News Updates

05 August - 18 August, 2019
  • AIR broadcasts PM Modi’s full Independence Day speech in 15 foreign languages. The All India Radio for the first time translated and broadcast the entire Independence Day speech of Prime Narendra Modi in 15 foreign languages through its External Services Division (ESD), officials said. These 15 foreign languages are Arabic, Baluchi, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, French, Indonesian, Persian, Pushtu, Russian, Sinhala, Swahili, Thai, Tibetan and English (General Overseas Service). The speech was also made available on the website in Japanese, German and Spanish. (Business Today, 19 August, 2019)
  • Kashmir landlines come alive, traffic starts moving. The authorities lifted restrictions on the movement of people in 35 police station areas of the Valley and made landline phones operational by resuming services at 17 out of 96 telephone exchanges. More than 23,000 landlines in the Valley were functional by the evening. Shops and business establishments in Kashmir, however, remained closed on Saturday. (Times of India, 18 August, 2019)
  • No talks on Doklam this time with Narendra Modi as we have no issues there now: Bhutan PM. Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering said, “We are happy to report that Narendra Modi visited us for 2 days. It was a successful visit. Successful as we all are very happy, we could give what he wanted, we could get what we wanted, mainly in terms of heart to heart connection.” He further added, “We did not have any dialogue on Doklam this time because we don't have issues on Doklam this time. Everything is normalised. We always believed that the 3 countries involved in Doklam will come to a logical conclusion.” (The Economic Times, 18 August, 2019)
  • Now India will only discuss PoK with Pakistan: Rajnath Singh. After Pakistan approached several foreign nations and the United Nations seeking intervention in the Kashmir matter, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said talks with Pakistan will only be held when the neighbours stop harbouring terrorists. He also said that from now on, India will hold talks only on PoK. (India Today, 18 August, 2019)
  • 4,000 detained in Kashmir since autonomy stripped: Govt sources. A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial. (France24, 18 August, 2019)
  • Key Kashmir political leaders arrested by India since August 5. Indian authorities have carried out a major crackdown against political leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir and arrested high-profile figures that include three former chief ministers of the Muslim-majority state. (Al-Jazeera, 18 August, 2019)
  • Rajnath Singh’s hint on ‘no first use’ change is message to Pakistan. Union defence minister Rajnath Singh hinted India might change its “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, introducing a level of ambiguity in a key security doctrine against the backdrop of heightened tensions with Pakistan. (Hindustan Times, 17 August, 2019)
  • India Plans Big Detention Camps for Migrants. Muslims Are Afraid. More than four million people in India, mostly Muslims, are at risk of being declared foreign migrants as the government pushes a hardline Hindu nationalist agenda that has challenged the country’s pluralist traditions and aims to redefine what it means to be Indian. (The New York Times, 17 August, 2019)
  • Kashmiris caught in India-Pakistan trade blockage. The blocking of trade between India and Pakistan, which followed New Delhi's revocation of Indian-administered Kashmir's autonomy, is having an effect on Kashmiris on both sides of the border, known as the Line of Control (LoC). Traders estimate that approximately 25,000 Kashmiris have been affected on both sides. (Al-Jazeera, 17 August, 2019)
  • Retired bureaucrats, military officers move SC over abrogation of Article 370, bifurcation of Kashmir. Retired military officers and bureaucrats filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the Presidential order by which Article 370 was abrogated, saying that the order was constitutionally invalid. The petitioners have also challenged the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill. (India Today, 17 August, 2019)
  • UN Security Council discusses Kashmir, China urges India and Pakistan to ease tensions. The Security Council considered the volatile situation surrounding Kashmir, addressing the issue in a meeting focused solely on the dispute, within the UN body dedicated to resolving matters of international peace and security, for the first time since 1965. The Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Jun, spoke to reporters outside the chamber following deliberations, urging both India and Pakistan to “refrain from taking any unilateral action which might further aggravate” what was an already “tense and very dangerous” situation. In a statement issued on 8 August, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he had been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir “with concern”, making an appeal for “maximum restraint”. (UN News, 16 August, 2019)
  • India's Modi trumpets Kashmir, Muslim marriage moves in Independence Day speech. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered an Independence Day speech that spotlighted a decision to remove the special rights of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir among the bold moves of the first 10 weeks of his second term. Modi talked about his aim to turn India into a $5-trillion economy within five years, by spurring wealth creation, boosting exports and tourism, and spending 100 trillion rupees ($1.4 trillion) on infrastructure. (Reuters, 15 August, 2019)
  • ‘Naga national flag’ hoisted across Naga-inhabited areas on ‘Independence Day’. The influential Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) hoisted the ‘Naga national flag’ to celebrate the 73rd ‘Naga Independence Day’ across the Naga-inhabited areas, including Myanmar. On August 14, 1947, leaders belonging to various Naga tribes came together to unfurl their ‘national flag’ in Kohima, now the capital of Nagaland which attained statehood in December 1963. This was to ‘assert their right to independence’ after the transfer of power from the British to ‘Indians’. (The Hindu, 14 August, 2019)
  • India cancels Samjhauta Express service with Pakistan. India cancelled the Samjhauta Express train run at its end, days after Pakistan took similar action on its side. The bi-weekly train service links Pakistan's northeastern Lahore city to the Indian capital New Delhi through the Wagah border crossing. (Anadolu Agency, 11 August, 2019)
  • Sonia, Rahul to not participate in choosing next Congress president. Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the former party chief Rahul Gandhi have refused to be part of the process to select the next party president, even as the Congress Working Committee (CWC) constituted five groups for wider consultations. (The Hindu, 10 August, 2019)
  • Vacancies to Be Filled, Government Employees To Get Due Perks: PM Modi In J&K Address. Prime Minister Modi announced that an exercise to fill vacancies in government posts will soon start in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh while assuring its large workforce that they will get salaries and perks on a par with employees of other union territories. (NDTV, 09 August, 2019)
  • Anger, fear, silence & gloom envelope Valley ahead of Eid. Stray protests and instances of stone-pelting despite the sheer scale of security deployment have added to the perception that normalcy won’t return anytime soon. While the official word is that the situation is improving and restrictions would be gradually eased, a journalist working for a south India-based newspaper said suspicion and mistrust had seeped into the functioning of the local administration. “I was not issued a curfew pass by the Srinagar district magistrate. On enquiry, I was told by a member of the staff at the DC’s office that they have clear instructions not to issue passes to the media,” he said. (Times of India, 09 August, 2019)
  • Pakistan bans all cultural exchanges with India. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday launched a national slogan ‘Say No to India’ and decided to ban all cultural exchanges with India including all kinds of joint ventures in the entertainment industry of the two countries. “All kinds of Indian content have been stopped and Pemra [Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority] has been directed to step up its vigilance in this regard along with actions against the sale of Indian DTH instruments,” said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan. (Dawn, 09 August, 2019)
  • '53 internet shutdowns in J&K in 2019'. According to Software Freedom Law Centre, a civil society organization that tracks such instances, J&K has seen 53 such shutdowns in 2019 alone. According to SFLC's project, Internet Shutdowns, J&K has seen 176 instances of clamp down on internet service since 2012, the highest in the country. (Times of India, 08 August, 2019)
  • Maleeha Lodhi Discusses Tensions Between India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, explains what’s at stake, and why her country has suspended trade with India in retaliation. (PBS, 08 August, 2019)
  • U.N. chief calls for restraint over Kashmir: spokesman. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on India and Pakistan to refrain from any steps that could affect the special status of the disputed regions of Kashmir and Jammu. Guterres was “concerned over reports of restrictions on Indian-side of Kashmir,” and warned that such actions could “exacerbate the human rights situation in region,” Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement. (Reuters, 08 August, 2019)
  • SC refuses urgent hearing of plea against restrictions in J-K. The Supreme Court refused to accord urgent hearing to a petition filed by activist Tehseen Poonawalla seeking immediate withdrawal of prohibitory orders and restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir imposed in view of abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. (The Tribune, 08 August, 2019)
  • Article 370: India's move on Kashmir will fuel resentment. For many Kashmiris, the special status afforded to Jammu and Kashmir by Article 370 of the Indian constitution reflects the different means by which, and basis on which, the princely state became part of India in late 1947. It was the result of an accommodation all those years ago between the government of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Kashmir's political leaders. India's BJP-led government has now unilaterally torn up that special dispensation. It's the biggest change in Kashmir's constitutional status since the 1950s. (BBC, 05 August, 2019)
  • Article 370 scrapped; J&K to be split into union territories. Home Minister Amit Shah announced the revocation amid an uproar in India's two houses of parliament. The government has proposed to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir, carving out two separate Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature but there will be no Assembly in Ladakh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced. (Khaleej Times, 05 August, 2019)
01 August - 04 August, 2019
  • India successfully test-fires two quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles. India successfully conducted two back-to-back flight tests of its state-of-the-art quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles (QRSAM) against live aerial targets from a base in Odisha. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the two missiles from the integrated test range (ITR) at Chandipur near here. (The New Indian Express, 04 August, 2019)
  • India asks Pak to take back bodies of its troops killed in Army action. The Indian Army has offered the Pakistani Army to take over the dead bodies of its troops that are lying inside the Indian territory near Keran in north Kashmir. The Pakistani Army has been offered to approach with a white flag and take over the dead bodies for last rites. (The Tribune, 04 August, 2019)
  • Indian army used cluster ammunition along LoC in violation of international laws: ISPR. The Indian army earlier this week used cluster ammunition to target the civilian population in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) across the Line of Control (LoC) in violation of the Geneva Convention and international law, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, adding that the use of cluster ammunition is prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Ammunition because of its severe impact on non-combatants. (Dawn, 03 August, 2019)
  • Omar Abdullah says Governor assured him Article 35A will not be diluted. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah said Governor Satya Pal Malik “assured him there was no initiative in progress to dilute Article 35A of the Constitution, start delimitation or trifurcate.” Mr. Abdullah asked the Centre to come up with a statement in Parliament. “The leadership in the Centre should come up with a statement and assure the people of J&K. The Governor does not have a final word on the issue but the Central leadership has. And it should speak up,” he said. “The NC believes that the promises made to J&K when it acceded to India should be respected.” (The Hindu, 03 August, 2019)
  • Kashmir parties warn against plan to remove Article 35A. J&K parties warned the Centre against any dilution in the constitutional status of J&K, and sought the government’s clarification on the current “hysteria” in Parliament. “India has finally failed to win over the love of J&K, which rejected divisions on religious grounds and chose secular India. The gloves are finally off, and India has chosen territory over people,” Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti said. (The Hindu, 03 August, 2019)
  • India orders Hindu pilgrims to leave disputed Kashmir amid troop build-up. Indian authorities told tourists to leave disputed Kashmir because of "terror threats," as media reports said 25,000 military reinforcements have been sent to the troubled Himalayan region. The extra troops and other security measures, including a call to stockpile food and fuel, have shaken the Muslim-majority region. Residents in the Muslim-majority Kashmir said they were not happy about the deployment of additional troops and questioned the Indian government's intentions. (TRT World, 03 August, 2019)
  • India expresses disappointment over UN chief's report. India has strongly expressed its disappointment over UN chief Antonio Guterres, in his recent report, including situations in India that are neither armed conflicts nor a threat to international security, saying such attempt to “expand mandate in a selective manner” to certain situations only politicises the agenda. In the 'Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict', Guterres said children continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the Government, "particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and in the context of the Naxalite insurgency.” (Deccan Herald, 03 August, 2019)
  • India behind UK, France as 7th largest economy in the world in 2018: World Bank. India has slipped to the 7th position in the global GDP rankings in 2018, marginally behind the UK and France, according to World Bank data. As per earlier data, India ($2.597 trillion) was on the 6th position in 2017, ahead of just France ($2.582 trillion). (Business Today, 02 August, 2019)
  • FIA arrests Indian national with fake documents in Gujranwala. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claims to have arrested an Indian national who had been living in Gujranwala on fake passport and documents for the last 10 years. The agency also registered a case against the citizen who gave him shelter. (Dawn, 02 August, 2019)
  • Lok Sabha Passes Bill on Dam Safety, Formulates Emergency Action Plan for 180 Dams. A bill seeking to set up an institutional mechanism for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams across the country was passed by Lok Sabha with the centre asserting it has no intention of taking over power of the states. The provisions of the bill is proposed to be applied to all specified dams in the country which have height of more than 15 metres, or between 10 metres to 15 metres. (News 18, 02 August, 2019)
  • Congress walks out of LS, saying not being allowed to speak on CAG report on GST. Congress members walked out of Lok Sabha, saying they were not allowed to raise the issue of a CAG report that criticised the Central government on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. (Outlook, 02 August, 2019)
  • Pakistan invites India to meet Kulbhushan Jadhav at 3:30 pm on Friday. Pakistan on Thursday invited the Indian officials to meet Kulbhushan Jadhav at 3:30 pm on Friday. The development came hours after Pakistan's foreign office said it will give India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is lodged in a Pakistani jail, on August 2. (India Today, 01 August, 2019)
  • India Conveys ‘Grave Concern’ over US Military Assistance to Pak. India has conveyed its "grave concern" to the US over its decision to provide military assistance to Pakistan. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday, 1 August, said the issue was taken up with the US Ambassador in New Delhi and with the Trump administration in Washington. (The Quint, 01 August, 2019)