Chabahar Port Phase One launched

President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port on December 3rd. This advantageous port will provide an alternative route to the land-locked boundaries of Afghanistan and allow it open doors to global markets. It is also an important passage between India and Afghanistan, detouring the hindrances triggered by Pakistan. According to Hindu, the capacity of this new leeway extends from 2.5 million tons to 8 million tons. Through the construction of this port in the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province of Iran; India, Afghanistan and Iran have reconfirmed their allegiance in ensuring peaceful bilateral trade and economic development. The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that the three countries are committed to solving disputes regarding regional connectivity.

Reports from The Times of India recognized the Chabahar port as a challenge to the Gwadar port of Pakistan, located 80 km away. This port developed by China is crucial to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. One of the key benefits of Chabahar port is that it will equip India is guarding Chinese activities in the Arabian Sea.

The first phase of the Chabahar port project – Shahid Beheshti port, will not only enhance India’s entry to Iran, but will also act as a chief pathway to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the water, railway and road links shared by Europe, India, Iran Russia and whole of Central Asia.

Sources: The Hindu, The Times of India 

US strangling pollution ridden India by exporting dirty fuel

Dirty fuel waste that the US refineries are unable to sell elsewhere is being to the already pollution ridden India. The main dirty fuel that comes to India from the US is the Petroleum coke, more popularly referred to as the pet coke. It is basically a leftover of the already refined Canadian tar sands and various other heavy oils. Pet coke contains 17 times more sulphur than common coal and also emits more earth-warming carbon. This is very dangerous to the environment as also to the living beings and that forms the main reason why American industries are denying to use it.

India being power hungry and finding this pet coke cheap, are consuming it more and more. And this pet coke is acting as a catalyst to the already degraded environmental condition of this country. As reported by The Times of India, US had send more that eight million metric tons of pet coke to India in 2016.

Health and environment experts are saying that, by exporting harmful fuel to India, US is only exporting a crucial environmental problem from one country to another, instead of curbing it.  According to the Gulf News “We should not become the dust bin of the rest of the world. We certainly can’t afford it, we are choking to death already”, said Sunita Narain, a member of the pollution control authority and is also the head of the Delhi based Center for Science and Environment.

Sources- Times of India, Gulf News

India cricket team opposes long tours, demands pay hike

The Indian cricket team has actively opposed long tours. In doing so, they have followed the likes of England, Australia, and South Africa.  

The Indian team management believes that the Future Tours Programme (FTP) should be arranged in such a way that players get enough rest before every series. The issue of cricket scheduling was addressed during a meeting in New Delhi. This meeting involved the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the team management. Earlier, skipper Virat Kohli had raised concerns about the cricket schedule, stating that it needs to less hectic. The discussion also raised concerns about the lack of practice before matches 

The issue of a pay hike for cricketers was also discussed as skipper Kohli, former skipper MS Dhoni and coach Ravi Shastri met CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana EduljiRai spoke to reporters post the meeting and revealed that the demand for a pay hike has been accepted and sooner than later, Test cricketers will receive a hike of 100 percent or more  

Kohli and Shastri were satisfied with the meeting and held that the discussions were quite ‘reasonable’. 

BCCI to retire Sachin Tendulkar’s No. 10 jersey unofficially

Sachin Tendulkar was always seen with his No. 10 jersey on the field. The jersey will not be worn for international matches as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to retire the same unofficially.

India Today informed that the little master wore the famous No. 10 jersey during the ODI match against Pakistan in March 2012. He was seen with it during one day and T20 international matches.

Times Now mentioned that this sudden decision was made after the social media trolls that did the rounds when player Shardul Thakur wore it during his debut match against Sri Lanka. The new player was trolled by people in social media, including cricket players like Rohit Sharma. Thakur informed that he chose the same since it was based on his birth date. Harbhajan Singh spoke in favor of the young cricketer. He also suggested that it could have been a way to acknowledge the immense contribution of the master blaster to cricket.

A BCCI official said that ICC does not allow retiring a jersey. It is however not mandatory to wear any given number. Retiring it unofficially seems to be a way out to avoid unnecessary criticism of players through social media. It can, however, be worn during a non-international A list match.

Premium processing of US H-1B visas resumes

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommenced processing H-1B visas five months after it had suspended the services temporarily to manage the rush of new petitions. The premium processing of the H-1B work visas will be in all categories but subject to the limit set by the Congress.

The upper limit set for FY 2018 is 65,000 H-1B visas. In addition, work has also begun on the annual 20,000 petitions to hire employees with a US higher educational degree. This service is only available for the pending request and not new submissions.

USCIS takes 15 days to clear the visa under premium processing. According to the Times of India, “If the 15-calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows US companies to employ foreign workers possessing theoretical or technical expertise in speciality occupations. The visa is popular among the Indian IT professionals as technology companies use it to hire employees each year.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

SC to hear Rohingyas’ plea on Oct 3.

The Supreme Court on September 18, 2017, decided to hear the plea filed by Rohingya Muslims on October 3. Two Rohingya immigrants, who filed the plea, asked for apex court’s intervention in regards with the deportation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.
According to the media reports, the Union home ministry has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in which it called Rohingya Muslims a security threat to the country, reported Firstpost. The centre also added that the right to move and settle in the country can only be enjoyed by the citizens of India and any illegal immigrant will face the jurisdiction.
According to a report in the Times of India, the centre will present all the intelligence inputs before the court on October 3.
The Supreme Court has also refused to issue any notice to the National Human Rights Commission, which supports the Rohingyas and is ready to argue against the deportation.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren RIjiju, said, “It is a sensitive matter. Whatever government will do, will be in nation’s interest.”, reported the Statesman.

Image Sources: Reuters

No agreement on Indus Water Treaty : World Bank

The second round of talk between India Pakistan was held on  September 14-15 in Washington discuss the Indus water Treaty and the technical issues of the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric power plants within its framework and  was concluded without an agreement.

In the official statement World bank stated,” “Both countries and the World Bank appreciated the discussions and reconfirmed their commitment to the preservation of the Treaty. While an agreement has not been reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the Treaty provisions.”

In the two day discussion, The Indian delegation was led by the Union Water Resources Secretary Amarjit Singh along with the representatives from It also had representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs and India’s Indus Water Commission. The World bank has shown its commitment to assist both the countries to solve the dispute and settle the issues in good faith.

In August 2017 India was allowed to build hydroelectric power plants on the Jhelum and Chenab Rivers after the first round of talks but Pakistan has opposed the design of the plant of technical grounds.


Business Standard , NDTV