Daily Current Affairs
1. Pakistan could become world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state: Report
Pakistan currently has 140 to 150 nuclear warheads and the stockpile is expected to increase to 220 to 250 by 2025 if the current trend continues, according to a latest report by authors keeping a track of the country’s nukes. The current estimate of 140 to 150 nuclear weapons exceeds the projection made by the US Defense Intelligence Agency in 1999 that Pakistan would have 60 to 80 warheads by 2020. Over the past decade, the US assessment of nuclear weapons security in Pakistan appears to have changed considerably from confidence to concern, particularly as a result of the introduction of tactical nuclear weapons, the report said. Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems and a growing fissile materials production industry.
2. Unmanned boat completes first Atlantic trip from Canada to Ireland
The SB Met, built by Norwegian company Offshore Sensing AS, reached the finish line of the Microtransat Challenge for robotic boats, two and a half months after setting off from Newfoundland made history by becoming the first unmanned sailboat to cross the Atlantic. It’s a milestone that shows the technology for unmanned boats is robust enough to carry out extended missions that can dramatically cut costs for ocean research, border security, and surveillance in rough or remote waters. They’re part of wider efforts to develop autonomous marine vessels such as robotic ferries and cargo and container ships that could be operating by the end of the decade, outpacing attempts to commercialize self-driving cars. Under the Microtransat’s rules, boats up to 2.4 meters (2.6 yards) long can sail between Europe and the Caribbean or North America and Ireland. They must regularly transmit location data.
The Sailbuoy competed in the “unmanned” class, which allows operators to change its course along the way. There’s a separate “autonomous” class that prohibits any such communication.
3. Anshula Kant appointed new SBI MD; to serve till September 2020
The government appointed Anshula Kant as Managing Director of State Bank of India. Anshula Kant will serve as the MD till she attains the age of superannuation on September 30, 2020, or until further orders, whichever is earlier. With her appointment, the India’s largest public sector bank has total three MDs, including PK Gupta and DK Khara.
4. India and US armies to carry out two-week combat exercise in Uttarakhand, aim to enhance counter-terror cooperation
Armies of India and the US will hold their annual combat exercise “Yudh Abhyas” at Chaubatia in Uttarakhand from 16 to 29 September with an aim to enhance interoperability between the two forces. The exercise will also focus on enhancing counter-terror cooperation. The scope and intensity of this year’s exercise will be much wider, in reflection of upswing in defence ties between the two countries. Around 400 soldiers from each side are expected to participate in the exercise.
The two countries signed a path-breaking agreement which will allow Indian defence forces to receive military-grade communications equipment from the US and ensure access to real-time encrypted information. The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) will also help India to obtain critical defence technologies from the US. In July, the US announced granting India the status of Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 (STA-1) country, the only South Asian nation to be given the designation along with the US’ NATO allies like South Korea, Australia and Japan. The STA-1 status will help India get critical technology from the US in the defence and certain other key areas. The move is expected to further facilitate India-US trade and technology collaboration in defence and high technology areas. Currently there are 36 countries on the STA-1 list. Till recently, India was designated as STA-2 countries, along with seven others. In June 2016, the US had designated India as ‘major defence partner’ intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
5. Ministry of Defence announces aeroshow
The Government has decided to hold the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru from 20-24 February 2019. This five-day event will combine a major trade exhibition for the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows. Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from across the world. It will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry. Besides giving fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of Make in India. The Department of Defence Production is committed to make this a successful and result oriented show.