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Modi government has introduced new terms of India- US engagement, says Indian Ambassador

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Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has effectively laid the foundation for India’s rapid transformation and purposeful diplomacy leading to new terms of India’s engagement with the US, according to Indian Ambassador Arun K. Singh.

“As we celebrate one year of India’s current government, it is difficult not to see the changes in the way of doing business, and not to see in them cause for optimism,” he said Tuesday in a keynote address at the Asia Society in New York.

“Of course there is more to come in each of these, and I am confident that each passing year, we will make new progress,” Singh said speaking on the topic of “India under Modi: One Year In.”

Turning to what India’s transformative goals at home and creative diplomacy abroad mean for its relations with the US, Singh said: “In the past year, our relation with the US has been transformed.”

“The US was quick to offer to partner with India in realising the goals that our new Government set for India’s transformation, and as a result, the narrative in our relations has begun to reflect new found energy and optimism,” he said

“The excellent personal friendship” enjoyed by Modi and President Barack Obama has “provided a solid political foundation for our overall relationship,” Singh said.

While Obama became the first US President to visit India twice in his tenure, Modi’s “visit to the US last September allowed high-level engagement with the many stakeholders of our relations” in the US, he said.

Modi “further expanded the canvas of our interaction with the US by giving full play to the role of the enterprising and high-achieving Indian-American community,” Singh said.

“In two summits with the US in four months, the Government addressed lingering differences with the US on nuclear liability, injected new energy into defence and economic cooperation, and explored pragmatic ways forward on IPR issues and climate change,” Singh said.

“Bold new initiatives were taken” and the two summits “created new milestones, new expectations and new excitement, Singh said asserting, “Sound progress has been made to implement the vision of our leaders.”

“I would argue that we are at a qualitatively different phase in India’s domestic transformation, in India’s foreign policy approaches and in India’s engagement with the US than we were a year ago,” the ambassador said.

“The last year has been used effectively to lay the foundation for India’s rapid transformation and for robust and purposeful diplomacy, which have also led to new terms of India’s engagement with the US,” Singh said.

Turning to India’s broader external engagement, the envoy said, “In the last one year, foreign policy has seen emphasis as a dynamic tool for the government’s quest to accelerate India’s transformation and leverage India’s strengths to promote development in our region, under the motto of ‘diplomacy for development’.”

“Enhanced engagement with neighbours in South Asia and in the Indian Ocean Region has been a hallmark of the government’s diplomacy,” he said. (IANS)

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Crossfire between Rohingya Insurgents and Myanmar Military leaves Hindu Refugees In a Deadlock

Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh

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Rohingya Hindu refugees
A Rohingya refugee distributes wheat, donated by locals, among other refugees at a camp for the refugees in New Delhi, India.
  • The Hindu refugees, who fled to Bangladesh, have placed their hopes on the Modi  government 
  • The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s Rakhine state
  • The Indian government was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting Rohingya Muslims from the country 

New Delhi, September 21, 2017: The crossfire between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar’s military has left hundreds of Hindus, who fled to Bangladesh, placing their hopes on the Indian government.

Around 500 Hindus have taken shelter in a cleared-out chicken farm, in a Hindu hamlet in the southeast of Bangladesh. The place is situated at a distance of a couple of miles, where most of the 421,000 Rohingya Muslims, who also fled violence in Myanmar since August 25, have taken abode, mentions the Reuters report.

The Hindu refugees are scared of moving back to their villages in the Buddhist majority Myanmar’s restless Rakhine state. Modi government, meanwhile, is working to make things easier for Hindus, christians, Buddhists, and other minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh to gain access to Indian citizenship.

“India is also known as Hindustan, the land of the Hindus,” said a Hindu refugee, Niranjan Rudra, “We just want a peaceful life in India, not much. We may not get that in Myanmar or here.”

The fellow refugees agreed and shared their desire of getting this message received by the Indian government through media.

The Indian government, however, has declined to comment on hopes of Hindu refugees. it was waiting for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the home ministry’s plans of deporting around 40,000 Rohingya Muslims from India.

Achintya Biswas, a senior member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also called the World Hindu Council, on the other hand, stated India as the natural destination for the Hindus fleeing Myanmar.

Also readStop Lecturing And Demonizing India over its Plan to Deport 40,000 Stateless Rohingya Muslims: Minister

“Hindu families must be allowed to enter India by the government,” Biswas said, according to a report by Reuters, “Where else will they go? This is their place of origin.”

Biswas said the VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, would be submitting a report to the home ministry demanding a new policy that would be allowing Hindu refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh to seek asylum in India.

While India’s Home Ministry spokesman, K.S. Dhatwalia declined to comment, a senior home ministry official in New Delhi, on the condition of anonymity, mentioned that no Hindu in Myanmar or Bangladesh affected by the violence had approached Indian authorities.

“At this juncture we have no SOS calls from Hindus,” the official said.

“Also, the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether India should deport Rohingya Muslims or not. The matter is sub-judice and any policy decision will be taken only after the court’s order.”

Hindus form a small but an established minority in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Rudra along with other Hindu refugees talked about how they fled soon after Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 Myanmar police posts, instigating a fierce military counterattack.

“Our village in Myanmar was surrounded by hundreds of men in black masks on the morning of Aug. 25,” said Veena Sheel, a mother-of-two whose husband works in Malaysia.

“They called some men out and asked them to fight the security forces … a few hours after we heard gunshots,” she added.

Soon after taking office in 2014, the Modi government issued orders stating that no Hindu, or refugees of other minority from Bangladesh and Pakistan would be deemed as illegal immigrants even if they had entered the country without having the required documents, on or before December 31, 2014.

India, indeed, is in a tough situation, where it can’t compromise with the principles it holds being a Secular nation that is always engaged in humanitarian activities, but will also need to keep in mind the potential security threats that might come along with such an act of acceptance.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha