13 October 2021





Amid reports of Kashmiri Pandit families fleeing the Valley in the wake of recent selective killings, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday denied reports of large-scale exodus while asserting he won’t allow a repeat of the 1990-type situation and was determined to uproot the terror network.


Sinha termed the recent killings in Srinagar as a desperate attempt to disrupt peace in the Valley. “The local militants with the help of their handlers across the border are picking up soft targets to create fear psychosis, particularly among minorities. The terror groups want to create a 1990-type situation,” he said.


About the number of Kashmiri Pandit families that had moved out due to the killings, Sinha said it couldn’t be called exodus. “A majority of them are still here and have been assured of adequate security… The rumour-mongering on social media poses a big challenge and has amplified fears. But the reality is far from what is being propagated,” he said.


Refusing to call it an intelligence failure, the L-G said some people took such incidents as an “opportunity to target the ruling regime”. “I don’t want to respond to the charges... The unfortunate incident has occurred and I own up the responsibility for that. We can’t compensate for the loss of life, but can assure that the security grid has been strengthened… We are going after the terror groups in a big way and will hunt them down. We will choke and eliminate their resources,” he said.










Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a strong attack on the opposition, saying those who engage in “selective interpretation” of human rights with an eye on political gains and losses harm both democracy and human rights.


“There is another aspect associated with human rights which I want to speak about today. In recent years, some people have begun interpreting human rights in their own way, prioritising their interests. They see human rights violation in one incident but cannot see it in another incident of similar nature. Such mindset harms human rights a lot… Human rights suffer a great deal when they are looked at through a political prism and considered according to political gains and loss. Such selective conduct harms democracy a great deal too,” Modi said at the 28th foundation day of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).


He said India should be wary of people who try to dent the country’s image in the name of raising concerns over human rights violations.


The suggestion was immediately reinforced by BJP after the event and the party elaborated instances of anti-Dalit crimes in states like Jharkhand and Rajasthan, providing details Modi’s speech did not have. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that human rights violation when seen through a political prism also hurts human rights. This is exactly what is happening in Uttar Pradesh. What has happened in Lakhimpur Kheri is saddening but law will take its own course,” said national BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra at a press conference. “We don’t believe in political tourism. We want to target the selective outrage of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and others. They are projecting themselves to be champions of Dalits but are ignoring atrocities against Dalits in Rajasthan,” he added.










US Naval Chief of Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday, on Tuesday kicked off his 5-day visit to India by meeting his Indian counterpart Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and other senior government officials.


Gilday’s trip comes amid the second phase of the Malabar exercise – being held in the Bay of Bengal among navies of India, US, Japan and Australia.


Asked about what the US intends to do to counter China’s aggressive modernisation of its Navy, Gilday said they will not try to outspend it, but partners like India in the region will be the key to ensure that the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is stable. Given the importance of the region, 60 per cent of US Navy’s forces are now in the Indo-Pacific, he said.


“For me this is a natural partnership between US and India. Two high-tech democracies with mutual interests. Whether that’s free and open maritime commons, regional stability, economic stability, respect for international institutions and rule of law, and our pushback on global authoritarianism and any threat to the above. India and US have a long healthy positive relationship,” Gilday said.


“Our navies continue cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to sustain an inclusive and free and open rules-based order, that’s actually the cornerstone of peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific.”










Amid growing incidents of terror strikes in Afghanistan and threat of cross-border terror looming large, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday delivered a strong message to Pakistan by pointing out that “Cross-border terrorism is not statecraft; it is simply another form of terrorism.”


The minister was addressing the sixth edition of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) foreign ministers meet in Nursultan, Kazakhstan. “If peace and development is our common goal, the biggest enemy we must overcome is terrorism. In this day and age, we cannot countenance its use by one state against another. Cross-border terrorism is not statecraft; it is simply another form of terrorism.”


In yet another message to Pakistan without naming it, Jaishankar suggested “The international community must unite against this menace, as seriously as it does on issues like climate change and pandemics.”


“Any calculation that extremism, radicalisation, violence and bigotry can be used to advance interests is a very short-sighted one. Such forces will come back to haunt those who nurture them. Lack of stability will also undermine our collective efforts to get covid under control. The situation in Afghanistan is, therefore, of grave concern.”










Current Active Cases Countrywide: 2,00,872


New Cases in last 24 hours: 16,014


Recovered in last 24 hours: 22,850


Change in no. of Active cases in last 24 hours: -7,065


No. of deaths in last 24 hours (Total Covid Deaths so far): 229 (4,51,220)


Daily Tests (Sunday): 14,06,553


Daily Positivity Rate (Proportion of Positives among total Tested): 1.1%


Percentage of Population Vaccinated (At Least One Dose / Two Doses): 51.5 % / 20.4%


















G20 leaders holding a virtual summit on Afghanistan Tuesday are "laser-focused" on keeping the Taliban-ruled country from becoming a terrorist haven and on providing humanitarian aid, says a US readout on the meeting.


Leaders of the world's major economies including US President Joe Biden, joined by representatives of the United Nations and key intermediary Qatar, "discussed the critical need to maintain a laser-focus on our enduring counterterrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K," a White House statement said.


It was referring to the jihadist ISIS group's offshoot in the region, a bitter rival of the Taliban that has staged a series of deadly attacks of late as it tries to destabilize the country's new rulers.


The G20 leaders also discussed the need to provide safe passage for foreign nationals and "Afghan partners" with documentation who hope to leave Afghanistan, the US readout says.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted the united response towards the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan to be in tandem with steps to restrict the spread of radical ideology and an inclusive administration. Without a unified response, the PM warned that it would be difficult to bring about the desired change in Afghanistan. He pitched for a central role for the UN in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as per the UN Security Council Resolution 2593 on Afghanistan. This resolution is a bone of contention in the UNSC as Russia and China abstained from the Resolution, demanding that the aid should be routed through the dispensation in Kabul, the Taliban.










On Tuesday, the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came out backing its Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, stating it has full confidence in her. The announcement aimed to quell weeks of increased questioning about Georgieva’s role in allegedly rigging the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings when she was the chief executive there.


The trouble started when in January 2018, Paul Romer, then the chief economist of the World Bank told The Wall Street Journal that the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) rankings were tweaked for political reasons. Soon Romer resigned. Romer’s comments and resignation kick-started a series of queries both inside and outside the World Bank about the integrity of EoDB rankings.


In August 2020, the World Bank suspended its EoDB rankings after finding some “data irregularities”.


In particular, it was alleged that the EoDB rankings were tweaked to inflate the ranks for China (in EoDB 2018) and Saudi Arabia, UAE and Azerbaijan (EoDB 2020).


The World Bank initiated a full review and an independent investigation. One such effort was to engage WilmerHale, a law firm, in January 2021. In its report, submitted September 15 this year, Wilmerhale’s investigations found that the World Bank staff did indeed fudge data to help China’s ranking and they did so under pressure from Georgieva. In fact, at one point the report states that Georgieva “chastised” the World Bank’s country director for “mismanaging” the Bank’s relationship with China and “failing to appreciate the importance of the Doing Business to the country”.


These findings are particularly damning because China is the third-largest shareholder in the World Bank after the US and Japan, and it is being seen as manipulating its way to higher rankings.


















Five terrorists, including the one involved in the recent killing of a non-local street hawker in Srinagar, were gunned down in two separate encounters with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, police said on Tuesday.


A police spokesperson said two of the four recent cases of target killings in Srinagar and Bandipora have been solved with the elimination of the terrorists involved in these incidents.


According to the spokesperson, acting on specific inputs, the security forces launched cordon-and-search operations in the two villages in south Kashmir. At Tulran, the terrorists were given repeated opportunities to surrender. However, they fired indiscriminately upon the joint search party, which was retaliated, leading to an encounter, the spokesperson said.










National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson and former Supreme Court judge justice (retd) Arun Kumar Mishra on Tuesday praised Union Home Minister Amit Shah, saying his 'untiring efforts' have ushered in a 'new era' of peace in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.


In his address at the 28th foundation day of the NHRC in New Delhi, the former judge also underlined that 'external forces' levelling 'false' allegations of human rights violations against India has become very common, 'which should be opposed'. "I am pleased to greet Union Minister Amit Shah ji. Your untiring efforts have ushered in a new era of peace, and law and order in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Northeast," the NHRC chief said.


Prime Minister Modi was the chief guest on the occasion and joined the ceremony held at the Vigyan Bhawan via a video-conference link. Modi in his address slammed those who engage in 'selective interpretation' of human rights with an eye on political gains and loss, saying such conduct harms human rights as well as democracy.


The NHRC chief in his address on Tuesday also asserted that India has emerged as a powerful entity on a global level, and it has got recognition as a new power, and it is to be 'credited to people of India, the country's constitutional system and the leadership'.


The former apex court judge had taken charge as the new chairperson of the NHRC on June 2 this year.


In February 2020, during his tenure as a judge of the Supreme Court, justice Mishra had created a flutter after praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at the International Judicial Conference 2020, he had termed Modi as an 'internationally acclaimed visionary' and a 'versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally'.


Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh reponded through a tweet: "The PM & HM have made a mockery of human rights since their Gujarat days. Now they are joined in the jugalbandi by Chairman of NHRC no less, a judge who sat in judgment on his own earlier order and claimed no conflict of interest. The democratic space in India continues to shrink."








RSS Sarasanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat Tuesday said Hindus and Muslims have the same ancestors, and described them as “brothers”, invoking a pitch he has often made in recent weeks amid apprehensions about growing polarisation in India under the BJP-led central government.


“Ancestors of Hindus and Muslims are the same. We all are brothers, living in the same country. Our civilisation is one, only our pattern of worship is different,” he said. “We can’t discriminate on the basis of patterns of worship. Those who belong to India, their security is our responsibility.”


Bhagwat was speaking at the launch of ‘Veer Savarkar: The man who could have prevented Partition’, a book by information commissioner and former journalist Uday Mahurkar.


Bhagwat said “Savarkar’s Hindutva was not different from Vivekananda’s”. “It was not against Muslims. Our culture is liberal, our culture is Hindutva, nobody becomes separate due to their way of worshipping. Our (Hindus’ and Muslims’) ancestors are one. If this thought process had persisted at the time of the freedom movement, there would have been a way to stop Partition,” Bhagwat added.










The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) Tuesday recommended Covaxin, India’s ‘first’ indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, for use on children in the 2-18 age group. The SEC will now send its recommendations to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).


The SEC has, however, recommended that the study of Covaxin in children continues as per the approved clinical trial protocol.


“This represents one of the first approvals worldwide for COVID-19 vaccines for the 2-18 age group. Bharat Biotech sincerely thanks the DCGI, Subject Experts Committee, and CDSCO for their expedited review process. We now await further regulatory approvals from the CDSCO prior to product launch and market availability of COVAXIN for Children,” Bharat Biotech said in a statement.


While the use of Covaxin is already approved in adults, the phase 2/3 clinical trials for children were completed last month. The data from the clinical trials was submitted to the DCGI on 6 October.


While the vaccine is the same for adults and children, the difference is reportedly in how it is administered.


Covid-19 vaccines for adults come in vials that contain vaccines for multiple doses. The paediatric Covaxin will, however, come in pre-filled syringes, which are used for better dose accuracy. The vaccine dosage for children would be 0.5ml, the same as for adults.










Reliance Industries Ltd said on Tuesday its solar unit Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) will buy preferred shares of German firm NexWafe worth 25 million euros.


The investment will accelerate product and technology development for NexWafe, including completion of the commercial development of NexWafe's solar photovoltaics products on prototype lines in Freiburg, Reliance Industries said.


Reliance also entered into a partnership with NexWafe, through which the firm will get access to the German company's proprietary technology and plans to build large-scale wafer manufacturing facilities in India using NexWafe processes and technology, NexWafe said.


RNESL also partnered with Denmark-based climate technology company Stiesdal A/S to manufacture HydroGen Electrolyzers that can produce hydrogen at lower cost, Reliance Industries said in a separate statement on Tuesday.


Reliance on Sunday had announced that RNESL would buy Norwegian-headquartered solar panel maker REC Solar Holdings for $771 million from China National Bluestar (Group) Co Ltd, and an up to 40% stake in India's Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd


The company, in its shareholder meeting in June, announced it would invest $10.1 billion in clean energy over three years in a drive to become a net carbon zero company by 2035.










Airlines can operate domestic flights without any capacity restriction from October 18 onwards, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced on Tuesday keeping in mind the 'passenger demand for air travel'.


The carriers have been operating 85 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic services since September 18, according to the ministry's order.


The capacity cap stood at 72.5 per cent between August 12 and September 18, 65 per cent between July 5 and August 12 and 50 per cent between June 1 and July 5.


On October 9, the Indian carriers operated 2,340 domestic flights, which is 71.5 per cent of their total pre-COVID capacity.










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Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge










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