2013 - July - 26 and 27 - Current Affairs


National Issues


Vijay Diwas, marking the victory of the country's armed forces in the Kargil War of 1999 over Pakistan was celebrated on July 26, 2013. In New Delhi, Defence Minister A K Antony led the armed forces in paying homage to the martyrs who laid their lives in the service of the nation. He visited the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the historic India Gate to honour the valour and supreme sacrifice of the brave sons of the country. 

The Kargil war in May 1999 lasted for more than two months before Pakistani soldiers withdrew from the mountain tops they had occupied overlooking the Srinagar-Leh highway. 

In the war, also known as Operation Vijay, the Army which lost nearly 500 soldiers succeeded in recapturing numerous posts in icy heights foiling the diabolic designs of the intruders. The skirmishes also unveiled the effectiveness of Bofors howitzers which gave India an upper edge over the enemy. 



The 4-day Regional Meeting on Implementation of the WHO FCTC for South-East Asia Region (23-26 July 2013) concluded in New Delhi. The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with WHO SEARO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Technical assistance to the meeting was provided by the WHO Country Office. 

The key objectives of the meeting were:– 

(1) to review implementation of the WHO FCTC and major developments related to the treaty in the region and internationally; 

(2) to facilitate inter country exchanges on implementation achievements and challenges, including identification of the best practices and the ways of further promoting their dissemination and use; 

(3) to review instruments available for implementation of the Convention, particularly the guidelines and the reporting system adopted by the Conference of the Parties; 

(4) to discuss international cooperation, resources and mechanisms of assistance for implementation of the WHO FCTC, as enshrined in the Convention and mandated by the Conference of the Parties, and the facilitation of assistance to Parties for implementation of the Convention and 

(5) to raise awareness of the newly adopted Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in Tobacco Products and to promote its signature and ratification. 

The participants of the meeting included representatives from 10 South East Asian Countries (India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand, Timor Leste & Sri Lanka); World Bank; World Customs Organization (WCO); UNDP; Framework Convention Alliance (FCA); State Nodal Officers, National Tobacco Control Programme from 21 states, Consultants; NTCP; Bloomber Initiative (BI) Partners and select Civil Society Organizations working on Tobacco Control. 

The Secretariat to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was led by the Head, Convention Secretariat. Dr. Haik Nokigosian. 



Himachal Pradesh state government launched video chat facility in all six prisons of the state on 26 July 2013. The video conference facility, first of its kind in the country, would help family and friends save time and money on travelling to prisons to meet the inmates. Even foreigners can avail this facility. 

The government has already amended the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), enabling the courts to utilize the video-conference facility between the jails and the courts. 

This would also help save time and money of the prison department in escorting the prisoners from jails to courts. 



Delhi government is all set to launch food security programme from 20 August 2013. Delhi will be the first state in India to launch Union government’s food security programme. 

The state government has completed all preparations in this regard. Over 32 lakh identified families will start getting benefit under the scheme from the 1 September 2013.In the first phase, BPL and APL families, Jhugi Jhopadi ration card holders and those under Antodaya ration yojana will be covered. Rickshaw pullers, porters and rag-pickers would also be included in the scheme to make Delhi hunger free. 


Bilateral Issues


The Joint Statement issued after the Defence Talks between India and France on July 27, 2013. “At the invitation of the Minister of Defence of India, the French Minister of Defence Mr Yves Le Drianis on an official visit to India on 25-27 July, 2013. Shri A.K. Antony and Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian held detailed and useful talks on regional and international security challenges of mutual interest. 

They also reviewed the status of various measures for bilateral defence cooperation and the progress in various areas pursuant to their discussions in February, 2013, during the State visit of the French President to India. 

The Ministers noted that defence cooperation is an important pillar of the strategic partnership between both countries and that the ongoing dialogue and cooperation is mutually beneficial to both nations. The Ministers also noted that the range and depth of defence exchanges and interactions between the Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces of both sides is being steadily enhanced in areas of mutual interest and in a spirit of mutual understanding, respect, trust and support, taking account of respective security interests. 

The Ministers agreed that exchanges between respective defence institutions and armed forces should continue to be progressed, including in the areas of military education and training and through the conduct of military exercises. In this respect, the Ministers welcomed the upcoming bilateral exercise ‘Shakti’ in September 2013 in France between both Armies. 

The Ministers noted with satisfaction that the Navies of both countries are working towards finalising the schedule for the conduct of Exercise ‘Varuna’ off the coast of India and also that the next Air Force exercise ‘Garuda’ would be held during the first half of 2014. With regard to training exchanges, the Ministers noted with satisfaction that officers of the Indian and French Armed Forces have been attending courses in each other’s institutions, including at the French War College in Paris and the National Defence College and Defence Services Staff College in India. It was agreed that such exchanges were beneficial to the building of relations between the Armed Forces of both sides and should continue. 

The Ministers had detailed discussions regarding current and future co-operation in the areas of defence equipment and technology collaboration. They agreed that such cooperation should continue to be progressed to the mutual benefit of both countries, including in high technology areas involving joint research and development and transfer of technology. 

The Ministers tasked the High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCDC), which is scheduled to meet in France in October 2013, to follow up the above points and to finalise practical measures to expand and deepen the bilateral partnership in defence. 

The French Defence Minister also conveyed that on the 100th anniversary of World War I, France is planning various projects to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who were killed in France during the War. The Indian side appreciated the same. The Ministers also exchanged views on issues relating to UN peace keeping operations and maritime security.The French Defence Minister also presented France’s new White Paper on Defence and National Security”. 


Awards


Four Indian-American Professors Kannan Soundararajan, Rajeev Alur, Salil P Vadhan and Senthil Todadri in fourth week of July 2013 won Simons Investigators Awards 2013. 

Apart from these, 9 other mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists were also selected for the Simons Investigators Awards for their cutting edge research. 

The 2013 awards were announced by the New York-based Simons Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation. Its mission is to advance the lines of research in mathematics and basic sciences. 

The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions. The foundation was incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons. 


Science and Technology


INSAT-3D, the advanced meteorological satellite of India was launched successfully by the European rocket, Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket, from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana on 26 July 2013. 

The satellite will give a push to the weather forecasting as well as help in facilitating disaster warning services. Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket of European space consortium launched the Alphasat satellites as well as INSAT-3D. 

Alphasat is the largest-ever telecommunication satellite of Europe. This satellite is the result of large-scale public-private partnership between Inmarsat as well as European Space Agency. 

Features of INSAT-3D :

• The new satellite, INSAT-3D will be operational for next seven years, i.e., up to 2020. 

• The aim of the satellite is to make a crucial difference to the disaster warning systems as well as weather forecasting of India. 

• INSAT-3D will also provide monitoring of the ocean as well as land areas, apart from providing meteorological observation. 

• INSAT-3D will facilitate new dimension to the weather monitoring because of its atmospheric sounding system. The atmospheric sounding system provides the vertical profiles of integrated ozone, humidity as well as temperature, from top of the atmosphere. 

• It is important to note that the imaging system and mechanism of INSAT-3D has a lot of improvement in comparison to INSAT-3A as well as KALPANA. 

• The satellite has the lift-off mass of 2060 kg. 

• It will facilitate continuity to the previous missions as well as also help in increasing the capability of providing meteorological and search and rescue services. 

• INSAT-3D carries the newly developed 19 channel sounder, which is the first payload of this kind to be flown to the ISRO satellite mission. 

• INSAT-3D has the facility of Search and Rescue payload which catches as well as relays the alert signals that originate from distress signal of maritime, aviation and land based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre located at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore. 

The primary users of the Satellite Aided Search and Rescue service in India include Directorate General of Shipping, Defence Services, fishermen, Indian Coast Guard as well as Airports Authority of India. 

The alert services include a wide area of Indian Ocean region, as well as covers Sri Lanka, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Seychelles, Bhutan and Maldives. 

The information of oceanographic, hydrological as well as meteorological data from the uninhabited locations over the coverage area from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs) such as Agro Met Stations, Automatic Rain Gauge and Automatic Weather Station, as well as remote locations will be collected by the Data Relay Transponder (DRT). The ISRO as well as India Meteorological Department have already established over 1800 DCPs. 


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