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Daily News Analysis 24-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Bilateral dialogue has set the stage for Modi visit (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue that concluded with a strong note of support for a raft of bilateral initiatives has set the stage for the arrival of PM Modi to US.

2.

India seeks Irelands support for UN Security Council seat (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     PM Modi sought Irelands support for Indias membership of UNSC and international export control regimes (including the Nuclear Suppliers Group) during wide-ranging talks with his Irish counterpart which also covered global challenges such as terror and radicalisation.

3.

Sharif hints at talks without Hurriyat (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a seemingly conciliatory statement prior to landing in New York for the annual session of UNGA, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said India and Pakistan should seek an early resolution of the Kashmir issue.

4.

Sri Lanka for talks on war crimes probe (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Reiterating the Sri Lankan govts position on the establishment of a domestic mechanism to go into alleged war crimes, Foreign Minister Samaraweera said the shape of international assistance in such mechanism would be discussed and finalised after consultations with all stakeholders.

5.

Apply Panchsheel on Nepal (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The oldest nation-state of South Asia must be allowed its own space to implement its new Constitution, which for all its weaknesses has progressive elements, from institutionalising the republic and secularism, to conferring several social and economic rights on its people.

6.

Pope calls on US to fight climate change (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Pope Francis urged the United States to help tackle climate change and called on Americans to build a truly tolerant and inclusive society, as he struck a political tone on his first visit to the worlds richest nation.

7.

Putins plans for Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Russian President Putin seems set for a grand bargain over Syria. Russia has sent offensive aircraft, advanced tanks and hundreds of troops to Syria to defend the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, its ally.

8.

Militant group publishes hit list (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The Ansarullah Bangla Team (a militant group which has been blamed for a series of murders of secular writers in Bangladesh) has published a hit list of bloggers and activists around the world, threatening to kill them.

9.

Death sought for 8 convicts in 7/11 case (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Terming the perpetrators of July 11 2006 Mumbai train blasts merchants of death, the prosecution sought death penalty for eight of the 12 convicts in the case and life term for the remaining four.

10.

Xi skirts politics to fast-track US business ties (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Chinese President Xi has begun a much anticipated visit to the US by launching a charm offensive targeting US corporate giants, signalling that resetting business ties outside the US capital may be more important than spending quality time in Washington.

11.

MOMs one year in space: ISRO to rejoice quietly (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    A year back on Sept 24, the countrys space scientists made history by precisely slotting the first Indian Mars spacecraft around the red planet.

12.

Elephants in Karnataka to get unique identification system (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)    With the help of the code, details such as the animals migratory paths, previous movements and age can be detected.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Bilateral dialogue has set the stage for Modi visit (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     Economic ties

d)     Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

e)     UNSC

f)     UNGA

 

a)     The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue that concluded with a strong note of support for a raft of bilateral initiatives has set the stage for the arrival of PM Modi to US.

b)  Two key strategic-economic announcements emerging from the S&CD are the trilateral ministerial meeting with Japan later this month and Indias announcement of a $3 billion defence order to Boeing for Apache attack helicopters.

c)     Both sides agreed on a far-reaching statement on joint counterterrorism cooperation and the US supporting Indias membership of the UNSC, the APEC organisation, and various nuclear clubs.

d)     Modi arrived in New York City to attend the UNGA and a series of bilateral engagements on its margins, and his five-day visit will also see him engage with major investment bankers and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies in New York, and with Google, Facebook and Tesla in Silicon Valley on September 26 and 27.

2.

India seeks Irelands support for UN Security Council seat (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Ireland relations

b)     UNSC

c)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

 

a)     PM Modi sought Irelands support for Indias membership of UNSC and international export control regimes (including the NSG) during wide-ranging talks with his Irish counterpart which also covered global challenges such as terror and radicalisation.

b)     Modi (who is the first Indian PM to visit Ireland in 59 years) held talks with his Irish counterpart after which he hoped that Irelands visa policy would be sensitive to the requirements of Indias IT firms.

c)     He also noted that their discussions underlined the importance of closer cooperation between the two countries which share democratic values and are consistent advocates of international peace and stability.

3.

Sharif hints at talks without Hurriyat (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Kashmir issue

c)     Hurriyat Conference

d)     UNGA

a)    In a seemingly conciliatory statement prior to landing in New York for the annual session of UNGA, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif said India and Pakistan should seek an early resolution of the Kashmir issue.

b)  Sharifs comments indicating bilateral dialogue over Kashmir has prompted speculation in New Delhis policy circles that Pakistan has learnt its lessons and wants to try out talks without prompting the Hurriyat Conference to come along to the high table of diplomacy.

4.

Sri Lanka for talks on war crimes probe (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas human rights issue

b)     UNHRC

a)     Reiterating the Sri Lankan govts position on establishment of a domestic mechanism to go into alleged war crimes, Foreign Minister Samaraweera said the shape of international assistance in such mechanism would be discussed and finalised after consultations with all stakeholders.

b)     Emerging from a meeting with his German counterpart, he made it clear that his govt always welcomed international assistance. There was no major difference between the position of the govt and that of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. There are one or two areas where we have to find a point of convergence, especially in the type of judicial mechanism we envisage.

5.

Apply Panchsheel on Nepal (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Nepals new Constitution

b)     Constituent Assembly (CA)

c)    12-Point Agreement of 2005

d)     Panchsheel Principles

a)     According to the author, no other term but dismay can describe ones response to Indias ungenerous reply to Nepals democratic drafting of a Constitution through a CA. The Ministry of External Affairs only took note of document, and followed that up a day later with a veiled threat of economic blockade, which Nepal has already experienced in 1988.

b)     According to reports, this was followed up the next day with a list of demands from New Delhi as to what should go into Nepals Constitution in amendment, including the kind of provinces to be created exclusively in the Tarai-Madhes plains. This overt interventionism (meant to impress Kathmandus recalcitrant political class) has left the observer aghast.

c)     The Constitution of Nepal 2072 (in the Vikram calendar) was the culmination of 7 years of effort, including a failed first CA feeding into the second CA. This process began with the 12-Point Agreement of 2005, negotiated between the underground Maoists and Nepals democratic parties (facilitated by New Delhi) with the promise to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly.

d)     The constitution-writing had been frustratingly painstaking and it was hoped that India (more than any other country) would recognise the need of Nepal to move on with its social agenda and economic revival.

e)     Attempting to write a modernist Constitution in post-modernist times, there are many holes and loopholes in the statute. This is a rights-based document that makes promises to all, rather than the spare, basic law we have been taught to be the ideal, and it makes many promises conditional upon the enactment of laws.

f)     For all its weaknesses, the Constitution has progressive elements that would do all of South Asia proud, from institutionalising the republic and secularism, to confirming social and economic rights as fundamental, to rejecting the death penalty. The needs of marginalised communities, including Dalits, disabled and those from LGBT community, are addressed. There is a genuine attempt to safeguard the rights of women, though it is not seen to be enough.

g)     Perhaps the most welcome aspect is that amendments can be adopted with relative ease over the next two years and four months, as the CA enjoys a kind of afterlife as a Parliament with the same party-based configuration. Everything except sovereignty and national integrity are open to amendment.

h)     Given that we are all saddled with the nation-state as primordial unit of governance, it is important for India to let the neighbour sort out its challenges on its own. The Nepal-India relationship, including the historically defined open border, the alive cultural linkages and the overall goodwill between the citizenry on the two sides, holds out an example for South Asia as a whole.

i)     The fact is that India is big, and it is a brother to Nepal. Meanwhile, the latter is the ideal country where enlightened sovereignty can lead to an end to social marginalisation, economic growth, and the ratcheting down of nationalist posturing that has been such a drag on the egalitarian evolution of the Subcontinent over the past six decades.

j)     The country has been politically sovereign for two-and-half centuries, but lacked democracy to make governance work for people. Democracy was achieved in 1990 but was derailed with Maoist peoples war barely five years later. The conflict ended in 2006 but then followed a peace process and period of transition, during which time inter-community polarisation flared.

k)    New Delhis statements leading up to the promulgation of Constitution and thereafter have been marked by escalating interventionism, with the gloves off. Indeed, one constant since before Modi took charge has been the itch to micromanage Nepal, with even the external intelligence agency enjoying a carte blanche to operate overtly. Certainly, two key points of the Panchsheel Principles (mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference) seem to have been consigned to the dustbin.

l)     The reason for South Blocks imperative for visible interventionism may be as benign as wanting to be perceived as the decisive power on Nepal, or more problematic and linked to strategic interests including cross-border security and Himalayan water resources.

m)     The activism by India also does a disservice to the Madhesi people of Nepal, who have no divided loyalties and who see their future as secure within a democratic Nepal even as they fight for inclusion, equality and dignity. It bears keeping in mind that only the Madhesi population has been provided an identity-based province in federal delineation.

n)     If the neighbours strategic interest forces a fait accompli of exclusively plains-based provinces, there are two possible outcomes. First, the massive weight of poverty of the plains will be locked in and the promise of federalism will likely be wasted. Second, this interference will create a politically unstable Nepal astride Indias populous heartland. Therefore, a return to Panchsheel seems well advised.

o)     All three sides have made mistakes in Nepal: the national leaders, Madhes-based parties and Indian policymakers. The topmost leaders of the national parties (Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal and Maoists) have preferred a rule by syndicate, and made errors such as neglecting the Tharu people in expanding originally proposed 6 to 7 provinces.

p)    As for the set of 7 demands that New Delhi is said to have placed before Kathmandu, including proportional representation in all arms of state, adjustment of electoral constituencies according to population, as well as aspects of citizenship rights, these are matters that have been already discussed between the Madhes-based parties and the three main parties. From the pulpit of the CA, the latter have committed itself to carrying out the required amendments.

q)     India must introspect and take into consideration the sovereignty of a neighbour, one that has always been sensitive to its well-being and security concerns. Nepal must be allowed to sort matters out by itself.

6.

Pope calls on US to fight climate change (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US internal issues

b)     Immigration

c)     Inequality

d)     Climate change

a)     Pope Francis urged the US to help tackle climate change and called on Americans to build a truly tolerant and inclusive society, as he struck a political tone on his first visit to the worlds richest nation.

b)     The Pope also touched on US political agenda in the run up to 2016 presidential election, such as immigration, inequality and religious freedom.

c)     In an era of renewed racial tensions in the country, he invoked Americas best known civil rights leader (the late Rev. Martin Luther King) to make points about the environment and equality.

7.

Putins plans for Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)     Russian President Putin seems set for a grand bargain over Syria. Russia has sent offensive aircraft, advanced tanks and hundreds of troops to Syria to defend the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, its ally.

b)     The deployment (which represents the largest overseas military presence for Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union) indicates Moscow is preparing for its first major military operation outside its neighbourhood since Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Putin is expected to present his Syria strategy at the UNGA later this month.

c)   The Kremlin has apparently sought a meeting between Putin and President Obama to discuss the Syrian conflict. The details of Putin plan are yet to emerge, but statements from Russian officials and the nature of the military presence in Syria point to a two-pronged strategy - to prevent any rapid collapse of the Assad regime, and to push for talks with all the stakeholders but the jihadists, to find a political solution.

d)     Western strategic disarray has proved disastrous for Syria. The US and its European allies backed anti-Assad rebels at the beginning of the civil war, but that only aided Syrias destabilisation and the rise of powerful jihadist groups. Then they started an airstrike campaign against IS, which has been ineffective in countering the jihadists.

e)     There has to be a strategic shift in the way the world is handling the Syrian crisis, and Putin seems to be trying to effect such a shift. To be sure, there is criticism that Russia is complicit in the Syrian tragedy as it supports the Assad regime and therefore its overtures cannot be taken seriously. If Russia is complicit, so are other countries including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the U.S. and those of European Union.

f)     This war is not just one between a ruthless dictator and his opponents; it is a complex geopolitical confrontation in which several countries are involved, directly or through proxies. So any meaningful multilateral effort to find a solution to the conflict should be welcomed. The question is whether the two powerful groups (West and its Gulf allies and Russia-Iran-Syria trio) can find common ground on Syria.

8.

Militant group publishes hit list (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABA)

a)     The Ansarullah Bangla Team (a militant group which has been blamed for a series of murders of secular writers in Bangladesh) has published a hit list of bloggers and activists around the world, threatening to kill them.

b)     The list includes mostly expatriate Bangladeshis - nine from the UK, seven in Germany, two in the US, one in Canada and one in Sweden.

c)     The ABT has published the list after several of its leaders and activists were arrested by the Bangladesh police, including the outfits acting chief Muhammad Abul Bashar, in connection with the murder of bloggers.

9.

Death sought for 8 convicts in 7/11 case (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     MCOCA court

c)     Mumbai train bombings case

a)     Terming the perpetrators of July 11 2006 Mumbai train blasts merchants of death, the prosecution sought death penalty for 8 of 12 convicts in the case and life term for the remaining four. A special MCOCA court is likely to pronounce sentence on Sept 30.

b)     The defences submission that they confessed due to a sense of remorse and cooperated with the prosecuting agency should be rejected outright.

c)     Refuting the defences argument that the accused were only following instructions of mastermind Azam Cheema and had no effective control on the conspiracy, the prosecution said that it cannot be said that they were victims of their circumstances and were dragged into unlawful activity.

10.

Xi skirts politics to fast-track US business ties (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     China – US economic ties

b)     Cyber security

c)     South China Sea

a)     Chinese President Xi has begun a much anticipated visit to the US by launching a charm offensive targeting US corporate giants, signalling that resetting business ties outside the US capital may be more important than spending quality time in Washington.

b)   Prickly issues such as cyber security and the South China Sea, buttressed by President Obamas Rebalance military doctrine in the Asia-Pacific, have begun to sully the Sino-US political climate.

c)     President Xi called for the establishment of a high-level joint dialogue mechanism with US on fighting cyber-crimes.

d)     Sources said that the US and China are negotiating a deal which could become the first arms control accord for cyberspace. This involves a commitment by each country that it will not be the first to use cyber-weapons in peacetime, which would target the others critical infrastructure.

e)     The President sought to reassure his hosts that China would not drive down the value of the yuan to boost exports.

11.

MOMs one year in space: ISRO to rejoice quietly (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

b)     Red Planet

c)     ISRO

d)     NASA

e)     European Space Agency (ESA)

f)     MAVEN

a)    A year back on Sept 24, the countrys space scientists made history by precisely slotting the first Indian Mars spacecraft around the red planet.

b)     As the MOM completes one year of orbiting around Mars, its parent (ISRO) millions of kilometres away on Earth, soberly marks MOMs first Martian birthday as a low-key internal affair.

c)    No other country or agency has achieved the feat in its first attempt although Soviet Russia, the US and the ESA have sent 52 missions to Mars, including failures, since the 1960s. NASA sent MAVEN around the same time as MOM.

d)     With 35 kg of fuel still left, MOM is expected to go elliptically around Mars for many years.

12.

Elephants in Karnataka to get unique identification system (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Unique Identification (UID) System

b)     Project Elephant

a)  As fanciful as it sounds, imagine an Aadhaar card-type UID system for elephants. With the help of the code, details such as the animals migratory paths, previous movements and age can be detected.

b)     While it is bound to take time to develop such a system, Karnataka Forest Department has started the process in national parks in Nagarahole, Bandipur, BRT Tiger Reserve, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and M.M. Hills Sanctuary.

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