World Newsletter

30 Sept 2020



Pushing its old claim line in Ladakh and hardening its position on the

situation there, Beijing Tuesday said it does not recognise the Union

Territory of Ladakh and is opposed to the construction of Indian

infrastructure there. This was stated by Chinese Foreign Ministry

spokesperson Wang Wenbin yesterday.

New Delhi reacted sharply, saying it has "never accepted the so-called

unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control", and that it is


The spokesperson's statement that Beijing "does not recognise the Union

Territory of Ladakh" is an escalation in its rhetoric, as compared to its

comment last year following the abrogation of Article 370 and the decision

to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of

J&K and Ladakh. At that time, China had objected to the formation of Ladakh

as Union Territory, saying this "undermined its territorial sovereignty".

Beijing had also expressed "serious concern" about the current situation in

the region and had said "relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act


"India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 LAC. This

position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side,"

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. Furthermore, he said, under their

various bilateral agreements including the 1993 Agreement on Maintenance of

Peace and Tranquility along the LAC, 1996 Agreement on Confidence Building

Measures (CBMs) in the military field, 2005 Protocol on Implementation of

CBMs, 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for

settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, "both India and China have

committed to clarification and confirmation of the LAC to reach a common

understanding of the alignment of the LAC".

"In fact, the two sides had engaged in an exercise to clarify and confirm

the LAC up to 2003, but this process could not proceed further as the

Chinese side did not show a willingness to pursue it," Srivastava said,

putting the onus on Beijing. "Therefore, the insistence now of the Chinese

side that there is only one LAC is contrary to the solemn commitments made

by China in these agreements," he said.

Referring to the September 10 meeting in Moscow between the Foreign

Ministers, Srivastava said the Chinese side reiterated its commitment to

abide by all the existing agreements.





Targeting the Opposition for protesting against the new farm laws, Prime

Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said "these people are neither with the

farmer, nor with the youth, nor with the soldiers".

Saying that they were "opposing just for the sake of opposing", Modi said

"people who oppose and protest are becoming increasingly irrelevant for the

country and society".

Speaking at the inauguration of six projects related to the Namami Gange

mission in Uttarakhand, via video conference, Modi said: "They are opposing

the independence of the farmer. These people are now insulting farmers by

setting on fire the goods and equipment that farmers worship." Youth

Congress workers from Punjab set a tractor on fire near India Gate on


Reiterating that the MSP (minimum support price) system would not be

scrapped, Modi said: "The country has freed its farmers from many

restrictions. Now, the farmer can sell his produce to anyone, anywhere. But

today, when the central government is giving the farmers their rights, these

people are protesting."

"Today, these people are spreading confusion among farmers about MSP. The

MSP will remain and the freedom of farmers to sell their produce anywhere

will also remain. Some people are unable to accept this freedom. One of

their means of generating black money has ended, so they have problems," he


He said the Opposition had also criticised the government on other issues

including the jan dhan scheme, GST, one rank-one pension, surgical strikes,

Rafale acquisition, Statue of Unity and Ram temple. "Yeh log na kisan ke

saath hain, na naujawan ke saath, aur na hee jawan ke saath (these people

are neither with the farmer, nor with the youth, nor with the soldiers)," he






An estimated one in 15 individuals aged 10 years and above were exposed to

the novel coronavirus infection by August, indicating that a large part of

the population is still susceptible to the virus, according to the second

nationwide sero-survey.

Releasing the findings on Tuesday, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava

said 6.6 per cent of the 29,082 people (aged 10 years and above) surveyed

from August 17 to September 22 showed evidence of past exposure to Covid-19.

The prevalence was higher for adults (aged 18 years and above) at 7.1 per


This is a significant increase from the 0.73 per cent prevalence found in

the first sero-survey, conducted between May 11 and June 4, among adults in

70 districts. The second survey was conducted in the same districts, but

children (above 10 years) were included. "Earlier, we were under the

impression that it does not affect below 18 years. But we have found that

there is no difference," said Bhargava.

"The sero-survey gives us the data on exposure to the virus; whether the

individual has developed a disease or not, that data is not there. Second,

this is the data collected statistically from different districts, and we

extrapolate the data and try to get a percentage. the first tool is to test,

the second tool is to look at the sero-survey, and the third tool is to look

at sewage water to find the prevalence. These are epidemiological tools that

guide us," he said.









Democrat Joe Biden told a raging President Donald Trump to "shut up" in an

opening debate that turned almost immediately into a shouting match 35 days

ahead of the most tense US election in recent memory.

The debate in Cleveland, Ohio, was as bad-tempered as had been feared, with

Trump leading the way in yelling over his challenger and the Fox News

moderator Chris Wallace alike.

Trump went as hard on 77-year-old Biden as he'd threatened to do, saying the

"radical left" had the centrist Democrat "wrapped around their little

finger." And he got personal, seeking to rile the Democrat by accusing one

of his sons of corruption, and telling Biden that "there's nothing smart"

about the Democrat.

Biden, though, not only gave as good as he got -- he launched the kind of

attack on Trump that the billionaire president has rarely had to endure to

his face. "Liar," "racist" and "clown" were just some of the missiles

launched from Biden, who also branded Trump the "puppy" of Russian President

Vladimir Putin.

At times, neither Biden nor Wallace could get a word in, as Trump loudly

touted his economic record and went after Biden's son Hunter.

At one point an exasperated Biden, who leads strongly in the polls, turned

to Trump and said: "Will you shut up, man!"

That moment symbolized the strength of Biden's performance in an arena where

Trump's campaign had for months been predicting he would crumble. The

Republican had even spread lurid conspiracy theories right up until the last

minute that Biden would need drugs or an earpiece secretly providing answers

to get through the night.

The anger-filled event did nothing to calm fears around the country that the

presidential election, taking place in the middle of an ongoing coronavirus

pandemic, could end in chaos.

Asked by Wallace whether they pledged to urge calm and refrain from

declaring victory if the results are not immediately known November 3, Biden

said: "Yes."

Trump, though, wouldn't commit, saying that if he saw "tens of thousands of

ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that."





Leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia brushed off the suggestion of peace talks

Tuesday, accusing each other of obstructing negotiations over the separatist

territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with dozens killed and injured in three days

of heavy fighting.

In the latest incident, Armenia said one of its warplanes was shot down by a

fighter jet from Azerbaijan's ally Turkey, killing the pilot, in what would

be a major escalation of the violence. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan denied it.

The international community is calling for talks to end the decades-old

conflict between the two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus Mountains

region following a flareup of violence this week. It centers on

Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under

the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government

since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.









With PDP leader and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti remaining under

continued detention for almost 14 months, the Supreme Court on Tuesday

sought to know from the government how long it wanted to keep her under

preventive detention.

"How long do you propose to continue the detention," a Bench headed by

Justice SK Kaul asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The top court is seized of a petition filed by the PDP president's daughter

Iltija Mufti against her mother's detention under the PSA. The court had on

February 26 issued notice to the Centre and the J&K Administration.

On Tuesday, Mehta told the top court that the Centre had filed its reply to

Iltija's petition. But the Bench said it had not received a copy of the

affidavit. The court posted the matter for hearing on October 15 as Iltija

sought permission to file an amended petition.





In a sudden move on Tuesday morning, Amnesty announced the halting of India

operations over what it called reprisal by the government.

"The complete freezing of Amnesty International India's bank accounts by the

Government of India, which it came to know on September 10, 2020, brings all

the work being done by the organisation to a grinding halt. The organisation

has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing

campaign and research work," Amnesty said in a statement.

It alleged that freezing of bank accounts was the latest among incessant

witch-hunts of human rights organisations by the Government over unfounded

and motivated allegations.

The Union Home Ministry strongly refuted Amnesty International's allegation

that it was being subjected to an "incessant witch-hunt", saying India, by

settled law, does not allow interference in domestic political debates by

entities funded by foreign donations.

Coming down heavily on the organisation, the ministry also said all the

"glossy statements" about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are

nothing but a "ploy to divert attention" from their activities which were in

clear contravention of laid down Indian laws.





In a double assertion of its proficiency in building different kinds of

helicopters, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) on Monday achieved two significant

landmarks: The company rolled out its 300th Dhruv advanced light helicopter

for the military; and also conducted the inaugural ground run of the first

light combat helicopter (LCH) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

While the Dhruv, with over 280,000 flying hours logged, is already the

backbone of the IAF and the Army's light helicopter fleet, the LCH is a

crucial new induction that would play an important role in any armed

confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops on the Ladakh border,.

The LCH project was sanctioned after the 1999 Kargil War, when a dire need

was felt for a weapons platform that could provide dedicated fire support to

Army soldiers at high altitudes, who can carry only a limited amount of

weaponry. The Ministry of Defence accordingly sanctioned the LCH project in

October 2006.

HAL has agreed to build the first 15 'limited series production' LCH for

about Rs 125 crore per helicopter - about one-third the cost of each of the

28 AH-64E Apaches attack helicopters the government is importing from The

Boeing Company. True, the Apache is a bigger, more heavily armed gunship

with more advanced avionics and battle-tested night fighting capabilities.

But, for those reasons, it is expensive and the Army and IAF will be making

up the numbers with LCHs.





Awarding life imprisonment to the ISIS terrorist Subahani Haja Moideen on

Monday, an NIA court in Kochi said: "How easily he deceived the Consul

General in Turkey, his dexterity to keep the journey of no return (as he

believed then) a secret from all his kin and his foresightedness to use a

mobile phone of a particular brand presumably for all his vital

communications demonstrate that normal methods of reformation will be

ineffective for him."

Moideen, 35, of Thodupuzha in Idukki, was a member of ISIS's Omar al-Hindi

module, which wanted to carry out terrorist attacks in South India and

establish an ISIS unit in Kerala. Six others in the module, which was busted

in 2016, were convicted last year; many are absconding.

The court's observation stemmed from the unusual journey of the young man

from a Tamil trading family that came to Kerala decades ago, to a religious

fanatic fascinated with ISIS.

According to the NIA, Moideen left from Chennai in April 2015 and reached

Mosul, Iraq via Istanbul with the intention of joining the ISIS's war in

Syria and Iraq.

Back in the country, Moideen "tried to collect 50 kg each of chlorate,

phosphorus, sulphur and aluminium powder, (explosives) which could destruct

an area up to 5 km radius".

The NIA judge observed that "the act of the convict is a blot on the

cultural conscience of this state" and "a blow to its pride as one of the

most progressive societies in the nation".





General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm will invest Rs 3,675

cr in Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, RIL said in a BSE filing on


General Atlantic's investment will translate into a 0.84% equity stake in

RRVL. The deal values Reliance Retail at a pre-money equity value of Rs

4.285 trillion, said RIL in a media release.

Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries

Limited, and holding company of all the retail companies under the RIL

Group. It reported a consolidated turnover of Rs 162,936 crore ($ 21.7

billion) and net profit of Rs 5,448 crore ($ 726.4 million) for the year

ended March 31, 2020.

General Atlantic had also invested Rs 6,598 crore in another RIL subsidiary,

Jio Platforms earlier this year.

Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co is also said to be in advanced

talks to invest up to $1 billion in RRVL.





Actor Sonu Sood has been honoured with the prestigious SDG Special

Humanitarian Action Award by the United Nations Development Programme

(UNDP), for helping thousands of migrant workers reach home during lockdown.

"This is a rare honour. A UN recognition is very special. I have done

whatever little I have done in my own humble way for my fellow countrymen

without any expectations. However, to be recognised and awarded feels good.

I fully support the UNDP in its endeavours to achieve SDG (Sustainable

Development Goals) by 2030. Planet Earth and mankind will greatly benefit

from the implementation of these goals," Sonu said.

The award was presented to him via a virtual ceremony.





Noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapur was on Tuesday appointed president of the

Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society and

chairman of the institute's governing council, an official said.

The 74-year-old filmmaker's tenure will be till March 3.

Born on December 6, 1945 at Lahore in Pakistan, the critically acclaimed

director is known for films like Masoom (1983) Elizabeth (1998), Bandit

Queen (1994) and The Four Feathers (2002).





Novak Djokovic got his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title back on track as

he commenced his French Open campaign with a drama-free 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory

over Mikael Ymer on Tuesday.

Little over three weeks since Djokovic was defaulted in the US Open fourth

round for hitting a line judge with a ball, he was a model of self-control

as he outclassed the young Swede.

Had Court Philippe Chatrier been packed with fans rather than just a

smattering on Tuesday because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Djokovic might

have expected some heckling from the sometimes fickle post-lunch French


Instead, it was as gentle a return to the Grand Slam spotlight as the

33-year-old top seed could have wished for as he charmed the tiny audience

with his silky repertoire.





Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Delhi Capitals by 15 runs for their first win in

the Indian Premier League here on Tuesday.

Kane Williamson, playing his first game of the season, smashed 41 off 26

balls after SRH were put in to bat. Openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow

made 45 and 53 respectively as SRH scored 162 for four in 20 overs.

In response, Delhi Capitals ended at 147 for seven in 20 overs with Rashid

Khan taking three wickets.

For SRH, it was their first win in 3 matches while for DC, it was their

first loss in 3.





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Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury

that provokes it. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca





One of Russia's Ambassadors was having dinner with Putin and said that time

zones around the world confused him.

"Why?" Putin asks.

"Ah, Mr. President, I called Angela Merkel to congratulate her on her

birthday and she tells me it's tomorrow. I wish the Chinese President a

happy New Year, and he says it was yesterday."

"Well, these are just minor inconveniences," Says Putin.

"Do you remember when that Polish plane crashed with their President on

board? I called them to express my condolences, but the plane hadn't taken

off yet!"

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