New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) India has once again pressed Pakistan to provide it with voice samples of the Mumbai terror suspects, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba's Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, to nail them for their involvement in the November 2008 carnage.
New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday met his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik on the sidelines of a SAARC meet in the Maldives.
New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) The union cabinet Monday approved amendments in the terms of credit facility extended to the Maldives in 2011 in order to extend budgetary support by $25 million to the archipelago nation. India signed an agreement with the Maldives in November 2011 to extend a Standby Credit Facility of $100 million
New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) India's Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Monday left for Maldives on a three-day visit to attend a meet of his SAARC counterparts, but won't get to meet Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik and ask him about the 26/11 case trial in Rawalpindi. Malik is not attending the meeting as he was forced to cancel his trip due to strictures passed by Pakistan's Supreme Court ordering contempt proceedings against him and disqualifying him as a senate member.
New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) In a sign of goodwill and close ties between India and the Maldives, the Indian Navy has rescued a Maldivian boat with four people on board which had gone missing four days ago. "Rankuri, a 95-feet-long Maldivian mechanical boat, with four personnel on board, reported missing at sea off the southern coast of Maldives since September 17 was rescued by Indian Navy warship INS Shardul yesterday (Thursday)," the navy said in a release.
Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 21 (IANS) The first success of the recently-concluded 'Emerging Kerala' investors' meet could be the seaplane project to be operationalised in seven tourist destinations in the state in January, says Tourism Minister A.P.
New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) Maldives President Mohamed Waheed Monday lauded India's support in pushing forward political process in his country when he met visiting Defence Minister A.K. Antony in the capital Male. "President Waheed appreciated the visit of Antony to the island nation and said that it had 'increased the confidence level in the relations of the two countries,'" the defence ministry said in a statement here. He also appreciated India's support in facilitating a way forward in the political process in Maldives, said the ministry. Antony, who wrapped up his three-day visit to the island nation Monday, also briefed the Maldives president on the discussions he had with his Maldivian counterpart Mohamed Nazim Sunday on a slew of decisions taken to cement the defence relationship between the two countries. Steeping up their defence ties, India and the Maldives Sunday had agreed on an array of steps to step up their cooperation in areas of counter-terrorism, anti-piracy operations and maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Antony formally inaugurated a military hospital called "Senahiya" in Male, which has been built with the assistance of the Indian government and stressed on closer cooperation between the two countries in combating terrorism, drug-trafficking and piracy.
Sydney, Sep 17 (IANS) Tourists thronging pristine beaches, forests and natural and exotic locations such as Polynesian Bora Bora island, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Fiji are engaging in practices that are damaging the environment, warns a new study. For example, although the Maldives are frequently considered an island paradise, tourists have left behind so much waste that entire islands are being swamped by trash that is polluting the crystal blue sea. On Australia's Gold Coast, violence against other surfers has become such a common method of alleviating crowded experiences of nature that police have been drafted in to patrol the perfect sandy beaches, the Journal of Consumer Research reports. Boat charters and private resorts that limit the number of consumers at certain locations to preserve an unspoiled experience of nature have subjected these experiences to increased regulation and commercialisation. "Nature is often considered the ideal place to escape from everyday life. Consumers enjoy romantic escapes from culture in contexts as diverse as surfing, tropical island holidays and the Burning Man festival," write study authors Robin Canniford and Avi Shankar from the universities of Melbourne (Australia) and Bath (Britain). "But by viewing nature as simply the opposite of culture, consumers often expedite the destruction of the experiences of nature they desire most," they add, according to a Melbourne and Bath statement. However, consumers are also aware of the fragility of nature and seek to limit potential damage with increasingly ecologically-friendly consumer technologies. Rather than seeking to merely hide the fact that nature and culture are interdependent, consumers seek to advance practices that leave nature as untouched as possible. Demand for eco-friendly products offers an opportunity for outdoor equipment manufacturers and tourism service providers to help consumers enjoy nature in less damaging ways," the authors conclude.
New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) India Monday expanded the scope of a key fund scheme, meant to aid distressed overseas Indians, to cover penalties in case of overstay or detention, apart from financial support to set up community centres in host countries. Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi announced the revision in the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) scheme at the seventh heads of missions conference here. "I am happy to announce that the scope of ICWF has been made wider," Vayalar Ravi said, addressing heads of missions from the six Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) nations, other Arab countries, Malaysia and Maldives, which have nearly 7.5 million semi-skilled and unskilled Indian workers predominantly in construction, healthcare and household services sectors. The fund can now be utilised for meeting boarding expenses of Indian nationals in distress in a foreign land from the existing 15 days to up to 30 days. It can also be used for paying penalties faced by Indians staying illegally in a foreign country where prima facie the migrant worker is not at fault. The fund may also come in hand for paying small fine to obtain release of Indians in jail or detention abroad. Apart from these, the ICWF would be used by the heads of missions to support local Indians, if their population numbers over a lakh, to establish community centres, as also establishing Indian students centres, if their number exceeds 20,000. The ICWF was created in October 2009 for the benefit of unskilled and skilled labourers going abroad to work in 17 nations where emigration clearance is required. The fund, allotted by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), is administered by Indian heads of missions to these nations. The scheme was extended to 24 nations in 2010 and further to cover all 181 Indian missions in 2011. The ICWF, under existing provisions, is also used for extending emergency medical care to overseas Indians in need, providing air passage to stranded Indians abroad and initial legal assistance in deserving cases. The MOIA has spent Rs.21.7 crore (nearly $4 million) on ICWF to help 19,179 Indians abroad in the last three years. At the conference, which was also attended by heads of Indian missions from Angola, Thailand, Nigeria, Iraq and Libya, Vayalar Ravi also informed the heads of missions that the MOIA had launched the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) in August this year on a pilot basis and the enrollment for this scheme would begin first in the United Arab Emirates later this month. The MGPSY is mean to provide overseas Indian workers a pension, a sum for returning home, resettlement and life insurance during a five-year period. "This is not charity. Rather it is based on his or her savings, while we contribute from the government to top it off. We give more to the women household workers as well," the minister said. Vayalar Ravi also noted that his ministry has obtained an in-principle approval from the Planning Commission for a new scheme called the Swarna Pravas Yojana that proposes a skills development framework for standardised training, testing and certification of migrant workers going abroad on employment. The scheme, he said, aims to train five million youth over the next 10 years across India for overseas employment. The project would be implemented over a two plan period with total financial support of Rs.150 crore ($27 million) for the 2012-17 12th Plan period and Rs.350 crore ($64 million) for the 2017-22 13th Plan period.
New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Steeping up their defence ties, India and the Maldives Sunday agreed on an array of steps to step up their cooperation in areas of counter-terrorism, anti-piracy operations and maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Defence Minister A.K. Antony held talks with his Maldivian counterpart, Col. (retd) Mohamed Nazim, in the capital Male and discussed a host of security-related issues, including counter-terror cooperation. Amid China's increasing foray into the strategically located island nation, the Maldivian minister assured that his country will "stand side by side with India" to ensure that maritime security of Indian Ocean is ensured. He stressed that the two sides will work together to ensure that "the stability in the region is maintained; and above all, that the threats that our two countries face, particularly from terrorist groups and other non-state actors are eliminated". Counter-terror cooperation has acquired an added urgency in view of reports of the rise of Islamic redicalism in the Indian Ocean island nation, better known for coral beaches and exotic holiday islands. In the morning, Antony formally inaugurated a military hospital called "Senahiya" in Male (Maldives), which has been built with the assistance of the Indian government. He described the hospital as "a shining model of collaboration and cooperation between two friendly neighbouring countries and a milestone symbolising the bonds of close friendship between the two nations between the two Armed forces". India has also provided a highly qualified medical team for establishing and running of the 25-bedded military hospital. Antony stressed on closer cooperation between the two countries in combating terrorism, drug-trafficking and piracy. Nazim thanked India for assistance and underlined that the "enduring friendship between the two countries will continue to improve and expand irrespective of the political changes". Antony will call on Maldives President Mohamed Waheed before returning to India Monday. India hosted the new Maldives president in May this year and has consistently pushed for an inclusive political reconciliation after the Feb 7 transfer of power in the Indian Ocean atoll nation. Antony also conveyed India's readiness to position the Indian Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv helicopter, operating in Maldives since 2010, for another two years. There were also proposals in the area of training. India will be sending a team of qualified flying instructors to train Maldivian Air Wing personnel and provide simulator training to Maldivian helicopter pilots at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore. The two sides will also hold the next joint army exercise, Ekuverin, in November 2012. Antony's three-day visit to the Maldives acquires an added significance in view of China's enhanced forays into the strategically-located island nation. In November last year, China opened a grand embassy in Male, signalling Beijing's strategic intent to intensify relations with the Maldives.