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India can help us strengthen defence, anti-terrorism: Namibian envoy

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New Delhi: Assistance in building up a strong defense system, peace keeping and an efficient anti-terrorism arrangement are among the prime topics to be discussed between India and Namibia during the upcoming Indo-Africa Forum Summit here, the country’s envoy said.

Namibian High Commissioner to India, Pius Dunaiski, said that to boost the country’s defence system, they wanted India to train officers in the Namibian Army, Air Force and Navy on advanced techniques and facilities being used by the defence forces of other nations.

“India had played a important role in establishment of Namibian Air Force. In fact we had bought the first helicopters from India. It also helped in educating and training the Namibians officers from Ministry of Defence, but now we want the training to be further developed,” Dunaiski told IANS in an interview.

The fifty-eight-year old diplomat, who has also been Namibia’s envoy to Germany and Angola, said: “The anti-terrorism capabilities and the peace-keeping strategies are India’s asset, and Namibia can get a lot of help, and learn in both the sectors,” said the envoy of Namibia, which was part of South Africa till 1990.

Noting that while Namibia had no problem of terrorism or conflict, Dunaiski said, “It’s always good to have arrangements done as the world is a global village and one never knows what may strike when. India has excellent anti-terrorism system. Peace-keeping is also important because the world is well aware of the India’s role in peacekeeping in other countries.”

African nations, especially Nigeria, in past few years have witnessed the problem of terrorism caused by Islamic terror groups like Boko Haram and Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Through a map released by the ISIL in late-2014, ISIL had mentioned its presence in countries they seek to imminently control, which included all Arab countries and nearly half of all Africa.

Stating that there were four important sectors, including agriculture, Dunaiski said that the Namibian delegation will have detailed talks with their Indian counterparts and would want the Indian companies to invest in all of them.

“Infrastructure development, agriculture, industrialisation, and most importantly, the mining sector will be the prime areas of discussion with the Indian counterparts. Agriculture especially because the technology the Indians use in agriculture is very adaptable for the Africans. Industrialisation will be another important area because we want development in that sector,” Dunaiski told IANS.

Calling mining the backbone of Namibian economy, Dunaiski said talks will be held over mining of diamonds, zinc and gold.

According to the envoy, Namibia has a target named “Vision 2030” and all major investment exchanges with countries were a part of it.

India and Namibia have earlier signed five agreements, including one on civil nuclear energy, which allows for supply of uranium from the African country.

A delegation of nearly 85 members, including President Hage Geingob, his wife, and cabinet ministers of finance, national planning, mining and agriculture will arrive in the national capital before the summit. Twenty Namibian industrialists are also likely to hold talks with their India counterparts as a part of the delegation.

Dunaiski also said that Namibia can be the leading contributor of uranium to India as it seeks to develop power through nuclear energy.

“As India has a huge population, they will need power in the future. Although nuclear energy is being tried, it’s only 4 per cent as of now. As stated by the Indian government, if they really want to make 20 per cent of the power from nuclear energy, then there is a good opportunity lying before us,” said the envoy, who was posted to India in 2013.

However, Dunaiski also said that there existed tough competition for India as Japan, China and others were also working hard to collaborate with the African nations to boost their economic ties.

“Africa is a continent rich in resources, but there is a huge competition ahead India. There is a separate forum of Japan and Africa, followed by China-Africa, and so on. The competition is so tough that Turkey, Hungary and several others, too, have specific forums for Africa to plan the exchange of investments. India, in fact, is a bit late,” he said.

The Republic of Namibia is a vast, sparsely populated country situated along the south Atlantic coast. In 2014, it bought 3,400 Indian-made electronic voting machines (EVMs) at a cost of Namibian $10 million.

( Rupesh Dutta,IANS)

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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.

India n Passport
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.

Donald Trump, India
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)