Easter Sunday Attack Current Affairs - 2019

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Sri Lanka exempts Visa Fees by Indian tourists

Sri Lankan Government has exempted Indian tourists from Visa Fees for tourism purposes. This decision comes into effect from 1 August 2019. With this move India is now among 48 countries whose citizens have been exempted from visa fees by Sri Lankan government.

Key Highlights

Visa fees, which ranged from $20 to $40, will not be charged for grant of 1 month visa for tourism.

Tourists can apply for electronic travel authorisations online or even apply for visa on arrival.

Measure will be implemented for 6 months initially and a decision will be taken later for extension depending upon its impact on revenue.

As per Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe revenues from enhanced tourism arrivals is expected to offset loss of the island nation.

Why Visa Exemtion?

Sri Lankan government asserted that security situation has retuned back to normal after Easter Sunday attacks as all criminal suspects have been taken into arrest. Due to the attacks Sri Lankan tourism has been impacted but tourism authorities claimed that there is a revival seen since July 2019.

Also Indian tourist constitute maximum number of tourist to Sri Lanka with around one fourth (25%) of total tourist arrivals.

Tourism is Sri Lanka’s 3rd largest and fastest growing source of foreign currency in 2018 which account for almost 5% percent of gross domestic product (GDP in 2018).

Islamic State for first time claims ‘Province’ in India

The Islamic State (or IS, a Salafi jihadist militant group) for the first time has claimed that it has established a “province” in India. Although, ISIS began claiming attacks against Indian security forces in Kashmir since November 2017 but without any branch affiliation.

About the Claims

  • New ‘province’: claimed by Islamic State (IS) is called in Arabic as “Wilayah of Hind” (India Province), the dreaded terror outfit, (also known as ISIS and ISIL). The claims came after a militant with alleged ties to the group was killed in a clash between security forces and militants in the Kashmir region.
  • IS Claims: As per IS’s Amaq News Agency claims, the IS caused casualties on Indian army soldiers in Amshipora town in Shopian district of Kashmir. The claims by IS corresponds with killing of a militant named Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi in an encounter in Shopian. As per Military officials for more than a decade, Sofi was involved in other kashmiri militant groups before pledging allegiance to Islamic State.
  • Analysis:
    • According to Indian security experts analysis, claims by IS about establishment of a ‘province’ in Kashmir region, where it in reality IS has nothing resembling actual governance is unreasonable, but it should not be written off.
    • ISIS earlier did not elaborate on its branch’s geographical remit as mentioned in name of its new branch in India in a low-key announcement.
    • The low-key announcement of new branch is being seen as part of ISIS’ strategy to give impression of strengthening its global affiliations following territorial losses in Middle East (Iraq and Syria in April). In past, such a strategy has been highlighted by ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • Other Claims: IS also took responsibility for Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka (in which at least 253 people killed). This shows that IS has stepped up hit-and-run raids and suicide attacks.