Fighter pilot dies in Indian jet crash

In this file photo, an Indian Air Force fighter jet prepares to touch down at the Agra-Lucknow highway at Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh, Oct. 24, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 05 June 2018

Fighter pilot dies in Indian jet crash

  • Sanjay Chauhan was on a routine training mission in the remote Kutch desert region of Gujarat state when he crashed, air force officials said
  • The cause of the crash is still unknown

AHMEDABAD, India: An Indian Air Force pilot was killed Tuesday after his fighter jet crashed near the country’s border with Pakistan, officials said.
Sanjay Chauhan was on a routine training mission in the remote Kutch desert region of Gujarat state when he crashed, air force officials said.
“The pilot died in the crash and we have ordered an inquiry in the accident,” an IAF official told AFP.
It was not immediately clear what caused the single-seat Jaguar jet to crash.
More than 30 fighters have crashed in India since 2012, with most accidents blamed on aging jets. More than 170 Air Force pilots have died in accidents in the past three decades, mostly in incidents involving Soviet-era MiGs — unflatteringly dubbed “flying coffins.”
Last May, two air force pilots were killed after their Russian-made jet crashed near the border with China.
The nearly 160 European-made Jaguars in the Indian Air Force’s active fleet were mostly inducted in the early 1980s.
India is investing billions of dollars in modernizing its air force as fears grow over increasing cooperation between its arch-rival Pakistan and China.
New Delhi has signed a contract to purchase 36 Dassault Rafale fighters from France for $8.8 billion. The jets are expected to be delivered in 2019.


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.