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Sushma urges for early release of 6 Indian seamen from Egypt

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on her visit to Egypt, urged her counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry for the early release of six Indian seamen detained in the country since February 2014.

368001-sushma-3Sushma, who held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Monday, thanked Foreign Minister Shoukry for speeding up the process for transferring the two Indian prisoners serving life terms in Egyptian jails, said an official statement.

Sushma, who is visiting Egypt at the invitation of Shoukry, also held talks with Nabil El-Araby, Secretary General of League of Arab States on Monday. She met with the representatives of the Indian Community in Egypt on Sunday.

President Sisi extended a warm welcome and highlighted the importance that he attaches to Egypt-India relations and his desire to take the relations to a higher level.

Sushma Swaraj conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s greetings and congratulated him on the completion of the New Suez Canal. She outlined the preparations for deepening and expanding bilateral cooperation in all areas. She also extended her condolences on the passing away of his mother.

President Sisi mentioned that he was very impressed by the recent economic developments and scientific and technological achievements in India, which he sees as a model for all developing countries. He also hoped for closer cooperation in fighting terrorism and promoting security cooperation and defence R&D and joint production, said the statement.

Sushma held extensive bilateral talks with Shoukry, who also hosted lunch in her honour. They noted that our shared values and experiences form a strong foundation to further expand cooperation on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. They discussed ways to develop an agenda to deepen and expand cooperation to take our relations to a higher level.

Shoukry accepted Sushma’s invitation to visit New Delhi to co-chair the seventh meeting of India-Egypt Joint Commission in January 2016 and also hold Foreign Office Consultations at secretary level in November 2015. Sushma renewed the invitation to him to participate in the India-Africa Forum Summit-III in October 2015 in India.

Both sides inked two agreements, including an MoU on Cooperation in the field of Tourism and an MoU between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India and the National Research Center (NRC) of Egypt for Scientific and Technical Cooperation. It was also agreed that the Agreement on Maritime Transport, the text of which had been finalised and would be signed soon.

Sushma and Secretary-General of League of Arab States El-Araby reviewed India-Arab relations as well as regional issues.

Both sides noted that India’s traditionally close links with the Arab world have been strengthened further in recent years. They welcomed the success of special events such as the India-Arab Cultural Festival, India-Arab Media Symposium and India-Arab Partnership Conference. They agreed that the First Senior Officials Meeting of the India-Arab Cooperation Forum held in New Delhi and the first India-Arab Ministerial Conference to be held in Manama later this year would give further momentum to our expanding relations, said the statement.

Sushma Swaraj is to deliver a lecture on ‘India’s relations with Egypt and the region’ at the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, which will be attended by strategic thinkers, academics, diplomats, intelligentsia and media. She will also interact with a number of Egyptian Ministers and policy makers.

With inputs from IANS

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An insight into the biggest political parties of India

The next state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul Gandhi to prove his mettle as a leader

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The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons
The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Indian being a political democratic country, houses a lot of political parties. Since independence, many new parties have emerged to take up the fight for various sections of the society. One of the examples of such a party is AAP (Aam Admi Party). AAP came up with strong political ethics to root out issues faced by a commons man but now the very existence of this party is in question due to poor performance and incompetence of some of its top leaders. But the most prominent of all of the political parties in India are BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) and the Indian National Congress.

BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons
BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, BJP surfaced from a former party known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. BJP’s agenda during the 1980s focused on the ‘Ram Janambhoomi movement’. The party encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. This issue gave the Hindu colour denomination to BJP and in 1996; it emerged as the largest party in the parliament. After being kept away from the power for long, Narendra Modi led the BJP to unprecedented heights in the last elections and the competition was put up by him was unmatchable.

On the other hand, Congress is a more matured political party of India. It got established in the year 1885. After the independence, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Nehru was the front face of the political governance in India but after his assassination, his daughter Indira Gandhi took the charge and became the prime minister in 1966. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi also got assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi took up the reigns of the party. In the sequence of assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was the next target. Sonia Gandhi came to power in 1998 and she led the party from the front in 2004 elections. This resulted in the political rule of Congress under Manmohan Singh.

After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons
After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons

The recent Assembly election of Gujarat was a real eye-opener for many, as the people’s right to vote was seen quite considerably y exercised. The Congress resistance in the very own fortress of Narendra Modi was a heavy blow to the Modi wave that swept the country. Although, BJP had the last laugh in the election results but the close fight Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Congress side was appreciable. The new trend seems to be rebalancing the political scenario in India. The tussle between the BJP and Congress will definitely go down in the history of Indian politics.

Nowadays, Twitter is another playground for political parties. The rule of social media platforms has pushed Indian leaders to communicate in the same manner. It’s vividly seen that people take up to twitter to express their views and differences. Rahul Gandhi vetted his displeasure over the performance of BJP in the latest series of attacks by Rahul against Prime Minister Modi.

Last month only, Rahul Gandhi was crowned as the party head. Therefore, the state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul to prove his mettle as a leader. It will be interesting to see the new strategies that will be deployed by Congress to take an edge over their arch rivals, BJP.