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Daily News Analysis 31-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India lost 159 soldiers in African peace missions (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Demands during the just concluded India-Africa Forum Summit for Indian assistance in fighting terrorism and upgrading military capabilities in Africa has come against the backdrop of the countrys stupendous military contribution to the continent.

2.

FTAs weaken multilateral systems (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Taking a strong stand against free trade agreements, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission stated that bilateral agreements were weakening the multilateral arrangements that looked after the Least Developed Countries.

3.

Reaching out to Africa (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     That 41 heads of state and government from 54 countries in Africa were present at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, itself demonstrates the importance both sides attach to mutual ties.

4.

Nuclear suppliers may admit India (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)   NSG Chairperson Rafael Grossi says that the Nuclear Suppliers Group will begin consultations on Indiasmemerbship to elite group of nuclear export next month.

5.

Overcoming the stasis in Nepal (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)    The impasse in India-Nepal relations due to the overt Indian support for the Madhesis and the consequent assertion of Nepali nationalism does not portend well for a country suffering from economic difficulties. Renewed dialogue between the actors (the Nepali government, the Madhesis and India) is a must.

6.

Chinese Vice-President to visit India next week (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao is heading to India next month, stepping up the momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries, following the visit to China by Prime Minister NarendraModi in May.

7.

We were forced to secure energy deal with China (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     A fortnight after clearing the Tatopani border post with Tibet of the debris of the April earthquake, Nepal and China have gone ahead to reach a landmark energy deal which will transform the Himalayan countrys future energy scenario.

8.

US patrol strengthens calls for militarising S. China Sea (Pg 16)

a)     International

a)     The controversial patrol by a US warship in an area in the Spratly Islands over which China claims sovereignty is having an unexpected fallout.

9.

US sending special forces to Syria (Pages 1 and 16)

a)     International

a)     The US will send a contingent of less than 50 Special Operations Forces to war-torn Syria to assist, advise and train moderate groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime and the Islamic State.

10.

Return of Bru tribal refugees to Mizoram still uncertain (Pg15)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)    The latest effort of the Union Home Affairs Ministry to end the impasse over relocation of more than 30,000 Mizoram Bru tribal refugees now languishing in north Tripura has failed.

11.

India trying to understand TPP: NirmalaSitharaman (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)    US officials briefed Commerce Minister NirmalaSitharaman on the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership, a recent free trade pact that will cover about 40 percent of global commerce and could lead to trade diversion from India.

12.

ISRO to launch 12 satellites next year (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    ISRO will be launching 12 satellites designed by students from various academic institutions next year.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India lost 159 soldiers in African peace missions (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Africa Forum Summit

b)     Military cooperation

c)     Terrorism

d)     Boko Haram    

a)     Demands during the just concluded India-Africa Forum Summit for Indian assistance in fighting terrorism and upgrading military capabilities in Africa has come against the backdrop of the countrys stupendous military contribution to the continent.

b)     Underscoring the fact that India has one of highest number of soldiers in Africa under the UN flag and has also lost most soldiers in this continent on peacekeeping missions, Official said a bulk of the soldiers are in Congo and South Sudan, while the remaining are in Sudan.

c)     However, he added that fightng the Boko Haram and peace keeping are two different things. Each of it is a challenge in itself. Interestingly, officials said that India has long assisted Nigeria, also fighting the same terrorist group, in military training and capacity building.

d)     Over the years, a large number of military officers from Africa have been trained in Indian military academies and the practices eventually make way into the military traditions back home.

2.

FTAs weaken multilateral systems (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India-Africa Forum Summit

b)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

c)     Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

d)     Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

e)     The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

f)     World Trade Organization (WTO)

g)     Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

 

a)     Taking a strong stand against free trade agreements, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission stated that bilateral agreements were weakening the multilateral arrangements that looked after the Least Developed Countries.

b)     Talking about IPR being used to curtail access to medicines in poorer countries,he added that the strong want a weak system, so they can dominate the game.

c)    The statement comes in the backdrop of TTIP and TPP trade agreements that could curtail access to affordable drugs. The African leaders have been demanding that the waiver under WTOs TRIPS agreement given to least developed countries with respect to patent protection of pharmaceutical products should be maintained until such time that they are not LDCs anymore.

d)     Meanwhile, India has committed to support the fight against HIV/AIDS in combined resolve to end AIDS epidemic by 2030. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta suggested a joint India-Africa cooperation framework on HIV and health commodity security to further ensure that sustainable access to quality, affordable generic drugs for Africa is maintained.

3.

Reaching out to Africa (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Africa relations

b)     India-Africa Forum Summit

c)     India-Africa trade

d)     UNSC

a)     That 41 heads of state and government from 54 countries in Africa were present at the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, itself demonstrates the importance both sides attach to mutual ties. The summitwas the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries in New Delhi since the 1983 Non-Aligned Summit.

b)     India wants to energise its relations with the continent with which it had strong political ties in the first three decades after Independence. But India lost some momentum in building a stronger partnership with African countries since the 1990s as the country recalibrated its foreign and economic policies.

c)   The idea of the India-Africa summit was first mooted to arrest this slide and reboot the relationship. While the previous two gatherings (the 2008 New Delhi and 2011 Addis Ababa summits) were significant, this weeks meet takes relations to a higher level with a demonstrated resolve and a clearly laid-down road map. India has offered a new line of credit worth $10 billion to strengthen economic cooperation and called for a unified stance for the reform of the UNSC.

d)    Africa is an important trade partner for India. Indian energy companies have assets in African countries, and India exports consumer and capital goods and medicines to the continent. India-Africa trade was worth almost $70 billion in 2014-15, and Indian companies invested some $30-35 billion in the continent over the past decade. While trade has improved in these ten years, it is still much less than Africas trade with China, which was $200 billion in 2014-15.

e)     India may not have the resources to beat the level of Chinese investments, but it can certainly do a lot more with proper policy approaches, faster project execution and improved bilateral relations. PMModis announcement of the $10 billion concessional credit is a right step in this direction.

f) Second, theres a convergence of interest for reforming the Security Council. Indias claim is that as the second most populated country and the largest democracy in the world, it deserves a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council. It is imperative for both sides to speak in one voice for Security Council reforms.

g)     Third, stronger ties with Africa fit into Indias traditional foreign policy milieu. The goodwill India enjoys in the continent is a result of the principled anti-colonial positions the country took in the post-Independence era. India should cash in on that goodwill to build a stronger economic and political partnership with Africa in the new century.

4.

Nuclear suppliers may admit India (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

b)     Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

c)     MTCR

d)     Wassenaar

e)     Australian groups

f)     India – Australia civil nuclear deal

g)     India – Japan civil nuclear deal

a)   NSG Chairperson Rafael Grossi says that the NSG will begin consultations on Indiasmemerbship to elite group of nuclear export next month.

b)     However, he ruled out an India-specific rule, which means countries such as Israel and Pakistan (who too havenot signed NPT) could also apply.

c) India has sought membership of 48-member NSG since 2008, but its application hasnot been decided on, primarily because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite. Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to Indias nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.

d)     As a result, though India received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters, it hasnot been accepted as a member of their club.

e)     Indias push for the NSG membership in the next year is likely to be complemented by its application to other nuclear and missile control regimes like MTCR, Wassenaar and Australian groups, and will get a boost from the completion of the India-Australian civil nuclear agreement likely to be announced in the next few months, with the possibility of the India-Japan civil nuclear deal also making progress.

f)     NSG works by consensus, which means that there are no votes, but all members have to agree to a proposal. In June this year, China backed Pakistans bid for NSG membership, but added that signing the NPT was still a requirement for all members, leading to speculation that China might insist on both India and Pak being given membership at the same time, despite Pakistans record of unauthorised supplies to Iran and North Korea.

5.

Overcoming the stasis in Nepal (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals new Constitution

c)     Madhesis concerns

d)     Janajatis

e)     Tharus

f)    India-Nepal economic blockade

g)     Nepali Congress

h)     Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)

a)It is now over a month since Nepal promulgated its new Constitution. When the Constitution was finally passed, for some, there was just a sense of relief that the 7-year long exercise was finally reaching a conclusion after repeated false starts; for others, there was an air of triumphalism. However, for the Madhesis, Janajatis and Tharus(who have traditionally been the disadvantaged groups), there was a sense of betrayal.

b)    In the weeks that followed, the Kathmandu-based political leadership was preoccupied with jockeying for positions in new govt while the simmering sense of alienation in Terai exploded into an agitation. The Indian policy of overtly backing demands of Madhesis led to an upsurge of Nepali nationalism, coupled with anti-Indianism.

c)     Movement of goods, including essentials like petroleum products, came to a halt. The Indian govt blamed the deteriorating law and order situation while Nepalis accused India of imposing a blockade.

d)     Now that Nepal has a new govt led by PM K.P. Oli, and a new President and Speaker, the shape of the new political dispensation is emerging. It is time that all sides (the Nepali govt and its political leadership, the agitating Madhesis and the Indian govt) climb down from their stated positions, eschew rhetoric and open dialogue to resolve issues.  .

e)     Nepal has experimented with four Constitutions and two interim Constitutions since 1948; nevertheless, the 2015 Constitution is unique as it establishes Nepal as a federal republic for the first time. The exercise was to be completed by May 2010 but reconciling the ideas of a liberal federalism with Maoist ideology, in a primarily conservative Hindu nation, took an additional five years.

f)     Oli is both a pragmatic and decisive leader who was seen as an effective Home Minister earlier and a shrewd Foreign Minister later, tenures during which he built a good relationship with India.

g)     The election of BidhyaBhandari as the President of Nepal on Oct 28 reflects PM Olis growing clout. Bhandari has been a close political comrade of Oli ever since she entered active politics. In 2009-10, Bhandari was made the Defence Minister in Madhav Kumar Nepals Cabinet, reportedly at Olis suggestion.

h)     Meanwhile, the situation in the Terai has worsened. Economic activity has been at a standstill for more than two months. Madhesis have geared up for the long haul. The fact that they have been able to sustain the agitation despite being the worst-affected, without any coercive apparatus, speaks volumes about their accumulated resentment.

i)     The other issue relates to defining electoral constituencies. The 2015 Constitution reduces the weightage given to proportional representation. Terai constitutes 51 percent of the population but according to calculations, it would currently get only 62 out of a total of 165 seats under the first past the post system, instead of 83, as per its population.

j)     The notion of fixing electoral constituencies after taking into account population and geography was intended to ensure that the sparsely populated trans-Himalayan districts are not left out of the democratic process. The outgoing govt had worked out a compromise safeguarding the interests of 6 mountain districts while raising the number of Terai constituencies to 79. Oli needs to revive this proposal.

k)     Citizenship has long been an emotive issue among the Madhesis as they often marry Indians from northern districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and spouses of Nepali citizens become naturalised Nepali citizens. However, there is a discriminatory provision regarding the offspring of such marriages.

l)     Children of a Nepali male marrying a foreigner are Nepalis by descent whereas if a Nepali woman marries a foreigner, their children are naturalisedNepalis which bars them from important and powerful constitutional positions. This is also an issue that has been taken up by womens groups on the grounds that it violates the basic principle of equality guaranteed by the Constitution.

m)     As often happens when internal politics in Nepal gets polarised, India becomes a convenient scapegoat. The perception that India has imposed a virtual blockade in support of the Madhesi cause is unhelpful, for both India-Nepal relations and for the Madhesi cause. Deputy-PMThapas visit last week did not help matters because he could not indicate how his govt planned to resolve issues and in what timeframe.

n)     Meanwhile, Oli is being egged on to play the China card. The grant of a 1000 metric tonnes of petroleum products by China may resonate well with Nepali nationalists momentarily but Oli knows that it is not a substitute for over a hundred tankers a day from India which used to get transported through Birgunjeveryday.

o)     On the other hand, needlessly stoking perceptions of anti-Indianism is hardly consistent with Indian PMModisneighbourhood first foreign policy. Just as India has to be supportive of legitimate Madhesi aspirations, the Nepali elite has to come to terms with the fact every agitating Nepali political group, from the Nepali Congress in the 1950s to the Maoists in the 1990s, has taken advantage of  1800 km-long India-Nepal open border for refuge in India and to seek intervention on their behalf.

p)     While the focus has been on the Madhesi agitation, the Janajati demands are no different. Unlike the Madhesis who shun arms, the Janajatis are used to fighting and formed a major chunk of the Maoist cadres. A Janajati agitation could throw Nepal into a convulsion as they are geographically widespread.

q)     Olis first challenge is to address the hurt sentiment among the Madhesi, the Janajatiand the Tharu communities; tackling the actual issues will then become easier. This is where India can and should play a supportive role. Modi too needs to change tracks of a friendly and generous neighbour working towards mutually beneficial relations.

6.

Chinese Vice-President to visit India next week (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

a)     Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao is heading to India next month, stepping up the momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries, following the visit to China by PMModi in May.

b)  Fan Changlong(one of vice-chairmen of Chinas Central Military Commission) will also visit India next month - the top military officials visit following the conclusion of a major counterterrorism exercise by the two countries in Kunming earlier this month.

c)     Earlier this month, the visiting General Secretary of CPI (Marxist) SitaramYechury had called on the Chinese Vice-President. Yechury said that during his talks, Li had detailed the blueprint for Chinas economic transition.

d)  Foreign Ministry spokesman said that in recent years, with concerted efforts, the strategic partnership between China and India for peace and prosperity had been sound and stable. According to him, the leaders of the two countries were coordinating their position on regional and international affairs, following the direction given by the two leaderships to deepen cooperation.

7.

We were forced to secure energy deal with China (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     China – Nepal relations

b)     China-Nepal energy deal

c)     India-Nepal economic blockade

a)     A fortnight after clearing the Tatopani border post with Tibet of the debris of the April earthquake, Nepal and China have gone ahead to reach a landmark energy deal which will transform the Himalayan countrys future energy scenario.

b)     Though details of the deal are not yet fully known, initial assessments coming from Kathmadu suggest that its a long-term pact which will free Nepal of economic and energy dependence on India. China will immediately supply 1.2 million litres of kerosene to Nepal.

c)  The energy deal was steamed ahead by the acute fuel scarcity in Nepal due to the ongoing blockade on the Nepal-India border.

8.

US patrol strengthens calls for militarising S. China Sea (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     China – US relations

b)     US Pivot to Asia

c)     South China Sea

d)     Spratly Islands

e)     Zhubi reef

f)     Malacca straits

a)     The controversial patrol by a US warship in an area in the Spratly Islands over which China claims sovereignty is having an unexpected fallout. It has caused a growing domestic perception that Beijing should swiftly militarise these islands, and test the resolve of the US-led alliance in the Pacific.

b)     Earlier this week, US had sent the destroyer (USS Lassen) within 12 nautical miles of Zhubi reef - a part of Spratly archipelago. China claims and exercises sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and its adjacent waters within what is called by nine-dash-line.

c)     The littoral states of Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei contest the claim. Analysts say that by militarising a set of artificial islands atop the submerged coral reefs, China would be better positioned to influence the Malacca straits - the major trade artery that links the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.

d)     In turn, this would test President Obamas Asia Pivot, based on the accumulation of forces in the Pacific, in alliance with Japan, South Korea and Australia, with Malacca Straits as its focal point. Sources said that the US and Japan would have calculated that the Strait of Malacca is within the radius of Chinese aircraft above the reefs.

9.

US sending special forces to Syria (Pages 1 and 16)

a)     International

a)     USs Middle East policy

b)     Syria crisis

c)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     The US will send a contingent of less than 50 Special Operations Forces to war-torn Syria to assist, advise and train moderate groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime and the Islamic State.

b)      The White House said the troop presence on the ground will be a first for the US since the Syrian conflict began, but this does not mark a change in President Obamas Middle East Policy.

c)    The USs latest move comes only days after US special forces took part in a hostage rescue operation in Iraq and roped in Iran into negotiations for resolving the Syrian crisis.

d)     While on the one hand seeking to reach out to Iran and Russia and on the other increasing its own involvement in the conflict, the Obama administration raised its stake substantially in the conflict. Iran and Russia continue to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

10.

Return of Bru tribal refugees to Mizoram still uncertain (Page15)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Mizoram Bru tribal refugee issue

a)    The latest effort of the Union Home Affairs Ministry to end the impasse over relocation of more than 30,000 Mizoram Bru tribal refugees now languishing in north Tripura has failed. The problem arose as Mizoram govt restated its decision to check the credentials of evacuees before paving the way for their return.

b)     Bru or Reang families left Mizoram in Sept 1997 in the wake of ethnic violence to take shelter at Kanchanpur in north Tripura. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who visited makeshift camps on Feb 14 this year made an appeal to the Mizoram government and refugees to end the crisis.

11.

India trying to understand TPP: NirmalaSitharaman (Page 17)

a)     Economy

a)     Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

b)     Free Trade Agreement

c)     US-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF)

d)     Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

e)     Intellectual Property Rights

a)US officials briefed Commerce Minister NirmalaSitharaman on the 12-nation TPP, a recent free trade pact that will cover about 40 percent of global commerce and could lead to trade diversion from India.

b)     After the 9th round of US-India TPF meeting, she said the attempt was to understand the contours of TPP, and deflected a question on whether India would like to join it.

c)     She said negotiations on the RCEP (an emerging trade pact among 10 ASEAN countries and six countries that have free trade agreements with the bloc) were progressing well.

d)     The discussions focused on agriculture, trade and goods and services, investment in manufacturing and intellectual property and both sides welcomed the substantive progress in promoting bilateral trade and investment since the last TPF meeting in Nov 2014.

e)     She said Indias willingness to engage on the contentious issue of intellectual property has led to higher US appreciation of its position.

12.

ISRO to launch 12 satellites next year (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     STUDSAT

b)     YOUTHSAT

c)     SRMSat

d)     ANUSAT

e)     Jugnu

f)     ISRO

a)    ISRO will be launching 12 satellites designed by students from various academic institutions next year. The premier space agency has launched five student satellites since 2009.

b) According to ISROs website, the five student satellites that had been launched are SRMSat, Jugnu, YOUTHSAT, STUDSAT and ANUSAT. One of the satellites (STUDSAT) weighs less than 1 kg while YOUTHSAT weighs 92 kg.

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