News Updates

27 February - 03 March, 2019
  • India refuses to share proof of strikes in Pakistan amid doubts of militant deaths. Indian Air Force officials said it was up to the political leaders to decide when and how to release evidence of the strike. A top Indian minister said that the government would not share proof that "a very large number" of militants were killed in air strikes inside Pakistan this week, after doubts were raised there were any casualties in the attack that stoked tensions between the neighbours. (Khaleej Times, 03 March 2019)
  • OIC condemns ‘atrocities’, India says J&K internal matter. A day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, a resolution adopted by the organisation condemned “atrocities and human rights violations” in Kashmir — a standard template for all OIC statements over the last several decades. India said J&K is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India”. (The Indian Express, 03 March 2019)
  • India handed over body of a Pakistani prisoner who was stoned to death in an Indian jail after Pulwama attack in Occupied Kashmir, via Wagah Border. Shakirullah, was in jail since 2001, was killed following a tiff with other inmates at Rajasthan’s Jaipur Central Jail on February 20. (The News International, 02 March 2019)
  • India speaks in riddles after Imran’s peace gesture. Respon¬ding to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise of releasing a captured Indian pilot as a peace gesture towards India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not known for incoherence, used words couched in riddles that could be interpreted as belligerent or benign. (Dawn News, 01 March 2019)
  • Pakistan frees captured Indian pilot Abhinandan in peace gesture. Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was captured by Pakistan after his MiG 21 Bison aircraft was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jet was handed over in a gesture of peace to India at the Wagah border. (Dawn News, 01 March 2019)
  • IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman swallowed papers, fired in air before capture. Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan swallowed a quarter of his secret documents and dumped other papers of his survival kit in a pond before being captured by Pakistani civilians and handed over to the Pakistan army in a survival-behind-enemy-lines drama that also saw him discharge his pistol in the air to scare off a mob while one of the civilians shot at the downed pilot’s leg. (Times of India, 01 March 2019)
  • In J&K, Jamaat-e-Islami Has Been Restricted for 50 Years Along with the RSS. Conduct rules in the state call both the RSS and Jamaat-e-Islami “anti-secular and communal organisations”, and bar government employees from membership. (The Wire, 01 March 2019)
  • IAF airstrike will help BJP win 22 seats, says Yeddyurappa, then ‘clarifies’. Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said he was misconstrued after being criticised for his statement that the IAF’s airstrike on Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would help the BJP get more than 22 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general election. (Hindustan Times, 28 February 2019)
  • Opposition condemns ‘blatant politicisation’ of sacrifices of armed forces by PM Modi-led government. Twenty-one Opposition parties met for over three hours and signed a joint memorandum, signalling that they would no longer restrain themselves from questioning the Centre. (The Hindu, 27 February 2019)
  • New welfare schemes announced in budget for persons with disabilities, Scheduled Castes and advocates by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. Mr Sisodia announced a fixed deposit scheme for the disabled. (The Hindu, 27 February 2019)
  • Sri Lanka court frees Indian cleared in assassination plot. A magistrate acquitted an Indian man who was detained for five months over an alleged plot to kill Sri Lanka’s president after police cleared the man of wrongdoing. However, the magistrate remanded him for violating Sri Lanka’s immigration law for overstaying without a valid visa. (The Washington Post, 27 February 2019)
18 February - 26 February, 2019
  • Indian warplanes bomb Pakistan as Kashmir tensions escalate. An Indian minister said jets had destroyed a terrorist training camp across the contested LOC in Kashmir, but the Pakistani military said the aircraft had caused no damage after dropping their payload early while fleeing from defending forces. "Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC (Line of Control) and completely destroyed it," Indian minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Twitter. (The Telegraph, 26 February, 2019)
  • PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said any tinkering with Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, which provide special status to Jammu and Kashmir, will render null and void the State’s Instrument of Accession with India. (The Hindu, 24 February, 2019)
  • A convergence of two Indo-Pacific policies. India and Japan are building a giant corridor to increase connectivity options for ASEAN countries, especially Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The gigantic effort will merge two parallel initiatives - the New Delhi-led India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) marshalled by Japan in partnership with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. (The Hindu, 23 February, 2019)
  • India could block even Pakistan’s share of Indus waters: Nitin Gadkari, Water resources minister and senior BJP leader. Nitin Gadkari said India will make use of its share of waters currently flowing into Pakistan. He said while the decision to curtail Pakistan’s share — which can amount to abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty — needs the top leadership’s consideration, his ministry was examining various options. (Times of India, 23 February, 2019)
  • Government approves water projects worth Rs 2600 crore. Few months before the polls, the cabinet approved four mega lift irrigation (LI) projects and two rural piped water supply projects worth Rs 2,600 crore. (Times of India, 23 February, 2019)
  • BJP’s general election campaign on overdrive. Dakshina Kannada district unit of BJP has moved its general election campaign on an overdrive even before the Election Commission announced its calendar of event for the same. Having launched the ‘Mera Parivar BJP Parivar’ campaign, the district unit is now focusing on an online component urging party workers to tweet selfies with party flag on their houses and also post the same using #meraparivarbhajapaparivar on Facebook. This campaign will be intensified across the state involving public contact of more than 75 lakh households. (Times of India, 22 February, 2019)
  • India fails to answer critical questions in Jadhav case: Pakistan. The Kulbhushan Jadhav case hearing at the Peace Palace in The Hague came to an end. Khawar Qureshi, representing Pakistan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), chastised India for living in “wonderland” and persisting to the very end in seeking to “distract and deflect attention from its failure to answer critical questions by levelling accusations against Pakistan”. While, India claims the case is only about denial of consular access. (Dawn News, 22 February, 2019)
  • Pulwama attack: India government must protect Kashmiris. India's Supreme Court has ordered the government to protect Kashmiri people from recent attack’s retaliation against them. There have been several reports of Kashmiri students and businessmen being harassed or beaten up recently. The Supreme Court has also sought a response from the states where these alleged incidents happened. (BBC News, 22 February, 2019)
  • Attacks on Kashmiris have blessing of Delhi: Omar Abdullah. Amid alleged attacks on Kashmiris across country after the Pulwama attack, the National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Kashmiris are being maligned under a well-knit conspiracy and asserted that attacks on Kashmiris have got blessing and support of New Delhi. He said initially they thought that some ignorant people were behind these attacks. (The New Indian Express, 21 February, 2019)
  • Big boost for Saudi, India intelligence sharing. During his interactions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the prince brought up real-time intelligence-sharing to counter terrorist’s threats and closer cooperation on maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. Both the sides agreed to set up a comprehensive security dialogue with the NSAs (national security advisors) and a joint working group on counter-terrorism. (Hindustan Times, 21 February, 2019)
11 February - 17 February, 2019
  • India held Pakistan directly responsible for the worst-ever terrorist attack in J&K in which a suicide bomber belonging to terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rammed an explosive-laden Scorpio SUV into a bus carrying CRPF personnel killing at least 37. The attack was carried out on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Lethpora in Avantipura area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir. (Times of India, 15 February 2019)
  • India says is in touch with Russia, Iran & Saudi on US-Taliban peace talks and situation in Afghanistan. Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson said that, “India will continue to take all necessary steps to bring peace and stability in the region.” (Times of India, 15 February 2019)
  • Choose the date, place and time to retaliate: PM Modi tells forces after Pulwama attack. PM Modi said the Indian armed forces have been given free rein to retaliate against the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack. (India Today, 15 February 2019)
  • After Mamata Banerjee’s mega opposition rally, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hosted anti-BJP parties in a show of strength ahead of the Lok Sabha election this summer. The AAP, led by Kejriwal, announced to host the “Remove Dictatorship, Save Democracy” rally in Delhi. (Hindustan Times, 13 February 2019)
  • The Congress said the Rafale deal is "unravelling" faster than the government thought, with issues such as "parallel negotiations" by the PMO and changes in the standard defence procurement procedure coming to the fore. The opposition party's protest came after media reports claimed that the deal between India and France involved "major and unprecedented" concessions from the Indian government, with critical provisions for anti-corruption penalties and making payments through an escrow account dropped days before the signing of the inter-governmental agreement (IGA). (Times of India, 11 February 2019)
04 February - 10 February, 2019
  • Anti-Modi posters emerged in Andhara Pradesh state ahead of Prime Minister Modi visit. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu called his ruling Telugu Desam Party workers to hold Gandhian protests ahead of Prime Minister Modi's visit to the Andhra Pradesh state after the ruling Telugu Desam Party severed ties with the NDA. None of the state ministers formally received the Prime Minister at Gannavaram airport. BJP leaders alleged that people were "thwarted," from reaching the venue in large numbers and said countdown would start for Naidu when Modi commences his rally. Posters with '#NoMoreModi #ModiIsAMistake', 'Modi Never Again', etc. were displayed across the state. The Congress too called for observance of black day on Sunday over Modi's failure to honour the promises made to Andhra Pradesh post-bifurcation, party sources said. (Outlook India, 09 February 2019)
  • Row on parallel Rafale talks rocks both the houses of Parliament. A fresh political firestorm broke out over a report that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had conducted parallel talks with the French government over the ₹59,000-crore Rafale jet fighter deal and had prompted the Union ministry of defence (MOD) to protest that the PMO was undermining India’s negotiating position. Opposition members shouted slogans demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi resign, ahead of 2019 general elections. (Hindustan Times, 08 February 2019)
  • India and Pakistan have much-awaited date for Kartarpur meeting. Both the sides agreed on finalizing the modalities for opening the Kartarpur corridor in a meeting to be held on 13th March. A Pakistani delegation will visit India on 13 March which will be followed by Indian delegation to Pakistan for the final draft agreement. (The Times of India, 07 February 2019)
  • Congress has put-up posters claiming the party president Rahul Gandhi will construct Ram temple in Ayodhya. The Congress party’s soft-Hindutva approach was seen before the assembly elections in November continues. Though, State Congress media cell coordinator Narendra Saluja said, "Congress does not believe in religion-based politics. This has not been done by the party, but our enthusiastic workers have installed the hoardings." (The Times of India, 07 February 2019)
  • Voter strength may go up by 15 lakh for upcoming Lok Sabha elections. the final list of voters to be released on February 22 is likely to have total number of 2.95 crore voters against the 2.80 crore during the recent Assembly elections. (The Hindu, 05 February 2019)
  • No encirclement by China, says Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd.)V.K. Singh. The Minister rejected the idea of Chinese encirclement of India under the ‘string of pearls strategy’ by calling 2018 a landmark year in bilateral relationships where PM Modi decided to hold the Wuhan summit without any agenda. (The Hindu, 06 February 2019)
  • The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami unveils State’s Solar Energy Policy 2019. The plan proposes to generate 9,000 MW of power, net feed-in facility for low tension (LT) customers, and measures to create jobs in the solar energy sectors have also been identified.” The government plans to encourage farmers to use solar power. (The Hindu, 05 February 2019)

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