ROME: As many as 64 migrants, including a mother whose 3-year-old child desperately clung to her, are feared dead after a traffickers’ overcrowded rubber dinghy from Libya started sinking in the Mediterranean Sea, officials said .
The Italian coast guard rescued 86 people from the boat hours after it started sinking on Saturday morning due to a puncture. Specially trained rescue divers leapt into the water to pull dozens to safety, including those who managed to stay aboard the half-submerged dinghy as well as others already flailing in the cold waters around it. The bodies of eight dead women were also recovered.
Since trafficking dinghies are often crammed with far more than 100 migrants, fears quickly arose that dozens more could be missing in the sinking. UN officials said that accounts from survivors bore out those fears.
An Italian coast guard search that went through the night didn’t find any more survivors or corpses.
Flavio Di Giacomo of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in tweet that survivors interviewed by the agency in Catania, Sicily, after they arrived on a rescue ship said 150 people had been aboard the dinghy when it set out from the coast of Libya.
“Sixty-four migrants lost their life in the shipwreck (which) occurred last Saturday,” Di Giacomo said, explaining that “probably 56 missing migrants” were lost at sea.
Catania Mayor Enzo Bianco told Italian Radio Radicale that among the survivors was a child who lost her mother.
“I watched a 3-year-old girl while she was starting to play at the port here. She was saved, grabbed at the last second by the coast guard in the sea,” the mayor said. “She was clinging to her mother and she saw her drown.” Bianco said the child is now with her aunt, who was among the survivors.
The dinghy, half-submerged, had been spotted by an aircraft from a European naval mission combatting migrant trafficking.
A doctor aboard the ship said some of the survivors had cardiopulmonary resuscitation aboard.
“We can proudly say that many among those we resuscitated are now alive,” said Maria Rita Agliozzo, a physician from the Order of Malta who, along with a paramedic, was aboard the coast guard rescue ship. “Unfortunately some of them did not make it.” She said among the survivors are three children, who are orphans, and in good condition.
“We still have to reconstruct their personal stories, because the children are shocked and didn’t answer our questions. It’s a step-by-step process, hopefully they will work through what happened and later provide more information,” Agliozzo said.
Next war with indigenised weapons: Army chief
New Delhi, Oct 15: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said the Defence Research and Development Organisation has made strides in ensuring that requirement of the country’s defence services are met through home-grown solutions, adding that the next war will be fought and won through indigenised weapons systems and equipment.
Speaking at the 41st DRDO Directors Conference, Rawat said: “The DRDO has made strides in ensuring that requirements of the services are met through home-grown solutions. We are confident that we will fight and win the next war through indigenised weapons systems and equipment.”
With a network of 52 laboratories, the government agency DRDO is charged with the military’s research and development covering various fields like aeronautics, land combat engineering, armaments, electronics, missiles, and naval systems.
The Army chief said that the Defence industry of India is a budding industry and the time has now come to look at the development of systems for future warfare and start preparing for “non-contact warfare.”
Rawat asserted that along with artificial intelligence, the future lies in the development of cyber, space technology, laser, electronic warfare and robotics.
“We are looking at systems for future warfare. We have to start looking at development of cyber, space, laser, electronic and robotic technologies and artificial intelligence,” he said.
The Army chief said that if the timeline between the design development and production of any weapon system of equipment is to be reduced then it would be better to embed the service officers along with Research and Development.
Calling for joint research by Army officials and DRDO, he said: “In a joint project, the success and failures will become a joint responsibility and we will not start pointing fingers at each other.”
On the occasion, Rawat recalled APJ Abdul Kalam on his birth anniversary stating that the late President had set benchmarks and standards for the Defence Research and Development (R and D) community, which is a challenge for scientists who are now emerging.
“I am quite sure the scientists will live up to those expectations,” he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were also present at the event. (IANS)
Major shift in govt’s way of handling ‘terrorism’: IAF chief on Balakot
New Delhi: The strategic relevance of Balakot air strikes is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism, Air Chief RKS Bhadauria said on Tuesday.
In his Air Force Day message, the Air Chief said, “The strategic relevance of this (Balakot air strikes) is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism. There is a major shift in the government’s way of handling militant attacks.”
Stressing that the present security environment in the neighbourhood is a case of serious concern, the Air Chief said Pulwama attack is a stark reminder of the persistent threat to defence installations.
Earlier, the Chiefs of three services paid floral tributes at the national war memorial on the occasion of 87th Air Force Day.
“On February 26 this year, the IAF successfully struck camps located at Balakot. On the next day, the IAF successfully thwarted Pakistan Air Force’s attempts to attack our military establishments. In the aerial engagement that followed we shot down a PAF F-16 fighter aircraft and lost a MiG-21,” the IAF chief said in his remarks during Air Force Day press conference on October 4.
RSS chief says lynching a ‘western construct’ being used to defame India
Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Tuesday said lynching is a “western construct” and should not be used in the Indian context to defame the country.
Addressing the Vijayadashmi function of the RSS at Reshimbagh ground in Maharashtra’s Nagpur city, he said the word ‘lynching’ does not originate from Indian ethos but comes from a separate religious text, and such terms should not be imposed on Indians.
He also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the government’s move to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, but said some vested interests do not want the country to be strong and vibrant.
Voicing his displeasure over several incidents of mob violence in the country, he said, “Lynching is not the word from Indian ethos, its origin is from a story in a separate religious text. We Indians trust in brotherhood. Don’t impose such terms on Indians.”
“Lynching itself is a western construct and one shouldn’t use it in the Indian context to defame the country,” he said.
Bhagwat urged citizens to create harmony, and that everyone should live within confines of law. “Swayamsevaks are brought up with that sanskar,” he said.
He said in the past few years, there has been transformation in “direction of thought process of Bharat”.
“There are many people in the world and in Bharat as well, who don’t want this. A developed Bharat creates fear in the minds of vested interests…such forces will also not want Bharat to be strong and vibrant,” the RSS chief said.
Even well-meaning policies, statements from persons in government and administration were being misused to benefit nefarious designs by vested interests, he rued.
“We must be alert in identifying these plots and counter them on intellectual and social levels,” he said.
Bhagwat said the world was eager to know if the 2019 elections in such a huge country will be conducted smoothly.
“Democracy in India is not something imported from any country, but a practice which has been prevalent here since centuries,” Bhagwat said.
He said India’s borders were now safer than ever, and more focus was needed on coastal security.
“The number of guards and check-posts on land borders and surveillance along the maritime border, especially on islands, have to be increased,” he said.
On concerns over the economic sector, he said the slowing down of world economy has left its impact everywhere.
“The government has taken initiatives to tide over the situation in the last one-and-a-half months. Our society is entrepreneurial and will overcome these challenges,” he added.