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India ‘disappointed’ as Obama decides to sell F-16s to Pakistan

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The Barack Obama administration has decided to sell eight  F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly $ 700 million.

Upset with the decision, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said,”We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan.”

The MEA will summon US ambassador to convey India’s displeasure over the decision of the Obama government.

We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan pic.twitter.com/NGdrAL2m9i

— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) February 13, 2016

Despite mounting opposition from influential lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the US State Department on Friday, notified the Congress that it has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Pakistan for F-16 Block 52 Aircraft, equipment, training, and logistics support.

The estimated cost is $699.4 million, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency – a wing of the Pentagon – said in a statement, adding that this proposed sale contributes to the US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.

Asserting that this will not alter the basic military balance in the region, the Pentagon said the proposed sale improves Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats.

These additional F-16 aircraft will facilitate operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self- defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.

“It will increase the number of aircraft available to the Pakistan Air Force to sustain operations, meet monthly training requirements, and support transition training for pilots new to the Block-52. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional aircraft into its air force,” the Pentagon agency said.

“This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded,” said the Defence Security Cooperation Agency.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a State Department official defended the decisions of the US Government. “We strongly support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan. This platform will support Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and has contributed to the success of these operations to date,” the official said.

“These operations reduce the ability of militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven for terrorism and a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan,” the official said, adding that these operations are in the national interests of both Pakistan and the US, and in the interest of the region more broadly.

India

Sandalwood drug case: SC grants bail to Ragini Dwivedi

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Supreme Court

Ragini was arrested under the NDPS Act by the Crime Branch in Bengaluru and accused of links with an international ring involved in supplying psychedelic drugs at rave parties and other events. She had challenged a Karnataka High Court order rejecting bail on November 3.

Actress Sanjjanaa Galrani was also arrested in the same case and she is currently out on conditional bail.

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Entertainment

UP man complains Mirzapur maligns district, SC notice to Amazon Prime

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Mirzapur 2

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on plea of a Mirzapur resident complaining against the web series Mirzapur and Amazon Prime for maligning the image of his native place in Uttar Pradesh.

“Mirzapur has rich cultural value, but in 2018 Excel Entertainment has launched a web series named Mirzapur of 9 episodes in which they have shown Mirzapur a city of goons and adulteresses,” said the plea.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde after a brief hearing in the matter issued notice on the plea Centre, Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and Amazon Prime video.

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India

Akhilesh questions ‘intention’ behind deferring farm laws

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Akhilesh Yadav Sad

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has questioned the ‘intentions’ of the Modi government to defer farm laws by one and a half year.

“The BJP government has extended a proposal to defer the implementation of the farm laws for the next one and a half year. The move is illogical and without any rationale. Deferring implementation of the law will not change the consequences that will follow once the law is introduced,” he said.

Akhilesh further said, “By deferring implementation of the law, the BJP government is trying to counter popular public sentiment which is growing in favour of the agitating farmers and against the law makers. The government will eventually implement the laws before the elections in 2024 to benefit the capitalists.”

The SP president has directed the party leaders and workers to dedicate their Republic Day celebrations to farmers who are protesting against the new farm laws. He asked party men to reach the venues where Indian flag will be unfurled at the tehsil level on tractors carrying the Tricolour.

He said that by taking out tractor rallies, the SP workers and leaders will only reassert their support to the agitating farmers.

Akhilesh also attacked the ruling BJP for the delay in clearing cane dues of farmers, increase in power tariff and raids by power department officials on farmers for recovery of power dues.

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