Sun, 21 January 2018
Netanyahu thanks Modi, says India visit was 'historic'

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21:01   Netanyahu thanks Modi, says India visit was 'historic'
Terming as "historic" his recent visit to India, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that his six-day trip will be "long remembered" as it contributed in strengthening of bilateral ties.
Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi on January 14 and was received by his "friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport, setting aside protocol.
"I returned last week from a historic visit to India. I thank my friend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the exceptionally strong and warm reception," Netanyahu told his cabinet at the start of the weekly meeting.
"It reflects the closer ties between us, very close, as well as the closer ties between our countries and peoples," he said.
"This is a visit that will be long-remembered. It contributed, and will yet contribute, to Israel in the economic, security, technology and diplomatic spheres," he added.
Modi accompanied the Israeli Prime Minister for most part of the trip.
India and Israel signed nine agreements across several sectors to boost bilateral trade and cooperation.
Netanyahu also recollected some moving moments from his trip, particularly his meeting with Moshe, the now 11-year-old kid who survived the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which his parents were killed.
"I must say that there were many very moving moments, but above all I will remember two special events that touched our people," Netanyahu said.
"First was the meeting with Moshe at the Chabad House. A sweet boy who is living with his loving grandparents, in effect with the love of the entire Jewish People. Thanks also go to the Indian nanny, Sandra, who saved him and accompanied him on the visit," he said.
Moshe was two-year-old when his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who were serving as Directors at Chabad House, were killed along with six others when the place was attacked by Pakistani terrorists during the November Mumbai attacks.
The attack on Chabad House and other locations like the Taj Hotel left 166 people dead.
Moshe was rescued by his nanny Sandra and he later moved to Israel, where he stays with his grandparents.

Sandra has been given honorary citizenship by Israel and now lives in Jerusalem where she works with kids with special needs.
"The second moving event was with the Indian Jewish community. This is a very small community most of whose members have come to Israel and contributed to the building up of the country and the development of the state. But their contribution to India is out of proportion to their numbers," Netanyahu said.
"They carried the flame for generations and looked forward to this moment when the Prime Minister of Israel came to India. They spoke there, each one in turn, and many simply wept with joy, not because there has ever been anti-Semitism in India; there never has. 
"But they hoped for the meeting between cultures and between states and peoples, and it happened before their eyes," he noted.
"It was simply an extraordinary experience", the Israeli Premier stressed. -- PTI
20:52   Kalam was a space scientist, Modi a social scientist: Prez
President Ram Nath Kovind today drew a parallel between APJ Abdul Kalam and Narendra Modi, saying while the former president was a "space scientist", the current prime minister is a "social scientist".
Kovind was addressing the 66th convocation ceremony of the Gujarat University in Ahmedabad.
"Kalam sir was ultimately and fortunately my predecessor. Though he became the president, he was basically a scientist. Thus, I usually refer to him as a 'space scientist' while I call Modiji a 'social scientist'," Kovind said in his address. 
"While Modiji was an alumnus of the Gujarat University, Kalam sir too had stayed here for some time," he said.
On a lighter note, the president said none of the students present at the ceremony would have sold tea like Modi did in his younger days.
"...This is a person who was born and brought up here, studied here and then become the prime minister. This was truly inspirational," Kovind said.
He said Modi opened the doors of the 21st century for today's generation by bringing in various initiatives, such as 'Digital India' and 'Start Up India'.
Kovind urged students to keep in mind the ethos of cooperation and brotherhood to bring in development.
As many as 56,159 graduates of the GU, the oldest varsity of the state, were awarded degrees at the convocation ceremony. -- PTI 
20:08   Will share vision for India's global engagements at Davos: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he will share his vision for India's future engagements with the international community during his Davos trip, as he sought "serious attention" of world leaders on existing and emerging challenges to the contemporary global systems.
A day before his visit to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, being attended by over 70 heads of states and governments, Modi said India's engagement with the outside world in the recent years has become "truly and effectively multi-dimensional covering the political, economic, people to people, security and other spheres".
In a series of tweets with 'IndiaMeansBusiness' hashtag, he said, "At Davos, I look forward to sharing my vision for India's future engagement with the international community."
Modi, who will deliver opening plenary address at the WEF summit on Tuesday, said he is also looking forward to separate bilateral meetings with Swiss President Alain Berset and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Davos.
"I am confident that these bilateral meetings would be fruitful and give a boost to our relations with these countries and further strengthen economic engagement," he said.
"The existing and emerging challenges to the contemporary international system and global governance architecture deserve serious attention of leaders, governments, policy makers, corporates and civil societies around the world," he tweeted.
"I look forward to my first visit to the World Economic Forum at Davos, at the invitation of India's good friend and Founder of the WEF, Professor Klaus Schwab," he said, while describing the theme of the Forum, 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World' as "both thoughtful and apt".
The comments assume significance in the wake of several leaders expected to talk about various risks facing the world, including those from economic protectionism and differences amongst various world powers. The summit is also being attended by US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emannuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, among others.
Modi will also host a dinner for global CEOs tomorrow. On Tuesday, he will interact with global business community members, besides delivering his keynote address. -- PTI
20:07   PM Modi has ego of his prime ministership, says Anna Hazare
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an "ego of his Prime Ministership", adding that it was the reason why Modi was not responding to his letters.
Hazare was speaking at a public rally in Atpadi tehsil in Maharashtra's Sangli district yesterday.
Hazare said, "I have written more than 30 letters to PM Modi in the last three years but he never replied to them. Modi has an ego of his Prime Ministership, hence he did not respond to my letters."
Hazare had, earlier, announced that he was going to stage another round of agitations in New Delhi from March 23.
The rally at Atpadi yesterday was the first of the three rallies Hazare will be addressing in an effort to mobilise support for the March 23 agitation.
"It will be a never-seen-before kind of massive agitation that will be a warning to the government," he said.
"I have no intention of garnering votes through my rallies and agitations. The way there was a huge rally for Jan Lokpal, I believe there will be a similar agitation on farmers' issues," he said.
Hazare said that his demands included implementation of the Lokpal, appointment of a Lokayukta, a pension of Rs 5,000 to farmers and higher rates for farm produce. -- PTI
19:41   No electoral alliance with Congress: CPI-M
The Communist Party of India-Marxist's Central Committee today adopted a draft political resolution ruling out any form of electoral alliances or adjustments with the Congress, party general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
"The draft political resolution adopted after incorporating some amendments states that there should be no electoral alliance or understanding with the Congress," Yechury told reporters in Kolkata.
The draft resolution, which was adopted after a vote on the concluding day of the party's three-day Central Committee meet, would be released for discussion within the CPI-M before its congress scheduled to be held in Hyderabad in April. -- PTI
19:08   Om Prakash Rawat appointed as new CEC
Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat was today appointed as the next chief election commissioner succeeding A K Joti who retires tomorrow, the law ministry said today.

The government also appointed former finance secretary Ashok Lawasa as an election commissioner.

The appointment of the election commissioner was made as a vacancy would have arisen in the three-member poll panel after the retirement of Joti tomorrow. 

 Sunil Arora is the other election commissioner. -- PTI
19:02   Make J&K 'bridge of friendship': Mehbooba to India, Pak
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today appealed to India and Pakistan to make Jammu and Kashmir a "bridge of friendship" between them and not let it become a battleground.
"Our borders are witnessing, god forbid, a bloodbath. Our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) often talks of development but at the same time something opposite is happening in our state. Our schools are shut and children are trapped inside their homes," the chief minister said.
"I appeal to our prime minister and our neighbour Pakistan to make J&K a bridge of friendship between the two countries and not let it become a battleground," Mehbooba said.
She was speaking at the passing out parade of new police constables at Subsidiary Training Centre at Sheeri, 65 kilometre from Srinagar, in Baramulla district of north Kashmir.
The PDP chief said it was the people of J&K who were getting killed in firing on both sides of the border.
"It is our misfortune that our state has become a basis of a conflict between our country India and Pakistan. For the last few days, our borders are witnessing firing in which several of our people have been killed," she said.
"It is obvious that the situation will be same on the other side (of the border)," Mehbooba said.
The chief minister said the Jammu and Kashmir Police have the most difficult job in the country as they face many challenges.
 "Your challenge is not just to maintain law and order or uphold the rule of law, but you have to face your own people, small children sometimes (while maintaining law and order) and that time you will have to exercise restraint," she said.

At least 10 people were killed and 50 others injured in a firing from across the border that started on Thursday.
The firing also forced thousands of people to flee their homes and take shelter in rehabilitation camps or with their relatives.
Mehbooba said another challenge for the police was bring back youngsters who were taking up arms. -- PTI
18:46   Judges row: SC to soon make public work allocation system
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has examined suggestions from stakeholders to bring transparency in allocation of sensitive public interest litigations to judges and is likely to bring in the public domain soon the system he is
going to adopt for it, sources close to him said today.
They said that the listing of two petitions demanding an independent probe into the death of Central Bureau of Investigation special judge B H Loya before a bench headed by the CJI manifests that all issues, including allocation of cases, raised by the four seniormost judges in their controversial January 12 press conference, are being considered.
The Loya case petitions will come up for hearing tomorrow.
The sources said that Justice Misra has held deliberations with fellow judges and also taken into account the suggestions put forth by the Supreme Court Bar Association and a clear-cut roster system is likely to be followed in the apex court for allocation of cases.
"The apex court registry is very likely to upload on its website the decision of the CJI on allocation of matters. The system will be brought in the public domain as to who will hear what categories of cases," a highly placed source told PTI.
When contacted, SCBA President Vikas Singh said there was a demand from the bar to follow the roster system of allocation of work prevalent in the Delhi High Court.
"We are quite hopeful that the CJI in all likelihood is going to accept our suggestions and all misunderstanding that has come out in the open after the press conference of the four judges can be resolved," Singh said.
He said that a system for allocation of cases identical to that in the Delhi high court is followed in the Bombay high court.
During the press conference, the four judges -- justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph -- had raised various issues, including the allocation of important and sensitive PILs, and questioned the manner in which the CJI was allocating them to a particular bench.
The PILs in the Loya case was one of them which was being heard by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra who later recused himself from it.

The list of the top court's business for January 22 had on January 19 shown that it has been referred to an appropriate bench and late in the evening the website showed that it will be heard by a bench headed by the CJI.
Sources said that some of the judges who are the future CJIs -- justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud -- have been holding parleys with the CJI to resolve the crisis that hit the judiciary after the January 12 presser. -- PTI
17:29   Prez order disqualifying MLAs 'dangerous for democracy': AAP
Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party today described President Ram Nath Kovind's order disqualifying 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit as "unconstitutional" and "dangerous for democracy".
The president today accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs.
Madanlal, one of the 20 disqualified MLAs, said that all hopes hinge upon the judiciary and the party is expecting some relief tomorrow.
Reacting to the development, senior AAP leader Ashutosh said, "President's order to disqualify AAP MLAs is unconstitutional and dangerous for democracy."
Alka Lamba, who is among the 20 AAP MLAs disqualified, said the decision was "painful" and the president should have heard them out before arriving at any conclusion.
The AAP MLAs had also sought time from the president.
The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.
The AAP has also approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on EC's recommendation. The court has listed the case for a hearing on Monday.
"We are expecting relief from the court. Our petition is coming up for hearing tomorrow," Madanlal, who represented the Kasturba Nagar constituency, said. -- PTI 
17:24   Intel agencies warn of infiltration bids in J&K ahead of R-Day
Security along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir was beefed up following an alert by intelligence agencies about possible infiltration attempts by Pakistan backed militants ahead of the Republic Day, police said today.
A group of three to four terrorists were seen camping across the border at a village in Pakistan, near a border out post, intelligence agencies are learnt to have warned the police and security forces.

The agencies claimed that Pakistan's ISI was trying to infiltrate this group of terrorists to create disturbance and target security forces' camps, according to official sources.
The main reason behind ceasefire violations and Pakistan shelling is to help infiltrate militants from across the border, IG, Jammu Zone, S D Singh Jamwal said.
After the inputs from intelligence agencies, police have beefed up the security in border belts and increased round-the-clock vigilance, he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police yesterday had sounded a "red alert" and asked border dwellers to move out of their areas as the situation was "sensitive" in the wake of continuous shelling by Pakistani troops. -- PTI 
17:12   US govt shutdown: Embassy's consular services to continue
The consular services of the United States embassy in New Delhi will continue during the lapse in Congressional appropriations, the mission's spokesperson said today.
The spokesperson's statement came in the backdrop of the US government officially shutting down yesterday for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running.
"If you have a scheduled visa interview or American Citizen Services appointment, please arrive at the embassy at your designated time," the spokesperson said.
The shutdown began when a few Republicans joined the Democrats in blocking the crucial measure that would have provided short-term funding for the Pentagon and other federal agencies. -- PTI
16:37   India has shown it won't hesitate to cross border: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said India has shown it can attack its enemies not only on its soil, but also in a foreign territory, if need be.
Singh's remarks came almost a week after the Indian Army carried out a "retaliatory action" against Pakistani troops, killing seven of their soldiers and injuring four others along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.
"A few months ago, Pakistan, in an act of cowardice, attacked and martyred 17 of our jawans. Prime Minister Narendra Modi consulted all of us on this serious issue, and the Indian Army entered the Pakistani area and killed the militants," Singh said at a public meeting in Lucknow.
"India's image in the world has become that of a strong nation and we have given a strong message to the world that we can attack our enemies not only on our soil, but also in their territory," he said.
Singh said India wants to maintain a friendly relationship with its neighbour.
"But Pakistan is not mending its ways," he says.

Singh said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country's economy is moving ahead at a fast pace.
"..and now even the global economists and experts accept this," he said. -- PTI
16:02   Big jolt for AAP; Prez approves disqualification of 20 MLAs
In a major setback to Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, President Ram Nath Kovind today approved recommendation of disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs by the Election Commission for holding office of profit.

The EC had on Friday asked the president to disqualify 20 of its MLAs, setting the stage for their ouster from the assembly.

The commission said the party MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators, highly-placed sources said.

Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work.

The AAP insisted that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks.
15:28   Kamla Mills fire: 3 accused remanded in police custody till Jan 25
Three persons, who were arrested yesterday in connection with the fire at a pub in the Kamla Mills Compound in Mumbai that claimed 14 lives, have been sent in police custody till January 25.

The N M Joshi Marg police had last evening arrested Ravi Bhandari, a partner in the Kamla Mills, station fire officer Rajendra Patil, and Utkarsh Pandey, the owner of the Nirvana Hookah, in connection with the incident.
The three were produced this afternoon before the Bhoiwada court which remanded them in police custody till January 25, senior police inspector Ahmed Pathan said.
The arrests were made last evening after Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta submitted his report to the chief minister in which he mentioned factors which caused the tragedy last month.
The owners of the '1 Above' pub, Jigar Sanghvi, Kripesh Sanghvi and Abhijit Mankar, as well as owners of the adjoining 'Mojo's Bistro', Yug Pathak and Yug Tulli, are already arrested.
According to the enquiry report submitted by Mehta, the fire on December 29 started because of the flying charcoal embers from hookah which was illegally served at Mojo's Bistro. It then spread to 1 Above.
Most of the deceased were visiting 1 Above.
The owners of both the pubs were booked for 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder' and other offences under the Indian Penal Code.
The municipal commissioner's report said the owners of Kamla Mills allowed illegal alterations and usage of terrace by the two pubs.
It also said that a departmental inquiry will be conducted against some fire brigade officials for lapses in duty. -- PTI 
15:20   Rahul will lead Congress to victory in 2019: Ahmed Patel
The Gujarat poll outcome has instilled the belief in Congress workers that the Bharatiya Janata Party can be defeated, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said today and exuded confidence that the party would emerge victorious in the 2019 general elections under Rahul Gandhi's leadership.
Patel, who had won the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat last year in a close contest, also said the poll verdict in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state was a "moral victory" for the Congress as the BJP, which had talked about getting 150 seats, was wrapped up under 100.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed so many meetings and used all sorts of tricks from bringing even saying that someone in Pakistan wants me to be the chief minister, but failed to polarise the voters," Patel told PTI in an interview.
"Gujarat poll results have boosted the morale of Congress workers, not only in Gujarat but all over India, and given them the belief that the BJP can be defeated," the 68-year-old leader said.
The assembly election outcome would definitely help the Congress party in the 2019 elections, he said.
"The way Rahul Gandhi has campaigned in Gujarat, his hard work and the way he drew huge crowds were very encouraging and helped us win the seats we finally did," said Patel.
The BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member assembly, its tally dipping from 115 in the last elections.
Had the BJP not "used their gimmicks", they would have been defeated in Gujarat, Patel claimed.
He said the Congress was constantly improving and would do well in the upcoming state elections this year.
The "young and dynamic" party president, Rahul Gandhi, would lead the Congress to victory in the 2019 polls, he held.
Asked if Gandhi, who took over as the party chief last month, would build a new team, Patel said, "The Congress president is consulting seniors; he is using youngsters also."
"He has a slot for everyone. He knows where to utilise whose expertise," the veteran Congress leader said.
On whether the Congress would stitch up an alliance for the 2019 elections, Patel said the ultimate goal was to defeat divisive and communal forces.
"We are prepared to take the support of like-minded parties, but it is too early to talk of alliances. Congress president and senior leaders will decide later," said Patel, who served as Sonia Gandhi's political secretary for about 15 years during her time as Congress chief. 

-- Asim Kamal/PTI
14:07   WEF preps for Modi mantra with tastes of India, twists of yoga
With exquisite desi cuisine on the platter and live yoga sessions on display, the annual Swiss jamboree of the rich and powerful from "a fractured world" will begin tomorrow in Davos where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch India as a growth engine for the global economy.
Over 3,000 world leaders from business, politics, art, academia and civil society will attend the 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting over the next five days in the small ski resort town on snow-covered Alps mountains, where the Indian presence will be the largest ever with over 130 participants.
WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab will declare the summit open tomorrow evening with a welcome message on the meeting's theme, 'Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World'.
It will be followed by honouring Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, Australian actress Cate Blanchett and legendary musician Elton John with the annual 'Crystal Awards' for their respective work towards improving the state of the world.
The evening will also see a ballet performance, while India will host the 'welcome reception' with the country's "exquisite cuisine and age-hold Yoga heritage as well as the spirit of a young, innovative New India".
The official sessions will begin on Tuesday when Modi will deliver the 'opening plenary', during which he is expected to pitch India as an open economy that is ready for investments from across the world and also as a major engine to drive the global economic growth.
Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to attend Davos meeting in about 20 years since H D Deve Gowda in 1997.
During his 24-hour-visit, described by officials as "short but very focused", Modi will also host a dinner for CEOs from across the world -- 20 of Indian companies and 40 from elsewhere -- on Monday evening and will interact with a large gathering of 120 members of WEF's international business community on Tuesday.
Besides, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset, among other pull-asides, as per the government officials.
Modi will be accompanied by six union ministers -- Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, M J Akbar and Jitendra Singh. -- PTI
13:56   Govt may tweak tax slabs, bring standard deduction: Survey
The government is likely to tweak income tax slabs and rates in budget 2018-19 to bring down the burden on individuals, while there is unlikely to be any change in the current taxation of dividends, according to a survey by EY.
In a pre-budget survey by tax consultant EY, a wide majority of 69 per cent of the respondents felt that the threshold limits for taxation would increase further in order to boost disposable income in the hands of the people.
About 59 per cent of the respondents were of the view that multiple outdated deductions would be replaced with a standard deduction in order to reduce the tax burden of employees.
The survey includes the views of 150 CFOs, tax heads and senior finance professionals and was conducted in January.
About 48 per cent of the respondents said they expect the finance minister to lower corporate tax rate to 25 per cent, but the surcharge would continue.
Most of the respondents (65 per cent) do not anticipate a change in the current taxation of dividends at this stage. About 24 per cent of the respondents feel that with a view to lowering the overall burden on the corporate sector, the government may lower the rate to 10 per cent.
"The pre-Budget 2018 EY Survey with business decision makers reveals a consensus amongst India Inc for stability and consistency in tax policies and a moderate tax structure. There seems to be little expectation of any major direct tax overhaul after the transformative introduction of GST earlier in the year," EY India National Tax Leader Sudhir Kapadia said. --  PTI 
13:09   I'm a man of science, says minister who questioned Darwin's theory
Union minister Satyapal Singh today stood by his statement, questioning the evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, which has been sharply criticised by the scientific community. 

"If I'm making a statement I can't make it without a basis. I am a man of science. I'm not coming from Arts background. I have completed my PhD in Chemistry from Delhi University," Singh told NDTV.

"Darwin's theory is being challenged the world over. Darwinism is a myth," he said.

Singh had claimed that Darwin's theory of evolution of man was "scientifically wrong" and it needs to be changed in school and college curriculum.

"Darwin's theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curriculum. Since the man is seen on Earth he has always been a man," he said while speaking to reporters on Friday in Maharashtra's Aurangabad.

"Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man," he said.
"No books we have read or the tales told to us by our grandparents had such a mention," the minister added.
Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution that states that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.
It was developed by Darwin, a 19th century English naturalist, and others. -- Agencies, PTI
12:39   Pak summons Indian diplomat over 'unprovoked firing'
Pakistan summoned India's deputy high commissioner in Islamabad for the fourth consecutive day today over the alleged "unprovoked firing" by Indian troops across the Line of Control which resulted in the death of two people.
The tensions have increased between the two sides due to ongoing skirmishes and Pakistan has summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh five times since Monday.
Director General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh and "condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations" by Indian forces, the Foreign Office said. 
In a statement, it claimed that the latest violation by Indian forces occurred on January 20-21, when 18 Indian posts resorted to "unprovoked firing" with mortars and heavy weapons in the Nikial sector at the LoC.
The firing killed two civilians -- a 33-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman -- and injured another women and a girl, the foreign office said.
Faisal said the deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and against the human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws.
The repeated ceasefire violations by India "are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation," he asserted.
He urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire arrangement and investigate the repeated incidents of ceasefire violations, the statement said.
Faisal also urged the Indian side to allow the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan to play its mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions.
India maintains that UNMOGIP has outlived its utility and is irrelevant after the Simla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control.
The FO, apart from today, had summoned India's deputy high commissioner on January 15, 18, 19 and 20. 

-- Sajjad Hussain/PTI
11:50   Kabul hotel siege ends, all 3 attackers killed
Afghan Special Forces ended an overnight siege at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel today, killing the last surviving attacker, local media reported citing the Interior Ministry. 

Two other gunmen, who stormed the hotel and took hostages, were killed the previous night.

At least five other people had been killed and six wounded, while 153 people, including 41 foreigners had been evacuated, Interior Ministry spokesperson Najib Danish said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack in the Afghan capital.

The siege harks back to the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 when six terrorists stormed the Taj Mahal Palace hotel and killed at least 30 people over three days.

Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters
11:12   Jawan dies, death toll in Pak firing in J&K climbs to 11
An Army jawan injured in ceasefire violation by Pakistan succumbed to injuries last night, taking the death toll in the border firing in Jammu and Kashmir to 11 since Thursday, police said.

Sepoy C K Roy, posted in a forward post in Mankote sector of Poonch district, was injured in Pakistani firing yesterday and succumbed to injuries at the military hospital last night, a police official said.

His death raised the number of persons killed in the Pakistani firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in five districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Poonch and Rajouri since Thursday to 11.

The dead included six civilians, three armymen and two BSF personnel.

While a BSF jawan and a teenaged girl were killed on Thursday, four persons -- two civilians and one each BSF jawan and Army jawan -- were killed and over 40 others, including two BSF personnel, injured in the Pakistani firing on Friday.

Three civilians and an Army jawan were killed and 16 others injured in the ceasefire violations yesterday.  -- PTI
10:35   5 killed in Kabul hotel attack so far, siege continues
Gunmen killed at least five people and wounded eight others in an attack on Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, an official said today, as the eleven hours-long siege continued.

About 100 hostages have been released.

Afghan security forces were still trying to clear the landmark hilltop hotel with at least one attacker on the loose, a security source said.

Dramatic images broadcast on Afghanistan's Tolo News showed thick black smoke and flames billowing from the top floor of the hotel.

At least one person could be seen climbing over a top- floor balcony using bedsheets to escape, before loosing his grip and plunging to the ground. -- Agencies

IMAGE: Smoke rises from the Intercontinental Hotel during an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters
09:25   Owner arrested after Delhi cracker storage unit fire kills 17
Owner of the firecracker unit in outer Delhi's Bawana industrial area, where a massive fire broke out yesterday killing 17 people and injuring two others, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Sunday.

Manoj Jain, the owner of the unit who was taken into custody late on Saturday, was arrested today, said Rohini Deputy Commissioner of Police Rajneesh Gupta.Gupta added that a case has been registered.

The industrial area recorded three fires on Saturday -- the first around 4 pm in a carpet manufacturing company in Sector 1, the second in the firecracker unit in Sector 5, and the third in Sector 3 at 7.30pm.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ordered an inquiry into the fire while announcing an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh to injured. -- PTI

Photograph: ANI
08:10   Multiple casualties as terrorists storm Kabul's luxury hotel
Gunmen burst into Kabul's luxury Intercontinental Hotel, shooting at guests and staff and setting the building on fire, officials said, as security forces battled to end the more than eight-hour-long assault.

At least two of the four attackers are dead, as per several media reports.

The Afghan officials have confirmed that at least four gunmen had launched the attack.

The gunmen stormed the hotel on Saturday evening, shooting at guests and detonating grenades.

Special forces were called during the night-time siege, interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said, adding two attackers had been killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest assault in the war-torn Afghan capital that followed a series of security warnings in recent days to avoid hotels and other locations frequented by foreigners.

It is not clear how many people are still inside the hotel, which was previously attacked by Taliban in 2011, or whether any foreigners are among them.

The Intercontinental Hotel, located on a hilltop and heavily protected like most public buildings in Kabul, is one of two main luxury hotels in the city and had reportedly been due to host an information technology conference on Sunday.

IMAGE: Afghan security force keep watch near the site of an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. Photograph: Mohammad Ismail/Reuters