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China, BRICS stand with India in fight against Covid: Wang Yi

All five BRICS member countries, including China, will provide support to India as it battles against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi said.

“Let me begin by once again expressing my sympathy to India over the severe impact of the new wave of Covid-19 infections,” Wang said via video link at a BRICS foreign ministers’ summit on May 31.

Wang said, “At this trying time, China stands in solidarity with India and all BRICS countries. As long as it is needed by India, I believe all BRICS partners including China will provide further support and assistance at any time. We are fully confident that India will certainly overcome the pandemic.”

The Chinese minister lauded India for conducting its role as the BRICS chair despite the raging pandemic.

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International Latest News

BRICS backs Covid-19 vaccine patent waivers

New Delhi: The BRICS grouping endorsed an India-South Africa proposal for patent waivers for Covid-19 vaccines and called for sharing of doses, transfer of technology, and development of vaccine production capacities in order to turn the tide in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Against the backdrop of the India-China border standoff, members of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping reaffirmed the importance of territorial integrity and sovereignty of states and the need to resolve problems through peaceful means.

A virtual meeting of foreign ministers of BRICS states, which was chaired by external affairs minister S Jaishankar, also resolved to combat all forms of terrorism, including cross-border movement of terrorists, terror financing networks, and safe havens.

Jaishankar and his counterparts from the four other countries – China’s Wang Yi, Brazil’s Carlos Alberto Franco França, Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, and South Africa’s Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor – focused on the response to the Covid-19 crisis and equitable access to vaccines during their deliberations.

India and South Africa have been pushing for a waiver of patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since last year, and all the BRICS members agreed to support this measure as part of efforts to ensure timely, affordable and equitable access to diagnostics, vaccines, and essential health products and technologies and their components to combat the pandemic.

“The ministers reaffirmed the need to use all relevant measures…including supporting ongoing consideration in WTO on a Covid-19 vaccine intellectual property rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,” said a joint statement on reforming the multilateral system that was adopted at the meeting.

The ministers reiterated the need for sharing vaccine doses, transfer of technology, development of local production capacities and supply chains for medical products, and promotion of price transparency, and sought “due restraint in the implementation of measures that could hinder the flow of vaccines, health products, and essential inputs”. They also called for timely operationalization of the BRICS vaccine research and development center.

Though there was no official word on whether the India-China standoff figured in the discussions, Jaishankar said in his opening remarks that Brics strives for an inclusive and equitable multipolar international system that respects the territorial integrity of all states. (Hindustan Times)

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India International Latest News

India, China accuse each other of firing warning shots

New Delhi: India and China accused each other of firing warning shots at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh to intimidate and push back each other.

The incident took place near Shenpao mountain close to the south bank of Pangong Tso (Lake) on September 7.

The use of firearms along the LAC marks a serious escalation in border tensions as the previous instance of shots being fired at the de-facto border was in 1975.

The Indian Army in a statement said that China continues to “undertake provocative activities to escalate” the situation at the border and it was the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops who “fired a few rounds in the air” in an attempt to intimidate Indian troops. At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” Indian Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said.

China issued a statement that the Indian Army “blatantly fired threats” to the patrol personnel of the Chinese border guards who had made representation, and the Chinese border guards were forced to take “countermeasures to stabilize the situation on the ground.

The statement said it is serious military provocation and is of very bad nature.”We request the Indian side to immediately stop dangerous actions, immediately withdraw cross-line personnel, strictly restrain front-line troops, and strictly investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure that similar incidents do not occur again,” said People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theater Command, Colonel Zhang Shuili .

India and China are engaged in a four-month-long standoff at the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has not been any breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

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India International Latest News

India-China military talks begin after fresh skirmishes

New Delhi: The militaries of India and China began the third round of talks at Chushul to resolve the fresh skirmishes at Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh.

“A Brigade Commander-level talk started at 10 am in Chushul on the Indian side,” said a source.

The agenda of the deliberation were the fresh development at three contentious points on the southern banks of the Pangong Lake. India has also raised concerns about Chinese deployment in areas near the Black Top and Helmet Top.

Indian troops have also occupied hill tops and the Chinese want them to step back.

Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in skirmishes at the southern bank of the Pangong lake where the Chinese brought in close to 450 troops and attempted to change the status quo, the Indian Army said as it thwarted the opponent’s effort.

Sources said, Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops with help of ropes and other climbing equipment started climbing at a table-top area between Black Top and Thakung Heights at Pangong Tso’s south bank.

Hearing the commotion, the Indian Army was alerted and swung into action.

The Indian Army, however, has officially denied any skirmish.

In a statement issued here, the Indian Army said that on the intervening night of August 29 and August 30, 2020, PLA troops violated the previous consensus agreed in military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo.

“Indian troops preempted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong lake, and undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground,” the force said.

China maintained its troops never crossed the Line of Actual Control.

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Latest News New York

US to review troop deployment to counter China’s threat: Pompeo

New York: Citing China’s recent confrontation with India in Ladakh, US Secretary of State said America would be recalibrating its deployment of forces to counter emerging threats from Beijing.

Mike Pompeo accused China of behaving as a “rogue actor” not just in its own neighborhood, but also in the larger world order.

The threats from China to India and countries in Southeast Asia and the challenges in the South China Sea are going to dictate the allocation of defense resources as US cuts troop levels in Germany, he said at a virtual meeting of the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund.

He said that China’s expansionism is “the challenge of our time” and the US wants to ensure that its resources are in place to meet it.

The force posture review is being done at the direction of President Donald Trump, as part of which the US is reducing the number of its troops in Germany from about 52,000 to 25,000, he said.

Pompeo did not provide specific details of how this defense recaliberation would be done.

His remark came amid ongoing talks between India and China to de-escalate tensions along the Line of Actual Control, after a violent face-off between the armies of the two countries in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last week.

Earlier, Pompeo had blamed China for the border conflict with India. “The PLA (China’s People’s Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions – we see it today in India… and we watch as it militarizes the South China Sea and illegally claims more territory there,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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International Latest News

India betrayed accords, consensus: China

New Delhi/Beijing: China on Wednesday again accused India of provoking a border clash along the Line of Actual Control saying that the face-off was caused by India’s “betrayal of consensuses and unilateral provocations”.

“The incident was entirely caused by Indian’s violation of consensus and its unilateral provocation, and it happened in China-controlled territory. The responsibility rests entirely with the Indian side,” China’s defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.

He claimed that when Chinese troops were trying to negotiate about the matter, they were suddenly attacked by Indian officers and soldiers. “That led to fierce physical conflicts between the two sides in which the Chinese troops used defensive measures,” Wu said.

“The entire incident was caused by India’s betrayal of consensuses and unilateral provocations and took place on the Chinese side of the line,” he repeated.

The clash was the deadliest between the two countries in 45 years with India losing 20 of its soldiers and China keeping the information on its casualties a secret.

Contrary to the Chinese claim, India’s Ministry of External Affairs had said since early May, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern along the LAC in Ladakh.

Commanders from both sides agreed to disengage their forces in their first meeting since the confrontation.

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India Latest News

China finally admits it lost ‘less than 20’ soldiers in clash with India

New Delhi: China has for the first time admitted that it lost “less than 20” troops during the violent face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh last week.

The move comes a day after media reported that India had handed over dead bodies of 16 Chinese soldiers to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

A Chinese commanding officer was among those killed in the clash, China’s army confirmed during military talks with India at Galwan last week, according to NDTV.

Even as New Delhi had officially announced that 20 of its soldiers were killed in a clash with the PLA in Ladakh’s Galwan valley, Beijing had remained tight-lipped about its casualties.

The Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Community Party regime in Beijing, in a piece quoting “Chinese experts” said that “the reason why China did not release the number” of its casualties, is that China “wants to avoid an escalation.”

“If China released the number which is less than 20, the Indian government would again come under pressure,” the Global Times tweeted quoting an “observer” from the piece.

The Global Times report referred to Union minister and former Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh who had claimed that the number of PLA soldiers killed in the stand-off in the Galwan valley was more than 40.

The analysts in Beijing also threatened India saying, “India will be more humiliated than after the 1962 border conflict with China if it cannot control anti-China sentiment at home and has a new military conflict with its biggest neighbor.”

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