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Pakistan seeks to shift Obama-Sharif talks focus to India

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Washington: Ahead of his meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama, visiting Pakistan Prime Minister has sought to shift the focus of talks to India rather than counter-terrorism and safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons highlighted by US.

Sharif’s meeting with Obama “will highlight the enduring nature of the US-Pakistan relationship and provide an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation on issues of mutual interest,” a White House statement said Wednesday.

These include “economic growth, trade and investment, clean energy, global health, climate change, nuclear security, counter terrorism, and regional stability.”

“The President looks forward to discussions with Prime Minister Sharif on ways we can advance our shared interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.”

According to official Pakistani news agency APP, Pakistan Wednesday handed over three dossiers to US Secretary of State John Kerry about alleged Indian involvement in subversive activities in the country.

The dossiers were handed over to Kerry when he called on Sharif at the Blair House. Kerry, it said, was briefed about the alleged destabilising role of Indian agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan and Karachi.

Sharif, according to APP, also reiterated his commitment to seek normalisation with India.

However, State Department spokesperson, John Kirby told reporters he was “not aware that we have” received any documents relating to India from Pakistan.

Declining to “get into the specifics of the discussion” between Kerry and Sharif he said: “We continue to believe that India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation, and we encourage both India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tensions.”

“The normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India is vital to both countries and to the region, and steps that initiate closer regional trade and energy ties we believe will create jobs, lower inflation, and increase energy supply,” he said.

Kirby said “there is much that Pakistan has done and can continue to do to help us get at the counterterrorism challenge there in the region.”

On the issue of nuclear safety, he noted that Pakistan “is engaged with the international community on nuclear safety and security issues.”

“I’d also note that they have a professional and dedicated security force that understands the importance of nuclear security,” Kirby said. “We believe that they believe in the importance of nuclear security issues.”

Declining to “get into specifics” of discussion on nuclear safety, he said: “But obviously it remains a significant challenge, counter terrorism, and it’s something that we continue to want to partner with Pakistan on.”

Kerry, he said, had also thanked Sharif for “Pakistan’s regional efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, especially in bringing to justice Al Qaeda leadership and disrupting terrorist plots.”

They discussed the recent announcement to keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, noting that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and in the region, Kirby said.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

 

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS

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