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Modi says India, Israel want to put in place robust security partnership against shared threats

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that India and Israel wanted to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of their economic engagement and also put in place a robust security partnership to respond to shared threats to their peace, stability and prosperity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and  his wife Sara on his arrival at their residence for dinner in Jerusalem, Israel on July 4, 2017. Photo: Avi Ohayon, Israel Government Press Office.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on his arrival at their residence for dinner in Jerusalem, Israel on July 4, 2017. Photo: Avi Ohayon, Israel Government Press Office.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that India and Israel wanted to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of their economic engagement and also put in place a robust security partnership to respond to shared threats to their peace, stability and prosperity.
 
"In modern times, our ties have seen rapid growth since the establishment of our full diplomatic relations a quarter century ago," he said at a pre-dinner statement at the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu here on the opening day of his historic three-day visit to Israel.
 
"Common objectives of economic prosperity, strong technology and innovation ties and the need to secure our societies define the space for convergent action between us. Over coming decades, we want to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of our economic engagement. India is the world's fastest growing large economy. Our focus on using technology and innovation to meet our development priorities provides productive scope to expand our academic, scientific and research, and business links. 
 
"We also want to put in place a robust security partnership to respond to shared threats to our peace, stability and prosperity. I will work with Prime Minister Netenyahu to craft and build a clear action agenda to realise these objectives," he said.
 
Mr. Modi began by saying that, just a short while back, he had laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum to remember and honour over six million Jewish lives that were lost in the horror of the holocaust. 
 
"Yad Vashem is a reminder of the unspeakable evil inflicted generations ago. It is also a tribute to your unbreakable spirit to rise above the depths of tragedy, overcome hatred and forge ahead to build a vibrant democratic nation. Yad Vashem tells us that those who believe in humanity and civilized values must come together and defend it at all costs. As such, we must resolutely oppose the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence that plague our time," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said the link between their people went back to thousands of years when the first Jews landed on India’s south-western coastline. 
 
"Since then, the Jews have flourished, and their traditions and practices thrived in India. We are proud of jewish sons and daughters of India like Lt. General J.F.R. Jacob, Vice Admiral Benjamin Samson, Master architect Joshua Benjamin, and film actors Nadira, Sulochana, and Pramila whose diverse contributions have greatly enriched the fabric of Indian society. Indian Jews are a living and vibrant connect to this shared history. My visit to Israel celebrates this ancient bond between communities across both our nations. And, I am happy that I will have occasion to engage with the rich Indian diaspora in Israel later tomorrow," he said.
 
 
Modi says India, Israel must fight terrorism, radicalism
Earlier, welcoming Mr. Modi, Mr. Netanyahu noted that Mr. Modi had been here only a few hours and he had already visited Yad Vashem, paid his respects at the tomb of the founder of Israel's national movement, Theodor Herzi, seen some of Israel's cutting edge technology and visited a greenhouse.
 
"So, you've had a glimpse of our painful past but also of our promising future. And we're very excited to host you here. We have a great admiration for the people of India. I told you about my late uncle, Professor Elisha Netanyahu, he was a mathematician at the Israel Institute of Technology and he told me many times about his admiration for the great Indian mathematician Ramanujan. He said he was the greatest mathematician of the 20th century but he said he was perhaps the greatest mathematician in many many centuries. And this symbolizes the talents of the people of India. As we know, we have the talents of the people of Israel. And we believe in this partnership of talent.
 
"We both seek a better future for our peoples. Doing so requires a lot of work. It won't happen overnight but Prime Minister Modi and I have the same trait – we both want it to happen overnight. We are tireless reformers and I want to congratulate you, Prime Minister, on the reforms that you're doing to change India's economy and we both believe that we can do together great things for the betterment of the future of our peoples," he said.
 
Mr. Netanyahu said he had been inspired by Mr. Modi's enthusiasm for yoga. "He said to me: you can start at a low level, choose your level. So I'm starting at a low level and here's what we're going to do. When I do a relaxing Tadasana pose, in the morning I'll turn my head to the right, India is the first democracy that I'll see. And when Prime Minister Modi does a relaxing pose of Vasisthasana and he turns his head to the left, Israel is the first democracy that you can see. So, in fact we have India and Israel are two sister democracies. In fact, together we account for about 20% of the world's population. But although we are unequal in size, we're equal in spirit. We believe we can accomplish great things. We have accomplished great things and we have many many more opportunities to seize together in the future," he said.
 
He also said that they faced common challenges and the first of them is to defeat the forces of terror that rampage through the world and threaten both their countries. "So we must stand together in this battle, much as we work together to perfect the future," he said.
 
"Prime Minister, we share a bond of democracy and creativity, a deep respect for the past, a boundless optimism for the future and it's in this spirit, my friend Narendra, of close cooperation and deepest friendship that I welcome you here to our home in Jerusalem. Welcome friend," he added.
 
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Modi arrives in Israel on historic visit, says will build strong and resilient partnership

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Tel Aviv on Tuesday at the start of a historic three-day visit to Israel -- the first ever by an Indian head of government -- that is aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement and building a strong and resilient partnership between the two countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his arrival, at Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 4, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his arrival, at Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 4, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here today at the start of a historic three-day visit to Israel -- the first ever by an Indian head of government -- that is aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement and building a strong and resilient partnership between the two countries.
 
In a rare gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several members of his Cabinet were present to receive Mr. Modi in an elaborate official welcome ceremony at the Ben Gurion Airport. Mr. Modi later inspected a guard of honour.
 
At a brief ceremony that followed, Mr. Netanyahu began with the Hindi words, "Aap ka swagat hai, Mere dost" (Welcome, my friend). He said Mr. Modi was welcome with open arms and that even the sky was not the limit for cooperation between the two countries. He described Mr. Modi as a great leader and a "world leader".
 
"Shalom le kulaam ani semya mayodh lehiyot po (I am delighted to be here in Israel)," Mr. Modi said in response.
 
"It is my singular honour to be the first ever Prime Minister of India to undertake this ground breaking visit to Israel. I want to thank my friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu, for the invitation and for receiving me with so much warmth. My visit celebrates the strength of centuries old links between our societies. Based on these bonds our partnership has maintained a strong and sustained upswing since the establishment of full diplomatic relations 25 years ago," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said the people of Israel have built a nation on democratic principles. "They have nurtured it with hard work, grit and the spirit of innovation. You have marched on regardless of adversity and converted challenges into opportunity. India applauds your achievements."
 
"Today is July 4, exactly 41 years since Operation Entebbe. The day when your Prime Minister, and my friend, Bibi, lost his older brother Yoni, while saving the lives of so many Israeli hostages. Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said India is a very old civilization but a young nation. He said 800 million people in India are below the age of 35. "The talented and skilled youth of India are also its driving force. They propel my vision to transform India, its industry, its economy, its way of doing business, and its interface with the world," he said.
 
"In our path of sustained high growth and all around development, India counts Israel among its important partners. The need to rely on science, technology, innovation, and higher technical education to overcome our developmental challenges is common to both of us. These domains also bring together the creative energy and ideas of the highly skilled youth and entrepreneurs of the two countries. Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies against common threats such as terrorism. 
 
"A progressive partnership in all these areas would shape the scope of my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I am also keen to interact with the Indian diaspora in Israel, including a large number of Jews of Indian origin, who have enriched both our societies. 
 
"My visit marks a path breaking journey of engagement. A journey that we are excited to undertake together for the good of our people and societies. As we march together, a strong and resilient partnership with Israel will be my intent and focus. I thank you once again for this tremendous welcome," Mr. Modi added.
 
 
Modi arrives in Israel on three-day visit
"My friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, welcome to Israel," Mr. Netanyahu said.
 
"Prime Minister, we've been waiting for you a long time. We've been waiting almost 70 years in fact because yours is truly a historic visit. It's the first time an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Israel. We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world," he said.
 
He recalled that, when they first met at the United Nations three years ago, they had agreed to break down the remaining walls between the two countries.
 
"We shook each other's hands and we agreed to forge a historic partnership for progress. We then met again in Paris and since then we've spoken many times on the phone. But I remember my friend what you said in that first meeting. You said that when it comes to India-Israel's relations, the sky is the limit.
 
"But actually, my friend, the sky isn't the limit because today even our space programs are working together to achieve even greater heights. The ties between our talented innovative peoples is natural. It's so natural that we could ask what took so long for them to blossom? Well, it took a meeting of minds and hearts, it took a commitment of our governments. We have that today. 
 
"On this visit, your Make in India initiative meets my Make with India policy. We're setting up a 40 million dollar innovation fund as the seed for even greater cooperation on technology between us. Our partnership extends to water, agriculture, security, energy, many, many other fields. I believe the formula for success is simple: it's I-square T-square. That equals – Indian talent times Israeli technology. It equals Israel-India's ties for tomorrow. I2 T2. This is the degree of mathematics I remember from my student days. But I'm confident of the real mathematics of life.
 
"I'm confident of the success of our partnership for many reasons: First, is the talent of our peoples. It's been said, Prime Minister, that in Silicon Valley in California the two most common languages overheard are Hindi and Hebrew. Occasionally, one hears some native English too. Second, I believe in the success of our partnership because of the great sympathy between our peoples - the natural comradery between Indians and Israelis. The Jews of India and the 100, 000 Israelis of India descent are a wonderful human bridge between our two nations, our two peoples. 
 
"Third, I'm confident of our success because of leadership. Prime Minister Modi, you are a great leader of India and a great world leader. Your visit to Israel is a testament to that. Our two peoples have deeply held values rooted in ancient cultures, yet we both seek to realize the promise of a better future. I know, and this visit marks that very clearly, that we can do even more, even better together," Mr. Netanyahu added.
 
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Apart from holding detailed discussions with Mr. Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest, including common challenges such as terrorism, Mr. Modi will also call on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during his visit.
 
Among other engagements, he will pay homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa and address members of the Indian community at an event in Tel Aviv.
 
India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992 and since then the relationship has evolved into a multi-dimensional partnership. This year both the countries are commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations.
 
In a post on his Facebook page yesterday, on the eve of his departure, Mr. Modi said that, as the first Indian Prime Minister to travel to Israel, he was greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring the two countries and people closer. He said he would have in-depth talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the full spectrum of the bilateral partnership and ways of strengthening it in diverse fields for mutual benefit. "We will also have the chance to discuss major common challenges like terrorism," he said.
 
"My programme during the visit gives me an opportunity to engage with a cross-section of Israeli society. I am particularly looking forward to interacting with the large vibrant Indian diaspora in Israel that represents an enduring link between our two peoples.
 
"On the economic side, I will join with leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and start-ups to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground. In addition, I hope to get insights into Israel’s accomplishments in technology and innovation through on-site visits.
 
"During my stay, I will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum to honour the memory of the victims of the holocaust that counts among the greatest tragedies in human history. Later, I will also pay my respects to the courageous Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918," he added.
 
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India, US decide to enhance cooperation in fight against terrorism, extremism

India and the United States on Monday decided to enhance their cooperation in fighting the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalization and, as part of this effort, doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorists everywhere in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump at the Joint Press Statement, at White House, in Washington DC, on June 26, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump at the Joint Press Statement, at White House, in Washington DC, on June 26, 2017.
India and the United States on Monday decided to enhance their cooperation in fighting the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism and radicalization and, as part of this effort, doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries and safe havens for terrorists everywhere in the world.
 
At a joint media interaction with US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House after their talks here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said they had, at their meeting, discussed terrorism, extremism and radicalization, which they felt were the major challenges facing the world today.
 
"With respect to our common concerns on terrorism, we will also enhance our sharing of intelligence, and exchange information to deepen and expand our policy coordination as far as possible," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said both nations had been struck by the evils of terrorism, and they were both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drove them. "We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism," he said.
 
Later, in a Joint Statement issued by the two sides, the two leaders stressed that terrorism is a global scourge that must be fought and terrorist safe havens rooted out in every part of the world. 
 
They resolved that India and the United States will fight together against this grave challenge to humanity. They committed to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, D-Company, and their affiliates. India appreciated the United States designation of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist as evidence of the commitment of the United States to end terror in all its forms. In this spirit, the leaders welcomed a new consultation mechanism on domestic and international terrorist designations listing proposals. 
 
The leaders called on Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. They further called on Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups. 
 
The leaders announced increased cooperation to prevent terrorist travel and to disrupt global recruitment efforts by expanding intelligence-sharing and operational-level counterterrorism cooperation. They welcomed commencement of the exchange of information on known and suspected terrorists for travel screening. They further resolved to strengthen information exchange on plans, movements and linkages of terrorist groups and their leaders, as well as on raising and moving of funds by terrorist groups. 
 
The leaders also affirmed their support for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism. They also pledged to work together to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.
 
This was the first meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump and the Prime Minister said their talks today would mark a very important page in the history of the collaboration and cooperation between the two nations.
 
He said the talks had been extremely important from all points of view, for several reasons "because they were based on mutual trust; because of the convergence and similarities they revealed in our values, and our priorities, and in our concerns and interests; because they focused on the highest levels of achievement in our cooperation, and mutual support, and partnership; because our two countries are global engines of growth; because the all-around or comprehensive economic growth and joint progress of both countries and both societies is the main objective for both the President and myself, and will remain so; because the top priority for both President Trump and myself is to protect our society from global challenges like terrorism; and because our aim is the strengthening of India and the USA -- two great democracies in the world -- friends."
 
"Our robust strategic partnership is such that it touches upon almost all areas of human endeavor.  In our conversation today, President Trump and I have discussed all dimensions of India-U.S. relations at length.  Both nations are committed to a bilateral architecture that will take our strategic partnership to new heights," he said.
 
 
India, US call on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists
Mr. Modi said that, in this relationship, in both countries, increased productivity, growth, job creation, and breakthrough technologies -- an engagement towards all these are, and will remain, strong drivers of their cooperation, and give further momentum to their relationship.
 
"We consider the USA as our primary partner for India's social and economic transformation in all our flagship programs and schemes.  I am sure that the convergence between my vision for a 'new India' and President Trump's vision for 'making America great again' will add new dimensions to our cooperation," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said he was very clear about the fact that India's interests lay in a strong, prosperous and successful America. In the same way, India's development and its growing role at the international level were in the US's interest.
 
"One of our common priorities will be the development of trade, commerce, and investment links.  And in this regard, in the technology, innovation, and knowledge-economy sectors, the expansion and deepening of cooperation is also among our priorities.  Towards this end, we shall take steps to further strengthen our successful digital partnership," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said Mr. Trump and he also spoke at length on regional issues. "The increasing instability, due to terrorism, in Afghanistan is one of our common concerns.  Both India and America have played an important role in rebuilding Afghanistan and ensuring its security.  In order to attain our objectives for peace and stability in Afghanistan, we will maintain close consultation and communication with the U.S. to enhance coordination between our two nations," he said.
 
"In the Indo-Pacific region, in order to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, this is also another objective of our strategic cooperation in this area.  The increasing possibilities for enhancing cooperation in order to protect our strategic interests will continue to determine the dimensions of our partnership.  We will continue to work with the USA in this region.
 
"With regard to security-related challenges, our enhanced and growing defense and security cooperation is extremely important.  We have spoken at length on this subject as well.  
 
"The strengthening of India’s defense capabilities, with the help of USA, is something that we truly appreciate.  We have also decided to enhance maritime security cooperation between the two nations.  President Trump and I have also spoken about strengthening bilateral defense technology and our trade and manufacturing partnership, which we believe will be mutually beneficial to us," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said they also discussed international issues and their common strategic interests.  "In this context, we are extremely grateful for the continued support of the United States for India’s membership of international institutions and regimes.  We truly appreciate the support, because this is also in the interest of both our nations," he said.
 
"President Trump, I thank you for your feelings of friendship towards India and myself.  I deeply appreciate your strong commitment to the enhancement of our bilateral relations.  I am sure that under your leadership, our mutually beneficial strategic partnership will gain new strength, new positivity, and will reach new heights, and that your vast and successful experience in the business world will lend an aggressive and forward-looking agenda to our relations.  
 
"In this journey of India-America relations, I think I would like to thank you for providing great leadership.  Be assured that in this joint journey of our two nations towards development, growth and prosperity, I will remain a driven, determined, and decisive partner. 
 
"My visit today and the extensive talks I have held with you have been very successful, very fruitful.  And before leaving this mic, I would like to invite you to India, along with your family.  And I hope that you will give me the opportunity to welcome you and host you in India," he added.
 
Earlier, describing Mr. Modi as the leader of the world's largest democracy to the White House, Mr. Trump said he had always had a deep admiration for India and its people, and a profound appreciation for its rich culture, heritage and traditions.
 
"During my campaign, I pledged that if elected, India would have a true friend in the White House.  And that is now exactly what you have -- a true friend.  The friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values, including our shared commitment to democracy.  Not many people know it, but both American and the Indian constitutions begin with the same three very beautiful words:  We the people," he said.
 
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Mr. Trump said Mr. Modi and he both understand the crucial importance of those words, which helps to form the foundation of cooperation between the two countries.  
 
"Relations between countries are strongest when they are devoted to the interests of the people we serve.  And after our meetings today, I will say that the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better.
 
"I’m proud to announce to the media, to the American people, and to the Indian people, that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media -- we’re believers -- giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials, and for us to hear directly from them.  I guess it’s worked very well in both cases," he said, amid laughter.
 
"I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi, and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together.  Your accomplishments have been vast.  India has the fastest growing economy in the world.  We hope we’re going to be catching you very soon in terms of percentage increase, I have to tell you that.  We’re working on it.  
 
"In just two weeks, you will begin to implement the largest tax overhaul in your country’s history -- we’re doing that also, by the way -- creating great new opportunities for your citizens.  You have a big vision for improving infrastructure, and you are fighting government corruption, which is always a grave threat to democracy," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said that, together, the two countries could help chart an optimistic path into the future, one that unleashes the power of new technology, new infrastructure, and the enthusiasm and excitement of very hardworking and very dynamic people.
 
"I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal.  It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets, and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country," he said.
 
He expressed happiness about low-cost Indian carrier SpiceJet's recent order for a hundred new Boeing aircraft, one of the largest orders of its kind, which would support thousands of American jobs. He said the US was also looking foward to exporting more American energy to India as its economy grows, including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas, which are being negotiated. 'And we will sign them.  Trying to get the price up a little bit," he remarked.
 
"To further our economic partnership, I’m excited to report that the Prime Minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this fall.  And I believe she has accepted.  
 
Mr. Trump said the security partnership between the US and India was incredibly important. He said their militaries were working every day to enhance cooperation. "And next month, they will join together with the Japanese navy to take place in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian Ocean," he said.
 
"I also thank the Indian people for their contributions to the effort in Afghanistan, and for joining us in applying new sanctions against the North Korean regime.  The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.
 
"Working together, I truly believe our two countries can set an example for many other nations, make great strides in defeating common threats, and make great progress in unleashing amazing prosperity and growth.
 
"Prime Minister Modi, thank you again for joining me today, and for visiting our country and our wonderful White House and Oval Office.  I enjoyed our very productive conversation this afternoon, and look forward to its continuation tonight at dinner.  The future of our partnership has never looked brighter.  India and the United States will always be tied together in friendship and respect," he added.
 
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Modi urges American CEOs to back women's empowerment, renewable energy, start-ups in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his Government was focused on improvement in the quality of life of the Indian people, which required global partnership, and sought enhanced attention from American CEOs in areas such as women empowerment, renewable energy, start-ups and innovation.

 
Modi interacts with top American CEOs in Washington
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his Government had, in the  last three years, focused on improvement in the quality of life of the Indian people, which required global partnership, and sought enhanced attention from American CEOs in areas such as women empowerment, renewable energy, start-ups and innovation.
 
At an interaction with 20 top American CEOs at a roundtable meeting here, he said the world was focused on India's economy, especially in areas such as manufacturing, trade, commerce and people-to-people contacts, thanks to factors such as its young population and rising middle class.
 
He suggested linking sanitary practices, products and technologies with the requirements of school going girls. He reiterated that his primary interest is improving the quality of life in India.
 
He said the Government was working on principles such as Minimum Government, Maximum Governance. He spoke of the recent reforms, and noted that the Union Government alone has initiated 7000 reforms. He said this indicates India's quest for global benchmarks. He mentioned the Government's emphasis on efficiency, transparency, growth and benefit for all. 
 
On Goods and Service Tax (GST), the Prime Minister said that this is becoming a reality after years of effort. He added that its implementation is a complex task that may well be the subject of future case studies. He added that this shows India can take big decisions and implement them swiftly. 
 
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An official press release said the CEOs appreciated the Prime Minister for his policy initiatives and the work done in recent times towards ease of doing business. Initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India, Skill Development, Demonetization and the thrust towards renewable energy came in for much appreciation from a number of CEOs, it said.
 
Several CEOs showed their willingness to be partners in skill development and education initiatives. They also mentioned social initiatives being undertaken by their companies in India, in spheres such as women empowerment, digital technology, education and food processing. Themes such as infrastructure, defence manufacturing and energy security also came up for discussion. 
 
In conclusion, the Prime Minister thanked the CEOs for their observations. Looking forward to his meeting with US President Donald Trump tomorrow, he said India and the US have shared values. He said if America becomes stronger, India will be a natural beneficiary. He also added that India believes that a strong America is good for the world. 
 
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India, Russia hold 17th Meeting of Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation

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India and Russia held talks on ways of enhancing defence ties, one of the key pillars of their bilateral relations, at the 17th Meeting of their Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation in Moscow yesterday.
 
The meeting was co-chaired by  Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
 
"The discussions were productive and held in an atmosphere of warmth and friendship," an official press release said.
 
During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the concrete progress that has been made in all areas of cooperation since the last meeting of the Commission in October 2016. 
 
In a major outcome, both sides have agreed to a roadmap for the development of bilateral defence cooperation for which a Protocol has been signed. The roadmap includes specific activities to be concluded by both sides, and aims to enhance cooperation in the field of political and military dialogue, exercises, exchange of visits, military cooperation and training of military personnel. 
 
Mr. Jaitley stressed the utmost importance of having a robust and reliable after-sale support mechanism with regard to serviceability of Russian origin equipment and new opportunities for participation of Russian companies in the Indian defence manufacturing sector, as part of the 'Make in India' programme, under the new strategic partnership policy of the Government of India. 
 
Both sides also agreed to conclude various ongoing negotiations for different platforms, as well as restructure the Intergovernmental Commission to enhance military to military cooperation, the release said.
 
It was decided that the next meeting of the Commission will take place in India next year on mutually convenient dates, the release added.
 
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Jaitley invites Russian firms for tech transfer to Indian companies in defence sector

Union Minister for Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley at the Plenary Session “Make in Russia: Double Purpose Industrialization” of Technoprom-2017, at Novosibirsk, Russia on June 21, 2017.
Union Minister for Finance and Defence Arun Jaitley at the Plenary Session “Make in Russia: Double Purpose Industrialization” of Technoprom-2017, at Novosibirsk, Russia on June 21, 2017.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today invited Russian companies to come forward with proposals for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of more advanced components/ parts and sub-systems for defence equipment.
 
This can start with platforms of Russian origin where the requirement is in large numbers and is recurring in nature, Mr Jaitley said addressing the plenary session of "Make in Russia: Double Purpose Industrialisation" at Technoprom-2017 at Novosibirsk in Russia.
 
“We envisage ‘Make in India’ in defence sector to not only address domestic requirements but also to enable Indian firms to become part of the global supply chain. Despite India’s significant domestic requirements in defence, manufacturing and business would be sustainable in the longer term only if companies look at global requirements and create economies of scale,” he added.
 
As an incentive, industrial licensing for manufacturing of defence equipment has been significantly liberalised, he pointed out. “Now for manufacturing of parts, components, sub-systems, production equipment and testing equipment, no license is required from the Government. Even for the items for which license is required, the initial validity has been increased from three years to 15 years. As a result of this liberal approach, the presence of private companies in defence production sector has risen manifold in last two years,” he said.
 
“Russian companies may identify some items for which they can set up joint ventures with Indian companies so that these items can be supplied across the world. Keeping this in mind, we have also streamlined the process of export clearances in last two years.
 
"India’s export control processes and technology security mechanisms are robust as required in the interest of national security. “India is likely to soon become a member of the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement, which will further catalyse our international engagement,” he added.
 
Another area where Russian industry and business houses can join hands with Indian companies is research and development. “We are now giving significant emphasis to technology development and innovation in the defence sector. In the Defence Procurement Procedure-2016, we have streamlined the ‘Make’ procedure to encourage and incentivize design and development of defence equipment and systems. We would welcome partnerships between Indian and Russian companies in this area as well,” he added.
 
“Cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad have design centres of many global defence companies. Bengaluru is fast emerging as an aerospace design hub of the world. Russian companies must take advantage of the large skilled manpower available in India. This would be a win-win situation for companies of both countries,” he added.
 
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London high-rise fire: Police say 79 people dead or missing

Photo: London Fire Brigade
Photo: London Fire Brigade
London's Metropolitan Police Service today said that at least 79 people had died or were missing in the devastating fire that engulfed and almost completely destroyed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Towers, in West London in the early hours of last Wednesday.
 
"Sadly, what I can say now is that as a result of all our efforts we believe - as of 08:00hrs this morning - that 79 people are either dead or missing and sadly we must presume them dead following the fire at Grenfell Tower," Met Commander Stuart Cundy told journalsits.
 
"Of those 79, five have people have been formally identified. I have specially trained family liaison officers that are supporting all those families affected at this truly difficult time," he said.
 
He said the terrible reality of the fire that night meant that the police were supporting some people who may have lost a number of members of their family.
 
"We will give them every possible support at this truly difficult time. Clearly, our family liaison officers will be doing that with the utmost compassion and dignity.
 
"However - what I must stress is that the figure of 79 may change and it may change for a number of reasons," he said. "Based on what I know today I do not expect that to be in such numbers as we have seen over the last few days.
 
"It is an awful reality that some people may not be identified due to the intensity of the fire," he said.
 
He said the police were making all possible efforts to trace all those people who could have been in the building  on the fateful night and ensure that they were safe and well. 
 
"What is important to myself, and all of us, is to find everyone who is inside the building and return them to their loved ones. Thankfully, due to all the work we have been doing over the last few days, we have located five people who we feared dead and are in fact safe and well.
 
"Our work to recover those people from inside is ongoing - specialist teams from the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the police are continuing their painstaking task to locate and recover all those in Grenfell Tower. We have been able to send those teams through the whole building from the top to bottom.
 
"On Saturday I was in there myself, I went all the way to the top floor and it's incredibly hard to describe the devastation suffered in some parts of the building," he said.
 
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He said this was the reason the police had taken the step of issuuing photographs from inside the building to help people understand the complexity of the work and why it would take so long. 
 
"We will explain to families what the identification process is...To date five people have been formally identified - once that has happened and with the agreement of the families we will make their names public," he said.
 
According to various sources, Grenfell Tower, Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London, had about 130 flats with some 500 residents, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started at around 0045 hours on Wednesday.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours on Wednesday and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16 hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there. Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. The building had undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment recently.
 
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London high-rise fire: Police say 58 dead or missing

Photo: London Fire Brigade
Photo: London Fire Brigade
London's Metropolitan Police Service has said that at least 58 people have died or are missing in the devastating fire that engulfed and almost completely destroyed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Towers, in West London in the early hours of last Wednesday.
 
A statement from the police said this number included the 30 people who were confirmed dead on Friday.
 
"Based on what police now know, sadly 58 are missing and we assumed likely to have died. This latest figure includes the 30 already confirmed to have died in the devastating fire in a west London tower block on Wednesday," it said.
 
The police also confirmed the identity of one of the victims who perished in the fire. 
 
"Police can confirm that Mohammad Alhajali, aged 23, who lived in Grenfell Tower has now been formally identified. A post mortem examination was carried out on Friday, 16 June at Westminster Mortuary," the statement said.
 
According to it, family liaison officers have now been deployed to support 52 families. These include the families of those deceased as well as those who are critically injured, and also families in cases where police have strong reason to believe that people reported as missing are very likely to be inside Grenfell Tower.
 
"Over the last four days police have worked tirelessly to provide greater clarity on the number of people that are believed to have died in the fire.This has involved focusing our efforts on the people we have been told were in the building at the time of the fire but have not been seen since,"  it said.
 
"Those families who have not yet had a family liaison officer deployed to support them will be contacted by police throughout the course of this afternoon," it said.
 
The police said 16 bodies were now in a mortuary, including one person who died in hospital and the others have been recovered from the building.
 
At this stage 19 people remain in hospital of which ten are receiving critical care. Everyone who was taken to or who remains in hospital has been identified, it said.
 
The statement also said the ongoing search and rescue operation being carried out by joint specialist teams from the London Fire Brigade, London Ambulance Service and the Met had to stop on Friday afternoon due to serious concerns about the safety of those recovering bodies due to the overwhelming damage caused by the fire.
 
As of 13:30 on Saturday, those teams have re-entered the building and are now continuing with the recovery operation, which will take many weeks to come.
 
Metropolitan Police Service Commander Commander Stuart Cundy, said: "Whilst I sincerely hope that our work over the coming days means that we able to say that less people are confirmed as having died, I also have to consider the sad reality that this may rise.
 
"I would like to ask anyone who was in Grenfell Tower that night, but for whatever reason has not told us they are safe to please call our Casualty Bureau. It does not matter why you have not told us, what is important is that we know you are safe.
 
"I completely understand the growing sense of frustration within the local community and especially those people for whom Grenfell Tower was home.The loss of life as a result of this tragedy is truly harrowing, and we remain committed to providing the certainty and answers as soon as we possibly can.
 
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"Sadly, our work will be ongoing for many, many weeks. We know that there are still bodies of those who died inside the building and we want to return those people to their families as soon as we possibly can.
 
"The work to search the building is challenging, but naturally could never be done quickly enough for those currently having to live with the uncertainty of knowing where their loved ones are," he said.
 
"Family liaison officers are providing support to 52 families. We are drawing on officers from across the Met, and other forces, to provide our response and will make sure that our response has as many officers as it needs."
 
Meanwhile, detectives carrying out the investigation are appealing for the public's help.
 
"I would like to ask the public for their help with this complex investigation.If you have images or videos that show the fire then please give it to us. Part of our investigation will involve a painstaking analysis of how the fire spread and this footage could be vital to helping establish that.
 
The statement said that families would be informed as soon as formal identifications had been made, which can only be done when police can prove beyond doubt the identity. Due to the intensity of the fire that took hold of the building this is essential in ensuring that families can be confident in identification processes, it said.
 
"Internationally recognised standards of identification are being used to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.
 
"Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.
 
"Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.
 
"Trained liaison officers are deployed into families once a preliminary identification has been made, who support them through the formal identification process.These processes take place in conjunction with the coroner. Both the Met and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families," the statement said.
 
Among other things, the police are investigating how the fire spread so quickly and dramatically to the entire building, from the second floor up, and claimed so many lives.
 
The police, however, had said on Friday that, following initial reports from specialist investigators and experts who examined the flat where the fire started, there was nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.
 
According to various sources, Grenfell Tower, Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London, had about 130 flats with some 500 residents, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started at around 0045 hours on Wednesday.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours on Wednesday and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16 hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there. Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
The entire area around the building was cordoned off by the police and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block were evacuated as a precautionary measure. People were advised to avoid the area.
 
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. The building had undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment recently.
 
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Death toll in London high-rise fire goes up to 30

 
Queen Elizabeth visits victims of London tower blaze
The death toll in the devastating fire that engulfed and almost completely gutted a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Towers, in West London in the early hours of Wednesday has risen to 30, with the recovery of 12 more bodies since yesterday.
 
The number also includes one person who succumbed to injuries in hospital, official sources said.
 
"The other deceased remain inside the building. Unfortunately, it is expected that the total will rise and it is not expected that any survivors will be found," a statement from the Metropolitan Police Service said.
 
The number of deceased is expected to increase as emergency services personnel go through the building, floor by floor, to look for victims in the coming days.
 
As many as 24 people, of the 79 hospitalised initially, remain in hospital, and 12 of them are receiving critical care.
 
Meanwhile, the authorities are putting together an investigation team to look at all aspects of how the fire spread so quickly and dramatically to the entire building, from the second floor up, and claimed so many lives, they said.
 
"Detectives from across the Met, led by Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner of the Homicide and Major Crime Command will investigate what happened and why," the statement said.
 
"At this stage the Met can confirm that, following initial reports from specialist investigators and experts who have examined the flat where the fire started, there is nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.
 
"However, like any investigation, it is the job of the police to establish all the facts and if any criminal offences have been committed.
 
"The Met will work closely with the London Fire Brigade and the Health and Safety Executive, and it has been agreed that the police will take primacy of the investigation," the statement said.
 
Metropolitan Police Service Commander Stuart Cundy said the priority of everyone involved in the ongoing operation at Grenfell Towers was to recover and identify all the victims.
 
"It is very hard to find the words to express how those families affected must be feeling, and it is our job to work tirelessly to provide them with the answers they so richly deserve. This is a deeply distressing time and my thoughts remain with all those whose lives have been changed by this tragic incident," he said.
 
"Working with the Coroner and specialist detectives, using internationally recognised standards of identification, we will ensure that families are informed as soon as possible when we know beyond doubt that it is their loved one who has been identified.
 
"As I have said, that will be a complex process. Our efforts are focused on making sure we have family liaison officers supporting all those families where people are dead, critically ill in hospital or still unaccounted for.
 
"I'd urge anyone who has not yet been contacted by the police but is missing loved ones to either go to the reception centre at the Westway sports and leisure centre or call our Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. This is really important so police liaison officers can directly support families."
 
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Mr. Cundy said the conditions inside the building meant that the search and recovery operation to find and recover the victims was extremely challenging. 
 
"The upper floors of the block are particularly hazardous due to the damage caused by the fire. The sad reality is that this work will take some time, stretching into many, many weeks.  We have specialist teams from the Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service working closely together to do this as safely yet as swiftly as possible.
 
"Equally, our investigation will be complex and lengthy and will draw on some of our most experienced detectives from across the Met.
 
"We are determined to provide those families with detailed answers about the tragedy that has taken their loved ones from them and affected many others for the rest of their lives," he added.
 
The statement said dedicated and specially trained family liaison officers were being drawn together from a wide range of units and commands. As of this morning, family liaison officers have been deployed to support 36 families. These include the families of those identified as deceased as well as those who are critically injured, and also families in cases where police have strong reason to believe that people reported as missing are very likely to be inside Grenfell Towers.
 
The number of deployments will increase throughout the course of today, it said.
 
"The Casualty Bureau continues to be staffed 24 hours a day. If someone you have reported missing has now been found please update us at the Westway sports and leisure centre in Crowthorne Road or via Casualty Bureau," the statement added.
 
According to various sources, Grenfell Tower, Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London, had about 130 flats with some 500 residents, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started at around 0045 hours on Wednesday.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours on Wednesday and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16 hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there. Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
The entire area around the building was cordoned off by the police and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block were evacuated as a precautionary measure. People were advised to avoid the area.
 
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. The building had undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment recently.
 
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US designates ISIS head recruiter in India, two others as global terrorists

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The United States Department of State has designated Mohammad Shafi Armar, described as a leader and head recruiter in India for terrorist group ISIS, and two others as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs).
 
A press release from the Department said the other two were Oussama Ahmad Atar, a Belgian-Moroccan national who is a senior leader of ISIS’s external operations efforts and has established a network to carry out attacks in Europe, and Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali, a senior member of ISIS who had departed Bahrain to join the terrorist group in 2014.
 
The release said the designations were done under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals, or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. 
 
As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Armar, Atar, and Binali, and all of their property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction is blocked.
 
The release said Armar had cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathizers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps.
 
It said Atar was a leading coordinator of the November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 attacks in Brussels. He was responsible for recruiting, training, and sending at least some of the individuals to Paris to launch the November 2015 attacks, which killed and injured hundreds, including Americans, it said.
 
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He also recruited and mentored two of the bombers involved in the March 2016 Brussels attacks that killed 32 and left many more wounded, it said.
 
According to the release, Binali has appeared in multiple ISIS propaganda videos calling on Bahrainis, specifically members of Bahrain’s security forces, to join ISIS.
 
"Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Atar, Armar, and Binali have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. Designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments," it said.
 
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Death toll in London high-rise fire goes up to 17

 
Death toll in London high-rise fire goes up to 17
The death toll in the devastating fire that engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments in West London in the early hours of yesterday has risen to 17, with the recovery of five more bodies, official sources said today.
 
The number is expected to increase as emergency services personnel go through the building, floor by floor, to look for victims in the coming days.
 
As many as 79 others were admitted to different hospitals in London for treatment of a range of injuries.
 
According to some sources, there were about 500 residents in the building, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London, which had about 130 flats, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started at around 0045 hours yesterday.
 
"Sadly I can confirm the number of people that have died is now 17. We do believe that that number will increase," Metropolitan Police Service Commander Stuart Cundy told journalsits.
 
"From my colleagues in the health service, there are still a number of people who are receiving treatment in hospital. There are 37 people receiving treatment, of which 17 are still in critical care," he said.
 
"Today is about those who are waiting for news about their loved ones. Our thoughts remain with those so deeply affected by the events over the last 24 hours," Mr. Cundy said.
 
"Yesterday was a very difficult day, clearly it was challenging overnight particularly for colleagues from fire. Today the work really starts in earnest to ensure that we do the appropriate recovery of everybody from those premises.
 
"Like we explained yesterday, our absolute priority is identifying and locating those people who are still missing. It would be wrong for me to get into numbers that I do not believe are accurate," he said.
 
"Our Casualty Bureau number is 0800 0961 233. If you have reported somebody missing and you now know they are safe and well please contact that number so we can identify those that we're still trying to find.
 
"My heart goes out to those families still trying to find their loved ones. Rest assured, please get in contact with us through the Casualty Bureau and our specialist trained officers will be in touch with you to support you through this," he said.
 
Mr. Cundy said the recovery operations were going to take a considerable period of time, and the building needed to be made structurally safe so that they could do their job and investigate the incident.
 
"A large team of specialist detectives will be investigating under Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner, alongside colleagues from the fire brigade. But I reiterate again, it is going to be a lengthy process," he said.
 
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London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours yesterday and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16 hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there. Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
The entire area around the building was cordoned off by the police and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block were evacuated as a precautionary measure. People were advised to avoid the area.
 
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. The building had undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment recently.
 
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told journalists at the scene yesterday that, in her 29 years with the London Fire Brigade, she had never seen a fire of this nature. “This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 storey building, from the second floor up," she said.
 
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At least 12 killed as massive fire guts high-rise apartments block in London

At least 12 people were killed and scores hospitalised after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of Wednesday, official sources said.

 
At least 12 dead as fire engulfs London Tower block
At least 12 people were killed and scores hospitalised after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
More than 14 hours later, there were still pockets of fire in different parts of the building and thick plumes of smoke billowed into the evening sky. 
 
The final casualty figures are expected to be much higher as fire brigade and emergency service personnel carrying out a search of the building to look for survivors and victims.
 
London Ambulance Service Director of Operations Paul Woodrow said 69 patients had been taken to six hospitals across London, where 20 people are currently in critical care.
 
The patients were taken to the following hospitals: St Mary’s, King’s College, Chelsea and Westminster, the Royal Free, St Thomas’ and Charing Cross.
 
A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital, bringing the total number of people being treated to 79, he said.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours today and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16 hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there.
 
Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
The entire area around the building has been cordoned off by the police and around 30 adjacent flats to the tower block have been evacuated. People have advised to avoid the area.
 
The Fire Brigade said its crews were still at the scene working tirelessly to bring the fire under control and to carry out systematic searches of the tower block. Fire crews from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith, Paddington and surrounding fire stations were also in attendance.
 
The Fire Brigade said its specialist urban search and rescue crews and a structural engineer had checked the building and said that it is not in danger of collapsing and that it is safe for their crews to be in there.
 
Injuries to firefighters have been minor and they have been treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service crews, it said.
 
The cause of the fire is not known at this stage. The building had undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment recently.
 
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said its Casualty Bureau is open for members of the public who are concerned about relatives or friends who may have been affected by the fire. The number for the Casualty Bureau is 0800 0961 233. "If someone was reported as missing and has been found safe, please call the Casualty Bureau with an update," it said.
 
"Grenfell Tower residents are asked to go to the Portobello Rugby Club at Walmer Road and make themselves known," the statement said.
 
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told journalists at the scene that, in her 29 years with the London Fire Brigade, she had never seen a fire of this nature.
 
“This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 storey building, from the second floor up. 
 
“Over 200 firefighters and officers are attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of other specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units at the scene.
 
“Based on the level of resource that was needed at this fire we declared it a major incident in the early hours of this morning.
 
“London Fire Brigade’s Control room took multiple calls, with the first being received at 00.54am The first fire crews arrived on the scene in under six minutes and were faced with a rapidly developing and incredibly complex  fire.
 
“Crews wearing breathing apparatus have been working tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to rescue people and to bring this major fire under control," she said.
 
Ms. Cotton said there would be an investigation but said she did not, at this stage, want to speculate about the cause of the fire or what had caused it to spread in the way that it did. "We will be working with all agencies, including the local authority to support all of those affected by this incident," she said.
 
"I would also urge anyone who has been involved in the fire and is safe to make themselves known to the emergency services if they haven't already done so," she added.
 
Commander Stuart Cundy of Metropolitan Police Service said the death toll was likely to rise "during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days".
 
"If you do have any concerns for anybody connected to this awful event, please call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you do not get through immediately, please try again. If you have any concerns, please use that number rather than dialling 999 or 101.
 
"If you are a resident who has been evacuated from the area and can't now get home the current reception centre being coordinated by the local authority is at the Portobello Rugby club at Walmer Road. We urge anyone who lived in the block to make themselves known at that centre so that we know they are safe. If you are unable to get to the centre please speak to a police officer. This is really important as we account for all those in the building.
 
"Equally if you have reported someone missing and they are now safe and well it is really important that you contact Casualty Bureau so that we can keep an accurate record of who is missing and who is safe.
 
"We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response."
 
Mr. Cundy added: "There are a significant number of officers at the scene who are continuing to work with the other emergency services and agencies. I’d like to thank my officers and colleagues at London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service for the sterling work they are doing at this time."
 
Extensive cordons were put in place and a number of nearby residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The A40 is closed in both directions.
 
"It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims. It is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.
 
"Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197. Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit www.tfl.gov.uk," he added.
 
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Mr. Woodrow said more than 100 medics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) worked hard to respond to the incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, advanced trauma teams from London's Air Ambulance and those staff managing the incident in its special operations centre. 
 
The LAS' hazardous area response teams were also on scene with specialist equipment including breathing apparatus. "We’ve been treating patients for a range of injuries, as well as for smoke inhalation," he said.
 
""A major incident has been declared and we continue to work closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.
"We urge Londoners to only call us in a genuine emergency and to call NHS 111 for urgent healthcare advice," he added.
 
Fire Brigade personnel evacuated several people from the tower block. Apart from ambulances, numerous resources and specialist appliances were deployed at the spot, fire brigade sources said.
 
Eyewitnesses told television channels that they saw people waving flashlights from the windows on the upper floors of the building to draw attention to where they were stranded. 
 
Pieces of debris could be seen falling to the ground and questions were being raised about the integrity of the structure. Police cordoned off the entire area and also evacuated people from some apartments in adjoining buildings as a precautionary measure.
 
The fire, which had spread very quickly to the entire building, raged throughout the night before the fire fighters were able to bring the flames under control this morning. Thick colums of black smoke rose into the sky several hours later.
 
According to some sources, there were about 600 residents in the building, which had about 130 flats, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started.
 
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At least six killed as massive fire destroys high-rise apartments block in London

At least six people were killed and scores hospitalised after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of Wednesday, official sources said.

 
At least six dead as fire engulfs London Tower block
At least six people were killed and scores hospitalised after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
More than 14 hours later, there were still pockets of fire in different parts of the building and thick plumes of smoke billowed into the evening sky. 
 
The final casualty figures are expected to be much higher as fire brigade and emergency service personnel carrying out a search of the building to look for survivors and victims.
 
"We can confirm six fatalities at this time following the fire in North Kensington in the early hours of this morning, Wednesday, 14 June. These are very early stages and we do expect that figure to rise," a statement from the London's Metropolitan Police Service said.
 
London Ambulance Service Director of Operations Paul Woodrow said 64 patients had been taken to six hospitals across London, where 20 people are currently in critical care.
 
The patients were taken to the following hospitals: St Mary’s, King’s College, Chelsea and Westminster, the Royal Free, St Thomas’ and Charing Cross.
 
A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital, bringing the total number of people being treated to 74, official sources said.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours today and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread very quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
Police said they were called at 01:16hrs to reports of a large fire at a block of flats at the Lancaster West Estate, W11 and officers were rushed there.
 
Emergency services evacuated as many residents as possible from the tower block in extremely difficult circumstances.
 
Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Metropolitan Police, said: "Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this truly shocking fire at Grenfell Tower.
 
"I can confirm six fatalities at this time but this figure is likely to rise during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days. Many others are receiving medical care.
 
"If you do have any concerns for anybody connected to this awful event, please call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233. If you do not get through immediately, please try again. If you have any concerns, please use that number rather than dialling 999 or 101.
 
"If you are a resident who has been evacuated from the area and can't now get home the current reception centre being coordinated by the local authority is at the Portobello Rugby club at Walmer Road. We urge anyone who lived in the block to make themselves known at that centre so that we know they are safe. If you are unable to get to the centre please speak to a police officer. This is really important as we account for all those in the building.
 
"Equally if you have reported someone missing and they are now safe and well it is really important that you contact Casualty Bureau so that we can keep an accurate record of who is missing and who is safe.
 
"We kindly ask that the public stay away from the area. I thank the public for their patience and their cooperation today which has already greatly assisted our policing response."
 
Mr. Cundy added: "There are a significant number of officers at the scene who are continuing to work with the other emergency services and agencies. I’d like to thank my officers and colleagues at London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service for the sterling work they are doing at this time."
 
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Extensive cordons were put in place and a number of nearby residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The A40 is closed in both directions.
 
"It is likely to take some time before we are in a position to confirm the identity of the victims. It is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.
 
"Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197. Those travelling to and from the area are asked to check before they start their journey visit www.tfl.gov.uk," he added.
 
Mr. Woodrow said more than 100 medics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) worked hard to respond to the incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, advanced trauma teams from London's Air Ambulance and those staff managing the incident in its special operations centre. 
 
The LAS' hazardous area response teams were also on scene with specialist equipment including breathing apparatus. "We’ve been treating patients for a range of injuries, as well as for smoke inhalation," he said.
 
""A major incident has been declared and we continue to work closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.
 
"Members of the public who are concerned about friends and relatives should contact the police Casualty Bureau on 0800 096 1233.
 
"We urge Londoners to only call us in a genuine emergency and to call NHS 111 for urgent healthcare advice," he added.
 
 “This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 storey building, from the second floor upwards," London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told journalists at the scene.
 
“Over 200 firefighters and officers are attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of other specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units in attendance," she said.
 
“Based on the level of resource that were needed at this fire we declared it a major incident in the early hours of this morning.
 
“London Fire Brigade’s Control room took multiple calls to this incident, with the first received at 00.54am. First fire crews were on site in under six minutes. Crews wearing breathing apparatus have been working in extremely difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control," she said.
 
Ms. Cotton said the cause of the fire was not known at this stage. The entire building had been refurbished recently.
 
Fire Brigade personnel evacuated several people from the tower block. Apart from ambulances, numerous resources and specialist appliances were deployed at the spot, fire brigade sources said.
 
Fire crews from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and from surrounding fire stations were also at the scene.
 
Eyewitnesses told television channels that they saw people waving flashlights from the windows on the upper floors of the building to draw attention to where they were stranded. 
 
Pieces of debris could be seen falling to the ground and questions were being raised about the integrity of the structure. Police cordoned off the entire area and also evacuated people from some apartments in adjoining buildings as a precautionary measure.
 
The fire, which had spread very quickly to the entire building, raged throughout the night before the fire fighters were able to bring the flames under control this morning. Thick colums of black smoke rose into the sky several hours later.
 
According to some sources, there were about 600 residents in the building, which had about 130 flats, but there was no estimate about how many were actually in when the fire broke out. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started.
 
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Several dead as massive fire destroys high-rise apartments block in London

Several people have died after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of Wednesday, official sources said.


 
Huge fire engulfs London high-rise
Several people have died after a devastating fire engulfed a 24-storeyed building of apartments, Grenfell Tower, on Latimer Road in North Kensington in West London in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
London Fire Brigade said they received the first calls about the fire at around 0054 hours today and as many as 40 fire tenders and 200 firefighters reached the scene soon.
 
The firefighters battled the flames, which spread quickly and engulfed nearly the entire building, from the second floor to the top floor, leaving many people, epsecially those on the upper floors, with not much time to escape.
 
“At this time I am sad to confirm that we now know that there have been a number of fatalities. I cannot confirm the number at this time and as you will appreciate with a fire of this size, affecting such a large building it would be unhelpful of me to speculate further," London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told journalists at the scene.
 
London Ambulance Service Assistant Director of Operations Stuart Crichton said they had taken more than 50 patients to five hospitals across London following the incident.
 
“This is an unprecedented situation, with a major fire that has affected all floors of this 24 storey building, from the second floor upwards," Ms. Cotton said.
 
“Over 200 firefighters and officers are attending this incident, with 40 fire engines and a range of other specialist vehicles, including 14 fire rescue units in attendance," she said.
 
“Based on the level of resource that were needed at this fire we declared it a major incident in the early hours of this morning.
 
“London Fire Brigade’s Control room took multiple calls to this incident, with the first received at 00.54am. First fire crews were on site in under six minutes. Crews wearing breathing apparatus have been working in extremely difficult conditions to rescue people and bring this major fire under control," she said.
 
Ms. Cotton said the cause of the fire was not known at this stage.
 
Fire Brigade personnel evacuated several people from the tower block. Apart from ambulances, numerous resources and specialist appliances were deployed at the spot, fire brigade sources said.
 
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Fire crews from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and from surrounding fire stations were also at the scene.
 
Eyewitnesses told television channels that they saw people waving flashlights from the windows on the upper floors of the building to draw attention to where they were stranded. 
 
Pieces of debris could be seen falling to the ground and questions were being raised about the integrity of the structure. Police cordoned off the entire area and also evacuated people from some apartments in adjoining buildings as a precautionary measure.
 
The fire, which had spread very quickly to the entire building, raged throughout the night before the fire fighters were able to bring the flames under control this morning. Thick colums of black smoke rose into the sky several hours later.
 
There was no estimate about the number of people who could have been trapped in the building, which had about 130 flats. Most of those present in the building would have been asleep when the blaze started.
 
Mr. Crichton said more than 100 medics were working to respond to the incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, advanced trauma teams from London's Air Ambulance and the hazardous area response team.
 
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Modi meets Xi Jinping in Astana, underlines need to respect each other's "core concerns"

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Astana on Friday and, during their discussions on a wide range of issues, underlined the need for them to respect each other's "core concerns".

 
Modi meets Xi Jinping on margins of SCO Summit in Astana
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit here today and, during their discussions on a wide range of issues, underlined the need for them to respect each other's "core concerns".
 
This was the first meeting between the two leaders after India stayed away from the Belt and Road Forum held by China in Beijing last month, at which 29 world leaders were present.
 
During today's meeting, which was described as "cordial and positive", Mr. Modi thanked Mr. Xi for his support for India's accession as a full member to the SCO.
 
Both leaders stressed that, in a multipolar world and at a time of global uncertainty, India-China relations were a factor of stability and it was important for both countries to work together more closely.
 
Briefing journalists about the meeting, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said the discussions took place in a "very cordial and positive" atmosphere.
 
He said the two sides shared an understanding that any differences they might have must not be allowed to become disputes. In fact, if handled well, these could also become opportunities, they felt.
 
Dr. Jaishankar said the two leaders covered a wide range of topics, including economic cooperation, trade, investment and connectivity. Youth and cultural exchanges were also discussed.
 
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The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Mr. Xi called for closer cooperation between the two countries so that they could impart greater momentum to each other's development and contribute to world peace, stability and development.
 
Mr. Xi said China attached great importance to its ties with India and stood ready to work with it to enhance mutual political trust, link their development strategies, deepen cooperation and coordinate in international and regional affairs.
 
He called for more high-level interactions, institutionalized exchanges, strategic communication and policy alignment between the two countries.
 
China and India should also boost trade and investment cooperation and work together for earlier harvest from large-scale cooperation projects in such areas as production capability, industrial parks and railway construction, Mr. Xi said.
 
He said the two countries should jointly promote regional connectivity and development, advance the building of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar corridor and strengthen cooperation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
 
Mr. Xi said the two sides should increase communication and coordination in multilateral affairs and appropriately control and handle disputes and sensitive problems. He also called for more cultural and tourism exchanges, among others, between the two neighbors.
 
Mr. Modi also had a "warm and productive" meeting with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Stronger linkages in the spheres of economy, trade and health came up for discussion, official sources said.
 
Yesterday, soon after his arrival here, Mr. Modi held a bilateral meeting with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He congratulated Kazakhstan for membership of the United Nations Security Council in 2017-18.
 
President Nazarbayev received Mr. Modi warmly and recalled his earlier visit to Kazakhstan in 2015. Both leaders reviewed progress on decisions and agreements made during that visit. Kazakhstan is currently the largest supplier of uranium to India, and both sides agreed to maintain the partnership. Cooperation in this area of hydrocarbons was also discussed.  
 
Mr. Modi invited Kazakhstan to become a member of the International Solar Alliance. Both leaders also discussed the importance of enhancing connectivity. In this context, connectivity through the Chabahar port in Iran was also discussed. Two flights connecting Delhi and Astana will be launched soon, the sources added.
 
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12 dead in twin terror attacks on Iranian Parliament, Khomeini shrine in Tehran

 
Terrorists attack Iranian Parliament, Khomeini shrine
At least 12 people died and 42 others suffered injuries when two groups of armed terrorists attacked the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) here and the mausoleum of the late Imam Khomeini in Tehran this morning.
 
The official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said three terrorists were killed by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) special forces, while one blew himself up.
 
One terrorist was gunned down by security forces outside the Imam Khomeini mausoleum, and another attacker, a woman, blew herself up there, the reports said.
 
In an apparently coordinated operation, the two groups of terrorists struck at around 10.15 local time. ISIS has claimed responsibiity for the attacks.
 
The reports said the terrorists entered the Parliament building dressed as women.
 
The injured people are being treated at four hospitals in Tehran, according to official sources.
 
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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt sever diplomatic ties with Qatar

 
Arab nations sever ties with Qatar, US urges unity
Four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt -- today severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over its relations with Iran and alleged support of Islamist groups in a coordinated move that could isolate the energy-rich Gulf state in the region.
 
Saudi Arabia said that it had decided to cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar and close all land, sea and air ports to Qatari vehicles, vessels and flights and prevent their crossing into Saudi territories, air space or territorial waters.
 
The official Saudi Press Agency quoted an official source as saying that the kingdom took the decision in exercise of its sovereign rights and to protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.
 
It said it would start immediate legal procedures for understanding with fraternal and friendly countries and international companies to implement the same procedure as soon as possible for all means of transport to and from the State of Qatar for reasons relating to Saudi national security.
 
In Abu Dhabi, the UAE government issued a similar statement in support of the statements issued by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
 
The UAE said it had severed all relations with Qatar, including diplomatic relations, and gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. It said it would prevent Qatari nationals from entering the UAE and gave Qatari residents and visitors in the UAE 14 days to leave the country. UAE nationals were likewise banned from travelling to or staying in Qatar or transiting through its territories.
 
The UAE said it would close its airspace and seaports for all Qataris in 24 hours and ban all Qatari means of transport from entering or leaving the UAE.
 
"The UAE is taking these decisive measures as a result of the Qatari authorities’ failure to abide by the Riyadh Agreement on returning GCC diplomats to Doha and its Complementary Arrangement in 2014, and Qatar’s continued support, funding and hosting of terror groups, primarily Islamic Brotherhood, and its sustained endeavours to promote the ideologies of Daesh and Al Qaeda across its direct and indirect media in addition to Qatar’s violation of the statement issued at the US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh on May 21st, 2017 on countering terrorism in the region and considering Iran a state sponsor of terrorism," the statement, carried by WAM, the official Emirates News Agency, said.
 
"The UAE measures are taken as well based on Qatari authorities’ hosting of terrorist elements and meddling in the affairs of other countries as well as their support of terror groups – policies which are likely to push the region into a stage of unpredictable consequences.
 
"While regretting the policies taken by the State of Qatar that sow seeds of sedition and discord among the region’s countries, the UAE affirms its full respect and appreciation for the brotherly Qatari people on account of the profound historical, religious and fraternal ties and kin relations binding UAE and Qatari peoples," it added.
 
Bahrain also issued a similar statement, and said it would withdraw its diplomatic mission in Doha and gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the kingdom.
 
"Bahrain is also closing its airspace, ports and territorial waters to air traffic and shipping to and from Qatar within 24 hours of the announcement of the statement," the statement carried by the Bahrain News Agency said.
 
"The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain is banning its citizens from traveling to Qatar or staying there. It regrets that Qatari citizens are not allowed to enter or transiting through Bahrain. Qatari residents and visitors are therefore given 14 days to leave the Kingdom in order to avoid any hostile attempts or activities that may exploit the situation, despite our pride and confidence in our brethren among the Qatari people and their love for their second country," it said.
 
Egypt, too, said it was ending diplomatic relations with Qatar in view of its "insistence on taking a hostile course against Egypt and the failure of all attempts to dissuade it from supporting the terrorist organizations, especially the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and harboring its leaders".
 
A statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also referred to Qatar's alleged promotion of the ideology of al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS) and its alleged support for terrorist activities in Sinai. It accused Qatar of interfering in its internal affairs and those of other countries in the region.
 
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Soon afterwards, the command of the Arab Coalition in Support of the Legitimacy in Yemen ended Qatar's participation in the coalition. 
 
Airlines in these countries, including Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, flydubai, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Gulf Air, also announced the suspension of all flights to and from Qatar. The countries also banned Qatari aircraft from landing in their airports.
 
In Doha, the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed "deep regret" over the decision by the four countries and said it was "unjustified" and based on "baseless and unfounded allegations".
 
"Qatar has been exposed to an instigation campaign based on allegations that amounted to absolute fabrications, which proves that there are premeditated intentions to cause damage to the State.  Qatar is an active member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), committed to its Charter, respects the sovereignty of other countries, does not interfere in their internal affairs, and carries out its duties in combating terrorism and extremism.
 
"It is clear that the media campaign failed to convince public opinion in the region and in the Gulf  countries in particular, which explains the continued escalation. The fabrication of reasons for taking action against a sister country in the GCC is clear evidence that there is no legitimate justification for these measures, which were taken in coordination with Egypt, and the purpose is clear : the imposition of guardianship over the State. This in itself is a violation of its sovereignty as a state which is categorically rejected," it said
 
The Ministry said the measures would not affected normal life of the people of Qatar and that the Government would take all necessary steps to ensure this and thwart attempts to influence and harm Qatari society and economy.
 
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Six killed, more than 45 injured in terror attack in south London

At least six people were killed and more than 45 others suffered injuries in a terror attack in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of south London late on Saturday night, in which the three attackers were shot dead by the police.

 
Six killed in terror attack in London
At least six people were killed and more than 45 others suffered injuries in a terror attack in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of south London late on Saturday night, in which the three attackers were shot dead by the police.
 
The wounded included an on-duty police officer who responded to the incident at London Bridge, but his injuries were not life-threatening, official sources said.
 
“Since late yesterday evening [Saturday, 3 June], the Metropolitan Police Service has been responding to incidents in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of south London. We are treating this as a terrorist incident and a full investigation is already underway, led by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command," Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of Metropolitan Police said.
 
Mr. Rowley said the police began to receive reports at 22.08 hours yesterday that a white van had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.
 
"The vehicle continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market. The suspects then left the vehicle and a number of people were stabbed, including an on-duty British Transport Police officer who was responding to the incident at London Bridge. He received serious but not life-threatening injuries. His family has been informed.
 
"Armed officers responded very quickly and bravely, confronting three male suspects who were shot and killed in Borough Market. The suspects had been confronted and shot by the police within eight minutes of the first call. The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes," he said.
 
Mr. Rowley said the ongoing operation was led by the Met Police, working closely with British Transport Police, City of London Police, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade.
 
“At this stage, we believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. And at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals across London.
 
“I'd like to repeat our request for the public to avoid the following areas: London Bridge and Borough Market. This is to allow emergency services to deal with this incident," he said.
 
Mr. Rowley said the investigation was being led by the  Counter Terrorism Command and asked anybody who has images or film of the incident to pass those to police by uploading it at www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.
 
“Our thoughts are with all those involved and those responding to both incidents. Those who are concerned about a loved one can contact the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233.
 
“We are reviewing and planning to strengthen our policing stance across London over the forthcoming days, and there will be additional police and officers deployed across the Capital.
 
“I would like to ask the public to remain vigilant and let us know if they see anything suspicious that causes them concern and dial 999 immediately," he added.
 
This was the third terror attack in the United Kingdom in three months after the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, in which five people died, and the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on May 22 at the end of a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande, in which 22 people were killed and about 60 suffered injuries.
 
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Modi says Paris Climate Accord is shared heritage of whole world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the Paris Comate Accord was a shared heritage of the whole world and this generation's contribution to the hopes of future generations of mankind.

 
Modi meets French President Macron in Paris
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the Paris Comate Accord was a shared heritage of the whole world and this generation's contribution to the hopes of future generations of mankind.
 
At a joint media interaction with French President Emmanuel Macron here after their bilateral talks, Mr. Modi said it was the collective responsibility of all nations to save the earth.
 
He said India is committed to the accord, and even beyond it, India will work and walk together with others to leave a gift for the future generations.  
 
Mr. Modi spoke of the service to humanity and human values that France-India relations have rendered successfully over the years. He expressed confidence that relations will go forward even faster.  
 
In this context, he mentioned the International Solar Alliance, and the joint effort of India and France to this cause.  
 
Mr. Modi described protection of the environment as an article of faith for Indians, and a centuries old tradition.  
 
Describing the city of Paris as an important part of his political journey, the Prime Minister said India and France had worked shoulder to shoulder for the Climate Agreement.
 
Mr. Modi said both leaders also discussed ways to counter terrorism and radicalization. He said India is in favour of a united progressive European Union.
 
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Modi invites global investors to take advantage of opportunities in India

Asserting that the sky is the limit in India, especially in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and services, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a strong pitch for global investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities opening up in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF2017), in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 2, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF2017), in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 2, 2017.
Asserting that the sky is the limit in India, especially in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and services, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a strong pitch for global investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities opening up in the country.
 
Addressing the plenary session of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) here, he said rising urbanization in India required the most modern infrastructure, including metro networks, waste managements and so on.
 
He spoke of the efforts to expand and modernize the railway network in India and also of the initiative to clean the mighty Ganga river, stressing that all these represented great opportunities for investment.
 
The theme of the plenary session was "Achieving a New Balance on the Global Stage." India is a "guest country" at the SPIEF this year, and Mr. Modi was the  "Guest of Honour." 
 
Mr. Modi said India-Russia relations, based on trust, were moving forward with good momentum and deepening in a changing world.
 
He pointed out that he represented 1.25 people, the population of India. He said the world is focused on Asia and, therefore, naturally on India. He said that, since he took over as Prime Minister three years ago, his Government was making progressive decisions on all fronts. He said the country today had an annual GDP growth rate of 7 percent.
 
"Minimum Government, Maximum Governance" and "Red carpet instead of Red tape" have been the basis of governance reforms in India, he said. He said that political will and clear vision are necessary for reforms. Bureaucracy too has to be vibrant and in tune with leadership, he added. 
 
Noting that diversity is India’s strength, the Prime Minister said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be implemented from July 1, and this will herald a uniform tax system across the country. 
 
Agreeing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke before him, the Prime Minister said technology is going to play a key role, and mentioned the Digital India initiative. He said a "digital divide" cannot be allowed to take root in society. 
 
Mr. Modi spoke of the Government's initiatives in financial inclusion - and the Jandhan, Aadhaar, Mobile (JAM) trinity. He mentioned the scrapping of over 1200 obsolete laws by the Union Government. 
 
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The Prime Minister said India has made 7000 reforms targeting "Ease of Doing Business" - just at the Union Government level. He mentioned initiatives taken for FDI and for competitiveness. He said international rating agencies had identified India as one of the top three destinations for FDI. 
 
Noting the importance of security for investors, the Prime Minister said that India's vibrant democracy and use of English go a long way in ensuring a sense of security. 
 
The Prime Minister said that with the vision of "New India" skill development is a top priority for India's 800 million strong talented youth. In this context he mentioned the success of India's Mars Mission in the first attempt. He said the New India would have youth that are not job seekers but job creators; and can fulfil the global requirements of skilled human resource. 
 
Outlining initiatives in agriculture, Mr. Modi mentioned organic farming and food processing as areas for investment. In the manufacturing sector, he mentioned medical devices and defence equipment manufacturing as key areas for foreign investment. 
 
In the services sector, the Prime Minister said the tourism and hospitality sector will receive high priority. 
 
Mr. Modi said India's economic growth was based not on exploitation of nature - which is a crime- but on its use and preservation and on respecting it. He pointed out that India has a target of generating 175 giga watts of renewable energy by 2022, and added that India is setting up more power generation capacity in renewable energy sector than in thermal. He asserted that India will be a responsible nation with regard to climate and work towards zero-defect, zero-effect manufacturing, entailing no detrimental effect on the environment. He said programmes such as LED bulb distribution had already resulted in huge power savings. 
 
Mr. Modi reached here on Thursday evening on the third leg of a four-nation tour that had earlier taken him to German and Spain and will take him to France before he returns home.
 
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Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

United States President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the country would withdraw from the 194-nation Paris Climate Accord which, he said, disadvantages it to the exclusive benefit of other countries, including China and India.

 
Trump decides to pull U.S. out of 'very unfair' Paris agreement
United States President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the country would withdraw from the 194-nation Paris Climate Accord which, he said, disadvantages it to the exclusive benefit of other countries, including China and India.
 
He, however, said the country would begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris Accord or an entirely new transaction on terms fair to it, its businessses, its people and its taxpayers.
 
"So we’re getting out.  But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.  And if we can, that’s great.  And if we can’t, that’s fine," he said in a statement to a gathering of top officials, members of Congress and others in the Rose Garden at White House.
 
"One by one, we are keeping the promises I made to the American people during my campaign for President –- whether it’s cutting job-killing regulations; appointing and confirming a tremendous Supreme Court justice; putting in place tough new ethics rules; achieving a record reduction in illegal immigration on our southern border; or bringing jobs, plants, and factories back into the United States at numbers which no one until this point thought even possible.  And believe me, we’ve just begun.  The fruits of our labor will be seen very shortly even more so," he said.
 
In remarks that drew repeated applause from the audience, Mr. Trump said that, as President, he could put no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens.
 
"The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers -- who I love -- and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production," he said.
 
He said that, as of today, the US would cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.  "This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune," he said.
 
"Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 according to the National Economic Research Associates.  This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs -- not what we need -- believe me, this is not what we need -- including automobile jobs, and the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely.  They rely for so much, and we would be giving them so little," he said.
 
He said that, according to the same study, by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors:  paper down 12 percent; cement down 23 percent; iron and steel down 38 percent; coal -- and I happen to love the coal miners -- down 86 percent; natural gas down 31 percent.  
 
"The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that," he said.
 
"Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals.  As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States -- which is what it does -– the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.
 
"For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years -- 13.  They can do whatever they want for 13 years.  Not us.  India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.  There are many other examples.  But the bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States," he said.
 
"Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America -- which it does, and the mines are starting to open up.  We’re having a big opening in two weeks.  Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places.  A big opening of a brand-new mine.  It’s unheard of.  For many, many years, that hasn’t happened.  They asked me if I’d go.  I’m going to try.
 
"China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants.  So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement.  India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.  Think of it:  India can double their coal production.  We’re supposed to get rid of ours.  Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants.  
 
"In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said the agreement was less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.
 
"The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement -- they went wild; they were so happy -- for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage.  A cynic would say the obvious reason for economic competitors and their wish to see us remain in the agreement is so that we continue to suffer this self-inflicted major economic wound.  We would find it very hard to compete with other countries from other parts of the world.   
 
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"We have among the most abundant energy reserves on the planet, sufficient to lift millions of America’s poorest workers out of poverty.  Yet, under this agreement, we are effectively putting these reserves under lock and key, taking away the great wealth of our nation -- it's great wealth, it's phenomenal wealth; not so long ago, we had no idea we had such wealth -- and leaving millions and millions of families trapped in poverty and joblessness," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said the agreement was a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries.  
 
"At 1 percent growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand, but at 3 or 4 percent growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy, or our country will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts, our businesses will come to a halt in many cases, and the American family will suffer the consequences in the form of lost jobs and a very diminished quality of life," he said.
 
The US President said that, even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100.  
 
"Tiny, tiny amount.  In fact, 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America -- and this is an incredible statistic -- would totally wipe out the gains from America's expected reductions in the year 2030, after we have had to spend billions and billions of dollars, lost jobs, closed factories, and suffered much higher energy costs for our businesses and for our homes.
 
"As the Wall Street Journal wrote this morning:  'The reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.'  The United States, under the Trump administration, will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth.  We'll be the cleanest.  We're going to have the cleanest air.  We're going to have the cleanest water.  We will be environmentally friendly, but we're not going to put our businesses out of work and we're not going to lose our jobs.  We're going to grow; we're going to grow rapidly," he said.
 
"And I think you just read -- it just came out minutes ago, the small business report -- small businesses as of just now are booming, hiring people.  One of the best reports they've seen in many years.
 
"I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers.  
 
"So if the obstructionists want to get together with me, let’s make them non-obstructionists.  We will all sit down, and we will get back into the deal.  And we’ll make it good, and we won’t be closing up our factories, and we won’t be losing our jobs.  And we’ll sit down with the Democrats and all of the people that represent either the Paris Accord or something that we can do that's much better than the Paris Accord.  And I think the people of our country will be thrilled, and I think then the people of the world will be thrilled.  But until we do that, we're out of the agreement.  
 
"I will work to ensure that America remains the world’s leader on environmental issues, but under a framework that is fair and where the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared among the many nations all around the world.  
 
"No responsible leader can put the workers -- and the people -- of their country at this debilitating and tremendous disadvantage.  The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries, should dispel any doubt as to the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement:  It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States.  That's not going to happen while I’m President.  I’m sorry," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said his job as President was to do everything within his power to give America a level playing field and to create the economic, regulatory and tax structures that make America the most prosperous and productive country on Earth, and with the highest standard of living and the highest standard of environmental protection. 
 
"Our tax bill is moving along in Congress, and I believe it’s doing very well.  I think a lot of people will be very pleasantly surprised.  The Republicans are working very, very hard.  We’d love to have support from the Democrats, but we may have to go it alone.  But it’s going very well.  
 
"The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense.  They don’t put America first.  I do, and I always will," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said the nations asking the US to stay in the agreement were the countries that had collectively cost America trillions of dollars through tough trade practices and, in many cases, lax contributions to their critical military alliance. 
 
"You see what’s happening.  It’s pretty obvious to those that want to keep an open mind. At what point does America get demeaned?  At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?   We want fair treatment for its citizens, and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers.  We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore.  And they won’t be.  They won’t be.
 
"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.  I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interests.  Many trade deals will soon be under renegotiation.  Very rarely do we have a deal that works for this country, but they’ll soon be under renegotiation.  The process has begun from day one.  But now we’re down to business.
 
"Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris Accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund -- nice name -- which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.  So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else.  Many of the other countries haven’t spent anything, and many of them will never pay one dime.  
 
"The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion -- nobody else is even close; most of them haven’t even paid anything -- including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism.  That’s where they came.  Believe me, they didn’t come from me.  They came just before I came into office.  Not good.  And not good the way they took the money.  
 
"In 2015, the United Nation's departing top climate officials reportedly described the $100 billion per year as 'peanuts', and stated that 'the $100 billion is the tail that wags the dog.'  In 2015, the Green Climate Fund’s executive director reportedly stated that estimated funding needed would increase to $450 billion per year after 2020.  And nobody even knows where the money is going to.  Nobody has been able to say, where is it going to? 
 
"Of course, the world’s top polluters have no affirmative obligations under the Green Fund, which we terminated.  America is $20 trillion in debt.  Cash-strapped cities cannot hire enough police officers or fix vital infrastructure.  Millions of our citizens are out of work.  And yet, under the Paris Accord, billions of dollars that ought to be invested right here in America will be sent to the very countries that have taken our factories and our jobs away from us.  So think of that.  
 
"There are serious legal and constitutional issues as well.  Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives.  Thus, our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.  Our Constitution is unique among all the nations of the world, and it is my highest obligation and greatest honor to protect it.  And I will," he said.
 
Mr. Trump said that staying in the agrement could also pose serious obstacles for the United States as it begins the process of unlocking the restrictions on America’s abundant energy reserves, which it has started very strongly. 
 
"It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic economic affairs, but this is the new reality we face if we do not leave the agreement or if we do not negotiate a far better deal.
 
"The risks grow as historically these agreements only tend to become more and more ambitious over time.  In other words, the Paris framework is a starting point -- as bad as it is -- not an end point.  And exiting the agreement protects the United States from future intrusions on the United States' sovereignty and massive future legal liability.  Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.
 
"As President, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people.  The Paris Accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.  It is time to exit the Paris Accord and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country.  
 
"It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- along with many, many other locations within our great country -- before Paris, France.  It is time to make America great again," he added.
 
The Paris Agreement builds upon the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and, for the first time, brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. 
 
The Agreement was negotiated at the 21st Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015.
 
The Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
 
Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework. 
 
The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. This includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and on their implementation efforts.
 
In 2018, Parties will take stock of the collective efforts in relation to progress towards the goal set in the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of NDCs.
 
There will also be a global stocktake every 5 years to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Agreement and to inform further individual actions by Parties. 
 
On 5 October 2016, the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. 
 
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India, Russia ink pact on Kudankulam Units 5-6, agree to strengthen ties in defence, other areas

India and Russia on Thursday signed an agreement for the construction of the third stage of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu and agreed to strengthen cooperation in various areas, including defence and counter-terrorism.

 
Modi meets Putin at India-Russia Summit in St. Petersburg
Underlining the time-tested strategic dimension of their relationship, India and Russia today signed an agreement for the construction of the third stage (Units 5 and 6) of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu and agreed to strengthen cooperation in various areas, including defence and counter-terrorism.
 
At a joint media interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the 18th Annual India-Russia Summit here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also welcomed Russia's unconditional support to India on the issue of cross border terrorism. 
 
Recalling his first visit to St. Petersburg as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, Mr. Modi said ties between India and Russia spanned the entire spectrum from culture to defence.
 
He said 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries had been marked by a high degree of convergence on various bilateral and global matters. 
 
Mr. Modi described the St. Petersburg Declaration, issued today, as a benchmark of stability in a turbulent, interdependent and interconnected world. He said India's participation as a guest country in SPIEF and his address there tomorrow would further deepen economic cooperation between the two nations. 
 
The Prime Minister described energy cooperation as one of the cornerstones of the relationship between India and Russia, and noted that this cooperation in the nuclear, hydrocarbon, and renewable energy sectors has been considerably deepened by the discussion and decisions taken today, especially the agreement on Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.
 
He emphasized the role of the private sector in enhancing trade and commerical ties between the two countries, adding that they were close to achieving the target of $ 30 billion worth of investment by 2025. 
 
Speaking on the theme of connectivity, the Prime Minister mentioned cooperation between the two countries in the International North South Transport Corridor. Among other initiatives, the Prime Minister mentioned the "bridge to innovation" to promote startups and entrepreneurship, and the forthcoming commencement of discussions on a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union. 
 
Mr. Modi referred to the coming first Tri-services exercise, Indra 2017, between the two countries as well as defence production joint ventures between the two countries for the production of Kamov 226 helicopters and frigates.
 
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On the cultural side, the Prime Minister said the deep awareness of Russian culture in India, and of Yoga and Ayurveda in Russia, was a matter of deep satisfaction. 
 
The Prime Minister welcomed and applauded President Putin's leadership in the growth of India-Russia relations. 
 
He announced that a road in Delhi has been renamed after Ambassador Alexander Kadakin, whom he described as a friend of India, who passed away recently. 
 
Earlier, addressing CEOs of both countries, the Prime Minister invited Russian companies to invest in key sectors of the Indian economy, and particularly mentioned opportunities in the strategic sector. 
 
India and Russia signed five agreements today in sectors covering nuclear energy, railways, gems and jewellery, traditional knowledge and cultural exchanges. 
 
Earlier today, the Prime Minister paid homage to the heroic defenders and brave soldiers of the Battle of Leningrad, at the Piskarovskoye Cemetery. 
 
Mr. Modi had arrived here yesterday evening on the third leg of a four-nation tour that took him earlier to Germany and Spain and will now take him to France.
 
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Modi meets Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, two sides sign seven agreements

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that in an inter-connected and interdependent world, India and Spain could work together both for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of the world at large.

 
Modi seeks cooperation of Spain in fulfilling vision of New India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that in an inter-connected and interdependent world, India and Spain could work together both for their mutual benefit and for the benefit of the world at large.
 
Speaking at a joint media interaction with Mr. Rajoy after their bilteral talks here, he described the Spanish President as a "visionary leader".
 
Seven agreements were exchanged between the two countries, covering subjects such as energy, security and civil aviation. 
 
During his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said that today's talks will go a long way in furthering ties between the two countries. 
 
He noted that India and Spain had both faced the scourge of terrorism, and would both focus on fighting it. 
 
Mr. Modi said there was immense scope for cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, railways and smart cities.
 
The Prime Minister said that the vision of "New India" will be enhanced through the "new momentum" in relations between India and Spain. 
 
Prime Minister Modi later met with Spanish CEOs. He said during the meeting that there is immense potential for further growth of Spanish investments in India. He mentioned in particular, sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy, food processing, auto, chemicals and textiles. He invited Spanish participation in the Smart Cities initiative. 
 
He also gave a broad overview of the economic reforms undertaken in India, including the Goods and Service Tax (GST). He asserted that initiatives like Make in India, Digital India and Start up India have become global magnets for investment. 
 
Mr. Modi, who arrived here yesterday evening from Germany on the second leg of a four-nation tour, also called on King Felipe VI during his visit. He will visit Russia and France before returning home.
 
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80 killed, over 350 wounded in massive blast in Kabul

 
Massive Kabul truck bomb kills 80, wounds hundreds
At least 80 people were killed and more than 350 others suffered injuries in a powerful blast that ripped through the heavily protected diplomatic quarter of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, during rush hour this morning in one of the worst terrorist attacks in the strife-torn country in recent years.
 
The scene of the blast was in the close vicinity of the Embassy of India in Kabu, but the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi that all the Indian officials at the mission were safe.
 
Media reports quoted Ministry of Interior spokesman Najib Danish as saying that the explosion occurred close to the Zanbaq square. He said that a suicide bomber detonated explosives packed in a truck parked in the area.
 
No group, including the Taliban, has so far claimed responsibility for the incident. Reports quoted a Taliban spokesman  as saying that the group had no role in the attack. He also condemned today's attack.
 
The Zanbaq district houses several embassies, government offices, supermarkets and other buildings.
 
Several buildings were badly damaged in the blast and charred vehicles were strewn all over the street as were bodies of victims. Ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the scene and carried the injured to hospitals.
 
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Modi invites German investors, says India has among the most liberal FDI regimes

 
Indo-German Business Summit: Modi highlights initiatives by Govt.
Stressing that India now had one of the most liberal Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy regimes in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited German businessmen to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities opening up in the country.
 
"More than 90% of the foreign investment flows are under automatic route. Last week we formally decided to abolish the Foreign Investment Promotion Board which was made in 1990s to examine the FDI proposals," he said at a business meeting in Berlin, at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also present.
 
"The idea is to expand the engagement of overseas investors in the Indian economy. Due to this approach, Our FDI Outlook has been ranked highly positive by various international agencies," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said there had also been tremendous growth in the FDI inflows in the last three years and it had now reached $ 60 billion in 2016-17.
 
"India is a big country. Hence, nothing is enough when it comes to development. We have many dreams. And the dreams are big. But we have small timelines. And this is your opportunity.
 
"These opportunities range from building millions of houses to setting up hundreds of smart cities; modernization of railway networks and stations to setting up of high speed rail corridors; generation of renewable energy to construction of transmission and distribution networks. In addition, there is an ever growing need for National Highways, Bridges, and Mass Urban Transport systems, schools, hospitals and skill training institutes," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the Government was trying to empower its people to realize this potential through campaigns like Digital India and Skill India. He said that, to tap the youth energy fully, it had launched the Start up India and Stand up India campaigns.
 
"When I spoke in April 2015, our process of reform had just started. Now, I can safely say that we have completed a sizeable part of it. However, we are committed to do more and more; in a faster and better manner. I strongly believe that we should create institutional networks to understand and advocate such reforms. This is necessary to leverage the underlying economic potential of our two countries. At the end, I invite more and more German colleagues and companies to India," he said.
 
"Our direction, desire and dreams create tremendous business opportunity. Never before, India was so much ready for business. We are on a take off stage. Moreover, our democratic values and an alert judicial system will ensure the safety of your investments.
 
"I assure you that we will work hand in hand with you to make your efforts successful," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi dwelt at considerable length on the economic reforms and various other measures initiated by his Government to make India an investor-friendly destination. He also spoke about the participation of German companies in India's growth story and the growing presence of Indian companies in Germany.
 
"Germany ranks 7th among foreign investor countries in India. Major sectors attracting FDI inflows from Germany are engineering, chemicals and services. About 600 Indo-German joint ventures are presently operating in India. They provide employment to around two hundred thousand people. However, there is tremendous further potential in India-Germany economic collaboration. Our economic partnership is still below its full potential. To enhance this, we, in India, are ready with open arms to welcome German companies. With a view to help the German companies, we have put in place a Fast Track Mechanism. A number of issues have already been resolved through this mechanism. We are doing it sincerely because we value German participation a lot," he said.
 
Mr. Modi spoke about the efforts being made to make India a global manufacturing hub and said it offered advantages such as a globally cost-competitive manufacturing eco-system; a vast pool of skilled professionals; a world-class engineering education base and strong R&D facilities; rise in GDP and purchasing power, creating further growth in the domestic market; and Government's focus on easing the business environment further.
 
He said that, due to these strengths, India is already the sixth largest manufacturing nation in the world and the Government was working hard on various enablers to make it better.
 
In this regard, he mentioned the Make in India campaign and various initiatives to improve governance, including the movement towards becoming a digital economy. He also spoke about GST and other reforms, both at the Central and State levels.
 
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