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India ready to handle two-front threat from China and Pakistan

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Gen Bipin Rawat declares

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI:

India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat has declared that India is ready to handle a two-front threat from China and Pakistan.  

He said Pakistan could try to take advantage of any threat developing along India’s northern borders with China, and warned that the neighbour’s army will suffer heavy losses if it attempts any misadventure amid rising tensions between India and China in the Ladakh sector.

 The latest flashpoint in the north was triggered by provocative Chinese actions on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, after which India made counter-manoeuvres to occupy key heights.

Speaking at a seminar organised on Thursday by the United States-India Strategic Partnership Forum on Navigating New Challenges, Gen Rawat highlighted the threat of “coordinated action” by the militaries of China and Pakistan along the northern and western borders, and stressed that the Indian armed forces are capable of handling the joint threat.

 The CDS said India’s military strategy to deal with a twin challenge will be based on identifying a primary and a secondary front for conducting operations.

 His comments came on a day the Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane reached Leh for a two-day security review of the Ladakh sector, where armies of the two Asian giants have deployed almost 100,000 soldiers and weaponry in their forward and depth areas.

 The Indian Army has rejigged its deployments at multiple points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, including the northern bank of Pangong Lake, to prevent the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from making aggressive manoeuvres to unilaterally alter the status quo in contested areas.

 Tensions flared in the sensitive sector after the Indian Army occupied key heights on the southern bank of Pangong Lake a week ago to stop the PLA from grabbing Indian territory in a stealthy midnight move.

 Brigade commander-ranked officers from the two sides met for the fourth time in Chushul on Thursday to de-escalate tensions, but the talks were inconclusive with neither army prepared to make concessions.

 On Wednesday, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited front-line bases under the Shillong (Meghalaya)-based Eastern Air Command to review the IAF’s operational readiness in the eastern sector.

 India has strengthened its military posture across the length of the LAC —- from Ladakh to Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to deal with any provocation by the Chinese military.

India is also keeping a strict vigil on the western front to deter Pakistan from fishing in troubled waters and prevent what could turn out to be a two-front conflict.

 Experts said collusive action by China and Pakistan was a possibility. “While hostility with Pakistan is out in the open, we are now witnessing military coercion by China in the Ladakh sector. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could collude militarily. They already have strategic collusion,” said Lieutenant General DS Hooda (retd), former Northern Army commander.

He, however, stressed that China might not pose a collusive threat if hostilities were to break out between India and Pakistan.

Gen. Rawat said India has border management protocols with China to promote peace and tranquility along the border. But, of late, there have been aggressive actions by China, and the Indian military is fully capable of handling them. He said India is keeping track of infrastructure development by China in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and its implications are being considered while devising military strategy.

Rawat said India and the US will shortly finalise the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for sharing geospatial intelligence. He said India was seeking collaboration with the US to acquire high-end technologies in areas such as aerospace, space and artificial intelligence.

There is tremendous scope for investments in India with the foreign direct investment limit raised to 74%, he added.



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Nightlife is essential without hindrance to other tourists, residents and businesses – Diana Gamage

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Minister of State for Tourism  Diana Gamage acknowledged that events that emanated noise should be conducted within a soundproof environment without causing any inconvenience or disturbance to other tourists who are here to relax, residents of the area and other businesses inasmuch its necessity to boost the economy by generating revenue.

She made this comment speaking at a press conference themed ‘Collective path to a stable country’ at the Presidential Media Centre today (22),

As debates continue regarding the regulation of nightlife, she urged stakeholders to consider the broader economic implications and the vital role that nightlife plays in driving economic activity and sustaining national finances. She further emphasized the importance of providing entertainment options to tourists, particularly in beach areas, which are major attractions for visitors. According to her, nightlife plays a crucial role in catering to the needs of tourists, not only in beach areas but also in urban centres like Colombo. The Minister noted that current regulations often restrict entertainment options, citing examples such as early last orders in hotels and restaurants, which may not align with the preferences of international tourists.

Drawing attention to the diverse origins of tourists, including those from the UK, France, and Germany, the State Minister Diana Gamage emphasized the need for flexibility in entertainment hours to accommodate varying cultural norms and preferences.

As discussions on tourism regulations continue, stakeholders are encouraged to consider the perspectives of tourists and the potential economic benefits of promoting a vibrant nightlife scene. The Minister’s remarks underscore the importance of striking a balance between regulation and the provision of entertainment options to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for visitors to Sri Lanka.

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All vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka should be consolidated into a single vocational college – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe during an observation tour at the Ratmalana Lalith Athulathmudali Vocational Training Centre, this morning (22) , outlined plans to consolidate all vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka into a single vocational college, offering contemporary subject-related courses.

He said that the restructuring of vocational education was  essential to align with the demands of the modern world, ensuring that the youth of the country are equipped to excel in the competitive global job market.

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Opposition threatens to move no-faith motion against Speaker over OSB

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Speaker Abeywardena

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premnadasa told Parliament yesterday that the Online Safety Bill had been passed in violation of the law and unless remedial action was taken, a no-faith motion would be brought against Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Premadasa said that Article 123(4) of the Constitution says, “Where any Bill, or the provision of any Bill, has been determined, or is deemed to have been determined, to be inconsistent with the Constitution, such Bill or such provision shall not be passed except in the manner stated in the determination of the Supreme Court.”

Premadasa said: “It is illegal to pass a Bill without adhering to this constitutional provision. There were nine instances where the government overlooked the Supreme Court determination on the Bill. The Speaker allowed that to happen despite our protests. The Justice Minister, too, has admitted that there are flaws in the Act. How could that happen? Rectify them immediately, or we will bring a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.”

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that even if the Supreme Court determined that a section or clause of a draft Bill was inconsistent with the Constitution, a Bill could be passed by Parliament. It could be done with either a two-thirds majority or two-thirds majority plus people’s approval from a referendum. A case cannot be filed against the way the Speaker or an MP behaved in this House as they have immunity. Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, too, has given a ruling on this issue and we still consider it as a precedent to be upheld. With regard to the Online Safety Bill, the Attorney General has instructed Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to incorporate some amendments as per the Supreme Court determination and to bring other recommended amendments in the form of a separate Amendment Bill. I was not a party to that discussion. This Amendment Bill was presented to the Cabinet and approval was granted and now is at the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Thereafter, it would be referred to the Cabinet again and with that approval we can have it here in this House for consideration,” the Minister said.

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