Power games: Navy awaits budget for deck-based fighters

The party has, therefore, asked general secretary B L Santosh to engage with state leadership in order to strengthen the unit.
INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant

Make in India
Navy awaits budget for deck-based fighters

The Ministry of Defence is likely to clear a budget of over Rs 14,000 crore for the development of four prototypes of the twin-engine deck-based fighters. The design for the naval fighter has been completed by Aeronautical Development Agency under the Department of Defence Research and Development, Government of India. This design will be used by the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to produce the prototypes. The Navy has projected a requirement of about 60 aircraft. These naval fighters will be deployed on the recently-inducted INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. Sources said once the budget for the development of the prototypes is cleared, an order will be given to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for the development of the prototypes. The single-engine naval LCA developed earlier was not found suitable as its thrust-to-weight ratio was not enough for takeoff with a full load from an aircraft carrier. With this push for Make in India by going in for indigenously developed fighter aircraft, the government is unlikely to place the order to purchase Rafael marine fighter aircraft anytime soon. Talks for purchasing these aircraft have been going on for some time.

Mission South
BJP deputes Santosh to sort out TN mess

The BJP’s troubles are refusing to end in Tamil Nadu. Despite facing pressure from states where assembly elections are due in 2023, the BJP leadership has been spending time and energy on Tamil Nadu with an eye on 2024. The party leadership sees potential in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to compensate for possible losses in Maharashtra and Bihar, besides in some other states in next year’s Lok Sabha elections. However, its repeated efforts have failed to turn the Tamil Nadu unit into a winning machine that could yield results such as those given by Tripura, West Bengal and Assam. Since 2014, BJP leadership has tried many permutations and combinations in Tamil Nadu. It first appointed Tamilisai Soundararajan as state unit chief. During the first Modi wave of 2014, Jayalalithaa swept Tamil Nadu, while the BJP’s coalition with Vaiko and Vijaykanth managed to win only two seats. Jayalalithaa won the 2016 assembly elections too. This led the BJP to shift Tamilisai as Governor of Telangana. She was replaced by L Murugan. Meanwhile, Vaiko and Vijaykanth left the BJP alliance. The party drew a blank in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Murugan was then moved to Modi’s ministry as a Tamil Nadu representative. After this, the BJP brought in the 37-year-old former IPS officer of the 2011 batch, K Annamalai. However, two high-profile exits recently have shaken the party leadership’s confidence in him too. First, it was DMK MP Tiruchi Siva’s son who left the party, and then it was the actor-turned-politician Gayatri Raguramm who quit the party saying women were not safe in the BJP under the leadership of Annamalai. There has also been controversy over Annamalai’s expensive watch and allegations against Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi. The party has, therefore, asked general secretary B L Santosh to engage with state leadership in order to strengthen the unit.

Hopes Crashland
Vistara breaks frequent flyers’ hearts in 2023

The frequent flyers of Vistara were excited to get a message from the airline in the first week of the new year that their frequent flyer status was being upgraded. Those with silver club membership were upgraded to gold and gold club flyers to platinum. This meant more benefits to the loyal Vistara flyers. In a message received by a CEO of a top multinational company, Vistara said, “We are delighted to upgrade your membership to our exclusive Club Vistara Platinum Tier. Your Club Vistara Platinum membership opens a host of special privileges and benefits that enable you to do more of #WhatYouLove.” But the excitement was short-lived. The airline soon dashed off another mail to its customers, saying the earlier mail was sent accidentally due to a technical glitch and there was no plan to upgrade the status of the frequent flyers. The buzz in the airline sector is that the offer may not have been withdrawn because of any technical glitch but due to differences within Vistara’s top management over the issue.

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The New Indian Express