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A third-world country like Pakistan that is on the brink of economic implosion, living on IMF loans and unable to guarantee the necessities of life to its people is still procuring military equipment from some of the most advanced nations in the world! A country that has been kept on the FATF grey list yet again and regularly signs dubious deals with proscribed organizations and faces strictures by the UK High Court with millions being debited from the bankrupt nation’s accounts due to the aforementioned shady deals. A country whose foreign exchange reserves stands as on date at only $13 billion- barely adequate for two months’ imports.
No prizes to guess the right answer, it’s a state where the Army has a nation, Pakistan. The situation has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ayesha Siddiqa, a noted Pakistani author and defense expert states, “before the pandemic, Pakistan was already burdened by an external debt of about $112 billion. Today it is facing the additional challenge of feeding some 25 million poor families that can no longer make a living due to Covid-19. Moreover, the country saw a 30 percent reduction in tax revenue, due to the government’s incompetence and decreased spending caused by the coronavirus lockdown”. Or as Tara Kartha a former Indian National Security Council member blithely states, “An Army that drives its posh SUVs oiled by Chinese money is bad news, whether in Mandarin, Punjabi or English”.
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In such a situation, the leaders of Pakistan should have focussed on the economy and growth. However, Ayesha Siddiqa brings out, in comparison with the spending on the pandemic caused by the pandemic, the Government did not focus on the economy “Islamabad allocated $7.85 billion for defense and merely $151 million for health in the budget for the financial year 2020-2021. This represents a 12 percent rise in Pakistan’s defense spending compared with the last financial year.”
Should we be surprised? Actually, no.
Adm Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff till October 2020, had painted his ï¿½vision’ to transform the Pakistan Navy. In a televised address to the nation on October 7, 2020, he spoke about three pillars of his approach – (a) enhancing combat readiness, (b) jumpstarting the maritime economy, and (c) reinvigorating the ideological domain. Whilst the third facet of his address should worry the ï¿½friends’ of Pakistan, and, the new Biden administration, the recent steps to procure state-of-the-art military hardware indicates the operationalization of Admiral Abassi’s plan.
So, buy high-end military equipment it does. The Pakistan Navy buys passenger aircraft from Brazil through a third party deal and then gets them modified for military purposes in another EU country; it is attempting to procure German engines for its new Chinese submarines as it finds the Chinese engines too noisy; it is procuring ten low-level air search radars from Italy; it is also buying Italian torpedoes once again for its Chinese built submarines. Obviously, it finds the Chinese torpedoes unreliable. According to a report by the Italian Government – Pakistan has become the second-largest arms importer from Italy.
This by itself is quite normal as the Pakistan Armed Forces have always looked at key procurements, especially of force multipliers, to retain their edge over the vastly superior Indian forces. The list is quite endless and begets the question -how does a country which is mired in debt and whose friends including the UAE are seeking a return of their loan – buying such equipment?
Another important facet is that ï¿½ as the larger comity of nations is now coming together against a Revisionist China, the Chinese are using their rentier state ï¿½ Pakistan to procure high-end technology from across the world in order to reverse engineer the same and induct it for the PLA forces. Otherwise, there is no way to explain these costly procurements in foreign exchange from Western sources without any financial aid. Tara Kartha alludes, “all of this is being powered by Chinese money. Which means that Beijing has just bought itself an army, with a State attached”. It is also within the realm of possibility that, the Chinese soft loans amounting to over $5 billion given ostensibly to fund the four Type054A and eight submarines purchased from Chinese shipyards, also include a covert tranche for foreign purchases. Was this also a part of the MoU that was signed in December 2020 by the Chinese and the Pakistanis amidst tensions with India?
To convince the diehard fans of Pakistan, let me provide some more examples of the Pakistani dedication to sharing sensitive Western technology and intellectual property with the Chinese. The recent report by HI Sutton in Forbes, based on satellite imagery of an Agosta-90B berthed between two CCP Navy ships during their visit to Karachi in January 2020 and states (sic) “This (berth of Agosta-90B) was not in the Pakistani Navy’s usual berths but in a cordoned-off part of the commercial docks.
The placement of the Pakistani Navy submarine cannot be viewed as coincidental. Readers may also recall the admission by the former PM Nawaz Sharif who, in Oct 2020 stated that the Pakistanis had shared a Tomahawk missile found in Balochistan with their iron-brother, China, in the 1990s which in turn assisted Pakistan to develop the Babur cruise missile.
Thus, the Biden administration and other governments in the EU should remember that a hand of friendship extended to the Pakistanis along with Aid and assurance to take Pakistan off the FATF grey List in June 2021, may lead to key defense technologies being delivered on a platter to the Xi Jinping and the CCP Armed Forces. (IANS/JC)
On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.
According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.
Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.
According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.
Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: BJP, RSS, New Education Policy, Education, India
An old saying, "prevention is better than cure" should be the first scoop in the cup of excitement if you are out to explore the world. To make traveling safe, make sure you check some practical safety tips before and while on the journey.
Here are some tips that can keep you safe, ignoring the hurdles and risks during traveling.
Health issues are of major concern while traveling. These risks are common especially when you are traveling to a place where the diet is different from what you are used to. Health conditions like stomach infections, climatic diseases like flu, cold, etc can knock at your door.
Before traveling, make sure you did complete research about the weather conditions of those destinations where you planned to stay. Keep all the stuff with you, like basic medications, and clothes that will be helpful to keep you safe from the weather and ensure safe travelling.
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Travelers sometimes encounter the risk of being scammed at the departures or during the flights. This risk becomes more obvious when you don't speak the familiar language or don't have complete knowledge about the complex procedures.
Any stranger can come to you regarding the procedure completion and take advantage of your ignorance and fool you. Stay alert for these scams and keep these things in mind.
●Always use the ATMs that are linked to the banks.
●Know the basic procedure of checking
●Do not wear expensive jewelry to show off
●Keep the emergency services phone numbers
●Put the locks on the suitcases
To avoid transportation mishaps, you should search for all forms of transportation before leaving the place that can take you to the planned destination Photo by Guilherme Stecanella
The transportation you choose for your trip can be a blessing or sometimes a tricky tournament. To avoid transportation mishaps, you should search for all forms of transportation before leaving the place that can take you to the planned destination. And especially when traveling to faraway places.
Choose the one that is comfortable and free of hassles. For example, while choosing to travel by air, make sure you know the flight schedules. Make sure you book your flights with trusted airlines. International flights from Australia, Cathay Pacific, is the one of the best in this regard.
Apart from checking the flight's schedule, try to book your ticket in advance so you don't end up stranded on the ticket booth asking for tickets and no time slot is spared for a specific time.
Whether you are traveling domestically or internationally, you need identification. When traveling outside the country, your passport is the most important thing to carry and keep a check on. The most valuable traveling documents you should check on are:
Keep copies of these documents in case they get lost by mistake. In the case of stolen documents, the copies of these will help to make the process of getting them back a bit easier.
To avoid trouble, check out the guidelines such as rules and regulations. Follow the policies that are required. Before zipping your bags, check the customer's reviews to see what they faced worse while traveling through certain transportation if you chose the same one and what advice they shared. This will help you avoid those things that can put you in the same situation.
Before traveling, know the surroundings. Be aware of how the locals of that area talk and dress. Usually, tourists or travelers carry lots of cash and other valuables with them. That brings them under the spotlight. Those people who show off their appearances as a traveler from a different place and culture are more at risk of being scammed.
You can avoid those scams by:
●Dressing yourself like a local
●Don't show off yourself by standing in the middle of a crowd and take pictures
●Don't make it apparent if you get lost in the streets
Before traveling to some new place, especially when you are traveling outside the country, make research about the language spoken there. It helps you a lot, especially when you get lost or injured. Try to learn the basic phrases in the language being spoken in that particular area you are traveling to. Phrases like:
●I need help
●Where is the hospital
●Please guide me on the way to my hotel, etc.
If you are traveling outside the country, getting traveling insurance is recommended Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash
Experiences matter. It is a bit hard to know the place you planned to visit if you have not visited it before. Make sure you find the experienced travelers who already have visited. Take advice from them. Ask them about their experience and what things you should do and what not. Do's and don'ts of that particular area. You can watch youtube videos that tell the lifestyle of a specific place.
Also read: 5 Must-Haves to Travel Light
If you are traveling outside the country, getting traveling insurance is recommended. It covers all unexpected injuries. Unfortunately, if you get a trip to the hospital or in case you lose your belongings, traveling insurance covers everything for you.
ATMs are the common places for thieves to steal the information of travelers. No doubt, they are the most convenient spot to take the money in the right currency. But it is recommended to stay cautious while using ATMs.
Check your back if anyone is stalking you or the person standing behind the mirrors waiting for his move, is not too close to finding out all the figures and info you entered.
You might not be familiar with the new place you are traveling to. To avoid uncertain situations like moving in the wrong direction, make sure you set the GPS in your phone so you reach your destination safely and on time without going through any hassle.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)
Keywords: Travel, Tips, Apps, Language, Guidelines,
As a company, Facebook doesn't need much of an introduction. If you're not a member of the network, chances are you've seen or at the very least heard of it. Facebook is generally recognized as the most utilized social networking site. Facebook is used regularly by more than 2 billion people; it is probably an essential component of several people's online presence and daily routine.
The software for a website called "Facemash" was written by Zuckerberg, then a second-year Harvard student, in the year 2003. He put his talent to improper use by hacking into the security network of Harvard. To fill his new website, he duplicated the student ID pictures used by the dorms and uploaded them there. Anyone who visited the site could see photos of two students side-by-side and choose who among the two was "hot" or "not." Facemash opened on October 28, 2003, but a few days later, it was closed. Zuckerberg faced significant allegations of breach of security, infringement of intellectual property rights, invasion of personal privacy, and even expulsion from Harvard.
"The Facebook," now known as "Facebook," was founded in a Harvard dorm room on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. | Photo by Souvik Banerjee on Unsplash
Facebook, which has now grown to become the world's most popular social networking site, was sparked by a failed attempt to encourage internet users to evaluate each other's pictures. "The Facebook," now known as "Facebook," was founded in a Harvard dorm room on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. The site was named after the directories sent to university students to assist them in getting to know one another better. His troubles began again six days later when Harvard seniors Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra charged them with stealing their ideas for the HarvardConnection social networking website, which they were developing at the time. Later, a lawsuit was filed against Zuckerberg, but the case was finally resolved without going to court. At first, only Harvard students were allowed to register on the website. However, over time, Zuckerberg sought the assistance of a handful of his classmates to assist in expanding the website.
ALSO READ: The Other Side Of Social Media
Sean Parker was appointed as the company's president in 2004. An investment of $12.7 million in the company from Accel Partners in the following year allowed for developing a high school student-focused version of the network. Facebook stated in September 2006 that anybody who was at least 13 years old and had a valid email address could become a member of the social networking site.
According to a study by the analytics website Compete.com, Facebook was declared the most widely used social networking service globally by 2009. | Wikimedia Commons
According to a study by the analytics website Compete.com, Facebook was declared the most widely used social networking service globally by 2009. The site's revenues ultimately propelled Zuckerberg to the status of the world's youngest multi-billionaire; he has done his bit to help others benefit from their success. In 2010, he and other wealthy businessmen committed to giving at least half of their fortune to charitable causes. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have contributed a total of $25 million to the Ebola virus's battle. Additionally, they stated that they would donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives via education, health, scientific research, and energy.
Keywords: harvard, Harvard connection, facemash, social networking, zuckerberg, facebook