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Chronology of Major Events 2009 - Page 13

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Chronology of Major Events 2009
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West Asia

18 January:The three-week armed conflict that started with Israel military air strike on 27 December 2008 in Gaza Strip ended with the declaration of ceasefire. Over 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the conflict.

22 February: The US and Iraqi forces launched a new military campaign called “Operation New Hope” with a motive to put an end to a stubborn insurgency in restive Nineveh province, a final holdout for Sunni Islamist militants.

25 February: Syria revealed that it built a missile facility over the ruins of a nuclear reactor in a remote area of the Syrian desert named al-Kibar that was destroyed by Israeli airplanes in September 2007.

27 February:India signed its biggest defence deal with Israel for the purchase of a state-of-the-art air defence system at a cost of $1.4 billion (`7,042 crore).

25 March: India inked another deal with Israel valued at `1,200 crores for the manufacture of biomolecular charge systems (BMCS) at five factory plants to be set up in Bihar’s Nalanda district.

7 April: In a bid to woo Kuwaiti investment and improve bilateral relations, India and Kuwait signed three agreements on education, culture and science and technology during Vice President Hamid Ansari’s three-day visit to the nation.

6 September: An UAE Air Force military transport plane Hercules C-130, flying from Abu Dhabi to Hanyang in China was grounded at Kolkata airport following the discovery of a large cache of undeclared arms and ammunition on board.

29 October: The Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif offered the visiting Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to allow India to set up an ‘India Zone’ along the Suez Canal development area to create an India-specific industrial corridor for collaboration with Egyptian companies to capture the European and African markets.

Southwest Asia

11 January:  During Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that India would gift 2,50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan.

22 January: Continuing on the path of developmental work in the war-ravaged Afghanistan with determination, India handed over the strategic Delaram-Zaranj highway built by it at the cost of ` 6,000 crore.

3 February: Iran successfully placed into orbit its first domestically made satellite, Omid, to carry out remote sensing and satellite telemetry operations using an indigenous launcher.

19 February: International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) head El-Baradei reported to the United Nations Security Council that Iran had not converted the low-grade uranium into weapon-grade uranium.

25 February: Iranian and Russian officials tested the first nuclear power plant built at Bushehr in Iran. The 1000 MW light-water reactor was built with Russian assistance under a $1 billion contract.

20 March: US President Barack Obama issued an unprecedented videotaped appeal to Iran offering a “new beginning” of diplomatic engagement.

21 March: Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Kamenei dismissed the overture from US President Obama responding that Iran did not see any change in US policy under its new administration.

9 April: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared major advances in controversial atomic drive as he opened a nuclear fuel plant at Isfahan and announced the testing of two high capacity centrifuges and manufacture of nuclear fuel.

20 May:Iran test-fired a new advanced missile, solid-fuel Sejil-2, with a range of about 1,200 miles, capable of reaching Israel and US bases in Middle East.

24 May: On the sidelines of a trilateral summit on Afghanistan security at Dubai, Iran and Pakistan signed a deal to lay a gas pipeline for taking Iranian gas to Pakistan. The agreement had an article that would allow India to join the project at an appropriate time.

13 June: Iran’s President Ahmadnijead secured a landslide victory in the Iran presidential polls where he defeated his rival Mir-Hosseni Mousavi amidst allegations of manipulation of election results. Ahmadinejad got 62.6 percent of the vote.

28 July: To establish new dialogue architecture to further improve the relationship, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Afghanistan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta agreed to set up an India-Afghanistan Partnership Council.

21 August: Iran allowed inspectors from the IAEA to inspect the nuclear reactor at Ark. Iran also allowed the UN nuclear weapons watchdog to step up surveillance at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

22 September: US Army Gen Stanley McChrystal said that he had evidence that factions of Pakistan’s ISI and Iran’s Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were supporting the Taliban that carried out attacks on coalition troops.

25 September:Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation head, Ali Akbar Salehi confirmed for the first time that Iran was building a ‘semi-industrial enrichment fuel facility,’ which was designed to produce nuclear fuel.

28 September: Iran test-fired its two long-range missiles, Sejil and Shahab-3, which it claimed could hit targets in Israel. Iran said that both missiles had a range of around 2,000 kms.

1 October:During Iran’s critical meeting with six global powers, known as E3+3, held in Geneva, it agreed in principle to export much of its stock of enriched uranium for processing to Russia and France, and to open its newly revealed enrichment plant to UN inspections within a forthright.

3 October: India successfully completed a four-year effort to build a 202-km transmission line to bring electricity from Pul-e-Khumri to power-starved Kabul. The Chimtala sub-station would distribute 90-120 MW of electricity.

8 October: A Taliban suicide bomber blew up an explosives-laden car outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing 17 people and injuring over 80 others.

25 October:UN inspectors got their first look inside a once-secret uranium enrichment facility – known as Fordo – near Qom. The visit marked the first independent examination of the site.

28 October: Taliban militants killed six UN foreign staff in an attack on an international guesthouse in Kabul deepening concerns about security for a presidential elections run-off on 7 November. (The Indian Express, 29 October 2009)   

1 November:Afghan officials cancelled plans for a runoff vote, declaring incumbent President Hamid Karzai the winner after the withdrawal of his rival candidate Abdullah Abdullah.

21 November: NATO took command of the training of the Afghan Army and police to consolidate efforts on building an effective security force, a vital precondition for the withdrawal of foreign troops. The US training mission - CSTC-A, merged with the NATO Training Mission - (NTM-A), under a single NATO command.

27 November:India voted along with the United States, China and other major powers in favour of a German-sponsored resolution at the IAEA on referring the Iran nuclear programme yet again to the UNSC. The resolution, co-sponsored by Russia and China, passed by a 25-3 margin by the 35-member board of governors, was helped along by India’s vote.

1 December:US President Barack Obama unveiled the new fast-track war strategy for Afghanistan where he announced the pouring of 30,000 more troops into the region, vowing to ‘seize the initiative’ to end the unpopular war and start a pullout in July 2011.

16 December: Iran test-fired an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, named Sejil-2 with a range of about 2,000 km, powered by solid fuel, which is capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe. It was a new show of strength aimed at preventing any military strike against it amid the nuclear standoff with the West.

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