Tag Archives: Indian

Range of patriotic sarees released as Indian election date set

Range of patriotic sarees released as Indian election date setThe saree is being deployed as the latest political weapon in India’s elections as the world’s largest democracy prepares to go to the polls. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unveiled a collection of “political sarees”, hoping the women’s garments will act as mobile billboards for voters making up their minds in coming weeks. India’s election commission announced on Sunday that the country’s electorate, numbering over 900 million, will go to the polls in seven phases between 11 April to 19 May, with results due on 23 May. So the first big campaigning stunt by the incumbent BJP was to launch the new line of sarees, featuring pictures of Indian soldiers, fighter jets and Narendra Modi, the prime minister, printed on them. They were unveiled on Sunday at the state BJP headquarters in Jaipur, Rajasthan, hoping a recent rise in nationalism after the recent conflicts with Pakistan would spur party supporters to literally wear their loyalties. Mr Modi will be seeking a second term in office Credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images Last week “air-strike” sarees, in shades of cream, saffron and green, as well as camouflage ones, became popular as the Indian government’s fiery rhetoric saw jingoistic tendencies soar. However several patriotic saree vendors were left embarrassed after tweeters pointed out that their garments bore images of American forces, not Indian. The sarees however may end up falling foul of the “model code of conduct” that exists during election periods – similar to “purdah” in Britain. The election commission on Saturday asked to keep the military out of campaigning, saying the armed forces are "apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy". Narendra Modi heads the BJP Hindu nationalist party Credit: AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh The memo, which was sent to all parties, was issued after billboards featuring BJP leaders such as Mr Modi and its president, Amit Shah, along with the Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, appeared around Delhi. "Everything is possible under PM Modi," the billboards read. Just after the election dates were announced, Mr Modi tweeted: “The festival of democracy, Elections are here." “I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha [Indian parliament] elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. “I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers.” The Prime Minister had kept an intense schedule of launches and openings in the last fortnight as his administration tried to announce several policies and schemes before the code of conduct period was triggered.



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Modi government advertising blitz dries up as Indian poll rules kick in

Modi government advertising blitz dries up as Indian poll rules kick inThe election will be held over seven stages from April 11, the Election Commission said on Sunday, when the code of conduct on election campaigning came into force. Leading English-language national dailies including the Times of India, the Hindustan Times and the Indian Express carried no government ads on Monday. The New Delhi editions of those three newspapers had 162 government ads between March 1 and March 10, according to Reuters calculations.



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Washington wants to know if Pakistan used U.S.-built jets to down Indian warplane

Washington wants to know if Pakistan used U.S.-built jets to down Indian warplanePakistan and India both carried out aerial bombing missions this week, including a clash on Wednesday that saw an Indian pilot shot down over the disputed region of Kashmir in an incident that alarmed global powers and sparked fears of a war. A Pakistan military spokesman on Wednesday denied Indian claims that Pakistan used F-16 jets. Pakistan returned the captured Indian pilot on Friday in a high-profile handover Islamabad touted as a “peace gesture”, which appeared to significantly dial down tensions, but both sides remain on high alert.



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Pakistan returns Indian pilot downed over Kashmir

Pakistan returns Indian pilot downed over KashmirA pilot shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft returned to India on Friday, after being freed in what Islamabad called a "peace gesture" following the biggest standoff between the two countries in years. But fresh violence raged in Kashmir, with seven people killed in the Indian-administered part of the tinder-box territory, suggesting that the crisis may not be over yet. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, shot down on Wednesday over Kashmir – divided between the nuclear-armed rivals since 1947 – crossed into India at the famed Wagah crossing point, sporting a black eye from his ordeal. Thousands of Indians, waving flags, singing and dancing with patriotic fervour, had gathered at the crossing point on Friday afternoon but the crowd dwindled after his release was delayed inexplicably by hours. In New Delhi the announcement of the experienced pilot's release was seen as a diplomatic victory, but India warned that its military remained on "heightened" alert. On Thursday and Friday both countries continued to fire barrages across the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border dividing Kashmir, leaving at least one person dead. Gun battles on the Indian side left two militants and four members of the Indian security services dead, while a civilian was killed in later protests, police told AFP. "Influence of terrorists and terrorism has been curtailed and it is going to be curtailed even more. This is a New India," Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing a tough election due by May, said Friday. "This is an India that will return the damage done by terrorists with interest," he said. India's junior foreign minister and former army chief, Vijay Kumar Singh, tweeted that the "welcome" release of the pilot was "the first of many steps that Pakistan must take to reinforce their commitment to peace". Pulwama suicide attack – Map Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule. Both claim it in full and have fought two wars over the Himalayan territory. India has half a million troops in the part it administers, with militants – backed by Islamabad, according to New Delhi – fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died since a revolt that broke out in 1989. Last year was the deadliest in a decade with almost 600 killed, monitors say. Matters escalated alarmingly after a massive suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops on February 14, with the attack claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group. Twelve days later Indian warplanes launched a strike inside undisputed Pakistani territory, claiming to have hit a militant camp. An infuriated Islamabad denied casualties or damage, but a day later launched its own incursion across the LoC. That sparked the dogfight which ended in both countries claiming they had shot down each other's warplanes, and Abhinandan's capture. Prime Minister Imran Khan unexpectedly announced Thursday that he would be released in the first sign of a potential thaw. Khan alluded to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and called for talks – even as he warned India should not take the announcement as a sign of weakness. Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan has become a national hero in India, with his parents receiving a standing ovation as they boarded a flight to welcome their son. Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi meanwhile said he was boycotting a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Abu Dhabi, as India had been invited. The tensions prompted Pakistan to close down its airspace, disrupting major routes between Europe and South Asia and grounding thousands of travellers worldwide. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Friday that flights could land and depart from its main airports from 1300 GMT, and that others would be opened "gradually". The parents of handlebar-moustached Abhinandan were given a standing ovation by fellow passengers as they boarded a flight to Amritsar near Wagah to welcome their son. He has become a national hero after purported footage that went viral showed him being beaten by locals after being shot down before Pakistani soldiers intervened, with social media abuzz with GivebackAbhinandan and Abhinandanmyhero hashtags. His subsequent polite refusal to proffer more details than necessary – "I am sorry major, I am not supposed to tell you this" – won him particular sympathy in India. His father, a retired air force officer, told the Times of India newspaper, "Just look at the way he talked so bravely… a true soldier… we are proud of him."



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Pakistan returns Indian pilot in 'peace gesture'

Pakistan returns Indian pilot in 'peace gesture'A pilot shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft returned to India on Friday, after being freed in what Islamabad called a “peace gesture” following the biggest standoff between the two countries in years. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, shot down on Wednesday over Kashmir — divided between the nuclear-armed rivals since 1947 — crossed into India at the famed Wagah crossing point, sporting a black eye from his ordeal. In New Delhi the announcement of the experienced pilot’s release was seen as a diplomatic victory, but India warned that its military remained on “heightened” alert.



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Pakistan returns Indian pilot as violence rages in Kashmir

Pakistan returns Indian pilot as violence rages in KashmirA pilot shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft returned to India on Friday, after being freed in what Islamabad called a “peace gesture” following the biggest standoff between the two countries in years. Pakistan’s foreign ministry said he was “treated with dignity and in line with international law”, and that his release was “aimed at de-escalating rising tensions with India”. The parents of handlebar-moustached Abhinandan were given a standing ovation by fellow passengers as they boarded a flight to Amritsar near Wagah to welcome their son.



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Pakistan pledges to release captive Indian fighter pilot

Pakistan pledges to release captive Indian fighter pilotISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's prime minister pledged on Thursday his country would release a captured Indian fighter pilot, a move that could help defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed region of Kashmir.



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Pakistan prepares to return Indian pilot as confrontation cools

Pakistan prepares to return Indian pilot as confrontation coolsWorld powers have urged restraint from the two nations, as tensions escalated following a suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Feb. 14. The disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has been at the root of two of those conflicts. Both governments claimed they downed enemy jets on Wednesday, with Pakistan capturing an Indian pilot whose MiG fighter jet crashed in enemy territory after dogfight with a Pakistani JF-17.



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Pakistan ready to hand over Indian pilot amid more shelling

Pakistan ready to hand over Indian pilot amid more shellingISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan prepared to hand over a captured Indian pilot on Friday while blistering cross-border attacks across the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir continued for a fourth straight day, even as the two nuclear-armed neighbors seek to defuse their most serious confrontation in two decades.



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Pakistan promises to free Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'

Pakistan promises to free Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'Pakistan promised to free a captured Indian pilot on Friday as a “peace gesture” aimed at its nuclear arch-rival, but New Delhi insisted it would remain on “heightened” military alert for attacks. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was shot down in an aerial engagement over the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday, had become the centrepiece of the latest conflict between the neighbours. “As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow,” Prime Minister Imran Khan told the Pakistan parliament in the first sign of a potential thaw since Tuesday when Indian fighter jets launched a raid inside Pakistani territory.



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