Seventy seven people died on November 19 as an A N 12 Indian Air Force transport plane crashed while coming into land at Leh airport. Those killed include at least three air force officers, 70 army jawans returning to their forward posts after leave, and one civilian on the ground who was hit by the debris. First reports had mentioned one survivor, but he too is reported to have died in hospital. The air force and army headquarters have not yet released the ranks or names of the deceased. The next of kin are being informed.
A high-power committee of the Janata Party is to probe the Rs 1,600-crore Jaguar deal. Prime Minister Morarji Desai announced the formation of the inquiry committee following criticism of the controversial deal by former Home Minister Charan Singh, and his lieutenant, Raj Narain, at the Janata Parliamentary Party’s general body meeting in Delhi. Charan Singh has been attacking the Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram, questioning the propriety of some of his public pronouncements. He took strong objection to Jagjivan Ram’s reported statement sometime ago wherein he had alleged that “all those who criticise the Jaguar deal are traitors”. Reportedly, Desai, too, disapproved of these remarks by the defence minister.
Brezhnev On Iran
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev warned other nations against interfering in the turmoil in Iran. In an interview published in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, Brezhnev said the Soviet Union was against interference by foreign powers in Iran, and challenged the US to make a similar pledge.
Sunil Gavaskar, vice-captain of the Indian team has been declared “man of the series” against Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq has commended the sportmanship and performance of the Indian team throughout the series.