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Daily News Analysis 21-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

BJP resets ties; Pranab, Modi to visit Israel (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     With a string of high profile visits planned to Israel in the next one year, the NDA government is confirming its desire to build a new equation with the country that relatively few Indian dignitaries have visited in the past.

2.

Modi to visit Ireland, Turkey (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi is all set for the next international tour that will include Ireland, Turkey and the US, where he will attend the Annual General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York in September.

3.

An agreement that was called a deal (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)    It is only in the last year that there has been some course correction in US and India over historic nuclear deal. If in 2005 it was the nuclear deal that opened the door to a strategic partnership, in 2015 it is the strategic partnership that has enabled a closure on the deal.

4.

Investment protection pact in the offing (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     Finance Minister Jaitley will seek the Union Cabinets approval for a model investment protection agreement that will enable India to safeguard against offshore arbitration and international litigation from global companies and also resume talks with the US on a Bilateral Investment Treaty.

5.

US, Cuba restore ties after 54 years (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    The Cuban flag proudly flew over Havanas newly restored embassy in Washington for the first time in 54 years as the two nations re-launched diplomatic ties, turning the page on decades of hostility.

6.

UN endorses Iran nuclear agreement (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that endorses the historic deal on Irans nuclear programme and clears a path for international sanctions crippling its economy to be lifted.

7.

Japans security dilemma (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The security legislation proposed by Japanese PM Abes administration moved a step closer to becoming law when Parliaments lower house approved it.

8.

Centre wakes up to threat posed by IS (Pages 1, 12)

a)     National

a)    Centre has woken up to the threat posed by the terror outfit (Islamic State) to India as it seeks to expand its global footprint and enrol fighters from all over world.

9.

IPR policy draft focusses on stronger enforcement (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the final draft of the National Intellectual Property Rights policy focussed on stronger enforcement and was being reviewed by an inter-ministerial group, following which it would be sent to the Union Cabinet.

10.

Navy aligns indigenisation plan with Make in India (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     The Navy has unveiled a 15-year plan to achieve full indigenisation in all phases of warship construction (from ship-building to systems to weapons), and aligned it with PM Modis Make in India.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

BJP resets ties; Pranab, Modi to visit Israel (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Israel relations

b)     Cooperation on water technology

c)     Ganga cleaning project

d)     Palestinian issue

e)     Gaza conflict

f)     UNHRC

a)     With a string of high profile visits planned to Israel in the next one year, the NDA government is confirming its desire to build a new equation with the country that relatively few Indian dignitaries have visited in the past.

b)     Sources told that President Pranab will travel to Israel in mid-October, and External Affairs Minister Sushma in the next few months. PM Modi will also visit Israel (the first Indian Premier to do so since India established full diplomatic relations in 1992).

c)     Last week the Israeli govt (keen to continue cooperation on water technology, particularly projects on Ganga) has invited Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu to its international conference and exhibition WATEC scheduled for mid-October.

d)     The visits of the President, PM and other ministers mark a considerable shift from the past, when despite a historic trip by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon in 2003 and subsequent visits by senior members of the Israeli cabinet, Indian leaders have avoided making the visit out of concern for Palestinian sensibilities and those of other West Asian countries.

e)     External Affairs Minister Sushma had rejected any tilt towards Israel during her press conference in May, and a similar denial was issued by the MEA this month when India abstained from a vote against Israel at the UNHRC.

2.

Modi to visit Ireland, Turkey (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Ireland relations

b)     Trade and commerce ties

c)     Inter-Governmental Commission

d)     North South Transport Corridor 

e)     Astrakhan

f)     UN General Assembly

 

a)     PM Modi is all set for the next international tour that will include Ireland, Turkey and the US, where he will attend the Annual General Assembly meeting of the United Nations in New York in September.

b)     He will also travel to UK in Nov and dates are being finalised for his visit to Russia for an Inter-Governmental Commission meeting. According to sources, Modi (who has earlier travelled to Astrakhan as Gujarat CM in 2006) is keen that the meeting should be held in Caspian city.

c)     Astrakhan is an important destination as it is part of North South Transport Corridor, which is being fast-tracked. The North South Corridor will allow India better connectivity to Russia, bringing down freight rates.

d)     In Ireland, where Modi is scheduled to be on Sept 23 en route to New York, bilateral issues likely to be on the agenda are related to trade and commerce and aviation.

3.

An agreement that was called a deal (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Indo-US civil nuclear agreement

c)     123 Agreement

d)     Indias Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010

e)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

f)     Dunkel Draft

g)     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

a)  In a significant development after the meeting that PM Manmohan Singh had with American President George Bush in US, acknowledging that India is a nuclear weapons power, agreed to cooperate with it in the area of civilian nuclear energy.

b)    Thus began the long, rocky and uncertain journey of the agreement for cooperation between the govts of US and India concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy that finally secured the Indian Parliaments approval three years later.

c)     Interestingly, a decade later it was left to a think tank in Washington DC to bring together a group of some of the former US and Indian officials, associated in various capacities and to varying degrees, with the negotiation of the agreement.

d)     Given bipartisan support for the agreement, the gathering last week in Washington DC was addressed by US Vice President Joseph Biden. It may be recalled that as a member of US senate at the time, President Obama had actually voted against 123 agreement. In govt,  Obama has not only endorsed agreement entered into between Bush and Singh but also joined hands with Modi to complete the journey begun a decade ago by endorsing a mutually agreed compromise on Indias civil nuclear liability law.

e)     While the Bush-Singh agreement was not just about nuclear energy, but also about defining a new relationship between two great democracies, the immediate considerations that defined the timetable of the agreement getting finalised had as much to do with Bushs tenure coming to an end as it had with uranium shortage in India and the falling capacity utilisation at nuclear power plants.

f)     With some nuclear power plants on edge of shutdown and with even friendly countries like Russia insisting that India needed the approval of the NSG before any fresh export of uranium could be authorised, getting the 123 agreement done became important in itself, and not just as a step towards a US-India strategic partnership.

g)     An important reason why the agreement was projected as an energy initiative was because many in govt believed that politically it would be difficult to sell to the public a complex technical agreement without giving it a popular basis.

h)     Some political leaders like Lalu Prasad and Sharad Pawar recalled how the Narasimha Rao govt was put on defensive during the Uruguay Round of world trade negotiations because Opposition projected Dunkel Draft, a draft agreement authored by Arthur Dunkel (the last director-general of GATT) as anti-farmer. Few in India may have actually read Dunkel Draft but millions of farmers agitated against an imaginary enemy named Uncle Dunkel.

i)     It was for this reason that a document was prepared explaining how the nuclear deal was all about delivering electricity to people, especially power starved rural India. This is not to say that India was not serious about increasing generation of nuclear energy. The proponents of the nuclear deal hoped that with easier access to uranium and new nuclear plants, India could try double nuclear generation capacity by 2020.

j)     Two developments have come in way of this objective getting realised. First, in his second term Singh failed to get parliamentary approval for the original civil nuclear liability bill that his govt had drafted in early 2010. Taking Oppositions help to draft a govt bill, the Singh govt rewrote its own bill and introduced elements that have since made the liability law stillborn.

k)     The second development was the Fukushima disaster in Japan that increased the cost of building nuclear power plants and revived the global anti-nuclear campaign. For all these reasons, it may be argued that the expected take-off of the civil nuclear energy programme has not happened.

l)     However, when political and business environment is more hospitable for resumption of a larger civil nuclear energy programme, the US-India agreement, the NSG waiver and the many uranium supply deals India has entered into would all make it easier for new investment to come in.

m)     The 123 agreement was done at a time when US (under the Bush presidency) and India (during the first Manmohan Singh govt) had shared strategic concerns. The 2008-09 trans-Atlantic financial crisis and its aftermath altered the global context. The first Obama administration and the second Manmohan Singh govt virtually abandoned the nuclear deal and strayed away from the existing strategic partnership.

n)     It is only in the last one year that there has been some course correction in both capitals. If in 2005 it was the nuclear deal that opened the door to a strategic partnership, in 2015 it is the strategic partnership that has enabled a closure on the nuclear deal.

4.

Investment protection pact in the offing (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

b)     National

a)     India – US relations

b)     Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)

c)     Investment protection agreement

d)     IPR

a)     Finance Minister Jaitley will seek the Union Cabinets approval for a model investment protection agreement that will enable India to safeguard against offshore arbitration and international litigation from global companies and also resume talks with the US on a BIT.

b)   Diplomatic sources concede that there are still many serious differences over BIT (mainly on arbitration and IPR) but the two sides made headway when Assistant Secretary of State visited Delhi last week. Once the BIT negotiations start up, diplomatic sources believe they could take up to six months to finalise, and up to about two years to ratify.

c)     US is keen to sign the BIT to provide comfort to American companies that they will not be treated unfairly in India. India sees it as another way of making itself a more attractive destination to foreign investors.

5.

US, Cuba restore ties after 54 years (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     Cold War

a)    Cuban flag proudly flew over Havanas newly restored embassy in Washington for the first time in 54 years as the two nations re-launched diplomatic ties, turning the page on decades of hostility.

b)    The US and Cuba officially resumed relations, climinating one of the last remnants of the Cold War.

c)     As the US acknowledged that its policy of trying to effect change by isolating Cuba had failed, the historic turnaround between two bitter adversaries has come at high speed after Obama and Raul Castro in Dec agreed to normalize ties.

6.

UN endorses Iran nuclear agreement (Page 14)

a)     International

a)      Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     UNSC

d)     IAEA

a)     The UNSC unanimously adopted a resolution that endorses the historic deal on Irans nuclear programme and clears a path for international sanctions crippling its economy to be lifted.

b)     The passing of resolution marks formal UN endorsement for hard-won, groundbreaking agreement reached between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group after 18 straight days of talks that capped almost 2 years of momentous negotiations.

c)     On condition that Iran respects the agreement to the letter, seven UN resolutions passed since 2006 to sanction Iran will be gradually terminated.

7.

Japans security dilemma (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Japans security bills

b)     Japan – China maritime disputes

c)     South China Sea

d)     East China Sea

e)     World War-II

 

 

a)     The security legislation proposed by Japanese PM Abes administration moved a step closer to becoming law when Parliaments lower house approved it.

b)     The bills (which seek to rewrite the countrys post-War pacifist security policy) are now before the upper house. Over a period of 7 decades, Japans security policy (shaped under a war-renouncing Constitution following the misadventures of the imperial regime) has been focussed on self-defence.

c)     But the present bills (seek to replace self-defence doctrine with collective self-defence) would allow Japan to send troops abroad to rescue allies under attack. This big shift in approach makes the legislation controversial and unpopular.

d)     This is mainly because of two inter-connected factors. First, Japan has come under huge pressure from US to revise its security doctrine. During Abes visit to US in April 2015, both Japan and US announced new security guidelines which urged Tokyo to take more responsibility in their bilateral security arrangement.

e)     Second, Abe sees it as a necessity to have an outward-looking security policy to contain Chinas rise. He had earlier proposed to have a strategic diamond of four maritime democracies (Japan, the US, Australia and India) to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific. Abe has criticised Chinas territorial ambitions in the South China Sea, and Tokyo and Beijing have a dispute over islands in the East China Sea held by Japan.

f)     But the question is whether the move to reorient the pacifist security posturing (which ensured peace over the last 7 decades when Japan rose as an economic powerhouse from the ruins of the Second World War) would help Tokyo address its security challenges, or lead to a flare-up of tensions in an already volatile East Asia.

g)     Japan should also be wary of joining great game between US and China in the Pacific - one an existing super power and the other a rising super power. Instead, it should focus on solving its problems with China bilaterally, and work towards essential regional stability. For that to happen, best way will be to continue its acclaimed policy of renunciation of war.

8.

Centre wakes up to threat posed by IS (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Intelligence Bureau (IB)

c)     Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)

a)    Centre has woken up to the threat posed by terror outfit (IS) to India as it seeks to expand its global footprint and enrol fighters from all over world.

b)     For the first time, Ministry of Home Affairs (after seeking a report from 10 States) has decided to formulate a coherent national strategy on the IS. The IB as well as the RAW will give a presentation on the impact of the IS in India.

c)     A senior govt official told that to devise a strategy to counter the IS threat, we have decided to come up with a new national policy.

9.

IPR policy draft focusses on stronger enforcement (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy 

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the final draft of the National IPR policy focussed on stronger enforcement and was being reviewed by an inter-ministerial group, following which it would be sent to the Union Cabinet.

b)     The enforcement of IPR would be done by increasing the manpower in Intellectual Property Offices and reducing the pendency of IPR filings.

c)     India has been under pressure from foreign countries to strengthen its IP regime, after multinational pharmaceutical firms have had adverse verdicts in recent times.

10.

Navy aligns indigenisation plan with Make in India (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan 2015-2030

b)     Make in India

c)     Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

 

a)     The Navy has unveiled a 15-year plan to achieve full indigenisation in all phases of warship construction (from ship-building to systems to weapons), and aligned it with PM Modis Make in India.  The Navy wants to involve private industry in a big way in this initiative.

b)     The Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan 2015-2030 is aimed at enabling the development of equipment and systems through the DRDO and Indian industry over a 15-year period.

c)     The Navy has individual plans for capacity augmentation - the Indian Maritime Capability Perspective Plan for fleet augmentation, Maritime Infrastructure Augmentation Plan and the Maritime Cooperation Roadmap all of which are from 2012 to 2027.

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