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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs 25th April, 2017

  • April 26, 2017
  • 1
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis, IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs April 2017, IASbaba's Daily News Analysis, International, National, UPSC
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 25th April 2017

Archives

NATIONAL

TOPIC:

General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3

  • Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Project Cow

Introduction

Cow has been a sacred animal and receives immense attention Indian history and mythology. Governments have made repeated efforts to make cow a protected breed. But vigilantism in the name of cow protection has raised alarms. The call for project cow in lines with Project tiger is a new concern.

Issue:

The Minister of State (Home) Hansraj G. Ahir wants a protection programme along the lines of Project Tiger for cows.

  • Facts state that cows number 122.9 million according to the last livestock census conducted in 2012, which also noted that the number of the female bovines registered an increase of 6.52 per cent over the previous census in 2007.

Project Tiger – Brief history:

  • At the turn of the 20th century, tigers were reckoned to number 40,000 in the country.
  • This figure was not a product of a scientific census and when such an endeavour was undertaken in 1970, alarm bells rang among conservationists, wildlife lovers and policymakers in general.
  • There were less than 2,000 of the majestic animal in the country. There was an international outcry. The Delhi High Court banned tiger killing.
  • In 1973, the government launched Project Tiger, a programme that — despite its chequered history — redefined wildlife protection in the country and became the model for the conservation of several other species.

Real concerns about cows:

There are multiple concerns about cows which the activists turn a blind eye to.

  • Cows share the streets and highways with vehicles. They nap on the side of the roads.
  • They eat trash and scrounge for food near markets; a problem that is believed can be solved by creating cow sanctuaries.
  • The paucity of fodder is linked to the erosion of common lands in rural areas.
  • It’s absurd to even imagine that state-level cow sanctuaries can take the place of such village —and local-level — commons.
  • Strict anti-cow slaughter measures and the rampaging gau rakshaks have only worsened matters for the cow — they have made sure there are no takers for cows that are past milking age.

Solutions:

  • The solution lies in working with agriculturists and other stakeholders in the rural economy — to create fodder banks, for instance.
  • The links between agriculture, draught work, dairy production and hide and beef — that had both economic and ecological purposes — have been severed.

National Gokul mission:

  • The “Rashtriya Gokul Mission” aims to conserve and develop indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner.
  • The potential to enhance the productivity of the indigenous breeds of India through professional farm management and superior nutrition is immense, for this it is essential to promote conservation and development of indigenous breeds.
  • The Rashtriya Gokul Mission is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development, with an outlay of Rs 500 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan.
  • The Mission will be implemented with the objectives to:
    • development and conservation of indigenous breeds
    • undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock;
    • enhance milk production and productivity;
    • upgrade nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi
    • distribute disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.

Conclusion:

Cow protection and conservation needs to address real concerns. Rashtriya Gokul Mission has relevant targets and goals already set for the same. Vigilantism and activism will further alienate the cause and hurt the real motives of the institution.

Connecting the dots:

  • Project Cow in lines of Project Tiger is a demand of a fringe section. Analyse the relevance of the same elaborating the nature of programmes.

 

INTERNATIONAL 

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Countering China’s Increased Influence in the Indian Ocean

China’s increasing naval expansion

China is all set to launch its second aircraft carrier, “Type 001A”—likely to be named the “Shandong”. The launch will be an important and depressing moment for India, as it will give China an edge for the first time in the carrier race with its Asian rival, a literal two-to-one advantage.

China’s “Type 001A” is nearing completion and another carrier, dubbed “Type 002”, is also under construction. The Type 002 represents not only a much bigger class of ship but will incorporate modern design and operational features, including a catapult and early-warning aircraft.

A senior Chinese official was quoted as saying: “China needs two carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific and two in the Indian Ocean. So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers.”

China’s strategic encirclement

India is encircled by a growing ring of Chinese power and influence.

To the north, garrisons, airfields and missile sites linked by modern road-rail networks underpin China’s dominant posture on the Tibetan plateau. Ominously, the Xining-Lhasa rail link is progressing towards Nepal, where China has made significant political inroads. To our east, China’s Yunan province will gain access to the Bay of Bengal via rail, highway and pipeline, linking it to the deep-water port being built by China at Kyaukpyu in Myanmar.

A parallel endeavour on India’s western flank, dubbed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will create access to the Arabian Sea from Xinjiang to the Pakistani port of Gwadar via Gilgit-Baltistan.

Further west, China has set up its first overseas military base at Djibouti on the Bab el-Mandeb. To our south, China has built a new harbour in Hambantota and modernised Colombo port for Sri Lanka. All three ports could provide bases or sanctuaries to PLAN ships and submarines deployed in the Indian Ocean. There is already news that the PLAN intends to deploy its expanded marine corps to Djibouti and Gwadar. The recent Chinese sale of eight diesel submarines to Pakistan and two to Bangladesh provides conclusive evidence of India’s “strategic encirclement”.

While China consistently maintains that it has no territorial or hegemonic ambitions, still it has effectively achieved the encirclement of India.

Present condition of India

After decommissioning the INS Viraat earlier this year, the Indian Navy is down to a single carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

Worse, the Shandong has been built at China’s own giant shipyard at Dalian; Vikramaditya is merely a repurposed 1980s-era Russian carrier formerly known as the Admiral Gorshkov.

Indian Navy’s efforts to develop a homegrown carrier have been even more misbegotten. The Navy plans to name, commission and float the INS Vikrant next year. However, at that point, the ship reportedly won’t have its aviation complex in place, or even anti-aircraft missiles. The Navy has puzzlingly refused to buy India’s indigenous light fighter, the Tejas, saying it’s too heavy. Meanwhile, the MiG-29s being used instead are enormously troubled, according to India’s government auditor; more than 60 percent of their engines were withdrawn from service or rejected in just four years. The Vikrant will only be properly combat-ready by 2023—eight years behind schedule.

Also, India’s carrier-first strategy has drained the Navy of resources and left it with just 13 conventional submarines in service. Eleven of those are more than a quarter-century old. The two new ones, amazingly, were commissioned and sent out to wander the deep sea without their main armament, torpedoes. Nor has India tried to counter China’s numerical superiority—70 to 15—in terms of submarines with specialized anti-submarine weaponry, including helicopters. The Indian fleet has less than 30 superannuated medium-sized anti-sub helicopters, the first of which was bought in 1971.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked a great deal about revitalizing the Indian military; it’s opened the defence sector up to greater foreign investment and is building a much-closer relationship with the US military, largely with China in mind. But spending has lagged. Worse, successive governments simply don’t seem to have thought through where best to direct those scarce resources.

India’s problem isn’t ultimately a shortage of money; it’s a lack of forethought and political courage. Carriers are big and showy, and bolster national pride; diesel submarines don’t, or at least not to the same degree. A more rational strategy for India—and its peers in Asia and the Pacific Rim who fear China’s growing military might—would ensure that India’s submarine fleet and its anti-submarine armaments are capable enough on their own to deter attempts to control the Indian Ocean, while closer ties with other navies fill in the gaps.

That would require a clear-eyed appraisal of India’s defence and economic capabilities and requirements—a problem when India doesn’t have an outline of its strategy on the lines of American or Chinese white papers, nor even a full-time defence minister and proper national security doctrine or strategy. The Navy is fortunately starting to train more closely with the US and other partners such as Japan, which should increase its effectiveness. But until it thinks harder about where its money should go, it’s going to have a tricky time keeping China out of its backyard.

India’s counter-strategy options

To secure itself against this possibility, India must ensure that the choke points in the Indian Ocean region remain open and free, ensuring the conditions for its continued economic growth.

To address this challenge, India’s counter strategy should be a mix of engagement, diplomatic measures and military dissuasion.

To achieve this objective, India needs to develop a range of countermeasures, including enhancing its military capability for sea control in the Indian Ocean and building alliances with willing partners to deal with such a contingency. Continued economic development and internal stability are also prerequisites for the successful execution of India’s strategy to counter China’s expanding influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Additionally, India must further develop its ‘Look East’ policy to achieve multilateral cohesion and leverage with Southeast Asian nations and other key stakeholders in the broader Indo-Pacific region. India must also pragmatically develop a closer relationship with the US, which has a common interest in ensuring that the SLOCs in the Indian Ocean remain open and free.

A key question is whether such actions by India will provoke a reaction from China. To counter this possibility, India needs to engage China in multilateral arrangements aimed at jointly ensuring the security of the Indian Ocean’s SLOCs. This should go some way towards addressing China’s legitimate concerns about guaranteeing the security of its wider economic interests in the region, while allowing India to maintain—and continue to develop—its important maritime influence in the Indian Ocean.

Other areas to focus:

  • A partnership based on mutual respect and sensitivity for each other’s concerns.
  • Equality based relationship.
  • Solving boundary disputes in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner
  • Broaden deepened defence exchanges
  • Expansion of India-China economic co-operation
  • The solving the issue of water resources

Connecting the dots:

  • India China relations have been going through a rough phase for some time now. Will there be improvement in India- China relations with renewed dialogues? Comment.
  • Illustrate the main causes of tension between India and China. In your opinion how both the countries can improve their relations?

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