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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 11th October 2018

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  • October 11, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains

Focus)- 11th October 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS SNIPPETS)


India-Japan ties

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations; India and the World

In news:

  • PM Modi to visit Japan and hopes are high for a greater synergy on security and connectivity issues
  • Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe views India as the pivotal state in the Indian Ocean.
  • A strong India is in Japan’s interest, just like a strong Japan is beneficial for India – according to Abe.
  • The Abe administration is focusing attention on two critical areas — maritime security and strategic connectivity.

Do you know?

  • The 21st edition of exercise “Malabar” was held in the Bay of Bengal in July 2017.
  • Malabar is an annual military exercise between the navies of India, Japan and the U.S. held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Japan’s growing role in Asia

  • During the 2017 exercise, the Japanese Navy deployed a maritime surveillance aircraft and a submarine, demonstrating a readiness for a strategic role in Asia’s sensitive littorals.
  • In a bid to raise its Indian Ocean profile, Japan recently deployed its state-of-the-art helicopter carrier-destroyer, Kaga, to South Asia.

India-Japan on balancing Chinese power

  • Tokyo is keen that its military exchanges with India also include Army and Air Force exchanges.
  • An Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement — on the lines of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S. — is in the offing, and there is also talk of joint collaboration in unmanned armoured vehicles and robotic systems.
  • Japan also wants to assist India in improving the state of maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean, where India is keen to set up an ‘information fusion centre’.
  • Tokyo and New Delhi have been working together on infrastructure projects in the Northeast.
  • They are also building the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, whose four pillars — developmental projects, quality infrastructure, capacity building, and people-to-people partnership — make it an effective counterpoint to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Trust and quality – Unlike China’s Belt and Road projects, Japanese infrastructure initiatives are environmentally friendly and financially sustainable, with project managers laying particular stress on life cycle costs and asset resilience. Not only has Japanese development aid produced demonstrable results on the ground, Tokyo’s insistence on transparency has generated enormous trust.

Convergence of interest – India’s ‘Act-East’ outreach fit well with Mr. Abe’s vision for a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’.

Regional order based on rules – Both countries want a regional order based on rules. However, neither country is keen to antagonise China. Japanese and Indian policymakers recognise the importance of balancing Chinese power in the Indo-Pacific.

However, to deter China’s maritime aggression in their strategic backwaters, Japan and India have upped their defence engagement.


International Day of Girl Child being observed today

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Role of international organisation; Women Empowerment

In news:

  • International Day of the Girl Child is being celebrated today.
  • The theme of this year’s International Day of Girl Child is ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.
  • The day is celebrated annually on 11 October.
  • The main aims of the day are to promote girl’s empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights while also highlighting the challenges that girls all over the world face.

PM unveils statue of Sir Chhotu Ram in Sonipat, Haryana

Person in news: Sir Chhotu Ram

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Famous personalities and their contriubution

In news:

  • PM unveiled the statue of farmer leader Sir Chhotu Ram.

About Sir Chhotu Ram

  • Rai Richhpal better known as Sir Chhoturam was born on 24 November 1881 in a small village called Sampala in Rohtak.
  • This great personality was a Messiah for farmers. He not only fought for the country’s independence in the Quit India movement, but also for the rights of farmers.
  • He played an instrumental role in empowering farmers during British rule and laid the foundation stone of a Railway Refurbishing Factory in Rohtak.
  • He also played a huge role in motivating youngsters to join the forces during the first world war. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he led several movements against the British rule. In 1937 he became the Revenue minister of Punjab province.

Note:

    • For more info about Sir Chhotu Ram, please CLICK ON below link

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

India and Russia: Salvaging a strategic partnership

Introduction

  • The India-Russia annual summit held recently, where both countries signed various strategic and trade agreements.
  • The shadow of America again loomed over the summit, in New Delhi. This time, it was closer, larger and more menacing.

Assertion of autonomy

  • The question that dominated the meet was whether or not the deal for the Russian air defence missile system, the S-400, would go through.
  • The U.S. has been publicly warning for months that this purchase could attract provisions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
  • CAATSA authorises the U.S. government to impose sanctions on entities for “significant” defence transactions with Russia.
  • The state-of-the-art S-400 deal, at a little over $5 billion, would naturally qualify as “significant”.
  • The sanctioned entity would be cut off from all business in the U.S. and with U.S. companies.
  • India’s decision to go ahead with the S-400 deal was a clear assertion of autonomy of Indian decision-making on Russia.

Outlook on neighbourhood

  • There is a general perception that Indian and Russian perspectives today differ on key issues in India’s neighbourhood — Pakistan, Afghanistan and China — and on India’s strategic linkages with the U.S., including on the Indo-Pacific.
  • India asserted that there were detailed discussions on “all international issues of mutual interest”, specifically citing “common interests” on terrorism, Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.
  • On Pakistan, one might note the nuance that the Joint Statement mentions cross-border terrorism, which some earlier Joint Statements did not.
  • On Afghanistan, India expressed support for the “Moscow format”, in which Russia involves regional countries and major powers in an effort to draw the Taliban into negotiations with the Afghan leadership.
  • The U.S. has boycotted this initiative, but has initiated its own dialogue with the Taliban.
  • A U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan is now touring Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to generate help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Trade and et al

  • The Joint Statement has the list of priority areas of cooperation, including infrastructure, engineering, natural resources, space and technology.
  • It expresses the commitment to raise trade and investment to a level more commensurate with the potential.
  • There has been some recent action in this direction, with Commerce and Industry Minister of India leading business delegations to major Russian economic forums.
  • Mr. Modi and Mr. Putin also addressed a well-attended business summit in Delhi.

Business despite sanctions

  • There are obvious opportunities for cooperation between Russia, which is natural resources-rich, and India, which is resource-hungry.
  • Whether they are exploited would depend on how well India’s economic ministries, banks and business community understand the ground realities of doing business with Russia.
  • Even before CAATSA, there was confusion in India about sanctions against Russia.
  • The U.S. and European sanctions between 2014 and 2016 are sector- and currency-specific.
  • They affect entities operating in Europe and the U.S., and transactions in euro or dollar currencies. They are not applicable to other geographies or currencies.
  • This remains the case, even post-CAATSA, for all sectors other than defence and energy.
  • Therefore, with proper structuring of business deals, trade and investment exchanges with Russia are possible, and without losing business with Europe and America.
  • This explains how the economic engagement of major European countries with Russia has actually grown in 2017 and 2018, despite the sanctions.
  • European and American corporate lawyers with expertise on sanctions have enabled this. Indian business needs to tap into this expertise.

Conclusion

  • The threat to India-Russia defence cooperation extends well beyond the suspense over the S-400 deal.
  • Every potential India-Russia defence deal could be subjected to a determination on applicability of sanctions.
  • Actually imposing sanctions would hurt U.S. defence sales to India, defeating one of the principal objectives of the legislation.
  • The India-U.S. strategic partnership is based on a strong mutuality of interests, but it was not intended to have the exclusivity of an alliance.
  • India should not have to choose between one strategic partnership and another.
  • The India-Russia dialogue should not get inextricably entangled in the India-U.S. dialogue.

Connecting the dots:

  • New challenges confront India and Russia in their bilateral relationship which requires India to tread cautiously. Examine.

INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • 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

The power of non-alignment

Introduction

  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and its precursor, the Bandung Afro-Asian conference in 1955, were examples of soft balancing by weaker states towards great powers engaged in intense rivalry and conflict.
  • As they had little material ability to constrain superpower conflict and arms build-ups, the newly emerging states under the leadership of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indonesia’s Sukarno, and later joined by Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito, adopted a soft balancing strategy.
  • They aimed at challenging the superpower excesses in a normative manner, hoping for preventing the global order from sliding into war.
  • The founders of the NAM, if alive today, could have taken solace in the fact that in the long run some of their goals were achieved due to a radical change in the  policies of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev.

Understanding a movement

  • The NAM is often not given credit for what it deserves, also It is not theorised by scholars properly.
  • By the 1970s, some of the key players, including India, began to lose interest in the movement as they formed coalitions with one or the other superpower to wage their conflicts with their neighbours.
  • The Western countries often portrayed non-alignment as pro-Soviet or ineffective and the general intellectual opposition was the result of the Western scholarly bias against a coalitional move by the weaker states of the international system.
  • The international system is hierarchical and the expectation is that the weaker states should simply abide by the dictates of the stronger ones.
  • It is often forgotten that when the Bandung meeting took place, the world was witnessing an intense nuclear arms race, in particular, atmospheric nuclear testing.
  • The remnants of colonialism were still present, the fear of a third world war was real.
  • The NAM and the Afro-Asian grouping acted as a limited soft balancing mechanism by attempting to delegitimise the threatening behaviour of the superpowers, particularly through their activism at the UN and other forums such as the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, as well as through resolutions.
  • The “Naming” and “shaming” were their operational tools. They worked as norm entrepreneurs in the areas of nuclear arms control and disarmament.
  • They definitely deserve partial credit for ending colonialism as it was practised, especially in the 1950s and 1960s in Africa, parts of Asia and the Caribbean through their activism at the UN General Assembly which declared decolonisation as a key objective in 1960.

Impact on N-tests

  • The non-aligned declarations on nuclear testing and nuclear non-proliferation especially helped to concretise the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty.
  • They also helped create several nuclear weapon free zones as well as formulate the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
  • The tradition of ‘non-use of nuclear weapons’, or the ‘nuclear taboo’, was strengthened partially due to activism by the non-aligned countries’ at the UN.
  • The non-aligned could find solace that it took a few more decades for a leader like Mr. Gorbachev to emerge in one of the contending superpowers, and that many of their policy positions were adopted by him, and later partially by the U.S.

The current global scenario and the future

  • The great powers are once again launching a new round of nuclear arms race and territorial expansion and militarisation of the oceans
  • A renewed activism by leading global south countries may be necessary to delegitimise their imperial ventures, even if they do not succeed immediately.
  • If these states do not act as cushioning forces, international order could deteriorate and new forms of cold and hot wars could develop.
  • China, the U.S. and Russia need to be balanced and restrained and soft balancing by non-superpower states has a key role to play in this.
  • If the present trends continue, a military conflict in the South China Sea is likely and the naval competition will take another decade or so to become intense, as happened in earlier periods between Germany and the U.K. (early 1900s), and Japan and the U.S. (1920s and 1930s).
  • The U.S. as the reigning hegemon will find the Chinese takeover threatening and try different methods to dislodge it.
  • The freedom of navigation activities of the U.S. are generating hostile responses from China, which is building artificial islets and military bases in the South China Sea and expanding its naval interests into the Indian Ocean.
  • Smaller states would be the first to suffer if there is a war in the Asia-Pacific or an intense Cold War-style rivalry develops between the U.S. and China.
  • Nuclear weapons need not prevent limited wars as we found out through the Ussuri clashes of 1969 and the Kargil conflict in 1999.

The Challenge before smaller states

  • What can the smaller states do? Can they develop a new ‘Bandung spirit’ which takes into account the new realities?
  • They could engage in soft balancing of this nature hoping to delegitimise the aggressive behaviour of the great powers.
  • The rise of China and India, with their own ambitious agendas, makes it difficult that either will take the lead in organising such a movement.
  • China’s wedge strategy and its efforts to tie Afro-Asian states through the Belt and Road Initiative have limited the choices of many developing countries.
  • However, despite the constraints, many have been able to keep China off militarily by refusing base facilities and also smartly bargaining with India and Japan for additional economic support.
  • They thus are already showing some elements of strategic autonomy favoured by the NAM.

The way forward

  • More concrete initiatives may have to rest with emerging states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping.
  • Engaging China and India more intensely while restraining the U.S. and Russia from aggravating military conflict in Asia-Pacific can be the effort of the developing countries.
  • Norm entrepreneurship has it value, even if it does not show immediate results.
  • The alternative is to leave it to the great powers to engage in mindless arms race and debilitating interventions, which rarely create order in the regions.
  • Restraining the established and rising powers through institutional and normative soft balancing may emerge as an option for developing countries in the years to come.
  • They still need a leader like Jawaharlal Nehru to bring them together.

Connecting the dots:

  • The NAM and the Afro-Asian grouping acted as a limited soft balancing mechanism by attempting to delegitimise the threatening behaviour of the superpowers. In present time of rising conflicts between global powers, there is a need of NAM 2.0. Critically comment.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Where are Senkaku Islands located?

  1. Tasman Sea
  2. South China Sea
  3. East China Sea
  4. Bering Sea

Q.2) Exercise MALABAR is a joint military exercise between which of the following given countries?

  1. India, USA, and Indonesia
  2. India, Japan and USA
  3. Japan, India, and Sri Lanka
  4. India, USA and France

Q.3) Consider the following statements with regard to International Day of the Girl Child

  1. It is celebrated annually on 11 October.
  2. The theme of this year’s International Day of Girl Child is ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

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