Morning: India’s Gambit Pays Off As Maldivians Oust Pro-China President From Power; Hyderabad Metro To Open Newly Built 16 Km Stretch Today; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Sep 24, 2018 08:18 AM +05:30 IST
Morning: India’s Gambit Pays Off As Maldivians Oust Pro-China President From Power; Hyderabad Metro To Open Newly Built 16 Km Stretch Today; And MoreNarendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, speaks to Abdulla Yameen, President of the Maldives during the inaugural session of the 18th SAARC Summit. (Narendra Shrestha - Pool/Getty Images) 

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

Maldivians Oust Pro-China President From Power

In the election held on Sunday, Maldivians ousted incumbent President Abdulla Yameen from power. Yameen, who drove the country closer to China and into a debt trap, has lost to the candidate fielded by the joint opposition. After assuming power in 2013, he had jailed or forced into exile nearly all of his political rivals. In February, Yameen had rejected a court order to quash terrorism charges against nine major opposition figures, including former president Mohamed Nasheed, and jailed Supreme Court judges. This move forced the already united opposition to field a joint candidate. Opposition’s campaign headquarters were raided on the eve of the election, which was as being seen as a referendum on democracy.

Yameen had not shown sensitivity towards India’s security concerns. India’s displeasure can be gauged from the fact that the Maldives is the only neighbouring country that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not visited. The government had decided against an armed intervention in the Maldives despite multiple provocations from Yameen and was expecting his ouster in the elections. However, Yameen was likely to rig the election. The government was criticised by various sections, including multiple security experts, for not intervening in the Maldives. However, its bet seems to have paid off.

Hyderabad Metro To Open Newly Built 16 Km Stretch Today

Hyderabad Metro will open the newly built 16 km line between Ameerpet to LB Nagar today. As services start on this stretch, the entire 29 km long Corridor 1 of the metro system will become operational. With the addition of this line, the total operational length of the system will go up to 49 km. The sanctioned length of the Hyderabad Metro in phase 1 is 72 km. There are 24 stations in the operational part of the system inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2017. The Ameerpet-LB Nagar stretch has 16 stations.

When this line becomes operational, Hyderabad Metro will become the country’s second largest metro rail system. It is already the world's largest public-private partnership project in the sector. Over 80,000 people use the Hyderabad Metro every day and around 1 lakh people use it on the weekends. When autos and city buses stooped operations in support of the transport bandh on 7 August, the Metro ridership increased to nearly 1.30 lakh a day.

India Conducts First Night Trial Of Indigenous BMD System

India on Sunday conducted a night trial of its indigenously developed Basaltic Missile Defence (BMD) system, the New Indian Express reported. According to the daily’s report, the test was conducted in salvo mode using an interceptor missile capable of destroying incoming threat at an altitude of above 100 km. The target missile, a modified version of the Prithvi ballistic missile, was fired from an Indian Navy warship in the Bay of Bengal. Once the radars detected and tracked the target missile, an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile named the Prithvi Defense Vehicle (PDV) was launched from the Abdul Kalam Island to destroy it.

The PDV was first tested in 2014 and had a “near miss” at an altitude of 120 km. The second trial was conducted in February 2017 and was reported successful. Only the US, Russia and Israel have operational BMD systems. India has been working on a two-layered BMD system which can destroy missiles travelling at speeds of Mach 3 to Mach 8 at exo-atmospheric altitudes of 50–150 km and the endo-atmosphere at altitudes of 20-40 km since 1999.

Prime Minister Modi To Inaugurate Sikkim’s First Airport Today

Sikkim’s newly-constructed airport, the Himalayan state’s first, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Earlier, it was to be inaugurated on 23 September. The airport, which is located nearly 60 km from the border with China, obtained the license required for operations in May. It is located about 30 km from the state capital of Gangtok and has been built at an elevation of about 4,700 feet at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore.

The airport will boost Sikkim’s economy by making the state more accessible for tourists. Currently, tourists headed for Gangtok by air have to fly to Bagdogra and travel for more than four hours (128 km) by road to reach the city. It will become the 100th operational airport in the country. A 19-seater aircraft of the Indian Air Force had landed at the airport in March. The same month, a 78-seater Spicejet test flight landed at the airport for the first time. At least 30 new airports set to come up in the country within the next 15 months.

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

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