Indian media: Armed forces praised for 'heroic' flood rescue

The Indian Air Force has been at the forefront of rescue efforts in the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand
Image caption The Indian Air Force has been at the forefront of rescue efforts in the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand

Media in India are praising the armed forces for their "heroic rescue efforts" in the flood-hit areas of northern India.

Newspapers feel that Tuesday's helicopter crash, which killed five Indian air force (IAF) personnel, highlights their heroic efforts in rescuing people from the tough terrain in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand.

"They [the air force personnel] were blessed children. They put their lives at stake to save us. This should not have happened to them," the Hindustan Times quotes a survivor as saying.

The Indian Express says the "tragic accident underlines the risks pilots are taking to evacuate people".

"Darrel Castellino [the pilot of the crashed helicopter] was happy that he was getting to wear his dark-green jumpsuit for a big operation to 'bring in more and more live people' stranded and battered by heavy rains and flash floods for over a week," the paper says in another report.

The Times of India commends the role of women pilots involved in the rescue mission.

"India may not allow them to fly fighter jets, when even countries like Pakistan do, but women pilots are proving their mettle by flying high-risk missions on their helicopters to rescue stranded people in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand," the paper says.

The Indian army has also sent a team of veterinarians to save the animals stranded in the flood-hit areas, The Pioneer reports.

The paper says that the state government had "ignored the plight of 2,000 mules stranded" in the state.

Meanwhile, newspapers, including The Indian Express and The Asian Age, say PM Manmohan Singh's visit to Indian-administered Kashmir has come too late and the risk of terrorism still exists in the state.

"Unresolved political questions cast their pall over the valley… for all the ruling UPA's (the ruling United Progressive Alliance's) fine words on special occasions, there is no getting around the reality that it has wasted the years of relative calm in Kashmir," The Indian Express says in an editorial.

The Asian Age feels "the carefully-crafted [militant] attack" on the eve of the PM's visit "should remove any sense of complacency among the political class".

'Unfair, discriminatory'

Newspapers have mixed feelings about the outcome of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry's three-day India visit.

The Indian Express says the visit "has helped clear the air" on several issues and "the imperative now is to intensify the momentum by getting things to move on various fronts, from the nuclear deal to a bilateral investment treaty to boost economic ties".

The Deccan Herald, however, feels "his visit reveals a chasm between India and the US on some major issues, underscoring a lack of agreement on them".

Staying with foreign relations, the Business Line reports that national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon will begin a two-day visit to China on Friday to start a fresh round of talks on border disputes.

Meanwhile, the Hindustan Times reports that Indian business leaders think the UK's plan to make visa-seekers from "high risk countries" deposit a £3,000 bond to prevent them from overstaying is "unfair and discriminatory".

Britain, however, has assured India that the list of countries to be included in the pilot scheme is yet to be finalised.

Moving on to sports news, The Hindu is upset over the national hockey team's dismal performance in recent tournaments and feels that coach Michael Nobbs has not lived up to the fans' expectations.

But the Indian cricket team's title win in the ICC Champions Trophy has delighted many, including former captain Rahul Dravid, who feels the future looks bright for the players, The Times of India reports.

And finally, the government has decided to put "a blanket ban" on websites which allow users to share pornographic content, the paper says in another report.

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