Indian Army to Deploy 464 Russian-origin T-90 'Bhishma' Tanks
In a big step towards modernization of the armed forces, Indian Army has decided to induct 464 Russian-origin upgraded T-90 'Bhishma' main-battle tanks at a cost of Rs 13,448 crore in the 2022-2026 time frame.
The move is aimed at bolstering the army’s ‘shock and awe’ capabilities and combat prowess along the border with Pakistan.
The report said the ‘indent’ to produce the T-90 tanks would soon be placed on the Avadi Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) under the Ordnance Factory Board. The cabinet committee on security cleared the license acquisition from Russia over a month ago.
Pakistan is also discussing a deal with Russia for acquiring about 360 such tanks.
In January, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had announced that the forces would carry out major reforms and organizational restructuring in the next few months and has decided to roll out an Integrated Battle Group (IBG) as part of overall plan to enhance the combat capability of the force.
For the next one year, infantry modernization and procurement of missiles, attack helicopters, and other key platforms will remain priority areas for the Indian Army.
The decision to set up IBGs comprising various arms of the force including elements of air power, artillery, armored corps is seen as a major leap forward in boosting the army's fighting capability.
Will this enhance combat capability of the force?
EC gave a clean Chit to PM Modi for his speech in Wardha
The Congress has expressed disappointment over the Election Commission's clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech in Wardha, saying it has become "crystal clear" that the model code of conduct has become the "Modi Code of Conduct".
The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday gave a clean chit to Prime Minister Modi for his speech in Wardha in which he had slammed Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad and "indicated" that the Kerala constituency had more voters from the minority community.
"Disappointed that the PM of India is permitted to go scot-free after the rampant violation of Article 324 & MCC. It is now crystal clear that MCC has become "Modi Code of Conduct"!" Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
There cannot be two sets of laws for Prime Minister Modi and the rest of the country, he said.
An EC spokesperson had said: "The matter has been examined in detail in accordance to the extant guidelines/provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, the Representation of the People Act and the report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra. Accordingly, the commission is of the considered view that in this matter no such violation has been noticed."
The Congress earlier this month had approached the EC and had sought action against PM Modi's "divisive" speech.
The PM, while addressing a rally in Wardha on April 1, had reportedly said, the opposition party was "scared" to field its leaders from constituencies where the majority dominates.
He made the remark in reference to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from a second Lok Sabha seat Wayanad in Kerala.
Rahul Gandhi is also contesting from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi.
"The Congress insulted Hindus and the people of the country have decided to punish the party in the election. Leaders of that party are now scared of contesting from constituencies dominated by the majority (Hindu) population. That is why they are forced to take refuge in places where the majority is a minority," PM Modi had said.
Do you agree with EC's decision?
Election 2019: Sacked Soldier Tej Bahadur Yadav Named Samajwadi's Varanasi Candidate
Tej Bahadur Yadav, the former Border Security Force (BSF) soldier dismissed over his videos criticizing food for the forces on the frontlines, has been named the Samajwadi Party's candidate in Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The opposition "gathbandhan" or alliance of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had earlier named Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker, as the grand alliance candidate from Varanasi. She, too, filed her nomination today.
"If Tej Pratap's nomination is canceled because he is a dismissed soldier, Shalini Yadav will be the back-up candidate," a Samajwadi Party leader told reporters.
Tej Bahadur Yadav had, a few weeks ago, said he wanted to take on PM Modi in Varanasi. He had even filed his papers as an independent candidate. His entry is seen by many as interesting at a time the PM has been accused of making frequent references in his campaign speeches to the Pulwama attack and India's retaliation in Balakot to demonstrate the government's tough stand against terror.
The Prime Minister is contesting from the temple town for the second time and is widely expected to win an easy victory. The Congress, which was said to have considered fielding Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, handed PM Modi a walkover by naming Ajay Rai, who finished third in Varanasi in 2014.
Sources say after the Congress decided against pitching its top leader against PM Modi, the Samajwadi Party decided to up the ante and go for a more high profile candidate for the prestigious seat.
Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet "congratulating" Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for his decision, posted: "On one hand is a soldier who risked his life for the country and lost his job while fighting for the rights of troops. On the other hand, is someone who seeks votes on the bodies of soldiers."
Tej Bahadur Yadav was sacked in 2017 after he posted a video on YouTube complaining about food served to the troops -- "watery dal and burnt chapatis" - in a long rant in military uniform.
The BSF set up a court of inquiry against Tej Pratap Yadav and the home ministry ordered an investigation. His videos grabbed so much attention that even the Prime Minister's Office asked for a report.
Yadav was shifted out of the Line of Control as the controversy escalated and later dismissed on charges of making false claims. Nearly a year later, the BSF commissioned an assessment of the meals served to jawans and officers of the paramilitary force.
Do you think BSF soldier (Tej Bahadur) can win over PM Narendra Modi?
Lok Sabha Polls 2019: "Action Soon" against politicisation of the armed forces
Action will be taken soon in case of comments that politicize the armed forces, sources in the Election Commission said, amid huge opposition criticism over its inaction on such statements by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. The Commission had asked political leaders to refrain from dragging the armed forces into the election campaign after several leaders had invoked the IAF attacks on a Jaish-e Mohammad camp at Pakistan's Balakot.
But with the BJP making national security and nationalism the party's key theme for the election, the order was routinely disregarded. The Commission now has to decide whether it constitutes a violation of the Model Code and is actionable.
Yesterday, the Commission said it was still examining all such instances involving the Prime Minister "in entirety".
Today, sources in the top election body said, "There will soon be action". When asked to clarify a timeline, the official said "We will not wait for the election to end. Poll officers are collecting details".
On April 9, the Prime Minister had issued a direct appeal in the name of soldiers and the "martyrs" who died in the suicide attack at Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.
"I want to ask my first-time voters, can your first vote be dedicated to the soldiers who conducted the Balakot air strikes? Can your first vote be in the name of the martyrs who lost their lives in Pulwama," PM Modi had said at a rally in Maharashtra.
In response to a complaint, a report was submitted on April 11 by local election officials, which said prima facie, the Prime Minister had violated the model code.
The opposition has accused the Narendra Modi government of using the successes of the armed forces to build an impression that the BJP alone cares about the nation while labeling the opposition parties are "anti-national".
Senior leaders of his party, including party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath, have tagged the armed forces "Modi-ji ki Sena" - triggering objections from officers who flagged the matter with the defense ministry.
The Poll Commission has been active since it was pulled up by the Supreme Court earlier this month over allegations of inaction in cases of Model Code violation.
It handed temporary bans to a number of political leaders, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Maneka Gandhi and Mayawati.
Do you agree with this?
"Voter ID More Powerful Than IED," Says PM After Voting In Ahmedabad
A voter ID is more powerful than the IED (improvised explosive device) of terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today after voting in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, where he held a mini-roadshow in an open jeep, walked down the streets and addressed the media.
"The weapon of terrorism is IED, the strength of democracy is a voter ID. I can say with certainty that the voter ID is much, much more powerful than an IED, so we should understand the strength of our voter IDs," he said on his "IED vs voter ID" theme that appeared to be a reminder of his government's national security plank.
Ditching the usual bulletproof vehicle, PM Modi arrived in an open jeep to the voting center at Nishan Higher Secondary School in Ranip; the jeep moved slowly through the crowd, roadshow-style. Surrounded by his bodyguards, PM Modi folded his hands and spent several moments waving at the people. BJP president Amit Shah, who is the candidate for the Gandhinagar constituency, and his family greeted him. PM Modi was seen taking Amit Shah's granddaughter in his arms and again waving at the crowds, before walking into the polling booth.
After casting his vote, the Prime Minister displayed his inked finger and walked on the streets along with Amit Shah. BJP flags and banners lined the streets. Amid chants of "Modi, Modi", he spoke to the media: "I feel proud to do my duty of voting in my home state Gujarat and participate in this massive festival of democracy. Just like one feels after taking a dip in the holy river during the Kumbh Mela, I feel the same after voting."
He added: "Voters are wise. They know what is right and what is not."
PM Modi is seeking a second term in office in the massive election taking place in seven rounds across the country. Today is the third and biggest round, with at least a fifth of the Lok Sabha seats voting.
This morning, PM Modi had tweeted: "Urging all those voting in today's Third Phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to do so in record numbers. Your vote is precious and will shape the direction our nation takes in the years to come. I'll be voting in Ahmedabad in a short while from now."