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India-US joint military drills near LAC totally different: India

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As China opposes the third party meddling in the India-China border issue in reference to India-US joint millitary drills Yudh Abhyas, India on Thursday said that millitary exercise near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is “totally different”.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the two sides should stick to agreements of the past. “I don’t understand the reference to third-party interference. India US exercise is totally different and I don’t know what colour has been given to that. It is targeted and a violation of agreements,” he said.

China on Thursday strongly opposed the war games scheduled between India and the US near the disputed Sino-India border in October, stating that it is an interference in the bilateral boundary issue and a violation of agreements between New Delhi and Beijing that no military drill will be held near the LAC.

“We firmly oppose any third party to meddle in the China-India border issue in any form,” said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday when being asked about his comments on the ongoing and future US-India joint military exercises near the China-India border.

As the spokesperson said, the China-India border issue is a matter between the two countries. Both sides have maintained effective communications at all levels and agreed to properly handle the situation through bilateral dialogues. In light of the relevant agreements signed by China and India in 1993 and 1996, neither side is allowed to conduct military exercise against the other in areas near the Line of Actual Control, Tan stressed.

In the end, the spokesperson called out to the Indian side to keep its commitment.

“It is hoped that the Indian side will strictly abide by the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and the relevant agreements, uphold its commitment to resolving border issues through bilateral channels, and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border area with practical actions.”

India and US would be holding their regular Yudhabhyas series of wargames in the Auli area in Uttarakhand near the China border.

The exercise would be held from October 18 to 31 in the mountainous terrain in the area which has seen the additional deployment of assets and troops in the last two years, the official said.This would be the 18th of the Yudhabhyas wargames between India and the US to help enhance interoperability between the two sides. The two armies had last held the wargames in Alaska where they carried out drills in extremely cold conditions.

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China’s slogan ‘respecting territorial integrity’ draws global criticism

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China’s slogan ‘respecting territorial integrity’ draws global criticism

China’s statement at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that “territorial integrity” of all the countries should be respected has drawn sharp criticism from India and various other global quarters.
Taking a dig at Beijing, Indian diplomats here say that China must practice what it is preaching at the UNSC. “While the Xi regime is involved in all sorts of illegal conducts along the Line of Actual Control, disrespecting various written pacts on maintaining peace in the border region, Beijing’s remark underlining the need to respect territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations is devoid of any seriousness,” point out diplomats.
Sources told The Daily Guardian that envoys of various other countries at the UN including Australia, Japan, US, UK, Germany and France were also critical of the Chinese envoy’s remark as the country’s action has always been at variance with what it was preaching at the UNSC in terms of territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations.
In fact, China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun told a Security Council meeting, “Our position and proposition on how to view and handle the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. That is, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected.”  Analysing the statement of the Chinese ambassador, diplomats say that Zhang may have made these remarks in the perspective of the Ukraine situation, but the global community expects Beijing to walk the talk in the first place, which is not possible for it to do. China’s LAC misdeeds and its aggression in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region are known to the entire world, says a diplomat. Sources told TDG that the Chinese envoy was given a message about the reaction of the global community after he came out of the UNSC meeting. China wants the global community to interpret its envoy’s statement as a message for Russia, but the other part of the statement from Beijing’s representative at UNSC brought to the fore China’s real feeling about the West. Zhang said that isolation and sanctions would only “lead to a dead end” after the United States called for the body to condemn Russia’s referendums in occupied regions of Ukraine. China was prominently and elaborately discussed during the talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday. Beijing’s misconduct on LAC also figured during the talks, sources said.

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Mandatory 6 airbags in cars from October next year

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Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari approved the proposal mandating a minimum of 6 airbags in passenger cars and said the new rule will come into effect from 1 October 2023.
In a series of tweets Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said the safety of all passengers travelling in motor vehicles irrespective of their cost and variants is the foremost priority. “Considering the global supply chain constraints being faced by the auto industry and its impact on the macroeconomic scenario, it has been decided to implement the proposal mandating a minimum of 6 Airbags in Passenger Cars (M-1 Category) w.e.f 01st October 2023,” tweeted Gadkari.
Earlier in order to enhance the safety of occupants of the motor vehicle against lateral impact, it had been decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.
A draft notification had been issued on 14 January 2022.
“ The draft mandated that vehicles of category M1, manufactured after 1st October 2022, shall be fitted with two side/side torso airbags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube airbags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions,” read a statement by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

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India-US relationship impacts rest of world: Jaishankar

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India-US relationship impacts rest of world: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a press briefing on Wednesday said that the relationship between India and US today impacts the rest of the world as there are a lot of countries which look to the association individually and bilaterally and hope for solutions which the world is searching for in many aspects.
“I think our relationship today impacts the rest of the world. There are a lot of countries which look to us individually and bilaterally for some part of the betterment which they hope for solutions which the world is searching for in many respects,” Jaishankar said during the press briefing. Referring to the bilateral consultations between the two countries as solid, positive and productive, Jaishankar underscored that the visit was very comfortable and he had some very good conversations with the Ministers in the US.
He further added that the bilateral conversations were framed under the pretext of larger global challenges and there was a very high degree of convergence as the priorities of India and the US, at times, have been different.
“That’s the sort of broad sense that I want to give you of a very solid, positive, productive bilateral conversation but framed in the context of larger global challenges where there was a very high degree of convergence on how we look at those challenges, we may articulate it a bit differently as we are oppositions and our priorities at some times will be different,” Jaishankar said in a statement during the briefing.
Describing the Washington visit as a comfortable one, the External Affairs Minister underscored that both the nations understand on how to make space for each other and work despite not entirely agreeing on every aspect of every issue. “The good part of the relationship is today that we understand that we have to make space for each other and that we can work with each other even if we do not entirely agree on every aspect of every issue,” said Jaishankar.

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‘PFI had plans to turn India into Islamic nation by 2047, RSS, BJP leaders were on radar’

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RSS

Emphasizing the urgent need to ban the Popular Front of India (PFI), Maharashtra ATS chief Vineet Agarwal on Thursday said that the outfit was planning to turn India into an Islamic nation by 2047 and big leaders of the country including from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were their target.
Agarwal said that it was very important to ban PFI because they were slow poison for the country. “PFI was banned in time. Maharashtra ATS raided many places and arrested a total of 21 people and many electronic gadgets were also confiscated. Post the ban the organisation has been dissolved. Now, they don’t have any right to regroup or protest on any platform except on the legal platform,” said the ATS chief.
Agarwal said that the big leaders of the country and the people of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were on the target of PFI.
He further said that the PFI members used to portray themselves as persons associated with social development and physical education to give lectures to incite people. “PFI had opened training centers in many places of the state and used to do anti-national work. PFI used to tell people in their coaching center by referring to old videos and incidents that your people have been subjected to a lot of atrocities, Mughals will not come to save you, you have to save yourself. PFI used to tell participants to keep items for self-defence like stones, knives, swords, bricks, sharp objects and other things on their terraces,” he said.
The ATS Chief said that till now more than 2,000 people were trained in Maharashtra.
“We are using tools to recover their data, they had planned to make India an Islamic country by 2047 by motivating people to commit hate crimes when India will complete 100 years of independence, but the government’s decision has toppled their plan. Every 5 years an agenda was prepared for the same but they have been stopped in the middle and the right steps have been taken,” said Agarwal.
“Target killing was their modus operandi by identifying the target,” he added.
He further said that the ATS has also seized the bank accounts of the arrested PFI members and terror funding is also being investigated.
“There are lakhs of rupees in the seized bank accounts of the PFI members and the money was being spent in the name of the outfit. After verifying the information from where the money was coming into the PFI fund, the ATS came to know that the money was coming from different places,” he added.
Earlier, Maharashtra Home Department has issued an order using powers under Section 42 of UAPA authorizing the Police commissioners and District magistrates to exercise their powers against the PFI.
The move comes a day after the Union Home Ministry imposed a ban on the Popular Front of India for “terror links”. Other states including Kerala and Tamil Nadu have passed such orders declaring the PFI as an unlawful association.

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All women, married or unmarried, entitled to abortion: Sc

Ashish Sinha

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All women, married or unmarried, entitled to abortion: Sc

In a landmark judgement, Supreme Court on Thursday held that all women-both married and unmarried-are entitled to safe and legal abortion.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the meaning of the rape must include marital rape for the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MPT) Act. The Supreme Court said that the distinction between married and unmarried women for the purposes of the MTP Act is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual activities.
The rights of reproductive autonomy, dignity, and privacy under Article 21 give an unmarried woman the right of choice on whether or not to bear a child, on a similar footing of a married woman, the bench said.
Insisting on a “forward-looking” approach, the Supreme Court on 7 August opined that any discrimination between married and unmarried women in respect of the MPT law in India that does not allow a single woman to go for abortion after 20 weeks, violates her personal autonomy.
The top court had said that it will interpret the MTP Act and the related rules to see if unmarried women could be allowed to abort upto 24-week pregnancy on medical advice.
The upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories–including survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors; the corresponding window for unmarried women in consensual relationships is 20 weeks.
The apex court in its August judgment had questioned if a married woman is allowed to terminate upto 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act, 1971, and the Rules framed under it, why denying the same to unmarried women, even though the risk is same for both.
The bench had said that it can strike down the restrictive clause “for being manifestly arbitrary”, which in turn would allow extending the benefit of terminating pregnancy above 20 weeks to unmarried women also.
The apex court in its August judgment had questioned if a married woman is allowed to terminate upto 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act, 1971, and the Rules framed under it, why denying the same to unmarried women, even though the risk is same for both.
The bench had said that it can strike down the restrictive clause “for being manifestly arbitrary”, which in turn would allow extending the benefit of terminating pregnancy above 20 weeks to unmarried women also.
It also held that a woman need not prove the commission of rape or sexual assault to seek termination of pregnancy under the MTP Act.
The top court also held that the marital status of a woman can’t be used to deprive her of her right to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
Interpreting the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the Supreme Court said that whether single or unmarried, all women have the right to abort under the MTP Act and Rules until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories include survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as the differently abled and minors; the corresponding window for unmarried women in consensual relationships is 20 weeks.
The rights to reproductive autonomy give unmarried women similar rights as married women, the court held.
Holding that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion, the top court said the distinction between married and unmarried women for the purposes of the MTP Act is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual activities.
“Law cannot create such artificial classifications based on narrow grounds… the decision to carry a pregnancy to full term or to abort it lies in the reproductive autonomy of a woman, which is rooted in bodily autonomy. Depriving her of this right will be an affront to a woman’s right to dignity,” the bench held in its ruling.
The verdict of the apex court came on a petition filed by a 25-year-old single woman, whose plea for termination of her 24-week pregnancy was denied by the Delhi high court, but the Supreme Court allowed her to abort the foetus if there was no risk to her life.
Earlier, the apex court had questioned why, if a married woman is allowed to terminate up to 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act and Rules framed under it, it should be denied to unmarried women, even though the risk is the same for both.
A woman had approached the apex court after the Delhi High Court declined to grant permission to abort her pregnancy, which had arisen out of a consensual sexual relationship, saying that it virtually amounted to killing the foetus.
On 15 July, the High Court ruled that allowing abortion at this stage would be tantamount to killing the foetus and advised the woman to place her child for adoption instead. 

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PM Modi declares 36th National Games open in Ahmedabad

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PM Modi declares 36th National Games open in Ahmedabad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday declared the 36th National Games open at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, “At the world’s largest stadium, such a young country in the world, and the biggest sports festival in the country! When the event is so wonderful and unique, its energy ought to be so extraordinary.”
He recited the Key Words of the National Games Anthem ‘Judega India – Jeetega India’ to the rousing accompaniment of everyone present in the stadium and said that the confidence shining on the face of athletes is a precursor of the coming golden age of Indian sports. Recalling the grand drone show that took place in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that everyone is astonished and proud to see such a spectacle.

“Such careful use of technology, like a drone, will take Gujarat, India to new heights, ‘’ the Prime Minister added.
Remarking on the official mascot for the National Games 2022 is Savaj, the Asiatic lion, the Prime Minister said that the mascot reflects the mood of India’s youth, a passion for fearless entry into the sporting arena. This is also a symbol of rising India in a global scenario.

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