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India could become new Hub for F-16 Fighter Jets

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OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies a mission in the skies near Iraq on March 22. The F-16s are from the 35th Fighter Wing "Wild Weasels", Misawa Air Base, Japan.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM — An F-16 Fighting Falcon flies a mission in the skies near Iraq on March 22. The F-16s are from the 35th Fighter Wing “Wild Weasels”, Misawa Air Base, Japan.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Lockheed Martin Co. have offered to shift all manufacturing of the F-16 fighter jet to India, it’s something that comes with an added advantage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi: a strategic win against Pakistan, a formidable nuclear rival to the country.

The proposal would additionally give India partial control along with the U.S. of which countries would be allowed to purchase the jet, according to a report from BloombergShould that be the case, Modi would be able to choke key supplies to Pakistan, which has relied on F-16s as its main aerial defense for decades, if the U.S. allows it do so.

“Some components may be produced only in India,” Abhay Paranjape, director of business development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in an interview.

Attempts to clear up direction on what powers Modi may or may not have if the deal was completed ran into the regular bureaucratic red tape, but regardless, the strategic selling point remains a key element of the deal. Especially as Lockheed pushes to win an order that may exceed 100 fighter jets, part of Modi’s plan to spend $150 billion on the armed forces and create jobs under his “Make-in-India” policy. A deal would breathe new life into the F-16, an older model than the stealth F-35 warplane, and further boost U.S.-India defense ties at the expense of Pakistan.

“What we are doing is putting India as the center of the supply base,” Randall Howard, Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics business development director, said. “Today, there is no potential Pakistan sale.”

India and Pakistan have remained enemies ever since Britain’s exit from the region in 1947. Nuclear-armed neighbors, they have fought three wars over disputed territory, and have few economic ties.

Relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have soured throughout the years, as well — In May, Congress refused to provide Pakistan with subsidies which would have allowed them to purchase a fleet of new F-16s, which then prompted the nation to consider making their purchases from Jordan. This month, the U.S. withheld another $300 million in military aid money over its failure to take action against terrorists carrying out attacks on American troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Nafees Zakaria, a spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, declined to provide comment on the apparent Lockheed tiff, as did Nungsanglemba Ao, a spokesman for India’s defense ministry.

The lack of support from the U.S. has lead many to believe Pakistan will turn to China and Russia for help in acquiring military hardware, according to Najam Rafique, director at Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies.

“Pakistan is diversifying its options,” he said.

Meanwhile, the competition for the India jet order is fierce — main rivals to Lockheed, such as Boeing and Saab, are all offering to shift their production facilities to the nation as well. The moves are being made in a bid to replenish the country’s aging fleet of military jets, about a third of the nation’s 650 planes are more than 40 years old and set to retire in the next decade.

Last year, Modi scaled back negotiations with Dassault Aviation SA, opting to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets off the shelf instead of building 126 in India after negotiations hit repeated delays.

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India minister Jaishankar Addresses human rights at UN

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Jaishankar Addresses Human Rights At UN | Diya TV News

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Human rights can’t be protected without addressing the threat of terrorism. That’s the message India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar delivered the UN’s Human Rights Council, emphasizing human rights cannot be protected without addressing terrorism, which he called as “one of the gravest threats to humankind.” Last month, India proposed an 8-point plan at the UN to tackle terrorism.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, who has been nominated by President Biden to be Surgeon General for the second time, made in excess of $2 million on COVID-19 related consultations and speeches according to financial disclosures. Carnival cruise lines, Airbnb and the NBA were among the dozens of organizations who retained Murthy for his expertise.

Two Indian Americans are suing Subway, the sandwich chain, claiming there is no tuna in their tuna meals. Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin claim Subway falsely promotes its tuna salad sandwiches as composed of wild tuna, when it actually has no tuna or any other fish in it.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Kiran Ahuja nominated to office of personnel management

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Kiran Ahuja Nominated To Office Of Personnel Management | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Biden nominated Kiran Ahuja to lead the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that oversees the government’s civilian workforce. Ahuja worked in the Obama White House as executive director of the Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and later became chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management.

India has 1.3 billion people, 4 times the population of the US. Yet in terms of COVID-19 deaths, India has handled the pandemic far better according to new data. 500,000 Americans have died over the last year versus 150,000 Indians. Both nations are now in a full court press to get their respective populations immunized.

Golf superstar Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car crash with major damage to his vehicle. No one else was involved in the crash. Woods underwent surgery after suffering “multiple leg injuries,” according to his agent. But injuries are not life-threatening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Report: Nikki Haley Eyeing 2024 Presidential Campaign

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Report: Nikki Haley Eyeing 2024 Presidential Campaign | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — It’s no surprise to political observers, but an extensive report from Politico says former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is laying the groundwork to run for President in 2024. In recent weeks, Haley has distanced herself from former President Trump over the storming of the US Capitol. So it remains to be seen whether his supporters will look to her to guide the GOP leadership in the next political cycle.

Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mitt Romney announced they intend to vote against Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget, another challenge to confirming of Biden’s pick for budget director. The White House reaffirmed its support for Tanden, adding that it will continue to “work toward her nomination.” West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced he will also vote against Tanden’s selection for OMB.

The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be staggering, with the death toll now reaching 500,000 Americans. While there should be enough vaccines to cover the nation in the weeks to come, the loss of life is expected to continue to grow in the weeks ahead.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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