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IAF Chief B S Dhanoa backs Rafale deal: ‘Need to match our adversaries’

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New Delhi: Indian Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa Wednesday said the government’s order of two Rafale squadrons was in line with similar purchases made earlier.
The Air Chief Marshal added that the jets, along with India’s purchase of S-400 missile systems, will enhance the IAF’s capability. The IAF currently has 31 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42—each squadron comprises 16 to 18 aircraft.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘IAF’s force structure, 2035’ in New Delhi, the IAF Chief said India was confronted with a grave threat as its neighbours are not sitting idle, reported news agency PTI. He added that China is “significantly” modernising its air force. “Intentions of our adversaries can change overnight. We need to match force level of our adversaries,” Dhanoa said.
India’s Rafale deal with France has been in the eye of controversy, with the Opposition accusing the Modi government of massive irregularities in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets worth Rs 58,000 crore. The Indian Express earlier reported that only one of the 36 aircraft will be delivered by the end of the contract period in April 2022 with India-Specific Enhancements. India will receive the balance 35 by September 2019.
“By the time the first Rafale is certified with India-Specific Enhancements, 35 Rafale aircraft would have already been delivered to India. The 35 aircraft would be modified in India in the next five months. This is a simple plug-and-play process,” sources told The Indian Express. There are 13 India-Specific Enhancements demanded by India.
An IAF team of four officers has been in France since August 2017 to test the aircraft, along with French pilots and monitor its production. Further, the IAF is sending pilots to France this year for training, reported PTI.


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National

A big country needs a strong leader like me to rule it: Modi

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Solapur: Attacking Congress and Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that he is being targeted because he is from backward community.

“The Congress and its allies say that all Modis in the society are thieves. The Congress and its allies have not kept any shortcomings in abusing of my backward caste. This time they have crossed the limits and abused the entire backward society,” Modi said.

“I have a question. Why all the thieves have Modi in their names whether be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi? We don’t know how many more such Modis will come out,” Gandhi had said recently.

 

PM Modi said that he was used to such bashing. “Now, they are blaming the entire community while defaming me. If you dare to defame a community, I will not tolerate it,” he said.

He asked why label the entrie backward community thieves by calling him one.

Addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Madha, Modi slammed the “dynastic politics” of Sharad Pawar and claimed the NCP chief had “fled” the poll arena from Madha Lok Sabha constituency as he sensed defeat.

Modi said to run such a big country, we need a strong leader.

Slamming Gandhi, Modi said, “The ‘naamdar’ (dynast) first tried ‘chowkidar chor hai’ (slogan). Now they are trying to defame a backward community (Modi community). Being from a backward community, I am used to the suffering.”

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National

PM Modi most anti-national, dividing nation: Rahul

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New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being the “most anti-national” and accused him of “dividing the nation”.

Reacting to Modi’s allegation of the Congress turning anti-national, Gandhi said his grand old party has an exceptional track record of fighting forces that attack the nation.

“Thousands of Congress workers have laid down their lives, fighting such forces. Today the most anti-national act is the act of Modi who is dividing the nation,” said Gandhi as he kicked off his day-long campaign here in Kerala.

 

“Crippling the agricultural system, leading to farmers suicide is another anti-national act of Modi. Youths loosing their jobs is also another anti-national act. Modi has failed in all these and it’s time that he answers,” he told the media at a presser here.

Gandhi said the three key issues ruling the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are destruction of the Indian economy, personal corruption of Modi and the plight of the farmers.

“We are looking forward to forming the next government,” said Gandhi as he was about to leave, when a few questions were hurled at him.

The Congress leader, taking them returned to his seat sporting a smile, and said: “How come the Prime Minister does not have the guts to face the Kerala, Odisha or the Delhi media?”

From Kannur, Gandhi will make a whirlwind visit to five assembly constituencies in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, from where he is contesting the polls.

He is also fighting from his traditional Amethi Lok Sabha seat.

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Country will see Priyanka the way it views ‘chor ki biwi’: Uma

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Durg: Union Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday courted controversy by saying the country will see Priyanka Gandhi Vadra the way it views a “thief’s wife”, while claiming that the Congress general secretary will have no impact on the outcome of Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh.

To a question on whether Priyanka Gandhi will contest the general elections from Varanasi, from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election, Bharti said, “It is a democracy, anybody can fight election from anywhere”.

When asked to comment on the impact the Congress leader could have on the poll outcome, the firebrand BJP leader told reporters in Chhattisgarh’s Durg, “Nothing. Why will she have an impact… Whose husband is facing theft charges. She will be seen the way India sees a thief’s wife.” Bharti also targeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, saying by choosing to contest elections from Amethi and Wayanad, he has accepted defeat. He is the national president of his party and can fight as many elections as he wants, the BJP leader said.

 

She also slammed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for his derogatory remarks against BJP leader Jaya Prada and sought that he be barred from contesting the election.

Bharti said the EC’s decision to award equal punishment to Khan and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was an “injustice” to the latter. He (Adityanath) took the name of God and did not insult any woman, she said, adding Khan should be slapped with all provisions of IPC related to insulting women.

The Election Commission on Monday imposed a nationwide campaign ban on Adityanath for 72 hours for his “provocative” communal remarks, which it said had the “propensity to polarise the elections”. A three-day campaign ban has also been imposed on Khan for his alleged “khaki underwear” jibe against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada, who is his rival BJP candidate in Rampur Lok Sabha seat. The all-India ban came into force from 6 am Tuesday.

Bharti on Tuesday campaigned for BJP’s candidate in Durg Lok Sabha constituency which goes to polls in the third phase on April 23.

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