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India, Pak to be part of anti-terror SCO drill in Russia next month

Monday, 16 July 2018 00:00 Written by

New Delhi, Jul 15 (PTI) Militaries of India and Pakistan will be part of a mega anti-terror drill in Russia next month which is being organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with an aim to expand cooperation among the member countries to deal with terrorism and extremism.

Around 200 Army and Air Force personnel from India will be participating in the exercise scheduled from August 20-29 at Chelyabinsk city in west-central Russia, official sources said. 

The exercise will be joined by all SCO member countries including Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The drill, "Peace Mission", will take place nearly three months after the SCO, in its annual summit in Chinese city of Qingdao, resolved to deepen cooperation among their militaries to deal with threats of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

"The broad objective of the exercise is to boost cooperation among the SCO countries to deal with challenge of terrorism and extremism," said a military official.

On the sidelines of the exercise, military officials of the SCO countries are likely to deliberate on ways to enhance cooperation to stop spread of terrorist ideologies and eliminate factors and conditions that facilitate terrorism and extremism, the official said.

India has been pressing for global action against Pakistan for allowing terror safe havens in its territories and it will be interesting to see how New Delhi push its demand to pile up pressure on Islamabad at the SCO platform.

It will be for the first time since Independence that India and Pakistan will both be part of a military exercise, though the armies of the two nations have worked together in UN peacekeeping missions, he said. 

India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005 and they were admitted as full members of the bloc last year.

The SCO, seen as a counterweight to NATO, has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea. The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region.

India's membership was strongly pushed by Russia while Pakistan's entry into the grouping was backed by China. 

India feels that as an SCO member, it will be able to play a major role in addressing the threat of terrorism in the region. It is also keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

Sonia, Rahul hold Janata Darshan in Rae Bareli

Wednesday, 18 April 2018 00:00 Written by

Rae Bareli, Apr 18 (UNI) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her son Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a Janata darshan here on Wednesday morning where around 1,000 people thronged the Bhue Mau guest house to register their problems and complaints.
At the same time, Ms Gandhi also inaugurated several development projects to the tune of over Rs 75 crore in her Rae Bareli Parliamentary constituency under her MPLAD and PMSJY scheme at the guest house.

During the event, both the mother and son gave a patience hearing to the people which included 23 delegations.

Later, senior Congress leaders of the district also met Mr Gandhi and apprised him about the local politics.

The leaders expressed their concern about the reported anti-party activities of MLA Dinesh Pratap Singh and his two brothers-- the Congress MLA from Harchandpur Rakesh Singh and district panchayat chairman Awadhesh Singh. These rebel Congress legislators are slated to join the BJP during a rally in the district on April 21, to be attended by BJP president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Later, Ms Gandhi inaugurated a Passport Sewa centre opened at the head post office premises and thereafter, she would be attending the District Development Coordination Monitoring Committee meeting to be held at the collectorate.
However, Mr Gandhi, would not accompany his mother in the programme but will go to Salon to meet the local people.
Both the leaders are expected to leave for New Delhi en route Lucknow at around 1500 hrs.

Kathua rape case: PDP-BJP divide widens as ex-minister Choudhary Lal Singh takes aim at Mehbooba Mufti govt

Wednesday, 18 April 2018 00:00 Written by

Jammu: The BJP is playing with fire in the Jammu region with Choudhary Lal Singh — one of the two ministers unceremoniously ousted from the Mehbooba Mufti government — addressing over a dozen rallies on Tuesday in solidarity with the alleged culprits arrested in the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, and also to demand a CBI probe in the case. To many political observers, this likely marks the beginning of a dangerous turning point in the communally-divided state.

On Tuesday, when the heavily-garlanded former forest minister of the state climbed onto a makeshift stage in Satwari Chowk of Jammu city, hundreds of his supporters — women included — resorted to intense sloganeering, denouncing the Jammu and Kashmir Police's probe into the case. Visibly enraged, Singh lent support to their demands of a CBI probe even as his speech was punctuated by slogans like "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".

"She is our daughter. We are fighting to punish her culprits, but it is a tragedy that people living far away (in Kashmir) are passing judgment on the case without knowing the facts. Our fight is for justice, which will be only be done by identifying the real culprits," Singh said in his speech.

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