BrahMos supersonic missile test-fired

India’s indigeneously developed surface-to-surace supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was successfully test-fired from Chandipur Test Range off the Odisha coast. BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO and NPOM of Russia. BrahMos is the first Indian missile whose life has been extended from 10 to 15 years. BrahMos has been operationalised in the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

Important Current Affairs 8th July 2018

India reconsidering fighter jet programme
India has conveyed to Russia its unwillingness to go ahead with the joint development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft primarily due to high cost involved in the project. India and Russia had signed an inter-governmental agreement for the mega project in 2007. In December 2010, India had agreed to pay USD 295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter jet.

Most valuable bank in the emerging market

HDFC Bank has gone past Russia’s Sberbank to become the most valuable bank in the emerging market outside China. HDFC Bank was one of the top performing major banks globally in 2017. The Bank’s current market capitalization is $78.4 billion. Globally, America’s JPMorgan Chase is the most valuable with a market cap of $353 billion, followed by Bank of America at $282 billion.

Economic sanctions on Russia

European Union leaders have agreed at a summit in Brussels to extend economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine for a further six months. The sanctions target whole sectors of the Russian economy including its oil businesses. The EU first imposed the sanctions on Russia in July 2014 after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July 2014 was shot down over Ukraine.

2018 FIFA World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia on June 14. Thirty-two teams from around the world will compete in the month-long tournament that concludes on July 15. Qatar will be the next host nation in 2022, a highly contested choice. This year’s World Cup mascot is a soccer-playing wolf named Zabivaka.

India bagged 3 Medals At Boxing Tournament

Indian boxers bagged one Gold and two Silver medals at the Umakhanov Memorial Tournament in the Russian city of Kaspiysk. Saweety Boora won the coveted yellow metal in the Women’s 75 kg category after beating Anna Anfinogenova (Russia) in the Final. In the Men’s section, Brijesh Yadav in the 81 kg division and Virender Kumar in 91 kgs lost their Final bouts to settle for Silver medals.

Issue of postage stamp between India & Russia

Cabinet has approved the agreement signed in connection with release of Joint Stamps between Department of Posts, India and Russia Post (MARKA) to establish postal cooperation. Bilateral relations between India and Russia are marked by broad understanding on issues of mutual interest. India and Russia enjoy enhanced levels of cooperation in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship.

India to import first Russian LNG Cargo

India will import its first ever cargo of LNG from Russia under a long-term deal. State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd will bring the shipload of LNG from Gazprom at Petronet LNG Ltd’s import terminal here, official sources said. Beginning of supplies from Russia comes within weeks of India importing its first ever LNG cargo from US under a long-term import deal.

US vetoes Arab-backed UN draft resolution

The United States vetoed an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians. Ten countries including China, France and Russia voted in favor of the draft put forward by Kuwait on behalf of Arab countries at the Security Council. Four countries Britain, Ethiopia, the Netherlands and Poland abstained.

Pankaj Saran appointed Deputy NSA

India’s envoy to Russia Pankaj Saran has been appointed as the Deputy National Security Advisor. He served twice in the Prime Minister’s Office – First as Deputy Secretary during 1995 and 1999, and then as the Joint Secretary between 2007 and 2012. He had held various positions in India & abroad including country’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh.

India, Russia conclude negotiations for S-400

India has concluded price negotiations with Russia for a nearly Rs 40,000 crore deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for the Indian Air Force. S-400 Triumf can detect, track & shoot down multiple targets including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, aircraft, drones & UAVs. S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system.

World’s longest surface-to-air missile

World’s longest surface-to-air missile test was conducted by Russia quietly. This S-500 surface-to-air missile successfully struck a target that was 299 miles away. Russia claims that this missile system is capable of destroying objects flying in space 62 miles above the Earth’s surface. It is also capable of intercepting aircrafts, drones and hypersonic missile.

India test-fired BrahMos supersonic cruise

India has successfully test-fired the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a test range along the Odisha coast. Trial was conducted to validate its “life extension” technologies developed for the first time in India by DRDO and team BrahMos. The successful test will result in huge savings of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of the Armed Forces.

World’s first floating nuclear power station

20 : Russia has unveiled the world’s first floating nuclear power station to meet its growing electricity needs. The ship holds two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that can produce enough electricity to power a town of 200,000 residents. It will be primarily used to power oil rigs as Russia pushes further north into the Arctic to drill for oil and gas and needs electricity in far-flung locations.

Putin to be sworn in as Russian President

Vladimir Putin is to be sworn in for a 4th term as president of Russia after winning the election in March. He has been in power for 18 yrs, whether as president or prime minister & opponents have likened his tenure to reign of a tsar, or emperor. The country’s best-known opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from standing against Putin, on grounds of a conviction for embezzlement.

India, Russia Sign 7 MoU at DefExpo 2018

India and Russia signed 7 MoUs at Defence Expo at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. These MoUs were signed between the Indian Private Defence sector manufacturing companies and Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for manufacture, development of spares, sub-assemblies and assemblies of identified Russian origin platforms. The MoUs were signed during third India-Russia Military-Industrial Conference held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018. INDRA (Naval Exercise) is a joint, bi-annual military exercise conducted by India and Russia starting in 2003.

India to help build plant in Bangladesh

India, Bangladesh and Russia have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the construction of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. The MoU was signed in Moscow by the Department of Atomic Energy of India, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Bangladesh and Rosatom. Russia is building the nuclear power plant in Bangladesh on a turnkey basis.

IOC Restores Russia?s Olympic Membership

International Olympic Committee has restored Russia‘s Olympic membership, following its suspension from the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang in South Korea. Russia was banned from February‘s Games by the IOC over state-sponsored doping. Before closing ceremony of Winter Olympics, the IOC had stated that the ban would be lifted, as long as there were no more anti-doping violations.

Bisaria: High Commissioner to Pakistan

India has appointed Ajay Bisaria as the next high commissioner to Pakistan. He is currently ambassador to Poland. Bisaria takes over from Gautam Bambawale, who was last month appointed India’s ambassador to China. Bisaria was in charge of the Eurasia desk that looks after India’s ties with Russia and the Central Asian republics, prior to his appointment as India’s ambassador to Poland.

Dhayal Sisters win bronze

Pune girls Divya Dhayal and Khushbu Dhayal won bronze medal in the Youth World Championship in Rosario, Argentina. The three-member Indian team of Khushbu Dhayal, Divya Dhayal and Delhi’s Sanchita Tiwari defeated Russia in the quarterfinals but lost the semifinals to US. The Youth World Archery Championship, held from October 2 to 8, in Rosario, Argentina, is held after two years.

World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship

India’s Anupama Ramachandran has clinched the World Open Under-16 Snooker Championship title at St. Petersburg in Russia. In the girls category, second seed Anupama Ramachandran of India knocked out her compatriot and top seed Keerthana Pandian by 3-1 to become World Open Under-16 champion. The Championship is being organised at St. Petersburg Russia.

First Saudi monarch to visit Russia

King Salman of Saudi Arabia will arrive in Russia to conduct the first official visit to the country by a Saudi king. Main topic of talks in Moscow will be Syria, where Russia & Saudis are backing different sides in the 6 year-long conflict. Saudi Arabia & Russia are heavily dependent on oil exports & plunge of the price of crude that began in 2014 lashed both of their economies.

Destruction Of Chemical Weapons

Russia has liquidated the last arsenals of chemical weapons in the Southwest of the country, 3 years ahead of schedule. In 2010, Moscow set a 2015 target date for eliminating its chemical stockpile and later extended it to 2020. Russia & United States are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which required them to destroy their stockpiles by 2007 with a potential extension until 2012.

Russia and Iraq restore air travel

Russia and Iraq have restored scheduled commercial airline services for the first time since 2004. An Iraqi Airways plane left Baghdad and will arrive at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. The two countries may also later agree on air travel to the Iraqi city of Basra. Russia suspended regular flights to Iraq in 2004 after the US-led invasion in 2003 plunged the Arab country into war.

Sweden holds biggest war games in 20 years

Sweden has launched its biggest war games in 2 decades with support from NATO countries amid concerns over threat posed by Russia’s growing strength. Around 1,500 troops from US, France & other NATO allies are taking part in the exercise, dubbed Aurora. Sweden has been deeply troubled by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula Crimea & its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

First-ever shipment of coal to Ukraine

The United States has sent its first shipment of anthracite coal to Ukraine from the U.S. port of Baltimore under a deal designed to increase Ukraine’s energy security. The first shipment of 62,000 tons is expected to arrive in Odesa’s Yuzhnyy port in three weeks. Most of Ukraine’s anthracite coal in the past came from parts of Donbas that are now controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Largest carmaker in world

With record profit and profitability in first half of the year the Renault-Nissan Alliance has overtaken Volkswagen & Toyota to become the largest carmaker in the world. The group sold 5,268,079 cars around the world, largely due to addition of Mitsubishi to the alliance’s stable last year. Its operation in Russia, which had been heavily loss-making, posted a profit of € 3 million.

St Petersburg Unveils Logo for Euro Cup

The official emblem of Russia’s St. Petersburg for the 2020 Euro Cup football tournament was unveiled. St. Petersburg was selected among 13 cities of 13 different countries to host the matches of the main European football tournament. The logo of St. Petersburg for the 2020 Euro Cup depicts the Palace Bridge, which “has established itself as one of the most iconic sites in the city”.

Russia Amends laws for Spares Support

Russia has amended its laws permitting lot of their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to enter into long-term agreements for spares and support for military equipment supplied to India. This will address long-standing concerns regarding import of equipment. Currently, procurement of spares is a long process as India cannot deal directly with the OEMs but with designated intermediaries.

Trump Accepts Russia Role in Hacking

US President-elect Donald Trump has accepted the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks during the US presidential election. His incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus said that Trump believed Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations. It was the first acknowledge-ment from a senior member of the president-elect’s team.

Russia Delivers Advanced Sukhoi to China

Russia has finally delivered four Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China after a delay of two years. Moscow feared that its fifth generation jet will loose value after Chinese military unveiled its J-20 stealth fighter. The Su-35 is an advanced version of the Su-30s. Russia believes that with the commissioning of the J-20, the Su-35 will soon lose its value in the Chinese market.

U.N. Backs Russian-Turkish Syria Efforts

The UN Security Council has voted to back efforts by Russia and Turkey to end fighting in Syria and plans for fresh peace talks next month. The resolution, drafted by Russia, also calls for rapid access for humanitarian aid to be delivered across the country. The resolution helps pave the way for talks in Kazakhstan between the Syrian government and opposition.

Ethiopian Running Legend Miruts Dies

Miruts Yifter, an Ethiopian running legend who inspired world-class athletes like Haile Gebrselassie has died. He earned his nickname of `Yifter the Shifter` when he claimed 10,000 gold in Russia with an electrifying burst of speed over the final 300 metre. The athlete won two gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Olympics at age 40 and a bronze at the 1972 Munich Games.

Mars Probe Returns First Pictures

Europe’s and Russia’s new satellite at Mars has sent back its first images of the planet. The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) arrived on 19 October, putting itself in a highly elliptical parking orbit. TGO passed over a region called Hebes Chasma at its closest approach, just 250km from the Martian terrain. TGO sensors NOMAD and ACS also came through their early tests successfully.

Putin Gives Russian Passport to Steven

President Vladimir Putin has presented US action film star Steven Seagal with a Russian passport. Putin called the gesture a sign of a thaw in relations with the United States. It comes after he awarded Seagal Russian citizenship through a presidential decree earlier this month. Seagal has vocally defended Putin’s policies in recent years and become a regular visitor to Russia.