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Weekly Contemporary Developments


7 - 13 January, 2020

  • Encounter breaks out between security forces and militants in Kashmir, one militant killed. An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam district. As of the last update, one militant has been killed in ongoing encounter in Budgam, searches are going on to trace other militants in the area. (India Today, 13 January 2020)
  • Article 370: India hopeful of winning support of Democrats on J&K. While several Republicans in the US have publicly backed India's decision to revoke the special status of what was the state of J&K, many 'moderate' Democrat Congressmen too have reached out to the Indian government and have expressed understanding of India's position, according to senior Indian government sources. These Congressmen, said an official, are reluctant to speak out in public because of the 'ultra left-liberal flank' of the Democratic Party. (The Times of India, 13 January 2020)
  • US deplores detentions, internet ban in occupied Kashmir. The chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice Wells, has expressed concern over continued detentions and internet-shutdown in occupied Kashmir, days before her visit to New Delhi for bilateral talks. “Closely following US ambassador to India and other foreign diplomats’ recent trip to Jammu & Kashmir. Important step,” she wrote in a tweet posted on the official website of the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. “We remain concerned by detention of political leaders and residents, and internet restrictions. We look forward to a return to normalcy,” she added. (Dawn, 13 January 2020)
  • UP 1st off the block on CAA, sends refugees list to Centre. The UP government has sent a list of largely Hindu refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living across 19 districts in the state to the Union home ministry, making it the first state to begin the process for implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The report prepared by the state government - "Uttar Pradesh Mein Aaye Pakistan, Afghanistan Aevam Bangladesh ke Sharnarthiyon ki Aapbeeti Kahani" - also details the personal stories of the refugees. (The Times of India, 13 January 2020)
  • ‘Those who raise anti-national slogans should be put in jail’: Amit Shah on JNU. Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a public meeting in Jabalpur said that those involved in raising anti-national slogans should be jailed. Shah mentioned JNU students of being involved in the anti-national sloganeering and said, “In JNU, some students raised anti-national slogans of ‘Bharat tere tukde ho ek hazar, inshallah, inshallah’. Don’t such students be put behind the bars?” (The Statesman, 12 January 2020)
  • After Citizenship Law Comes into Force, Threats of More Protests In Assam. A day after the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA came into force through a notification, protesting groups in Assam have threatened to intensify their agitation against the law, claiming the government's notification is "great injustice" to the voice of the people. (NDTV, 11 January 2020)
  • Guj Assembly passes resolution congratulating PM, Shah on CAA. The Gujarat Assembly passed a resolution congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for amending the Citizenship Act. The resolution, which was opposed by Congress MLAs, claimed that persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan were not offered Indian citizenship in the past because of “policy of appeasement”. (The Pioneer, 11 January 2020)
  • India deploys aircraft carrier in Arabian Sea. At a time when Chinese and Pakistan navies are carrying out a nine-day mega naval exercise in Arabian Sea, India has deployed its aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in the region, sending a clear signal to the neighbouring nations. Infact, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (DCNS) Vice Admiral M.S. Pawar embarked INS Vikramaditya during the week to review its operational readiness. He reviewed carrier operations in the Arabian Sea. “Yes, INS Vikramaditya has been in water for a week now,” said sources. (The Asian Age, 11 January 2020)
  • Centre replacing old fencing with anti-cut fencing at India-Pak, Bangladesh borders. The Government of India is replacing old fencing with the latest anti-cut fencing at India-Pakistan and Bangladesh borders, BSF sources said. According to the Border Security Force (BSF) sources, the cost of 7.18 km is Rs 14,30,44,000 which has recently been installed at the border. On average the cost of a kilometer fencing is around Rs 1.99 crore. (Business Standard, 10 January 2020)
  • Court's Job to Strike Balance Between Liberty and Security Concerns in J&K: SC. The court's job is "to strike a balance between the liberty and security concerns" in Jammu and Kashmir so that the right to life is secured and enjoyed by everyone in the best possible manner, the Supreme Court said. (News 18, 10 January 2020)
  • New department of military affairs takes shape under the CDS. The defence ministry’s new department of military affair (DMA), headed by chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, is now taking concrete shape with two joint secretaries, 13 deputy secretaries and 25 undersecretaries being assigned to it. (The Times of India, 10 January 2020)
  • Indian MPs Should Be Allowed Too: AAP Leader Sanjay Singh On Foreign Envoys' J&K Visit. In the backdrop of a foreign envoys' visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh on Thursday said Indian MPs, who wished to visit the region, should also be allowed to go there. (NDTV, 10 January 2020)
  • World Bank pegs India's FY20 GDP growth at 5% as credit weakness lingers. The World Bank has projected a five per cent growth rate for India in the 2019-2020 financial year, but said it was likely to recover to 5.8 per cent in the following financial year. (Business Standard, 09 January 2020)
  • Over 100 retired bureaucrats write open letter to Indians, say country doesn’t need CAA, NRC or NPR. The retired bureaucrats said that though the government has tried to separate the three programmes, they are linked and need to be resolutely opposed. A group of more than 100 retired civil servants issued an open letter to the citizens of India, detailing why the country does not need the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens, and the National Population Register. (, 09 January 2020)
  • Foreign envoys’ team on a fact-finding visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Foreign envoys hold meetings with politicians, local editors and elected grassroots leaders like panchs and councilors. A 15-member foreign envoys’ delegation arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to J&K and met over 100 people, including senior Valley-based politicians, top newspaper editors and grassroots representatives. (The Hindu, 09 January 2020)
  • Indian Army General visits China, discusses security. Top Army Generals of India and China on Wednesday discussed “regional security environment” and border issues signalling an improvement in the relations between the two militaries that experienced tense moments in 2017 during the Doklam crisis. Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Northern Army Commander met Chinese Army Chief Gen Han Weiguo in Beijing during his five-day tour of the communist country, the Indian Army Northern Command says in a media statement. (Deccan Herald, 08 January 2020)
  • India under Modi is 5th biggest geopolitical risk in 2020, says consultancy firm Eurasia. India under Narendra Modi is the fifth biggest geopolitical risk of 2020, according to the world’s leading political risk consultancy, Eurasia Group. The consultancy’s annual ‘Top 10 Risks’ of the year list is considered one of the foremost geopolitical indicators among global investors, multinational firms and various financial and business consultancies. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spent much of his second term promoting controversial social policies at the expense of an economic agenda. The impacts will be felt in 2020, with intensified communal and sectarian instability, as well as foreign policy and economic setbacks,” said the Eurasia Group’s report. (The Print, 07 January 2020)
  • Govt to lower quota for local officers in IAS, IPS in J&K, ladakh. The Centre has decided to lower the quota from existing 50 per cent to 33 per cent for local officers from state services to IAS, IPS and IFoS in the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, officials said. The Personnel Ministry has finalised all modalities in this regard and an official order is expected soon, they said. (The Times of India, 07 January 2020)
  • ‘Were our workers’: Hindu Raksha Dal claims responsibility for JNU violence. A fringe group Hindu Raksha Dal has taken responsibility for the attack on students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The group’s leader Pinky Chaudhary took the onus of the attack on Tuesday in a video posted on Twitter. “JNU is a hotbed of anti-national activities, we can’t tolerate this. We take full responsibility of the attack in JNU and would like to say that they were our workers,” Chaudhary said in the video, according to news agency ANI. (Hindustan Times, 07 January 2020)
  • Gaganyaan Mission: ISRO to Launch IDRSS Satellites for Seamless Crew Communication. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it aims to launch its own satellite pair for space communication purposes, called Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS). (News 18, 07 January 2020)

1 - 6 January, 2020

  • BJP Receives over 52 Lakh Calls in Support of CAA as Protests Continue Over 52 lakh calls were received by the BJP from people who have extended their support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said. As part of its campaign to mobilise a nationwide support for the CAA, a toll-free number was launched by the BJP for people to give missed calls to extend their support to the newly enacted legislation. (News 18, 06 January, 2020)
  • Govt can frame laws on hiring of teachers in nation’s interest. The Supreme Court held that the government can in national interest frame laws to regulate appointments of teachers to educational institutions regardless of whether they are run by majority or minority communities provided the intent is to ensure the standard of excellence. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and U Lalit gave the ruling while upholding the validity of the West Bengal Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008. The law regulates the process of appointments of teachers to aided Madrasas recognised as minority institutions through a commission created by state government. (The Hindustan Times, 06 January, 2020)
  • From Pondicherry to Oxford, campuses witness protests against violence in JNU. Students in university campuses across the country and even abroad staged protests in solidarity with JNU students and condemned the violence that took place in the varsity. Protests took place at Pondicherry University, Bengaluru University, University of Hyderabad and Aligarh Muslim University. Students staged peaceful marches to register their protest against the violence on the JNU campus. (India Today, 06 January, 2020)
  • "Vote For Delhi, Not Political Parties": Arvind Kejriwal's Appeal To Voters. Shortly after the Election Commission announced the dates for the upcoming Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the people of the national capital to "vote for Delhi" instead of individual political parties. "Schools are in a better condition today, and households have better access to water. Vote for us if you feel that we have worked for Delhi," he said in a televised address that charted out the various development works carried out by his government. (NDTV, 06 January, 2020)
  • JNU: Students across India protest against campus attack. Students across India have been protesting against an attack on a prestigious Delhi university by masked men wielding sticks on Sunday. At least 40 students and staff of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were admitted to hospital with injuries. Videos of the violence quickly spread via WhatsApp and were then broadcast on television, sparking shock and outrage. Protests are taking place in the cities of Chandigarh, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad as well as the capital Delhi. (BBC, 06 January, 2020)
  • Bharat bandh: 25 crore people likely to participate in nationwide strike on Jan 8, say trade unions. Ten central trade unions said around 25 crore people will participate in a nationwide strike on January 8 to protest against the government's "anti-people" policies. (The Times of India, 06 January, 2020)
  • Pak allows pro-Khalistan Gopal Chawla to mingle with Indian pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib. Pakistan government's claims on not allowing anti-India elements to operate from its soil were exposed when Pakistan's pro-Khalistan face, Gopal Singh Chawla, was given free access to meet Indian pilgrims at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartapur Sahib complex on Sunday during the celebrations organised by Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. (The Times of India, 06 January, 2020)
  • India’s aim to become $5trillion economy by 2025 is impossible, former RBI governor Rangarajan says. India’s aim to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 is not possible with the current economic growth rate, former Reserve Bank of India governor and former chairman of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council C Rangarajan said. “People have been talking about India becoming $5 trillion economy by 2025. It is an aspirational goal. Today, our GDP is close to $2.7 trillion. Therefore, reaching $5 trillion is almost close to doubling our GDP,” he said. (The Times of India, 05 January, 2020)
  • U.S.-Iran unrest | Jaishankar discusses Gulf tensions with Iran, Oman, U.S. and UAE. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar spoke to his counterparts in Iran, Oman, the United States and the United Arab Emirates regarding the escalating tension in the Gulf. The exchanges were a part of the international consultations among various stakeholders that began soon after Iran's Major General Qassem Soleimani was killed in an American drone attack in Baghdad. (The Hindu, 05 January, 2020)
  • Amit Shah leads BJP’s door-to-door campaign to spread awareness on citizenship law. BJP president Amit Shah led the party’s door-to-door 10-day campaign to spread awareness about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act with top party leaders reaching out to people across the country, amid a wave of protests against the contentious law since it was passed in December. (The Print, 05 January, 2020)
  • Now Abhinandan can be in India and attack Pak: Nadda. Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and late Manohar Parrikar for induction of Rafale jets, BJP working president J P Nadda said that now the Air Force can target Pakistan without crossing the border. He was speaking at a rally here in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). "As part of several decisions taken on defence procurement, (during Parrikar's tenure as defence minister) we got 36 Rafale fighter jets. Now our Abhinandan would not have to go to Pakistan, he can be in India and attack Pakistan," the BJP leader said. (Deccan Herald, 04 January, 2020)
  • India ‘Isolated’ Itself Through CAA: Ex-Foreign Secretary Menon. Former Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on Friday, 3 January, slammed the government for amending the Citizenship Act, saying India has "isolated" itself through the move and the list of critical voices both at home and abroad is "pretty long." Speaking at an event where a number of academicians discussed the adverse implications of the contentious law, which has led to nationwide protests, Menon said the perception of India has changed after the law was passed. (The Quint, 03 January, 2020)
  • MHA: Kashmir division to look after Ayodhya matters. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has appointed a senior bureaucrat looking after Kashmir to oversee the desk responsible for matters associated with the Ayodhya case, including the recent Supreme Court order to set up a trust for construction of a Ram temple within 90 days. The desk is headed by Additional Secretary (J&K and Ladakh) Gyanesh Kumar, who would be assisted by Deputy Secretary of the National Integration (NI) Department and Joint Secretary of the Kashmir division. (The Indian Express, 03 January, 2020)
  • CDS To Focus on Creation of New Air Defence Command. In one of his first decisions, newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has issued directions to prepare a roadmap by 30 June to create an air defence command to enhance security of India's skies. He also underlined that efforts will be made to cut out infructuous ceremonial activities which are manpower intensive, officials said. (The Quint, 02 January, 2020)
  • Iltija Mufti ‘Detained’, Not Allowed To Visit Grandfather’s Grave. Iltija Mufti, daughter of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, said she was detained by police at her residence here after she tried to visit the grave of her grandfather and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in south Kashmir. Iltija, a Special Security Group protectee, said she had sought permission to visit her grandfather’s grave in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag district. (Kashmir Observer, 02 January, 2020)
  • Pakistan, India swap N-facilities, prisoners lists. Pakistan and India yesterday swapped nuclear installations and prisoners details as the new year started. The foreign ministry said that Pakistan and India had exchanged lists of nuclear installations and facilities in their respective countries. “List of Pakistan’s nuclear installations was handed over to the Indian representative in Islamabad while the list from Indian side was received by Pakistani official in New Delhi,” the foreign ministry statement said. (The Nation, 02 January, 2020)
  • India helping Afghanistan to set up its own Aadhaar. Afghanistan is trying to set up its own Aadhaar -- a biometric and demographic database of its residents on the same pattern as India developed a decade ago. A special capacity building programme for Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authority (ACCRA) was organized last week by Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), an official of Ministry of External Affairs told IANS. Afghan officials visited UIDAI office in Chandigarh to study India's Aadhaar initiative in detail. (Outlook India, 02 January, 2020)