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Daily News Analysis 26-12-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Tech help from China, Japan for railway upgrade: Modi (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India economic relations with China and Japan

b)     Good governance

c)     Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

a)     Stating that he was committed to ensuring investments for the railways, PM Modi said we will also take technical help from Japan and China to follow their model of development in railways.

b)      He said we cannot provide to pump in money into the railways at the cost of other sectors like education, health and roads.

c)     We will borrow money at low rate of interest and ensure modernisation and technical development of railways.

d)     He dedicated the first air-conditioned diesel locomotive with advanced technical features to the nation and announced plans for setting up four railway universities that would generate manpower and skilled workers for the railway sector.

e)     On a day when his govt marked the birthday of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Good Governance Day, he began his day-long visit to his constituency by inspecting the cleaning of ghats particularly the ancient Assi ghat.

2.

Bringing Tokyo to closer to New Delhi (Page 9)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Japan relations

b)     Trade ties

c)     Special Strategic and Global Partnership in 2014

d)     UNSC

e)     Fukushima disaster

a)     As two of the worlds largest economies and democracies with common and complementary interests and no historical disputes, the possibilities for cooperation between India and Japan are truly unlimited.

b)     Despite highly effective and past commitments in this line, bilateral relations have remained underdeveloped.

c)     Given the growing political momentum in the relationship, the time is right for converting words into action and charting a substantive agenda for progress on a variety of fronts including economics, security, energy and climate change and global governance.

d)     On the economic front, Japan owns a capital-rich economy with an elderly population that is likely to extend an already decades-long economic depression.

e)     Indias economy remains in need of foreign investment while its population is likely to have a surplus of working-age youth in the coming years.

f)     Although Japan has promised to invest $35 billion in India over the next five years and is the largest provider of official development assistance to India, there is still space to expand the economic relationship.

g)     On the security front, both countries face the challenge of maintaining positive relations with China while also having to protect against its growing assertiveness, particularly on territorial matters.

h)     To this end, Japan and India have held naval exercises in the Indian Ocean to increase their maritime interoperability and both countries maintain a strategic dialogue on existing and emerging challenges in the Asia Pacific.

i)     Even though the India-Japan strategic relationship was first called a Global Partnership in 2000 before it was upgraded to a Strategic and Global Partnership in 2006 and finally a Special Strategic and Global Partnership in 2014, the relationship has remained more symbolic than substantive.

j)     Energy security is another area of common interest.

k)     Japans reliance on energy imports has increased sharply since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi incident.

l)     Japan also has much to share with India in terms of clean energy technologies and globally recognised benchmarks on energy efficiency standards.

m)     On issues of global governance, Japan and India both desire the reform of international institutions particularly the UNSC, which is currently dominated by its permanent members.

n)     In the area of international development, as India transitions from being a net recipient of foreign aid to a net provider, there are significant opportunities to learn from Japans decades-long experience of delivering economic assistance in Asia and Africa.

o)     Despite strong economic complementarities, trade between the two countries has remained disappointing.

p)     The obstacles on both sides can be grouped into three relatively dull categories: bureaucratic, cultural and strategic. 

q)     Bureaucratic complexity is the most commonly cited problem, not just by Tokyo but also by Delhi. 

r)     Despite strong political will on both sides, the slow-moving machineries of the two states have yet to become intimately familiarised. 

s)     Cultural factors coupled with poor communication have also been a major obstacle. 

t)     Indias efforts at securing the supply of Japans world class US-2 amphibious aircraft and at concluding a civilian nuclear deal (similar to those with the United States and Russia) have produced limited results due to Japans unique legal and normative approaches to militarism and the use of force since World War II. 

u)     Finally, more commonplace reasons of strategy also keep India and Japan from deeper cooperation. 

v)     Both countries have an interest in countering Chinas rise without causing conflict or any form of escalation.

w)     India and Japan need to reorient and streamline their bureaucratic engagements, develop creative strategies that account for cultural differences and blind spots and devise ways in which they might grow the relationship while maintaining steady engagement with Beijing.

x)     Numerous initiatives to move the bilateral relationship forward are on the document but their implementation will require real effort and will depend on more than the goodwill between the two PMs.

3.

China readies sea-based nuclear deterrent against US (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     International

a)     China – US relations

b)     China – US disputes

c)     US-China Economic and Security Review Commission

d)    Silk Road Economic Belt

e)     US Pivot to Asia

f)     Strait of Malacca

g)     South China Sea

a)     China is set to strengthen its nuclear second-strike capability by mounting on some of its submarines long-range ballistic missiles, which could target the US.

b)     So far, China could strike the US only with land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

c)     But with western advancements in surveillance that could track their location and movements, these weapons had become harm to a US first strike.

d)     The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission has concluded that the Chinese are set to get a reliable, hard-to-destroy sea-based check.

e)     China has three JIN-class nuclear-powered submarines, which began entering service in 2007. 

f)     The JL-2 missiles will have an array of strike options depending on whether the submarine chooses to fire its weapons close to Chinese shores or from areas deeper in the sea.

g)     Alaska will fall within their extent if the missiles are fired from waters near China.

h)      Hawaii can be targeted if these weapons are launched from waters south of Japan.

i)      In their response to the gathering of forces on its periphery, China is locking in weapons that can strike US aircraft carrier strike groups.

j)     In 2010, China became the first country to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile. 

k)     But the Americans can still block the sea lanes radiating towards the Strait of Malacca, which are Chinas economic and energy lifelines.

l)     Consequently, the Chinese are continuously proceeding the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt (a land corridor that would establish trade linkages with Europe) to lessen dependence on the more harmful sea routes.

m)      The Chinese doctrinal orientation remains essentially defensive and its accelerated weaponisation is largely a response to Washingtons Asia Pivot strategy.

4.

Understanding the Kashmir mandate (Page 8)

a)     National

a)     Kashmir Situation

b)     National Conference (NC) government

c)      Indian National Congress (INC)

d)     Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)

e)     Line of Control (LoC)

 

a)     The 2002 elections that voted out the NC govt was a watershed event in that Kashmiris.

b)     The present election has been special because it represents a realization of Indias search to guarantee freedom to all sections of its people and the high participation of the Kashmiris represents a victory for Indias democracy.

c)     The INC and the BJP (which between them had shared a total of 32.1 percent of the vote in 2008) have together taken nearly 46 percent of the vote in the current election.

d)     PM Manmohan Singh had been criticised by many for declaring in his Independence Day speech in 2009 that in Kashmir, separatism as an issue was over.

e)     Having been associated with the internal dialogue process with the separatists initiated by the Vajpayee govt, the universal political demand was indeed only for greater self-govt within the Indian Union.

f)     It is important to understand that the theme tune of Kashmirs union with India moves from the aspiration for azadi.

g)     Communal polarisation in the State has been a matter of concern since the Amarnath land controversy of 2008 that had felled the INC-led coalition bringing on the 2008 election. 

h)     The continuing application of the AFSPA to the State in the rapidly changing situation has attracted much debate.

i)     CM Omar Abdullahs announcement on withdrawal of the application of the law in certain areas has deepened Kashmiri suspicions of the countrys intent.

j)     The deployment of the Army (extensively in civilian areas in Kashmir) is a hangover frozen along the demands of the tribal invasion of 1947-48.

k)     The premier threat today of war between two nuclear-armed States is no longer about a military attack; it is infiltration.

l)     For this purpose the Army would do well to consider redeployment along the more harmful areas on the LoC.

m)     The breakdown of 2010 that troubled Kashmir (spreading from north to south and into Poonch district in Jammu Division) leading to the extensive loss of lives.

n)     The State (the Valley in particular) need to be carried into enjoying the kind of open govt with associated official accountability, which the rest of India takes for granted. 

5.

Rebels without a cause (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Assam situation

b)     National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) 

c)     United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA)

d)     Kamtapur Liberation Organisation

e)     Bodo Security Force

f)     Bodoland Peoples Party (BPP)

a)     The murder of innocent men, women and children in Sonitpur and Kokrajar districts of Assam is a familiar, cynical, bloody cycle of violence.

b)     The incident indicates a set of well-planned and coordinated operations that clearly caught law enforcement agencies and the State govt by surprise.

c)     State police and administrators say a breakaway group of the NDFB is the group responsible for the killings.

d)     The group is opposed to talks between the larger NDFB group and the Indian govt but does not seem to have any clear and real goal apart from that of spreading violence and terror.

e)     The use of weapons against women and children in the northeastern region is not new or limited; such abuse and brutality has been extensive not just in Assam but also its neighbouring States.

f)     In Meghalaya (earlier this year), a Garo armed group shot dead a young woman in front of her children.

g)     There are allegations of abuse against armed groups in Nagaland and Manipur as well.

h)     What has also made such groups difficult to tackle is the fact that they camp on the forested and lightly patrolled border tracts of Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan.

i)     The latter was the camping ground of three major armed groups  (NDFB, ULFA and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation) which were using it to organise attacks and recruit members in Assam. 

j)     The Ranjan Daimary group (whose leader was handed over to Indian authorities by the Bangladesh govt under Sheik Hasina Wajed in 2009 as were the ULFA and Manipuri leaders of secessionist movements) has indicated a willingness to talk. 

k)     An earlier armed group (the Bodo Security Force) gave up the struggle and entered the peace process and participative democracy under the banner BPP. 

l)      Despite public opposition to the BPP from non-Bodo groups, the Tarun Gogoi govt had kept it as a coalition partner.

m)     The public anger against the BPP peaked during the 2014 general election which pushed Modi and the BJP to power at the Centre and in Bodoland, a non-Bodo candidate (who was once a prominent former leader of the ULFA) defeated all candidates including the official BPP nominee.

n)     The Bodos have often been seen as a privileged ethnic group.

o)     The impunity with which the killings have taken place raises two fundamental questions.

p)     Has the State govt failed to fulfill its first responsibility of providing security to ordinary people?

q)     And are its forces (especially the police and civil administration in the districts) capable of launching the strikes and counter-strikes which must make harmless the killers?

r)     Effective measures were not taken against the organised violence in the Bodo districts over several years.

s)     The issues are not just of land or political or economic power but of simple survival and learning to live with one another in a complex State with its 20-odd ethnic groups, many minorities, few majorities and over 50 languages.

6.

Action plan soon to prevent deaths from diarrhoea, pneumonia (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Dearrhoea

b)     Pneumonia

c)     Mortality

d)     Global Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia 

e)     National Rural Health Mission

f)     UNICEF

g)     WHO

 

a)     The Centre will soon launch an action plan against diarrhoea and pneumonia in four States, including Rajasthan. 

b)     The aim is to end preventable child deaths from these two by 2025.

c)     India accounts for the highest number of diarrhoea and pneumonia deaths among children in the world with over 2 lakh children dying of diarrhoea and over 3.8 lakh children of pneumonia annually, accounting for the mortality of 4 in every 10 children under-five.

d)     The four States where the India Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia will be rolled out (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan) account for half of under-five mortality in the country which stands at 62 deaths per 1000 live births nationally.

e)     The action plan is a follow-up of the Global Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia (that was launched by WHO and UNICEF in April 2013), reduce incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea by 75 percent compared to 2010 levels and reduce by 40 percent the global number who are stunted as compared to 2010 levels by 2025.

7.

Encephalitis cases continue to rise, admits Centre (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Encephalitis

b)     Japanese Encephalitis (JE)

c)     Endemic regions in India

a)     The govts efforts to check the spread of encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis (which include a vaccination drive started in 2006) have not shown the desired results.

b)     Centre has disclosed that not only have the cases gone up in the last few years, epidemiological data shows that many adults are also being affected by JE.

c)     To stop the spread of JE, the govt is focussing on intensifying the vaccination drive, particularly in the endemic regions.

8.

Curbs on gold imports drive smuggling: Centre (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     Gold imports

b)     Current Account Deficit (CAD)

c)     GDP

d)     RBI

a)     The Union govt has said restrictions imposed on gold imports to stem the pressure on the CAD are likely to have led to a substantial increase in smuggling. 

b)     The increase in seizures of smuggled gold this year may partly be attributed to the fluctuations in the price of gold, the restrictions imposed on the import of gold and customs duty rates.

c)     To stem the pressure on the CAD, the govt and the RBI had taken measures to moderate the demand for the precious metal.

9.

DRDO conducts maiden test flight of Panchi (Page 11)

a)     S&T

a)     Panchi  

b)     Nishant

c)     Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

d)     Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)

e)     DRDO

a)     Panchi (the wheeled version of the UAV Nishant, capable of taking off from and landing on small airstrips) had its first flight on Dec 24 from an airfield at Kolar in Karnataka.

b)     The aim of the flight was to demonstrate that Panchi can take off and land on its wheels.

c)     It was designed and developed by the ADE and DRDO.

d)      Nishant (which has an underbelly airbag) is launched by a catapult and lands with the help of an onboard parachute.

e)      Panchi has all the surveillance capabilities of Nishant but it can stay in the air longer because it does not have to carry the airbag and the parachute systems of the other.

f)      Officials said Nishant (which had already been with the Army) was designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, tracking of targets and artillery fire correction.

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