Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
US Clears Guardian Drones Deal: Just days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic meeting with President Donald Trump, the US has cleared the sale of 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India, Press Trust of India reported. The deal is being termed as a "game changer" for bilateral ties. The deal, estimated to be worth $3 billion, has been approved by the state department, the sources said. "This is the first very significant sign of the Trump administration being more result oriented in its relationship with India compared to Obama administration," a source said.
Pakistan Says Jadhav Has Sought Clemency, India Dismisses Claims: Former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan for espionage and subversive activities, filed a petition before the country's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa for mercy, Pakistan Army's media arm said on Thursday. India, however, dismissed as farcical Pakistan releasing a fresh confessional video of Jadhav and said manufactured facts cannot alter the reality in the case. The External Affairs Ministry said India expects Pakistan to desist from attempting to influence the proceedings at the International Court of Justice in the case through false propaganda.
Pakistan Forces Ambush India Patrol, Kill Two Soldiers: The Pakistani army’s Border Action Team (BAT), in its third act of aggression this year, ambushed an Indian patrol and killed two soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Thursday amid heavy artillery and machine gun fire on the frontier. The slain soldiers, naik Sandip Jadhav and sepoy Savan Mane, both from Maharashtra, were among the 10-member border patrol. The Indian Army shot dead two BAT gunmen in retaliatory action in the Chakan-da-Bagh area of KG sector along the Line of Control, the de facto border between the two nations.
Post GST, Power Tariff Hike Ruled Out: Power Minister Piyush Goyal sees no possibility of increase in electricity tariff across the country post the goods and services tax (GST). The new tax regime GST, which is set for 1 July kick-off, will usher in a new system under which there will be one tax on commodities and services across the country. “I don’t see any possibility of spike in power tariff due to implementation of GST. There could be one or two paise variation (per unit of electricity),” Goyal said after his meeting with the industry covering power, coal, mines and renewable energy sectors.
Presidential Poll: Rethink Call To Nitish Kumar By Lalu Yadav: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Thursday urged his alliance partner and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to rethink his decision to support National Democratic Alliance’s presidential election nominee Ram Nath Kovind. Speaking to media after the opposition meeting that deliberated upon former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as the candidate for the presidential elections, Yadav said, “Nitishji called me and said that it is his personal decision. I would appeal to him to rethink. Won’t break the alliance.”
New Social Media Policy On Way: The Union government is finalising a policy which is aimed at keeping a strong vigil on the social media to check if it is being “misused” to conspire against India and spread anti-national propaganda. Official sources confirmed that representatives of central security agencies and the Home Ministry discussed various issues related to the new policy. Besides this, the ministry is also looking for the ways to reach out to people using social media in case of disaster or for public service delivery, they added.
Rajinikanth Set To Take Political Plunge? South Indian superstar Rajinikanth, who is speculated to join active politics soon, said that he is discussing the prospects with political leaders and he would make an announcement once he finalises it. "I have not denied it. We are discussing and yet to take a decision. Once I take a decision, I will inform you," he said. Last month, Rajinikanth had triggered speculations of him joining active politics during an interactive session with his fans in Chennai. He told his fans to "prepare for war".
Captain-Coach Tussle: Dressing Room Details Sacred, Says Kohli: Breaking his silence over Anil Kumble’s resignation, captain Virat Kohli on Thursday said that he will never reveal dressing-room details, in an apparent reference to the now retired coach’s statement that their partnership had become "untenable". Kohli said "he respects" Kumble's decision to quit and that there is highest regard for him as a player. While he felt that Kumble is entitled to his opinion, in a roundabout manner, the skipper spoke about how dressing room details are sacred to him, which, at any cost, can't be shared with the public.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
Realising The India-US Trade Potential: To effectively engage in mutually beneficial talks, the Donald Trump administration needs to recognise and address India’s concerns about American trade policy. India’s concerns regarding US trade policies will need to be addressed to improve the possibility of mutually beneficial access to India’s markets.
Are Farm Loan Waivers Really So Bad? While the media recognises the reality of farmers’ distress, it takes serious exception to farm loan waivers as a means of addressing the problem. The Centre and states need to work together to evolve a farm loan model which protects both farmers and banks without bringing politics into it.
Why The F-16 Deal Isn’t A Game Changer: The downside of the deal, for India, is that by some estimates, less than 40 per cent of the F-16 is actually Lockheed Martin technology. If realised, the F-16 deal will bring some jobs but nothing more – no market, no cutting-edge technology, and certainly no leverage against Pakistan.
Automation A Necessity And May Be A Blessing In Disguise: IT has been a cornerstone to the growth and prosperity of India’s middle class. And it will continue to help expand that base. By 2025, the IT industry is expected to double its employee strength to over seven million people directly, and over 10 million indirectly.
Poser For India: Do We Want To Recover Mallya’s Loans Or Just Humiliate Him? By seeking extradition and allowing media trials, banks face the prospect of losing it all, or most of the money lent. Humiliation of Mallya cannot be India’s goal. It should be recovery of as much of the loans as possible.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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