Current Affairs for NDA/CDS/AFCAT/Airforce X&Y Groups
News Analysis from THE HINDU (November 10, 2018)
1. Sirisena dissolves Sri Lanka Parliament, polls on Jan. 5
Avoiding a resolution to Sri Lanka’s political crisis through Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena late on Friday dissolved the House. The move came just hours after his political front admitted to lacking the majority needed for its controversially installed Prime Minister to be declared legitimate.
Issuing an extraordinary gazette, Mr. Sirisena dismissed the 225-member assembly with effect from midnight, and called for a snap general election on January 5, 2019.
2. The Army on Friday inducted the M777 ultra light howitzers from the U.S., the K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea.
3. Army fire power gets booster shot
Emerging from the shadow of the Bofors scandal, the Army on Friday inducted its first artillery gun systems in three decades. The M777 Ultra Light Howitzers from the U.S. and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea were inducted at the Devlali Field Firing Ranges in Maharashtra. The third equipment inducted is a common gun tower.
The Army last inducted an artillery gun system — the Bofors guns procured from Sweden — in the early 1980s. Attempts to buy new guns did not make progress.
Three guns of each type were inducted in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat. In all, the Army will get 10 K-9 guns this year.
In April 2017, the Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin signed a contract to make the K9 Vajra-T guns. The gun was short-listed by the Army after extensive trials. The deal is worth ₹4,500 crore for 100 guns. The K9 Vajra-T is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled gun with a maximum range of 40 km. It has been customised from the original K9 Thunder. Its fire control system has been customised for desert conditions.
Under the agreement, the first 10 guns will be imported from South Korea and the rest will be made by L&T in India. The first regiment will be in place by July 2019 and all 100 guns will be delivered by November 2020.
Howitzer deal with U.S.
India signed a $737-million deal with the U.S. in November 2016 under the Foreign Military Sales Programme for 145 M777 Ultra Light Howitzers. Twenty-five guns will be imported and the rest will be assembled in India in partnership with Mahindra Group. Deliveries will be completed by mid-2021. “The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy,” Joe Senftle, vice-president and general manager of BAE Systems’ weapon systems business, said after the induction.
The M777 is a 155-mm, 39-calibre towed artillery gun. It weighs just four tonnes, making it transportable underslung from helicopters.
The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, 1999, envisages induction of 3,000 guns of various types for 220 artillery regiments.
4. Long cohabitation is presumed marriage: SC
The Supreme Court has upheld the “presumption” that a couple who live together as husband and wife are legally married and the woman can claim maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
5. India to export sugar to China
In a boost to sugar mills sitting on surplus stocks, India will start raw sugar exports to China in early 2019, and is in talks to finalise exports to Indonesia and Malaysia as well.
In a statement on Thursday, the Commerce Ministry said the first contract to export 50,000 tonnes of sugar had been entered into by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) and Chinese public sector company COFCO.
“Raw sugar is the second product after non-basmati rice that China will import from India,” said the Ministry. “It is a move to reduce the $60 billion trade deficit that China has with India. India’s exports to China in 2017-18 amounted to $33 billion while imports from China stood at $76.2 billion.”
India is the world’s largest sugar producer with a production of 32 million tonnes in 2018. However, domestic consumption is only around 25 million tonnes.
6. HAL trainer clears crucial spin test
HTT-40, the indigenously-built basic trainer aircraft, on Friday cleared a challenging milestone — its first spin test — Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. said.
A few more tests are due to follow before the aircraft can get its operational certification, likely in mid-2019, according to a person familiar with the programme.
HAL said it expected production clearance for the HTT-40 by the end of this year. The Defence Acquisition Council has approved buying of 70 HAL-built basic trainers for the Indian Air Force. The HTT-40, when acquired, will join the 75 Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mark II trainers that are already in service.
7. India appreciates sanctions waiver
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday expressed appreciation for the United States’ waiver on India-Iran energy trade and the Chabahar Port project.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the port would be of importance in helping the situation in Afghanistan, but reiterated that India would continue to import Iranian energy.
“India is a major importer of crude oil from Iran. This is very important for our own energy security needs. We appreciate the fact that the U.S. has shown understanding of our position and has said that its intention is not to hurt India,” said Mr. Kumar, adding that India was studying the details of the exemption.
The formal response from India came days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared a waiver for India and seven other countries on energy trade. Iraq has also received a waiver for the import of electricity from Tehran.
8. Modi to attend Solih’s swearing-in
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a day-long visit to the Maldives on November 17 to witness the swearing-in of Ibrahim Solih as President of the country.
The visit had been pending since the beginning of Mr. Modi’s tenure but was confirmed recently following an invitation from Male.
9. Modi’s ‘late festival gift’ to Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to deliver a late Deepavali “gift” to his constituency, Varanasi, in the form of projects worth over ₹2,400 crore.
On November 12, Mr. Modi will launch 17 infrastructure projects in Varanasi. While 10 projects built at a total cost of over ₹2,300 crore would be inaugurated, foundation would be laid for seven costing ₹111 crore.
On Monday, Mr. Modi will dedicate the Multi Modal Terminal on the Ganga to the nation. The MMTs are being built as part of the Jal Marg Vikas project, which aims to develop the stretch of river Ganga between Varanasi and Haldia for navigation of large vessels.
10. EC curb on exit polls
The Election Commission has banned exit polls or mass circulation of their results from November 12 to December 7 in view of the Assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana. The order issued on Friday said conducting exit polls and publishing or publicising the results through print or electronic media or in any other manner between 7 a.m. on November 12 and 5.30 p.m. on December 7 were prohibited.
11. Trump tightens U.S. asylum rules
President Donald Trump on Friday invoked extraordinary national security powers to deny asylum to migrants who enter the country illegally, tightening the border as caravans of Central Americans approach the U.S.
Mr. Trump is using the same powers he used to push through a version of the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court. The proclamation puts into place regulations adopted on Thursday that circumvent laws stating that anyone is eligible for asylum no matter how he or she enters the country.
12. China steps up drone race with stealth aircraft
China is unleashing stealth drones fitted with AK-47 rifles onto world markets, adding to a fleet that has already seen combat action in the Middle East. Combat drones were among military hardware displayed this week at Airshow China, its biggest aerospace exhibition.
13. RCEP Trade Ministers to meet on November 12-13
A crucial meeting of Trade Ministers of RCEP member- countries, including India and China, will take place in Singapore on November 12-13 amid pressure being mounted on to conclude talks for the proposed mega trade deal at the earliest, sources said.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a trade pact that aims to cover goods, services and intellectual property rights among others.
14. Saurabh & Manu win junior mixed gold
It was a golden climax for India as 16-year-old Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary combined to clinch the junior mixed air pistol gold with a junior world record of 485.4 in the 11th Asian Air Gun championship which concluded here on Friday.
After qualifying in the second place (with 762) behind the Chinese, who had shot the same score but had two more inner-10s, the Indian pair overwhelmed the other Chinese pair by 7.5 points for the gold.
After a strong start, the Indian pair dominated the final.
The results: Junior mixed air pistol team: 1. India (Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary) 485.4 WRJ; 2. China-A (Wang, Xie) 477.9; 3. China-B (Wang, Hong) 413.5; 4. India-B (Abhidnya Patil, Anmol Jain) 372.1.
15. Kaif is Delhi Daredevils’ assistant coach
Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif was on Friday named assistant coach of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils for the upcoming 2019 season. “Delhi Daredevils have roped in former Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif as their assistant coach for the upcoming Indian Premier League season,” the team announced. Kaif, who was roped in as a talent scout in the DD set-up, was earlier an assistant coach to Brad Hodge at the Gujarat Lions in the 2017 IPL season. Kaif joins Ricky Ponting and James Hopes in the Daredevils’ coaching team.
Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA)
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC)
Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC)
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
17. Things to Remember:
President of Sri Lanka – Maithripala Sirisena
18. Improve your Vocabulary:
Meaning – Apt in the circumstances or in relation to something.
Example – ‘the observations are apposite to the discussion’
Synonyms – appropriate, suitable, fitting, apt, befitting