News Updates

25 March - 31 March, 2019
  • J&K-Centre ties will snap if Article 370 goes: Mehbooba. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti countered Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for advocating repeal of special status for Jammu and Kashmir. She said that the relationship between the Union and the State would be over if Article 370 of the Constitution is revoked. (The Hindu, 31 March 2019)
  • ‘Kartarpur talks only if Pak. concedes demands’. The next round of discussions on the Kartarpur corridor will be held only if Pakistan responds to India’s earlier demands that the number of visitors not be capped and no fee be imposed on pilgrims, a senior government official said. (The Hindu, 30 March 2019)
  • Govt sets up multi-disciplinary terror monitoring group (TMG) to ensure action against terror financing in J&K. The body will take coordinated action in all registered cases relating to terror and terror financing and bring them to logical conclusion. It will identify key persons including leaders of organisations involved and will investigate the networks of various channels used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take coordinated action to stop the flow of such funds. (Times of India, 30 March 2019)
  • India Shot Down a Satellite, Modi Says, Shifting Balance of Power in Asia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India had test-fired a rocket that shot down one of its own satellites, escalating the country’s rivalry with China and Pakistan, and demonstrating a strategic capability in space that few countries possess. This technological leap, which was confirmed by the Pentagon, puts India in an exclusive club of nations, along with the United States, Russia and China, that have proved their ability to destroy targets in space. But it has potentially ominous repercussions, accelerating the space race with China and destabilizing the uneasy balance of power between India and Pakistan, which are both armed with nuclear weapons. It could allow India essentially to blind an enemy by taking out its space-based communication and surveillance satellites. (The New York Times, 27 March 2019)
  • Minimum Rs 6000 a month to 20% of India’s poorest: Congress politics. Rahul Gandhi said if his party was voted to power, its government would roll out a minimum income scheme, Nyunatam Aay Yojana (Nyay), guaranteeing Rs 72,000 a year to the bottom most or poorest 20 per cent of households. (The Indian Express, 26 March 2019)
18 March - 24 March, 2019
  • India won't play on back foot against terror, our security doctrine has changed, says Arun Jaitley. Union minister Arun Jaitley slammed Indian Overseas Congress chief Sam Pitroda for his comments on IAF's air strike on a terror camp in Balakot following the Pulwama attack, terming his statement as "unfortunate" and a "blessing for Pakistan's narrative". “The security doctrine of India has changed now. We attack at the point of origin of terror now. This is now an ideological battle between those who want to defend India using all possible measures or those who want to fight for India with their hands tied behind their back," Jaitley said. (Times of India, 22 March, 2019)
  • Why India is developing its first deep-sea port in Indonesia is because, the Strait of Malacca and Indian Ocean Region have become a major trade route where the Indian Navy is increasingly seen as a net security provider. India has been developing its first deep-sea port in Indonesia's Sabang. The move is seen as to counter Chinese strategy through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The deep-sea port will be critical to India's Indo-Pacific strategy and will allow India to have greater access to the South East Asian markets. (International Business Times, 22 March, 2019)
  • India abstains from voting on UN resolution condemning Israel over violence in Gaza. It is a measure of the changing relations between India and Israel that India has abstained. In addition, India has a big grouse against the UN HRC itself for its stand on Kashmir. On March 19, Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz wrote to foreign minister Sushma Swaraj asking for India’s support “given the significant relationship and friendship between our countries and the outrageous bias of this report”. (Times of India, 22 March, 2019)
  • BJP releases 1st list for Lok Sabha polls. Prime Minister Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, the seat he represents in Parliament, and BJP president Amit Shah will fight from Gandhinagar in place of veteran leader L K Advani as the party announced its first list of 184 candidates for the general election. (Times of India, 21 March, 2019)
  • India signals to boycott China's Belt and Road Forum. India’s new ambassador to China Vikram Misri made it clear that India will not attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in April. In an interview to Global Times, Misri said, “No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.” (The New Indian Express, 20th March, 2019)
  • Indian Army Holds Military Exercise with 17 African Nations. The Indian Army began a 10-day military exercise with armed forces of 17 African nations at Aundh in Maharashtra, reflecting the growing strategic ties between India and the Africa continent. "The exercise will focus on exchange of best practices between the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in conduct of the UN mandated tasks," the Army said. (NDTV, 19 March 2019)
  • 'Ganga ki Beti' goes with the flow, Priyanka to use river to reach voters. Setting the context of her three-day poll voyage through the Ganga, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the river was the lifeline of Uttar Pradesh and she was taking its help to reach out to the people of the state. In an open letter released to the media on the eve of her journey, she said: "Ganga sachai aur samaanta ka prateek hain aur hamari Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb ka chinh hain... wah kisi se bhed bhav nahi karti... Ganga ji Uttar Pradesh ka sahara hain.. mai gangaji ka sahara le kar aapke beech pahuchungi (Ganga is an emblem of truth and equality besides being a sign of India's syncretic (Ganga Jamuni) culture)." (Times of India, 18 March 2019)
11 March - 17 March, 2019
  • PM Modi launches ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign for 2019 elections. Prime Minister Modi started 'Main Bhi Chowkidar hoon' narrative, naming an event after the new political slogan of the BJP, squarely countering opposition's repeated attacks of the "Chowkidar chor hai" jibe. (Times of India, 16 March 2019)
  • FO describes talks on Kartarpur Corridor as 'cordial'; hopeful of quick progress. Officials from Pakistan and India agreed to expedite work to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said though differences persist on a few points, the meeting went well overall. (Dawn, 14 March 2019)
  • United States to set up six nuclear power plants in India. Washington and New Delhi announced the building of six US nuclear power plants in India as part of an agreement to improve security and civil nuclear cooperation. (, 14 March 2019)
  • BJP may win most seats, but second term for Modi unlikely: Sharad Pawar. NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, "BJP may emerge as the single largest party post parliamentary elections and will have to seek support of allies (to form the government). In that scenario, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to get a second term." (Times of India, 12 March 2019)
  • Immediate Action to Dismantle Terror Infrastructure Required: India to Saudi Arabia. In a clear reference to Pakistan, India conveyed to Saudi Arabia that that “immediate, irreversible and verifiable action” to dismantle terror infrastructure is essential to fight the menace of terrorism. This was conveyed during a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Saudi state minister for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who made a 4.5-hour visit to India days after his trip to Islamabad. (The Wire, 12 March 2019)
  • PM Narendra Modi ordered demonetisation on a whim, against RBI wish. Arguing that PM Narendra Modi ordered demonetisation on a whim and inconvenienced crores of people against the counsel of RBI directors and economic advisors, Congress called the decision a “Tughlaqi firman” which destroyed the economy. (Times of India, 12 March 2019)
  • India is world’s second largest arms importer. according to the latest report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), “India was the world’s second largest importer of major arms in 2014–18 and accounted for 9.5% of the global total.” However, figures decreased by 24% between 2009-13 and 2014-18, partly due to delays in weapons delivery. (The Hindu, 11 March 2019)
  • India's West Asia outreach. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir. Terror remained the chief focus of the respective talks with the Prime Minister calling for "irreversible, verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists" without "any discrimination." (Wion, 11 March 2019)
  • Number of voters, polling stations go up. The number of people eligible to vote in Lok Sabha polls beginning next month has increased by 8.4 crore as compared to 2014 general election, and these include 1.5 crore "young voters" who are in the 18-19 age group and would exercise their franchise first time, according to the Election Commission. (Times of India, 11 March 2019)
  • Indian team’s visit to Pakistan for Indus River basin inspection postponed. During the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held in Lahore from August 29-30, 2018, both the commissioners had agreed to undertake the treaty-mandated tours of the Indus basin on both sides. However, amid heightened tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, a reciprocal visit by the Indian team to Pakistan for inspection of projects in Indus river basin this month has been postponed. (Hindustan Times, 11 March 2019)
  • India stops eastern rivers’ water. Speaking to reporters, Meghwal, Indian Minister of State for Water Resources, said “India has stopped 0.53 million acre-feet water, of three eastern rivers from flowing to Pakistan. Whenever Rajasthan or Punjab needs it, that water can be used for drinking and irrigation purposes.” (The News, 11 March 2019)
  • Lok Sabha elections 2019: No assembly elections in J-K for now. Chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said that, only Lok Sabha elections would be held in Jammu and Kashmir. He said a three-member panel of observers will be appointed to assess the security situation for holding assembly election later. Elections for six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in five phases. (Hindustan Times, 10 March 2019)
04 March - 10 March, 2019
  • Lok Sabha elections to be held in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19, counting of votes on May 23. The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3. Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, CEC Sunil Arora announced at a press conference in the national capital. (Times of India, 10 March 2019)
  • Crisis eases as envoys return to Islamabad, Delhi. The recent Pakistan-India crisis eased significantly as high commissioners of both countries returned to their places of posting to resume their diplomatic work and New Delhi claimed to have “achieved its objectives”. (Dawn News, 10 March 2019)
  • NIA turns heat on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, summons him to Delhi for questioning. Two weeks after National Investigative Agency (NIA) carried searches in the house of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, it has summoned the separatist leader to New Delhi for questioning. (Hindustan Times, 09 March 2019)
  • Leaders welcome Supreme Court’s decision on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute to appoint a panel headed by retired apex court judge F.M.I. Kalifulla to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement of the case. In an apparent reference to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “It would have been better had the Supreme Court appointed a neutral person. One of the members of the panel had threatened Muslims that India would become Syria and I hope that he keeps those thoughts out of his mind while being on the mediation panel. We welcome the decision.” (The Hindu, 08March 2019)
  • Modi cabinet takes 30 decisions just ahead of EC calling elections. In what could be its last cabinet meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Modi government on Thursday approved a raft of decisions such as setting up 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas, a push to infrastructure and power projects and expanding health insurance benefits to ex-servicemen. (Times of India, 08 March 2019)
  • India, Russia sign deal on nuclear submarine. India sealed a $3-billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered attack submarine for the Indian Navy for a period of 10 years. Under the pact, Russia will have to deliver the Akula class submarine, to be known as Chakra III, to the Indian Navy by 2025. It will be the third Russian submarine to be leased to the Navy. (The Hindu, 08 March 2019)
  • PM Narendra Modi performed bypass surgery in Rafale deal; purchase delayed to benefit Anil Ambani: Rahul Gandhi. A day after government said that secret Rafale deal files were stolen, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that the fact that the papers were stolen underlines their authenticity and called for a probe against the Prime Minister. (Times of India, 07 March 2019)
  • Attacks on Kashmiris will do more harm to idea of India in J&K than anything else. Omar Abdullah talking about incidents like the attack on two Kashmiri vendors in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh said that, "Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in J&K than videos like these. Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons & then try to sell the idea of 'atoot ang' (integral part), it simply won't fly." (Times of India, 07 March 2019)
  • ‘Secret papers on Rafale deal stolen,’ Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal tells Supreme Court. AG Venugopal told that “secret” documents published by The Hindu on the purchase of 36 Rafale jets were “stolen” from the Ministry of Defence, probably by former employees. The government had not wanted it disclosed for the sake of national security. However, ‘sensitive’ information like the price of the weapons is now in the public domain. (The Hindu, 07 March 2019)
  • Indian Air Force office in New Delhi catches fire. A building in New Delhi, housing an office of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and several other government offices, caught fire. (The Express Tribune, 07 March 2019)
  • Uttar Pradesh tops the list in hate crimes against Dalit. A new report released by Amnesty India’s interactive “Halt the Hate” website in 2018, documents alleged hate crimes against people from marginalized communities, total of 218 incidents in 2018, 142 against Dalits, 50 against Muslims, and 8 each against Christians, Adivasis, and Transgender. About 65% of the crimes were against Dalits and Uttar Pradesh registered the highest number of such incidents for the third consecutive year. (The Policy Times, 06 March 2019)
  • Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh meet G20 ambassadors over lunch. Top Congress leaders met with the G20 ambassadors, besides those of neighbouring countries, and discussed with them issues of regional, global, strategic and economic importance. (The Indian Express, 06 March 2019)
  • Digvijaya Singh quotes foreign agency report, questions airstrike success. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has repeatedly asked the Centre to provide evidence of casualties in airstrike out by India in Pakistan's Balakot, citing a foreign agency, Reuter’s report 'satellite images show madrasa buildings still standing at scene of Indian bombing', which has questioned success of the bombings. (India Today, 06 March 2019)
  • Trump plans to scrap preferential trade treatment for India. President Trump looked set to open a new front in his trade wars with a plan to end preferential trade treatment for India that allows duty-free entry for $5.6 billion worth of the country’s exports to the US. “I am taking this step because, after intensive engagement between the United States and the government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India,” Trump said in a letter to congressional leaders. (Reuters, 05 March 2019)
  • India plotted dangerous attack with Israeli help. India with the backing of Israel and at the peak of its standoff with Pakistan had last week planned a “dangerous attack” to be executed from its Rajasthan airbase, a highly placed government source revealed. Timely intelligence and backdoor messaging made it clear to India that a befitting response would be given if it were to go ahead with the planned attack, one which would possibly take the countries to a “point of no return”. (Dawn News, 05 March 2019)
  • India Says It Will Not Share 'Operational Details' Of Air Strike Inside Pakistan, after Islamabad raised doubts that any insurgents were harmed in the air strike. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that "no security agencies ever share operational details." (RFE/RL, 03 March 2019)