Morning Brief: Saudi Arabia, India Partner To Build $44 Billion Refinery In Maharashtra; Four Foreign Airlines Interested In AI; NavIC Constellation Gets New Satellite
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Saudi Arabia, India Partner To Build $44 Billion Refinery In Maharashtra
Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco and a consortium of Indian oil companies are partnering to build a mega refinery in Maharashtra at an estimated cost of $44 billion. The refinery, which will be built about 350 km south of Mumbai, will be capable of processing around 1.2 million barrels of crude oil a day. Saudi’s Aramco and the Indian consortium of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil will each own 50 per cent of the project. The two have already signed a memorandum of understanding. Aramco wants to bring in a strategic partner to share its stake in the planned project at a later stage.
When complete, the facility will be one of the world’s largest refining complexes. Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, wants to tap rising demand in the world’s third-biggest consumer through this move. The refinery will help India expand its refining capacity by 77 per cent to about 8.8 million barrel per day by 2030.
Four Major International Airlines Interested In Air India
British Airways, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines are among the four major international airlines that are interested in acquiring Air India, a report says, adding an unnamed Gulf-based carrier to the list. The government had last week invited bids to sell 76 per cent stake in the debt-ridden national carrier. To participate, a foreign carrier will be required to have a joint venture with a partner in India provided with at least 51 per cent stake and effective control. The foreign carriers are currently in talks with local business houses to meet the criterion.
“The four airlines are in active consultation with us. Among the Indian players they are in touch with to form a consortia is a medium-sized domestic airline. The head of an international airline is also eying the process with interest. A leading Indian industrial house is also in touch,” said a source was quoted as saying.
India’s Regional Navigation System Gets New Satellite
Just days after it lost contact with its communication satellite GSAT-6A over 48 hours after launch, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its navigation satellite IRNSS-1I on Thursday. The new satellite, which has joined the constellation of six operational ones, will help improve the accuracy of the system by replacing the faulty IRNSS-1A satellite in the constellation. IRNSS-1A had failed due to deficiencies in three atomic clocks that are required to provide accurate positional information to users on earth. The three clocks failed over a period of three months. This launch was ISRO’s second attempt to replace the satellite with faulty clocks. Earlier, ISRO had attempted to replace the faulty satellite by launching IRNSS-1H. The satellite failed after it got stuck inside the rocket's heat shield.
NSA Ajit Doval To Visit Russia
A week after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Russia to hold talks with her counterpart, India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will travel to the county. The visit will come later this week in a bid to reassure Moscow that the ties between the two countries are important to New Delhi. Doval will meet his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev on the trip, which was initially scheduled before Doval’s visit the United States in March. The trip comes at a time when Pakistan is reportedly in discussion with Russia to acquire latest weapon platforms.
Local Media Protests In Kolkata Against Attacks By TMC Goons
Local media in West Bengal held a march in the state capital late on Wednesday to protest against attacks by the goons of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. The protest march came at a time when the party has been accused of attacking candidates of panchayat polls and preventing them from filing nominations. Media persons have said that they have been attacked by goons of the ruling party while covering the nomination process. In one shocking incident, a 46-year-old photojournalist was stripped for reportedly trying to click a picture of gons from Banerjee’s party capturing the South 24-Parganas district magistrate’s office in Kolkata to prevent Opposition candidates from filing nominations.
Trump Threatens Russia, Says Missiles ‘Will Be Coming’ Over Syria
Warning Russia against supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, US President Donald Trump has threatened Moscow saying “missiles will be coming” in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria. Upping the ante, Trump took to Twitter in the strongest assertion yet that he plans to take military action in Syria. The US, UK and France are believed to be preparing for a military strike in response to the alleged chemical attack by Assad’s regime on its own people. However, both the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, and the defence secretary, James Mattis, suggested a decision on military action was still pending. Senior Russian officials have threatened to meet any US strikes with a matching response.
Trouble For Sonia Gandhi In Raebareli?
In what could turn out to be a major blow for the Congress in Sonia Gandhi’s pocket borough Raebareli, party leader Dinesh Singh and his brother Rakesh Singh quit on Wednesday. While the former is an MLC from Raebareli, the latter is a Congress MLA from the district. Associated with the Congress for years, the two are likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party soon. The two leaders were apparently unhappy with party leaders not being given credit for their work. The development came after BJP President Amit Shah arrived in Lucknow on Wednesday. With Dinesh Singh’s resignation, the Congress is left with just one member in the Uttar Pradesh legislative council and a weakened organisation in Raebareli.
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