News Updates

15 April - 21 April, 2019
  • China ready for Wuhan-style summit meet with India. China said it was ready to hold a Wuhan-style summit meeting with India this year to improve ties, notwithstanding the differences over the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in which the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project. (The Pioneer, 20 April, 2019) Lok Sabha elections 2019: Second phase of LS polls clocks 66% voter turnout. In Phase 2, 1,629 candidates from various political parties are in the fray. Polling was held in 1.76 lakh booths across the country. In the second phase of polling, a total electorate of 15.8 crore cast their votes. (Hindustan Times, 18 April, 2019) If we return to power, faith of devotees will be protected: PM. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the rally said that, “after May 23, we will form a government and fight for the protection of faith of the devotees and the ongoing practices from the court to Parliament. We will give constitutional support.” (The Hindu, 19 April, 2019) Cross-LoC trade suspended after ‘misuse by arms, drugs smugglers’. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” as reasons. The move will immediately impact around 300 traders, and over 1,200 people who are directly and indirectly associated with the trade on this side. (The Hindu, 18 April, 2019) No Pakistan soldier or citizen died in Balakot air strike. External affairs minister and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force across the border in response to the Pulwama terror attack in February. (The Times of India, 18 April, 2019) Phase 2 of 2019 Lok Sabha elections: A test of alliance politics. Voting in the phase 2 of the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls is under way in 95 constituencies spread across 11 states and one union territory. In this phase, all eyes will be on the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which sends 39 MPs to Lok Sabha. With 7% of the Lok Sabha seats, the results of the state will have a direct impact on who forms the government at Centre in case of a hung Lok Sabha. In Karnataka, the alliance of Congress and JD(S) will be hoping to defeat the BJP which won 17 of the 28 seats in 2014. In UP, the ability of Samajwadi Party to transfer its Yadav and other OBCs votes to BSP will put to test the arithmetic behind the alliance between the two parties. (The Times of India, 18 April, 2019) 50 lakh people lost jobs since demonetization. Azim Premji University research report revealed that around 50 lakh people lost their jobs since the Narendra Modi government launched demonetisation in November 2016. The higher educated and young people are the most unaffected and most unemployed ones. (Business Today, 17 April, 2019) Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile "Nirbhay" Successfully Test-Fired. India successfully test-fired its first indigenously designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile ''Nirbhay'' from a test range in Odisha. The state-of-the-art missile, which can be deployed from multiple platforms, is capable of loitering and cruising at 0.7 Mach at altitude as low as 100 metre, covered the designated target range in 42 minutes and 23 seconds. (NDTV, 15 April, 2019)
09 April - 14 April, 2019
  • Canada removes Khalistani extremism from terror report. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau administration’s decision to remove all references to Khalistani extremism in its 2018 report on terrorist threats was a threat to Indian and global security. (The Hindu, 14 April, 2019)
  • Narendra Modi government wrote off ₹5.5 lakh crore loans of cronies. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, citing a news report, accused the Modi government of “favouritism” because it had written off ₹5.5 lakh crore in loans of its “blue-eyed boys” and said it was the worst example of crony capitalism. (The Hindu, 13 April, 2019)
  • Manohar Parrikar quit as defence minister over Rafale deal: Sharad Pawar. Former defence minister Manohar Parrikar relinquished his post at the Centre and returned to Goa because he did not agree with the Rafale fighter jet deal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar claimed. (The Times of India, 13 April, 2019)
  • Anil Ambani firm got €143.7 mn tax relief from France after Rafale announcement: Le Monde report. In fresh revelations in the Rafale deal, French newspaper Le Monde reported that Anil Ambani’s French-registered telecom company was given tax waivers worth €143.7 million by local authorities, shortly after the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buy 36 Rafale jets in fly away condition. (The Hindu, 13 April, 2019)
  • Vote for me or else...: Maneka Gandhi warns Sultanpur Muslims, Sakshi Maharaj warns all. Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have been caught on camera threatening voters to vote for them or face the consequences. The two BJP leaders are - Union minister Maneka Gandhi and BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj. Maneka Gandhi threatened a group of Muslims in Sultanpur to vote for her or else they would not receive any help when she is the lawmaker. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj warned people in Unnao, saying he will curse them if they do not vote for him. (India Today, 13 April, 2019)
  • Priyanka prepares UP for 2022, Rahul his party for 2024. The Congress has not been able to properly market some of its smart, double edged moves. No one can grudge the Congress party’s desire to revive, but fighting the main enemy, in this case the BJP, and at the same time firing lethal rounds at allies has created bad blood among coalition partners. (The Economic Times, 13 April, 2019)
  • Attempts being made by Centre to weaken J&K politically, economically: Mehbooba Mufti. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti asked the people to stand in unison against "divisive forces" and actively participate in the ongoing parliamentary polls because of alleged attempts being made by the Centre to weaken Jammu and Kashmir politically and economically and. (The Times of India, 13 April, 2019)
  • Army veterans, including eight ex-chiefs, write to President Ram Nath Kovind to stop politicisation of armed forces for elections. Over 150 armed forces veterans – including three former army chiefs, four former navy chiefs and a former air force chief – wrote to the President Ram Nath Kovind and Commander-in-Chief “to take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. (First Post, 12 April, 2019)
  • India Votes as PM Modi Seeks 2nd Term, Test for Grand Alliance: 10 Points. Parts of India are voting today in the first round of a gigantic seven-phase national election that ends with results on May 23. Voting is being held in parts of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term in power with a campaign that has revolved largely around national security, along with populist promises of development, farm relief and welfare measures for the poor. At the forefront of the opposition charge is a re-energised Congress led by Rahul Gandhi, who accuses the government of corruption, crony capitalism and suppression. An alliance of bitter Uttar Pradesh rivals Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati will also be tested as 91 seats across 18 states and two Union territories vote. The last day of voting in the six-week polls is May 19. Lok Sabha has 545 seats, with a halfway mark of 272. (NDTV, 11 April, 2019)
  • NIA arrests JKLF chief Yasin Malik in terror funding case. The National Investigation Agency arrested JKLF chief Yasin Malik in connection with a case related to the funding of terror and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. (Hindustan Times, 10 April, 2019)
  • Rafale deal: SC dismisses govt’s objections, allows use of 'leaked' papers in review plea. The Supreme Court dismissed preliminary objections raised by the Centre that documents on which it claimed "privilege" cannot be relied upon to re-examine the verdict in the Rafale fighter jet deal. The CJI-led bench said it will fix a date for commencing detailed hearing on the review petitions which question not only the pricing of Rafale jets but appointment of Anil Ambani owned company as offset partner of Dasault. (The Times of India, 10 April, 2019)
  • Rafale: Modi govt. gave unprecedented waivers in offset agreements. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Modi gave exceptional and unprecedented waivers to M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s MBDA in the offset contracts they signed with the Indian government on September 23, 2016 as part of the €7.87 billion Rafale deal. These waivers, granted on August 24, 2016 at the highest level of political decision-making, were exemptions given to the two private French companies from having to comply with provisions of the Standard Contract Document of the Defence Procurement Procedure, DPP-2013. The waivers concerned two key issues — the provisions to be made in the offset contracts for arbitration (Article 9) and access to books of accounts of the industrial suppliers (Article 12). (The Hindu, 09 April, 2019)
  • EC suffering from credibility crisis: 66 ex-bureaucrats write to President, urge him to ensure fair elections. As many as 66 former bureaucrats have written to President Ram Nath Kovind expressing concern over the working of the Election Commission, which they said is suffering from a crisis of credibility. The bureaucrats have appealed to the President to ensure fair Lok Sabha elections. (India Today, 09 April, 2019)
01 April - 08 April, 2019
  • BJP releases manifesto, promises to build Ram temple; PM says nationalism 'our inspiration'. Prime Minister Modi released the 45-page manifesto titled "Sankalpit Bharat, Sashakt Bharat" three days ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP manifesto highlighted construction of Ram temple, firmly dealing with terrorism, doubling farmers' income, making India the third-largest economy globally by 2030, and scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir. (The Times of India, 08 April, 2019)
  • NYAY will ‘remonetise’ the economy: Rahul. “If they can give money to the rich, we will give money to the poor,” the Congress chief said. “We will ensure Rs. 72,000 per year to each family in the poorest section of the society. In five years we will provide Rs. 3,72,000,” said Mr. Gandhi explaining the NYAY scheme to the crowd. (The Hindu, 07 April, 2019)
  • India rejects as 'preposterous' Pak claim of India planning another strike. India rejected as "irresponsible" and "preposterous" Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's claim that India was planning to carry out another attack on Pakistan between April 16 and 20, saying his comments were aimed at whipping up war hysteria in the region. (Business Standard, 07 April, 2019)
  • India’s imports from China decelerating, says report. Indian imports from China stood at $60 billion during the April-January period of 2018-19 fiscal, a deceleration of 5% over the corresponding period a year ago, PHD Chamber of Commerce told. (The Hindu, 07 April, 2019)
  • US clears $2.6bn sale of 24 naval helicopters to India. The US has approved the $2.6 billion sale of 24 naval multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' helicopters, armed with Hellfire missiles, MK-54 torpedoes and precision-kill rockets for potent anti-submarine warfare capabilities, to India. The proposed sale will provide India the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine missions. (The Times of India, 04 April, 2019)
  • Lok Sabha 2019: Full manifesto released by Congress. A 55-page manifesto of Congress, for the Lok Sabha elections promising good governance, freedom from indebtedness to farmers, protecting existing jobs while creating new ones and implementing anti-corruption laws without bias. (The Times of India, 02 April, 2019)
  • Yogi Adityanath refers to Indian Army as 'Modiji ki sena', draws flak from Opposition. While drawing a comparison between the steps taken by the BJP-led central government against terrorism and the previous Congress government, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath referred the Indian Army as "Modiji ki sena". (The New Indian Express, 01 April, 2019)
  • ITBP command activated to take on Chinese build-up. India operationalised its strategic ITBP command in Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh-Ladakh district after moving it from Chandigarh. The move forms part of a plan to counter ever-increasing Chinese military build-up in the region. The North West (NW) frontier of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), tasked to guard the 3,488-km Sino-India border during peace time, is headed by an Inspector General (IG) of Police-rank officer, equivalent to a Major General in the Army. (The Tribune India, 01 April, 2019)
  • IAF to discuss operational readiness. At a conference likely to start on April 11, the top commanders of the IAF; and Indian Army will discuss the operational readiness and the future course of action for the operational deployment along the Pakistan border and the security there in the Army commanders' conference starting April 8. (The Times of India, 01 April, 2019)