Morning Brief: ISRO’s Largest And Heaviest Satellite Launched; Trouble For Congress As AgustaWestland Scam Accused Extradited To India; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Dec 5, 2018 09:59 AM +05:30 IST
Morning Brief: ISRO’s Largest And Heaviest Satellite Launched; Trouble For Congress As AgustaWestland Scam Accused Extradited To India; And MoreLaunch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifts off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana. 

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

India Launches Heaviest Satellite; To Get High-Speed Connectivity

ISRO’s GSAT 11, weighing 5,854 kg, was successfully launched from French Guiana in South America in the early hours of Wednesday by the European commercial launch provider Arianespace. The satellite, which is the largest and heaviest ever built by the Indian Space Research Organisation, will make high-speed broadband connectivity possible. It would boost broadband services in rural areas and inaccessible gram panchayats under BharatNet project.

After a 30-minute flight, GSAT-11 was placed into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. ISRO’s Master Control Facility, based at Hassan in Karnataka, took over the command and control of GSAT-11 after the launch. In the next few days, it will be raised to the Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) through phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres.

AgustaWestland Scam Accused Christian Michel Extradited From UAE

Amid the election campaign in Rajasthan and just months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Narendra Modi government has managed to extradite AgustaWestland scam accused middleman Christian Michel to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Michel, a 57-year-old British national, is likely to be produced before a Delhi court today. He was flown to Delhi Tuesday night on a special flight. This was the last leg of the operation to bring the accused in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland chopper deal scam to India. The operation was carried out under the “guidance” of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Indian Investigative agencies have said that Michel had received at least Rs 235 crore to bribe Indian officials for the chopper contract. He is said to have undertaken 300 trips to India between 1997 and 2013. According to a report in The Pioneer in 2013, which cites Italian newspaper ‘Lettera 43’, Michel’s late father was “close to the Congress party”. Guido Ralph Haschke, the second middleman in the deal, was the Director of a real estate firm owned by relatives of Kanishka Singh, who is associated with a Congress high-up. A chargesheet related to this case, filed in an Italian court, talks about a “family” getting around Rs 200 crore as kickback from the helicopter manufacturer.

RBI Likely To Keep Interest Rate Unchanged On 5 December

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is unlikely to disturb the status-quo on interest rate today despite moderation in economic growth and easing inflation. The RBI had decided to keep rates unchanged after back-to-back hikes since June. In October, it had left the repo rate, at which it lends to other banks, unchanged at 6.5 per cent.

During the review, the MPC will consider multiple factors, including the appreciation in Rupee against the US dollar, softening of global oil prices to around $60 a barrel and slower GDP growth at 7.1 per cent. The Indian economy had grown at 8.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Government To Set Up ‘Surgical Strike’ Unit To Fight Behind Enemy Lines

Modi government is planning to set up a special force comprising of soldiers from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to conduct surprise precision strikes deep inside enemy territory, NDTV has reported. According to the report, the plan is a brainchild of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Soldiers from the special forces of the Air Force, the Navy and the Army - Garuds, Marcos and Paras, will be part of the new unit, which will be controlled by the Army Chief.

The new special unit will have two groups, one for planning and the other for assault. According to the channel, the government has already chosen 96 members for the planning group and 124 for the assault group. The assault group is further divided into two units, one for attack and the other for support.

Deal For Lease Of Nuclear Powered Submarine From Russia Soon

India is close to sealing a Rs 23,000 crore ($3.3 billion) deal with Russia for the lease of a submarine powered by nuclear energy, India Today has reported. The report says that a naval delegation led by Inspector General (Nuclear Safety) Vice Admiral Soonil V Bhokare recently visited Russia to inspect two Akula-1 class submarines, the Bratsk and the Samara. Both of these submarines are old and the one chosen will undergo a 72-month deep refit before being delivered.

India currently operates a nuclear-powered Akula class submarine leased from Russia. The vessel's ten-year lease will expire in January 2022 and is likely to be extended for a few more years as the new submarine will not be delivered before 2025. The refit of the new submarine will involve the replacement of the nuclear reactor which powers it and installation of some indigenous systems.

Muslim Nations Must Learn From India So That There Is Peace: Dalai Lama

Islamic countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Syria should learn about religion from India to make sure that there is peace around the world, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Tuesday. The Dalai Lama made the statement while addressing reporters during a brief interaction in Uttar Pradesh's Farrukhabad. The spiritual leader, however, avoided making sharp comments against China. On a question about the Doklam issue, he said the two countries should resolve it through talks. “Both the countries should sit and resolve the issue. The slogan of ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai’ should be relevant,” he said in what appeared to be an evasive reply.

From Swarajya

Modi’s LPG Scheme Ticks All The Right Boxes: Cooking gas supply to almost all households may well be regarded as Modi’s best scheme ever. It is popular and economically and ecologically a sound proposition.

Lower Rabi Crops Production Will Give Government An Option To Pare Its Bulging Stocks, Cut Carrying Costs: A lower rabi production presents a perfect moment for the government to offload its stocks and cut its carrying costs. The sale of these stocks will contain inflation and keep the supply line going.

Numbers Of Demography, Stories Of Destiny: What exactly is happening in eastern India and Bangladesh where the share of Hindu population is declining on both sides of the border?

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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