On 21 May 2016, NCC Girl cadets created history when they scaled the world’s highest peak, becoming the first NCC Girl Cadets expedition to have done so. After rigorous trials, a batch of 100 NCC girl cadets had been selected for training for the Everest expedition. From amongst this batch, ten NCC girl cadets were finally selected for the Everest expedition which comprised of four officers, two Junior Commissioned officers, seven other ranks, two girl cadet Instructors and 10 NCC girl cadets. Dividing themselves into two teams of five girls each, the first team led by the expedition team leader Col Gaurav Karki reached the summit on 21 May and the second team led by Lt Col Vishal Ahlawat successfully scaled the peak on the following day. Indeed an exemplary feat by the young girls. all aged between 17 and 21 years. Amongst the officers was a lady officer from the Indian Army, Maj Deepika Rathore. This was the second time that Major Rathore had scaled Everest, becoming the first lady officer from the Indian Army to climb Everest twice.

Transit between Bangladesh and India became fully operational when the first Indian consignment reaching Ashuganj in June 2016. As per the Daily Star, a Bangladeshi ship carrying a consignment of 1,000 tonnes of corrugated iron sheets started from Kolkata on June 3. Its General Manager Mahmud-ur Rahman Siddiqui was quoted to have said that Anbis Development Ltd, a Bangladeshi operator, hired the ship to carry the goods from Kolkata to Ashuganj. From there, the goods would be loaded onto Bangladeshi trucks, which would cross the Indo-Bangla border in Akhaura.The vehicles would travel another 32 kilometres to deliver the consignment to warehouses in India.With the arrival of the goods, India’s request to Bangladesh for providing transit facilities would be met. To make the transhipment a reality, the two countries signed a revised river protocol in Dhaka in June last year.Under the transit system, goods would be carried from Kolkata to Ashuganj through a river route and then from Ashuganj to Agartala, the capital of Tripura, through a land route. India is paying a transhipment fee of Tk 192.25 per tonne, apart from the regular transit fee and other charges. Security, if provide would cost another Tk 50 per ton. The transportation of iron rods was done on a trial basis. The route will subsequently be used to transport heavy machinery to Palatana power plant in Tripura and also 10,000 tonnes of rice to the north-eastern state. At present, trucks from Kolkata have to travel around 1,600km to reach Agartala. But the distance would be just 800km if they travel through Bangladesh. Presently, the cost of transporting goods to Agartala from Kolkata is USD 67 per tonne and it takes 30 days for trucks to reach there. However, if the trucks travel through the Kolkata- Ashuganj-Agartala route, the cost would be a maximum of USD 35 per tonne and it would reduce the time to just 10 days.

Pakistan may buy used F-16 jets from Jordan
Pakistan is considering a Jordanian offer to buy sixteen used F-16 jets in lieu of the eight advanced fighters it could not buy from the United States because of a financing row, but officials fear Washington could still throw a spanner in the works. The case for the purchase of F-16s from the US is closed, “we are now going for a third party transfer of F-16s and have an offer from Jordan”, Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Alam Khattak told a joint sitting of the Senate committees on defence and foreign affairs, which had been asked by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to review the current state of Pak-US ties and suggest the way forward.

Pakistan raising 22 Additional Wings of Civil Armed Forces (CAFs)
The Pakistan government informed the Senate that 22 additional wings of civil armed forces (CAFs) would be raised to provide foolproof security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC). Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rehman, while responding to a calling attention notice moved by PML-N Senator Abdul Qayyum said that the government decided to recruit more than 17,000 security personnel for this purpose while over 3,000 personnel had already been hired. He said funds have also been released in this connection and the task would be completed by the end of this year.

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