Delhi News

7. IAF’s Su-30 upgrade plan takes back seat…but why?

7. IAF’s Su-30 upgrade plan takes back seat…but why?
  • The Indian Air Force’s plans to upgrade the fleet of its Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft has been put on the backburner due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
  • Besides, the deal for the 12 most advanced Su-30MKI combat jets worth over Rs 20,000 crore would also be delayed slightly as the stakeholders will now have to add more Made-in-India content to the planes in line with the Modi government’s policy to promote Indian defence products.
  • IAF was planning to upgrade 85 of their Su-30 combat jets to the latest standards in collaboration with the Russians and the state-run aerospace company HAL.
  • The plan was to equip the Su-30 aircraft with more powerful radars and the latest electronic warfare capabilities in view of the two-front military threat from China and Pakistan.
  • The Su-30 MKIs form the mainstay of the IAF. The aircraft are supplied by the Russian manufacturers to the HAL in semi and complete knocked-down kits and then they are assembled in the Nasik facility.
  • The ongoing conflict in Russia and Ukraine has also resulted in delays in the supply of spares for the fighter aircraft fleet. However, India had stocked them up in a considerable amount in the wake of the Uri surgical strikes and the border conflict with China.

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1. Khalistan flags at HP assembly gate trigger political row
Flags of the separatist Khalistan campaign were found put up on the main gate and slogans written on the walls of the Himachal Pradesh legislative assembly in Dharamsala on Sunday, fuelling security concerns in the hill state bordering Punjab. The issue later snowballed into a major political controversy.

Probe ordered

  • Himachal chief minister Jairam Thakur ordered an inquiry into the matter. The state police have registered an FIR and constituted a six-member special investigation team (SIT), which is expected to coordinate with central intelligence agencies to ascertain any possible interstate or international links.
  • Punjab witnessed over a decade of violence in the 1980s when Sikh militants demanded a separate Sikh homeland called ‘Khalistan’.

AAP slams BJP

  • The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which rules Punjab and Delhi, attacked the ruling BJP in Himachal calling it “a huge security failure”. It also raised questions as to how the BJP government will save the people of the country when it failed in ensuring national security and demanded resignation of CM Thakur.

The backstory

  • Recently, the BJP accused the AAP’s social media in-charge in Himachal Harpreet Singh Bedi of openly supporting the Khalistani cause, referring to a series of his tweets posted a few years ago. The AAP did damage control by expelling Bedi from “all posts” in the party.
  • Buoyed by its landslide victory in neighbouring Punjab, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is gearing up to contest on all seats in the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh later this year. More details here
2. Jahangirpuri: Court pulls up Delhi Police for ‘utter failure’
A Delhi court has pulled up the city police for their “utter failure” in stopping one of the Hanuman Jayanti processions, which was taken out without permission in the Jahangirpuri area on April 16. The court also denied bail to eight people who were allegedly involved in the communal clashes.

What court said

  • The prosecution submitted that the last procession, during which violence broke out, was illegal and had no proper permission from the police, additional sessions judge Gagandeep Singh noted.
  • “If that was the situation, then the contents of the FIR itself show that the local staff of police station Jahangirpuri…were accompanying the said illegal procession on its route, instead of stopping it,” the court said in an order on May 7.
  • It also observed that the issue seemed to have been simply brushed aside by the senior officers.

‘Fix liability’

  • The court directed the Delhi Police commissioner to take remedial measures in the matter. “The liability on the part of the officials concerned needs to be fixed so that no such incident takes place in the future. Their complicity, if any, also needs to be investigated,” it said.

The accused

  • While denying bail to the eight accused, the court said they had been identified on the basis of CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts.
  • It stated that the material investigation in the case was still underway and several other offenders who were involved in the riots were yet to be apprehended.
  • The lawyer representing the accused had claimed that the prosecution had no evidence to prove that they were at the place of the alleged incident or directly or indirectly involved in the alleged offence.
3. As Asani turns into severe cyclone, India warned about super cyclones
  • A warning: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday issued a warning that Cyclone Asani, which lay centred over Southeast Bay of Bengal, about 450 km west-northwest of Car Nicobar (Nicobar Islands), 380 km west of Port Blair (Andaman Islands), 970 km southeast of Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and 1030 km south-southeast of Puri (Odisha), “is very likely to move northwestwards and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm over east central Bay of Bengal during next 24 hours.” However, it’s unlikely to make landfall, according to the IMD.
  • The ferocity: According to the IMD, wind speeds will be in the range of 105 to 115 kmph gusting to 125 kmph today, after which the storm is expected to lose stream in the sea tomorrow with the wind speed coming down to 96-105 kmph gusting to 115 kmph in the early hours and then reducing progressively as the day wears off. A severe cyclonic storm has wind speeds of between 90 kmph to 125 kmph.
  • Curtain raiser? A study by University of Bristol, based on Cyclone Amphan that occurred in May 2020 and made a landfall in Odisha-West Bengal, says that future cyclones — super cyclones, with wind speeds in excess of 220 kmph — that hit the Bay of Bengal will expose 200% more population to cyclonic damage and flooding, in addition to being more devastating.
  • Impact: The study, which pins the blame on the frequency of super cyclones on global warming, adds that if the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere continues at the same scale, more than two and a half times the population in India would experience flooding of greater than one metre and going up to three metres, compared to the population impacted by Cyclone Amphan.
4. Ahead of Victory Day, 60 feared dead in Russian bombing
As many as 60 people were feared dead after a Russian bomb destroyed a school sheltering about 90 people in the basement in eastern Ukraine on Sunday, a day before Moscow celebrates the 77th Victory Day to commemorate the Soviet win over Nazi Germany.

Missile strikes

  • Moscow’s invading forces kept up their barrage of cities, towns and villages in eastern and southern Ukraine. The Russian defence ministry said its missiles had hit a ‘Project 1241’ corvette, a class of Soviet missile corvettes.
  • Russia’s air defences also shot down two Ukrainian SU-24 bombers and a Mi-24 helicopter over the Snake island in the Black Sea at night.

Anxiety & resilience

  • On Sunday, Moscow residents appeared anxious but resilient as the country prepared for the annual Victory Day celebrations amid stringent Western sanctions owing to the Ukraine war.
  • Some Russians said they were emotional given the close family ties between the two biggest eastern Slav populations now divided by conflict.
  • Opinion polls show most Russians support the military operation and that Putin’s approval rating has risen more than 14 percentage points to 81.5% since the start of the military operation.

The parade

  • The annual celebrations feature a massive military parade on Red Square showcasing the latest armaments from tanks to fighter jets to nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • This year, Putin’s forces will show off the thermonuclear RS-24 Yars ballistic missile, which can carry up to 10 warheads, in what is seen as a warning to the West against interfering in the Ukraine conflict.


  • The G7 club of wealthy nations committed Sunday to phasing out its dependency on Russian oil and issued a scathing statement accusing President Vladimir Putin of bringing “shame” on Russia with his invasion of Ukraine.
6. What led to John Lee being chosen as Hong Kong’s new chief
Former Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security John Lee was chosen as the region’s next chief executive and will take over from outgoing leader of the China-controlled region Carrie Lam on July 1.

His credentials

  • Lee is best known for the forceful implementation of the new national security law introduced by China — leading to massive protests against it in Hong Kong — which saw several civil rights activists and democrats being arrested, along with shuttering of some liberal media outlets.
  • Lee, who has defended the new law, stressing that it’s imperative in “safeguarding our country’s sovereignty, national security and development interests, and protecting Hong Kong from internal and external threats, and ensuring its stability” has been personally sanctioned by the US for “being involved in coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals” under the security law.

His popularity?

  • The 64 year old Lee was the only candidate in the fray for the chief executive election. Not just that, the election committee, comprising 1,500 members, was packed to the rafters with pro-China loyalists — so much so that instead of the minimum 751 votes required in his favour, Lee got 1,416. Eight members voted to “not support” him.
  • That apart, Beijing had introduced major changes in the electoral laws of Hong Kong last year whereby only “patriots” — a euphemism for people loyal to China — could hold the office of the region’s chief executive.
8. Sri Lanka’s Oppn rejects Prez Rajapaksa’s offer
Amid continued political uncertainty in Sri Lanka, which is now under a state of emergency, the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has rejected an offer by embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to its leader Sajith Premadasa to head an interim government.

The offer

  • Rajapaksa had called both Premadasa and Harsha de Silva, the SJB’s economic guru, on the prospect of forming an interim government.
  • The President said on Sunday that he would consider looking into the proposals put forward by the influential lawyers’ body, which among other things, has called for the setting up of an interim government that would eventually lead to the abolition of the presidential system of governance.

Political pressure

  • The Buddhist clergy too has intensified pressure on Rajapaksa to implement the interim government plan. The island nation is currently reeling under the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.
  • The government hemmed in by a month of street protests imposed a state of emergency on Friday night, which gives the security forces sweeping powers to crack down on dissent.

Crowds jeer PM

  • Boos and heckles greeted Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to a Buddhist temple on Sunday, his first public outing since nationwide protests erupted demanding his ruling family resign over the economic turmoil.
  • Meanwhile, workers’ unions said they would stage daily protests from Monday to pressure the government to revoke the emergency.
9. SC seeks answers on imposter NEET-PG admission
  • The Supreme Court (SC) has sought answers from Karnataka Examination Authority as well as Bengaluru’s M S Ramaiah College, explaining how they granted admission to an imposter posing as a NEET-PG candidate — directing them to file their affidavits.
  • The first of its kind case came to light after one MBBS doctor Anubha Sukhwal moved the SC to participate in the All India Quota (AIQ) mop-up round of counselling after not getting a PG medical seat of her choice despite participating in two rounds of AIQ counselling and even Maharashtra state counselling.
  • It was then she claims she found that an imposter had not only used her name and roll number to gain admission into the Bengaluru college but had also paid the Rs 12 lakh fees. The Karnataka Examination Authority and M S Ramaiah College have however sought to pin the blame on the student, saying that the admission process could not have been completed without her collusion as the imposter allegedly used Sukhwal’s ID and password, along with original certificates of her educational qualifications.

Nigeria. The country, with a population of over 206 million and proven crude oil reserves of more than 37 billion barrels, became the first country to ground all domestic flights starting today due to rising fuel costs as aviation turbine fuel (ATF) costs tripled to 700 naira ($1.68) per litre, with airlines saying they could no longer absorb the costs.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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