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India and Pakistan interchange a list of their Nuclear Facilities under a Bilateral Contract

The annual India-Pakistan nuclear facilities list interchange takes place for the 26th time

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An Indian cricket fan is joined by others as he waves the Indian flag outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012. VOA
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New Delhi, January 1, 2017: For the 26th consecutive year India and Pakistan interchanged a list of their nuclear facilities today under a bilateral contract that forbids them from attacking each other’s atomic installations.

“India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the list of nuclear installations and facilities covered under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations between India and Pakistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

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The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27, 1991, says the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the treaty on January 1 of every calendar year.

This is the 26th consecutive exchange of such list between the two countries. The first such interchange took place on January 1, 1992.

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The two countries also exchanged the lists of nationals (including civil prisoners and fishermen) of each country locked in their respective prisons as per provisions of the Agreement on Consular Access through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the MEA informed.

The agreement on consular access provides for exchanging a comprehensive list of nationals of each country lodged in their jails twice each year–on January 1 and July 1. This agreement was signed between the two countries on May 21, 2008,

India remains dedicated to addressing with Pakistan on priority the humanitarian matters, including those pertaining to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s country. In this context, we await from Pakistan confirmation of nationality of those in India’s custody who are otherwise compatible for release and repatriation.

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The MEA statement says, “We also await consular access to those Indian nationals in Pakistan’s custody for whom it has so far not been provided including Hamid Nehal Ansari and Kulbhushan Jadhav”.

Jadhav had been captured by the Pakistani security forces from Balochistan in March and allegedly  was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy and deputed to the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).” Pakistan has accused Jadhav of planning “subversive activities” in the country.

India has agrees to the fact that Jadhav had been a part of the navy. But his dubious connections with the government have been denied.

Pakistan has rejected India’s request for consular access to Jadhav whom Pakistan claimed to be a RAW insider so far.

Ansari had crossed over illegally to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 reportedly to meet someone he had befriended online and then went missing. He was arrested and tried later by a Pakistani military court which found him guilty of espionage.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

 

 

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

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It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

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President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)