UAE ambassador to India stresses need for peace in region 

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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
Updated 19 March 2019
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UAE ambassador to India stresses need for peace in region 

  • Emirati envoy hails nation’s key role in calming recent Pakistani-Indian tensions
  • Strategic trade partnership helps strengthen bond between UAE and India 

NEW DELHI: Students have been urged to spread the message of tolerance in the region during a high-profile meeting with a top diplomat.
The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, on Monday stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere for peace during a major outreach program in New Delhi.
“The UAE has had a long-standing role in preventing and fighting acts of terrorism and radical organizations,” Al-Banna told journalists at the event. “We work very closely with all our partners from different countries in the region to make the region peaceful so that we can live together.”
The Emirati envoy was speaking at the first outreach session of its kind, being staged at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, where students from the leading engineering establishment asked a range of questions relating to the region and the world.
Al-Banna said that the UAE was a strong believer in “tolerance and acceptance,” and he highlighted the “important” role played by his country in easing a recent flare-up of military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir province.
“On the day of the huge escalation, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed had a phone conversation with (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Our role was to sort out differences between the two sides in a peaceful manner through negotiation,” the UAE envoy added.
However, Al-Banna’s comment came as New Delhi denied any third-party involvement in helping to de-escalate the situation in the region.
The ambassador went on to highlight the growing ties between the UAE and India since the 1970s. “Both countries have accelerated their relationship to transform it from what used to be a buyer-seller relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said.
The value of trade between India and the UAE currently stands at around $50 billion, making India the UAE’s second-largest trading partner. The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner after China and the US.
The Indian population in the UAE is 3.3 million, making it the largest concentration of Indian nationals outside of the South Asian country.
Last year the UAE declared 2019 the “year of tolerance” to strengthen the nation’s role of encouraging stability and prosperity in the region.
 


Pakistan minister urges Iran to take action against terror camps inside its borders

Updated 34 min 1 sec ago
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Pakistan minister urges Iran to take action against terror camps inside its borders

  • Pakistan doing ‘everything’ to facilitate peace process, says spokesperson

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has demanded that neighboring Iran take action against “terrorist camps” in its border regions following an attack in Balochistan that left 14 army personnel dead.

The move comes amid fears that the situation could escalate into a full-blown conflict between the two countries if it is not resolved.

On Thursday, gunmen disguised as Pakistani security officials forced passengers off buses on the Makran coastal highway in the southwestern province bordering Iran and killed 14 Pakistani army personnel.

“We have identified terrorist camps that exist in Iran’s border areas,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. 

“We are hopeful Iran will take action against these terrorists. Today, I had a detailed conversation with the Iranian foreign minister in which I conveyed Pakistan’s sentiments and expectations,” the foreign minister added. 

“The Iranian foreign minister has guaranteed his country’s full cooperation in the matter.”

BRAS, an alliance of three Baloch separatist organizations, was behind the attack, Qureshi said.

Pakistan has identified the alliance’s training and logistical camps inside Iran’s borders and shared details with Tehran, he said.

The foreign minister said Pakistan expected Iran to take action.

The separatist alliance also has a presence and leadership in Afghanistan, he added.

Qureshi’s comments came on the eve of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day maiden visit to Iran which began on Sunday.

Retired Gen. Talat Masood, a security analyst, said that Islamabad has told Iran’s leadership that “its land was being used for terror activities within Pakistan.”

“Iran has been trying to strengthen its relationship with Pakistan to offset international pressure and sanctions over its nuclear program,” he told Arab News. 

“In this context, we can expect Iran to initiate action against terrorist outfits that are accused of (acting) against Pakistan.”

Another security analyst, Zaigham Khan, urged the Pakistani PM to raise the issue of terror camps with Iran’s leadership during his visit to Tehran.

“The use of Iranian territory by militants against Pakistan is worrying for our security institutions,” he told Arab News. 

“This could turn into a full-blown conflict if Tehran fails to initiate action against militants using its territory.”

On Friday, the foreign affairs minister lodged a formal protest with Iran for failing to take action against militant groups Islamabad believes use bases on Iranian territory to launch attacks against Pakistan.

“Pakistan awaits Iran’s response to its request for action against these groups, whose locations have been identified by Pakistan a number of times,” the Foreign Office said.

Giving details of Thursday’s attack, the foreign office said up to 20 gunmen in paramilitary uniforms stopped three or four buses at dawn on April 18 and, after identifying the passengers, killed 14 Pakistani troops.

“After the incident, the terrorists who arrived from border region (between Pakistan and Iran) returned to that area,” it said.

The Foreign Office said Islamabad had repeatedly shared “information about the hubs of these Baloch terrorist organizations in Iran.”

“Unfortunately, no action has been taken by Iran,” it said.

Separatist groups have been waging an insurgency in Balochistan for more than a decade, demanding an end to what they see as the exploitation of their resources by people from other parts of Pakistan.

In May 2015, gunmen wearing security forces uniforms killed at least 22 passengers after forcing them off buses traveling from the western city of Quetta to Karachi.

Militants and Balochi separatists frequently target civilians and security forces in Balochistan, which is at the center of the much-vaunted $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that Pakistan is building with Chinese loans.