US to Cut Armed Forces: Obama

Washington, Jan 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti): US President Barack Obama has unveiled a new defence strategy that seeks to cut the country's armed forces in a bid to reduce the defence budget by around $500 billion.

"Our military will be leaner but the world must know the US is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats," Obama said Thursday at the Pentagon.

The president said the country would dismiss Cold War-era systems in order to invest into "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, countering weapons of mass destruction and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access".

The defence strategy, however, did not elaborate on the number of troops to be reduced.

US administration officials said that army and marine corps personnel may be reduced by up to 15 percent in the next 10 years.

Obama reiterated that the US will maintain its efforts to ensure stability in the Middle East and halt Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes.

"US policy will emphasise Gulf security, in collaboration with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries when appropriate, to prevent Iran's development of a nuclear weapon capability and counter its destabilising policies," he said.

The CBI had taken Omprakash Bishnoi, an arrested accused, to a place near Jaloda village where the nurse's body was reportedly burnt.

"Omprakash Bishnoi told the agency that the remains of her body were dumped into a canal near the village," sources told IANS. Omprakash is the brother of Bishnaram Bishnoi.

The case has seen the arrest of former Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress legislator from Luni constituency Malkhan Singh.

In a charge sheet filed earlier by the CBI, it was alleged that three men kidnapped the nurse from Jodhpur's Bilara area Sep 1, killed her and then handed over her body to a gang of criminals headed by Bishnaram Bishnoi.

According to sources close to the CBI, sacked minister Maderna and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh were hand-in-glove in the entire conspiracy as the nurse was blackmailing both of them.

Maderna was believed to be blackmailed on the basis of a CD showing him in a compromising position with the nurse.

The two politicians allegedly roped in Sahiram Bishnoi, who hired Sohan Lal, Balia and Shahabuddin for the task of kidnapping the nurse.

Maderna, Malkhan, the three kidnappers and Sahiram along with Amarchand, husband of Bhanwari Devi, have been arrested by the CBI. Amarchand is at present in judicial custody.

The CBI also arrested Malkhan's brother Parasram Bishnoi as well as two others - Umesharam and Omprakash Bishnoi


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