CMYK SATURDAY 04 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘GIVING RUSSIA FREE HAND IN UKRAINE ENCOURAGES AGGRESSORS EVERYWHERE’ 'POST-2017, NARRATIVE HAS CHANGED' P7 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 28 °C and 15 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P5 Eyeing China, Quad stresses on rules-based maritime order Min. 36 % Max:27.7 °C (+1) SUN RISES 06:17 hrs MOON RISES 11:30 hrs Min:17.2°C (+3) SUN SETS 17:23 hrs MOON SETS 00:2 hrs ‘Russia desires friendly ties between India & China’ External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in a picture after attending the Quad Foreign Ministers' Meet on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue 2023, in New Delhi on Friday. ANI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH RBI imposes monetary penalty of Rs 3.06cr on Amazon Pay: The Reserve Bank of India on Friday said that it has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 3.06 crore on Amazon Pay (India) Private Limited for non-compliance with certain provisions. This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the entity with its customers.It was observed that the entity was non-compliant with the directions issued by RBI on KYC requirements. Manish Sisodia moves bail plea in trial court: Former Delhi Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, who is presently in CBI remand, moved a regular bail petition in a trial court on Friday. Sisodia was recently arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for alleged irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy of GNCTD. According to the lawyer concerned, hearing on the bail plea will be held on SaturPG5 day. n a clear message to China over its growing assertiveness on maritime issues, the four Quad nations today reiterated the importance of adherence to international laws, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South and East China Seas. “We strongly oppose any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the area. We express serious concern at the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” the foreign ministers of the Quad countries said in a joint statement at the end of their meeting here. The meeting, hosted by Exter- I nal Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, was attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. The four countries said they were determined to deepen engagement with regional partners, including through informationsharing, capacity-building and technical assistance, to strengthen maritime domain awareness; counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; enhance their capacity to protect and develop offshore resources, consistent with UNCLOS; ensure freedom of navigation and overflight; and promote the safety and security of sea lines of communication. “We look forward to continuing these discussions at the Quad Maritime Security Working Group meeting hosted by the United States in Washington in March 2023. In this context, we welcome the progress made under the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA),” the joint statement said. It reaffirmed that the meeting reflected the Quad’s steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which was inclusive and resilient. “We strongly support the principles of freedom, rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force and freedom of navigation and overflight, and oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, all of which are essential to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo- Pacific region and beyond,” the statement added. They reiterated their conviction that the Quad, acting as a force for regional and global good, would be guided by the priorities of the Indo-Pacific region through its positive and constructive agenda. “Through the Quad, we seek to support the region through practical cooperation on contemporary challenges such as health security, climate change and the clean energy transition, critical and emerging technologies, infrastructure and connectivity, addressing the debt crisis through sustainable, transparent and fair lending and financing practices, space cooperation, cyber-security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), maritime security and counter-terrorism,” the four ministers said. They unequivocally condemned terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations. “We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasise the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist organisations which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including transnational and crossborder attacks.” “We reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai, which claimed lives of citizens from all Quad countries, and Pathankot attacks,” they added. CRAIG FULTON IS NEW COACH OF HOCKEY TEAM P12 China ready to resume cooperation with India in various fields: Qin STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH China is willing to speed up the resumption of exchanges and cooperation with India in various fields, resume direct flights at the earliest date and facilitate people-to-people exchanges, according to Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. Mr Qin, who met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar yesterday on the margins of the G20 foreign ministers' meeting, said China and India have shared interests in many areas, including safeguarding the rights and interests of developing countries, promoting South-South cooperation, and addressing global challenges such as climate change. The reported remarks made by the Chinese foreign minister at the meeting between the two foreign ministers were released by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua today. Mr Qin said that as neighbouring countries and major emerging economies, China and India have far more common interests than differences. The development and revitalisation of China and India displayed the strength of developing countries, which would change the future of one-third of the world's population, the future of Asia and even the whole world, he was quoted as saying. The two sides, said Mr Qin, should view their bilateral relations in the context of the once-in-a-century changes in the world, understand bilateral cooperation from the perspective of their respective national rejuvenation, and be partners on the path to Mr Qin, who met EAM S Jaishankar on Thursday on the margins of the G20 foreign ministers' meeting, said China and India have shared interests in many areas, including safeguarding the rights and interests of developing countries, promoting South-South cooperation, and addressing global challenges such as climate change modernisation. He was of the view that the boundary issue should be put in the proper place in bilateral relations, adding that the situation on the borders should be brought under “normalised management” as soon as possible. He said China supported the Indian side in fulfilling its presidency of the G20 and was ready to strengthen communication and cooperation to safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international equity and justice, so as to inject stability and positive energy into the world. This was the first meeting between Mr Jaishankar and Mr Qin, who took charge as China's foreign minister in December last year. Mr Jaishankar made it clear to the Chinese foreign minister that the relations between the two countries were ‘abnormal’ and things could not return to usual until the stand-off on the border in Ladakh was resolved. BJP govt to assume office in Tripura on 8 March Pegasus used to spy on my PM Narendra Modi greets the BJP members during a celebration function after the party's victory in the Assembly polls in three northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland at BJP Headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday. ANI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH The Supreme court on Friday said that it will constitute a Bench after a weeklong Holi break to hear a plea seeking to allow Muslim female students to appear in pre-university college examinations in Karnataka wearing Hijab. Following a mentioning by the Shariat Committee, seeking direction to permit Muslim female students to appear in exams wearing Hijab, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the court will constitute a Bench to hear the matter related to Hijab issue. The Chief Justice said that the matter will be listed immediately after the Holi break. Insisting on urgent hearing, the Shariat Committee advocate told the court that the exams are starting from 9 March. However, the court said that they have come on the last day. The petitioner apprised the court that they had mentioned it earlier too. The court said that it will list it.Chief Justice Chandrachud said that the application to permit Muslim female students to go to the examination centres wearing Hijab will be heard after Holi break. The advocate pointed out that the “Hijab wearing students have already lost a year because of the ban. What about this academic year? Should they lose this also?”Chief Justice Chandrachud said: “I can’t answer your questions. A Bench will be constituted after Holi break.” Mr Lavrov was in New Delhi to attend the G20 foreign ministers' meeting which concluded yesterday. He said Russia has good relations with both India and China. Ties with India were characterised in official documents signed by the two leaders as a specially privileged strategic partnership. “I don't know whether any NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH THUMBNAILS Students of Visva-Bharati University play with colours to celebrate ‘Basanta Bandana’ to welcome spring ahead of Basanta Utsav, at Santiniketan, in Birbhum district on Friday. ANI Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today said Moscow desired friendly relations between India and China even as he slammed the Quad grouping for what he called playing one country against another. “We are interested in these two (India-China) great nations to be friends. It was the initiative of my predecessor to create a troika of Russia, China and India which culminated in the BRICS formation. My feeling is that the more they meet, the better,” Mr Lavrov said at the Raisina Dialogue here. other country has the same status on paper officially,” he added. Asked about Russia's ongoing military offensive in Ukraine, Mr Lavrov hit out at the United States, saying why no one was asking Washington what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. While alleging that the US operated on double standards, Mr Lavrov said: “They don’t remember when Serbia was bombed. Joe Biden (US President) being a senator at that time was bragging that (he) promoted this approach. When Iraq was ruined as a state, a few years later, Tony Blair said it was a mistake.” (SEE PG5) STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Full Moon on 07 March SC to constitute Bench to hear pleas against K’taka Hijab ban after Holi P8 4-nation grouping makes clear opposition to any unilateral action to change status quo Max. 89 % TEMPERATURE ‘AP CLINCHES INVESTMENTS WORTH RS 13 LAKH CR AT INVESTORS SUMMIT’ SNS & AGENCIES AGARTALA, 3 MARCH The second BJP-led government is likely to assume office in Tripura on 8 March, outgoing Chief Minister Manik Saha said on Friday after submitting his resignation letter to Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in the Raj Bhavan here. Mr Saha, speaking to the media, said that the new BJP government is likely to assume office on 8 March when the Chief Minister and other ministers take oath. Newly elected members of BJP would meet here soon to finalise the necessary formalities, he said. BJP sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of Central ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah and leaders and Chief Ministers of several BJP ruled states would attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new council of ministers. “Saha likely to continue as Chief Minister in the second BJP government,” a senior BJP leader told IANS. Mr Saha was re-elected from the Town Bordowali seat for the second time after defeating his nearest Con- Meghalaya CM resigns, stakes claim to form new govt with BJP SNS & AGENCIES Conrad Sangma, the leader of the National People's Party (NPP) and the incumbent Chief Minister of Meghalaya (in photo), submitted his resignation letter to the Governor on Friday and also staked claim to form the new government in the state. Taking to Twitter, Mr Sangma said: “Submitted the letter of resignation as Chief Minister of Meghalaya to Hon'ble Governor, Sh. Shri Phagu Chauhan Ji, also staking a claim to form the new government.”BJP MLAs accompanied the NPP chief to the Governor's House in the state capital of Shillong. On Thursday, BJP state president in Meghalaya Ernest Mawrie had sent the letter of support to the NPP for the formation of the government to Sangma.The letter stated: “In inviting a reference to the abovementioned subject, I am to apprise you that as per directions from the National President, Bharatiya Janata Party, J.P Nadda hereby formally . communicates with you and submits 'A letter of Support' for the institution of the new government as an outcome of the results of the just concluded Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Election 2023." gress opponent Ashish Kumar Saha by a margin of 1,257 votes.Manik Saha was first elected to the state Assembly in the bypoll held in June last year by defeating Ashish Kumar Saha with a margin of 6,104 votes. The BJP retained power in Tripura for the second straight term by winning 32 seats, one more than the magic figure of 31 in the 60-member state Assembly, for which elections were held on 16 February. SHILLONG, 3 MARCH phone: Rahul at Cambridge STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH In a scathing attack on the Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy and claimed that Israeli spyware Pegasus was being used to snoop into his phone. Delivering a lecture at Cambridge University, he claimed that he had been warned by intelligence officers to be "careful" while speaking on the phone as his calls were being recorded. "I myself had Pegasus on my phone. A large number of politicians had Pegasus on their phones. I have been called by intelligence officers who told me, 'Please be careful about what you are saying on the phone because we are sort of recording the stuff. So this is the constant pressure that we feel. Cases on the Opposition. I have got a number of criminal liable cases for things that should under no circumstances be criminal liable cases. That's what we are trying to defend,” he said In New Delhi, information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur hit out at Mr Gandhi for raking up the Pegasus snooping issue again.Talking to the media, Mr Thakur said Mr Gandhi was deliberately raising a hue and cry on foreign soil over the issue and defaming India. “We can understand his hatred towards the prime minister, but the conspiracy to malign the country on foreign soil with the help of foreign friends raises questions on the agenda of the Congress," he said. He claimed that the Opposition leaders were recently “locked up” in jail for "just standing" in front of the Parliament House to talk about some issues and alleged that such incidents have happened “relatively violently”. Rahul maligning country on foreign soil, says Thakur: In New Delhi, information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag SinghThakur hit out at Rahul Gandhi for raking up the Pegasus snooping issue again. Talking to the media, Mr Thakur said Mr Gandhi was deliberately raising a hue and cry on foreign soil over the issue and defaming India. "We can understand his hatred towards the prime minister, but the conspiracy to malign the country on foreign soil with the help of foreign friends raises questions on the agenda of the Congress," he said. Referring to the election results in three North-Eastern states, Mr Thakur said: “Once again, the Congress lost in the elections but their bankruptcy was evident when they lost no opportunity to malign India from foreign soil.” SNS We will have to think out of the box, plan ahead to achieve new heights in tourism: PM STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India had immense tourism potential but it would require out-of-thebox thinking and long term planning to realise it and take the industry to newer heights. He was addressing a postBudget webinar on "Developing Tourism in Mission Mode”, the seventh in a series of 12 webinars organised by the government to seek ideas and suggestions to effectively implement initiatives announced in the Union Budget 2023-24. The Prime Minister said the Budget had mentioned the development of some select tourist destinations in the country in a competitive spirit. This should inspire stakeholders to work in a coordinated manner to meet the challenge. The Budget had also talked about a holistic development of tourist spots in the country. Mr Modi said the country's tourism possibilities were almost unlimited. For example, there could be coastal tourism, beach tourism, mangrove tourism, Himalayan tourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism and eco tourism, as also heritage tourism, spiritual tourism, wedding destination, conferences tourism and sports tourism, he said.He said there were pilgrimage circuits like Ramayan circuit, Buddha circuit and Krishna circuit, along with the North-east circuit and the Gandhi circuit. Punjab is full of places associated with different Gurus. But when a destination was identified for its tourism potential, its infrastructural requirements for various purposes like ease of travel should be focused on in advance, Mr Modi said. He said some people associated tourism with high income groups, but if Indian traditions were seen, people have been undertaking yatras (pilgrimages) for centuries and even when there were no CMYK facilities for travel. Mr Modi lamented the lack of development post-Independence to enhance facilities suited to the times, despite the ageold tradition of yatras. India of today is changing this situation, he said.The increase in the facilities was attracting large number of tourists to the pilgrim spots. He gave the example of Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi and said that 70 to 80 lakh people used to visit the temple in a year before it was renovated, after which the tourist footfall crossed seven crores last year. Referring to the Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, the Prime Minister said that 27 lakh tourists visited the place within a year of its completion. He underlined that India's tourism sector can increase manifold with growing civic amenities, good digital connectivity, good hotels and hospitals, no trace of filth, and excellent infrastructure. The Prime Minister stressed on developing 50 such tourist destinations that every tourist from around the globe was bound to visit on his trip to India. He said apps should be developed for tourist destinations in all languages listed in the United Nations. Talking about village tourism, he said “Our villages are becoming centres of tourism.” This was due to improved infrastructure. He said that the Central government has started the Vibrant Village Scheme for the villages situated along the border and emphasised the need to support businesses such as homestays, small hotels and restaurants.Throwing spotlight on the increasing number of foreign tourists in India, the Prime Minister informed that eight lakh foreign tourists have come to India in January this year compared to only two lakhs in January last year.
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