Washington: Commencing her five-day official visit to the United States, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday asserted that New Delhi sees the US as an important partner in the field of defence.
In her remarks at the start of her bilateral talks with the US Defence Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon, Sitharaman said mutual trust and confidence in defence partnership between the two countries were growing. The defence minister added that she was encouraged by the importance attached to the India-US defence relationship in the new US National Security Strategy.
“A strong foundation has been laid for the India-US defence relationship over the years. India sees the US as an important partner in defence,” Sitharaman said, adding that the two countries have good military to military cooperation, defence consultations, scientific collaborations and co-production and co-development and industry collaboration.
Exuding confidence that the bilateral talks would accord greater momentum to the dialogue and partnership between the two countries, she said the relationship continued to be very strong. The recent meetings between the two countries, Sitharaman said, have underscored their mutual desire to move positively. The high-level exchanges are an indication of the depth and the quality of bilateral ties as well as their mutual desire to work closely on a range of regional and global issues, she added.
Sitharaman appreciated the responsiveness of the Trump Administration to India’s sensitivities. At the same time, it is also indicative of the desire and the effort to have an even more robust relationship than before, she said.
“Especially over the past three to four years, we have made considerable progress. Our relations, based on common democratic values, enjoy strong political and popular support in both countries. There’s a growing mutual trust and also the confidence in defence partnership, which augurs very well for the future,” Sitharaman said.
Assam hooch tragedy toll goes up to 68, investigation on
Assam:The death toll in the Assam hooch tragedy has gone up to 68 with 34 deaths being reported from the Jorhat Medical College and an equal number of deaths being reported from the Golaghat Medical College.
The incident took place at the Halmira Tea Estate in Assam’s Golaghat district after the tea estate workers people consumed a locally brewed liquor called ‘sulai’, which is made of jaggery and ethyl alcohol. The Halmira Tea Estate is about 300 km from Guwahati.
The deaths come less than a fortnight after nearly 100 people died of alcohol poisoning from country-made liquor in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
A one-person inquiry commission has been set up by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to investigate the incident.
The first of the deaths took place around 7pm on Thursday evening, said Ratul Bordoloi, joint director (health) Golaghat. Bordoloi has been monitoring the situation and said that the preliminary cause of the deaths seems to have been alcohol poisoning.
Among the dead were 65-year-old Dhrupadi Oran from whose house the illicit alcohol was bought by the workers at the Halmira Tea Estate. Dhrupadi’s son Sanju Oran, 30, was also among the deceased.
Also among the dead were some people from the neighbouring Jorhat district. The police are trying to find out how and from where they had obtained the liquor.
Initial investigations indicate that Sanju had brought the liquor from outside the tea estate. Deputy superintendent of police, Partha Protim Saikia, said that the liquor seems to have been brewed outside the tea estate and was brought in by Sanju in a jerrycan.
It is suspected that instead of using ethyl alcohol, the brewers used methyl alcohol, which is poisonous to humans. Methyl alcohol is added to the brews to increase its potency, albeit in very small doses.
Sanju’s partner Pompi Oran said that he would often get liquor from the neighbouring village and would sell it. “Some days he would get 5 litres or 10 litres or 15 litres and would sell it,” she said.
Sanju was a temporary worker at the tea estate and was to marry Pompi Oran next month. Sanju and Pompi have two children. Saikia said that Sanju’s death has come as a setback in the investigation, but also said that the police has a lead as to where the alcohol came from and are looking into it.
Over 100 vehicles gutted in fire during Aero India show
BENGALURU: A massive fire broke out in the parking area of Yelahanka Air Base during the ongoing Aero India show in Bengaluru on Saturday. Over 100 vehicles were gutted in the blaze, said Air Force Police and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) present at the spot.
Six Air Force fire brigade rushed to the site to douse the blaze and aid rescue efforts. There were no casualties or injuries in the incident.
The fire has been brought under control now.
The blaze broke out at Gate 5 of Aero India at around 1 pm. It quickly spread due to dry grass on the ground and set parked vehicles in the adjoining parking lot ablaze. A fuel tank also exploded during the fire.
Immediately after the fire broke out, the ongoing air show was stopped. After some time, authorities asked the general public to move back towards the show area.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
Billows of thick black smoke were seen engulfing the parking lot during the incident.
Mob descends on Karachi Bakery in Bengaluru, wants name changed
Bengaluru: A group of unidentified people held a mob protest outside an outlet of the Hyderabad-based Karachi Bakery in Bengaluru where the staff was forced to cover half of its signboard and also demanded to change its name.
According to reports, this incident took place around 8-8.30 pm at Indiranagar. A group of 20 to 25 men gathered in front of the bakery and started chanting slogans and insisted its name be changed. They also forced the staff to cover the word ‘Karachi’ on the name board.
The staff covered the word ‘Karachi’ and displayed the Indian flag at the cafe. However, no violence was reported.
The manager of the Karachi Bakery told The News Minute, “The mob stayed for about half an hour. They demanded us to change the name. The men claimed to know people in the Army. They thought we were from Pakistan. But we have been using this name for the last 53 years. The owners are Hindus; only the name is Karachi Bakery. To satisfy them, we put up the Indian flag.”
This comes in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, where over 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred in a suicide bomb blast in Jammu and Kashmir. Ever since then, India has worked diplomatic channels to isolate Pakistan. For the first time, the United Nations Security Council has termed a bomb blast in Jammu and Kashmir as an act of terror. China also came on board in the UNSC resolution condemning the attack. Under pressure, Pakistan mildly cracked down on the Jaish-e-Mohammed on Friday.