At Shangri-La, China Dismisses India’s Defence Capabilities; After GDP Figures, Time To Stop Chest-Thumping And Start Soul-Searching
India & US to collaborate in defence industries, Germany offers subs, Russia buying back hardware for Ukraine, Kerala HC says nudity not necessarily sexual, before tea arrived, Indians drank coffee
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
June 6, 2023
According to Chinese military representatives at Asia’s top security forum, India is not a security concern for China since New Delhi is still unable to compete with Beijing in defence production and modernization. People’s Liberation Army delegates said in a press conference on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, which came to an end on Sunday, that India lags far behind China, particularly in defence. Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences said, “India is unlikely to catch up to China in the coming decades because of its weak industrial infrastructure, while China has built complex and systematic defence industrial platforms.”
Yesterday, India and the US agreed upon an “ambitious new roadmap” for defence industrial cooperation, which will prioritise the joint development of military platforms and hardware, according to news agency PTI. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin finalised the roadmap in New Delhi, two weeks ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US. Austin said US-India cooperation is necessary to protect the world against China’s “bullying” and Russian “aggression”.
On World Environment Day, Prime Minister Modi said that the country is moving ahead with a “very clear roadmap” to protect the environment and tackle climate change while also striking a balance between the present and future needs of people. Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav also spoke for climate justice and differentiated responsibilities in tackling climate change. The same day, Republican Nikki Haley, a contender for the presidency, said that India and China should be “confronted” as the “biggest polluters”. And the Indian government’s support for Adani’s coal project in Chhattisgarh and punitive action against its opponents suggest that it has no commitment to move away from fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, Adani Group’s green hydrogen project has been deferred beyond 2026, The Economic Times reports. The group’s global foray into the sector was to have been funded in part by its follow-on public offering, which was scuppered by the controversy raised by Hindenburg Research.
Ahead of his four-day trip to India, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius told DW that India’s reliance on Russian military hardware is not in Germany’s long-term interest. On the other hand, he indicated a willingness to offer submarines, in acquiring which India has had indifferent success. “This is an issue we have to solve jointly with other partners. But of course, we can’t have an interest in the long run that India is so dependent on Russia’s delivery of weapons or other materials,” he said. Europe has been uncomfortable about India’s deepening trade with Russia, in which oil has become a major factor after sanctions concerning the invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a Nikkei study of customs clearance data suggests that Russia is repurchasing military equipment previously supplied to Myanmar and India, including parts for missiles and heavy armour. Russia may be using assistance from nations with whom it has long-standing military connections to re-import components to upgrade outdated weapons for use in Ukraine.
However, India’s excessive dependency on Russian military equipment has left it vulnerable to Moscow’s unpredictable supply lines for spares, resulting in the poor service status of major platforms. Moscow’s threats do not help either, argues Sushant Singh, and India’s defence preparedness is compromised during the ongoing border crisis with China. Despite this, India remains wary of Western military hardware.
In a rare display of cooperation, amid a contentious period of diplomacy and heightened defence competition in the Asia-Pacific, American, Chinese and Russian naval ships participated in a drill in the Indonesian seas to practise responses to humanitarian crises. A new round of mudslinging between Chinese and US army leaders over Taiwan’s status halted the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore a few days prior to the event. The exercise, in waters between Borneo and Sulawesi, brings together 49 nations, including some avowed geopolitical foes like India and Pakistan and North and South Korea. According to experts, Asean chair Indonesia is acting as a discreet middleman in a region beset by competing claims to seas and territories.
Muzamil Mansoor War, 25, of north kashmir, has finally been released from detention under the PSA after three interventions by a High Court, which has said that his case is a serious transgression of fundamental rights.
Kashmir is showing a sharp rise in the use of hard drugs like heroin. About a million people in the region use drugs on a wide spectrum ranging from relatively harmless marijuana to opioids and sedatives. Jobs are short and the region has been a war zone for all of living memory. And there’s only one deaddiction centre, reports the BBC.
In a particularly horrific incident in Manipur, a mob from neighbourhoods of the majority community in the capital Imphal torched an ambulance which had been ferrying people from a village 10 km away. The identity, or even the number, of the victims is unknown. Only a couple of human bones were recovered from the wreckage.
As Imran Khan lost the blessings of the army, reports The Intercept, they invited Pakistan’s top media owners to a secret meeting in Islamabad, in which they were told to mute coverage of the PTI leader. In a day, he vanished from front pages and TV screens ― even the ticker, says The Intercept.
The government has collected Rs 4,185.31 crore from a 3% stake sale in Coal India, which was oversubscribed. It now holds 63.13%.
A day after Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that the Railway Board has asked the CBI to probe the three-train collision in Odisha that left 275 people dead and over 1,000 injured, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to PM Narendra Modi questioning this decision. His four-page letter argues that law enforcement agencies cannot fix accountability for technical, institutional and political failures, and that it is a diversion from the very urgent issues about safety which the accident has foregrounded.
The casualty list of the Coromandel Express is dominated by minorities and lower castes of West Bengal, reflecting the deterioration of the state, which cannot offer jobs or prospects, and exports migrant workers to the South.
In a surprising turn of events, Sanjay Soni, a popular Hindutva social media influencer, has been arrested from Udaipur by the Rajasthan police in relation to the Zivame.com data breach case. He has been accused of leaking women’s private data, extortion and hatching a communal conspiracy after data of the Reliance-owned underwear brand was breached.
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