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.
As of August 2020, there are 696.77 million internet users in India and over 10,000 registered publications as per the Registrar of Newspapers of India. Albeit, the wave of Citizen Journalism is witnessing tremendous growth in the country. Citizen Journalism is practised by people who are not professional journalists yet disseminate information via websites, blogs and social media.
Recorded history suggests that great powers invariably possess formidable indigenous military industries. In addition to economic and technological prowess and a relatively stable socio-political system, states that aspire to play global roles, also need to possess military-industrial ecosystems that are free from outside pressures at both war and peace times. Two Super Powers dominated post World War II scenario for decades. Rise of China and India with a relative decline of Europe led to an evolving multi-polar configuration.
Despite substantial progress in the peace talks between New Delhi and the armed groups of Nagaland over the last five years, there are still uncertainties over finalising a permanent peace agreement. The second round of negotiations over a peace agreement with the Naga insurgent groups, including the NSCN-IM (Isak-Muivah), was initiated by New Delhi in 2015. But that appears to be in trouble since October 31, 2019. A fresh informal attempt by the Union Government in this regard with the NSCN-IM in August 2020 in New Delhi also has not moved in the right direction.
India successfully tested an indigenously-developed hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV) powered by a scramjet (supersonic-combustion ramjet) engine on September 07, 2020. This test is an essential step towards building next-generation hypersonic cruise missiles. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) achieved a significant technological achievement when it flew a cruise vehicle at a hypersonic speed of Mach 6, for 20 seconds.
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