US Current Affairs - 2019
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International Court of Justice (ICJ) has advised the UK to return the Diego Garcia (Chagos Islands) to Mauritius as rapidly as possible. The ICJ has said that Britain must give Mauritius control of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The advisory has been issued by the ICJ on the request of the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to look into the issue.
Observations made by ICJ
- In a majority opinion the court noted that the decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully complete when it attained independence because Britain carved away the Chagos Archipelago from it and retained control over it.
- Britain is under an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible.
Why the Chagos Islands had become the bone of contention?
- Mauritius was the colony of erstwhile of British Empire. With the calls of decolonisation grew stronger, the British granted independence to the Island nation Mauritius.
- But the British cut off the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 before granting it independence in 1968.
- Also, the residents of the Chagos Archipelago were forcibly removed and the Chagos Archipelago was handed over to the US.
- The US established its strategic Indian Ocean military base at the Chagos Archipelago.
Both the UK and the US had vehemently opposed the UN resolution which referred the matter to ICJ saying it was a bilateral matter with Mauritius. UK is not represented in the ICJ Bench and the sole dissent judgement was by the American Judge. Hence it is unlikely that the UK would accept the advisory. The possibility of any challenge to the US Diego Garcia base from Mauritius is also unlikely. Hence by and large status quo would be maintained.
US defence giant Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 multi-role fighter jet at Asia’s biggest air show Aero India-2019. Lockheed Martin will manufacture the plane in collaboration with Tata Advanced Systems under India’s flagship programme Make in India.
F-21 Fighter Jet
- The company states that the F-21 fighter jet is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force and will strengthen India’s path to an advanced airpower future.
- F-21 would fulfil the Indian Air Force’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company.
- The F-21 provides “unmatched” Make in India opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced airpower future together with unrivalled industrial opportunities and accelerates closer India-US cooperation on advanced technologies.
India’s RFI for 110 fighter jets
India had floated Request for Information for procuring 110 fighter aircraft for its air force. Six global aviation majors which have responded to the RFI are Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-21 Fighting Falcon, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and Russian United Aircraft Corporation’s MiG-35.
The RFI mandates that the procurement of the 110 aircraft should have 15 per cent aircraft in flyaway condition and the remaining 85 per cent to be made in India by a Strategic Partner. Lockheed has teamed up with Tata Advanced Systems for the F-21, and Boeing has teamed up with Hindustan Aeronautics, India’s state-run aerospace company, as well as Mahindra Defense Systems for the local manufacture of the Super Hornet.