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What are India’s options against Pakistan after Kashmir attack? | India News

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With India’s general election barely months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under heavy pressure from his supporters to punish Pakistan for a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that killed at least 42 soldiers in India-administered Kashmir.

India placed the blame for Thursday’s bombing squarely on neighbouring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.

A look at some of the retaliatory steps India is likely to consider:

Diplomatic isolation

India’s first public reaction to the attack was to withdraw the most-favoured nation (MFN) trade status given to Pakistan and take all possible diplomatic steps “to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan”.

New Delhi insists “incontrovertible evidence is available of [Pakistan] having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident”.

The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that the armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), headquartered in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

India’s foreign ministry on Friday briefed New Delhi-based diplomats from key countries, including China, which has in the past blocked its proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “designated terrorist” by the United Nations.

The ministry demanded Pakistan take “immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror”.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua rejected allegations about its involvement in the attack, saying on Saturday that it was part of New Delhi’s “known rhetoric and tactics” to divert global attention from human rights violations.

Military attacks

After a 2016 attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers, India’s army said it carried out a campaign of “surgical strikes” against fighters across the highly militarised frontier that divides the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan dismissed reports that India’s military had targeted “terrorist launch pads” inside the Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Islamabad said that two of its soldiers were killed in “unprovoked” firing by India across the border.

Following the latest attack – the worst against Indian government forces in Kashmir’s history – Modi warned that those behind it would pay a heavy price and that security forces have been given a free hand to act against violence.

The Times of India newspaper reported on Saturday that the military options – short of two nuclear-armed rivals going to war – could range from “shallow ground-based attacks and occupation of some heights along the Line of Control [ceasefire line] to restricted but precision air strikes against non-state targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”.

G Parthasarthy, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, said a possible military response can’t be discussed in public.

“We have said that Pakistan will pay a price,” he said. “For obvious reasons, we are not going to spell out how that cost would be imposed.”

Paul Staniland, a political science professor and South Asia expert at the University of Chicago, said Pakistan’s army is assuming it will be attacked and that Indian forces are preparing for a serious incursion of some sort.

Domestic pressure

Indian analysts say political parties will be watching public reaction closely ahead of India’s election. Already, protesters have chanted “attack Pakistan” and fiery debates on television channels demanded retaliation.

“I think the situation is extremely tense,” said Amitabh Mattoo, professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“The mood in the country is extremely angry at what has happened. And moreover, there are elections in the offing. No party could afford to neglect public opinion.”

Staniland said the stakes are too high for India to do nothing at all.

“Modi is in a tricky position,” he said. “Indian forces are quite capable, but it’s not obvious what kinds of strikes would accomplish the core goal. Kashmir and Pakistan are among the few foreign policy topics that have real electoral resonance.”

The general election is scheduled to be held in less than two months.

US response

The United States singled out Pakistan in a statement condemning the attack and said it had strengthened US resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India.

To improve India’s military capabilities, the US has offered to sell it unarmed Guardian surveillance drones, aircraft carrier technologies and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft.

There are sticking points, however, including the purchase by India of Iranian oil and the Russian S-400 ground-to-air missile system, which could trigger US sanctions on India.

Himalayan puzzle

Kashmir has remained a challenge for India’s policymakers ever since the Himalayan territory was split between India and Pakistan shortly after the two archrivals gained independence in 1947.

The territory has been at the heart of two of India’s wars out of the four the country has fought against Pakistan and China.

Human rights groups say India has been responding to public protests with disproportionate force while treating the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination as Islamabad’s proxy war against New Delhi.

New Delhi initially grappled with largely peaceful anti-India protests.

However, a series of political blunders, broken promises and a crackdown on dissent led to Kashmir’s eruption into a full-blown armed rebellion against India in 1989 for a united Kashmir, either under Pakistani rule or independent of both countries. Indian forces largely crushed the rebellion in the mid-2000s.

But the conflict intensified after Modi came to power in 2014 amid rising attacks by Hindu hardliners against minorities in India, further deepening frustration with New Delhi’s rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has toughened its stance both against Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists.

Policy experts say such an approach is intended to project the party as strong and uncompromising.

But Modi’s policies have also had the unintended consequence of strengthening the resolve of those fighting for an end to India’s rule in Kashmir.

View from Pakistan

After Imran Khan took over as Pakistan’s prime minister last August, he promised to take two steps forward for every one step by India to forge friendly ties.

He said Kashmir was at the core of their differences, and that the countries have to end the tit-for-tat accusations.

But the peace initiative remained a nonstarter, with violence rising in the Indian portion of Kashmir and India asking Pakistan to stop supporting armed rebels.

Khan has now proposed to hold talks with India after its election. The former cricketer is quite popular in India.

He recently offered to open a Sikh religious shrine for Indian visitors on the Pakistani side of the border in Punjab province as a peace gesture.

But in September, India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit – a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India says it has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan.

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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