2019, March, Newsletter

India Newsletter Mar 14, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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CHINA SAVES MASOOD AZHAR AGAIN

For the fourth time in 10 years, China Wednesday stalled India’s bid to list
Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United
Nations Security Council.

New Delhi, which had mounted a diplomatic offensive after the
Jaish-e-Mohammad owned up the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that left 40
CRPF personnel dead, said it was “disappointed” by the outcome, but would
continue to pursue all available avenues to bring terrorist leaders to
justice.

Barely an hour before the deadline was to expire at 3 pm New York time –
12.30 am IST – China placed a technical hold. This means that the proposal
will be in deep freeze for the next six months, and if there is a hold
again, for another three months. Thereafter, Beijing will have to either
lift the hold or block the listing again. In the next nine months, member
countries can provide information to the committee for lifting the hold, and
Azhar can still be listed.

China did not yield to intense diplomatic pressure from the US, France, UK,
Russia and India. This came despite India reaching out to capitals across
the world.

One of the key takeaways from the proposal this time was the impressive
number of co-sponsors – 13 in all. Apart from the US, UK, France and
Germany, other co-sponsors were Poland, Belgium, Italy, Bangladesh,
Maldives, Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Japan and Australia.

India’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, “Big,
Small & Many. 1 big state holds up, again. 1 small signal @UN against
terror. Grateful to the many states – big & small – who in unprecedented
numbers, joined as co-sponsors of the effort.”

SEEKING A TURNOUT BOOST, PM MODI REACHES OUT TO ‘INFLUENCERS’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sent Twitter messages to
politicians from the opposition and allies, Bollywood personalities,
sportspeople and others, urging them to step up voter awareness efforts to
ensure a strong turnout in the general election starting on April 11.

“My fellow Indians, urging you all to strengthen voter awareness efforts
across India. Let us all ensure maximum number of Indians come out to vote
in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Modi, who has 46.3 million followers on
Twitter, wrote on the microblogging site.

Modi sent out a series of tweets from his personal handle, tagging
politicians including Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee and
Mayawati; sports personalities like Saina Nehwal, Yogeshwar Dutt, MS Dhoni,
and Virat Kohli; and Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone, Salman Khan, Shahrukh
Khan and Anushka Sharma. He also sent the message to industrialist Ratan
Tata, yoga guru Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of the Art of
Living Foundation.

Modi also shared on Twitter a blog titled Four Requests for Democracy that
he wrote on his personal website, urging people to vote. He said a higher
voter turnout means a stronger democracy and a stronger democracy means a
developed India

KARTARPUR TALKS TODAY, DELHI SAYS LOOKING FORWARD TO IT

Delegations from India and Pakistan will meet today on the Indian side of
the Attari-Wagah border crossing to discuss modalities for the Kartarpur
corridor despite the slide in ties following the Balakot air strike and
Pakistan’s retaliatory action. A day ahead of the talks, New Delhi said it
looked forward to “a constructive, meaningful and flexible approach from the
other side”.

India will seek “visa free access” to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur,
Pakistan, for Sikh pilgrims who will take the proposed corridor from Dera
Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Key to the meeting will be acceptance of the essential features of a
Memorandum of Agreement, a draft of which has already been shared with
Islamabad, and operational modalities. The second priority will be
development of the border infrastructure, which will be state-of-the-art and
convenient for pilgrims, including the elderly.

RAHUL VOWS 33% JOB RESERVATION FOR WOMEN, GST REFORMS IF UPA WINS ELECTIONS

Congress president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday promised 33 per cent reservation
of government jobs for women and reforms in the GST if the party-led UPA
wins the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Launching the UPA’s campaign in Tamil Nadu during a hectic day-long visit to
the southern state, Gandhi also asserted law must not be applied selectively
and that if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed for any alleged
irregularities so can Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in
the Rafale jet deal.

Gandhi touched upon a range of issues during his informal interaction with
students of Stella Maris College for Women and at a news conference in
Chennai and a poll rally in Nagercoil.

Congress has tied up with DMK in Tamil Nadu where 39 seats are at stake.

“One of the things that we have decided that in 2019 we are going to pass
the women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabhas and we are also
going to reserve 33 per cent of all government jobs at the national level
for women. That is a starting point,” he said in a response to a question by
a student.

Wearing a jeans and T-shirt, Gandhi stuck a rare rapport with his audience,
the students. Gandhi, who asked the students to challenge him and “make him
uncomfortable”, also questioned whether the prime minister could stand in a
large audience and answer people’s questions.

He said he has “genuine” affection for Narendra Modi and that is what he
tried to show when he hugged the prime minister after watching him become
“very angry” in Parliament. During his interaction, he recalled the day he
hugged Modi in the Lok Sabha and said he cannot hate him since love “is in
the country’s grain, every religion, and the Tamil people”.

At his public rally, Gandhi launched a frontal attack on the AIADMK-BJP
alliance in Tamil Nadu, alleging the AIADMK government was controlled by the
Prime Minister’s Office, something that has never happened before.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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DONALD TRUMP TOO GROUNDS 737 MAX; INDIA SAYS BOEING DIDN’T GIVE CONFIDENCE

With countries across the world, including India, moving to ground Boeing’s
737 Max aircraft over safety fears following Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia, the
US bowed to international pressure with President Donald Trump announcing
that America would also follow suit.

Late Wednesday, the US confirmed that it had also grounded the plane.
Announcing the decision, Trump said “Boeing is an incredible company”, and
is working hard right now, but their Max aircraft would be grounded until
“they come up with a solution”.

In India, budget carrier SpiceJet operates 12 of these aircraft while Jet
Airways has five. Following the DGCA decision, SpiceJet cancelled 14 flights
Wednesday and, according to Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola,
is likely to cancel 30-35 flights Thursday. Jet had already grounded its
Boeing Max aircraft due to the airline’s financial woes.

Asked about a timeline for lifting the restrictions on Boeing’s flagship
narrowbody aircraft, Bhullar said the DGCA would consult all regulators,
including the FAA and the manufacturer, before taking a decision. “But we
expect it will take time,” he said.

BREXIT: BRITAIN’S PARLIAMENT REJECTS NO-DEAL SPLIT FROM EUROPEAN UNION

The UK Parliament on Wednesday rejected a chaotic no-deal Brexit by a narrow
margin, preventing Britain from crashing out of the European Union without
any transition phase.

The House of Commons voted against the deal by 312 votes to 308.

British MPs will now vote on Thursday on whether to ask for delaying
Britain’s departure beyond March 29 by extending Article 50 – the legal
mechanism that takes the UK out of the 28-member economic bloc.

This would have to be ratified by the EU and the length of extension will
become the next focus on both sides.

However, how the EU will react to an extension request remains unclear at
this stage, given that it is preparing for its own EU elections towards the
end of May.

Brussels has already made it clear that it will not renegotiate the deal
thrashed out with the UK over two years of prolonged talks.

Unless agreed otherwise, Britain leaving the EU by March 29 remains the
default Brexit option by law.

The March-end deadline kicked in when the UK triggered Article 50 of the
Lisbon Treaty following a referendum in favour of Brexit by nearly 52 per
cent to 48 per cent in June 2016.

THE REST

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GOVT TO SC: REJECT RAFALE REVIEW PLEA, IT’S A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY

On February 8, a report in The Hindu, citing a “Defence Ministry note” of
November 2015, had stated that the Ministry of Defence “raised strong
objections to ‘parallel negotiations’ conducted by the Prime Minister’s
Office (PMO) with the French side” in the Rafale deal.

Seeking dismissal of a petition which sought review of the Supreme Court’s
December 14, 2018 order that dismissed PILs for a probe into alleged
irregularities in the Rafale deal, the government Wednesday told the top
court that certain documents submitted by the review petitioners were
“sensitive to National Security” and their “unauthorized photocopying and
leakage” constituted “penal offences under the Indian Penal Code including
theft”.

The government affidavit said since the review petition was “in public
domain” and “available to the enemy/our adversaries”, national security had
been put “in jeopardy” because the documents relate to “war capacity of
combat aircraft”. The affidavit sought removal of these documents from the
records.

The affidavit referred to a four-page “secret” note attached with the review
petition filed by former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and
advocate Prashant Bhushan as well as an application filed by them seeking
perjury charges against the government, and said they were “using” it “with
the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal
secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence”.

INDIA KNOWS IDENTITY OF PAKISTANI F-16 PILOT WHO DIED: NIRMALA SITHARAMAN

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said that India knows
the identity of the deceased Pakistani pilot whose F-16 was downed by Wing
Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG-21.

She was speaking at an event held by India Today on national security
issues.

As per media reports, Pakistan Air Force officer Shahaz-ud-Din, the F-16
pilot shot down in a dogfight over the Nowshera sector, was reported to have
been lynched by a mob who mistook him for an Indian airman.

Sitharaman also criticised Pakistan for not acknowledging its own soldiers.
“Pakistan never accepts when their soldiers are captured or killed,” she was
quoted by India Today as having said. Accusing Pakistan of living “in a
state of denial,” the defence minister said the country had not acknowledged
the sacrifices of its soldiers even during the Kargil War of 1999.

BJP, AGP SEAL POLL PACT IN ASSAM

The BJP has finalised its alliances in the North-East, setting a target of
winning at least 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats from eight states of the
region, party general secretary Ram Madhav claimed on Wednesday.

Madhav, the BJP’s in charge of the North-East, held a series of discussions
yesterday till past midnight and sealed the alliances with the Asom Gana
Parishad, Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF), Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura
(IPFT), National People’s Party, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party
and the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha.

On Tuesday, Madhav had met Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Assam Chief
Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Manipur
Chief Minister Biren Singh, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and
NEDA convener Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Madhav also met a delegation of the AGP, the led by party president Atul
Bora, and finalised reunion of the former allies.

“The BJP, NPP, NDPP, AGP and BPF will fight together in Assam, Nagaland,
Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with the mission of defeating
Congress party at the hustings. In Tripura, the BJP will fight the elections
together with IPFT, our alliance partner,” Madhav said. In Sikkim, BJP’s
alliance will be with the main Opposition party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha,
he added.

INDIA, US AGREE TO BUILD SIX NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS IN INDIA

India and the US said they have agreed to build six American nuclear power
plants in India, in a boost to bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation.

The two countries said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of
the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign
Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state
for arms control and international security, on Wednesday.

India and the US signed a historic agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear
energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties,
which have been on an upswing since.

A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), that gave
a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a
dozen countries. Post-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation
agreements with the US, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri
Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea.

On Wednesday, the United States also reaffirmed its strong support to
India’s early membership in the 48-member NSG. Notably, China has blocked
India’s pending membership to the elite grouping that seeks to prevent
proliferation of nuclear weapons.

CELLULAR OPERATORS ASK E-TAILERS TO STOP SALE OF TELECOM SIGNAL BOOSTERS

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has asked online
retailers, including Flipk-art and Rediff, to stop selling mobile signal
boosters on their platforms. This is because sale of such devi-ces are
illegal and may attract fine and imprisonment. Moreover, these instruments
interfere with mobile signals leading to call drops and sluggish data
speeds.

The association has said these boosters fall under the category of wireless
devices under the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act 1933, which prohibits
possession of such apparatus without a licence. It said that illegal
possession or sale of such equipment is a punishable offence under the Act.

COAI has said that despite DOT’s order, the companies continue to sell these
mobile signal boosters on their platform. It said that such instruments
create severe interference in the frequency bands and disturb the overall
quality of services. The telecom operators’ lobby asked online retail
portals to “immediately” stop sale of such devices.

FACEBOOK SUFFERS THE MOST SEVERE OUTAGE IN ITS HISTORY

Facebook is suffering the most severe outage in its history, with key
services rendered unusable for users globally for much of Wednesday.

The last time Facebook had a disruption of this magnitude was in 2008, when
the site had 150m users – compared to around 2.3bn monthly users today.

Facebook’s main product, its two messaging apps and image-sharing site
Instagram were all affected.

The cause of the interruption has not yet been made public.

INDIA LOSE DELHI ODI, OZ WIN FIRST ODI SERIES IN INDIA IN A DECADE

The ghosts of the missing middle-order came back to haunt India as they lost
the fifth and final ODI by 35 runs. The result also means that the hosts
lost the series 2-3 despite winning the first two One-day Internationals.

Australia won the toss and posted not a very daunting 272.

Much depended on the makeshift middle-order in the series-decider as the
think-tank made radical changes to the line-up yesterday. The experiment of
playing KL Rahul at No. 3 was shelved after Mohali, and the Karnataka opener
was benched. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was pencilled to bat at No.
4, and all-rounder Vijay Shankar was used as a specialist batsman. Needless
to say, these experiments, in the team’s last ODI before the World Cup, did
not come good. Instead, it showed the vulnerability of the team if the
prolific run-getters – skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma –
fail to score big.

After Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli were dismissed in the space of eight overs,
the onus was on Rohit and the makeshift line-up to take India over the line.
But it was not to be as the middle-order choked. Vijay Shankar and Rohit,
who was looking set for another big score after scoring 56, got out trying
to force the pace. Before them, Pant gave an easy catch to Ashton Turner at
slip off Nathan Lyon.

In fact, the back-to-back stumpings of Rohit and Jadeja, who followed him
soon after, in one Adam Zampa over killed the run chase. The quick wickets
meant that the home team was reduced to 132/6 by the 29th over. Kedar Jadhav
and Bhuvneshwar Kumar tried to get India close with a sturdy partnership of
91 for the seventh wicket. But their dismissals off consecutive deliveries
settled the match and the series 3-2 in Australia’s favour.

The failures have once again exposed the cracks in India’s armour. In the
last 15 months or so, both Kohli and Rohit have saved the brittle batting
order blushes with their consistent scoring.

Earlier, India bowlers led by Bhuvneshwar restricted Australia to a gettable
272/9 after the visitors had looked like scoring in excess of 300 runs.

Australia had last won a bilateral ODI series in India back in 2009, taking
it 4-2. They had lost their previous three bilateral ODI series in India.

KOHLI #7 ON GLOBAL FAME LIST

Sania Mirza was the lone Indian woman athlete, and non-cricketer, to make it
to the ESPN Fame 100, which lists the most famous stars in world sport.

For the fourth year in a row, football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo topped
the list of the most famous global sportspersons.

The ranking of active sportspersons compiled by judging three criteria: An
athlete’s social media following, his/her Google Trend score, and the amount
of money that they earn through endorsement deals.

The top 10 on this fame list are: 1 Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 LeBron James, 3
Lionel Messi, 4 Neymar, 5 Conor McGregor, 6 Roger Federer, 7 Virat Kohli, 8
Rafael Nadal, 9 Stephen Curry, 10 Tiger Woods

INDICATORS

Sensex 37,752 (+216), Nifty 11,342 (+41), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
39,484

Nasdaq 7,643 (+52) Dow 25,703 (+148), S&P 2,811 (+19)

US$-Rs. 69.50 GBP-Rs. 91.55, Euro-Rs. 78.55, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.92, Can$-Rs.
52.10, Aus$- Rs. 49.14

GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.88 /US$, Jap.Yen 111.27 /US$, Aus$ 1.41 /US$, Sing
1.35 /US$, Bang Taka 83.20 /US$, Can$ 1.33 /US$, Mal Ring 4.08 /US$,

Pak Re 138.76 /US$, Phil Peso 52.71 /US$, Russian Rouble 68.48 /US$, NZ$
1.46 /US$, Thai Baht 31.57 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.46 /US$, Norway NOK 8.60
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 3,865

Dollar Index 96.58 Brent Crude 67.73 BDI 647

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,305 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3270 / 3092,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 41,500

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. – Jimi Hendrix

OFF TRACK

Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, “I know it’s hard. You’re
going to be okay. Here’s a coffee. And 5 million dollars.”

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