Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, later this month.
- Dialogue between India and Pakistan has been called off since the Pathankot attack in January 2016. After the Uri attack in September 2016, India also called off its engagement with Pakistan at the SAARC summit, and tensions between the two countries have been at an all-time high since the Pulwama attack in February this year, and airstrikes on Balakot by the Indian Airforce.
Laurentino Cortizo Declared the “virtual winner” in the Panama’s tight presidential election
- Panama’s Electoral Court declared opposition candidate Laurentino Cortizo the “virtual winner” in the country’s tight presidential election.
- Cortizo, of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, had 33% of the votes versus 31% for Roux, from former President Ricardo Martinelli’s Democratic Change party
Iran- US tensions
- Iran’s state-run IRIB news agency reported that Tehran would restart part of its halted nuclear programme in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.
- In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States has deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region.
Scorpene class submarine Vela launched
- The Scorpene-class submarine Vela, the fourth of six underwater warships being built in India with French collaboration, was launched in Mumbai with an aim to boost Indian capability to defend and secure the strategic sea lanes.
- The State-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited has entered into a contract for construction and transfer of technology for six Scorpene-class submarines with French collaborator Ms Naval Group (formerly DCNS). INS Vela is the fourth in that series.
- Of the six submarines, INS Kalvari was commissioned in December last year while INS Khanderi and INS Karanj are in advanced stages to join the Navy fleet
- The remaining two — INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer are in the “advanced stages of manufacturing” at the Mazagon Dock.
NHAI projects in Naxal areas
- Creating infrastructure to break the naxal strongholds and bring development to these remote areas is perhaps even tougher than executing an encounter. Each time construction workers or managers are abducted or their vehicle and equipment is blown up.
- The LWE areas or the Red Corridor comprises parts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
- There is a Left Wing Extremism Division under the Home Ministry that looks at capacity building of these states, deployment of Central Armed Police Forces, providing assistance to state governments for initiatives to combat left wing extremism besides other things.
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme — Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Affected Areas– to improve the rural road connectivity in the worst LWE affected districts from the security perspective.