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Sartaj Aziz confirms he will attend NSA talks in India

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 Islamabad/New Delhi: Ending the suspense, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz  confirmed on Thursday that he will visit India on August 23 for talks with his Indian counterpart  Ajit Doval.

“I can confirm I will proceed to India on August 23 for the NSA talks,” Aziz said while responding to  a question at a joint press conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad  Zarif.

The NSA level talks are part of the agreement arrived at between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and  his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during their July 10 meeting in Ufa, Russia.

The NSA talks are mandated to “discuss all issues connected to terrorism”.

“Although the security talks are not the revival of the Composite Dialogue, the meeting would be ‘ice-breaking’ as we will hold discussions on some important issues,” Aziz said.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that dialogue is the only option to peacefully resolve issues,” he added.

India had proposed August 23-24 for the NSA talks about a month ago, but Pakistan declined to confirm the dates.

Escalating tensions between the two neighbors since the Ufa meeting had put a big question mark on the talks.

The Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks by suspected Pakistani terrorists added to the heightened tension.

Last week, India decided to boycott a Commonwealth parliamentary meeting in Islamabad in protest against the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker not being invited.

Pakistan has invited the speakers of all the Indian states barring Jammu and Kashmir, citing it as disputed territory.

Pakistan has denied any hand in the July 27 Gurdaspur attack in which three armed terrorists sneaked across the border and killed seven people and also laid siege to the Dinanagar police station. The three terrorists were killed after an 11-hour gunfight.

On Aug 5, a Pakistani terrorist was killed and another caught alive after the two ambushed a Border Security Force vehicle in Udhampur in Jammu region and killed two security personnel.

Pakistani authorities have denied that the nabbed man, Usman, is from their country.

There have also been several instances of cross-border firing.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said his government was working on the agenda for the NSA talks.

(IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Hails India’s Position in Astronomy in Mann ki Baat

Referring to the contributions of astronomy centres in places like Pune and Ooty, the prime minister commended the strides the nation has taken in the field

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Modi advises Scientists
Prime Minister Modi tells scientists that science and technology should be used to bettering the lives of citizens. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking about the last solar eclipse of the year which happened on December 26, the prime minister Narendra Modi recalled India’s mastery over astronomy since ancient times.

In his Mann Ki Baat address to the nation, the Prime Minister mentioned the request from Ripun who hails from the northeast but is staying now in south India because of his job.

The prime minister mentioned Ripun for his request to find ways to popularise astronomy in rural areas of the country.

PM Modi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Referring to the contributions of astronomy centres in places like Pune and Ooty, the prime minister commended the strides the nation has taken in the field.

Also Read: Samsung, LG to Show off Latest AI Tech, Displays at CES: Report

“The eclipse reminds us that that we are travelling in space while residing on the earth…. Friends, India has an ancient and glorious history of astronomy. Our connection with the twinkling stars in the sky is as old as our civilisation. Many of you might be aware that at various places in India, there are magnificent observatories (Jantar Mantars) – which are worth seeing. And these observatories have a deep bond with astronomy. Who doesn’t know about the prodigious talent of the great Aryabhatta,” PM said. (IANS)