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Army Commanders’ Conference: Sino-India border roads discussed



India-China, Sikkim Border

New Delhi, Oct 13 : Nearly two months after India and China military stand-off at Doklam ended, infrastructure along the Sino-Indian border discussed prominently during  Army Commanders’ Conference here, with focus being laid on road connectivity in the central sector of the border that has largely been neglected.

The part of India-China border under the Army’s Central Command is the patch which has been largely peaceful, and maps have also been exchanged for this part with China.

While the road construction activity in the eastern sector is already in limelight , sources said the central part of the border – along the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – suffers from lack of infrastructure, apparently because of being peaceful, news agency IANS reported.

Sources said on the contrary, China has built roads up to areas close to the border, and hence it was necessary to address the issue.

Director General, Staff Duties Lt. Gen. Vijay Singh, briefing media on the outcome of the Army Commanders’ Conference that started on Monday, said it was decided that there would be a “concerted heft” towards road construction activities in the Central sector.

“Four passes — Niti, Lipu lekh, Thang La 1, and Tsangchokla — will be connected by 2020 on priority,” Singh said. All the four are in Uttarakhand.

The central sector of the India-China border has two disputed areas – Barahoti in Chamoli district where a Chinese incursions took place in July last year, and Pulam Sumda in Uttarkashi district which claimed by China.

This section of border has four valleys – Harsil, Mansa, Niti and Sumna – up to which roads will be constructed, and will also be connected to neighbouring areas.

Singh also said that additional funds will be allocated to Border Road Organisation for the area under the Northern Command for development of roads and infrastructure.

Parts of India-China border in Ladakh, as well as India-Pakistan border fall within the area of the Northern Command of Indian Army.

The Army Commanders’ Conference also discussed recommendations of the Shekatkar Committee, and examined organisational changes for enhancing capabilities.

Sources said it was related to increasing the tooth to tail ratio of the force, regarding which it was recently decided that over 57,000 of its personnel will be redeployed to enhance combat capability of the force.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, in his address at the conference, meanwhile asked the commanders to be prepared for all eventualities at all times and said it was therefore important to accord priority to arms, ammunition and equipment.

“Out approach to procurement process needs to be balanced with focus at the right places,” he Rawat said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who addressed the conference on Tuesday, lauded the swift and effective response of the Army in dealing with external and internal threats.

She stressed on the “need to guard against inimical forces and talked about the need for jointness and integration of all the services in effectively dealing with emerging challenges”.

The Army Commanders’ Conference is a biennial meet which is attended by all Army Commanders and the Army Chief. The meet is also addressed by the Defence Minister and officials of the ministry are in attendance to brainstorm on important security and organisational issues.

The second edition of this conference started on Monday, and will conclude on October 15.

The recent Doklam stand-off and preparedness along the border with China in general, as well as the situation at the western border alone with Pakistan are top on the agenda of the meet.

Speeding up procurement, pace of modernisation in the Army, pushing the Make in India programme and indigenous procurement, and staff welfare related issues were also discussed.


Sonia terms Modi speech as old rhetoric, Rahul says it was weak



Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha as an “old rhetoric” and Congress President Rahul Gandhi said it was “weak”.

The Congress party termed his speech as “dramebaazi” (theatrics).

The Modi government on Friday passed the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition with an overwhelming majority, with the government getting 325 out of a total 451 votes.

Only 126 MPs voted in favour of the motion.

Soon after the government won the no-confidence motion, Modi said that the NDA has the confidence of 125 crore people.

“NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. I thank all the parties that supported us in the vote. Our efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of our youth will continue. Jai Hind!,” he said in a tweet.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said: “We posed questions to Prime Minister Modi on Rafael deal, Nirav Modi but he didn’t answer any.

“His speech was ‘dramebaazi’ (theatrics). He didn’t say anything for people of Andhra Pradesh. He was saying what previous governments had done and not what his government has done in four years,” he said.

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Peace in Kashmir impossible without Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah

You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,”



Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi, July 20 : Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday said peace in Jammu and Kashmir was impossible without involving Pakistan, asking the BJP government to give up its rigid stance and be flexible in solving problems in the terror-ravaged state.

“You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,” Abdullah said in his speech during the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

He said he had high hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would build peace with Pakistan that Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not do.

“North Korea, which was making nuclear missiles, atom bombs, has made peace with US President Donald Trump. Trump and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin are meeting each other to find peace. But we have failed to do the same for Jammu and Kashmir.”

In his short but fiery speech, the National Conference leader said the anti-Muslim rhetoric building up in the country needed to stop because it was dangerous.

“We won’t be defeated by America, Russia or any other nation. We will defeat ourselves. We will not be successful unless the Hindus and Muslims unite.”

Pointing his finger towards the ruling bench, Abdullah asked the BJP to take note of the fact that “Muslims are as Indians as you are”.

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No-confidence motion against Modi government defeated




New Delhi, July 20 : The no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was defeated in the Lok Sabha on Friday after a 12-hour heated debate which saw the government and opposition trade charges and a moment of drama when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walked over to hug the Prime Minister.


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