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Modi meets French foreign minister, conveys expectation about positive outcome at climate summit

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and said he hoped for an equitable and positive outcome at the UN climate change summit in Paris later this month.

Modi also conveyed his deepest condolences at the loss of innocent lives in the terror attacks in Paris last week.

“The prime minister strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Paris and conveyed his deepest condolences at the loss of innocent lives in the attacks,” a release from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

As many as 129 people were killed and 350 others injured in the terror attacks in Paris on November 13.

During the meeting, Modi re-affirmed “the importance that India attached to a strategic partnership with France”.

He said the UN climate change summit should also provide for enhanced technological, financial and capacity-building support to developing and small countries to enable them to take even more ambitious action to save the climate.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope for a positive outcome from the forthcoming COP 21 summit that was equitable, balanced and guided by the principles and provisions of the UNFCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities,

Modi said he looked forward to the launch of the International Solar Alliance along with French President Francois Hollande and other leaders during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The release said Fabius appreciated the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) declared by India and said it would play an important role in the success of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21 Summit).

(Inputs from 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
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

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)