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Daily News Analysis 25-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India funded MQM, Pakistan official tells BBC (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistans MQM party officials told the UK authorities (who are investigating the MQM for money laundering) that the Indian government funded the party.

2.

Foreign Minister defends talks with diaspora groups (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera defended the Sri Lankan governments policy of engaging with Tamil diaspora groups.

3.

Khamenei talks tough as n-deal deadline nears (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ruled out freezing sensitive nuclear work in the country for a long time and said sanctions imposed on it should be lifted as soon it reaches a final deal with major powers.

4.

Dutch govt asked to cut emissions (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     A Dutch court ordered its govt to cut the countrys greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 to help fight global warming.

5.

Foreign Service must remain elitist (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     As the Indian Foreign Service is already a shadow of its former self, India should not misuse its strengths by diluting its specialised and professional character.

6.

Govt nod for revised cost estimate of freight corridor (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Paving the way for speedy delivery of goods across the country, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved revised cost estimate of Rs 81,459 crore for the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor Project.

7.

India among top 10 FDI recipients (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     In its World Investment Report 2015, the UNCTAD said that India again broke in to the top 10 recipients of foreign direct investment during 2014 after 2008.

8.

Australia to join China-led infra bank (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Australia announced that it would join the new China-led AIIB as a founding member, contributing about $930 million to the financial institution of which India will be the second largest shareholder.

9.

Rosetta comet mission extended (Page 15)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)   Europe announced its comet-chasing mission Rosetta would be extended until Sept 2016 and may end with the dying mothership touching down on the comet.

10.

Detecting exoplanets close to their host star (Page 15)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    Vector Apodizing Phase Plate coronagraph installed at 6.5-m Magellan Clay telescope in Chile recently can reveal the image of an exoplanet next to its parent star.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India funded MQM, Pakistan official tells BBC (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party

c)     Mojahirs

a)     Pakistans MQM party officials told the UK authorities (who are investigating the MQM for money laundering) that the Indian government funded the party.

b)     Quoting an authoritative Pakistani source BBC reports that India trained hundreds of MQM militants over the last 10 years. The officer claimed that the militants were trained in explosives, weapons and sabotage over the last 10 years in camps in north and northeast India.

c)     In response to the claims of Indian funding, the British High Commission in London told the BBC that shortcomings of governance cannot be rationalised by blaming neighbours.

d)     The MQM has been under the police scanner since 2010 following the stabbing to death of Imran Farooq, a senior party leader. The party claims to represent the Mojahirs - Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated from India to Pakistan after Partition. They demand greater rights for the community within governing framework in Pakistan.

e)     Reacting to the report, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said that the BBC Report on India training MQM members is completely baseless.

2.

Foreign Minister defends talks with diaspora groups (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankan internal issues

b)     Tamil diaspora groups

c)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

a)     Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera defended the Sri Lankan govt policy of engaging with Tamil diaspora groups.

b)     Conceding that there were others who still believed in the cause of separatism, he said we are willing to talk them.

c)     On US State Departments observation that the LTTEs financial network operated through 2014, he said it was a reflection of the total failure of strategies of the Rajapaksa administration, as the report related to 2014.

d)    Asked about the possibility of LTTEs re-emergence, he said there would be attempts to regroup LTTE in other parts of the world, if not in Sri Lanka.

3.

Khamenei talks tough as n-deal deadline nears (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     IAEA

d)     UNSC

 

a)     Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ruled out freezing sensitive nuclear work in the country for a long time and said sanctions imposed on it should be lifted as soon it reaches a final deal with major powers.

b)     The P5+1 (Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the US) want Iran to commit to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear development work as part of a landmark atomic deal they aim to reach by June 30. They are offering in exchange relief from sanctions that have destroyed the oil exporters economy.

c)     He said that all financial and economic sanctions imposed by the UNSC, the US Congress or US govt should be lifted immediately when we sign a nuclear agreement. He repeated his stance that Tehran would not give international bodies access to its military sites.

d)     France and the US say Iran must step up cooperation with the IAEA if it wants to reach a final deal.

e)     He also accused the US of wanting to wipe out Irans nuclear industry.

4.

Dutch govt asked to cut emissions (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Climate change

b)     Greenhouse gas emissions

c)     Global warming

d)     Greenpeace

a)     A Dutch court ordered its govt to cut the countrys greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 to help fight global warming.

b)     The ruling by The Hague District Court was termed a game-changer in fight against climate change by Greenpeace.

5.

Foreign Service must remain elitist (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Foreign policy

b)     Policy making

c)     Indian Foreign Service (IFS)

d)     Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)

a)     Whether at the time of uncertainty over foreign policy before Lok Sabha elections, or after PM Modis reinvigoration of foreign policy, foreign service reforms have focussed on expansion, lateral entry of officers and general dilution of the services elitist character.

b)     But no attention is given to the fact that IFS is already a shadow of its former self, and does not appeal to civil service aspirants. If IFS has to perform effectively, its elitism should be preserved, its attractiveness enhanced, and it should be brought to the centre of international relations as it was originally intended to be.

c)     Foreign policy is framed by various departments of the govt, academia, think tanks and the media. They should all have their own defined roles in drafting foreign policy and must remain independent of each other. The MEA should not absorb them into a monolithic institution that has no diversity.

d)     Think tanks and the media should shape foreign policy from outside rather than from within the govt. Is the right remedy to recruit media experts into the IFS in order to get their inputs on foreign policy? Would they fit into bureaucratic environment with its hierarchical and political constraints?

e)     The usual complaint is that the IFS is smaller (900 officers) than Chinese (4000) and American (20,000) diplomatic services. It is insufficient to meet the requirements of our 120 missions and 49 consulates. The size of the service should not by itself detract from the efficiency of diplomacy.

f)     Those who argue for expansion and lateral entry seem unaware of the fact that in most of Indias important missions, the IFS is in a minority, as it is staffed by officers of other Ministries. Many Ministries have preserved positions in the name of specialisation but most of them are IAS officers, who may have been recruited specifically for assignments abroad.

g)     Moreover, Ministries such as Commerce, Finance, Industry, Environment, Science and Technology, Atomic Energy, Space and the Cabinet Secretariat have officers who specialise in various international negotiations. These officers function as diplomats and they should be added to the strength of the IFS when functional requirements are taken into account.

h)     If officers who claim their seniority on the basis of their services in totally unrelated areas enter IFS laterally, this would only dilute the services quality. If there is a need to induct officers from outside, the procedures available should be used rather than induct those who had once rejected IFS. The expectations of advancement in the IFS should not be belied.

i)     The MEA has already begun to recruit more officers every year and that is the only way that such a specialised service should be expanded. If necessary, there are retired officers with proven ability, to fill the gaps without claiming high positions and salaries.

j)     The suggestion here is not that reform of the diplomatic service is unnecessary. First, it should be made more attractive so that the best candidates are chosen. Like Jawaharlal Nehru did, the aptitude and readiness of selected candidates should be ascertained before they are chosen. Training should be constantly revamped to equip officers to deal with different regions.

k)     The present practice of posting on an ad hoc basis should cease. Officers should develop expertise in countries and regions. Multilateral postings should not be meant for rotational blessings, but for those who have the talent and experience. Postings should be made a science, with a clear criteria. There should be no vagaries of political influence or acceptability.

l)     The role and relevance of policy planning and historical divisions are often exaggerated. Policy planning cannot be done in a vacuum; it is the territorial divisions which can help formulate policy. The historical division should be a service unit, helping policymakers, as it is functioning right now. Nothing prevents the Ministry from drawing on the experience and wisdom of people from other fields, without absorbing them into the Ministry.

m)     Foreign services are elitist in most countries and India should not misuse its strengths by diluting its specialised and professional character.

6.

Govt nod for revised cost estimate of freight corridor (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project

b)     Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCI)

c)     Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)

 

a)     Paving the way for speedy delivery of goods across the country, the CCEA approved revised cost estimate of Rs 81,459 crore for the Eastern and Western DFC Project.

b)     The Eastern and Western DFC Project will significantly reduce transportation cost and benefit power plants, mines, ports, and boost trade and industry.

c)     Eastern DFC is expected to carry around 153 million tonnes of cargo by 2021-22. It is set to increase to 251 million tonnes by 2036-37. Western DFC is projected to carry 161 million tonnes by 2021 and 284 million tonnes by 2036.

d)     The Western DFC starts from JNPT Mumbai and passes through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and terminates at Dadri in U.P. The total length will be about 1500 km. The Eastern DFC starts from Sahnewal near Ludhiana in Punjab and passes through Haryana, U.P, Bihar and Jharkhand and terminates at Dankuni in West Bengal. The total length is about 1856 km.

e)     The Cabinet had approved the construction of the freight corridor in Feb 2008.

7.

India among top 10 FDI recipients (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)  

b)     World Investment Report 2015

c)     UNCTAD

d)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

e)     Chinas One Belt, One Road strategy 

f)     Chinas Maritime Silk Route (MSR) Economic Belt

a)     In its World Investment Report 2015, UNCTAD said that India again broke in to the top 10 recipients of FDI during 2014 after 2008. India jumped to the 9th rank in 2014 with a 22 percent rise in FDI inflows to $34 billion. India was at 15th position in the previous 2 years.

b)     However, India is the only BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) country that has not yet crossed the $50 billion-a-year FDI mark.

c)     China became the largest recipient of FDI in 2014 with $129 billion inflows, followed by Hong Kong (China) that received $103 billion and US with $92 billion.

d)     Russia dropped out of the top 10 as foreign investors exited its oil sector and other projects after Western countries slapped economic sanctions on it. Among the top 10 FDI recipients in the world, half are developing economies - Brazil, China, Hong Kong (China), India and Singapore.

e)     According to the report, global FDI fell 16 percent to $1.23 trillion in 2014 mainly due to the weakness of global economy, policy uncertainty for investors and elevated geopolitical risks. New investments were also offset by some large divestments.

f)     However, India dropped out of the top 20 countries in the outward FDI flows.

g)     The report records the big surge in investments from China into every region of the world, and especially in India’s neighbourhood. China will benefit significantly from the CPEC and associated Chinese investment in infrastructure and manufacturing in the overall context of implementing the One Belt, One Road strategy.

h)     A China-Sri Lanka FTA will be signed in June 2015. Moreover, if implementation of the China-led 21st Century MSR Economic Belt gains ground, an increasing amount of Chinese investment will flow to Sri Lanka, particularly in large infrastructure projects.

8.

Australia to join China-led infra bank (Page 14)

a)     Economy

a)     Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

a)     Australia announced that it would join the new China-led AIIB as a founding member, contributing about $930 million to the financial institution of which India will be the second largest shareholder. Its decision has come after extensive discussions with China and other key partners globally.

b)     According to official statement, there was an estimated infrastructure financing gap of around $8 trillion in the Asian region over the current decade. AIIB will be part of the solution to closing this gap.

c)     The AIIB (which will be headquartered in Beijing) is designed to finance infrastructure construction in the continent. It already has 57 prospective members. However, it has been rejected by US and Japan.

9.

Rosetta comet mission extended (Page 15)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Rosetta

b)     Philae

c)     Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

d)     European Space Agency (ESA)

a)     Europe announced its comet-chasing mission Rosetta would be extended until Sept 2016 and may end with the dying mothership touching down on the comet.

b)     In a final flourish to the historic mission, the Rosetta spacecraft may be landed on Comet 67P. Rosetta thus would rejoin its payload, the robot lab Philae, which it has nurtured throughout a journey spanning billions of kilometres.

c)     Launched in 2004, it has been applauded as a milestone in space exploration. It comprises an orbiter and a lander, which seek to unveil the secrets of comets - primordial clusters of ice and dust that may throw light on how life developed on Earth.

d)     By the end of Sep 2016, as the comet moves far away from the Sun again, there will no longer be enough solar power to run Rosettas set of scientific instrumentation efficiently.

e)    At this point, the spacecraft will most likely be landed on the surface of Comet 67P. The idea is to have Rosetta spiral down to the comet over three months, using up its last drops of propellant to get unique close-ups of the surface.

10.

Detecting exoplanets close to their host star (Page 15)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Magellan Clay telescope

b)     Vector Apodizing Phase Plate coronagraph

a)     Vector APP coronagraph installed at 6.5-m Magellan Clay telescope in Chile recently can reveal the image of an exoplanet next to its parent star.

NOTE: Read all snapshots in S&T Page 15.

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