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Rafale deal likely by year-end: IAF chief

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: In a bid to bolster India’s defense prowess, IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on Saturday expressed hope that the negotiations for purchasing 36 Rafale jets from France would conclude by the year-end.

Mentioning that the negotiations for the deal, finalized during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s France visit in April, was progressing well, he said, “I am hopeful that the negotiations for the deal will not go beyond this year.”

Speaking at the annual press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, he said, “it would take two to three years for the first of the two Rafale squadrons to be operational.”

He also said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) required at least six squadrons of medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), which would translate into over 100 jets, and that the Rafale was a good follow-on option. But the government would take a final decision on this.

“Definitely, we would like to have MMRCA variety of aircraft. At least about six squadrons to my mind. Let us see, there may be some other alternatives as well,” ACM Raha said.

Asked whether the additional four squadrons of aircraft would be Rafales or there was a possibility of other players getting into play, Raha said, “I may wish to have Rafale. But there are equally good aircraft. So if the deal is good and the government decides we need to have six of similar squadrons of MMRCAs.”

“I want the capability of Rafale-type aircraft. So, the government will have a look at it and based on urgency and the type of contract is signed with Dassault Aviation, further decisions may be taken by the government. I cannot predict,” he said.

The air chief admitted that the IAF was short in strength.

“We are currently short in strength… we need to replace many squadrons. The need is there for more. But it has to be viable in terms of cost, in terms transfer of technology and in terms of Make in India policy that the government is trying to implement,” he said.

commons.wikimedia.org
commons.wikimedia.org

“So if those terms and conditions are good then I am sure we will be able to get more. But as of now we are looking at 36,” he said.

The Rafale had in 2012 received the IAF nod for 126 jets in a $20 billion deal in the face of a stiff competition from five other manufacturers.

As the deal could not work out, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during the prime minister’s visit to France in April.

The IAF had expressed an urgent need for the 126 combat jets to primarily replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG-21 planes and to plug the gap caused by the delay in the development of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA).

The IAF currently has 33 combat squadrons against a sanctioned strength of 39.5, which is sought to be raised to 42.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Rs 10,000 cr will be given to top 10 Universities to make them World-Class, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Patna, October 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said it was a “blot” that Indian universities do not figure among the top 500 of the world and noted that the government has decided to give autonomy and Rs 10,000 crore to top 10 public and private universities over the next five years to make them world-class

.Addressing the centenary Celebrations of Patna University here in presence of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Modi said Indian universities such as Nalanda and Takshashila attracted students from all over the world.

“We are not among the top 500. We should remove this blot or not. The situation should change through our determination and hard work,” Modi said.

He said the government has come with a scheme to make 10 private and 10 public universities world-class by providing them autonomy from the constraints of government rules and freedom to grow.

“They will be given Rs 10,000 crore in the next five years,” Modi said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the selection will not be on any recommendation. “The universities will be a selected on the basis of a challenge in which they will be required to prove their mettle. The selection will be based on factors such as history, performance and its roadmap reach global benchmarks. A third party professional agency will be involved in the selection process,” Modi said.

Referring to demands for making Patna University a central university, Modi said it should strive to be among the globally-ranked varsity based on the competition and “this was many times ahead of being a central university”.

“Patna University should not stay behind (in the challenge),” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said reforms in the country’s education sector have progressed at a slow speed and there have been differences among educationists which had hampered innovation with the governments too not measuring up to the task.

The Prime Minister said that for two years he heard arguments for and against granting more autonomy to Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and then a big decision was taken.

“It is for the first time that the IIMs are out of government control and have been professionally opened up. This is a big opportunity for them and they would make the best use,” he said.

Modi said that Patna University was known to produce IAS and IPS officers and in the same manner IIMs are known to produce Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of global companies.

He also urged universities to move from conventional teaching to innovative learning and involve alumni associations more actively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 65 per cent of the population of the country was below 35 years in age and the dreams of development can be fulfilled.

“We need to understand the changing trends across the world and the increased spirit of competitiveness. In that context India has to make its place in the world,” Modi said.

He appreciated the efforts Nitish Kumar towards development of the state and said the progress of eastern India is the Centre’s topmost priority.

“The commitment of Nitish Kumar towards the progress of Bihar is commendable. The Centre attaches topmost importance to the development of eastern India,” Modi said.

He said when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of Independence day in 2022, he wants to see Bihar standing among the list of prosperous states.

Modi also said that many top level officials of civil services are students of Patna University.

“In every state, the top levels of the civil services has people who have studied in Patna University. In Delhi, I interact with so many officials, many of whom belong to Bihar… I consider it my honor to visit Patna University and be among the students. I bow to this land of Bihar. This university has nurtured students who have contributed greatly to the nation.”

He said that Bihar is blessed with both ‘Gyaan’ and ‘Ganga.’ “This land has a legacy that is unique,” he said.(IANS)

One response to “Rs 10,000 cr will be given to top 10 Universities to make them World-Class, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi”

  1. Grant of money alone does not make great institutions of learning, just as making large grand buildings, and setting up large sophisticated laboratories. It is the high ideals, learning & character in honest pursuit of knowledge and service that facilitates to create an atmosphere of pursuing higher & higher knowledge for the sake of welfare of humanity. An the open atmosphere of freely sharing the expertise & experience of seniors with development of young brains is equally important . This aspect has been pointed out by our Prime minister by the involvement of Alumni for the development of great institutions of learning.
    Another aspect that has not received due attention in the field of education in India so far is that we have not addressed properly the question of training and developing teachers of right caliber & character right from nursery and primary school levels of education to postgraduate levels in university in all fields of education i.e. humanities, engineering and medical schools by taking in to consideration present needs of society.
    Another point to note is that the famous All India Institution of Medical Sciences in Delhi was not set up to provide super speciality hospital services to the country, but to develop excellent faculty of teachers in collaboration with Harvard. This objective got lost on the way.

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India Looks at Strategic Partnership with Oil Producers

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his three-hour long meeting here with chief executives of top global and Indian companies. ians

New Delhi, Oct 9: India is looking to upgrade its relationship with producing countries to a strategic one, instead of mere buyer-seller, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

This was the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his three-hour long meeting here with chief executives of top global and Indian companies, including British major BP, Russia’s Rosneft, Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries, on ways to revive investment in oil and gas exploration and production.

“The Prime Minister laid out to leading companies like BP, Shell, Rosneft, Exxon Mobil as to what should be the energy economy of India,” Pradhan told reporters here on the sidelines of the CERAWEEK India Energy Forum organised by IHS Markit.

“The Prime Minister emphasised the need to move the engagement to a strategic partnership, going beyond the buyer-seller relationship,” he said, adding that “all major producers, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the US, all have recognised the massive scale of India’s energy engagement”.

According to a statement, from the Prime Minister’s Office, Modi said there is a need to develop energy infrastructure and provide access to energy in eastern India as the status of the energy sector in India was highly uneven.

CEOs and top officials from Rosneft, BP, Reliance, Saudi Aramco, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Vedanta, Wood MacKenzie, IHS Markit, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Xcoal, ONGC, IndianOil, GAIL, Petronet LNG, Oil India, HPCL, Delonex Energy, NIPFP, International Gas Union, World Bank, and International Energy Agency were present at the meeting.

Pradhan, Power Minister R.K. Singh, and senior officials from NITI Aayog and Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the Petroleum and Finance Ministries were also present in the meeting.

Addressing the conference, Pradhan said that with India now being well integrated into the global oil economy, she was naturally impacted by geopolitical developments.

“Recently, when retail fuel prices went up in India, there was a hue and cry in the street,” he said of the time last month when petrol prices in Mumbai went over Rs 79 a litre due to a rise in international rates.

“We therefore need to know and keep abreast of what is happening in the industry worldwide… about OPEC and output cuts, about Russia, shale in the US, trends in LNG market,” he added.

As proof of the upgraded energy relationship with Saudi Arabia, Pradhan noted the opening of Saudi state-run oil giant Aramco’s India office in Gurugram on Sunday that was jointly inaugurated by him and Aramco CEO Amin Nasser.

“Aramco investment in India will increase..they are in talks with possible partners here,” Pradhan said.

Saudi Aramco, which established its business presence in India last year, has formed an Indian subsidiry that will engage in crude oil and LPG marketing, engineering and technical services, and other business development activities.

“Aramco India intends to partner with Indian companies and set up integrated business ventures in the hydrocarbon value chain in India,” the Petroleum Ministry said.

According to the PMO, Modi thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Rosneft, for their commitments and support to the energy sector in India. He also appreciated the 2030 vision document of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.(IANS)

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7 killed, after Mi-17 V5 an IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal

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IAF chopper Mi-17 v5
IAF chopper Mi-17 V5, at Yelhanka, Air Force Station. Wikimedia

Tawang, October 6:  Seven Indian Air Force personnel were killed after a Mi-17 V5, IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.

Tawang district Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Meena said the IAF Chopper Crashed around 6.30 a.m. killing all the seven people on board.

The chopper was on a routine Air Maintenance Mission, Meena quoted a Defence officer as saying.

The crash site is located at some four-to-five hours drive from Tawang. “It is a forested area,” Meena said adding that the bodies are being brought to the helipad near Tawang.

“We are told that there were no civilians and all were defence personnel,” he said.

Earlier in July an Indian Air Force chopper engaged in a flood rescue mission crashed near Papum Pare district in the hill state killing four persons including three IAF crew and one India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel.

The frequently changing weather condition in Arunachal Pradesh makes flying of choppers difficult in the area and there have been several incidents of crashes in the hill state in the past.

The then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu, and four others also died in an IAF Chopper Crashed in the hill state in 2011. (IANS)