The missing piece in India’s defence jigsaw puzzle
2018 data: India occupies the 4th place in military expenditure across the world.
Cost-benefit analysis: we need to ensure that the amounts expended are in tune with our strategic requirements.
Defence deals in the pipeline
The first lot of Rafale fighter jets are expected shortly
The final deal on the 200 Kamov Ka-226 light utility helicopters from Russia is in advanced stages and expected to be signed soon.
U.S. China Saudi Arabia courtesy In October 2018, India and Russia had signed a$5.4-billion mega-deal for the S-400 Triumf Air Defence System.
In October 2018, India and Russia had signed a $5.4-billion mega-deal for the S-400 Triumf Air Defence System
Under contemplation today are yet another set of high-value U.S. defence deals, including additional purchases of P-8I Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft and Apache Attack Helicopters.
According to estimates, the total worth of defence equipment purchased from the U.S. alone since 2007 is in the region of $17-billion.
to be signed
National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System(NASAMS-II) to protect Delhi.
24 MH-60 Romeo Multi-Mission Helicopters for theNavy + an additional six AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters for the Army
India needs to be fully prepared.
A well considered and clearly articulated whitepaper on India’s defence needs, that sets out its strategic concerns, how it is positioning itself to meet these challenges, and the putative costs of meeting the country’s defence needs, is lacking in the defence jigsaw puzzle.
China is not Pakistan, and while China and Pakistan may have established an axis to keep India in check, explaining the nature of the threat posed by China to India is a complex task that needs to be undertaken with care and caution.
Undoubtedly under China’s President Xi Jinping, China aims to be a great power and an assertive one at that.
Much of India’s strategic thinking regarding China’saggressive behaviour has been coloured by that of the U.S. and the West.
BRI: shrinking the physical and psychological distance between Europe and East Asia Rather than a “conflict-prone” role, China is more intent on an “influence-peddling” one.
One other outcome that the defence white paper could attempt is: whether China views geoeconomics as the primary arena of competition today.
China has invested heavily in artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology, and perhaps, India needs to recognise that rather than blacklisting Chinese technology Tech firms, (which could prove counter-productive) there exist avenues for cooperation, paving the way for better state-to-state relations.
There could be different schools of thoughts within a nation, but equilibrium needs to be maintained if it is not to adversely impact a nation’s foreign policy imperatives.
An impression that the country is facing internal strains could encourage an adversary, to exploit our weaknesses.
It is important to note that China has done a lot after the initial delay in reporting the disease.
China, given its capabilities, could have contained the spread with very little effort and resources had it been transparent and acted on time.
China did not apply the lessons it learnt from theSARS outbreak despite strident global criticism.
This is in contrast to the way Kerala handled the Nipah virus outbreaks in 2018-19.
Transparency and timely action helped the Statecontain the outbreaks within days, with few cases, deaths in 2018.
AEC: President Ashraf Ghani is the winner of the September 28 presidential election.
It took almost five months to declare the official results.
He secured a narrow victory.
Mr. Abdullah has called the results fraudulent and vowed to form a parallel government.
Five years ago, Mr. Ghani was declared the winner of the election but Mr. Abdullah refused to accept the result.
The then U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, brokereda power-sharing agreement, which allowed Mr. Ghani to take over the presidency and made Mr. Abdullah the government Chief Executive.
Taliban steadily expanded across the country’shinterlands and stepped up attacks on its city centres.
Unsurprisingly, only less than a fourth of registered voters turned up in September, raising questions about faith in the whole exercise.
Worse, the infighting comes at a time when theU.S. is near a Taliban agreement.
The problem, however, is that even with an American troops presence, the Afghan government had never been able to take control of the security situation.
U.S. withdrawal would invariably weaken the government, aiding the Taliban even before the talks start.
The disputed poll results and chronic political infighting would weaken the administration further.
How will the government defend the Constitution or any of the post-Taliban achievements if it is going to negotiate with a resurgent Taliban from a position of such weakness?
What is lost in these narrow, self-interest-driven moves is the collective quest for defeating the extremists and rebuilding Afghanistan.
Turning ships into museums
Union Budget: announced a set of initiatives to enhance India’s potential as a tourism and cultural destination.
The decision to set up a maritime museum at Lothalin Gujarat.
However, when it comes to augmenting the country maritime tourism potential by preserving retired naval vessels as museums, India’s record has been weak.
Tamil Nadu government in July decided to drop the project to preserve the decommissioned submarine INS Vagli as a museum.
Museums: promoting tourism, creating jobs, contributing to government revenues and aiding the development of local communities.
U.S.: contribute $50 billion every year to the Gross Domestic Product, provide jobs to 7,26,200 people and generate $12 billion per year in tax revenue.
Every $100 of output generated in the museum sector generates an additional $220 of output in other areas of the U.S. economy.
England: £2.64 billion in income, £1.45 billion in output and 38,165 in jobs.
Excellent museums often turn out to be a fine tourist attraction that draws in visitors, both local and overseas.
They also act as places of historical value, preserving a country’s heritage for future generations and offering knowledge to the public about the nation’s history and culture.
Military and maritime museums bring some added benefits — they can be used to honour military heroes, make the general public aware of the hardships faced by defence personnel and, also, inspire the younger generation to join the armed forces.
There are 60 such submarine-turned-museums in the U.S.; 11 in the U.K.; 10 in Russia and Germany and five in France.
Similarly, many countries have preserved their retired naval warships as museums, with the U.S. again topping the list. India has been preserving only one naval vessel,the INS Kursura, as a submarine museum in Visakhapatnam.
Private sector involvement in building cultural institutions has worked very well in advanced nations. Active participation of the private sector revolutionised football and kabaddi.
Trade agreement with U.S. only delayed& not stuck, says govt.
President Donald Trump confirmed that negotiations will not be completed in time for his visit next week.
“From the moment of their arrival at the airport, [Mr. and Mrs. Trump] will be treated to a display of famed Indian hospitality and India’s Unity in Diversity,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla told reporters.
“We can have a trade deal with India but I am saving the big deal for later on. We’re doing a very big trade deal withIndia…we’ll have it. I don’t know if it’ll be done before the elections but we’ll have a very big deal with India,” – Trump
The comments come days after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer cancelled a trip to India — as reported in TheHindu — to finalise a mini-trade deal that the two countries were hoping to finalise during the visit.
‘No one was killed by police bullets in anti-CAA protests
’Not a single person was killed by police bullets during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on December19 and 20, 2019, and those who died were killed by the “bullets of rioters”, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in the Assembly on Wednesday.
At least 23 people died in the violence during the protests, most of them of bullet injuries.
Upadravi upadraviyo ki goliyon se hi mare hai
Here to find a solution: mediators
The Supreme Court-appointed interlocutors, Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, on Wednesday, made their first direct contact with the women protesters of Shaheen Bagh, who have been on a sit-in against the CAA-NRC-NPR regime since December 16.
“This was our first interaction with the women and dadis (grandmothers) of Shaheen Bagh, apart from other citizens. We heard their grievances and concerns. They want us to come again as we could not speak to all of them. They have expressed their pain and sorrow,” Ms. Ramachandran told reporters after a nearly two-hour interaction with the protesters.
Muralidhar among 3 HC judges to be transferred
The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of Justice S. Muralidhar, who is third in the order of seniority in the Delhi High Court, along with two other transfer recommendations of judges.
The Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, has recommended that Justice Muralidhar be shifted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Court pulls up CBI in Asthana probe
A special court on Wednesday pulled up the CBI for not conducting a lie detector or psychological test on its former special Director Rakesh Asthana in an alleged bribery case.
Swachh Bharat Mission second phase gets nod
The Centre will begin implementing the second phase of its Swachh Bharat Mission in rural areas from April, focusing on solid and liquid waste management and the sustainability of the abolition of open defecation.
On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved an allocation of ₹52,497 crore for the scheme from the budget of theDepartment of Drinking Water and Sanitation over the next four years, according to an official statement.
Centre to form new law panel
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to set up the 22nd Law Commission.
The Law Commission advises the government on complex legal issues. The term of the previous law panel ended last august.
The Law Ministry will now notify the new panel, which will have a three-year term.
Apart from a full-time chairperson, the commission will have four full-time members, including a member-secretary.
The Law and Legislative Secretaries in the Law Ministry will be ex-officio members of the commission.
A retired Supreme Court judge or Chief Justice of a High Court will head the commission.
ART Bill proposes a national registry of clinics
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Assisted Reproductive TechnologyRegulation Bill, 2020 to monitor medical procedures used to assist people to achieve pregnancy.
The Bill provides for a national Board which will lay down a code of conduct to be observed by those operating clinics.
It will also formulate minimum standards for laboratory and diagnostic equipment and practices to be followed by human resources employed by clinics and banks.
The States and Union Territories will also have to form State Boards and State authorities within three months of the notification of the proposed legislation.
The Bill also proposes stringent punishment for those who practise sex selection, indulge in sale of human embryos or gametes and those who operate rackets.