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AMID CHINA TENSION, QUAD NATIONS GEAR UP FOR NAVAL DRILL TODAY

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The Quad nations—comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia—are all set for annual naval drill Malabar Exercise in the Indian Ocean Region beginning Tuesday.

Coming amidst the ongoing standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the 24th edition of the Malabar naval exercise is a strong message to the Dragon to mend its aggressive ways, especially with Australia joining this naval drill this year.

“The 24th edition of the Malabar naval exercise is scheduled in two phases in November 2020,” said Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal. The officer said that Phase 1 of the exercise involving participation by the Indian Navy, United States Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, and Royal Australian Navy is set to be held off Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal from 3 November to 6 November.

Phase 2 of the drill is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.

The Malabar series of maritime exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral between the Indian and US navies. Japan joined in 2015. The 2020 edition will now witness the participation of Australia in this joint maritime exercise.

Phase 1 will witness the participation of Indian Navy units with USS John S McCain (Guided-missile destroyer), Australian Ship Ballarat (long range frigate) with a MH-60 helicopter, and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship Onami (Destroyer) with a SH-60 helicopter.

The Indian Navy participation in phase one will be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet.

Indian Navy units participating in the exercise include destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off Shore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, Fleet Support Ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj.

In addition, Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters will also be participating in the exercise.

The exercise, being conducted as a “non-contact, at sea only” exercise in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, will showcase the high-levels of synergy and coordination between the friendly navies, which is based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

Phase 1 would witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises. 

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BJP’s CT Ravi slams ‘runaway MP’ Rahul Gandhi for his ‘formidable enemy’ remark on PM Modi

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 1 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary CT Ravi on Monday hit out at Rahul Gandhi calling him a “runaway MP” a day after Congress leader’s “formidable enemy” jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ravi in a letter to the Wayanad MP said: “You have termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘formidable enemy’, and have said that “we have defeated much enemy bigger than this”. Let me tell you something using simple words. PM Narendra Modi or the BJP have never treated you as an enemy. You are nothing more than our political opponent and I sincerely hope you understand this plain truth. Our “formidable enemy” is anyone working against the interests of Bharata Mata. We treat Her enemies, be it internal or external as “formidable enemy”.
“Your family has not been able to come to terms with the fact that a humble Chaiwala has become the Prime Minister of India. Aren’t you the “formidable enemy” for trying to belittle the success of the Common Man? Aren’t you the “formidable enemy” for suppressing the aspirations of the Nation’s Poor?” he further asked.
Terming Rahul Gandhi as a “Runaway MP” Ravi wrote in his letter said, “Hope you are in good health and best of your spirits. I am sure you must be enjoying your ‘election holidays’ in the states going to polls in the coming months. How did you feel when former Puducherry CM Narayanaswamy openly lied to you about what an elderly woman said to you? Did you find that you have many competitors within Congress who can lie better than you?”
Putting forth ceratin questions to the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Ravi asked, “Now, let me ask you something Rahul Baba. What bigger enemy than PM Modi have you defeated in the past?
Attacking Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Ravi in his letter asked, “For personal glory, your great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru created the Kashmir mess by bringing in Article 370. Thousands of our soldiers were martyred and lakhs of our Kashmiri Pandits suffered due to his Sin. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his personal ego?”
“By failing to see through the cunning moves of China, Nehru created the Himalayan Blunder by surrendering our land in 1962. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his blind faith in Chinese? To remain in power, your grandmother Indira Gandhi destroyed the Constitution by imposing emergency in 1975. Did she defeat the “bigger enemy”, her lust for power?” read Ravi’s letter.
He further asked, “In order split Sikh votes and weaken the Akali Dal, your grandma Indira
propped up Bhindranwale. This ill-conceived move not only created a nightmare called Khalistan, but also resulted in her own assassination. Did Indira defeat the “bigger enemy”, her political weakness?”
“The actions of your father Rajiv Gandhi resulted in the Sikh Genocide of 1984 in Delhi. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his personal revenge?” asked Ravi alleging that Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for Sikh Genocide in the country.
In another question, Ravi in his ltter asked, “The political hara-kiri committed by your father Rajiv Gandhi resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka and Indian
Soldiers. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his false prestige?”
Terming Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “puppet prime minister, Ravi further stated, “By installing a puppet Prime Minister, your mother Sonia Gandhi plundered India for ten years. Did she defeat the “bigger enemy”, her sinister plans to destroy India?”
Ravi in his letter stated that Gandhi failed to prove his worth as the member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi and furthr alleged that he was elected as a member of parliament from Kerala’s Wayanad due to polarisation of votes.
“You failed to prove your worth as a MP of Amethi. You ran away to Wayanad and won due to communal polarisation of votes. Did you defeat the “bigger enemy”, your foolish desire to become the Prime Minister of India?” Ravi said in his letter.
Ravi also accussed Rahul Gandhi and his family of murdering democracy.
“From Nehru to you, your family murdered democracy by indulging in Dynasty Politics. Did your family defeat the “bigger enemy”, the desire to rule at all costs?”
He further asked, “Did you say that PM Modi is a “formidable enemy”? Let me explain to you what is the real meaning of formidable enemy and who is the real enemy of India.
Ravi went on to allege that though Rahul Gandhi and his family have the surname of Mahatma Gandhi, but they failed to live upto the Gandhian values.
“Your family borrowed Mahatma’s surname. But your family’s actions never lived upto the Gandhian values. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” for bringing disrepute to the Mahatma and his principles?” he asked in his letter.
“By creating and nurturing the Frankenstein monster called Corruption, your family destroyed the development of the Nation for seven decades. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of India’s growth and its progress?” read Ravi’ letter.
Ravi also alleged that in the name of “Garibi Hatao”, Rahul Gandhi and his family captured power for decades by playing with the emotions of the poor and asked, “Isn’t your family the
“formidable enemy” of Indians for abusing their trust?”
“Your family ruled India for almost five decades. How many toilets did your Governments build for the Poor? How many toilets did PM Modi Government build for them? Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of India’s poor for depriving them of basic necessity called toilet?” he further asked.
Ravi also alleged that governmnts run by Rahul Gandhi’s family deprived healthcare facilities to the Indian citizens.
“What stopped your family run Governments from providing universal healthcare to our Citizens? Did the Nation have to wait for 72 years after Independence and PM Modi to introduce Ayushman Bharat scheme? Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of the masses for failing to give them proper healthcare facilities and insurance?” Ravi asked in his letter.
His letter further asked, “How many Jan Dhan accounts did your family Governments open
compared to PM Modi Government? How many gas cylinders did your family give to poor households compared to PM Modi? Who is the “formidable enemy” here, your family that deprived basic facilities to the people for decades or PM Modi who provided them in six years?”
Ravi went on to allege that Rahul Gandhi’s “family government” worked against
the interest, culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu by ensuring a ban on the state’s traditional sport ‘Jallikattu’.
“Your family Government ensured the traditional Jalli Kattu being banned in Tamil Nadu. But PM Modi made sure Tamil Makkal could celebrate their traditions by bringing in an ordinance supporting the Jalli Kattu. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of Tamil Nadu for working against the interest, culture and traditions of the State?” Ravi questioned in his letter.
Ravi also stated in his letter to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that despite vicious camaigns run by the opposition to malign the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he is relentlessly working to build a New India with the mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”.
Ravi’s letter further read, “Dear Rahul Baba, today the entire World is praising PM Modi for his
spectacular achievements since 2014. Despite all the vicious campaigns unleashed against Him, PM Modi is relentlessly working to build a New India with the mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”.
“Remember that jealousy results in the self-destruction of the self, and not the
other person. Before I end, let me ask you this. Who are you? What are your achievements
so far? Answer these questions honestly, and you will realize who is the
“formidable enemy” of Indians,” Ravi said in his closing reamrks in his letter to the Congress leader.
The letter comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi while addressing a gathering in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli during his visit to the state to campaign for the April 6 assembly polls, said, “Yes we are fighting a formidable enemy (Modi). We are fighting an enemy that is dominating the money in this country. We are fighting an enemy that is crushing its opponents. But we have done this before. We have defeated a much bigger enemy (British) than this new enemy that has come.” (ANI)

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28 firecracker factories sealed in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar after series of blaze incidents

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Virudhunagar (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): After a series of fire incidents in firecracker factories in Tamil Nadu, 28 of such factories have been sealed in the Virudhunagar district for violating manufacturing norms, according to an official.
Speaking to ANI over the phone call, Virudhunagar District collector, R Kannan said, “In the last 10 days, 28 firecracker factories have been sealed for violating norms during the manufacture of firecrackers in Virudhunagar itself.”
“Taking cognisance of the recent firecracker factory explosions in Virudhunagar, seven teams consisting of officers from the revenue department, police, fire department and explosives control department have been set up to prevent any irregularities at the firecracker factories,” he said.
On February 26, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced Rs 3 lakh each for the families of the six persons who were killed in a factory fire near Sivasaki in Virudhunagar. The same day, another fire broke out at a firecracker factory in the Pethalupatti area of Virudhunagar district.
Similarly, on February 12, a fire had broken out at another firecracker factory in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar. (ANI)

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BSE Institute organises skill development training course in Srinagar

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 1 (ANI): A six-day skill development course organised by the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Ltd (BIL) for the wards of police martyrs, personnel and students at Police Public School (PPS), Bemina, Srinagar was innagurated by , SJM Gillani, Additional DGP (Coordination), here on Monday.
The course is organised by BIL in pursuance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Jammu and Kashmir Police and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Institute Limited.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, DIG CKR Amit Kumar, SSP APCR Junaid Mehmood, SSP Javaid Ahmed Dar, AIG (Welfare/Comm) Police Headquarters (PHQ) Manoj Kumar, Sanjay Kumar and Rajesh Joisher, experts from BIL, Principal Police Public School, Bemina Shri Tazim Wahidi and other senior police officers and staff of PPS Bemina were present at the inaugural function.
Speaking on the occasion, Gillani said that police headquarters has been continuously focusing on the welfare measures for the NoKs of police martyrs, serving and retired personnel and their family members.
He said that on the directions and personal interests of Director General of Police (DGP) J&K, an MoU was signed between J&K Police and BSE under which BIL institute is providing skilling development courses for the wards of martyrs, serving, retired police personnel.
Highlighting the importance of such skilled training courses in today’s modern times, he added that this programme is an effort to provide skilled training to these wards to increase their employability. The ADGP also advised the trainees to take full advantage of this opportunity and change lives for the better, while promising that more such courses will be organized in the future.
Further during the occasion, AIG (Welfare/Comm) Manoj Kumar said that the MoU with BSE is an effort to provide expertise to the wards of police personnel in the insurance and financial sectors. These short courses will expand the opportunities for the trainees in different fields.
Sanjay Kumar, an expert from BIL Institute, said that during the course, the trainees will be educated about the insurance and financial sectors and added that it will help them to get better jobs in the future. At the end of the course, the trainees will be given the certificates, and will be registered as Point of Sales Persons (PoSP) and will be able to sell insurance products and start earning from them.
The six-day programme is focused on enhancing the skills of the trainees and provides them an insight into the current scenario of insurance and financial markets which will help them to choose their profession in these fields. (ANI)

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Ceasefire pact with Pakistan has immense potential to bring peace in border areas, says Lt Gen BS Raju

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 1 (ANI): Indian Army Lieutenant General BS Raju on Monday welcomed the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan, stating that the decision has ‘immense’ potential to bring peace in the border areas.
“The ceasefire observance decision is a positive step and has an immense potential to bring peace in the lives of people living in the border areas. We have had many civilian casualties due to ceasefire violations in Kupwara and Uri. The decision has also given us a better capacity to check infiltrations,” the Lieutenant General said.
“I think the situation in the Valley remains fairly normal. I have no hesitation in saying that all the parameters of violence, whether in terms of stone-pelting, agitations or bandhs, everything has seen a very distinct drop. People are going about their business in the usual manner, whether it is trades people, or school children,” he said commenting on the overall situation in the Valley.
When asked about the recruitments of local youth in militancy, he said, “With better outreach programs by Army, civil administration and Police, we have been able to establish greater trust and connect with public. I believe this will manifest into lower (terrorist) recruitments. I believe we, security forces, elected representatives, grassroots representatives, and the people themselves, have to work together to ensure peace in the region.”
He further higlighted that after the restoration of 4G Internet connectivity, there has not been a major surge in the attempts to use social media to recruit people in militancy. “While Pakistan and inimical elements have always used propaganda to agitate minds, locals are shunning those paths now,” he said.
On Thursday, India and Pakistan had released a joint statement saying that they have held discussions regarding establishing a mechanism for hotline contact among both nations. Both sides also agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC starting from February 25. (ANI)

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Third phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive takes off smoothly in Telangana

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 1 (ANI): The third phase of the vaccination drive for Covid-19 on Monday began in Hyderabad. In this phase, individuals who are above 60 years of age and individuals between 45 to 60 years of age with comorbidities are being allowed to take the vaccine.
Somesh Kumar, Chief Secretary of Telangana State, told ANI, “The third phase of COVID-19 vaccination process has begun in Telangana today. In this phase, we are targetting individuals who are above 60 years and individuals of age group 45 to 60 with comorbidities. A soft launch for this drive has taken place in Telangana in 48 government institutions and 44 private institutions. The drive is running very smoothly as the reports are very encouraging. If people come forward in the same way, we would be able to control COVID once and for all.”
The Chief Secretary further said, “Currently, we are aimed to inoculate 200 individual per vaccination centre in a day. As the days pass by, we will be increasing the count. To get vaccinated, individuals must register themselves in the Co-WIN application. If any person is unable to apply online due to some issues, we have appealed to the vaccination centre officials to allow walk-in and make spot registeration.”
Dr. Sunitha, Regional Program officer said, “The response from the public is very good for the third phase of vaccination drive. People are realising that it’s better to take the vaccine. One must register themselves through Co-WIN application and if they are unable to get themselves registered, then you can come and register yourself at the vaccination centres.”
Suresham, a beneficiary who took COVID-19 vaccine told ANI, “The vaccine is completely safe and I’m feeling completely well. For now, I haven’t faced any sort of problem. I appeal to all the people especially the senior citizens who are being given the opportunity to come forward and take the vaccine.”
Sanjiva Rao, another beneficiary aged 63 years said that the vaccine is completely safe and appealed to people to come forward and take the vaccine shots. He said that he hasn’t noticed any sort of problems. (ANI)

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Can central govt clarify confusion? As PM Modi takes Covaxin, Owaisi questions Covishield’s efficacy

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], March 1 (ANI): Raising question against the effectiveness of Serunm Institute’s Covishield, the vaccine against coronavirus, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday said it is not “as effective” for people aged 64 and above.
“As per German Government, Covishield is not as effective for people aged 64 and above. The vaccine is for people aged between 18 and 64. Can the central government clarify the confusion? Is this a coincidence that the Prime Minister took Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine today? However, I urge all to get vaccinated,” Owaisi told ANI.
Covishield is developed by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Swedish pharmaceutical major AstraZeneca.
On Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, India’s homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Soon after receiving the jab, he tweeted, “Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.”
“Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” he added.
The second phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for age-appropriate population groups (people above 60 and those with comorbidities above 45) began on Monday with the Union Health Ministry calling out eligible people to get an appointment at respective hospitals in the country. (ANI)

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