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Monday, 20 June 2016

From Today's Papers - 20 Jun 2016

Modi-Sharif warmth improved ties: Swaraj
Says Pak hasn’t said no to NIA visit for Pathankot probe
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19
Trying to explain its policy vis-a-vis Pakistan, which most observers describe as ‘confused’, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today reiterated that ‘talks and terror can’t go together’, even as she pointed out the rapport between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpartNawaz Sharif.

She referred to Modi’s December visit to Lahore which, she said, took place without any prior arrangements.

Considering it was the Minister’s press conference to celebrate two years of the Modi government, it was a rather jaded affair whereas the press meet last year was grand and impressive. This time, especially with reference to Pakistan, Swaraj had nothing new to say.

She explained that the government was pursuing a three-point formula to deal with Pakistan. “First, we want to solve every issue through talks. Second, talks will be held only between India and Pakistan. Third, terror and talks will not go hand in hand,” Swaraj said.

With regards to the Pathankot attacks, she merely reiterated that Pakistan had not refused to allow the NIA team to visit that country to probe the attack and had merely sought “more time”.

Swaraj said the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad had met the authorites twice on the matter and “they said they are analysing the evidence”. The Minister said it was owing to the Modi-Sharif camaraderie that the ties had moved forward. “This warmth and simplicity in relations between two Prime Ministers were not there in the past,” she said.

The Minister also spoke on the situation in Bangladesh where the minorities are under threat and said  the Sheikh Hasina govermment had taken adequate steps and arrested 3,000 suspects.

“I feel happy to say that even Islamic leaders in Bangladesh have condemned such threats to Hindus in that country,” Sushma Swaraj said.

Foreign Secy makes quiet visit to Beijing, India says will not block (Pak) NSG entry

New Delhi: With less than a week to go for the June 24 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meet in Seoul, India is making last-minute efforts to ensure a berth in the elite club. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made a hush-hush visit to Beijing on June 16-17 to once again convince the Chinese leadership of India’s credentials for the NSG berth. To dispel China’s apprehensions that once allowed membership, India would block Pakistan’s bid to join the group, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India would not oppose the entry of any other country. “India won’t protest the entry of any nation but would want the application be considered on merit,” Swaraj said. China is not opposed to India’s entry, but insists on making sure the criteria is met. We will succeed in convincing China,” she said. India, sources point out, has put a lot at stake with regards to the NSG membership and if it doesn’t go through, it will be a diplomatic setback. PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meet in Tashkent on June 23-24. TNS
Indian Army's 'Naari Shakthi' takes a nosedive, sharp decline in numbers

NEW DELHI: At a time when the Indian Air Force has commissioned three women fighter pilots, the Indian Army is struggling with the sharp decline of women personnel. Following an initiative by the Centre, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh became the first women fighter pilots in the country on Saturday. In sharp contrast, the number of women officers in the Army has declined by 50 per cent, in the last six years.

In 1992, the Army had opened its doors for women and in 2011, 166 officers were recruited. However, in 2014, the induction of women officers declined to 100.

In the 2015 Republic Day parade, 75 women officers had participated showcasing the armed forces’ “Naari Shakti”. This year, the number of women officers went down to 61. Since 1992, the Army has not assessed the requirement of women officers. Now, after their induction in the IAF, the Army may witness a rise in their number, sources said.

The Army Headquarters explained the downward trend by saying that exit of women officers from Indian Army is negligible due to pending litigations in the Supreme Court.“Non-exit of women officers has led to reduction in vacancies,” Army headquarters told Express.

The Indian Army has a shortage of more than 9,000 women officers at present. The number is likely to increase after the induction of new strike corps. Though the Army does not send women officers to combat missions, they are inducted in Signals, Engineers, Army Air Defence, Intelligence and Legal, among other services.

Military analysts said women candidates, who had appeared for the Service Selection Board (SSB), were interested to join the Army after watching women officers marching on Rajpath. On the other hand, there is also a rise in vacancy for men as number of candidates applying for the Army cannot fulfil the requirements.

The Indian Military Academy (IMA) has a capacity of 275 male cadets. This year, only 150 of them could clear the SSB and the remaining positions were left vacant due to shortage of suitable candidates. In case of women, 22 cleared the SSB. However, all of them could not make it as there were only five vacancies.

Soumya Sharma (name changed) says, “I am working as an advocate with Chandigarh High Court. Even after clearing the SSB, I could not make it as there were only four vacancies.”

The current notification of Combined Defence Services gives 375 vacancies for men and only five for women. There are only four vacancies left for the position of Judge Advocate General.

Pooja Singh (name changed) from Chattisgarh says, “ I have cleared the SSB for JAG entry and I feel proud about it. However, my chances are low as there are only four vacancies.”

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