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Daily News Analysis 28-02-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF   THE ARTICLE

1.

SCO: Russia to push for Indias full membership (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Russia will take all necessary steps to   comply with Indias application for full membership during the SCOs summit in   Bashkortostan.

2.

China formally backs trilateral partnership with India,   Sri Lanka (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     China   formally supported a trilateral partnership with India and Sri Lanka to   establish a Maritime Silk Road and promote the rise of Eurasia.

3.

The building blocks to enduring ties (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Like his   successful visits to Bhutan and Nepal, PM Modi would do well to do the same   during his first visit to Sri Lanka.

4.

Up to India to decide on joining anti-IS coalition: US   (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Taking the fight to IS was an area of   concern for all of the countries in South and Central Asia and an issue of   discussion for the US in our bilateral discussions with each of the countries   in South and Central Asia.

5.

Towards a silent backchannel diplomacy (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     As there is a decrease in bilateral   relations between India and Pakistan, the visit to Pakistan is an opportunity   for Foreign Secretary Jaishankar to reshape the dialogue process.

6.

US, Cuba resume talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US and Cuban negotiators opened a second   round of historic talks aimed at overcoming half a century of enmity and   restoring full diplomatic ties.

7.

Economic Survey moots three-point action plan to realise   Make in India dream (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The Economic Survey of 2014-15 has   suggested three initiatives in the decreasing order of effectiveness and the   increasing order of controversy to realise the Make in India dream.

8.

Growth projected to be over 8 percent (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     The Economic Survey 2014-15 forecasts   8.1-8.5 percent growth for 2015-16 against 7.4 percent in the current   financial year.

9.

India ranks below BRICS nations in innovation (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     The Economic Survey 2014-15 said that   Indias capacity for innovation has been lower than that of many countries like   the US, UK, South Korea and even other BRICS countries except Russia.

10.

Russia planning its own space station (Page 9)

a)     S&T

a)     The creation of a national space station   would ensure that Russia has a base to fly cosmonauts until it has developed   plans to send crews on orbiting missions around the moon and land them on its   surface by 2030.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT   POINTS

1.

SCO: Russia to push for Indias full membership (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

b)     North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

c)     BRICS group

d)     Russia-India-China (RIC) group

a)     Official said that Russia will push for   Indias full membership in the SCO during the upcoming meeting it is hosting   in July. India is currently an observer in the multilateral grouping.

b)     Russia will take all necessary steps to   act with Indias application for full membership during the SCO summit in   Bashkortostan.

c)     The SCO (founded in 2001) comprises   Russia, China and several Central Asian republics and is seen as a counter to   the NATO.

d)     Russia is also pushing for deeper   engagement among the BRICS group as well as the RIC group.

e)     Russia is scheduled to take over   chairmanship of the BRICS grouping and the next summit will be held in Russia   in July.

2.

China formally backs trilateral partnership with India,   Sri Lanka (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India, China   and Sri Lanka trilateral partnership

b)    Maritime Silk   Road (MSR) project

c)     Chinese   projects in Sri Lanka

a)   China formally supported   a trilateral partnership with India and Sri Lanka to establish a MSR and   promote the rise of Eurasia.

b)     Chinese   official pointed out that China would like to accelerate such cooperation and   see practical measures between China and India, leading to Sri Lankas social   and economic development.

c)     He is   signalling a more inclusive strategic appreciation of the region, run counter   to Indian concerns that a firm military relationship between China and Sri   Lanka in the Indian Ocean was taking root, following the docking of a Chinese   submarine in Colombo.

d)     He said that   China would certainly like to hold talks with India on a triangular relationship   with Sri Lanka in the future, in tune with Sino-Indian partnership on key   global and regional issues.

3.

The building blocks to enduring ties (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri   Lanka relations

b)     Palk Strait   conflict

c)     Sri Lankas   human rights issue

d)     UNHRC   resolution

e)     13th   Amendment

f)     India – China   relations

g)     Chinese   projects in Sri Lanka

h)     Maritime Silk   Road (MSR) Project 

a)     Sri Lankan President Sirisenas decision to   make India as the destination of his first foreign visit possibly reflects   his personal tendency towards India as a natural choice of a long-term   ally. 

b)     A lot of homework needs to be done   before PM Modi begins on his Sri Lanka visit. The objective should not be of preventing   China but on trying to and building an enduring relationship.

c)     Yet, the two nations find themselves   separated by much more than the Palk Strait.

d)     During Sirisenas visit to India, they   signed only three agreements (on agricultural cooperation, on cultural   cooperation and a MoU on Nalanda University), none of which can be regarded   as significant.

e)     They did conclude a civil nuclear   cooperation agreement which amounts to a demonstration of mutual trust but   has nothing strategic about it. It only facilitates cooperation in the   transfer and exchange of nuclear knowledge and expertise.

f)     However, India and Sri Lanka cannot   afford to delay for much longer discussing major issues like the devolution   of power to the Tamils in the North, nor can they be avoided during Modis   Colombo visit.

g)     As the architects of the 13th Amendment   and the devolution idea deriving from the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987, the   Lankan Tamils will look to India to ensure justice for their cause. Indian   Tamils also expect nothing less and this will have implications for Indias   internal politics.

h)     There are other trouble issues such as accountability,   demilitarization and growing communalization of both the Sri Lankan polity   and the Army as also the pending UNHRC resolution that will need some kind of   settlement.

i)     Another component is the extremely   Buddhist (Jathika Hela Urumaya), which has turned militant of late with   regard to its protestations as also its attitude towards non-Buddhist   elements in the country, especially Muslims and Tamils. 

j)     Like his successful visits to Bhutan and   Nepal, PM Modi would do well to do the same during his first visit to Sri   Lanka. Positioning India as a counter point to China could follow later.

k)     There are reports that Sirisena has   assured China that his govt is willing to implement the consensus reached   during Chinese President Xis visit to Sri Lanka last September. He has also   underlined the enduring nature of the friendly ties with China, dating back   centuries.

l)     Hence, stopping any of the ongoing   projects funded by China may not be on the anvil. It would be better to be   cautious and see how far the new Sri Lankan govt readjusts its priorities   before taking any major steps.

m)     The realities of Sri Lankan politics   also make it easier for Sri Lanka to have a satisfactory relationship with   China. There is also the recent history of Chinas help to Sri Lanka, dating   back to the 1952 rice for rubber deal, apart from several other instances.

n)     If Sri Lanka can be convincing during   Modis visit to Colombo to step back from becoming a supporter of Chinas MSR   Project, this in itself would be a matter of great geostrategic importance.

o)     The MSR Project masks Xis ambitions to   establish a dominant Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific, including building   a network of port cities to stand the Indian Ocean. 

p)     India will be required to demonstrate   greater courage, if countries in the region are to notice Indias statements.

4.

Up to India to decide on joining anti-IS coalition: US   (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US   relations

b)     Islamic State   (IS)

c)     Counter terrorism

a)     US Assistant Secretary of State noted   that taking the fight to IS was an area of concern for all countries in South   and Central Asia and an issue of discussion for the US in our bilateral   discussions with each of the countries of South and Central Asia.

b)     He said although Washington had held   very strong discussions with the administration of PM Modi about the threat   that violent extremism (specifically of IS), whether India decides to team up   with nations in militarily engaging IS or whether India takes other steps is   for India to decide.

c)     He said we value the cooperation between   our two countries, which is certainly deepening on issues of combating   terrorism.

5.

Towards a silent backchannel diplomacy (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India –   Pakistan relations

b)     Kashmir issue

c)     LoC

d)     Indus Waters   Treaty

e)       Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI)

f)       Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI)

g)     Asian Development Bank (ADB)

h)     Islamic State   (IS)

a)     After taking over as Foreign Secretary,   Jaishankars trip to Pakistan in early March (to resume the Indo-Pak dialogue)   should be the most important for him. He has a credible record as former   Ambassador in establishing good relations with China and the US.

b)     As there is a recent decrease in   bilateral relations between India and Pak, this is an opportunity for him to   reshape the dialogue process.

c)     Critics would point out that there is   pressure from the US on India to restart the dialogue but there is a similar   pressure on Pakistan too.

d)     A second opportunity for him is related   to the recent developments on Pakistans western border. Under Afghanistan   President Ashraf Ghani, there has been a substantial upswing in   Afghan-Pakistan relations, including a possible dialogue with the Taliban.

e)     The third opportunity for him emerges   from Pakistans domestic compulsions - a section within Pakistan talks about   terrorism as a threat and links the problem to the skewed policies of   Islamabad and Rawalpindi in using militants and jihad as a foreign   policy strategy towards India and Afghanistan.

f)     The fourth and most important   opportunity is Afghanistan itself. Withdrawal of the US-led forces and the   shift of global attention to Syria, Iraq and the IS gives an opportunity for   the countries in the region to come together.

g)     How can Jaishankar seize the opportunity   and present a larger road map for an effective and credible Indo-Pak   dialogue?

h)     The idea of a composite Indo-Pak   dialogue (as proposed in the 1990s) was a novel approach then. But how   effective and relevant is it in 2015?

i)     From an Indian perspective, of the eight   issues identified for composite dialogue, some are challenging and the rest   are doable. There have been reports on how close India and Pakistan came   together in resolving a particular issue (Siachen or Sir Creek).

j)     Indo-Pak approach on Indus Waters Treaty   could be a model, where the dialogue is protected from larger bilateral   developments. Such a process could help the two countries reach an   understanding and resolve the issue once and for all. 

k)     In South and Central Asia, there is an   opportunity with gas and electricity. Two pipeline projects (IPI and TAPI)   have been going slow due to bilateral differences and lack of international   support. With the US working on a nuclear deal with Iran and the ADB having a   renewed interest, IPI and TAPI can become the big ticket items.

l)     What should be a formal Indian response   to Pakistan bringing Afghanistan into the dialogue process, which is bound to   happen? There has been too much emphasis on Ghanis invitiatives to Pak. India   has its own influence and Ghani is not the sole authority of Afghan political   power. 

m)     If New Delhi is not voicing to be an Afghan   security provider and is more important in contributing to the Afghan economy   and to its infrastructure, a clear redline can be established vis-a-vis the   Indian presence and Paks interests. If Pakistan wants to walk more into   Afghanistan, India should welcome it, as long as it does not affect its own   interests.

n)     Maintaining peace along the LoC and   ensuring its sanctity should be a primary concern for India. Delhis strong   resolve and hard response to the LoC violations has already shocked Pakistan.

o)     Finally, Jaishankar should attempt to   establish links with those who call the shots in Islamabad and start a silent   backchannel diplomacy. There can be a demand for transparency and   accountability but silent backchannel diplomacy will be more effective.

6.

US, Cuba resume talks (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     Cold War

c)     Vienna   Convention on Diplomatic Relations

a)     US and Cuban negotiators opened a second   round of historic talks aimed at overcoming half a century of enmity and   restoring full diplomatic ties.

b)     The talks are building on US President   Obama and Cuban president Raul Castros surprise announcement in December that   the two Cold War adversaries had decided to normalize relations severed in 1961.

c)     Official said the negotiators would   review provisions in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations on such   subjects as the freedom of movement of diplomats and the use of diplomatic   pouches.

7.

Economic Survey moots three-point action plan to realise   Make in India dream (Page 15)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic Survey 2014-15

b)     Make in India

c)     SEZs

d)     Free Trade Agreement   (FTA)

a)     The Economic Survey of 2014-15 has   suggested three initiatives in the decreasing order of effectiveness and the   increasing order of controversy to realise the Make in India dream.

b)     The non-controversial response lies in   improving the business environment by making regulations and taxes less trouble,   building infrastructure, reforming labour laws and enabling connectivity.

c)     The survey said all these will reduce   the cost of doing business, increase profitability and encourage the private   sector (both domestic and foreign) to increase investments.

d)     The next response could be in the form   of industrial policy. This could focus on promoting manufacturing by   providing subsidies, lowering the cost of capital and creating SEZs for   manufacturing activity.

e)     And then, it suggested a protectionist   response. This would focus on the tradability of manufacturing intended to   shield domestic manufacturing from foreign competition via tariffs, local   content requirements and export-related incentives. 

f)     The survey said the effectiveness of   these actions is open to debate given past experience. They could run up   against Indias external obligations under the WTO and other FTAs and   also undermine Indias openness credentials.

8.

Growth projected to be over 8 percent (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Economic Survey 2014-15

b)     Economic growth

c)     GDP

d)     Fiscal deficit

e)     GST

f)     Inflation

a)     Economic Survey 2014-15 forecasts   8.1-8.5 percent growth for 2015-16 against 7.4 percent in the current   financial year.

b)     The estimate was difficult to reconcile   with other developments in the economy during that year – capital had flowed   out, interest rates were tightened and savings and investments had   dramatically declined.

c)     Voicing for reforms, it urged the Centre   to bring down the fiscal deficit to 3 percent of the GDP from the current   year target of 4.1 percent, which it said would be achieved.

d)     It recommended compressing govt   expenditure for achieving this, saying tax collections were likely to be optimistic   on account of faster growth and the rollout of the GST.

e)     Analysing various subsidies (ranging   from the PDS to water and power), it said price subsidies had not had a   transformative effect on the living standards of the poor, though they helped   poor households weather inflation.

9.

India ranks below BRICS nations in innovation (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Economic Survey 2014-15

b)     Global   Competitiveness Report 2014-15

c)     Innovation

d)     Research and   Development (R&D)

e)     BRICS

a)     According to the Global Competitiveness   Report 2014-15, the Economic Survey 2014-15 said that Indias capacity for   innovation has been lower than that of many countries like the US, UK, South   Korea and even other BRICS countries except Russia.

b)     Even in quality of scientific research   institutions, India scores lower than China, Brazil and South Africa.

c)     This is also exhibited through its poor   score on university-industry collaboration on R&D as compared to some   other BRICS nations like China and South Africa.

10.

Russia planning its own space station (Page 9)

a)     S&T

a)     Roscosmos

b)     International   Space Station (ISS)

c)     Soyuz rockets

d)     Exomars Mars rover

a)     The Russian Federal Space Agency   (Roscosmos) has revealed plans to build an orbiting outpost and land   cosmonauts on the moon once the ISS is mothballed next decade.

b)     The creation of a national space station   would ensure that Russia has a base to fly cosmonauts until it has developed   its more aspiring plans to send crews on orbiting missions around the moon   and land them on its surface by 2030.

c)     Since NASA retired its fleet of space   shuttles, Russia has been the only nation able to carry humans to and from   the ISS aboard its Soyuz rockets.

d)     Despite the enthusiasm over Moscows   decision to extend its support, the plans outlined by Roscosmos for a   national space station and human missions to the moon suggest that Russia is   poised to break away from its international partners in space exploration.

e)      Beyond human space exploration, Russia   has collaborations with several countries to carry out robotic missions to   planets. The European Space Agency is working with Russia on the Exomars Mars   rover, which is due to depart for the red planet in 2018.

NOTE: Read Economic Survey 2014-15.

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