NAMASKAR ! A warm welcome to ‘World News: an Indian perspective’, on All India Radio. This is PRASHANT KUMAR SINHA, bringing glimpses of major developments of the day from across the globe.
Prime Minister of India visits three leading COVID vaccine manufacturing facilities of India; Assures full government support.
Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu will chair the 19th SCO meet on Monday
India, Sri Lanka and Maldives resolve to cooperate on common maritime security threats.
EU and Britain meet in a last ditch effort to reach agreement post BREXIT.
Iran threatens retaliation as Rouhani accuses Israel of gunning down prominent scientist in Tehran.
In cricket, India takes on Australia in the Second ODI at Sydney on Sunday.
Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi visited COVID19 vaccine development and manufacturing facilities in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune on Saturday. He reviewed the status of the vaccine, including its launch, production and distribution mechanisms. Prime Minister Modi congratulated the scientists on their progress and assured them of the government’s support.
His first stop was the Zydus Cadila facility in Ahmedabad followed by Bharat Biotech’s facilities in Hyderabad and the Serum Institute in Pune. These are three of the leading vaccine producing centers.
The Zydus Cadilla’s vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D has commenced Phase-2 clinical trials from August. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is undergoing Phase-3 trials. The Covishield vaccine is currently in the final stage of clinical human trials. The Serum Institute of India has partnered with Oxford University and Pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca in the manufacture and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate COVISHIELD in India.
Vice President of India, Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu will chair the 19th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of Government to be hosted by India in virtual format on 30th of this month. Prime Ministers from the SCO Member States of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will attend the meeting. Pakistan will be represented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
In a statement, External Affairs Ministry said that India considers the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an important regional organization to promote cooperation in the areas of peace, security, trade, economy and culture. India is committed to widening the cooperation with SCO by playing a proactive, positive and constructive role in the organization.
Under India’s chairpersonship, there has been a particular focus on creating three new pillars of cooperation : Startups and Innovation, Science and Technology and Traditional Medicine and also proposed many other concrete initiatives.
India and UK have agreed to expand cooperation and partnership in several key areas. Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson on Friday. The two leaders exchanged thoughts about the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They reviewed the promising cooperation between India and UK in the area of vaccine development and manufacturing. Both leaders underlined the need to tap the tremendous potential for enhancing collaboration in trade and investment, scientific research, mobility of professionals and students, and defence and security.
In a last ditch effort to reach an agreement, face-to-face negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union resumed on Saturday.
The development occurs a day after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier admitted that significant divergences persist in reaching the trade deal. The differences mainly relate to fisheries, state aid and future dispute resolution.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday accused Israel of assassinating Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the country’s prominent scientist.
In a statement on his official website, Mr. Rouhani said that Israel aims to create chaos by carrying out the scientist’s assassination. He said that Iran will retaliate at the proper time.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for punishing those behind Fakhrizadeh’s assassination.
In another development the United States of America deployed an aircraft carrier to the Gulf. The U.S. Navy in an emailed statement said on Saturday that the deployment was not related to any specific threat.
The 4th National Security Advisor Level Meeting on Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation was held between Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives in Colombo on Saturday. The participants took stock of the current maritime security environment in the region. They discussed mutual cooperation in an array of areas including Maritime Domain Awareness, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Joint Exercises and Maritime pollution.
Exchanging views on common security threats, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives have agreed to broad base cooperation on a host of maritime security related issues.
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir saw huge turnout of voters in the first phase of the District Development Council, DDC Elections. Over 51.76 percent polling has been recorded as per preliminary reports.
AIR correspondents report that braving severe winter cold, voters queued up in large numbers in Kashmir Division and hilly areas of Jammu Division.
The historic elections are being held for the first time for electing representatives to the DDCs leading to local government. The DDCs were set up by amending the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act of 1989 to promote grassroot democracy. The representatives are being directly elected by voters in Jammu & Kashmir
The External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S Jaishankar visited Seychelles in the last leg of his three nation tour. He thanked the Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan for his warm reception and assured him that Seychelles had a particular priority, both under the Neighbourhood First policy and the SAGAR outlook.
Dr. Jaishankar said India looks forward to further strengthening ties under Mr. Ramkalawan’s leadership.
The India-Kazhakstan Joint Peace Keeping Room was jointly inaugurated on Friday on the premises of the Kazhakstan Centre for Peacekeeping KAZCENT in Almaty.
The Ambassador of India to Kazhakstan and Senior defence officials from both nations attended the event along with other distinguished guests.
The Ambassador, dedicated the Joint Peacekeeping Room as a gift to further the capacity building assistance of the Kazakh Defence Forces . It will also provide for the focussed training of their peacekeeping contingents for future missions under the United Nations Flag.
The WHO confirmed over 61.03 Million COVID infections worldwide.
WHO Chief says testing is at the heart of the COVID response and it must be strategic, in support of clear public health objectives, and based on a country’s transmission scenario.
Chief Scientist of the WHO, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan on Friday urged for the optimism surrounding the potential COVID vaccine candidates to be tempered with patience till the trials are completed fully.
In a virtual media briefing Dr. Swaminathan said that the trials for the vaccines that have been found to have more than 90% efficacy should continue as many unanswered questions remain.
In cricket, India takes on Australia in the Second IDI at Sydney on Sunday. Australia are one up in three match series having won the opening match against India by 66 runs.