- Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities: It was signed on December 31, 1988, by the then Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi. The treaty came into force on January 27, 1991, and has two copies each in Urdu and Hindi. In 1986, the Indian army carried out a massive exercise ‘Brasstacks’, raising fears of an attack on nuclear facilities. Since then, both countries have been negotiating to reach an understanding towards the control of nuclear weapons, which culminated in the treaty. The agreement mandates both countries to inform each other about any nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year, providing a confidence-building security measure environment. The term ‘nuclear installation or facility’ includes nuclear power and research reactors, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, iso-topes separation, and reprocessing facilities, as well as any other installations with fresh or irradiated nuclear fuel and materials in any form and establishments storing significant quantities of radioactive materials.
- Exercise ‘Desert Cyclone’: The Joint Military Exercise ‘Desert Cyclone 2024’ between India and UAE will be held in Rajasthan. It is the inaugural edition of joint military exercise “Desert Cyclone 2024” between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The exercise aims to enhance interoperability by learning & sharing best practices in Urban Operations. This exercise is marking a significant milestone in the strategic partnership. India and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 1972 and UAE opened its Embassy in Delhi in 1972 whereas, India opened its Embassy in Abu Dhabi in 1973.The first-ever India-UAE Joint Air Forces exercise took place in September 2008 at the Al-Dhafra base in Abu Dhabi. India has also been a regular participant at the biennial International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year, two ships of the Indian Navy, INS Visakhapatnam, and INS Trikand participated in bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar’ with the UAE to enhance interoperability and synergy between the two navies.
- XPoSat mission: It is the first dedicated scientific satellite from ISRO to carry out research in space-polarisation measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources.
It carries two payloads namely
POLIX: It is an X-ray Polarimeter for astronomical observations in the energy band of 8-30 keV. The payload is being developed by Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore in collaboration with U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC). It is expected to observe about 40 bright astronomical sources of different categories during the planned lifetime of XPoSat mission of about 5 years.
This is the first payload in the medium X-ray energy band dedicated for polarimetry measurements. It is an X-ray SPECtroscopy and Timing payload onboard XPoSat, which can provide fast timing and good spectroscopic resolution in soft X-rays. It can provide long-term monitoring of spectral state changes in continuum emission, changes in their line flux and profile, simultaneous long term temporal monitoring of soft X-ray emission in the X-ray energy range 0.8-15 keV. It would observe several types of sources viz X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron star (NS) in LMXBs, AGNs and Magnetars. The launch put India in an elite category as it has become the second (after NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched in 2021) nation to send an observatory to study astronomical sources such as black holes, neutron stars among others.