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$200 Billion Indian IT Sector Hardest Hit As Trump Suspends Immigration Into The US

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US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Monday to temporarily suspend immigration into the US has created a lot of anxiety in India’s technological sector as the industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the work visas.

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Indian Information and Technology (IT) giants like TCS, Infosys, HCL Tech, Wipro, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and others who are a part of the $191 billion software services export industry are likely to be among the worst affected from the decision as the companies make extensive use of H-1B work visas to service their US-based clients.

H-1B work visas which are non-immigrant visas pave way for immigration and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had earlier approved the extension of H1-B visas that had expired or were set to expire.

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“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States”, Trump tweeted late on Monday.

Trump’s tweet made no reference as to what immigration programs might be affected by the order and if the decision would be applied retrospectively. Neither the President nor the White House has offered any clarification on the matter as of yet.

The announcement has not only made Indian IT companies who are already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic wearier but has also impacted the stock prices of the companies.

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India’s IT services industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) sought details about the executive order of US President Donald Trump. In a tweet, NASSCOM said, “NASSCOM seeks details on the Executive Order of the President of the United States suspending immigration temporarily.”

According to NBC News, almost 22 million Americans have filed for initial unemployment benefits as of and experts are of the view that the announcement is more in line with President Trump’s poll promise of “Make America Great Again” as it has come at a time when Trump has received flak from various quarters for mishandling the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Many Indians on H-1B work visas have lost jobs after several projects shut down on account of the lockdowns in force and are stuck in the US following closure airspace worldwide.

However, the announcement has not gone down well with many in the opposition including Democratic Senator Kamala Harris who in a tweet blamed Trump’s mishandling of the outbreak from Day 1 for the loss of American lives.

Jerry Nadler in a tweet accused President Trump of diverting US attention from his inept handling of the pandemic by shifting the blame on the immigrants while Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro criticized President Trump by calling the announcement a “dumb move”.

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Many experts believe that the suspension of immigration will make Chinese, Indian and other IT professionals seek jobs in China, South Korea and India rather than Silicon Valley which in turn can be a blessing in disguise for them.

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Beijing calls Japan’s F-35 deal with the US a big threat to China, Russia

China acknowledges that Japan is buying the US’ F-35 jets out of practicality as Tokyo needs to upgrade its ageing jets but accuses the US of hunting like wolves and not like a tiger.

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The US recently approved the sale of F-35 joint strike fighters to Japan at a whopping cost of $23 billion. China, a traditional foe and close neighbour of Japan has expressed concern of having such advanced jets in the region which could be detrimental to the security of both China and Russia.

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Chinese state media  – the Global Times acknowledges for once that Japan is buying the US’ F-35 jets out of practicality and as Tokyo needs to upgrade its current F-2s and F-15s jets.

GT also accepts that Japan could be facing pressure from China and Russia and Tokyo has rationally opted to go for the most advanced jets in the world – the F-35s to counter the dual challenge of Beijing and Moscow.

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It goes on to say – Japan has made substantial improvement in its military modernization program. The first of the Izumo-class helicopter carriers, Izumo, has marked a milestone in its transformation into Japan’s first true aircraft carrier since World War II. The other Izumo-class carrier Kaga is also under transmutation. Both ships will be transformed into light aircraft carriers on which approximately 20 F-35s can be stationed.

But light aircraft carriers have restricted combat capabilities. Due to political issues, the reformations are concerning in certain quarters because they represent “the first time” that modern Japan has had fixed-wing aircraft carriers.

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Japan is approving a strategy of taking rapid moves in carrier development. Of special interest will be any plan by Japan to develop real carriers over 50,000 tons. If they acquire a large number of F-35Cs, it will imply a new stage of Japanese aircraft carrier development.

Such a massive military advancement in Japan will bother its neighbours i.e. Russia and China. There are apprehensions that Japan will amend its peaceful constitution. This could turn Japan into an aggressive, hostile force and nations that suffered in World War II because of Japanese expansionist policy will be closely watching.

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Japan is a key defence partner of the US. It is also part of Washington’s so-called global alliance that targets China. Tokyo is also collaborating with the US by developing an anti-missile system, which will affect the strike capabilities of China and Russia and endanger its security, writes the GT.

Without self-sufficient defence capabilities, Japan is incapable of holding by itself and will only end up being commanded by the US. Although Japan has its own strategies and doesn’t want to be fully commanded by Washington, the US will unquestionably tightly its grip over Tokyo and use it against China and Russia.

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GT accuses the US of hunting in a group, indirectly referring to all the alliances that Washington has all over the globe. Japan has limited military capabilities and is only capable of integrated combat with the assistance of the US, the report says.

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Middle East

Iran blames ‘wrong setting’ of missile defence system for shooting-down Ukrainian jet

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The air defence system, which accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger in January in Tehran was misconfigured due to the fact that it had been shifted a day earlier, according to a report from Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization.

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Iran said it accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 shortly after take-off, killing all 176 aboard. Decoding of the jet’s black boxes is expected to start July 20.

The passenger plane was hit by two missiles, fired 30 seconds apart, from a missile defence system that confused the jet for a cruise missile.

An operator had forgotten to re-adjust the north direction on the radar system after moving to a new position, an error that contributed to misreading the radar’s data, according to the report published on Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization website.

“The operator of the air defence system launched a missile at what it had detected as a hostile target without a response from the command center,” CAO said in the report, adding that an unnamed person took action independently and without authorization.

The statement said the plane was mistaken for a “hostile target” after it turned toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard. It also blamed the “highest level of readiness” resulting from tensions with the United States.

The admission came after Tehran had outrightly denied claims of downing the passenger jet and accused the US of “spreading lies” about intelligence suggesting they did. Of the 176 people killed in the crash, most were Iranian and Canadian nationals.

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Expert Reviews

Rafale jets dodge all radars, air defence systems; bombs Turkish facilities in Libya

The Dassault Rafale is a French multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.

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Recently, the al-Watiya airbase in Libya was reportedly bombed by Rafale jets, which either belonged to France or Egypt, the two nations within the range of the base that possesses these (Rafale) aircraft, writes the Arab Weekly.  

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The report quoting its sources called the attack by Rafale jets as a response to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar’s visit to Libya.

The Turkish presence in Libya is highly undesirable to both Egypt and France and the former has even warned to intervene militarily in Libya if the Turkish-backed militias tried to head towards Sirte. France has also called the Turkish moves as “unacceptable,” emphasising that it would not permit this to continue.

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But this recent airstrike on al-Watiya airbase reportedly by 4++ generation Rafale jets displayed that the boundaries in airspace differ from the boundaries on land drawn by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Indeed, basing fighter jets and drones in al-Watiya pose a direct threat to any military deployed in the region.

Sisi has discussed the possibility of directly intervening in Libya, pointing out that Egypt “will not allow the conflict in Libya to cross the Sirte line.” He also emphasised that “with regard to Egypt’s security, al-Jufra is a red line that we will not allow any force to cross.”

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The Tripoli government accused “a foreign air force” of bombing al-Watiya base, without furnishing any information on the identity of the aircraft or the targets attacked. Even though Turkish and Qatari media rejected any casualties, the Libyan source, however, claimed that many Turkish soldiers were injured or dead in the airstrikes by Rafale jets.

A retired Libyan army officer revealed to Arab Weekly that a squadron of fighter planes launched a series of airstrikes on al-Watiya base, where Turkey had deployed F-16 aircraft, Bayraktar TB2 and Anka-S drones, backed by a MIM-23 Hawk air defence system with its radars.

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He further said that the air raids targeted the al-Nadab quarters at al-Watiya base, which the Turkish forces on the base had used as their headquarters since last May. Also targeted were Sungur air defence systems, fixed and mobile radar installations and Koral signal jamming system, which the Ankara had deployed at al-Watiya base.

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Libyan parliament member Ibrahim al-Darsi later acknowledged and “the airstrikes were launched by forces all too well-known to us,” and added that the targets of these attacks were “a clear message and constituted a strong and painful slap in the face of Turkish President Erdogan and his proxies in Libya, especially the militia government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.”

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Jemai Guesmi

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