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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 11th October ’21 | PDF Download

A host of challenges greets India’s new Air Chief | Ind Exp

  • Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari assumed office as Chief of Air Staff on September 30 and hit the ground running in his maiden media interaction, ahead of the 89th anniversary of the Air Force on October 8.
  • With a woman officer accusing a male colleague of rape at the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore, ACM Chaudhari assured the media that the Indian Air Force (IAF) will not show any “latitude for such misconduct.”
  • Rape cannot be condoned anywhere, much less in the Indian military, which will begin inducting women into the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.
  • The IAF has played a stellar role in defending India, beginning with the 1947-48 war for Kashmir.
  • The exploits of Air Commodore Mehar Singh are legendary for the innovative use of air power in the most challenging operational environment.
  • While the combat power of the IAF was not deployed in the 1962 war with China for reasons that have more to do with the reticence and ineptitude of those at the apex of India’s higher defence, the Air Force has risen to the occasion when called upon.
  • This includes the 1965 and 1971 wars
  • The daring strategic lift wherein a transport aircraft landed on a distant island in the Indian Ocean (the Maldives) without so much as a reliable map, let alone a safe runway
  • The Siachen glacier helicopter landings with rudimentary equipment
  • The launching of precision-guided munitions in the 1999 Kargil war
  • Regular humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support during natural calamities.
  • The new Air Chief has a wide spectrum of challenges to address, including the rewiring of India’s military into new theatre commands, the reservations expressed by the IAF about its “support” role and the visible depletion in operational air assets due to obsolescence and lack of new platforms.
  • This is unfolding at a time when the country is coping with the Covid pandemic and its consequences on the exchequer, as also the geopolitical flux that includes the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the setback in Galwan apropos China which continues to fester.
  • The decline in platforms is stark and from a strength of 42 combat squadrons in 2002, the IAF now operates barely 30.
  • ACM Chaudhari noted that this shortfall in numbers would remain through this decade.
  • The purchase of 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will be a fillip even as the sturdy MIGs are finally phased out.
  • A more optimistic scenario is envisaged for the next decade, when the IAF hopes to induct the indigenous fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) — a new platform that would be built in India with a foreign entity, the “original equipment manufacturer” (OEM), and thereby move up to 35 squadrons.
  • The AMCA is “under design” and India’s track record in the design and manufacture of indigenous fighter aircraft is cost- and time-intensive.
  • As regards the MRFA, the request for information for 114 jets has just been issued.
  • The Rafale experience and the long delays associated with it would suggest that speedy selection of an OEM will be elusive.
  • Former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, has been more forthright and has cautioned that based on the acceptance of necessity accorded by the Ministry of Defence, the combat strength of the IAF will decline to 27 squadrons in five years and will come down to 19 in 10 years.
  • Air power is becoming technologically more refined with unmanned platforms, cyber-space linkages and AI advances.
  • Acquiring credible aerospace power with a meaningful degree of indigenisation will need a greater degree of national resolve, professional integrity and resource allocation than is the case now.

Bittersweet prize | Ind Exp

  • Proto-authoritarian governments have a tendency to attack those that ask questions of them: Sometimes, they literally shoot the messenger.
  • In this context, the decision of the Nobel committee to award the peace prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov “for their efforts to safeguard the freedom of expression, which is a precondition for safeguarding democracy and peace”, is an acknowledgement of the challenges of, and threats to, journalism today.
  • Ressa and Muratov have spoken truth to power, and shone a light in areas that their governments would rather leave shrouded in opacity.
  • In 2012, Ressa founded Rappler, a digital media company that has focused on investigative stories on the severe rights violations and killings by the Rodrigo Duterte regime in the Philippines.
  • Muratov has been a free speech campaigner in Russia for decades.
  • He is editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, one of the few national newspapers that has extensively reported on government corruption and state over-reach under Vladimir Putin.
  • Even in democracies, those asking questions — doing their job — are routinely targeted and villainised.
  • That the Nobel Prize for peace has recognised the importance of the Fourth Estate in protecting democracy, and holding governments to account for the rule of law, is welcome and encouraging.
  • Telling truth to power, and making sure the voices of the powerless are heard, is a profession and a vocation that should be a normal and routinised part of every society.
  • That doing the job is now, in large parts of the world, something that requires courage; that it is a battle for peace and justice that also invites a prize, is poignant.

A homecoming | TH

  • Air India, the airline started by J.R.D. Tata in the 1930s, is all set to return to the Tata fold after a 68-year-long journey as India’s state-owned flag carrier.
  • The Centre’s announcement on Friday that Tata Sons’ subsidiary Talace Pvt. Ltd. was the winning bidder for the 100% stake in the debt-laden airline rings the curtain on the government’s multi-year effort to privatise the loss-making carrier.
  • Talace emerged winner in the two-horse race by bidding to take over ₹15,300 crore of Air India’s more than ₹60,000 crore of accumulated debt and offering an additional ₹2,700 crore in cash for the Government’s equity stake.
  • For the Tatas, who have retained an abiding interest in the country’s airline industry and currently majority own both a budget carrier, AirAsia India, and a full-service airline, Vistara, the Air India acquisition brings opportunities to gain scale and synergies at a significant level.
  • With Air India and its low-cost unit, Air India Express, together serving 55 overseas destinations, holding over 3,000 landing and parking slots, operating a 141-aircraft fleet of wide-body long-haul jets and narrow body planes for shorter flights, and the parent holding membership of the 26-airline Star Alliance, the Tatas in one stroke add unparalleled global reach among Indian carriers.
  • Taxpayers’ money is deployed more meaningfully in social and strategic sectors
  • After having ploughed in more than ₹1-lakh crore of capital in the past decade alone and seeing Air India suffer a daily loss of over ₹20 crore, the Government’s desperation to cut its losses and close out a fire sale is understandable.
  • And in a bid to protect the interests of the more than 13,000 permanent and contractual staff at the airline and its unit, the government has bound Talace to ensuring there should be no job cuts for at least one year.

A probe after prodding | TH  

  • The arrest of Ashish Mishra, son of Union Minister of State for Home, Ajay Mishra, appears to be a course of action impelled mainly by the intervention of the Supreme Court, which voiced its dissatisfaction with the way the Uttar Pradesh police were handling the killing of four farmers and four others during a protest.
  • Lakhimpur-Kheri violence
  • Asking the State police chief to preserve the evidence.
  • The arrest of the Minister’s son, coming after he had skipped an earlier summons and was questioned for long hours once he appeared, is largely in response to the Court’s criticism.
  • What is known so far is that vehicles in the Minister’s convoy ploughed through a group of farmers, causing four deaths.
  • The FIR says Ashish Mishra was in one of the cars, even though he claims to have been elsewhere.
  • It is regrettable that the Union government is noticeably silent, and there appears to be no effort to advise Mr. Ajay Mishra to step down until his and his son’s names are cleared.
  • It is difficult to see how an impartial probe can go on as long as he is in office, and his party’s government in the State is seen to be soft on the accused.
  • The onus is on the Uttar Pradesh police now to conduct a credible investigation, if the Court does not replace the present set of investigators.


  • PM Modi to launch Indian Space Association today via video conferencing
  • Coal Ministry reassures that ample coal is available in country to meet demand of power plants
  • No power shortage will be there in the country: Power Minister R K Singh
  • Centre imposes stock limits on edible oils to soften its prices in domestic market
  • Over 95 cr COVID-19 vaccine doses administered so far; Recovery rate nears 98%
  • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh says, this is the golden period of agriculture happening in India under PM Modi
  • No threat of disruption in power supply; sufficient coal stock: Pralhad Joshi
  • PM Modi to launch first ever National Infrastructure Masterplan ‘PM Gati Shakti’ on Oct 13
  • Railways successfully operated two long haul freight trains Trishul, Garuda for 1st time: Long haul trains, which are twice or multiple times longer than the normal composition of freight trains, provide a very effective solution to the problem of capacity constraints in critical sections.
  • 16 killed in a Plane crash in Central Russia
  • Bangladesh to set up its second nuclear power plant: PM Sheikh Hasina
  • Indian Navy to participate in II phase of Multilateral Maritime Exercise Malabar
  • MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan to visit New York today
  • Tokyo confirms 60 new cases of coronavirus

Q.) What is the name of the biggest ever cryogenic liquid hydrogen tank delivered by HAL to ISRO, last year?

  1. SCI 20-LOX
  2. C32-LH2
  3. C94-LH6
  4. SCI 40-LYX

Q.) Abulrazak Gurnah, who won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, belongs to which country?

  1. Kenya
  2. Ghana
  3. Tanzania
  4. Somalia

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