In a nationwide crackdown just days ahead of Republic
Day, at least five “recruits” were arrested and a dozen placed under watch
on Friday for being Islamic State (IS) sympathisers.
The network, and four youngsters arrested by the Delhi
police on Wednesday, were allegedly recruited by a former Indian Mujahideen
(IM) member, Mohammad Shafi Armar (29), who is suspected to be based in
Armar is one of the key members of terrorist outfit
Ansar-ul-Tawhid (AuT), formed by former IM members who owe allegiance to the
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and local police
recovered low intensity explosives, detonators, wires, batteries and
hydrogen peroxide and other material that can be assembled into IEDs.
The raiding parties recovered 42 mobile phones, as well
as jehadi literature.
The men received online training to prepare pipe bombs, a
signature weapon that the IM has used in the past to carry out multiple bomb
blasts in various Indian cities.
“India and France are carrying out Shakti 2016 in
Rajasthan which focusses on counter-terror and counter-insurgency
Commentators have pointed out that there are differences
between the French and Indian experience of handling terror, but both sides
will benefit by exchanging ideas and strategies for a larger goal.
Terror threats to France are from Syria, Iraq and other
such unstable spots faraway from French borders. But the terror we face in
India is of cross-border nature, from Pakistan.
That is why we need international collaboration so that
financial channels and political supporters of state- sponsored terrorism
can be dealt with by using the United Nations.
Last year, India’s Permanent Representative to the United
Nations spoke about the organisation’s inability to give a “robust” response
to international terrorism after the India-backed resolution against 26/11
plotter and LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi failed to go through the
Security Council because of Chinese opposition.
Greater French support for India’s decade-old anti-terror
struggle would help India attain both regional as well as global targets in
the fight against terrorism.
In his fifth visit to his constituency, Varanasi, after
assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Fri- day flagged of a new
train, Mahamana Express, connect- ing the city and New Delhi through Lucknow
in 14 hours.
The train, named after Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, the
founder of Banaras Hindu University, is equipped with modern facilities such
as bio- toilets in every coach and LED screens in air-conditioned
The train will run thrice a week. Attending the
Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Samaroh in the city, Mr. Modi gave away electronic
devices, artificial limbs, tricycles, Braille kits, hearing aids,
teaching-learn- ing material kit and other equipment to 9,296 “di- vyangs”,
or specially abled persons.
The Prime Minister’s office has sought indus- try
recommendations on reviving and sustaining the growth momentum in the core
sectors of manufacturing and infrastructure, ahead of the Budget.
The exercise is separate from the pre-Budget
consultations that the Finance Ministry held with the chiefs of industry
chambers like CII, FICCI and Assocham, CEOs and chairmen of large industrial
conglomerates and IT industry representatives over January 6 and 7.
Industry had urged finance minister Arun Jaitley to spur
domestic demand in the Budget in order to revive private sector investments.
The PMO often seeks inputs from industry bodies for ideas
to sustain the reforms process in specific sectors and assess policy issues
beyond the short-term imperatives which can be addressed in the Budget.
Though industrial output has grown at 3.9 per cent from
April to November 2015, compared to 2.5 per cent over the same period in
2014, it remains volatile.
After surging 9.8 per cent in October last year, the
index of industrial production fell by 3.2 per cent in November — its worst
performance since October 2011.
The Indian government will pay banks a 2.5 percent
commission to unlock the country's massive stash of gold under a new
monetisation scheme, the central bank said, as the ambitious plan received a
poor response from banks and customers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Gold
Monetisation Scheme to lure an estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold hoarded in
households and temples into the banking system and trim the import bill of
the world's second biggest gold consumer after China.
But only a few kilograms trickled in over the last two
months as banks showed little interest in popularising the scheme because of
negligible returns for them.
Now the government has decided to pay the participating
banks a total commission of 2.5 percent, including 1.5 percent handling
charges, for the first year.
Support from banks is crucial to the success of the
scheme. Similar programmes in the past have failed as they were not
profitable for the banks.
Under the current scheme, Indians are encouraged to
deposit jewellery, bars or coins with banks so it can be refined to meet
fresh demand and cut the need for imports.
Banks, however, were saying they could not ofer
attractive rates unless the government compensated them for the loss from