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Finland to participate in Red Sea operations

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Helsinki, March 9 (IANS) Finland will deploy soldiers to participate in two operations in the Red Sea, the government said.

Finland will take part in the EUNAVFOR ASPIDES operation led by the EU with a maximum of five soldiers, and in Operation Prosperity Guardian led by the US with a maximum of two soldiers. The soldiers will carry out staff duties, the government said on Friday in a press statement as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

Several European countries have been involved in both operations. EU and the US said these operations aim to protect the passage of ships in the Red Sea region.

–IANS

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5 electrocuted to death in Bangladesh during Cyclone Remal

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Dhaka, May 28 (IANS) At least four people have been killed in separate electrocution accidents in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, due to heavy rain and gusty winds caused by Cyclone Remal.

Bacchu Miah, in charge of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Police outpost, confirmed the deaths on Tuesday.

Rain and strong gusts of wind swept through Bangladeshi capital till Tuesday morning under the influence of the storm, which made landfall on Sunday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

A firefighter was also reportedly electrocuted to death early Tuesday while removing trees uprooted during cyclone Remal in Bangladesh’s Khagrachari district, nearly 259 km southeast of capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s coastlines have been battered by ferocious winds, which uprooted trees and homes, ripped roofs off buildings and caused widespread power and water outages.

Flood protection embankments were reportedly washed away or damaged in parts of the country’s southern and southeastern regions which were hit hard by the cyclone.

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At least 10 people were killed as Cyclone Remal struck Bangladesh’s coastlines and weakened to a tropical depression, said the country’s State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Mohibur Rahman on Monday.

–IANS

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Bharat's security prowess unsettles West-centric global security dynamics

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Over the past year, India has found itself at the epicentre of Western allegations, coupled with old friend camaraderie with Pakistani generals accusing Indian officials of undermining the sovereignties of nations by purportedly engaging in the termination of terrorists in Canada, the US, and Pakistan.

This intimidating interest in alleged Indian clandestine security operations, raises pivotal questions about the underlying motives and the broader global dynamics at play. Concurrently, it signals India’s ascendance in the realm of global security as a revitalised and influential force, unsettling the traditional West-centric world order.

In an era where the global threat landscape is increasingly complex, global and interconnected, India’s extraordinary criminal justice measures to neutralise terrorists over the past decade – such as the September 29, 2016 surgical strike on terror launchpads across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the 2019 airstrike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot, Pakistan – are particularly significant.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these operations had shed the “outdated and reluctant” image of Indian security agencies of the past, showcasing new India’s capability and resolve. The operations were conducted with a notable degree of professionalism, responsibility and transparency, as the Indian PM informed his Pakistani counterpart before disclosing them to the world. These actions not only announced Bharat’s arrival as a formidable security force, but also challenged the traditional West-centric world order.

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Recent Western allegations, devoid of substantive evidence as seen in opinion-heavy reporting of ‘The Guardian’ claiming India’s role in tens of terrorist terminations in Pakistan, a covert unseen Five Eyes network intelligence report regarding the killing of Canadian terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar and subsequent local vote-bank influence as evidenced in Canada, along with the case involving the alleged attempted assassination of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the US-based face of the proscribed terrorist entity Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), appear to be part of a broader strategy aimed at exerting collective pressure and undermining India’s assertive stance against terrorism.

India which has long been a victim of cross-border terrorism orchestrated by Pakistan and its extensive global terror network, which includes Canadian and American terrorists.

Canadian terrorists like Talwinder Singh Parmar of Babbar Khalsa masterminded the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182, claiming 329 innocent lives.

Similarly, American terrorists like David Coleman Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana played pivotal roles in the dastardly 2008 Mumbai attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba, resulting in 175 deaths and over 300 injuries.

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More recent attacks, such as the 2016 Uri assault by Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed, which killed 19 Indian soldiers and injured 30, and the 2019 Pulwama suicide bombing by Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which took the lives of over 40 Indian police personnel, underscore the persistent threat India faces.

In this context, India’s measures acknowledged criminal justice measures like those listed above to protect itself are not only moral and lawful but also a national security imperative. However, the coordinated Western and Pakistani allegations involving unravelings like Nijjar’s assassination in Canada, an attempted assassination of Pannun, and tens of terrorist killings in Pakistan appear more fixed on challenging the newfound capabilities of India’s security apparatus under Prime Minister Modi. This stance appears discordant with traditional security superpowers that often perceive national security as their exclusive domain.

Most importantly, India’s strategic partnerships with various nations, including those in the West, are built on mutual respect and shared interests. These alliances are grounded in a mutual commitment to promoting global stability, economic development, and security. However, for these relationships to thrive and be truly effective, they must be free from unwarranted accusations and intimidation that can undermine trust and cooperation.

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Unsubstantiated allegations and politicised narratives not only strain diplomatic ties but also detract from the collaborative efforts needed to combat terrorism effectively.

By fostering an environment of mutual trust and respect, Western nations and India can work together to dismantle terrorist networks, prevent radicalisation and enhance global security.

In conclusion, it is imperative that Western nations avoid actions that could be perceived as coercive or dismissive of India’s security concerns. Instead, they should prioritize engagement that is based on equality, respect, and a shared commitment to eradicating terrorism. By doing so, they not only reinforce their alliances with India but also bolster the collective ability to address and overcome the multifaceted challenges posed by terrorism in the 21st century. It is time for the international community to support India’s efforts to create a secure and stable world, acknowledging that a strong and secure Bharat is beneficial for global peace and prosperity.

(The author is the research director of Delhi based think-tank, Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies)

–IANS

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Russia says NATO conducting nuclear strike drills near its border

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Moscow, May 28 (IANS) NATO is practicing nuclear strikes against Russia, Army General Vladimir Kulishov, first deputy director of Russia’s Federal Security Service and head of the Border Service, said on Tuesday.

“Near the Russian border, NATO reconnaissance activity is increasing, and the intensity of operational combat training of the alliance’s troops is increasing, during which scenarios for conducting combat operations against the Russian Federation are being practiced, including launching nuclear strikes on our territory,” he said in an interview with Russia’s RIA Novosti.

“All this requires us to take adequate measures to protect and secure our borders,” Kulishov said as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

The Russian military earlier launched military drills involving tactical nuclear weapons as a “response to provocative statements and threats of individual Western officials against the Russian Federation,” according to the Defence Ministry.

–IANS

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Germany sees largest number of naturalisations in over 20 years

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Frankfurt, May 28 (IANS/DPA) The number of people granted German citizenship reached the highest level last year since records began in 2000.

The number of naturalisations rose by 19 per cent compared to the previous year, having already risen by 28 per cent in 2022, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Tuesday.

In absolute figures, around 2,00,100 people were naturalised in 2023.

People from 157 different nationalities were granted German citizenship in 2023, the most common being Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Romania and Afghanistan. Together, these countries accounted for more than half of all naturalisations.

Naturalised citizens were 29.3-years-old on average and, therefore, significantly younger than the population as a whole. At 45 per cent, the proportion of women was lower than in the population as a whole.

Former Syrian nationals made up the largest group of naturalised citizens, accounting for more than a third of all naturalisations. Their number increased by a further 56 per cent compared to the previous year.

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In 2022, this figure had already more than doubled compared to the previous year and even increased sevenfold in 2021.

“The high number of naturalisations of Syrians is therefore related to the high immigration of Syrian asylum seekers in the years 2014 to 2016, who now increasingly meet the requirements for naturalisation,” the office reported.

The number of naturalisations of Ukrainians rose by six per cent to 5,900 in 2023 after almost tripling from 1,900 to 5,600 from 2021 to 2022.

Naturalisations of Ukrainian citizens accounted for three per cent of all naturalisations in 2023.

–IANS/DPA

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Spain officially recognises Palestinian statehood to 'advance peace'

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Madrid, May 28 (IANS/DPA) Spain’s left-wing government formally announced the recognition of a Palestinian state on Tuesday, after the decision was made, along with Norway and Ireland last week.

“This is a historic decision that has a single goal — to help the Israelis and the Palestinians achieve peace,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a statement outside his official residence, Moncloa Palace, in Madrid.

Sanchez spoke before the government’s Council of Ministers gave its official approval.

In view of the debate on the question of the borders of the state of Palestine, the Prime Minister said that it was not for Spain to “define the borders of other countries”.

The Socialist leader said the state of Palestine “must first and foremost be viable”.

He also said, “The West Bank and the Gaza Strip must be connected by a corridor, with East Jerusalem as its capital and united under the legitimate government of the Palestinian Authority.”

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Sanchez added that his government’s decision was not directed against Israel, which he called “a friendly nation that we respect, that we value and with which we want to have the best possible relations”.

He said his government is opposed to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and strongly condemns the attacks the militants launched on Israel on October 7.

However, recognition is “the only way to a two-state solution”.

–IANS/DPA

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