New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said India has never been the aggressor but its armed forces are capable of giving a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on it.
The Navy has maintained vigilance to ensure that 26/11 is not repeated, Singh added while addressing the media at the Naval Commanders Conference. India, he said, has never been “offensive”.
“It’s character is such that it has not attacked any country nor conquered even an inch of land belonging to another nation. But the armed forces have the capability and strength to give a befitting reply to anyone who casts an evil eye on us,” the minister said.
He was responding to a query on Pakistan’s Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed reported statement that his country would retaliate against India with a nuclear attack for targeting Pakistani military posts in Jammu and Kashmir’s Tangadhar sector.
According to Indian Army officials, there was unprovoked firing by Pakistan in the sector on the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday. On Sunday, the Indian Army retaliated by launching heavy artillery attacks, targeting at least four terror camps and several Pakistani military positions opposite the Tangadhar sector along the Line of Control, officials said. Discussing the Indian
Navy, the defence minister said he was confident that India’s seas are safe in the hands of the force.
“Our Indian Navy’s resolve is that 26/11 will not be repeated under any circumstances and it has ensured tight vigil,” he said, referring to the November 2008 terror siege of Mumbai. The Indian
Navy is marching towards indigenisation and its ships have a high percentage of indigenous equipment, Singh added. The minister also said all three services have placed emphasis on the need to reduce defence imports.
“All the three forces are also working to pick up niche technologies to meet the challenges,” he said. The three-day second edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference began here on Tuesday. The conference is the apex level biannual event for interaction between Naval commanders for the deliberation and formulation of important policy decisions.
Geelani stable, conscious: Dir SKIMS
SRINAGAR, FEBRUARY 16: According to Director, SKIMS, Dr. A. G. Ahangar, the condition of senior political leader, Syed Ali Geelani is stable and he is conscious, cooperative and oriented.
A team of doctors is monitoring his condition.
CB files charge sheet against father-son duo in fake job racket
The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir police has filed a charge sheet against a father-son duo for duping a man of Rs 3 lakh on the pretext of arranging jobs for the man’s sons here.
The charge sheet was filed in a court of law against Mohammad Ashraf Malik (now expired) and his son Shahnawaz Malik on Saturday, a spokesman of the Crime Branch said on Sunday.
He said a case was registered against the father-son duo, hailing from Gagran village of Shopian district, following a complaint lodged by Harbans Lal Bhagat of Jammu’s Roop Nagar in the Crime Branch, alleging that while being posted in Srinagar he came into contact with the accused and became friends.
“As the complainant was desperately looking for jobs for his unemployed sons, the accused persons assured to get employment for his sons in J&K Bank by telling him that they are closely associated with the then finance minister,” the spokesman said.
On receipt of the complaint, the spokesman said a preliminary verification was initiated in the Crime Branch, Jammu and the allegations were prima facie substantiated during verification, leading to registration of a criminal case.
Looking to get Zojila tunnel completed without cost escalation:Gadkari
The strategic Zojila tunnel for all-year connectivity between Leh and Srinagar may undergo some design changes to prevent cost escalation as the government plans to complete the project at the earlier estimated cost of about Rs 6,800 crore, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said.
The tunnel project, stalled for about six years, holds strategic significance as Zojila Pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National highway and remains closed during winters due to heavy snowfall, cutting off Ladakh region from Kashmir.
“We are planning to make some design changes that may include doing away with escape tunnel and instead (have) alternative tunnels to cross from one side to the other as it will be my endeavour to prevent cost escalation and build it at the previous estimated cost of Rs 6,800 crore,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari told PTI.
Though the revised project cost estimate of a little over Rs 8,000 crore has been sent to the Cabinet, “we are deliberating on minor design changes to prevent cost escalation,” the minister said.
“Besides the escape tunnel, we can do away with vertical shafts not compromising with safety,” he said, adding that rebidding for the project was expected in a month or two.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in May 2018 laid the foundation stone for the Rs 6,800 crore project, billed as the Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel, in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, barely months after the foundation, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) on January 15, 2019 terminated the contract awarded to troubled IL&FS group company IL&FS Transportation after it abandoned the project citing financial problems.
“The project which was earlier constructed on hybrid annuity mode will now be converted into EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode,” Gadkari said.
The cancellation of the award in January last year was the second time NHIDCL had scrapped the contract for the 14.15-km tunnel project which would cut down the 3.5-hour long drive through the mountainous Zojila Pass to just 15 minutes.
The corporation had earlier cancelled the bid of IRB Infrastructure. IL&FS Transportation in 2017 emerged as the lowest bidder in the rebidding process.
Unveiling a plaque for commencement of work for the tunnel, Modi had said, “Zojila tunnel is not a mere tunnel but a modern day marvel.”
The Cabinet on January 3, 2018 had approved the Zojila tunnel project with Parallel Escape (Egress) tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg on the Srinagar-Leh section of NH-1A at a total cost of Rs 6,800 crore.
The project was expected to be completed in seven years.
On March 1, 2016, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had ordered “re-bidding” for the project, which had been awarded to IRB Infrastructure.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by Gadkari, after Congress leader Digvijay Singh had alleged that guidelines were violated while awarding the contract.
The original plans of the tunnel included fully transverse ventilation system, uninterrupted power supply (UPS), tunnel emergency lighting, CCTV monitoring, variable message signs (VMS), traffic logging equipment, overheight vehicle detection and tunnel radio system.
Besides, it included pedestrian cross passages at every 250 metres and motorable cross passages and lay-bys at every 750 metres, as well as emergency telephones and fire-fighting cabinets at every 125 metres.