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Operation Hat: When CIA lost a Plutonium Powered Spy Device in Nanda Devi

The Story dates back to the 60s when the cold war threat perceptions were at their peak. The Communist China had conducted its first nuclear test on 16th October 1964 creating a panic in the western bloc. The American CIA then partnered with the Indian Intelligence Agency (IB) to undertake a top secret espionage mission code name 'Operation Hat'. The mission saw its first leg kick off on the backdrop of the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

The Mission in all likelihood was carried out with the prior knowledge of then Congress Government. Mission objective was to install a plutonium powered spy device on the Nanda Devi hills to gather details of the Chinese Missile and Nuclear program. The best mountaineers from US and India were hired for the task. The mission however ended up in CIA loosing the device in a possible avalance on the Nanda Devi creating a massive threat of plutonium contamination of the Rishiganga waters that feeds into the Ganges. Search and  Recovery missions carried on fo…
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Black Money & Fake Currency: Is there Really An Impact?

So the much-hyped demonetization happened. Not that this was the first time as it had happened in the past when high-value currencies in 5000 and 10000 denominations were pulled off. Undoubtedly though this was a first of its kind exercise, as one it came without a warning and two it targeted the majority of currency in circulation (86%) in 500 and 1000 denominations. But the real question though. Did it really have an impact on areas like black money, fake currency, and even terrorism? These were the key pointers on which the country stood up and supported this exhaustive exercise at their own cost. Or was the goal primarily to target the 97% cash-based economy, the informal sector? I guess that's probably self-explanatory! Provided as time passes the results become more and more evident.  

What did we really achieve out of this painstaking exercise that lined up the entire nation of 1.3 billion outside the banks for two months?

The pro and cons and counter-arguments will always ex…

India Takes Down Fake Currency

Prime Minister of India's address to the nation on 8th Nov'16 at 20:00 hrs came as a rude shock to many when in his address he made a revelation to the entire nation that the existing highest currency denominations in India which is INR 500 and INR 1000 would no longer be a legal tender starting midnight. What that implied was that these notes could no longer be used for any financial transaction and would have to be exchanged from the banks or post offices with the new currency notes of equal value. In four hours these major currency bills would become valueless. This was huge and nobody had a clue. While he did clarify his action as another step in the fight against black money menace that had been impacting the country's economy adversely.

   PM's address to the nation 8th June'16 BackgroundIf we step back a little. This huge announcement only came a month after the amnesty scheme called IDS 2016 (Income Declaration Scheme) ended on 30th Sep'16. This was anoth…

Justice and Religious Bias: A Never Ending Debate

30th July'15, the much awaited verdict in the 1993 Mumbai blast was finally executed with the hanging of one of the prime accused, Yakub Memon, at Nagpur Central Jail at around 6:30 am IST.But not before creating a ruckus throughout the country, mercy petitions flying, support swarming in from all sections. A never seen before (at least first for me) midnight Supreme Court bench called as a last desperate mercy attempt to save the accused!! While for many this was justice delivered finally after a 22 years long wait but for others this was an opportunity to yet again divide India on religious lines under the garb of secularism. Essentially this was projected in the same manner in the media so as to fuel the divide and spark an unnecessary conflict. So the question arises, is a culprit's religion a deciding factor for whether or not he would be punished?


Taking a moment back into that horrific afternoon of 15th March'93 when Mumbai then called Bombay was rocked by 13 bombs w…