Surprisingly the number of terrorist-related incidents in Pakistan has relatively gone down in recent months, but there is an increase in sectarian violence and atrocities on the minority population. The international community has expressed serious concern. Recently, the US State Department issued travel advisories to its citizens visiting Pakistan, citing terrorism, sectarian violence and COVID-19. It also asked its citizens not to travel specifically to Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces due to cases of terrorism-related incidents and kidnappings.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that had left many governments scrambling towards lockdowns and led to a massive failure of numerous public sectors worldwide, especially in the US, the public health crisis is now about to become a phase of the past. Vaccines against the novel coronavirus made harnessing cutting edge m-RNA techniques are being developed by national and international teams of scientists at a breakneck pace never seen before. Amidst all the gloom caused by the virus, these vaccines have finally emerged as the silver lining in the darkest cloud.
On 6 March 2021, the last day of the two-day Combined Commanders’ Conference (hereafter, CCC), the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the distinguished military gathering at Kevadia, Gujarat, in no uncertain terms that Indian armed forces need to be flexible and adaptive, accumulate combined strength, further Indian national interests and be the locomotive for promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing by using indigenous weapons in order to increase the country’s stature as a global power in an era of the fast-paced technological environment and fluid global security scenario.
The Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal once again made a landmark judgement on March 7, 2021, by scrapping the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) altogether. It rather gave recognition of NCP to Rishiram Kattel, who had registered the party in the same name with the Election Commission (EC) of Nepal in 2017. Quashing the EC's decision to award the NCP to K. P. S.
The thirteenth edition of Aero India 2021, the biennial event organized by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India in collaboration with industry associations and government entities, was held in early February at the Yelanka Air Force Station, Bengaluru. Due to the continuing pandemic scenario, the event witnessed limited participation, most deliberations through virtual platforms, fewer flight displays and still fewer exhibition stalls.
On 13 January 2021, Indian Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest decision making body on military and security affairs headed by the Prime Minister, approved procurement of 73 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the cost of INR 45,696 Crore along with design and development of infrastructure sanctions worth INR 1,202 crore. With this order, IAF will have a total of 123 LCA Tejas in its inventory (IAF had ordered 40 LCAs earlier), equivalent to seven squadrons in future.
Following WhatsApp's newer data policy, concerns arose over the fate of millions of users' data that the social media giant would be collecting. This app has tons of benefits for users on its plate, but what's scaring people more is the association of its parent company Facebook, which has been embroiled in myriads of scandals involving user data.
Twitter has banned US President Donald Trump for using its platform for life. This action by Twitter has made many uncomfortable. There is a view that companies providing digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others have developed a kind of business monopoly, and they behave as per their whims and fancies. Today, such companies control the global digital content and hence there is a need to keep them on a tight leash. Also, there is a talk about how the present nature of legal structures is insufficient to control these tech giants.
Amidst the ongoing India-Nepal diplomatic tensions over border disputes, Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli extended support for Indian proposal at the UN for a common definition for terrorism -- Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) -- during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25, 2020.
Moon is in the news, again. The first human landing on the surface of the Moon was made possible on July 20, 1969, with the landing of Apollo 11. The last human landing on the Moon was during December 1972. The US now is proposing the next human landing on the Moon around 2024. Moon landing during the 1970s was more about the technological one-upmanship amongst the then superpowers, namely the US and USSR, but now in the 21st century, there is a visible change in the approach.