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IAF grounds MiG-21 fighters till pending probe into recent Rajasthan crash

The MiG-21 was inducted into IAF in the 1960s and the IAF has 31 combat aircraft squadrons including three of the MiG-21 Bison variant.

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MiG-21 grounded

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday grounded the entire fleet of MiG-21 fighters till the pending probe into the recent crash that took place in Rajasthan, ANI reported.

A senior defence official said the MiG-21 fleet has been grounded till the investigations are carried out and reasons for the crash are ascertained, the report stated. On May 8, as many as three people were killed in the crash when a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet that took off from the Suratgarh air base crashed over Hanumangarh in a village.

Also Read: IAF’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashes in Rajasthan, 3 civilians dead, pilot safe

Following the crash, the IAF had said the incident took place during a routine training sortie and the pilot ejected safely and suffered minor injuries.

Reports said a helicopter was also rushed to the spot to rescue the pilot.

The MiG-21 was inducted into IAF in the 1960s and the IAF has 31 combat aircraft squadrons including three of the MiG-21 Bison variant.

The IAF now has three MiG-21 squadrons with a total of around 50 aircraft. Last year, the IAF decided on a timeline of three years to phase out the remaining MiG-21 fighter squadrons as a part of a modernisation drive.

Early this month, IAF grounded its fleet of Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) after three crashes in the last two months. The move was made as a precautionary measure to prevent more crashes.

Also Read: Army grounds Dhruv ALH helicopter following three crashes in two months

India News

PM Modi hails Chennai space start-up for rocket milestone on 5th launch

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also congratulated Agnikul Cosmos for the successful launch of the Agnibaan SoRTed-01 mission from their launch pad.

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PM Modi hails Chennai space start-up for rocket milestone on 5th launch

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Agnikul Cosmos, a Chennai based private space start-up, for achieving a significant milestone in India’s space exploration journey. The space start-up successfully launched its rocket named Agnibaan SOrTeD (Suborbital Tech Demonstrator) on its fifth attempt, marking a historic moment in the nation’s space endeavors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X, formerly Twitter to congratulate Agnikul Cosmos on this milestone. He hailed that the rocket launch is a remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud. He added that the successful launch of Agnibaan rocket powered by world’s first single-piece 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine is a momentous occasion for India’s space sector and a testament to the remarkable ingenuity of country’s Yuva Shakti. 

The Prime Minister also extended wishes to the private space start-up team for their future endeavours. The test-firing of Agnibaan SOrTeD took place at 7:15 am, and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed the success of the launch. Reportedly, ISRO Chairman S. Somanath confirmed the accomplishment and emphasized the significance of this achievement for the Indian space industry.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) also congratulated Agnikul Cosmos for the successful launch of the Agnibaan SoRTed-01 mission from their launch pad. The Space Organisation said that this is a major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing.

Reportedly, incubated at IIT-Madras, this was the first test flight for the start-up, founded in 2017 by two young aerospace engineers with a dream to create a place where people learn to use fire. The rocket, which weighs 575 kg and is 6.2-metre long, lifted off from Sriharikota plunging into the Bay of Bengal.

Furthermore, the Agnibaan SOrTeD is powered by a semi-cryogenic engine that uses commercially available aviation turbine fuel, essentially kerosene and medical grade liquid oxygen, said Moin SPM, co-founder of Agnikul Cosmos Private Limited.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Manmohan Singh accuses PM Modi of using hateful language, urges voters to protect democracy and Constitution from despotic regime

Manmohan Singh appealed to the voters that they have 1 final chance to ensure that democracy and India’s Constitution are protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India.

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Manmohan Singh accuses PM Modi of using hateful language, urges voters to protect democracy and constitution from despotic regime

Former PM Manmohan Singh on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using hateful, unparliamentary language to target either a specific section of society or opposition.  He wrote a letter to Punjab’s voters ahead of the 7th phase of Lok Sabha elections on June 1.

Singh appealed to the voters that they have 1 final chance to ensure that democracy and India’s Constitution are protected from the repeated assaults of a despotic regime, trying to unleash dictatorship in India. Manmohan Singh said the prime minister indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches. He said PM Modi has lowered the dignity of public discourse.

Singh said he has been closely monitoring the political discourse during this year’s election campaign and PM Modi has indulged in the most vicious form of hate speeches, which are purely divisive in nature. He said PM Modi is the first PM to lower the dignity of public discourse, and thereby the gravity of the office of the prime minister.

The senior Congress leader said no prime minister in the past has uttered such hateful, unparliamentary and coarse terms, meant to target either a specific section of the society or the opposition. He has also attributed some false statements to him. Singh further added that he had never in his life singled out one community from the other and this is the sole copyright of the BJP.

PM Modi had accused Manmohan Singh of saying that Muslims have the first right on the country’s resources. The former PM also criticised the saffron party for imposing the Agniveer Scheme on the armed forces, labeling it as ill-conceived. He accused the BJP of undermining patriotism, bravery, and service by limiting their value to just 4 years and highlighted it as fake nationalism. The Congress party has therefore promised to abolish the Agniveer Scheme.

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Book reviews

The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

The book not only delineates Ruskin Bond’s journey as a writer but also depicts the changing literary landscape from the 1950s to recent times.

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The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

India’s most loved and prolific writer from the hill, who wrote his first book when he was around 17, Ruskin Bond, turned 90 this year. In his seven decade literary journey, the author has written more than 500 novels, short stories, and poems set mostly in the hills and mountains of India. 

The Hill Of Enchantment published by Aleph Book Company, is a memoir of his writing journey, with the subtitle, the story of my life as a writer. Bond revisits the people, mountains, railway stations, rooms, and markets that shaped him as an author. He says, characters in his novels and short stories are mostly inspired by the people he met in his life. The author confesses that some characters also portray his adopted family, friends and colleagues. 

Expressing that if a writer wishes to create a little magic with his pen he must find a little magic in his life, Ruskin Bond shares that he only has to open his window to see a magical world – clouds racing across the sky. In the book, the author mentioned how Pari Tibba, Fairy Hill, which he could see from his window, and solitude has influenced his books.

In The Hill of Enchantment, Ruskin Bond pens about how his need for privacy and solitude have inspired his first work, The Room on the Roof, published in 1956. He also portrayed how his frequent visits to a railway station led to the story, Time Stops At Shamli and others. Sharing an anecdote, Bond wrote that his frequent visits to railway stations made him so popular, just like a coolie, he did not have to buy a platform ticket to sit at the railway station.

The book also highlights the ordeal of Indian writers in the days dating back to 1950s to get published as compared to modern writers. It pointed out the change in the literary scene in the twenty-first century, which brought literary festivals along with online forums for writers and publishers. The author says, “writers were becoming faces and mini celebrities”. 

Ruskin Bond’s book not only delineates his journey as a writer but also stresses on the changing literary landscape from 1950s to recent times. The book is an utter testament for the aspiring writers. 

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