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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 31 May 2016

26/11: Pak court issues notices to Lakhvi, govt
Wants boat used by LeT ultras to reach India examined
Islamabad, May 30
A top Pakistani court today issued notices to the seven Mumbai attack case accused, including 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, and the government over the prosecution’s plea to form a commission to examine the boat used by the 10 LeT terrorists to reach India.

“The Islamabad High Court has issued notices to the accused of Mumbai attack case and the government on the prosecution’s plea to form a commission to examine the boat at port city of Karachi,” a court official said.

He said the court had also sought record of the case from the trial court. The official said the date for hearing the case would be fixed later.

The prosecution had challenged the trial court’s decision to reject its plea to form a commission to examine the boat “Al-Fauz” used by Mumbai attack terrorists so that the vessel could be made “case property”. Al-Fauz is in the custody of the Pakistani authorities in Karachi, from where the 10 militants, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, had left for India to carry out the Mumbai attack in 2008.

According to the Federal Investigation Agency, the attackers used three boats, including Al Fauz, to reach Mumbai from Karachi. It said the security agencies had also traced the shop and its owner from where the culprits bought the engine and the boat while a bank and a money exchange company were also traced which were used for money transaction. — PTI

‘War not a solution to Indo-Pak problems’

War is not a solution between both (India-Pak) countries. Only foolish people would consider war as a solution to the problems…We hope that the dialogue process resumes, because all our issues can be resolved through talks. —BS Basit, Pak high commissioner after scientist AQ Khan said Pak can hit Delhi in five minutes
J&K: Preparing for approaching pitfalls
Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain
“Holding the periphery” is what the Army has to do in Jammu & Kashmir, without being obstructive; it has to be a facilitator in the closing stages of conflict stabilisation. Only then will it lead to a transformation that will afford the situation to quietly slip into conflict resolution.
SMART strategic leaders always plan for contingencies so that they do not find the proverbial pull of the rug under their feet. No better place to apply this maxim than Jammu and Kashmir. Currently everyone there is focused on the sudden increase in infiltration and gun battles; the military space is truly active. The hinterland semi-urban areas have rumours to discuss about Sainik Colonies and exclusive dwelling areas for Kashmiri Pandits. It is the vintage Kashmir situation encountered almost every other year. What surprises me is the ease with which rumours go viral and young people are willing to be led and manipulated. What is even more surprising is the inability of leaders, administrators and stakeholders to directly interact with the people, or through print and particularly social media to quell the rumours. Not doing so is like playing the street's strength and the state's weakness.

The above is in the realm of expectation but surely the Central and state governments, Intelligence agencies and the Army can't be misled by the still comparatively low-key situation they face. Jammu and Kashmir's sponsored proxy internal conflict has seen more than its share of dynamic “ups and downs” for the stakeholders not to be considering where the future pitfalls lie. 

Apply the mind and it starts from Afghanistan; everything there makes a difference here. Reports indicate weakening of the Taliban and the unlikelihood of a full-weight summer offensive; that is a breather for Pakistan too although it has been the Taliban's all-weather friend. Conjectures now are all pointing to Pakistan's hand in the killing of Mullah Mansoor to get the Taliban under its control and play to the US Congress, which has the F-16 issue like a pistol to its head.

Internally within Pakistan, things aren't too bad and Raheel Sharif, if he wishes to be a gentleman, will demit office in November 2016; perhaps he may wish to go on a high; the perception of that remains his choice. Between now and November 2016 is a big gap. If Afghanistan is quiet and internally things are in control in Pakistan where does the attention of Pakistan's Deep State travel? No prizes for guessing. On the face of it there is a range of issues on which the Deep State and separatists can play together. These could be, limiting pilgrims for the Shri Amarnath Yatra, various human rights issues, including the manipulated Handwara case and the ongoing Sainik Colonies issue. However, none of these will throw up passions in the street in a lasting way. There are perhaps two other issues which can emerge triggers and both also have tacit support of shades of opinion within the nation which makes them even more vitriolic for effect. The first is the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA (1990) and second is the dilution and eventual withdrawal of the Army's presence in the hinterland areas of the Valley. The AFSPA issue is a bigger ticket and will require a separate piece to address holistically. There has never been an intellectual application of mind to it by any quarter; neither by the detractors nor the supporters.

The Nexus is in search of a contentious issue which could spark the streets and wreck the coalition that forms the state government.  The latter has thus far been mature in relegating contentious issues to the back-burner and is concentrating on establishing a base for the furtherance of its governance platform. It has been a brave effort thus far. However, in J&K's bleak security landscape, “stabilisation” is a dirty word. The Nexus cannot afford to allow that to crystalise beyond a point. AFSPA offers scope to upset the applecart and will need deft handling on the part of our stakeholders to keep it from becoming a big ticket. That is what we need to prepare for, knowing that the current political constituents of the government themselves have differences about it. Avoiding this through smart legal work and finding middle ground acceptable to the political elements within Jammu and Kashmir, and actually within the nation, holds the key.

The demand for dilution of the Army's presence has often come from within mainstream media and political opinion. Some years ago, a senior editor, Shekhar Gupta, argued that a portion of the “victory dividend” be given back to the people. This triggered a discussion among veteran senior Army officers, again with shades of opinion. Mine was that firstly there is no such thing as victory against your own people. Secondly, the situation was tenuous and identifiable as being at the initial stages of conflict stabilisation. That situation has to be held if the next stage has to be achieved. There is an apparently flawed notion that the Army's presence instigates rather than stabilises. It is incidents of the Handwara type which create this perception. Tourists returning  from the Valley often have a query for me on the need for such a large presence of the Army. These are people with short-term memories and no backdrop information about what the Valley went through. The Army's presence, which I agree can be made less visible, affords the national footprint to be more effective, protects military assets and avoids a free hand to the Nexus. What some elements of the political leadership, at different levels, and media analysts fail to grasp is the opportunity the Army's robust presence brings.  It affords the ability to take positive political messaging to the grassroots; engage there and deliver on the deliverables — the development issues, the daily life issues which have been on the backburner for long because of militancy. The Army itself needs to encourage this and facilitate the administration and politicians to engage the grassroot.

“Holding the periphery” is what the Army has to do, without being obstructive; it has to be a facilitator in the closing stages of conflict stabilisation. The Army has rarely, if ever, viewed its own role from this angle because it is mostly placed on the defensive by the multiple fingers which are pointed at it in a situation which could be rightly called the "public order to law and order" transition.

The Army could do without the unprofessional diatribe within its own ranks by people who have never applied mind to the true role of soldiers in transiting stages of militancy.  It can certainly afford to get more intellectually robust to thwart the efforts of the Nexus, which will force the situation covertly through the ranks of those within mainstream India itself. The sooner the leadership at all levels understands this, the faster will resolution of internal conflict emerge.
Arundhati says Indian Army being deployed against its own people
NEW DELHI: Indian writer and social activist Arundhati Roy has said in a recent event there has not been a day since 1947 that the Indian army has not been deployed against its own people, reported in Indian media.

According to the media reports Ms. Roy was speaking at the release of the Tamil translation of her annotated book on BR Ambedkar’s essay “Annihilation of Caste.”

She said that the Indian army has been deployed in areas of Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, Goa, Junagadh, Kashmir and Chhattishgarh.  "Who are these people that the Indian army has been deployed against? It’s always Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits.”

The Man Booker Prize Winner spoke at length about the prevailing social injustice in India and said that the Indian army continues to operate ‘like a colonizer’

She went on to express her concern regarding the lack of importance given to what she called ‘the most cruel social hierarchy’ world over and what could be done to bring the discrimination of caste as a topic of discussion in the international arena.

“It is extremely important to shame this system internationally” said Roy.

She compared the American civil rights movement to the current condition in India. She spoke about the out of proportion African American prisoners in American prisons and said that the situation in India was quite similar, that the number of Muslim, Sikh and Dalit prisoners outnumbered the Hindus in jails.

“Caste is the mother of capitalism” she added as she expressed her views about the prevailing problem.
Indian Army recovers huge cache of arms in Doda, J-K
Acting on specific information, the Indian Army launched a swift and surgical joint search operation in Sunarthwa Forest near Gosti Bowl in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.

The team recovered a total of four weapons and war like stores, which included one AK 56 Rifle, two 9 mm Pistols, one country Made Pistol, seven AK Magazines, two 9 mm Pistol Magazines, one Pika Magazine, four UBGL Grenades, five Pakistan origin hand grenades, 1696 Rounds of 7.62 mm AK 47, 1340 Rounds of 7.62 mm CTN, 40 Belted Rounds of Pika, two Binoculars, one Telescopic Night Sight, one camera, ten recording cassettes and sustenance stores from a natural cave hideout in Sunarthwa Forest.

The Army had been getting information of suspicious unidentified movement of the personnel in the general area for the last three months and, therefore, a close watch was being maintained.

The recovered arms likely belong to one of the terrorist tanzeems of the area, active in the past, which could have been hidden for later usage.

The area due to its remoteness and rugged terrain makes it an ideal location for establishing a hideout.

The dense forest and steep gradient increased the degree of difficulty in approach to the intended target area and subsequent search.

The recovery of war like stores was possible only due to the accurate intelligence developed by the Army and launching of well synchronised joint operation with SOG in the dense jungle, in a relentless day and night operation of 36 hours.

Apart from the three columns of the Indian Army, the team also included one Head Constable with six persons of SOG from Thatri Police Station.

The recovered arms and ammunition were handed over to the Thatri Police Station, wherein a FIR has been lodged.

The recovery of a huge cache has given a major success to the Security Forces and a massive blow to the terrorists in the area, thereby preventing the arms and ammunition from falling into the hands of inimical elements, aiming at revival of militancy in Doda.

Monday, 30 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 30 May 2016

Pak nukes can target Delhi in 5 min: AQ
Defence experts claim India has ability to hit entire Pakistan, say disgraced Khan known for exaggerated claims
Islamabad/New Delhi, May 29
Nuclear-armed Pakistan has the ability to “target” the Indian capital Delhi in five minutes, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has said.

The claim was deplored by India's strategic community, which said India had the capability to hit entire Pakistan but nuclear weapons were not weapons of war but only meant for deterrence. "It is a very immature and outlandish statement to make.

(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

Addressing a gathering in Islamabad on the 18th anniversary of Pakistan’s first nuclear tests, which were carried out under his supervision in 1998, Khan said Pakistan could have become a nuclear power as early as 1984, but the then President General Zia ul Haq “opposed the move”.

The 80-year-old nuclear physicist said General Zia, who was Pakistan’s President from 1978 to 1988, opposed the nuclear testing as he believed that the world would intervene militarily.

Further, it would have also curtailed international aid Pakistan was receiving due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

“We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984. But President General Zia ul Haq had opposed the move,” Khan said yesterday.

Khan also said that “Pakistan has the ability to target” Delhi from Kahuta near Rawalpindi in five minutes”.

Kahuta is the home to the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL), Pakistan’s key uranium enrichment facility, linked to the atomic bomb project. Khan was disgraced in 2004 when he was forced to accept responsibility for nuclear technology proliferation and was forced to live a life of official house arrest. In 2009, the Islamabad High Court declared Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country.

He regretted the treatment and said Pakistan would never have achieved the feat of becoming first Muslim nuclear country without his “services”.

Brig (retd) Gurmeet Kanwal, a distinguished fellow at India’s state-run Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, said Khan is known for his "exaggerated claims".

"Nuclear weapons are meant for deterrence and Pakistan will only use it under severe provocation. Even if we assume that out of the blue the Pakistani Army chief orders for a nuclear strike tomorrow, given the peace time alertness, it will take them at least six hours before they are able to launch," he said.

Air Vice Marshal (retd) Manmohan Bahadur, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, said, "It is just a publicity-seeking statement" and "one must not be taken in by the brinkmanship displayed by nuclear proliferator."  — PTI
Govt to cancel Finmeccanica defence tenders
New Delhi, May 29
The government has decided to cancel all ongoing tenders for defence equipment won by Italy’s Finmeccanica as a precursor to blacklisting of the firm which is being investigated for bribery in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

This was disclosed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who in an interview to PTI also said that the process for blacklisting Finmeccanica and its subsidiaries has already been started and a note for the same sent to the Law Ministry.

“Wherever there is capital procurement of Finmeccanica and their subsidiaries, all Requests for Proposal (RFP) will be closed. I am very clear,” he said.

However, he said, the annual maintenance and import of spare parts of already acquired defence supplies will be continued with the firm and only fresh capital acquisition is being nixed.

The government has already withdrawn the RFP for heavy wight torpedos for Socrpene submarines which was won by WASS, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, during UPA regime. The government is now working out the alternatives.

“The blacklisting process has already been moved. If there is a blacklisting for a specific number of years, which will be issued in the order, there will be no transaction by Defence Ministry with that company for capital procurement for that many years,” he said.

He stressed that the Ministry has already put on hold new transactions with the company. "In revenue acquisition, where contracts have already been executed, annual maintenance and import of spare parts will be permitted where it is absolutely essential but with proper certification from concerned authority in order to ensure that platform or equipment remains operational," he said.

Emphasising that national security "cannot be compromised" just because the company has done something wrong, he said, "I cannot put six ships out of commission because one spare part is to be imported from some company of Finmeccanica." Asked what will happen to projects in which Finmeccanica would play a crucial role in supply of equipment, he said, "Is there only one product in the whole world? There will always be products by Russian companies, American companies or some others. May be slightly costlier and difficult to get". — PTI
Army can’t operate in civilian areas without special law: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
The Indian Army cannot operate in civilian areas without a contentious act that gives it sweeping special powers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said, amid demands from several quarters that the act be revoked from Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states where it is in operation.
New Delhi, May 29: The Indian Army cannot operate in civilian areas without a contentious act that gives it sweeping special powers, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said, amid demands from several quarters that the act be revoked from Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states where it is in operation.

“My department’s role comes into the picture when the army is asked to proceed and act in a certain area. At that time, the army requires protection,” Parrikar told IANS in an interview, referring to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that is in place in what are termed “disturbed areas”.

Asked about the possibility of revoking the AFSPA, the defence minister said that the subject came under the home ministry, adding it was needed by the army to “proceed and act” in certain areas. He also said immunity to soldiers should be total.The minister stressed that the army will not go in the civilian areas without the act being in place.(ALSO READ:Have broken middlemen-Defence Ministry nexus: Manohar Parrikar).

“If that act is not there, the army will not take action. For carrying out counter terror operations, the army requires that power. That power comes from such laws; AFSPA is a major one,” he said.

“If that is not there, the army will not go to a civilian area for operations. The home ministry should decide on the basis of that, after assessing the situation,” Parrikar maintained.

“If the army is required, this act has to be there; otherwise the army cannot operate. Jawans cannot be made to face standard laws,” he contended.

There is a “new crop” of activists who keep filing cases against the AFSPA, the minister said, adding in a lighter vein that someone may even file a case on the Kargil conflict even though 17 long years have passed since the Indian Army went into action to evict Pakistani intruders from the icy heights of Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is suddenly a crop of activists who try to file cases and all that… Actually if you see the immunity should be total unless it (a wrongdoing) is proved in a particular fashion. How will armed forces act otherwise? Someone can even file a case on Kargil,” he said.

The AFSPA came into force in the northeastern states in 1958 after the Naga tribes rebelled against the govenrment and continues to be in force there. It is also in force in Assam, Manipur, and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

It came into force in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990, a year after an Islamist insurgency, which continues to fester, erupted. The act was also enforced in Punjab after terrorism erupted in 1983 and was withdrawn in 1997.

In Jammu and Kashmir, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a junior partner in a coalition headed by the PDP, removing AFSPA from certain areas was one of the conditions the latter had set for joining hands. Earlier this week, the opposition National Conference and the Congress protested in the Kashmir assembly, demanding that the AFSPA be revoked.

Meanwhile, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha during the recently-concluded budget session, Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said there were no plans to revoke AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir.

Among the provisions of the AFSPA, any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may fire upon or otherwise use force if he is of the opinion that it is necessary to do so for the maintenance of public order. A soldier, however, needs to first give a warning before opening fire.

The forces can destroy arm dumps, make arrests without warrants and can enter and search a premises without a warrant to make an arrest. The act, however, requires the forces to promptly take an arrested person to the nearest police station.

The act provides that no prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the central government.
Indian Army now confirms Hizbul Mujahideen militant Tariq Pandit held
Srinagar: In one of the biggest catches in recent months, a top Hizbul Mujahideen militant Tariq Pandit, a close aide of the terror group's poster boy Burhan Wani, was on Saturday arrested after he surrendered to police in Pulwama.

Considered as a category "A" militant, Pandit figured prominently with Burhan in various pictures and videos that were posted by the terror group last year. Pandit carried a cash reward of Rs three lakh for information leading to his arrest.

There were conflicting reports as senior police officials of Pulwama district in South Kashmir said that Pandit had surrendered but the army maintained that he had been apprehended.

A senior police official said that he was put under arrest after he surrendered to the army unit in Pulwama.

A defence spokesman issued a statement saying that a "major blow" had been dealt to the banned Hizbul Mujahideen with the arrest of Pandit in a "well coordinated swift operation" today on Newa-Pinglana road in the district.

He said based on specific intelligence input regarding the movement of a Hizb militant near Karimabad, a joint mobile vehicle check post was established by Army and police in the morning hours.

"The movement of the terrorist was kept under constant surveillance. As the terrorist closed in, he was apprehended by the team of Rashtriya Rifle battalion, along with one 9 mm pistol, two Chinese grenades and other war like stores were recovered from him," the spokesman said.

He said the militant was involved in many terror-related incidents in the district.

However, police officials said that Pandit had joined the terror group along with his cousin Naseer Pandit, a cop- turned-terrorist, early last year.

After Naseer was gunned down by army in Shopian during an encounter in April this year, Pandit started sending feelers to the authorities for surrender, the officials said.

An FIR has been registered and the apprehended terrorist has been handed over to the local Police Station, Pulwama, the defence spokesman added.

He was among the 11 Hizb militants who, defying the convention, posted their photographs on social media networks.

"Pandit was a self-styled area commander and is a very important catch. His interrogation should definitely lead us to the Hizb Mujahideen network in south Kashmir," the officials said.

The Hizbul group, led by Burhan, continues to give worries to the security agencies as the officials feel the militants' bravado of hogging the limelight on social networking sites was to attract more youths to join militant ranks. 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 28 May 2016

Valley encounters gunfights
Six ultras killed in two days; Havildar Dada succumbs after brave charge
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 27
Havildar Hangpang Dada, a native of Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh, on Friday succumbed to his injuries sustained in an encounter in Nowgam sector yesterday, but not before etching his name in the Army’s annals of bravery.

The 36-year-old led his team in killing three militants in a gunfight close to the Line of Control after the Army foiled an infiltration bid at Tutmar Gali in the Nowgam sector, 120 km north-west of Srinagar, before sustaining fatal injuries.

Havildar Dada served in the Army for 19 years and is survived by his wife and two children. Enrolled in the Assam Regiment in 1997, he was posted with 35 Rashtriya Rifles.

“He showed courage and bravery. Before succumbing to injuries, he eliminated foreign terrorists,” Maj Gen JS Nain, General Officer Commanding of the Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division, said, adding that the 20-hour operation had been called off with the killing of another militant today.

“The operation was conducted in tough conditions at an altitude of 11,000-12,000 feet. It was raining and snowing,” he said. “We recovered a large quantity of arms, ammunition, radio sets, winter clothing, food items and mountaineering equipment,” he added.

The gunfight erupted on Thursday morning when Armymen observed the movement of a group of militants. The identity of the slain ultras and the group they were affiliated to was yet to be ascertained. Over 40 militants have managed to infiltrate into Kashmir this year so far, higher than the figure of 35 for last year.

Army officials said Dada was seriously injured as the militants were perched higher up on the mountains.

In a separate gunfight, two militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in north Kashmir’s Kunzer area in Baramulla district today. The gunfight erupted at Kanchipora in Tangmarg, 35 km from Srinagar,.

“They were given an offer to surrender, which they refused. They fired at the joint search parties and an encounter ensued in which three militants died,” said a police officer.
30 yrs after Bofors, gun contract ‘finalised’
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Thirty years after the controversial Bofors artillery gun deal, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is on the verge of ordering an artillery gun for which a contract is in final stages.

This will be the first-ever 155-mm artillery gun purchase since March 1986 when 400 pieces were purchased from Swedish company AB Bofors for Rs 1,500 crore. Under threat from the ‘Bofors controversy’, the purchase of artillery guns has been cancelled or withdrawn on six occasions in the past 15 years.

In an interview to The Tribune, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday said: “The self-propelled artillery gun contract is near completion for placing an order, only minor modifications need to be done.”

India is looking to buy 100 155-mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzers at Rs 4,500 crore. The contract will have a clause for a follow-on order of 50 more such guns.

Another artillery gun, the Dhanush, based on the Bofors design and transfer of technology, is also ready.
3 militants, Armyman killed in north Kashmir encounters
As the security forces closed in, the Hizbul Mujahideen militants opened fire and in the ensuing gunbattle, two militants were gunned down.
- See more at:
Three militants and an Army officer were killed in encounters at separate locations in North Kashmir Friday, the Army said.

Defence spokesperson Lt Col N N Joshi said that based on information about the presence of militants in Kunchpura village near Tangmarg, the Army and the Special Operation Group of state police launched a joint operation on Friday morning.

As the security forces closed in, the Hizbul Mujahideen militants opened fire and in the ensuing gunbattle, two militants were gunned down, he said.
- See more at:
Joshi said the militants, who were allegedly involved in many acts of militancy, had refused to surrender despite several appeals.

“An AK-47 rifle and a pistol with ammunition was recovered from the encounter site.”

The slain militants have been identified as Mehrajudin Bhat of Pattan, who was active in the Kunzar area of Baramulla. Bhat, who held BSc and BEd degrees, had joined Hizbul Mujahideen two years ago.

The other slain militant has been identified as Adil Ahmad Mir of Barat Sopore.

Another militant was gunned down near the LoC in Nowgam sector, where three militants were killed Thursday, said the Army.

“Troops deployed in the forward area of Nowgam sector observed the movement of a group of militants on the early morning of May 26,”said the Army spokesperson.

“The counter infiltration grid was reinforced while the militants were kept under constant surveillance till they could be effectively engaged,” he added.

Joshi said that braving harsh weather and difficult terrain, the Army eliminated four militants.

“A Non-Commissioned Officer of Rashtriya Rifles, Hangpan Dada, who led his team and brought effective fire on the militants got profusely injured… After ensuring elimination of three militants, while being evacuated to base hospital, he succumbed to his injuries,” he said.

The militants’ identity was yet to be ascertained, he added.
- See more at:
BJP MP questions India’s wartime defense capacity against Pak, China
 At a time when the rest of the BJP is praising “new benchmarks of governance” set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two years, party MP Sonaram Choudhary is explaining how a strengthening Sino-Pak nexus has been keeping the Centre on tenterhooks.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, the Barmer MP and former colonel of Indian army justified that PM Modi’s frequent foreign tours are crucial for diplomacy with developed countries such as USA and Europe and aims at seeking military assistance besides promoting India’s defence technology. “In war with Pakistan and China, neither do we have sufficient armed equipment nor forces to win. We cannot fight with both of them,” he said.

During the first anniversary of the Modi government, retd Colonel Choudhary courted controversy when he claimed that the government had brought back black money worth Rs 1 lakh crore.

A three-time Congress MP from Barmer parliamentary constituency and MLA from Baitu assembly constituency, Sonaram Choudhary fought for BJP from Barmer in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Accrediting himself for development in the constituency, Choudhary claimed that due to his efforts, the union government sanctioned the Barmer-Kandla rail line, which will boost trade and commerce in western Rajasthan besides strengthening the country’s border security.

“Both the Centre and the state government wants to establish a refinery at Barmer but technical problems and decreasing crude oil prices are some of the issues delaying the project,” said Choudhary.


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