World Newsletter

FRONT PAGE NEWS
16 January 2020

ON ARMY DAY, CHIEF SAYS SCRAPPING 370 DISRUPTED PAK PLANS

Army Chief Gen M M Naravane on Wednesday hailed the abrogation of provisions
of Article 370 as a "historic step" and said the move had disrupted plans of
the "western neighbour and its proxies", in a clear reference to Pakistan.
The armed forces have "zero tolerance against terrorism", he said at the
72nd Army Day function held at the Cariappa Parade Ground in Delhi
Cantonment. "We have many options to counter those who promote terrorism and
we will not hesitate to use them," he said.
"The abrogation of Article 370 is a historic step. It will prove to be
important in integrating Jammu and Kashmir in the national mainstream. This
decision has disrupted the plans of our western neighbour and its proxies,"
the Army chief said.
The Army Chief said the situation along the LoC is linked to the situation
in Jammu and Kashmir. "Today, we remember those who have made ultimate
sacrifice for the country. It will keep inspiring the coming generations,"
he said.
The Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year to mark Lt Gen K M
Cariappa taking over as commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949 from
General Francis Bucher, the last British commander-in-chief of India.
Captain Tania Shergill, the first woman Parade Adjutant, led all-men
contingents during the parade, drawing praise from senior officers and loud
cheers from the audience.


CHINA'S ATTEMPT TO RAKE UP KASHMIR FALLS FLAT AGAIN

India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan for again trying to raise the Kashmir
issue in the UN Security Council where it failed yet again to find any
support, with New Delhi asserting that Islamabad needs to focus on the hard
tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India.
Yesterday, China made a fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under "other
matters" during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations
Room. China, Pakistan's "all-weather ally", stood alone in the Pakistani
corner to get the Security Council to focus on the Kashmir issue. The
attempt failed as other member countries felt Kashmir is a bilateral matter
between India and Pakistan.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said:
"We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in
plain view of all others."


NOSTALGIA FOR RUSSIA LINGERS, US TOO HOLDS MUCH PROMISE, SAYS JAISHANKAR

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said while nostalgia for
the former Soviet Union or Russia still lingered in India, the relationship
with the US provided "promising opportunities" to help the country move to a
more knowledge-driven world where talent and innovation were the keys to
become a bigger global power.
"I like nostalgia. I started my career in Moscow," said the minister while
observing that foreign policy practitioners tend to underestimate the
sentiment on the street. Giving the example of his 90-year-old mother,
Jaishankar said she turned out on the streets in 1955 with lakhs of Indians
to welcome then ruling Soviet duo of Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev.
It is still there in her mind.
But the sentiment in India towards the US has changed. "Look at any sector
and I will show you something that is happening in that relationship. There
have been changes in the US for a variety of reasons. It is looking beyond
alliances," he added.
He described India's global vision as an extrapolation of its national
personality which is a pluralistic society and historically very open to the
world. "You will see those traits reflect themselves. What has changed is
greater capacities and more influence; an opinion that is expressed more
firmly and decisively," he declared.


INDIA CAN PLAY A ROLE IN DE-ESCALATING TENSIONS IN GULF: IRANIAN FOREIGN
MINISTER

India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region as New
Delhi is an important player, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on
Wednesday.
His remarks come amid tensions between the US and Iran over the killing of
Iranian general Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani.
India has been maintaining that it would like the situation to de-escalate
as soon as possible and the country has been in touch with key players,
including Iran, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, as it has important
interests in the region. "India can play a role in de-escalating tensions in
the Gulf region as New Delhi is an important player," Zarif said.


RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER AND GOVERNMENT RESIGN AFTER VLADIMIR PUTIN SPEECH

Russia's government resigned in a shock announcement on Wednesday after
President Vladimir Putin proposed a series of constitutional reforms.
In a televised meeting with the Russian president, Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev said the proposals would make significant changes to the country's
balance of power and so "the government in its current form has resigned".
"We should provide the president of our country with the possibility to take
all the necessary measures" to carry out the changes, Medvedev said.
"All further decisions will be taken by the president." Putin asked
Medvedev, his longtime ally, to continue as head of government until a new
government has been appointed.
"I want to thank you for everything that has been done, to express
satisfaction with the results that have been achieved," Putin said.
Earlier Wednesday Putin proposed a referendum on a package of reforms to
Russia's constitution that would strengthen the role of parliament. The
changes would include giving parliament the power to choose the prime
minister and senior cabinet members, instead of the president as in the
current system.


NEPAL'S PRACHANDA SAYS HE CAN BE BLAMED FOR 'ONLY' 5,000 DEATHS DURING CIVIL
WAR

Former Prime minister and chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party,
Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' said Wednesday that he was ready to take
responsibility for the death of 5,000 people, but that he was not
responsible for all 17,000 deaths that took place during the decade-long
armed insurgency led by the Maoists beginning February 1996.
Prachanda's statement comes amid demands by rival politicians that he should
be tried for killing 17,000 people during the insurgency, which was led by
Prachanda.
Addressing a gathering in Kathmandu, Dahal said since he led a movement
against the feudal system, he was ready to take responsibility for the
killing of 5,000 people. The other 12,000, he said, were killed by the
state.
The Maoists are now part of the ruling Nepal Communist Party and had joined
the political mainstream in 2006.


US AND CHINA SIGN DEAL TO EASE TRADE WAR

The US and China have signed an agreement aimed at easing a trade war that
has rattled markets and weighed on the global economy. Speaking in
Washington, US President Donald Trump said the pact would be
"transformative" for the US economy.
Chinese leaders called it a "win-win" deal that would help foster better
relations between the two countries. China has pledged to boost US imports
by $200bn above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules.
In exchange, the US has agreed to halve some of the new tariffs it has
imposed on Chinese products. However the majority of the border taxes remain
in place, which has prompted business groups to call for further talks.


NEW PM HOUSE, PMO & PARLIAMENT BEFORE 2024; MINISTRIES ALONG CENTRAL VISTA

Used since 1984 when late Rajiv Gandhi became the PM, the current residence
of Prime Minister was built over 12 acres of land, based on designs by New
Delhi's chief architect Edwin Lutyens. However, with a new redevelopment
blueprint on the table, the PM's residence is now expected to move to the
South-West corner, behind South Block on Raisina Hill.
The blueprint for redevelopment of the central vista, the ambitious plan
that includes setting up of a new Parliament building, bringing all central
ministries closer, and redeveloping the existing heritage structures in and
around the central vista - has many such proposals to alter the layout of
Lutyens' Delhi.
According to Bimal Patel, head of HCP Design and Planning - the firm that
has bagged the contract for creating the blueprint - the project is in line
with the original plan created by Lutyens. Consolidating, rationalising and
synergising government functions through better office infrastructure is at
the heart of this project, he said.
Apart from accommodating all ministries, bringing the PM and
Vice-President's residences within the central vista are key facets.
Similarly, the V-P's residence will be behind North Block.
To accommodate and modernise the Parliament, instead of refurbishing the
existing building (used since 1947) a new building will be developed inside
Parliament complex. A triangular structure will be set up on a 13-acre plot,
which is currently used for car parking. Besides a Lok Sabha hall three
times the size of the current one, a Rajya Sabha hall and a lounge will also
come up.
At present, 22 of the 51 union ministries are located in and around the
central vista. According to the blueprint, 10 modern buildings along both
sides of the Rajpath spread will house all ministries.
Besides integrated underground parking lots, these building complexes will
have underground transit passages directly linked to the Delhi Metro's
yellow and violet lines.
To further cut down traffic congestion on the 3-km-long central vista -
spread between India Gate and Raisina Hill - pedestrian underpasses will
replace traffic signals.
Patel says his plan has followed Lutyens' "Ridge to River" model to
commemorate 75 years of India's independence in 2022. Starting from the
ridge of Raisina Hill - the central Delhi plan will connect the area with
Yamuna River, where a memorial will be set up to celebrate the 75th
anniversary.


KERALA, BENGAL MAKE IT OFFICIAL, ASK REGISTRAR GENERAL TO PUT NPR ON HOLD

The Registrar General of India (RGI) has received communication from
governments of Kerala and West Bengal to put on hold the exercise of
National Population Register (NPR). The two states had earlier announced
that they would not participate in the NPR exercise.
"The states have written to their district magistrates saying that the NPR
exercise could be detrimental to public order and so it must be put on hold
for the moment. That communication was forwarded to our regional Census
offices, and we have received it from them," an MHA official said.
However, there is no clarity within MHA on what the Centre would do if
states do not cooperate with the NPR exercise. Notably, manpower for conduct
of Census, and even NPR, is to be drawn from state governments.


CHHATTISGARH'S CONGRESS GOVT CHALLENGES NIA ACT, A UPA-ERA LAW

A day after Kerala invoked Article 131 of the Constitution to challenge the
Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the Supreme Court, the Congress government of
Chhattisgarh too cited the same provision to move the top court, challenging
the Constitutional validity of the National Investigation Act, 2008.
Incidentally, the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre when the law
was enacted by Parliament.
The Chhattisgarh petition said the NIA Act, in its present form, not only
takes away the state's power of conducting investigation through police but
also confers unfettered discretionary and arbitrary powers on the Centre.
There are no rules governing the exercise of power which, it said, gives
ample discretion to the defendant to exercise its power at any juncture
without providing any reason or justification for the same.


OPEN TO PROBE DAVINDER SINGH'S ROLE IN 2001 PARLIAMENT ATTACK CASE: J&K DGP

Days after one of its officers, Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder
Singh, was caught with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, the J&K Police has
recommended a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Responding to a question, DGP Dilbag Singh said they were also open to a
probe into Davinder Singh's alleged role in the 2001 Parliament attack. "If
that issue also comes up during ongoing investigations, it can also be
probed,'' he said.
In 2004, in a letter to his lawyer Sushil Kumar, Afzal Guru, then lodged in
Tihar Jail for his involvement in the Parliament attack, had said that "DSP
Davinder Singh", then posted with J&K Police's Special Operations Group at
Humhama, had asked him to "take Mohammad", a Pakistani national identified
as one of those who carried out the Parliament attack, "to Delhi, rent a
flat for his stay and purchase a car for him".
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration late Wednesday night
forfeited the Sher-I-Kashmir honour for gallantry awarded to DySP Devinder
Singh in August 2018.
Davinder Singh who was posted with the J&K Police anti-hijacking unit at
Srinagar airport, was arrested with top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Syed
Naveed Mushtaq, alias Naveed Babu, and his associates, at a checkpoint on
the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on January 11.


FIR ON AMU COMPLAINT TO BE FILED ONLY IF HC DIRECTS: POLICE

Pointing out that the matter related to violence on the campus of Aligarh
Muslim University (AMU) on December 15 last year was subjudice, the Aligarh
police said Wednesday that an FIR into a complaint filed by the AMU Tuesday
could be registered only after a court directive.
"How can we lodge an FIR when the matter is subjudice in the High Court?
Their [AMU] complaint was against police personnel. The court has directed
for a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) inquiry, which is underway.
How can we lodge an FIR in the middle of all this?" said Aligarh SSP Akash
Kulhary.
On Tuesday, AMU Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor had said the varsity had
lodged a complaint demanding an FIR against police personnel for entering a
university hostel on December 15.


MAHARASHTRA GOVT REVIVES PLAN FOR A LONDON EYE REPLICA IN MUMBAI

Thirteen years after it was first mooted, the Uddhav Thackeray-led
government has revived the ambitious plan of constructing a 'Mumbai Eye' in
the city on the lines of the hugely popular tourist attraction in London,
the London Eye. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government on Wednesday discussed
the proposal during the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Later, speaking to mediapersons, NCP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief
Minister, Ajit Pawar, said that the entire Cabinet is in favour of the
proposal. But just as Pawar suggested in the meeting that land available
towards the Bandra end of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link can be considered for
the project, senior officials said that paucity of space and lack of natural
vantage points from which one can get an unimpaired view of Mumbai might
come in the way of its implementation.
As per an initial study, the plan for a London Eye replica will need at
least five acre, which can be prove to be a challenge in Mumbai, an official
said.


ARJUNA'S ARROWS HAD ATOMIC POWER, SAYS WEST BENGAL GOVERNOR

The arrows of Mahabharata's Arjuna had atomic power, claimed West Bengal
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, drawing sharp criticism from academics, even as
he joined a long list of politicians who have in recent years given bizarre
interpretations linking mythology with science.
Speaking at the 45th Eastern India Science Fair and 19th Science and
Engineering Fair on Tuesday, Dhankhar also claimed that flying objects
existed during the period of Ramayana.
"It is said that the plane was invented in 1910 or 1911, but if we delve
into our old scriptures we will see in Ramayana, we had 'uran khatola'
(aircraft)," he said.
"Sanjaya narrated the entire war of Mahabharata (to Dhitarasthra) not from
TV. The arrows of Arjuna in Mahabharata had atomic power in it," Dhankhar
said, asserting that the world could no longer afford to ignore India.
Dhankhar, who has been in news for clashes with the Mamata Banerjee
government ever since he assumed office in July last year, joins politicians
such as Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb and UP Deputy Chief Minister
Dinesh Sharma to give odd interpretations of mythology.


KOHLI MAY RETURN TO NO. 3

The crushing 10-wicket defeat to Australia in the first ODI in Mumbai has
given Virat Kohli and the Indian management a very serious headache. The
Indian batsmen failed on a batting-friendly track, and their bowlers were
rendered helpless by rampaging Australian openers. After the dismissal of
Kohli, caught-bowled by leg-spinner Adam Zampa, the Indian line-up failed to
put up a challenging total.
Kohli came in at No. 4, instead of his regular No. 3 position, because India
had included three openers in the playing XI on the basis of good form.
After the thrashing, though, Kohli indicated that that decision will change.
"Because of the way KL (Rahul) has been batting, we have tried to fit him in
the batting line-up," Kohli said. "Having said that, I don't think it's
quite gone our way whenever I've batted number four, so we'll probably have
to rethink about that one."
Having said that, Kohli said it's OK to fail occasionally when experimenting
to get the right playing combination. "It's very easy to just go with one
template and just follow it non-stop," the captain said. "I think people
need to relax and not panic with one game, I'm allowed to experiment a
little bit and fail as well at times. You lose games here and there but
today was one of the days where it didn't come off." "All in all it's about
giving some guys opportunities and you'll never know if this works or not if
you don't try," Kohli said.
Meanwhile, Kohli has been named the captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of
the year, capping off a memorable season for the leading batman of the
world.
Apart from Kohli, there were four Indians who were picked in the ICC's Test
and ODI teams of the year. The Test team featured Mayank Agarwal and Rohit
Sharma apart from Kohli, pace bowler Mohammed Shami and left-arm spinner
Kuldeep Yadav found a place in the ODI side.

Share Your Thoughts