Delhi News

Daily Briefing: One year of Russia-Ukraine war; Congress’ plenary session; and more

The Big Story: Today marks one year since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began. The war has claimed thousands of lives on both sides and reshaped the world as we know it. And worryingly, there appears to be no end in sight.

Express View: As the battle zones of Ukraine gear up for significant military escalation on the first anniversary of the Russian aggression, the challenge for New Delhi is to take a fresh and hard look at its assumptions about the war.

India’s changing stance: Delhi has evolved its position as the facts of the conflict became clearer and the world felt the impact of the war. From its statements to its actions, Shubhajit Roy explains how its approach shifted.

Where things stand: Ukraine managed to push back the invading army from Kyiv. It also reversed some other territorial losses, including at Kherson in November, the only regional capital Russia had seized. For India, the Ukraine war has been an opportunity to practice strategic autonomy, Nirupama Subramanian writes.

In today’s episode of the 3 Things podcast, we take stock of what has happened in the last one year of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Must Read

For the first time, the market value of state-owned Life Insurance Corporation shareholding in Adani Group’s five big companies has dipped below its purchase value. LIC is the largest domestic institutional shareholder in Adani Group companies. On Thursday, the market value of LIC holding stood at Rs 26,861.9 crore, almost 11 per cent lower than its purchase value of Rs 30,127 crore.

The Congress’ three-day national conclave is set to begin in Raipur today. This meeting is important as it is expected to set the tone of the party for its upcoming electoral battles, including 2024. But the Congress finds itself facing twin challenges: First, the detention of its media department head Pawar Khera, and second, the exit of CR Kesavan, the great-grandson of late Congress stalwart C Rajagopalchari. We break down what the Congress is up against.

Since the 2020 T20 World Cup final at the MCG, India has played Australia 11 times, winning one and losing nine whereas one was washed out. The head-to-head stats might suggest that Australia have had the wood over India but most of the matches have been closely contested. Just like Thursday’s T20 World Cup semifinal, those matches have been missed opportunities for India.

Express Cartoon by E P Unny

From the Front Page

The Punjab government Thursday gave in to an “ultimatum” issued by radical leader Amritpal Singh, after hundreds of his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station near Amritsar and clashed with the police. Singh had demanded that his associate Lovepreet Singh Tufan, arrested on charges that included kidnapping, be released on Friday. Many of his supporters were carrying weapons and guns.

Thursday seemed like a hectic day for the Congress, which saw itself facing a crisis of sorts after its senior leader Pawan Khera was deplaned in Delhi and arrested on charges of using “objectionable words” against PM Narendra Modi. The party’s quick thinking to approach the Supreme Court provided relief, and Khera was granted interim relief. The party hopes the issue will subside, and not overshadow the Raipur session which begins today.

US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian-American business leader, Ajay Banga, to lead the World Bank. Biden has said Banga, 64, is uniquely equipped to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history”. If confirmed, Banga would be the first Indian-Armerican at the top spot.

Premium Reads

Here’s the story of the influence that Gautam Adani’s little-known brother Vinod wields in his sprawling empire — as well as the family’s style of using a maze of small companies when doing big business. In recent weeks, Vinod has come into the spotlight after Hindenburg Research named him prominently in its scathing report on the Adani Group.

Sooraj Barjatya’s Uunchai — one of the most bizarrely inept and outdated Hindi movies — became a surprise box office hit. But the film’s success had nothing to do with its quality; what should be studied is its clever release strategy. So how have we found ourselves in a position where corporate-driven content is praised and genuinely wonderful movies are overlooked? In his weekly column, Post Credits Scene, Rohan Naahar writes that Bollywood will truly witness a creative overhaul only when this self-congratulatory phase ends.

In this special ground report, Tora Agarwala visits Meghalaya’s Garo Hills, the home turf of CM Conrad Sangma and Mukul Sangma, which elects 24 MLAs in the February 27 Assembly polls. This seat will witness a fierce contest between the NPP and the TMC and has larger implications for the parties in the state.

And finally…

You may have read about how Bihar CM Nitish Kumar accosted a farmer for speaking in English rather than Hindi — there’s a viral video. What we need to talk about, however, is how this farmer, Amit Kumar, who has a science graduate with an MBA degree, has managed to sell 80 kg of mushroom daily with an annual turnover of Rs 25 lakh.

Delhi Confidential: A two-word tweet from PM Narendra Modi has made the day of Railway Board brass. Modi commented, “very good!” on a tweet on electrification of the entire network in Uttar Pradesh, which the Ministry has lost no time in showcasing.

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