chinese army’s secret ‘61398’ unit spying on india’s defense and research

The Chinese Army’s secret unit ‘61398’, known for cyber espionage, is eyeing information related to India’s defense and research, the security agencies sounded an alert on Monday. According to a report of the security agencies, this secret unit of the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) has intensified its activities against India.

Chinese

Many cases have been reported in the last few months in which Chinese hackers associated with the PLA attempted to gather sensitive information of the country through cyber espionage.

Headquartered in Datong Avenue of Pudong district in China’s Shanghai, unit ‘61398’ is witnessing a spurt in these activities, asserted an officer deployed in the central security speaking to Zee Media. “Through unit ‘61398’, China has been engaged in gathering information like cyber, space, and geolocation intelligence around the world for a long time. These units are found to be very active against India,” said the officer.

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Since 2015, PLA has centralized its space, cyber and electronic warfare (EW) assets in the newly raised PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF). Therefore the unit ‘61398’ which deals with cyber warfare and was under erstwhile 3 PLA (General Staff Department Third Department) have been subordinated under the network system department of the PLASSF.

Another officer who is aware of the development said that there is a report of at least three cyber hackers supporting cyber espionage activities. Recently, there have been attempts made by these hackers to send a special computer program worldwide by attaching malware tools to cyber espionage. Icebug, Hidden Lynx (a professional advanced persistent threat using the program), and APT-12 have been used for attacking government and industrial organizations by Chinese hackers.

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In 2014, the US had charged five PLA military officers for espionage and they were part of unit ‘61398’. The US agencies believe that, like Unit ‘61398’, many such groups exist in China with the active support of the PLA, who are engaged in cyber spying around the world.

Many analysts believe China now has the capability to successfully target critical infrastructure during the war. There is also concern that Chinese hackers may disrupt the electric grid and banking system through cyber attacks.

IAF’s Rafale jets stand no chance against its J-20

The five French Rafale fighter jets arrived at Ambala airbase in Haryana on July 29 after covering a distance of nearly 7,000 km to join the Indian Air Force. Seen as India’s first major acquisition of fighter jets in over two decades, the Rafales are expected to significantly boost IAF’s capabilities.

Rafale

In terms of comparison, Rafale is more capable than Pakistan’s F-16 or China’s J-20, an aircraft that is yet to see combat. According to former IAF chief BS Dhanoa, Rafale is a game-changer, and the Chinese J-20 doesn’t even come close.

However, expectedly, Chinese experts have a difference of opinion. They claim that Rafale is just a third-plus fighter aircraft and doesn’t stand much of a chance against a ‘stealth, fourth-generation jet like the J-20.”

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As per a report published in the Chinese daily Global Times, which is also a mouthpiece of the Communist Party, Zhang Xuefeng, a military expert says that Rafale is only about one-fourth of a generation more advanced than the Su-30 MKI jets.

“In some combat performance areas, the Rafale is superior to the Su-30 MKI fighter jets, which are in service in the Indian air force in large batches, but it is only about one-fourth of a generation more advanced and does not yield a significant qualitative change,” the report quoted the expert as saying.

“The Rafale is comparable to other third-plus generation fighter jets used by other countries, but it will find it very difficult to confront a stealth-capable fourth-generation fighter jet,” he further said.

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Notably, China’s claims cannot be taken at face value following the clashes in Ladakh that left 20 India soldiers dead. Reportedly, 43 PLA soldiers, including a Commanding Officer, was killed in the clash as well but China did not acknowledge their death.

The two countries are engaged in talks for disengagement at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

India had signed a deal worth over Rs 60,000 crore with France in September 2016 for 36 Rafales to meet the emergency requirements of the IAF.

Karnataka Lockdown: State govt issues ‘Unlock 3’ guidelines

A day after Centre’s order regarding phase 3 of unlock, the Karnataka government on Thursday issued guidelines regarding restriction on various activities outside the containment zones.

The state government has allowed more activities outside containment zones during Unlock 3. Strict lockdown in containment zones will continue to be enforced till August 31.

Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed till August 31. However, online/distance learning will continue.
Karnataka Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to function from August 5 for which, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and state government’s health ministry.

According to the guidelines, all activities, except a few that have been specified, are permitted outside containment zones.

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Activities not permitted during Unlock 3 period in Karnataka:

1. Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed till 31st August 2020. Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.

2. Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.

3. International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.

4. Metro Rail.

5. Social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions and other large congregations.

Regarding Independence Day, functions at state, districts, sub-divisions, taluks, municipal and panchayat levels and ‘At Home’ functions, wherever held, will be allowed with social distancing and by following other health protocols such as wearing of masks.

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Lockdown in Karnataka Containment Zones: Lockdown will continue to remain in force in the Containment Zones till August 31, 2020.

1. Containment Zones will be demarcated by the BBMP/District authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Those Containment Zones will be notified on the websites by the respective Deputy Commissioners and by the Concerned Departments and information will be shared with MoHFW.

2. In the Containment Zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services. In the Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Guidelines of MoHFW and Department of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnatak4 shall be effectively implemented for the above purpose.

3. Activities in the Containment Zones shall be monitored strictly by the BBMP/District authorities, and the guidelines related to containment measures in these zones shall be strictly implemented.

BBMP/Districts may also identify Buffer Zones outside the Containment Zones, where new cases are more likely to occur. Within the buffer zones, restrictions, as considered necessary, may be put in place by the BBMP/District authorities.

4. BBMP/Districts based on their assessment of the Situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment Zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.

5. There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/approvals-permit will be required for such movement. However, people coming to Karnataka State from other State shall strictly adhere to the prevailing Guidelines/SOPs issued by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and Revenue Department (DM).

6. Movement of persons with SOPs: Movement by passenger trains and Shramik special trains; domestic passenger air travel; the movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the country and of specified persons to travel abroad; evacuation of foreign nationals; and sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers will continue to be regulated as per SOPs issued by Ministry of Home Affairs and other concerned Ministries.

7. Protection of vulnerable persons: Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of l0 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.

Karnataka reported 83 deaths and 6,128 new cases in the state on Thursday. With this, the total number of cases in the state stood at 1,18,632, the state health ministry said. Currently, there are 69,700 active cases, while a total of 2,230 people have lost their lives due to the pandemic till now.

Eid-ul-Adha: Two-day relaxation for shopping in Srinagar

As people continue to gather for Eid shopping despite restrictions, the district administration in Srinagar on Tuesday allowed the shops to from 9 am to 5 pm on July 29, 30.

Shops to open with strict adherence to COVID-19 preventive guidelines. Maximum penalties in the form of sealings, fines will be imposed against violators.

shopping

Essential services shops will open for two days on 29 and 30 July with strict adherence to notified COVID-19 preventive guidelines in Srinagar, the district administration said.

The two-day relaxation in lockdown has been given in view of the Eid festival later this week, said a spokesman of the district administration on Tuesday.

The shops dealing in essential services and commodities will open from 9 am to 5 pm. Business establishments dealing in non-essential services and commodities will remain shut till further notification to this effect.

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In view of the COVID-19 situation in the district, there will be strict adherence to COVID-19 preventive protocols mandating face mask and distancing guidelines.

Violations will attract maximum penalties – in the form of sealings and fines – under the Disaster Management Act.

Enforcement teams – several in each tehsil – have been activated across the district to ensure adherence and strict action against violations wherever noticed or reported. Both shops and shoppers will be under the watch of these teams to check violations, Srinagar administration said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, the Srinagar district administration has constituted and notified joint market-checking teams to prevent overpricing of commodities during Eid shopping.

Earlier on Monday, people came out of their houses in Srinagar for the purpose of shopping with maximum shops seen open late in the evening.

India’s COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate drops to 2.28%

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday stated that India’s COVID-19 case fatality rate has now dropped to 2.28%, which is one of the lowest in the world.

The Ministry informed that with effective Containment Strategy, aggressive testing, and standardized clinical management protocols, they have been able to control the death rates caused by the virus.

fatality

“The focused efforts of Centre and State/UT governments on early detection and isolation through aggressive testing and efficient clinical management of hospitalized cases have shown results with continuously falling Case Fatality Rate and improving Recovery Rate,” said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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They added, “With effective containment strategy, aggressive testing and standardized clinical management protocols based on holistic Standard of Care approach, the Case Fatality Rate has significantly dipped.”

Centre, the State/UT governments have ramped up the testing and hospital infrastructure by combining public and private sector efforts, health ministry went on to say.

India on Monday (July 27, 2020) reported 30,000 recoveries per day for the fourth successive day.

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According to the latest health bulletin, there were 31,991 patients who were discharged in the last 24 hours.

This has taken the total recoveries beyond 9 lakh and the number currently stands at 9,17,567, while the Recovery Rate has bettered to 64%.

“As a result of low mortality and more people recovering, the recovered cases exceed the active cases (4,85,114) by 4,32,453 today. Medical attention continues to be provided to all active cases in hospitals and home settings,” said the Union Health Ministry.

However, India recorded the highest-single day spike on Monday in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. With over 49,931 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 count on this day crossed the 14.35 lakh-mark, while the death toll has crossed the 32,700-mark as well.

Amidst rising tensions, China orders closing down

As tensions between United and China escalates, the latter has now ordered the US to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu. The development comes after US ordered China to shut down its consulate in Houston, reported South China Morning Post.

tensions

The US maintains five consulates on the Chinese mainland – in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Chengdu, and Wuhan – as well as a consulate general for Hong Kong and Macau.

Earlier, The United States had ordered China to close by Friday its consulate in Houston, Texas, over accusations of massive illegal spying and influence operations in the US.

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Slamming the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) amidst escalating US-China tensions, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Thursday said that “distrust and verify” is Washington’s new approach towards tackling issues with Beijing.

“The only way to truly change communist China is to act on the basis of what its leaders do, not what they say. (Former) President (Ronald) Reagan dealt with the Soviets on the basis of ‘trust but verify.’ When it comes to the CCP, I say, ‘Distrust and verify’,” Pompeo said while speaking on ‘Communist China and the Free World’s Future’ at Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.

He said that the ‘free nations of the world’ must come together and bring about change in CCP’s behavior in ‘creative and assertive ways’.

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This comes as tensions rise between the world’s two largest economies over several issues, including trade practices, coronavirus, and Chinese aggression in its vicinity. 

Moreover, the US has decided to stop WHO’s funding, accusing the organisation of being China’s puppet. The country further blamed China of concealing information about the deadly virus which has spread across the world, killing millions.

EU briefed by India, China on border clashes

The European Union has been briefed by both New Delhi and Beijing on the recent India-China border clashes, with Brussels welcoming the recent de-escalatory steps between the two countries.

border

An EU official, ahead of the India-EU summit said, “We have certainly received detailed information on how the two government see clashes at the border. But what is most important is they are talking to each other–at diplomatic, military and even the political level.”

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Welcoming the de-escalation, EU officials said, “Pleased to see since the deadly clashes took place at LAC” and “both sides having committed to show restraint and engage in military de-escalation and engage in dialogue.”

China and India have started de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with areas such as Galwan Valley, Hot springs and Gogra witnessing complete de-escalation.

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“We trust both Indian and Chinese authorities and look to continue the dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution to the differences and it is particularly important when 2 of the world’s powerful and influential players like India and China…have this immediate de-escalation,” the EU official further added. “It is crucial for global stability and EU supports good neighbourly relations between both.” 

EU has also expressed “interest in a number of concrete economic steps” taken by India after June 15 clashes, said another EU official when asked about India-China border row.

China will be one of the key topics of discussion at the 15th India-EU summit that will take place virtually on Wednesday at 4.30 PM IST. EU will be represented by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and India will be represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell will also join.

‘India laying red carpet for you’: PM Modi woos global

Amid coronavirus challenge, India remains one of the most open economies in the world and is laying a red carpet for all global companies to come and establish their presence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as he wooed global businesses. 

global

Speaking at the India Global Week 2020, Modi said green shoots of economic revival are already visible in India as it is coming out of coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

He said Asia’s third-largest economy is one of the most open in the world and offers investment friendly, competitive business environment and immense opportunities.

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“India remains one of the most open economies in the world. We are laying a red carpet for all global companies to come and establish their presence in India. Very few countries will offer the kind of opportunities India does today,” Modi said while addressing 5,000 global participants from 30 nations.

Listing out recent reforms in agriculture as well as those in defence and space sectors to seek global capital, Modi said India is making the economy more productive, investment-friendly and competitive. “There are many possibilities and opportunities in various sunrise sectors in India.”

He said there is faith that India has a leading role to play in global revival in the post-COVID-19 world.

“In these times, it is natural to talk about revival. It is equally natural to link global revival and India. There is faith that the story of global revival will have India playing a leading role,” Modi said.

“When India talks of revival it is a revival with care, revival with compassion, a revival which is sustainable – both for the environment and the economy,” he said.

“On one hand India is fighting a strong battle against the global pandemic. With an increased focus on people’s health, we are equally focussed on the health of the economy,” he said.

“World over, you have seen the contribution of India’s talent-force. Who can forget the Indian tech industry and tech professionals? They have been showing the way for decades. India is a power-house of talent that is eager to contribute,” he added.

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Modi further called Indians as ‘natural reformers’, saying that history is proof of that.

“Indians are natural reformers. History shows that India has overcome every challenge be it social or economic. On one hand, India is fighting a strong battle against the global pandemic. With an increased focus on people’s health, we are equally focussed on the health of the economy,” the Prime Minister added.

“India is ready to do whatever it can to further global good and prosperity. This is an India that is reforming, performing and transforming,” he said.

Speaking on the government’s coronavirus relief package, Modi said, “In this time of a pandemic we have provided relief to our citizens and undertaken big structural reforms.”

“Our relief package has been smart and targeted to provide the most poor with the most help. Thanks to technology every penny has reached the beneficiaries directly,” he said.

On the self-reliant India campaign, he said, “Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not about being self-contained or being closed to the world. It is about being self-sustaining and self-generating.”

India Global Week 2020 is a three-day virtual conference themed ‘Be The Revival: India and a Better New World’. Other high profile speakers participating at the event include External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.

Foreign speakers include UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Ambassador to India Ken Juster among others.

Vikas Dubey did wrong, deserved this fate-Richa Dubey

Richa Dubey, the wife of slain gangster Vikas Dubey who was killed in an encounter by the police on Friday morning, said that her husband did wrong and deserved this fate.

Vikas

“Yes yes yes. Vikas did wrong and he deserved this fate” she said, in an agitated tone when reporters asked her whether Vikas deserved this fate.

She said it when the last rites of her husband were being performed at Bhairoghat in Kanpur. Angry over the reporters, she accused them of being responsible for Dubey’s encounter and asked them to leave the place.

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The last rites were performed by Dubey’s brother-in-law Dinesh Tiwari at the electric crematorium in the presence of his wife and son, Superintendent of Police, Rural, Brijesh Srivastava informed.

A heavy police force was deployed around Bhairoghat.

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Vikas Dubey was killed on Friday morning after being critically injured in an alleged shootout with STF officials. He was shot when he reportedly tried to flee, following a road accident in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned.

Dubey was taken to the emergency ward of the Hallett Hospital in a blood-soaked condition.

Vikas received a bullet injury on the chest which proved fatal. Two STF personnel were also injured in the encounter.

COVID-19 tests in the country have crossed the 1 crore

The number of COVID-19 tests in the country have crossed the 1 crore (10 million) mark as the number of total cases crossed seven lakh on Monday, government data showed.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare termed the milestone of one crore tests a “significant achievement.”

COVID-19

 

“This signifies the importance accorded to widespread testing and the focussed  “Test, Trace, Treat” strategy with several follow-up measures taken in tandem by the Central government and the states and UTs,” the Health Ministry said.

During the last 24 hours 3,46,459 samples have been tested. The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now is 1,01,35,525.

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“This achievement has also been possible by the continuously expanding network of testing labs throughout the country. As on date, more than 1105 labs have enables people to undergo COVID tests. There are 788 labs in the government sector and 317 private labs,” it said.

While there are 592 Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs, including 368 government labds and 224 private facilities, the number of TrueNat based testing labs in the country is 421 which includes 387 government centres. The number of CBNAAT based testing labs in the country is 92, including 33 government labs and 59 private centres.

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The ministry further said that the consistent and focussed efforts for containment and management of COVID-19 by the Central Government along with the states and UTs have led to the number of recovered cases among COVID-19 patients rise to 4,24,432, which is above 60%.

During the last 24 hours, a total of 15,350 COVID-19 patients have been cured, it said.

There are 1,71,145 more recovered patients than COVID-19 active cases. This takes the national recovery rate amongst COVID-19 to 60.86%. There are 2,53,287 active cases and all are under active medical supervision.

Meanwhile, the latest updates provided by the states put the number of total cases in the country above seven lakh.