TUESDAY 21 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘INDIA AIMS TO LAUNCH GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON DIGITAL HEALTH’ ‘BE VIGILANT AGAINST EVIL PROPAGANDA OF OPPN PARTIES’ P4 WEATHER PARTLY CLOUDY SKY. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 33 AND 16 DEGREE CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 88% P5 XI MAKES 1ST MOSCOW VISIT AS PUTIN WAGES UKRAINE WAR British govt’s duty to Modi-Kishida to boost protect Indian High cooperation in Indo-Pacific Commission: Oppn TEMPERATURE Min: 17.1°C (+1) SUN SETS 18:29 hrs MOON SETS 10:35 hrs THUMBNAILS Rapid Action Force (RAF) and police personnel conduct a flag march to maintain law and order after the arrest of associates of Waris Punjab De ANI chief Amritpal Singh, in Moga on Monday. ASHOK TUTEJA NEW DELHI, 20 MARCH Air India urination case: The victim in the Air India urination case has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airline companies to frame regulations to address incidents of passenger misconduct on board aircraft, and stressed on explicit zero-tolerance policy with respect to "unruly/disruptive behaviour", which could mandate reporting to it to the law enforcement, failing which action would taken against airlines in all cases. The petitioner also requested the apex court to direct the media to desist from reporting on criminal proceedings, to prevent further shaming and embarrassment for the 72-year-old victim and the perpetrator. The petitioner contended that Air India along with the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have failed to treat the petitioner with care and responsibility after an unruly passenger urinated on the petitioner after having been served excessive alcohol on the flight. The plea said the wide-ranging national press reportage full of conjecture and surmises has severely undermined the petitioner's right as a victim under Article 21 of the Constitution, and in fairness also affected the rights of the accused as well. (SeePage5) A gainst the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida today resolved to strengthen the partnership between their two countries to boldly face ''challenges'' in the region. The Japanese leader also unveiled on Indian soil what he called a ''Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)'' initiative, which is widely seen as an action plan aimed at countering China. The Tokyo-led initiative seeks greater security and economic cooperation with emerging economies in the region. Describing India as an ''indispensable partner'' in developing FOIP, Kishida said Japan would mobilise more than $75 billion in public and private funds in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 in infrastructure. ''At a time when the inter- national community is at a historic turning point, the concept of FOIP is becoming more important than ever toward the goal of leading the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than division and confrontation,'' he said delivering a speech at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) here. Earlier, at their annual summit, Modi and Kishida exchanged views on defence equipment and technology collaboration, trade, health, and digital partnership. They also had a discussion on the importance of reliable supply chains in semiconductors and other critical technologies. ''The India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership is based on our shared democratic values and respect for the rule of law in the international arena. Strengthening this partnership is not only important for both our countries, but it also promotes peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,'' Modi said at a joint media interaction with Kishida after their bilateral talks. Noting that last year, the two countries had set a target of Japanese investment of five trillion yen (Rs 320000 crores) in India in the next 5 years, the PM said it was a matter of satisfaction that good progress had been achieved in this direction. Modi also spoke about the India-Japan Industrial Competitiveness Partnership, under which the two countries were seeking to increase the competitiveness of Indian industry in areas such as logistics, food processing, MSME, textiles, machin- ‘For transparency, not secrecy’, Supreme Court for putting an end to sealed cover note practice STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 20 MARCH The Supreme Court on Monday refused to accept in a sealed cover Centre’s “confidential note” relating to payment of One Rank One Pension (OROP) saying that it was “averse” to such a practice as it okayed the staggered payment of OROP arrears till February 28, 2024. The staggered payment would require government making payment of OROP arrears since 2019, first to payable to those getting family pension and gallantry award winners by March 30, those 70 years and above by June 30 and the rest in there instalments - on August 31, November 30 and February 28, 2024. The first category of family pension and gallantry award winners will cover nearly six lakh ex-servicemen, the second category of those above 70 years of age will include around four lakh ex-servicemen and the last category will come 10 lakh exservicemen. Refusing to accept a “confidential note” in a sealed cover, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud heading a bench also comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala said, “I am personally averse to sealed covers. There has to be transparency in judicial proceedings This is about implementing orders. What can be secret here.” CJI Chandrachud further said, “We need to put an end to this sealed cover practice in the Supreme Court...This is fundamentally contrary to the basic process of fair justice.” The court said that an accused cannot access case diary but accepting information as sealed cover across the bar having a bearing on the other party in the matter is not right under the judicial procedure and the court proceedings. The position taken by the court today is likely to put an end to a practice that has been prevailing in the Supreme Court for the last many years, wherein the investigating agencies submit material that has surfaced in the course of the investigation to the court in a sealed cover. In the course of the hearing, the court took exception to the Defence Ministry unilaterally deciding to pay OROP arrears in instalments contrary to its judgment to pay the OROP arrears by March 15, 2023. However, taking note of the difficulties projected before the court and observing that the national interest must not be lost sight of, the court permitted the payment of arrears in a staggered manner. The government told the court that a huge amount of Rs. 28,000 crores would be required if payment of arrears is made in one go and the same will have serious consequences for defence management. NSA to be slapped on Amritpal as ISI link surfaces STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 20 MARCH Even as Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh is still absconding, Punjab Police on Monday said National Security Act (NSA) is likely to be invoked against the Waris Punjab De’ chief. Addressing a Press conference, Punjab Police spokesperson and Inspector General of Police (IGP) headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill said while NSA has been invoked on the five arrested associates of the radical preacher, Amritpal is also likely to be booked under NSA once he is arrested. The police said the secessionist campaigner Amritpal was trained by Pakistani spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Georgia before coming to India and had close links with Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). The police have initiated a probe to find out whether Amritpal was raising his private P12 Kishida said Japan would mobilise more than $75 bn in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 Min: 34% Max: 33.4°C (+4) SUN RISES 06:31 hrs MOON RISES 01:15 hrs P9 WOMEN'S BOXING C'SHIPS: SAKSHI CRUISES INTO QUARTERFINALS army, Anandpur Khalsa Force (AKF) after finding the abbreviation ‘AKF’ written on the entrance gate of the radical leader's house and weapons seized from his supporters.“We have strong suspicion of involvement of Pakistan’s ISI besides foreign funding. The accused were using hawala channels also. We have evidence that the accused were forming ‘Anandpur Khalsa Fauj’ (AKF) of close associates of Amritpal,” the IGP said. Gill said while four of Amritpal's associates who have been booked under NSA have been sent to Dibrugarh jail in Assam. The fifth person is Harjit Singh, who is uncle of Amritpal, was also sent to the same prison in Assam today following his surrender on Sunday. Gill said till now 114 persons have been arrested so far in connection with the March 18 onward crackdown on Khalistani activists. He, however, maintained Amritpal is still absconding even as the latter's family suspect he has been arrested but it was not being disclosed. He said six first information reports (FIRs) have been lodged so far against Amritpal and his associates. These include causing disharmony and obstruction in police working and attack on police, besides possessing illegal weapons. Police have also found a walkie-talkie set from one of the vehicles used by Amritpal, Gill said. Even as heavy police deployment at sensitive places remained in place throughout the state, the IGP said there was total normalcy in Punjab and the cordon and search operation had been successful.He, however, refused to comment on suspension of Twitter handles of Punjab journalists. "It could have been done to maintain public order. Some steps are necessary to maintain law and order. Those are reviewed from time to time,” Gill added. Meanwhile, the Punjab government has further extended the suspension of Internet services in the state till noon of March 21.Internet services were suspended in the state on March 18 till March 19 noon following police crackdown on ‘Waris Punjab De’ head Amritpal Singh and his supporters. The suspension was later extended till March 20 noon. ery and steel. ''Today we also expressed happiness over the activeness of this partnership. We are also progressing fast on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad HighSpeed Rail,'' he added. Modi said the two countries were celebrating 2023 as the Year of the Tourism Exchange and for this, they had chosen the theme "Connecting Himalayas with Mount Fuji," he said. Hesaidhehadexplainedindetail to the Japanese leader the priorities of India's G20 presidency. Giving voice to the priorities of the Global South was an important pillar of India's G20 presidency. Kishida also extended to Modi an invitation for attending the G7 Leaders' Summit to be held in Hiroshima in May. Asked if the India-China military stand-off at eastern Ladakh figured during Modi-Kishida talks, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said it did not specifically come up but the two leaders discussed the challenges they faced and how they and other like-minded countries could face them. In the context of the defence partnership, Kwatra said the two PMs discussed ''co-innovation, codesign and co-creation of defence equipment as part of India's vision of 'Aatmanirbharta' (self-reliance). Kishida said Japan's economic cooperation with India which continued to grow rapidly would not only support further development of India but also create significant economic opportunities for Japan. SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 20 MARCH Several opposition parties on Monday said that the responsibility of protecting the Indian embassies and High Commission abroad is of the host country and the Indian government must take up the matter diplomatically with these countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia, the US etc. The reaction from the opposition parties comes after the Indian national flag was pulled down by Khalistani supporters in London. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "This can't be allowed and the External Affairs Ministry should take the matter to the host countries to protect the High Commission and embassies." The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) late on Sunday summoned the senior-most UK diplomat in India to lodge its protest after some proKhalistani groups allegedly took down the tricolour at the Indian High Commission in London. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted: "India lodges strong protest with UK", along with a Ministry statement. Some proKhalistani groups staged a protest at the Indian High Commission in London over the Punjab government's crackdown against self-styled radical preacher Amritpal Singh. The MEA, in a statement, said an explanation was demanded for the complete absence of the British security that allowed these radical elements to enter the High Commission premises. Govt lodges protest over vandalism by Khalistan supporters at Indian Consulate in San Francisco: India today lodged a strong protest with the US over the vandalism of the property at the Consulate General of India in San Francisco by 'Khalistan' supporters. In a meeting with the US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi, the foreign office reminded the US Government of its basic obligation to protect and secure diplomatic representation. The US was also asked to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. ''Our Embassy in Washington D.C. also conveyed our concerns to the US State Department along similar lines,' the Ministry of External Affairs said.
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