News Updates

08 - 15 September, 2019
  • Has Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram Lander setback affected India’s moon mission? India may not have arrived on the moon, yet. But the orbiter gliding 100 km above continues to bear the Chandrayaan 2 torch. Chandrayaan 2 took off from Sriharikota on July 22 to safe land the ‘Vikram’, carrying its ‘Pragyan’ rover, in a suitable high plain on the lunar surface, at a latitude of about 70º South. But soon after 1.50 a.m. on September 7, in the final minutes of the lander’s descent on its own, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) team in Bengaluru lost contact with the module. (The Hindu, 15 September, 2019)
  • Indian Delegation To Visit US Ahead Of PM Modi's Visit. An Indian delegation of political leaders and foreign policy experts will be visiting the United States ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit there to address the United National General Assembly on September 27. Mr Shergill said the delegation will visit both Washington DC and New York, where they will participate in discussions on various international issues, including the Indo-US relations and the impact of US-Afghan rumblings on South Asia peace and stability. (NDTV, 15 September, 2019)
  • J&K Polls Will Be Held After Delimitation of Constituencies: JP Nadda. Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP) working president J P Nadda stated that the elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be held solely after the delimitation of the constituencies. “Jammu and Kashmir has been given the status of a Union Territory but it will also have a legislature. Elections will be held. But before that, there will be delimitation of constituencies. Scheduled Tribes seats will also be reserved for Gujjars and Bakarwals,” stated Mr Nadda. (Herald Publicist, 15 September, 2019)
  • India-Switzerland ink 3 MoUs during President Kovind-Ueli Maurer bilateral talks. Switzerland and India inked three Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to deepen cooperation in various fields such as science & technology, people-to-people, and climate change ties following a high-delegation level meeting between Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his Swiss counterpart Ueli Maurer. In a tweet, Kovind said, “India and Switzerland signed three agreements on: 1. Technical cooperation on climate change. 2. Science and technology alliance. 3. Renewal of Hindi Chair at University of Lausanne.” (The Indian Wire, 14 September, 2019)
  • Closely monitoring Kashmir; want India, Pak to find ‘lasting solution’ on matter: UK PM. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK is monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely and wants India and Pakistan to find a “lasting political solution to the situation in Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.” (The Statesman, 14 September, 2019)
  • Kartarpur: 5000 pilgrims can visit daily; free pick and drop, medical services. Closing gap on a number of key issues, India and Pakistan agreed that over 5000 pilgrims can visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib every day using the corridor and would be provided free pick and drop, medical services, and lunch during the yatra, Pakistan's Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) said. The discussions in this regard were held during a special meeting on the Kartarpur corridor between the two countries in Lahore. (The Asian Age, 14 September, 2019)
  • Govt has special strategy for PoK: Gen V K Singh. Union minister General V K Singh (retd) said that the Union government has a "special strategy" for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). However, such things are not discussed in public, Gen Singh told reporters. He was replying to a question about Army Chief Bipin Rawat's statement that the forces were always ready for action in the PoK but the decision is for the government to take. (The Times of India, 12 September, 2019)
  • US urges India to engage with Kashmiri leaders. The US State Department has urged India to resume political engagement with Kashmiri leaders and schedule promised elections in their occupied region as soon as possible. On Monday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir dispute, although he also noted that tension over occupied Kashmir was “a little less heated” now in comparison to two weeks ago. (Dawn, 12 September, 2019) Arunachal urges Centre to open up trade routes with Bhutan, China, Myanmar. The Arunachal Pradesh government urged the Centre to take steps to improve road connectivity with neighbouring Myanmar, China and Bhutan to open up trade routes between the Northeast and these countries. Arunachal Pradesh Trade & Commerce Minister Tumke Bagra took part in a board of trade meeting, chaired by union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, at the national capital. Speaking on the occasion, Bagra said rebuilding of the Stilwell road would connect the landlocked region with the ASEAN countries and provide shorter and cheaper trade routes than the existing sea routes that are longer, an official communiqué said. (The Arunachal Times, 12 September, 2019) China and India try to set differences over Kashmir aside to focus on economic cooperation. China and India have pledged to step up their cooperation in areas such as the economy, technology and drug development despite ongoing tensions over issues such as Kashmir. The two countries concluded the sixth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue held in New Delhi on Monday, saying it had “strengthened communication and the exchange of views”, according to state news agency Xinhua. (South China Morning Post, 11 September, 2019) Revocation of J&K's special status sovereign decision: India at UNHRC. Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status was a sovereign decision taken by the Indian Parliament and the country cannot accept any interference in its internal affairs, India asserted at the UN Human Rights Council, while strongly rejecting Pakistan's "malicious" campaign on the issue. (The Pioneer, 10 September, 2019) India to spend a whopping USD 130 billion to modernise forces. India has finalised a road map to spend USD 130 billion in the next five to seven years to modernise the armed forces and bolster their combat capabilities over rivals in the region, according to an official document and military sources. (The Economic Times, 10 September, 2019) India, Nepal open South Asia's first cross-border oil pipeline. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart, Khadga Prasad Oli, hit the switch simultaneously on Tuesday from their offices in New Delhi and Kathmandu to open the 69-kilometre pipeline, which will bring gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene across the border to Nepal. (Al-Jazeera, 10 September, 2019) World must not remain indifferent to tragedy unfolding in Kashmir, Qureshi tells UN Rights Council. Addressing the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qureshi while referring to India's recent actions in Kashmir said: "Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. (Dawn, 10 September, 2019)
  • Politics live: Article 371 won’t be diluted; Amit Shah assures northeastern States. Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured the northeastern States that the Centre would never touch Article 371 of the Constitution that grants special provisions to the region. “There is a vast difference between Article 370 and Article 371,” the Home Minister said. (Daily News India, 09 September, 2019)
  • Elected govt. to form J&K land laws. The Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir would decide its own land policy once its elected, a senior government official said. The elected representatives could decide on the land use and categorise it as agricultural, commercial, educational and so on, he added. The new Union Territory will come into being on October 31. (The Hindu, 08 September, 2019)
  • Union Territories of Jammu And Kashmir, Ladakh To Have Common High Court. Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will become two separate Union territories from October 31 but will have a common high court, State Judicial Academy's Director Rajeev Gupta said. He also said 108 Central Laws would be applicable for the two UTs while 164 state laws would be repealed and 166 state laws will continue to be applicable. (NDTV, 08 September, 2019)
  • Chandrayaan 2 orbiter ‘sights’ Vikram lander on moon. The lander was spotted some distance away possibly about half a kilometre from its intended touchdown point, reports said. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has retrieved images and located the lander Vikram on the moon on September 8 and is analysing them for a clear picture of the lander’s condition, it is learnt. (The Hindu, 08 September, 2019)
01 - 07 September, 2019
  • For U.S. investment, India needs policy stability, coherence: Nisha Biswal. More than two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump announced in Osaka that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal should meet and resolve the trade impasse, there has been no meeting thus far, but U.S.-India Business Council President Nisha Biswal says she is hopeful they will meet before Mr. Modi travels to the U.S. this month. (The Hindu, 07 September, 2019)
  • Pakistan denies Indian president's request to use airspace. Pakistan says it has refused a request by India's President Ram Nath Kovind to fly through its airspace due to New Delhi's recent "behaviour". (Al-Jazeera, 07 September, 2019)
  • Govt to spend Rs 3.5 lakh crore on mega water scheme in 5 years: PM Modi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent in the next five years under the newly formed Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide piped water ('Har Ghar Jal') to all rural households by 2024. He said the move was aimed at fulfilling legendary socialist late Ram Manohar Lohia's dream of providing water, and toilets, to mitigate the hardships faced by women. (India Today, 07 September, 2019)
  • Kashmir Will Adopt Northeast Development Model: Jitendra Singh. Union Minister Jitendra Singh held a day-long brain storming session with party workers across Northeast to clear the apprehension among the people on the special status accorded to the region under Article 371. "Article 371 itself says I'm temporary in the Constitution. There is no similarity between 370 and 371. When we talk about one nation, one constitution, we mean directly about J&K, since it had a separate constitution. In northeast things are different. Assam or other Northeastern states don't have a separate constitution," said Jitendra Singh, who held the workshop along with BJP lawmaker from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal. (NDTV, 05 September, 2019)
  • British MEP urges EU to put pressure on India to end curfew in Kashmir. “It was no coincidence that India decided to revoke the status of Kashmir in August when parliaments around the world were in recess and there was no-one in EU who could react,” said British MEP Phil Bennion (Liberal Democrat) at a press briefing at Press Club Brussels on Monday (2 August) organised by the Kashmir Council – EU. (The Brussels Times, 04 September, 2019)
  • Kashmiri delegation meets Amit Shah in Delhi. Union Home Minister Amit Shah met a Kashmiri delegation at the North Block. Twenty-two village heads (sarpanch) from Kashmir, who bravely contested the panchayat elections in spite of threat to their lives from terrorists, met Shah and other top officials of the Home Ministry. Amit Shah will be listening to all of them and hold talks to bring normalcy in the valley, sources said. (India Today, 03 September, 2019)
  • IAF inducts 8 US-made Apache AH-64E helicopters. The Indian Air Force inducted eight US-made Apache AH-64E attack helicopters, which will give a major boot to its combat capabilities. Officials said the aircraft were formally inducted at the induction ceremony at Pathankot Air Force station with Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa as the chief guest. The AH-64E Apache is one of the world's most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, and is flown by the US Army. (Business Today, 03 September, 2019)
  • India, Japan to hold 2+2 dialogue on Indo-Pacific cooperation. India and Japan have decided to hold their first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Dialogue (2+2) ahead of the Japan-India annual summit this year for “advancing cooperation towards peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region”. Accord on the meeting was reached by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya at the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue, the Defence Ministry said. (The Hindu, 03 September, 2019)
  • Discussed ‘Big’ Free Trade Agreement with PM Modi, Says Boris Johnson. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a "big" free trade agreement (FTA) was among the key issues he discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, last month. (News 18, 03 September, 2019)
  • After JUH, Jamaat -e- Islami Hind seeks dialogue with Hindus to build brotherhood among communities. Just days after the meeting between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Jamiat Ulama -i- Hind (JUH) president Maulana Arshad Madani where they deliberated on working on communal harmony, another minority organisation Jamaat -e- Islami Hind (JIH) has reinforced the need for a dialogue with representatives from the Hindu community to build brotherhood. They feel that both Muslim and Hindu communities need to work together to prevent people with vested interests from spreading hatred. (Times of India, 03 September, 2019)
  • Don't decide Ayodhya case on Hindus' belief: Muslim parties to SC. Contesting the claims of Hindu parties for ownership of the 2.77 acre disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land in Ayodhya, Muslim parties told the Supreme Court that the case could not be decided on the basis of Hindus' belief and faith that Lord Ram was born at the disputed site by glossing over recorded historical facts since 1934 about a 'living' mosque. (Times of India, 03 September, 2019)
  • Pakistan won’t start military conflict with India: PM. Prime Minister Imran Khan said both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed states and escalation of tension may threaten world peace, adding that Pakistan will never start a military conflict. He said the two countries were sitting on a ticking bomb that warranted a joint strategy to resolve grave issues of poverty, joblessness and imminent threat of climate change rather than talking of war. (Dawn, 03 September, 2019)
  • Indian diplomat meets convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad. The meeting between a senior Indian diplomat and convicted India spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was held on Monday after Pakistan formally granted the consular access to the convicted spy in line with the decision of International Court of Justice. (The Express Tribune, 02 September, 2019)
  • India backs peace deal which will not leave space for terrorists in Afghanistan: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while briefing the media on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia this week, said that both India and Russia believe that whatever the outcome of the discussions between the US and the Taliban is, they hope to see a stable political situation. (India Today, 02 September, 2019)
  • UN refugee chief urges India to ensure no one left stateless. The U.N.’s top refugee official urged India to ensure no one is left stateless by the exclusion of nearly 2 million people from a citizenship list in Assam state. “Any process that could leave large numbers of people without a nationality would be an enormous blow to global efforts to eradicate statelessness,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement issued Sunday in Geneva. (The Washington Post, 02 September, 2019)
  • India committed to defence ties with Japan: Rajnath Singh. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on a two-day visit to Japan, met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo and said India was committed to enhancing defence engagements between the two countries, besides strengthening bilateral arrangements. He is accompanied by a high-level defence ministry delegation. (India Today, 02 September, 2019)
  • War of words between India, Pak on Kashmir in Maldives. A conclave of Speakers and Chairpersons of Parliaments of the South Asian nations in the Maldives witnessed a war of words between Indian and Pakistani representatives over Kashmir. Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Harivansh Narayan Singh, strongly protested, when Qasim Suri, Deputy Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan, raised the issue of Kashmir while speaking at the conference. (Deccan Herald, 01 September, 2019)
  • European Union calls for bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini in Brussels, where officials raised concerns over human rights restrictions in the Jammu and Kashmir, ahead of a European Parliament meeting on the situation in the state. Members of the European Parliament have filed questions over the past few weeks on Kashmir, which will be taken up when the parliament reopens after a six-week recess. (Scroll.in, 01 September, 2019)
  • Representatives of poll bodies from over 50 countries to meet in Bengaluru. Representatives from election bodies in over 50 countries will congregate in Bengaluru to share their electoral experience with programmes connected to the Fourth General Assembly of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) starting on Monday. Incidentally, India will take over as A-WEB’s chair for 2019–21. (The Hindu, 01 September, 2019)
  • India goes on diplomatic overdrive to fend off Pak offensive on Kashmir at UNHRC. The government has sent a team led by senior diplomat Ajay Bisaria to Geneva to boost the Indian presence at the UN Human Rights Council to fend off yet another Pakistani attempt against the Indian decisions on Kashmir. Pakistan is rolling out its own big guns – former foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua and foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who will address the 42nd session of the human rights body. (The Times of India, 01 September, 2019)
  • Deeply concerned about the situation in Kashmir: Bernie Sanders. United States senator and presidential contender Bernie Sanders Sunday said that he was “deeply concerned” about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Calling India’s actions “unacceptable”, the 77-year-old US Senator said that the communication blockade in the state must be immediately lifted. Sanders also urged the US government to “speak out boldly” in support of a UN-backed peaceful resolution in Kashmir. (The Indian Express, 01 September, 2019)
  • All round mismanagement of Modi govt responsible for worrisome economy: Manmohan Singh. As the economic growth slumped to a seven-year low of 5 per cent in April to June quarter, former Prime Minister and seasoned economist Manmohan Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government that, "The state of the economy today is deeply worrying. The last quarter's GDP growth rate of 5 per cent signals that we are in the midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but all-round mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown," said Manmohan Singh. (Business Standard, 01 September, 2019)
  • India to announce massive land restoration drive stretching from Porbandar to Delhi during upcoming UN meet. Scaling up its efforts to restore minimum 30 million hectares of degraded land, India will during the upcoming UN conference announce a massive land restoration initiative which includes creating a huge ‘green path’ running from Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace at Porbandar in Gujarat to New Delhi. The announcement will be made in commemoration of 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and will coincide with India’s taking over the leadership of the UN Conference of Parties (COP) on combating desertification. (India Today, 01 September, 2019)