New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held separate meetings with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, exploring ways to further strengthen bilateral ties.A day after taking charge as prime minister for a second term, Modi also held extensive talks with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and PM of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth. The foreign leaders came to India to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCIn the meeting between Modi and Sirisena, both leaders noted that terrorism and extremism continue to pose threat to humanity and expressed commitment for closer bilateral cooperation for peace and security in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, the external affairs ministry said. Sri Lanka was hit by a wave of bombings last month in which over 250 people were killed. “Modi warmly thanked President Sirisena for his gesture of attending the ceremony and also for his good wishes. He conveyed his government’s continued commitment to further foster friendly bilateral ties with Sri Lanka,” the MEA said. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsOn the meeting between Modi and Jugnauth, it said both leaders agreed to work together to achieve the shared vision of security and growth of the two countries and the Indian Ocean region. “Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Jugnauth and reiterated his commitment to further strengthening the fraternal and enduring bilateral ties between the two countries in all spheres,” said the MEA. Modi also held talks with his Nepal counterpart K P Sharma Oli during which both leaders expressed their commitment in further deepening relations. On Modi’s talks with Bhutanese PM Tshering, the MEA said the two leaders discussed bilateral commitments and agreed to further solidify the traditionally strong ties. The prime minister also held a bilateral meeting with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid during which they exchanged views on matters of mutual interest. In his first engagement after being sworn in, the prime minister held a meeting with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who attended the oath taking ceremony as the Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. “Recalling that India and Kyrgyzstan have warm and friendly relations, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction at the strengthening of bilateral cooperation over the years,” the MEA said. India invited leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries as well as Jeenbekov and Jugnauth for Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. Besides India, BIMSTEC comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. In 2014, Modi had invited all SAARC leaders, including the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony, in a major initiative to reach out to the neighbourhood. However, this time, the BIMSTEC leaders were invited, which was seen as an attempt to avoid inviting Pakistan for the event. Founded in 1997, BIMSTEC currently represents over 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of USD 3.5 trillion.
The construction is part of the Renovation of the Nuclear Applications Laboratories project (ReNuAL), a plan to begin upgrading the eight IAEA Nuclear Sciences and Applications laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, which opened their doors in 1962, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).“ReNuAL is one of the most important projects in the Agency’s 60-year history,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a news release. “The laboratories are unique within the United Nations system in providing Member States with direct access to scientific training, technology and analytical services. More than 150 of our Member States benefit from them,” he added.They play a key role in the IAEA’s activities to assist countries with the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology in areas including human and animal health, food security and the protection of the environment.“The work done in these laboratories is in high demand,” the Director General added. “When they have been modernized, the Agency’s ability to meet the needs of our member States will be significantly increased.”IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications Aldo Malavasi said in the news release: “The modernization of the laboratories will allow us to scale up the provision of scientific services and training so that we can more efficiently help Member States meet current and future challenges, such as the Zika virus outbreak.”The news release said that the project is getting under way with the construction of a new Insect Pest Control Laboratory, due to be completed by the end of 2017. The laboratory is responsible for the development and application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).Developed jointly with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is an environmentally friendly method that has been successfully used for decades to combat fruit flies and livestock pests, such as the screwworm fly and the tsetse fly.The SIT uses irradiation to sterilize insects in order to suppress pest populations. Sterilized male insects are mass-reared in special facilities and released in large numbers to mate with wild females. As these do not produce any offspring, populations decrease over time.The technique is also being developed for disease-transmitting mosquitos, like the species that spreads viruses such as Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya. The IAEA and the FAO are working to enhance the method in preparation for pilot trials in different parts of the world.