MEA announced that PM Modi will be skipping the SAARC summit. (Photo: Reuters)

QBullet: SAARC Summit Collapses, Pakistan Violates Ceasefire And More

1. Saarc Summit Collapses After India and Three Other Members Pull Out

India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism got a boost on Wednesday with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also deciding to skip the Saarc summit in Islamabad in November, setting the stage for the postponement of the meet.

In a synchronised effort, India and the three other countries informed the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation’s (Saarc) secretariat on Tuesday that their leaders would be unable to attend the summit for almost similar reasons.

For India, this marked a victory as half of the grouping’s eight members singled out cross-border terror and interference in the internal affairs of members by “one country” – a clear reference to Pakistan.

2. J&K: Pakistani Troops Violate Ceasefire in Poonch

An army soldier takes position near the army brigade camp during a terror attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday. (Photo: IANS)
An army soldier takes position near the army brigade camp during a terror attack in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, on Sunday. (Photo: IANS)

In the second incident of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control in Poonch district in this month, Pakistani troops on Wednesday resorted to unprovoked firing on forward Indian positions at Sawjian.

Pointing out that the firing from across the border began around 6 pm, sources said that Pakistani troops were using small arms and mortar shells. Wednesday’s firing has come in the district after 22 days. Earlier, they had targeted Indian positions in the Shahpur area on 6 September.

On Wednesday, Indian troops also retaliated. However, there were no reports of any loss or damage on the Indian side.

3. Rahul to Halt UP Yatra for Court Battle With RSS

Rahul Gandhi will appear before an Assam court in a defamation case filed by an RSS worker, a visit that will intensify the Congress vice-president's confrontation with the saffron outfit.

Rahul had accused RSS workers of stopping him from entering a monastery in Barpeta in Assam during his visit in December 2015, leading to the complaint and summons by a local court.

What is surprising is that the Congress lawmaker has chosen to halt his "Deoria to Delhi" yatra in Uttar Pradesh to visit Assam though, as legal experts say, he could have appeared through a lawyer.

4. Uri Jolt Sends Ministry on Equipment Hunt

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (Photo: ANI)
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (Photo: ANI)

A fresh stock-taking of the Indian Army's requirements following the Uri attack has suddenly yanked the defence ministry out of a stupor.

Ten days after the attack that left 18 soldiers dead, the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) chaired by defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday cleared a requirement for an electronic warfare (EW) system specifically for use on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

The system, designed for low intensity conflict operations, is expected to cost Rs 330 crore. The requirement had been flagged off about seven years back.

On Tuesday, the army was asked to re-initiate the process for meeting the basic necessities of its soldiers, beginning with a standard-issue weapon.

5. Karnataka Defers Decision to Release Cauvery Water to Tamil Nadu Till Thursday

Caught between the Supreme court directive to release water and a unanimous resolution of the legislature, the Karnataka government on Wednesday chose to defer releasing water to Tamil Nadu till the meeting of chief ministers of both states with Union water resources minister Uma Bharti in New Delhi on Thursday.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah, an advocate himself, had to make a choice between the court's order to release 6,000 cusecs of water for three days to Tamil Nadu from Wednesday, and a suggestion from the JD(S) and BJP who reminded him that he was bound by the legislature's resolution.

The resolution passed by both Houses of the Karnataka legislature said no water should be released from Cauvery reservoirs except to meet the drinking water requirements of the state, including the entire city of Bengaluru.

6. No Seats for Factionalists in 2019 Polls, Amit Shah Tells Kerala Leaders

BJP chief Amit Shah (Photo: Reuters)
BJP chief Amit Shah (Photo: Reuters)

BJP national president Amit Shah has warned against factionalism in the state unit and said that those promoting groupism will not get seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

National organising secretary Ramlal, who is considered the number 2 in the party, will visit Kerala once a month to take stock of the situation.

Shah pulled up senior Kerala leaders at the BJP core committee meeting in Kozhikode on Monday and made it clear that Ramlal will present a progress report to them on their performance every three months.

BJP sources said that national joint organising general secretary BL Santhosh, who was earlier in charge of Kerala, had faced the wrath of a section of BJP state leaders as he allegedly worked for a section in the party.

7. Pak Border May Get Laser Weaponry And Fencing

Indian army war tank. (Photo: PTI)
Indian army war tank. (Photo: PTI)

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s keenness to turn India’s land boundary with Pakistan watertight to block any future infiltration bid, NITI Aayog is working on a blueprint to give border policing a “technological edge” consisting of laser precision weapons and fencing.

The Aayog, which has been asked to prepare a long-term vision document for 15 years replacing the five-year-plan, has assigned the task of working on “internal and external” security to its member VK Sarswat, who, in turn, sources said, has been working on “future options” in the light of heightened hostilities between India and Pakistan post the Uri terror attack.

Sources also confirmed that NITI Aayog is looking at weapons which have the ability to launch “no-contact counter offensives”. Such weapons will be based on latest technologies like laser, which is high among the options.

Source: The Tribune

8. The Options Before India

 Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi. (Photo: Reuters)
Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi. (Photo: Reuters)

In his speech at Kozhikode last week, Prime Minister soothed the aroused national feelings baying for Pakistani blood post the Uri attack. Among the emerging elements of the new doctrine is withdrawal of the MFN status. The review of the Indus Waters Treaty contrariwise goes for Pakistan’s jugular.

Another salvo is Modi deciding to skip the SAARC Summit in November in Pakistan. This can be followed-up by a meeting of those SAARC members which have articulated concerns about the export of terror from Pakistan and joined India in boycotting the summit.

The aim thus is to punish Pakistan bilaterally and isolate it regionally and internationally. Meanwhile, the BJP must remember that ultimately the fight is over the hearts and minds in the Valley. No counter strategy will deter Pakistan if the wound at home is not healed or new ones opened by “rakshaks” of one cause or another.

Source: The Tribune

9. Suicide Letters Allege CBI Torture

BK Bansal, senior official of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs who was arrested by CBI on bribery charges, comes out of his residence in New Delhi on 20 July 2016. (Photo: IANS)
BK Bansal, senior official of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs who was arrested by CBI on bribery charges, comes out of his residence in New Delhi on 20 July 2016. (Photo: IANS)

Two letters purportedly written by a bureaucrat and his son a day before they committed suicide have said torture led by a senior CBI officer drove them to death.

BK Bansal, a director-general in the corporate affairs ministry who had been accused of taking a bribe, and his son Yogesh, 25, had hanged themselves in their east Delhi home on Tuesday. Bansal's wife Satyabala, 57, and daughter Neha, 27, had killed themselves on 19 July.

"I am committing suicide because of the torture by the CBI. On the night of July 18 (a day after Bansal was arrested) and in the morning of July 19, CBI lady officers Ms Rekha Sangwan and Ms Amrita Kaur badly tortured my wife and daughter. My wife had narrated about it to her friends and neighbours before committing suicide. They slapped my wife several times, dug their nails into her and abused her. DIG Sanjeev Gautam also told them to torture them," said a letter attributed to Bansal.