INDIA GETS ITS 10TH P-8I AIRCRAFT - The Daily Guardian
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INDIA GETS ITS 10TH P-8I AIRCRAFT

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Indian Navy, on Tuesday, got its tenth Poseidon-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The P-8I, which had taken off from the Boeing facility, landed at INS Hansa in Goa. INS Hansa will be getting the remaining two of these aircrafts, whose delivery was delayed due to the pandemic, in the coming weeks.

While some of these aircrafts are presently stationed at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu and are used by the Eastern command that is responsible for all naval forces in the Bay of Bengal and parts of the Indian Ocean, the remaining are under Western command which is responsible for the naval forces in the Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The P-8I (I in P-8I stands for India) was extensively used during the recent border stand-off with China.

The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013. This is the second aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian Ministry of Defence awarded the company in 2016. The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8 and today operates the largest non-US fleet. The P-8 is also operated by the US Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

Boeing is also providing training to Indian Navy flight crews who are associated with P-8I apart from spare parts, ground support equipment and field service representative support.

The US-based MNC is currently completing construction of a training, support and data handling centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu and a secondary maintenance training centre at Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, Kerala as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019.

This new indigenous, ground-based training will allow Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time while reducing on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability.

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Siddaramaiah’s big birthday bash plan leaves party red faced

R. Jayaprakash

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Barely a few days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had a ‘peace meeting’ with senior state leaders in Delhi, the Siddu camp has put a grand plan in motion to mark his 75th birthday on 12 August outside the party fold, leaving the party high command red faced. The Siddu camp has eponymously called the celebration, the Siddaramaiah, 75 Amrutmahotsav.

The Congress leader had called KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar and Congress Legislative Party Leader in Karnataka state Assembly Siddaramaiah last week on 28 June to bring truce between the warring leaders and discuss party preparations for coming Assembly elections in the state. Elections to the state Assembly are due sometime around May next year. The meeting was held in the presence of Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala and AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal. The meeting followed after Siddaramaiah tried to push his name as chief ministerial face in the next elections through the party high command a week before, when Siddaramaiah was in Delhi along with other state leaders to participate in the Congress ‘Satyagraha’ at Jantar Mantar.

However, it looks like that Siddu, as Siddaramaiah

is popularly known, has given the party high command’s peace efforts a snub as his camp made a big plan to mark his 75th birthday on 12 August outside the party fold.

During last week’s meeting, it was brought to the notice of party leaders about how Siddaramaiah was making efforts to project himself as chief ministerial face for coming elections and also organising ‘Ahinda’ (acronym for minorities/SC/ST and OBC) programmes outside the party banner and such initiatives would not benefit the party. According to sources, Siddu had been told in clear terms that nobody was above the party and all programmes must happen under the party banner. Yet, he is going ahead with organising a big birthday bash in his name in the state, sources said.

A committee comprising his loyalists – former Industries Minister RV Deshpande, ‘motor mouth’ KN Rajanna and former PWD Minister HC Mahadevappa – has also been put together for ‘Siddaramaiah – 75 Amrutmahotsav’ celebrations. Rajanna had raised some hackles when he said that Deve Gowda would soon be carried by four persons.

The troika is holding a press conference on Tuesday at a star hotel to make the announcement for ‘Siddaramaiah – 75 Amrutmahotsav’ celebrations.

Sources in KPCC told The Daily Guardian Review that the party is unaware of this press briefing and this issue is now being escalated to the party high command in Delhi. “When BS Yediyurappa turned 77 last year, he was the sitting CM then and the programme took place under the banner of the party. But here time and again Siddaramaiah is holding events to project and position himself as though he is indispensable. He hardly does any activity in the party ever since DK was given the charge of the party and now he has resorted to blackmail tactics,” sources said. 

While the press release has already been circulated by the Siddaramaiah’s office about Tuesday’s press conference, it remains to be seen if the party high command would rein in Siddu before it is too late.

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BLACK BALLOONS RELEASED NEAR PM’S CHOPPER, 4 CONGRESSMEN ARRESTED

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Four Congress workers were arrested for releasing black balloons after PM Modi’s chopper took off from Gannavaram Airport near Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Police said there was no security breach on his arrival amid Congress protest and balloons were released five minutes after the Prime Minister’s helicopter left and arrests have been made.

The Prime Minister reached the airport after launching a year-long 125th birth anniversary celebration of legendary freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju in Bhimavaram in the state. Police officials said that a strict security cordon was laid around the airport.

Vijay Pal, DSP, Krishna District said four Congress workers have been arrested in the case and a few more are yet to be arrested.

“The four arrested Congress workers will be produced before the court,” he said.

Police said there was no security breach during PM Modi’s arrival at Gannavaram Airport. Balloons were released five minutes after PM’s departure from the airport via chopper. However, the state BJP came down heavily on the government and said the PM’s security was compromised.

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SHAH HOLDS MEETING WITH NIA CHIEF ON UDAIPUR, AMRAVATI

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Days after the Ministry of Home Affairs directed National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe of the brutal killings in Rajasthan’s Udaipur and Maharashtra’s Amravati, NIA chief Dinkar Gupta on Monday held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at his office in the national capital.

On June 28, a tailor Kanhaiya Lal Kumar was beheaded by two men inside his shop in Udaipur in the broad daylight, while a chemist shop owner Umesh Kolhe was killed by several men in Amravati on June 21.

In Udaipur, curfew was relaxed for 12 hours on Monday as the situation in the Rajasthan city, which was gripped by communal tension following the brutal murder of a tailor by two men, remained peaceful. Mobile internet services were also restored after remaining suspended for days.

Following the incident, curfew was imposed in areas falling under the limits of seven police stations — Dhan Mandi, Ghanta Ghar, Hathi Pole, Amba Mata, Suraj Pole, Bhupalpura and Savina.

“A curfew relaxation of 12 hours, from 8 am to 8 pm, has been given today. The situation is absolutely normal,” Udaipur Collector Tara Chand Meena said. Another official said the suspension of mobile internet services in the city ended at 12 pm. Superintendent of Police Vikas Sharma said, “Policemen are deployed in the city to maintain law and order and the situation is normal and completely under control. Udaipur has been peaceful and appeals have been made to people to maintain the peace.”

In Amravati killing case, a district court in Amravati sent the key accused and Irfan Sheikh, the mastermind in the murder case to police custody till July 7. The accused, identified as Irfan Sheikh, was arrested by Amravati police in Nagpur on Sunday. The six accused have been identified as Mudassir Ahmad (22); Shah Rukh Pathan (25); Abdul Thoufique (24); Shoaib Khan (22); Atib Rashid (22) and Yusufkan Bahadur Khan (44).Investigators so far believe that the chemist was killed allegedly in retaliation for a social media post supporting BJP’s Nupur Sharma who had made controversial comments on the Prophet in a television debate.NIA on Thursday said it suspects the role of a “terror gang and not a terror outfit”.The anti-terror agency, however, made it clear that there is a role of a bigger gang behind the brutal killing and that it was not just an act done by only two persons, who were arrested by state police after the incident.

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Jaishankar-Wang likely to meet in Indonesia, LAC row may figure

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will deliver a stern message to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over the border stand-off.

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi are likely to meet in Indonesia this week during which the Line of Actual Control (LAC) stand-off may be discussed. Sources told The Daily Guardian Review that Jaishankar and Wang may hold talks on the sidelines of the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which is scheduled to be held in Bali on 7-8 July. The FMs’ meeting is being hosted by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.  

The interactions at the foreign ministers’ meet will set the stage for the G-20 Summit which will be hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo later this year. At the FM’s Meet, Jaishankar will outline India’s stand on food, energy security and global supply chains, sources said. Jaishankar may also engage with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Definitely, the Ukraine situation will be one of the key agendas during the talks between the Indian and Russian foreign ministers. Jaishankar is set to reaffirm India’s stand favouring dialogue to resolve the problems between Russia and Ukraine. The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers had last met Jaishankar in India in March and April, respectively.

EAM Jaishankar is also likely to hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from various countries in the West including the US. He will also hold a separate meeting with the host Indonesian Foreign Minister.

All eyes will, however, be on Jaishankar’s meeting with Wang Yi, during which the LAC deadlock may figure. The diplomats on both sides are exploring the possibility of scheduling a meeting of Jaishankar and Wang on the sidelines of the G-20 FMs’ meet.    

Top diplomatic sources informed that if the meeting takes place, Jaishankar will deliver a stern message to his Chinese counterpart on the LAC problems. “Wang will be told that normal ties between India and China will be back on track only if the boundary row is resolved,” sources said. This will be a clear message for Chinese President Xi Jinping as well, who wanted bilateral relations to be normal between New Delhi and Beijing ‘without waiting for resolution’ of the LAC issue, sources add.

Wang had come with Xi’s proposal on 25 March, and Jaishankar had rejected it outright.  Wang reiterated this proposal during his recent meeting with India’s ambassador to China, Pradeep Rawat. Rawat had also rejected the proposal, emphasizing the criticality of maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas for realizing the full potential of India-China relations and its positive implications for the world, particularly Asia.

During his talks with Wang, Jaishankar is going to reaffirm India’s stand that China should first cooperate with India to resolve standoff over LAC and then the other normal processes in bilateral ties will be restored. The 15th round of negotiation between military commanders of India and China on 11 March failed to break the impasse on mutual withdrawal of troops from Hot Springs or Patrol Point 15 in eastern Ladakh. Next round of talks at the military commander level will be held and a date will be fixed once Jaishankar returns from Indonesia after meeting Wang, sources said.  

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EKNATH SHINDE WINS MAHARASHTRA TRUST VOTE, 164-99

Speaker Rahul Narwekar reinstates Eknath Shinde as Legislative Party Leader and appoints Bharat Gogawale as Chief Whip of Shiv Sena.

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The newly formed government in Maharashtra led by Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde comfortably won the floor test on Monday by a 164–99 margin. With 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs on his side, the BJP throwing the weight of its 106 MLAs behind him and 19 Independent legislators romping up support for Shinde, the result of the trust vote was a foregone conclusion. With his floor test win, Shinde has proved his government’s majority while cementing his position as chief minister and the leader of the Shiv Sena.

Eknath Shinde at the swearing-in ceremony on Monday. ANI

In the trust vote conducted by Speaker Rahul Narwekar, the newly formed Shinde–BJP coalition polled 164 votes, whereas 99 votes were polled against the coalition government. Interestingly, Shiv Sena MLA from Shetkari Kamgar Paksh of Uddhav Thackeray faction Shyamsundar Shinde also voted in favour of Shinde government, though he did not join the Shinde faction. The Uddhav faction got another jolt when one more Shiv Sena MLA Santosh Bangar

joined the Shinde camp just before the trust vote.

The trust vote was proposed by BJP’s Sudhir Mungantiwar and Shiv Sena’s Bharat Gogawale. After a voice vote on the proposal of trust vote, opposition members demanded a division of vote. Speaker Narwekar allowed the demand and conducted the division of votes by head count.

Earlier in the day ahead of the crucial trust vote, Speaker Narwekar removed Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the Legislative Party Leader and reinstated Shinde in the position. Before staging a rebellion against Uddhav, Shinde was Legislative Party Leader of the Shiv Sena in the House. The Speaker also replaced Sunil Prabhu with Bharat Gogawale as Chief Whip of Shiv Sena in the House.

It may be recalled that in the height of political crisis, Udhav Thackeray had replaced Shinde by Choudhary as Legislative Party Leader in the state Assembly. The rebel MLAs, who were then camping in Guwahati, had written a letter to the Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal objecting to Choudhary’s appointment. The Shinde camp moved the Supreme Court challenging the disqualification notices issued by Deputy Speaker Zirwal to 16 rebel MLAs as well as Choudhary’s appointment as Shiv Sena Legislature Party Leader.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, on the other hand, ordered Udhav Thackeray to go for a trust vote, which was challenged in the Supreme Court. However, the apex court refused to intervene, thus clearing the deck for a floor test on 30 June. Sensing an imminent defeat, as he has lost the numbers game, Thackeray chose to step down and resigned the same day before going for a trust vote, thus paving the way for a new government to be formed by the BJP and rebel Shinde faction.

Interestingly, amid the ongoing battle between two Shiv Sena factions, led by Shinde and Thackeray, both sides issued separate whips to Shiv Sena MLAs to vote in favour of their respective candidates during the Speaker’s election on Sunday and later accused each other of violating them. Interestingly, the Opposition got 107 votes in favour of their candidate Rajan Salvi.

During the trust vote, several legislators did not show up. Conspicuous by their absence were Congress MLAs Vijay Wadettiwar, Zeeshan Siddiqui and Dheeraj Deshmukh. NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap too was missing, while former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan reached the House after the vote. Upset over the outgoing MAV government’s decision to rename Aurangabad, Samajwadi Party legislators Abu Azmi and Rais Shaikh abstained from voting, so did AIMIM MLA Shah Farukh.

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MORE THAN 25 EXOTIC BIRDS DIE IN 8-MONTH-OLD CHANDIGARH BIRD PARK

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Call it the obdurateness of a bureaucrat that a misconceived project has caused innocent exotic birds succumb to the lackadaisical approach of the Forest and Wildlife department of Chandigarh. More than 25 exotic birds costing lakhs of public money went in vain due to the intentional obliviousness of the department. The project which is merely an eight-month-old and inaugurated by First Lady of India Mrs. Savita Kovind in the month of November last year falls dubious with the death of these exotic birds as the department did not follow Central Zoo authority recommendations judiciously. 

Earlier also this project fell under the lens of the financial jumble. As per senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration, a few exotic birds named Green Winged Macaw Pair Rs 3.5 Lakh each had died, Cockatoo pair of around Rs 2 lakhs died, Pheasants cost Rs 50-60 thousand died, Sun Conure pair costing Rs 15-20 thousand died in few months. It is said that more than 25 such imported exotic birds have died to weather and non-medical attention in Chandigarh Bird Park. 

The Department of forest and wildlife had hired non experienced veterinary doctor contrary to Central Zoo Authority recommendations. CZA visited this place after which they asked the department to seek medical care from Chattbir zoo in case of any medical emergency required for Exotic Birds. 

While speaking to The Daily Guardian, Chandigarh Home Secretary IAS Nitin Yadav stated, “We have sought information of the died exotic birds from the department. The requisite action and remedies will be taken at a fast pace”. 

Region’s first Bird Park earlier was under the lens of the Audit Department which clearly said in its official report that the expenditure being made on this project is not justified and if in future anyone moves to court against the department, the latter would have no answer to these financial flaws. 

These financial flaws that have surfaced under General Finance Rule 2017, say, “In order to initiate any construction, the department has to sign a contract agreement with the agency hired for construction services.”

There have been evident perturbations in the construction of the foundation of birds aviary and this job was allotted to Disha Associates for which the department of Chandigarh Forest and Wildlife did not levy any condition of performance guarantee which is standing as an outstanding of Rs 39.05 lakh.

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