US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti

US, India Looking For Solutions Together Amid Changing Nature Of Warfare: Garcetti

Praising the defence partnership between the two nations, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has said that both the US and India are looking for solutions together amid the ongoing shift in nature of warfare.

He also affirmed that both the deals between India and the US regarding jet engine and predator drones are very much on track.

While speaking to ANI, Garcetti said, “You actually prefer a defence partner, which is very high-level, very unique, and something that happened a couple years ago between the US and India. And I hope it’s the beginning of many things.”

“We’re looking at armoured cars and howitzers together,” he added.

Highlighting the changing scenario in the Red Sea, Garcetti said it is now a need to develop weapons that can confront the new nature of war.

“We need to develop also weapons that can confront the new nature of war. We’re seeing this in the Red Sea right now, that cheap drones and other cheaply-made missiles can only be brought down today by a million-dollar missile and defence. The nature of warfare is changing, and I think that the US and India are looking for solutions together,” he said.

Tensions in the Red Sea region have been escalating following repeated attacks by Houthi rebels on ships, putting immense pressure on trade, globally.

The Houthis initially said that they would target Israel-linked ships in a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, but later expanded their targets to include vessels linked to the United Kingdom and the US.

The US and the UK have responded by hitting Houthi targets in Yemen multiple times, characterising the Houthi attacks as indiscriminate and a threat to global trade.

According to US Central Command, the goal of this multi-national effort is to defend their own countries, their partners, and allies in the region and restore freedom of navigation by destroying Houthi capabilities used to threaten US and partner forces in the Red Sea and surrounding waterways.

Meanwhile, when Garcetti, was asked about the negotiations on the deal on predator drones and jet engines between the US and India, he clarified by saying that it is not stuck at all.

“So the predator drones moved forward. Now we’re awaiting India’s last signature, essentially, but it went through the congressional notification. It was accelerated. It went ahead of some other things. It jumped the queue, showing the priority and how important we saw this deal. And even in the quote unquote, some people were predicting rockier times because of what we talked about earlier. It actually went through and shows the strength of this relationship. So those are in a great place,” Garcetti told ANI.

Regarding the jet engines, the US envoy said, “And then the engines also, you know, that will take years for engines to be made because they’re very complicated, most exquisite technology we’ve ever shared with anybody, including some of our closest allies that we have not shared this kind of technology with.”

He said that both the deals are 100 per cent on track, while adding that it is his job to help GE (General Electric) and HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), to try to get their ecosystems accelerated regarding the same.

“Both are 100 per cent on track. We’re satisfied. Indians are satisfied. My job, and I think My Indian counterparts would say the same, is to help GE and HAL, which is the local manufacturer here, domestic manufacturer, try to get their ecosystems accelerated so that we can see those in the Indian plains sooner than later,” Garcetti affirmed.

The Biden Administration notified the US Congress in February this year, of its intent to sell nearly 4 billion dollars worth of arms, comprising mainly of the MQ 9 B Drones armed with Hellfire missiles.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which is an agency within the US Department of Defence, said in a press release that the sale helps strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.

It added that New Delhi continues to be an “important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”

“The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale to the Government of India of MQ-9B remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD 3.99 billion. The Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today,” the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said.

According to the statement, the Indian government has requested to buy 31 MQ-9B Sky Guardian aircraft; 161 Embedded Global Positioning and Inertial Navigation Systems (EGIs); 35 L3 Rio Grande Communications Intelligence Sensor Suites; 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; 16 M36E9 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); 310 GBU-39B/B Laser Small Diameter Bombs (LSDB); and eight GBU-39B/B LSDB Guided Test Vehicles (GTVs) with live fuzes.

The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a ‘major defence partner’ that continues to be an “important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” the release stated.

Earlier in 2023, US General Electric (US GE) announced that it had inked an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the government’s aerospace and defence manufacturing firm, to jointly manufacture engines in India to power fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

The agreement includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India. (ANI)

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Nick Jonas

Nick Gets New Haircut By Tiger’s Hairstylist

Nick Jonas, who is currently in India with his wife Priyanka Chopra and daughter Malti, received a haircut from Tiger Shroff’s hairstylist.

Amit Yashwant, a hairstylist known for working with celebrities like Tiger Shroff, posted a video with Nick Jonas on Instagram.

In the picture, the two can be seen posing together and taking a mirror selfie.

The hairstylist captioned it, “Hair Cut for @nickjonas.” Nick looked stylish in his new haircut, wearing a white tee and black pants.

Soon after the pictures were shared, fans chimed in the comment section.

One user commented, “Now he’s ready to be a Bollywood hero. Great job,” while another added,

Another user wrote, “The new Bollywood hero has arrived.”

Fans also filled the comments with hearts and expressions of excitement for his new look.

Meanwhile, the singer is currently enjoying his time with his wife, actress Priyanka Chopra, and their daughter, Malti Marie Chopra Jonas, in the country.

The couple, along with their family and friends, were in Noida for the festivities. They enjoyed dancing to the beats of dhol and playing with colors, immersing themselves in the joyous spirit of the occasion.

Earlier this month, Nick also visited the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh with Priyanka Chopra and daughter Malti Marie.

This is Nick’s second visit to India this year. (ANI)

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Modi Flaunts Recycled Jacket

Modi Flaunts Recycled Jacket During Interaction With Bill Gates

India is moving ahead at a rapid pace in scaling up its renewable energy capacity in areas such as wind and solar energy and wants to move fast in nuclear energy and green hydrogen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

In an interaction with Mircrosoft co-founder Bill Gates, Prime Minister Modi talked about India’s culture of recycling waste and said the half-jacket he was wearing was made of recycled material with a speciality that it had been made using spare cloth pieces at tailors’ shops and also using recycled plastic bottles.

“Recycling and Reusing are inherent to our nature. This jacket is made from recycled material. Even this has specialty. There are waste cloth pieces at tailor’s shop, all this waste material has been collected. It has been made of old clothes and thirty to forty percent waste plastic bottles have been used and all this has been recycled to make the cloth (for the jacket),” PM Modi said.

PM Modi told Bill Gates that the country is making rapid growth in renewable energy and has provided for a corpus fund of Rs 1 lakh crore in the budget to encourage the younger generation to contribute with innovative ideas.

“I believe we should adopt a two-prolonged strategy. First is innovation, and the goal should be to evaluate environment-friendly and climate-friendly innovations. To this end, India has established a corpus fund of Rs 1 lakh crore in this budget inviting the younger generation to contribute their innovative ideas. We are offering interest-free loans for 50 years to support these innovations…,” he added.

PM Modi also told Bill Gates about the launch of India’s first indigenous green hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel.

“In Tamil Nadu, I launched green hydrogen fuel cell boat. This environmental friendly boat ride I have thought of running from Kashi to Ayodhya so that it reinforces my movement for clean Ganga and there is message towards environment-conscious society,” PM Modi said.

“There’s another important thing we need to focus on in our lifestyle. That’s why I started Mission life which stands for lifestyle for environment. It’s because living a climate friendly life daily is crucial. If we don’t embrace a life that respects nature, it doesn’t matter how much external effort we put in and how many new innovations we create. Our way of life should be in sync…our current challenge is how we view progress,” he said.

PM Modi launched hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel under the Harit Nauka initiative during his visit to Tamil Nadu last month and said it is a gift of the people of Tamil Nadu for Kashi. He said that he witnessed the enthusiasm and affection of the people of Tamil Nadu in Kashi Tamil Sangamam.

India has invested Rs 16.93 lakh crore in the power and renewable energy sectors since 2014, with an additional Rs 17.05 lakh crore in the pipeline. In 2024, India is likely to witness an investment of Rs 1,37,500 crore (about USD 16.5 billion) in renewable energy capacity, which would be higher than 13.5 GW with an investment of Rs 74,250 crore (nearly USD 9 billion) seen in 2023.

PM Modi said that data security is of concern and public awareness is crucial.

“Today, data security remains a paramount concern. While India has a legal framework in place, public awareness is equally crucial.”

PM Modi said technology should be used to ease of living of citizens.

“In our country, I have initiated storing all university certificates in the cloud to reduce costs and to fulfill various needs efficiently. Earlier, there was a push for stringent compliance requirements. But I advocated and ensured simplification, and made the data to be uploaded to the cloud with shared IDs, enabling us to access necessary information directly. This approach underscores my commitment to leveraging technology not just to enhance services, but also to significantly improve the ease of living for our citizens,” PM Modi said.

“Also, in the case of deepfakes, it is crucial to acknowledge and present that a particular deepfake content is AI-generated along with the mention of its source. These measures are really important, especially in the beginning. We, thus, need to establish some dos and don’ts,” he added.

PM Modi talked about his government using technology to increase income of people.

“I have launched a programme – NaMo Drone Didi. I have two goals behind this programme- to make 3 crore ‘Lakhpati Didis’ in the country i.e. making 3 crore women of the country to earn Rs. 1 lakh annually, that too from underprivileged families. I want to modernise agriculture, and I want to ensure women’s participation in the same. Today, Drone Didis say – ‘We didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, but today, we have become pilots, we’re operating drones,” PM Modi said.

“I am ensuring technological advancements in agriculture too. We are bringing a big revolution, and I want to change the mindset. The technological advancements I am most excited about are in the sectors of health, agriculture and education. I have built around 2 lakh Ayushman Arogya Mandirs in villages. I directly connect these health centres with the best hospitals keeping modern technology as a bridge between the two,” he added.

PM Modi said during the G20 Summit in Indonesia, representatives from around the world expressed their curiosity about the digital revolution we’ve spearheaded.

“I explained to them our foundational approach…we have democratised technology to prevent monopoly. It is by the people and for the people. We’re committed to ensure that emerging talent from within the community can continuously contribute and enhance its value to foster trust in technology among people,” he said.

“I want to lead a government in which any unnecessary governmental intervention from the lives of the middle class people gets eliminated. For those in poverty, who genuinely require government assistance, the assistance should be readily available in abundance,” he added. (ANI)

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Front (AIUDF) Chief Badruddin Ajmal

We Cannot Form Govt With BJP-NDA: AIUDF Chief

All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Chief Badruddin Ajmal made it clear on Thursday that his party will not join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA alliance if they return to power at the Centre after the Lok Sabha polls.

However, the AIDUF leader asserted that they will win all three seats on which they are contesting.

“AIUDF will win all three seats. We cannot form a government with the BJP-NDA; hence, we will remain with secular parties only,” he said.

Disappointed by the infighting within the INDIA Bloc with regard to seat sharing, Badruddin said that if the parties remained intact, then some hope could be expected, but they are all fighting unilaterally benefitting BJP.

“If the INDIA bloc had been together, then there could have been some hope but all of them are fighting separately. The Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress are two big parties that are fighting completely separately. BJP will benefit from this,” he added.

He also predicted that the BJP would suffer huge losses in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“I would not like to say anything else; they will put ED and CBI behind us, but the atmosphere is going against the BJP. People were expecting Rs 15 lakh but it did not happen. Two crore jobs were not found. The youth are unemployed. The same youth who brought the BJP to power is angry with them today. We have knowledge of the ground. The BJP will suffer huge losses in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” Ajmal said.

“They are thinking of changing the Constitution for which they need 400 plus seats, their dream will never be fulfilled,” he added.

There are a total of 14 parliamentary constituencies in Assam. Elections for the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam will take place in three phases on April 19, April 26 and May 7.

Meanwhile, the election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. Nearly 97 crore voters are eligible to cast votes in the general election. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

In the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured 7 of the 14 seats in Assam. Both the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) claimed three seats each. During the 2019 elections, the BJP increased its seat count to 9, while the Congress maintained its three seats, and the AIUDF won a single seat. (ANI)

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global recognition of Garba UNESCO

Modi Hails UNESCO Recognition For Garba, Shares Certificate

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed his joy over the global recognition of Garba, a traditional dance form from India.

The PM added that Garba found a place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. I am glad that the Certificate of Inscription was presented a few days ago in Paris.

“Garba is a celebration of life, culture and devotion. It also brings people together. It is gladdening to note that Garba’s global popularity on the rise! Sometime ago, Garba found a place in the @UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. I am glad that the Certificate of Inscription was presented a few days back in Paris. At the same time, a memorable Garba Night was also held in Paris, which was attended the Indian community in large numbers,” he said in a tweet on X.

PM Modi also shared some photographs of people enjoying the Garba dance and a copy of the UNESCO certificate.

“Garba of Gujarat was inscribed in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity by UNESCO, under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage during the 18th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from December 5-9, 2023, in Kasane, Botswana,” as per the Ministry of Culture.

As per the Ministry of Culture, Garba of Gujarat is the 15th ICH element from India to join this list.

Garba is a ritualistic and devotional dance that is performed on the occasion of the of Navaratri festival. The dance takes place around a perforated earthenware pot lit with an oil lamp, or an image of the mother goddess Amba.

Participating dancers move around the centre in a counter-clockwise circle, using simple movements while singing and clapping their hands in unison.

The Gujarati dance starts with slow circular movements and the tempo slowly builds up to a frenzied whirling. (ANI)

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United States State Department kejriwal

India Objects To Remarks Of US State Department On Kejriwal

India has taken “strong objection” to remarks of the United States State Department Spokesperson about certain legal proceedings in India.

“In diplomacy, states are expected to be respectful of the sovereignty and internal affairs of others. This responsibility is even more so in case of fellow democracies. It could otherwise end up setting unhealthy precedents,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement today.

The MEA defended India’s legal system, emphasizing its independence and dedication to impartial and expedient judgments.

“India’s legal processes are based on an independent judiciary that is committed to objective and timely outcomes. Casting aspersions on that is unwarranted,” the foreign ministry statement read.

Earlier today, the US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gloria Berbena was seen leaving the Ministry of External Affairs headquarters. The meeting lasted for approximately 40 minutes.

The MEA’s remarks come in the backdrop of a US State Department spokesperson telling Reuters this week, that the US is closely following reports of the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. “We encourage a fair, transparent, and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal,” the US spokesperson said in response to an emailed query about the case.

Earlier this month, the US had expressed concern over the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

In his daily briefing on March 15, the US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller had said, “We are concerned about the notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on March 11.” External Affairs Ministry rejected the remarks as “misplaced, misinformed, and unwarranted”.

Moreover, on March 25, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) raised the alarm on the government’s notification of the Citizenship Amendment Rules (CAR) in a move to begin implementing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). In a statement, the USCIRF said that last week, USCIRF Commissioner Stephen Schneck testified at a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on this matter. (ANI)

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Amul US

Amul, Milk Products Go International With Launch In US

Popular dairy brand Amul, whose tagline is ‘Taste of India’, has now launched fresh milk products on the international stage for the first time and is now ready to cater to the people in the United States.

“I am pleased to inform that Amul shall be launching its fresh milk products in the United States of America. Happy to inform that we have tied up with a 108-year-old dairy cooperative in the US – Michigan Milk Producers Association, and this announcement was done at their annual meeting on March 20 at Detroit,” said Jayen Mehta, Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which operates Amul.

“This is for the first time Amul fresh products range will be launched anywhere outside India and in a market like the United States, which has a very strong Indian and Asian diaspora,” Mehta told ANI.

Further, he said Amul hopes to expand the brand and become the largest dairy company in line with the vision given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he attended its golden jubilee celebrations recently.

Amul’s entrepreneurial spirit has made it one of the strongest dairy brands in the world.

Addressing the gathering during the golden jubilee celebration, the Prime Minister asserted that a sapling that was planted 50 years ago by the farmers of Gujarat has become a giant tree.

Amul products are exported to more than 50 countries around the world. It has under it 18,000 milk cooperative committees, a network of 36,000 farmers, processing more than 3.5 crore litres of milk per day.

The evolution of the dairy sector in India and the stellar role played by dairy cooperatives since the launch of Operation Flood form an integral part of the country’s growth story as the country now is the largest producer of milk.

India contributes about 21 per cent to global milk production.

It is important to note that during the 1950s and 1960s the situation of India’s dairy sector was radically different as it was a milk-deficit nation and depended more on imports.

Following a visit of then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to the Anand district of Gujarat in 1964, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created in 1965 with a mandate to support the creation of the ‘Anand pattern’ of dairy cooperatives across the country through the Operation Flood (OF) programme which was to be implemented in phases.

Verghese Kurien, widely renowned as the “Father of White Revolution” in India, was the first chairman of NDDB. Along with his team, Kurien commenced work on the launch of the project which envisaged the organisation of Anand-pattern cooperatives in milk sheds across the country from where liquid milk produced and procured by milk cooperatives would be transported to cities. (ANI)

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Holy Buddha Relics

Holy Relics Of Lord Buddha To Return To India Today

The most sacred Holy Buddha Relics and those of his two main disciples, Arahant Sariputta and Maha Moggallana, that travelled for a month from India to Thailand, will return to India today amidst full State honours. The exposition of the Holy relics drew over four million devotees to Thailand informed the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC).

The relics will arrive at Air Force Station Palam, Technical Area (at Palam) on March 19. Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi will receive the relics in a humble ceremony marking their return home, the IBC release said.

On the return journey of the relics, a delegation led by Tashi Gyalson, Chairman LAHDC and a number of monks from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions are accompanying the relics.

The exposition in Thailand drew a phenomenal response. Scenes of winding queues of devotees waiting with offerings since the early hours of the day became a familiar sight as the Holy Relics procession arrived in one city after another, in Thailand, the release also said.

The revered relics’ exposition, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani and Krabi provinces, starting from New Delhi on February 22 and culminating on March 19.

The inauguration of the prayers took place at the central exhibition park of the city and was performed with full grandeur by Vajiralongkorn, the King of Thailand and his Queen, a release said.

The exposition, titled ‘Shared Heritage, Shared Values’, was also marking the commemoration with respect and honour of the 72nd birthday of the King that falls on July 28.

The relics arrived in Bangkok on February 22, accompanied by an official delegation led by Bihar Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar.

Monks from India attended the relics at each of the four locations, along with academicians from different Indian universities who spoke on the relevance of the relics and issues connected with Buddhism, the IBC said in its release. (ANI)

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EC Orders Removal Of WB DGP

Ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday issued orders for the removal of West Bengal’s Director General of Police Rajeev Kumar and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Chahal along with some other senior officials from various states.

The ECI has also ordered the removal of certain key officials of six states in what it termed a decisive move towards upholding the principles of free, fair and transparent elections.

Home Secretaries in six states-namely Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been asked to step down. Additionally, the secretaries of the General Administrative Department in Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh have been removed.

The DGP had been in the spotlight after the BJP and other opposition parties criticised the Bengal police for alleged inaction in giving justice to the victims of Sandeshkhali.

The Sandeshkhali area had been witnessing unrest after women protestors sought justice against alleged atrocities committed by Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Shahjahan and his aides.

Meanwhile, the Election commission also directed all the State governments to transfer officers connected with election-related work, who have completed three years or are in their home districts.

Maharashtra had not complied with the directions in respect of few Municipal Commissioners and some Additional / Deputy Municipal Commissioners.

While conveying displeasure to the Chief Secretary, the Commission directed the transfer of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner and the additional / Deputy commissioners with the direction to report by 6pm today.

The Chief Secretary was further directed to transfer all the similarly placed Municipal commissioners and Additional / Deputy Municipal Commissioners of other Corporations in Maharashtra.

This step comes as part of the Commission’s resolve and commitment to maintaining a level playing field and ensuring the integrity of the electoral process, which has been emphasised by CEC Rajiv Kumar time and again and recently during the press conference for the announcement of Schedule for General Elections 2024.

The Commission meeting, chaired by Rajiv Kumar, comprising of Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu was held today at noon.

The officials who have been removed in these seven states were found to be holding dual charges in the office of Chief Minister in respective states which may potentially compromise or be seen to be compromising the impartiality and neutrality required during the electoral process, especially in matters relating to law and order, deployment of forces, etc.

Through these measures, the Commission says it has ensured that all stakeholders uphold the highest standards of integrity and impartiality, thereby safeguarding the level playing field in the entire electoral process. (ANI)

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Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma

Virat Dons A Cool Dad T-Shirt

Star batter Virat Kohli is back in India after welcoming his son Akaay in London.

On Sunday night, he was spotted at the Mumbai airport as he had to catch a flight to Bangalore to join his team for the upcoming match of IPL 2024.

Mumbai-based paps who were stationed outside the airport captured Kohli and in no time, his images went viral. What caught everyone’s attention was Kohli’s cool outfit.

He was seen donning his cool white T-shirt, which featured a huge illustration of a cute cartoon character and had the word ‘Dad’ written on it.

After missing out on India’s 4-1 series win against England, Kohli will return to the field of cricket in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League featuring the Royal Challengers Bangalore. RCB will play their first game against defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the season opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

On the personal front, Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma became parents to their second child on February 15, 2024.

Announcing the arrival of the little one, Anushka and Kohli in a social media post wrote, “With abundant happiness and our hearts full of love, we are pleased to inform everyone that on 15th February, we welcomed our baby boy Akaay/akaay & Vamika’s little brother into this world. We seek your blessings and good wishes in this beautiful time in our lives. We request you to kindly respect our privacy at this time. Love & Gratitude. Virat & Anushka.”

Kohli and Anushka tied the knot on December 11, 2017 in Italy. The duo was blessed with their first child Vamika on January 11, 2021. (ANI)

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