Copout At COP26; Air Power Helps PM Launch UP Campaign

PLA deploys strategic bomber, NCR locking down against pollution, govt stonewalling Covaxin RTIs, T20 to reach North America and in Kerala, Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh watch as Engels ties the knot

A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal

Snapshot of the day
November 17, 2021

Pratik Kanjilal

Following an emergency meeting mandated by the Supreme Court to contain air pollution, educational institutions in the National Capital Region have been closed and 50% work from home urged until November 21, when winds may cause the pall to lift. About half of all thermal power plants will remain operational. Construction and demolition activities, and traffic in all but essential goods have been stayed. New Delhi leads world metros in air pollution. 

In Sultanpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the inauguration of a highway as the launchpad for his poll campaign for the UP elections, with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and the Air Force chief in attendance. Images of the UP chief minister trailing after the PM’s car on foot invite semiotic analysis. 

Fighters and transports of the Indian Air Force were used as crowd-pullers. An intrepid journalist linked the tamasha to the China border crisis. Political use of the military will continue with the Army holding a massive exhibition of its equipment in Jhansi, a cantonment town where the PM will campaign later this month. In which country does the military owe loyalty to the party and not the state ― India or China? 

While 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam were excluded from the final draft National Register of Citizens published in August 2019, only 1,032 doubtful cases have been referred to district commissioners, the state coordinator of the NRC, Assam, said in an RTI reply to The Hindu. The BJP-led Assam government has rejected the NRC in its current form and demanded re-verification of at least 30% names in areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% in the rest of the State. The NRC Coordinator approached the Supreme Court in May seeking re-verification. 

South China Morning Post reports that the People’s Liberation Army has deployed at least one H-6K long-range strategic bomber to the border with India. It is “meant as a warning” to the Indian military not to escalate. To mark the PLA Air Force’s 72nd anniversary on November 11, state broadcaster CCTV had aired footage including a brief shot of an H-6K armed with short-range KD-63 missiles, flying over a mountain range ― a signal that the aircraft has been sent to the Himalayas. Heliports across Tibet are also being developed.

The Week reports that as the government selects the next head of the Indian Coast Guard, a key contender has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Ministry of Defence, which has suddenly made it mandatory to consider a candidate’s annual confidential reports (ACR) for the previous five years. Rajan Bargotra, chief of the Western Seaboard, argues that this is the norm in the civil services, and does not apply to the armed forces.

The US has issued level two and three travel advisories for India and Pakistan. While US citizens are urged to reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence, those going to India too must exercise increased caution due to crime and terrorism. The State Department has urged US citizens not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir due to terrorism and civil unrest, and also within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border, for fear of armed conflict. “Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. Violent crimes, such as sexual assault, have occurred at tourist sites and in other locations,” says the advisory.

Facebook India’s public policy director Shivnath Thukral and legal director GV Anand Bhushan will depose before the Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee tomorrow on the 2020 northeast Delhi riots. The committee had summoned Facebook India to state its views on the role of social media in preventing the spread of false, provocative, and malicious messages.

Share The India Cable

Fitch Ratings has kept India’s sovereign rating unchanged at BBB- with a negative outlook, reflecting “lingering uncertainty around the medium-term debt trajectory, particularly given India’s limited fiscal headroom relative to rating peers.”

Endemic use of chewing tobacco is driving an oral cancer epidemic across South Asia, particularly among the youth. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were all among the top five countries in the world for rates of oral and lip cancer per capita in 2018, according to the World Cancer Research Fund.

How many cordon and search ops have the Hyderabad Police carried out? What have they found? The data is “secret”, but the News Minute managed to ferret out something. It isn’t pretty.

The families of two businessmen gunned down in Srinagar on Monday evening say they had nothing to do with insurgency, and that one was used as a human shield. The police initially said militant bullets had felled Mudassir Gul, a dental surgeon turned entrepreneur, and Mohammad Altaf Bhat, but later suggested that they died in crossfire. They refused to hand over the bodies to their families, as part of the policy to prevent civilian protests against disputed killings. Gul and Bhat were buried in the faraway Handwara graveyard, which is reserved for slain militants.

The Hindu Mahasabha has said it will make a statue of Mahatma’s assassin Nathuram Godse with soil brought from Haryana’s Ambala Central Jail, where he was hanged in 1949. On Monday, it observed Godse’s death anniversary.

The Financial Times has picked scholar Christophe Jaffrelot’s Modi’s India among the best books of the year. The “most comprehensive study of Modi’s India to date offers a bleak and unsparing view of the direction of the country”. The author argues that “India has turned into an ‘ethnic democracy’ in which Muslims and Christians are effectively second-class citizens.”

Under oath, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that the CBI is an “autonomous” body over which it has no “control”. 

This post is for paid subscribers