India-Pakistan dialogue needs ‘conducive environment’ to move forward, says Gen. Singh

Indian paramilitary soldiers clash with Kashmiri protesters during a protest near the site of a gunbattle at Panzan, about 35 kilometers south of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. At least two militants were trapped in a mosque after troops laid a siege around it in the village, police said. As the siege continued, villagers tried to march towards the mosque in solidarity with the rebels, leading to clashes between stone-throwing protesters and government forces who deployed tear smoke shells and pellets. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
Updated 30 September 2018

India-Pakistan dialogue needs ‘conducive environment’ to move forward, says Gen. Singh

DUBAI: India said in the year 2014 that it wanted good relations with Pakistan, and Pakistan should decide how to take it forward, General V. K. Singh, India’s minister of state for external affairs, has said.
Singh, who has also served as India’s Army Chief, was speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of his interaction with members of the Indian community in Dubai on Saturday evening.
Asked about the future of Indo-Pak dialogue after recent setbacks, the minister said that “a conducive environment” is required to move forward.
“Since 2014, the Modi government has wanted to pursue peaceful relations with Pakistan. Now Pakistan has to decide how to take this further. We need a conducive environment to have peace dialogue,” he said.
Gen. Singh served as the 24th Chief of the Army Staff from 2010 to 2012. After his retirement from the military, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014.
He was elected member of parliament of the Lok Sabha in the Indian general elections that year, winning the Ghaziabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh, and became minister of state for external affairs.
The minister was in town on a brief visit where he attended an interactive session with the Indian community in the UAE, organized by the Indian Consulate in Dubai.
While addressing the audience, Singh highlighted the achievements of his government during the past four years and said that under Prime Minister Modi, it is working for the welfare of the people of India.
“Over the past four years, India has progressed rapidly compared with under the previous governments, and we are working to accomplish the remaining tasks,” he said.
Singh also asked his countrymen not to believe anti-government and anti-Modi campaigns being carried out by the opposition in India. “Good things such as our achievements are not reported, so you should not believe the bad things,” he said.
He also appreciated the Indian community’s achievements in the UAE. “We feel so proud when we hear so much good news about you. It is so heartening to see that NRIs (non-resident Indians) in the UAE are united and doing well not just for themselves but also for the country.”
Singh also responded to several queries from community members about passports, tickets and easing of procedures.
Asked about the Rafale fighter aircraft deal controversy, Singh said that such deals are very technical and the way the opposition is propagating it shows naivety.
“Buying a defense aircraft needs lots of technical details and procedures. It will be wrong to simplify the whole deal and then make hue and cry. I urge you not to listen to what the media is saying but to have faith in your prime minister,” he said.
In 2015, India signed a deal with France to buy 35 Rafale fighter jets but the deal has come under a cloud of suspicion in recent days after the opposition raised questions about the manner in which it was done. Questions have also been raised over the pricing and private parties the deal benefited.
India’s opposition Congress party has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of giving Anil Ambani, a billionaire businessman with close links to the ruling BJP, preferential treatment at the expense of the state-run HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) company.
The Modi government says Dassault, the French manufacturer of the Rafale, had freely chosen their Indian commercial partner despite the fact that Ambani’s company, Reliance, lacked any experience in aviation.

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Updated 55 min 56 sec ago

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said the US would be ending sanction waivers for countries importing Iranian oil, increasing economic pressure on the regime, according to a White House Statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to discuss the move at the State Department Monday morning. The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, will not be renewed when they expire on May 2.

The statement said that the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had "agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market."

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Monday that he believed global oil markets would be able to handle the US decision to force buyers of Iranian oil to either end imports or face sanctions, despite Monday's surge in oil prices.

"I think that the global oil markets are poised to be able to deal with this," Kevin Hassett said in an interview with CNBC. 

The move comes as the administration toughens its already strict penalties on Iran by trying to choke off all the revenue the country makes from oil sales.

The waivers had been in place since November, when the administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

They were granted in part to give those countries time to eliminate their purchases of Iranian oil but also to ease any impact on global energy markets with the abrupt removal of Iran's production.

Pompeo says now that production increases elsewhere will make up for the loss of Iranian oil on the market.

(With Agencies)