News Updates

28 January - 03 February, 2019
  • India's prime minister visits disputed Kashmir amid protest strike. PM Modi visited for a day to review development work as separatists fighting Indian rule called shutdown of Himalayan region. Shops and businesses were closed with thousands of armed forces and commandos spread out across Kashmir. Modi inaugurated some infrastructure projects and started foundation work on some other related to health, hydropower and education.(ABC News, 03 February 2019)
  • BJP begins ground work for Lok Sabha election. Party in-charge for Puducherry C.T. Ravi, an MLA in Karnataka, convened a meeting of party workers and addressed that Modi’s return as a Prime Minister was a “foregone” conclusion. He reminded the people about schemes introduced by Modi government such as Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Mudra Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana which aimed at changing the lives of poor people in the country. (The Hindu, 29 January 2019)
  • India may face communal riots before the Lok Sabha elections, warns US Intelligence chief. Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence wrote in ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community’ that if BJP stresses on nationalist themes possibility of communal violence will increase. (The Economic Times, 30 January 2019)
  • India raised strong objections with Pakistan over Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s calling Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. India also lodged complaint with British authorities against the organization of a proposed event at the UK Parliament on Kashmir which Mr. Qureshi is expected to attend. Both the countries exchanged cautionary words with the respective high commissioners as well. (First Post, 31 January 2019)
  • My talks with Pakistan minister shouldn’t irk India: Mirwaiz Farooq. The Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Farooq said that his conversation with Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi should not irk India if it believes in dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue. Mirwaiz also said Qureshi assured him that the Imran Khan government was sincere about resolving all disputes with India, and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was one such practical step. (The Economic Times, 31 January 2019)
  • Opposition parties plan to hold meet on 3 key issues ahead of Lok Sabha elections. The three key issues to be discussed are, agrarian crisis; unemployment; and attacks on democratic institutions. In a joint symposium against the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), experts and activists are also invited to share their opinions on these issues. (Hindustan Times, 03 February 2019)
  • In a major move towards infantry modernisation, the Defence Ministry has cleared a long-pending proposal of the Army to procure around 73,000 assault rifles from the US under fast track mode. Approved procurement of the Sig Sauer rifles will be used by troops deployed along the nearly 3,600-km border with China. (Hindustan Times, 02 February 2019)
22 January - 27 January, 2019
  • India seeks revenue-sharing pact for its entertainment industry with China under the proposed mega free-trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiated between 16 countries. Bollywood movies are popular and make good money in China but the absence of revenue sharing deal don’t give film producers their due share from the generated profits in China. (Times of India, January 27, 2019)
  • Sunil Deodhar, BJP national secretary, informed that the government will take legislative route to build grand Ram temple in Ayodhya if Supreme court verdict is not favorable. (Times of India, January 27, 2019)
  • A Pakistani delegation will visit Chenab river basin in Jammu and Kashmir as mandated under the Indus Water Treaty for inspection from 28-31 January. The delegation will be led by Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah. The tour will be followed by a visit of Indian Indus Commissioner to Pakistan at a decided date between the two. A senior official said that, “this tour is an obligation imposed on both the countries by the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between India and Pakistan. Under the Treaty, both the commissioners are mandated to inspect sites and works on both the sides of Indus basin in a block of five years.” (Kashmir Images, January 27, 2019)
  • Prime Minister Modi’s addressed the 52nd episode of his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ and first one this year after Indian Republic day celebrations. Mann Ki Baat highlights mentions of various subjects including praises of personalities like Shri Shri Shiva, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Rabindranath Tagore etc, and their messages of good will. Modi praised young scientists leading India’s space programmes. The Election Commission was hailed for its services, and urged the eligible young people to vote in the upcoming 2019 polls. Modi also recalled last year’s notable launch of health insurance scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat.’ (Financial Express, January 27, 2019)
  • New Delhi finalises military infrastructure development worth Rs 5,000 cr-defence plans at Andaman & Nicobar Islands to counter China’s growing footprints in the Indian Ocean region. The development plan at the archipelago would allow additional troops, warships, aircraft, drones, and missile batteries to be stationed there. The Andaman and Nicobar Command is India's only theatre command with assets and manpower of the three wings of the armed forces - Army, Navy, Indian Airforce - and Coast Guard under one operational commander. (TimesNowNews, January 27, 2019)
  • India’s military might, cultural diversity was at grand display as the country celebrated its 70th Republic Day. Prime Minister Modi paid tributes to the martyrs before the start of ceremonial parade. the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. (The Hindu, January 26, 2019)
  • Maldives to get major military push after President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India. Modi’s visit during the Maldivian President’s swearing-in was seen as a game changer. Recent meeting between Ibrahim Solih and Modi intended to extend closer military and maritime relations between the two countries. Talks are already there for joint surveillance of the EEZ or Exclusive Economic Zone - the Maldives EEZ, in the middle of the shipping lane in the middle of the Indian Ocean with security issues Maldivian government cannot handle. This will also foresee joint patrols by Indian and Maldivian government warships. (TimesNowNews, January 22, 2019)
  • India proposed two set of dates, 26 February and 7 March 2019, for the visit of Pakistan delegation to Delhi to discuss and finalise the modalities for Indian pilgrims visit to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor at the earliest. India also shared the coordinates of the zero point (crossing point) of the Kartarpur corridor along the International Border with Pakistan. Pakistan earlier shared a draft agreement with India for facilitation of (Indian) Sikh Yatrees to visit the Gurudwara, Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Narowal, Pakistan with the Government of India through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. (The Economic Times, January 22, 2019)
14 January - 21 January, 2019
  • Prime Minister Modi inaugurated first private armored systems complex at Hazira developed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T). “This is the 10th manufacturing unit of L&T Defence and 7th new manufacturing complex created over the past 10 years. The world class facility has been at the forefront of technology to meet various infrastructure, industrial and defence needs of the nation”, told by group Chairman. (Times of India, 20 January 2019)
  • Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that Prime Minister Modi’s latest talk of ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in his speeches, his body language and dismissal of grand alliance by opposition proves he is scared of opposition unity. Recently leaders of 22 political parties joined together in forming a grand alliance to fight unitedly in upcoming general elections against Modi government. Modi dismissed and criticized them as an alliance of “corruption, negativity and instability.” (The Hindu, 21 January 2019)
  • Ten years after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, the Indian Navy will coordinate ‘Exercise SEA VIGIL’, the largest coastal defence exercise off the Indian coast on January 22 and 23. The Indian Navy designated responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal, will undertake first-of-its-kind exercise along the entire 7,516 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India and will involve all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories, apart from maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities. The scale of the exercise is unprecedented in terms of the geographical extent, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of units participating and in terms of the objectives to be met. (The Hindu, 21 January 2019)
  • India to buy U.S. oil and gas: New Delhi’s envoy to Washington. India has committed to purchase $5 billion worth of oil and gas from the United States annually, and $18 billion worth of defence equipment that are under implementation, highlighting growing bilateral trade cooperation between the countries. U.S. export to India has gone up by at least 30%, India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla told the American business community in his first major public engagement. In the last two years, bilateral trade has increased from $119 billion to $140 billion. Commercial Indian airlines, Shringla said, have placed orders of 300 aeroplanes worth $40 billion. Not only this, the large number of Indian students, numbering 227,000 currently, contribute $6.5 billion to the American academic sector, Mr. Shringla said, as an example of India’s contribution to the U.S. economy. (The Hindu, 16 January 2019)
7 January - 13 January, 2019
  • Indian Army chief says there should be no conditions for talks with Taliban. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said Taliban should be engaged in talks so long as they do not come out with any preconditions and so long as they are looking at lasting peace in Afghanistan and bring about stability in that country. It is in our interests, it is in the region’s interests and it is in Pakistan’s interests. (Rediff News, 09 January, 2019)
  • National’ roles for 3 BJP former chief ministers. BJP president Amit Shah appointed former chief ministers, Shivraj Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh as national vice-presidents of the party, an important responsibility before upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The decision is seen to create space for new crop of leadership at national level. (Times of India, 11 January, 2019)
  • The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh after six years of residence in India. Protests over Bill continues in Assam, the Akhil Gogoi's Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and its 70 partner organisations said they would not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Ministers to enter the state till the bill was scrapped. (Times Now News, 09 January, 2019)