Archive for ‘Jammu & Kashmir’

20/03/2019

Lok Sabha polls 2019: National Conference, Congress enter pre-poll alliance in Jammu-Kashmir

The two parties kept three of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu-Kashmir for “friendly contest” between them.

Statesman News Service | Jammu | 

The Congress and National Conference (NC) on Wednesday sealed a partial pre-poll alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections wherein the two parties kept three of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu-Kashmir for a “friendly contest” between them.

Both parties will contest the Jammu, Udhampur and Srinagar seats in alliance, while there will be “friendly contest” for Anantnag, Baramulla and Ladakh seats.

The NC has left both seats of Jammu division – Jammu and Udhampur – for the Congress.

NC chief, Farooq Abdullah, will re-contest from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and the Congress will not field any candidate against him.

The two parties reached the alliance only after Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni dashed to Srinagar early this morning from New Delhi to hold deliberations with Abdullah.

The NC had earlier announced candidature of BR Kundal, a former chief secretary of the state, who recently deserted the Congress and joined the NC.

The two parties failed to reach any understanding for the Anantnag seat in South Kashmir where the PCC chief GA Mir was seeking the Congress ticket.

The NC had spared the seat for Mir during the by-polls but the election did not take place due to security reasons. Farooq Abdullah had won the Srinagar seat during the by-election.

The announcement about the alliance was made jointly by Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni after a closed door meeting at Abdullah’s residence.

Azad said that the alliance has been reached in the national interest, to strengthen secular forces in Jammu and Kashmir as the state faces threat from Pakistan.

Abdullah said the Congress will contest from Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats.

“I will contest from Srinagar and there will be a friendly contest between National Conference and Congress in Anantnag and Baramulla parliamentary constituencies. We are also discussing the Ladakh seat,” said Farooq Abdullah.

Azad said that friendly contest means that there will be no cut-throat contest between the parties on Anantnag and Baramulla seats.

“Live and let live. This is the best decision taken in national interest. If either the Congress or National Conference wins, it is a win-win situation for both,” he said.

Azad said the Congress-NC alliance will ensure there is no division of secular votes and the BJP doesn’t get to benefit. He added that all Congress leaders will also campaign for Abdullah, who will be contesting from the Srinagar Parliamentary seat.

The NC has already announced Mohammad Akbar Lone, a former Speaker, as the party’s candidate for the Baramulla seat.

Earlier, there were speculations that the pre-poll alliance between NC and Congress had hit a dead-end after former announced its candidate for the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat has been a bone of contention between the NC and Congress.

Omar Abdullah, National Conference vice-president, had set a precondition to contest on all three seats in Kashmir for any alliance to take place.

In exchange, NC was willing to support Congress in the two seats in Jammu and one in Ladakh. However, Congress had insisted on contesting from four seats – two from the Jammu region and one each from Ladakh and Anantnag.

On Tuesday, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti dismissed reports of an alliance with the Congress stating that the party is preparing to contest all the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti is expected to finalise the party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha seats within a day or two.

Source: The Statesman
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12/03/2019

Two dead after Chinese navy plane crashes

  • No other injuries reported following accident on southern island of Hainan
  • Military is currently intensifying training for pilots as it looks to strengthen capabilities

Mobile phone footage believed to be taken from the crash site. Photo: Handout
Mobile phone footage believed to be taken from the crash site. Photo: Handout
A Chinese navy plane crashed in Hainan province on Tuesday killing two crew members, the military said.
A short statement said the crash happened during a training exercise over rural Ledong county in the southern island province.
No one else was reported to have been injured after the plane hit the ground and the cause of the incident is being investigated.
Footage that purported to be taken from the crash site started circulating on social media after the accident.
Footage apparently taken at the crash site. Photo: Handout
Footage apparently taken at the crash site. Photo: Handout

The PLA’s official statement did not specify the type plane that crashed, although unverified witness account online said it was a twin-seat Xian JH-7 “Flying Leopard”.

The JH-7, which entered service with the navy and air force in the 1990s, has been involved in a number of fatal accidents over the years.

The country’s worst military air accident in recent years happened in January 2018. At least 12 crew members died when a PLA Air Force plane, believed to be an electronic reconnaissance aircraft, crashed in Guizhou in the southwest of the country.

Between 2016 and 2017, there were at least four accidents involving the navy’s J-15 “Flying Sharks”, one of them resulting in the death of the pilot.

Military commentators have previously said that China’s drive to improve its combat readiness, which includes the building of new aircraft carriers and warplanes, has resulted in a serious shortage of qualified pilots.

To fill the vacancies the Chinese military has started a major recruitment drive and intensive training programme for pilot pilots.

One unverified report said the plane that crashed was a JH-7 “Flying Leopard”. Photo. Xinhua
One unverified report said the plane that crashed was a JH-7 “Flying Leopard”. Photo. Xinhua

Currently China has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, in service, which can carry a maximum of 24 J-15s as well as other aircraft.

Meanwhile, the new home-grown carrier Type 001A will soon be commissioned, which is designed to accommodate to carry eight more fighters.

In addition, construction is believed to have started on another carrier that will be able to carry heavier and more advanced warplanes.

Chinese navy veteran warns training, not hardware is key to military preparedness
According to figures from the end of 2016, there were only 25 pilots qualified to fly the J-15 while 12 others were in training.
Most of the Chinese navy’s pilots have been redeployed from the air force, which is itself in need of more trained pilots.
This year the navy for the first time began a nation-wide programme to scout out potential pilots.
Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing legislative meeting in Beijing Feng Wei, a PLA pilot from the Western Theatre, said the military was currently intensifying its pilots’ training as increasing amounts of new equipment entered service.
“Personnel quality is the key to everything,” he added.
Source: SCMP
09/03/2019

Man arrested over Kashmir grenade attack

Police at the site of the blast in Jammu city on 7 March 2019.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe blast occurred at a busy bus station in Jammu city

Indian police have arrested an alleged member of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group after a grenade attack killed at least two people and injured more than 30 others.

The attack took place on Thursday in a bus station in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Last month a suicide attack against security forces triggered cross-border air strikes between India and Pakistan.

Hizbul Mujahideen has said it was not behind Thursday’s attack.

But police told BBC Urdu that the accused, Yasir Javed Bhat, had confessed. He is a Kashmiri and reported to be in his 20s.

“He revealed that he was tasked with throwing the grenade by Farooq Ahmed Bhat, a district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kulgam district,” inspector general Manish Kumar Sinha said.

Mr Sinha added that they were gathering more intelligence on Yasir.

Hizbul Mujahideen was formed in 1989 when an armed insurgency against Indian rule first broke out in the valley. It was the largest Kashmiri militant group through the 1990s and is considered to be pro-Pakistani.

India has blamed Pakistan for supporting militancy in the region – a charge Islamabad denies.

Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), speaks after voting in the general election in Islamabad, July 25, 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPakistan PM Imran Khan said Pakistan was not behind the suicide attack in February

This has long been a source of tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours as groups based in Pakistan have carried out deadly attacks on Indian soil. The suicide attack last month killed more than 40 central reserve policemen in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Tensions between the two sides escalated quickly. India carried out air strikes against what it said was a militant camp based in Pakistan and the latter retaliated with air raids of its own.

An Indian fighter jet was shot down in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the pilot was captured. Two days later, Pakistan handed over the pilot to Indian officials establishing a fragile truce.

Source: The BBC

26/02/2019

‘India in safe hands’: PM Modi’s assurance after IAF strikes terror camps across LoC

The Prime Minister had earlier in the day chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) after India carried out ‘non-military pre-emptive’ airstrikes targeting the JeM camp across the LoC.

Hours after India’s offensive on Pakistan-based terror camps across the LoC, Prime Minister Narendra Modi “assured that the country was in safe hands”.

“Today I assure the countrymen, the country is in safe hands,” PM Modi said while addressing a public rally in Rajasthan’s Churu.

“I pledge on this soil, I will not let the country die, I will not let the country stop, I will not let the country bend. It is my promise to Mother India, I will protect your honour,” he added.

Speaking on the One Rank One Pension (OROP), PM Modi said he was happy that the scheme had benefited over 20 lakh military families across the country including thousands of families of Churu and Rajasthan.

The Prime Minister had earlier in the day chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) after India carried out “non-military pre-emptive” air strikes targeting the JeM camp across the LoC.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addressing the media said India had received credible information on JeM attempting other attacks in the country and therefore a pre-emptive strike had become necessary.

Read | India has struck JeM’s biggest training camp, large number of terrorists, jihadis eliminated: Govt

He said the non-military pre-emptive action was targeted specifically at the JeM camp adding that the selection of the target was also conditioned to avoid civilian casualties.

In a 21-minute offensive, 12 Mirage 2000 jets carried out the strike at around 3.30 am and dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LOC, completely destroying it.

The IAF jets struck terror camps and launch pads across the LoC in Balakot at around 3.45 am, Muzaffarabad at around 3.48 am and Chakoti at around 3.58 am.

Read | PM Modi chairs CCS meet after India hits terror camps across LoC; over 200 terrorists killed, say reports

The camp in Balakot was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar. Yusuf Azhar was on the Interpol list and among the most wanted in India.

Following the airstrikes, many leaders including that of the opposition lauded the action of the IAF and praised the PM for giving a free hand to the security forces after the Pulwama terror attack.

Over 44 CRPF personnel were killed and many injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror strikes in Jammu-Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near their bus in Pulwama district.

Source: The Statesman
25/02/2019

‘Give peace a chance’: After PM Modi’s ‘Pathan’ dare, Imran Khan says he ‘stands by’ his words on Pulwama

PM Modi said that he told him ‘let us fight against poverty and illiteracy’ and Khan gave his word saying he is a Pathan’s son, ‘but went back on it’.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday asked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to “give peace a chance” and assured him that he “stands by” his words and will “immediately act” if New Delhi provides Islamabad with “actionable intelligence” on the Pulwama attack.

 

Khan’s remarks came a day after PM Modi in a rally in Rajasthan, recalled his conversation with the Pakistan PM during a congratulatory call after he became the country’s premier.

PM Modi had told him “let us fight against poverty and illiteracy” and Khan gave his word saying he is a Pathan’s son “but went back on it”.

“There is consensus in the entire world against terrorism. We are moving ahead with strength to punish the perpetrators of terrorism…The scores will be settled this time, settled for good…This is a changed India, this pain will not be tolerated…We know how to crush terrorism,” PM Modi further said.

A statement released by the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office said, “PM Imran Khan stand by his words that if India gives us actionable intelligence, we will immediately act.”

PM Modi should “give peace a chance”, Khan said in the statement.

In his first statement issued since the February 14 attack, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Tuesday accused India of blaming his country “without evidence” and warned of retaliation against any military action by India.

However, he assured India that he would act against the perpetrators of the deadly Pulwama terror attack, carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group and said that the issue between the two countries can be solved through dialogue.

India had called Khan’s offer to investigate the attack if provided proof as a “lame excuse”.

The already sour relations between India and Pakistan have worsened over the past few weeks as New Delhi accused Islamabad of the Pulwama attack.

India has accused Islamabad’s spy agency ISI of being involved in the attack and has maintained that the terror group JeM is a “child of the Pakistan Army”.

Following the attack, India immediately withdrew the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status granted to Pakistan and initiated steps to isolate the neighbouring country from the international community.

Earlier, India had also announced its decision to stop the flow of its share of water from the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in many of his public speeches after the attack, said that the security forces have been given full freedom to decide the future course of action regarding the terrorist attack in Pulwama.

India’s neighbours, including Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan—and other countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Russia, Germany, Canada, UK, Australia and Canada came out in strong support of New Delhi following the terror attack.

Over 44 CRPF personnel were killed and many injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror strikes in Jammu-Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near their bus in Pulwama district.

The bus was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying around 2500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.

Source: The Statesman
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