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‘India, Pakistan to work on what they agreed to at Ufa’

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New Delhi: India is going to work with Pakistan according to the joint statement issued after the Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif meeting in Ufa, in Russia, and “will not judge by the airwaves” of what Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz has said in Islamabad, sources said on Tuesday.

According to sources, the India-Pakistan joint statement “is an accurate reflection of the spirit” of the Modi-Sharif meeting in Ufa.

The one-hour meeting in Ufa was “about how to go about talking to each other in a high-level focused way”, the sources said.

The joint statement was formulated by both the foreign secretaries – India’s S. Jaishankar and Pakistan’s Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary – and “captures the main points of the meeting” and “reasonably, accurately reflects the substance of the meeting”, sources said.

The statement, read out to the press in Ufa, was shown to Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval before being read out, and likewise taken by the Pakistani foreign secretary to be approved by his higher-ups, said the sources.

The statement was jointly formed by the two foreign secretaries just after the meeting, and “the idea that it is not true and accurate means that both (foreign secretaries) are misleading”, the sources added.

Both the prime ministers came to the meeting “with a fairly positive intent”, which was preceded by their phone calls to each other with regard to the Yemen evacuation, the Nepal earthquake and the Ramadan greetings extended by Modi.

The sources said that Sartaj Aziz’s statements have “not in any way affected what was agreed upon” in Ufa and both sides would begin work on a meeting between their National Security Advisors and the meeting of the DG Border Security Force with the DG Pakistan Rangers and between their Directors General of Military Operations.

According to the sources, what Aziz said in Islamabad does not concern India. “We have to judge on what they said to us,” the informed sources added.

To a question whether Kashmir was discussed at the Ufa meeting, the source said that “broadly the contours of Kashmir – in a way” was discussed at Ufa.

“We want to do things (begin work on the agreed points) sooner than rather than later,” the sources added.

(IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)