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Jaitley visiting Japan as Defence Minister, Sitharaman to take charge later

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Arun Jaitley
Finance/Defence Minister Arun Jaitley: File Photo

New Delhi, Sep 3: Notwithstanding the appointment of Nirmala Sitharaman as the new Defence Minister, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is presently holding additional charge of Defence, will represent India in a bilateral dialogue on defence in Japan.

Sitharaman, who was elevated to the rank of a cabinet minister on Sunday and given is set to be the Defence portfolio, will take charge of her office after Jaitley returns from Japan.

Jaitley told reporters on Sunday that he was going to Japan as logistic arrangements were not possible at the last moment.

“I leave tonight for Japan, and normally the new Defence Minister should have been going. But logistically that doesn’t seem possible today being a Sunday to make the changes,” said Jaitley, who will hold a bilateral dialogue with his Japanese counterpart, ahead of a visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India later this month.

“It is a very important security dialogue between the two countries ahead of the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit and therefore changes are not advisable. I will continue for next two days to complete the dialogue, and Ms. Sitharaman will take the charge of the ministry as soon as the dialogue ends,” he said.

Jaitley also hailed his successor Sitharaman calling her a very “competent” person for the portfolio, and said her appointment sent a positive message globally.

“I am happy with the fact that I now have a very competent successor who has worked her way up and proved herself. She has actually earned that place for herself,” he said referring to Sitharaman, who has in past worked with him as Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs.

“It (her appointment) is great for the country, not just for the women. it also sends a message globally.”

Jaitley noted that the Cabinet Committee on Security would now have two women with Sitharaman joining External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

“It is first time in history that there are two women ministers in the CCS… It is a happy occasions for the country.

“Both ladies in CCS have established their competence, both are recognised as ladies with substance, who have earned a front-line position for themselves,” he said.

Asked about the reshuffle, Jaitley said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a new benchmark for accountability with this rejig.

“The appointments that have been made in the cabinet proves the Prime Minister has set a new benchmark of accountability. All the ministers and departments are constantly monitored, and he (Modi) knows who can give a good performance. New people with good administrative experience have been brought in. These are people who joined BJP after retiring, I am sure their tenure will be successful,” he said.

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Disaster

COVID-19: 55 inmates of Guwahati jail test positive for coronavirus

Meanwhile, the Assam government has refuted the media reports that Akhil Gogoi, jailed top farmers’ leader, tested COVID-19 positive.

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Guwahati Central Jail

Guwahati, July 11 : As many as 55 inmates lodged in Guwahati Central jail have tested positive for coronavirus, causing concern among the authorities, health officials said on Saturday.

A senior officials of the Health and Family Welfare Department said that the authorities of both health and prison departments are inquiring how the jailbirds were infected by the contagious virus during the past few days.

In pursuance to the Supreme Court”s order, different state governments of the northeastern region including Assam have taken several steps to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in jails.

In all the eight northeastern states, several thousand prisoners had already been released on interim bail or PR Bond to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic inside the jails.

Meanwhile, the Assam government has refuted the media reports that Akhil Gogoi, jailed top farmers’ leader, tested COVID-19 positive.

On Akhil Gogoi’s Covid positive report, Inspector General of Prisons Dasarath Das said he had not received any such information from the health department.

Gogoi’s legal counsel Santanu Barthakur told the media, “I received the news that Gogoi has tested positive for COVID-19.”

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee (KMSS) founder is lodged in the Guwahati Central Jail for the past seven months for his role in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

On Wednesday, two associates of Gogoi, who are in judicial custody, tested COVID-19 positive.

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India

China, India stand very differently at UN: Syed Akbaruddin

The 1985 batch IFS officer, who retired recently, shared his memories of being a part of the university as a student of Political Science.

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Syed Akbaruddin United Nations

Hyderabad, July 12 : India’s former permanent representative at the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin on Saturday said countries like China and India stand very differently at the UN, in terms of their perspective and approach.

Akbaruddin was speaking during an online interaction with the Vice Chancellor and other faculty members of the University of Hyderabad, his alma mater.

About his experience working at the United Nations, he said: “The ones who have been a part of the United Nations very well know that UN is not an enchanted place. Countries like China and India stand very differently in the UN, in terms of their perspective and approach. China is always quiet and speaks only for itself whereas India always wants to speak for everyone.”

The Alumni Association of University of Hyderabad had organised an online interactive session with a distinguished alumnus in presence of Vice Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile and Professor P. Prakash Babu, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, and also the General Secretary of the Alumni Association. Faculty and students from the schools participated in this programme.

Responding to a question by Professor Pramod K, Nayar, Department of English, Akbaruddin talked about the current situation of foreign policy in India. “Foreign policy is something we should not take for granted. It is not a private body but a collective government enterprise. We need to give more time and space to the government to act on the foreign policy that has been taking an upward trajectory, however, we, as a country, always fancy something better than what we own.”

As Professor Vinod Pavarala, Department of Communication, asked the former diplomat about the difference between trained civil servants and political appointees becoming ambassadors, he said: “If there is better talent available outside the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), we should not shy away because India”s diversity is such that a closed club cannot represent the whole of it. The talent we have today is more diversified and has the potential of bringing a lot to the table.”

The 1985 batch IFS officer, who retired recently, shared his memories of being a part of the university as a student of Political Science.

“My passion for learning and understanding International Relations ignited here in HCU (Hyderabad Central University). For someone like me who always wanted to study about state issues, my professors made me realise that one doesn”t need to feel alienated from their roots when they learn more about international relations. In fact, a better understanding of international relations gives you a clearer world view in understanding your roots,” he said, as per a university statement.

Akbaruddin, who served as India”s permanent representative at the UN from January 2016 to April 2020, also had advice for the young minds. “One should always be confident about their values because your values cannot be crushed under any circumstances. Your intrinsic values always prevail, even when you face difficult situations.”

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Criminal on parole nabbed with illegal weapon, Police say Dawood aide

His younger brother Ashraf Awas was also a dreaded criminal and was killed in an encounter with Mumbai Police in 2002.

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9mm Brazilian make Taurus Beretta

New Delhi, July 11 : Delhi Police Crime Branch has arrested a convicted criminal who was out on parole for keeping illegal weapons. He was nabbed with a semi automatic pistol — 9mm Brazilian make Taurus Beretta with 10 live rounds. Police said that he has been an associate of Dawood Ibrahim.

Police said Anwar Thakur is a resident of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

“The accused is a life convict in a murder case of Sadar Bazar in Delhi in which he had shot dead a police informer inside the police station in 1992,” said Rakesh Pawaria, DCP Crime.

Anwar had come out on parole on March 17, 2020.

He had cases under the Arms Act registered against him in Lodhi Colony and Pandav Nagar in Delhi. Police are now trying to ascertain how he got possession of an illegal weapon.

His younger brother Ashraf Awas was also a dreaded criminal and was killed in an encounter with Mumbai Police in 2002.

“It is also known that Anwar Thakur and his brother Ashraf Thakur were associated with Dawood Ibrahim and were also close associates of Fajlu Rehman, who was closely associated with gangster Babloo Srivastava. The accused Anwar Thakur is an associate of Chhenu Pehalwan – the patron of the notorious Chhenu gang active in the Trans-Yamuna area, who is languishing in Tihar Jail. Anwar Thakur would roam in the area in an effort to revive the Chhenu gang which was becoming weak and losing its clout due to the judicial custody of Chhenu Pehalwan,” the officer said.

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