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Bharti Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor resigns; Vittal to take over from March

Gopal Vittal, the current group director for special projects will take over as Bharti Airtel’s CEO for Indian operations

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said Sanjay Kapoor, its chief executive (CEO) for India and South Asia has resigned from the company and Gopal Vittal will take over as the head of its Indian operations from 1 March 2013, reports PTI.


“After almost 15 years of illustrious innings at Bharti Group, Sanjay Kapoor, CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, has decided to pursue his future aspirations outside of Bharti,” the company said in a statement, announcing some top level changes.


Gopal Vittal, who rejoined Airtel in April 2012 as Group Director (Special Projects) will take over as CEO India, Bharti Airtel, it added.


“Sanjay will continue in his current role until 28 February 2013, and will be available to assist on key matters until 31 March 2013 ensuring a smooth transition process,” the statement said.


Kapoor will, however, continue to be on the Board of Indus Towers and Bharti Global, the statement said.


“Sanjay has had an enviable performance track record, strategic disposition, business acumen and is an inspirational leader... I wish Sanjay all the very best in his future endeavours,” Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said in the statement.


In his new role as the CEO-India, Gopal—who will report to Mittal—will be responsible for defining and delivering the business strategy and providing overall leadership for Airtel’s India operations.


“Gopal spent his last year understanding the new wave of mobile telephony, in particular the data space and data experience. This will be extremely relevant and valuable for the next phase of Airtel’s growth. I wish him a successful and exciting journey ahead,” Mittal said.


Besides this, South Asia operations, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, would report to the CEO (International), currently Manoj Kohli, effective 1 March 2013.


However, various business leaders and functions from Airtel India would continue to support South Asia operations in this revised arrangement.


LoC tension: Indian PM talks tough, visa facility for Pakistanis put on hold

The Indian action came amidst rising anger among political parties over the barbaric beheading of an Indian soldier and mutilation of the body of another jawan by Pakistan and demands for tough action

New Delhi: The tension on Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday brimmed over as India put on hold the visa-on-arrival facility for senior citizens of Pakistan and sent back home all its nine hockey players amid tough talk by prime minister Manmohan Singh that it cannot be business as usual, reports PTI.


The Indian action came amidst rising anger among political parties over the barbaric beheading of an Indian soldier and mutilation of the body of another jawan by Pakistan and demands for tough action.


In his first public remarks on the issue, the prime minister justified the government’s action, saying “after this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan”.


He emphasised that “Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book” and hoped “Pakistan realises this”.


When pointed out that Pakistan was in a denial mode on the cross-LoC attack, Singh said, “we will keep trying”.


India was to operationalise the long-delayed visa-on-arrival facility to senior citizens of Pakistan today but quietly put it on hold indefinitely. The facility was to be accorded for those above 65 years crossing the Attari-Wagah border by foot.


Government sources said the decision was taken after several agencies sought clarifications on facilities to be offered to the Pakistani citizens.


The visa-on-arrival facility under the new visa agreement between India and Pakistan was signed in September 2012 to ease cross-border travel as part of Confidence Building Measures (CBM).


No new date has been fixed for operationalisation of the visa-on-arrival facility to the Pakistani senior citizens.


“We will take a decision at an appropriate time,” Union home secretary RK Singh told PTI.


The simmering border tension also spilled over to the sporting arena with a rattled Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league.


With an apparent nudge from the government and in the midst of threatened protests by right-wing elements, Hockey India took the decision to send back the Pakistani players considering the “extra-ordinary circumstances”.


“After discussions with all the stakeholders, the Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation have mutually decided to send them (Pakistan players) back due to an extra-ordinary situation which has arisen,” Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told reporters here.


Cricket was also not spared. Fearing trouble due to Pakistani players’ presence in the upcoming Women’s World Cup in the city, the Board of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) has left it on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a final call on the venues for the team from across the border.


The matter was discussed at the Board’s all-powerful Working Committee and it was decided to convey to the ICC the situation prevailing in the country.


BCCI president N Srinivasan said the issue was now for the ICC to decide.


The prime minister, who was responding to reporters’ questions at the Army Day reception hosted by Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh, refused to discuss options vis-a-vis Pakistan when asked about it.


External affairs minister Salman Khurshid said India has taken a “very firm position” on the beheading issue with Pakistan as the act is “totally unacceptable and barbaric”.


Referring to yesterday's flag meeting between India and Pakistan on the LoC, he said, “we may not be happy with the outcome but the process is still on.”


He indicated that the incident would have impact on the bilateral engagement with Pakistan although there would not be total freeze.


The incident would be factored in while scheduling meetings, etc, the external affairs minister said.


On the government’s decision to put visa-on-arrival on hold, Khurshid said it has not been called off but only deferred. “Nobody has utilised it as yet,” he added.


Asked whether India has set any timeline for Pakistan to act, Khurshid said, “there is no timeline. But we are actually pressing (Pakistan) very hard.”


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