U.S. National Security Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster arrived in Delhi
U.S. National Security Adviser Lt. General (retired) H.R. McMaster
arrived in Delhi, the first such visit by a senior official of the Trump
administration for talks that are expected to set the course of bilateral
He is expected to extend a formal invitation for Prime Minister Narendra
Modi to visit Washington in the next few months.
The visit will be watched particularly closely for its timing, as it
comes close on the heels of the Russian conference on Afghanistan in Moscow,
which India attended and where Russia offered to mediate between Taliban and
Mr. McMaster, will discuss the future of security operations in
Afghanistan, India’s role in Afghanistan as well as the India-Pakistan
In Kabul, Mr. McMaster said he would impress on Pakistan that it was
important to give up support to the Haqqani group and the Taliban.
Pakistan has praised the U.S. administration’s recent remarks on
mediating between New Delhi and Islamabad, something India has been opposed
Ms. Curtis, has advocated a tougher line on Pakistan, and co-authored a
paper in February this year suggesting enforcing conditions on military aid
to Pakistan with action against terror groups in the region, including the
However, the figures released in April 2017 of security-related aid that
the Trump administration has requested from the U.S. Congress for Pakistan
indicate the U.S. government has not decreased its allocations for the
Union Home Ministry said it would introduce less lethal “plastic bullets”
The Union Home Ministry said it would introduce less lethal “plastic
bullets” to be used against protesters in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre said it was exploring options to initiate a dialogue in
Kashmir, including with the separatists, but no one had came forward in the
past and it had hit a dead end.
The government also said it was considering enhanced use of “bunkers” to
protect security forces from stone throwers after the annual shift of the
capital from Jammu to Srinagar in the next few days.
The government had managed to control the spiral of violence but the
“atmosphere was vitiated” because of the April 9 byelections in the Srinagar
Lok Sabha constituency.
Supreme Court wants appearance of secretaries on issue of police vacancies
The Supreme Court sought the personal appearance of Home Secretaries or
authorised joint secretaries of six States together with a definite roadmap
to fill up the long-pending vacancies in the States’ police forces.
The court found that Uttar Pradesh has 1.51 lakh vacancies, West Bengal
with 37,325, Karnataka has 24,899, Jharkhand 26,303, Bihar 34,500 and Tamil
Nadu has 19,803 posts vacant.
Tamil Nadu informed the apex court that advertisements have been put out
for the vacancies. “Giving advertisements is the first step. You [Tamil Nadu]
have taken the first step since 2013,” the Bench remarked.
The apex court was hearing the 2013 petition which claimed that law and
order situation in the country was deteriorating due to a large number of
vacancies in police services at all levels across States.
China is set to launch its first cargo spacecraft
China is set to launch its first cargo spacecraft between April 20 and
The Tianzhou-1 has been transferred with a Long March – 7 Y2 carrier
rocket from the testing centre to the launch zone in Wenchang, Hainan
:: International ::
Turkish referendum gave sweeping powers to President
The referendum was seen as crucial not just for shaping the political
system of Turkey but also the future strategic direction of a nation that
has been a NATO member since 1952 and an EU hopeful for half a century.
The ‘Yes’ camp won 51.41% in referendum and ‘No’ 48.59, according to
near-complete results released by the election authorities.
Mr. Erdogan’s victory was far tighter than expected, emerging only after
several nail-biting hours late Sunday which saw the ‘No’ result dramatically
catch up in the later count.
The new system is due to come into effect after elections in November
:: Business and Economy ::
A decline in the prices of fuel and manufactured products helped inflation
A decline in the prices of fuel and manufactured products helped
inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI), to moderate to
5.7% (provisional) for March 2017 despite hardening of food prices.
The WPI inflation had touched a 39-month high of 6.55% (provisional) in
February while it was -0.45% in March 2016.
The decline was accentuated by decline in fuel and power inflation and
manufactured products. Fuel prices were significantly cut on March 31 while
rupee has been on an appreciating trend since February 2017.
Primary food inflation trended higher as vegetable inflation emerged
after six months of deflation although food price pressures are not yet a
concern, as prices of cereals, pulses and spices have fallen sequentially.
Food inflation has increased a bit and this would require greater
monitoring in light of the evolving weather conditions.
The focus on drip irrigation and micro-irrigation along with improvement
in the efficiency of cropping patterns and water use mechanisms will
strengthen agri-production and productivity.
Further, the recent strengthening of rupee vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar
will also contribute towards limiting imported inflation.
FSDC discussed the setting up of a Computer Emergency Response Team
The Sub-Committee of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC),
discussed the setting up of a Computer Emergency Response Team for the
Financial Sector (CERT-Fin).
The sub-committee reviewed the major developments on the global and
domestic fronts that impinge on the financial stability of the country.
The move to set up an emergency response team comes in the backdrop of
growing cyberattacks in the financial system.
RBI had already created a specialised cell (C-SITE) within its
supervision department to conduct detailed IT examination of banks’
cybersecurity preparedness, to identify the gaps and to monitor the progress
of remedial measures.
More than 30 major banks were to be covered by the detailed IT
examination in 2016-17 and all banks are to be covered by 2017-18.
IRDAI sweetens the pill for vehicle owners
Insurance regulator IRDAI notified revised third party motor insurance
premium rates for 2017-18 that are higher compared with those in the
previous fiscal for most categories of vehicles but lower than what it had
The order on the revised rates, to apply retrospectively with effect
from April 1, came after a truckers strike earlier this month, in south
India and an apex national body of transporters threatening to follow suit.
The revision, however, seems to have not gone down well with both the
transporter community and the insurers.
On March 3, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India
(IRDAI) unveiled an exposure draft, suggesting an about 50% increase in the
premium for many vehicles.
Compared with its draft, the regulator had either stuck to the existing
rate or moderated its proposed rates for various categories of goods
As per Monday’s notification, for private cars with engine capacity
between 1,000 cc and 1500 cc, the cover will cost Rs. 2,863. This is almost
28% more compared with the previous year’s Rs. 2,237.
For private cars above 1500 cc, the rate will be Rs. 7,890 against Rs.
6,164 in 2016-17. However, there will be no change in the premium payable
for cars below 1000 cc.