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It was a ‘successful’ tactical op: Northern Command chief

Press Trust of India

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Kapurthala (Punjab), Dec 8: The 2016 ‘surgical strikes’ were a ‘successful’ tactical operation which conveyed a clear message to Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC), Army’s Northern Command Chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said on Saturday.

His comments came a day after Lt Gen (retd) D S Hooda, who was associated with the operation, said it was natural to have initial euphoria over the success but the constant hype around the surgical strikes was unwarranted.

“In hindsight, it would have been better had we had kept it a secret,” he had said on Friday at an event in Chandigarh.

 

“From military point of view, these were successful tactical operations, which conveyed a very strategic message and the Indian Army was able to convey a very clear message to Pakistan that should they not stop any kind of misadventure along the LoC, they shall be given befitting reply,” Singh told reporters here on the sidelines of his visit to Sainik School, his alma mater.

The then Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), who had announced the operation at a press conference, refused to comment on the politicisation of surgical strikes.

Singh said all actions carried out by the Army along the LoC were carried out in an extremely professional manner to meet the national aspirations and achieve the military objectives.

He said there are many other options to check infiltration of terrorists from across the border.

Surgical strike is only one of the options through which we stop infiltration. The armed forces have a range of options and they are being analysed at all times and the best course of action is put into effect, he said.

Responding to a question about possible attempts to revive militancy in Punjab, Singh said Pakistan was trying to extend the “arc of terrorism” beyond Kashmir and the Army was taking all measures to arrest the spread.

The armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir are fully capable of carrying out any task, he said.

This, he said, is the reason that the situation in the state is completely stable.

If any untoward incident takes place, the armed forces act quickly to restore peace and stability, he added.


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Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.

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Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped

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Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.

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Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report

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Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.

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