Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday unequivocally said that repatriation of black money kept abroad is a “priority” for his government, as he sought close global coordination to achieve this objective.
Raising the black money issue at an informal meeting of leaders of the five-nation BRICS bloc, Modi set the tone on this key issue ahead of the G20 summit in the wake of his commitment to bring back every penny of black money stashed abroad.
“Repatriation of black money kept abroad is a key priority for us,” Modi told the BRICS leaders.
Calling for close coordination on the issue of black money kept abroad, Modi also said this unaccounted money is also linked to security challenges.
As India makes attempts to retrieve the black money, the Prime Minister has already made it clear that close cooperation to retrieve the black money from abroad is a key issue for him.
The G20 host Australia yesterday vowed a “very aggressive” crackdown on tax avoidance.
India is also seeking strong action by the Group of 20 industrialised and emerging economies against tax havens.
“A key issue for me would be to highlight the importance of international cooperation against black money,” Modi had said, as he is set to renew the country’s commitment at the G20 summit to a global response to deal with cross border tax avoidance and evasion.
India is also expected to urge the G20 to pressure tax havens into revealing more information on black money from India to help retrieve this illegal money.
Besides Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, South African President Jacob Zuma and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, were the other leaders who took part in the informal interaction.
The resolution of a row between India and the US over food subsidies was on Friday hailed as a “win-win” situation by leading industrialised countries Japan, the EU and the UK who expressed confidence that a landmark global trade pact stalled for months can now move forward.The recent breakthrough in the trade facilitation agreement figured prominently at the three separate bilateral meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with his British and Japanese counterparts — David Cameron and Shinzo Abe and European Commission president Herman Von Rompuy.It was Modi’s first meeting with Cameron while Abe hosted a dinner for the Indian Prime Minister in their second interaction in three months.
Separately, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Secretary-General Roberto Azevedo said the recent developments including the breakthrough by India and the US has breathed new life into the global organisation.
“All the three leaders congratulated the PM and extended their support when the matter comes up before the WTO. They also said all the countries can now move together,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said while briefing reporters on how the breakthrough found its resonance at the bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit starting in Brisbane on Saturday.
The whole world is looking at the “win-win” deal arrived at between India and the US, he said.
The bilateral meetings took place shortly after Modi arrived here on a five-day visit to Australia, the first in 28 years by an Indian Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi visited this country in 1986.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has been stalled since July, when India refused to endorse it unless its food stockpiles were exempted from possible punitive measures, prompting the US to accuse it of taking the WTO “to the brink of crisis”.
The new deal has raised expectations that the Bali package would be implemented soon.
Modi’s call on Wednesday at the East Asia summit in Myanmar to the world community to reject any linkage between religion and terrorism while forging an international partnership in giving a comprehensive response to fight all forms of terrorism, was also endorsed by the leaders of Japan, Britain and the EU.
Another common thread in the three meetings was the move by the Indian government to modernise railways.
Modi told the three leaders that his government was determined to modernise railway stations and amenities besides giving a push to the planned Bullet train linking Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
At their meeting, Cameron told Modi that relations with India are at the top of the priorities of the UK’s foreign policy.
The British Premier also invited Modi to visit the UK to which the Indian Prime Minister said he would do so at the earliest.
Modi told Cameron that his vision was “very inspiring” and the two countries can partner in any way they can.
The stalled India-EU Brodbased Investment and Trade Agreement (BITA) figured in the meeting between Modi and the EU Chief Rompoy.
The planned agreement has hit a roadblock over movement of services and automobiles issues over concerns raised by both the sides.
The two leaders hoped a way can be found with Modi saying there is no paucity of political will in India.
Modi told the EU leader that India is willing to be progressive on this issue.
India has successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile from a naval ship off the Odisha coast on Friday night.
The surface-to-surface Dhanush, a naval variant of India’s indigenously-developed ‘Prithvi’ missile, was test fired from a ship in the Bay of Bengal at around 7.40 PM by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the defence force.”The missile launch was part of an exercise by the armed forces and the missile reached the designated target with high precision,” Director of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) M V K V Prasad said.
“The missile launch and its flight performance was monitored from the ITR at Chandipur, Odisha,” he said.
‘Prithvi-II’ surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was also test-fired from a test range at Chandipur earlier in the day.
The single-stage, liquid-propelled Dhanush has already been inducted into the armed services and is one of the five missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), defence sources said.
“The trial was conducted by the SFC of the Indian defence force in co-operation with DRDO,” a defence scientist said. Dhanush missile is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear payload of 500 to 1,000 kg and hit both land and sea-based targets.
As he seeks to accelerate his economic reform drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said reform process is bound to face resistance and wanted it to be insulated from political pressures.
Making a strong pitch for economic reforms, Mold told fellow G20 leaders at a Retreat that reforms should lead to simplification of processes and that methods of governance must be reformed.
The retreat was hosted by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Queensland Parliament House where the leaders met without aides shortly before the annual summit of the 20 industrialised and major economies kicked off at the Brisbane Convention Centre in the afternoon.
A barbeque lunch was served to the G20 leaders.
“Reform is bound to face resistance…must be insulated from political pressures,” said Modi.
The Prime Minister also made it clear that reform has to be driven by the people and that it cannot be undertaken by “stealth”.
Asserting that reform must be people-centric and people-driven, he said globally reforms are handicapped with perception of being government programmes and a burden on the people and this needs to change.
Modi felt that reforms should lead to simplification of processes and that governance methods must be reformed.
Noting that reform is a continuous multi-stage process and that it must be institutionalised, the prime minister said it must be technology driven and must have scale and address root causes..
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters on Friday that Prime Minister Abbott had specially requested Modi to outline his vision for reforms at the informal meeting of G20 leaders at the retreat in addition to his intervention at the main summit.
Twenty-seven people were arrested by Brazilian police in connection with a corruption case involving state-owned oil giant Petrobras. Among the arrestees is the former director of engineering and services, Renato Duque, AFP reported. Thirty police teams took part in the arrests that swept the country. Police also searched 11 companies during the operation and seized $277 million worth of assets belonging to 36 individuals and three companies. The breakthrough in the case against Petrobras reportedly came after former official Paulo Roberto Costa made a plea deal with the prosecutors, revealing that the firm gave out millions of dollars to politicians of the ruling Workers Party between 2004 and 2012. According to police, a total of around $3.9 billion was paid out during that time.
US general arrives in Iraq as military campaign broadens
General Martin Dempsey, the top US military officer and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff arrived on Saturday in Baghdad in a surprise visit, as the US prepares to expand American assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State. “I want to get a sense from our side about how our contribution is going,”Dempsey told Reuters before landing in Baghdad.
7.3 magnitude earthquake rocks Indonesia
A powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the coast of Kota Ternate, Indonesia, on Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake occurred at 10:31 am local time at a depth of 47 kilometers (29.2 miles), according to the USGS. The powerful trembler caused some panic among residents. Initial warnings of a potential tsunami that was issued following the quake has been cancelled.“The height of the tsunami in Manado [the capital of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi Province] was 0.03 meters [0.09 feet],” the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics told Saturday.