Monday September 23, 2019
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Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to speak at the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”

Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.

“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.

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Imran Khan, wikimedia commons

In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.

Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, surrounded by host country representatives and other participants, attends an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)

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India To Become Global Steel Manufacturing Hub By 2031

The Modi government seems determined to boost the country's crude steel production capacity to 300 MT by 2030-31 in a bid to make India a global steel manufacturing hub

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Modi government seems determined to boost the country's crude steel production capacity. Wikimedia Commons

The Modi government seems determined to boost the country’s crude steel production capacity to 300 MT by 2030-31 in a bid to make India a global steel manufacturing hub.

At present, China is the world’s largest steel producer with a production capacity of 928.3 MT of crude steel (2018), while India, with 106.5 MT of crude steel production, ranks second on the list. Dedicated participation of all stakeholders is a must to achieve the projected capacity target of 300 MT by 2030-31.

To deliberate on major issues plaguing the sector, the Ministry of Steel is organising in Delhi on Monday a day-long conclave, during which Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will seek suggestions from the stakeholders to address its challenges, identify opportunities and arrive at tangible interventions that can aid the growth of the Indian steel industry.

The National Steel Policy 2017 envisages ‘creating a self-sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced, globally competitive and promotes inclusive growth’.

Being the third largest steel consumer in the world after China and USA, India’s per capita steel consumption at 74 kgs is one-third the global average of 225 kgs.

steel, manufacturing, india, global
Being the third largest steel consumer in the world after China and USA, India’s per capita steel consumption at 74 kgs is one-third the global average of 225 kgs. Wikimedia Commons

Various countries have focused on rapidly increasing their steel consumption in the high growth phase of their economy. At present, India’s majority steel demand comes from construction, infrastructure, automobiles and capital goods, among others.

ALSO READ: Rather than Thinking about Future, Working People Need to Live in Present and Avoid Mulling Too Much

Steel intensive construction offers an increased pace of durable and environmentally sustainable construction. Its recyclable nature also contributes to the circular economy.

The government has set a target to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, therefore promoting domestic steel industry is essential, given its high GDP multiplier and critical role in the construction and infrastructure sectors, said the Ministry. (IANS)