CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 MARCH 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P9 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with likelihood of rain/thundershowers. Temperatures will be in the range of 22 to 28 degree Celsius. RAINFALL: Trace RELATIVE HUMIDITY P7 Min. 65% Modi vows to hunt down those behind terror attacks Max: 28.7°C (-3) SUN RISES 05:54 hrs MOON RISES 05.09 hrs Min: 21.1°C (+1) SUN SETS 17:42 hrs MOON SETS 16:39 hrs New moon on 6 March THUMBNAILS Devotees perform rituals in front of a huge Shiva Lingam at a temple on the occasion of the Maha Shivratri festival, in the capital on Monday. RITIK JAIN No-mutual contest proposal: The Communist m Party of India (Marxist), which is working out electoral tactics for “maximum pooling” of anti-BJP votes in the coming elections, has proposed “no mutual contest” with the Congress Party in the six West Bengal seats held by the two parties at present, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told newspersons after a two-day Central Committee meeting. Karnataka Cong MLA quits: Dealing a blow to the ruling coalition in Karnataka, rebel Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav Monday submitted his resignation from the state Assembly to Speaker Ramesh Kumar. Jadhav, who sided with the rebel faction led by Ramesh Jarkiholi which threatened to topple the JD(S)-Congress coalition government recently, is a twotime MLA from Chincholi in Kalburagi district, a bastion of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Sources close to Jadhav said he P4 intends to join the BJP on Wednesday. Ex-Solicitor General of India Dipankar Gupta S passes away: Former Solicitor General of India and senior advocate Dipankar Prasad Gupta passed away on Sunday. He was the Solicitor General of India between 1992 and 1997. Before his appointment to this position, he had also been Advocate General of the state of West Bengal. His cremation took place in New Delhi on Monday. His son, Jaideep Gupta and brother, Bhaskar P Gupta, are senior advocates. CHENNAI/TUTICORIN, 4 MAR CH As the debate over India's February 26 air strikes in Pakistan rages on in the country, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Monday asked the Centre to avoid “opposition-bashing” and convince the world on its stand. Chidambaram said he was prepared to “believe the government” as a “proud citizen”, but the Centre has to “make efforts for the world to also believe” its stand. He recalled party chief Rahul Gandhi was the first to laud the Indian Air Force after the strikes. Chidambaram faced sharp rebuke from Union Person who solves Kashmir will be worthy of Nobel: Imran PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ISLAMABAD, 4 MARCH Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the person who solves the Kashmir issue will be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, days after a resolution was submitted in Parliament endorsing him for the prestigious award, citing his “efforts to de-escalate” tensions with India. “I am not worthy of the Nobel Peace prize. The person worthy of this would be the one who solves the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people and paves the way for peace & human development in the subcontinent,” the premier tweeted. Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also tweeted the prime minister's statement in Hindi in an unusual move. On March 2, a resolution was submitted in Pakistan's National Assembly Secretariat stating that Khan's decision of releas- Govt will disclose Balakot toll, says IAF chief amid row; defends MiG-21 use PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ing Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has de-escalated the hostility between Pakistan and India. According to the resolution, Khan “acted responsibly” in the current tension and “deserves the Nobel Peace Prize”. After the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan retaliated with a large air formation, comprising 24 fighter jets, including F-16s. Varthaman, who was in one of the eight MiG-21s that took on the invading Pakistan Air Force jets and shot down an F16, was captured by Pakistan. Khan during a joint session of Parliament on February 28 announced the decision to release the IAF pilot as a “gesture of peace” and the “first step” to open negotiations with India. The target has been clearly amplified by the foreign secretary in his statement. And, of course, if we plan to hit the target, we hit the target. Otherwise, why would he (Pakistan) have responded COIMBATORE, 4 MARCH idestepping a raging debate on the number of casualties in the Balakot strike, IAF chief B S Dhanoa on Monday said it is for the government to provide details on the terrorists killed and the Air Force only sees if a target has been hit or not. The Air Force doesn’t count human casualties, Dhanoa said as the figure of how many terrorists were killed in the February 26 attack on a Jaish-eMohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remained unclear. Government sources said up to 350 terrorists were killed, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250, some media reports indicated the damage was minimal and opposition leaders clamoured for clarity. But there has been no official statement so far. “We don’t count human casualties. We count what targets we have hit or not hit,” Dhanoa said in his first comments since the events of last week, when escalating India-Pakistan tensions led to aerial combat and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being in captivity in Pakistan for almost three days. The air chief told reporters the Indian Air Force pilot would fly a fighter jet if he was fit. “We don’t take chances with the medical fitness of S had courage, it could have avenged the deaths of innocent people at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. Innocent people were killed in 26/11 in Mumbai. And we came back to normal after a few days,” he said, addressing a gathering here. Modi asked the opposition not to politicise the issue of airstrike carried out on terrorist camps in Pakistan by the Indian Air Force, and asked them whether or not they trust the country's armed forces and what they say. “No country can stay in such helpless condition. For 40 years, terrorism has been hurting India, the hearts of Bharat Ma, innocent people are being killed. But people playing votebank politics are scared to take steps,” he said. “I do not care about the chair (of Prime Minister). I care about our country. I have protected the country's people,” he added. The PM asked opposition leaders to desist from giving statements that hog limelight in the Pakistani media. “What our opposition leaders say becomes the headlines of Pakistan newspapers. Such leaders say things which are shown on Pakistan TV, are discussed in Pakistan’s parliament.” “Is it in the interest of the country? Will you say such things over which Pakistan will clap?” Modi asked. “Do you trust our country's armed forces? Should we not trust what the military says? But there are some people who do not like what the military says.” “I don’t ask you to accept what I say, but at least do not distrust military and do not question their courage,” Modi said. Earlier, the Prime Minister, speaking at a public in Jamnagar, slammed the Opposition for questioning his statement that the presence of Rafale fighter jets would have given greater firepower to the IAF during the February 27 aerial engagement with Pakistan. “I said if Rafale was acquired in time it would have made a difference (during the February 27 dogfight), but they (Opposition) say Modi is questioning our air force strike,” Modi said. “Please use common sense. What I said was if we had Rafale at the time, then none of our fighter jets would have gone down and none of theirs saved.” Convince the world, Cong tells govt PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Russia pulls out of INF treaty: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday officially suspended Russia's participation in a key Cold War-era arms treaty, after the US first moved to ditch the INF deal. Putin “signed a decree regarding the suspension of Russia's participation in the agreement between the USSR and the US,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The move was taken following “a violation of the United States of its obligations under the treaty,” it said. P11 IAF doesn't count casualties: Dhanoa SNS & PTI Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said he believed in “barging into the houses of terrorists and killing them” as he vowed to find out those responsible for terror attacks in India “even if they hide in bowels of the earth”. Modi's comments were interpreted as indicating that last week's air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan won't be India's last such action against terrorism emanating from the neighbouring country. He targeted the opposition for playing “vote-bank politics” and not taking steps to curb terrorism that has been hurting India for 40 years when they were in power. “They (the opposition) say it is a game of election. Where was election when we carried out surgical strikes for the first time (in September 2016)? ‘Ye hamara siddhant hai, ki ghar mein ghus kar maarenge’(it is our principle that we will kill them by barging into their house),” he asserted. “I am not going to spare them even if they hide in the bowels of the earth,” he said in his address. Recalling the bomb blasts carried out at the civil hospital premises here in July 2008 and the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Modi said the then government at the Centre should have taken revenge and taught Pakistan a lesson. “Terrorism came from across the border. Was it not the responsibility of people at the Centre to take revenge?” he asked. “If the government then KANE CONFIDENT SPURS CAN PULL IT OFF IN EUROPE P9 AHMEDABAD, 4 MARCH Max.93% TEMPERATURE SOUTH KOREA CALLS FOR THREE-WAY TALKS A CHANGE IN INDO-PAK STRATEGIC GAME CHINA SAYS FORMER DIPLOMAT SUSPECTED OF SPYING As a proud citizen, I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, the government must make the effort, not indulge in Opposition-bashing P CHIDAMBARAM SENIOR CONGRESS LEADER minister Piyush Goyal for his comments, with the senior BJP leader charging the Congress with believing in “Pakistan propaganda,” but not the Indian armed forces. “As a proud citizen, I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, the government must make the effort (to explain), not indulge in Oppositionbashing,” Chidambaram said in a tweet. Chidambaram's response came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the opposition for doubting the IAF air strikes in Pakistan amidst a debate in the country over the casualties inflicted by the IAF. At a political rally in Patna on Sunday, Modi had said the opposition parties were speaking a language that “suits” Pakistan. “Leaders of the neighbouring country are using it as a shield to protect themselves against the charge of promoting terrorism. They are clapping gleefully,” the PM had said. On Monday, without taking any names, in another tweet, Chidambaram said, “IAF Vice Air Marshal declined to comment on casualties.” “The MEA statement said there were no civilian or military casualties. So, who put out the number of casualties at 300-350,” he asked. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala in another tweet, said, “Modi-ji, your central government ministers are stating that TV channels' news is fake, stating that the prime minister never stated that 300 terrorists were killed during the Balakot air strike. Is this true? If no, the prime minister should tell the truth.” Rahul accuses Modi of lying on Amethi ordnance factory PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 MARCH Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of speaking “a lie” about inaugurating an ordnance unit in the Congress president's parliamentary constituency Amethi, claiming he had himself laid the foundation stone of the factory in 2010. His remark drew immediate reaction from Union minister Smriti Irani, who said Gandhi is “scared” and could not see that the new facility in Korwa area of Amethi was a joint venture between India and Russia which will manufacture AK-203 rifles for armed forces. Gandhi had claimed he laid the foundation stone in 2010 and that the factory has been producing small weapons for years. “Prime minister ji, I had myself laid the foundation stone of the Ordinance facto- ry in Amethi in 2010. In the last many years, small weapons are being manufactured there. You went to Amethi yesterday and spoke a lie, which you are used to doing. Are you not ashamed a bit,” he asked in a tweet in Hindi. His attack came a day after Modi accused Gandhi of “lying” and ignoring the ordnance factory in Amethi, and had a dig at him, saying the rifles manufactured at the unit will be known as “Made in Amethi.” Shortly after Gandhi's tweet, Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested from the constituency in the 2014 general CMYK election, responded in Hindi on Twitter. “You are scared to see development in Amethi, that you did not see what was inaugurated in Korwa was a JV. Under this agreement between India and Russia, AK-203 rifles will be manufactured,” she said, tagging Rahul Gandhi. On Sunday, in Amethi, Modi said, “Some people go around giving speeches of 'made in Ujjain', 'made in Jaipur', 'made in Jaisalmer'... This is Modi. Now 'Made in Amethi' will be AK203 rifles. It will help our jawans.” He did not name Gandhi AIR CHIEF MARSHAL B S DHANOA CHIEF OF AIR STAFF a pilot,” he said at a press conference. Varthaman, who ejected from his MiG 21 Bison on 27 February, was captured by Pakistan and released on 1 March. Discussing the Balakot strike, 12 days after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, Dhanoa said the Air Force is not in a position to clarify how many people were inside. The bomb damage assessment that is done post a mission only calculates the target that has been hit or not hit, the air chief noted. “We can’t count how many people have died. That depends on how many people were there,” Dhanoa said, adding that a statement on the number of terrorists killed will be made by the government. Asked about reports suggesting that the bombs were dropped away from the target, he said, “Our report says otherwise.” Referring to Pakistan using F-16 aircraft in its offensive against India last week, Dhanoa said, “I don’t know what is the end-user agreement between America and Pakistan. If the end-user agreement was that they will not use it for offensive purposes, then I think they have violated that end-user agreement.” India, he said, has pieces of the AMRAAM missile which it displayed. “Obviously, I think they have lost a F-16 aircraft in that combat. So, obviously, they have been using that aircraft against us,” he added. According to him, had the Indian Air Force dropped bombs in a jungle at Balakot there would have been no need for Pakistan to respond. “The target has been clearly amplified by the foreign secretary in his statement. And, of course, if we plan to hit the target, we hit the target. Otherwise, why would he (Pakistan) have responded,” he said. The Rafale jet should come into India’s inventory by September, the Air Force chief said. Pak restores Samjhauta services to Delhi India hopeful of China’s support for Azhar ban LAHORE, 4 MARCH Pakistan on Monday restored the Samjhauta Express services between Lahore and Delhi, days after the train was suspended due to tense bilateral ties in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent aerial engagement between the air forces of the two countries. The train service was started on July 22, 1976 under the Shimla Agreement that settled the 1971 war between the two nations. The train departs on every Monday and Thursday from Lahore. The Samjhauta Express carrying some 150 passengers left Lahore railway station for India, Radio Pakistan reported. In New Delhi, Railways officials announced on Saturday that the two countries have agreed to operationalise services at their ends. India cancelled the operations on February 28. The train operates from Delhi on every Wednesday and Sunday. Pakistani authorities suspended the train service on February 28. The footfall of the train, which generally records an occupancy of around 70 per cent, had fallen drastically post the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed. Tensions escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack. Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan PTI retaliated. “Yes, we have a plan for inducting new aircraft and that is why we have signed contract for 36 Rafale jets.” Eventually, Jaguar, MiG29, and Mirage 2000 aircraft will be replaced by Tejas Mk-2 and then the “next step” will be on Advanced Medium Combat Aircrafts, he said. Dhanoa declined to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that Rafale jets would have a made a difference. When an adversary attacks you, every aircraft is used, Dhanoa said, adding that the MiG 21 jet used in the dog fight with Pakistan is an upgraded aircraft with advanced weapons system. “The MiG 21 Bison is in our inventory, why not use it?...I will not comment on the ongoing operation because they are still ongoing. MIG-21 Bison is capable. It has been upgraded... It has got a better weapons system, better radars, better air-to-air missiles... whatever it takes to make it from third generation to 3.5 generation (aircraft) or so,” Dhanoa said. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 MARCH India is hopeful that China will not block the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council this time around, given the evidence provided to Beijing of the terror outfit’s involvement in the Pulwama attack. According to informed sources, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had provided to Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui “irrefutable” evidence of JeM’s involvement in the Pulwama attack and other terror strikes by the group in the past. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had also discussed the issue with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi when she visited China recently for the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers’ meeting. The French-led proposal backed by the US and the UK to ban Azhar is expected to be passed by the UNSC next week if China doesn’t block it. Though Russia, the fifth UNSC member, has not sponsored the resolution, it is expected to support the move. In fact, Russia is said to be in touch with China, trying to convince Beijing not to block the resolution against Azhar. The chair of the UNSC sanctions committee has notified that unless he hears to the contrary by 13 March, he would assume that its members have no objection to the addition of Azhar to the sanctions list. China has in the past blocked Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist at least on three occasions to save its all-weather friend Pakistan from global embarrassment. The ban on Masood by the UNSC will virtually cripple the activities of his dreaded terror outfit and subject him to travel and financial ban. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister recently acknowledged in a TV interview that Azhar was in his country and was suffering from renal failure. The notification issued by UNSC after France approached the global body said, ‘’The chair has the honour to transmit, for the consideration of the members, a proposal from the United States, the United Kingdom and France to add an individual,Mohammad Masood Azhar Alvi,to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List. “Azhar has financially supported JEM. He is a former leader of the terrorist group Harkat-ulMujahideen, aka Harkatul-Ansar. Most of these groups’ members subsequently joined JeM under Azhar’s leadership. In 2008, JeM posters contained a call from Azhar for volunteers to join the fight in Afghanistan against western forces.”
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