Tag Archives: Belgium

World will have to fight the forces spreading terror by radicalising people on the basis of religion: Pranab Mukherjee

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Pranab MukherjeeNew Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, addressing the nation for the fifth time on the eve of Independence Day, said that in these four years, he has seen with some disquiet, forces of divisiveness and intolerance trying to raise their ugly head. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against the national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.

The divisive forces notwithstanding, the President went on to underscore that the “collective wisdom of the Indian society and polity gives him the confidence that such forces will remain marginalized and the country’s remarkable growth story will continue uninterrupted.

The President said that he has seen with some satisfaction a stable and progressive democracy in full play with peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, from one government to another, and from one generation to another. “Notwithstanding the different hues of political thought, I have seen the ruling party and the opposition coming together in pursuit of national agenda of development, unity, integrity and security of the nation” he said adding in the just-concluded session of Parliament, the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of GST amidst non-partisan and quality parliamentary deliberations is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity.

The safety and security that we provide to our women and children determines the well-being of the state and society, Mukherjee went on to emphasise. He also opined that every incident of violence against a woman or a child inflicts a wound on the soul of the civilization. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in this duty.

The President drew attention to the spate of terror activities in different parts of the world having their roots in radicalization of people on the basis of religion and said these forces apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace. The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently. These forces now pose a danger to the entire comity of nations. The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.

India through its unique civilizational contribution has repeatedly conveyed the message of peace and harmony to the trouble-torn world, Mukherjee pointed out. Pointing to the famous historian Arnold Toynbee, he said that in 1970 he had the following to say about India’s role in contemporary history. Quting him he said: “Today, we are still living in this transitional chapter of the world’s history, but it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning, will have to have an Indian ending, if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race” (unquote). Toynbee further went on to say that at the cross roads of human history, the only way of salvation of mankind is the Indian way.

On this occasion, the President also extended his special greetings and gratitude to the members of the armed forces, paramilitary and internal security forces who are at the forefront of guarding and preserving the Unity, Integrity and Security of India.

Modi Cabinet approves Protocol linked with the double taxation agreement with Belgium

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New Delhi: Indian Union Cabinet today approved the Protocol amending the Agreement for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with Belgium.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved today the signing of a Protocol amending the Agreement between India and Belgium for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

The amendment in the Protocol will broaden the scope of the existing framework of exchange of tax related information between the two countries, which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. The Protocol will also revise the existing treaty provisions on mutual assistance in collection of taxes.

US Legislation to counter violent extremism by involving foreign governments

Newsroom24x7 Staff

More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks. -US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce

violent extremismWashington DC: Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed the Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act (H.R. 4403) to improve the vetting of travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases, enhance border management, and improve targeting and analysis.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the US Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

The latest legislation H.R. 4403 is a significant step forward to block the movement of suspected terrorists across countries. It comes after five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan also have attempted to enter the U.S. through its Southwest border as was reported last November.

Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. Rep. Jeff Duncan

Speaking on the House floor in support of the bipartisan legislation, introduced by Texas Rep. Will Hurd, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce made the following remarks:

“The global threat of terrorism has never been as high as it is today. In just the last 12 months, we’ve seen terrorists strike in my home state of California, and in France, Belgium, Turkey, India, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq – to name a few. No country is immune. The ideology of violent extremism knows no boundaries – allowing individuals to become radicalized by terrorists overseas without leaving their neighborhood.

I just returned from Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia, where I heard first-hand about the foreign fighter threat. More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks.

That is why information sharing between countries is more critical than ever.

The bipartisan Task Force’s report highlighted the lack of any comprehensive, global database of foreign fighters and suspected terrorists. In its absence, the U.S. and other countries rely on a patchwork system for exchanging extremist identities, which is weak and increases the odds that foreign fighters and suspected terrorists will be able to cross borders undetected.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

Chairman of House subcommittee Ed RoyceIleana Ros-Lehtinen, on a March 22 hearing on Middle East and North Africa had said: “Hezbollah isn’t just a threat to our ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, it is a growing threat to the region and to our own national security interests. The terror group – an Iranian proxy – has been helping keep Assad in power in Syria and prolonging the conflict there, while simultaneously building up its missile stockpile that it has targeted for attacks on Israel. There’s no doubt that, in the wake of the sanctions relief for Iran as part of the JCPOA, Iran will only increase its support for the terror group, making it an even greater menace. This threat Hezbollah poses to the region has also led the GCC and Arab League to designate it as a terrorist organization.

The issue of terrorists crossing borders the chairman of the US House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Rep. Jeff Duncan earlier gave a broad insight regarding the magnitude of the problem and how it affects directly different countries by making the following observation:

“Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. In view of this, I believe it is critical that we examine potential threats to the U.S. and the region from border security vulnerabilities and work to strengthen our security cooperation with our neighbors.”
On a recent hearing by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on FY 2017 Budget Priorities for South Asia: Recovery, Development, and Engagement, Chairman Matt Salmon has been quoted as saying that South Asia, with over 1.5 billion people, has enormous potential, but the region also faces major development challenges and threats from violent extremism, weak governance, and corruption. This hearing will discuss ways to improve and streamline the US efforts in South Asia.
On the March 23 hearing by the House subcommittee on the US “Administration’s Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility: At What Foreign Policy and National Security Cost?” the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce remarked: “According to the Obama administration’s own figures, more than 30 percent of detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. Those that remain are among the most hardened and highly trained terrorists in the world – and they are committed to killing Americans. This hearing will allow members to question officials from Departments of State and Defense on the president’s plan to close the prison by bringing some of these terrorists to U.S. soil, and releasing others to countries that are ill-equipped to stop them from returning to the battlefield.”

India stands in solidarity with the Belgian people: Narendra Modi

Newsroom Staff

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays wreath at Maelbeek Metro Station in Brussels during his visit to Belgium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays wreath at Maelbeek Metro Station in Brussels during his visit to Belgium

Brussels: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today offered floral tributes to those who lost their lives in the terror strikes here last week and said in this time of crisis, the whole of India stands in full support and solidarity with the Belgian people.

Addressing the media jointly with Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, the Indian Prime Minister said:

” Last week has been a sad week for Belgium. Let me say Mr. Prime Minister that we share the depth of sorrow and grief that the people of Belgium have experienced in the last 8 days. My deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones to the terror strikes in Brussels last week. Having experienced terrorist violence ourselves on countless occasions, we share your pain. Mr. Prime Minister, in this time of crisis, the whole of India stands in full support and solidarity with the Belgian people. I deeply appreciate your welcome and the time that you have devoted to me despite pressing demands on you. As part of our efforts to respond to this common challenge we could resume discussions on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. Negotiations on Extradition Treaty and a Treaty on Exchange of Sentenced Prisoners could be concluded expeditiously .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium in Brussels during his visit to Belgium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium in Brussels during his visit to Belgium

Our two countries share a long history of friendship. A hundred years ago, more than 130,000 soldiers from India fought in the First World War alongside your countrymen on Belgian soil. More than 9,000 Indian soldiers made the supreme sacrifice. Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of India-Belgium diplomatic ties. To celebrate this important milestone in our friendship, we look forward to welcoming His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium in India next year. We would also be commemorating it with a joint programme of activities in each others’ countries. My conversation with Prime Minister Charles Michel today covered the whole spectrum of our ties. A system of bilateral foreign policy consultations would recommend concrete ways to upgrade our partnership.

India is one of the brightest economic opportunities in the world today. Our macroeconomic fundamentals are robust , and at 7% plus, we are one of the fastest growing economies of the world. I believe that a combination of Belgian capacities and India’s economic growth can produce promising opportunities for businesses on both sides. Prime Minister and I have just held a productive interaction with Belgian CEOs and business persons earlier today. I invite the Belgian government and companies to pro-actively associate with India’s ambitious development projects including Digital India, Start Up India and Skill India. Belgian businesses can make their global supply chains more cost effective by manufacturing in India. India’s goal to modernize infrastructure, especially railways and ports, and building of 100 plus smart cities also presents a unique investment opportunity for the Belgian companies. These partnerships can help us reach new heights in our trade and commercial partnership. I have invited Prime Minister Michel to visit India with Belgian businesses to see first-hand the reality of India’s economic and political promise. Clearly, it is not just diamonds that can bring shine to our partnership. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges before mankind. Prime Minister and I have agreed to enhance our cooperation in renewable energy. We would also build partnerships in areas such as harnessing waste for energy, small wind turbines and zero emission buildings. Advancement in S&T and High technology areas is of particular importance for India’s development priorities. We welcome Belgium’s collaboration in these areas. Prime Minister Michel and I have just activated , remotely, India’s largest optical telescope. This product of Indo-Belgian collaboration is an inspiring example of what our partnership can achieve. The work is also afoot on other agreements in the areas of Information and Communication Technology, audio-visual production Tourism biotechnology and shipping and ports.

Prime Minister meets Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission at the 13th India-EU Summit in Brussels. Photo Courtesy: M.Asokan
Prime Minister meets Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission at the 13th India-EU Summit in Brussels.
Photo Courtesy: M.Asokan

In a couple of hours from now, I would meet the E.U. leadership for the 13th India-E.U. Summit. For India, E.U. is one of our strongest strategic partners. Trade, Investment, and technology partnership between India and the E.U. would be one of the focus areas of our discussions. I feel that a progressive path and creative mind-set to India-E.U Trade and Investment Agreement can enable all the European countries, including Belgium, to benefit from India’s strong economic growth. I once again express my sincere gratitude to Prime Minister Charles Michel for his time, welcome and hospitality. I look forward to welcoming him in India.