Pakistani regular soldiers crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated
New Delhi: India on Wednesday described as inhuman the way the dead bodies of two Indian soldiers were treated by Pakistan regular troops after their “highly provocative” attack in its territory in Jammu and Kashmir, reports PTI.
Defence minister AK Antony said the Indian government will convey to Pakistan its protest against the attack on Tuesday in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district of North Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) will also take up the incident with his Pakistani counterpart, he added.
“Pakistan Army’s action is highly provocative. The way they treated the dead bodies of Indian soldiers is inhuman. We will convey our protest to Pakistan government and our DGMO will talk to his counterpart. We are closely following the situation,” Antony told reporters.
Pakistani regular soldiers crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated.
Army’s Additional Director General (Public Information) Major General SL Narasimhan said on Tuesday Northern Army Commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik visited the scene of action and confirmed that one of the two bodies was mutilated.
Other sources said the heads of both the Indian soldiers—Lance Naiks, Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh—have been chopped off and one was taken away by Pakistani intruders.
The brutal nature of the attack was a chilling reminder of the brutal attack on Capt Saurabh Kalia and his team by Pakistani troops in Kaksar sector of Kargil during the 1999 conflict.
The attack took place along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district when Pakistanis came about 100 metres into Indian territory and assaulted the patrol party.
Besides killing two, they also injured two other soldiers and took away their weapons and other belongings.
The finance ministry said it is moving on the right track and is confident of restricting fiscal deficit to 5.3% of GDP this fiscal
Mumbai: Rating agency Fitch warned of a downgrade in India’s sovereign rating in the next 12-24 months citing slowing GDP growth and weak public finances, reports PTI.
The finance ministry, however, played down the issue, saying the government is on the right direction on fiscal front.
“Back in the middle of June, we had placed a negative outlook on India’s sovereign rating, which currently stands at BBB-. The negative outlook suggests that there is a... likely chance of revising the rating downward from BBB- in the 12-24 months,” Fitch said in a conference call from Tokyo.
The finance ministry said it is moving on the right track and is confident of restricting fiscal deficit to 5.3% of GDP this fiscal.
“We are not worried. We have been saying we are on the right track. But people still distrust us and ask whether we will able to achieve fiscal deficit target ... We will adhere to fiscal consolidation roadmap,” Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram told PTI in Delhi.
He pointed out that the government has taken a number of steps to restrict the gap between expenditure and revenue collection to 5.3% of GDP during FY13, and added the process would continue in the subsequent years as well.
Fitch is the second global agency to reiterate its warning to junk the sovereign rating after its larger peer S&P, which in April and June, had warned of further downgrades which would put India into junk status from the current lowest investment grade rating of BBB-. But another agency Moody’s has a stable outlook for the Asia's third largest economy.
Fitch also expressed its concerns over the country's economic and fiscal outlook.
“The negative outlook indicates concerns about the deterioration in the economic and fiscal outlook, particularly about the short slowdown in growth, persistent inflationary pressure and weak public finances,” Fitch sovereign rating analyst Art Woo told a conference.
While the Indian economy has been expanding at the slowest pace in the past one decade, inflationary pressure still persists with wholesale price-based inflation hovering at 7.24% in November.
Pointing out at macroeconomic indicators, Fitch said the macroeconomic trends have been a bit disappointing with real GDP growth slowing down to 5%-5.5% in previous quarters and wholesale price inflation remaining elevated.
In the first half of FY13, the GDP clipped at a poor 5.4%, and the government expects to close the fiscal year under 5.7%.
The agency said India's higher current account deficit numbers, which touched 5.4% for the second quarter with fiscal deficit touching 80% in the first eight months of this financial year, remained areas of concern.
However, Fitch lauded the government's recent reform measures as “the steps in the right direction”.
“There have been number of noteworthy developments...which were initiated in September and October. On the positive side...measures taken by the Government to increase foreign investment in a number of sectors, particularly in the multi- brand retail, are steps in the right direction,” Woo said.
He, however, said given the track-record of “policy paralysis” of the government, execution risks remain.
The rating agency noted that upcoming Budget would indicate the government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation, which will determine the macroeconomic health in the future.
The DoT asked the apex court to consider allowing it to grant “temporary licences” to such operators till the completion of the fresh bidding process
New Delhi: The Centre on asked the Supreme Court to consider allowing the telecom operators, whose 2G licences were cancelled last year, to continue to operate after the 18th January deadline with a condition that they “will be liable to pay” for the spectrum as per the proposed price of the upcoming auction scheduled on 11th March, reports PTI.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) appraised its stand in an affidavit which assumes importance as the court had permitted the telecom operators to continue to operate till 18th January this year.
The DoT asked the apex court to consider allowing it to grant “temporary licences” to such operators till the completion of the fresh bidding process.
It said this plea could be taken into account if the court decides not to extend any further the 18th January deadline as “such an arrangement will avoid disruption of services to the subscribers on one hand and safeguard the public revenue on the other”.
As per the apex court order, 21 licences of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS), 16 permits of Telenor controlled Uninor, 15 of Videocon and 3 CDMA permits of Tata Teleservices will stand cancelled from 18th January leading to disconnection of around 25 crore subscribers in the country.
Telenor is in the process to transferring the business of Uninor in six circles under new entity Telewings Communications, which recently won spectrum.
The affidavit said, “In case the court does not extend the period entitling the existing operators whose licences stand quashed to continue to operate beyond 18th January and in case such existing operators approach the government expressing their desire to continue to operate their services on such terms as the government may deem necessary... may consider issuing temporary licences to such operators till commencement of operations by successful bidders in the proposed auction.
“...and subject to further condition that they will be liable to pay the price discovered for such spectrum in the proposed auction or the reserved price, whichever is higher, with effect from 19 December 2012.”
The apex court had on 27th November last year said that the telecom operators, whose licences were cancelled by it but continued to operate due to delay on government's part to hold fresh auction of 2G spectrum, might have to pay for using the radio waves on the basis of current price.
“These existing operators have been permitted by the order of this court to operate till 18 January 2013.
“In the event that this court is inclined to continue to permit these existing operators to offer services till the commencement of operation by the successful bidders in the proposed auction, the Government respectfully suggest that this court may impose a condition that such operators will be liable to pay for the spectrum allotted to them, the price discovered for such spectrum in the proposed auction or the reserved price, whichever is higher, with effect from 19th December 2012,” the affidavit said.
The apex court had on 2nd February 2012, quashed 122 2G licences while allowing the telecom operators to run their services for four months after which the order was to become operative.
The date expired on 2nd May but the apex court allowed the operators to continue providing services as the Centre failed to put the spectrum on auction which was done only on 12 November 2012.
In the affidavit, filed by telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, the DoT said that they are committed to ensure that the auction is conducted “fairly and impartially”.
“The Government of India is committed to ensuring that such auction is conducted fairly and impartially and in a manner that all eligible persons can participate in the auction in keeping with the principles enunciated by this court in its judgement dated 2 February 2012.
“It is respectfully stated that existing operators whose licences stand quashed may or may not evince interest in such an auction if they are not allowed to offer their services pending conduct of such an auction and this may impact the discovery of an optimal price for spectrum,” it said.