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Newsline: Israeli ambassador to India apologises after filmmaker’s remarks spark uproar

An Israeli filmmaker’s criticism of a film depicting the exodus of India’s majority Hindu population from the disputed region of Kashmir has sparked an uproar in India and prompted an apology from the Israeli ambassador. Nadav Lapid, an Israeli filmmaker who headed the jury at a government-organised film festival in the Indian state of Goa, said during closing ceremony that “The Kashmir Files” was a “propaganda movie” that had no place at a film festival, drawing a wave of criticism and outrage on social media. The film, a runaway hit in India when released in March this year, tells the fictional story of a student who discovers his Kashmiri Hindu parents were killed by Islamist militants – and not in an accident as his grandfather had told him. Lapid’s name was trending on Twitter for most of Tuesday and several users accused him of dismissing the portrayal of the exodus of Hindus from Muslim-majority Kashmir. Naor Gilon, Israel’s ambassador to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, apologised on Twitter. “As a human being I feel ashamed and want to apologise to our hosts for the bad manner in which we repaid them for their generosity and friendship,” he said. “I’m no film expert but I do know that it’s insensitive and presumptuous to speak about historic events before deeply studying them and which are an open wound in India because many of the involved are still around and still paying a price,” Gilon said in a thread addressed to Lapid. (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/israeli-ambassador-to-india-apologises-after-filmmakers-remarks-spark-uproar-1213797) Reuters was not able to reach Lapid for a comment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised the film, which focuses on the violent upheaval of 1989-90 in Kashmir. Supporters of Modi and the BJP have endorsed the movie while videos published online show people in movie audiences cheering, shouting slogans and waving Indian flags during screenings.

Newsline: German diplomat becomes first EU envoy to acknowledge India’s position

The recently concluded G20 Bali summit is being hailed as one of the most successful congregations of regional heavyweights in recent times. The concluding declaration included in word and spirit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phrase “today’s era must not be of war” which is being hailed as one of the strongest messages of maintaining peace and harmony in the world. German Ambassador Dr Phillip Ackermann is one of the first diplomats from the European block to give his reactions of the G20 summit applauding India’s position at the three-day summit in Bali. Praising India’s contribution in the drafting of the declaration, Dr Ackermann in an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online, New Delhi, said, “Without India, this statement would not have been possible. And that’s for us a very satisfying moment of this because the Indian side has accepted it and has supported the same as us. And that’s very, I think a very good sign”. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/germany-becomes-first-eu-country-to-acknowledge-india-s-position/ar-AA14gbrh) From December 1, India will officially assume the presidency of the G20 at one of the most complicated political and strategic developments in modern times.

Newsline: Norwegian diplomat tweets insomnia prescription pic in India

Norwegian diplomat Erik Solheim tweets pic of an insomnia drug prescription. Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra took to Twitter to reply to Erik Solheim’s tweet.The recommended treatment for it was “throw away your computer and phone”. (https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/norwegian-diplomat-erik-solheim-tweets-pic-of-a-prescription-anand-mahindra-has-the-best-response-2297492-2022-11-15) “Looks like you were tweeting this to me, @ErikSolheim?? By the way, my wife prescribed this for me aeons ago. And she doesn’t even possess a medical degree,” the industrialist retweeted Solheim’s tweet with his response.

Newsline: India advocates diplomacy to end Ukraine war

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges a return to diplomacy to end the Russia-Ukraine war, reiterating the South Asian nation’s call for peace in the ongoing conflict. “I have repeatedly said that we have to find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Ukraine-war/Ukraine-war-Free-to-read/Ukraine-latest-India-s-Modi-calls-for-diplomacy-to-end-Ukraine-war) India has not condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September that “today’s era is not an era of war.”

Newsline: US visa processing time to go down in India

The wait time for issuance of US visas is expected to see a significant fall by summer 2023 and is likely to move towards normalcy by summer next year, according to a senior US embassy official in New Delhi. After students, our next big case is H&L (IT workers’ visa – H1B falls under this). We have opened up 100,000 slots here. This brought the wait time down by half,” said the embassy official. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/other/for-india-finally-some-good-news-on-us-visa-processing-time/) Officials have stated that they are expecting Indian visa applications to surpass those from China by next year and take the second spot worldwide after Mexico. The current wait time for drop-box visa applications (visas that do not require an interview) is about nine months, and measures are being taken to reduce the waiting period. The senior embassy official also claimed that for Washington, India is the top priority in terms of visa applications. The reason cited for the current backlogs is due to Covid, which led to troubles in onboarding, vetting, and transferring councillor staff.

Newsline: Indian Embassy in Ukraine tells citizens to leave at the earliest

The Indian Embassy in Ukraine on Wednesday advised all Indian citizens, including students, to leave the war-torn nation at the earliest by available means, due to “deteriorating security situation” there. The advisory, issued by the Indian Embassy, also warns citizens against traveling to the war-ravaged nation due to “escalation of hostilities across Ukraine”. (https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1011561) Ukraine was attacked by Russia in February this year and the war has escalated in the last eight months, with Russia having bombed several of its major cities.

Newsline: India declines to disclose upcoming UN vote on Ukraine

Indian foreign affairs minister S Jaishankar has said that the country does not want to share its vote at the United Nations General Assembly on a draft resolution for condemning Russia’s stance on Ukraine in advance. “As a matter of prudence and policy, we don’t predict our votes in advance,” Mr Jaishankar said during a joint media briefing along with Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Canberra. He added: “We have been very clearly against the conflict in Ukraine. We believe that this conflict does not serve the interests of anybody. Neither the participants nor indeed of the international community.” (https://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-war-live-putin-calls-041203114.html) The General Assembly is due to vote on the draft resolution on Tuesday or Wednesday, diplomats said. Russia had vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and Albania late last month condemning the proclaimed annexation, with China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstaining.

Newsline: India Objects to U.S. Diplomat’s Visit to Pakistan Side of Kashmir

India said on Friday it had conveyed its objection to the United States about the U.S. ambassador in Pakistan’s recent visit to the Pakistani side of Kashmir that India considers its own. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-10-07/india-objects-to-u-s-diplomats-visit-to-pakistan-side-of-kashmir) “Our objection to the visit and meetings in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan has been conveyed to the U.S. side,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a news briefing.

Newsline: Indians Struggle to Go Home Amid Visa Backlog at US Embassy

The U.S. Embassy in India’s capital, New Delhi, currently has a wait time of 833 days to get an appointment for a visitor visa — that’s over two years — according to the State Department’s website. The wait time for student visas is 430 days, and the wait for nonimmigrant visas is 390 days. (https://news.yahoo.com/indians-struggle-home-amid-visa-232014296.html) According to the website, other cities have much faster wait times for visitor visas: just two days for Hong Kong and Beijing and 11 days for Tokyo. A State Department spokesperson told TODAY the delay in India specifically is due to a combination of high demand in the country and a staffing shortage caused by the pandemic. The State Department spokesperson said the department has currently doubled consular hires as compared to last year and is actively working on onboarding new hires to address the staffing shortage.

Newsline: Ex-UN diplomat in race to lead India’s Congress party

An ex-United Nations diplomat and a veteran politician emerged on Friday as contenders to lead India’s main opposition Congress party as it prepares to elect a new president from outside the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty for the first time in nearly 25 years. (https://www.reuters.com/world/india/gandhi-loyalist-ex-un-diplomat-race-lead-indias-opposition-congress-party-2022-09-30/) Shashi Tharoor, a three-term federal lawmaker who previously served as a U.N. Under-Secretary General, said he had submitted nomination papers to lead the 137-year-old party. The Congress, which helped lead India’s struggle for independence from Britain that was achieved in 1947 and dominated Indian politics for decades afterwards, has mostly been led by a member of the Gandhi family. Sonia Gandhi is currently the party’s interim president after her son, Rahul, resigned from the position in July 2019.