On February 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of India made a landmark verdict on civil suit ‘The Secretary, Ministry of Defence versus Babita Punia and Others’ (civil appeals nos. 9367-9369 of 2011 read along with nos. 1127-1128 of 2013 and no. 1210 of 2020) by allowing permanent commission status to women officers in the Indian armed forces and making them eligible for command positions (which enables them now to perform all types of military roles – full combat, combat support and services). The government has been granted a three-month period to implement the ruling.
This is the second year, consecutively that Bangladesh has witnessed less than 50 violent incidents and terrorist-related fatalities. In a year-end assessment, the Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) of the Bangladesh police claimed that the year 2019 witnessed a lesser number of terrorist attacks due to a strong counter-insurgency policy. This policy focussed on counter-narratives, de-radicalization and awareness programmes to curb the militancy alongside regular activities like arrests and intelligence gathering on the terrorist groups in the post Holey Bakery incident in Dhaka in 2016.
In 1991, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign for democracy in Myanmar. Twenty years down, on 11th December 2019, the same Nobel laureate defended the oppressive regime of Myanmar at the ICJ, Hague, for the charges of carrying out genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Responding to Gambia’s charges presented by Justice Minister and Attorney General, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi defended the actions of her country against the Rohingyas.
There are three characters to this story. One is Vikram, the other is Vetal (the Revenant) and the third is ISRO. Vetal is a mythological character that is associated with the evil spirit. As per the original story, it is Vikram who tries to capture the Vetal who in turn tells a story to Vikram that ends with a riddle. However, in this story, the onus is on ISRO to give the correct answer to the riddle, which is about the status of Vikram on the surface of the moon. Here Vetal is the fear of ISRO to accept failures upfront.
To understand the genesis of the Naxal movement, also known as Maoist/Left-wing extremism, one needs to locate it within the framework of the Communist movement in India. More specifically, any study on the Maoist movement cannot overlook the importance of the rise and fall of the Telangana Movement (1946-51). Because for the Indian Communists, Telangana would always remain the glorious chapter in the history of peasant struggles.
As Sri Lanka is gearing towards the eighth presidential elections on November 16, national security, foreign policy and foreign investments in infrastructure projects and minority issues are once again dominating the political discourse in the country. Although a record 35 candidates have registered for this election, the electoral debate has been mostly dominated by the UNP candidate, Sajith Premadasa, and SLPP candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR). The JVP and the NPM could be closer to these two parties.
For many years, India has been trying to successfully develop its own satellite navigational system. Despite having all satellites required for this system in place, owing to the lack of user interface, it still remains unusable for the common users. However, it now finally appears that there are some possibilities that within the coming six months Indian users could have the smartphone-based facility available for using the ‘made in India GPS’.
After a decade long armed struggle and promulgation of a new constitution in September 2015 as per the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between former Maoists and the then Nepal government, Nepal could witness the rise of another radical Maoist group. The Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand alias Biplav (also known as CPN-Chand faction) was formed on 24th November 2014 after breaking away from Mohan Baidya’s Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary).
On September 07 (2019) American President Donald Trump unilaterally announced withdrawal from the peace talks with the Taliban. This abruptly brought an end to the first-ever formal peace talks between the US and Taliban, which were going on for more than a year. However, the talks were taking place along with intense violence perpetrated by the Taliban forces although militant groups too witnessed heavy casualties on their side. Thousands of people were killed, including civilians and security forces, during the time of peace talks.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is today recognized as one of the pioneer space research organisations of the world. On 07 September 2019, space enthusiasts from all over the world keenly watched the landing process of ISRO’s lander Vikram on the Moon’s surface. Everyone was praying for a perfect soft-landing. It was expected that (some hours after the landing) the rover Pragyan would come out and march on the Moon’s surface for the next 14 days and gather important observations. However, the lander was not able to perform a smooth landing and the mission went amiss.