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AAP v/s Jaitley: Arvind Kejriwal demands PM Modi’s resignation for ‘fraudulent raid’

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Delhi CM Kejriwal said: “I demand PM Modi’s resignation for the fraudulent raid that he got carried out just to save Arun Jaitley.

File Photo

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded PM Narendra Modi’s resignation for the ‘fraudulent raid’ he carried out to save Jaitley. He said: “When I meet PM, I only tell him one thing-that we dont need money or land, just stop hampering our work. I’ll take PM’s projects like Swacch Bharat forward in Delhi, will give PM all the credit. But they should just stop troubling us. If the raid happened on my Principal Secretary, what was the need to come to my office? Today is the 8th day, for 6 days Rajendra Kumar was interrogated for hours. I want to ask PM, what did he discover? Nothing. If my job is to punish corrupt officers, then my job is also to protect honest officers.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers staged a protest outside the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday just before the House met for a special session. The party accused the AAP government of trying to rake up the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) issue to suppress the charges faced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary. The Delhi Government had called the special session of assembly to discuss alleged irregularities in DDCA and the last week’s CBI raid at the Delhi Secretariat. Raising slogans against the AAP Government and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BJP workers marched to the entrance of the Assembly where they were stopped by security personnel. Later they were detained by the police and taken to the office of the Operation Cell of Delhi Police. With inputs from agencies

Santosh Mahadik killing: Army calls off one of its longest anti-terror ops

Calling off the operation – launched on Nov.13 following a tip-off – has raised many questions than answers over the fate of militants who the security forces believed were hiding in the jungles.

Indian army has called off one of the longest anti-terror operations in the high-altitude Manigah forests in the border district of Kupwara. In a month-long operation, security forces killed one militant of the group responsible for the killing of Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the commanding officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles who was leading the operation against the militants in the forests on November 17. Another militant of the group was found dead in the jungle probably due to the cold weather. Calling off the operation – launched on Nov.13 following a tip-off – has raised many questions than answers over the fate of militants who the security forces believed were hiding in the jungles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Let army explain what they achieved. Public and even soldiers were subjected to lot of inconvenience. Other than satisfying their egos did it serve any purpose,” asked Langate MLA and president of Awami Itihaad Party, Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid. While senior superintendent of police, Kupwara, Ajaz Ahmad said the operation has been called off and siege lifted completely, Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, said “it has been scaled down, but cordon and search will continue.” Admitting that habitat area was affected, Joshi said “the people can now move freely”. Ajaz Ahmad said two militants have been killed in the operation. Surrounded by mountains and dense forests, Manigah is a bowl with huge rocks and thick foliage, which helped the militants though the forces had choppers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to its advantage.

Indian Oil Corporation marketing manager arrested for ISIS links

“The accused was also active in flaring up and encouraging Muslim youths for (joining) ISIS activities,” Tripathi said.

Reuters
A senior official of state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) was arrested on Thursday for alleged links with terror organisation ISIS, police said. The Special Operation Group (SOG) and ATS of Rajasthan Police arrested Mohd Sirazudin, the marketing manager of IOC in Jaipur.”Sirazudin, hailing from Gulbarga in Karnataka,… was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in (activities of) international terrorist organisation ISIS, supplying official inputs and recruiting organisation members in the country,” Alok Tripathi, Additional DGP (ATS and SOG), said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The accused was also active in flaring up and encouraging Muslim youths for (joining) ISIS activities,” Tripathi said.On a complaint, SOG and ATS teams verified antecedents of the accused, and checked his WhatsApp and Facebook accounts. Objectionable materials were seized from his residence in Jaipur, the ADG said, adding he used to contact youths through social media.A number of issues of ISIS’ online magazine “Dabik”, pictures, and video were also recovered from him, he said. Further investigation was on, he said.

TEDxGateway speaker Siddharth Chakravarty talks about saving whales and catching pirate ships

A navigator with the Merchant Navy, Siddharth Chakravarty, chanced upon the Sea Shepherds, an international non-profit, marine conservation organization and volunteered with them.

Siddharth Chakravarthy

Team iamin
The thrill and the adventure of capturing rouge vessels, the romanticism of protecting the endangered and the sheer beauty of Antartica – as a Sea Shepherd; Siddharth Chakravarty’s life is that of a textbook explorer. Yet it is the passion of an activist which trumps everything else. When iamin caught up with this 34-year-old in Mumbai, a few hours before he left for Melbourne to prepare for ‘Operation Icefish’, he spoke about the reasons behind his choice of profession – the good, the bad and the ugly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From merchant navy to Sea ShepherdFor him, water has been a familiar territory. His grandfather had been a pilot on the Ganges and it was a natural course of action for Siddharth to take to the seas. As a navigator, he started off with the Merchant Navy in 2001, travelling to places all across the world for a decade. Yet the reason behind quitting a well-paid profession to embark on marine conservation has a much more deep-rooted cause.”I was born in Bhopal. A year later, in 1984, the gas tragedy claimed the lives of thousands, destroying everything. I was very young, but I was still a part of it. Twenty-five years later I was aboard a ship carrying a chemical which had the potential to cause equally widespread damage. This thought took hold of me, and I realised I wanted a different life. I wanted to save life, protect it and so started looking for other opportunities,” said Siddharth.It was almost two years later that he chanced upon the Sea Shepherds, an international non-profit, marine conservation organization and volunteered with them. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.Chasing a dream, and pirates“The pay now is only a tenth of what I would earn in the merchant Navy but money is inconsequential. I had volunteered for the first voyage, paying for travel and everything else. Yet I knew that this was what I had been looking for and now work for the Sea Shepherd. Profit from the loss of lives is mercenary. I repurposed my skill set to save and protect marine biodiversity,” Siddharth said, delving into his work.Whether it was illegal whaling in the pretence of research or sinking the Thunder, an illegal vessel listed by the Interpol, after a 110-day chase, he has loved his five year stint. “There needs to be a brave commitment to saving Antarctica and its rich bio-diversity. Let’s not ruin a healthy eco-system,” he said while pointing out that a lack of proactive surveillance and unified international effort is destroying what is left.“The high seas is open territory for illegal fishing, and it is a few of us who are trying to prevent it. The Sea Shepherd follows a protocol of non-violent direct action, which includes warning followed by capturing or sinking of a pirate ship,” says the navigator who has also captained the The Steve Irwin for Operation Zero Tolerance.Seas without boundariesNow, Siddharth is looking forward to pursuing further studies on analysis and policy. He believes that there must be a certain common ground between research and real-time experience for an effective solution. “The seas are a difficult territory to mark and constant surveillance is not possible, therefore a lot of illegal activities take place. Also there are too many dynamics between nations and a consensus on marine conservation is a tricky task,” says Siddharth who also spoke at the UN earlier this year.”For India, it is more of coastal policy which is looked into, and it differs from distant water maritime issues. However, there are three departments – industry, science and enforcement – which have to be implemented together to bring about any effective change,” says Siddharth before signing off to catch a flight to his next adventure.(Siddharth Chakravarty will be speaking at the TEDxGateway, Mumbai, on 5th December, 2015 at NCPA)Visit iamin in to read more.

Colonel, soldier critically injured as encounter rages on in Kashmir’s Kupwara district

Srinagar: An Army Colonel was among two security personnel injured in an encounter near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Kashmir today, an official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles sustained serious injuries when a search party he was leading came under fire from militants in the dense forests of Haji Naka, an official said.

They said a police constable was also injured in the firing and both were evacuated to a hospital.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on 13 November to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on 13 November, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, an official said.

PTI

India to honour police top dog Rex

The Indian government is to honour a seven-year-old police dog, who has impressed security officials with his ability to sniff out explosives.

Decision on combat roles for women in armed forces will be made soon, says Parrikar

Mumbai: Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said here that his ministry was examining how a combat role can be assigned to the women in the armed forces, in line with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s focus on gender sensitivity.

“My ministry is working out (how) to assign combat role for women in the armed forces, and a policy decision will soon be made,” Parrikar said, addressing a gathering of retired army officers at Welingkar Institute of Management here.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

Earlier this week, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said the Indian Air Force had moved a proposal to induct women as fighter aircraft pilots.

“It is extremely unfortunate that our Prime Minister’s initiatives such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Selfie With Daughter are not being taken seriously by a few people, especially so-called secular minded people,” Parrikar said.

“When our PM emphasises Selfie with Daughter, it does not only address the issue of gender equality but also the disorder of gender insensitivity prevailing in the current form of society in a larger context,” he said.

Parrikar was in the city to pay tribute to late Lt Dilip Gupte on his 50th death anniversary. Gupte died at a young age of 23 in Operation Jura Bridge on October 11, 1965 during the Indo-Pak war.

PTI

BJP MP Vitthal Radadiya files complaint following rumours on social media of quitting party

The message saying “Radadiya is quitting BJP and will soon join Congress” was circulated on Whatsapp.
File Photo
Image Courtesy: Twitter
BJP MP and Patel community leader on Saturday lodged a police complaint after messages of him “quitting” the party to join Congress went viral on social media.”I have seen the message and am deeply hurt. Some people are trying to malign my image” Radadiya said.”I have faxed a complaint in this regard to Rajkot police commissioner and requested him to nab the culprits quickly. I am with the BJP and will remain with the BJP. There is no question of leaving BJP,” the MP from Porbandar constituency said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The message saying “Radadiya is quitting BJP and will soon join Congress” was circulated on Whatsapp. His son, Jayesh, a MLA from Jetpur constituency is minister of state water resources and tourism in the BJP-led Gujarat government.When contacted, Rajkot police commissioner Mohan Jha confirmed to have received the application.”He (Radadiya) has sent the application through fax to me and I have told the police inspector of Special Operation Group (SOG) to probe the matter” Jha told PTI.Radadiya, was earlier with the Congress, but he had left it and joined BJP after the 2012 state elections. The fire-brand leader had a couple of days back criticised Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Rajkot MP Mohanbhai Kundariya, saying “Kundariya should have been industry minister as he is a industrialist. He does not have knowledge in agriculture field”.

The secret troops who tried to start a rebellion

The Pakistani troops who tried to start a rebellion

Two anti-militancy operations continue in north Kashmir

An unidentified militant was killed while a soldier was injured in an encounter at Qazinag Dhar in Uri sector near the Line of Control yesterday even as security forces continued the operation against other ultras in the area.

PTI
The two anti-militancy operations in north Kashmir entered the second day on Thursday but no fresh casualties have been reported so far, army said.”There is no change since yesterday in the two operations in Uri and Rafiabad areas of north Kashmir Baramulla district. The operations are still in progress,” an army official said.An unidentified militant was killed while a soldier was injured in an encounter at Qazinag Dhar in Uri sector near the Line of Control yesterday even as security forces continued the operation against other ultras in the area.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another encounter broke out between militants and security forces at village Vij in Rafiabad area last evening.The gunbattle erupted when security forces cordoned off the village after getting information about some militants hiding there.Reinforcements have been rushed to the village to further tighten the security cordon to stop militants from fleeing.

Parliamentary panel holds Home Ministry responsible for 26/11

Public Accounts Committee says it was lackadaisical attitude of higher-ups that led to terror attacks

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Thursday said that the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai could have been avoided but for the “lackadaisical and irresponsible” attitude of those at the helm of affairs for securing the country’s maritime interest and security.In a damning remark, the PAC, headed by Congress MP from Kerala KV Thomas, said it were the higher-ups, “especially in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)” who were responsible for the failure of Operation Swan, a joint operation of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard launched in April 1993, one month after the Mumbai serial blasts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its 21st report on the Coast Guard’s role and functioning, the PAC said that had Operation Swan been conducted in right earnest, and intense coastal patrolling sustained, an incident like 26/11 would not have happened.Picking holes in the overall coastal security mechanism, the report said that the Coast Guard was kept out of the inner layer operations in Maharashtra till December 2010. Notably, 26/11 happened in 2008, but this could not be taken care of for even two years after that.While the Coast Guard comes under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), it is the MHA that provides state marine police with training modules and equipment like boats.Operation Swan was launched to prevent smuggling of arms, ammunition, and other contraband and carry out intensive surveillance and patrol along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts.The parliamentary panel has been critical of the fact that joint coastal patrolling undertaken by the Navy in Maharashtra was discontinued by September 2005 on the basis of an MHA decision to establish state coastal police stations. The coastal patrolling was, thereafter, left to the state marine police and customs, which had meager operational assets, PAC notes.The PAC audit report also pointed out that, by March 2008, eight months prior to the Mumbai attacks, only 47 coastal police stations – 10 in Gujarat and 12 in Maharashtra – were set up, out of the 73 planned across nine coastal states and Union territories.Explaining its position to PAC, the MoD, on the other hand, submitted that the joint coastal patrolling was not discontinued but “subsumed” into the new Coastal Security Initiatives, which were introduced consequent to a cabinet committee on security directive of February 16, 2009, that mandated marine police with coastal patrolling.

Militants open fire at security forces in Pulwama, encounter on

An encounter broke out on Monday between militants and security forces in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.

Indian army

File Photo
An encounter broke out on Monday between militants and security forces in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.Acting on specific input about presence of militants in Ratnipora area of the district, a joint team of police and army cordoned off the area and launched a search operation, police said.As the search operation was going on, the hiding militants fired on the security forces, the police said. The security forces retaliated triggering an encounter, they said.The operation was going on till last reports came in, the police said, adding there were no casualty so far in the gunbattle.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Govt plans to rewrite India’s war history to make it ‘reader friendly’

As of now the prevailing notion is that the war narration is too technical and hence the significance is sometimes lost in the details.

PTI
The Indian government has embarked on an ambitious mission to rewrite parts of the history of all major war expeditions undertaken by the Indian Army. According to an English daily, the government has taken up the plan to educate the future generations about India’s rich war history. As of now, the prevailing notion is that the war narration is too technical and hence the significance is sometimes lost in the details. This new project will not only include the accounts of all the wars post Independence but also those from the pre-Independence era, when the Indian soldiers fought for the British. To make it interesting for young readers, the plan is to release telefilms, comic books alongside conventional books. The government hopes to wrap up the whole project by 2020-22. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The project will kick-off as early as September 2015 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan. The government has planned a month-long celebration to mark India’s victory over its neighbour in the war, reports the national daily. In December 2016, the history of 1971 war will be published. In 2019, simplified history of the Kargil war will be published to mark its 20th anniversary. Similarly history from World War I and II, relating the Indian Army’s participation, is slated to be published sometime in 2019-20. Operation Pawan undertaken by Indian peacekeeping forces in Sri Lanka in 1987 will be marked with release of its history in 2017. Interestingly though, the history of 1962 war with China, which ended in a resounding defeat, has been pushed back for release to the fag end. So the project is likely to end with the release of the China war history around 2020-22. The government is also unlikely to publish the Henderson Brooks-Bhagat report which reportedly severely indicted the then government for lack of intelligence and other factors. “A soldier is a soldier, whichever the government that directs him to go to war. The idea is to make the history and valour of Indian soldiers available in readable formats,” a senior officer to the newspaper.At a time when the number of youth applying to the Indian Army has dipped considerably, it will be interesting to see if this ‘reader friendly’ version of war history helps in any way to spike the application numbers.

Encounter killing: One jawan killed, two injured in gunbattle near LoC in Kashmir

Srinagar: An Army jawan was killed and two others injured in an overnight gunbattle with militants in Tangdhar sector near Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“One jawan made the supreme sacrifice while two others were injured in the operation against militants in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district,” an Army official said in Srinagar.

The encounter between the security forces and militants broke out on Saturday near Ragni post in Taya forests. The operation was going on till last reports came in, the official said.

PTI

Asaram moves High Court challenging holding of trial in Jodhpur jail

Jodhpur: Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu on Wednesday moved the Rajasthan High Court challenging the decision of the trial court to hold the trial of a case, in which he is accused of raping a girl, in Jodhpur Central Jail.

He moved the application in the high court soon after a similar petition before the trial court was turned down.

Asaram. PTIAsaram. PTI

Asaram. PTI

Counsel for the girl said that Asaram’s counsel moved an application in the trial court in the jail before the hearing could start, objecting to the order of the court to hold the trial in the prison premises.

Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas immediately rejected the same, following which the defence moved the high court challenging the trial court’s order. Asaram’s counsel Nishant Boda said that they have moved the high court which is expected to take up the plea for hearing on Monday.

Because of this, the hearing, which started in Jodhpur Central Jail today, could not progress. Solanki said that the hearing will continue on Wednesday in the jail court as there was no direction from the high court on the application by the defence till now.

42 prosecution witnesses have already deposed before the court and currently the cross-examination of the 43rd and the last prosecution witness, the investigation officer of the case Chanchal Mishra, is in progress.

A teenaged girl of Asaram’s Chindwara-based gurukul has accused him of sexual assault at his ashram near Jodhpur. The girl from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, was the student of Asaram’s ashram and had been allegedly advised to come to Jodhpur in the name of some treatment. Following her complaint against Asaram, he was arrested by Jodhpur police on August 31, 2013 and is in jail since then.

Meanwhile, the court in Jodhpur Central Jail was revived after a break of more than two decades. The court in the jail was established for the trial of the 365 alleged terrorists of Punjab arrested post-Bluestar Operation in June, 1984.

PTI

Army Chief vows there won’t be another Kargil

The Kargil War was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil District and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC).

Image Courtesy: ANI
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh on Saturday said the armed forces will not let another Kargil like conflict take place. “Won’t allow another Kargil,” Singh said after paying tributes to the Kargil war martyrs at a memorial in Jammu and Kashmir’s Dras sector. The Kargil War was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil District and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC).The conflict, which claimed the lives of more than 500 officers and soldiers, many of whom were posthumously given gallantry awards, is also referred to as Operation Vijay, which was the name of the Indian operation that cleared the Kargil sector. The town of Kargil is located 205 km from Srinagar, and faces Pakistan’s so-called Northern Areas across the Line of Control. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Militants hurl grenades at 2 telecom company offices in Kashmir

There were no injuries in the two incidents that shook the area, prompting the police to issue an alert for the assailants.

Special Operation Group (SOG) police checking a vehicle during a search operation against militants at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

PTI
Suspected militants today targeted offices of two private mobile telecommunication companies in the heart of the city by lobbing grenades inside their showrooms. No one was hurt in the incidents which took place within minutes of each other.Two unidentified youths entered into the office of Aircel at Karan Nagar, located less than 300 metres from Zonal Police Headquarters, at around 11.30 am and asked the staffers to leave, police said.”The militants then hurled a grenade inside the premises and fled from the place,” a police official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A similar incident was repeated at Vodafone showroom around 500 metres away from the scene of first attack.There were no injuries in the two incidents that shook the area, prompting the police to issue an alert for the assailants. The officer said all check points in the city have been alerted after the incident.Militants had earlier targeted mobile telecommunication facilities in north Kashmir Sopore town in May by carrying out grenade attacks and later killing two persons associated with the telecom trade.The attacks later spread to nearby Pattan town before militants carried out similar strikes on mobile installations in the city. Today’s attacks on mobile telecommunication facilities in Kashmir came after a lull of over a month.

Heavy winds of 48 knots damage two Air India planes at Delhi airport

At the time of the incident, wind speed went up to 48 knots whereas the forecast was of only about 20 knots, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) sources said.

Air India

Two Air India aircraft, including a Boeing-787 Dreamliner, were grounded after their engines were hit by an aerobridge and a container, both pushed by strong winds, at the IGI airport here.Two planes of Air India — a Boeing 787 having registration number VT-ANV and Boeing 777 with registration number VT-ALK — at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here were damaged due to heavy winds at 12:15 hours on Saturday.Engines of the aircraft have been damaged and both have been grounded, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the case of B-787 Dreamliner, its left hand engine was hit by jetty (aerobridge) and the nose cowl was damaged, while the thrust reverser of the Boeing-777’s right hand was damaged after being hit by a container which hit it from behind, the sources said.The Boeing-787 plane (VT-ANV) was parked at Bay 22 while the second one (B-777 VT-ALK) was at Bay 18.At the time of the incident, wind speed went up to 48 knots whereas the forecast was of only about 20 knots, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) sources said.At 1109 hours, Delhi airport’s AOCC (Airport Operation Control Centre) had put out a weather update saying that thunder storm with rain was likely from 1200 to 1500 hours with wind speed touching about 20 knots, they added.

PM Modi’s personal chemistry has enhanced India”s diplomatic engagement, says foreign secretary S Jaishankar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s “personal chemistry” has emerged as a “powerful tool” in enhancing India”s diplomatic engagement and a “different approach” was very much evident in dealing with international events and situations in the last one year, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said on Friday.

AFP photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s “personal chemistry” has emerged as a “powerful tool” in enhancing India”s diplomatic engagement and a “different approach” was very much evident in dealing with international events and situations in the last one year, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said on Friday.Talking about a “sense of change” the way India handles its international relations, he referred to proactive approach in dealing with the neighbourhood, China and countries of the Pacific Island as well as African nations.”Let me mention examples that convey the sense of change.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A neighbourhood policy that puts a premium on connectivity, contacts and cooperation. A China policy that triangulates security interest economic cooperation and international politics. “The land boundary agreement with Bangladesh and the connectivity understandings have been game changers.Cooperation in power generation and post earthquake assistance in Nepal have transformed that relationship,” the Foreign Secretary said. He was speaking at the launch of a book titled ”Modi”s World, Expanding India”s Sphere of Influence”, authored by noted scholar C Raja Mohan.Harping on the personal rapport of the Prime Minister, Jaishankar said, “A personal chemistry (of Modi) has emerged a powerful tool in our diplomacy.”He said a “coherent” Indian Ocean strategy was under implementation and that “visits to even nearby nations after decades and impending summits of the Pacific governments and African states represent the different mindset. He also referred to removal of the bottlenecks in implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.”The nuclear initiative is a matter close to my heart. It has moved back into the active terrain. We have seen a forward movement with the US France and Russia and work in progress with Australia and Japan,” he said.Highlighting Modi”s achievements on foreign policy front, the Foreign Secretary talked about the prime minister”s visit to the US, China, Japan and a range of other issues including India”s assistance to earthquake-hit Nepal and removing bottlenecks in implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.”Think of the Madison Square and the presence of 30 members of the US Congress. Recall the meeting of President Xi Jinping in Xian. Remember Barack Obama”s visit here on Jan 26 and (Modi”s) bonding with Shinzo Abe in Kyoto.”Look at Operation Rahat in Yemen or Operation Maitri in Nepal. Consider the integrated tours of Central Asia, East Asia and the Indian Ocean. So let me ask you. Does this look like diplomacy as usual?,” he asked.

Kashmir: Army foils infiltration bid in Uri; one jawan, militant killed

Srinagar: The Indian Army on Friday foiled an infiltration bid in Uri sector of Kashmir, killing one militant, but one jawan also died in the operation.

Representational Image. PTI

Representational Image. PTI

The encounter began this morning near the Line of Control in Bonyar area in Baramulla district after the army launched an operation following inputs about the presence of three to four militants in the area, an army official said.

He said as the army zeroed in on the hiding militants, they fired upon the forces and in the ensuing gun battle, one militant was killed.

One jawan was also killed while another sustained minor injuries, the official said.
The operation is still in progress, he added.

PTI

Defence Ministry raises Rs 500 cr bill for flood assistance to J&K

Srinagar: The Defence Ministry has raised a bill of Rs 500 crore for its assistance to Jammu and Kashmir government for carrying out relief and rescue operations during the floods that battered the valley in 2014.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Defence Ministry was paid Rs 500 crore by the Union government as the amount was adjusted from the Rs 1602.56 crore assistance given to the state government from its share in the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) for dealing with the floods in September, 2014.

The state government was informed about the Rs 500 crore bill by the Union Home Ministry through a letter dated February 6.

“The high level committee in its meeting held on 30.01.2015 … approved the following assistance — Rs 1602.56 crore from NDRF subject to adjustment of 90 per cent balance available in SDRF account of the state. This includes payment of air bills for airdropping of essential supplies and rescue (tentatively Rs 500 crore) as per actual, based on the bills raised by the Ministry of Defence,” the letter reads.

Over 300 people died and more than 12 lakh people were affected in the floods that devastated large parts of Kashmir, including Srinagar.

More than two lakh people, including tourists and non- Kashmiri labourers, were rescued and essential supplies like food, water and medicine were air dropped in what the armed forces called “Operation Megh Rahat”.

The Centre had dismissed reports that the Ministry of Defence had raised any such bill against the Jammu and Kashmir government for rescue and relief operations carried out during the devastating floods.

“I have checked with the Ministry of Defence. No such bill has been raised. There is no truth in the reports,” the then Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami had said in October. The matter was first reported by a local English daily in October 2014.

PTI

Jammu: Five policemen arrested for allegedly killing a youth

Jammu: Five policemen of Special Operation Group (SOG) have been arrested for allegedly killing a youth on the outskirts of the district in Jammu.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

“Five cops of SOG have been arrested and a case of murder has been registered in connection with the death of a youth in firing in Domana belt of Jammu city yesterday,” a senior police officer said on Monday.

Police fired on a youth identified as Tarseem Lal, involved in narcotics smuggling, when he tried to escape after his arrest in Domana belt resulting in his death, he said.

A case of murder was registered against the cops after Forest Minister and MLA of Domana Bali Bhagat visited the youth’s family and promised them registration of a murder case against the accused policemen.

Bali spoke to Jammu and Kashmir DGP K Rajendra after which a case of murder was registered against the 5 policemen.

PTI

Who died? How many? Sticky questions cast unflattering shadow over Myanmar op

Even as the Modi government steadily dialled down its rhetoric on the Indian Army operation in Myanmar, questions are now being raised over just how much the mission achieved.

The death toll from the strike has been kept under wraps since news of the operation broke. The official Indian Army press release made no mention of the number of militants who were killed in the attack, sticking instead to a cryptic phrase, ‘ significant casualties’. News reports pegged the death toll anywhere between 20 to 50, with some hinting that it was as high as 100.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

However, the Hindustan Times (report only in print) quoted the NSCN which claims that it has suffered no casualties and had even hosted a party for those involved in the Manipur attack on the Indian Army’s soldiers on 4 June in which 18 were killed.

The report also pointed out that the special forces weren’t expected to keep a tally of the number of dead in an operation and the estimate of the death toll is based on a general assessment and on radio intercepts following the attack.

The Indian Army, which usually documents such strikes within the country with photographic evidence, hasn’t made any available yet. In fact, the only photos that have circulated on the internet were first refuted by the army, but officials later said that the photos  were cleared by the Army, but were not of the operation, but rather were released only for ‘representational purposes’.

An Indian Express report now quotes sources as saying that so far only seven bodies have been recovered, while less than a dozen militants were injured in the attack. And despite the government’s claims that the operation was meant as retaliation for the Manipur attack, it may not have taken down those who were actually involved in the 4 June attack, the report says quoting a unnamed senior military intelligence official.

One of the camps targeted reportedly was led by a top NSCN militant identified as Niki Sumi but he and an estimated 40 other militants are suspected to have left before the Indian soldiers struck, the report quotes an official as saying.

The report also quotes the military intelligence official as saying that the camps may have been chosen due to tactical viability and more with the intent of sending a message to militant groups rather than specifically striking back at the perpetrators of the Manipur attack.

After the initial round of praise for the Indian Army and the Prime Minister, even ministers in the Modi government have begun sniping against Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore, whose statements have largely sparked backlash from Pakistan and Myanmar over the operation.

“Rathore should have not spoken like that…what was the need?” an unnamed senior minister was quoted as telling the Economic Times. 

Another ministerial colleague pointed out that the reaction from the Myanmar government denying the attack took place on its soil was understandable given impending elections and India should have been more cautious in its statements following the incident.

After the initial bluster following the operation, the Modi government has steadily dialed down the rhetoric. As noted earlier, the statements made by Rathore have steadily been downplayed by his ministerial colleagues as they attempt to ensure that India’s relations with Myanmar don’t suffer further and impede other operations in the future.

The Modi government may have gone all out to capture the public sentiment with an operation would highlight a newly aggressive and confident Indian military. But as doubts over the efficacy of the operation are raised, the greatest collateral damage may have been inflicted on the government itself.

Parrikar’s swipe at Pakistan aside, Myanmar strike delivers unpleasant PR lesson for Modi govt

A day after the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore’s over the top bluster made headlines after the Indian Army’s operation against militant camps in Myanmar, the government has been quickly forced into dialling down the rhetoric. The reason: instant backlash from not just Pakistan but also Myanmar.

India’s normally outspoken defence minister Manohar Parrikar tried to deflect some of the criticism from Pakistan.

“Those who fear India’s new posture have started reacting,” Parrikar said at an event on Thursday.

But even while praising the Indian Army’s operation, he stayed well clear of controversy by refusing to go into the details of it. It was a wise decision.

Likely furious at the attempt to paint the operation as a symbol of Indian muscle, Myanmar government on Wednesday strongly denied reports that Indian army forces had crossed its border to carry out the operation.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

In a Facebook post Wednesday Zaw Htay, director of Myanmar’s presidential office, wrote, “According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border.”

“Myanmar will not accept any foreigner who attacks neighbouring countries in the back and creates problems by using our own territory,” he added, however.

Despite an agreement between the two nations, the response from Myanmar comes as no surprise given it doesn’t want to be seen as country that will compromise on its territorial integrity.

The response from Myanmar was also in keeping with the official statement of the Indian Army which merely stated that its forces had engaged with militants “along the Indo- Myanmar border at two locations along the Nagaland and Manipur borders”,  but did not mention having crossed it. It was Rathore who played up the fact that the operation had taken place in Myanmar territory.

“And it involved our Special Forces crossing the border and going deep into another country,” Rathore had told the Indian Express.  It was Rathore who led the PR effort to paint the operation as an expression of Indian machismo, employing hashtags on Twitter such as #ManipurRevenge and #56inchRocks. And he is the one who enhanced the significance of one strike, drawing Pakistan into the picture, declaring, “This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.”

Worse, it now turns out that Rathore wasn’t just another motormouth in the Modi sarkar who made incautious statements without sanction. According to an Express article published today,

“When the government decided to field Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore Tuesday night to talk about the Indian Army’s strike on terrorist camps in Myanmar, it was because it felt he could send the message across louder and clearer than the Army could. Sources said a political intervention was felt necessary at the “highest level” and that’s how Rathore, a retired Army colonel, was chosen to give out details the Army couldn’t.”

Nothing that Rathore shared with the media was a coincidence. He was part of a deliberate PR effort on the part of the government to claim political credit for the military operation.

Unfortunately, the move backfired. The careful diplomatic groundwork laid by Indian officials with Myanmar to make the raid possible turned to naught in the chest-beating that followed afterwards. The Indian government is now in the postion of being publicly contradicted by its own ally — even as Indian officials have been instructed to convey their gratitude to Myanmar for its cooperation.

But it’s not just Myanmar that’s seething over our government’s rhetoric. Pakistan expectedly didn’t take too kindly to Rathore’s statements that barely concealed which nation India could target next.

Pakistani Interior Minister Nisar Khan said that it should be clear to India that “Pakistan is not a country like Myanmar”.

“Those having ill designs against Pakistan should listen carefully that our security forces are capable of matching response to any adventurism,” he said.

Pakistan would never accept India hegemony and that the “Indian leaders should stop day dreaming”, Khan said, adding that they would not be cowed down by threats.

The resultant diplomatic furore has led to further backpedalling with the Modi government telling its officials to tone it down.  According to the Times of India, “Sources said although the Modi government had responded to provocations from Pakistan by using disproportionate force, it does not want to create an impression that it is spoiling for a confrontation.”

The Indian Army’s no stranger to covert operations across borders and has in the past crossed the border in Myanmar to strike at Indian militant groups camped there. As this DNA report points out, in January 2006, the Indian Army attacked the same militant group in Myanmar after striking a deal for arms supply to the Myanmar Army. But none of these operations were ever tom-tommed in public by the government.

The Modi sarkar in hot pursuit of publicity may have complicated further such operations. According to the Telegraph, the Indian ambassador to Myanmar spent most of yesterday in a series of meetings with Myanmar officials: “By late evening, an official said, Mukhopadhyay had been told by the Myanmarese authorities they were unhappy with the ‘way the operation had been presented’.”

Simply decoded, it means that if the Indian Army wants to go into Myanmar the next time round, it may not get a warm welcome from the Myanmar Army.

The bottomline is that the government was tempted of portraying the Myanmar strike as a Osama-like helicopters carrying special forces deep into another nation’s territory to punish terrorists, without the full knowledge or cooperation of the local government and without a single military loss of life. The desire to paint a Modi-led India into a take-no-prisoners nation that acts unilaterally and without apology undermined what was, in essence, a sound military operation. As Firstpost‘s R Jagannathan pointed out, the operation is just the first in what is likely a long-term strategy which may well be hugely effective in combatting terrorism. But to turn one strike into a chest-thumping PR exercise is “unwarranted and counter-productive.”

with inputs from agencies

(Editor’s note: The copy was modified from its original version to incorporate Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement on Thursday)

Parrikar’s jibe at Pak aside, Myanmar strike delivers unpleasant PR lesson for Modi sarkar

A day after the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Rathore’s over the top bluster made headlines after the Indian Army’s operation against militant camps in Myanmar, the government has been quickly forced into dialling down the rhetoric. The reason: instant backlash from not just Pakistan but also Myanmar.

India’s normally outspoken defence minister Manohar Parrikar tried to deflect some of the criticism from Pakistan.

“Those who fear India’s new posture have started reacting,” Parrikar said at an event on Thursday.

But even while praising the Indian Army’s operation, he stayed well clear of controversy by refusing to go into the details of it. It was a wise decision.

Likely furious at the attempt to paint the operation as a symbol of Indian muscle, Myanmar government on Wednesday strongly denied reports that Indian army forces had crossed its border to carry out the operation.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

In a Facebook post Wednesday Zaw Htay, director of Myanmar’s presidential office, wrote, “According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border.”

“Myanmar will not accept any foreigner who attacks neighbouring countries in the back and creates problems by using our own territory,” he added, however.

Despite an agreement between the two nations, the response from Myanmar comes as no surprise given it doesn’t want to be seen as country that will compromise on its territorial integrity.

The response from Myanmar was also in keeping with the official statement of the Indian Army which merely stated that its forces had engaged with militants “along the Indo- Myanmar border at two locations along the Nagaland and Manipur borders”,  but did not mention having crossed it. It was Rathore who played up the fact that the operation had taken place in Myanmar territory.

“And it involved our Special Forces crossing the border and going deep into another country,” Rathore had told the Indian Express.  It was Rathore who led the PR effort to paint the operation as an expression of Indian machismo, employing hashtags on Twitter such as #ManipurRevenge and #56inchRocks. And he is the one who enhanced the significance of one strike, drawing Pakistan into the picture, declaring, “This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.”

Worse, it now turns out that Rathore wasn’t just another motormouth in the Modi sarkar who made incautious statements without sanction. According to an Express article published today,

“When the government decided to field Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore Tuesday night to talk about the Indian Army’s strike on terrorist camps in Myanmar, it was because it felt he could send the message across louder and clearer than the Army could. Sources said a political intervention was felt necessary at the “highest level” and that’s how Rathore, a retired Army colonel, was chosen to give out details the Army couldn’t.”

Nothing that Rathore shared with the media was a coincidence. He was part of a deliberate PR effort on the part of the government to claim political credit for the military operation.

Unfortunately, the move backfired. The careful diplomatic groundwork laid by Indian officials with Myanmar to make the raid possible turned to naught in the chest-beating that followed afterwards. The Indian government is now in the postion of being publicly contradicted by its own ally — even as Indian officials have been instructed to convey their gratitude to Myanmar for its cooperation.

But it’s not just Myanmar that’s seething over our government’s rhetoric. Pakistan expectedly didn’t take too kindly to Rathore’s statements that barely concealed which nation India could target next.

Pakistani Interior Minister Nisar Khan said that it should be clear to India that “Pakistan is not a country like Myanmar”.

“Those having ill designs against Pakistan should listen carefully that our security forces are capable of matching response to any adventurism,” he said.

Pakistan would never accept India hegemony and that the “Indian leaders should stop day dreaming”, Khan said, adding that they would not be cowed down by threats.

The resultant diplomatic furore has led to further backpedalling with the Modi government telling its officials to tone it down.  According to the Times of India, “Sources said although the Modi government had responded to provocations from Pakistan by using disproportionate force, it does not want to create an impression that it is spoiling for a confrontation.”

The Indian Army’s no stranger to covert operations across borders and has in the past crossed the border in Myanmar to strike at Indian militant groups camped there. As this DNA report points out, in January 2006, the Indian Army attacked the same militant group in Myanmar after striking a deal for arms supply to the Myanmar Army. But none of these operations were ever tom-tommed in public by the government.

The Modi sarkar in hot pursuit of publicity may have complicated further such operations. According to the Telegraph, the Indian ambassador to Myanmar spent most of yesterday in a series of meetings with Myanmar officials: “By late evening, an official said, Mukhopadhyay had been told by the Myanmarese authorities they were unhappy with the ‘way the operation had been presented’.”

Simply decoded, it means that if the Indian Army wants to go into Myanmar the next time round, it may not get a warm welcome from the Myanmar Army.

The bottomline is that the government was tempted of portraying the Myanmar strike as a Osama-like helicopters carrying special forces deep into another nation’s territory to punish terrorists, without the full knowledge or cooperation of the local government and without a single military loss of life. The desire to paint a Modi-led India into a take-no-prisoners nation that acts unilaterally and without apology undermined what was, in essence, a sound military operation. As Firstpost‘s R Jagannathan pointed out, the operation is just the first in what is likely a long-term strategy which may well be hugely effective in combatting terrorism. But to turn one strike into a chest-thumping PR exercise is “unwarranted and counter-productive.”

with inputs from agencies

(Editor’s note: The copy was modified from its original version to incorporate Defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement on Thursday)

Myanmar strike: A look back at 5 successful military operations from history

The Myanmar operation by the Indian Army targeting insurgents who killed 18 soldiers last week is being hailed by almost all and sundry. The military strike was brave, well-planned and successful. Here is a list of five other military operations – from mythology to the real world.Trojan Horse: There couldn’t be a better planned operation, even though one may dismiss it as a legend. Mentioned in several works of literature including Aeneid by Virgil and Odyssey by Homer, the tale describes how the Greeks, frustrated by the unyielding city of Troy for almost a decade, built a mammoth wooden horse and hid a small elite team of soldiers in it. The Trojans believed that the invaders had fled, leaving behind a gift at their gates for the Goddess Athena and welcomed the horse inside with much fanfare. But later in the night, the soldiers (numbers vary from 30 to 50) got out and opened the gates for the Greek forces, who then finally took control of the city. The operation was well encapsulated in the 2004 movie Troy, in which Brad Pitt starred as Achilles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Operation Jackpot:This took place barely 40 years ago and is by far, the Indian Army’s most successful effort – carving out an entire nation. However, little is known about it, for obvious reasons – India couldn’t have publicised how the one lakh guerillas of the Mukti Bahini were trained to fight Pakistani soldiers in the then East Pakistan.The 1947 partition of a British-ruled India created a unique sandwich – a large India between West and East Pakistan. Even though thousands of miles apart, the Muslim League claimed that religion was a common factor to rule both regions. The faultlines were visible from the early years as those in East Pakistan, who spoke Bengali, as opposed to Urdu and Punjabi in West Pakistan, felt they were being discriminated against. They also found that though their religion was the same, their culture differed vastly. The last straw was the refusal to acknowledge Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, who had secured more seats in the Pakistani assembly (his party had swept the 1970 polls in East Pakistan and therefore had a majority). His arrest in 1971 led to massive protests and a subsequent guerilla war by Mukti Bahini. As the Pakistani Army flushed out Mujib supporters and soldiers from East Pakistan, India decided to give a fitting reply.Over the next nine months, India trained and aided Mukti Bahini supporters, who kept attacking bases and bastions held by the Razakars and Al-Badrs. A major operation called Monsoon Offensive was planned, where 2,000-5,000 guerilla soldiers were expected to hit Pakistani strongholds inside West Pakistan in a tactical fashion. However, the Pakistani Army held on to their positions, leading to frustrations in East Pakistan. Eventually, Pakistan lost its nerve and launched a strike against India, resulting in Indian intervention that led to the liberation of Bangladesh. Unlike many other operations, this was a long and sustained one and was quite successful.The instrument of surrender was signed on 16 December 1971. dna Research & ArchivesBenito Mussolini​’s rescue by Hitler’s elite forcesWe’ve read about this in our history school books, but it has only a passing reference. Given that it was one of Hitler’s successes, it wasn’t celebrated much in other parts of the world. But Mussolini’s rescue by Hitler’s special forces was indeed quite spectacular, albeit a bit.After ruling Italy with an iron fist for over two decades, Mussolini was arrested and was being moved around in Italy before being kept at Campa Impertore in the Alpine mountains. The place was secured by more than 200 guards and was at a high altitude. Marshal Pietro Badoglio was aware of the still large Nazi sentiment in Italy and anticipated that the Germans would attempt a rescue. Hitler, who was a very close friend of Mussolini, personally ordered the operation that achieved success without firing a single shot. A German paratrooper commando unit landed on the mountain using DFS 230 gliders, one of which crashed. One of the generals accompanying the German commandos simply asked the guards to stand down or be prepared to be executed for treason. Mussolini was then flown off to a military airport near Rome and then to Vienna. After spending a night there, Mussolini was brought to Berlin to a hero’s welcome.So what’s so comical about it? The tale says that the extra weight of Mussolini (some theories suggest an extra passenger) almost resulted in the crash of the Trop Storch STOL aircraft, which was quite a tiny plane.Benito MussoliniOperation Entebbe:This was a 1976 operation by Israeli Defense Forces to rescue hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists, following the hijack of an Air France plane. The operation is hailed as one of the best on many counts – as many as 102 hostages were rescued by the 100-member strong team. Although they lost their commander in the operation, the team managed to kill all hijackers, 45 Ugandan soldiers and destroyed at least a dozen Soviet-built MiG17S and MiG21s in barely 90 minutes.The plane, en route to Paris, was hijacked by two Palestinians of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-External Operations and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells and diverted to Benghazi in Libya. After refuelling at Benghazi and releasing one Israeli hostage of the 248 passengers and crew of 12, the plane was ordered to Entebbe Airport in Uganda where the ruler Idi Amin welcomed the hijackers and offered all ground support, even as he kept telling the hostages he was trying to release them through negotiations. Four more hijackers joined the original group before they released 148 hostages in two batches.Even as Israel kept exploring political options as well as negotiations, a rescue mission was hatched over a week. The plan was daring- it involved two C-130 Hercules aircrafts and two Boeing jets taking a team of over 100 personnel, including a 29-member strong assault team led by Yonatan Netanyahu. They even carried a black Mercedes and several Land rovers, often used by Idi Amin, to make it look like Amin was visiting the airport.The two aircrafts landed at the airport at around 11pm in the night and the Israel soldiers quickly ran towards the airport terminal where the hostages were being held by the hijackers (aided by Ugandan soldiers who were guarding the entry points and the control tower). The team swiftly neutralised one of the hijackers Wilfried Bose, as he fired at them and then killed the other three in another hall, lobbing hand grenades at them. One of the hostages was killed as he was mistaken as a hijacker and two more were killed in the crossfire.The team then quickly loaded the rescued hostages on to the aircraft and ensured the destruction of the Ugandan military aircrafts so that they were not pursued. As the team refuelled the aircraft, they were fired at by Ugandan soldiers and Netanyahu was shot in the chest, making him the only casualty from the rescue team. Five more Israeli soldiers were wounded, but the IDF team had achieved which many thought was impossible.Israel Army, file photoOperation Neptune SpearOsama bin Laden, the al Qaeda chief believed to have been the mastermind behind several terror acts, chief among them being 9/11, had been a thorn in America’s flesh for a long time. Successive US regimes had sworn to capture or kill Osama, but were largely unsuccessful as he reportedly shunned any usage of modern communication equipment, in fear of being tracked down by US surveillance. It was also believed that Osama used the cave system in Afghanistan to escape drones. Fingers were also pointed at Pakistan’s ISI and Laden sympathisers in the Pakistan Army for allegedly shielding the ‘most wanted enemy’.The official account says that the US intelligence managed to track a courier by Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti who was very close to Laden. CIA operatives reportedly followed al-Kuwaiti to Abbottabad compound where Laden was staying with his youngest wife and family. After years of futile efforts, US authorities had found the needle in the haystack. Utmost care was taken to ensure that the operation to identify and kill Laden was not sabotaged by their trusted ally in the war on terror – Pakistan. A safe house was rented in Abbottabad, the town that also houses the Pakistan Military Academy. One of the many theories suggests that the CIA carried out a fake vaccination programme to obtain and verify DNA samples of Laden family (this is one of the reasons why Taliban later disallowed vaccination programmes in Swat valley).A replica of the house was created and the team that would eventually execute the operation rehearsed how they would go about it. The team, that comprised approximately two dozen US Navy Seals, took off from Jalalabad air base in Afghanistan on the night of May 1, 2011. As the US authorities have been steadfastly guarded about details of the operation, accounts about almost everything vary. The official version goes that one of the Chinooks that was carrying the Seals crashed as its tail grazed the compound wall.The Seals then quickly moved in and found Laden in one of the bedrooms, allegedly pushing a woman forward, with his hands on her shoulders. One account says he rushed for his AK47 rifle and therefore was instantly shot in the forehead. Robert O’Neill claimed he was the guy who shot Laden. Three other men (including the courier) and a woman were killed in the operation that is said to have lasted 38 minutes and Laden is said to have been killed inside the first 15 minutes.Obama chose to address the nation to report the death. At 11.35 pm, Obama told the world that ‘the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda and a terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children.’

Myanmar operation: The #56inchrocks Rambo rhetoric is delusional

India has grappled with terror — internally and externally — for a long time. At numerous times during this war, we have all wondered why India couldn’t just do an Israel; send crack assassin teams and eliminate the known faces of terror; ‘bump off’ the likes of Dawood Ibrahim. Why couldn’t India just do a Rambo?

So when the special forces of the Indian Army carried out a surgical covert strike deep inside Myanmar early Tuesday, it seemed like India had finally found the guts to go after terrorists undeterred by international borders.

Hours after the Army’s operations in Myanmar, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore — who is a retired Colonel — said that the strikes were a message to all hostile countries and groups.

Reuters.Reuters.

Reuters.

“We will not tolerate any strikes on India or Indians. We’ll always wield the initiative on either being friendly or engaging in aggressive action. We will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing,” Rathore told The Indian Express.

“This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.”

Rathore also tweeted out a stern message.

The Army, on its part, also declared that this wasn’t a one-off operation in its official statement: “While ensuring peace and tranquility along the border and in the border states, any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response.”

The reality, however, is very different.

A country cannot just go out there and attack groups without any real evidence or international sanction. Even the United States can’t bomb or infiltrate countries at whim.

Until a while ago Indian authorities didn’t know where Dawood Ibrahim was, and that was their excuse for not taking action.  But how about Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Saeed who is out and about in plain sight? TV channels manage to track him down, videos surface all the time, but all India can do is politely ask Pakistan to hand him over. There isn’t even an extradition treaty in place. The reason a strike — similar to the one we conducted in Myanmar — is not possible in Pakistan: they have a nuclear deterrent and of course, they really don’t like us.

We have a similar case in China which regularly makes border incursions; issues stapled visas; makes claims on Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and provided Pakistan with weapons and aid as well. But does India do anything? Incredibly, there were Chinese incursions in Leh while their Premier Xi Jinping was enjoying a feast with Modi in 2014.

Instead, when PM Narendra Modi goes to China — he talks business because that’s all we can do.

In May, while speaking at the annual K F Rustamji lecture, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said: “Both (China and Pakistan) these countries are not that type of democracy that we understand as an enabling democracy.” A remark that clearly shows normal measures won’t suffice here.

Any military foray into China or Pakistan will be taken as an act of war. And is India really in a position to fight a war? The Indian Army’s war wastage reserves are just at around 50 percent — which means that they can probably fight a full-fledged battle for just 20 days.

Let’s face it! We can only play tough in places like Myanmar, which we can push around the way the US did Pakistan. So let’s not pretend we can just saunter over the border with China or Pakistan without creating an international incident whose consequences we likely can’t bear.

So really, Rathore and co need to spare us the Rambo rhetoric — we do what we can but that is about it. All this talk of ‘we will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing’ is great PR, but let’s not buy our own hype.

To send a stern message to Pakistan, target known terrorists in Pakistan. To send a stern message to China, we could start by at least protesting their constant incursions over our border. Taking out 20-odd militants is not going to make us a superpower anytime soon.

Is Myanmar raid Indian counter-insurgency shift?

India’s attack on rebels inside Myanmar may be the beginning of a new phase in the country’s counter-insurgency strategy, writes analyst Subir Bhaumik.

Myanmar operation: The #56inchrocks Rambo rhetoric from India is delusional and unhelpful

India has grappled with terror — internally and externally — for a long time. At numerous times during this war, we have all wondered why India couldn’t just do an Israel; send crack assassin teams and eliminate the known faces of terror; ‘bump off’ the likes of Dawood Ibrahim. Why couldn’t India just do a Rambo?

So when the special forces of the Indian Army carried out a surgical covert strike deep inside Myanmar early Tuesday, it seemed like India had finally found the guts to go after terrorists undeterred by international borders.

Hours after the Army’s operations in Myanmar, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore — who is a retired Colonel — said that the strikes were a message to all hostile countries and groups.

Reuters.Reuters.

Reuters.

“We will not tolerate any strikes on India or Indians. We’ll always wield the initiative on either being friendly or engaging in aggressive action. We will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing,” Rathore told The Indian Express.

“This is a message for all countries, including Pakistan, and groups harbouring terror intent towards India. A terrorist is a terrorist and has no other identity. We will strike when we want to.”

Rathore also tweeted out a stern message.

The Army, on its part, also declared that this wasn’t a one-off operation in its official statement: “While ensuring peace and tranquility along the border and in the border states, any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response.”

The reality, however, is very different.

A country cannot just go out there and attack groups without any real evidence or international sanction. Even the United States can’t bomb or infiltrate countries at whim.

Until a while ago Indian authorities didn’t know where Dawood Ibrahim was, and that was their excuse for not taking action.  But how about Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Saeed who is out and about in plain sight? TV channels manage to track him down, videos surface all the time, but all India can do is politely ask Pakistan to hand him over. There isn’t even an extradition treaty in place. The reason a strike — similar to the one we conducted in Myanmar — is not possible in Pakistan: they have a nuclear deterrent and of course, they really don’t like us.

We have a similar case in China which regularly makes border incursions; issues stapled visas; makes claims on Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and provided Pakistan with weapons and aid as well. But does India do anything? Incredibly, there were Chinese incursions in Leh while their Premier Xi Jinping was enjoying a feast with Modi in 2014.

Instead, when PM Narendra Modi goes to China — he talks business because that’s all we can do.

In May, while speaking at the annual K F Rustamji lecture, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said: “Both (China and Pakistan) these countries are not that type of democracy that we understand as an enabling democracy.” A remark that clearly shows normal measures won’t suffice here.

Any military foray into China or Pakistan will be taken as an act of war. And is India really in a position to fight a war? The Indian Army’s war wastage reserves are just at around 50 percent — which means that they can probably fight a full-fledged battle for just 20 days.

Let’s face it! We can only play tough in places like Myanmar, which we can push around the way the US did Pakistan. So let’s not pretend we can just saunter over the border with China or Pakistan without creating an international incident whose consequences we likely can’t bear.

So really, Rathore and co need to spare us the Rambo rhetoric — we do what we can but that is about it. All this talk of ‘we will strike at a place and at a time of our choosing’ is great PR, but let’s not buy our own hype.

To send a stern message to Pakistan, target known terrorists in Pakistan. To send a stern message to China, we could start by at least protesting their constant incursions over our border. Taking out 20-odd militants is not going to make us a superpower anytime soon.

Explained: How the Indian Army carried out the Myanmar operation

The operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources have said.

Representational Image

File Photo
In a first such cross-border operation, special forces of the Indian Army in coordination with the air force on Tuesday, carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar, killing nearly 20 insurgents of groups believed to be responsible for the deadly ambush in Manipur that killed 18 soldiers on June 4.How the operation was plannedThe operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources have said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Army Chief Dalbir Singh both camped in Myanmar and did an on-ground assessment to structure the entire operation and ‘cutting edge intelligence’ was used to identify and mark the two militant groups. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the go ahead to the Indian Army for “hot pursuit” of militants into Myanmar, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore disclosed on Tuesday.How the operation was executedThe operation began early on Tuesday morning and ended by afternoon. Elite commandos of the army went a few kilometres inside Myanmar territory to destroy two camps of insurgents belonging to NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits and suspected to be responsible for the attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh last week. According to reports, the two camps comprised of approximately 150 militants. The official figure of casualties is 20, but some reports suggest that the number could even be pegged at about 100. No casualties were reported among Indian soldiers.The army is said to have sent a communique to their Myanmar counterparts only minutes before embarking on the operation.The army was assisted by Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army’s para commandos that struck two camps of militants and “inflicted significant casualties.” The Indian ambassador met a minister from Myanmar after the government offices opened at around 9.00 am in the morning. The operation was well underway at that time. Indo-Myanmar relationsA controversy over the cross border operation is unlikely, as there is a treaty between the two countries from the 1990s, on operations across the border. Minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former colonel, said, “We crossed over to the Myanmar territory. We have good relations with them and we carried out the strike.”Additional director general of military operations, Major General Ranbir Singh has said that more such operations, in cooperation with Myanmar authorities, could be planned in future.

Manipur ambush: First cross-border strike in Myanmar kills 20 North East insurgents

Elite commandos of the army went a few kilometers inside the Myanmar territory to destroy two camps of insurgents hiding there after their attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh last week by NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits. The operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources said.

Image for representational purpose

In the first such cross-border operation, special forces of the army in coordination with the air force on Tuesday carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar, killing nearly 20 insurgents of the groups believed to be reponsible for the deadly ambush in Manipur that killed 18 soldiers.Elite commandos of the army went a few kilometers inside the Myanmar territory to destroy two camps of insurgents hiding there after their attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh last week by NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits.The operation was guided by “specific and precise” intelligence input, highly placed sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About 15 to 20 insurgents were killed in the assault, the sources said, adding there were no casualties among the Indian soldiers. Commenting on the operation, MoS Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former colonel, said, “We crossed over to the Myanmar territory. We have good relations with them and we carried out the strike.” Disclosing the operation, Major General Ranbir Singh, Additional Director General Military Operations, said army had been on “high alert” after Manipur attack on June 4.In the course of last few days, “credible and specific intelligence” was received about further attacks that were being planned within Indian territory. “These attacks were to be carried out by some of the groups involved in earlier attacks on our security personnel and their allies,” he told reporters here while briefing on the operation without taking any questions. “In view of the imminent threat, an immediate response was necessary. Based on intelligence, we conducted operations to counter these planned assaults,” Maj Gen Singh added.Rathore asserted that “any threat to our security, safety and national integrity will meet a firm response” while ensuring peace and tranquility along the border and in the border states. He said while the army carried out the strike, helicopters were on standby. He described the strike as “unprecedented and extremely bold” by the government as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had ordered hot pursuit in two camps were completely annhilated.While Maj Gen Singh said the operation was carried out “along the Indo-Myanmar border at two locations, along the Nagaland and Manipur borders”, sources said the strike was carried out inside Myanmar with the coordination of local authorities. Asked whether such strikes could be carried out on the western border also, Rathore said, “western disturbances will also be equally dealt with”. “This is a message to all such neighbours who harbour terror intentions. Friendship and zero tolerance (towards terror) will go hand-in-hand. This is a beginning. This message should go to everyone,” the minister said. This is the first time that the Indian army carried out a cross-border commando action, which marks the pro-active approach against terror, sources said about the retaliation planned ever since the insurgents struck in Manipur.As part of an exercise to finetune the strike, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had dropped out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 6-7 visit to Bangladesh, the sources said. The sources said the operation was guided by “specific and precise intelligence” and there was a heavy exchange of fire between the commandos and insurgents.”Significant casualties have been inflicted on them (insurgents). As a consequence, threats to our civilian population and security forces were averted,” Maj Gen Singh said. The sources underlined that it was a retaliatory action after the deadly ambush in Chandel in Manipur on June 4 when 18 soldiers were killed.It was noticed that insurgents would sneak in from across the border to carry out their strikes and then return there, they said while justifying the cross-border assault. “We are in communication with the Myanmar authorities on this matter. There is a history to close cooperation between our two militaries. We look forward to working with them to combat such terrorism,” Maj Gen Singh said.NSCN(K), which reneged from a ceasefire in March, has been involved in a series of attacks in tandem with some other militant groups under the banner of the so-called ‘United Liberation Front of South East Asia’.

Protesters raise pro Khalistan slogan inside Golden Temple

Pro Khalistan slogans were raised inside the Golden Temple and there was clash between two groups.

Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Clashes broke out between two Sikh groups inside the premises of Golden Temple on 31st Anniversary of Operation Blue Star. The situation is currently under control, and the miscreants have been handed over to the police. Pro Khalistan slogans were raised inside the Golden Temple and there was clash between two groups. Police intervened on time and broke up the fight. Some were hauled up for questioning. Earlier, supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), led by former MP Dhian Singh Mand, assembled at Golden Temple and raised ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ slogans besides brandishing swords. As many as 25 Sikh youths were detained, police said.Tight security arrangements were made by Punjab police to prevent any untoward incident. Policemen in civil dress along with SGPC task force were present on premises of the Golden Temple, officials said.Heavy barricading was done by the SGPC officers around Akal Takht to prevent entry of any suspicious element to disturb peace, police said.SAD President and former MP Simranjit Singh Mann could not reach Akal Takht because of ill health.On the occasion, the family members of slain militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale were honoured by Akal Takht Jatehdar Giani Gurbachan Singh. Addressing the gathering, Jathedar Akal Takht said, “Sikh community will, all over the world, remember the unhealed wounds of Operation Bluestar.” Memorial made in the memory of those killed during Operation Bluestar in 1984 witnessed sizable footfall of devotees today.Radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has called for Bandh here in the memory of those killed during the Operation in June 1984 in Punjab. Security forces in Amritsar and other areas of the state were asked to remain on alert ahead of the anniversary.Punjab Police personnel conducted a flag march in Amritsar on June 4 in areas leading to the Golden Temple Complex where the Operation Bluestar was undertaken in 1984 to flush out militants. Punjab Police sources had said that the security personnel in the districts have been asked to remain extra alert in view of the killing of a Sikh youth during protests in Jammu yesterday against the removal of posters of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. With agency inputs

Virtual reality film aims to raise funds by giving Nepal quake experience | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A virtual reality film aims to help raise funds for survivors of last month’s earthquake in Nepal by giving viewers a first-hand experience of the disaster’s aftermath, the director said on Friday.

Los Angeles-based company RYOT – which produces news stories for audiences to act on – shot the footage in the days following the 7.8 magnitude quake which struck the impoverished nation on April 25, killing more than 8,000 people.

“As film-makers, we always try to have people understand the magnitude of a disaster but it’s difficult in traditional video,” said David Darg, RYOT’s director and co-founder who travelled to Nepal in the quake’s aftermath.

“This is the first time that Virtual Reality technology has been harnessed after an earthquake to give a fully immersive experience and help connect potential donors to the need in the most direct way available.”

The four minute film, which is narrated by Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon, attempts to transport people to the Himalayan nation to be fully immersed amongst the destruction and understand the plight of survivors.

When seen in this medium, viewers will feel like they are standing in the rubble and living through the experiences of the survivors who have lost their families, homes and livelihoods.

Aid agencies say the international community’s response to the disaster has slowed in recent weeks, even though at least two million people are in need of food, water, shelter and proper sanitation facilities.

The United Nations has appealed for $423 million, but as of Friday, the U.N. Financial Tracking showed $113 million had been raised, 27 percent of the required funds.

Darg, who has filmed other humanitarian crises such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the cholera outbreak in Haiti said traditional methods of collecting funds were still effective, but that it was important to find new ways of attracting larger audiences to engage and donate.  

“For instance, after the Ebola outbreak, the aid community was shocked at the relatively low response from private donors in proportion to the amount of media coverage given to the outbreak,” said Darg.

“By pioneering new ways to convey the very real messages of urgency and need, we can reinforce donor response and encourage a new demographic of donors and advocates to engage.”

Darg said funds raised would go through the RYOT Foundation to U.S. charity Operation Blessing to purchase items such as food, water, blankets and shelter for victims in Sindhupalchowk, one of the worst-hit districts.

The Nepal Quake Project was launched on Thursday, but was debuted at the MountainFilm Festival last weekend.

“Attendees were fully invested in the experience and had immediate and visceral reactions,” said Darg.

“People who have viewed the Nepal piece said that they experienced extreme empathy — and even made eye-to-eye connections with people in the film and were extremely moved.”

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Ros Russell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

14 students stopped at Hyderabad airport from joining Islamic State: Report

Operation Chakrayuh has been started by the Intelligence Bureau to counsel the youth who try to join the IS and are under constant surveillance, said report.

According to intelligence agencies, 14 students, who were on their way to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State (IS) were stopped at Hyderabad airport, said a news report on Wednesday.The state and Central intelligence agencies had began verification of students with suspicious links after Ateef Waseem from Mancherial in Adilabad district died while fighting for Islamic said.Quoting senior officer, the report said ,”The police had counselled 11 youths while they were trying to join the Islamic State, after nabbing them at the airports.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The officer further added that the youths belong to different engineering colleges. However, keeping watch on them is possible only when they are in the region and not once they flee the country.According to deccan chronicle report, Operation Chakrayuh has been started by the Intelligence Bureau to counsel the youth who try to join the IS and are under constant surveillance.A day ago, an engineering graduate from Hyderabad, who joined the terror group ISIS, has died “while fighting in Syria,” Intelligence sources on Tuesday said quoting his family members.Mohd Haneef Waseem, 27, had reportedly joined the ISIS in Syria in February this year, they said.In January this year, A 32-year-old US-returned engineering graduate was arrested in Hyderabad when he was allegedly on his way to Dubai to join the Middle East terror group ISIS.Besides, a 19-year-old woman from the city who was residing in Qatar and had flown to Turkey, allegedly wanted to join the ISIS but had come back to India in December last year after seeing the conditions there.

Operation Rahat: Naval personnel say lack of ID proof was taxing

In such an eventuality, alternative documents would be asked for. If an individual did not have ID proof (in the form of a passport or driver’s licence), then one of the other evacuees already on-board would be asked to vouch for them, and thus take guarantee of the unidentified person.

Navy chief RK Dhowan congratulates the crew of INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash for successfully undertaking Operation Rahat in war-torn Yemen, on Monday
Hemant Padalkar
dna
There are still around 500 Indians in Yemen who have chosen to stay back, instead of returning to India by becoming evacuees under Operation Rahat. Many of them are possibly living in Yemen without legal documents.”During the evacuation process, we were checking passports. There were multiple cases wherein people did not have a passport because their employer kept it with them, or even lost them,” said Captain Rajesh Dhankar, who led Indian Naval Ship Mumbai to Aden.In such an eventuality, alternative documents would be asked for. If an individual did not have ID proof (in the form of a passport or driver’s licence), then one of the other evacuees already on-board would be asked to vouch for them, and thus take guarantee of the unidentified person.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Just before the evacuees boarded the Indian warships, we used to check if they are carrying arms and ammunition or drugs,” shared Captain Pradeep Singh of INS Tarkash.INS Mumbai and Tarkash conducted two sorties each, on different ports of Yemen. INS Tarkash ferried 96 Indians and 442 foreign nationals, whereas INS Mumbai transferred 728 Indians and 187 foreign nationals to Djibouti.For the Indian personnel, each day brought more challenges as the situation kept worsening. “The ship was operating a non-combat role in a combat situation,” said Captain Singh.The sailors were prepared for ‘any eventuality’, as a foreign vessel had come under fire a few hours before the Indian ships went in for evacuation operation.Daily, evacuees used to wait at the port for Indian vessels to help them escape the war-torn country. “Thankfully, mobile communication did not collapse, which helped in spreading the message of naval ships coming in for rescue,” informed Captain Dhankar.Once civilians were brought on-board, the most common problem that the medical officers faced was dehydration, apart from people with other ailments like diabetes. In fact, the food that was served on-board was specially prepared keeping in mind the needs of diabetic individuals, and those with blood pressure problems.

One killed after security forces fire at protest rally in J&K over Tral encounter

Srinagar: A youth was killed and two others injured allegedly in CRPF firing on demonstrators in central Kashmir’s Budgam district today, police said.

Security forces in the Tral area of the state. PTI imageSecurity forces in the Tral area of the state. PTI image

Security forces in the Tral area of the state. PTI image

Three persons were injured when CRPF allegedly fired at the protestors, who were protesting against the killing of two youths in an army operation at Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district early this week, they said.

The injured youth were rushed to a hospital here, where one youth identified as Suhail Ahmad Sofi succumbed to injuries.

The other two youth are being treated upon, the police said.

PTI

Successful Yemen evacuation has enhanced India’s prestige: BJP

New Delhi: Lauding the government’s efforts in bringing back Indians from strife-torn Yemen, BJP on Wednesday said the safe and speedy evacuation of 4,500 countrymen has not just made the nation proud but also enhanced India’s prestige in the world.

BJP said it is not just Indians who have been safely evacuated from in Yemen, ‘Operation Raahat’ has played a significant role in helping bring out citizens of 26 other nations too.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“The government has been successful in evacuating over 4,500 Indians trapped in Yemen. It is not just Indians who have been safely evacuated, but also nationals of 26 other countries including the United States and Singapore,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “taken pains to safely evacuate all Indians from Yemen” by launching ‘Operation Raahat’ and sent Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh there, which has made the country proud.

Sharma said whenever any crisis has come on Indians living anywhere in the world, the Prime Minister has taken care to ensure that Indians return safely.

“The Prime minister has not just made the country proud but has enhanced the prestige of India in the world. He needs to be complimented for his efforts,” he said.

BJP leader said in the last ten months, the Modi government had evacuated 1,000 students from Ukraine and 7,000 Indians from Iraq including nurses. Similarly he ensured the safe return of 3,000 Indians, who were trapped in Syria.

“Indians living in foreign countries now feel confident that there is a government in their country that is concerned about them and is ready to support them when needed,” Sharma said.

PTI

BJP distances itself from VK Singh’s controversial tweet; Congress demands his sacking

BJP on Wednesday distanced itself from the controversial tweet of Union minister V K Singh, saying twitter is personal and not a party forum and the meaning of the tweet can best be explained by the person concerned.

BJP on Wednesday distanced itself from the controversial tweet of Union minister V K Singh, saying twitter is personal and not a party forum and the meaning of the tweet can best be explained by the person concerned.”Twitter is a personal platform and not a party platform and the meaning of the tweet can best be deciphered by the person concerned,” BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said.He lauded the government, External Affairs ministry and also Singh for his role in the success of ‘Operation Raahat’ for evacuating Indians from strife-torn Yemen, claiming an operation of this scale has never been carried out in the past.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh was caught in a fresh row yesterday over his remarks comparing the Yemen evacuation operation with his visit to the Pakistani mission recently and later tweeted making snide remarks against a TV channel.Maintaining that ‘Operation Raahat’ was “humongous”, Patra said other countries have extended the demand that India should help them in evacuating their citizens and the party congratulates the government, the Ministry of External Affairs and Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh.”As a party, which has its government, we can say that the government is a guardian of democracy in India and going by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, this government is committed to the fact that all the pillars of democracy — the legislature, executive, judiciary and the fourth pillar media– move together to uphold democracy and for the betterment of the poorest of the poor,” he said.Asked on how he reacts to the Minister’s remark, he said the core issue is the evacuation process and it has given a great lesson of how evacuations should tak place.”Operation Raahat is a great achievement,” Patra said, while seeking to distance himself from the row over the tweet. “Friends what do you you expect from ‘presstitutes’,” Singh said in a tweet late last night, adding that last time the TV anchor thought there was ‘O’ in place of ‘E’.He earlier said, “Actually speaking, the operation (evacuation) in Yemen is less exciting than going to the Pakistani embassy.” It evoked sharp reactions from political parties including Congress which said the comments were “deplorable” and showed his “insensitivity”.But Congress demanded his immediate sacking and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not taking any action against him.”We are not going to rest till the demand is met. He should be sacked immediately. This is a highly condemnable remark against the media, which is the fourth pillar of democracy,” Congress spokesperson Khushboo told reporters at the AICC briefing.Asked what the party would do if Singh was not removed, she said, “We will first wait to see what action is being taken.” Khushboo said what is lamentable is that the Modi government and the BJP is full of ministers and leaders and MPs ranging from Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti to Giriraj Singh and Sakshi Maharaj, known for making controversial remarks.Singh came under attack from several Congress leaders who slammed the Minister of State for External Affairs over his remarks. Singh’s “statement shows utter intolerance and incapacity to hear any kind of criticism or dissent”, the Indian National Congress said on its Twitter handle, quoting its spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.Another party spokesman, Sanjay Jha, tweeted, “General VK Singh’s choice of dreadful terms to attack Indian media is not just politically inappropriate but seriously lamentable.” “Generally speaking, BJP confesses that it is a lousy, bad guardian of Indian democracy. A direct assault on Indian media is no private matter,” Jha said in another tweet.Singh, who is currently in Djibouti to oversee evacuation of Indians from Yemen, had on Tuesday compared the rescue operation from the war-torn country with his visit to the Pakistani mission recently, saying the evacuation was “less exciting”. However, he later made snide remarks against a TV channel for playing up his comparison remarks.”Friends what do you you expect from presstitutes,” he said in a tweet late last night adding that last time the TV anchor thought there was ‘O’ in place of ‘E’.His remarks elicited sharp reactions from political parties as well as a media body.Former Union Minister Manish Tewari said that what Singh has said is “completely reprehensible” and needs to be condemned in strongest possible terms. “It’s an assault on the freedom of the Press,” he said.Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue, he said that had there been a sensitive Prime Minister, he would have “dismissed” the minister by now. “But since the Prime Minister and the Minister seem to share a similar mindset, I have no expectation out of the PM,” he said, alleging this is a “completely fascist” mindset.

Operation Raahat: INS Mumbai evacuates 439 Indians from Aden in ‘war-like conditions’

Amid war-like conditions in Aden, the Navy’s guided-missile destroyer INS Mumbai on Saturday evacuated 439 Indians, including a pregnant woman, from the port city of Yemen.

The evacuation from Yemen continues. INS Mumbai is helping Indians off the coast of Aden.

Amid war-like conditions in Aden, the Navy’s guided-missile destroyer INS Mumbai on Saturday evacuated 439 Indians, including a pregnant woman, from the port city of Yemen.The warship, which has set sail for Djibouti, had placed itself just outside Aden harbour as part of ‘Operation Raahat’ as heavy firing was reported in Aden where the Saudi-led coalition is fighting Houthi rebels who are making a bid for the city.Indian authorities had hired small crafts to move 30-35 Indians at a time from the port to INS Mumbai, the Navy said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Absolute tough environment at Aden… Evacuation of stranded Indians were carried out in almost war-like conditions by Indian Naval Ship Mumbai,” a Navy official said.The evacuees include a pregnant woman who is being taken care by Navy personnel.Meanwhile, the Navy said INS Sumitra was unable to rescue Indians from Al Mukalla port in Yemen today. It will try and evacuate the stranded Indians tomorrow.Al Mukalla city has been overrun by al-Qaeda.

India gets permission to dock ship in Yemen harbour to evacuate citizens

New Delhi: India on Tuesday got permission to dock its ship at the Aden harbour for the evacuation of nearly 400 Indians from the sea port city as the government launched a massive air and sea evacuation operation for its over 4,000 nationals in strife-torn Yemen.

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh headed for Djibouti, a country neighbouring Yemen, to oversee the evacuation exercise christened ‘Operation Raahat’ under which a total of five ships and four aircraft have been deployed.

Members of Shiite factions hold banners and flags during a demonstration to protest against the Saudi-led Arab coalition which is carrying out air strikes on Huthi militia targets across Yemen. AFPMembers of Shiite factions hold banners and flags during a demonstration to protest against the Saudi-led Arab coalition which is carrying out air strikes on Huthi militia targets across Yemen. AFP

Members of Shiite factions hold banners and flags during a demonstration to protest against the Saudi-led Arab coalition which is carrying out air strikes on Huthi militia targets across Yemen. AFP

“INS Sumitra is in Aden harbour. Evacuation of our nationals was underway,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said.

The 400 Indians are expected to reach Djibouti tomorrow.

Defence sources said INS Sumitra was diverted from its anti-piracy mission in Gulf of Aden to rescue nearly 400 Indians in the port city of Aden.

Two warships have also been pressed into service besides two other passenger ships while the Indian Air Force has put on stand-by two C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.

Air India has also stationed two 180-seater Airbus A320 planes in Muscat for evacuation of Indians from Yemen’s capital Sanaa to Djibouti whenever a clearance is given by the concerned authorities.

The Defence sources said four ships, including destroyer INS Mumbai and stealth frigate INS Tarkash — will reach Yemen by Saturday. Two merchant vessels – Kavaratti and Coral – have also been dispatched.

The four ships are to join each other in Arabian Sea on 2 April and proceed as a composite group to Djibouti.

The two 180-seater aircraft dispatched by Air India yesterday remain stuck in the Oman capital Muscat due to want of clearance from the authorities.

PTI

Four-storeyed building collapses in northeast Delhi, no casualties

A four-storeyed building collapsed in Gautampuri area of Northeast Delhi in the wee hours today but no casualties were reported in the incident.

Representational Image.

A four-storeyed building collapsed in Gautampuri area of Northeast Delhi in the wee hours today but no casualties were reported in the incident.A Delhi Fire Services official said they had received a call at 3.12 AM about the collapse following which 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.”Search and rescue operation was launched in earnest. We haven’t found any casualties so far. The work is underway,” a police official said.

Ghaziabad police rescue 25 missing children under ‘Operation Smile’

District police have rescued 25 children so far under the ‘Operation Smile’, a month-long initiative which was relaunched in the New Year to trace missing children. Nodal officer for ‘Operation Smile’, DySP Ran Vijay Singh said that police have information about 109 children who are still missing from the district.”25 police teams comprising 100 trained personnel have been dispatched to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Haridwar in search of the missing minor children,” he said. “In most of the cases our endeavour is to trace the address of the parents of the child recovered and reunite them with their families, if they found,” he said, adding that otherwise the rescued children are handed over to shelter homes.The operation, which began on January 1 will continue till January 30 under the leadership of SSP Dharmendra Kumar. In the last year, district police had rescued 227 children under the ‘Operation Smile’.

Health Minister JP Nadda makes surprise visit to hospital, instructs staff to undertake proper sanitation measures

Union Health Minister JP Nadda
File Photo

Health Minister JP Nadda on Monday made a surprise visit to the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital here and instructed its staff to undertake proper sanitation measures and be “pro-active” during service delivery. He also urged officials at the facility to organise motivational sessions for health workers and called upon the doctors there to be properly attired while treating patients. “The minister stressed on (holding of) proper sanitation drives,” official sources said, adding that he had also asked the doctors to act in a pro-active manner while serving patients. “Nadda also suggested to the medical superintendent and other senior doctors that motivational sessions be organised on a regular basis for the health personnel working there,” sources said. Nadda inspected various units of the hospital, including the Emergency ward, ICU, Emergency Operation Theatre, Blood Bank, Blood Grouping Lab, Medical Ward, OPD, General Ward, etc. He also visited the kitchen and food storage area and instructed the superintendent there to ensure safety of food items. The Health Minister also toured the shredder room and the general waste collection room. During his visit, the medical superintendent of the hospital, Savita Babbar, told Nadda that no swine flu cases have thus far been handled there. Babbar also briefed the Health Minister on the future expansion plans of the hospital. Also Read: 88 swine flu cases reported in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana so far; Health Minister JP Nadda says hospitals well-equipped

10 children rescued by Ghaziabad police under ‘Operation Smile’

Representational image.

Ten children have been rescued under Ghaziabad police’s “Operation Smile”, a month-long initiative which was relaunched in the New Year to trace missing children, officials said.The operation, which began on January 1 will continue till January 30 under the leadership of SSP Dharmendra Kumar.Ten children have been rescued from different parts of the district within four days of its commencement. Efforts are on to find their parents, nodal officer of “Operation Smile” CO Ranvijay Singh said.The children have been sent to Prerna Bal Aashram, he said.

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