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Daily News Analysis 29-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India seeks funds, technology to combat climate change (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)  PMModi sought US support to complete UN reforms within a fixed time-frame and cooperation for Indias early membership of Asia Pacific Economic Community, but climate change dominated their conversation.

2.

US, India sign $3-bn defence deal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     A few hours before PMModi and President Obama met in New York, the two sides signed final agreements for the purchase of two of the most advanced American helicopters in a deal worth about $3 billion.

3.

Team Modi vows to make business easy for start-ups? (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     I.R

a)    PMModis team has reached out to Indian start-ups in the Silicon Valley while trying to convince them that their long-standing demands over ease of doing business will be met.

4.

Obama, Putin cross swords over Syria in dueling UN speeches (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Russian President Putin and his US counterpart Obama sparred over the crisis in Syria in duelling UN speeches, each accusing the other of fuelling the carnage.

5.

Putins grand strategy for West Asia (Page 10)

a)     International

a)    By sending troops in support of the Assad regime to prevent its collapse, the Russian President has opened a new phase in the 4-year-long civil war. Unless Moscow backs this up with a global diplomatic initiative to end the crisis, it could be sucked into another Afghan war-like situation.

6.

Taliban capture Kunduz city (Page 14)

a)     International

a)    Taliban largely seized a major Afghan city, as the Islamists for the first time breached a provincial capital since being ousted from power in 20.

7.

NASA finds evidence of liquid water on Mars (Pages 1 and 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    Scientists reported (in a finding that could have major implications for the possibility of life on the planet)that Mars appears to have flowing streams of salty water, at least in the summer.

8.

With Astrosat launch, ISRO scales new heights (Page 9)

a)     S&T

a)     ISRO launched its first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory Astrosat into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the US.

9.

Tidal flooding alert (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)    The swells originating from the Southern Indian Ocean will be compounding the tidal flooding in the coastal areas of southern India from Sept 28 to Oct 2.

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India seeks funds, technology to combat climate change (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC)

c)     Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism

d)     Climate change

a)PMModi sought US support to complete UN reforms within a fixed time-frame and cooperation for Indias early membership of APEC, but climate change dominated their conversation.

b)     While Modi said the India-US partnership was driven by economic ties, Obama said we also had a chance to talk about trade and investment, adding that Modi was hoping that Indian Americans would contribute to Indias growth.

c)     Obama had (during his India visit in January) declared his support for Indias admission into APEC, and that will be a key, tangible milestone for bilateral ties.

d)     Both countries were keen on emphasisingIndias APEC membership as part of the Joint Strategic Vision on Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions. Modi also underscored the importance of joint engagement with regional partners like Japan. He said this will also strengthen our maritime security cooperation.

e)     Cooperation in combating terrorism, particularly, in concluding the pending Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, and Indias long-pending demand for membership of four global export control regimes also figured in Modis conversation with Obama.

2.

US, India sign $3-bn defence deal (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)      India – US relations

b)     Defence ties

 

a)     A few hours before PMModi and President Obama met in New York, the two sides signed final agreements for the purchase of two of the most advanced American helicopters in a deal worth about $3 billion.

b)     The contracts mark yet another significant step in rapidly expanding military ties between two sides that would be discomforting to China, while drawing the contours of a broader coalition emerging in the region.

c)  The latest deal would ensure that the US remains the one of Indias biggest military suppliers for some years to come. The US has signed over $10 billion worth of defence deals with India in the past decade or so.

3.

Team Modi vows to make business easy for start-ups? (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Silicon Valley

c)     Ease of Doing Business

a)   PMModis team has reached out to Indian start-ups in the Silicon Valley while trying to convince them that their long-standing demands over ease of doing business will be met.

b)   On the other hand, the start-ups, want a quick implementation of proposals.

c)     Sources said the proposals were about tax write-offs, relaxation of rules for venture capital flow and also rules that make it easy for start-ups to shut down.

4.

Obama, Putin cross swords over Syria in dueling UN speeches (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     Russian President Putin and his US counterpart Obama sparred over the crisis in Syria in duelling UN speeches, each accusing the other of fuelling the carnage.

b)     The Russian urged UNGA members to unite to fight the Islamic State group and said it would be a disastrous error not to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

c)     Not to be outdone, the Russian leader blamed the rise of violent extremism on the US military interventions in Iraq and Libya, which he said unleashed chaos in West Asia.

d)     Obama took the podium at the UNGA ahead of Putin. He extended a cautious hand to his traditional foes, suggesting they work together to end the bloodshed in Syria.

5.

Putins grand strategy for West Asia (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     West Asia crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     Syria crisis

d)    Operation Kavkaz

a)     Syria is not a new theatre for Russia. It has long been a pillar of Moscows West Asia policy. The only Russian naval base outside the former Soviet Union is in SyriasTartus. And Russia has been a strong supporter of President Bashar Al-Assad in Syrian civil war.

b)     It resisted every Western move at the UNSC to pass a resolution seeking Assads removal. Also, its aggressive diplomacy was instrumental in thwarting US air strikes on Syria in 2013 amid allegations that govt forces used chemical weapons against civilians.

c)     Over the years, Moscow kept supplying military and financial aid to Damascus. But despite these deep ties with the regime, Russia had tactfully stayed away from joining combat in past 4 years. Even when Iran and Hizbollah sent troops to Syria, Russia limited its role to outside support for the regime.

d)     The Russian involvement in the civil war assumed greater proportions earlier this month when reports emerged that Moscow was sending troops to Syria. US officials said on Sept 14 that Russia had sent seven T-90 tanks and artillery to the coastal Syrian city of Latakia.

e)     While the exact details of the Russian military presence are yet to emerge, a change in Moscows Syria strategy is already evident. Putin wants to move Russia from being an outside supporter to a combat partner of the Syrian govt. It has come at a time when Russia is battling a severe economic crisis at home. It hasnot fought a major war outside its traditional sphere of influence since its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

f)     Two recent developments in the battlefield could have influenced the thinking in the Kremlin. First, there is a growing concern in Moscow as well as in Tehran about recent setbacks suffered by the Assad regime. The govt is facing acute manpower shortage as its troops are overstretched in the prolonged war.

g)     Also, the key focus of the regime is to defend its strongholds - the long stretch from South along the Lebanese border and Mediterranean coast to the outskirts of Idlib province in the northwest. Hizbollah has positioned itself on Lebanese border region, while Iran has deployed its troops and proxies in key city centres such as Damascus, Homs and Hama.

h)     In May, in a major setback to the regime, the IS terror group seized the ancient city of Palmyra from govt troops. Besides its archaeological significance, Palmyra is a strategically important place from where IS could march on to both Homs and Damascus in two directions

i)     It was in a  similar scenario in 2013 that the Hizbollah announced that it would join the Syrian war. The rebels had captured Qusayr, a strategically important town on the Lebanese border, and were making further advances. The Hizbollah intervention was crucial in retaking Qusayr and re-establishing the regimes hold over the Lebanese border region. The Russians may be thinking that Assad is facing another Qusayr moment.

j)     Second, Moscow is wary of the Turkish-Saudi Arabian game plan for Syria. These countries major concern is not IS, but the Assad regime itself. Since the outbreak of the civil war, they have been training and bankrolling anti-Assad rebels. The rebelsIdlib advances would not have been possible without greater support from outside powers.

k)     In the name of fighting the IS, the US could establish a de facto no-fly zone across northeastern Syria which would neutralise the regimes air power advantage vis-a-vis both the rebels and the jihadists.

l)     Further, the safe zone proposal also offers a peek into Turkish game plan. If Turkey and the US successfully create a safe zone in the border area, the model could be repeated elsewhere in Syria. Instead of finding a national political solution to Syrian crisis, many more safe zones within rebel control would be created..

m)    The Russian assessment is that if Assad falls, the balance of power in West Asian geopolitics would turn in favour of countries hostile to Moscows interests. Besides, Assads removal would weaken Iran-Hizbollah network, which is another pillar of Russias West Asia policy. More important, Moscow perceives the rise of Islamist militancy in the region as a national security threat and considers Assad a bulwark in the fight against the IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

n)     So, from the Russian point of view, the survival of Assad regime is key to its interests. Russia has interfered in West Asia in the past to defend its interests. During the Israeli-Egyptian War of Attrition in the 1969-70, the Soviet Union sent troops to defend Egypt. Operation Kavkaz was aimed at preventing a regime change in Egypt and to save the Russian interests on the Egyptian soil - the intervention was a success in meeting the objectives.

o)    In the case of Syria, Russia has short, medium and long-term goals. The immediate objective is to prevent a rapid collapse of Assad regime after its weakening on the warfront. Russia might be calculating that once its forces start joining the war, it would strengthen the Syrian govt troops in terms of military capabilities and raise their morale substantially. And even if the regime collapses, the Russian goal would be to protect the Tartus naval base.

p)    However, unless Russia couples its military move with an international diplomatic initiative to dial down regional support for rebels and jihadists, the Moscow plan could backfire. Because otherwise, to offset the Russian support for Assad, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and their Western backers could step up support for anti-Assad groups, leading to a major escalation of the conflict. The outcome would be worse than that of the Afghan civil war.

6.

Taliban capture Kunduz city (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Taliban

b)     Afghanistan government – Taliban peace talks

c)     NATO

a)    Taliban largely seized a major Afghan city, as the Islamists for first time breached a provincial capital since being ousted from power in 20.

b)    The Talibans incursion into Kunduz barely 9 months after NATO combat mission ended marks a major psychological blow to the countrys Western-trained security forces.

c)   Talibans ability to penetrate the city is a major setback for Afghan forces who have been battling the militants without the front-line help of NATO forces who ended their combat mission in December 2014.

7.

NASA finds evidence of liquid water on Mars (Pages 1 and 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

b)    Mars Global Surveyor

c)     Red planet

d)     NASA

 

a)    Scientists reported (in a finding that could have major implications for the possibility of life on the planet)that Mars appears to have flowing streams of salty water, at least in the summer.

b)  Scientists in 2008 confirmed the existence of frozen water on Mars. But latest observations from an instrument aboard NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter support the long-time theory that salt water in liquid form flows down certain Martian slopes each summer.

c)  The trickles leave long, dark stains on Martian terrain that can reach hundreds of metres downhill in the warmer months, before they dry up in autumn as surface temperatures drop.

d)   Images taken from the Mars orbit show cliffs, and the steep walls of valleys and craters, streaked with summertime flows that in the most active spots combine to form intricate fan-like patterns.

e)     Nearly a decade ago, NASAs Mars Global Surveyor took pictures of what appeared to be water bursting through a gully wall and flowing around boulders and other rocky debris. In 2011, the high-resolution camera on NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured what looked like little streams flowing down crater walls from late spring to early autumn.

8.

With Astrosat launch, ISRO scales new heights (Page 9)

a)     S&T

a)     Astrosat

b)     Hubble Space Telescope

c)     NLS-14

d)     LAPAN-A2

e)     LEMUR satellites

a)    The ISRO launched its first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory Astrosat into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the US.

b)     Though there have been scientific missions by ISRO in the past, this is the first time a space observatory is being launched into space. Though Astrosat may be similar to the NASAs Hubble Space Telescope, the former is about 10 times smaller and cannot be compared to the Hubble, which is versatile.

c)     Astrosat aims at understanding the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars, to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond the Milky Way galaxy.

d)     The mission also intends to detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky, to perform a limited deep field survey of the universe in the ultraviolet region.

e)     While Canadas NLS-14 is a maritime monitoring nano satellite using the Automatic Identification System, Indonesias LAPAN-A2 is aimed at benefiting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out Earth surveillance. All the four identical LEMUR satellites for the US- non-visual remote sensing satellites aims to focus on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking.

9.

Tidal flooding alert (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Tidal flooding

b)     Supermoon or King Tide

c)     Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

a)  A tidal flooding alert during Supermoon or King Tide (which is likely to occur during Sept 26 to Oct 2)was issued by the INCOIS Hyderabad.

b)     The plausible regions vulnerable for inundation are the Kerala coast, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some parts of Andhra Pradesh (Visakhapatnam) and West Bengal (Sunderbans).

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