China reassures Pakistan on ties ahead of Xi’s meeting with India’s Modi

In this file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before they hold a meeting in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, May 14, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 April 2018
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China reassures Pakistan on ties ahead of Xi’s meeting with India’s Modi

  • China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing
  • We are ready to work together with our "Pakistani brothers" to undertake the mission of national rejuvenation, Wang said.

BEIJING: China on Monday reassured Pakistan that relations between the two countries were as firm as ever and would “never rust,” ahead of a meeting this week between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could unnerve Islamabad.
China and Pakistan like to call each other “all weather friends” and their traditional close ties have long been viewed with suspicion by Pakistan’s neighbor and traditional enemy, India.
But Modi has tried to reset relations with Beijing after a years of disagreements over everything from their border to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and will hold an informal summit with Xi on Friday and Saturday in China.
China will continue to firmly support Pakistan, its top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, told Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at a meeting in Beijing.
“We are ready to work together with our Pakistani brothers to undertake the historical mission of national rejuvenation and achieve the great dream of national prosperity and development,” Wang said.
“In this way, our iron friendship with Pakistan will never rust and be tempered into steel.”
There was no mention of the Xi-Modi meeting in comments made in front of reporters.


Delhi braces for pollution with emergency plan

Updated 15 October 2018
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Delhi braces for pollution with emergency plan

  • Under the new strategy, restrictions on construction sites and traffic will be imposed depending on the air quality

NEW DELHI, India: Delhi’s biggest coal power plant was set to shut down Monday as a new emergency plan to improve air quality in one of the world’s most polluted cities came into force, Indian officials said.
Under the new strategy, restrictions on construction sites and traffic will be imposed depending on the air quality in the megacity of some 20 million people.
When the air is classed as “poor,” as it was on Monday, authorities will ban the burning of garbage in landfills as well as fire crackers and certain construction activities.
When the air is “very poor” diesel generators will be halted, parking fees hiked and more public transport provided. “Severe” measures include closing brick kilns.
When it reaches “severe+,” a new category, authorities will stop the entry of trucks except those with essential goods and regulate the number of cars on the road.
The Badarpur thermal plant was due to permanently close on Monday because of its high contribution to pollution in the city.
Smog spikes during winter in Delhi, when air quality often eclipses the World Health Organization’s safe levels.
Cooler air traps pollutants — such as from vehicles, building sites and farmers burning crops in regions outside the Indian capital — close to the ground.
Authorities in the sprawling city attempted to implement similar measures last winter but to little avail.
This is partly because authorities are powerless to prevent some sources of pollution.
“Our aim is to stop the air quality from deteriorating further though certain factors are out of our control such as crop burning, wind speed and lack of public transportation,” environment authority official Bhure Lal said.