Vijay Diwas: December 16, 1971 – When India won and Bangladesh got liberated

The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 is heralded as one of the most convincing victories in the annals of the military history.

vijaydiwas

New Delhi: The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 is heralded as one of the most convincing victories in the annals of the military history.

It culminated with the abject surrender of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan (now, Bangladesh), with almost 1,00,000 being taken prisoners of war (PoWs), and eventually leading up to the liberation of Bangladesh on December 16.

India and Bangladesh, since then, celebrate Vijay Diwas, also known as Victory day, every year to mark both the countries` military victory over Pakistan.

As Lt Gen PS Mehta puts it, “The Indian Defence Forces celebrate Vijay Diwas on December 16 to remember the day of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. On December 3, Pakistan attacked 11 of the Indian air fields because of which the war actually started. In response, India did take offensive undertaking in Eastern and Western areas of Pakistan. This Vijay Diwas is celebrated because in just 13 days, Indian forces, which included the Air Force, Para Troopers, Ground Force and Navy, made Dhaka independent.”

“After this day, the birth of a new nation took place, which is now known as Bangladesh. This was the first time, in the 21st century, where India showed the whole world that it liberated a new country. Maybe this was the first after second world war that a new country was born out of a war. All the army, all the commands that took part in that war, the veterans, who took part in this war, are also called in to join the celebration,” he adds.

Gen Mehta further says the battle also reminds him they made General AA Khan Niyezi and 90,000 `Prisoners of War` surrender in Bangladesh.

“This is believed to be one of the most historic events in the military history. But this occasion will be special this time, as some veterans and serving soldiers from Bangladesh army would also come in the Eastern command in Fort William, Kolkata and grace the occasion with their presence,” he adds.

Another veteran and defence and security expert says, “The war was a result of genocide by the Pakistani Army in erstwhile East Pakistan which led to the influx of lakhs of refugees into India and creation of a humanitarian crisis. Indira Gandhi, then prime minister of India, made many attempts to galvanise international action against Pakistan and support to India to look after the refugees, but it did not come by.”

“Pakistan leveraged India`s justified support to the freedom fighters of East Pakistan as an excuse to declare war against India. On December 3, 1971, at 5.45 pm, Pakistan launched a pre-emptive airstrike at Indian airfields of Srinagar, Avantipur, Pathankot, Uttarlai, Jodhpur, Ambala and Agra. The first salvo was followed by another one before India launched its response. While the Pakistani pre-emptive strikes could not cause any damage to the Indian aircraft or airfields the Indian Air force, in a short span of time established complete air superiority over East Pakistan while dominating the skies on the western front too by flying an unprecedented 500 plus sorties a day,” he adds.

On ground, the Indian forces in East Pakistan relentlessly marched forward despite the enemy strength of about four divisions and established complete supremacy which ultimately led to the Pakistani forces laying down their arms.

The surrender by the Pakistan Army Commander Lt Gen AAK Niazi was accepted by the Army Commander of eastern Command Lt Gen JS Arora.Pakistan`s combat strength in East Pakistan by the end of November 1971 was four divisions.

In addition, there were 25,000 irregulars, one regiment plus a squadron of Chaffee tanks, an ad hoc squadron of Chaffee and PT 76 tanks. Its Air Force had 25 Sabre jets and a few helicopters.

The Pakistan Navy had sufficient gunboats operating in inland and coastal waters. However, not a single aircraft was destroyed on ground. The Indian Air Force went into action the same night and continued operations at an unprecedented pace of 500 sorties per day, a rate higher than in the Second World War.

In the eastern sector, Indian Air Force Hunters, SU-7 and Mig-21s dive bombed the two PAF airfields, disabling them for flights, and decimated its aircraft.

IAF executed more than 4,000 sorties to attain the vital air superiority over East Pakistan, and to support the Indian Army`s ground operations.

“Pakistan attacked all along the western front, heavy offensives were witnessed in Poonch, Chhamb and the Shakarhgarh Bulge, but they did not succeed due to the courage and tenacity of the Indian forces,” he added.

Pakistan then strategised annexing of some territories in the deserts as that could play out as assets on the negotiating table. This led to the epic Battle of Longewala where an Infantry company of 23 Punjab under Major (later Brigadier) KS Chandpuri withstood an assault by hundreds of tanks throughout the night. The Pakistan Tanks were decimated the next morning by the Indian Air Force, the defence expert concludes.

After steering Congress for 19 years, Sonia Gandhi to pass baton to Rahul Gandhi today

Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998, steered the 132-year-old party for 19 years.

sonia-rahul

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi on Saturday is set to receive a formal certificate of being elected the Congress president unopposed from the party’s central election authority at a function at the AICC headquarters on Saturday.

The 47-year-old Rahul Gandhi formally takes over the reins of the grand old party two days before the counting of votes for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections.

Former PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, current and former chief ministers, MPs, senior Congress leaders, and all PCC chiefs and delegates will be present at the handing over ceremony.

Rahul Gandhi has been elected unopposed as Congress president, partys central election authority head Mullappally Ramachandran had announced on December 11.

In his first address after being elected the party chief, he said his party will put pressure on the government to pass women reservation bill in the Parliament.

“We have to work on transforming the Congress party, and a fundamental part of it is going to be the role of women in the Congress party at every single level,” said Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi had been the party vice president for over four years since 2013.

Rahul’s main challenge remains the revamping of party organisation, apart from electoral battles in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi on Friday said it was time for her to retire, triggering immediate speculation about her future plans, but the Congress party sought to quell it saying she has only retired from the party chief’s role and not from politics.

Sonia Gandhi has retired as Congress president and not from politics, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

Surjewala tweeted: “Would sincerely request friends in the media to not rely upon innuendos.”

“Sonia Gandhi has retired as president of Indian National Congress and not from politics. Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” he said in another tweet.

Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998, steered the 132-year-old party for 19 years.

Can a cup of hot tea every day keep glaucoma away?

The new findings show that lifestyle changes could help prevent vision loss from glaucoma.

eyes

New York: Your morning cup of tea may have more power than you thought. Researchers have found that drinking a cup of hot tea at least once a day may lower the risk of developing glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.

Glaucoma causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve. It currently affects 57.5 million people worldwide, and is expected to increase to 65.5 million by 2020.

The study, published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found that compared with those who did not drink hot tea every day, those who did, had a lower glaucoma risk.

The new findings show that lifestyle changes could help prevent vision loss from glaucoma, lead study author Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles, was quoted as saying by Live Science.

However, the researchers noted that this was an observational study, and therefore, no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

“Further research is needed to establish the importance of these findings,” the researchers said.

The researchers looked at data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the US.

This is a nationally representative annual survey of around 10,000 people that includes interviews, physical examinations and blood samples, designed to gauge the health and nutritional status of US adults and children.

The survey also included eye tests for glaucoma. Among the 1,678 participants who had full eye test results, including photos, 84 (five per cent) adults had developed the condition.

They were asked how often and how much they had drunk of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks, including soft drinks and iced tea, over the preceding 12 months, using a validated questionnaire.

The researchers found that hot tea drinkers were 74 per cent less likely to have glaucoma.

But no such associations were found for coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — decaffeinated tea, iced tea or soft drinks.

Tea contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective chemicals, which have been associated with a lowered risk of serious conditions, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the researchers said.

And previous research has suggested that oxidation and neurodegeneration may be involved in the development of glaucoma, they added.

Eminem releases new album ‘Revival’

‘Revival’ is the follow-up to ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’, a 2013 release that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

eminem

Los Angeles: Rapper Eminems ninth studio album ‘Revival’ is available now.

Released via Aftermath/Shady/Interscope Records, ‘Revival’ was executive-produced by Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin.

“#Revival out now,” Eminem tweeted on Friday.

The album features the previously released singles ‘Untouchable’ and ‘Walk on water’ (featuring Beyoncé Knowles).

The album also includes appearances by singers Alicia Keys, P!nk, Ed Sheeran and Skylar Grey.

‘Revival’ is the follow-up to ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’, a 2013 release that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

‘Secret Superstar’ doing steady business in Taiwan

Aamir Khan’s “Secret Superstar” has minted $700,681 in Taiwan since its release. The film, which also features Zaira Wasim and which lit up the box office in India on Diwali, opened in Taiwan on November 24.

secret-superstar

New Delhi: Aamir Khan’s “Secret Superstar” has minted $700,681 in Taiwan since its release. The film, which also features Zaira Wasim and which lit up the box office in India on Diwali, opened in Taiwan on November 24.

Zee Studios International took the film to the foreign market, read a statement.

In “Secret Superstar”, Zaira, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, plays a teenaged girl named Insia who dreams of becoming a singer. The film is about how she fulfils her dreams by keeping her identity hidden.

Vibha Chopra, Head – Zee Studios International (Film Marketing, Distribution and Acquisition) said: “Content is what wins hearts worldwide and ‘Secret Superstar’, which is heavy on content is a proof of that. So much so that it is the widest Bollywood film release in Taiwan. We are happy to see how positively international markets are reacting to the film.”

“Secret Superstar” has amassed a total of $700,681 in Taiwan.

“Given that ‘Secret Superstar’ has connected with various audiences across the globe, we are excited to see how well the film does in the coming months, in other territories as well,” Chopra added.

‘”Secret Superstar” is written and directed by Advait Chandan and produced by Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao. The film has also released in markets like the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UAE and other Gulf countries as well as Pakistan.

Spain face possible 2018 FIFA World Cup ban over government interference

Soccer`s governing body has warned the RFEF that the Spanish government`s involvement in the election for the football federation`s new president could lead to them being expelled from next year`s World Cup.

fifa-sun-reu

Barcelona: Spain’s participation at the 2018 World Cup in Russia could be under threat after FIFA raised concerns about political interference within the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Soccer`s governing body has warned the RFEF that the Spanish government`s involvement in the election for the football federation`s new president could lead to them being expelled from next year`s World Cup.

The RFEF is led by Juan Luis Larrea on an interim basis after former president Angel Maria Villar was forced to step down on corruption charges.

“We can confirm that FIFA recently sent a letter to the RFEF showing its concern with the situation the federation is in and reminding it that… all member associations should manage their affairs independently,” FIFA said in a statement on Friday.

“All associations must be assured that there is no outside interference from third parties in its internal affairs. FIFA is in contact with the RFEF and in the next few weeks a delegation of FIFA and UEFA members will travel to Madrid to analyse the situation the RFEF is in.”

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that FIFA`s concerns centre around the government`s sports department pushing to hold new federation elections.

A statement from the RFEF said its president Larrea had discussed the situation with FIFA members at the World Cup draw on Dec. 1.

“The RFEF passed on these (FIFA`s) concerns to the minister for sport and is expecting to organise a meeting on the matter. The RFEF wants everything to return to normal, that has always been the main objective of the current board of directors.

“We underline that we all want the national team to participate in the 2018 World Cup, especially after its brilliant qualifying campaign.”

Spain captain and Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, speaking ahead of the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi, added: “I cannot believe that Spain could lose what we have worked so hard for on the pitch due to an institutional dispute, I struggle to believe that.”

Spain`s prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he was not concerned by the suggestion his country would be barred from competing in the World Cup.

Spain won the World Cup for the first time in 2010 and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy in Russia next year.

“I cannot contemplate that scenario, I`m absolutely convinced Spain will go to the World Cup and that we are going to win it,” Rajoy told reporters in Brussels after a meeting of European Union member states.

“The government`s behaviour is exemplary and those in charge of the department for sport (CSD) have the total support of the prime minister.”

In 2015 Indonesia were banned from competing in qualifiers for next year`s World Cup after FIFA said the central government had taken over its federation`s affairs.

Ravindra Jadeja hits six sixes in an over, joins elite list

He is the third Indian to achieve the feat, after Ravi Shastri and Yuvraj Singh.

jadeja-pti

New Delhi: He is out of the limited-overs sides for some time but, Ravindra Jadeja put the national selectors in a spot of bother by hitting six sixes in an over, albeit in a inter-district T20 tournament on Friday (December 15).

Opening the batting for Jamnagar against Amreli at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium yesterday, Jadeja smashed a 69-ball 154 to lead his side to a comfortable 121-run win.

In the 15th over of the innings, the 29-year-old treated offspinner Nilam Vamja with disdain, hitting all six balls over the boundary. He thus joined an elite list of batsmen who have hit six sixes in an over.

He is the third Indian to achieve the feat, after Ravi Shastri and Yuvraj Singh. The current India coach, playing for Mumbai, hit left-arm spinner Tilak Raj, in a Ranji Trophy match in 1985. He was then the second player to do so, after Garfield Sobers, who did it for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan, in 1968 in a first-class match. The unlucky bowler was Sobers’ fellow West Indian Malcolm Nash, a left-arm medium pacer.

Then, in 2007, South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs joined the list with six sixes against Daan van Bunge of Netherlands in a World Cup match. India’s eternal World Cup star Yuvi was the next one. Many claimed that the Indian left-hander punished England pacer Stuart Broad for Andrew Flintoff’s fault. That 2007 World T20 match has already become a folklore in the game’s modern era.

Jadeja, in his 69-ball knock, hits 10 sixes and 15 fours to set up a huge total of 239/6.

His knock arrived at just the perfect time ahead of India’s tour of South Africa, for a full series comprising of three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is.

The all-rounder has been included in the squad but earlier skipper Virat Kohli had admitted that there’s no guarantee that both Jadeja and his spin twin R Ashwin will play every game.

But the fighter in Jadeja is keeping things simple by playing good cricket.

Virat Kohli’s salary from BCCI may jump from Rs. 5 crore to Rs. 10 crore: Report

According to a newspaper report, the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators is working on a formula that would take BCCI’s existing salary corpus from Rs 180 crore to Rs. 380 crore.

virat-kohli-pti

New Delhi: Salaries of senior domestic and international Indian cricketers is likely to double up soon as the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is likely to present the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with a formula that would add Rs 200 crore to the existing salary structure, according to a report in The Times of India.

If the proposal is ratified by the BCCI’s general body, the present allocation of Rs. 180 crore will be upped to Rs. 380 crore. The proportion of the hike to be divided among the senior and junior teams is also being worked out by the CoA.

The news comes weeks after the presentation made by India captain Virat Kohli and chief coach Ravi Shastri, who demanded a hike in the players’ earnings.

The TOI report says that presently 26% of BCCI’s annual revenue is divided among international players (13%), domestic players (10.6% ) and women and juniors (2.4%).

But if CoA’s proposal is ratified, a top player like Virat Kohli will earn in excess of Rs. 10 crore compared to the Rs 5.51 crore he did from 46 matches in 2017. In the domestic circuit, a senior Ranji Trophy player’s emoluments are likely to go up to Rs 30 lakh from Rs. 12 to 15 lakh currently.

“Senior cricketers are certainly going to get a 100% raise and even domestic players would get the same percentage increase,” TOI quoted a source. “Since, these cricketers are the reason for BCCI’s revenues, can’t the board afford another Rs 200 crore for their salaries?” a top BCCI official questioned.

The report adds that Sourav Ganguly also brought up the issue at BCCI’s special general meeting (SGM) on Monday, suggesting an increase in the salaries of domestic players.

India ‘open to suggestion’ on China’s OBOR if concerns are addressed

India has said that it is open to any suggestion on OBOR if its sensitivities are taken into account.

jinping-modi

After opposing China’s ambitious plan since its inception, India has now said that it is open to any suggestion on the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project if its sensitivities are taken into account.

The statement was made by the Ministry of External Affairs after Russia urged it to find a way to join the OBOR initiative.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had on Monday pitched for India joining the project, hoping that New Delhi would find a way out to benefit from the mega project without sacrificing its position over it.

“On this particular suggestion, also I think I have mentioned in the past that if there are suggestions, if there is a view which takes into account our sensitivities in the matter then there is something which we are willing to look at,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He also said India’s position on OBOR is “very clear”.

This comes amid reports of differences between China and Pakistan CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), which is the only operational part of the vast OBOR connectivity project.

Pakistan has reportedly stopped work on the three CPEC road projects for which China has stopped the funding.

Leading Pakistani daily Dawn reported that the country’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal confirmed to the 22-member Parliamentary Committee on CPEC that the works on the three road projects had been stopped.

However, the committee, in a press release on Monday evening, went to great lengths to send the message that the projects had not been abandoned. The statement however ended up underlining the inability of the financially strained Pakistan government from carrying on with the work.

“The meeting was informed that contrary to the speculation in the media, the reports of shelving three infrastructure projects is not correct, rather, Chinese side was reviewing the financial mechanism of these projects and these would be started upon receipt of approval from the Chinese side,” read the statement.

China had stunned Pakistan on November 20 by stopping the funding for the three projects. The stop-funding announcement sparked speculation on whether it was retribution for the limited spine that Pakistan had showed.

(With agency inputs)

This man lived with a rare tumour for 65 years

It was rare case as the tumour has been present and growing since birth in the body of Aligarh resident Hemendra Gupta Arya, said Professor M.H. Beg, who led the surgical team in the six-hour operation at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the Aligarh Muslim University.   

surgery

Aligarh: A three kg tumour located between the heart and lung of a 65-year-old man was removed at the AMU’s medical college here on Thursday.

It was rare case as the tumour has been present and growing since birth in the body of Aligarh resident Hemendra Gupta Arya, said Professor M.H. Beg, who led the surgical team in the six-hour operation at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the Aligarh Muslim University.

Even though the man had been living with the tumour all his life, it was diagnosed only recently after he complained of severe pain, said Beg.

Mohd Azam Haseen, who was also in the team, said Arya’s age made the surgery challenging.