Tag: Dr. S. Jaishankar

India presses for easing travel restrictions for international students

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Photo- India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr.S.Jaishankar & Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne. Source- @DrSJaishankar

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 12 September 2021: The issue of thousands of stranded Indian students enrolled in Australian universities and institutions because of Covid-19 international restrictions raised its head at the 2+ 2 talks between the foreign and defence Ministers talks in New Delhi. India pushed for their early return to Australia, which means easing travel restrictions amid the continuing pandemic waves in NSW and Victoria.

The lockout and other restrictions in NSW and Victoria being eased in itself are unlikely to happen till the vaccination percentage reaches 70 and 80 percent, as announced by the Australian PM Scott Morrison. Vaccinations are moving fast but when this percentage goal is achieved remains to be seen. The India High Commissioner Mr. Manpreet Vohra claimed in The Guardian interview that the pandemic situation in India is ‘vastly improved’. What is Australia’s assessment is not known?

India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar raised the issue at the recently held 2+2 talks. The number of such students is around 17,000.

During press interaction, Dr. S. Jaishankar took up the issue with Minister Payne. Indian Express quotes him saying, ” “I specifically took up with Minister Payne the problems faced by Indian students in Australia and those wishing to go to Australia as well as the Indian origin community that is resident there.

The foreign minister stated that the government is considering the problems faced by students wishing to study abroad on a “very high priority” and is taking it up “very vigorously with our foreign partners”, including countries like US and Canada.

I think their frustrations, their feelings are completely understandable. Many of them would like to be at the institutions that they are already studying or want to study. So we discussed it in some detail today. Minister Payne shared with me what is Australia’s thinking about when students will be able to come,” Jaishankar said.”

In her response, the Australian Minister emphasized the vaccination drive taking place in the country in phases. Indian and other international students, she said, would return during phase three (phase two being partial reopening), and all overseas travel could open up in the last phase four.

A month back the India High Commissioner in Australia Mr. Manpreet Vohra had told Guardian Australia in an interview that “extended travel restrictions could cause frustration, uncertainty, and anxiety among thousands of students who have been unable to travel to Australia to undertake their courses, adding that online education was “not what they signed up for”.

“They signed up for education here in your universities, they continue to pay a substantial amount of tuition fees. They are getting online education, of course, but that really is not what they signed up for,” he said.

In the media statement issued at the end of 2+ 2 talks by Dr. S. Jaishankar says, ” I also specifically took up with Minister Payne the problems faced by Indian students in Australia and those wishing to go to Australia as well as the Indian origin community that is resident there. I urged that the difficulties faced by the students due to travel restrictions be sympathetically addressed as soon as possible.”

India forcefully pressing for the early return of Indian overseas students to Australia and receiving a guarded answer from Australia, portrays the challenging times the world is passing through. When will these students come back remains a moot question?

India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar meets Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina

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Photos- PBNS

By SAT News Desk

India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar meets Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. Dr. S Jaishankar is in Bangladesh to prepare the ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Bangladesh. He will also hold talks with his counterpart, Bangladesh’s foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen about the progress of bilateral ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi is likely to pay a two-day visit (March 26-27) to Bangladesh to participate in the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

ANI reports the Indian Minister in Dhaka said, “This is a difficult time for all of us because of COVID. For us, it was important that we are partnering with you in your health and economic recovery. The largest number of vaccines shipped by India to any foreign country so far – 9 million – has been to Bangladesh”. He also said Bangladesh is central to India’s neighborhood first policy, reports DD India.

Dr. S Jaishankar later inaugurated the new Indian Cultural Centre, the Baridhara Diplomatic Area of Dhaka.

- Inputs from ANI, DD India and PBNS.

Quad meeting bats for ‘rule-based’ global order with China on the radar

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Photos- @MarisePayne

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 19 September: The 3rd Quad Ministerial meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India, Australia, Japan, and the USA, on 18 February 2021, amidst the Facebook standoff in Australia and the farm laws, stalemate in India, ended with individual statements by respective countries. Quad meetings do not issue a joint statement.

Attended by Dr. S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken the Quad meeting statements emphasize solving international disputes in accordance with international law.

Without naming China the online meeting’s emphasized opposing attempts to change the status quo in the Indo-Pacific region.

India’s MEA statement says, “The Ministers emphasized their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes.”

A statement from the Australian Foreign Minister’s office says, “We reaffirmed our commitment to supporting an open, inclusive and resilient region where the rights of all countries are respected and disputes are resolved peacefully, free from coercion, and in accordance with international law.

Underpinning these commitments is our steadfast support for ASEAN centrality and the principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Quad countries work with ASEAN and through ASEAN-led architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit, to advance a stable and prosperous region.

We discussed the increasingly complex strategic challenges facing the region, and the growing pressures on rules, norms, and institutions. Despite the significant disruption COVID-19 is causing, we remain focused on responding to these longer term challenges.”

It adds: “We reiterated our commitment to deepen Quad cooperation on regional priorities ranging from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, maritime security, infrastructure, supply chain resilience, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief, cyber and critical technologies to countering disinformation. We discussed the importance of deepening our cooperation to address climate change. We reiterated our serious concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and affirmed our commitment to its democratic transition.”

In a Tweet, Marise Payne says: “The Quad has a positive agenda for supporting an open, inclusive & resilient Indo-Pacific. I thank my colleagues Dr. S Jaishankar, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a productive discussion on our shared goals.”

Secretary Antony Blinken Tweeted, “I had the pleasure to speak with my Quad counterparts Marise Payne, Moteging, and Dr. S. Jaishankar. I look forward to deepening our cooperation on climate change and COVID-19, supporting ASEAN centrality, and advancing our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Speaking to reporters after the online Quad meeting, Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the ministers also affirmed the need to swiftly restore democracy in Myanmar, where the state military staged a coup on Feb. 1.

“We had candid talks about cooperation toward the free and open Indo-Pacific and on regional and global issues,” including responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic and climate change, Motegi said.