the core of women and girls’ autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence and coercion,” Bachelet said in a statement late Friday night.

“This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the US, in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights,” she added.

According to the UN, more than 50 countries with previously restrictive laws have liberalized their abortion legislation over the past 25 years.

“With today’s ruling, the US is regrettably moving away from this progressive trend,” the UN rights chief stressed.

A group of UN human rights experts on Friday also issued a joint statement, describing the decision as a shocking and dangerous rollback of human rights that will jeopardize women’s health and lives.

“What has happened in the United States today is a monumental setback for the rule of law and for gender equality,” the experts, including members of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls and a number of UN Special Rapporteurs, said in the joint statement.

“The intimidation and stigma that will be faced by pregnant women and girls in need of safe abortion services and abortion providers will create a nightmare scenario for those dealing with the uncertainty and trauma of an unplanned pregnancy,” they stated.

Friday’s ruling came after the Supreme Court had considered an appeal case involving a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in certain circumstances.

With the ruling, more than two dozen states in the US, primarily in the south and midwest, are expected to tighten abortion access.

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