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India Defends Its Development Assistance To Afghanistan After Trump’s Jab

Although India provides economic aid to Kabul, it has been more measured in giving military assistance

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Elaborate preparations for PM's election rally. VOA

India is defending its development assistance to Afghanistan after comments by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funding a library in the war torn country suggesting it is of no use.

Indian officials said New Delhi has been implementing a range of mega infrastructure projects that would go a long way in stabilizing the country and believes in the critical role that such assistance can play in transforming human lives.

India’s comments were attributed to official sources and widely circulated to domestic media. They came a day after a news appearance by Trump at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, in which he said he got along with Modi, but he was “constantly telling me that he built a library in Afghanistan.”

India And USA, India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs President Donald Trump as Modi departs the White House, June 26, 2017. VOA

“You know what that is? That’s like five hours of what we spend,” Trump said. “And we’re supposed to say, Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan,” Trump said.

Indian officials said while small libraries may have been built as part of community development projects undertaken in areas such as education and health, most of its investments in Afghanistan were on big infrastructure projects such as a more than 200 kilometer road, a dam for irrigation, and training programs for hundreds of Afghans in India.

India has provided $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan and is the largest donor in the region to the war-torn country.

In a tweet, the general secretary of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, Ram Madhav, also reacted to Trump’s comment saying India is building lives.

Modi. BJP
Modi inaugurates eight projects in Manipur. VOA

“Trump should know that while he is decrying every other help in (Afghanistan), India has been building not only libraries, but roads, dams, schools and even Parliament building,” he said.

In an apparent response to Trump calling on India, Russia, Pakistan and other neighboring countries to take responsibility for Afghanistan’s security, Indian officials said their country does not send its armed forces abroad, except under the specific mandate of U.N. Peacekeeping Operations.

Also Read: US Military to Withdraw 7,000 Troops From Afghanistan

Although India provides economic aid to Kabul, it has been more measured in giving military assistance, wary that Pakistan has resisted a greater role for India in Afghanistan. (VOA)

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Physicians Happy While Traders in Shock on Ban on E-Cigarettes in India

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger

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e-cigarettes, health, union, ban, india
A man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette, Aug. 28, 2019. VOA

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country with complete suspension of their manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger over the decision.

“Although, e-cigarettes are little less lethal then the conventional cigarettes, we cannot shun away the fact that it contains harmful ingredients. These chemicals can potentially affect the lungs and overall health of the individual in the long run,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes “ironic and erratic”.

“This ban on e-cigarettes on the basis of ‘selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion’ and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms,” said Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS (Trade Representatives of ENDS).

“All our representations sharing best practices from other countries – 70 developed countries have allowed regulated sale of e-cigarettes, have been completely ignored. We will now initiate a formal campaign to help MPs understand the issue, clarify misapprehensions and misinformation spread by lobby groups and support the farmer groups who see the growth of the e-cigarette sector as a global market opportunity for nicotine,” Rikhy said.

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The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths. Pixabay

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a way for adults to quit conventional smoking, a recent outbreak of lung illness associated with use of vaping products in the US has raised concerns about the safety of these products.

The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths linked to vaping.

Health authorities have documented a total of 450 cases involving e-cigarettes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a health warning against vaping.

ALSO READ: Girls Who Sleep Late At Night Are More Likely To Gain Weight

“I entirely support the idea of a ban on e-cigarettes; it is a step in the right direction,” Manoj Luthra, CEO, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“E-cigarettes have been projected as a means to help people to quit smoking tobacco and also being non-polluting. However, these have their own health hazards and are addictive as well. These contain nicotine and other chemical vapours which will certainly have ill effects on the heart and lung and other organs as well,” he said. (IANS)