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LIVE! J&K: 6 soldiers killed in 2 separate incidents of avalanche

14:10  J&K: 6 soldiers killed in 2 separate incidents of avalanche:  

Six soldiers were killed while several others are missing after two avalanches in Gurez Sector of Kashmir, an army official said on Thursday.

An avalanche hit an army camp in Gurez sector of Bandipora district near the Line of Control on Wednersday evening in which several soldiers were trapped, the army official said.

He said rescue operations were launched and seven soldiers including a Junior Commissioned Officer were saved.

“Bodies of three soldiers were retrieved his morning,” he said.

The official said another avalanche hit a patrol party which was on its way to a post in Gurez sector on Wednersday evening.

“Rescue teams were able to retrieve three bodies from the spot of the incident while some soldiers are still missing,” the official said.

He said the exact number of missing soldiers was not yet known as heavy snowfall was hampering ongoing operations.

Representative image 

13:33  Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin passes away :   Long-serving Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin passed away today. 

Kadakin, 67, breathed his last at 8:56 am at a private hospital, officials said.

He had been serving as the Russian Ambassador to India since 2009. 

Kadakin had served as the Russian envoy to India between 1999 and 2004 as well.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened at Kadakin’s death.

“Deeply saddened at the passing away of Ambassador Alexander Kadakin. He was an admirable diplomat, a great friend of India & a fluent Hindi speaker who tirelessly contributed to stronger India-Russia ties,” Modi tweeted.  

The External Affairs Ministry said in Kadakin’s passing away India lost a valued friend.

“In Amb Kadakin we lost a valued friend who nurtured #IndiaRussia relationship for many decades as distinguished Russian diplomat,” MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Kadakin was born in Chisnau in then USSR in 1949. He graduated with honours from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1972. 

He began his diplomatic career as a third secretary at the Russian Embassy in India in 1972.


13:33  2 jawans missing after avalanche hits army camp in Kashmir:  

Two soldiers are missing after an avalanche hit an army camp in Kashmir’s Gurez. Rescue operations have been launched.

An army officer was killed and four other soldiers injured on Wednesday when an avalanche hit a camp in Ganderbal district. Four of a family died after their house was buried under the snow in Bandipora district, said officials.

The army said a major died while four soldiers were rescued alive from under snow and are being treated.

Representative image 


12:29  India-Pak troops exchange sweets on R-Day :  

On the occasion of the 68th Republic Day, Indian security personnel exchanged sweets with Pakistani troops along the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar in Punjab.

Defence personnel from both the nations shook hands and exchanged several platters of sweets.

Despite cold relations between two nations, the exchange of sweets between army personnel of India and Pakistan on their respective days of national importance has been a regular feature.

Photograph: ANI


12:21  Post surgery, Sushma to resume office next month :  

Rajeev Sharma tells us: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will start attending office regularly from next month after taking mandatory complete bed rest in total isolation since her kidney transplant at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences on December 10, 2016.

Swaraj is expected to start her usual office schedule from mid-March, knowledgeable sources said.

She has been clearing office files from her home.

The EAM has been living in sanitised conditions under medical advice and is not allowed to meet any visitors or shake hands with anyone.

Swaraj, a severe diabetic, was admitted to AIIMS in November with failing health. She surprised everyone when she took to Twitter to announce that both her kidneys had failed.

A 40–year-old woman, unrelated to Swaraj, donated her one kidney.

The 64-year-old foreign minister has emerged as a favourite of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as she is efficient at her work, is non-controversial, keeps a low profile and doesn’t talk to the media at all — qualities the PM expects from his Cabinet colleagues but rarely gets.

11:58  Indo-US defence ties the greatest ever: Top US general:  

Underlining that India is a “key player” in the region, a top American general has said that India-US defence cooperation has always been the greatest ever but at times it gets slowed down because of the bureaucracy. 

“We’ve always had a great relationship with the Indian military. For me, my experience with the Indian army, we’ve had a tremendous relationship. But sometimes we were slowed down by bureaucracy and so we’re working through that,” Gen Robert B Brown, Commanding General of the US Army Pacific Force told a Washington audience.

“So that’s helping us … We’re seeing things happening faster and we’re continuing to increase our military exercises with India, which is a key player in the region,” he added. 

“It’s the greatest cooperation I’ve seen (…),” Brown said in response to a question at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

“So it’s really great. They (India) have a tremendous Army … and working with them is a real honour,” Brown said. 

11:50   President’s bodyguard back on Rajpath to escort Rashtrapati & Chief Guest to Rashtrapati Bhavan

11:44  Fight forces seeking to undermine constitutional values: Sonia:  

Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said the intrinsic strength of Indian Republic lies in our constitutional values and asked the people to “fight forces which seek to undermine them”. 

Extending greetings on the occassion of the 68th Republic Day, Gandhi said that the Indian Republic’s intrinsic strength lies in our constitutional values.

Today is the day to reinforce our indelible commitment to protection, preservation and practise of these constitutional ideals that comprise India’s true spirit and struggle against inequality and injustice, she said. 

“Paying respects to the freedom fighters and founding fathers of Indian Republic as also to those great men and women who drafted the Constitution,” Gandhi said, expressing hope that “every Indian will strive to fight for these values and forces that seek to undermine them.” 

11:42  President, PM Narendra Modi and chief guest, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince depart from Rajpath


10:23  UAE contingent marches down Rajpath:  We now have the marching contingent of the UAE and their military band; 179 of them marching down the Rajpath — 144 soldiers and 34 band members. 

This is the second time ever India has invited a foreign country to be part of marching contingent in Republic Day parade. Last year, it the French contingent.


10:17   Four Mi-17 V5 helicopters in inverted ‘Y’ formation, to shower flower petals.

Parade Commander Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, GoC Delhi Area of 7th Sikh Light Infantry. And Parade 2nd in command Maj Gen Rajesh Sahai.

Applause rings for Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees


10:07  President presents Ashok Chakra to late Hav Hangpan Dada’s wife:  

Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir on May 26.

He has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace-time gallantry award.


10:07  President presents Ashok Chakra to late Hav Hangpan Dada’s wife:  

Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at the height of 13,000 feet in the harsh and icy Himalayan range of North Kashmir on May 26.

He has been awarded Ashok Chakra, the highest peace-time gallantry award.


10:03  68th Republic Day parade gets underway:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes President Pranab Mukherjee and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chief guest at the parade.

The 68th Republic Day parade gets underway.


09:55  Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Vice President Hamid Ansari at Rajpath


09:49  The President’s cavalcade has left the Rashtrapati Bhawan with the chief guest, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


09:47  PM Modi lays wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

He is accompanied by the three service chiefs — Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Adm Sunil Lanba and IAF chief ACM B S Dhanoa.

ANI‘s Smita Prakash notes that the Prime Minister chose to give the naval salute this time. Last time, he gave the army salute.

09:38  ASSAM UPDATE: There have been 6 low intensity blasts (in upper assam). All in no man’s land. No damage of any kind, says Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay.


09:30  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh at Republic Day celebrations in Raipur.

09:26  Twin blasts in Assam’s Charaideo area; no casualties reported.


09:11  Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan at Republic Day celebrations in Bhopal


08:39  R-Day: Google shows special stadium doodle:  

Search giant Google in its special doodle to mark the 68th Republic Day, today showed a stadium full of people amid a sea of tricolour decking up the arena. 

The doodle displays one-half of the stadium, with crowd on two corners, while a saffron-coloured band runs along the inner periphery of the semicircular track.

The outer periphery of the track is shown decorated with tricolours and a semi-circular patch of green marks the space in the centre.

The word G-O-O-G-L-E has been spelt out in an arced fashion in the running tracks in bold green surrounded by two green grid patterns and one in red. 

The internet giant, ever year comes up with a special doodle to mark the day. Last year, it showed a march of a richly caparisoned camel contingent of the Border Security Force, a major attraction at the annual parade at the Rajpath. 

The 68th Republic Day Parade will showcase India’s military strength and achievements in a range of areas and its diverse culture on the ceremonial boulevard today.


00:18  Government assures full protection to Bela Bhatia:  Two days after activist Bela Bhatia was accused by protesters as being a Maoist sympathiser and told to vacate her house in Bastar district, senior state Home department officials on Wednesday visited her residence in Pandripani village and assured her of full protection.

Principal Secretary (Home) BVR Subramaniam, Special Director General (anti-naxal operation) D M Awasthi, Bastar Superintendent of Police RN Dash and other officials visited the activist and assured her of full protection by state.

“We have assured Bhatia that we are committed to extend full protection to her. In democracy, every citizen has equal rights to work freely anywhere in the country,” Awasthi said.

On January 23, villagers held a protest outside her rented accommodation and asked her to vacate it for being a ‘naxal sympathiser’.

However, the activist had claimed that a group of men barged inside the house and asked her to leave immediately, failing which they will set the house ablaze.

Bhatia had said she would leave the house on January 24, but not Bastar, as her landlord was being pressurised.

She has been working in the region for past several years.


00:14  Trump orders review of restriction on torturing prisoners: Report:  United States President Donald Trump’s administration is drafting an executive order that would allow the Central Intelligence Agency to reopen overseas ‘black sites’ that were used to torture suspects after 9/11, the American media reported on Wednesday.

The order also would undo many of the restrictions on handling detainees put in place under former President Barack Obama to roll back practices authorised during George W Bush’s administration, the New York Times reported.

It would revoke the directive that gives the Red Cross access to all war detainees in US custody, and would order the Pentagon to continue to use the Guantanamo military prison facility ‘for the detention and trial of newly captured’ detainees, including Islamic State jihadists, according to the Times.

The order calls for a high-level review of policies regarding secret overseas CIA prisons, as well as of enhanced interrogation tactics that have been widely condemned as torture, and are now prohibited by law. — Agencies

Source: Rediff