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Daily News Analysis 04-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Foreign Secretary to visit Nepal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Heightening the possibility of holding talks with Pakistan, the govt confirmed that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar would participate in the March 15-17 meeting of Foreign Ministers of South Asia in Kathmandu.

2.

Connectivity plans not unilateral: Sushma (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India and China jockeyed over their plans to build connectivity during the Ministry of External Affairs first Raisina Dialogue international conference that ended on March 3.

3.

ASEAN-Plus military drill begins in Pune (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Military personnel of adversarial world powers converged upon the Aundh Military Station in Pune to thrall spectators with the largest Multinational Field Training Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil.

4.

New, strong and clear outreach (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     What he lacked in experience Narendra Modi has more than made up for with zeal and personally. From China to the diaspora, America to the immediate neighbourhood, visible in the foreign policy narrative and discourse is a greater determination to get things done, and an emphasis on the bigger and better.

5.

Indian firm to partner Israel for anti-tank missiles (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Rafael of Israel and Kalyani group are setting up a joint venture (Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems) to build weapon systems in India.

6.

Four-nation counter-terror mechanism to guard Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     A top General of Chinas Peoples Liberation Army has visited Afghanistan to work out a regional counter-terrorism mechanism with an eye on safeguarding the One Belt One Road connectivity initiative in Eurasia.

7.

Maldives is sitting on a time bomb (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed said that India can play an important role in the restoration of democracy in Maldives but the appeasement of dictators is not the way to do it.

8.

Pyongyang fires missiles after tough UN sanctions (Pg 14)

a)     International

a)     North Korea fired six short-range projectiles into the sea in a show of defiance just hours after the United Nations adopted the toughest sanctions to date on Pyongyang over its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.

9.

Reviving the politics of remission (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    The decision of the AIADMK govt in Tamil Nadu to release the seven life convicts in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and seek the Union govts view on the move is a politically partisan attempt to corner Chief Minister Jayalalithaas electoral rivals and place the national parties in a spot ahead of the Assembly elections to be held this summer.

10.

Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 in LokSabha.

11.

RBI pores over budget, worries on fiscal math (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)   Some RBI officials are worried that a populist budget could put the onus of driving growth on them but limit their ability to respond through big rate cuts this year.

12.

Is Earth getting an intergalactic SOS? (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     For the first time, Astronomers have detected repeating short bursts of mysterious and powerful radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Foreign Secretary to visit Nepal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     SAARC summit

a)     Heightening the possibility of holding talks with Pakistan, the govt confirmed that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar would participate in the March 15-17 meeting of Foreign Ministers of South Asia in Kathmandu.

b)   Sources had earlier reported that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan were likely to meet in Kathmandu on the sidelines of the ministerial aimed at the preparatory multi-level discussion for the SAARC summit to be held later this year in Islamabad.

2.

Connectivity plans not unilateral: Sushma (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Raisina Dialogue

b)     Chinas One Belt One Road (OBOR) project

c)     Bangladesh China India and Myanmar (BCIM) project

d)     Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)

e)     Bangladesh Bhutan India and Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional connectivity initiative

a)     India and China jockeyed over their plans to build connectivity during Ministry of External Affairs first Raisina Dialogue international conference that ended on March 3, with India projecting its own plans in the Indian Ocean and across Central Asia as a counter to Chinas estimated 1-trillion dollar One Belt One Road project.

b)   Comparing Indias approach to Chinas, the Minister said that Indias plans for connectivity were cooperative rather than a unilateral approach, adding that an environment of trust and confidence is pre-requisite for a more inter-connected world.

c)     He said that OBOR is not an exclusive initiative, and we welcome participation of various countries and regional organisations, making a special mention of the BCIM roadways and trade route project.

d)     Foreign Secretary Jaishankar focussed instead on the govts project of SAGAR and the BBIN sub-regional connectivity initiative, warning against hidden agendas in promoting connectivity.

3.

ASEAN-Plus military drill begins in Pune (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX)

b)     ASEAN-Plus military drill

 

a)     Military personnel of adversarial world powers converged upon the Aundh Military Station in Pune to thrall spectators with the largest Multinational Field Training Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil.

b)     The week-long exercise (being held from March 2 to 8) is christened Force 18 (initially labelled FTX-2016). The spectacle is an elaborate and ambitious military training exercise involving Army units from eighteen countries, often locked as adversaries in the arena of global realpolitik.

c)    They include nine members of the ASEAN and eight observer States: India, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Myanmar was compelled to back out owing to elections and security issues pertaining to border infiltration.

d)  The drill aims at reaffirming Indias expertise as the lead agency in Southeast Asia for Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Mine Action.

4.

New, strong and clear outreach (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Indias foreign policy

b)     India – Pakistan relations

c)     Terrorism

d)     Pathankot terror attack

e)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

f)     India – China relations

g)     Chinas One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project

h)     Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

i)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

j)     Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor

k)     Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

l)     Chabahar port

a)     Does the leadership of PM Modi mark a significant watershed in Indias foreign policy? Classically defined, the foreign policy of a country is the product of both geography and history. Changes in leadership or government do not essentially alter its basic and underlying premises.

b)     What Modi has done is to bring the stamp of his zeal and personality to impact well-entrenched policies, imparting more determination to process. But the shadows of history and geopolitics are omnipresent.

c)     Modis challenge is to ensure that his country can be a great democracy and also a substantive global power. His task is to align these twin goals to reinforce the idea of India. Outcomes must ensure both power for the country and happiness for its people.

d)    In the South Asian context, the centrifuge operated by India-Pakistan relations draws the region apart. Modi inherited a difficult hand in this regard, and the reversal of historic trends is not easy to realise. PM Modi commenced his term seeking the ways of peace rather than tension or conflict. But he too cannot wish away the interminable contradictions in India-Pakistan relations.

e)     Thus, in the India-Pakistan context, history is prone to repeating itself. The spectacle of terror never fades and Pak-based and nurtured terror groups chaperone Pakistans diplomacy with a malevolent eye. The recent attacks in Pathankot bear testimony to this continued trend, coming soon as they did after the PMs Lahore visit of Dec 25 2015.

f)     However, Modi has been wise not to jettison the path of dialogue with Pakistan even as he demands that it account for the involvement of JeM in the attacks at Pathankot. However, like governments before it, this government is yet to deploy effective deterrence against terror attacks from Pakistan.

g)     Breakthrough diplomacy on the land boundary with Bangladesh and acceptance of the verdict of international arbitration on the maritime boundary case with the same country has had a salutary impact.

h)     In Sri Lanka, there is need for greater effort to encourage implementation of initiatives for constitutional reform and devolution that steer clear of both Sinhala hyper-nationalism and Tamil chauvinism, and gain the middle ground on both sides of the ethnic divide. Similarly, ties in the defence and strategic sector need to be consolidated with greater confidence.

i)    In Afghanistan, South Asias gateway to Central Asia, the real challenge is the scenario that ensues after the withdrawal of foreign troops and the threat to nationhood if the war with the Taliban and Islamist radical and terrorist elements persists.

j)     Indian projects and development initiatives in Afghanistan will be further jeopardised, putting paid to 15 years of dedicated ground-level efforts to build friendship and goodwill.

k)     For years there has been talk of Indias participation in the development of Chabahar port in Iran: this is a project that has now become responsibility of the Modi govt to complete and must acquire critical mass and momentum.

l)     It will provide much-needed access through Iran into Afghanistan for trade and transit. It also ensures connectivity into Central Asia, thus becoming a vital point of access for energy exports from the region and facilitating a re-imaging of historical geographies that linked India and Central Asia.

m)     As Indias foreign and external security policy grows its maritime dimension, besides ties with ASEAN, Modi must concentrate on the development of bilateral and regional ties with both the African littoral and hinterland in the Indian Ocean region.

n)     The PM has steered the relationship with China with a steady hand. The continuity of policy over the last 3 decades (despite changes of govt in India) has worked towards the avoidance of conflict, the consolidation of confidence-building measures in the border areas, regular leadership-level dialogue and the exponential growth in trade and commercial ties between the two countries.

o)     Cooperation and competition have defined the relationship and a rising India’s projected economic growth and increased strategic and military capabilities provide the best balancer effect to a consciously assertive China and its growing sense of entitlement.

p)     Indias ties with Japan, Australia and the US are of particular salience in this context. Military-to-military cooperation and closer partnership with these countries must be addressed by India with less trepidation or hesitancy.

q)     India has in some ways affirmed the OBOR initiative with its membership stake in the AIIB, an institution where essentially China takes the lead. A complicating factor is the CPEC arm of the OBOR that bridges Pakistan and China through territory in the Karakoram, claimed by India.

r)     The wiggle for India in this scenario is to move with clear-headedness to completing the Chabahar project, and also concretising initiatives under BCIM Corridor so that she is not excluded from connectivity superstructure that is implied in the OBOR initiative.

s)     Simultaneously, India can ill-afford to neglect her Central Asia policy or her maritime vision for Indian Ocean. Indias entry into the SCO is a stepping stone to a more active role for the country in building a strong stakeholder role in connectivity and counter-terrorism strategies for the region.

t)     The India-US relationship has been one of star performers in PM Modis foreign policy repertoire despite the persisting irritant of US defence sales to Pakistan. Trade, investment and economic ties fuel this relationship, but strategic aspect is of accelerating importance.

u)     The US is a major defence partner of India today, and the two countries must engage with less hesitation and more closely in this field - further empowering Indias outreach in terms of Icarian (air power) as well as maritime (sea power) capability in the Indian Ocean.

v)     Indias Act East policy must envision how the visions of India and China are to be interwoven in the mapping of 21st century Asia. The US as an Asia-Pacific power also has enormous stakes in the peace and prosperity of continental and maritime Asia.

5.

Indian firm to partner Israel for anti-tank missiles (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Israel relations

b)     Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)

 

a)     Rafael of Israel and Kalyani group are setting up a joint venture (Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems) to build weapon systems in India. It could start with the production of Spike ATGM which the Indian Army is in the process of procuring.

b)     However the final deal for Spike is yet to be cleared and contract negotiations are currently underway. Sources said the deal is on the top of the agenda during PM Modis visit to Israel later this year.

c)     The Rs. 3200 crore deal for the ATGMs was cleared in 2014 by Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley which put an end to uncertainty after the US offer of joint production of Javelin missiles.

d)   The deal includes 8000 plus missiles, 300 plus launchers and requisite technology transfer to the Indian entity which was initially supposed to be BDL. Spike is a third generation, fire and forget anti-tank missile.

6.

Four-nation counter-terror mechanism to guard Silk Road (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Chinas One Belt One Road (OBOR) connectivity initiative  

b)     Counter-terror mechanism

c)     East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)

d)     Khorasan Province (ISIL-K)

e)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     A top General of Chinas Peoples Liberation Army has visited Afghanistan to work out a regional counter-terrorism mechanism with an eye on safeguarding the One Belt One Road connectivity initiative in Eurasia.

b)     PLAs Chief of General Staff and member of the Central Military Commission has proposed formation of a regional counter-terrorism mechanism that will also include Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as members.

c)     China is threatened by terror strikes from the ETIM, especially in its Xinjiang province. However, the rise of the Khorasan Province (a branch of IS in Afghanistan) has fuelled further anxieties on its likely impact on the One Belt One Road initiative.

7.

Maldives is sitting on a time bomb (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Maldives political crisis

b)     Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)

a)     The former President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed said that India can play an important role in the restoration of democracy in Maldives but the appeasement of dictators is not the way to do it.

b)     Nasheed (the first democratically elected President of the Maldives) has been sentenced to 13 years in prison on terrorism charges. He is now in London on a prison leave for medical treatment.

c)     The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had recently ruled that Nasheeds trial was flawed, and called for his release, a call that President Abdulla Yameen has refused to accept.

d)     The CMAG demanded that he initiate a dialogue with the opposition, release jailed opponents and enable the return of exiles, progress on which the CMAG would review in one month.

8.

Pyongyang fires missiles after tough UN sanctions (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

b)     UNSC

 

a)   North Korea fired six short-range projectiles into the sea in a show of defiance just hours after the UN adopted the toughest sanctions to date on Pyongyang over its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.

b)     The launches came after the UNSC unanimously passed a resolution imposing new sanctions after seven weeks of arduous negotiations between US and China, Pyongyangs sole major ally. All eyes are now on China and Russia to see if they fully enact sweeping measures.

c)     North Korea offered no immediate statement on the sanctions, which break new ground, requiring all countries to inspect cargo destined for and coming from the North, in all airports and sea ports.

d)     They also ban or restrict exports of coal, iron and iron ore and other minerals from North Korea, and prohibit the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel.

9.

Reviving the politics of remission (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case 1991

b)     Death penalty

c)     Supreme Court

d)     Article 161 of the Constitution

a)     The decision of AIADMK govt in Tamil Nadu to release the seven life convicts in 1991 Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and seek the Union govts view on the move is a politically partisan attempt to corner Chief Minister Jayalalithaas electoral rivals and place the national parties in a spot ahead of the Assembly elections to be held this summer.

b)     On Feb 18 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of three conspirators in Rajiv Gandhi case to life terms on the ground that there was an unreasonable delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions.

c)  The very next day AIADMK govt declared that it would release all seven life convicts in the case and gave a three-day deadline to the Centre to give its views, marking a dramatic leap from capital punishment to en masse release, within 24 hrs.

d)     A Constitution Bench settled the substantive questions of law arising from the issue, holding on Dec 2 2015, that the Centre had primacy in according remission to life convicts in a case that involves consultation between the Centre and the State. It observed that the remission law should not be used for the rescue of hardened and heartless offenders.

e)     Commuting death sentence to life imprisonment is an act of compassion. Releasing the beneficiaries of such commutation requires careful consideration on a case-by-case basis. It can be nobodys argument that life convicts should be locked away for life.

f)     Any decision on releasing such convicts will have to be made after evaluating the gravity of the crime, the probable effect of their release on society, and the essential inhumanity of prolonged incarceration without even a sliver of hope of freedom.

g)     The AIADMK regime could have explored the scope for a constitutional remedy such as invoking the Governors clemency power under Article 161. Instead, it has chosen a legally discredited route for political gains.

10.

Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016

b)     Unified Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)

a)    Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 in LokSabha.

b)     The Bill provides statutory backing to Aadhaar, the unique identity number through which the government plans to target delivery of subsidy benefits and services. The expenditure for the nationwide Aadhaar exercise is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.

c)     The Bill provides for the establishing of the UIDAI and the establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository. It includes biometric information collected, created and stored in electronic form.

d)     Through the proposed legislation, the govt expects to address concerns that have been raised on the mandatory use of Aadhaar in govt schemes. The Supreme Court has restricted the use of the Aadhaar number until a Constitution Bench delivers its verdict on a number of cases concerning privacy and other issues.

e)     Under the provisions of the Bill, the Aadhaar number cannot confer right of or proof of citizenship of domicile.

11.

RBI pores over budget, worries on fiscal math (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Union Budget 2016-17

b)     GDP growth

c)     Fiscal deficit

d)     RBI

a)   Some RBI officials are worried that a populist budget could put the onus of driving growth on them but limit their ability to respond through big rate cuts this year.

b)     Finance Minister Arun Jaitley increased spending on farm and social sectors in the 2016-17 fiscal year in a boost to rural India, where most of the countrys 1.3 billion people live.

c)     He curbed capital expenditure growth compared to previous year, yet stuck to his commitment to reduce fiscal deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP.

12.

Is Earth getting an intergalactic SOS? (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs)

b)     Milky Way galaxy

a)    For first time, Astronomers have detected repeating short bursts of mysterious and powerful radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of the Milky Way galaxy.

b)     They said the findings indicate that these fast radio bursts come from an extremely powerful object, which occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute.

c)     They said all previously detected FRBs have appeared to be one-off events. As a result, most theories about the origin of these mysterious pulses have involved cataclysmic incidents that destroy their source - a star exploding in a supernova or a neutron star collapsing into a black hole.

d)     The new finding suggests that these bursts must have come from an object, such as a rotating neutron star having unprecedented power that enables the emission of extremely bright pulses.

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