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India, China can resolve complex problems: Pranab
Beijing, May 29
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said “complex” problems that existed in Sino-Indian bilateral ties could be resolved through dialogues.
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Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee with his Chinese counterpart, Gen Cao Gangchua, at a ceremonial reception at the Central Military Commission building in Beijing on Monday. PTI
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee with his Chinese counterpart

India calls for joint fight against terror
Islamabad, May 29
Ahead of the crucial Indo-Pak Home Secretary-level talks beginning here tomorrow to discuss contentious issues like terrorism, New Delhi has said it wants both countries to carry out a joint fight against the scourge.

253 Indians in British prisons
London, May 29
Amid controversy over the deportation of foreign prisoners in British jails, it has come to the fore that the inmates include 253 Indians and 416 Pakistanis.


 

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Chef Kochar to cook Queen’s Indian menu
London, May 29
Delicious and spicy Indian food is so popular in Britain that it is all set to figure in the 'Great British Menu' that would be served to Queen Elizabeth and her 300 guests on her birthday on June 17.

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India, China can resolve complex problems: Pranab
Anil K. Joseph

Beijing, May 29
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said “complex” problems that existed in Sino-Indian bilateral ties could be resolved through dialogues and mutual understanding.

“We can resolve the complex issues (in Sino-Indian relations) through dialogues, discussions and mutual understanding,” Mr Mukherjee told Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing during a meeting here.

Though he did not elaborate on the ‘complex’ matters, he may have been alluding to the unresolved boundary issue that has largely impaired bilateral ties from blossoming to its full potential.

Asserting that India and China were “good friends”, he stressed that their bilateral ties were very important for both sides.

Earlier, Mr Li warmly welcomed Mr Mukherjee to China on his first official visit, exchanged pleasantries and posed for photographs.

The Defence Minister kicked off his visit to China with a briefing session at the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) here.

Mr Mukherjee, who arrived here yesterday for a six-day official visit, also exchanged views with Chinese military experts on issues of common interest.

Mr Mukherjee is also scheduled to visit the ultra-sensitive Beijing Aero Space Command and Control Centre of the PLA, the world’s largest standing army of over 2.5 million.

On his arrival from Japan yesterday, the Defence Minister said he hoped to have a “very useful” meeting with the Chinese leadership to further consolidate India’s strategic relationship with Beijing.

“I am expecting a very useful meeting with the leadership of China in the context of our growing relations and strategic partnership for peace and stability,” he said.

“I do hope that this visit will also help to achieve that objective,” he said.

Mr Mukherjee will have formal talks with his Chinese counterpart Gen Cao Gangchuan in the evening after which the two sides are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on exchanges and cooperation in the field of defence.

The MoU is expected to be a major confidence building measure to ensure continued peace and tranquillity along the disputed Sino-Indian border.

Mr Mukherjee will also call on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao tomorrow.

During his stay in China, he will also visit the headquarters of Lanzhou Military Region in Lanzhou city in north-western China’s Gansu Province and tour the Shanghai Naval Base in the country’s economic hub in east China. — PTI

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India calls for joint fight against terror
K J M Varma

Islamabad, May 29
Ahead of the crucial Indo-Pak Home Secretary-level talks beginning here tomorrow to discuss contentious issues like terrorism, New Delhi has said it wants both countries to carry out a joint fight against the scourge.

Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, who is in Pakistan for the talks, said terrorists had no religion and wanted to impose their will on the people.

Observing that terrorism has emerged as a threat to both countries, he told Geo TV that "India and Pakistan have to fight together to get rid of this menace."

The Home Secretary-level talks being held under the aegis of the third round of composite dialogue process will provide an opportunity for officials of both countries to have a frank discussion on issues like terrorism, drug trafficking and release of prisoners.

During tomorrow's talks India is expected to discuss two aspects of terrorism — one that directly relates to cross-border terrorism wherein trained militants continue to infiltrate through LoC into Jammu and Kashmir and secondly the reported attempts by banned Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to diversify its activities into the Indian hinterland.

The second point was recently highlighted by National Security Adviser M.K. Nayaranan, who said a disturbing trend had been noticed that the LeT was systematically trying to train, motivate and arm some Indian muslim youth to carry out attacks in different Indian cities.

Yet another issue that was expected to come up during the talks was the extradition of fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, who India says is settled in Karachi. Dawood's name continue to figure prominently in the list of wanted men exchanged periodically between both countries.

The two sides will also discuss the issue of prisoners languishing in each other's jails. — PTI

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253 Indians in British prisons

London, May 29
Amid controversy over the deportation of foreign prisoners in British jails, it has come to the fore that the inmates include 253 Indians and 416 Pakistanis.

Deportation of foreign prisoners is among the major issues faced by new Home Secretary John Reid. The issue generated much heat in the House of Commons and in the media when it was revealed that many of these prisoners had committed offences after release.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said in the Commons last week that foreign prisoners would be deported to their countries of origin, irrespective of the nature of their crime.

Opposition MPs have protested that foreign prisoners had been allowed to remain in open jails after the government recently announced their deportation.

However, according to the Prison Service, there were no plans to move the prisoners held in other open jails, as none had absconded this month.

Phil Wheatley, head of the Prison Service, told The Times that many more British citizens had absconded this year than foreign citizens.

Reports say that the Prison Service cannot discriminate against prisoners simply on the ground that they are foreigners. If they are assessed as eligible for open conditions as part of preparation for eventual release, they should be moved to an open jail if accommodation is available.

Latest government figures show that one in eight inmates in jails in England and Wales is a foreign national.

States of origin of the foreign prisoners in British jails: Jamaica 1,633; Nigeria 859; Irish Republic 727; Pakistan 416; Turkey 292; Somalia 284; India 253; Iraq 240; Ghana 212 and China 201. — IANS

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Chef Kochar to cook Queen’s Indian menu

London, May 29
Delicious and spicy Indian food is so popular in Britain that it is all set to figure in the 'Great British Menu' that would be served to Queen Elizabeth and her 300 guests on her birthday on June 17.

Indian dishes for the occasion will be cooked by the celebrity chef of Indian origin, Atul Kochar, who has the distinction of being awarded the Michelin star.

The BBC is currently running a reality show on the 'Great British Menu' in which chefs from various parts of the country prepare dishes. The TV network selected the country's top 14 chefs from its seven culinary regions.

Using best ingredients from their local area, these chefs were to create a starter, a fish course, a meat course and a dessert that they thought would epitomise all that's best about their region's cuisine.

Their recipes were judged by a panel of three judges and the creator of the best menu was to go through to the national final, vying for a place on the 'Great British Menu 2006'. In the show, Kochar last week defeated Britain's most celebrated chef, Garry Rhodes. Kochar is now all set to contest in the final round in which he will represent London and South East England.

Queen Elizabeth turned 80 on April 21 but her birthday will be officially celebrated on June 17. Elaborate arrangements were being made in various parts of the country to celebrate the birthday in style.

At the birthday reception, the queen and her guests would be served the 'Great British Menu' which, it now looks certain, will include several Indian delicacies such as tandoori chicken, pistachio kulfi, peshawari naan and the Bengali bhapa doi.

After defeating Rhodes, Kochar said contesting against the master chef was "pretty nerve-wracking".

"He is the greatest chef Britain has ever produced. It was quite overwhelming for me," Kochar said.

Born in Jamshedpur in eastern India, Kochar said his food is greatly influenced from the culinary secrets he learned in his early life in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa. He began his career at the Oberoi group of hotels in India.

In 1994, he moved to London where he worked as the head chef of Tamarind, a prestigious Indian restaurant in Mayfair. By January 2001, at the age of 31, Kochar became the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star.

In 2003, he set up his first independent venture, Benares, in London's exclusive Berkley Square. He was named 'The Restaurant Personality of the Year 2001' by BIBA - Real Curry Guide and was honoured this year for 'Outstanding Contribution to the Curry Industry' at the 2005 British Curry Awards. — IANS 

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