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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

From Today's Papers - 14 Jun 2016

Militant fires as bus stopped in Kud, killed
Jammu woman also dies in crossfire
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Udhampur, June 13
A major terror attack was averted today when a militant who opened fire on the police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel during routine vehicle checking at Kathar Nullah near Kud on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway,  102 km from Jammu, was killed. A woman also got killed in the crossfire.

Two people were injured in the firing and were  shifted to Udhampur for treatment.

While the militant was killed in retaliatory fire, a woman, Mamata Devi of Chatta village in Jammu, died in the crossfire at the CRPF permanent check-post after a  Srinagar-to-Jammu State Road Transport Corporation bus was stopped for checking.

Those injured were identified as Ruby, wife of Ravi Kumar of Krishnanagar in Jammu, and Balbir Singh (50) of Gurdaspur in Punjab. Ruby was referred to Government Medical College, Jammu.

IGP, Jammu zone, Danish Rana said the bus was stopped for checking near Kud when the militant opened fire. “During the brief gunfight, he was killed and a woman succumbed to bullet injuries. We have cordoned off the area and a search operation was on to find out whether there were any more militants,” the IGP added.

Eyewitnesses said some people fled the area during the firing. DGP K Rajendra said an inquiry will be conducted to find out the motive behind the militant movement on the highway.
Has closed the chapter of acquiring F-16s from US: Pak
Islamabad, June 13
Pakistan has closed the chapter of acquiring eight F-16s from the US and will now opt for Jordan-owned F-16 fighter jets, foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said on Monday amid the strains in bilateral ties over the scuttling of the deal and a US drone strike on its soil.

Chaudhry, briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Policy, said “the US seemed to be satisfied with Pakistan's decision”.

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“The chapter of receiving F-16 fighter jets from the US has been closed. Pakistan will now opt for Jordan-owned F-16 fighter jets,” he was quoted as saying by the Geo News.

Choudhry said one of the reasons for "strained relations with the US was Pakistan's close ties with China”.

"Pakistan cannot cooperate with the US on some issues. One of these issues is its sovereignty," he said.

He said strained relations with the US were nothing new for Pakistan.

Condemning the US policy on the war on terror he said, "The US has spent 16 years fighting the war on terror. If only it had given six years to the peace process things would have been different."

The Pak-US ties strained after Congressional restriction on financing of F-16 fighter jets sale from Foreign Military Financing programme, due to which Pakistan could not buy the jets.

The relationship further suffered when the US carried out a drone strike in Balochistan, killing Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, which was termed by Pakistani leadership a violation of the country's sovereignty. — PTI
Pakistan’s N-stockpile still bigger than India’s
China gradually modernising its capacities, says Stockholm think tank
London, June 13
Pakistan continues to be ahead of India when it comes to having higher number of nuclear warheads and beats Israel as well as North Korea, a report by a Stockholm-based think tank said today.

The report comes just days after disgraced nuclear scientist AQ Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, claimed the country had the ability to hit India in five minutes. The claim was ridiculed by Indian experts who underlined that nukes should always be weapons of deterrence and not offensive.

As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual nuclear forces data, Pakistan is believed to have 110-130 nuclear warheads.

On the contrary, India is said to have about 100-120 nuclear warheads. The report said, while the US and Russia were slowly reducing their nuclear arsenals, they were modernising their capacities.

The other nuclear weapon-possessing states have much smaller arsenals, but have all either begun to deploy new nuclear weapon delivery systems or announced their intention to do so, it added.

“China appears to be gradually increasing its nuclear forces as it modernises the arsenal. India and Pakistan are both expanding their nuclear weapon stockpiles and missile delivery capabilities. North Korea is estimated to have enough fissile material for around 10 nuclear warheads. However, it is unclear whether North Korea has produced or deployed operational weapons,” the report said.

Last year also, Pakistan was ahead of India when it came to nuclear warheads. While India was said to have about 90-110 nuclear warheads, Pakistan had 100-120 of them.

At the start of 2016, nine nations — the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons.

If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of around 15,395 nuclear weapons compared with 15,850 in early 2015, the report said. — PTI
NSG berth: India pulls out all stops
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
The race for India to get into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) seems to be getting more intense as top government officials remain optimistic of getting through amid spoilers.

Pakistan today claimed its credentials for gaining membership into the NSG are stronger than India’s. Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz in an interview said: “If the group forms uniform criteria, then Pakistan has stronger credentials for NSG membership than India.”

India, meanwhile, seems to be pressing all diplomatic buttons to ensure when the NSG plenary meeting takes place in Seoul on June 20, its membership gets a green signal. To achieve that outcome, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the weekend called up Russian President Vladmir Putin to get Russian support for India’s NSG entry. Modi, in his recent visits abroad, also managed to get the support of Switzerland, the US and Mexico for India’s bid.

China, however, has refused to relent so far. Even smaller countries such as Austria and Turkey have strong reservations to India gaining entry into the NSG without having first signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China seems to have hardened its position of late, insisting the NPT is a must for nations wanting to join the NSG.

China went a step ahead and dismissed the idea that the Vienna meeting of the NSG on June 9 even discussed the issue of India’s bid. This is in stark contrast to the position taken by officials of the government here at the highest level who maintained not only were talks held on India’s candidature, but that most countries, opposed to India, seemed to be softening their position. Modi is likely to travel to Tashkent to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meet on June 23-24. He may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and take up the case of NSG membership.
MiG-27 crashes in Jodhpur, no casualties
A MiG-27 aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed in a residential area of Jodhpur on Monday morning, with the pilot ejecting safely. The aircraft was on a routine training sortie when it crashed at 11.30 am

The MiG-27, which had taken off from the Jodhpur Air Force Station, developed a technical problem and hit a locked house in Kudi Bhaktasni area, officials said. No one was injured on the ground

The plane caught fire after the crash and fire fighters were rushed to douse the blaze. The pilot had sought priority landing but as the engine failed, he had to eject. A court of inquiry has been ordered
Soldier on, girls: Facebook page on veterans of India and their stories
Living in uncertainty about the safety of your own family may seem harsh, but that’s the life that most Defence personnel’s families go through. And each of them has tales to tell — sad, happy and ones of hope.

Helping them tell their stories is Nachiket Pande, who runs the Facebook page Veterans of India — Stories. On the page, he tells the stories of war veterans from Indian defence organisations in the now-famous Humans of New York format — posting a photo of the veteran alongside a first-person narrative by them.

The page’s latest series — Defence Daughters — has caught the eye of netizens. The series is a departure from their regular style of posts, instead speaking from the voice of daughters of officers in the Indian Army.

Nachiket, who himself is an Army officer’s son and is currently pursuing an Engineering degree at Vellore Institute of Technology, says, “These stories are not about your lives, but they’re still interesting. And I wanted to make sure I had stories from all kinds of people — not just about combat, but normal lives of Defence personnel.”

A former Hyderabadi, who lived in Trimulgherry’s Detention Barracks between 2003 and 2008, Nachiket began the page in November last year and now runs it along with another Army kid from Pune, Nayanika Chatterjee.

The idea for the Defence Daughters series came to Nachiket from his sister, Nivedita. “I knew that if I started the series, the first person I wanted to feature was my elder sister. She’s seen him (their father) while he was in the field. It’s also easier to find kids and get their stories and their perspective on the lives of Defence personnel,” he explains.

One of the stories in the six-part series came from Shraddha Srinath, who has also lived in Hyderabad, who wrote about the “sense of belonging” that differentiates Army kids from the rest. “We flaunt our army background a lot, which is why we may seem proud or bratty.”

But I think as Army kids, we’re raised to be really independent; you don’t see your dad around much, and your mum is holding the family together and it’s almost like she’s a single mum. We’re two daughters and our dad always made us carry our own bags... we were never treated like dainty girls. We were raised tough,” says Shraddha, who adds that the constant change of environment thanks to her dad’s regular transfers made her life “an adventure”.

Another story, from Sonakshi Mehta, spoke about how one of her dad’s war postings caused her mum so much stress while she was pregnant with her that Sonakshi was “technically dead” in the womb for two days.

“My dad was obviously not reachable and was at that very point, in an intensive operation, which was successful. He won a gallantry award for it. On the third day she went to get the baby removed. But I was back. The faintest heartbeat was present. They say that I am lucky for my dad, but I think it is the other way around,” Sonakshi wrote.

With another series on its way for the page, Nachiket adds that one of the best things about being a Defence kid is the way the families of Army units live: “Our family was not just the four of us, it was 500 of us. We were all together, always talking together. When our dads were posted to Kargil, all of us were in the station crying for everyone — not just our own parents.”
Indian Army to use Twitter for interacting with Jammu & Kashmir residents
JAMMU: In a bid to counter the use of social networking sites by militants, the Northern Command of the Army has joined the social media platform to interact with people of Jammu & Kashmir.

General officer commanding in chief (GOC-in-C) of the Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda, in his first tweet wrote "presence of Norther Comd on Twitter is a step towards involving our citizens in activities of Indian Army in J&K (sic)."

In his second tweet, Lt Gen Hooda wrote that he looks forward for a positive interaction through this forum.

Earlier, the Army in Jammu & Kashmir had used Twitter and Facebook to reach to the common masses to make them aware of the initiatives taken by it under Operation Sadbhavana but the new official Twitter account would enable the people interact with the most senior Army officer in the state.
"The militants in Kashmir have been actively using social media to spread their message across and it was a high time for the Army to do the perception management by showing its presence on the social media and opening of the Twitter handle on which the most senior officer in the state would respond is a step towards this direction", an Army officer said.

Apart from the Northern Command, the Eastern Command also has been granted permission to operate an official Twitter handle to interact with the netizens. 

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