As of now the Indian Government and the Kerala Government are deeply concerned about the condition of the 46 nurses who are surviving somehow in Iraq. This information has been revealed by Oommen Chandy who had a meeting with Sushma Swaraj regarding the issue. The nurses in question are stranded in Tikrit and have not been able to get a good night’s sleep in the last couple of days. They have also not availed the bus that the ISIS militants brought for them so that they could be moved to Mosul. As per Chandy’s interaction with the media it has been revealed that the Union Government is just as concerned as Kerala Government regarding their condition.
Indian nurses stuck in Iraq
Chandy has also informed the reporters that the Indian Government has been doing its level best to ensure the safe return of these nurses. The Kerala CM had a couple of meetings and keeping him company were 3 ministers. He had a couple of meetings with the Union External Affairs Minister for a combined time of 90 odd minutes but refused to provide any details of the same to the media. He has also requested the media to exercise restraint while reporting the issue.
The Indian Government is looking to make the MNREGA program a part of the agricultural sector and for this purpose it is looking to create assets that can be of some relevance to the said sector. In fact the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was a favorite project of the previous UPA government. The Rural Development Ministry of India has had discussions for this purpose with the different states with the aim to make the agricultural sector a more productive one. The Ministry has stated that it is aiming to keep the basic aim of the program intact but at the same time improve its standard.
A senior official of the said ministry has stated that all the states are happy with the proposals put forward by the union government for this project. The government order regarding this is supposed to come out in the week ahead and it is being assumed that it will have the suggestions made by the state governments in this regard. The ministry is also hopeful that with these steps it will be possible to assist the farmers deal with crises situations such as droughts as well as continued dry spells. The schedule of the MGNREGS Act is said to be changed with the emphasis being on infrastructural development in the agricultural domain.
The US is supposed to sell harpoon missiles to India. These missiles can be used as an offensive weapon against ships and will be sold in the region of $200 million. It is expected that this deal will only strengthen the relations between India and US and also improve the security setup of India. The whole deal is also inclusive of approximately 12 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II Encapsulated Missiles, a couple of certification training vehicles that are used for Encapsulated Harpoons and 10 UTM-84L Harpoon Encapsulated training missiles. It has been learnt that these will be used by Shishumar class submarines of Indian Navy.
It is expected that these missiles will enable the Indian Navy to be stronger when it comes to defending the important lines of communication in the seas. India has also bought Harpoon missiles that are to be used by the Jaguar planes of Indian Air Force as well as the P-81 planes that are used by the Navy for the purpose of maritime patrol. India has also informed the US that it will face no problems in integrating these into its armed forces.
PM visits Jammu and Kashmir during shutdown
Narendra Modi is set to visit and Kashmir and that too at a time when there is a shutdown in the region called by the separatist groups. Majlis Itihad-e-Milat, which is a representative body of the local Muslim outfits, has also issued a warning stating that no separate area should be created for the Kashmiri Pandits. The PM will head a meeting to review high level security arrangements in the region. It will be held at the headquarters of 15th Corps in Badami Bagh. He shall also inaugurate a hydropower station – with a capacity of 240 MW – at Uri, which is a border town located at Baramulla.
Prior to this he shall also visit Jammu for the opening of a rail link connecting Udhampur and Katra and covering a distance of 25 km. This route will also provide a straight connection to Mata Vaishno Devi temple from anywhere in India. This is the first time that he will be visiting the state after taking over the reins as the PM. Incidentally BJP is a staunch opponent of providing any special status to Kashmir.
The national government has started 4 vaccines. One of them is supposed to deal with Japanese Encephalitis or JE. All these vaccines are parts of the nationwide program of immunization that will provide vaccines for free. These vaccines will help one fight against 13 fatal diseases that affect 27 million children every year in India. Vaccines will be provided for diseases such as rotavirus, polio and rubella as well. In fact Narendra Modi had announced a program of universal immunization. The JE vaccine will be provided to adults at 179 districts of 9 states where this disease has been found to occur regularly.
It is expected that with the new vaccines it will be able to counter the life-taking diseases in a more effective manner and thus reduce the rates of death and diseases among children in India. Modi, while announcing the said program, had stated that the vaccines in question were already available to private doctors who were selling them to people who were capable of buying them. He revealed that through this program the government was trying to make sure that these vaccines are available to more people regardless of which socio-economic strata they belong to. The PM had also professed India’s commitment to deal with the high rate infant mortality.
Modi asks US to be sensitive towards India’s concerns
John McCain, a Republican senator from the US is visiting India and Narendra Modi had a meeting with him where he gave vent to the concerns of India pertaining to its relations with the North American country. It has been learnt that in 2010 the National Security Agency of the US had secretly monitored BJP. As per the information provided by the senior officers to the media, Modi has told McCain that the US should show a bit more restraint on these issues. An official statement was released following the meeting’s conclusion. However, the snooping issue, which almost put the said visit in question, was not mentioned.
In fact the Union External Affairs Ministry had called Kathleen Stephens, the interim ambassador to India of the US and lodged a rather strong complaint regarding the same. McCain also had a meeting with Sushma Swaraj. He was supposed to be present at a news conference that was to take place outside the South Block office of the foreign ministry but it was called off. Modi also discussed the issue of intellectual property rights with McCain.