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News18 Daybreak | Saudi Prince MBS on India Trip Amid Rising Tensions Over Pulwama Terror Attack and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:February 20, 2019, 8:46 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

MBS on two-day visit to India fresh from Pakistan trip amid rising tensions over Pulwama terror strike

In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror strike, all eyes are now on the Saudi Arabian Crowned Prince, Mohammed bin Salman or popularly known as MBS, who is on a two-day visit to India. MBS’ visit comes at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan remain high over the Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

The Prince on Monday, while denouncing the terrorist attack, had said that he will try and de-escalate tensions between the two countries. He couldn’t take the straight journey from Islamabad to New Delhi however and was forced to take a detour through Saudi Arabia after India reportedly had reservations of him coming directly from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s response: On Tuesday Pakistan PM Imran Khan in a televised addressed said that Islamabad will retaliate if India attacks.

“Don’t think that Pakistan might not retaliate. We will retaliate if India attacks. Starting a war is easy and it can be done by humans. But only God knows how wars end,” Khan said in a televised speech.

The PM also denied allegations linking to attack to Pakistan and added that he will cooperate if India shared intel on the attack.

India’s retort: Hours after Imran Khan’s statement, New Delhi said it was not "surprised" that Islamabad has again failed to condemn the "heinous act".

“We are not surprised that the Prime Minister of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the attack on our security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism. Prime Minister of Pakistan has neither chosen to condemn this heinous act nor condoled with the bereaved families," said the Ministry of External Affairs.

He said she said: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh further prodded Imran Khan on his statement saying that that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar — the mastermind behind the attack — was living in Bahawalpur, Pakistan and the country's government should “go pick him there”. People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti also joined in on the criticism and urged the Pakistani PM to “walk the talk”.

Meanwhile, opposition party leaders continue to raise questions on the government’s conduct. In the most recent jibe to the Modi government, National Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said, “A day after the terror attack, we went for an all-party meeting called by the government as it is an issue of national importance, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to stay away.”

Pawar’s criticism follows that posed by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to the Centre about why no action was taken despite specific government input.

The proposal: Meanwhile, in a big boost to the Indian side, France will be moving a proposal at the United Nations in a “couple of days” to ban Manzoor Azhar, chief of the UN-proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad, which claimed responsibility for the terror strike.

France had also been party to such a proposal earlier in 2017 when the US supported by UK and France had pushed for the proposal at the UN's Sanctions Committee 1267. The move will help choke funding to this terror outfit that continues to function from Pakistan.

GST Council's 33rd meeting scheduled to take place today despite opposition from several states

The GST Council will be meeting for the 33rd time today despite close to half a dozen states including Kerala, Delhi and Puducherry sending notes to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asking for a deferment. The meeting might see the rates on under-construction residential properties being cut as the then interim Finance minister Piyush Goyal had indicated in his Budget announcement. The finance minister of the opposition party-led states had expressed concerns about the discussion on lowering the tax suggesting that a detailed discussion take place in-person as opposed to today's meeting which will take place via video conferencing.

File photo of Union minister Arun Jaitley.

Congress and DMK likely to announce pre-poll alliance in Tamil Nadu today

The Congress and the CMK are like to announce their alliance in Chennai today, just a day after the BJP-AIADMK confirmed their pre-poll tie-up. The two parties have had several rounds of negotiations over the alliance and seat-sharing arrangement, with the final round taking place in between the parties’ top leaders in New Delhi. Rajya Sabha MP and women’s wing secretary Kanimozhi Karunanidhi along with principal secretary TR Baalu is representing the DMK side while Alagiri, former ministers EVKS Elangovan and KV Thangabalu are negotiating for the national party. Congress is reportedly likely to contest with 10 seats including the Puducherry seat.

What You May Have Missed

One pilot dead after 2 Surya Kiran Hawk’s crash during rehearsals for Aero India Expo in Bengaluru

Two aircraft of IAF's aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed after hitting each other mid-air on Tuesday, killing a pilot and injuring two who ejected to safety during a rehearsal for the Aero India show. Video clips of the incident show the two jets crashing to the ground and bursting into flames near Yelahanka airbase after brushing against each other mid-air, a day ahead of the five-day event. A Court of Inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident.

The 12th edition of the Air show 'Aero India-2019' slated to begin today will see displays by the controversial Rafale Sukhoi SU-30, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber will be a part.

Officials at the site of a Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran aerobatic team after it crashed during a rehearsal ahead of the 12th edition of AERO India 2019, at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru. (Image: PTI)

Cabinet re-promulgates ordinance on Triple Talaq, third time in less than a year

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to issue the Triple Talaq ordinance, which makes the practice of instant triple talaq by Muslim men a penal offence. This is the third time that the ordinance is being enforced even as the bill could not pass the Rajya Sabha test and will resolve once the Lower House dissolves. The opposition party Congress, who had criticized certain provisions of the bill in the Parliamentary sessions said that they will strike down the ordinance if they come into power.

BJP and AIADMK announce tie-up in Tamil, bring PMK on board

The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the BJP on Tuesday sealed an alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections under which the saffron party would contest five seats in the state. AIADMK coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal, party election in-charge made the announcement for Tamil Nadu, describing it as a “mega alliance”. Earlier in the day, the AIADMK clinched a deal with the S Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), offering the Vanniyar-based party seven out of 40 seats, including one in the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.

Dearness Allowance increased by 3% in pre-poll gift for 1 crore Central Govt employees and pensioners

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved a 3 per cent hike in Dearness Allowance or DA for government employees and dearness relief to pensioners that will be effective starting January 1, 2019. The Dearness Allowance or DA is the cost of living adjustment allowance paid to government employees and pensioners. The current DA stands at 9 per cent. The Centre, which will incur a cost to the exchequer of Rs 9,000 crore, expects the move to benefit more than one crore central government employees and pensioners.

On Reel

Three Rafale fighter jets are ready to be displayed in the Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru today despite the major political controversy over the 36-jet fighter jet deal between India and France.

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