From getting rid of some Muslim names of places to promising a “grand” statue of the Hindu god Ram, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party is making passionate appeals to its hard-core Hindu nationalist base in the most politically important state ahead of a national election next year.
The contract between Moscow and New Delhi on supplies of Russian S-400 air defense systems will be settled in rubles, according to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov. The move comes as Moscow intensified recent efforts to make de-dollarization of the Russian economy one of the main pillars of its policy. The Kremlin is looking for an alternative to the US dollar in mutual settlements with international partners.
Rahul Gandhi on Saturday met with former and serving employees of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL, amid allegations and counter-allegations over the Rafale fighter jet deal and its offset clause. “HAL is not just a company. When India got independence, India built some strategic assets to enter specific areas. HAL is a strategic asset to take India into aerospace,” Rahul Gandhi said at the meeting.
Five Indian states will go to the polls later this year, the country’s election commissioner said on Saturday, in a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity ahead of his re-election bid in May 2019. India PM Narendra Modi: “I urge the people of these states to bless BJP once again so that we can work tirelessly to build a New India.”
India agreed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface to air missile systems on Friday, the two sides said, as New Delhi disregarded U.S. warnings that such a purchase could trigger sanctions under U.S. law. “The (two) sides welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of S-400 long range surface to air missile system to India,” India and Russia said in a joint statement at the end of the talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin headed for India on Thursday looking to tie up billions of dollars in arms deals with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, likely irking the US, China and Pakistan in one fell swoop. The Kremlin said before the two-day visit by Putin and top Russian ministers that the “key feature” would be the signing of a $5-billion deal for the S-400 air defence system, despite the risk of US sanctions against countries buying Russian defence kit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has described illegal Rohingya immigrants as posing a national security threat, and ordered state governments last year to identify and deport them. Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, additional director general of police in the northeastern state of Assam, said that the seven men would be handed over to Myanmar authorities on Thursday.
“This is a routine procedure, we deport all illegal foreigners,” Mahanta said.
Farooq Haider Khan, the prime minister of the Azad Kashmir region controlled by Pakistan, said his civilian helicopter was fired upon by Indian army from across the “Line of Control”, which acts as a de facto border between the two countries.
“The Indian army fired to show that Pakistan had violated their airspace,” Farooq Haider Khan’s office said in a statement, but added “when the firing took place, we were within our own airspace.”
India’s top court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of the country’s ambitious biometric identity project ‘Aadhaar’, saying it benefits the marginalized and poor, but raised multiple concerns around the law that governs it, calling for changes. Among other things, India’s unique Aadhaar number – linked to an individual’s face, iris and finger prints – is used to help plug theft and leakages in the $23.63 billion (£17.9 billion) a year food welfare programme.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced calls for his resignation over allegations of corruption in a military jet deal with France after former French president Francois Hollande was quoted as saying New Delhi had influenced the choice of a local partner. “The PM personally negotiated and changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to …Anil Ambani,” Rahul Gandhi, the president of the main opposition Congress party, said in a tweet. “The PM has betrayed India.”