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Russia plane crash includes two Indians among killed: Spokesman Vikas Swarup

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Russia plane crash
Image source: huffingtonpost.com

New Delhi: Among those killed in the FlyDubai plane crash in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don are two Indians, spokesman Vikas Swarup of the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

At least 62 passengers and crew have died in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don during an attempted landing by the FlyDubai plane, which crashed afterwards, Russian officials said.

“The aircraft hit the ground and broke into pieces,” the Committee said in a statement on its website. “According to preliminary data, there were 55 passengers aboard and 7 crew members. They all died.”

Vikas Swarup said the Indian embassy in Moscow got this information from the list put out by the Russian authorities.

Swarup was appointed on March 2015 as the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India to head its Public Diplomacy divisions at New Delhi.

Swarup said the two Indians that appear on the list are identified as Anju Kathirvel Aiyappan and Mohan Shyam. (IANS)

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US President Donald Trump’s Tough Stand Against Pakistan and more Highlights from his Speech

Donald Trump on wanting cooperation from India for reconstruction of Afghanistan

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US President Donald Trump during speech
US President Donald Trump during speech. Wikimedia
  • We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America
  • The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw
  • We have been paying Pakistan  billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting

Virginia, USA, August 23, 2017: US President Donald Trump in his speech at Arlington, Virginia on August 21, 2017, divulged details on his new policy for Afghanistan and South Asia. He made it clear in his speech that American troops will continue to fight the war between US and Afghanistan, the longest war in US history which has been continuing for 17 years.

Trump made it a point to announce that he’s not just rearranging the Afghanistan policy. He also spoke against Pakistan and criticized them for harboring the terrorists and said that the US would want India’s help and contribution to restore the stability of Afghanistan.

Trump said, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear. We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter.”

Trump listed out the factors that would lead to a change in Afghanistan and South Asia policy in the coming years:

  • Donald Trump criticized Barack Obama
    Trump, many times during his presidential campaign has criticized former US President Barack Obama “for announcing a date by which American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan.” He said that it allowed Taliban and others like them to reassemble and lay waiting for them to do so.
  • The new policy by Trump will allow the military to observe the conditions on the ground before they take a decision on if they want to attack or withdraw. Though it seems like a wise decision, it also means that the US troops are likely to be in Afghanistan for few more years, by taking into consideration how long this war has continued. The US President stressed upon, “A shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.”

ALSO READ: US Senate Confirms Three Indian Americans picked by President Donald Trump to Key Governmental Posts

  • Trump talked of a successful outcome

America will focus on their interests first, Donald Trump said, “The integration of all instruments of American power – diplomatic, economic, and military – toward a successful outcome.”  Trump said that America has spent a lot of time, money and soldier’s lives to try and rebuild countries in its own image. He expressed that a future political solution in Afghanistan might even include the Taliban, but it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take that decision. “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” he said.

  • On Pakistan

Trump said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat.” Trump made some strong remarks about Pakistan, a country that has apparently been an American ally for decades, but was also often accused of taking funds from USA and using them to “take part in an arms race with India”, instead of using that money to fight the terror organizations which were often nurtured by them. Trump said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

  • On wanting cooperation from India

Donald Trump then talked about India and said: “Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India – the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States.  We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.  We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region.”

Trump called for India’s helping hand- He wants India to play a much larger role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, particularly in the areas like development and economic assistance. This came as positive news to New Delhi, and the Ministry of External Affairs was ready to welcome the statement with open arms. The spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives.”

ALSO READ: US President Donald Trump Needs to Do Better than Tweeting, to Deal with North Korea

But Donald Trump’s framing of the issue has a problem in it – this seems transactional (like a business deal) and the narrative put forward by the US President saying that Afghan reconstruction is mainly an American effort only. Trump said, “But India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States,” he said this as if he wants to say that this should be the reason due to which New Delhi should do what Washington asks from it. Though India’s trade relations with the US shouldn’t be the reason for which India would take a bigger role in Afghanistan reconstruction. Instead, it is because of India’s personal interests in wanting to see Afghanistan as a stable, peaceful and terror-free region which leads it to move in the direction of forming a partnership with Kabul. Journalist Bobby Ghosh said, “One of the strengths of India’s involvement in Afghanistan is that it is seen unambiguously as Indian involvement.”

The real hindrance to a much larger involvement of India in Afghanistan is the danger of Pakistan taking revenge and they have been more than willing to use their weapons of terror against India in the past. This is where Trump’s strict stand on Pakistan is welcome and much needed.hat we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.

What we don’t know is how much of Trump’s words will turn into action in the coming years. In the past also, American leaders have vowed to be strict with Pakistan, but they caved into demands of the country’s military. Now, Trump has talked about a “dramatically changed” approach, and these have been the most direct remarks coming from a US president regarding Pakistan till now. Now, only time will tell how much change can this bring.


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Subhas Chandra Bose Didn’t Die in an Air Crash, Suggests French Report

The French government has always been silent on the issue, adding more significance to the findings

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Subhas Chandra Bose and the mystery around his death
Subhas Chandra Bose with Mahatma Gandhi at the Indian National Congress meeting. Wikimedia
  • Paris based historian, J B P More, through a brief French secret service report came up with a finding that Bose didn’t die in an air crash and was alive in 1947
  • The French government has always been silent on the issue
  • The Indian government, supposedly ended the mystery some time ago, by replying to an RTI query

New Delhi, July 17, 2017: Seventy-two years since the report of the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, but the debate regarding the real timing and cause of his demise continues. Whether the plane crash story holds any ground or not, is still a mystery that is yet to be solved.

Three commissions were appointed by the government of India to resolve the deeply rooted mystery. Among them, The Shah Nawaz Committee (1956) and Khosla Commission (1970) concluded that Bose died in an air crash on August 18, 1945, at Taihoku airport in Japanese-occupied Taipei, whereas, the Mukherjee Commission came to the conclusion that he did not die in an air crash. Although the Government rejected the claims of the Mukherjee Commission, this did not refrain the scholars around the world to get deep into the case to find the truth.

Recently, Paris-based historian, J B P More stumbled upon a brief French secret service report dated December 11, 1947, at the National Archives of France. He came up with a finding that Bose didn’t die in an air crash and was still alive in 1947.

Also read: Personal life of Subhas Chandra Bose generates divisive views

“It is not stated in the document that Subhas Chandra Bose died in the air crash in Taiwan. Instead, it is reported that Bose’s present whereabouts were unknown as late as December 1947, which again implies that the French did not buy the theory that Bose died in the air crash on August 18, 1945,” said More, who teaches at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales, Paris.

“But he escaped from Indochina alive and his whereabouts were unknown as late as December 11, 1947, as reported in the secret document. This implies that he was alive somewhere but not dead in 1947,” More added, quoting the report written for the “Haut Commisariat de France for Indochina” SDECE Indochinese Base BCRI No. 41283 csah Ex No. 616, under the title: “Archival Information on Subhas Chandra Bose.”

After Bose took off from Saigon on his way to Tokyo, the British and the Japanese too declared that Bose died in an air crash, but the French government always remained silent on the issue, though Vietnam/Indochina was a French colony during the 1940s.

Also read: 100 files related to Netaji declassified by PM Modi on his birth anniversary

Scholars have expressed their concern regarding the need for the findings in the report to be taken seriously. “Even though the Mukherjee Commission concluded that Bose didn’t die in an air crash, the government didn’t recognize it. The Centre’s idea to ‘declassify’ secret files on Bose may not help, But findings like this have significance,” said Kingshuk Nag, a noted journalist and author of the book “Netaji: Living Dangerously.”

Only some time ago, The Ministry of Home Affairs, India, supposedly ended the mystery by replying to a Right To Information query filed by Sayak Sen. MHA reportedly said: “After considering the reports of Shahnawaz Committee, Justice GD Khosla Commission and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry, the Government has come to the conclusion that Netaji has died in plane crash in 1945.”

Now, Paris-based historian J B P More, with his findings, seems to have given a new shape to this enigma.

– prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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39 Indian Construction Workers held by ISIS Terrorists in Iraq’s Mosul Are Alive: Government

Mosul is witnessing one of the fiercest fights between ISIS terrorists and joint Iraqi and US forces

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ISIS in Iraq, Mosul
ISIS terrorists. Wikimedia
  • The Indians were taken hostage in ISIS-held Mosul in 2014; however, no demand has been made so far for their release
  • The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said over 100,000 civilians were trapped there and the ISIS was using kids as human shields

New Delhi, June 16, 2017: Three years after they went missing, the government on Friday said that 39 Indian construction workers mostly from Punjab, who were taken hostage by ISIS terrorists in Iraq’s war-torn Mosul, were alive and “everything possible” was being done to ensure their safe return.

“The information we have so far is that they are alive because we have no other information to prove that they are not alive,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay told reporters.

He said the government was in touch with all the countries “which can help us and are helping us in this matter”.

ALSO READ: Life Under Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorist Group: Soldier Hussien Hamza’s Story of Poison Bomb

“What steps have been taken in this regard are sensitive. I do not want to say anything more about it,” Mr Baglay said, adding that the government “is doing everything possible” in this matter.

The Indians were taken hostage in ISIS-held Mosul in 2014. However, no demand has been made so far for their release.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the family members of the 39 Indian men in Delhi and told them that a source of the government in Iraq had information about a group of Indian men holed up in a “church” in Mosul that is yet to be liberated from ISIS terrorists.

Mosul is witnessing one of the fiercest fights between ISIS terrorists and joint Iraqi and US forces. The US-backed military offensive to recapture the Iraqi city entered its ninth month on Friday.

ISIS terrorists overran the city in 2014 and imposed brutal Islamist law there. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said over 100,000 civilians were trapped there and the ISIS was using kids as human shields. (IANS)