The News Editorial Analysis 23 October 2021

The News Editorial Analysis 23 October 2021

India’s integrated defense command in final stage.

Aim to make forces more capable, efficient, and self-reliant.

 The News Editorial Analysis 23 October 2021

India is in an advanced stage of integrating the three defense services in forming unified theatre commands to enhance the capabilities of the forces while ensuring greater synergy among them in various combat zones. This is with an aim to make the armed forces more capable, efficient and self-reliant.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said, “We are moving in the direction of taking the initiatives of integration of armed forces to their logical conclusion. Integration will be ensured at theatre commands and down at all levels, from procurement, logistic support, capability building to training and indigenisation so that the armed forces become more efficient and self-reliant.”

Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said the identification of regions of military concerns and designation of theatre commands will be based on tasks, threats, opportunities and assets with the three services. “We are moving towards a maritime theatre command, joint air defense structure and land-centric integrated theatre command for our land borders,” he said in his address at the inaugural session of the three-day conclave to commemorate the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

He said they have studied theatre command modules in various countries, including the USA, UK, Russia and China to adopt some of the best practices to meet India’s requirements. Gen Rawat said the framework of a joint and integrated command and control would be structured in a manner that provides operational flexibility to pursue strategic objectives. 

Integration of existing systems is need of the hour, says Gen Rawat

Swift and concerted response by the three services with quick decision-making is the prerequisite in modern-day warfare, he said. He said the service chiefs are likely to retain operational control and it is progressing on a consensus-based approach with detailed discussions at various levels.

“We are at present in the advanced stages of forming contours of the structures and processes required for this very important transformation,” he said, adding that after the proposal is finalised it will be operationalised on the orders of the Union government.

Existing structures at the headquarter level also need to be integrated and augmented for joint operations and a study has been undertaken for that, he said. Later talking to the media, Gen Rawat said they have not set any timeline for finalising the theatre command. “We are moving rapidly and we will take all the services on-board to create theatre commands that suit our requirements.

There is no point in setting a timeline. When we set timelines, we start working in haste. Creating an organisation and getting that organisation structure in place takes a long time,” he added. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his inaugural address, said, “We are moving in the direction of taking the initiatives of integration of armed forces to their logical conclusion.

Integration will be ensured at theatre commands and down at all levels from procurement, logistic support, capability building, training and indigenisation so that the armed forces become more efficient and self reliant.” Rajnath Singh said they now have the ‘Chief of Defense Staff ’ and ‘Department of Military Affairs’ in the Defense Ministry and they will again reiterate the same understanding and synergy which was seen in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. He termed that war as a shining example of integration of the three services of the armed forces, depicting the importance of planning, training and fighting together.

Free education for those whose family income is less than Rs 1.80 lakh per annum: Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

Manohar Lal Khattar said in 2014, when he was sworn in as Haryana CM for the first term, ensuring overall and equitable development was his utmost priority.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday announced free education for those whose verified family income is less than Rs.1.80 lakh per annum.

Khattar said the government wants to ensure that no talented student belonging to a poor family loses a chance to pursue his or her dreams.

Free of cost education will be given to those whose verified family income is less than Rs 1.80 lakh per annum under the state government’s ambitious Parivar Pehchan Patra (family id) scheme, he said.

The chief minister made this announcement while interacting with students who have cracked the civil services exam-2020 and JEE advance exam-2021 under Haryana’s ‘Super 100 Programme’ during a state-level felicitation programme held at Panchkula.

Education Minister Kanwar Pal, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, and Ambala MP Rattan Lal Kataria were present on the occasion.

Congratulating the students who have cleared the civil services exam, Khattar said, “Each one of you should remember that you have decided to opt for civil service as a career option for serving the society as during your service period you will get innumerable opportunities to work in the diverse fields.”

“Therefore, I expect that each one of you will certainly try your level best for achieving excellence to make Haryana proud,” he added.

Lauding 29 students from poor background who have cracked the JEE advance exam, the chief minister said, “All of you are a great example that if you have talent, no one can stop you from achieving your dreams no matter if you belong to a poor family. I hope that all of you will make Haryana proud in whichever field you will opt for.”

Khattar said according to the New Education Policy-2020, institutions are being set up in the state wherein education will be provided from KG to postgraduate levels.

“Initially, we are going to make an arrangement of imparting education from KG to PG in four universities. Kurukshetra University has started preparing for admission to be given under KG to PG scheme from this academic session that is 2021-22,” he said.

Khattar said in 2014, when he was sworn in as the chief minister for the first term, ensuring overall and equitable development was his utmost priority.

However, among all other sectors, bringing revolutionary reforms in education was his primary focus, for which many new and unique schemes were formulated and set up by the state government.

At present, digital reforms have been brought to replace human interface in almost every wing of the government, he said.

Online teachers transfer policy is one of the greatest examples of this as under this system more than 90 per cent of teachers are satisfied, he claimed.

Similarly, various online reforms are being brought in to make the system paperless, faceless and transparent, he said.

“In the last seven years, we have been doing various works to bring in revolutionary reforms and ensuring government welfare benefits reach those at the bottom of the pyramid. I am now satisfied and overwhelmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recognised our hard work,” said Khattar.

Modi had on Thursday heaped praise on Khattar, saying that after decades, the state has got a government which works with absolute honesty and was the best in the last five decades.

Telangana govt invested Rs 75,000 crore towards creating infrastructure: MAUD Special Chief Secretary

Capital investments to improve infra, pro-industry policies proved crucial, says Arvind Kumar, MAUD Special Chief Secretary.

The State government has invested Rs 75,000 crore towards creating capital infrastructure such as construction of flyovers and bridges in Hyderabad city alone in the past seven years, said MAUD Special Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar. 

Speaking at the second edition of infrastructure summit organised by the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA), he said that the government will continue to focus on capital investments to improve infrastructure in the State and continue the pro-industry policies by simplifying regulations. 4

He also announced the State government’s proposal to set up an Urban Centre for Excellence (UCE) in the city. The proposed centre will act as a national- and regional-level think tank on urban issues and will have, among others, a hub for urban innovations and a centre for urban startups and training. It will also be a centre for hosting conferences and workshops on urban issues.

The number of urban local bodies in the State has risen to 142, showcasing the growth achieved in the last few years, he stated. “The growth has been made possible, largely due to some key factors like the pro-industry policies of the government, law and order situation and cost of living, which have created a conducive environment for everyone to flourish,” he explained.  

Apart from constructing flyovers, bridges under SRDP, the government is also taking up new greenfield link roads through HRDCL and nala improvement through SNDP, he pointed out.  

He also mentioned that public transport is one of the major areas that needs improvement. In European countries, public transport has 75 per cent coverage, while cities in India like Mumbai and Hyderabad have a coverage of 60 and 33 per cent respectively. Public transport has to be strengthened for daily commuting and to reduce dependency on private vehicles, emphasized Arvind Kumar.    

US intel warns China could dominate advanced technologies

National security agencies under President Joe Biden’s administration are making an aggressive public push against China, which some officials have called the greatest strategic threat to the US.

 U.S. officials are issuing new warnings about China’s ambitions in artificial intelligence and a range of advanced technologies that could eventually give Beijing a decisive military edge and possible dominance over health care and other essential sectors in America.

The warnings include a renewed effort to inform business executives, academics and local and state government officials about the risks of accepting Chinese investment or expertise in key industries, officials at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center said Thursday. While the center does not intend to tell officials to reject Chinese investment, it will encourage efforts to control intellectual property and implement security measures.

National security agencies under President Joe Biden’s administration are making an aggressive public push against China, which some officials have called the greatest strategic threat to the United States. The Biden administration has simultaneously tried to ease some tensions with Beijing dating to the Trump administration and seek common ground on trade and climate change.

Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of fear-mongering about its intentions and attacked U.S. intelligence for its assessments of China, including allegations that Chinese leaders have withheld critical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has stated its goals to create profitable technologies in robotics and other fields in plans known as “Made in China 2025.” The Justice Department in recent years has returned several indictments alleging theft of sensitive U.S. information on behalf of China, including vaccine research and autonomous vehicle technology.

The counterintelligence center’s acting director, Michael Orlando, told reporters in a rare briefing Thursday that the U.S. “can’t afford to lose” ground to China in several key areas: artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, quantum computing, semiconductors and biotechnology.

Orlando noted that Chinese businesses and academics are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party and are required to serve the party’s interests.“Although we’ve been saying this for year after year, people are not digesting this,” he said.Orlando declined to say whether the U.S. should enact tougher restrictions or outright bans on Chinese investment in certain sectors, saying his role was not to suggest policy.

But the counterintelligence center holds regular briefings with private industry and academia while recognizing that industries and universities may still want to seek students, experts and investors from China, Orlando said. He would not name companies with which the center has met.

The center’s officer for emerging and disruptive technologies, Edward You, noted the investment of Chinese companies in U.S. and European biotechnology and pharmaceutics.

WuXi Biologics has since 2019 built a vaccine manufacturing facility in Ireland, announced plans for a production facility in Massachusetts and acquired a Bayer plant in Germany. Officials on Thursday did not disclose any information linking those acquisitions to Beijing’s influence but said they were part of a broader pattern by Chinese medical companies.

Chinese companies have also offered COVID-19 testing kits and genetic testing in the U.S., meeting federal privacy standards and other regulations, You said. But the data collected by companies with ties to China could ultimately end up in the hands of Beijing, You said.China already has the greatest access to medical data of any country, You said. With its data collection and its advancements in technology, Beijing could one day be dominant in health care and leave the U.S. wholly dependent on China, he said.

“If you’re President Xi,” he said, “that’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

First female head of Japan labour lobby vows to empower women.

Progress towards gender equality and diversity is extremely slow, said Tomoko Yoshino, who was elected this month as head of the 7 million-member Japanese Trade Union Confederation, known as Rengo.

The first female president of Japan’s powerful labor union federation said Friday she will work to correct the gender gap in wages and working conditions to help empower women.

“Progress is extremely slow,” said Tomoko Yoshino, who was elected this month as head of the 7 million-member Japanese Trade Union Confederation, known as Rengo. “I will tackle all activities at Rengo from the perspective of gender equality and diversity.”

She noted that Japan placed 120th out of 156 nations in this year’s gender gap ranking by the World Economic Forum.Yoshino, the federation’s first female leader since its foundation in 1989, is also unique because she worked at a medium-size sewing machine maker after graduating from high school and belonged to a union composed mainly of small and medium-sized companies — unlike her male predecessors who worked at major corporations or labor unions.

Yoshino, 55, said she initially wondered if her background qualified her for the top job. But then, “I thought of many talented women who had to leave their jobs without being allowed to rise in the ranks,” she said. “I thought I should continue their efforts and their will, and decided I should not miss this opportunity to break through Japan’s glass ceiling.”

Despite gender equality laws, women receive lower wages than men, and their presence is limited in decision-making positions at work, school and elsewhere.

Among Yoshino’s first important missions are annual negotiations with companies over salary increases and better working conditions, including for women, and her participation in an economic forum launched by new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has called for better income distribution and economic growth through higher salaries. Many women work in part-time or temporary jobs because Japanese labor practices often prevent them from returning to full-time positions after taking leave for child-rearing — a role that few Japanese men share — and have been among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.Yoshino said the traditional concept of husbands working to support wives who stay at home to take care of children also contributes to lower wages for women and said it’s time to review the salary framework.

“A society that provides a pleasant working environment for women will be pleasant for everyone,” she said. “Empowering women can revitalize the economy, but the priority is to tackle the gender issue from the perspective of women’s rights.”

States’ power to block CBI not absolute: Centre tells SC

The West Bengal government had challenged the ongoing CBI probe into post-poll violence, saying it had not sought its consent.

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that the right of state governments to withdraw consent for CBI probe is not absolute as per Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. The West Bengal government had challenged the ongoing CBI probe into post-poll violence, saying it had not sought its consent. Since the Mamata government has already withdrawn its general consent to the CBI, the FIRs lodged by it cannot be proceeded with, it argued. 

It was the Calcutta High Court that had tasked the CBI to probe the cases. In its affidavit, the Centre said: “The statutory power conferred upon the State Government under Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act is always coupled with a responsibility to exercise that power on a case-to-case basis.” 
During a brief hearing, a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said the arguments in the case need to be heard in detail, and slated the hearing for November 16.

The Centre said Bengal can’t issue blanket orders withdrawing all probe powers from the CBI. Its affidavit referred to several cases highlighted by the state, saying some of them also relate to offences of corruption against Central government employees. “It is always desirable and in the larger interest of justice that the Central agency conducts the investigation in such cases,” the Centre’s affidavit stated.

Uttarakhand rains: 88 rescued as death toll rises to 75

State Disaster Response Force men rescued 65 trekkers, including six foreigners, stranded near Bageshwar’s Pindari and Kafni glaciers.

The death count in Uttarakhand rose to 75 on Friday as rescue workers found more bodies and also brought to safety score of stranded people after the rains that recently lashed the state.

State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) men rescued 65 trekkers, including six foreigners, stranded near Bageshwar’s Pindari and Kafni glaciers. Twenty-three people were rescued from Darma Valley of Pithoragarh.

The official death toll in the state now is 68, including the five bodies of members of a team of 11 people who were trekking from Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi to Chitkul in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.

The figure, however, does not include two others member of the Chitkul trek reported dead.

Five people feared dead in Bageshwar are also not included in the official count. Rains battered Uttarakhand for nearly three days, beginning Sunday night, with the Kumaon division bearing the brunt of it. An official said Kumaon suffered a loss of Rs 2,000 crore, out of Rs 7,000 crore damage statewide estimated by the Uttarakhand government.

“SDRF teams have rescued 42 tourists, including six foreigners, from Dwali near the Pindari glacier and 23 from the Kafni glacier,” Bageshwar DM Vineet Kumar told PTI.

Meanwhile, two Cheetah helicopters, which were to make sorties in search of 10 members of a trekking team stranded in Sundardhunga, could not take off due to cloudy weather, he said.

“But four members of the team have returned safe. We suspect that there may have been some casualties too. The helicopters will make another attempt early on Saturday morning in search of the missing members of the trekking team,” Kumar said.

Besides, 15 people who had gone missing in Sarmool, the point of origin of the Saryu river, have also been found safe, he said. Twenty-one tourists and two ailing locals were rescued from Darma Valley of Pithoragarh district, DM Ashish Chauhan said.

Two surviving members of a trekking team have already been rescued while the search for two missing is on, officials in Uttarkashi said. Kumaon Divisional Commissioner Sushil Kumar said, “Kumaon division bore the brunt of the unseasonal spell of record rains which damaged crops and property worth Rs 2,000 crore besides accounting for the highest number of deaths and large scale destruction of houses,” the official said. Fifty-nine deaths were reported from Kumaon alone with Nainital reporting the maximum 35 deaths followed by 11 in Champawat, six in Almora, one in Bageshwar and three each in Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar districts. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday visited Dungri village in Chamoli district to meet the disaster-hit people. Accompanied by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj, state Disaster Management Minister Dhan Singh Rawat and officials, Dhami trekked up the steep slippery slopes of the village with a stick in hand for an on-the-spot assessment of the losses. Two persons of a family were buried in the rubble of a landslide in the village on October 19.

Dhami met the surviving members of the family and promised them all help.

He asked officials to speed up relief and rescue efforts in the affected areas assuring them that they will not have to face any shortage of resources.


The News Editorial Analysis 22 October 2021

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