New Delhi: Ahead of his India visit, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that the US expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups, and warned that countries that use terror as an instrument of policy will only see their international reputation diminished.

Tillerson, who said that he would be visiting New Delhi next week for the first time in his official capacity, also said that US President Donald Trump's administration was "determined to dramatically deepen" ties with India.


"In the past decade, our counter-terrorism cooperation has expanded significantly," Tillerson said while delivering an address on 'Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century' at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top US think-tank.

Speaking about peace and stability in South Asia and especially in Afghanistan, Tillerson said that apart from India, Pakistan too was an important partner of the US in this.

"We expect Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders and threaten their own people and the broader region.

"In doing so, Pakistan furthers peace and stability for itself and its neighbours and improves its own international standing," he said.

He said that the US and India were cross-screening known and suspected terrorists and later this year Washington and New Delhi would convene a new dialogue on terrorist designations.

"In July, I signed a designation that Hizbul Mujahideen is a foreign terrorist organisation because the United States and India stand shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism.

"States that use terror as an instrument of policy will only see their international reputation standing diminished." he stated, adding that it was the obligation, not choice, of every civilised nation to combat terrorism.

On the growing India-US ties, Tillerson said that President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were committed more than any of the leaders before them "to building an ambitious partnership that benfits not only our two great democracies but for other sovereign nations working for greater peace and stability".

"The Trump administration is determined to dramatically deepen ways for the United States and India to further this partnership," he said.

The Secretary of State said that there were over 600 American companies operating and US investment in India has jumped by 500 per cent in the last two years. He also pointed out that last year bilateral trade attained a record of roughly $115 billion.

He said that 1.2 million Americans visited India last year while 166,000 Indian students were studying in the US.

"Nearly four million Indian Americans call the United States home and are contributing as doctors, engineers and innovators and probably serving their country in uniform," Tillerson said.

He also lashed out at China and said that the dragon, while rising alongside India, "has done so less responsibly at times undermining the international rules based order".

"Even as countries like India operate under a framework to protect other nations' sovereignty, China's provocative actions in the South China Sea directly challenge international law and norms that the United States and India stand for."

Tillerson also said that the US needed to collaborate with India to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region so that it did not become "a region of disorder, conflict and predatory economics".

He said that the US-India-Japan trilateral maritime exercises would work to strengthen the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region.

His remarks comes as US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has said that India can help the US keep an eye on Pakistan as President Trump has "taken tougher approach to Islamabad harbouring terrorists".

"America's overriding interest in Afghanistan and throughout South Asia are to eliminate terrorist safe havens that threaten us. And to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, we will use all the elements of our national power economic diplomatic and military to pursue these goals," she said.

"Pakistan has been a partner to the US at times. We value and respect that. But, we cannot tolerate this government or any other government giving safe haven to terrorists who target Americans. This new approach will require understanding and restraint from both Pakistan and India," she said at a talk at the US-India Friendship Council.

The US is looking at India to help Washington more in Afghanistan particularly in economic and development assistance.

"We are really going to need India's help in Afghanistan. They are the good neighbours and partner that we have in the region," she said.






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Srinagar: Two Indian Air Force commandos training with the army were killed in a fierce encounter with terrorists in Kashmir's Bandipora early this morning. Two terrorists have been shot dead.

Security forces surrounded a house in a village after specific inputs about the presence of terrorists. The terrorists fired from the house, after which the forces retaliated.

"The operation is going on," said Sheikh Zulfikar, senior police officer in Bandipore.

The Air Force Garud commandos were with the army for operational experience and training.






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New Delhi: Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan features in the list of probables for this year's Nobel Prize in Economics, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

He is one of the six economists on the list of probable winners complied by Clarivate Analytics, a company that does academic and scientific research and maintains a list of dozens of possible Nobel Prize winners based on research citations.

The entry to the list does not guarantee that Mr Rajan is a front-runner but he is a probable who stands a chance to win.

Mr Rajan, whose three year term as Reserve Bank Governor ended on September 4, 2016, is considered a candidate for his "contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance", Clarivate said.

The Nobel Prize in Economics will be announced on Monday.

According to Clarivate Analytics, the list of possible Nobel Prize winners based on research citations include Colin Camerer of the California Institute of Technology and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University (for pioneering research in behavioural economics and in neuroeconomics); Robert Hall of Stanford University (for his analysis of worker productivity and studies of recessions and unemployment); and Michael Jensen of Harvard, Stewart Myers of MIT and Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago (for their contributions illuminating the dimensions of decisions in corporate finance).

Mr Rajan, who at 40 was the first non-western and the youngest to become the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, shot to big fame three years after he predicted a financial crisis at an annual gathering of economists and bankers in the US in 2005.

He was appointed RBI Governor by the previous UPA government in 2013 and although he wanted a second term he was not offered an extension, which most of his predecessors got, by the current NDA regime.

He is currently the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.




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New Delhi:  A British national Al Qaeda terrorist on a mission to radicalise Rohingya Muslims to fight in Myanmar has been arrested in the Indian capital, police said on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police P.S. Kushwah said Shami Rehman, 27, was arrested near Shakarpur bus stand in east Delhi on Sunday evening.


Kushwah said he was carrying a fake voter identification card in the name of Shumon Haq from Bihar.

Rehman, who had been an operative of Al Qaeda for the last four years, had received a three-month arms training in Syria and had fought in Alleppo, Kushwah said. Police also recovered a pistol and four cartridges from him.

Police said the accused's mission was to set up base Manipur or Mizoram and radicalise Rohingya Muslims to fight the military in Myanmar.

Kushwah said Rehman was previously working in Bangladesh and was jailed.

"He had radicalised around a dozen people in Bangladesh," he said, describing him as a "hardcore terrorist".

The officer said the man was in India for the past two months and was in touch with different people from south India, West Bengal as well as Jammu and Kashmir.

The officer said Rehman's family owned a residence in central London.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have led Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh -- and some in India too -- to escape violence in the wake of a military crackdown.





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New Delhi: Senior IPS officer Y.C. Modi, who was part of a Supreme Court-appointed probe team in the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, will be the new chief of the NIA.

The decision was taken on Monday by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet following a Home Ministry proposal.


Modi will succeed Sharad Kumar, who retires on October 30. The designate-Director General will be an Officer on Special Duty with the NIA with immediate effect to ensure a smooth takeover.

He will hold the post till his superannuation on May 31, 2021, according to an order from the Department of Personnel and Training.

A 1984 Assam-Meghalaya cadre IPS officer, Modi takes over the National Investigation Agency at a time when it is probing the funding of separatists and stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

He is currently Special Director with the CBI. He was appointed the Additional Director of the CBI in 2015.

Modi was a part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the Gujarat riots cases in August 2010 and remained part of the team till July 2012.

The SIT had cleared Narendra Modi, who at that time was Gujarat's Chief Minister, in the Gulbarg Society massacre case.

Sharad Kumar, an IPS officer of the 1979 batch of Haryana cadre, was appointed the NIA chief on July 30, 2013. He was given two extensions -- the latest on October 23 last year.





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New Delhi:  The 29-hour countdown for Thursday evening launch of India's navigation satellite IRNSS-1H using the rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will begin on Wednesday, said Indian space agency on Tuesday.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Mission Readiness Review (MRR) committee and Launch Authorisation Board (LAB) have cleared the 29-hour countdown to begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.


India on Thursday will at 7 p.m. launch its navigation satellite IRNSS-1H (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) weighing 1,425 kg with its PSLV rocket.

This eighth IRNSS satellite will be the replacement for IRNSS-1A as its atomic clocks have failed.

The PSLV rocket will sling the IRNSS-1H into a Sub-Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

The launch will take place from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.





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So near and yet so far. Team India was left just nine runs short of lifting the Women's World Cup title against England at the Lord's cricket ground on Sunday. It could have been the first World Cup triumph for the Women in blue, but losing last seven wickets for 28 runs and wilting under pressure in the final halted Mithali Raj and Co's way to bring the coveted trophy home. This was India's second essay into the Women's World Cup final, the first having come in 2005. However, their attempt this time around was way better.

"Yes, I'm proud of the team. It wasn't easy for England but credit to them for keeping their nerves. Match was in balance at one point of time, but we panicked and that led to our defeat," Mithali said after the match.

"I'm very proud of the girls. For the other team they didn't make any match look easy. We did very well in the tournament. All the youngsters in the team tried their best," she added.

On Jhulan Goswami, who took three wickets to restrict England to 228 for 7, she said, "Jhulan is an experienced bowler and has always delivered when the team has needed her to. But I knew England have depth, otherwise it could've been a match-winning performance."

"Thank you to the crowd for turning up for a women's cricket final. For all the women cricketers this is a huge boost. I'm sure this experience will help the players.

England were ecstatic after winning their fourth World Cup. Captain Heather Knight's side were beaten by India in the first game of the tournament, but steadily improved to top the eight-team group, including beating defending champions Australia.

After the match, Knight said she "can't stop smiling".

"We knew that if we stayed on till the end and brought the rate up over five or six an over, we would be in the game," an elated Knight said.

"We have won those tight games which is something we have worked on in the last 18 months. On the situations we have worked on where the heat is on us and looked to come up on top."

The home skipper did not forget to praise gritty Indians. "They were batting brilliantly, credit to them, they've had a great tournament."





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Four years before Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, Nathuram Godse, the man who would shoot him three times in Delhi, tried to attack him with a knife. It was Bhiku Daji Bhilare who saved him. Yesterday, he died in Maharashtra; he was 98.
His cremation was attended by freedom fighters and legislators.

"Engaged In social and public services always, as legislator from Mahabaleshwar constituency he was elected twice and was a very active figure fighting for rights and benefits of freedom fighters. Though active almost till his last breath, for the past few years, he rarely stepped out of his village," said a close friend and state Congress Vice President Ratnakar Mahajan.
As a 25-year-old sub-district president of the Rashtra Seva Dal, one of the frontal groups of the Congress, Bhilare prevented one of the six assassination attempts on the Mahatma made by Godse.

"During the month of summer Gandhiji used to visit Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani. On one such trip in July 1944 after he was released from the Aga Khan Palace prison in Pune (following his arrest during the Quit India movement), he went to Panchgani to recuperate," Mahajan recalled.


Near a school in one of the  evening during a prayer meeting, Godse, along with two other associates, rushed towards Gandhi with a knife, but Bhilare saw them, blocked their way, and after a brief struggle, succeeded in disarming Godse and one of his associates with some help, Mahajan recalled.






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Kolkata : Raising concerns over the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime from July 1, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the "unnecessary disastrous hurry" to roll-out the pan-India tax regime is "another epic blunder" of the Centre, after the demonetisation move.

"We are deeply concerned about the GST implementation. After demonetisation, this unnecessary disastrous hurry is another epic blunder of the Centre. We have been for GST from the beginning but are very worried now with the way the central government is going ahead with the implementation," she said.

"Our repeated suggestions to take some more time to properly implement the GST have fallen on deaf ears," she said in a Facebook post.

To protest the move, the Trinamool Congress will not attend the June 30 midnight programme in Parliament to mark the GST roll-out, she said.

"Our Parliamentary Party has decided not to attend the June 30 midnight programme at Parliament House to celebrate the GST, as a mark of protest," Banerjee said.

She said the entire business community, especially the small and medium units, was scared and confused.

"Only 60 hours are left before this ill-planned launch and no one knows for sure what's happening!" she said.

Later in the day, Banerjee said the Centre was rolling out the GST in haste and hinted that state Finance Minister Amit Mitra might not attend the GST council meeting to be held in Delhi on June 30.

"The common people are getting harassed by this hasty decision. Amit Mitra might not go for the GST Council meeting on the 30th. Why would he go? They are not listening to him," Banerjee told reporters while leaving the state secretariat Nabanna

Accusing the Centre of stopping the state government from utilising its funds for various schemes, the Chief Minister claimed that the situation in the nation is "worse than the Emergency" imposed under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 70's.

"They are compelling us to stop utilising government funds for various schemes. This is a bad time for the nation. Even during the Emergency period such destructive decisions were not taken. This is an even bigger emergency than the Emergency period," she alleged.

Attacking the BJP government, she said: "The current ruling party at the Centre had initially strongly opposed GST for over seven years, and suddenly did a somersault on coming to office as a champion of GST."

Banerjee also alleged essential commodities such as medicines were "not available in many places and prices of various commodities" were rising for lack of clarity and mismanagement.

"We have always been fighting for maintaining the federal structure of the country, even if Bengal at times was the lone voice and conscience of the GST Council," she said.

Banerjee said there are almost 20 different taxes in the present tax regime and it was felt that one single tax and integration of all markets across the country would provide big relief to all.

She said the three-day by textile industries provides the evidence for her party's deep concern on the lack of preparedness for the new tax regime.

"We are saying that the economy is not yet ready to face the GST from July 1...small business entities are not yet ready with the basic requirements like invoice, accounting system, IT system, etc. Another piece of evidence of unpreparedness comes from the fact that the Return Form had to be simplified for the first six months as all systems are not in place," she said.

It was "shocking" that the e-way bill system has not yet been designed and states were being asked to run their own systems as a stop-gap arrangement, Banerjee said.

"We feel, at least six months will further be necessary to notify all rules and procedures and give enough time to the stakeholders, particularly the small and medium enterprises, to successfully implement the GST," she said, adding that otherwise a chaotic situation may arise in our vast economy for which the "Government of India will be primarily responsible".

"I hope the voices of the people and businesses are being heard and being paid heed to by the central government," Banerjee added.



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Lauded as one of its kind, the reserve we noted as Jim Corbett National Park was established in 1936 and has the contrast of being India’s first national park. It is located in Uttrakhand and is reachable from Nainital, Delhi, Agra and Lucknow.

Basically called Hailey National Park, the park was christened Ramganga National Park and renamed anew in 1957 after Jim Corbett (1875–1955), the fabled British hunter-turned-conservationist, author and botanist.

The reserve moved the India-wide Project Tiger started in 1973 for conservation of wild tigers and saw the establishment of 22 other reserves.

Wildlife generally found here adds wild elephants (200 to 300 live in the reserve), sloth bears, langurs, rhesus macaques, peacocks, schools of otters. The forest flourish with certain types of deer along with chital (spotted deer), sambars, hog deer and barking deer.

If you’re lucky you may also blemish leopards, crocodiles, gharials, monitor lizards, wild boars and jackals. The Ramganga Reservoir brings large numbers of migrating birds.


Maximum Safaris are scheduled between 6 am to 10 am and 2 pm and 5 pm. The finest animal sightings happen in April and May when the animals deal out to the many watering holes. But do mark that summers tend to get terribly hot here. If you’re not very lofty on sighting animals, examine visiting it between October and February. The National park is shut down during monsoons, staring (around) June-end for two months.