Top foreign stories at 1700 hrs

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FGN35 US-INDIA-LD QUAD India a critical partner, says Pentagon; Quad foreign ministers to meet virtually on Thursday Washington: India is a critical partner, especially when one considers all the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the Pentagon said on the eve of the maiden Quad ministerial meeting under the Biden administration. By Lalit K Jha FGN33 CHINA-INDIA-LADAKH China says disengagement of Chinese, Indian troops in eastern Ladakh going on smoothly Beijing: China on Thursday said the disengagement process of the Chinese and Indian frontline troops at the eastern Ladakh border was progressing smoothly and expressed hope that both sides will make concerted efforts to achieve the goal. By K J M Varma FGN34 VIRUS-UK-STUDY UK study shows COVID-19 infections 'fallen significantly' in England London: The interim findings of a new UK government-backed study released on Thursday shows that COVID-19 infections in England have 'fallen significantly' since January, reflecting the impact of the strict lockdown measures. By Aditi Khanna FGN17 US-TIME-INDIANS Five Indian-origin persons, Indian activist feature in TIME magazine's list of 100 emerging leaders New York: Five Indian-origin personalities, including Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde and UK’s finance minister Rishi Sunak, and an Indian activist feature in TIME magazine's annual list of 100 “emerging leaders who are shaping the future'. By Yoshita Singh FGN31 US-CITIZENSHIP-BILL US Citizenship Act of 2021 to be introduced in Congress on Thursday Washington: Proposed by President Joe Biden, the US Citizenship Act 2021 - which among other things intends to eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based green cards would be introduced in Congress on Thursday, a move that would benefit hundreds and thousands of Indian IT professionals in America. By Lalit K Jha FGN27 RUSSIA-INDIA-TRADE-SHRINGLA India, Russia should diversify trade basket by going beyond traditional sectors: Shringla Moscow: India and Russia should diversify their trade basket and economic exchanges by going beyond the traditional sectors and cooperating in new areas like railways, transport and logistics, pharmaceuticals, minerals and steel that will add momentum to the bilateral ties, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said. By Lalit K Jha FGN16 LANKA-IMRAN-ADDRESS Sri Lanka cancels Imran Khan's planned address to its Parliament: Media reports Colombo/Islamabad: Sri Lanka has cancelled Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s planned address to its Parliament during his upcoming visit to Colombo, according to media reports.

FGN12 UN-INDIA-VACCINES UN chief 'extremely grateful' for India's 200,000 COVID vaccines for peacekeepers United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is 'extremely grateful' for the gift of 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses announced by India for peacekeepers, the spokesperson for the UN chief has said. By Yoshita Singh FGN24 VIRUS-SAFRICA-VACCINES S Africa to sell AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines bought from India to African Union countries Johannesburg: South Africa will sell the one million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine it bought from India to its sister countries in the African Union, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said. By Fakir Hassen FGN9 US-BIDEN-LD NETANYAHU In phone call with Netanyahu, Biden affirms his commitment to Israel’s security Washington: In his maiden phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Joe Biden affirmed his steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and their strategic cooperation to confront the many challenges facing the region, the White House has said. By Lalit K Jha IND IND