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1. 5 pledges, 25-year plan on 75th
1. 5 pledges, 25-year plan on 75th
Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a number of goals on Monday for India to achieve by 2047. The government has planned this period as Amrit Kaal.

  • Five pledges: As India celebrated its 75 years of Independence, PM Modi listed out five pledges “to fulfil the dreams and goals of this aspirational society, to work towards the development of India” during Amrit Kaal. These pledges are to: make India a developed country, remove all traces of colonial mindset, take pride in our heritage, ensure unity among all Indians, and fulfil duties as citizens.
  • A development target: He said, “We must turn India into a developed country in the next 25 years, in our lifetime…It’s a big resolution, and we should work towards it with all our might.” The World Bank currently categorises India as a lower-middle income country — a gross national income per capita of $1,086-$4,255. Developed countries have GNI per capita of above $13,205.
  • Bapu and Veer were mentioned in the same breath by PM Modi: “We are thankful to Bapu, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Veer Savarkar who gave their lives for the country’s independence.”
  • Remembering Nehru after…: He said “today is an opportunity to bow down in front of those who fought the war of independence and also built the country after independence, be it Nehruji [Jawaharlal Nehru], Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Deendayal Upadhyay…” This came a day after the BJP targeting Nehru for bowing to Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan’s creation.
  • Fighting misogyny: “A distortion has crept in our conduct and we at times insult women, can we take pledge to get rid of this in our behaviour? Respect for women is an important pillar for India’s growth…Gender equality is a crucial parameter of [India’s] unity.” More here
2. An I-Day for Opposition leaders too
2. An I-Day for Opposition leaders too
  • Narcissism: Congress president Sonia Gandhi called the Narendra Modi government “narcissistic” in her Independence Day message: “Friends, we have achieved a lot in the last 75 years but today’s narcissistic govt is busy downplaying the great sacrifices of our freedom fighters and the country’s glorious achievements, which can never be accepted.”
  • A pledge and freebies: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal urged the citizens to “take a pledge to make India the number-1 country” in his I-Day message. He also rebutted PM Modi’s recent ‘revadi culture” comment saying free education and healthcare are not “revadis” and can eliminate India’s poverty in one generation.
  • A dream: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said “I have a dream for India” in her I-Day message greeting the nation. “For the people, I want to build a nation where no one goes hungry, where no woman feels unsafe, where every child sees the light of education, where all are treated equally, where no oppressive forces divide the people and harmony defines the day.”
  • Job shower: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar promised 10 lakh jobs and overall 20 lakh employment opportunities in Bihar, days after he dumped the BJP to join hands with the RJD. “Now we have come together and we want maximum government jobs to be given to the youth of the state. Our thoughts are also one now.”
  • Flags in Kashmir: PDP chief MehboobaMufti alleged that the government forced Kashmiri people to hoist the tricolour tweeting, “The J&K administration shamelessly boasts about Kashmiris hoisting the Indian flag. Truth is they were threatened to do so or else face the consequences” She also tweeted, “Lest we forget, people of J&K accepted the Indian flag in October 1947…before the BJP’s ideological parent — the RSS accepted it.”
3. India guns for self-reliance in defence
3. India guns for self-reliance in defence
For the first time in the history of India, an indigenously developed howitzer, ATAGS, was used in the ceremonial 21-gun salute along with British-origin cannons at Red Fort on Monday. The government is promoting self-reliance in the defence sector, an initiative lauded by PM Modi in his Independence Day speech.

A DRDO project

  • The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System or ATAGS has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in partnership with Bharat Forge Limited and Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
  • The 155 mm calibre gun system is capable of hitting targets from 45 to 48 km. It has advanced features like high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command and control system with night capability in direct-fire mode.
  • ATAGS, which will replace older guns with the Indian Army, is currently undergoing quality control evaluation. It has been designed to work in extreme weather conditions.
4. An ‘Indian’ surveillance plane and a Chinese spy ship
4. An ‘Indian’ surveillance plane and a Chinese spy ship
India has gifted a Dornier aircraft to crisis-hit Sri Lanka to enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities and bolster bilateral defence ties. President Ranil Wickremesinghe was present at the handover ceremony which took place on a day when India celebrated its 76th Independence Day and a day before a high-tech Chinese spy ship docks at the island nation’s Hambantota port.

The Chinese vessel

  • Chinese ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was originally scheduled to arrive at the port on August 11 but it was delayed in absence of permission by the Sri Lankan authorities.
  • Colombo had asked China to defer the visit amid India’s concerns over it. On Saturday, Sri Lanka granted the port access to the vessel from August 16 to 22.

Snooping concerns

  • There were apprehensions in New Delhi about the possibility of the vessel’s tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian defence installations while being on its way to the Sri Lankan port.
  • India on Friday rejected China’s “insinuations” that New Delhi pressured Colombo against the visit by the vessel to the Sri Lankan port but at the same time asserted that it will take decisions based on its security concerns.

The Navy aircraft

  • The Dornier plane has been given from the inventory of the Indian Navy, which has already provided extensive training to a team from Sri Lanka’s Navy and the Air Force to operate the maritime surveillance aircraft.
  • India will provide to Sri Lanka two such aircraft which are being manufactured by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
6. Threat calls for Ambanis again, weeks after SC’s security nod
6. Threat calls for Ambanis again, weeks after SC’s security nod
  • Threat calls: The Mumbai police took a man into custody on Monday for issuing threats to Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and his family. Identified as 56-year-old Vishnu Bhowmik, the accused had allegedly made multiple threat calls on a landline number at the Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai’s Girgaon on Monday morning.
  • Multiple names: It has emerged that the accused used several names on the call, issuing threats to the Ambanis. One of the names used was Afzal. The police traced the suspect after they identified the phone number from which he had made the calls.
  • Mental state: News agency PTI quoted an official as saying that a preliminary investigation suggested the caller could be mentally unstable. A case has been registered, with the police questioning the suspect.
  • The Antilia plot: An abandoned car had been found with explosives near Ambani’s home last year. A handwritten letter was also found in the car, reportedly addressed to Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita Ambani. Investigation led to unravelling a major conspiracy that involved former policemen.
  • Security nod: The Ambanis were provided security by the government after the plot was uncovered. Recently a PIL in the Tripura High Court challenged security provided to the Ambanis. Subsequently, the matter reached the Supreme Court, which ruled last month that Mukesh Ambani and his family in Mumbai can continue to have security provided by the government.
7. Myanmar military’s bid to eliminate Suu Kyi from politics?
7. Myanmar military’s bid to eliminate Suu Kyi from politics?
A court in military-ruled Myanmar convicted the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on more corruption charges on Monday and sentenced her to an additional six years in prison.

What are these charges?

  • Suu Kyi was alleged to have abused her position to rent public land at below market prices and to have built a residence with donations meant for charitable purposes.
  • She received sentences of three years for each of the four counts, but the sentences for three of them will be served concurrently, giving her a total of six more years in prison. The 77-year-old Nobel laureate denied all the charges, and her lawyers are expected to appeal.
  • She had already been sentenced to 11 years in prison on sedition, corruption and other charges at earlier trials after the military ousted her elected government and detained her in February 2021.

What it means

  • Analysts say the numerous charges against her and her allies are an attempt to legitimise the military’s 2021 seizure of power while eliminating her from politics before the military holds an election next year.

More sanctions?

  • Recent executions of four democracy activists in Myanmar have re-energised efforts to get the US and other countries to impose further sanctions against military leaders. It is believed the US Senate is inching toward passage of the Burma Act, legislation already passed by the House of Representatives.
  • Among other actions, it would pave the way for sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, or MOGE, a state-controlled company that is a vital source of hard cash for the impoverished nation.
8. How effective is Taiwan’s missile shield?
8. How effective is Taiwan’s missile shield?
China’s military carried out more exercises near Taiwan on Monday as another group of US lawmakers visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen. Taiwan which has so far displayed restraint is believed to have strengthened its defences in the face of growing Chinese provocations.

Missile defence

  • The self-ruled island has recently signed a $83.39 million deal with the US to upgrade its Patriot missile systems, Taiwan’s media reported. Taiwan’s military currently operates the US-made Patriot Advanced Capability 2 (PAC-2) and PAC-3 Guided Enhancement Missiles (GEM) systems.
  • The Patriot system is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles, with the upgraded MSE variant featuring a longer range than the standard version, which experts say covers the middle ground between PAC-3 missiles and Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (THAD) systems, according to Focus Taiwan.


  • Military experts say the new deal aims to maintain the original combat capability of Taiwan’s Patriot systems, but does not increase the number of missiles the island possesses.
  • Analysts like Jeffrey Lewis also questioned the effectiveness of the Patriot missiles, citing how Saudi Arabia’s Patriot air defence may have failed to counter ballistic missiles fired by Houthi rebels.
9. A year after Taliban took over Afghanistan
9. A year after Taliban took over Afghanistan
  • The day: The Taliban marked a year in power on Monday with small-scale celebrations by the group’s fighters.
  • One thing: The country is safer than it was when the hardline Islamist movement was fighting against US-led foreign forces and their Afghan allies.
  • The challenge: Yet the Taliban face a big challenge in setting Afghanistan on a path of economic growth and stability. There are huge pressures on the economy, caused in large part by the country’s isolation as foreign governments refuse to recognise its rulers.
  • The economy: Development aid upon which the country relied so heavily has been cut as the international community demands that the Taliban respect the rights of Afghans, particularly girls and women whose access to work and education has been curtailed. The Taliban is demanding that $9 billion in central bank reserves held overseas be returned, but talks with the United States face hurdles.
  • The people: Afghanistan continues to struggle with rising poverty, drought and malnutrition. Roughly 25 million Afghans are now living in poverty – well over half the population and the United Nations estimates that up to 900,000 jobs could be lost this year as the economy stalls.
  • The half government: The country’s administration continues to be considered a caretaker government or ‘de facto’ authority with acting ministers, whose decisions can be overturned by the group’s supreme spiritual leader, based in the southern city of Kandahar. More details here

Ola. Ola founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal on Monday shifted gears to enter a new territory by showcasing a homegrown electric car that will arrive in the country by 2024. Aggarwal said the Ola electric car will have a 500-km range on single change and will go from zero to 100 km within 4 seconds. The car will be equipped with one of the most advanced computers in a 4W, assisted driving capabilities, keyless and handless doors among many other features. The car will also come with Ola’s MoveOS software and car owners will be able to receive regular feature updates OTA through their ownership span.

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

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