Archive for ‘General VK Singh’

10/03/2019

We cannot keep suffering till eternity: PM Modi at 50th Raising Day CISF

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

At the 50th Raising Day ceremony of the central armed police force, the PM pointed at the threat from Pakistan.

“Enough is enough,” he said, while referring to the terror attacks in Pulwama and Uri, adding, “We cannot keep suffering till eternity.”

The PM said that protecting nation is a challenging thing because of the hostile neighbour.

“Your achievement is important because when neighbour is hostile, incapable to fight war, conspiracies to hit the nation internally find a safe haven there, and terrorism shows its face in different forms then protecting the nation becomes challenging,” said the PM.

He acknowledged that providing security to establishments where lakhs of people come daily is a task that is incomparable to any.

“The task of providing security to an establishment where over 30 lakh people come daily and every face is different is far more than security to a VIP,” he said at the golden jubilee ceremony in Indirapuram in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad.

The PM added that there was a need to spread awareness among the public regarding the security aspect.

“There is a need to educate the citizens because if they do not cooperate then the task of CISF becomes even more difficult,” he said.

Recalling the services of the CISF in the rescue efforts following the Kerala floods, the PM said that the force has given an invaluable contribution in tackling natural calamities and humanitarian crises in India and abroad.

“Your contribution in natural calamities is praiseworthy. You saved the lives of thousands in the recent Kerala floods,” he said, adding, “CISF has also played its role whenever humanity has come under threat in the world.”

Before addressing the CISF personnel, the PM laid a wreath at the Martyr’s Memorial.

He also reviewed the parade of the CISF and presented the Police and Fire Service Medals for distinguished and meritorious services.

The event was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, Ministers of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.

Raised in 1969, the CISF has currently over 1.5 lakh personnel who provide security to vital installations of the country, including 61 airports, seaports, Delhi Metro and various state-owned industries.

Source: The Statesman
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06/03/2019

‘War’ and India PM Modi’s muscular strongman image

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) "Sankalp" rally in Patna in the Indian eastern state of Bihar on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, American political journalist Michael Kinsley said.

Last week, a prominent leader of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have done exactly that. BS Yeddyurappa said the armed aerial hostilities between India and Pakistan would help his party win some two dozen seats in the upcoming general election.

The remark by Mr Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, was remarkable in its candour. Not surprisingly, it was immediately seized upon by opposition parties. They said it was a brazen admission of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was mining the tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals ahead of general elections, which are barely a month away. Mr Modi’s party is looking at a second term in power.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s plain-spokenness appeared to have embarrassed even the BJP. Federal minister VK Singh issued a statement, saying the government’s decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan last week was to “safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few seats”. No political party can afford to concede that it was exploiting a near war for electoral gains.

A billboard displaying an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a rifle is seen on a roadside in Ahmedabad on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe BJP has put up election posters of Mr Modi posing with guns

Even as tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up last week, Mr Modi went on with business as usual. Hours after the Indian attack in Pakistan’s Balakot region, he told a packed election meeting that the country was in safe hands and would “no longer be helpless in the face of terror”. Next morning, Pakistan retaliated and captured an Indian pilot who ejected from a downed fighter jet. Two days later, Pakistan returned the pilot to India.

Mr Modi then told a gathering of scientists that India’s aerial strikes were merely a “pilot project” and hinted there was more to come. Elsewhere, his party chief Amit Shah said India had killed more than 250 militants in the Balakot attack even as senior defence officials said they didn’t know how many had died. Gaudy BJP posters showing Mr Modi holding guns and flanked by soldiers, fighter jets and orange explosions have been put up in parts of the country. “Really uncomfortable with pictures of soldiers on election posters and podiums. This should be banned. Surely the uniform is sullied by vote gathering in its name,” tweeted Barkha Dutt, an Indian television journalist and author.

Mr Modi has appealed to the opposition to refrain from politicising the hostilities. The opposition parties are peeved because they believe Mr Modi has not kept his word. Last week, they issued a statement saying “national security must transcend narrow political considerations”.

‘Petty political gain’

But can the recent conflict fetch more votes for Mr Modi? In other words, can national security become a campaign plank?

Many believe Mr Modi is likely to make national security the pivot of his campaign. Before last month’s suicide attack – claimed by Pakistan-based militants – killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries in Kashmir, Mr Modi was looking a little vulnerable. His party had lost three state elections on the trot to the Congress party. Looming farm and jobs crises were threatening to hurt the BJP’s prospects.

Now, many believe, Mr Modi’s chances look brighter as he positions himself as a “muscular” protector of the country’s borders. “This is one of the worst attempts to use war to win [an] election, and to use national security as petty political gain. But I don’t know whether it will succeed or not,” says Yogendra Yadav, a politician and psephologist.

Indian people feed sweets to a poster of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they celebrate the Indian Air Force"s air strike across the Line of Control (LoC) near the international border with PakistanImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMany Indians have celebrated India’s strike in Pakistani territory

Evidence is mixed on whether national security helps ruling parties win elections in India. Ashutosh Varshney, a professor of political science at Brown University in the US, says previous national security disruptions in India were “distant from the national elections”.

The wars in 1962 (against China) and 1971 (against Pakistan) broke out after general elections. Elections were still two years away when India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965. The 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that brought the two countries to the brink of war happened two years after a general election. The Mumbai attacks in 2008 took place five months before the elections in 2009 – and the then ruling Congress party won without making national security a campaign plank.

Things may be different this time. Professor Varshney says the suicide attack in Kashmir on 14 February and last week’s hostilities are “more electorally significant than the earlier security episodes”.

For one, he says, it comes just weeks ahead of a general election in a highly polarised country. The vast expansion of the urban middle class means that national security has a larger constituency. And most importantly, according to Dr Varshney, “the nature of the regime in Delhi” is an important variable. “Hindu nationalists have always been tougher on national security than the Congress. And with rare exceptions, national security does not dominate the horizons of regional parties, governed as they are by caste and regional identities.”

Presentational grey line

Read more from Soutik Biswas

Presentational grey line

Bhanu Joshi, a political scientist also at Brown University, believes Mr Modi’s adoption of a muscular and robust foreign policy and his frequent international trips to meet foreign leaders may have touched a chord with a section of voters. “During my work in northern India, people would continuously invoke the improvement in India’s stature in the international arena. These perceptions get reinforced with an event like [the] Balakot strikes and form impressions which I think voters, particularly on a bipolar contest of India and Pakistan, care about,” says Mr Joshi.

Others like Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, echo a similar sentiment. He told me that although foreign policy has never been a “mass” issue in India’s domestic politics, “given the proximity of the conflict to the elections, the salience of Pakistan, and the ability of the Modi government to claim credit for striking back hard, I expect it will become an important part of the campaign”.

But Dr Vaishnav believes it will not displace the economy and farm distress as an issue, especially in village communities. “Where it will help the BJP most is among swing voters, especially in urban constituencies. If there were fence-sitters unsure of how to vote in 2019, this emotive issue might compel them to stick with the incumbent.”

How the opposition counters Mr Modi’s agenda-setting on national security will be interesting to watch. Even if the hostilities end up giving a slight bump to BJP prospects in the crucial bellwether states in the north, it could help take the party over the winning line. But then even a week is a long time in politics.

Source: The BBC

23/02/2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take holy dip at Kumbh on Sunday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be paying a visit to the ongoing Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj on Sunday where he will take a holy dip at the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati, considered the centre of the earth according to Hindu scriptures.

At Prayagraj, PM Modi will participate in the Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar event and interact with the “Safai Karmacharis”.

He will later address a gathering and distribute the Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar awards to safai karmacharis, swachhagrahis, police personnel, and naviks.

The Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar event is being organized by the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

The Kumbh Mela commenced on January 15 (Makar Sankranti) and will conclude on March 4 (Mahashivratri).

Over a period of 49 days of the mega celebration, more than 22 crore devotees have visited the Kumbh Mela.

On Friday, Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh led a delegation of around 200 delegates of more than 185 countries to the Kumbh Mela 2019. The foreign representatives took a holy bath at Sangam and witnessed cultural programmes at Sanskriti Gram.

Singh told reporters that the idea behind the visit was to make “them see that Kumbh is not just confluence of rivers but also of different religions and faiths”.

Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi interacted with foreign delegates from 185 countries at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi where he said that there is a huge potential for tourism in the country.

Source: The Statesman

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