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India-Arab League first ministerial meeting in Bahrain

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left for Bahrain to attend the first ministerial meeting between India and the Arab League on Sunday.

“This will be the first-ever ministerial meeting between India and the League of Arab States Foreign Ministers,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The Arab League comprises 22 countries in West Asia and northern Africa.

The Arab countries combined together are India’s biggest trading partner with total trade of over $180 billion.

The relationship between India and the Arab countries has already been taken to the next level called India-Arab Partnership Conference, four meetings of which have already been held with New Delhi hosting the last one in 2014.

The next conference is scheduled to be held in Oman in May this year.

Emerging areas of cooperation between India and the Arab countries include agriculture, dry land farming, environment protection, information and communication technology (ICT), automobiles, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), biotechnology and space.

Sixty percent of India’s oil and gas comes from West Asia which is an important pillar of the country’s energy security.

The Maghreb region provides phosphates and fertilisers for India’s agricultural sector.

The seven-million strong Indian diaspora in the Gulf countries is an important source of remittances.

The first ministerial meeting in Bahrain on Sunday will provide new opportunities to further strengthen ties between the two sides.

“India has been consistently deepening its engagement with the Arab world. Our ancient ties have transformed into a modern partnership covering a whole host of areas,” said Swarup.

“The first ever India-Arab League ministerial meeting will unveil a new blueprint for our partnership with the very important region,” he added.

India is also concerned over the deepening sectarian divide in the region and the growing footprint of terror groups like the Islamic State.

After Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric on charges of terrorism earlier this month, its missions in Iran came under attack and subsequently diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Tehran were cut off.

It is hoped that Sunday’s meeting will also result in greater cooperation in counter-terrorism cooperation between India and the Arab League countries.

After reaching Manama on Saturday, Sushma Swaraj will hold a bilateral meeting with Bahrain.

Secretary (East) in the external affairs, Anil Wadhwa, who is already in Bahrain, is also scheduled to attend a meeting of senior officials of India and the Arab League countries on Saturday.(IANS)

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Kejriwal’s Door to Door Donation Drive is a Farce: Munish Raizada

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors' list on its website and then only seek new donations.

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Dr. Munish Raizada along with his Chanda Bandh Satyagraha team outside the office of AAP MLA Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar). File photo

Chicago: The Aam Aadmi Party Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has launched a door to door campaign seeking donations for the AAP.  According to former overseas co-coordinator of Aam Aadmi Party, Dr. Munish Raizada, this is nothing more than a misleading campaign!

Raizada says that Kejriwal has no moral right to seek donations from common man as he has dismantled financial transparency in AAP by removing donors list from its website. Displaying donors’ list showing real time donations and making the income and expenditure accounts available online were the basis and the promise of the AAP, emphasised Raizada.

Now, after hiding donors’ list and its balance sheets from the public, the AAP cannot claim to be practising alternative politics.

Munish Raizada, kejriwal
Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it. (File photo)

It may be noted that AAP removed the list of donors from its website in June 2016. Moreover, since then AAP has been surrounded with controversies related to donations. AAP had also received Rs 30.67 crore Income Tax notice, last year in November, implying that all is not well with AAP’s accounts, says Raizada.

He further questions Kejriwal, that if AAP has nothing to hide about its accounts and if AAP is honest with its account keeping then why is Kejriwal hiding the donations?

Even the donation policy that was earlier the pride of every AAP volunteer has been done away with. The donation policy on AAP website used to state: “Every single rupee donated to the party will be published on the website immediately along with the details of the donor. Every expense done by the party will also be published on the website.”

But rather than putting the donors’ list in public domain, the party’s corrupt leadership started blaming BJP and I.T. Department for harassing its donors.

 

munish raizada, kejriwal
Chanda Bandh Satygrah demands restoration of  lost values in AAP ( File Photo)

 

Opaque political funding is the fountain head of corruption. Further, Raizada says that if the party cannot be transparent in its political funding, then talking about fighting corruption and graft is a mere rhetoric. He said that the appeals by Chanda Bandh Satyagraha have fallen on deaf ears as far as the party’s

leadership is concerned. 

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors’ list on its website and then only seek new donations. Chanda Bandh Satyagraha was started by AAP’s volunteers in 2016, with an appeal to the public not to donate to AAP unless it makes its donation lists open and transparent.