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Daily News Analysis 22-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Navys aircraft on mission in Seychelles (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Signalling Indias deepening naval engagement in the Indian Ocean, the Indian navy has for the first time deployed one of its advanced maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles for surveillance of the island nations Exclusive Economic Zone.

2.

Adding gloss to ties with Saudi Arabia (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Both governments want to add positivity to their ties even as the Kingdoms relationships with Pakistan and the US are under a strain.

3.

Nepal seals agreement on transit rights through China (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

a)   Underlining the growing role of China in South Asia, Nepal secured transit rights through China following an agreement in Beijing between Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

4.

Castro renews call to lift US embargo in historic talks (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

a)     In a history-making meeting on March 21, Castro praised Obamas recent steps to relax controls on Cuba as positive, but deemed them insufficient. He called anew for the US to return its naval base at Guantanamo Bay to Cuba and to lift the US trade embargo.

5.

Forging unity by force of crisis (Page 10)

a)     International

a)   There is hardly any element that is not contentious or controversial in the agreement that the European Union has struck with Turkey to stem the flow of thousands of mostly Syrian migrants and refugees on to its shores.

6.

Ten more States to come under food security scheme (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     As many as 10 States are set to implement National Food Security Act from April 1, taking the total number of States covered under the subsidized food scheme to 21.

7.

Current account deficit narrows in third quarter (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The countrys current account deficit narrowed to $ 7.1 billion or 1.3 percent of GDP during the October-December quarter of the financial year, mainly due to lower trade deficit.

8.

How China central bank sought Fed help (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Confronted with a plunge in its stock markets last year, Chinas central bank swiftly reached out to the US Federal Reserve, asking it to share its play book for dealing with Wall Streets Black Monday crash of 1987.

 

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Navys aircraft on mission in Seychelles (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Seychelles relations

b)     Indian Ocean Region

c)     Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

d)     Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) exercises

a)   Signalling Indias deepening naval engagement in the Indian Ocean, the Indian navy has for the first time deployed one of its advanced maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Seychelles for surveillance of the island nations EEZ.

b)     It is the first such deployment of the Boeing P 8I to a foreign country. The move is in accordance with the MoU between the Governments of India and Seychelles.

c)     The aircraft deployment reflects Indias increased maritime engagement in the region. India and China are locked in efforts to widen their respective spheres of influence in the strategically vital Indian Ocean.

d)     India has been reaching out to the smaller Indian Ocean island nations through various Maritime Domain Awareness exercises that include Search and Rescue support, oil pollution response exercises, and assistance in legal matters.

e)     Besides supplying naval vessels and aircraft, the Indian navy has supported countries such as Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles with training, hydrographic surveys, surveillance operations and counter-terror patrols.

f)    In the past, the Indian Navy has undertaken surveillance missions in the Seychellois EEZ twice a year, but by deploying naval ships. The P 8I is a cheaper, economical, faster and more effective option than the naval ships, and sends a signal about navys overall ambition and capabilities.

g)     Deployment of Indian Navys latest and technologically most advanced maritime reconnaissance aircraft is an indicator of Indias commitment towards ensuring the security of Seychelles EEZ. This deployment would assist in curbing illegal activities and piracy and contribute towards security and stability in the Indian Ocean Region.

2.

Adding gloss to ties with Saudi Arabia (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Saudi Arabia relations

b)     European Union-India summit

c)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

d)     Nuclear Security Summit

e)     Chinas One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative

a)     PM Modi will soon visit Brussels, Washington and Riyadh. While the visit to Belgium to attend the EU-India summit and announce the restart of FTA negotiations is long overdue, and the visit to the US for the Nuclear Security Summit is an old calendar commitment, it is the visit to Saudi Arabia that makes the loudest statement on Modis foreign policy agenda this year.

b)     In bilateral terms, Modis Riyadh stop has numerous possibilities. The first is the elevation of ties between the two countries that Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke of during his visit to Delhi earlier this month.

c)     This involves upgrading three key agreements (the energy security partnership of 2008, the strategic partnership of 2010 (which has included robust anti-terror cooperation), and the defence partnership of 2014, signed just months before the Modi govt was sworn in) and melding them to form the basis of a new relationship.

d)     The second possibility is improving the trade and investment relationship. Bilateral trade at about $40 billion (lower this year because of falling oil prices) must be built beyond its current oil dependence and India is keen to see Saudi investments in India on a par with its expectations from the United Arab Emirates.

e)     Finally, there are emerging avenues for partnerships that the two countries want to explore. As oil revenues are lower, Saudi Arabia is keen to project itself as a kingdom of dreams, a hub for manufacturing and technology.

f)     In particular, the Saudi government is pitching its mega project (the King Abdullah Economic City) with a deep-sea port as a connector between the East and the West, and wants India to see it as a gateway to its new forays into Africa.

g)     Given that nearly half of Indias seven million-strong Gulf diaspora works in Saudi Arabia, India is keen to see new jobs created for them. It is no secret that both countries would like to move away from the conventional image of exploited Indian labourers living in regimented Saudi labour camps.

h)   Modis visit will be watched most closely for its geopolitical signalling. In the subcontinent, it comes a year after ties between Saudi Arabia and its closest ally Pakistan were strained, when the Pakistani Parliament shot down a request to send troops to boost Saudi action in Yemen.

i)     In contrast, during a telephone call to negotiate for Indian ships and planes to evacuate citizens, PM Modi went as far as to commend Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and hope for a quick resolution of the regions challenges under King Salmans leadership.

j)     Since then, Pakistan has made many attempts to make amends, but the refusal to join the Yemen bombing campaign as well as some ambivalence on joining the Saudi-led coalition to fight the IS have affected what was once seen as the most closely woven relationship.

k)     Ties with the US (the Kingdoms strongest international ally) are under a strain, as the Saudi government battles allegations of funding IS fighters even as it watches its arch-rival Iran bask in new-found international acceptance.

l)     Saudi Arabias other major ally China is attempting a similar shift. To the surprise of many, President Xi Jinping added Iran to his tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt in January.

m)   While oil reserves were the currency of the past, connectivity is seen as the coinage for power in the future, and Chinas entire focus at present is on the One Belt, One Road initiative. Iran plays a major part in OBOR as a connector to Central Asia as well as West Asia, not Saudi Arabia.

n)     It is against this backdrop that Modi is trying to shore up ties with Saudi Arabia. It will be a visit high on potential, but in a region that is equally high on tensions, the Prime Minister will have to walk a tightrope.

3.

Nepal seals agreement on transit rights through China (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

a)     Nepal – China relations

b)     Agreement on transit rights through China

 

a) Underlining the growing role of China in South Asia, Nepal secured transit rights through China following an agreement in Beijing between PM K.P. Sharma Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.

b)     However, officials pointed out that India-Nepal ties could not be compared or curtailed by Nepals agreements with China.

c)     During the February visit of PM Oli to New Delhi, India agreed on giving dedicated access to Nepal to the port of Vizag.

d)     Even as official sources played down the impact of the transit rights through China, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli clinched in an agreement with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in Beijing and other proposed agreements for rail connectivity, experts pointed out that the development represented a challenge not just for India but for entire South Asia.

e)     They pointed out that China would have to ponder about how it could implement a rail and transit agreement for Nepal without opening up the Tibet region to the world.

f)     However, they pointed out that the implementation of the deals would depend on how far China was willing to invest in Nepal considering the economic and political risks associated with the deals.

4.

Castro renews call to lift US embargo in historic talks (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     US trade embargo on Cuba

c)     Cold War

 

a)   In a history-making meeting on March 21, Castro praised Obamas recent steps to relax controls on Cuba as positive, but deemed them insufficient. He called anew for the US to return its naval base at Guantanamo Bay to Cuba and to lift the US trade embargo.

b)     He came to Cuba pledging to press its leaders on human rights and political freedoms, and vowing that the mere fact of a visit by an American leader would promote those values on the island.

c)     Castro worked to turn the tables on Obama by saying Cuba found it inconceivable for a government to fail to ensure health care, education, food and social security for its people - a clear reference to the US.

d)     Obama said he had raised very serious differences the US has with Cuba on democracy and human rights, but portrayed those difficult conversations as a prerequisite to closer relations.

e)     For Obama, theres no better place than Havana to show that engagement can do more than isolation to bring about tangible change on the communist island. Yet for the Cubans, the glaring question is whether their own govt is ready to prove ambitious diplomatic opening is more than just talk.

5.

Forging unity by force of crisis (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Europes refugee crisis

b)     European Union (EU)

 

 

a)     There is hardly any element that is not contentious or controversial in the agreement that the European Union has struck with Turkey to stem the flow of thousands of mostly Syrian migrants and refugees on to its shores.

b)     It could not have been otherwise, given the intra-EU divisions on a collective approach to the current refugee crisis and staunch domestic opposition to Ankaras entry into the EU.

c)     Despite Turkeys long-standing bid for membership in the bloc, bolstered by its strong secular, liberal and democratic credentials and geographic contiguity, ties between Ankara and Brussels have not been the most cordial in recent years.

d)     Turkeys record on human rights under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (exemplified by the systematic suppression of freedom of expression and ill-treatment of the countrys Kurdish minorities) has drawn strong condemnation from EU leaders.

e)     Now the bloc has promised once again to revive negotiations on a specific aspect of Ankaras protracted accession process, in return for the admission of Syrian refugees from Greece. But the motivation to open talks on a relatively minor element of the package is itself meant to paper over a more fundamental objection, from Cyprus, to Turkeys EU membership.

f)  Nicosia has vetoed EU-entry talks unless and until Ankara accords formal recognition to Greek-Cypriot administration. That is seen to be critical for the reunification prospects of the island state, divided during the 1974 war with Turkey.

g)   Another curious component of the deal is the EU decision to advance the date for the liberalisation of visas to Turkish nationals.

h)     The concession comes at a time when the EUs Schengen passport-free travel zone (the most visible symbol of the founding principles of the Union) is already under considerable strain as a consequence of refugee crisis.

6.

Ten more States to come under food security scheme (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     National Food Security Act (NFSA)

b)     Food Corporation of India (FCI)

c)     Public Distribution System (PDS)

d)     Aadhaar

a)     As many as 10 States are set to implement National Food Security Act from April 1, taking the total number of States covered under the subsidized food scheme to 21.

b)     The Minister held a review meeting with the officials of the Gujarat government and Food Corporation of India on how the subsidized food programme was being launched in the State.

c)     In the last two years, the Centre and the States have worked for digitization, linking ration cards with Aadhaar, computerization of PDS shops and supply chain network, which are required to implement the act nationally.

7.

Current account deficit narrows in third quarter (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Current Account Deficit (CAD)

b)     Trade deficit

c)     GDP

d)     RBI

 

a)     The countrys current account deficit narrowed to $ 7.1 billion or 1.3 percent of GDP during the October-December quarter of the financial year, mainly due to lower trade deficit.

b)     According to latest data released by the RBI, the current account deficit narrowed from $7.7 billion or 1.5 percent of GDP recorded during the same period of last year and from $8.7 billion or 1.7 percent of GDP recorded in July-September quarter.

c)     The contraction in CAD was primarily on account of a lower trade deficit (US$ 34.0 billion) than in Q3 of last year (US$ 38.6 billion) and US$ 37.4 billion in the preceding quarter.

d)     For the nine month period of April-December, CAD narrowed to 1.4 percent of GDP from 1.7 percent in the corresponding period of 2014-15, on the back of the contraction in the trade deficit.

8.

How China central bank sought Fed help (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinas economic slowdown

b)     Peoples Bank of China (PBOC)

c)     US Federal Reserve

d)     Wall Streets Black Monday crash of 1987

 

 

a)     Confronted with a plunge in its stock markets last year, Chinas central bank swiftly reached out to the US Federal Reserve, asking it to share its play book for dealing with Wall Streets Black Monday crash of 1987.

b)     The Chinese market crash triggered steep declines across global financial markets and within a few hours the Fed sent Chinas central bank a trove of publicly-available documents detailing the US central banks actions in 1987.

c)    Financial market contagion from China was one of reasons cited by the Fed in September when it put off a rate hike that many analysts had expected, a sign of how important China has become both as an industrial powerhouse and as a financial market.

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