Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that Rafale
multi-role fighter jets will boost India's air dominance exponentially.
Talking to media persons at Merignac in France, Mr Singh said, the aircraft
will enhance the Indian Air Force's combat capability massively.
The Minister said, India does not purchase arms and other defence equipment
to threaten any country but to increase its capabilities and strengthen
defences. Defence Minister yesterday formally took delivery of the first of
the 36 French-made aircraft acquired by the IAF.
Mr Singh attended the handover ceremony along with his French
counterpart Florence Parly at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in
Merignac, southwestern France.
Mr Singh performed Shastra Puja on the new aircraft and
undertook a sortie in the Rafale. He said, Indian Air Force is the
fourth-largest in the world and the Rafale Combat Aircraft will make us even
stronger to ensure peace and security in the region.
Defence Minister said, it marks a new milestone in the
Indo-French strategic partnership and indeed a new high in the bilateral defence
cooperation. Mr Singh said the strong cooperation between India and France will
continue to grow and contribute to global peace, prosperity and environmental
India had ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in a deal
worth 59,000 crore rupees in September 2016. All 36 jets are expected to arrive
in India by September 2022.
India has slipped 10 spots to rank 68th out of 141 surveyed
countries in the annual global competitiveness index as several other
economies in the world climbed up on the list due to improvements in
economic and business activities.
The development suggests that the slowdown in the Indian economy
is having a negative effect on the country's global rankings.
Last year India was ranked 58th in the annual Global
Competitiveness Index compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).
However, this year it is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with
Brazil, which has ranked 71 this time.
Singapore, on the other hand, replaced the United States as the
world's most competitive economy. Hong Kong SAR came in at 3rd position while
Netherlands was ranked 4th and Switzerland at 5th spot.
While announcing the fresh index, the WEF said that India's rank
is high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size but added that the
banking system has been affected by a high delinquency rate.
India's rank was as high as 15th in terms of corporate
governance and ranks second in the world for shareholder governance, according
to the WEF study. India also ranked third in terms of market size and renewable
While the WEF study did list a few positives, it said that there
are major shortcomings in some of the basic enablers of competitiveness in
India. It said Information, communication and technology adoption in India has
been weak; poor health conditions and low life expectancy are other reasons why
India ranked low in terms of competitiveness.
India is among a handful of only 34 UN member states which
paid their regular budget dues in full and on time to the world organisation.
India paid 23.25 million dollars in regular budget assessments
by January 31, 2019, the 30-day due period specified as per UN's Financial
Only 33 other nations paid their regular budget assessments in
full within this 30 day due period. Subsequent to the end of the 30 day due
period (January 31), 95 additional member states paid their 2019 regular budget
assessment in full.
As of October 8, 2019, 129 Member States have paid their regular
budget dues in full, according to UN sources. Member states have paid USD 1.99
billion towards the 2019 regular budget assessment, while the outstanding amount
for 2019 for regular budget is USD 1.386 billion.
However, 64 states are yet to pay their regular budget dues in
full for 2019. These include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Central African
Republic, North Korea, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Oman, the Philippines, South Korea,
Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, US and Venezuela.
While India has been among the few countries to have fully paid
its dues to the UN on time, the UN owed India USD 38 million, among the highest
it has to pay to any country, for peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.
The UN is facing a "severe liquidity crisis", reaching its
deepest deficit of the decade, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said,
warning that the world organisation will not have enough cash by next month to
Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong has said that the
two countries should jointly maintain peace and tranquility along their
border before a final settlement on the issue is found. In an interview to a
news agency, he said it is normal for neighbours to have differences which
should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.
The Chinese envoy said, the two emerging Asian powers should not
let the boundary dispute adversely impact the normal development of bilateral
relations. Mr Sun called the India-China boundary question as a complex and
sensitive issue left over from history.
He said, over the past decades, not a single bullet has been
fired at the China-India border area, and peace and tranquility has been
maintained. Mr Sun said, boundary question is only one part of China-India
relations and the two countries need to keep in mind the larger picture of the
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to arrive in Chennai on
Friday to hold the second informal summit with Prime Minister NarendraModi in
coastal town of Mamallapuram.
There has been indication that the second informal summit
between Mr Modi and Mr Xi may focus on ways to further enhancing peace and
tranquility along the border. The first informal summit between the two leaders
took place in picturesque Chinese lake city Wuhan in April 2018.
A minor planet, between Mars and Jupiter, has been named
after 'PanditJasraj,' the doyen of Indian classical vocal music.
International Astronomical Union (IAU) named minor planet 2006
VP32 (number -300128), discovered on November 11, 2006, as 'Panditjasraj.'
'Panditjasraj' traverses the cosmos between the orbits of Mars
and Jupiter."It was made official by IAU on September 23, followed by a
citation," his daughter DurgaJasraj told PTI.
With this honour, Padma Vibhushan recipient PanditJasraj has
become the first Indian musician to join the galaxy of immortal composers like
Mozart, Beethoven and Tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
As minor planet discoveries are confirmed, they are given a
permanent number by IAU's Minor Planet Centre.'Panditjasraj' minor planet can be
seen on their official website with the number 300128, his date of birth in
reverse order (28/01/30).