MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 06 DECEMBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P4 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 25 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively. ALL EYES AGAIN ON RACHIN RAVINDRA POPE COMFORTS MIGRANTS ON LESBOS CAT AND MOUSE ‘PAC SHOULD MAKE EXECUTIVE ACCOUNTABLE’ P6 P10 P12 Botched Army operation leaves 15 dead in Nagaland RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY 8 civilians shot in Army ambush; 7 others, including soldier, dead in subsequent violence Max: 95% INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE Omicron tally at 21; new cases in Delhi, Raj, Maha Min: 54% TEMPERATURE Max: 25.6°C (+1) SUN RISES 07:01 hrs MOON RISES 10:10 hrs Min: 11.4°C (+2) SUN SETS 17:24 hrs MOON SETS 19:30 hrs THUMBNAILS A group of tourists on Sunday enjoying snowfall at Tangmarg near the Gulmarg ski resort in MOHAMMAD AMIN WAR north Kashmir. Jawad effect: Heavy rains lashed coastal Odisha submerging acres of cropland as cyclonic storm Jawad weakened into depression on Sunday. While coastal areas of West Bengal including Kolkata witnessed incessant rainfall, no major damage was reported. The remnants of Jawad is likely to continue to move north-northeastwards, along Odisha coast towards West Bengal coast and weaken into a low pressure area during next 12 hours, the Met department said Sunday evening. Actress stopped at Mumbai airport: Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez was stopped at Mumbai Airport by authorities on Sunday but later allowed to proceed. Fernandez was recently quizzed by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a prevention of money laundering case involving Sukesh Chandrashekhar and seven others. A highly-placed source said that a LoC (look out circular) was issue against the actress, and the agency had suspected that she might go abroad. India ranked fourth most powerful nation in Asia KOHIMA, 5 DECEMBER GONE TERRIBLY WRONG A t least 15 civilians, and an Assam Rifles trooper were killed and several others injured in a series of violent clashes in Nagaland's Mon district after an army operation targeting Naga insurgents went wrong late on Saturday, officials said. An Assam Rifles jawan was killed in the mob attack after the incident, which took place between Oting and Tiru villages. A large number of angry villagers on Sunday attacked the Assam Rifles camp in Mon and the jawans opened fire in the air to disperse the mob. At least one person was killed during the attack, a police official said. Leaders of various Naga organisations said that eight coal miners were returning from Tiru coal mining area in a pick-up van when they Angry villagers torch vehicles of security personnel after several civilians were killed by security forces in Nagaland's Mon district on Sunday, IANS Army Special Forces were said to have laid an ambush in Tiru area after being tipped off by the intelligence agencies about the movement of some insurgents of the NSCN (KY) and ULFA. The civilians, coal miners travelling in a pick-up, were fired at by the troops after they crossed one of the ambush parties and reached the second one. were targeted. The security forces are believed to have fired on them due to mistaken identity, killing six people on the spot and two others who died while being taken to hospital. Hearing of the incident, a mob rushed to the area and the security forces personnel fired in self-defence, killing seven more civilians and injuring 12 others. In view of the tense sit- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER A Court of Inquiry has been instituted against the army personnel involved in the incident in Mon district of Nagaland in which at least 13 mine workers were killed in what appears to be a botched ambush by security forces. A Special Investigation Team has been set up too headed by an IGP rank officer. A murder case has also been filed. The major goof up by security forces could work as a dampener in the peace process in the state, which officials have said were at the last stages. Nagaland Governor Jagdish in a statement said, "The SIT shall investigate the incident from all angles". “A Court of Inquiry has been instituted against the army personnel involved,” he said. "In order to facilitate free and fair investigation of the case and looking at the complexity of the entire case....," an SIT has been set up, chief secretary J Alam said in an order. The probe team will be headed by IGP Limasunep Jamir and comprise of DIG Ms M. Roopa, and three other officials Manoj Kumar, Killang Walling and Relo Aye. DGP T John Longkumer has rushed to Mon district, sources told The Statesman. Sources said among the 13 dead, there were two brothers each from two families. Thapwang and Langwang were sons of one Leiwang while Yeihwang and Shomwang belonged to the family of another ill-fated villager Chemwang. There were 12 local Konyak Nagas and also one non-Naga identified as Bubul. Nine injured persons have been admitted in a district hospital in Mon. Eyewitness account said at least six people were killed on the spot. The SNS & AGENCIES priate action will be taken as per the course of law," the statement said. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who rushed to Kohima from New Delhi on Sunday, has ordered a highlevel probe by a Special Investigation Team. “The unfortunate incident leading to killing of civilians at Oting, Mon is highly condemnable. Condolences to the bereaved families and speedy recovery of those injured. High-level SIT will investigate and justice delivered as per the law of the land. Appeal for peace from all sections," the Chief Minister tweeted. Union home minister Amit Shah also condemned the killings. "I express my deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives," he said. He said the Special Investigation Team set up by the state government will "thoroughly probe this incident to ensure justice." Military court of inquiry ordered, SIT to probe killings unfortunate incident could be a case of the 'mistaken identity' of the victims. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who was in Delhi rushed back to the state on Sunday 5) morning. He condemned the incident and urging for 'peace from all sections' assured justice. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also condoled the killing of civilians in Nagaland and demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. More on Page 5 NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER India's tally of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus has reached at least 21 with fresh cases of the variant reported in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi on Sunday. At least seven more people in Maharashtra, nine in Jaipur and a man in Delhi were found positive with the variant on Sunday. In Maharashtra’s Pune district, seven people, including three from Nigeria, were found to be infected with the new variant. Those infected include a 44-year-old woman and her two daughters, aged 18 and 12, who had come to visit her brother on November 24 in Pimpri-Chinchwad from Lagos, Nigeria. The 45-year-old brother and his two-and-a-halfyear-old and seven-year-old daughters were also found to be infected with Omicron. Additionally, a 47-yearold man, who had recently travelled to Finland, also tested positive for the variant in Pune. Four of those found positive have been fully vaccinated, while the other three are minors. In Rajasthan, a fourmember family, who had come to Jaipur from South Africa, and five of their relatives, have tested positive for Omicron variant of coronavirus, officials said on Sunday. Health officials said that the family tested negative when they departed from South Africa, and and had tested negative at both Dubai and Mumbai. On November 25, they reached RISING NUMBERS Four states and the national capital have now reported cases of the potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus. The new cases in Maharashtra include a woman who along with her two daughters came from Nigeria, her brother and a man who returned from Finland. The nine people who tested positive in Jaipur include four members of a family who returned from South Africa recently. A 37-year-old fully vaccinated man who arrived in Delhi from Tanzania also tested positive for Omicron. Jaipur and attended a wedding in City Palace. Genome sequencing reports of the nine people came positive on Sunday. The first two cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka. On Saturday, the third and the fourth case of the infection were reported from Gujarat's Jamnagar and Maharashtra's Dombivli respectively. Earlier in the day, Delhi reported its first case of the new Omicron variant. "First omicron case detected in Delhi. The patient admitted to the LNJP Hospital had returned from Tanzania. Till now, 17 people (who come from abroad) have tested positive for Covid and they have been admitted to the hospital," Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said. (SEE P2) Over 50 pc of eligible population fully vaccinated RAIN PAIN SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI/SHIMLA, 5 DECEMBER NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER India is the fourth most powerful country in Asia, as per the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index 2021. The annual Asia Power Index ~ launched by the Lowy Institute in 2018 ~ measures resources and influence to rank the relative power of states in Asia. The project maps out the existing distribution of power as it stands today, and tracks shifts in the balance of power over time. As the fourth most powerful country in Asia, India again falls short of the major power threshold in 2021. Its overall score declined by two points compared to 2020. India is one of 18 countries in the region to trend downward in its overall score in 2021, the report said. The country performs best in the future resources measure, where it finishes behind only the US and China. However, lost growth potential for Asia's third largest economy due largely to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a diminished economic forecast for 2030. India finishes in 4th place in four other measures: economic capability, military capability, resilience and cultural influence. India is trending in opposite directions for its two weakest measures of power. It remains in 7th place in its defence networks, reflecting progress in its regional defence diplomacy ~ notably with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which includes Australia, Japan and the US. But it has slipped to 8th position for economic relationships, as it falls further behind in regional trade integration efforts, the Lowy Institute said. IANS uation, the state government on Sunday prohibited all mobile internet, data services, bulk SMS in the whole of Mon district. Villagers and sources said that the security personnel are believed to have mistaken the victims as members of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-KhaplangYung Aung and fired on them. Angry locals attacked thesecurityforcesandtorched at least three of their vehicles. Defence sources said that the security forces suffered severe injuries in the incident, including one soldier who succumbed to the injuries. An Army statement said that based on credible intelligence of likely movement of insurgents, a specific operation was planned in the area of Tiru in Mon district. "The incident and its aftermath is deeply regretted. The cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appro- People make their way through rain-drenched streets in Kolkata on Sunday. SNS Over 50 per cent of the eligible population of the country are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the Central government said, even as Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to achieve 100 per cent vaccination. “It is a moment of great pride as over 50 5 of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated. We will win the battle against Covid-19 together,” tweated Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. The Health Ministry stated that with the administration of 1,04,18,707 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 127.61 crore (1,27,61,83,065). Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday said the state has achieved the target of 100 per cent vaccination of the eligible population with the second dose of Covid vaccine today, which he said was a historic feat. While 8,895 new Covid-19 cases were reported during the past 24 hours, India on Sunday saw a steep spike of daily deaths as Bihar reconciled a total of 2,426 deaths in its database and Kerala cleared the backlog of 263 deaths. As per the Union Health Ministry data as many as 2,796 deaths were added to the Covid19 death toll on Sunday, taking it to 4,73,326 since the outbreak of the pandemic. This is for the second time in less than six months that the Bihar government revised its Covid-19 death toll and added a backlog of deaths. During a similar exercise on June 9, the state government had added 3,931 more deaths in its tally. A total of 12,26,064 tests for Covid-19 were conducted on Saturday with total tests conducted so far crossing 64.72 Cr figure, the Ministry stated. The Ministry said the Weekly Positivity Rate touched 0.80 per cent ~ less than 1 per cent for the last 21 days. Similarly the Daily Positivity rate was at 0.73 per cent, which indicates that Covid situation is improving in the country. India’s active caseload stands at 99,155, making up 0.29 per cent of the country's total Positive Cases, which is the lowest since the outbreak of the pandemic. Delhi cases: Delhi on Sunday detected 63 fresh Covid-19 cases out of 55,711 tests conducted for the purpose, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. (SEE P2) 3,46,33,255 99,155 8,895 6,918 4,73,326 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 05 DECEMBER 2021 Notwithstanding USA, Modi-Putin summit expected to boost bond NIRENDRA DEV This will only be Putin’s second trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. He had travelled to Geneva in June for a Summit with US President Joe Biden NEW DELHI, 5 DECEMBER A diplomatic litmus test on cards for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The 21st India-Russia Annual Summit in New Delhi on Monday, 6 December, would seek to tread a new path trying to strike a right balance as New Delhi is now a firm and committed friend of the United States. India and Russia could ink as many as ten crucial pacts including a few 'semi-confidential' ones. The Russia-US relationship at the same time has remained around the good old love-hate matrix. India is now aiming to have a role in 'reshaping' the global policies - from climate change to terrorism; and Rus- sia ought to be on the same page to achieve some of them. The four-nation Quad between the US, India, Australia and Japan did not go down very well with Moscow. For his part, Prime Minister Modi has always accorded due importance to Russia and its irreplaceable leader Putin. Addressing the Eastern Economic Forum-2021 (EEF) in September in virtual format, Mr Modi had called President Putin "a great friend of India" under whose guidance the strategic partnership between the two countries has continued to grow. Russia is a crucial partner for India in the regional scene. especially in the context of RIC and BRICS multi-nation fora and what has happened in and around Afghanistan since August 2021. In the words of External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, "Relations between Russia and India have been amongst the steadiest of the major relationships in the world after the Second World War". A Joint Statement is proposed to be issued after the Summit, Indian officials have said. The last India-Russia Annual summit was held in Sep- tember 2019 during the visit of Modi to Vladivostok in Russia. “The President and the Prime Minister will talk as much as they want," said Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov. “There will be a series of meetings that day (Dec 6)....We foresee an intensive engagement,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi told reporters on Thursday. “About 10 bilateral agreements will be signed, which are quite important and include some semi-confidential ones,” Ushakov has said. All eyes will be on the inaugural '2 plus 2' dialogue of the Foreign and Defence ministers of both the countries. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will rep- resent the Indian side in the dialogue with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Mr Lavrov and Mr Sergei Shoigu are expected to arrive late Sunday evening. Besides the '2Plus2' meet, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Mr Putin would arrive on Monday and move straight to the venue of parleys with Prime Minister Modi. This will only be Putin’s second trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. He had travelled to Geneva in June for a Summit with US President Joe Biden. Notwithstanding pressures from the United States, the much awaited $5.2 billion S400 air defence system deal between India and Russia is still on track. The decision to stick to the India-Russia military deal has remained on track against the backdrop of the new US administration under Joe Biden deciding to continue with the Donald Trump-era policy of imposing Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Russia or any other country that would buy armaments from some listed countries. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin too visited India in March. In October 2018, India inked a deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems braving strong reservation from the Trump administration. The first batch of S-400 missile systems from Russia is expected to arrive soon.
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