With the growing instances of attacks on healthcare workers and police officers, who are engaged in tracking and treating patients suffering from COVID-19, at least two states, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have booked offenders under the National Security Act. Though the invocation of the National Security Act is necessary under these circumstances, changes must be made so that this law is not exploited by the authorities due to the loopholes that exist within its provisions.
Since conducting its second nuclear tests in 1998, India had adhered to a self-imposed commitment to “No First Use” of nuclear weapons on another country. However, on August 16th, 2019, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had hinted that in future India’s “no first use” policy “depends on circumstances”. Following this episode, the Defence Minister had effectively reduced the already bleak chances of India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. However, in the current situation, it matters very little for India as it already has the necessary benefits it needs to expand and operate its nuclear programme.
On July 24, 2019, the Lok Sabha has passed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. This bill, if made into a law, will replace the already existing Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Ever since its presentation in the lower house, this bill has been a subject of controversy. This bill is considered by some to be draconian in nature.
According to Amnesty International, the act once amended can designate any individual a terrorist, thus violating international human rights laws and opening the floodgate of harassment of the Human Rights defenders and activists.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, had grey listed Pakistan in June 2018 for not cutting down the finances of terrorist groups within its soil. Greylisting puts Pakistan under international scrutiny to prove its compliance with FATF norms. Notably, the greylisting move was initiated by the US.
Even with greylisting measures, Pulwama terror attack happened in February 2019 = FATF (with India’s lobbying) threatens Pakistan that it will be moved to the blacklist due to its failure to comply with the action plan which was due May 2019. Blacklisting could virtually cut all financial flows to Pakistan.
This big-picture article explains the following in an analytical manner with a mindmap for quick revision.
- What is the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)?
- How FATF works?
- What is the grey list and blacklist?
- What is the issue with Pakistan?
- Why the US initiated the move?
- What are the implications of placing Pakistan on FATF watchlist?
- Has Pakistan changed with external Pressures?
- Why has Pakistan failed to comply with or curtail terror funding?
- What is the way forward?
Recently, the DRDO’s anti-satellite missile system (ASAT) project named Mission Shakti successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) (300 km altitude). With this test, India became the fourth country after the US, Russia, and China to achieve the feat. It is considered to be a milestone for the institutions and a significant development in terms of strengthening the country’s overall security. However, the test also sparked controversy regarding space militarization and space debris.
The Official Secrets Act (OSA) has been in the news recently due to the debate over ‘stolen documents’ in Rafale case. The Attorney-General has suggested “criminal action” against those responsible for making ‘stolen documents’ public.OSA is a colonial-era law that seeks to ensure secrecy and confidentiality in governance especially on national security and espionage issues.However, successive governments have faced criticism for misusing the law against journalists and whistleblowers thus violating their right to freedom of speech and expression.
Recently, the Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against 10 people, including student leaders in a sedition case for allegedly raising “anti-national slogans” during an event on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in February 2016.
In addition to this, as many as 12 Aligarh Muslim University students, including the university’s students’ union chief, were recently booked under sedition charges after a complaint of alleged assault was filed by an ABVP member.
In another instance where an Assamese scholar and two others were slapped with sedition charges for remarks made against the proposed citizenship law.
These fit a disturbing trend of many incidents in recent times where “misguided” people have been termed “anti-national” and has filed charges of sedition.
Notably, the law commission is in the process of revisiting the section 124A of Indian Penal Code and calls for a thorough reconsideration and presents the different issues with respect to it before the public for a national debate.
Various experts have been demanding a revision of India’s nuclear doctrine which they claim to be not in tune with the current realities and security situations.