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From setback in Kashmir to finalising Rafale deal: Mixed year for armed forces in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signing of long-pending deals including one for Rafale fighters, a logistics agreement with the US, new blacklisting and defence procurement policies besides induction of indigenous nuclear submarine were some of the achievements of the defence ministry in 2016, which was a mixed year for the armed forces.The high point for the military was the daring surgical strike carried out by the special forces on terror launch pads across the LoC it lost a number of soldiers during the year. Jammu and Kashmir alone saw over 80 security personnel being killed while countering Pakistan’s proxy war. The army managed to eliminate about 160 militants in the state including the poster boy of militancy Burhan Wani.Many security personnel were also killed fighting armed insurgency. Deadly attacks on the Pathankot air base, and army camps in Uri and Nagrota were a setback that led to the loss of several lives.The armed forces also had a mixed year when it came to administration and compensation issues. While the government drastically increased the ex-gratia for the armed forces, the 7th Pay Commission recommendations and a controversial letter on parity with their civilian counterparts for administrative duties left a bad taste.The decision of the government to bypass the long-followed principle of seniority when it came to selecting an army also led to lot of heartburns in the military especially the Armoured Corps. But one thing that the armed forces seemed to be most happy with was Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s push for modernisation. Even as the government brought in a new defence procurement policy emphasising on ‘Make in India’ and a blacklisting policy offering a mixture of heavy fines and graded punishment rather than blanket blacklisting, the Ministry moved fast on procurements.A lot many deals pending for years were cleared by the Defence Ministry besides giving nod to many other proposals. The biggest deal to be struck during 2016 was the one for 36 Rafale fighter jets for 7.8 billion Euros. The file for a medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) was first moved in 2000. The Narendra Modi-led government had in 2015 agreed to go in for 36 Rafales in a direct deal with France while terminating the original tender for 126 MMRCA. The aircraft, equipped with latest weapons including the 150 KM range beyond visual range missile ‘Meteor’, can even carry nuclear bombs, will add to the strategic assets of the country. Another big move was the induction of the indigenously developed nuclear submarine Arihant. The government has still not officially announced the induction.The understanding between India and Russia to lease a second nuclear submarine was another important strategic move. The terms and conditions are still being worked out. The Inter-Governmental Agreement on the purchase of S400 Triumf air defence system is also a big development even though the nitty gritty are yet to be worked out. The decision to finally induct the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas was also a big move. India and Russia restarted talks on the fifth generation fighter aircraft programme after a hiatus of about a year.The contract for the purchase of M777 light weight howitzers was also welcomed by the army which will deploy most of them along the borders with China. The M777 was the first artillery deal cleared by the Indian government since the Bofors scandal of late 1980s. To ensure better deployment of these guns, the ministry also struck a deal for 15 heavy lift Chinook helicopters.Giving the IAF yet another fillip to its strength, 2016 saw signing of a deal with the US for 22 Apache attack helicopters. The signing of the much-debated logistics agreement with the US was also an important development. The UPA government had refused to sign it but Parrikar went along after the US rewrote the agreement as per India’s conditions. Even though the Defence Ministry was not directly involved, investigating agencies carried out raids against a number of defence middlemen while cases were registered against some staying abroad in connection with alleged corruption.Another big development that came towards the end of 2016 was the successful fourth test of the indigenously developed inter-continental nuclear capable missile Agni V that has a range to cover entire China. The missile is now ready for user trials and eventual induction into the Strategic Forces Command.

Agni-V: India conducts successful missile test, President Pranab Mukherjee congratulates

Bhubaneswar: India on Monday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast in Balasore district.

This is the fourth and final test of the missile.

It was launched around 11.05 a.m. from a mobile launcher complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), defence sources said.

“We are analysing the test launch after collecting information from radars. The report suggests it is a successful launch,” said an official source.

Representational image. Image courtesy News18

Representational image. Image courtesy News18

President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the successful launch.

“Congratulations DRDO for successfully test firing Agni-V. It will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

The missile is developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.

The Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V has the capability to strike targets anywhere in all of Asia and parts of Africa and Europe.

Agni-V is one of the most advanced missiles, which is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17 metres long, 2-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.

The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne.

Once the Agni-V is inducted in the Indian military, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with ICBMs alongside the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.

The first test of Agni-V was conducted on 19 April 2012, while the second test was launched on September 15, 2013 and the third was on 31 January 2015.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:28 IST

IITs may hold ‘Inter-IIT Tech Meet’ every year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) may hold an ‘Inter-IIT Tech Meet’ every year where the brightest minds from these prestigious institutions will compete and participate in a variety of events.While many of the IITs hold their tech fests, a proposal to hold a joint technology meet was discussed in a meeting of directors of these institutes held at Kanpur campus earlier this month, sources said. It is learnt that while the directors were enthusiastic about the idea, the funds and logistics involved were also factored in, they said. “The directors felt that at the moment holding a separate stand-alone meet may not be feasible but as a pilot project the idea should be taken up. The idea is that an inter-IIT meet can clubbed with the annual tech fest of one of these institutions,” a source said.It is learnt that initial phase the inter-IIT tech fest may be clubbed with the fests held by one of the older IITs.”The inter-IIT Tech fest may be held each year in rotation by expanding the tech-fest by one more day in which all IITs may participate and compete like the inter-IIT sports meet,” the source added.

Over Rs 13 crore seized from Delhi law firm, Rs 2.6 crore in new currency notes

New Delhi: Delhi police have seized nearly Rs 13.5 crore in a raid at a law firm in southeast Delhi’s GK-I
area, of which Rs 2.6 crore is in new currency released after demonetisation, a senior police official said on Sunday.

The raid was carried out by Crime Branch at the office of T&T law firm last night, the officer said. “The recovered amount is close to Rs 13.5 crore. The amount of Rs 2.62 crore was found in newly introduced Rs 2,000 notes. Besides these, Rs 7.7 crore were in the form of Rs 1,000 notes and Rs 3.06 crore were in the form of Rs 100 notes along with Rs 11 lakh in Rs 50 denomination. Two note counting machines were also found there,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (crime).

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to I-T department sources, the lawyer had recently declared unaccounted income worth over Rs 125 crore after searches were carried out against him.

The officer said that police had been keeping a watch on the advocate who owned the law firm for a long time. “A secret information surfaced that a renowned advocate who had declared Rs 125 crore before the I-T department officials a few days ago, was hoarding huge amount of cash illegally and indulging in transaction of the old and new currency notes. A round the clock watch was kept on his activities by the crime branch, especially at the premises in GK-I,” said the officer.

The Inter State Cell (ISC) of Crime Branch received a secret input late last evening that huge amount of currency notes had arrived at the advocate’s office in Greater Kailash.

“A team led by ACP ISC Sanjay Sehrawat was constituted under the supervision of DCP (Crime) Bhisham Singh and the information was shared with the Income Tax officials. They were also roped in for the operation,” said the officer.

After due procedure and sanction, a search warrant was procured and a raid conducted on the premises following which huge new and old currency notes to the tune of several crores were recovered.

When the police team raided the office, the rooms were locked and a caretaker was present. “It’s probably one of the several office premises which was mainly used as cash godown guarded by just one guard,” said the officer.

Police said that more cash was likely to be recovered in the follow-up raids.

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 18:30 IST

Mahanadi water dispute: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik moves Supreme Court

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said the state has sought an injunction from the Supreme Court against Chhattisgarh’s “unilateral” constructions on the Mahanadi river. war-zone

The suit was filed under Article 131 of the Constitution on 2 December.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. PTI

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. PTI

The injunction sought was against the continuation of construction of ongoing projects and future projects in the upper catchment of the river, Patnaik informed the Odisha Assembly during the zero hour.

He said the “illegal actions” of the Chhattisgarh government in “unilaterally planning and constructing projects and barrages would spell socio-economic and ecological hazard” to Odisha and its inhabitants.

He also said that the state government would take all out action to protect the interest of Oriya people.

“We have claimed as part of our equitable share a minimum flow of 12.28 million acre feet of Mahanadi water at Hirakud dam as per the DPR of Hirakud project of 1947 and a further utilisation of 3.67 million acre feet in the surplus flows,” said Patnaik.

He said the state government had filed a statutory complaint on November 22, before the Centre under Section three of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956, for the constitution of Inter-State Tribunal to resolve the water dispute between the two states.

It had urged for the constitution of a tribunal to adjudicate the water disputes arising from unilaterally planned utilisation of 27.48 million acre feet of Mahanadi water by Chhattisgarh as against a total availability of minimum flow in Mahanadi river of 20.61 million acre feet.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 18:20 IST

Punjab jailbreak: KLF Harminder Singh Minto sent chief to 7 days’ police custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khalistani Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo was sent to seven days’ police custody on Monday by a Delhi Court which noted that “custodial interrogation” of the accused was required to unearth conspiracy in the Nabha jailbreak case. Additional Sessions Judge Reetesh Singh sent Mintoo to custody till December 5 after Delhi Police sought seven days’ remand to interrogate him.”I am satisfied that custodial interrogation is required to unearth the conspiracy in the case. The accused is sent to police custody till December 5,” the judge said.While seeking his remand, the police said that they needed the custody of the dreaded terrorist to know about the role of “insiders and outsiders” who assisted him and five others in fleeing from Nabha jail in Patiala. They further said that the role of Inter-Services Intelligence and some terror organisations is needed to be probed in the case as he had also visited Pakistan.
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Mastermind Parminder sent to 14-day judicial custodyOne loaded pistol and six live cartridges were recovered from his possession, the police said, adding that he was earlier a member of Babbar Khalsa International and later floated his own group. “About 100 rounds of ammunition were fired in the incident of jail break and two jail official were injured. He also snatched one official rifle from a jail official,” the police said.Mintoo was nabbed from a Delhi railway station, a day after he escaped with five other inmates from the jail. The UP police last evening had arrested the alleged “mastermind” of the daring daylight jailbreak, Parminder Singh.
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Escaped Khalistani terrorist Harminder Singh Mintoo arrested near DelhiHe was arrested from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district when the getaway vehicle — a Toyota Fortuner — was stopped at a police picket.He had escaped on Sunday along with five other prisoners in a sensational jailbreak after armed men in police uniform tricked the sentries into opening the gates and fled with the inmates while firing a hail of bullets. Mintoo, who was wanted in ten terror cases, was arrested by the Punjab police after he was deported from Thailand in November 2014.

Nabha jailbreak: Harminder Singh Mintoo, Khalistan Liberation Front chief, arrested

Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, who had escaped from Nabha jail on Sunday, was arrested by the police in New Delhi on Monday.

Armed men in police uniform had stormed the high-security Nabha Jail on Sunday, opening indiscriminate fire and fleeing with five prisoners including Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

News reports had also suggested that Mintoo had ties with the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan.

Mintoo was earlier arrested by Punjab Police from Delhi’s IGI Airport in 2014. He was arrested in connection with 10 cases including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force station in 2010.

According to another report in The Indian Express, Mintoo simply decided to join the group which had conducted the jailbreak after he found out about the plan. The report said that the armed men had initially not planned to free him.

“Palwinder told us that the plan was only to get the gangsters freed. But Gurpreet Sekhon had told Mintoo that they would escape on Sunday. Mintoo was keeping a watch and joined them in the jail corridor,” The Indian Express quoted Daljit Singh Chaudhary, UP ADGP (Law and order), as saying.

In the wake of the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal had called a meeting of senior officials including State Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal and a high alert had been sounded in Punjab with security around railway stations, airports, inter-state bus terminuses and other places of key importance stepped up.

On Sunday night, the alleged “mastermind” of the daring daylight jailbreak, Parminder Singh, was arrested from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district when the getaway vehicle — a Toyota Fortuner — was stopped at a police picket.

A self-loading rifle (SLR), three rifles and several rounds of ammunition were recovered from the SUV during the search, Chaudhary had said.

According to CNN-News18, the arrested man confirmed his involvement in the case in a statement to the police.

Following the security breach, the Punjab government suspended the director-general of police (jails) and dismissed the Nabha Jail superintendent and deputy jail superintendent and set up a special task force to look into the Nabha jailbreak incident. A manhunt was launched to trace the prisoners who escaped, the deputy chief minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal had said.

The Punjab government also announced a reward of Rs 25 lakhs to any person providing information leading to the arrest of six escaped under-trial prisoners, ANI had reported.

Sukhbir had also added that a special investigation team under the ADGP rank officer had been constituted to look into lapses as well as any conspiracy theories surrounding the jailbreak incident.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 09:17 IST

People of country broadly happy with decision: Naidu on NDTV India ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu attacked those criticising the one-day ban on NDTV India over its Pathankot coverage, saying the “belated criticism” is clearly “ill informed and politically inspired” to create a controversy. The belated criticism of the action proposed to be taken against NDTV India for violating the norms of live coverage of anti-terrorist operations by security personnel in Pathankot in January this year is clearly ill informed and politically inspired, he told reporters here. “Such reactions that came a day after the Government’s decision was in public domain on November 3, 2016 was clearly an afterthought, suggesting a motivated design to create a controversy where none existed,” the senior minister said. He asserted that people of the country should know that the UPA Governments, during 2005-14, ordered several TV channels to go off air in 21 instances, for a period ranging from one day to two months for showing obscene visuals including 13 cases of telecasting ‘Adult’ rated certified films.One channel was taken off air for 30 days for telecasting a sting operation, he said. “People of the country are also wise enough to appreciate which of the two violations showing obscene visuals at the stroke of midnight and risking the lives of defence personnel and civilians through a live telecast of anti-terrorist operations in broad daylight- is a serious threat to the interests of the nation including its sovereignty, integrity and security,” Naidu said. The Minister said the decision against NDTV India was not based on any newly invented rule and principle. “The ground on which action has been proposed against NDTV India was only a logical conclusion of concerns clearly articulated by the UPA Government in various advisories issued after 26/11 terror attacks on multiple targets in Mumbai in 2008,” he said. Rejecting criticism that compared the present case to Emergency, Naidu said many BJP leaders and a large number of activists were at the “worst receiving end of Emergency and would shudder to even think of doing the same to others and particularly, in respect of freedom of media.” Responding to criticism by Editors Guild of India, Naidu said, “The Editors Guild of India, a responsible organisation that took a full day to come out with its response should realise that under Sub-section (2) of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, Central Government is required to regulate or prohibit the transmission of any channel or programme in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and security of India and as per Para 8.1 of Uplinking Guidelines, is empowered to take action for transmitting any objectionable content inconsistent with public interest. Therefore, the Government is not required to approach the Courts in such cases, as suggested by the Guild, he added. “I leave it to the wisdom of the Editors Guild to ponder if the decision against NDTV India for the reasons explained, is really reminiscent of the dark days of Emergency,” he said. Naidu said that very recently in an interaction, he had stressed that effective self-regulation by media is the best way of protecting its freedom and we are committed to it.”I also said that freedom is best upheld when its value is fully appreciated. In this case, that much valued freedom was not put to best use by NDTV India. I am happy to note that the people of the country are broadly with the decision in the matter of NDTV India,” he said.Always, there will be a minority who are critical of whatever the Government does in the best interest of the country, Naidu added. The minister also said that in several advisories issued by the previous UPA Government, all news and current affairs TV channels were clearly asked to exercise restraint, maturity and sensitivity while reporting on anti-terrorist operations in the larger interest of safety and security of security forces involved in such operations and civilians. Expressing concern over continued violations, the then UPA Government concluded that any coverage violating such norms amount to coverage against the interests of the nation, he added. Naidu said the NDA Government too issued a couple of such advisories and like the then UPA Government, noticed continued violations as in the case of Gurdaspur terrorist attack. As the Government is deeply committed to upholding the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country, particularly, in the context of cross border terrorism, the government issued a Gazette Notification in March this year requiring TV channels to limit live coverage of anti-terrorist operations to the briefings of designated officers, in the larger security interests involved, he said. NDTV India, in this case has been found to have violated this provision and was found to be unrepentant about what they have done. This channel was also found to have resorted to similar violations earlier, he said. This decision, accordingly, was only a culmination of the larger security concerns being expressed since 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that recommended action against the channel did so after duly acknowledging the instant reach and power of television unlike other media and only recommended suspension of telecast just for one day as a token, so that the said channel cannot get away completely for being even unrepentant in the matter.

After NDTV India, govt orders Assam channel to go off air on 9 November for violations

New Delhi: After NDTV India, the government has also ordered that an Assam-based news channel be taken off air for a day, following the recommendations of a high-level panel which felt it had “violated” programming guidelines on more than one occasion.

Screenshot from PratidinTime's YouTube pageScreenshot from PratidinTime's YouTube page

Screenshot from PratidinTime’s YouTube page

An I&B ministry order dated 2 November, has sought that the channel ‘News Time Assam’, be taken off air on 9 November, for a day.

One of the allegations against the channel relates to telecasting a programme which revealed the identity of a minor who had been brutally tortured while working as a domestic servant.

Observing that the visuals telecast by the channel appeared to compromise the privacy and dignity of the child
while also exposing him to harm and stigma, a showcause notice was issued to the channel in October 2013.

Having listened to the channel’s version, the Inter-Ministerial Committee which looked into the matter felt that
the channel may be taken off air for a day.

According to the order, the matter was reconsidered as some other channels had also shown similar content for which they had been issued warnings, but the IMC looked at all the circumstances and again recommended taking it off air for a day.

The same order also lists two other cases of alleged violations by the channel which were considered by the IMC.

One of them related to telecast of gory visuals of dead bodies for which a recommendation was made to take off the channel for a day.

In another case, the channel telecast a programme which allegedly appeared to defamatory towards to women and in bad taste. The IMC had asked the channel to run an apology scroll but since it did not comply, in this regard, taking it off air for a day was recommended.

The I&B ministry order, dated 2 November, mentions all the three cases and says that the “IMC clarified that the TV channel can be allowed to carry out the three awards of one day off air concurrently.”

Quoting rules under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, the ministry order said that the government “orders to prohibit the transmission or retransmission of News Time Assam TV channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 00:01 hours on 9th November, 2016 till 00:01 hours on 10th November, 2016.”

NDTV India has also been ordered off air for the same date over its coverage of the Pathankot attack, which has
resulted in a massive controversy.

Surgical strike: Escalation of cross-border firing not in anyone’s interest, says Pakistan Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching its version of a media publicity blitzkrieg aimed at challenging the Indian Army’s claim of having conducted surgical strikes on the Pakistan side of Kashmir, the Pakistan Army has said escalation of military cross-border firing or engagement is not in anyone’s interest.”Escalation and war mongering do not suit anyone. We have neither escalated nor want to increase tensions,” the Dawn quoted Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa, as telling media at a forward command post on the Line of Control (LoC).According to the Dawn, about 40 journalists, both local and foreign representing about 20 media organisations, were taken to Bagsar in the Bhimbher sector and Mandol in the Hot Spring sector. The journalists were reportedly given briefings by regional commanders and the military spokesman, and were allowed to interact with locals.Lt. Gen. Bajwa maintained during his interaction with the media that the Indian Army did not carry out surgical strikes as claimed and demanded that the latter be transparent and open. India had claimed that “surgical strikes” by its troops had caused “significant damage to terrorists and those who were trying to support them.”

India and UAE will set up joint parliamentary committee to boost ties

Dubai: India and the UAE will set up an Emirati-Indian parliamentary committee and exchange visits of lawmakers to boost parliamentary ties as part of their growing strategic partnership and unify their visions on various issues, including security and challenges facing the region.

A decision was taken in this regard during a meeting between first woman speaker of UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) Amal Abdullah Al-Qubaisi and the Indian ambassador to UAE, TP Seetharam in Dubai on Saturday.

A file photo of UAE's Crowned Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) with PM Modi during his India visit. The two nations are engaging to boost bilateral ties. ReutersA file photo of UAE's Crowned Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) with PM Modi during his India visit. The two nations are engaging to boost bilateral ties. Reuters

A file photo of UAE’s Crowned Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) with PM Modi from his India visit in Feb 2016. The two nations are engaging actively to boost bilateral ties. Reuters

During the meeting, Al-Qubaisi stressed the importance of activating parliamentary relations between FNC and Indian parliament by establishing a friendly Emirati-Indian parliamentary committee, and by prompting parliamentary visits between the two sides, state-run WAM news agency reported.

Al Qubaisi said it was important that the two countries strengthen relations in all fields and achieve the required communication for parliamentary diplomacy, as well as to unify their visions and positions on various issues as part of their important roles in addressing issues of security and stability and the challenges facing the region.

The two sides stressed the importance of consultation and coordination between FNC and Indian parliament delegations during their participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union in order to unify positions and views on various issues of interest to both countries and peoples.

They also agreed to prepare a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of the parliamentary committee, and highlighted existing areas of cooperation in various political, economic, cultural and investment sectors.

Al Qubaisi and Seetharam stressed that bilateral relations have reached a higher level of strategic partnership following the momentous visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in February to India, the report said.

She said India has a deep-rooted democracy in the world and serves as a model for a constitution based on democracy, pluralism, and women’s political participation.

Al Qubaisi also paid tribute to the important role played by the Indian parliament locally and internationally in serving the people of India.

India’s fifth generation fighter jet deal with Russia on cards soon

India is close to signing an agreement on co-developing the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) for use by the Indian Air Force (IAF), defence minister Manohar Parrikar has said during his media interactions to mark the second anniversary of Modi government.The deal over signing a Research and Development (R&D) contract is stuck since 2013 and holds significance for IAF which is dealing with a depleting fighter squadron.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials told dna that IAF wants more than 30 modifications in an existing prototype of FGFA. These include advanced avionics, maneuverability and stealth features before going ahead on signing the R&D contract. “The talks with Russians is at an advanced stage. We shall reach a contract soon,”a senior official said.The aircraft is to be jointly produced by the defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation. IAF requires 200 twin-seat and 50 single seat aircraft to replace Mig-29s and MiG-27s, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).India signed the Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) with Russia for co-development of FGFA) in October 2007. The preliminary design stage of the FGFA programme was completed in June 2013 on the basis of a contract signed in December 2010. The next stage of development of FGFA awaits signing of the R&D contract.Currently IAF’s squadron strength is at 34 as against the sanctioned strength of 42. IAF’s front line fighters, the Russian Sukhoi 30’s serviceability is around 55 percent only and vice chief BS Dhanoa is March last said IAF is not ready for a two-front war with China and Pakistan together.

Check, for Telangana Inter 1st and 2nd Year exam result to be declared today

The Telangana State Board of Intermediate Examination (TSBIE) will on Thursday announce the results of the 1st and 2nd Year intermediate public exam and vocational courses that were held in March.The results for the BIE Telangana / TS Board Intermediate are expected to be declared by 11 am.Almost 9 lakh students had appeared for the Inter 1st year and 2nd year exam this year.The official website for accessing the result is Students are advised to check the official website for the latest information.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Telangana Inter Results 2016 will be available on the official websites:,, and’s role is to primarily regulate and supervise the system of Intermediate education. It executes devising of courses of study, prescribing syllabus, conducting examinations, granting affiliations to colleges and, providing direction, support and leadership for all educational institutions under its jurisdiction.About Telangana State Board of Intermediate EducationThe TSBIE aims to primarily regulate and supervise the system of Intermediate education. It executes devising of courses of study, prescribing syllabus, conducting examinations, granting affiliations to colleges and, providing direction, support and leadership for all educational institutions under its jurisdiction.The board is looking to promote education through quality leadership, support and services.

Telangana State Intermediate 2016 1st, 2nd year board exam results postponed: Check new date here

The Telangana Intermediate 1st Year and 2nd year results that was scheduled to be declared on April 20th has been postponed. According to reports, the results will be declared any day between 21 April to 23 April, 2016.Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education (TSBIE) students need to check their results at Almost 9 lakh students gave the Inter Ist year and 2nd year exam this year. Students are advised to check the official website for the latest information.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>About Telangana State Board of Intermediate EducationThe TSBIE aims to primarily regulate and supervise the system of Intermediate education. It executes devising of courses of study, prescribing syllabus, conducting examinations, granting affiliations to colleges and, providing direction, support and leadership for all educational institutions under its jurisdiction.
ALSO READ Check for Telangana Inter Ist and 2nd Year exam result to be declared between April 21-23The board is looking to promote education through quality leadership, support and services.

Check for AP Inter Result 2016 for 1st and 2nd year exam to be published on 19th April

The long wait of candidates are over. Andhra Pradesh Inter 1st year and 2nd year Exam Results are going to be declared on Tuesday, 19th April. The exam is conducted by AP Board of Intermediate Education – BIEAP. For the first time both the inter 1st year and inter 2nd year results are being published on the same day. It is also for the first time being published before 20th April. The board took special steps this year to ensure that candidates results are published at the earliest. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For accessing the result you need to log onto Keep your admit card handy for accessing the result. Take a print-out of the result for future reference. We wish all the candidates best of luck.

Ladakh may get world’s largest telescope

The world’s largest telescope project may come up in Ladakh after facing hurdles in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, which was the first preferred choice.Hanle in Ladakh has reportedly been shortlisted for the $1.47-billion project by Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) International observatory, reported a leading daily.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After the February meeting, the board has decided on two prospective sites – Hanle and another in Chile. Yes, it was an unexpected turn for the project which got delayed due to the decision of the Hawaiian supreme court,” TMT India programme director B Eswar Reddy told the daily.
ALSO READ China rushes to finish world’s largest telescopeThe Hawaii Supreme Court had in December 2015 cancelled the permit issued to TMT for constructing the observatory following claims that the plot in Mauna Kea was sacred, the report said.”Meanwhile, the project is also looking for prospective sites both in northern and southern hemispheres, including Hanle,” he added.India is reportedly expected to invest $212 million in the project. Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) Bengaluru and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, along with two government departments – the department of science and technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) – have been working on the project since 2013.

Headley not disclosing his wife’s involvement in 26/11 attack, alleges Jundal’s lawyer

Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, on Thursday said the court has evidence which hints towards participation of David Coleman Headley’s wife in the infamous 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks but the Pakistan American terrorist is denying her involvement.”Headley’s wife was talking with him in code language, She said the ‘cartoon’ (terror attack) is doing well, it did well the whole day. Headley said that his wife Shazia congratulated him on the success of 26/11 in code language and said that you have graduated. In record we also have a mail where Shazia told Headley ‘you did a great job yaar’,” Khan told the media here. “Headley is not divulging about his wife’s role in 26/11 terror attacks and we doubt that there is lot which is untold. The court had decided to forgive Headley only if he shares all the information and unravels the mystery by giving names of all the people involved in the terror attack. But looking at today’s session we feel that Headley is hiding a lot of information and is not confessing the whole truth,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley, who had been vehemently denying that he had not been paid by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, finally made a sensational revelation before a court today that the ISI had massively funded his entire operation.
ALSO READ ISI provided huge funds for David Headley’s 26/11 operation: Ujjwal NikamIn other revelations, Headley disclosed via video link from a US prison that he was planning another attack on India after 26/11 on the instructions of Al-Qaeda and not the LeT. He also informed that plans to kill Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was also made but he remained unharmed.

DANICS officer complains to Kejriwal about ‘harassment’ by Delhi government

A senior DANICS officer on Monday wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claiming he was being “harassed” by Delhi government, an allegation that was refuted by the ruling dispensation.Kuldeep Singh Gangar, a 1990-batch DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services) officer, has marked copies of the letter to the President, Prime Minister’s Office, Union Home Minister and the Delhi Lt Governor. The officer has sought a system in which bureaucrats do not face “hardship, harassment and humiliation”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his letter, Gangar claimed he has been without a posting for over four months now and, until March 11, had neither received his salary for the said period. Gangar, who had been behind the efforts for the first Car-Free Day, said that on October 21 last year he was called to the CM’s office over the issue of extension of tenure of shopkeepers at the Inter State Bus Terminuses. He claimed he was transferred the same day without any further posting.”On November 11, I was posted as Special IG, Tihar Jail. I reported for duty as special IG, Tihar. However, after two days… my transfer as Special IG (Tihar) was kept in abeyance. I again reported back to the Services Department. I have been without a posting for the last four months. “I did not receive salary for the last four months… however, I finally received the salary on 11th March, 2016, for the period of w.e.f 28.10.2015,” he said.Noting that Kejriwal had remarked during the recent strike by MCD workers that he understands the hardship faced when ones salary is not released on time, Gangar said, “It is requested that a system may kindly be created so that any employee of GNCTD receives the salary and other dues on time.”This will also ensure that in the future, other employees of the government of NCT of Delhi and their families do not undergo such hardship, harassment and humiliation.” Reacting to the matter, a government spokesperson said, “Transfer and posting are the prerogatives of the government. Any violation of service rules will be dealt with strongly and malicious allegations against the government will not be tolerated.”

New permanent members in reformed UNSC must get veto: India

India has reaffirmed that new permanent members in a reformed Security Council must get veto power but suggested that its use be deferred to a review conference as “a willingness for compromise”.”Our own national position has been and remains that the veto should as long as it exists be extended to new permanent members,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said here on Wednesday. “As a measure of flexibility and willingness for compromise, the use of the veto can be deferred till the Review Conference. The African Union (and this is understandable) does not wish to defer use. The difference, we see, as one of a degree than one of a kind,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A review conference is a platform provided by the UN Charter for the member states to discuss changes to any reforms achieved in the near-term, and for revisiting negotiables that cannot be agreed upon. India has in the past also said that it would consider deferring the use of the veto until a future scheduled review conference. Given the hard lines among member states on the use of the veto and differences among them over the issue, Akbaruddin asserted that the issue of veto cannot be allowed to block the process of Security Council reform itself.”The issue of veto is important but then we cannot also allow the veto to have a veto over the process of Council reform itself,” he said during the informal plenary meeting of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on ‘Question of Veto’. Akbaruddin appealed to the chair of the IGN to consolidate the negotiating text on the basis of convergence reached on issues so far while also delineating the divergence and the contrarian view of some. He stressed that that chair should ask member states to build further on the consolidated and shortened text.Historical perspectiveGiving an elaborate historical perspective on the use of the veto in the 70-year history of the UN, Akbaruddin said from the time the Security Council was created in 1946 till today, 317 vetoes have been cast and as result 230 draft resolutions or parts thereof have been vetoed in total. In effect, 10 per cent of the 2271 resolutions adopted till date have been vetoed.He further underscored that apart from the use of the veto within the Security Council, there have been expansion of the veto to the Council’s subsidiary bodies such as the Sanctions Committees.He said in these bodies, the veto has been extended to all 15 members of the Committees who can block, or object or place on hold any request of a Member State, thereby in effect killing the proposal on grounds that consensus is required.Reaction to ChinaAkbaruddin remarks come against the backdrop of China, a permanent UNSC member with veto power, blocking India’s move last year in the UN for action against Pakistan for the release of 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi from jail. “As the well-known idiom goes, ‘if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck.’ Yes… we have by a procedural stratagem expanded the veto to all members of the subsidiary bodies of the Security Council far from restraining its use,” he said.He stressed that given the history of the use of veto, it is not surprising that a significant number of member states call for abolition of the veto or to limit and curtail its use to the extent possible. Several other member states also support voluntary restrictions on the use of veto in situations such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and gross human rights violations.While some member states belong to the school of thought that restrictions should be placed on the use of the veto, there are others who want no restrictions to be placed on the veto, Akbaruddin said. “For them, history stopped in 1945. To them, all subsequent changes: the vast expansion in membership, the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid triumphs, the march of freedom; the growth of equality; all have not happened and should not be taken into account. Multilateralism means nothing; plurilateralism is the order of the day. The majority may not like it; so much the worse for the majority,” he said.Aligning India’s position with the L.69 group of developing countries, as well as with the G-4, Akbaruddin said the two largest groups of Africa and L.69 are of the view that the veto should be abolished but as long as it exists, it should be extended to all members of the permanent category of the Security Council, who “must enjoy all prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership in the permanent category including the right of the veto”.

PM Modi calls for women-led development, silent on more female politicians | Reuters

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on India’s female politicians to lead development efforts by empowering themselves with technology and knowledge, but remained silent on long-standing demands by women for a stronger voice in parliament.

In the world’s largest democracy, women hold only 12 percent of seats in the lower and upper houses of parliament combined, says the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – just over half the global average of 22.4 percent.

After years of lobbying by activists, a bill – which provides for one-third of the seats in national and state assemblies to be reserved for women – was passed by the upper house in 2010. Yet it has faced vehement resistance from male lawmakers and has failed to be tabled in the lower house.

Addressing a conference of female legislators, Modi did not directly mention his 2014 election pledge to pass the bill, but suggested that changing the make-up of parliament would not be enough to bring gender parity in politics.

“We must think beyond women’s development and move towards women-led development,” Modi told delegates on Sunday. “You will have to make yourself effective. You will have to present issues with facts and figures. Mere changes in the system will not suffice.”

Campaigners say among the numerous women’s issues that need to be addressed in India, one of the most important is to ensure that women have a voice in the highest offices of power.

A stronger voice for women at the top would trickle down and bring policies and laws which would help ordinary women fight abuse, discrimination and inequality.

Modi told the women parliamentarians they should groom female leadership at a grassroots level and seek to overcome “jealousy” and “competition” from other women in the same field.

“Politics is a game of competition but when the feeling of jealousy dominates in competition, then you cannot grow,” said Modi.

“Rather if you allow others to come up, you will go high. A kind of pyramid-like structure comes up then,” he added.

The IPU ranks India’s representation of women in national parliament well below neighbouring states such as Pakistan, which has 21 percent female representation, Afghanistan with 28 percent, and Bangladesh with 20 percent.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

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

Mathura: Mass cheating in UP Board exams; 57 students, 14 teachers booked

Students were seen copying and taking help from outside at several centres in Mathura during Uttar Pradesh Board Examinations for Classes X and XII, following which over 70 students and teachers have been booked.According to officials, 57 examinees including two girls have been booked for cheating. Cases have also been registered against 14 teachers in Valdev, Raya and Mahavan blocks of the district.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following reports of “mass copying” at Rammadhav Inter-College on Tuesday, pictures of which went viral on the Internet, deputy district collector Rajesh Kumar visited the examination centre. He was attacked and his vehicle damaged as the locals pelted stones.Pictures and videos showed friends and relatives of the students scaling walls and passing chits through windows at the exam centre.A local claimed that an organised network helps the students in the examinations in return for money.Last year, scores of students were expelled after being caught cheating during the Intermediate Examination in Vaishali in Bihar..

Siachen avalanche: Chances of finding the ten missing personnel very remote, says army

More than a day after an avalanche buried 10 Army personnel when it hit a high-altitude military post in Siachen Glacier, chances of finding any survivors were very remote even as rescue efforts were on Thursday scaled up with induction of specialised teams, sniffer dogs and equipment.



“Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” Defence PRO (Northern Command) Col SD Goswami said in a statement.

The deadly avalanche hit the post situated at 19,600 feet in Northern Glacier sector in Ladakh region in the world’s highest battlefield on Wednesday in which a JCO and nine jawans were trapped. The missing personnel were attached to the Madras Regiment stationed at the post, which is buried under tonnes of snow.

As the rescue operations by specialized teams of the Army and the Air Force entered the second day on Thursday, Col Goswami said specialised equipment was flown to Leh in the morning.

The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees Celsius in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees C during the day, he said.

He said that blocks of snow had fallen on the post, burying it very deep.

“To clear the same is a very difficult task,” he said, adding that “building on yesterday’s efforts, a very large rescue team has been deployed today to reach down till the post.”

“The rescue operations have been intensified with induction of specialised teams and equipment to trace the missing Army men,” the Defence PRO said.

Heavy snow cutters and special equipment are being used to clear and cut the ice blocks, as Army and IAF teams battle harsh weather conditions and difficult terrain to trace the missing soldiers.

Meanwhile, according to this report in Dawn, the director general military operations (DGMO) of Pakistan Army called his Indian counterpart and offered help for the rescue of the missing personnel.

The Inter-Services public Relations (ISPR) in a statement confirmed the Pakistan DGMO’s call to his Indian counterpart.

The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops contest an area at altitudes above 20,000 feet where they must deal with altitude sickness, high winds, frostbite and temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.

Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.

In 2012, at least 140 people including Pakistani soldiers and civilians were killed when an avalanche struck an Army camp in the strategically important Gayari sector.

An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat, local media reports said.

The strategic importance of the glacier is widely seen as insignificant. Until 1984, neither side had troops permanently stationed there.

Both countries agree on a need to demilitarise the glacier, but attempts to reach any agreement have been unsuccessful.

With agency inputs

Wedded to global khilafat, Islamic State suspects silent on Kashmir, Babri Masjid issues

Over a dozen suspects, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for links with the dreaded Islamic State (IS), not only have a disdain for those who do not share ‘values’ with the radical school of thought but also see ‘nationalist insurgencies’ in Afghanistan and Kashmir as problematic.According to NIA sources, the suspects, currently in its custody, have expressed dislike for Muslim minorities and see ‘nationalist insurgencies’ in Afghanistan and Kashmir as roadblocks in establishing a global khilafat. Also, unlike Indian Mujahideen (IM), IS sympathisers have graduated to ideas beyond retribution for perceived ‘atrocities’ against Indian Muslims.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The accused, unlike IM, hardly mentioned Babri Masjid demolition or Gujarat,” said an NIA official.The official said that the suspects, arrested by the agency during a nation-wide crackdown on alleged IS sympathisers, do not have particular enemies in mind and neither had narrowed down on possible targets which they could have attacked.”The accused are at a stage where they feel that any entity, person or state, that do not share their vision for a khilafat is an enemy. An assessment of some of the statements apparently made by leaders of west Asian terror outfits clearly show how they see India and other South Asian countries as targets,” the official added.The 13th issue of IS propaganda magazine Dabiq, which carried an interview of Hafiz Saeed Khan, the emir of ‘Khorasan’, also reflected a commonality between NIA findings and views shared by the IS leaders about India and Pakistan.”In west Asian countries, radical groups like IS are called ‘takfiris’ – a word used for a person who accuses another Muslim of apostasy,” said an NIA official.Interestingly, IS had in its latest edition of Dabiq referred to Hamid Gul, an ex-director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, as ‘murtaddin’ or apostates. The magazine identifies Hafiz Saeed as the chief of ‘apostate’ Laskar-e-Toiba.Saeed had said that the Pakistan army and intelligence exploited Islamic organisations on the issue of Kashmir for their despicable personal interests. “It’s neither concern over the affairs of Muslims, nor is it for the sake of establishing Allah’s law in the land,” he had said.

No nuclear missiles at Republic Day parade third time in row

For the third year in a row, India did not display any of its nuclear missiles during the Republic Day parade.In 2013, India had displayed the Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Agni V during the Republic Day Parade. The chief guest at that time was Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. However, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came in as the Chief Guest in 2014, no ballistic missiles were displayed. India at that time was negotiating a civil nuclear deal with Japan, the only country to have suffered an atom bomb attack.The nuclear missiles were also missing during the Republic Day Parade last year when US President Barack Obama was the chief guest.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked why ballistic missiles are not being displayed, Maj Gen Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff Delhi Area of Indian Army said deterrence is not about showcasing everything we have. “Certain platforms are in open domain which are not showcased. There are some items which are not showcased every time,” he had told reporters recently. However, he added that some items could come back next year as displays are done on a rotation basis.The Army, which has been talking about the ‘Make in India’ initiative, chose to display Russian T 90 tanks instead of the indigenous Arjun tanks developed by the DRDO.The Army displayed Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP II (Sarath), Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Akash Weapon System, Smerch Launcher Vehicles and Integrated Communication Electronic Warfare System. The Navy displayed flight deck operations on the new aircraft carrier Vikrant, under construction at the Kochi Shipyard, and the indigenously constructed submarine ‘Kalvari’ by Mazagaon Dock, having ‘Made in India’ tag on them.Among the fighters displayed by the IAF, there were five French Jaguars.

Nawaz Sharif bypasses ISI, asks IB to probe

Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, on Friday, met his top brass – the second such meeting in last two days, since his return from Colombo – to discuss the Pathankot incident, and directed his security establishment to cooperate with India in unearthing terror links involved.Sources in Islamabad told dna over phone that the Pakistan PM, who recently hosted his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Lahore, also handed over the probe and all leads provided by India to Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Aftab Sultan, who works directly under him, instead of the normal practice of passing them on to the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), which works under the army.The extra-ordinary step is perceived in diplomatic corridors here as Sharif’s desire to salvage the talks with India. Officials in New Delhi, while terming it “a rare, positive encouraging signal… and a deviation from past record of remaining in denial mode”, however, said a “credible” step on the actionable intelligence was still awaited.Stating that this alone will help build trust, “a necessity for kickstarting a genuine dialogue process”, an official said: “At the very minimum, we expect the terror handlers to be arrested and those behind the attack tracked down.”According to sources in Pakistan, Sharif has directed NSA Nasser Khan Janjua to remain in contact with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval for gathering additional information. This happened after an official, at the meeting, said that information provided by India was “not enough”, as it was so far limited to telephone numbers,The meeting was attended by chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif, DG ISI Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, advisor to PM on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, national security advisor Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Janjua, finance minister Ishaq Dar, foreign secretary and DG military operations.During the meeting, Sharif said goodwill generated by the recent high-level contacts should not be allowed to go haywire. He hoped the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process.”We would like to have solid information to build a case for action. Otherwise, the suspects will walk out free on bail,” a Sharif aide told dna. He further said that strong action would be taken if probe finds anyone guilty.Meanwhile, investigators in Pathankot have found painkillers made in Lahore and syringes made in Karachi in one of the buildings at the airbase where the terrorists were holed up. The terrorists also carried performance-enhancing drugs, bandages, cotton, vials of perfume and dates. “The details will be provided to Pakistan soon,” an official told dna.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>