International News

US will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, says Vice President Mike Pence

He was addressing Israel’s lawmakers during his two-day visit to the country.

The United States will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019, Vice President Mike Pence told Israel’s lawmakers in an address to the Knesset on Monday.

Pence is on a two-day visit to Israel – his first official visit to West Asia and the first since Trump recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli Capital in December.

“By finally recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, the United States has chosen facts over fiction – and fact is the the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,” Pence said. Through his decision, Trump had “righted a 70-year-old wrong”, he said.

“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the US Embassy in Jerusalem, and the Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Play

On December 6, Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, calling it “a long overdue step to advance the peace process”. Israel called the decision “historic”, even as several countries, as well as the United Nations, the European Union and the Vatican, criticised the move.

Palestine is upset with Trump’s decision, and Pence cancelled a visit to the region in December after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet him in retaliation.

Jerusalem, which is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, is home to Islam’s third holiest site – the al-Aqsa mosque – and has been at the centre of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians for decades. Israel captured East Jerusalem, which predominantly has Arab households, in 1967 and later annexed it in a move that is not recognised internationally.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Play

The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.