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Terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy are maritime challenges: Rajnath Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday inaugurated the three-day 39th Commanders’ Conference of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

He said, “The growing regional and global trade has brought forth new challenges. Geopolitical tensions and clash of strategic interests have led to traditional security challenges. Terrorism, drug trafficking and piracy are some non-traditional challenges in front of us today. The entire region is being affected by these challenges. Being a responsible maritime power, we have a clear interest to create a rule-based, peaceful and stable environment. Such a rule based environment is essential for both regional and global prosperity. In such a situation, the ICG has a big role to play.”

On the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Singh said, India’s geographical location is crucial from the strategic and economic point of view. “Our long coastline with deep-water ports, a prosperous Exclusive Economic Zone and islands at both ends present a unique position. The IOR accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments. One-third of bulk cargo and more than half of container traffic pass through it. The safety of these sea routes is not only directly connected to our economic interests, but it also establishes India as a Net Security Provider in IOR,” he stated.

Singh stressed on the need to maintain maritime preparedness in the constantly-changing global scenario, terming it as a crucial aspect which safeguards the economic and strategic interests of a nation. He pointed out that there has been a shift in India’s maritime security needs due to the ever-evolving global situation.

Recalling the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Singh said, the incident showed that for a long time the country’s orientation was focused on the security of land borders and not much attention was paid to coastal security.

He lauded the ICG for continuously enhancing its capability in the last few years in line with the Government’s vision and playing a key role in bolstering coastal security. Due to these efforts, the country has not witnessed any terror activity from the sea route since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he said.

He added that keeping in view all aspects such as security, trade, environment and humanitarian assistance, Ministry of Defence has sanctioned a large number of projects, including acquisition of Pollution Control Vessels and mid-term Life Upgradation of Dornier Fleet, to modernise the ICG. He appreciated the ICG’s efforts towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

“Today, the manufacturing and servicing/repairing of ships and aircraft of ICG is being done indigenously. The ICG is spending almost 90 per cent of its capital budget on the development of indigenous assets,” he added.

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Punjab to soon be front-running industrial hub: Mann

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Bhagwant Mann

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday said the current political stability and quick decision-making mechanism, along with out-of-box ideas, will soon make Punjab a front running industrial state in the country.

Amritsar, Feb 7 : Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday said the current political stability and quick decision-making mechanism, along with out-of-box ideas, will soon make Punjab a front running industrial state in the country.

Interacting with industrialists here during the run-up for progressive Punjab Investment Summit scheduled to be held on February 23-24 in Mohali, he said Punjabis are born to be number one as they have traits of hard work and dedication in their blood.

Mann said due to this spirit, the Punjabis have always excelled in every sphere, adding the entrepreneurs from the state have carved a niche for themselves across the globe.

The day is not far when Punjab will be on the high growth trajectory of industrial growth, he added.

Announcing a major boost to the tourism industry across the state by harnessing the immense potential of this sector, the Chief Minister said the state is blessed with several natural resources which can be developed into international tourist points.

The government is coming up with a concrete proposal for developing Ranjit Sagar Dam, Chohal Dam, Nurpur Bedi, and others into tourist destinations. Mann said these tourist spots have huge potential to put the state on the roadmap of international tourism.

The Chief Minister said the holy city of Amritsar will be further developed into a hub of religious and patriotic tourism. No stone will be left for this noble cause and every effort will be made for the promotion of the tourism sector.

He assured the local industrialists that while promoting the tourism sector, preference will be given to the local industry. Rather than inviting the big players from within the country and abroad, priority will be given to the local industrialists for developing these tourism spots, he said.

Mann said this will allow the local industrialists to flex their muscles in the sector and emerge Punjab as a hub of tourism. The Chief Minister also said the government is also planning to boost the agro-industry in a big way. He said Punjab produces 80 per cent of the total Basmati produced in the country, adding this production will be further enhanced in the coming days.

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Rajnath Singh to host defence ministers’ conclave at Aero India 2023

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rajnath singh

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host a Defence Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of the 14th edition of Aero India being held at Bengaluru, India. The February 14 conclave will comprise defence ministers of friendly countries who would also be attending Aero India 2023.

Bengaluru, Feb 7 : Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will host a Defence Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of the 14th edition of Aero India being held at Bengaluru, India. The February 14 conclave will comprise defence ministers of friendly countries who would also be attending Aero India 2023.

The conclave would address aspects related to deepening cooperation for capacity building (through investments, R&D, joint venture, co-development, co-production and provisioning of defence equipment), training, space, AI and maritime security to grow together with the broad theme ‘Shared Prosperity through Enhanced Engagements in Defence (SPEED), a defence department release stated Tuesday.

The conclave is an opportunity for defence ministers of all foreign friendly countries and India to engage with each other to carry forward the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ for a secure and prosperous future for generations to come.

The conclave acquires significance in light of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi push for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India), in defence sector which is aimed towards increasing indigenous defence manufacturing and production capability to develop a self-sufficient defence ecosystem.

It also envisages involving like-minded nations in developing a reliable supply chain free of exploitation and disruptions by certain players; and provide affordable and robust defence equipment to friendly countries, the release noted.

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Former servicemen said idea of Agniveer came from RSS: Rahul

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Modi government over Agnipath scheme and said that it was imposed on Army by the RSS and Home Ministry.

New Delhi, Feb 7 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at the Modi government over Agnipath scheme and said that it was imposed on Army by the RSS and Home Ministry.

“During the Bharat Jodo Yatra, retired officers of Indian Army told us that idea about Agniveer came from RSS and was thrust on the Army. They said we are training 1000s in weapons and then soon after, they will become civilians amid high unemployment. The officers told me that Ajit Doval is the man behind this idea,” Rahul Gandhi said in the Motion of Thanks on President’s address.

“How is it that the Agniveer Yojana was mentioned only once in the President’s speech? There was no word on unemployment and inflation in the address. So all the issues that people told me about during the yatra, we didn’t hear in the President’s address,” he added amid uproar.

“During ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, we heard people’s voices while we also kept our voices. We talked to children, women, and the elderly during the yatra. We asked the youth about their jobs… Many said they are unemployed or drive Uber. Farmers talked about not getting money under PM-BIMA Yojana and their land being snatched away, while tribals talked about Tribal Bill.”

“When we first started walking (referring to Bharat Jodo Yatra), we wanted to play the opposition and tell people about issues facing the country. However, as we progressed, after 500-600 kms, there was a major change. Instead of us telling the people the source of their problems, they themselves started speaking to us,” he said.

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