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Pak claims of chemical weapons use in Kashmir malicious: Foreign Ministry

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New Delhi | India on Friday rejected as false Pakistan’s allegations of reported use of chemical weapons by Indian security forces in Kashmir, saying “malicious attempts” to deflect international opinion away from terrorism emanating from the neighbouring country will not succeed.

India also asserted that Pakistan was acting in a highly “irresponsible manner” with the sole purpose of repeating untruths in the vain hope that the international community will start believing their falsehood.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had Thursday alleged that Indian forces reportedly used chemical weapons against Kashmiris.

In response to a question by the media regarding the allegations, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We completely reject allegations made by Pakistan about the reported use of chemical weapons by the Indian security forces against Indian citizens.”

Such allegations are not new and are totally unfounded, he said.

India has repeatedly stated its complete opposition to the use of chemical weapons by anyone, at any time, and anywhere in the world, Mr Kumar said.

“India is an original signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The international community has recognised India’s abiding commitment and contribution to the CWC which is the universal multilateral instrument prohibiting the use of chemical weapons.

“It is, therefore, a matter of deep concern that Pakistan repeatedly tries to make such false allegations,” Mr Kumar said.

Such “malicious attempts” to deflect international opinion away from the terrorism emanating from Pakistan shall not succeed, he asserted.

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Government likely to make announcement on RBI soon: Finance Secretary

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New Delhi | The government is likely to make an announcement regarding Urjit Patel’s successor as Reserve Bank of India’s Governor later in the day, Finance Secretary A N Jha said.

RBI has been rendered headless following Patel’s unexpected resignation, with immediate effect, Monday. Patel, who is the first governor since 1990 to step down before his term ends, in a brief statement, cited “personal reasons” for the decision.

The decision to quit comes four days ahead of a crucial meeting of the board of the central bank that could have discussed issues of simmering differences with the government. It is expected that the board meeting may be deferred as there is no regular governor.

Speaking to reporters, Jha said, some communication from the government on RBI is expected.

Patel’s three-year term was to end in September 2019, and he was eligible for a second term like most of his successors, barring a few like his outspoken predecessor Raghuram Rajan.

A Kenyan national who acquired an Indian citizenship prior to being appointed Deputy Governor of RBI in January 2013, Oxford-trained Patel was initially seen as toeing government line after he backed the November 2016 shock decision to overnight junk 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

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Former Kerala Minister C N Balakrishnan dead

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Kochi | Veteran Congress leader and former Kerala minister C N Balakrishnan died at a private hospital here, party sources said Tuesday.

He was 84. Balakrishnan, a former Cooperation minister, undergoing treatment for pneumonia at a private hospital here and the end came late Monday night, the sources said.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala were among those who condoled his death.

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Eminent economist Surjit Bhalla resigns from EAC-PM

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New Delhi | Eminent economist and columnist Surjit Bhalla on Tuesday said that he had resigned as part-time member of Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister(EAC-PM) on December 1.

“I resigned as a part-time member of PMEAC on December 1,” Bhalla said on social networking site Twitter.

The EAC- PM is headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy. Economists Rathin Roy, Ashima Goyal and Shamika Ravi are other part-time members.

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