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November 8, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



The diplomatic and strategic relationship between the United States and Israel has remained a subject of enduring importance, with its foundations dating back to Israel’s establishment in 1948. The nature of this relationship, its evolution, and its role in contemporary geopolitics have significant implications, particularly in conflict situations like the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.

Origins of U.S.-Israel Ties

  • Early Support for Jewish Homeland: The United States exhibited support for the concept of a Jewish homeland in Palestine even before Israel’s official declaration in 1948.
  • Recognition of Israel: President Harry Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948 demonstrated the United States’ early support and confidence in the newly formed state.
  • Turning Point in 1967: The U.S.-Israel relationship shifted notably after Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, where Israel’s success against Arab nations viewed as Soviet allies highlighted its significance to counter Soviet influence in the Middle East.

Current Status of U.S.-Israel Ties

  • Unconditional Support: Israel receives unwavering financial, military, and political support from the U.S., being the largest beneficiary of U.S. aid with an annual $3.8 billion in military assistance.
  • Robust Defense Partnership: The U.S. and Israel have a deep defense partnership, collaborating on research, development, and weapons production.
  • UN Security Council Veto: The U.S. has frequently used its veto power to block resolutions critical of Israel in the UN Security Council.
  • Consistent Military Support: Since the 1973 Yom Kippur war, the U.S. has consistently provided military assistance to Israel during conflicts.

Historical Tensions and Clashes

  • Leadership Clashes: Disagreements between U.S. Presidents and Israeli Prime Ministers occurred, but they did not substantially impair the bilateral relationship.
  • Instances of U.S. Pressure: Certain instances witnessed U.S. pressure on Israel, notably during President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords and President George W. Bush’s call for Israel to retreat from the West Bank in 2002.
  • Iran Nuclear Deal Disagreement: The divergence between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the Iran nuclear deal highlighted ideological differences.

Why the U.S. Always Backs Israel

  • Strategic Significance: Israel’s strategic position in a tumultuous region has made it a valuable ally for the U.S. against Soviet expansion during the Cold War and a stabilizing force in the Middle East.
  • Influence of Interest Groups: Public opinion, electoral politics, and lobbying organizations like AIPAC significantly shape U.S. foreign policy towards Israel.
  • Military-Industrial Complex Ties: The close-knit relationship between the military-industrial complexes of both nations bolsters their alliance.
  • Institutional Consensus: A cumulative effect of these factors reinforces an institutional consensus in U.S. policy, solidifying the enduring bond with Israel.


The relationship between the U.S. and Israel remains deeply entrenched and influenced by historical precedence, strategic concerns, lobby groups, and consensus across political and military spheres, underscoring the endurance of this alliance despite occasional disagreements and tensions.



The CTBT stands as a critical international treaty aiming to limit nuclear proliferation and safeguard against the potential threats posed by nuclear weapons. Russia’s recent actions regarding the CTBT, aligning its position with the U.S., have significant implications for global security and disarmament.


Background of the CTBT

  • The CTBT aspires to ban all nuclear explosions, regardless of their purpose, and necessitates ratification by all 44 Annex 2 countries to be legally binding.
  • Despite 187 countries signing the treaty and 178 ratifying it, the treaty has not yet come into effect due to the required participation of Annex 2 countries.

Russian Bill to Revoke CTBT Ratification

  • Russia passed a bill through the second and third readings aiming to withdraw its ratification from the CTBT, following President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to align with the U.S.’s position on the treaty.

Status of CTBT Signatories

  • Among the 44 Annex 2 countries, North Korea, India, and Pakistan have not signed the CTBT.
  • China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and the U.S. have signed but not ratified the treaty.
  • Nine nations possess nuclear weapons, while the remaining 35 nations possess nuclear power and research reactors.

Historical Progression and Birth of CTBT

  • Historical treaties like the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 paved the way for the creation of the CTBT in 1996.
  • The treaty established a comprehensive verification regime comprising the International Monitoring System, International Data Centre, and On-Site Inspections.

CTBT’s Impact on Nuclear Tests

  • Since the CTBT opened for signatures, the number of nuclear tests has significantly reduced, contrasting the extensive nuclear testing era from 1945 to 1996.

Potential Global Ramifications

  • Russia’s move might prompt other nations to reconsider their CTBT ratification, possibly undermining global efforts toward nuclear disarmament.
  • Timely amid perceived geopolitical tensions, such as in Ukraine, Russia assures this change does not necessarily indicate an immediate intention to test nuclear weapons unless instigated by the U.S.


The recent actions by Russia regarding the CTBT underscore the treaty’s complexity and global implications, especially concerning disarmament efforts and geopolitical stability. This development warrants cautious observation regarding its potential effects on global nuclear security and disarmament goals.



China is owed more than a trillion dollars through its Belt and Road project, making it the biggest debt collector in the world, a report said this week, with an estimated 80 percent of the loans supporting countries in financial distress.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure and economic development strategy launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping to position China as a global superpower. Though designed to address global infrastructure deficits, the BRI has raised debates regarding environmental impacts, debt sustainability, and international opposition.


Core Objectives and Initiatives

  • Infrastructure Development: The BRI’s fundamental goal is promoting infrastructure in participating nations, as demonstrated by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), aiming to challenge international lending institutions.
  • Economic Order and Global Influence: Initially, President Xi focused on establishing local currencies in trade, aiming to diminish reliance on the US dollar and consolidate an economic order centred on China. The BRI acted as a diplomatic tool to expand China’s influence globally.
  • Cooperation and Investment: Over 200 cooperation agreements were signed with over 150 nations, with significant investments exceeding $380 billion by 2022, addressing the immense global infrastructure deficit.

Challenges and Unsustainable Realities

  • Infrastructure Gap and Global Deficit: While aimed at bridging the global infrastructure deficit, the BRI’s promises have been marred by reports citing ecological damages, displacement of local communities, and labour disputes, revealing unsavoury ground realities in projects.
  • Debt Concerns and Imbalances: Several concerns have emerged about debt sustainability and revenue-sharing imbalances, particularly highlighted by projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), indicating China’s disproportionate benefits.

Alternatives and International Response

  • Counter Initiatives: Global efforts, such as the United States-Japan infrastructure investment alternatives, the Biden administration’s ‘Build Back Better World’ (B3W), and the G-20 Delhi summit’s proposal for the India-Middle East-Europe Corridor (IMEC), offer alternatives to the BRI.
  • India’s Opposition and Concerns: India, opposing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor due to sovereignty issues and unsustainable debt, faces challenges in internationalizing these concerns.


As the BRI completes a decade, uncertainties persist regarding its trajectory, especially considering China’s economic challenges. The BRI’s adaptability and response to evolving global dynamics remain key areas of scrutiny in the international arena.



The Indian Air Force (IAF) is in the process of phasing out its long-serving MiG-21 fighter jets, marking a significant transition in its combat aircraft fleet. The MiG-21, which has been in service since 1963, played a crucial role in various conflicts and served the nation for nearly six decades. This development is part of the IAF’s modernization efforts and replacement of aging aircraft.

The Legacy of MiG-21:

  • The MiG-21 was India’s first supersonic fighter aircraft, inducted in 1963, and participated in major conflicts, including the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War and the 1999 Kargil conflict.
  • Several squadrons of MiG-21s played a pivotal role in these wars, dominating the skies and influencing the enemy’s will to fight.
  • Over its service life, the MiG-21 fleet encountered around 400 accidents, resulting in the loss of nearly 200 pilots.


Phasing Out and Replacement:

  • The No. 4 squadron ‘OORIALS’ flew the MiG-21 for the last time in October 2023 and is transitioning to the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft.
  • The IAF, which had a sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons, currently operates 31 squadrons.
  • Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari announced that the MiG-21s will be retired by 2025, with the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1A filling the gap.

The Future of the IAF:

  • The IAF has inducted two squadrons of the LCA Tejas and two squadrons of Rafale fighter jets in recent years, bolstering its squadron strength.
  • The IAF signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 83 LCA Mk1A, deliveries of which will commence in early 2024.
  • Plans to procure an additional 97 LCA-Mk1A variants are in progress, totaling 180 Mk1A aircraft, while developments of the LCA-Mk2 and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) continue.


The retirement of MiG-21 fighter jets signifies the IAF’s commitment to modernization and replacing aging aircraft with newer, indigenous, and advanced options, ensuring a robust and capable air force for the future.



  • The World Health Organization (WHO) Global TB Report for 2022 reveals significant developments in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) after disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Despite these improvements, TB remains the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent globally, and there have been challenges in achieving the WHO’s End TB Strategy milestones.
  • In the year 2022, there were 7.5 million new cases of TB diagnosed, marking the highest number since the inception of global TB monitoring in 1995. This surpasses the pre-COVID baseline and previous peak of 7.1 million in 2019, with an increase from 5.8 million in 2020 and 6.4 million in 2021.
  • The increase is attributed to a backlog of delayed diagnoses and treatments resulting from COVID-related disruptions to health services.
  • India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, responsible for a substantial reduction in new TB cases in 2020 and 2021, saw a recovery in 2022. TB led to approximately 1.30 million deaths in 2022, approaching the 2019 level.
  • The disruptions caused nearly half a million excess TB-related deaths during 2020-2022. These statistics underscore the ongoing challenges and the need for sustained efforts to combat TB globally.



  • Russia recently conducted a test of the Bulava Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from the Borei-class submarine, Imperator Alexander III.
  • This ICBM measures 12 meters in length and can reach a distance of approximately 8,000 kilometers. The Borei-K class submarines boast a hydrodynamic hull designed to decrease acoustic emissions, thereby reducing the acoustic signature of the boats.
  • ICBMs, known for their range of over 5,500 kilometers, are instrumental in delivering nuclear warheads.
  • Nations including North Korea, Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, India, and Israel have acknowledged their possession of land-based ICBMs.
  • India’s Agni-5, an ICBM, was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.



A new gecko species, Cnemaspis rashidi, was recently found in the Western Ghats close to Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu.



Identified as a new species, it marks the 94th species in the gecko family and is dubbed Rashid’s dwarf gecko due to its diminutive size among its genus.

The gecko measures about two inches from snout to vent, being among the smallest in its genus.

Discovered at an elevation of 1,245 meters within the Kottamalai estate near Rajapalayam.


November 8, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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