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SOURCE: Bharat Karnad

The Indian Air Force seems to be getting over the strategic hump, perhaps with a little push from the PMO, and will soon acquire the advanced and upgraded version of the Tu-160 Blackjack called the ‘White Swan’. This transaction, after the S-400 and help in hypersonic weapons technology, confirms Russia’s status as the sole supplier to India of prime military technologies (even if for a hefty price!).

This was disclosed in a throwaway line about a “bomber” being acquired by IAF, which was preceded by a generous acknowledgement — “Mr Bharat Karnad will be happy to know”, by the former CAS, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. He was delivering the keynote speech yesterday at the first edition of the ‘Chanakya Dialogues’ hosted by the Chanakya Foundation in New Delhi. On further questioning by me, he confirmed that the aircraft in question was the Tu-160.

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SOURCE: PTI

State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is working on an AI-driven multi-role, advanced and long-endurance drone for strategic missions in high-altitude areas including along the frontiers with China, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.

The rotary-wing drone will have the capability to carry a load of 40 kgs, including missiles and sensors, and it is being developed considering the requirement of the armed forces to keep a strong vigil over the mountainous areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), they said.

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SOURCE: ET

Scientist and Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat advised setting up compact modular reactors to address the country’s energy demands and replace old thermal power facilities. Saraswat said nuclear power plant construction should be accelerated so India can satisfy base load requirements quickly.

“We are suggesting that in future we should go for small modular reactors which will be able to meet this (energy) requirements in a distributed manner. “And we are also thinking that it will be the best approach for replacing the aging thermal power plants,” he told in an interview.

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SOURCE: PTI

China’s embassy here has sought an urgent meeting with senior Sri Lankan authorities after Colombo sought a deferment of the planned docking of a high-tech Chinese research vessel at the strategic Hambantota port over which India raised concerns, sources said.

The Chinese space and satellite tracking research vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was scheduled to dock at the Hambantota Port from August 11 to 17, weeks after Sri Lanka witnessed a major political turmoil following massive mass protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

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SOURCE: THE HINDU

The total offset commitment by foreign defence companies to be fulfilled in India for various defence deals during the last 15 years, was $6.83 billion till August 01, 2022 of which they fulfilled offset claims worth 82.13% or about $5.61 billion, the Defence Ministry informed Parliament. Expressing concern over the shortfall, MP Kunwar Danish Ali who raised this question said this “huge money could revive MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector and create a lot of jobs.”

“Total 15 companies have missed the first deadline set for implementation of their defence offset commitment. Further details being strategic and sensitive in nature, cannot be disclosed,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, on Friday. “For unfulfilled offset obligations, penalty as applicable has been imposed on the defaulting vendors as per the governing Defence Offset Guidelines.”

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SOURCE: THE HINDU

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A. S. Dulat, an old hand on Kashmir, on Friday said people of Kashmir have come to terms with the fact that Article 370 has gone for good and this provides an opportunity for them to move forward.

“These are extraordinary times, extraordinarily good times for Kashmir to move forward. I am not suggesting that a Kashmiri should be made to feel defeated. At the same time, a Kashmiri wants to come out and get on with his life. If there is one dream a Kashmiri has today it is normalcy,” Mr. Dulat told The Hindu.

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SOURCE: THE HINDU

As Jammu and Kashmir completes three years without constitutional special status post August 5, 2019, former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti sees the Kashmir problem slipping into more complicated realities, with the situation getting grimmer and its solution far from sight. 

Looking back at August 5, 2019, what does the day signify for a party that demanded greater autonomy and proposed a ‘Self Rule’ formula as a final solution? 

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SOURCE: HT

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday said the satellites placed on its maiden Small Satellite Launch Vehicle “are no longer usable” as the SSLV-D1 placed them in an elliptical orbit instead of a circular one.

It said failure of a logic to identify a sensor failure and go for a salvage action caused the deviation. The space agency said a committee would analyse and make recommendations into the episode, adding that with the implementation of those recommendations “ISRO will come back soon with SSLV-D2”.

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SOURCE: ThePrint

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has endorsed a new book that says China can defeat India in 10 days in case of a conflict, and capture Arunachal Pradesh as well as Ladakh. The book titled ‘The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown with China’ is written by former Army officer Pravin Sawhney. It delves into how artificial intelligence (AI) will affect India-China conflicts in the future. The book is set to be released on 10 August.

In a blurb, on the book’s cover, Gandhi has called it “an important and timely read”.

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SOURCE: IANS

Banned militant outfits United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and a Yung Aug-led faction of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang) have called for a ‘total boycott’ of the celebrations of India’s 75th Independence Day in five northeastern states.

The groups also called for observing a general strike in five northeastern states — Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, and Meghalaya. In a joint statement, the militant outfits told people “at all levels” not to participate in all forms of ‘fake’ Independence Day activities.

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SOURCE: PTI

Manpreet Kaur, a mother of two, rarely stepped out of her house following the swift Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year and her children barely had any idea of the world outside. Their grim existence of nearly a year changed on August 3, when they arrived in India as part of a group of 28 Afghan Sikhs who were flown in from Kabul with the help of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Indian World Forum and the Central government.

Recounting the hardships of living under Taliban rule, Kaur said, “Being a minority, there was a constant fear of being targeted. The Sikh and Hindu families in Kabul have been spending sleepless nights. The places of worship are not safe. The Gurdwara Karta-E-Parwan was attacked by terrorists on June 18.” “We used to think 10 times before stepping out of our houses. For our children, going out was out of the question. If we had to step out, we covered our faces,” she said.

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SOURCE: THE WEEK

Maoists managed to organise a major event on the conclusion of ‘shahidi saptah’ (martyrs’ week) on August 3 in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh, despite the increased surveillance and reach of the security forces.

In an area bordering Sukma and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh, close to the Telangana border, Maoists erected a 64-feet memorial for their top leader Akkiraju Haragopal aka Ramakrishna who died in October 2021, and other dead leaders. According to local sources, 10,000-12,000 villagers participated in the event, which was also attended by reward-carrying top cadres of the Maoists from Telangana.

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SOURCE: The Telegraph

Gorkha war veterans want the Centre to extend by at least three more years the relaxation provided to Gorkhas in the educational qualification to join the army to stem the dwindling number of recruits from the community in the force. Online registration through the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the army’s Gorkha Recruitment Depot located at Ghoom near Darjeeling started on Friday and will continue till September 3.

Under the Agnipath scheme, a soldier is initially recruited for a period of four years. Unlike members of other communities, the education qualification for Gorkhas for the post of soldier general duty is “Class 10th Pass”. The relaxation is in force till March 31, 2023.

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SOURCE: PTI

One more person with alleged links to Bangladeshi terror outfit Ansarul Islam has been arrested in Assam’s Barpeta district, police said. The person, identified as Abu Bakkar, had surrendered before the police on August 3 and was arrested on Friday night after interrogation, they said.

He was produced before a court on Saturday and remanded to five days of police custody. “During interrogation, ample evidence was found indicating Bakkar’s direct links with Ansarul Islam which was earlier called Ansarul Bangla Team. He carried out jihadi activities under the guise of a common farmer,” a police officer said.

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SOURCE: ANI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested a radicalised and active member of Islamic State (ISIS) from his residence in Delhi for his involvement in the collection of funds for the terrorist outfit from sympathisers in India as well as abroad and sending it to Syria and other places in form of cryptocurrency, the agency said on Sunday. The accused was identified as Mohsin Ahmad, a resident of Batla House in New Delhi.

“Yesterday (06.08.2022), NIA conducted search operations in the residential premises of accused Mohsin Ahmad, presently residing near Jogabai Extention in Batla house, New Delhi and permanent resident of Patna in Bihar and subsequently arrested him in the case pertaining to online and on-ground activities of ISIS,” read the official release by the investigative agency.

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