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Thursday,02-July-2020

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United State disputes Indian claim of hitting Pakistan’s F-16

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amraam-missile

India’s claim that one of its pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle in February “appears to be wrong” as US personnel counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing, a US news publication has reported citing military officials.

Foreign Policy publication said in a report that two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation said that “American personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing”.

The Indian government had said that in a dog fight on February 27 — a day after it carried out strikes on a terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot — Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a F-16, one of the Pakistani Air Force jets that tried to target Indian military facilities.

The Indian’s MiG was hit in the aerial engagement and it crashed in Pakistani territory. The Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan and later returned to India as a “peace gesture” by Islamabad to de-escalate the crisis between the two nuclear-armed nations.

The Indian Air Force had on February 28 displayed to the media pieces of the AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as an evidence.

According to Foreign Policy, one of the senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation said that Pakistan invited Washington to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized.

The publication said a “US count of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for, a direct contradiction to India’s claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash.

“Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took US personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets,” an unnamed US defence official was quoted as saying in the report.

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International News

Narendra Modi, Putin agree to further strengthen strategic partnership

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation on Thursday reiterated their commitment to further strengthen the special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India in all spheres.

Prime Minister Modi on Thursday called President Putin to congratulate him on the success of the celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, and also for the successful completion of the vote on constitutional amendments in Russia.

An Indian armed forces contingent participated in the Victory Parade held in Moscow on June 24, as a symbol of abiding friendship between the people of India and Russia.

Modi and Putin talked about the effective measures undertaken by the two countries to address the negative consequences of the global Covid-19 pandemic and agreed on the importance of closer India-Russia ties for jointly addressing the challenges of the post-Covid world.

The two leaders agreed to maintain the momentum of bilateral contacts and consultations, leading to the annual bilateral summit to be held in India later this year. Modi also conveyed his keenness to welcome Putin in India for the bilateral summit.

The Russian President also thanked Modi for the phone call.

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International News

India and China military talks went on for 12 hours

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India, China military-level talks end on positive trajectory.

Talks between the Indian and Chinese military delegates to resolve the border issue in Eastern Ladakh went on for around 12 hours, sources said.

The meeting which started at 10.30 a.m. ended at 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, the sources said.

It took place at Chushul wherein India has put a strong message that to China’s People’s Liberation Army troops have not aided by the disengagement consensus.

This is the third meeting between the two sides. The last two meetings at Corp Commander level were held on June 6 and June 22.

While Tuesday’s meeting was held in Chushul on the Indian side, the previous two took place in Moldo on the Chinese side.

“All contentious areas during the current standoff were discussed to stabilise the situation,” the sources added.

China has agreed to move back in Pangong Tso but they did not. India claims Line of Actual Control at Finger 8 and Chinese are sitting between at Finger 4 and Finger 5. S

imilar, differences exist in Depsang and Demchok.

On June 22, the talks took place for around 11 hours and the dialogue was held in a cordial, positive and constructive atmosphere and there was a “mutual consensus to disengage”.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed,” the Indian Army had stated.

The meeting between 14 Corps commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin took place on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in Eastern Ladakh on June 6.

Also Major General level dialogue took place for three consecutive days after the barbaric attack at patrolling point 14 in Galwan valley on June 15 night where 20 Indian soldiers were killed.

The dialogue was carried out to ease out the tense situation and to release 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, who were in Chinese captivity.

Major General Abhijit Bapat, who is the Commander of the 3 Division of the Indian Army, had raised several points with the Chinese with regards to the incident on the night intervening June 15/16.

June 15 was the first time the Indian Army faced casualties in a clash with the China’s People’s Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.

China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them.

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International News

Pandemic entering ‘new and dangerous phase’: WHO

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The World Health Organization has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is entering a “new and dangerous” phase. Thursday saw the most cases in a single day reported to the WHO.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the day had seen 150,000 new cases with half of those coming from the Americas and large numbers also from the Middle East and South Asia, the BBC reported.

He said the virus was still spreading fast and the pandemic accelerating.

He acknowledged people might be fed up with self-isolating and countries were eager to open their economies but he said that now was a time for extreme vigilance.

Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO’s Covid-19 response, told a press conference the pandemic is “accelerating in many parts of the world”.

“While we have seen countries have some success in suppressing transmission and bringing transition down to a low level, every country must remain ready,” she said.

Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said that some countries had managed to flatten the peak of infections without bringing them down to a very low level.

“You can see a situation in some countries where they could get a second peak now, because the disease has not been brought under control,” he said.

“The disease will then go away and reduce to a low level, and they could then get a second wave again in the autumn or later in the year.”

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