Twelve days after the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force bombed
the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s “biggest” terror-training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot
early on Tuesday.
The operation was carried out by 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets,
which unleashed five one-tonne bombs on the camp, based 70 km inside the LoC,
in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
Senior officials citing intelligence inputs said the JeM facility
was particularly crowded with 200-325 militants as many had abandoned launch
pads and training camps closer to the LoC after the Pulwama attack in the
expectation that India would not target Balakot.
The aerial attack on a target inside Pakistani territory marks a
major shift in India’s counter-terror responses, which have thus far been
restricted to ground operations across the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
The use of air power is significant as it is the first time since
the 1971 war that the IAF crossed over and struck inside Pakistani
territory.Even during the Kargil conflict, theIAF was under strict
instructions to not cross the LoC
A few hours after the strikes, Prime Minister NarendraModi held a
meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to review the operations, and
later met with all three service chiefs.
While he did not mention the air strikes publicly during the day, Mr.Modi
later told a rally in Rajasthan’s Churu that the nation is in “safe hands”,
paying tribute to Indian security forces.
Supreme court pushes for mediation in Ayodhya case
A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India
RanjanGogoi, has proposed a court-monitored mediation process between the
Hindu and Muslim parties litigating the Ayodhya dispute, asserting that both
sides ought to give it a try even if there was only a “1% chance of
Adopting a two-pronged approach, the Bench on Tuesday pitched the
healing touch that an out-of-court settlement could provide, even as it went
ahead with the preparations to finally hear the Ayodhya title suit appeals
that have been pending in the court for almost nine years.
The eight-week period is also the time given to the Muslim parties
to examine the accuracy and relevance of the Uttar Pradesh government’s
official translation of thousands of pages of oral depositions and exhibits
in the appeals.
The CJI also expressed the hope that mediation may help give a
peaceful end to the volatile dispute between two faiths over the land where
the Babri Masjid had once stood before it was demolished by karsevaks on
December 6, 1992.
The Muslim parties, led by senior advocates Rajeev Dhavan and
Dushyant Dave, said while the mediation route had been tried before, their
side was in “broad agreement” for giving the process another opportunity.
However, the U.P. government and senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan,
who represents the deity Ram Lalla, both disagreed with the court’s
suggestion on mediation. Interestingly, the NirmohiAkhara, one of the Hindu
organisations, said they were agreeable.
RBI excludes 3 more banks from PCA framewor
Three more banks Allahabad Bank and Corporation Bank, from the
public sector, and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the private sector are now out of the
Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) prompt and corrective action (PCA) framework.
Earlier, such restrictions were taken off Bank of India, Oriental
Bank of Commerce and Bank of Maharashtra.There are another six banks that
are still under PCA framework.
While lifting the restrictions on the State-run lenders, RBI said
the Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) reviewed the performance of the
banks under PCA and noted that these two banks had received capital infusion
from the government.
“The two banks have also made the necessary disclosures to the
stock exchange that post infusion of capital, the CRAR, CET1, Net NPA and
leverage ratios are no longer in breach of the PCA thresholds,” RBI said.
According to norms, PCA framework gets triggered when a bank
breaches one of the three risk thresholds. Crossing 6% net NPA is one of
RBI also decided to take Dhanlaxmi Bank out of PCA , as the bank
was found not to be breaching any of the risk thresholds of the
framework.“RBI will continuously monitor the performance of these banks
under various parameters,” the banking regulator added.
CRISIL claims Indian rating agencies liberal in assigning ratings.
In the wake of criticism that Indian credit rating agencies (CRAs)
are liberal in assigning AAA ratings, rating agency Crisil Ltd. said global
and Indian AAA ratings were not comparable.
“Comparing the 276 AAA ratings that Indian CRAs have assigned with
nine by S&P Global Ratings or 53 by Moody’s is erroneous. It tantamount to
equating differing scales such as Celsius and Fahrenheit,” Crisil said.
“By construct, credit ratings can have and do have different
scales. That’s because they are relative assessments of credit risk. And the
relative benchmarking can be national, global or regional,” it added.
If the 32,500 rated Indian firms were to be assessed on the global
scale, their ratings will be boxed into a far more narrow-bound between BBB
and D on the global scale, because India’s sovereign rating (in the BBB
category) will usually serve as a ceiling.
A national rating scale affords granular benchmarking of domestic
issuers on a 20-point scale (AAA to D) and the sovereign, which has the
flexibility to print local currency, is pegged at AAA on this scale.
Australia, France support India for its surgical operation on terrorists
India on Tuesday received support for its air strikes from several
countries, including Australia and France.
“France recognises India’s legitimacy to ensure its security
against cross-border terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to operations
of terrorist groups established on its territory,” the spokesperson of the
French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The British government called on India and Pakistan to pursue
diplomatic solutions. U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held telephone
conversations with External Affairs Minister SushmaSwaraj and Pakistan
Foreign Minister Shah MehmoodQureshi.
However, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation condemned “the
Indian incursion and aerial violation.” The criticism comes four days ahead
of Ms.Swaraj’s speech at the OIC inaugural address in the UAE, which will be
India’s first appearance at the 57-nation grouping.
Meanwhile ,China on Tuesday has responded cautiously to Indian air
strikes across the Line of Control (LoC), criticising New Delhi for taking
unilateral action but urging both India and Pakistan to improve ties.
China has repeatedly placed a “technical hold” on designating
MasoodAzhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) a UN designated terror group
based in Pakistan as an international terrorist by the 1267 committee of the
UN Security Council, as demanded by India and other Permanent members of the
Kim arrives in Hanoi for meeting Trump
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump
arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday, ahead of a second summit closely watched for
concrete steps to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
Mr. Trump made no comment to reporters on his aircraft but had
previously tweeted his hopes for a “very productive” meeting, reiterating
that North Korea could enjoy economic riches if it gave up its nuclear
“With complete Denuclearisation, North Korea will rapidly become
an Economic Powerhouse,” tweeted Mr. Trump. “Without it, just more of the
same.” “Chairman Kim will make a wise decision!”
Relations between the two mercurial leaders have undergone a
dramatic turnaround, from flinging personal insults and threats of
destruction to Mr. Trump declaring he had fallen “in love” with Mr. Kim
through an exchange of letters.
Mr. Trump appeared to lower U.S. demands for Pyongyang in the
run-up to the summit, repeatedly saying there was no rush to rid the North
of its arsenal as long as missile and nuclear tests stopped.
Diplomatic progress since Singapore has stalled over the
definition of denuclearisation, with Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special
representative for North Korea, admitting that there was no “shared
agreement” of what that means.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
India-Bangladesh joint military exercise begins
As part of the ongoing India Bangladesh defence cooperation, a
joint military exercise Sampriti-2019 will be conducted at Tangail,
Bangladesh from 02 March to 15 March 2019.
Exercise Sampriti-2019 is an important bilateral defence
cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh and this will be the
eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both
The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of
interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
The exercise will involve tactical level operations in a counter insurgency
and counter terrorism environment under the UN mandate.
In addition to understanding each other in tactical level
operations, emphasis will also be laid for greater cultural understanding to
strengthen military trust and cooperation between the two nations.
ICC bans former Srilankan captain SanathJayasuriya
Former Sri Lanka Cricket captain SanathJayasuriya has been banned
from cricket for two years.
In a statement on Tuesday, ICC said Jayasuriya admitted to
breaching two counts of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
The charges include refusal to cooperate with an Anti Corruption
Unit (ACU) investigation, obstructing or delaying the investigation,
including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or
other relevant information.
The charge came on the back of a year-long investigation in Sri
Lanka, where the ACU said corruption had become an inherent part of the
system.The statement said the conviction is the latest part of a much
broader ICC investigation into corruption in cricket in Sri Lanka.
It said the ICC recently held an amnesty in relation to Sri Lankan
Cricket resulting in eleven players and other participants coming forward
with new information.