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Goa Elections 2017: Church to issue guidelines for members to help them decide ‘right candidates’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goa Church will issue guidelines to Christians to help them decide “the right candidate” to vote for in the next year’s Assembly elections.The Church, however, clarified that it will not canvass for any candidate or the party. “Elections to the legislative Assembly are approaching and Church leadership in Goa will take up this duty bound task once again.”We do issue guidelines to our faithful on how to exercise their franchise and thus fulfill one of their sacred civic duties,” Archbishop of Goa and Daman Rev Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao said today here while addressing a customary reception on Christmas.He said though the guidelines are read out in churches, they never mention name of any candidate or any political party. The function was attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar among others. However, the archbishop said the faithfuls are requested to vote as per their conscience. He lamented that “certain elements today accuse the church in India of being involved in conversions.” “Our institutions have been attacked, robbed, burnt down and the perpetrators of this crime often goes scot free.It is almost as if the tiny three percent is posing a serious threat for the disintegration of the whole nation,” Ferrao said. Referring to the illegal mining issue, the archbishop said the church is the trustee of this land.”It is our solemn duty to ensure that the value of the land is passed on to our future generation. All generation and all within a generation would benefit equally.”But what we see is extensive environmental and social damage to Goa which has generated rampant corruption and even weakened governance. It has been an assault on our community and our natural wealth, more distressingly it has been a loss to our children and our future generation,” he said.

Air Chief Arup Raha backs OROP, says it should be accepted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on Wednesday asserted that One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme of the government is reasonably good and said that one should accept it.”The OROP by the government is reasonably good. We should accept it. The anomalies are being resolved by one-judge committee. Some of the anomalies and the discrepancies which cropped up from the transition from the sixth to seventh pay commission have been resolved… others will also be resolved,” he added.Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress Party on Tuesday of betraying the jawans by not fulfilling the long-pending OROP demand in the last 40 years. Addressing a parivartan rally in Dehradun, Prime Minister Modi said, “My Army jawans were demanding OROP for the last 40 years, the party that ruled the country then never thought of their demands.” “In reality, the budget for OROP is over Rs. 10,000 crore. Why did they (Congress) betray the Jawans by allocating 500 crore for this,” he added.He said the Centre was always clear that from day one that the Jawans must get their due and therefore, his government always stated that OROP will be a reality. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar earlier last month said 95% of veterans have already got the benefits of the OROP scheme and they are happy with it.The scheme, announced in September 2015, is meant to ensure equal pension to servicemen who retired on the same rank and after the same duration of service, regardless of the year of retirement. However, retired soldiers have been alleging that the government has not addressed their concerns fully about disparity in pension payments.

Lt Gen Bakshi’s leave sparks speculation about early retirement

Tue, 27 Dec 2016-11:30pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speculation about Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who has been superseded by Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Army Chief, taking premature retirement heightened on Tuesday after he proceeded on leave.Army sources, however, said Lt Gen Bakshi is on a pre-scheduled three-day leave and is expected to resume duties on December 30, a day before Lt Gen Rawat takes over as the new Army Chief.There has been speculation that Lt Gen Bakshi may take premature retirement. He had recently met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, fuelling speculation about his possible resignation.

Goans celebrate Christmas with traditional fervour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goans celebrate Christmas with traditional fervourWith the peel of the midnight bells, churches across Goa celebrated the birth of Lord Jesus heralding the Christmas season which will culminate with New Year festivities.Lakhs of faithfuls attended the midnight masses which were held across the state celebrating birth of Jesus Christ, followed by traditional dances at various places.Goa has 27% of its population following Roman Catholic faith. Cribs were unveiled at many places after midnight masses, depicting the birth of Jesus Christ in the stable.Archbishop of Goa and Daman Fr Filipe Neri Ferrao’s Christmas eve message was broadcast across the state through cable network on television in which he emphasised for the nations to take unified action against environmental degradation and irresponsible development.”This Christmas let us make room for God to change us and through us change the world around us. Cutting across man-made barriers, let us commit ourselves to build a new society wherein everyone would be welcomed, accepted and loved,” the Archbishop said in the traditional message.The Archbishop’s Palace, located at Altinho in Panaji city, would be hosting a civic reception on December 28 which is expected to be attended by several prominent personalities, including Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, a spokesman for the church said today.While locals are busy celebrating Christmas, more tourists are expected to arrive in the state to usher in the New Year. “We expect good response for the New Year season this year. The visitors have already started arriving. This is the time when everyone wants to be in Goa and they are right in deciding Goa as their New Year celebration destination,” state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar.He ruled out any impact of demonetization on the tourist inflow.”There was slight impact initially, but now things are normal,” he said.

Infantry combat vehicles to be fitted with sensors to detect nuclear, biological, chemical attacks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a first, the infantry combat vehicles of the Indian army used for carrying troops into battle zones providing direct fire support will be fitted with automated sensors to detect a nuclear, biological or a chemical attack (NBC).The army plans to procure 1500 indigenously designed modern systems that can be installed on these vehicles. The decision has been taken in view of rising NBC warfare threats. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1,265 crore.“It will be an automatic mechanism that can detect a threat and act accordingly, controlling air temperature, sealing the vehicle completely and shutting down the systems in the vehicle,” said an army officer.Currently, there is a manual system in case of a threat which is not very effective.Infantry fighting vehicles are armour installed and also allow personnel to fire from within making them distinct from armoured personnel carriers (APCs), which are transport vehicles armed only for self-defense and not specifically engineered to fight on their own.The decision to develop and design a system to combat such threats was taken by the Ministry of Defence on Friday as the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar gave the go ahead.Other than this, the DAC cleared the procurement of 55 low-level light weight radars at an estimated cost of Rs. 419 crore for the army and the Air Force that will give 3D images also to be designed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).The government also gave clearance to the IAF to purchase one more C17 heavy transport aircraft and also gave the nod to the Coast Guard’s proposal to acquire six multi-mission maritime aircraft for Rs 5,500 crore.Two “classified” proposals for the acquisition of arms and ammunition for the Special Forces and another related to the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) is also understood to have been cleared.The aircraft likely to be shortlisted for the Coast Guard is the C295, which is already been negotiated as a replacement for the Avro transport fleet of the air force.

Dance naked if you want more publicity: Parrikar slams Goan media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar lost his cool with the Goan media and said those who blabber unnecessarily should take off their clothes and dance in the nude. He said: “Some people do not understand their limits. They keep blabbering. I have some good advice for them. Remove your clothes and dance naked (kapde kadha ani nagde nacha). One will get even better publicity. I still remember in 1968 during the Watergate issue, he (an editor) had written a large editorial advising (Richard) Nixon. Now, how could an editorial written by him in Marathi reach Nixon? He is in America. Some people do not understand their limits. They keep blabbering.”He added: “One will get even better publicity. I give one advice to those who abuse to get publicity. There was a newspaper here. It is still there. I will not take its name. It had an editor. He was an international level editor, he was brought here in his old age. His newspaper had a sale of 1,000…”Earlier, he slammed the `negative coverage orchestrated by political opponents’ after the then Congress legislator Mauvin Godinho joined BJP, Parrikar said, “It was not a new fact that Godinho joined BJP. It was a known fact, for four and a half years Godinho is with us. Similarly, (Congress legislator Pandurang) Madkaikar has been expressing his wish to join BJP for last six months.”About party’s recent split with alliance partner Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Parrikar said BJP knew how to respect the alliance `dharma’.”Despite having 21 legislators, we gave two ministerial berths (to MGP), one to an independent MLA….But that does not mean we should take alliance partner in confidence while deciding our Chief Minister. That is the decision of the party,” he said.”You cannot be in the government and criticise it. I always say if you tell me something politely I am ready to sweep your house, but if someone shows arrogance then I will kick his butt,” Parrikar said.The former Goa Chief Minister said the only promise given to voters here that he could not keep was to shift to Panaji (from neighbouring Mapusa).”I wanted to buy a flat in Panaji but it was not affordable for me….I had to buy it on the outskirts,” he said.

Manohar Parrikar has a advice for Goan Media critics: Take off clothes and dance naked

Panaji: In a stern critique of a section of the Goan media, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said his advice to those who blabber needlessly was to take off their clothes and dance naked to get publicity.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Parrikar, who attended a Bharatiya Janata Party meeting in Sattari sub district in north Goa, located 40 km from Panaji, was speaking on Monday vis-a-vis the limits of criticism.

“I still remember in 1968 during the Watergate issue, he (an editor) had written a large editorial advising (Richard) Nixon. Now, how could an editorial written by him in Marathi reach Nixon? He is in America.

“Some people do not understand their limits. They keep blabbering. I have some good advice for them. Remove your clothes and dance naked (kapde kadha ani nagde nacha).

“One will get even better publicity,” Parrikar said, while referring to an editor of a vernacular newspaper in Panaji.

“I give one advice to those who abuse to get publicity. There was a newspaper here. It is still there. I will not take its name. It had an editor.

“He was an international level editor, he was brought here in his old age. His newspaper had a sale of 1,000…” the former Goa Chief Minister said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 22:08 IST

Nitin Gadkari to lay foundation stone for 4/6 laning of NH in Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari would lay the foundation stone for four/six-laning of National Highway in Goa on December 22.The move is expected to reduce the travel time between one corner of the state to another by an hour.”Nitin Gadkarji is arriving in Goa on December 22. On that day, he will be laying foundation stone for four/six laning of National Highway-17 and 4A. At few places, the roads would be made into four lanes and at some places six lanes,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said addressing the Vijay Sankalp rally in Dabolim constituency on Monday evening.Parrikar said the entire project would cost around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore. During the project, all precautions would be taken to ensure that maximum houses are protected from facing demolition. He said the highway would also be connected to the site at Mopa in North Goa where Greenfield airport is proposed.”The travel time between one corner of Goa to another which is currently two-and-half hours will be curtailed to one-and-half hours after the four and six-laning of the roads,” he said.Parrikar said the Union government has decided to financially support all the infrastructure projects in Goa.”In last five years, Goa government has constructed several bridges and created infrastructure. This time when we sit to pen the manifesto for the forthcoming election, we have to find out which bridge is remaining to be taken up,” the former state Chief Minister said. He said the third bridge over Mandovi river near Panaji would be completed by August next year as 70% work on the project has been completed.The cable stayed bridge over Zuari river with six lane road would be completed in next two years, Parrikar added.

Parsekar takes potshots at Rahul, says mere presence of Cong VP prompted many of his party leaders to quit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi after his recent Goa visit, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that the mere presence of Congress Vice-President in the state prompted many of his party leaders to quit the outfit.”See the impact of Rahul Gandhi s presence in Goa. First day, one of their legislators left the party, Parsekar said addressing Vijay Sankalp rally on Sunday night in Margao constituency.The CM was referring to the resignation of Congress legislator Mauvin Godinho on December 17 who joined BJP on the day when Gandhi addressed a rally in Fatorda village.”Second day, Congress former minister quit the party. Now let us see what is in store for the future and how many people are leaving,” Parsekar said referring to former Congress minister Manohar Asgaonkar, who quit the party and joined the MGPon Saturday.The Chief Minister also claimed that Rahul Gandhi had told local leaders to gather 50,000 people for his Goa rally but only a few thousands turned up.”This is because (Narendra) Modi meeting had a crowd of one lakh (held in the run up for 2014 Lok Sabha polls).But what we witnessed was that empty buses were arriving from different parts of the state for Gandhi’s rally,” he commented.Gandhi, at the Fatorda rally had accused PM Modi of working for one per cent super rich people at the cost of 99 per cent honest Indians.

Have cleared names for the next Indian Army chief and IAF chief, says Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that he will soon name the next Indian Army and Indian Air Force chiefs.

He was speaking after paying tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi on Vijay Diwas or Victory Day that is observed on 16 December to mark the military triumph over Pakistan in 1971 which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

The Defence Minister, however, did not give a timeline for naming the new chiefs. Asked whether the line of succession might be broken in the appointment of the next army chief, Parrikar said cryptically: “Line of succession is decided by the people.”

The Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhaag, and the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, are both set to retire on 31 December.

File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file with nominations for the new chiefs is with the Prime Minister’s Office, and a formal announcement is expected after parliament’s winter session concludes on Friday, sources said.

The sources also added that the Eastern Army Commander, Lt General Praveen Bakshi; the Southern Army Commander, Lt. General PM Hariz and the army vice chief, Lt Gen Bipin Rawat are in the fray to succeed General Singh .

Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a Kargil war veteran, and the IAF vice chief is in the fray for the top job.

Talking about the significance of 16 December, Parrikar said it was a day when India achieved a “decisive victory”.

“I don’t have to stress on the importance of this great day. This is the day when we achieved a decisive victory and created a new country,” he said.

On the next canisterisated test for Agni V missile, the minister said he would not like to comment much on it and said: “Testing goes on, I will not comment much. We have achieved 100 percent success in all the tests this year.”

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 11:27 IST

Mamata vs Army: Relationship with Bengal govt remains unchanged, says army official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Notwithstanding West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s complaint about Army exercise at toll gates, a senior Army official on Monday said that its working relationship with the state government had not changed.”We have good communication at the local level. There has been no change in our working relationship,” Eastern Command’s Major General General Staff, Maj Gen R Nagraj, told reporters here. Earlier in the month, Banerjee had accused the Centre of deploying the Army at toll plazas in the state without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”. The CM had refused to leave her office in Kolkata till the armymen were withdrawn from toll plazas, and had asked whether it was an “Army coup”, drawing sharp reaction from the Centre.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had last week written to the chief minister expressing “deep pain” over her allegations and said it can “adversely” impact the morale of the armed forces. Asked to comment on the allegation of collection of money by Army personnel, the Major General says that the Army is a powerful organisation and they do not tolerate such incidents.”There was no such news before us. This is against the ethos of the Indian Army,” he said. On Army’s preparedness to tackle challenges from across the border, Nagraj said they are always ready.”Given the current circumstances all units and formations of the Army are fully alert. We are ready for action and also for lending a helping hand to our fellow citizens,” he said.

Alliance with BJP in Goa to continue only if CM Parsekar is removed: MGP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar of pushing the state backwards, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), a constituent of the ruling coalition, on Thursday said its alliance with BJP will continue only if he is removed from the top post.This stance by MGP has created uncertainty over its alliance with the BJP in the state Assembly polls, scheduled to be held early next year. “When we formed the alliance during the 2012 Goa State Legislative Assembly election, we had done it considering Manohar Parrikar as the leader of BJP. But over the last two-and-a-half years, the leadership is with Laxmikant Parsekar,” MGP President Dipak Dhavalikar told reporters after chairing the central working committee meeting of the party.Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was handpicked as the country’s Defence Minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP-led NDA government came to power.
ALSO READ There cannot be a deadline for cashless transactions: Goa CM Dhavalikar said MGP will not fight the upcoming Goa Legislative Assembly election in alliance with BJP if Parsekar continues to be the BJP legislature party leader. “During the last two-and-a-half years, Parsekar has pushed Goa backwards by 10 years. We are not comfortable with him as the state CM,” said Dhavalikar, who along with his elder brother Sudin, are part of BJP-led state cabinet.BJP and MGP had fought 2012 polls together, wherein the former won 21 seats, while the latter clinched three seats out of the total 40 constituencies.Dhavalikar said that before beginning the talks of alliance with MGP, BJP should first declare who would be the party’s face for upcoming state polls. “When Parsekar was chosen as a leader after Parrikar was elevated to the Union Cabinet, we were not taken into confidence,” the minister said.He also said that the state government had not taken them into confidence while announcing the decision to make Goa the first ‘cashless state’ in the country. Responding to a question on whether Goa can be made a cashless state, Dhavalikar taunted, “Goa is already a cashless state. Where’s the cash with government? We are already cashless.”

Goa: MGP-BJP alliance to continue only if Laxmikant Parsekar is replaced as CM

Panaji: Accusing Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar of pushing the state backwards, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), a constituent of the ruling coalition, on Thursday said its alliance with BJP will continue only if he is removed from the top post.

This stance by MGP has created uncertainty over its alliance with the BJP in the state Assembly polls, scheduled to be held early next year.

File photo of Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.  PTI

File photo of Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar. PTI

“When we formed the alliance during the 2012 Goa State Legislative Assembly election, we had done it considering Manohar Parrikar as the leader of BJP. But over the last two-and-a-half years, the leadership is with Laxmikant Parsekar,” MGP President Dipak Dhavalikar told reporters after chairing the central working committee meeting of the party.

Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was picked as the country’s defence minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP-led NDA government came to power.

Dhavalikar said MGP will not fight the upcoming Goa Legislative Assembly election in alliance with BJP if Parsekar continues to be the BJP legislature party leader.

“During the last two-and-a-half years, Parsekar has pushed Goa backwards by 10 years. We are not comfortable with him as the state CM,” said Dhavalikar, who along with his elder brother Sudin, are part of BJP-led state cabinet.

BJP and MGP had fought 2012 polls together, wherein the former won 21 seats, while the latter clinched three seats out of the total 40 constituencies.

Dhavalikar said that before beginning the talks of alliance with MGP, BJP should first declare who would be the party’s face for upcoming state polls.

“When Parsekar was chosen as a leader after Parrikar was elevated to the Union Cabinet, we were not taken into confidence,” the minister said.

He also said that the state government had not taken them into confidence while announcing the decision to make Goa the first ‘cashless state’ in the country.

Responding to a question on whether Goa can be made a cashless state, Dhavalikar taunted, “Goa is already a cashless state. Where’s the cash with government? We are already cashless.”

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 15:33 IST

Didi vs Army: Parrikar slams Mamata, says Army was doing routine survey

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said army was present in some toll plazas in West Bengal to study the carrying capacity of the roads in case of mass armed forces movement and accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing politics over the forces.”The other day I was listening to the statement by a Chief Minister of one state. Army had gone (to that state) for routine survey. Every year once or twice, they visit the states to study the vehicle carrying capacity of the road.This is done considering the preparedness to move the armed forces,” Parrikar said without naming Banerjee during the ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally at Goa’s Mayem constituency.”These forces don’t move in a group of 100-200, they are 10,000-15,000 in numbers and for such movement at-least 500 trucks are required. Therefore, the Army always check(s) the carrying capacity of the road,” he said.”Also they (Army) checks how many lorries (trucks) are available in the nearby villages. This is their annual exercise,” said the Defence Minister.Explaining Army s presence at the toll posts, Parrikar said, “they were standing at toll post because the vehicles stop there. If Army wants to ask any information, it can be sought there.”Parrikar also said, “I don’t know what the Chief Minister felt. When I was about to go to sleep, the television started flashing (the statement) that Army has taken over.” “I inquired (with the Army), they informed me that the proper communication has been made with the state government.Originally the Army was supposed to conduct that exercise on November 28, 29 and 30, but since ‘Bharat Bandh’ was declared on November 28, we were requested to shift it to December 1 and 2,” he added.”I can understand the grief (she suffered) due to demonetization but why should Army be involved in politics.You will never find Army involved in politics. That day I witnessed what is political frustration,” the former Goa Chief Minister said.Parrikar further accused that many politicians were in grief because “those who had stocked money as a preparedness towards election, their money has became useless overnight due to demonetisation”.On December 2, presence of army personnel at toll plazas in West Bengal triggered a row with Banerjee remaining at the state secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”, drawing a stinging condemnation from the Centre which said the remark showed her “political frustration”.

AAP posters, ‘topis’ disappeared in Goa post note ban: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent dig at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said after the November 8 demonetization move, the roadside posters and ‘topis’ (caps) had disappeared in Goa.”After demonetisation, the roadside posters and ‘topis’ (a distinctive insignia for AAP supporters) had disappeared. I am told slowly they are getting visible now,” Parrikar said.The former Goa Chief Minister, addressing a ‘`Vijay Sankalp’ rally at Shiroda near here, was referring to the banners put up by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party claiming it will win the state Assembly polls, likely to be held in the first quarter of 2017.The coastal state is currently ruled by a BJP-led coalition.”Goans don’t go by banners and numbers (related to seats) flashed on them,” he said, adding voters have realised BJP is the only party which works for overall development of the state.Parrikar appealed to voters to give at least 26 Assembly seats to the BJP (out of the total 40) in the ensuing elections.Talking about the drive to make Goa a cashless society, Parrikar said 10,000 Point of Sale (PoS) machines will be installed in the state and more than 70,000 people trained in handling cashless transactions by December.”Goa was the first state that started going cashless through implementation of its social welfare schemes. The government directly transferred money under these schemes to the account of beneficiaries,” he recalled.

Why have terror strikes increased after November 8, asks Shiv Sena

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting out at the Centre over killing of Indian soldiers on the border, the ruling BJP’s ally Shiv Sena on Friday sought to know why there was a ‘spurt’ in such attacks after the November 8 announcement of demonetization.”While scrapping Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, the government had said the move will break the backbone of terrorists as they are heavily dependent on high value notes for funding and carrying out terror activities. If this is true, why have terror strikes increased after November 8?” an editorial in Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana said.The Sena demanded that the Defence Ministry clarify the number of soldiers martyred since November 8. “While the national anthem will be respected in cinema halls, the question is whether there is any respect left for the lives of our soldiers. Our jawans at the border are dying everyday. If this does not stop, a question mark will emerge on the country’s defence preparedness,” the Sena said.Taking on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over his remarks that his ministry got a call from Pakistan “pleading” with India to stop firing, the Sena said the minister had created an impression that the neighbouring country had bowed down and there would be no more terror threats from its side. “But, even before Parrikar completed his words, Pakistan attacked Indian camps and all peace had been lost. How do we stop the losses being suffered by our Army? First, it was Pathankot, then Uri and now Nagrota. Terrorists are blatantly spilling the blood of our soldiers,” the Sena said. It said that there were several Army posts in the country which do not even have CCTV cameras, let alone sophisticated machinery.On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir was rocked by two terror attacks in which seven Army personnel, including two Major-rank officers were killed. Eight security men including a BSF DIG, were injured before six heavily-armed terrorists were eliminated in a fierce encounter at Samba sector in the state.

Tired of hearing from our PM, take ‘concrete’ action against Pak: Shashi Tharoor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that the escalations along the border are rising especially after the Nagrota terror attack where seven soldiers lost their lives, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take tangible action instead of making speeches about taking action against terrorists.”I want my government to talk less and act more. We are tired of hearing from our Prime Minster, Defence Minister about their possible retaliations, but despite that soldiers are dying. If you want to retort, then do it by taking any concrete and tangible action, not by talking,” Tharoor told media.on Tuesday, two Indian Army officers and five soldiers were killed in the attack, where a group of heavily armed terrorists disguised in police uniforms targeted an army unit located three kilometers from the corps headquarters.The terrorists forced their entry into the officers mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries, the army said in a statement.This led to a hostage like situation, but it was quickly contained, and thereafter, in a deliberate operation, all were successfully rescued, which included 12 soldiers, two ladies and two children.Defence PRO Manish Mehta said that combing operations have been called off for now and would resume at the crack of dawn on Wednesday.Chief of Army Staff General Dalbir Singh has briefed Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on the attack.

Manohar Parrikar to visit Bangladesh, first by an Indian defence minister

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will on Wednesday embark on a two-day visit to Bangladesh during which he will call on the top leadership there and firm up defence cooperation initiatives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s trip here next month.

Parrikar, who will be the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Bangladesh, will call on President Abdul Hamid in Dhaka on Wednesday and hold talks with the security advisor to prime minister, officials said.

On 1 December, the minister, who will be accompanied by the vice-chiefs of the army and air force, deputy chief of navy besides coast guard chief, will visit the military academy in Chittagong and meet Hasina, who also holds the defence portfolio.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Top defence ministry officials said the focus of the trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits here around 17 December. They said that Parrikar was originally scheduled to travel to Bangladesh much earlier this month but the visit was delayed. They also ruled out any link between the visit and the sale of two submarines by China to Bangladesh.

Hasina announced the plan to purchase two submarines in 2013 as part of her government’s move to build a modern navy.

When Bangladesh Navy chief Muhammad Farid Habib had visited India in November last year, he had said Bangladesh is going to buy two used submarines from China for “training” its surface crew and Sonar crew in anti-submarine warfare.

“Since the delimitation of maritime border problem has been solved, we are now trying to cooperate. We are trying to patrol in our areas. So in our sea, we also expect lot of gas and oil,” Habib had said then. He also said Bangladesh wants to work with the Indian Navy as there are many “non-traditional threats” in sea, a reference to piracy, floating armouries among others.

“We cannot tackle those threats alone. It requires cooperation so that we can together fight non-traditional threats and make the area peaceful,” the visiting navy chief had said.

Areas of naval cooperation that are proposed include option of coordinated patrolling along International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), bilateral exercises between both navies, joint surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zone and cooperation in hydrography.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 14:35 IST

Was shivering on 1st day in office as Defence Minister, says candid Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>n a candid admission, Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said he was “shivering” on his first in office as Defence Minister though he tried to put up a brave face.”When I went to Delhi, I took experience of that city. I became Defence Minister with the blessings of you all. I was not knowing anything,” Parrikar said addressing a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally at Sanvordem constituency today. “Let me admit, I was shivering on the first day (of taking charge). I put up a brave face banking on my experience, but in reality I didn’t even had knowledge about the rank of military officers,” he said. Parrikar was Chief Minister of Goa before his induction into the Union Cabinet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Goa’s brush with the military was during 1961 when Indian Army liberated the state from Portuguese rule. After that we saw 1965 and 1971 wars. During the Kargil war, I have given slogans but in reality I was unaware about what is war and what is the preparedness required for that,” he said. The minister said he realised that “armament stores are empty and government had tied hands of the soldiers. I did nothing much for last two years but told army that if anyone attacks, you are free to retaliate”.”You have noticed the impact of this liberty. Whenever there was attack on us, our brave soldiers have retaliated strongly. May be the surgical strike (in PoK)or firing at the line of border, Army has responded strongly, forcing the enemy to plead for peace. During last four days, there is no firing on the border.”

Demonetisation has reduced crime rate in Mumbai: Manohar Parrikar

Panaji: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday claimed that due to the Centre’s demonetisation move, the rate of crime in Mumbai, including contract killings, murders, extortion and drug trafficking, has come down drastically.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“The decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a historic one. The black money, corruption money, terror funding and drug money has received a jolt,” Parrikar said while addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Aldona constituency in North Goa.

“One of my friends from Mumbai was telling me that the supari (contract) killings have reduced there. There is no lack of people offering supari, but there is no money to pay. In the last 20 days, the murder rate has come to half in Mumbai,” he claimed.

“The instances of extortion have also reduced in Mumbai. If anyone goes to the builder and tries to extort money, he is ready to give the sum, but that money has no value as they are old notes. Due to this, now the one who wanted to extort money has also stopped. Even here in Goa, extortion attempts from the builders have stopped,” he said.

According to Parrikar, the movement of narcotics in Mumbai has collapsed due to lack of money to fuel it.

“Thanks to demonetisation, the crime graph has been reduced in Mumbai. Modi has eliminated drug lords, terror funders, fake notes and black money,” he said.

Stating that Goa will become cashless by December 30, Parrikar appealed to the people to cooperate to fulfil this dream of the Prime Minister.

“By December 30, we will become a cashless society. Goa has a capability to become a model state for rest of the states,” he said.

“We always feel safe with cash money…A bank manager was telling me that pensioners rush to the bank on every first of the month…He said the pensioners don’t feel satisfied till they count notes,” Parrikar said.

“But I feel in the current era, there is no need for notes. In the Information Technology sector, Goa’s penetration is more than that of Singapore. We can show the way for the country,” he added.

First Published On : Nov 27, 2016 08:40 IST

New defence policy out, blacklisted firms to be reviewed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Ministry will review all cases of blacklisted firms as it prepares a new list of such entities following the new policy unveiled by it which is a mixture of heavy fines and graded banning.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said that the Director General (Acquisition) will draw up a list as required under the new policy and hence old cases will also be looked into.”That does not mean they will be taken out. Don’t interpret… they will be examined. What is the status, how many years they have been blacklisted for and why they were blacklisted,” Parrikar told PTI on the sidelines of a seminar here.He said that as per the new policy, there has to be a new list. “So the list will have to be re-ascertained,” the Minister said.The review will include about a dozen firms that came under blanket blacklisting in the previous regime, a move which the forces were unhappy about as it proved detrimental to their modernisation plans.Some of the firms like Singapore Technologies have approached the courts seeking removal of blacklisting.Singapore Technologies’ argument is that it has been wrongly blacklisted since no contract was ever awarded to it and neither is it mentioned in the charge sheet filed by the CBI in connection with a bribery case involving the then Ordinance Factory Board chief.Under its new liberalised blacklisting policy for arms companies, India will now be open to doing business even with a banned firm if there is no alternative available to its weapon system or equipment in the market.This can be done on the grounds of national security, operational military readiness and export obligations, after the vice-chief of the Service concerned, the chief of the integrated defence staff or the additional secretary (defence production) signs a certificate to that effect and gets permission from the “competent authority”, who is the Defence Minister.Another key element of the new policy is that unlike the blanket ban of 10 years, the government has said that ban on serious defaulters will be for minimum five years.The policy does not mention the maximum time period for ban.Called the ‘Guidelines of the Ministry of Defence for Penalties in Business Dealings with Entities’, the policy, which has been in the works for long, aims to ensure probity and transparency in defence deals without affecting the modernisation plans.

Indore-Patna express derailment: Death toll mounts to 142; frantic search for survivors continue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll mounted to 142 in Indore-Patna Express derailment here in Kanpur rural area, as rescue workers wrapped up their operation this morning after efforts continued overnight to pull out the trapped passengers from the mangled bogies.All the 14 derailed coaches of the Patna-bound train 19321 have been removed from the tracks.”133 bodies have been found so far, out of which 110 have been identified,” according to IG (Kanpur range) Zaki Ahmad. 97 bodies have been handed over to relatives, he said.Nearly 200 were injured in the worst train accident in recent years which took place just a little after 0300 hrs yesterday.NDRF, police force and civil administration were engaged in relief work on war footing. Army is also assisting in rescue and other relief work.Terming the loss of lives post the Patna-Indore Express derailment as a very sad incident, the Congress party has demanded a high level probe and called for strict action against the culprits responsible.”It is very surprising the way BJP leaders have started doing politics on this incident. The statement that has come from Murli Manohar Joshiji is a clear indication that it might be a conspiracy. I completely agree with his statement that it could be a conspiracy,” Congress leader Surinder Rajput told ANI.He further said that Murli Manohar Joshi should investigate and reveal if there is a conspiracy.”He must also tell the people that if this conspiracy is aimed at diverting the attention of the people from the issue of demonetization, as the whole country are in state of anarchy,” Rajput said.Meanwhile, the Indian Railways has announced compensation of Rs. 3.5 lakh each for families of those killed, Rs. 50,000 for seriously injured and 25 thousand rupees for minor injury.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also exgratia of Rs.2 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced compensation of Rupees 2 lakh while Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has also announced ex-gratia of 5 lakh rupees in case of death.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Murli Manohar Joshi says tragedy ‘may be a plot against Centre’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing condolences to the bereaved family members of the deceased in Patna-Indore Express derailment tragedy that left 100 dead and over 150 injured, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Murli Manohar Joshi on Sunday demanded a probe into the incident while stating that it may be a plot against the Centre. Joshi said, “The reason behind 14 bogies getting turtle could be many because at times one or two bogies derail due to some jerk or due to some default in connecting link. But, in a go, if 14 coaches are being derailed then this creates a doubt that whether the incident happened because the railway tracks were broken or someone did it to defame the Railways Ministry of our country, whatever can be the reason, we demand a probe into the matter.”?And if the tracks are broken then the Railways Ministry should pay attention and get the tracks repaired or changed as soon as possible,” he added.President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also offered their condolences to the bereaved kin of the victims.The Railways have released helpline numbers for the people- Ujjain – 07342560906, Ratlam – 074121072, Orai – 051621072, Jhansi – 05101072, Pukhrayan – 05113270239, Varanasi – 05422503814.A help desk has been set up at the Patna railway station to assist the family members of those onboard.

India’s No First Use policy on nuclear weapons ‘ambiguous’: Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Friday described as “ambiguous” India’s ‘No First Use’ policy on nuclear weapons and said it cannot be a substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures, days Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar questioned the doctrine.”Pakistan believes the ambiguous ‘No First Use’ Declaration is not verifiable and amounts to nothing. It can’t be a substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures proposed by Pakistan’s standing offer of Strategic Restraint Regime,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in his weekly briefing. He was responding to the recent remarks by Parrikar in which he asked why India cannot say “we are a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly” instead of affirming a “no first use policy”. Later he had said the remarks were personal in nature.Zakaria said statement by the defence minister of a country that repeatedly and constantly heightens tension and maintains an aggressive posture should be a matter of concern for all. He said signing of nuclear deals by some countries is a matter of concern as it is only reinforcing arrogance and belligerence with which India conducts itself in the region and beyond, in an indirect reference to Indo-Japan nuclear deal.Zakaria also said Pakistan established itself as a serious candidate for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), increasing number of countries were supporting the non-discriminatory approach.”There is also growing recognition of the fact that 2008 exemption to India neither benefited non-proliferation regime nor objective of strategic stability in South Asia,” he said.The spokesman expressed the confidence that members of the NSG would bear in mind the need to prevent further erosion of non-proliferation regime and preserving credibility of the NSG as a rule-based organisation. He said Pakistan has expressed its openness to measures for strengthening non-proliferation objectives to the NSG, which included proposal for binding bilateral agreement with India on non-testing.

Demonetisation ended terror-funding, stone-pelting on security forces in Kashmir: Parrikar

Mumbai: Since the demonetisation of high currency notes, terror funding has come down to zero and there has not been stone-pelting on security forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in Mumbai on Monday.

He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “daring” move, which, he said, will also help clamp down on the narcotic drugs.

“Earlier, there were rates: Rs 500 for stone pelting (on security forces in Kashmir) and Rs 1,000 for doing something else. PM has brought terror funding to zero,” Parrikar said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“In the last few days after PM’s daring move there hasn’t been stone pelting on security forces. I congratulate PM for it,” he said, speaking at an event in Mumbai organised by the BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar.

Talking to reporters later, Parrikar said those who sponsor terror will be affected by the demonetisation.

Earlier, at the event, Parrikar said, “Bhatkhalkar did not tell me beforehand that he will felicitate me.”

A citation was presented to Parrikar, which lauded his role in surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. It also thanked him for providing relief to people affected by land development rules in the vicinity of Central Ordnance Depots.

“When I became Defence Minister, I did not think there will be things like this (dealing with COD-land issue). I thought Defence meant bang-bang on the border,” he said.

“Altogether, 17.38 lakh acres of land in the country is under Defence possession. Defence is the largest land owner in India,” Parrikar said. “There was delay in resolving COD issue as there were concerns over security on one hand and people’s concerns on the other,” he said.

“Whether it’s border security or economic security, PM Modi has taken daring decisions,” he said, adding, “whatever is being done, our jawans on border are doing it, I and PM are just supporting it.”

“Problem of new notes circulation will be resolved to a large extent in the next four-five days,” Parrikar said.

In the next Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, nobody will be left with power to bribe voters, Parrikar said, without naming the ally Shiv Sena which has been critical of demonetisation.

The Defence Minister said an issue should not be made out of his simplicity and his shunning various official perks.

“I came to Mumbai thrice (on personal visits) and police didn’t know,” Parrikar said.

BJP MP Gopal Shetty said he will expose Defence officers who indulged in irregularities while dealing with the COD issue.

Providing relief to people in suburban Kandivli and Malad in Mumbai, Parrikar had earlier this year said the local military authority (LMA) will have to respond within 30 days to applications for no-objection certificate for redevelopment and construction near the defence establishment, failing which the state government and the municipal corporation can take a call.

The move was welcomed by residents of buildings within the 500-meter radius of the Central Ordnance Depot, a defence establishment spanning across 17 acres of Kandivli and Malad.

Two notifications — issued by a cautious government in 2010 in the wake of the Adarsh scam and by the ministry of defence (MoD) in 2011 — had scuttled all redevelopment projects in the highly congested areas of Kandivli and Malad, as they made permission from the LMA mandatory for any construction within 500-meter radius of COD.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 10:11 IST

Manohar Parrikar on NFU: Brouhaha over remarks is reminder of India’s inability to think strategically

Manohar Parrikar often finds himself in the news for the wrong reasons. A seemingly harmless book launch presented the latest opportunity for the Indian defence minister to enjoy some limelight yet again. However, at least this time, the brouhaha was entirely manufactured with little reason in sight.

In what appears to be a response to a question at the launch of The New Arthashastra: A Security Strategy for India, Parrikar expressed the view that the logic of a well-defined and written security doctrine eluded him.

Why would one, he pondered out loud, not only restrict oneself to a set of responses but also open up the playbook to one’s enemy? Parrikar gave the example of nuclear policy – why would India tie itself down to a nuclear no-first-use (NFU) position? In his view, India’s leaders should merely state that India is a responsible nuclear weapons state and any potential use would be after careful deliberation.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

The defence minister was vehement in declaring these views to be his private thoughts and that the country’s nuclear policy had not changed. In fact, he went as far as predicting, half jokingly, that it would be splayed all across newspapers the next day that a change in doctrine had been made. He was not wrong – within minutes of his comments hitting Twitter, policy wonks were condemning his casual attitude towards nuclear deterrence and even the thought of straying from a nuclear NFU.

Parrikar’s most egregious sin appears to have simply been that his views were not popular among those who would don the hat of experts; nothing the defence minister said was actually either surprising or extraordinary. Given the situation, the criticism levelled against Parrikar comes off as petty and motivated.

First, the accusation that the minister should not have aired his personal opinion on so sensitive a subject – it should be noted that even as he answered the question asked of him, Parrikar categorically stated that there was no doctrinal shift and he was only expressing his views as an individual. It was not a later clarification by his office to put the minister in the clear.

More to the point, is it surprising that not just the defence minister but even several other senior officials in the present regime may have private views that differ from the stated government policy? After all, this administration saw it fit to include the country’s nuclear doctrine in its election manifesto – surely there would be a few who question the wisdom of the present strategy? And if so, what delicate balance has been upset if these doubts are expressed right alongside a disclaimer that no strategic shift has been envisaged in the short term?

Second, Parrikar has been skewered for doubting the value of a nuclear NFU and his preference for ambiguity has been derided as confusion. The nuclear NFU has become almost an article of faith among Western think tankers, though the United States has refused to adopt such a posture itself despite an overwhelming conventional superiority over most of its rivals. British and French nuclear postures are also more ambiguous on the matter than Chinese or Indian nuclear doctrines.

It is commonly acknowledged that India needs to revise its doctrine that has lain virtually unchanged since its formulation soon after the Pokhran II nuclear tests. The opposition, however, is to abandoning the NFU. Indian planners cannot take such objections seriously for the only posture that will satisfy some corners is unilateral and unconditional nuclear disarmament. Instead, Delhi must look to the peculiarities of its threat matrix and decide upon a strategy that suits the subcontinent best.

For example, Parrikar has a valid point when he says that an unequivocal NFU restricts his options in case of war; it would be like showing the enemy your playbook. Instead, a defensive-use-only posture might offer the desired flexibility and ambiguity while retaining some degree of responsibility. Some of these decisions will need to take into account other factors, such as the extent of Indian conventional superiority over its likely foes, its ability to manufacture reliable and accurate tactical nuclear weapons, and a clear understanding of its objectives in various scenarios.

Admittedly, these are conversations to be had in private but there is little stability to lose before a country that has on umpteen occasions nonchalantly expressed its willingness to use nuclear weapons as a first resort. The sort of stability international scholars advocate is laudable but can only be achieved with mature states. A nuclear NFU and a clearly articulated military doctrine are indeed excellent confidence building measures but they must be deserved, not exploited.

The real tragedy of this little non-incident is that it is a reminder of India’s inability to think and act strategically towards long-term objectives, the aversion of the state’s holy cows to expert scrutiny, and a bureaucratic opacity that would make Brussels proud. Though the Indian defence minister raised some pertinent questions on India’s nuclear doctrine, it is unlikely that much comes of it.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 08:35 IST

Demonetisation has hit core of terror funding: Defence Minister Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre’s move to demonetise high-value bank notes has struck the “core of terror funding”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday. “Demonetization has struck the core of terror funding and PM @narendramodi ji in his speech today emphasized on continuing to fight #BlackMoney,” Parrikar tweeted hours after sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Goa. Modi laid the foundation stone of various projects including Greenfield airport at Mopa and Electronic City at Tuem, both in north Goa.During his address, the PM launched a scathing attack on detractors of the demonetisation move and announced that more anti-graft measures are on the anvil. In his speech at a function in Pune, Modi said, “Enemies took advantage of the 14 lakh crore of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation.”Taking the nation by surprise, the Prime Minister on Tuesday announced demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 banknotes with effect from midnight of November 8 in a major assault on black money, fake currency and corruption.

Motormouth Manohar Parrikar almost nukes India’s NSG bid with needless boast

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar‘s astonishingly witless statements straying from India’s carefully-worded official nuclear-weapons policy on Thursday comes at a particularly bad time.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

As India embarks on a renewed mission to compel Pakistan to course-correct by deploying all instruments of statecraft while simultaneously lobbying for a place in the global nuclear high table, Parrikar’s musings will be noticed and filed up for propaganda value by those who seek to block both objectives. One imagines minions in Zhongnanhai and GHQ Rawalpindi to be exceedingly pleased with this enormous Indian self-goal.

Watching the defence minister’s grandstanding — he was speaking at the launch of a very interesting new book that seeks to lay out a national security strategy for India in the 21st century — one is reminded of a late-night college bull session where a senior seeks to impress sophomores with his cleverness.

This is not the only bizarre statement from Parrikar. Not too long ago, the defence minister compared the Indian Army’s stance before the 29 September cross-LoC raids to that of Hanuman’s before being blessed by the wisdom of Jamwant. Perhaps it would be more productive for the minister to explain why that uncalled for impromptu on nuclear weapons by a key member of Cabinet Committee on Security was a terrible idea.

First, and this is to state the obvious, the real utility of nuclear weapons are as tools of coercive diplomacy — to deter an adversary from initiating a certain action, or to compel it to change its position on a political issue. Nuclear weapons are primarily tools of bargaining, in other words. But in order for this to work, messaging around nuclear weapons (non-) use has to be consistent across all stakeholders.

The first challenge that any new nuclear-weaponed state faces is to simultaneously assure its adversaries that its assets will not be used imprudently while seeking to reap political-strategic value from the mere possession of the same. Deterrence is primarily a psychological play buttressed both by resolve and restraint. Statements and restatements determine the moves and countermoves of a nuclear bargaining game whose overarching rubric is determined by a state and its adversary’s implicit or explicit nuclear-weapons policy.

Any off-the-cuff statement stands to vastly undermine the unwritten rules of this game with unpredictable consequences. This is why states are extremely reluctant to sharply change their nuclear postures, for the fear of upending the strategic calculus that upholds the “delicate balance of terror”, to steal a phrase of Alfred Wohlstetter, a leading Cold-War strategist. This is why — as an example — President Barack Obama’s personal opinion notwithstanding, the United States has been extremely reluctant to adopt a no-first-use policy in a break with its historical position.

But while nuclear weapons are tools of bargaining, they are also determinants of national prestige. New members of the nuclear-weapons club often leverage their apparent responsibility as custodians of these weapons to seek concessions in international fora. This was the main reason why India — soon after becoming a declared nuclear-weapons state in 1998 — published a draft nuclear doctrine that had the imprimatur of the newly-established National Security Advisory Board, after imposing a voluntary moratorium on further testing. The strategic benefits of this calculated stance of restraint were tremendous. It led to the landmark civil nuclear agreement with the United States and — more crucially — to a diplomatic de-hyphenation with Pakistan insofar as the US was concerned.

The BJP learnt the importance of not publicly toying with the declared doctrine the hard way, after its 2014 election manifesto — which promised a rethink on India’s nuclear weapons policy — caused a furore both at home and abroad. Since coming to power it has backed away from its election promise.

None of this is to argue that India’s extant nuclear doctrine is perfect. Far from it, it is in urgent need of a rethink. For one, the doctrine of no-first-use that India ascribes to was predicated on the conventional military balance favouring India or, at worst, on parity with other powers in the region. Certain scholars have argued that Pakistan’s flirtation with nuclear maximalism — and its development of tactical/theatre nuclear weapons — presents significant challenges to the Indian doctrine, perhaps rendering it meaningless. China’s ongoing quest for asymmetric means of waging war, through anti-satellite and cyber weapons, could also force India to move from being a reticent nuclear power, with de-altered nuclear weapons systems, to a more forceful posture with an alerted nuclear triad.

But these discussions are — as they should be — carried out within the closed confines of the security establishment. And it is not the case that the informed public does not have any avenues to understand the contours of the debate that is likely to be taking place within the government, should it rethink India’s nuclear doctrine. They would just have to turn to the published writings of well-placed analysts with ideological affinities to the current government.

That the defence minister — and his loyalists — needs to be told all this is ironic. And troubling.

Abhijnan Rej is a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and a national security columnist for Firstpost. Views expressed here are personal. He tweets @AbhijnanRej.

First Published On : Nov 11, 2016 17:21 IST

No-first-use is cornerstone of India’s nuclear policy: Omar Abdullah responds to Parrikar

No-first-use is cornerstone of India’s nuclear policy: Omar Abdullah responds to Manohar Parrikar

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Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons has been the corner stone of the country’s nuclear policy which has allowed it to lay claim to being a responsible power.

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah. PTI

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah. PTI

“No first use has been the corner stone of our nuclear policy & allowed India to lay claim to being a responsible power after Pokhran 2,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

He was reacting to the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar‘s remarks in New Delhi that why India cannot say “we are a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly” instead of affirming a “no first use policy”.

“Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking,” Parrikar said replying to a question as he explained the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy.

Why bind ourselves to ‘no first use policy’, says Parrikar on India’s nuke doctrine

In what could intensify the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan manifold, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said that he sees no reason why India should bind itself a ‘no first use policy’ on nuclear weapons.

Explaining the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy, according to PTI, Parrikar said: “Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking.”

India had declared a “no first use” nuclear policy following the nuclear weapons test in 1998. However, its arch-rival and nuclear-armed state Pakistan has no such policy.

Though the minister clarified that the remarks were personal in nature, and the nuke doctrine has not changed in the government, giving up the “no first use policy” could prevent “hoax” threats.

“It has not changed in the government. It is my concept. As an individual I also get feeling. I am not saying you have to use it first. Hoax can be called off,” PTI quoted the minister where he also added that prior to the surgical strike, the Pakistan defence minister used to threaten India with the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“From the day surgical strike happened, no threat has come. They realised that we can do something which is not well defined,” he said.

“Necessarily if there is any question or danger to the country, I will not open the book first,” ANI tweeted.

However, soon after Parrikar’s interview was aired on television, according to ANI, the Ministry of Defence, issued a statement saying that the views expressed were the minister’s personal views and not his official stand on the issue. “What Defence Minister Parrikar said was his personal opinion and not the official position. What he said was that India being a responsible power should not get into 1st use debate…,” the news agency tweeted.

Although, the defence ministry was quick to call the opinion minister’s “personal” one, this kind of assertion could potentially hamper India’s bid to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group member as few countries including China are playing hard ball.

95% people have already benefited from OROP: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 95% people have already benefited from One Rank One Pension, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday. “More than 95% people have already got the benefit of OROP. The rest are very old pensioners, from 1962 war, so their records are incomplete,” he told ANI.”We are in the process of completing the records of these remaining 4-5%. It will be done in the next two months,” Parrikar said.On Friday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Centre was disrespecting soldiers by not fulfilling their promises regarding the long pending One Rank, One Pension scheme. Gandhi, who met the ex-servicemen protesting at the Jantar Mantar against the government’s lackadaisical approach on the One Rank, One Pension scheme, said that, at this point of time, the issue was not just about the implementation of the scheme but about giving justice to the soldiers.The suicide by an army veteran over OROP snowballed into a huge political show with Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders attacking the Modi government on the issue. There was high drama after police detained and prevented them from entering a hospital.The opposition targetted the government following the suicide of the ex-serviceman as he allegedly did not get due OROP benefits. BJP accused Gandhi and Kejriwal of doing politics over a dead body.National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told a press conference that the government had constituted a committee to look into certain anomalies following the OROP’s implementation and it has submitted its report. In two months, its recommendations will be executed.BJP also said that anywhere between 55-56 lakh ex-servicemen had benefited from the OROP decision while there were only 1 lakh of them who had got less than what they should get.

Orop issue: Congress should note that the Modi govt did much more for veterans than UPA

With a section of the retired military personnel attacking the Modi government over pension anomalies vis a vis their civilian counterparts (this has seen the unfortunate incident of an alleged suicide by a retired soldier in Haryana) and with politicians starting to use them as weapons against their opponents, the issue of One Rank One Pension (Orop) is proving to be quite ominous from the point of view of the overall civilian-military relationship in the country. And this is an irony as the history of the Orop agitation suggests that the Modi government has been the most sympathetic to over 20 lakh ex-servicemen (ESM) and about six lakh war widows.

Of course, as defence minister Manohar Parrikar has told The Indian Express, the Orop process will take two more months to be fully completed. “Within 18 months, we resolved the 43-year-old OROP issue to high satisfaction levels, and all pending issues will be resolved shortly,” he said, adding, “Most of the pending issues have been inherited by this government. Barring the disability pension, most other issues have their origin in the Sixth Pay Commission, which we are committed to resolve. It is inappropriate to allow vested interest groups to deliberately build a narrative that is factually baseless and devoid of merit.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

And it seems the majority of the ESM community is satisfied with the Orop scheme announced by the Modi government, if one goes by a report of The Times of India. In fact, in his address on Thursday to Army veterans in Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir, Parrikar said, “Only one lakh ex-servicemen are not getting pensions as per the Orop scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems. We will resolve them in the coming two months.”

It may be noted that the Modi government officially notified on 7 November, 2015 the implementation of the Orop scheme – equal pension for equal number of years in the service in the same rank. Orop was to be implemented with effect from 1 July, 2014, fixed on the basis of the calendar year 2013, though the veterans wanted the year to be 2014. Arrears will be paid in four half-yearly instalments, but all widows, including war widows, would be paid arrears in one instalment. The pension has been re-fixed for all pensioners as the average of minimum and maximum pension in 2013. Those drawing pensions above the average will be protected.

The annual expenditure on the Orop scheme has been estimated at around Rs 7, 500 crore. The arrears from 1 July, 2014 — the date of implementation as announced by the government — till 31 December, 2015, will be approximately Rs 10,900 crore. This has pushed the defence budget for pensions from Rs 54, 000 crore to around Rs 65, 000 crore. This is an increase of about 20 percent of the defence pension outlay.

Under the Orop scheme, the gap between the rate of pension of current pensioners and past pensioners will be bridged every 5 years. Although the veterans have been demanding equalisation of pension every year, the government went for a compromise of every five years, as against the present system of pay revisions for all the government servants every 10th year. It is said that this compromise is not for the monetary implications (which will not be much) but for administrative difficulties. Revising every year will prove very cumbersome and complicated.

However, the government’s Orop measures have failed to satisfy a section of the veterans, who are increasingly politicising what was once a genuine agitation by hobnobbing with opposition leaders like Derek O’Brian, Rahul Gandhi, Capt Amarinder Singh, Brinda Karat and Arvind Kejriwal. This is rather strange since the differences between the notification and demands are very minor. And here too, the government is open to rectify anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of Orop, through a Judicial Committee, which, headed by a Supreme Court judge.

It may be noted that the veterans were receiving Orop until 1971, the year when the Indira Gandhi government cut down military pension from 70 percent of the last pay drawn to 50 percent of the last pay drawn and increased – simultaneously – the pension of the civil servants from 30 percent of the last pay to 50 percent. Since then, it has so happened that every central government has downgraded the military in pay, perks and status, compared to the civilian bureaucrats. One such principle has been the “non-functional upgradation” (NFU) for the bureaucracy. The NFU means that when an Indian Administrative Service or Indian Foreign Service officer (the topmost civil service in the country) is promoted to a certain rank (say joint secretary), all his or her batch mates from Group ‘A’ central services automatically start drawing the pay scale of joint secretary two years after his or her promotion. This continues all the way up the line.

The same does not apply to the military, which is a highly pyramidal structure, with 60 percent retiring by 40 years of age, another 20 percent retiring at the age of 54, 19 per cent retiring at the age of 60 and one percent (those who become Chiefs of their respective services) getting additional two years. In contrast, 99.9 percent civilian bureaucrats retire at the age of 60 only.

Of course, it is a huge myth that the Orop did not exist at all in our armed forces and that Orop existed for all civilians.

The Orop was there for all those, whether in civil service or in the military, who reached their super-time scales (the basic of Rs 80000 per month and above). The secretary rank in civil service, Lt Generals and their equivalents in commander ranks in the military do get the Orop after their retirement. But then, given the fact that most in the military retire much earlier than 60 years of age, the Orop demand was very much legitimate, particularly when it was abruptly ended by the then Congress government, that too after the military gave the country a splendid victory in the 1971 war. Since then, the veterans have been fighting for this injustice to be rectified.

When defence minister Manohar Parrikar announced the Orop scheme on 5 September, 2015, there was a little confusion over whether personnel who retire voluntarily will be covered under the Orop scheme. But subsequently, both the prime minister and defence minister clarified separately that everyone who retires early (because of injury, illness, lack of further promotions or family compulsion after serving the mandatory tenure – 15 years for Jawans, 20 years for officers) will get benefit of Orop.

Yes, there are still some little irritants, which the constituted judicial committee will look into. If still dissatisfied, the veterans can always to go higher courts. But these are not the issues over which one can continue to issue threats to the government and politicise the movement. All told, it is the Modi government that implemented its poll promise within 15 months of coming into office of implementing the Orop, something the agitators have not appreciated enough. Here, one may quote Independent Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a parliamentarian who has been at the forefront for the Orop demand, the day the government announced the OROP scheme.

According to him, “The announcement of One Rank, One Pension (Orop) by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is the culmination of 40 years of wait by the Veterans and Widows. It is our country’s thanksgiving to them for decades of service and sacrifice. This decision makes Orop the biggest and most significant welfare measure for veterans in Post-Independent India by any Government and for that I thank Prime Minister Modi, Defence Minister Parrikar and Finance Minister Jaitley and the Government for the fulfilling this important promise. For me personally, today’s announcement marks 9 years of struggle and perseverance on Orop — starting with the dark days of proud veterans giving up their medals in 2006. Orop was one of the first issues I took up after I joined active politics—and expectedly today is a big day for me personally and for my time in public service. Apart from raising it repeatedly in Parliament and media to the point that I was even called ‘Orop Rajeev’ by many political leaders. I have also had the honour of sitting with veterans in many protests in Bengaluru and Delhi, including at Jantar Mantar.”

Take another gentleman, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, former Uttarakhand chief minister. The very definition of the Orop was devised by a parliamentary committee that was headed by him in 2011. And what does he say about the ongoing agitation? “Maybe some in the agitation are thinking just because the government is listening to them, they should squeeze out as much as possible. Greed may be playing a part. I can’t rule out that there may be political motivations to this issue as well.” He wonders how one did not see any protests against a party that ruled for six decades almost but the protesters upped the ante when the Modi government was barely a year old.

It is worth seeing the record of the Manmohan Singh government with regard to the issue of Orop. Based on the Koshyari Committee’s report, the government arrived at a figure of Rs 1300 crore required to pay the arrears for Orop in 2011-12. In 2013-14, the government enhanced the amount to Rs 1573 crore. P Chidambaram, the then finance minister, in his interim budget speech on 17 February 2014, granted a measly Rs 500 crore (based on the estimate of Rs 1573 crore) for the year 2014-15.

It is obvious that the UPA government made a half-hearted attempt to woo the veterans, that too just on the eve of the 2014 elections. Otherwise, how can one explain the Manmohan Singh government’s calculation that the Orop would cost between Rs 1,000 to 1600 crore? Therefore, it is sheer dishonesty when Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi and AK Antony say that it is “we who accepted the principle of Orop and NDA is only implementing it.”

PM Modi calls for debate on simultaneous Lok Sabha-state polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a wider public debate on holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies.Speaking at the Diwali Mangal Milan programme organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi said that it appears that there is a halt in debate on some issues, and if media plays its role in carrying forward the debate, it will be good. The Prime Minister said leaders of almost all political parties privately say that something must be done but several had often hesitated to speak on the issue after he raised it publicly.He, however, maintained that such hesitation will prevail for some time, but notwithstanding such dilemma, the public discourse should continue. The Prime Minister said that this is not an issue that can be imposed by the government and suggested the need for a discussion among larger public and political parties. Prime Minister Modi said that often election observers are deputed for two months and even the states where elections are not held, have to spare their officials. He said, it also results in economic burden. The Prime Minister said issues like the code of conduct and deployment of poll observers needed to be debated on as various questions are raised on these matters.Senior party leaders, including Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Manohar Parrikar and JP Nadda, and Ram Lal also attended the programme where other senior party leaders, functionaries and senior journalists were also present.

Parrikar asks army to help in reopening schools in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the day when miscreants made an abortive bid to torch the historic Sri Pratap (SP) College, defence minister Manohar Parrikar asked the army to chip in to help in restoring education even as the J&K Board of School Education (JKBOSE) announced to conduct the exams on time albeit with 50 per cent relaxation in the syllabus.This comes at a time when police arrested five more stone throwers-cum-arsonists for torching the government school in north Kashmir township of Pattan in Baramulla district.Unknown miscreants on Thursday made an unsuccessful bid to torch 111 year old SP College when they entered the Botany block from the rear side and lit the fire. However the watchman immediately swung into action and extinguished the flames before it could engulf the whole building. Except the window, there was no damage to the college complex.”Some people are hurting Kashmiryat and burning the schools to destroy the future of the children of the Kashmir valley. Schools are the most important place. Wealth can end but the knowledge will always stay in your mind. I have told the army officers to help, and I feel there should be some pressure from the villages as well (to save the schools). If it happens this state will prosper,” said Parrikar.On the other side, JKBOSE, while overruling the pressure from separatists and some student groups, finally decided to go ahead with the exams for class X and XII scheduled to be held from November 15 and November 14 respectively.”The main aim to conduct examinations in current month is to save the academic year of the students. In view of prevailing circumstances in the valley, JKBOSE had formulated an assessment scheme in question papers in which papers have been set in way as to provide relaxation in the syllabus,” said Zahoor Ahmad Chatt, Chairman, JKBOSE.For the last few months the students have been taking to the streets demanding deferring of the exams.

OROP will be resolved in two months: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under fire from the opposition, defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday reached out to the soldiers saying the Modi-led government is sensitive to the issues of the ex-servicemen, and assured the nation that the issues related to One Rank One Pension (OROP) will be resolved within two months time.”Only one lakh people have not got full benefit of this (OROP) as of yet. There are some technical and documentation issues. I want to assure you that we will sort them out in the next two months”, Parrikar said while addressing a function to mark the martyrdom anniversary of the 1947 war hero Major Somnath Sharma at Budgam.The Defence Minister said this government is very sensitive towards ex-servicemen, and that is why they implemented OROP after 43 years. “I bow before the brave jawans and assure them that the nation stands by you…. This government is sensitive towards ex servicemen. We gave OROP which was not granted for the last 43 years”, he said.Elaborating, Parrikar said the government is incurring Rs 7,500 crore and Rs 11,000 crore arrears have been under OROP. “On an average there is 23 to 24 per cent increase in pension… I want to assure the ex servicemen…. I do not say everything will be perfect. But I assure you that I will try to give more solutions,” he said.Hitting out at Pakistan, defence minister said the neighboring country has resorted to proxy war after it was defeated in the conventional wars. “Pakistan has always been trying to occupy Jammu and Kashmir. We consider Jammu and Kashmir and its people as integral part. After losing conventional wars, Pakistan started proxy war in the paradise”, he said.Accusing Pakistan of fomenting unrest, Parrikar said that for the last four months, anti-social elements at the behest of neighboring country have dealt a serious blow to the economic conditions of hardworking and peaceful Kashmiris. “This place is so beautiful. Here tourism and IT has lot of scope and potential. But peace is prerequisite for that”, he said.Paying homage to Major Somnath Sharma, the minister pledged to fight the proxy war and defeat terrorism. “I appeal peaceful people of Jammu and Kashmir to shun violence and help in the nation building,” he said.

Mulayam Singh advices PM Modi to visit families of martyrs

Lucknow: SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit families of martyrs and said he does not advocate Indo-Pak war but a middle path so that soldiers do not have to make the supreme sacrifice to protect the borders.

File image of Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

File image of Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

“We don’t want any Indo-Pak war or soldiers sacrificing lives on border, there should be a via media solution,” he said flagging off Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav‘s rath yatra. “As the defence minister, I used to visit families of martyr soldiers. I want our PM to visit their families.

I salute families and want to say they might be in grief but they should be proud that their son died while securing our borders,” he said. “Ram Manohar Lohia had given message of humanity at international level and SP believes in it,” he said.

Targeting the Modi government over the alleged suicide by an ex-serviceman over OROP issue, Akhilesh said the “forces which came to power” (at Centre), have “diverted the path of the country”.

“Those sacrificing their lives on borders to save us are also committing suicide. You should think which type of people are ruling us. We have to make SP government in 2017 as only it can bring a change the country,” he added. An ex-serviceman had allegedly committed suicide in New Delhi on Tuesday over the issue of OROP.

Ram Kishan Grewal got OROP, received less amount due to bank error: Defence Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, who allegedly committed suicide over OROP, was one of the recipients of benefits under the revised pension scheme, Defence Ministry sources said on Wednesday as his death sent political temperature soaring in the national capital. However, Ministry sources said Grewal had received a lesser amount as part of the One Rank-One Pension scheme under the 6th pay commission due to an error in calculation by the SBI bank branch in Bhiwani district of Haryana, a matter which was being looked into.They said the deceased former soldier had not sought an appointment with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar either at his office or home. Meanwhile, Parrikar asserted on Wednesday the government was committed to the welfare of ex-servicemen and said a total of Rs 5,507.47 crore has been disbursed under the scheme.Giving details of the OROP implementation so far, Parrikar said there were 20,63,763 beneficiaries before July 2014. He said 19,12,520 pensioners have been paid the first instalment and 1,50,313 cases are pending verification and authentication of beneficiaries.
ALSO READ Delhi: Ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal allegedly commits suicide over OROP issueTweeting the details of the OROP, Parrikar said Rs 3886.88 crore had been disbursed as the first instalment. He said 11,33,100 people have received the second instalment of Rs 1,604.59 crore has been disbursed. “Government is committed to ex-servicemen’s welfare,” he said.Meanwhile, the group of ex-servicemen, which has been leading the protest at Jantar Mantar over OROP, distanced itself from Grewal’s suicide and said the issue should not be politicised.They also said all politicians, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has tweeted on the issue, should stay away and the government should sort out the OROP “mess”. “The suicide did not take place at Jantar Mantar. His friends had informed the police about the suicide bid but it was too late. He was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital from where they wanted to bring the body to Jantar Mantar, which we refused,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement (UFESM), said. He said the group did not believe in violence.

Will restart ‘andolan’ if OROP is not implemented: Anna Hazare

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Social Activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday said that the Centre”s betrayal to the nations’ ex-servicemen over the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme resulted in the suicide of Ram Kishan Grewal, and threatened to restart his agitation on the implementation of the scheme.”Earlier the government had promised that the OROP will be implemented and we trusted them, which is why we stopped our protest,” Anna said. Stating that it was unfortunate that an ex-serviceman committed suicide over the failure of the scheme’s implementation, the activist stated that on one hand the government glorifies soldiers and on the other hand doesn’t fulfill promises. Speaking to ANI here, Anna further said that armed forces put themselves on the line of fire in testing conditions to protect the country, yet their very right has been denied to them.”No harm in fighting for your own right and we are not begging in front of anybody,” Hazare said on launching a protest again. Earlier today, ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar area, over the issue of One Rank One Pension scheme (OROP) In his suicide note, he said that he is taking such an extreme step for the sake of the soldiers.The Police said that he along with some other ex-servicemen were in the process of submitting a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.Grewal was a resident of Bumla village in Bhiwani, Haryana. Ex-servicemen have been protesting over the OROP scheme introduced by the government. Earlier, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who was detained today after he tried to meet the kin of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, lashed out at the Delhi Police for arresting the former jawan’s family besides himself. Rahul Gandhi was stopped close to the gates of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here when he went to meet the family of the victim Grewal.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has sought details of the incident.

Orop suicide: Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal indulge in opportunistic politics over Subedar Grewal’s death

Rahul Gandhi has yet again done what his politics is best adapted to — rent a cause and move on. An alleged suicide by a 65-year old retired Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal from Haryana on One Rank One Pension (Orop) provided the Congress vice-president with an opportune moment to do a cameo act, land at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in New Delhi where the deceased’s body was kept and his family members were present.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with party leaders Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda coming out of Mandir Marg Police Station after his release in New Delhi on Wednesday. Gandhi was detained while trying to enter RML Hospital to meet the family of ex-serviceman Subedar Grewal who allegedly committed suicide over Orop issue. PTICongress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with party leaders Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda coming out of Mandir Marg Police Station after his release in New Delhi on Wednesday. Gandhi was detained while trying to enter RML Hospital to meet the family of ex-serviceman Subedar Grewal who allegedly committed suicide over Orop issue. PTI

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with party leaders Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda coming out of Mandir Marg Police Station after his release in New Delhi on Wednesday. Gandhi was detained while trying to enter RML Hospital to meet the family of ex-serviceman Subedar Grewal who allegedly committed suicide over Orop issue. PTI

Incidentally, this was first headline-making public presence of Rahul Gandhi in about a month time after his controversial khoon ki dalali (broker of blood) remark on surgical strikes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress second-in-command would have known that the police and other government agencies may not allow him to meet the deceased Subedar’s family. The hospital, which has hundreds of other patients undergoing treatment, was obviously not the place to allow politicians to rave and rant on the suicide, on Orop and on the Narendra Modi government. For obvious reasons, the police prevented the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in central Delhi from becoming a venue for protests and media blitzkrieg and saved the patients and their attendants from massive inconvenience.

Before Rahul could decide to go there and express his sympathies to the bereaved family, Aam Aadmi Party had picked up the issue. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had already made his presence felt on the alleged OPRP suicide. Sisodia was detained by Delhi Police when he landed in the hospital. Soon after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went to Lady Hardinge hospital where the former soldier’s body was taken for an autopsy. When stopped from meeting the kin of the deceased soldier, the AAP chief was quick to declare that the Central government “gundagardi pe utri hui hai” (the Central government has taken recourse to hooliganism). The Delhi chief minister was fast ballistic against the Modi government, alleging that it was politicising the army.

Suddenly the hospital premises became the venue for opposition leaders to make a beeline while politicians from rival formations flaunted their nationalist credentials, love for the army and welfare of retired and serving soldiers but not without going vitriolic against PM Modi and his government. Rahul Gandhi in his quick bites to the swarm of TV cameras claimed that in ”Modi’s India” a type of “non-democratic mentality” prevailed. The Congress vice-president sought to give the incident an emotive spin by indicating that the PM was harsh in his behaviour towards the soldier’s family. “For the first time, I am not being allowed to meet family members of an army man. What kind of Hindustan is being made?” he asked.

The alleged suicide committed by the retired Army Subedar on the contentious Orop issue had all the potential to turn into a huge political issue against the Modi government, as also become an emotional issue for ex-defence personnel and their families to turn up against the present government. The issue was expected to resonate in the public mind since the current national mood is for the army, more so after the surgical strikes against Pakistan.

Ram Kishen Grewal was designated as a martyr by the likes of Rahul and Kejriwal to charge that this is the way Modi government treats the army veterans and martyrs.

The big question, however, is can a retired army jawan who commits suicide on a personal issue be designated s a martyr for political gains? The army trains its officers and men to act as per their head not as per their heart. Their actions couldn’t be guided by their emotions. Suicide is a sign of weakness, not of strength, no matter what the cause is. By allegedly committing suicide retired Subedar Grewal has not done any pride to the uniform he once wore and to the force he once served.

He might have felt passionately for Orop and might have thought that Orop scheme offered by the Modi government was not as per his expectations. But there were two things that Grewal and Congress and AAP leaders queuing up to offer condolence and do politics over his death, should have considered. First, the Orop offered by the Modi government was a big leap forward on an issue, which had been pending since Independence. Second, the Orop issue is pending before Supreme Court. Senior advocate and Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani had filed a petition in the apex court and the court had issued notices to the Union government seeking its response on the issue.

The government has a convenient alibi that till such time the matter is pending before the apex court, it can review the Orop, which in any case was offered only months ago. Subedar (retd) Grewal would surely have been informed about that by his colleagues and erstwhile seniors if he had ever taken up that issue with them.

Moreover, the place of suicide Jawahar Bhawan is also intriguing. Jawahar Bhawan houses Ministry of External Affairs and has nothing to do with the army unless Grewal had some other ideas. It is also not clear who was with him at the time he committed suicide. Was he all alone or someone was there with him? What was his state of mind?

A pending request to meet Defence Minister, as has been claimed in some quarters, surely can’t be a cause to drive someone to take his own life. Not for an ex-army man at least.

Grewal’s tragic death is a sad moment, a matter of concern but the politics around his dead body by Rahul and Kejriwal with obvious political motive can’t be approved of.

How the anti-military constituency is preventing India from becoming global defence player

Alongside the business of exporting terrorism, it seems that Pakistan can also throw up periodic howlers; the latest one being Imran Khan’s accusations against Nawaz Sharif, blaming him for “isolating” the army. This comes as no surprise as Imran’s constituency is itself a militant stronghold and because two army guys are always seated behind Sharif, trying to obfuscate their assassin countenance.

But, leaving aside the cliché that the Pakistani army owns their country, what can be said about India? A recent article in a national daily lambasted the politicisation of the ‘surgical strikes’ and the recent arm-twisting of Bollywood producers, forcing them to donate money to the Army Welfare Fund for hiring Pakistani actors. The article also highlighted some crucial, unsolved and sensitive issues that need to be resolved if India is to become serious about its defence.

Apart from the lack of military modernisation and the need to address welfare problems (pay anomalies, controversy over disability pension), issues like keeping senior military posts vacant; Cabinet’s Appointment Committee ignoring merit; lack of CDS; little military say in strategic security formulation; bureaucratic control over military instead of political control, etc. also need to be looked into. Especially since India is currently facing serious challenges on both the Pakistani and Chinese borders.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The recent row over the Ministry of Defence’s 30 September notification, drastically lowering the disability pension of military personnel by converting the percentage based system (as effective under the sixth Central Pay Commission) to a fixed slab system, has been in the news. The fact that this notification was issued two days after the surgical strikes made it even more cynical, especially when coupled with certain boisterous and comical pronouncements by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The government has since been forced to refer the disability pension case to the Anomalies Committee, but the mere fact that the notification was issued implied that either the defence minister had no idea about it all (as he talked of VRS at the time of the press briefing for One Rank One Pension scheme) or he was party to it indirectly.

Then came the letter purportedly written by the serving DGAFMS to the defence secretary, that stated that the military generals were misusing the provision of the disability pension. All these accusations were duly trashed and rebutted, though it is still not clear whether this was deliberate mischief.

But lo and behold, an old letter from the Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) to the Chief of Army Staff, written in September 2015, has emerged saying that a large number of army officers belonging to the “non-fighting corps” have been getting the disability medical grading.

The said CGDA should have actually been awarded a Padma series award for making such a path-breaking discovery, even though the CGDA wouldn’t be able to identify which are the “non-fighting corps” in the army. Of course, the CGDA would have no observation about a civilian defence employee of MoD tripping on a banana peel, losing an eye and claiming disability pension. After all, the CGDA, as the MoD employees, can well be categorised as ‘fighting corps’ – for fighting with the military all the time.

Another article published in a national daily cites a government letter that talks about rank “equivalence” between defence officers and “armed forces headquarters civil service officers”. The equivalence defined reportedly implies: A civilian Group B section officer is now equated with an army captain; a civilian joint director, who till now was equated with an army lieutenant colonel, will now be equal to an army full colonel; a civilian director, earlier equated with army full colonel, will now be equated with army brigadier; and a civilian principal director, earlier equated with army brigadier, will now be equated with an army major general.

This letter, signed by a joint secretary, states that the rank equation laid down in it is to be followed in assigning duties/functional responsibilities and for all purposes such as channel of reporting, detailing of officers for training courses, providing stenographic assistance etc. According to the article, this letter has the approval of the MoD. If this be true, then Parrikar has done more damage to the military than even AK Anthony.

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Anthony ensured that the equipping of our military came down to 1962 levels, but Parrikar, together with the present government, appears to be hell bent upon denigrating the soldiers and denying them their dues. Taking cover behind ‘mischievous bureaucrats’ can’t work anymore; responsibilities will have to be taken for such deliberate misdeeds.

Nukkad talk generally has some basis but the following can’t really have any basis: That the prime minister is indifferent to the military, hailing from a state where not many still join the military; that the defence minister has little knowledge of matters military, even though he boasts he made the military realise their capabilities and that the RSS is behind the success of the surgical strikes; the finance minister continues smarting because of the inglorious electoral defeat he suffered at the hands of an army veteran; and, the National Security Advisor is getting back at the army for not promoting his father beyond the rank of major.

Such ludicrous and loose talks would continue to figure in the ‘free speech’ paradigm, but the important question is why is the anti-military constituency prospering in India and who is behind it?

The dual China-Pakistan threat has enlarged as never before, pan the spectrum of conflict, yet the government has made no move to define a cohesive national security strategy, nor has it undertaken a comprehensive defence review. China’s entire border with Myanmar, India and Afghanistan have been placed under its newly constituted Western Theatre Command, backed by the Rocket Force and the Strategic Support Force.

There is no move to synergise our military. Following the Kargil Review Committee Report, the Group of Ministers (GoP) headed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister LK Advani had strongly recommended the establishment of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) but this has been ignored.

BR Ambedkar is always praised for drafting the Constitution but his missive to have reservation in small percentages only for a decade plus has been drastically reversed. While reservations are increasing because of the insatiable hunger for votes, does the government realise that the CDS is vital for the defence of the country. Establishment of the CDS and replacing the MoD with a department of defence (DoD) manned by military professionals should have been the first priority of the Modi government.

The ‘Make in India’ programme, ironically, is focused on big ticket projects only, neglecting the cutting edge where the battle is actually being fought. A holistic appraisal of the requirements is missing altogether. The users (military) is deliberately kept away from the defence-industrial complex, whereas they should have been integrated as part of the design, planning and decision making levels of these organisations.

The indigenous 5.56mm INSAS assault rifle, with its numerous faults, took 15 years to be produced despite the fact that 17 state-of-the-art rifles from 11 countries were handed over to the DRDO at the very beginning. Army’s attempt to import assault rifles were consistently scuttled, while some CAPF were permitted to do so.

The defence minister announced in 2014 the “emergent” procurement of 50,000 bullet-proof jackets for the army. But, till date, not a single one has been procured, while the army’s deficiency of this item has shot past 3,50,000 already. It is ironic then that the John Hopkins School of Advanced Studies (SAIS), US, is undertaking a project study on ‘why isn’t the Indian defence industry a globally competitive defence player’, something that should have been another priority of the defence minister.

The study will include several aspects of the problem, including: How should the Indian defence industry position itself in the market by anticipating the global security environment; and, how ought the Indian defence industry lobby the Government of India to shape foreign policy and defence diplomacy.

The MoD has been referred to as the MaD (ministry against defence) in military circles for the past several years now, and for good reason as well. But, clearly the time has come for the prime minister to intervene before the anti-military constituency does even more damage.

The author is veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army.

Manohar Parrikar to look into status downgrade vis-a-vis civilian counterparts

New Delhi: After crying foul over OROP and disability pension, officers in the armed forces are upset over a defence ministry circular which purportedly downgrades their status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to say he would personnaly look into it and resolve the issue.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The order has brought an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) on par with a principal director at the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service. A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore would be equal in status to a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain equivalent to a joint director in the civil service.

The circular issued by the defence ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and
armed forces headquarters (AFHQ) civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.

As per the new circular, a civilian principal director, who was earlier equivalent to a Brigadier, would now have the status of a two star general, a director rank officer to a Brigadier and a joint director to a Colonel, a development which has not gone down well with the armed forces. A Major General earlier had the rank of a joint secretary.

The circular says that the equations are to be followed at service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).

Parrikar, when asked to comment on the development, said some people were trying to “misguide” as the issue related to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.

“These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference in New Delhi.

“First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities…this is not status….there are some people
who are trying to misguide,” he said.

The minister said he will take a look at all previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.

Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the issues related to the armed forces.

“I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. The moment they are brought out, I act on them. The
only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.

Armed forces upset over parity, Manohar Parrikar promises to address; issue to be resolved in a week

New Delhi: The armed forces are upset with a letter issued by the Defence Ministry regarding their rank parity vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to personally look into the issue and promising to come up with a solution soon.

Defence sources said the issue is likely to be solved within a week.

The circular issued by the Defence Ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and armed forces headquarters (AFHQ), and civil service officers, brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.

The circular says that the equations are to be followed in service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The order equates an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) to a principal director in the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service.

A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore is to be equated with a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain is to be at par with a joint director in the civil service.

So far, a colonel was equated with a director. A Brigadier did not have a clearly defined equivalence in the civilian hierarchy.

However, they were treated at par with a deputy director-general. A major general was treated as the equivalent of a joint secretary.

Parrikar said that while some people were trying to misguide, the issue relates to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status, vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.

“First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities. Secondly, I have already asked for exact status of earlier. I will see and if I find any reduction in functional responsibility … this is not status … there are some people who are trying to misguide.

“These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar said speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference here.

The Minister said he will take a look at all the previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.

Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the military issues and one should see if the government acts quickly or not whenever such issues come up.

“I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. They moment they are brought out, I act on them. The only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.

Defence Ministry will rectify discrepancies in ranks of armed forces personnel: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the ministry would check if ranks of armed forces personnel have changed vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, and any discrepancies would be rectified in a week.

A circular issued by the Defence Ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and armed forces headquarters (AFHQ), and civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to earlier status.

File image of union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

According to the circular, a Major General in the army and equivalent – which will be Rear Admiral in the navy and Air Vice Marshal in the air force – will be equal to a principal director in the civil service ranks at AFHQ.

A Brigadier in the army, and equivalents – Commodore in the navy and Air Commodore in the air force – will be equal to a director, and a Colonel in the Army – Captain in the navy and Group Captain in the air force – will be equal to a joint director in the civil service.

Earlier, a Colonel was equated with a director, Brigadier was treated at par with a deputy director-general, and a Major General was treated as equivalent of a joint secretary.

Parrikar, however, said that the classifications do not reflect the status, but are related to “functional responsibilities”, and added that it is being studied.

The minister also said if any discrepancy is found, it will be removed in a week.

“If there are any discrepancies, we will get them corrected in a week,” Parrikar said.

“Those (classifications) are only for functional responsibilities… These are not status..,” he said when asked about the circular bringing armed forces ranks down as compared to civilian employees.

Parrikar said he has sought details about the letter and also older letters referring to the subject issued in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

“I have already asked for exact status… I have asked them to give me all those orders… I will see if I find any reduction in functional responsibility,” he said.

The minister also said that some lacuna may always appear as the ministry is dealing with a large number of serving and retired servicemen, and added that the intent of the government should be noted.

“What should be taken note of is whether the government is ready to act quickly or not… For example, when 7th Pay (Commission) order was issued, there was one such comparison, a small paragraph, when brought to my notice we got it removed,” he said.

“That means government is very sensitive. When you are handling 25 lakh pensioners and 20 lakh armed forces, there are certain areas of lacuna and difficulties created, this government is very sensitive to such issues.”

Parrikar said, “The moment they are brought out I have acted on them. Difficulties, when they become public discussion, I cannot be a party to the discussion.”

Manohar Parrikar ‘advises’ SAFRAN to set up manufacturing unit in Goa for Rafale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar “advised” French firm SAFRAN on Sunday to set up a facility in his home state of Goa to manufacture small parts for the fighter aircraft Rafale, for which India recently signed a deal with France. “I would also advice you to take advantage of the off-set in Rafale deal. From my side I will put a word. You (SAFRAN) are supplying engines for Rafale. The off-set of Rafale deal is around Rs 30,000 crore. If you are interested in setting up a manufacturing facility of some small parts then you can do it in Goa,” Parrikar said during the inauguration of a joint venture between HAL and French firm SAFRAN in North Goa.He said Rs 1,000-1,500 crore of the total offset deal can be invested in Goa. “If that happens, Goa will provide technical support which is required for such activity,” he said.The Defence Minister also appealed state Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for setting up courses for skill development in aeronautical engineering. Parrikar said Goa requires engineering industry. “Goans are in high tech jobs across India. Also a lot of talent is available locally,” he added.The Defence Minister also suggested that HAL should tie up with SAFRAN and get into manufacturing of engines. “We are going to require 6,000-10,000 engines in next ten years and most of them are SAFRAN engines,” he said. Parrikar said the Goa government is ready to provide land and other facilities required to set up an engine manufacturing plant.

Have already stopped using the word strike: Parrikar mocks critics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Faced with a bar various quarters over his statements on cross-LoC strikes by the Army, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said he has stopped using the word “strike”.The minister had faced flak from the Opposition for a flurry of remarks over the surgical strikes carried out by the Army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September. “I will prefer to address the gathering in local language. I hardly get an opportunity to address in local language. But I promise you I will not touch any controversial issue. I have already stopped using the word strike,” Parrikar, who was in his home state of Goa, said during the inauguration of a helicopter engines maintenance unit in Sattari tehsil.”You brought the term (strike) in your speech referring to labour issues,” he said on a lighter note after the speech by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar during the event. On October 17, Parrikar had appeared to give credit to “RSS teaching” for the decision to launch cross-LoC surgical strikes even as he slammed those seeking proof for the Army’s anti-terror operation.The minister had also trashed claims of such operations under the UPA, provoking a counter offensive from the Congress, which accused him of “blatant politicisation” of the issue.Condemning Parrikar for rejecting its claim of surgical strikes having been undertaken by the Army under UPA, Congress had demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi tame his “belligerent” minister and BJP chief Amit Shah, and apologise to the armed forces.The surgical strikes were carried out on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK. The strikes on the intervening night of September 28 and 29 came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that the Uri attack, which left 19 Indian soldiers dead, would not go unpunished.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray wants more surgical strikes against Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the surgical strikes, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said India has the capability to conduct more such strikes and should regain control of the PoK. The Sena chief, however, took a dim view of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s remark crediting the “RSS teachings” for the decision to conduct the surgical strike.”We should praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the surgical strikes. But this should not be the last one but beginning of (more) such strikes against Pakistan,” Uddhav said while addressing Sena workers. He said India has a capability to strike against Pakistan and should start by regaining control of Pakistan-occupied -Kashmir (PoK).”The identity of Pakistan should be Hindustan soon. The way Indira Gandhi had carried out army operation creating Bangladesh, India should also have such operation against Pakistan,” the Sena chief said.Referring to series of statements made by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar after the surgical strikes, he said, “War should be for the nation, not for election.””I have complete respect for RSS. RSS has been working for Hindutva. But kindly don’t denounce the contribution of our brave soldiers who were involved in surgical strikes,” he said, alluding to Parrikar’s remarks where he credited his and PM’s “RSS teachings” behind decision to conduct surgical strikes.Taking a dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and AAP National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal, he said those who claim that surgical strikes never happened, should be sent out of the country.”When a senior official of Armed forces announces that the surgical strikes have happened, no one has a right to question him. By doing so, we are showing distrust in Indian soldiers,” he said.The Sena chief, who was in the coastal state to galvanise the party ahead of the state Assembly polls, also took a jibe at Modi over his statement at BRICS summit that one “old friend is better than two new ones”.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi during recently-held BRICS summit made a statement that one old friend is better than two new ones. We have a saying that it is better to have honest enemy compared to cunning friend,” Thackeray said, alluding to strains in ties with his party and the BJP despite being long-time partners.”An old friend better than two new friends”, Modi had said after his meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

Varun Gandhi was honey-trapped by arms dealer: Letter to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>American whistleblower C Edmonds Allen has claimed in a letter to PM Modi that BJP leader and MP Varun Gandhi was honey trapped by arms dealer Abhishek Verma. Allen reportedly submitted dozens of photographs to back his claim and also sent letters to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and NSA Ajit Doval. Varun Gandhi used to be a member of the Defence Consultative Committee, said several media reports.Varun Gandhi has denied the reports, claiming that while he knew Abhishek Verma from his college days, he never met him when he was MP. Gandhi, it’s claimed was being blackmailed into cooperation because he had been photographed with Uzbek escorts. Gandhi has claimed if any such pictures exist, they are ‘morphed’. Air Marshal Harish Masand, it’s believed was also captured in a similar sting.

Is using religion for votes corruption, asks Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Is seeking vote in the name of religion a “corrupt” practice? Or will an appeal by a priest or a cleric to voters of his own community to support a candidate come under the ambit of corrupt practice under the election law?These are the questions raised by the Supreme Court which began hearings to revisit its 1995 judgment on Hindutva. The apex court was looking at the misuse of religion by religious leaders during campaigning. Religious leaders who have campaigned in the past include the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid and spiritual guru Baba Ramdev.The court raised a slew of queries on Tuesday before interpreting the provision (Section 123) of the Representation of People Act (RPA) pertaining to “corrupt practice.””Can a person belonging to one community seek votes from members of his community for a candidate belonging to another community? Like a Hindu candidate may use a Muslim religious leader to solicit votes of his community for Hindu candidates by hinting that they would invite “divine displeasure” if they do not vote for a particular candidate,” the bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, posed queries without mentioning any names.”Even a Muslim candidate may use a Hindu supporter to garner votes of the Hindu community by playing the religious card. Will a candidate be held liable for corrupt practice if he uses the inflammatory speeches of a religious leader to further his own electoral practices?” the bench asked while agreeing to examine the provisions of the electoral law.The seven-judge bench comprised Justices Madan B Lokur, SA Bobde, Adarsh Kumar Goel, UU Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao. They are hearing two election petitions on the issue by Abhiram Singh and Narayan Singh.Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who began the day-long hearing, sought relief for his client, BJP leader and petitioner Abhiram Singh, citing that all others in a similar situation have already got relief from the apex court.Referring to 10 such appeals in which the election of candidates were restored, Datar submitted that the Bombay High Court had set aside his election in 1991, as it was alleged that other BJP leaders in their speeches had referred to religion to garner votes for him.Datar said that, in 1990, two such speeches were made, one by late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and the other by the late Pramod Mahajan in which reference to ‘Hindutva’ was made to garner votes for Shiv Sena and BJP candidates.Citing other cases like the relief secured by former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, Datar said that his client’s election to the Maharashtra Assembly in 1990 was set aside in 1991 by the Bombay High Court.In the famous 1995 verdict, known as “Hindutva judgment”, a three-judge bench, headed by the then chief justice J S Verma had held that Hindutva/Hinduism is a way of life for people in the sub-continent and “is a state of mind.”On February 2, 2014, a five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Justice RM Lodha, posted the issue for consideration by the seven-judge Bench, along with a reference of seven judges of an appeal already made as early as in August 2002, pending adjudication.The judgment was a turning point in elections in Maharashtra after the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, when Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi had promised to turn Maharashtra into “India’s first Hindu State.”The Bombay High Court nullified Joshi’s election as by seeking vote in the name of religion, he violated the constitutional commitment to secularism. However, Justice Verma had overturned the high court verdict holding that a candidate would not be guilty of a corrupt practice if he/she appealed to persons to vote, or not to vote, on grounds of religion as long as it was not his/her religion.

Row over Parrikar crediting RSS: BJP says Congress speaks language of Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at the Congress party for calling Manohar Parrikar a ‘national embarrassment’ after the Defence Minister gave credit for the recently conducted surgical strike to the teachings of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday launched a veiled attack on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and said the grand old party’s ‘youth leader’ has been an embarrassment for India endless times.The BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said that they do not suggestions from the Congress party as to, who should be the Defence Minister of India as they have issues with the ruling dispensation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fight against terrorism. “Who else accept Manish Tewari knows it better about the national embarrassment because his party and his party’s youth leader has been an embarrassment for our nation a lot many times,” Rao said. “Before accusing the Defence Minister of our country, Congress party should think once. Today also, Congress party has issues with the ruling government and Narendra Modi for their fight against them fighting terrorism,” he said, adding that the Congress party should answer as to why they have issues with the Centre fighting against terrorism and why do they speak the language of Pakistan.”Following Parrikar’s statement giving credit of the recently conducted surgical strikes to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) teachings, the Congress fired yet another salvo at the Defence Minister and said that the latter is an embarrassment to the nation and is unworthy of his post. “The Defence Minister is very quick to credit everyone from the mythology to the RSS for the operations along the LoC. This leads to two inescapable conclusions, number one: Manohar Parrikar does not deserve to be the Defence Minister of India, this man is a national embarrassment; number two: that the operation along the LoC were unfortunately targeted more domestic consumption rather than changing the behaviour of the deep state in Pakistan,” Manish Tewari said.”The problem is that where the government has to speak it is keeping silent. And the Goa declaration of BRICS is perhaps the most sterling example of the government’s absolute and abject failure. Despite all the rhetoric and the laser sharp discords on terror and isolating Pakistan what you have is one sundry remark. One little generic remark in almost a 20 paragraph Goa declaration and what does it say, “We strongly condemn the recent several attacks against some BRICS countries including that in India.” I read the statement for the second time, we have an attack in Uri, we lose security personnel and the government is not even able to convince its interlocutors that it was a terrorist strike,” said Tewari.Speaking at an event in Ahmedabad, the Parrikar said,”I wonder that a Prime Minister from land of Mahatma Gandhi and a Defence Minister from Goa and surgical strikes, the situation was quite. maybe the RSS teachings were there, but this was very different kind of combination”.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar credits RSS teachings for surgical strikes along LoC

After lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the surgical strikes carried out on terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday credited RSS teachings for the Indian Army’s successful operation.

“A prime minister who hails from Mahatma Gandhi’s village, a defence minister from Goa, and surgical strikes… it’s quite a different kind of combination, may be the RSS’ teachings were the common core,” Parrikar said at the ‘Know Your Army’ event organised at the Nirma University campus, according to ANI.

The Congress party, however, was quick to respond to Parrikar’s comments and criticised his statement. According to a report in ZEE NewsCongress leader Manish Tewari said why is the defence minister “always so over the top.”

“Today, he has credited the RSS for operations along LoC. Earlier he had said, like Hanuman, Army did not know their process until he (Parrikar) pointed out to them their strength and capacity. He even said, such an action has never been done before and it was the first surgical strike by the Army,” Tewari said while lashing out at the BJP for using the issue to gain political mileage.

File image of Union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIFile image of Union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Parrikar had earlier equated the Indian Army to Hanuman and made a reference to the Ramayana in which Hanuman crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jambavan.

The defence minister also said the Indian Army was giving a befitting reply to the ceasefire violations made by Pakistan even as he hit out at those seeking proof of the surgical strikes.

“Violations are regularly taking place for the last five-six years, you can take out figures. But the only thing that has changed now is that we are giving effective reply,” he said.

On security lapses, Parrikar said, “When you are doing things and if there are lapses in it, then mistakes should be rectified.” Surgical strikes, he said, have increased the sensitivity among Indians regarding national security in a very effective way.

Without taking any names, Parrikar also hit out at his opponents for seeking proof of the Army operation and said, “From the day of strike till today, some politicians are seeking proof. When the Indian Army says something, we should believe it. It (Army) is the world’s best, professional, brave and having a very high integrity. I do not feel that anybody will seek proof from them (Army) here in Ahmedabad.”

“Two good things have happened after the surgical strikes. First thing is except some politicians, every Indian is rising in unison and standing behind our brave soldiers. And the second thing is we (Indians) have acquired sensitivity regarding national security in a very effective way,” he said, reported the PTI.

He later said that one thing is clear that his government is serious about national security.

On the infiltration along Gujarat border, he said, “The BSF is tightening security at the border. You also know that this is a difficult area where we cannot put up fences as it is a marshy area. But we will use technology and fill the gaps to ensure no unauthorised person enters our territory.”

With inputs from PTI

Won’t speak about ceasefire violations, will give befitting reply to ones deserving it: Parrikar

Mon, 17 Oct 2016-01:55pm , New Delhi , PTI

“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years. The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Parrikar. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after a jawan was killed in firing by Pakistani troops, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the Indian Army was giving a befitting reply to such ceasefire violations. “Will not speak on it as it happens many times, hume jisko uttar dena hai de denge,” Manohar Parrikar said on ceasefire violation yesterday.”Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years…Check out the figures. The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” he said. An Indian Army jawan was yesterday killed as Pakistani troops violated ceasefire twice along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. Parrikar had earlier equated the Indian Army to ‘Hanuman’ and made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey God crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.

Indian Army giving befitting reply to ceasefire violations: Manohar Parrikar

Indian Army giving befitting reply to ceasefire violations: Manohar Parrikar

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New Delhi: A day after a jawan was killed in firing by Pakistani troops, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the Indian Army was giving a befitting reply to such ceasefire violations.

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years…Check out the figures. The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” he said.

An Indian Army jawan was on Sunday killed as Pakistani troops violated ceasefire twice along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.

Parrikar had earlier equated the Indian Army to ‘Hanuman’ and made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey God crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.

India has not officially conveyed plan to seal border: Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria has stated that New Delhi has not formally conveyed any plans to Islamabad to completely seal its border with Pakistan by December 2018.According to Dawn, when asked to comment on Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that India would seal the border with Pakistan completely by December 2018, Zakaria said, “we don’t have the details.” He further said that on the one hand the Indian government talked of establishing a peaceful neighbourhood, and on the other, their actions contradicted their claims.Zakaria expressed his regret over India not sharing evidence on the Samjhota Express incident, despite India’s commitment to do so and claimed that the world knew that the attack, which killed mostly Pakistanis, was carried out by “RSS and Abhinav Bharat’s operatives”.Highlighting the Kashmir issue, he re-iterated that Pakistan would continue to raise the human rights situation there at all bilateral and international forums.Reacting to Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement that the Indian government has no intention of providing proof of the surgical strikes claimed to have been carried out by the Indian Army across the LoC, he said that India was “desperate to divert attention of the international community from grave human rights violations” in Kashmir.Zakaria emphasised that Pakistan was not facing international isolation and was very much engaged in world affairs, adding that a number of multilateral events and high-level visits are taking place in and out of Pakistan.

Strike One

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday rejected claims by the Congress party that the Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes inside Pakistan in the past. He added that while the credit for the strikes goes to the armed forces and the people of India, the government should be “cheered” for its “bold” decision.”In about two years as the Defence Minister, I have not learnt about any surgical strikes any time earlier,” said Parrikar, while speaking at an event organised by the Forum for Integrated National Security (FINS) in Bandra.”What probably they are referring to is the action taken by border action teams. These are common practices across the globe and also in the Indian Army. The local commander takes punitive action against the opponent who has been troubling him to settle scores. It is not official action approved by the government,” he added, stating that these reports were sent to the government subsequently.Parrikar said the decision for surgical strikes was taken by the government. “This was announced by the army itself. If we were to take political credit, the Defence Minister would have announced it,” he said, calling the action a “one-time operation”.The minister added that “there was a burden of helplessness among the 127 crore citizens and 13.5 lakh army personnel of growing frustration that the enemy is continuously bleeding us through thousand cuts. The enemy does not even bother that there is a hue and cry internationally”. He noted that the steam accumulated over 30 years was vented out after the strikes across the Line of Control (LoC).”The hand of friendship,” Parrikar said, “was probably construed as weakness” when India had tried to patch up with Pakistan, “The country has never thought that strength itself can be a defining force for peace,” he admitted.Referring to threats about unleashing tactical nuclear weapons on India, Parrikar said “we should strengthen ourselves to a level that no one dares challenge us for conventional or non-conventional war”.

India can’t ban Chinese products but individuals can decide not to buy: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar rubbished Congress’ claim of the army having undertaken surgical strikes under it and demanded a “major” share of credit for the military action post-Uri attack for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, escalating a bruising war of words with Congress. Stung by the attack, Congress accused him of “blatant politicisation” of the issue and demanded an apology.Speaking at two events in Mumbai, Parrikar said all the 127 crore people of India, including “doubting Thomases”, and the army share and deserve credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party. At the same time, he said that “major share” of credit does go to Modi and the government for decision-making and planning. He also made it clear that Congress’ claims of such attacks having been carried out when the UPA was in power were wrong as those operations were undertaken by border action teams at local level “without the knowledge” of the government.”I don’t mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party. So all Indians, including, those doubting Thomases, can share the credit,” he said at a function in Mumbai, adding his statement will settle the nerves of many.Parrikar’s remarks drew stinging criticism from the Congress, which called them “misleading” and said by rejecting the claim that such strikes had taken place in the past, the Defence Minister had “undermined” the sacrifices made by the army.”Mr Parrikar, Indian Army deserves all credit but why mislead the people and undermine army’s sacrifices by denying earlier surgical strikes?”Operation Ginger in 2011 was a large-scale surgical strike. Why is Manohar Parrikar quiet on army’s valour? Is (it) not blatant politicisation?” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked and demanded an apology from the Minister. “Converting national security into an event management exercise to polish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extremely unfortunate,” he said.”The 127 crore people of this country and the Indian armed forces deserve the credit for the surgical strike,” the Defence Minister, who addressed events in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, said. “The only credit of the Union government is that it took the decision,” he said, adding “there were no surgical strikes ever carried out by Indian Army (prior to the September 29 strikes).” “The earlier military actions were carried out mostly in low intensity and were covert. The reports used to be communicated later to the higher authorities. This was the first such strike which was approved by the government,” he said. To a query on the mindset of the Indian army, Parrikar said, “In last 30 years, there were three wars and non-conventional attacks like terrorism. There was frustration in the society as well as among the 13.5 lakh army personnel that enemy does not bother government.”It was a 30-year steam that was vented out (on September 29). That is why people have expressed joy over it. Had anything gone wrong (during the surgical strike) entire blame would have been borne by the government,” Parrikar said.In a veiled criticism of media coverage of Kashmir events, he said, “Publicity is like oxygen. If stone pelting is not aired, 75 per cent stone pelting will stop.” Parrikar was speaking on “strengthening India’s defence capabilities”, anchored by security analyst Nitin Gokhale, in suburban Bandra.Asked if there was intelligence failure in Pathankot and Uri attacks, Parrikar said, “There were some shortcomings in intelligence. (However), I don’t call it a failure.”India’s response to terror attacks was predictable so far. Post surgical strikes, India’s response has become highly unpredictable. This is a very important position we have attained through such surgical strike,” Parrikar said.Any government should be “cheered” for taking decisions, he added. “Prime Minister Modi has tried his best for improving relationship with our neighbour (Pakistan) but our hand of friendship was perceived as weakness. Hence, we gave an unpredictable response to them,” he said.Speaking on Indo-China ties, he said the incidents of transgression have come down significantly as we have focused on dialogue. “But, as a country, we can’t put a ban on imports of Chinese products as we are part of the World Trade Organisation. However, not to buy Chinese products can be taken at individual level,” he said.

Modi should ‘tame’ Parrikar and apologise to the Army: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for rejecting its claim of surgical strikes having been undertaken by the army under UPA, Congress, on Wednesday, demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi tame his “belligerent” Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah, and apologise to the armed forces. Congress also asked the Prime Minister to publicly vow never to make political capital out of army’s sacrifice and asked Parrikar to immediately apologise for his statement that “insulted” the armed forces.As the political slugfest over the surgical strikes continued unabated, Congress accused BJP of making political capital out of the issue and indulging in “belligerent chest thumping”, bringing disgrace to the culture of governance in the country.”We urge the ruling dispensation to show maturity and gravitas in handling such crucial issues of ‘National Security’ and sacrifice of our soldiers.” Onus lies at the doorstep of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come forward, tame his belligerent Defence Minister and BJP President, apologise to the armed forces on their behalf and publicly vow to never make political capital out of army’s sacrifice,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
ALSO READ Earlier army attacked on its own, first ‘surgical strike’ across LoC after govt’s instruction: Manohar ParrikarHe said the Congress “vehemently dismisses and strongly condemns” Parrikar’s remarks that “insult the service, sacrifice and valour” of the Indian armed forces. “Blinded by political vote garnering out of the blood and sacrifice of our soldiers, Parrikar is unabashedly lying and misleading the people of India. Defence Minister is free to give credit to anyone but should abstain from undermining the huge sacrifices made by our armed forces in last 68 years.”Parrikar should immediately apologise for his statement insulting our armed forces, denying their supreme sacrifice during multiple surgical strikes and in defending the nation,” he said. Surjewala said the belligerent chest thumping by BJP on the issue of surgical strike is unending and nasty attempts at political and electoral gains have brought disgrace to the traditions and culture of governance of our country.
ALSO READ India votes for peace, war brings economic misery: Manohar ParrikarSurjewala deprecated the RSS and BJP President Amit Shah for “publicly declaring” their intention of making political capital out of the surgical strikes. “First, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar claimed that the Modi government had ‘made the army realise its prowess and strength’ for the first time. Going a step further, Amit Shah lied to the nation and disgracefully undermined the sacrifice of our armed forces by proclaiming that ‘army has crossed the LOC for the first time in 68 years’ under Modi government,” he said.The Congress leader said Parrikar, by his statement, had insulted war veterans and ex-servicemen, besides paramilitary and police personnel. “Does he mean that those who fought the great wars of 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 had no courage and deserved no credit?,” he asked, adding that those who participated in ‘Operation Ginger’ in 2011 are still alive.”Parrikar has dangerously attempted to belittle their contribution and is dividing the forces on political lines,” he said.”This distasteful commentary, unending public felicitations of the Defence Minister in Goa, Agra and Lucknow and converting ‘national security’ into an ‘event management’ exercise to polish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unfortunate and reflects desperation on the part of BJP,” Surjewala said.

Govt may soon announce defence orders worth Rs 50,000 cr: Parrikar

Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday said he expects another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of defence contracts to be signed during the remaining quarters of the financial year, taking the total orders to Rs 3 trillion since he took charge two years ago.

“During the past 23 months that I have been in charge, we have signed contracts worth Rs 2.2 trillion. Recently, we signed a letter of intent with a government-run shipyard for about Rs 32,000 crore, taking the total orders to Rs 2.5 trillion.”

Manohar Parrikar. PTIManohar Parrikar. PTI

Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Over the next six months, I hope to sign another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of contracts, taking the total to Rs 3 trillion,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an industry exhibition on technology and material sciences in Navi Mumbai near here.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had in August cleared a proposal to get Goa Shipyard build mine counter measure vessels for the Navy at an estimated cost of over Rs 32,000 crore.

Answering a question on the impact of the manufacturing push with private participation in the defence space, he said exports have jumped over six-times to Rs 3,000 crore from Rs 500 crore in the past two years alone.

“The Make in India initiative has seen defence exports from Rs 500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore, though the ministry figures will show only Rs 2,100 crore. One reason for this is that export of aviation sector items are not included in this as it has been delicensed.”

Parrikar explained that the Defence Ministry tabulates only those goods that are in the licensed segments. As many 65 percent of defence sub-segments are de-licensed now and are, therefore, not in the information list of the defence ministry.

“If we include the gains from the offset clause, our defence-related exports should be about $1 billion, out of which defence items alone are worth Rs 3,000 crore, which I hope to increase it to Rs 10,000 crore soon,” he said.

When asked about the inflows through the FDI route after foreign director investment cap was hiked to 49 percent, he said so far it has been about $100 million but will go up as foreign capital flows in at stages.

Parrikar also said the ministry is finalising a new strategic materials policy so that we can promote production as well as storage of defence-related strategic materials.

“We have set up a study team to draft a new strategic materials policy to promote the sector, which involves production and storage of these materials,” he said.

Make in India to boost defence deals: Contracts worth Rs 50,000 crore on the anvil, says Manohar Parrikar

Mumbai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday he expects another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of defence contracts to be signed during the remaining quarters
of the financial year, taking the total orders to Rs three trillion since he took charge two years ago.

“During the past 23 months that I have been in charge, we have signed contracts worth Rs 2.2 trillion. Recently, we signed a letter of intent with a government-run shipyard for about Rs 32,000 crore, taking the total orders to Rs 2.5 trillion.”

File image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIFile image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of Union Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“Over the next six months, I hope to sign another Rs 50,000-60,000 crore worth of contracts, taking the total 3 trillion,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an industry exhibition on technology and material sciences in Navi Mumbai near Mumbai.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had in August cleared a proposal to get Goa Shipyard build mine counter measure vessels for the Navy at an estimated cost of over Rs 32,000 crore.

Answering a question on the impact of the manufacturing push with private participation in the defence space, he said exports have jumped over six-times to Rs 3,000 crore from Rs 500 crore in the past two years alone.

“The Make in India initiative has seen defence exports from Rs 500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore, though the ministry figures will show only Rs 2,100 crore. One reason for this is that export of aviation sector items are not included in this as it has been delicensed.”

Parrikar explained that the Defence Ministry tabulates only those goods that are in the licensed segments. As many 65 percent of defence sub-segments are de-licensed now and are, therefore, not in the information list of the defence ministry.

“If we include the gains from the offset clause, our defence-related exports should be about USD 1 billion, out of which defence items alone are worth Rs 3,000 crore, which I hope to increase it to Rs 10,000 crore soon,” he said.

When asked about the inflows through the FDI route after foreign director investment cap was hiked to 49 per cent, he said so far it has been about USD 100 million but will go up as foreign capital flows in at stages.

Parrikar also said the ministry is finalising a new strategic materials policy so that we can promote production as well as storage of defence-related strategic materials.

“We have set up a study team to draft a new strategic materials policy to promote the sector, which involves production and storage of these materials,” he said.

Surgical Strikes: Don’t mind sharing but major credit goes to PM Modi, says Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid bitter politics of oneupmanship over the surgical strikes, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said all Indians including those who have raised doubts can share credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party.At the same time, he said that a large share of credit does go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for decision-making and planning.”I don’t mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party. So all Indians, including, those doubting it also, can share the credit,” he said at a function here.He said sharing of credit will settle the nerves of many. The Minister said he understands the sentiments of the people and they are satisfied now.Several political leaders and parties have questioned the surgical strike and have sought proof. The Congress, while officially supporting the government over the strike, has also said that similar operations were undertaken during its tenure also.

Goa CM Parsekar defends Defence Minister Parrikar’s visits to Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has appealed to media not to give undue publicity to statements by opposition parties questioning Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s frequent visits to his home state. “Goa is his home town. He has to come here to see how the state government is functioning, how the party is functioning, how his friends are, how his family is. He is concerned about all this,” Parsekar said addressing a public meeting in Mapusa town last evening, where Parrikar was present. “There are some political opponents who raise questions about his visits to Goa. He is the Defence Minister of the entire nation. Goa is part of India. So what’s wrong about his visit here?” the chief minister asked.”I appeal media not to give undue publicity to the statements made by opposition parties (questioning Parrikar’s presence in Goa),” he said. In his speech, Parsekar referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘yugpurush’, saying he has the capacity to be the world leader, and expressed happiness that he selected Parrikar to handle the important Defence portfolio.

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