China’s move to amass troops along LAC was violation of written commitments: Jaishankar

Published - February 13, 2022 09:44 pm IST

China’s decision to amass troops along the Line of Actual Control was a violation of its written commitments, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, after a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Melbourne, where the India-China situation was discussed.

The comments came amid global concerns over tensions in Ukraine as Russia and NATO amassed forces along the border. While Mr. Jaishankar sidestepped several questions on whether India was on the “same page” as Western countries on the Ukraine situation, where the U.S. has declared Russia could invade “at any time,” he called for diplomacy to work.

Mr. Jaishankar also dismissed a Chinese statement attacking the Quad forum of Australia-India-Japan-United States that met on Friday as a “tool to contain China,” saying the Quad’s purpose was “peace, prosperity, stability in the region.”

On a lighter note, Mr. Jaishankar said anyone doubting the Quad’s “positive” agenda should have witnessed the visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by him, Ms. Payne, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, where the two cricket-playing nations India and Australia had taught baseball-enthusiasts U.S. and Japan about the intricacies of spin bowling.

The remarks by Mr. Jaishankar on China’s broken commitments are the strongest such comments in recent weeks over the situation at the LAC, where Chinese PLA troops have transgressed territory since April 2020.

In contrast, in January, after the 14th round of border commander talks, Army chief General Manoj Naravane had said that their talks were “positive and encouraging” and that “five of the five or six” points of friction had already been resolved in talks, comments that had been criticised as they left out areas such as the Depsang plains and Demchok where the Chinese troops remain.

India dismisses U.S. official’s remarks on hijab row

After U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain voiced his opinion on the Karnataka hijab row, India on Saturday responded saying “motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome”.

The statement from the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi came after a senior official of the U.S. government remarked on the hijab controversy in Karnataka, arguing that religious freedom included the freedom to wear religious attire of one’s choice.

“A matter regarding dress code in some educational institutions in the State of Karnataka is under judicial examination by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka. Our constitutional framework and mechanism, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved,” said Mr. Bagchi.

The response came hours after Mr. Hussain commented on the issue saying, “Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatise and marginalise women and girls.” “Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian State of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing,” said Mr. Hussain, who has been vocal on similar issues pertaining to the Uyghur minority in China and other places where minority rights are under threat.

Mr. Hussain was the latest international voice to express concern over the rights of religious minorities in India. Earlier, the Government of Pakistan had expressed a similar opinion, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying the controversy was part of Indian state’s “plan of ghettoisation of Muslims.” “To deny anyone this fundamental right and terrorise them for wearing a hijab is absolutely repressive,” Mr. Qureshi said. His comments were followed by Nobel Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai, who said, barring hijab-wearing young women from educational institutions was “horrifying”.

U.S. linguist and civil rights defender Prof Noam Chomsky said, “Islamophobia has taken a most lethal form in India, turning some 250 million Indian Muslims into a persecuted minority.”

BJP backs Uttarakhand CM’s promise on civil code

 China’s move to amass troops along LAC was violation of written commitments: Jaishankar China’s decision to amass troops along the Line of Actual Control was a violation of its written commitments, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, after a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Melbourne, where the India-China situation was discussed.

The comments came amid global concerns over tensions in Ukraine as Russia and NATO amassed forces along the border. While Mr. Jaishankar sidestepped several questions on whether India was on the “same page” as Western countries on the Ukraine situation, where the U.S. has declared Russia could invade “at any time,” he called for diplomacy to work.

Mr. Jaishankar also dismissed a Chinese statement attacking the Quad forum of Australia-India-Japan-United States that met on Friday as a “tool to contain China,” saying the Quad’s purpose was “peace, prosperity, stability in the region.”

On a lighter note, Mr. Jaishankar said anyone doubting the Quad’s “positive” agenda should have witnessed the visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by him, Ms. Payne, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, where the two cricket-playing nations India and Australia had taught baseball-enthusiasts U.S. and Japan about the intricacies of spin bowling.

The remarks by Mr. Jaishankar on China’s broken commitments are the strongest such comments in recent weeks over the situation at the LAC, where Chinese PLA troops have transgressed territory since April 2020.

In contrast, in January, after the 14th round of border commander talks, Army chief General Manoj Naravane had said that their talks were “positive and encouraging” and that “five of the five or six” points of friction had already been resolved in talks, comments that had been criticised as they left out areas such as the Depsang plains and Demchok where the Chinese troops remain.

India dismisses U.S. official’s remarks on hijab row

After U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain voiced his opinion on the Karnataka hijab row, India on Saturday responded saying “motivated comments on our internal issues are not welcome”.

The statement from the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi came after a senior official of the U.S. government remarked on the hijab controversy in Karnataka, arguing that religious freedom included the freedom to wear religious attire of one’s choice.

“A matter regarding dress code in some educational institutions in the State of Karnataka is under judicial examination by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka. Our constitutional framework and mechanism, as well as our democratic ethos and polity, are the context in which issues are considered and resolved,” said Mr. Bagchi.

The response came hours after Mr. Hussain commented on the issue saying, “Hijab bans in schools violate religious freedom and stigmatise and marginalise women and girls.” “Religious freedom includes the ability to choose one’s religious attire. The Indian State of Karnataka should not determine permissibility of religious clothing,” said Mr. Hussain, who has been vocal on similar issues pertaining to the Uyghur minority in China and other places where minority rights are under threat.

Mr. Hussain was the latest international voice to express concern over the rights of religious minorities in India. Earlier, the Government of Pakistan had expressed a similar opinion, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying the controversy was part of Indian state’s “plan of ghettoisation of Muslims.” “To deny anyone this fundamental right and terrorise them for wearing a hijab is absolutely repressive,” Mr. Qureshi said. His comments were followed by Nobel Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai, who said, barring hijab-wearing young women from educational institutions was “horrifying”.

U.S. linguist and civil rights defender Prof Noam Chomsky said, “Islamophobia has taken a most lethal form in India, turning some 250 million Indian Muslims into a persecuted minority.”

BJP backs Uttarakhand CM’s promise on civil code

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was on Saturday cheered by several BJP leaders for his promise to set up a committee for preparing a draft Uniform Civil Code (UCC) if the party was re-elected to power in the State, while the Opposition leaders criticised him for the remarks.

Mr. Dhami made the announcement on the last day of campaigning for the Assembly election on February 14. He said the draft code would cover issues like marriage, divorce, property and succession. He said it would be significant step towards the implementation of Article 44 of the Constitution and would promote social harmony, gender equality and women’s empowerment, stating that the Supreme Court had also emphasised the importance of UCC.

Welcoming Mr. Dhami’s comments, BJP’s national in-charge of Information and Technology, Amit Malviya, tweeted: “Uttarakhand CM announces BJP’s decision to implement Uniform Civil Code in Devbhoomi after elections. Uttarakhand will be the second such State after BJP ruled Goa to do so. On the one hand Harish Rawat promised Muslim University, while the BJP speaks of equality and empowerment.”

BJP’s Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya also congratulated Mr. Dhami, stating that it would be a major step towards fulfilling an important constitutional commitment, while the party’s national spokesperson, Shehzad Poonawala, lauded the Chief Minister.

Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments

The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 4,25,86,531 at the time of publishing this newsletter, with the death toll at 5,08,034.

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