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Captain vs Punjab Minister After “Pak Friend Has ISI Links” Allegations – dot newz

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Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was a minister in Captain Amarinder Singh’s cabinet. File

Chandigarh:

Punjab is in safe hands under the Charanjit Singh Channi government, state home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said today as he sparred with former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over his Pakistani friend’s alleged ISI links. Mr Randhawa also targeted the former Chief Minister over his failure to fulfill the 2017 poll promises.

The war of tweets between the former Chief Minister and the current home minister broke out after the latter said a Pakistani journalist known to be Mr Singh’s friend should be investigated for alleged links with the ISI.

“The Captain is saying that Punjab faces a threat from the ISI. So we will also probe the relation of Aroosa Alam with ISI,” Mr Randhawa said when asked about visuals of the defence journalist with Pakistani military officers.

Hitting back at the “personal attacks”, Mr Singh said Aroosa Alam had been coming to India for 16 years with clearances from the centre and questioned Mr Randhawa if he is alleging that NDA and previous UPA governments connived with ISI.

“You were a minister in my cabinet @Sukhjinder_INC. Never heard you complain about Aroosa Alam. And she’d been coming for 16 years with due GoI clearances. Or are you alleging that both NDA and @INCIndia led UPA govts in this period connived with Pak ISI?’: @capt_amarinder,” Raveen Thukral, media advisor to the former Chief Minister, tweeted.

Mr Thukral also tweeted a picture of Ms Alam with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Mr Singh asked what happened to the “tall promises” by the current government on drugs cases and said, “Punjab is still waiting for your promised action”.

The exit of Mr Singh as Chief Minister in the face of bitter infighting in the Punjab Congress unit has now given way to a blame game, with Mr Singh and the current dispensation shifting blame on failures to fulfill poll promises. Mr Singh has said he will launch his own outfit and warmed up to the BJP, with a political understanding likely in the coming polls.

“…you don’t worry about law and order situation as we have not outsourced the Punjab govt to ‘anyone’,” Mr Randhawa tweeted, taking a swipe at the former Chief Minister. He also said the former Chief Minister failed to take probes into sacrilege cases and drug cases to their logical conclusion.

Questioning why he is “perturbed” on the issue of a possible probe against Aroosa Alam, he asked who sponsored her visa.

Mr Singh responded by saying that it was he who sponsored Ms Alam’s visa and that such requests are approved only after clearance from security agencies.

The former Chief Minister added that he is worried that instead of focusing on law and order situation amid terror threats, Punjab government has deployed police on a “baseless investigation at the cost of Punjab’s safety”.

Aroosa Alam’s name cropped up earlier too when Mr Singh targeted Congress leader and arch rival Navjot Singh Sidhu for attending Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony in 2018 and hugging the Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The journalist, who met Amarinder Singh during his Pakistan visit in 2004, is reportedly a regular visitor to his home.





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China Poses Significant Challenge To India’s Strategic Goals: Air Chief – dot newz

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said the Indian Air Force needs to be rapidly modernized. (File)

New Delhi:

Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari said that China poses a significant long term challenge to India’s strategic goals. He said it should be made clear to the world that today’s India has the capability and will to respond at a level that the nation deems appropriate.

“China poses a significant and long-term challenge to India’s strategic goals. Both People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) have enhanced their military capabilities in equipment and infrastructure. The Indian Air Force (IAF) needs to be rapidly modernized, expand its fleet and improve indigenous manufacturing capabilities,” the IAF chief said at a seminar conducted by the Centre for Air Power Studies.

The IAF needs to be rapidly modernized, expand its fleet and improve indigenous manufacturing capabilities, he urged.

The IAF chief said that China’s hegemonic and entrapping policies can provide opportunities for India to leverage in trade and military domains.

He also asserted that India has demonstrated its capabilities during a standoff on the northern border while simultaneously handling the national COVID-19 response.

“In the future, we could be attacked from all fronts, starting from economic strangulation to diplomatic isolation and military stand-offs to information blackouts, in the form of attack by a distributed denial of services. We will need to prepare for the full spectrum,” the Air Force chief cautioned.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Gen Rawat Was On “Very Safe” Mi-17V-5, Crash Confounds Experts – dot newz

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India owns a fairly large fleet of Mi-17V-5 helicopters that are often used to ferry VIPs.

New Delhi:

The Mi-17V-5 helicopters are extremely reliable and are the workhorses of the Air Force, several former army officers told NDTV after one of these choppers crashed in Tamil Nadu, with Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and several members of his family on board. The crash perplexed the experts, who said the flight from Sulur to Wellington did not involve complications.

Four people are dead and another four who survived, have been taken to a hospital. It is believed that there were 14 people on board, including the chopper’s crew and passengers.

The Indian Air Force has already ordered an inquiry into the crash.

The Mi-17V-5 is the latest twin-engine iteration of the Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopter and is used regularly for high-altitude operations. One of the most advanced military transports that can be used in any topography and weather, it is one of the most powerful choppers used by Indian defence forces.

India owns a fairly large fleet of these helicopters that were purchased and inducted between 2013 and 2018.

Most experts NDTV spoke to described it as a “very reliable, safe, stable, and large” helicopter that is also used to ferry VIPs, including the President and the Prime Minister.

According to information available on the website of Rosoboronexport — the Russian arms supplier — the chopper is designed to “carry personnel, cargo and equipment inside the cargo cabin or on an external sling, drop tactical air assault forces and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, destroy ground targets and carry the wounded”.

“Its armament system includes unguided rockets (up to 80 S-8 80mm unguided aerial rockets), cannons (suspended pods with 23mm cannons and 250 rounds each) and small arms,” the website says.



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‘Smartphones, Scootys, Security’: Congress’ “Women’s Manifesto” Before UP Polls – dot newz

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UP will vote for a new government in 2022, with the Congress challenging the BJP

Lucknow:

Girls studying in Classes 10 to 12 in Uttar Pradesh schools will get smartphones and female graduate students will get scooters, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Wednesday as part of a six-point “woman’s manifesto” ahead of an Assembly election in the state in a few months.

Ms Gandhi Vadra – who is leading her party’s campaign in the poll-bound state – read out a number of measures and schemes the Congress plans to implement should it win next year’s election, and demanded that all parties understand “the fact women have to bear with exploitation”.

Promises made by Ms Gandhi Vadra today include the offer of three free LPG cylinders for women – a significant offer given the skyrocketing prices of gas cylinders in the country, something for which the BJP (in power in UP and at the centre) has been severely criticised.

“I hope this women’s manifesto will put pressure on other political parties to also speak about similar issues. We want to release a women-specific manifesto so women have freedom of choice… I have seen that women ka bahut shoshan hota hai but they are fighting for their rights,” she said.

Ms Gandhi Vadra also highlighted the Congress’ promise to reserve 40 per cent of its election tickets for women; “this is not only on paper,” she said, giving late Indira Gandhi – India’s first woman prime minister – as an example of the Congress’ contribution to women in politics.

“Our attempt is to bring real women’s empowerment… at the grassroots level. Women’s empowerment is usually spoken about before elections and then mostly restricted to being on paper. We want to actually empower women on ground,” the Congress leader said.

“Parliament and legislative assemblies have an average of 14 per cent participation by women representatives. That needs to increase… we want that 40 per cent of all seats should be represented by women. This will increase their participation in policy-making,” she stressed.

Apart from smartphones, scooters and free gas cylinders, Ms Gandhi Vadra said women senior citizens and widows would get a monthly pension of Rs 1,000, and every new-born girl will get a fixed deposit in her name. All households with women will get a free internet connection.

Ms Gandhi Vadra also flagged the issue of women’s security – a serious subject given the worrying number of violent crimes against women reported from Uttar Pradesh.

“We want 25 per cent of the police to consist of women. All chowkis to have at least one woman officer and constable,” she said, reminding reporters that many crimes were unreported as the police is reluctant to file a case. “More women in the force will help the cause of women,” she said.

The Congress also promised Rs 10 lakh medical cover for women “for any kind of illness or disease”.

UP votes for a new government in a few months time.

The Assembly election here – for 403 seats – is widely seen as an indicator of how the ruling BJP might fare in the 2024 general election, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party will seek a third consecutive term in power.



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