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Paris remembers unknown Indian soldiers

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Paris: In a moving ceremony, organised here for the first time, martyred Indian soldiers were remembered at the iconic Arc de Triomphe, which is home to the Flame in the Memory of the Unknown Soldier.

The flame has been rekindled by the French army every single day since November 1923, even during the Second World War when Paris was occupied by the Germans. However, so far it had never been done in the memory of Indian soldiers, even though over 10,000 of them laid down their lives in the defence of France and other allied nations in the First World War, which had seen over 130,000 Indian soldiers arrive in France to battle the Germans.

The proof of the valiant Indian soldiers lies in Neuve Chapelle, a small village on the border with Belgium, where 4,200 Indian soldiers were killed in intense fighting that lasted over three days. The Indian armies finally drove out the German occupiers and gained control of this strategic village.

To commemorate these soldiers, the Indian community got together with the Indian embassy here, to organise a ceremony for the first time. The initiative was taken by Rajaram Munuswamy, secretary general of GOPIO International, the organisation that brings together persons of Indian origin in various countries around the world.

“In this centenary year of the World War I, we have organised several events to honour Indian soldiers and that is why we approached the French defence ministry to allow us to commemorate the ceremony at this unique monument. This is the first time in the history of France that the Indian community is remembering its soldiers,” Munuswamy told this correspondent.

For this occasion, GOPIO chose a very auspicious and indeed apt day, December 16, which is also celebrated as the V-Day in 1971 war with Pakistan and which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

The flame was lit by Indian Ambassador Mohan Kumar in the presence of over 400 members of the Indian diaspora, who had gathered not only from France but also from Britain, Guadeloupe and Mauritius, among other countries. Notable among those present was GOPIO International president Diljit Rana GOPIO International chairman Mahen Utchanah.

Before the flame was lit, the diaspora members organised a small march on the Champs Elysées, bearing the Indian tricolour as well as the flags of France and GOPI.

On the occasion, Mohan Kumar thanked the Indian community in France for having taken the initiative and joining in the efforts of the Indian embassy to ensure that a proper recognition is awarded to the valiant efforts and sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers in France over a century ago.

After the brief ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, the event continued in a nearby hotel where the Indian ambassador and prominent GOPIO members shared their thoughts on the unity and cohesion needed among the communities worldwide to combat the terrorism which has no frontiers and affects the humanity. (Ranvir Nair, IANS)

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Paris inaugurates International bidding for 2024 Olympics

The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here

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2024
Pixabay Paris

France, Feb 4, 2017: The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here.

The event was participated by Paris 2024 leadership, top athletes, political and business leaders.

 Speaking at the event, Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet said Paris has launched the bid 18 months ago, the bidding team has put athletes at the heart of the plans and has developed a compact plan with 85 per cent of venues being within 10 km, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Details of the ultra-compact, city-centre inspired concept were the highlights of the candidature file the bidding team submitted to International Olympic Committee.

Paris’ 2024 has a bold vision to deliver the most sustainable Games ever, with 95 per cent of venues either pre-existing or temporary structures, in addition, a ground breaking carbon emissions strategy closely aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Paris Climate Agreement is also under plan.

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Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo said Paris embodies a belief in the human spirit and an absolute commitment to protect the environment.

“Paris has always stood on the cutting edge of progress and that is why the Games in Paris will be the first ever to be aligned with the Paris Agreement,” she said.

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The event also defined the city’s approach to legacy which will see Paris 2024 Olympics become a model of sustainable development, innovation and social purpose.

The Paris 2024 bid will also build on the city’s global leadership and the positive role sport can play in society to deliver legacies for future generations and to be shared with future host cities. (IANS)

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India’s Reply to Pakistan: Indian Army Launches Massive Firing along LOC after Soldier’s Beheading

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FILE - Indian army soldiers keep guard on top of a shop along a highway on the outskirts of Srinagar, Sept. 29, 2016. VOA

Srinagar, November 23, 2016: The Indian army on Wednesday launched massive fire assaults on Pakistan. A day after an Indian soldier was beheaded and two more were killed, and Indian army vowed “heavy retribution”.

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According to NDTV report, “The entire Line of Control is now a hot zone with firing at Poonch, Rajouri, Kel and Machil,” said the army.

On Tuesday, an Indian soldier was beheaded and two more were killed by the Pakistani commandos who crossed over at Machil.

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Three weeks ago, another soldier was mutilated and that was not far away from the spot. The Indian army said in a statement, “Retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act.”

Machine guns and 120 mm heavy mortars are being used to attack the Pakistani army posts.

The army said on Wednesday that the attack is a direct message to them that mutilation cannot be accepted and the response from India will be quick and massive.

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According to NDTV report, “The soldiers were ambushed while they were on a patrol in the Machil sector in north Kashmir by the Border Action Team of the Pakistan army. Indian posts are closer to Pakistan in this sector and the rugged terrain and thicker forests give intruders an advantage.”

Pakistan denied any such incident and said the reports are false and baseless.

by NewsGram team

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Indo-Pakistan Peace Restaurant ‘Sarhad’ to showcase food in Paris at an International food event ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in September

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route

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Vegetarian Food and Hinduism
Indian food, Wikimedia

Attari, Punjab, August 29, 2016: A popular restaurant, which sells Indian and Pakistani cuisine and the idea of peace between the not-so-friendly neighbours right at the international border between both countries, will showcase its food at an international food event in Paris next month, in September.

‘Sarhad’ (which means border) restaurant, located just one kilometer from the Attari-Wagah joint check post of India and Pakistan, has been invited to participate in the ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in Paris, being organised by Le Fooding on September 24.

“Sarhad, which promotes peace through food with its Amritsari-Lahori cuisine and culture, has been invited to participate in the world’s biggest food event at Paris being organised by Le Fooding on September 24 this year,” restaurant owner Aman Jaspal told IANS here.

Aman and his wife Sameena will be serving the delicious Chicken Biryani, a popular rice and chicken dish in both countries, at the food festival. Aman will soon travel to Lahore to get fresh spices and ingredients from there.

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“Sarhad is one of the 10 restaurants invited from across the world with a similar mission to use food as a medium for peace and reconciliation. Top international chefs and restaurateurs will present essential dishes from different countries, religions and cultures in conflict with each other who come together through their shared gastronomy,” Aman pointed out.

LeFooding Restaurant. Image source: Facebook
LeFooding Logo. Image source: Facebook

International chefs who will be presenting a special dish for the Paris event are Niki Kopcke and Roberta Siao from London, Kamal Mouzawk from Lebanon, Celine Pham from Paris, Jessamyn Rodriguez and Les Boulangeres from New York, Regina Tchelly from Brazil, Pierre Gagnaire from France and Xavier Zapata from Marseille-France.

Sameena, who is from New Zealand and whose parents run a chain of restaurants there, is all excited about the Paris event.

“It’s a great feeling to know that like Sarhad there are like-minded organisations in the world who consider food as peace facilitator,” Sameena told IANS.

The theme of the food event this year has been kept to celebrate reconciliation, life and peace around and through food. This has been done in view of the tragic terror strikes in Paris, Brussels and other places across the world.

“Food has always been central to bringing people together, so the event will serve to highlight local and international initiatives, paying tribute to chefs, restaurateurs, NGOs that act to promote peace among men and women at different levels social, cultural and religious,” Coralie Kwok, chief coordinator of the event, stated in an Email to the Jaspal couple.

The unique border restaurant ‘Sarhad’ showcases the architectural, cultural and culinary heritage of pre-partition Punjab in general and Amritsar and Lahore cities in particular.

The Lahori menu at the restaurant, which is a big draw with visitors to the Retreat ceremony and among local residents, includes Chapli Kebab, Nihari Ghost, Bannu Kebab, Fish Korma, Miyanji ki Dal and Bakarkhani Roti.

“To add a little fizz to the current tepid phase in Indo-Pakistan relations, Sarhad has introduced non-alcoholic beer manufactured by Pakistan’s iconic liquor brand, the 160-year-old Rawalpindi-based Murree Brewery.

“Also available only at Sarhad is all-time Lahori favorite dessert, Khalifa Nan Khatai. Seven boxes of this desert were presented by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s swearing in ceremony in 2014,” Aman pointed out.

Lahore’s leading designer Ansa Zafar has created furniture for Sarhad while Salah-auddin Michu has created ceramic jaali panels with exquisite motifs of the Lahore fort and Indus valley civilization.

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Pakistan’s most celebrated truck artist, Haider Ali, has painted two Tata mini trucks in Pakistani truck art.

These colourful trucks, with the slogan “India-Pakistan Friendship Zindabad” boldly emblazoned on the bonnet, are parked at Sarhad and are a big attraction for tourists.

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route.

“If Paris can try to discover peace and reconciliation through food, there is no reason why India and Pakistan, which share a great common culinary heritage, should not give a chance to food diplomacy. Sarhad would be more than willing to host such an effort,” Aman (which means peace) said.

The brick-lined ‘Sarhad’ restaurant complex was launched on August 15 (India’s Independence Day) in 2012. It is located about 30 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Famous Pakistani architect and designer Nayar Ali Dada was roped in to incorporate features of old Lahore and old Amritsar in the design for the Sarhad complex. (IANS)

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