Woman's attire not reason behind rape: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

J&K Police detain three in Chennai tourist's death from stone pelting, Defence Minister expresses grief

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday that the armed forces "have to be firm" with militants in Kashmir, indicating the Centre would continue with its iron-fist policy amid calls for a dialogue.

The Union minister said law agencies need to be more proactive in providing safety to women. "That is a big change". "Projects worth Rs 760 crore for construction of yard crafts are also being targeted for early conclusion through private and small shipyards, to bolster the 'Make in India" initiative and provide the necessary impetus to the Indian shipbuilding industry, Sitharaman said. Indian Ocean Region has witnessed an increase in Chinese presence in the recent past. Due to the stand-off between the two armies, the annual hand-in-hand joint military exercise between India and China could not happen a year ago.

Making this point here while addressing the bi-annual Navy Commanders" Conference, she said the Government is also promoting the medium and small scale enterprises in the "Make in India' venture to gain access to world class technology. Several warships and submarines have been seen floating in the region in the name of anti-piracy deployment. "I also compliment the Navy for the efficient HADR operations undertaken in the wake of Cyclone "Ockhi" in November past year". "Between 2018 and 2019, the request of the Navy, both short term and long term are being well received", she added.

Sitharaman, India's first full-time woman defence minister, stressed on the need to make women empowerment steady.

Sitharaman said the death of 22-year-old tourist R. Thirumani from Chennai, hit by stones on Monday after getting caught in a street protest, was "completely condemnable".

"I don't know whether it (the incident) was inadvertent or (committed) knowingly but it is completely condemnable. So if that is being the stated desire for a stone pelting incident to have hurt and killed a tourist, it certainly is not a conducive to the very rightful suggestion of the Chief Minister".

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