U.S. Officials Made A Mistake In Khobragade’s Arrest : Lawyer

Devyani Khobragade’s lawyer said U.S. authorities goofed up in the investigation and arrest of the Indian diplomat on visa fraud charges as a federal agent made a “serious” mistake in reading the paperwork submitted regarding her maid’s salary.

Daniel Arshack, Khobragade’s lawyer, said Mark Smith, the Diplomatic Security Services agent handled the investigation and arrest of Khobragade and drew up and swore to the accuracy of the formal complaint in the case.

Smith “simply made an error in reading the DS-160 form which supported the visa application for the domestic worker, Sangeeta Richard,” Arshack told PTI.

“He erroneously and disastrously believed that the $4,500 per month salary entry on the form was Richard’s expected salary when, in fact, it was clearly a reporting of the base salary to be earned by the employer, Khobragade, in the U.S.,” he said.

The lawyer said Khobagrade’s base salary figure of $4,500 per month was required and appropriately reported on the DS-160 form, which is the online non-immigrant visa application required to be submitted by those seeking US visas.

It was submitted so that U.S. Embassy officials in New Delhi could determine that Khobragade would be earning enough money to afford to pay Richard the $1,560 per month (9.75/hour for 40 hours a week) which had been agreed to according to the contract between Richard and Khobragade.

“Somebody who messes up on the paperwork and causes a terrible thing to occur is very serious,” he said.Meanwhile, UN spokeswoman Morana Song confirmed Khobragade’s accreditation to the UN headquarters here, saying, “The United Nations has received notification to register Ms Khobragade as a member of the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.”

“We can confirm that the United Nations has processed this request per its standard procedures,” she said.Subsequent revelations that she was strip searched and held with criminals triggered a row between the two sides.

India ‘ready to let China keep Aksai Chin’ if neighbour country drops claim to Arunachal Pradesh

The bhai-bhai days may soon be reborn in bye-bye avatar along the India-China border.


Foreign ministry documents on border negotiations accessed by Mail Today reveal that India has signalled its readiness to let its Aksai Chin region remain in Chinese hands in exchange for recognition of Arunachal Pradesh as part of its territory.
In other words, India is willing to give up its claims to Aksai Chin if China does the same for Arunachal.
China continues to push for territorial concessions in Arunachal Pradesh, which it has been eyeing for a long time, before moving forward on the long-standing border issue between the two countries.
Publicly, India has been holding to its stated position that there can’t be any territorial concessions. But behind the closed doors of the negotiating room, India has told China that it “may not be averse to status quo position”.
Simply put, it means that for China to give up its claim on the 90,000 sq km inside Arunachal, including Tawang, India could agree to give up 38,000 km sq of Jammu and Kashmir. That piece of land, called Aksai Chin in the Ladakh sector, has been in dispute since Pakistan annexed it and then illegally handed 5,180 sq km over to China in 1963.
Bargaining point
This contentious formula is not the stated position of New Delhi, but it is being considered a bargaining point, officials privy to the discussions have told Mail Today.
Any such proposal can only be implemented if a new government in New Delhi has enormous political will, because there is an unanimous resolution of the Indian Parliament of 1962 that India will ensure that it gets back all territory illegally occupied by China.
Several documents based on the notes made by Indian officials suggest that even after 16 rounds of boundary negotiations, the talks are effectively deadlocked. China insists it needs substantial concessions on Arunachal Pradesh and the entire disputed Eastern sector before a framework or a formula to resolve disputes in all sectors can be agreed to.
The boundary talks are currently in the second leg of a three-stage process. Both sides signed an agreement on political parameters in 2005, and are now negotiating a framework to resolve disputes in all sectors.
First stage
The first stage was to establish guiding principles, the second included evolving a consensus on a framework for the boundary, and the last step comprised carrying out its delineation and demarcation. This final stage involves delineating the border in maps and on the ground.
The 16th round of boundary negotiations earlier this year between National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Chinese Special Interlocutor Yang Jeichi, a former Chinese foreign minister, also ended on a disappointing note, with India contesting the Chinese assertion that the boundary was never demarcated.
Menon has been a tough negotiator, responding strongly to Chinese suggestions of concessions and rejecting its maximalist approach.
The Indian side also says that both sides should, in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual understanding, make meaningful and mutually acceptable adjustments to their respective positions on the boundary question so as to arrive at a package settlement.
The Big Deal
A consensus is building where India and China may agree to territorial concessions. It means that for China to give up its claim on the 90,000 sq km inside Arunachal Pradesh, including Tawang, India could agree to give up 38,000 sq km of Jammu and Kashmir.
That piece of land, called Aksai Chin in the Ladakh sector, has been in dispute since Pakistan annexed it and then illegally handed 5,180 sqkm over to China in 1963.


Author – Saurabh Shukla

India’s First Women’s-Only Bank #BharatiyaMahilaBank

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday inaugurated the “Bharatiya Mahila Bank” or Indian Women’s Bank, the country’s first women-oriented bank aimed at providing loans and financial services to women.


The bank, fully owned by the government, started with an initial funding of 10 billion rupees ($161 million) and an all-women board comprising eight members.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had announced setting up the bank in his budget speech in February, as part of government measures to generate employment opportunities and provide funding for women.

Many, including members of the opposition, welcomed the announcement at the time. But some commentators felt the move was populist and sought to attract female voters ahead of federal elections in May next year.

Sonia Gandhi, the president of India’s ruling Congress party, of which Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Singh are members, has asserted that a dedicated women’s bank is aimed at improving the self-sufficiency of women.

“Only 26% women in the country today have bank accounts,” Mr. Chidambaram said at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, adding that a women’s-only bank will help increase this statistic.

Access to finance and banking not only helps empower women but also broadens the social base of development, thus fostering equitable growth. This is an area in which India lags far behind,” Prime Minister Mr. Singh said in his inaugural speech.

The bank, headquartered in New Delhi, will be headed by Usha Ananthasubramanian, a former executive director of Punjab National Bank, the country’s second largest state-run lender by assets. Tuesday was the launch of the inaugural branch in Mumbai.

Mr. Chidambaram said the bank is starting with seven branches and has a target to open 25 branches by March 2014. He expects the bank to open a branch in every state capital and eventually expand to smaller towns and villages, perhaps even overseas.

The bank’s priority will be women and it will design its products around them, he said.

End Of Dots And Dashes, India To Send Last Telegram On July 15 #INDIANTELEGRAM


Thousands of Indians crammed into telegram offices on Sunday to send souvenir messages to friends and family in a last-minute rush before the service shuts down after 163 years.

Sunday is the last day that messages will be accepted by the service, the world’s last major commercial telegram operation, and the Central Telegraph Office in New Delhi said it was geared up to tackle the expected rush.

“We have increased the number of staff in the expectation that the number of people will grow at our counters,” telegraph senior general manager Shameem Akhtar told AFP.

“We will take the final telegram at 10:00 pm (1630 GMT) Sunday and try to deliver them all the same night and the remaining would be sent on Monday,” he added as dozens waited to hand over messages handwritten on slips of paper.

Leave for all staff has been cancelled in a bid to handle the volume of messages, which cost a minimum of 29 rupees (50 US cents) and are hand-delivered by delivery workers on bicycles.

On Sunday morning joggers, housewives and students were among those sending messages to loved ones. Many were seen making calls on their mobile phones to get the postal addresses of their friends so they could send the last dispatch.


“I have never seen such a rush before. They are some people who are sending 20 telegrams in one go,” said Ranjana Das who is in charge of transmitting the telegrams.

“The service would not have been killed had there been this kind of rush through the year,” added worker Vinod Rai.

The service, known popularly as the “Taar” or wire, will close on Monday because of mounting financial losses.

“While we communicate with improving modern means, let us sample a bit of history,” said one of the last telegrams sent.

“Keep this safely as a piece of history. Mom,” read another.

In the days before mobile phones and the Internet, the telegram network was the main form of long-distance communication, with 20 million messages dispatched from India during the subcontinent’s bloody partition in 1947.

At its peak in 1985 the state-run utility sent 600,000 telegrams a day across India but the figure has dwindled to 5,000 at present, telegraph senior general manager Shameem Akhtar told AFP.

Most of these are believed to be sent from government departments.

“Since 2008 we started redeploying our telegraph staff… and at present more than 90 percent have been redeployed and only 968 telegraph staff remain,” Akhtar said.

One five-word telegram sent from the centre summed up the change.

“The End of an Era,” it read.


Chinese general warns India against sparking ‘new trouble’

An outspoken Chinese general known for his nationalist views warned India on Thursday against stirring up “new trouble” in a long-running border dispute, just as New Delhi’s defense minister was set to visit Beijing.

572560-MajorGeneralLuoYuanphotoreuters-1372958377-930-640x480“The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new trouble,” Major General Luo Yuan told reporters. PHOTO: REUTERS

“The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new trouble,” Major General Luo Yuan told reporters.

Luo, the deputy-director general of the world military research department at a People’s Liberation Army academy, described himself at a briefing as a “reasonable hardliner”.

His articles appear prominently in state media and he has 320,000 followers on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging site.

He made waves last year with comments questioning the legitimacy of Japanese sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, a chain that includes Okinawa and hosts numerous United States military bases.

“India is the only country in the world that says that it is developing its military power because of China’s military threat,” said Luo, who was wearing a business suit.

“So I believe that India should be very cautious in what it does and what it says.”

A high-altitude frontier dispute between the nuclear-armed giants in the Himalayas has simmered for decades but intensified in May over troop movements in the region.

New Delhi alleged Chinese troops intruded nearly 20 kilometres (12 miles) into Indian-claimed territory.

A three-week standoff ensued and was resolved after talks between local military leaders and a withdrawal of troops from both sides.

The border situation was now generally “under control” following a visit to India in May by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Luo said.

His comments came as Indian defence chief AK Antony was due to arrive in China late Thursday for three days of talks, the first such trip in seven years.

Antony’s visit, on which he is accompanied by top Indian military commanders, coincides with a trip to China by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan, India’s nuclear-armed neighbour and arch-rival, is a longstanding close ally of Beijing. Chinese officials describe their relationship with Islamabad as one between “all weather friends”.

Covering a wide range of topics, Luo touched on China’s history of humiliation by foreign powers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“No other major country in this world has been subjected to foreign aggression and invasion by other major countries, so that is why no other country is more eager than China to become strong,” he said.

Besides India, Luo also took swipes at the US and the Philippines over a territorial row China has with the Southeast Asian country.

Calling the US “biased”, he said Washington has “added fuel to the fire” by cooperating with Manila amid the maritime dispute.

“The role of the Philippines in the South China Sea is actually, in my view, a troublemaker,” he said.

On Sunday, Manila accused Beijing of a “massive” military buildup in the sea, which is also the site of rival claims by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Asked by AFP if Beijing’s close ally North Korea – which this year threatened to attack the US with nuclear weapons – was also a “troublemaker”, Luo suggested, albeit indirectly, that it was.

He referred to a speech Chinese President Xi Jinping gave in April saying there should be no tolerance for those fostering “chaos for selfish gains”, wording widely seen at the time as criticising Pyongyang without mentioning it by name.

“So we can imagine which country it is or which countries they are that are engaged in undermining peace and stability in our neighbouring environment for their own selfish gains,” Luo said.

Indian PM Spends a Whopping 642 Crore on Travel

Strong austerity measures are being taken up from time to time by the Central Government to deal with increasing inflation in the country. But on the other hand, a study of the travelling expenses of so many ministers shows that it does not correspond with the government’s measures of strictness. The Cabinet ministers, ministers of state and even Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime minister of India spent huge amounts on their domestic and overseas trips over the last few years.
This has raised questions by many sections of the society on the government’s policy to control expenditure and also inflation. Given here is the list of travelling expenditures incurred by the Ministers of India during the year 2004 to 2011, as reported by The Hindu.

Manmohan Singh

q8964E35 The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh’s foreign trip by means of air travel has hugely affected the government’s funds as he has spent a whopping amount of 642 crore in the previous nine years.

The information on PM’s official visits gives an insight about the overall 67 travels undertaken by Dr. Singh since 2004 when his tenure as PM started. The bills of his 62 visits were received whereas the other five still remain a mystery.  Among all the visits of the Prime minister, the highest expenditure of 26.94 crore was incurred from his weeklong visit to Mexico and Brazil in 2012 for attending the G20 Summit and Rio +20 Summit. There is also an expense of 22.70 crore used up for travelling to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, BRIC Summit and IBSA Summit at Washington DC, and Brazil in 2010. All theis information is disclosed by the PMO as part of obligations under the compulsory proactive revelation clause of the Right to Information Act.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia

fE7D3IXY Montek Singh Ahluwalia has undertaken around 42 official trips and spent every ninth day abroad during his seven year tenure as the deputy chairman for Planning Commission. Between May and October 2011, Ahluwalia has cost the exchequer a daily average amount of 2.02 lakh. He also further made four international trips that cost around 36.40 lakh just for 18 nights. UK and the U.S. were the first few destinations for the deputy chairman’s official foreign trip in the year 2004 whereas the trip to Davos, Switzerland from January 24 to January 30 was his latest according to the information provided by the Planning Commission under the Right to Information Act (RTI).

The exact expenditure incurred by Ahluwalia is 2.34 crore which he has spent on these trips. According to the Commission, he has spent 11.68 lakh during his visit to U.S. and the UK during April 18-28, 2006.But this figures might not be the exact figures as the actual numbers might be much more.

Rahul Gandhi

NfZVpyLb Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice-president whom everyone looks up to as the youth icon of India is one of those politicians of the country who spent in lakhs and crores for a trip in and around the country and abroad too.  His trip to Tamil Nadu in 2009 raised quite a few eyebrows as his three day visit is believed to add to a sum of around 1 crore, reported The Hindu.

The report also reveals that Gandhi who flew back to New Delhi in an eight-seater Falcon 2000 aircraft which belonged to the Mumbai-based Taj Air costed approximately 20.31 lakh for a oneway trip. On September 8, Gandhi was on a day-long whirlwind tour to southern districts and had used a Pawan Hans helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram after arriving there in the Beechcraft. The total cost incurred was around 15 lakh for all these trips.

Cabinet Ministers

S0q2xlBF Almost all the Cabinet Ministers of the UPA Government have successfully contributed its shares of spending from the government’s funds. This accounts to a whopping sum of 300 crore, especially spent from their foreign and domestic travels since the government came into existence.

During the period 2006 to 2009, a sum of around 271 crore was spent on overseas visits and a sum of more than 29 crore was spent on domestic travel by the cabinet ministers. In the data given by the Cabinet Secretariat shows that more than 137 crore was spent by the cabinet ministers on their overseas travels between the year 2006-07 and 2008-09 showing the highest amount (more than Rs 115 crore) in the period 2007-08 spent on such kind of trips. The data provides shocking information about the domestic travels of the ministers of cabinet. It ranks much more than that of the expenditure spent on the abroad trips. More than Rs 163 crore was lavishly thrown away by the cabinet ministers during their tenures.

Ministers of state

59S1haI6 The ministers of state of the central government of India are also among those who enjoy all the benefits a minister of a country should get which are much more than it is endowed to be.

Since  two years from its government formation in May 2009, the ministers are found to have at least 750 visits abroad. Of all these trips, the media are just aware of the only 260 trips which amount to over Rs 12 crore. In the year 2006 to 2009, the ministers of state had a travelling expenditure to foreign countries that are more that Rs 20 crore. An amount of more than 27 crore was used up just for travels expenses of the ministers of state for a trip within the country in the period 2006-07 to 2008-09.  It was in the year 2010, the Union government put up an austerity measure to check foreign trips by the ministers of state.

Indians in Kuwait gathered at Embassy to seek help

Hundreds of Indian expat workers, majority of them from Rajasthan, gathered on the Indian embassy premises seeking the embassy’s help in securing either release or information of people who were arrested during a raid in Bneid Al- Gar last week. The workers numbering over 300 request the embassy to intervene on their behalf. They complained to the embassy officials that there was no information about them after the arrest.


Acting Ambassador Vidhu P Nair spoke to the gathered people and held separate talks with their representatives in his office. He will be meeting the consular director at the Kuwait Foreign Ministry on Monday morning, informed the Embassy officials.

Embassy officials informed IndiansinKuwait.com that they visited detained Indians at deportation centers. The embassy is also in constant touch with foreign ministry officials in New Delhi.

According to the present residency law in Kuwait, people who enter the country on Article 20 visas are permitted to work only under their sponsors. Authorities are targeting those who are illegally staying in the country, those holding domestic work permits but not working for their sponsors and those holding work visa but working for other companies that their original sponsor.

Source : http://www.IndiansinKuwait.com

Rajiv Gandhi, ‘Middleman’ For Swedish Jet Deal: WikiLeaks

Leaked diplomatic cables from the U.S. Embassy on the WikiLeaks website have reportedly named the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as a middleman during the 1970s when he was an Indian Airlines pilot. The Hindu has published findings of the ‘Kissinger cables’, which claim that Rajiv Gandhi may have been middleman for Swedish Company Saab-Scania when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.


The October 21, 1975 cable from the New Delhi U.S. embassy says “Swedish emboff has informed us that main Indian negotiator with Swedes on Viggen at New Delhi end has been Mrs. Gandhi’s older (sic) son, Rajiv Gandhi. Latter’s only association with aircraft industry (to our knowledge) has been as pilot for Indian Airlines and this is first time we have heard his name as entrepreneur.”

It also states that the U.S. officials have “no additional information to either refute or confirm the above information.”

Later, Saab-Scania lost out on the deal and was forced to withdraw from the “fighter sweepstakes” by the U.S. as the deal was ultimately secured the British SEPECAT Jaguar.

Gandhi later became embroiled in scandal relating to another Swedish arms manufacturer in the Bofors howtizer gun deal.

While, as of now the BJP has said that the Congress should “come clean” on the “WikiLeaks revelations” that the late Rajiv Gandhi had been a middleman for a Swedish company looking to sell fighter jets to India in the 1970s.

“The WikiLeaks revelations are serious. This is absolutely shocking revelation, let us not forget that the revelations are making two specific charges, about two of their late prime ministers Indiraji and Rajivji,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

“They are connected to the first family of Congress. All defence deals have some relation with the Congress’ first family. They should come clean on this, all the documents should be made public. We want the government, Congress and the family to come clean on it,” Javadekar told a news channel.

Delhi is not safe, I am going back to Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee

A day after she along with her state finance minister Amit Mitra were heckled by Left student activists outside the Planning Commission office in New Delhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that the national capital “is not safe.”


Banerjee, who will be flying back to Kolkata this afternoon, said Delhi is unsafe and that she “was manhandled like anything.

Alleging that the police did not co-operate with her, Banerjee said: “I think this is the first time such a thing has happened in New Delhi. I was also manhandled like anything. I requested the police to open the doors but they said that they don’t have the keys.

She further said she was advised by doctors to get hospitalised but she did not want to be hospitalised.

“I was given oxygen whole night on Tuesday, the doctor advised me to get hospitalised, but I don’t like to get hospitalised,” she added.

She also lashed out at the CPM for the attack on her and her Finance Minister.

“Our cadre are peaceful, all ruckus was created by the CPM. It’s a double standard game of CPM, they are hypocrites,” she said

She also apologised to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for cancelling her meeting with him

Meanwhile, the TMC held a protest at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the heckling of Banerjee and Mitra.

The TMC workers are also staging rallies, holding protests in Kolkata and other parts of the state in condemnation of the incident

Banerjee and Mitra were heckled outside the Planning Commission office in the national capital by the SFI activists protesting a young comrade’s death in Kolkata allegedly in police custody.

Dozens of protestors from the SFI waited for the TMC leaders outside the Planning Commission office and raised slogans against Banerjee when she came with Mitra and other ministers to meet the commission’s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Sudipto, an MA student at Rabindra Bharati University, was among the hundreds of members of the SFI who were protesting against the government for postponing college union elections. They were arrested and put on a bus that was meant to take them to jail. According to the students, the SFI leader succumbed to injuries in baton charge by the police.

The police, however, claims that students were leaning out of the bus, shouting slogans, and that in the chaos, Gupta hit his head on an electricity pole as he was getting out of the bus.

Indian oil refineries carry on negotiations with the OPEC countries for increase in supply of crude oil

The Indian oil refineries are carrying on negotiations with the OPEC countries for increase in supply of crude oil starting from April 1, 2013 in connection with decrease of imports of oil from Iran.


Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq already expressed readiness to increase export of oil to India for compensation of its losses in case of termination of deliveries of crude from Iran. Such guarantees of the countries of OPEC increase chances of accession of India to the international sanctions against Iran.

Till date New Delhi, despite the international economic sanctions imposed on Tehran reduced purchases of the Iranian crude oil only in insignificant volumes. According to the Indian representatives, the republic recognizes only UN Security Council endorsed sanctions, rather than those by the USA and the European Union.

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