Current Affairs – March, 2019

Pentagon authorises fund transfer to build US-Mexico Border Wall

The Pentagon has notified the US Congress that it has authorised the transfer of USD 1 billion to begin building a new wall along the US-Mexico border. This transfer of funds is first under the national emergency declared by President Trump to bypass Congress and build the border wall President Trump had pledged during his 2016 election campaign.

Why President Trump is adamant on US-Mexico Border Wall despite opposition?

US-Mexico Border Wall was on one of the key promises made by President Trump when he was campaigning to become president. With two years into the presidency, President Trump wants to deliver on his promise.

This proposed border wall between US and Mexico is designed to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the US through the porous borders. At present, there is 650 miles of barrier along the border which is 1,900 miles long. Hence President Trump plans to build a 1,000-mile wall made out of steel to prevent people from crossing the US-Mexico border.

Even though he had originally stated that Mexico would be forced to pay for the construction of the wall, the US is now forced to pay for the construction from its own pocket. Mexico has categorically rejected paying for the wall.

The notification by the Pentagon states that USD 1 billion will go toward building nearly 92km of fencing, improving roads and other measures on the southern border.

Mission Shakti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India has successfully test-fired an anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile by shooting down a live satellite. The project named as Mission Shakti was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was aimed at strengthening India’s overall security.

Key Facts about Mission Shakti

  • DRDO-developed A-SAT system successfully destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit.
  • India is only the fourth country after the U.S., Russia and China to have the A-SAT technology.
  • The PM Narendra Modi in his address has made clear that the intent of DRDO’s “Mission Shakti” is to defend India’s space assets and not to start an arms race in space.
  • The indigenous development of the A-SAT technology will have many spin-offs that India can exploit for civilian commercial use.
  • The test was carried out from the Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam Island launch complex off the coast of Odisha by the DRDO.
  • Since the test was done in the lower atmosphere, whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the earth within weeks.
  • Mission Shakti does not violate the 1967 Outer Space Treaty of which India is a signatory. The treaty prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.

The ASAT test was not directed against any country. India’s space capabilities neither threaten any country nor are they directed against anyone. But as an added advantage the capability achieved through the anti-satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long-range missiles and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.