NATO chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russia

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo, Norway, Friday Feb. 1, 2019, after the US withdrawal from landmark INF treaty. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2019

NATO chief says allies keen to avoid arms race with Russia

  • On Feb. 2, Washington launched the six-month process for leaving the INF treaty
  • Russia denies violating the 1987 treaty and says it is pulling out, too

BRUSSELS: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance is studying options to deal with what it insists are Russian violations of a key missile treaty but that it wants to avoid sparking any arms race.
Speaking at NATO headquarters Wednesday, where defense ministers are discussing the future of the imperiled Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, Stoltenberg said: “This is very serious. We will take our time.”
On Feb. 2, Washington launched the six-month process for leaving the INF, insisting that a new Russia missile system breaks the pact’s range requirements. Russia denies violating the 1987 treaty and says it is pulling out, too.
Stoltenberg says NATO has many options but that its response “will be measured and it will be defensive because we don’t want a new arms race.”


Key hospitals in Indian Kashmir treat more than 150 tear gas, pellet injuries

Updated 12 min 35 sec ago

Key hospitals in Indian Kashmir treat more than 150 tear gas, pellet injuries

  • People gathered in groups despite the ban on public gatherings
  • The government has not provided any number of injuries

SRINAGAR, India: At least 152 people have suffered injuries from tear gas and pellets in disputed Kashmir since Indian security forces this month launched a sweeping crackdown, data from the Himalayan region’s two main hospitals shows.
Indian authorities have deployed additional paramilitary police, banned public gatherings and cut cellular and Internet links to prevent large scale protests after withdrawing the revolt-torn territory’s special status on Aug 5.
Still, people especially youth, have come out in the lanes of the region’s key city of Srinagar, on occasions such as Friday prayers or Eid this month, throwing stones, prompting retaliatory action by security forces.
Data obtained by Reuters showed 152 people reported to Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Shri Maharaj Hari Singh with injuries from pellet shots and tear gas fire between Aug 5 and Aug 21.
The government, which has not yet provided any figures of the injured in the sporadic protests, has said there have been no deaths in this month’s demonstrations in a region where more than 50,000 have died since an armed revolt broke out in 1989.
India hopes that withdrawal of special privileges for Kashmir, such as exclusive rights to land, government jobs and college places and opening them up to people from the rest of the country will help to integrate the territory.
Pakistan lays claim to Muslim-majority Kashmir and has condemned the decision to change its status.
A local government official in Jammu and Kashmir, however, said the number of injured was probably higher than the figures from the two hospitals.
Many of those who were discharged within hours do not feature in their list, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, while others, with wounds treated at smaller hospitals, remain unaccounted for.