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Archive for India

Newsline: Pakistan downgrades ties with India

Pakistan has announced plans to expel India’s top diplomat and suspend trade with its neighbour, deepening a row between the countries over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Indian-administered Kashmir has been on lockdown since the Indian government decided on Monday to strip the region of its special constitutional status. Phone networks and the internet have been cut off since Sunday evening. Pakistan is expelling India’s high commissioner (the equivalent of an ambassador) from Islamabad. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly-appointed envoy, Moin-ul-Haq, was yet to start his role but now will not move to Delhi. Prime Minister Imran Khan has “directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose [the] brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations”, a Pakistani government statement said. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49267912) He also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant.

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Newsline: Pakistan says will expel Indian ambassador as Kashmir dispute grows

Pakistan said on Wednesday it would expel India’s ambassador and suspend bilateral trade with its arch-rival after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status. Neighbors China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of the region, have voiced fierce opposition to India’s move dropping a constitutional provision that had allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws. Moin-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s newly-appointed ambassador to India, had yet to take up his post but will now not move to New Delhi, while Indian Ambassador Ajay Bisaria will be expelled, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a telephone interview with Pakistani TV channel ARY News. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-pakistan/pakistan-says-will-expel-indian-ambassador-as-kashmir-dispute-grows-idUSKCN1UX1KT?il=0) “It is very obvious that our ambassador wouldn’t be in Delhi, and obviously the man who is here will also leave,” Qureshi said.

Newsline: German ambassador causes outrage visiting fascist Indian group

German ambassador to India, Walter Lindner, provoked outrage and an online petition calling for his recall to Germany, after he visited the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS] organization, a right-wing, Hindu nationalist group. (https://www.jpost.com/International/German-ambassadors-visit-to-right-wing-Indian-group-causes-outrage-596871) The RSS is a controversial, extremist paramilitary-style volunteer organization connected to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It shares fascist ideology supporting Hindu nationalism and anti-Christian an anti-Muslim beliefs. During World War II, RSS leader M.S Golwalkar openly admired Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and took inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s ideology of racial purity. In 1939, he wrote, “To keep up the purity of the race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races — the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here.” He said it was “a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.” The RSS has been banned several times throughout its history, and has been incriminated in instigating anti-Christian and anti-Muslim violence in India, including involvement in the 1992 demolition of the 16th-century Babri mosque.

Newsline: India says diplomats, embassy guests harassed by Pakistani security in Islamabad

India accused Pakistani security services of widespread harassment at an Indian embassy event in the capital Islamabad a day earlier, alleging that hundreds of guests were turned away and some of New Delhi’s diplomats were “threatened”. Guests arriving for a dinner at the luxury Serena Hotel in Islamabad faced “unprecedented harassment and intimidation” at the hands of Pakistani security agencies that even used a forklift truck to remove the cars of some attendees, according to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. India said about 300 guests were turned away from attending Saturday’s iftar dinner at the hotel, where many embassies host such functions during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims break their day-long fast at sunset with an iftar meal. The Indian High Commission, asking Pakistan to investigate, said some of its officials and diplomats were “jostled, pushed, abused, aggressively threatened with bodily harm” and in some cases had their phones snatched by Pakistani security officials. “The disappointing chain of events on June 1 not only violate basic norms of diplomatic conduct but are against all notions of civilized behavior,” the Indian High Commission said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-india/india-says-diplomats-embassy-guests-harassed-by-pakistani-security-in-islamabad-idUSKCN1T30J4) Pakistan’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But India’s allegations follow similar complaints by Pakistan about the way Indian security forces behaved outside Pakistan National Day celebrations at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in March.

Newsline: India returns key diplomat to Pakistan as tensions ease

India said on Mar. 9 that it was returning a key diplomat to Pakistan’s capital amid an easing of tensions between the nuclear neighbors, but also demanded that its archrival take concrete steps against terrorists operating from its territory. India’s high commissioner to Pakistan was to return to Islamabad on Saturday, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said at a news briefing. Pakistan had announced earlier in the week that its high commissioner to India was returning to New Delhi. (https://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/India-asks-Pakistan-for-concrete-crackdown-on-13675466.php) The moves come after the two countries recalled their diplomats for consultations as tensions flared after a Feb. 14 suicide attack on a convoy of Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-held portion Kashmir that killed 40 soldiers.

Newsline: US consulate lodges forgery complaint in India

The US consulate lodged a complaint, accusing three persons of forging documents to secure a US visa. The consulate had lodged one complaint on Mar. 6, accusing Kanahiya Patel and Bhavna Patel of Mehsana of forging documents. While Kanahiya was arrested, Bhavna is still on the run. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/us-consulate-lodges-forgery-complaint-against-three/articleshow/68326566.cms) She had allegedly approached the US consulate for an interview to obtain a US visa, using forged documents, according to the complaint filed by the consulate’s representative, Brendon Shaw.

Newsline: US embassy looking into reports that Pakistan F-16s were used to shoot down Indian jet

The United States Embassy in Islamabad is looking into reports that Pakistan used U.S.-built F-16 jets to shoot down an Indian warplane, a spokesperson for the embassy said on Mar. 3. “We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” the spokesperson said, according to Reuters. “We take all allegations of misuse of defense articles very seriously.” (https://thehill.com/policy/defense/432376-us-embassy-looking-into-reports-that-pakistan-f-16-were-used-to-shoot-down) Using the F-16 jets to shoot down an Indian warplane would potentially be a violation of U.S. agreements, according to Reuters. The reports come after Pakistan and India exchanged multiple airstrikes. India on Feb. 26 ordered an airstrike over the disputed Kashmir region, targeting the Jaish-e-Mohammed group of fighters. That airstrike came in response to a car bombing in February that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir. On Feb. 27, Pakistan and India each said they had shot down each other’s warplanes and Pakistan captured an Indian pilot. Pakistan later returned the pilot to India, and tensions between the countries appeared to deescalate.