QBullet: Modi on Balakot Air Strike; Speculations on Azhar’s Death
Read all the top headlines of the day here.
1. PM Modi on Airstrike: Opposition Demoralising Armed Forces, Making Pakistan Happy
Raising the poll pitch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday accused the Opposition of demoralising the armed forces by “raising doubts” and “asking for proof” of the Balakot airstrike. Saying this was a “new India” with a new policy, he said: “Yeh India chun chun ke sab hisab leta hai (This India settles all scores).”
Addressing an NDA rally in Patna, with allies Chief Minister Minister Nitish Kumar and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan sharing the dais, the prime minister said the Congress and its allies were trying to“finish Modi”, while he wanted to “finish terrorism, poverty and malnutrition”. This was Modi’s first political rally with Nitish.
2. Amid Rumours of His Death, Pak Moves JeM Chief Masood Azhar out of Army Hospital
Amid speculation that Jaish-e-Muhammed chief Masood Azhar may have been killed in the IAF strike on Balakot – which was denied by Jaish – intelligence sources told The Times of India the Pakistan Army had shifted him from its Rawalpindi base hospital to a Jaish camp in Goth Ganni in Bahawalpur at around 7.30pm on Sunday, 3 March.
3. Over 250 Terrorists Killed in Balakot Air Strikes: Amit Shah in Gujarat
BJP President Amit Shah said on Sunday that “more than 250 terrorists” were killed in the airstrike in Balakot on 26 February.
“After the Uri attack, the army did a surgical strike. After the Pulwama attack, people said there could not be a surgical strike due to the high level of alertness. But on the 13th day, the Narendra Modi government carried out an airstrike, and more than 250 terrorists were killed without suffering any losses,” Shah said.
4. Severing Cricketing Ties with Nations Not Our Domain: ICC Tells BCCI
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has turned down the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) request to sever ties with countries from which "terrorism emanates", saying the ICC has no role to play in matters like these.
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, in which more than 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the BCCI, in a letter to the ICC, urged the world body and its member nations to sever ties with countries that harbour terror.
"There was no chance that anything like that would have happened. The ICC chairman made it clear that the decision to ostracise a nation is taken at the government level and ICC had no rule. The BCCI knew it all along but still took a chance," a BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.
5. India Rejects OIC Resolution on ‘Indian Terrorism’ in Kashmir
Rejecting a resolution by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Jammu and Kashmir that referred to “Indian terrorism” and “mass blindings”, the External Affairs Ministry said its stand on the matter was “well known”.
The resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, another on the “India-Pakistan Peace Process” that praised Pakistan for its “efforts”, and a statement on “Muslim minorities” worldwide that called upon the Indian government to rebuild the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, came as an embarrassment for the government just a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had addressed the gathering.
“We reaffirm that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India,” the Ministry said in a statement here on Saturday after the conclusion of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi. The statement appreciated the invitation to Ms. Swaraj as a “historic gesture”.
(Source: The Hindu)
6. Pakistan Terrorist Among 2 LeT Men Killed as 72-Hour Kupwara Gunbattle Ends
The Handwara encounter ended on Sunday with the killing of both terrorists who had engaged the security forces in a three-day gun battle.
The security forces lost five men in the firefight at Babagund village in Handwara, district Kupwara — three CRPF men and two J&K policemen. A civilian, too, was killed, taking the total number of lives lost to eight.
7. IAF Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman Wants to Return to Cockpit at the Earliest
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face of the tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, conveyed to the IAF brass that he wants to return to the cockpit as soon as possible, officials said on Sunday, 3 March.
For the last two days, the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot has been undergoing medical treatment at a military hospital here.
Varthaman told senior IAF commanders and doctors treating him that he wants to start flying at the earliest, the officials told PTI.
8. On Rahul Gandhi Turf, PM Modi’s Jibe with ‘Made-In-Amethi AK-203’ Rifles
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 3 March stormed into the Lok Sabha constituency of Congress president Rahul Gandhi with a slew of projects and accused the Congress leadership of compromising on national security.
Announcing the launch of a joint venture between India and Russia for the manufacture of AK 203 Kalsahnikov assault rifles in Amethi’s Ordnance factory, Modi said Amethi was the perfect example of the BJP’s policy of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’.
“Now, Amethi will not be known for a famous family but for AK 203, ‘Made in Amethi’. These rifles will help our jawans in encounters with naxals and terrorists,” he said and added that those who cheated Amethi also ignored the country’s defence needs.
9. Country’s Security and Honour Not in Safe Hands, Says Mayawati
Accusing the BJP of doing politics after the Pulwama terror attack, BSP president Mayawati on Sunday said that the “security and honour of the country are not in safe hands”.
“The ruling BJP should not have indulged in politics after the Pulwama terror strike… The worried 130-crore people have seen as to how the BJP could not desist from indulging in petty politics even at such a time and they have now realised that country’s honour and security is not in strong and safe hands,” the BSP chief said.
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