Current Affairs 2017 (July)

Iran, Iraq ink pact on military cooperation

Iran and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to step up military cooperation and the fight against terrorism and extremism.

The MoU encourages promotion of interaction and share of experiences in the fight against terrorism and extremism, border security, training and logistical, technical and military support between both countries.


Iran and Iraq are hoping that the agreement would result in deeper and more serious military cooperation between the two countries. Moreover Iran is going to continue to provide full support to establish sustainable security and stability. However, this military deal likely to trigger concerns in the United States as it has voiced concern over growing Iranian influence in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, where it is aligned with rebel Shia fighters.


Iran and Iraq had fought a bloody war for eight years from 1980 to 88 during the reign of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. But bilateral ties both countries have improved after Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003 and a government led by Shia Muslims took power in Baghdad. Iran is a predominately Shia nation. After the US withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, it became increasingly dependent on Iran on various avenues, from trade to security. Iran also is providing military advisory assistance to Iraq in its counter-terrorism campaign against Islamic State (IS), an anti-Shia Sunni terrorist group.



Former ISRO Chairman U R Rao passes away

Internationally-renowned space scientist and former chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), Udupi Ramachandra Rao passed away in Bengaluru. He was 85.

Prof Rao is credited with having played an instrumental role in building up Indian satellite programmes right from nation’s first satellite Aryabhatta.

About U R Rao

He was born on 10 March 1932 in Adamaru, Karnataka. He is alumni of Madras University, Gujarat University, Banaras Hindu University.

He had served as Chairman of ISRO from 1984 to 1994. Under his guidance, ISRO had designed more than 20 satellites including India’s first satellite Aryabhatta. Under his leadership, India had initiated the development of the geostationary launch vehicle GSLV and the development of cryogenic technology in 1991.

He was also responsible for successful launch of INSAT satellites during his stint at ISRO. He had played pivotal role in promoting the use of space technology for broadcasting, education, meteorology, disaster warning and remote sensing. He also had served as the first Chairman of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the ISRO.

He has published more than 350 scientific and technical papers in various journals covering topics like cosmic rays, high energy astronomy, interplanetary physics, space applications and satellite and rocket technology and also authored many books.

He was serving many reputed scientific research institutions and Universities as a member of their academic councils and panels. He was chancellor of Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and Nehru Planetarium at Bengaluru.

For his contribution to Indian space technology, he was awarded Padma Bhushan (1976) and Padma Vibhushan (2017). He is the first Indian space scientist to be inducted into the prestigious ‘Satellite Hall of Fame’ in Washington DC in 2013 and also first in ‘ International Astronautics Federation (IAF) Hall of Fame’ in Mexico’s Guadalajara in May 2016.