31 October 2015



‘Nuclear suppliers may admit India’  –   (International Relation)

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will begin consultations on India’s membership to the elite group of nuclear export next month, says NSG Chairperson Rafael Grossi.
  • Speaking to The Hindu about his meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and MEA officials, Mr. Grossi, who will begin those consultations leading up to the NSG plenary session in June 2016, said he thinks it is possible to find a way for India’s membership to be accepted.


U.S. sending special forces to Syria  –  (International Relation)

  • The U.S. will send a contingent of “less than 50” Special Operations Forces to war-torn Syria to “assist, advise and train” moderate groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime and the Islamic State (IS).
  • Troop presence on the ground will be a first for the U.S. since the Syrian conflict began, but this does not mark a change in President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, the White House said on Friday.


Rein in party or risk losing global credibility: Moody’s  –   (Indian Polity)

  • In the wake of the beef controversy, Moody’s Analytics on Friday cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that unless he reined in members of his Bharatiya Janata Party, India ran the risk of losing domestic and global credibility.
  • Noting that Mr. Modi’s “right-leaning” party did not have a majority in the Upper House and also faced an obstructionist Opposition, making it difficult to pass crucial reform Bills, it said: “In recent times, the Government also hasn’t helped itself, with controversial comments from various BJP members… Modi must keep his members in check or risk losing domestic and global credibility.”


Give NOTA option in civic polls: Gujarat HC  –   (Indian Polity)

  • The Gujarat High Court once again criticised the State Election Commission (SEC) for its reluctance to implement the NOTA (none of the above) option in the coming municipal and panchayat elections in the State.
  • A Division Bench on Friday directed the SEC to implement it and the State government to give the SEC necessary help.
  • The court said the SEC must provide the option as directed by the Supreme Court, rejecting the SEC’s contention that it was not possible to include the NOTA button in the electronic voting machines in 20 days because the polls are scheduled for November 22 and 29.



Cap on small town fares mooted  –   (Indian Polity)

  • In an effort to take air travel to the masses, the Modi government on Friday proposed to cap small town route fares at Rs. 2,500 per flying hour per ticket in its draft civil aviation policy. However, it has also proposed a 2-per cent cess on all domestic trunk route tickets as well as international tickets.
  • If needed, the funds collected through the cess, which the government expects to be Rs.1,500 crore a year, will be used to subsidise flights on small town routes.


India lost 159 soldiers in African peace missions  –    (International Relation)

  • Demands during the just concluded India-Africa Forum Summit for Indian assistance in fighting terrorism and upgrading military capabilities in Africa has come against the backdrop of the country’s stupendous military contribution to the continent.
  • At present, almost 6,000 Indian soldiers are deployed under the U.N. peacekeeping force across Africa and 159 have died over the years.


‘FTAs weaken multilateral systems’  –    (International Relation)

  • Taking a strong stand against free trade agreements Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), stated that bilateral agreements were weakening the multilateral arrangements that looked after the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
  • In an exclusive interview to The Hindu , Mr. Mwencha said: “these trade agreements pose one danger — the weakening of multilateral systems.”


Overcoming the stasis in Nepal  –    (International Relation)

Unlike the Madhesis who shun arms, the Janajatis are used to fighting. A Janajati agitation could throw Nepal into a convulsion as they are geographically widespread.

The impasse in India-Nepal relations due to the overt Indian support for the Madhesis and the consequent assertion of Nepali nationalism does not portend well for a country suffering from economic difficulties. Renewed dialogue between the actors – the Nepali government, the Madhesis and India – is a must.



Reaching out to Africa  –    (International Relation)

  • That 41 heads of state and government from 54 countries in Africa were present at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, itself demonstrates the importance both sides attach to mutual ties. The summit, which concluded on Thursday, was the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries in New Delhi since the 1983 Non-Aligned Summit.
  • The message was not lost on anyone: India wants to energise its relations with the continent with which it had strong political ties in the first three decades after Independence. But India lost some momentum in building a stronger partnership with African countries since the 1990s as the country recalibrated its foreign and economic policies.


U.S. raises stake in Syrian conflict  –    (International Relation)

  • resident Barack Obama’s decision to send limited number of troops to Syria offers peek into the U.S.’s emerging strategy to deal with the four-and-a-half year old conflict in West Asia.
  • The U.S.’s latest move comes only days after U.S. special forces took part in a hostage rescue operation in Iraq and roped in Iran into the negotiations for resolving the Syrian crisis.


U.S. patrol strengthens calls for militarising S. China Sea   –    (International Relation)

  • The controversial patrol by a U.S. warship in an area in the Spratly Islands over which China claims sovereignty is having an unexpected fallout. It has triggered a growing domestic perception that Beijing should swiftly militarise these islands, and test the resolve of the Washington-led alliance in the Pacific.
  • Earlier this week, Washington had sent the destroyer, USS Lassen, within 12 nautical miles of Zhubi reef—a part of the Spratly archipelago. China claims and exercises sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and its adjacent waters within what is called by nine-dash-line.


‘We were forced to secure energy deal with China’   –    (International Relation)

  • A fortnight after clearing the Tatopani border post with Tibet of the debris of the April earthquake, Nepal and China have gone ahead to reach a landmark energy deal which will transform the Himalayan country’s future energy scenario.
  • Details of the deal, signed between Nepal Oil Corporation and China National United Oil Corporation (PetroChina) in Beijing, are not yet fully known, though initial assessments coming from Kathmadu suggest that it’s a long-term pact which will free Nepal of economic and energy dependence on India. China will immediately supply 1.2 million litres of kerosene to Nepal.


Gold Bonds to go on sale on November 26  –    (Economics)

  • The Government on Friday announced that it will issue Sovereign Gold Bonds, a part of its Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme, on November 26. Applications for the bonds will be accepted starting November 5.
  • “The Government of India, in consultation with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds. The bonds will be issued on November 26. Applications for the bond will be accepted from November 5to November 20,” the Government said in a notification.


India’s fiscal deficit reveals strains to budget plans  –    (Economics)

  • India’s fiscal deficit has reached 68 per cent of its full-year target at the halfway stage, revealing strains to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget as revenues from asset sales again fall short.
  • Even though falling oil subsidy costs and curbs on spending should help Mr. Jaitley hit his borrowing target, he warned this week that it would be a challenge to collect the 695 billion rupees ($10.66 billion) from sell-offs he has budgeted for.
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