Current Affairs

Morning Brief: India Moves Missiles To Northeast As China Improves Air Bases In Tibet; Plea For Namaz At Ram Janmabhoomi Site Rejected, And More

Medium-range mobile surface-to-air Akash Missiles being fired during Indian Air Force firepower show, ‘Exercise Iron Fist’ on 18 March 2016 in the desert of Pokhran, India. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) 

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news brief for today.

As China Improves Air Bases In Tibet, India Moves Missiles To Northeast

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has moved six units of Akash missile system to the Northeast in response to China’s efforts to improve the presence of its air force in Tibet through frequent exercise and new infrastructure, The Indian Express has reported. According to an Indian Air Force officer quoted in the daily’s report, India started moving Akash missile units to the Northeast, which “never had any air defence SAM until now”, in August 2014. Apart from Akash surface-to-air missiles, the IAF is also planning to deploy a squadron each of Chinook and Apache helicopters. It will also have the Russian S-400 missile system and a squadron of the Rafale fighter aircraft in this region.

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According to the report, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force started improving infrastructure at its airfields in Tibet after the Doklam stand-off. China is constructing new airfield is under 136 km southwest of Xining in Qinghai, only 750 km from the Line of Actual Control with India. It is also increasing the length of the runway of Hotan airfield. It is also increasing the capacity of civil airports in the region to use them for military purposes in event of a conflict.

Also Read: Can India Embarrass China In A Limited Military Conflict?

Allahabad High Court Rejects Plea For Namaz At Ayodhya’s Temple Site, Imposes Rs 5 Lakh Fine On Petitioner

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The Allahabad High Court on Friday rejected a petition seeking permission to offer ‘namaz’ at the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya and imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner saying the petition was filed without any legal basis and its only aim was to gain “cheap publicity”.

In its plea, the petitioner had said that Muslims be allowed to offer namaz at the site because Hindus were allowed to have a make-shift temple there. By some accounts, the plea also took into account the 2010 Allahabad High Court order which had given Muslims right over a third of the land at the site. In its order rejecting the plea, the High Court cited Supreme Court’s January 1993 order to maintain status quo at the site and the fact that the 67 acres of the “disputed land” was acquired by the government.

Parliament Nod Sought For Rs 85,948 Crore Additional Spending

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The Narendra Modi government has sought approval from Parliament for additional net spending of Rs 15,065 crore during the current fiscal. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants for 2018-19 involving gross spending of Rs 85,948.86 crore.

It has also sought Parliament’s approval for supplementary grants worth Rs 41,000 crore to infuse fresh capital into state-run banks. According to reports, the infusion of additional capital could help five such state-run banks exit the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework brought by the Reserve Bank of India. Between 2014 and 2018, eleven banks were put under the PCA framework.

US Defence Secretary James Mattis Resigns

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Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned from the Trump administration on Thursday, telling the President in a letter Thursday that he has “a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.” According to reports, Mattis announced plans to resign after a face-to-face meeting with Trump on Thursday in which they aired their differences. The retired general’s resignation came a day after Trump reportedly ignored his advice and announced the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Syria.

After his announcement, the US military has been ordered to begin planning to withdraw about half the troops in Afghanistan. Around 7,000 troops can be withdrawn from Afghanistan in the next few months. In his letter, Mattis said that a “core belief” of his “is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.”

Ten Agencies Authorised To Intercept Information On Computers

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The Modi government has given ten Central agencies the authorisation required for “interception, monitoring and decryption of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer”. This authorisation enables, among others, the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), Directorate of Signal Intelligence to intercept information stored on any computer device.

The notification issued by the government says any person in charge of the computer resource will be bound to extend all facilities and technical assistance to the agencies and failing to do will invite seven-year imprisonment and fine.

JNU Sedition Chargesheet Names Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid

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The Delhi Police has named far-left “student leaders” Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid as the main accused in its draft chargesheet in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition case. The chargesheet, which has been prepared by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell and sent to the public prosecutor for vetting, also names Anirban Bhattacharya. The police, however, has not found sufficient evidence against former JNU students’ union vice-president Shehla Rashid.

According to a senior police officer quoted by The Indian Express in its report, Delhi police has presented concrete evidence against eight others, all of whom are from Kashmir. The chargesheet is based on the FIR filed after an event in February 2016 to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

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