Current Affairs > Daily Current affairs

Back
Daily News Analysis 18-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.

Restoring goodwill in India-Nepal ties (Pg 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Olis visit this week is an opportunity to reclaim the bilateral relationship from the drift and acrimony of recent months.

2.

The Afzal Guru link in recent terror attacks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     As investigations into the Pathankot airbase attack gathers pace, investigators say that the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has emerged as common link in at least three attacks on police and Army camps along the Jammu-Pathankot highway in the past one year.

3.

The things Headley left unsaid (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     The pardon by the Indian state appears highly unwarranted. Headley is significantly silent about the Karachi Project and has covered his tracks effectively. It is thus possible that at a not-too-distant date he would be back in business, directly or by proxy.

4.

China sends missiles to contested isle (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Ratcheting up tensions even as US President Barack Obama urged restraint in the region, Taiwan and US officials said that China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea.

5.

Cabinet recommends lifting of Central rule in Arunachal (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A day after the Supreme Court refused to stop the dissident leaders and the Governor in Arunachal Pradesh from forming a new government, the Union Cabinet sought the revocation of Presidents rule in the State imposed on January 26.

6.

Right step on savings schemes (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The 25-basis points reduction in interest rates on short-tenure small savings schemes from April 1 may have come as a huge disappointment for countless savers.

7.

Private sector will build fighter jets in India: Parrikar (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Officially throwing open the contest for fighter aircraft once again, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that by the year-end, India would select one or more fighter aircraft which will be manufactured locally by a private company under the Make in India initiative.

8.

Govt clears proposal for gravitational wave detector (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Days after an international team of scientists (including several from India) formally announced that it had detected gravitational waves from deep space, the Union Cabinet said it had approved a proposal to have a gravitational wave detector in India.

 

                                                                                                                                            

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

Restoring goodwill in India-Nepal ties (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals economic blockade

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

e)     Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)

f)     Nepali Congress (NC)

a)     This week, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli will undertake his first official visit to India. While both sides are keeping expectations low, his visit offers a welcome opportunity to clear the air about the recent differences which had led to some harsh exchanges.

b)     Briefing the Nepali Parliament, Oli said his visit aims at removing recent differences between the two countries and strengthening the historic bilateral ties. Given the background, he emphasised he would further Nepals relations with India based on principles of equality, mutual respect and benefit.

c)     Oli is no stranger to India. During his long political career, he has built good relationships with a number of Indian political leaders. Following the advent of multi-party democracy in Nepal in 1990, he emerged as one of the young leaders of the CPN (UML).

d)     Olis differences with India arose in the run-up to his election as PM. Following the 2013 elections, UML had supported NC in its bid for the post of the Prime Minister on the understanding that after the new Constitution was promulgated, NC would support his claim to the post.

e)     Neither the UML nor he personally was receptive to Madhesi demands on federalism and proportional representation. Consequently, he reacted negatively to Indian suggestions that the new Constitution take on board Madhesi reservations to create a broad consensus, rather than be pushed through by majority in an increasingly polarised environment.

f)     NC PM Sushil Koirala wanted to introduce certain changes which could have addressed Madhesi demands but Oli was a man in a hurry and saw this as a delaying tactic. He wanted NC to deliver on the original understanding. Finally Koirala resigned as PM but the NC (instead of supporting Olis candidature) renominated Koirala to the post.

g)   People close to Oli maintain that Koiralas candidature was backed by India. Oli built alliances with the Maoists and other parties by generous promises which helped him defeat Koirala, thus becoming Nepals 38th PM last October.

h)     Meanwhile, the continuing Madhesi agitation had claimed more than 50 lives and brought life in the Terai to a complete standstill. Oli blamed India for supporting the Madhesis by imposing an unofficial blockade even as India urged him to resolve political issues so that stability and security could be restored and normal movement of goods resumed.

i)    Oli used the plank of Nepali nationalism to bolster his coalition and blamed India for his troubles. Like others before him, he also flaunted the China card by sending delegations to China to develop alternative supply routes across the Tibetan border, the limitations of which soon became apparent.

j)     Whenever Nepals domestic politics gets polarised, India gets blamed for interfering in Nepals internal affairs and anti-Indianism rises. Indian suggestions that outstanding issues be resolved on the basis of consultation and dialogue did not go down well as the Madhesi agitation intensified.

k)     Eventually, pragmatism prevailed. Oli realised that without some amendments to the Constitution, Madhesi demands could not be addressed. He took India into confidence, sending his Foreign Minister twice to Delhi to share the proposed amendments.

l)     Even before the amendments were adopted, the Indian authorities responded positively and some alternative routes and crossing points were used to facilitate movement of trucks into Nepal. The agitating Madhesi Morcha leadership began to realise that the agitation had run its course and could not be sustained indefinitely; a compromise was therefore necessary.

m)     Olis visit provides an opportunity to close the chapter on the rather unproductive politics of recent months and revive the neighbourhood first policy that Modi had presented in 2014, of a friendly and caring India, sensitive to Nepals concerns, and generous in seeking mutually beneficial partnerships.

2.

The Afzal Guru link in recent terror attacks (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     2001 Parliament attack

d)     Pathankot terror attack

e)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

f)     National Investigating Agency (NIA)

 

a)     As investigations into the Pathankot airbase attack gathers pace, investigators say that the 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has emerged as common link in at least three attacks on police and Army camps along Jammu-Pathankot highway in the past one year.

b)     Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar jail in 2013.

c)     India has said that JeM (a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit) was behind the Pathankot attack. In the case of the other two incidents, no conclusions have been reached so far.

d)     The NIA has been closely studying similarities between the Pathankot and the Samba-Kathua attacks since it took over investigations. An official said even the rifles used by the terrorists were similar in nature.

3.

The things Headley left unsaid (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Mumbai terror attacks 2008

d)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

e)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

f)     Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

 

a)     According to the author, Indian audiences witnessed a scripted drama by David Headley, a felon-turned-approver in the Nov 26 2008 terror attack on multiple targets in Mumbai.

b) Headley confirmed to Ujjwal Nikam (the public prosecutor) almost everything that was already in public domain, viz. that he had changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Headley in 2006 to hide his Pakistani ancestry and pass off as a Westerner, and that he held a US passport; that he had close connections with LeT and Paks ISI; and that he had undergone several training courses in LeT camps and in Pakistan.

c)     He identified the three 26/11 handlers (Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Abu Al Qama); and admitted to making at least eight visits to India, seven of them prior to the 26/11 attack and one thereafter.

d)     Headleys deposition also provided some verisimilitude to rumours circulating at the time that the LeT was planning another attack post-26/11. He also identified Ishrat Jahan as a terrorist belonging to the LeT. His sole reason for identifying Ishrat as an LeT operative was to give a propaganda advantage to the LeT.

e)     The value of Headleys deposition lies partly in exposing to the world the extent of Paks perfidy and workings of the Pakistani deep state but more significantly, it serves to remind us of something the world has tended to forget of late, viz. the 1980s-1990s Afghan jihad and the lasting impact it had on the spread of Islamist extremism.

f)     Reading between the lines of his testimony, Headleys jihadi leanings are obvious. Answering one of Nikams questions, he identifies with jihad and the need to fight against enemies of Islam such as India.

g)     David Headley was one of an unusual and dangerous breed. At one level, he was ideological - a closet jihadi; at another, he was an agent for the US Drug Enforcement Agency; and at yet another level, he was working for the LeT. He was thus able to pave the way and provide an opening for one of the most serious terrorist attacks in recent years.

h)     Headley is not finished yet. His plea bargain gives him an extended lease of life in the US. He has secured a pardon from prosecution from the Indian authorities. In return, he has neither provided any new insights nor any new leads.

i)     Headley is significantly silent about the Karachi Project, by which disaffected Indian Muslims were inveigled into becoming part of the Indian Mujahideen.

j)   Hence, Headley has covered his tracks effectively. It is thus possible that at a not-too- distant date he would be back in business - directly or by proxy. It takes several years to train an intelligence agent - especially one who can function autonomously and with proficiency in languages in use in the Islamic world.

k)     Terrorism is likely to be the worlds long-term intractable security problem. It is vitally important to use all the instruments available to achieve the objective of defeating terrorism. Compromising with terrorists and terror is not an option.

l)     Between Headley and former Pakistan President Pervez Musharrafs admission (that the ISI had been training JeM and LeT militants), the dividing line between state and non-state cadres in Pakistan has been fully erased.

4.

China sends missiles to contested isle (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     South China Sea dispute

b)     Woody Island

c)     Paracels Island

d)     Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD)

a)     Ratcheting up tensions even as US President Barack Obama urged restraint in the region, Taiwan and US officials said that China has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system to one of the disputed islands it controls in the South China Sea.

b)     Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesman said the missile batteries had been set up on Woody Island. The island is part of the Paracels chain, under Chinese control for more than 40 year but also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

c)     China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year, and has been building runways and other infrastructure on artificial islands to bolster its claims.

d)     The US has said it will continue conducting freedom of navigation patrols by ships and aircraft to assure unimpeded passage through the region, where Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims.

e)     Chinese state media has slammed the US for setting the stage for the North Korean crisis, which has deepened after Pyongyang launched a satellite using ballistic missile technology, in the aftermath of a nuclear test.

f)     It accused Washington of using the nuclear issue as an excuse for starting formal talks with South Korea on placing the THAAD (an anti-missile system) on North Koreas door step.

5.

Cabinet recommends lifting of Central rule in Arunachal (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Arunachal Pradesh political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Governor

d)     Supreme Court

a)     A day after the Supreme Court refused to stop dissident leaders and the Governor in Arunachal Pradesh from forming a new govt, the Union Cabinet sought the revocation of Presidents rule in the State imposed on January 26.

b)     Ever since the political crisis started, the Congress has accused the BJP of fomenting unrest in the State to unseat its government. The crisis started when Rajkhowa issued an order stating that the removal of the Speaker should be on top of the agenda in the Assembly session on December 16.

c)     Supreme Court on Feb 17 ordered status quo in Arunachal Pradesh till it examined judicial and Assembly records on the disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia after the Union Cabinet recommended the withdrawal of Presidents rule in the border State.

d)     The Centre said that a constitutional vacuum and a state of dormancy could not prevail in Arunachal Pradesh because the Supreme Court was testing the legality of the emergency declared on Jan 26.

6.

Right step on savings schemes (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Banking sector reforms

b)     Monetary policy

c)     RBI

a)     The 25-basis points reduction in interest rates on short-tenure small savings schemes from April 1 may have come as a huge disappointment for countless savers.

b)     For the middle class, these schemes are risk-free, and provide safe parking slots for their hard-earned money. The returns these schemes offer also help them balance their budget.

c)     The RBI cut the key policy rate by a total of 125 basis points in 2015, and it has only been partially transmitted to end-borrowers. In fact, a little less than half of this reduction had been passed on by banks to their clients. The problem lies in the peculiar predicament the banks find themselves in.

d)     By reducing interest rates on short-term savings schemes, the govt has sought to erase the return advantage they currently enjoy over similar-tenure govt securities. Indeed, it has set the stage for a uniform interest rate regime and cleared a major roadblock for banks in cutting their deposit rates, and eventually lending rates as well.

e)    For individuals, the impact of the interest rate cut on small savings schemes could be immediate and visible in terms of lower returns on their savings. However, the effect of such a cut will have a cascading effect on the entire value chain, and will inevitably bring the cost structure down for the economy.

7.

Private sector will build fighter jets in India: Parrikar (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Make in India initiative

b)     Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)

c)     Rafale deal

d)     M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH) deal

a)     Officially throwing open the contest for fighter aircraft once again, Defence Minister Parrikar said that by the year-end, India would select one or more fighter aircraft which will be manufactured locally by a private company under the Make in India initiative.

b)     This is in addition to the Light Combat Aircraft, the production of which is being scaled up.

c)     India and France are in advanced stage of talks to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for the direct purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. This fighter aircraft will likely be other than the Rafale.

d)  The US-based BAE Systems has picked the Mahindra group as a partner for the M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzer deal under which an assembly, integration and test facility is to be set up in India under the govts Make in India initiative.

8.

Govt clears proposal for gravitational wave detector (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Gravitational waves

b)     LIGO-India project

c)     Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) project

a)     Days after an international team of scientists (including several from India) formally announced that it had detected gravitational waves from deep space, the Union Cabinet said it had approved a proposal to have a gravitational wave detector in India.

b)     Since 2011, a consortium of Indian research establishments has been lobbying to have a gravitational wave detector located in India.

c)     Known as the LIGO-India project, it is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology.

d)     Another ambitious mega-science project, the INO project (a proposed, underground observatory in Tamil Nadu to detect ephemeral particles called neutrinos) had been cleared by Centre in 2015, after several years of deliberations.

Branches

Ashok Nagar Branch
1-10-223/A, Sub-register office Line
Hyderabad
+91 9052 29 29 29, 9052 19 29 29

Madhapur Branch
Plot No.3, 2nd floor, Raghuma Towers
Hyderabad
+91 9052 492929

Delhi:
Old Rajendra Nagar

Send to mail

Request for call