Days after clash, China frees 10 soldiers
- Three days after clashes in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh left 20 Indian soldiers dead, the Chinese on Thursday evening released 10 Indian Army personnel, including a Lieutenant Colonel and three Majors, from their custody.
- 10 persons were released around 5 p.m. after an agreement was reached at the Major General level talks on Wednesday evening and they were returned unharmed.
- Separately, the Army clarified in a statement that there were “no Indian troops missing in action”.
India coasts to win in Security Council polls
- Terming India’s winning of a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council one of its “best performances” ever, the Union government said the majority of votes received in the General Assembly demonstrated the “goodwill” the country enjoyed.
- India secured 184 of the 192 votes, far in excess of the 128, or two-thirds minimum, it needed to be confimed. Others that won were Mexico with 187 votes, Norway 130 and Ireland 128, defeating Canada, which won 108.
Railways to terminate ₹471 cr. contract of Chinese firm
- Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL), a special purpose vehicle under the Railway Ministry, on Thursday decided to terminate a ₹471 crore signalling contract given to a Chinese firm.
- The Railways said the contract was being terminated due to “poor progress.” The move also comes a day after the Department of Telecom decided to ask the two state-run telcos — BSNL and MTNL — not to use gear by Chinese firms in its 4G upgrade.
- According to the Indian Railways, despite passage of four years, only 20% of the work has been completed. An official added that the company showed “reluctance” in furnishing technical documents, as per the contract agreement, such as logic design of electronic interlocking. Additionally, the company’s engineers or authorised personnel were not available at the project site which was a “serious constraint,” the official said.
Nepal’s new map now part of Constitution
- The Upper House of Nepal’s Parliament on Thursday passed the Second Constitution Amendment Bill 2077 (Vikram era), with all 57 members voting in favour of the new map that claims parts of Indian territory in Pithoragarh district.
- President Bidhya Devi Bhandari signed the Bill hours later in her official residence, Shital Niwas. The voting and the presidential assent completed the legislative procedure of the Bill that was taken up by the government of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.
- The process of passing the Bill — cleared unanimously by the Lower House, Pratinidhi Sabha —was fast tracked. The new map will now be part of the national emblem of Nepal. The Parliament Secretariat had started using it in its official letterheads and posters. It is likely to be featured prominently on the promotional tourism documents.
- The formal inclusion of the map gives a rare guarantee to the physical territory of the Nepalese state that makes negotiations with India on the Kalapani issue difficult. However, Nepal has maintained that it is open for dialogue. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said the amendment amounts to “artificial enlargement of claims that are not based on historical fact or evidence and is not tenable”.