Monday January 21, 2019
Home India Narendra Modi...

Narendra Modi to visit Ireland, US this week

0
//
Photo: www.india.com

By NewsGram Staff-Writer

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has posted on Facebook that he will be visiting Ireland and the US from September 23-29.

Narendra-Modi6Modi will be will be going to Ireland on September 23 – in the first visit by an Indian prime minister in almost 60 years – and will hold talks with Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.

“We hope to further develop strong people-to-people and economic ties with Ireland in the years to come. In Ireland, I will also interact with the Indian community,” he wrote.

On September 24, Modi will travel to the US. “This visit seeks to build on the substantial ground covered during my last visit to USA and President (Barack) Obama’s visit to India early this year.”

Noting he was going to the US at “a historic moment when the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary”, he said that in July, he had written to 193 heads of governments outlining India’s vision for the UN agenda and reforms. “I am glad that leaders of several nations wrote back appreciating our vision.”

In New York City, Modi will address the UN Sustainable Development Summit for formal adoption of post-2015 new sustainable development agenda. “Coming from a culture that regards harmony as central to its ethos, I am glad to have an opportunity to address this forum. The new goals are closely aligned with India’s vision for sustainable development and our flagship programs for the same.”

Revealing he will also participate in a summit hosted by President Obama on peacekeeping, he noted that India has been one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping forces, with over 180,000 troops – more than from any other country.

“We are proud of our peacekeeping forces spread across the world, ensuring peace in difficult circumstances. I will pay homage to all those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for peace. And I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how to make peacekeeping more effective,” he wrote.

Modi also said that India will host a summit of G-4 leaders in New York, where the main agenda would be the UNSC reforms and the UN’s 70th anniversary “is an appropriate moment for reform discussions to be accelerated,” as the General Assembly has finally adopted a document that would form the basis of formal discussions on this matter.

He said he will be meeting several world leaders and also hold interactions with leading investors and financial sector firms, including a working dinner where major Fortune-500 companies will be present to deliberate on investment opportunities in India. “We have been interacting with several American business leaders over the last year and the outcomes have been encouraging,” he said.

He also said that he will be visiting the West Coast on September 26-27 and participate in several programs. “It would be after a gap of almost 33 years that an Indian PM would be visiting the west coast – the home of startups, innovation and technology.”

Modi said he will also be part of a Townhall Q&A at the Facebook HQ along with Mark Zuckerberg, and this is an event “you shouldn’t miss”.

“I have already invited you all to share your questions through Facebook or the ‘Narendra Modi Mobile App.’ I will also see some recent technological innovations on the Google (Alphabet) campus and Tesla Motors. I will address a Renewable Energy Roundtable with USDOC and Stanford University.”

He said he is also enthusiastic about the ‘India-US Start-up Konnect’. “India is emerging as a hub of startups in a wide range of areas and we aspire to take this further. We want the world to see our innovation capabilities in the start-up sector. At this event, a group of Indian startups will showcase their innovations and forge partnerships with the vibrant American start-up industry. ”

In San Jose, Modi will interact with the Indian community on September 27. He said: “The Indian diaspora has left no stone unturned in strengthening India-USA ties. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our diaspora that has made immense contributions to both our societies.”

(With inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Afghanistan Elections Conclude, IEC Criticized For Mismanagement

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

0
Afghanistan
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks to journalists after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at the Independent Elections Commission, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019. (VOA)

The process of submitting nomination papers for the upcoming presidential vote in Afghanistan concluded Sunday, with President Ashraf Ghani and his ruling coalition partner Abdullah Abdullah among the candidates seeking the country’s top office.

Ghani and Abdullah, who was appointed chief executive in a deal mediated by the United States after the disputed 2014 election, filed their nomination papers just hours before the Independent Election Commission (IEC) closed the proceedings.

The election activity comes as an early morning suicide car bombing of a government convoy in eastern Afghan province of Logar killed at least eight security forces, underscoring serious security challenges facing the country in the wake of a raging Taliban insurgency.

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

IEC officials, however, dismiss concerns and insist their rescheduling of the polls from the original April 20 date has given them enough time to fix the problems and to lay the ground for a better organized vote.

“Our [candidates’] goal should be to work toward ensuring this election process results in a strong government and nation. Whatever consensus regarding any reforms is required must be achieved now to remove any doubts about the election outcome,” Ghani said in televised comments after formally registering his candidacy with IEC.

Afghan
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Jan. 15, 2018.(VOA)

The IEC was heavily criticized for failing to prevent mismanagement and alleged rigging in the October parliamentary election. The final results are still awaited, fueling traditional mistrust and suspicions among voters about the upcoming election.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former ethnic Pashtun warlord accused of war crimes and once listed as terrorist by the U.S., has also joined the presidential race.

Hekmatyar stopped his Hizb-i-Islami group from waging insurgent attacks against foreign forces and returned to Kabul from years of hiding in 2016 after signing a U.S.-backed peace deal with President Ghani’s government.

Hekmatyar’s fighters have been blamed for committing atrocities during the Afghan civil war that enabled the Taliban to capture most of Afghanistan in 1996.

Several former officials of the Ghani-led National Unity government are also among the contestants. They include Hanif Atmar, former national security adviser; Rahmatullah Nabil, ex-chief of the Afghan intelligence agency; Zalmai Rassoul, a former foreign minister who came third in the last presidential election; and Shaida Abdali, a former diplomat.

elections
Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, center, shakes hands with his supporters after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019.

Peace talks with Taliban

The United States, meanwhile, has intensified efforts to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old conflict with the Taliban, which control nearly half of the country and maintain battlefield pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces to capture more territory.

Chief American peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team spent several days in neighboring Pakistan, where authorities tried to arrange the next round of U.S.-Taliban talks.

Also Read:U.S. Determined To Address ‘Legitimate Concerns’ To Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

A U.S. Embassy statement announced Sunday said Khalilzad visited Islamabad from January 17-20 where he met with Pakistani civilian and military leaders. It said that “both sides reaffirmed their commitment to advance the Afghan peace process.”

Khalilzad highlighted that all countries in the region will benefit from peace in Afghanistan, the statement concluded, though it was not clear whether Pakistani efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table succeeded. (VOA)