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Modi launches Rupay card in Bhutan, signs 9 MoUs

One power purchase agreement for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant was also signed between the two countries.

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Narendra Modi, Bhutan PM inaugurate Ground Earth Station, SATCOM network (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Thimpu, Aug 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday launched Rupay card in Bhutan and signed nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including one on the ISRO-built earth station in Thimphu and a power purchase agreement.

Modi on a two-day state visit to Bhutan was received by his counterpart Lotay Tshering. He will hold talks with Bhutanese leaders to deepen bilateral relations.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Bringing our economies and people together. Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly launch Rupay cards in Bhutan bringing immediate tangible benefits to the people of both countries.”

One power purchase agreement for the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant was also signed between the two countries.

“A true testament to mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly inaugurate the 720 MW Mangdechu Hydroelectricity Project in Bhutan. India is fortunate to be a partner in Bhutan’s development,” Kumar said in his tweet.

One of the MOUs include establishment of SATCOM Network in Thimphu for the utilisation of South Asia Satellite.

“Sky is the limit! Modi and Bhutan Prime Minister jointly inaugurate the Ground Earth Station & SATCOM network, developed with assistance from ISRO for utilisation of South Asia Satellite in Bhutan. This will bring immense benefit to people living in remote areas of Bhutan,” MEA spokesperson said in his tweet.

Other MoUs include cooperation in aircraft accident and incident investigation, peering agreement, cooperation in judicial education and mutual exchanges, and academic and cultural interchange in the areas of legal education and research.

Kumar, in his another tweet said the both leaders also inaugurated extension of India’s National Knowledge Network to Bhutan, which will foster closer collaboration between institutes of pre-eminence between two countries.

Early in the morning, Kumar tweeted: “A central pillar of our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. Continuing the high-level exchanges between the two countries. This is PM’s second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election.”

Kumar also shared on Twitter pictures of Modi’s arrival in Bhutan. “Breathtaking setting for the welcome ceremony as PM Modi lands at Paro airport in Bhutan. As a gesture of extraordinary warmth and goodwill, PM Modi was welcomed by Prime Minister of Bhutan and other ministers.”

Modi in a statement issued before departure on Friday said his government attaches high importance to the Himalayan nation and the visit at the beginning of his current term underpins the solid relations between India and Bhutan.

The visit would further strengthen the valued friendship with Bhutan, and help in carving out a road map for a prosperous future and development of people from the two countries.

“India-Bhutan partnership today is of a special character and substance and forms an important pillar of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy…” Modi said in a statement.

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India

‘Deadly’ malaria cases detected in 11 Uttar Pradesh districts

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Lucknow, Sep 15 Eleven districts in Uttar Pradesh have reported cases of the ‘deadly’ plasmodium falciparum (PF) malaria this year.

According to data issued by the state’s health department, a total of 852 PF cases were detected from January to August this year and of these, the highest were reported from Bareilly (707).

The other 10 districts where PF was detected are Pilibhit, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Bahraich, Kanpur Dehat, Kushinagar, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Lalitpur and Gautam Buddh Nagar.

Officials said that 39,135 cases of the plasmodium vivax (PV), the most widespread and common form of malaria, and 852 cases of PF were reported in Uttar Pradesh from January to August this year.

Out of total 852 persons tested positive with PF, 707 were in Bareilly, 106 in Budaun, 23 in Sonbhadra, five in Shahjahanpur, three each in Pilibhit and Bahraich and one each in Kanpur Dehat, Kushinagar, Mirzapur, Lalitpur and Gautam Buddh Nagar.

The malaria cases drastically increased in the month of September in Bareilly and Badaun.

Joint Director (malaria) Avadhesh Yadav said: “Following an outbreak of malaria last year in Bareilly and Badaun, the cases are on the rise in these two districts but the situation will be controlled by the end of the year. Except Sonebhadra, other districts have reported only a few PF cases.

“Whenever a person is tested positive with PF malaria, the health teams have conducting special activity. At least 50 houses situated in the radius of the residence of the PF patient were sprayed with pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. Besides fogging and larvicidal spraying was also carried out.”

The health department has sprayed larvicides in 22 villages, fogged 116 villages and sprayed pyrethrum in 193 villages of Bareilly to contain the breeding of mosquitoes this year till August.

In neighboring Badaun, larvicides have been sprayed in 140 villages, while fogging and spraying with pyrethrum has been done in 125 and 66 villages respectively.

Most of the malaria cases being reported since January, were detected in three blocks of Bareilly and four blocks of Badaun on the Bareilly-Budaun border.

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India-Pakistan tensions: Security beefed up along the LoC

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New Delhi, Sep 15 The Indian Army has intensified its presence along the Line of Control (LoC) in view of Pakistan’s increased aggressive posture since Parliament ended special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 6.

On Saturday, the Commander of Army’s Northern Command, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, reviewed security preparedness along the LoC in the light of military threat from Pakistan. Earlier, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had also visited the valley to review India’s preparedness at the LoC.

In the first week of September, Pakistan moved a brigade-sized force to a location 30km away from the LoC within its own territory as was reported by the Army quoting intel sources.

The troops numbering around 2,000 soldiers has been placed at the Bagh and Kotli sector opposite PoK in Pakistan.

Pakistan has also scaled up ceasefire violations on the LoC.

A day after the historic decision on Jammu and Kashmir on August 6, Imran Khan had made veiled references to a possible war with India while addressing a joint session of the Pakistan parliament.

“Attacks like Pulwama are bound to happen again. I can already predict this will happen. They will attempt to place the blame on us again. They may strike us again, and we will strike back … What will happen then? Who will win that war? No one will win it and it will have grievous consequences for the entire world. This is not nuclear blackmail,” Khan had said.

Khan reiterated his veiled threats about a possible nuclear war with India in an interview to Al Jazeera channel on Saturday.

“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve any problems… (But) when two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable,” said Khan.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was a two-nation tour of East Asia during that period of time, also retorted strongly, making India’s stance clear about its response to any military misadventure by Pakistan.

“India has never been an aggressor in its history nor will it ever be. But that does not mean that India would balk at using its strength to defend itself,” Singh said in South Korea.

Security sources have assessed that at least 40 to 50 trained militants have crossed over into India over last one month or so.

It is also estimated that around 200 to 250 trained militants are waiting to enter India particularly because outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba have activated terror launch pads along the LoC.

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Human progress will be incomplete without innovative zeal: Modi

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New Delhi, Sep 15 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday paid tribute to Bharat Ratna M. Visvesvaraya on his birth anniversary and greeted the nation on the occasion of Engineers Day saying that human progress would be incomplete without their innovative zeal.

“Engineers are synonymous with diligence and determination. Human progress would be incomplete without their innovative zeal. Greetings on Engineers Day and best wishes to all hardworking engineers. Tributes to the exemplary engineer Sir M. Visvesvaraya on his birth anniversary,” Modi tweeted.

India observes Engineers Day on September 15 on the birth anniversary of Visvesvaraya, who was a civil engineer and statesman, annually.

Visvesvaraya was born on this day in 1860 in a small village of Muddenahalli in Chikkaballapur district in Karnataka. He passed away in Bengaluru on April 12, 1962.

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