Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 10) (Download PDF)


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India and African Continent - India and South Africa are celebrating 20 years of strategic partnership this year. 2 decades of fruitful cooperation in trade, science, technology and development spanning across the knowledge chain resulted in robust networking of institutions.

  • During 3rd India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2015, India announced concessional credit of US $10 billion over the next 5 years to Africa, in addition to the on-going credit programme.

  • A new program on ‘Grass Root Innovation’ aimed towards sharing of open source technologies and IPR protection of traditional knowledge systems.

  • Large multi radio telescope project to be built in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

  • An agreement was signed between Djibouti and India to establish regular political consultations between, at the level of the Foreign Office.

  • Ethiopia and India are trading for centuries with trade relations flourishing during ancient Axumite Empire from the 1st century AD.

  • India extended International Solar Alliance partnership invitation to S. Africa.

Northern Sea Passage and Sibir- Russia’S & World’S Biggest & Most Powerful Nuclear Icebreaker Ship

  • Russia launched Sibir (Siberia) which is world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ship.

  • It built under Project 22220 at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg.

  • Icebreaker is a special-purpose ship which can navigate through ice-covered waters providing safe waterways for other boats and ships.

  • Project 22220 aims to build biggest nuclear powered icebreakers.

  • Sibir is second of three biggest nuclear powered icebreakers under Project 22220.

  • The first one was Arktika (Arctic) was put in service in June 2016.

  • Third icebreaker Ural is due to be completed in 2019.

  • Russia is only country producing nuclear-powered icebreakers.

  • Project 22220 icebreakers ensure year-round navigation in western Arctic through Arctic Ocean as well as in rivers.

Fiji, Niger and Tuvalu Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance

  • Fiji, Niger and Tuvalu were latest countries to deposit instrument of ratification of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in the 5th meeting of International Steering Committee (ISC) of the ISA held in New Delhi.

  • 40 countries signed and 11 countries ratified the Framework Agreement

  • After ratifications by 15 countries ISA will become a treaty based inter-governmental international organization.

  • Saw participation from representatives from 121 prospective member countries lying completely or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

Vladivostok Sea Route- Countering China’S OBOR

  • With Chennai-Vladivostok sea route, India is planning to connect Chennai with key Russian port Vladivostok via sea route to harness natural resources from Northeast Asia and Western Pacific region.

  • Importance of Chennai-Vladivostok Sea Route: Reduces transfer time of cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok to 24 days from 40 days taken from India to Far East Russia via Europe.

UJALA Scheme Now Launched in Melaka, Malaysia

  • Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under Ministry of Power, Government of India has launched UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) Scheme in the State of Melaka, Malaysia today.

  • Successful Indian model of UJALA scheme now sought-after in different nations of the world.

  • Under this scheme, each household in Melaka will get 10 high quality 9-watt LED bulbs at a cost of only RM 10 at almost half the market price.

  • Under ever-expanding UJALA, EESL plans to distribute about 1 million 9W LED bulbs to replace 18W CFLs.

Increasing India US Defense Partnership- Exercise Yudh Abhyas – 2017

  • The United States and India have strategic partnership, underpinned by shared democratic values and interests and strong people-to-people ties.

  • The United States and India are natural partners on a range of political, economic, and security issues.

  • Recently several changes have made, which deepen this partnership:

  • US now recognizes India as a Major Defense Partner.

  • Under Indo-US defence cooperation, 13th edition of the joint exercise, Exercise Yudh Abhyas - 2017 is being conducted at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, USA from 14th to 27th September 17.

Rohingya Refugee Crisis and Operation Insaaniyat

  • Rohingya refugee crisis led to mass migration of thousands of Rohingya people from Myanmar Bangladesh, collectively dubbed “boat people” by international media.

  • Researchers suggest that Myanmar government is in the final stages of an organized process of genocide against the Rohingya.

  • Refugees fled to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand in boats via the waters of the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea.

  • They fled by land to Bangladesh and India.

  • Rohingya’s are Muslim minority group residing in the Rakhine state, formerly known as Arakan.

India and Japan Defence Collaboration- Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership

  • India and Japan agreed to collaborate closely in defence production, including on dual-use technologies at the India-Japan annual defence ministerial dialogue held in Tokyo.

  • Ramp up military engagement under bilateral special strategic framework and increase counter-terror cooperation.

  • Deepen engagement among navies, air forces, and ground armed forces of two countries.

  • Jointly condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test and called upon the country to cease such action, which adversely affects peace and stability of region.

India-Japan Open Sky Agreement

  • 15 major agreements signed between both countries during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit to India.

  • Open sky agreement signed in accordance with the National Civil Aviation Policy (NACP), 2016.

  • India and Japan agreed ink open sky allowing airlines from both countries to operate unlimited number of flights by exchanging RoD (Record of Discussions) on civil aviation cooperation.

MoUs Signed During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Visit to India

  • 15 major agreements were signed between both countries during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit to India.

  • PM Shinzo Abe’s visit and MoUs were signed under the backdrop of growing influence of China in the region, making India’s partnership with Japan strategically very significant.

  • India and Japan signed MoU to set up India Japan Act East Forum enhancing connectivity and promote developmental projects in Northeast India.

Dual-Use Chinese Highway to Nepal Via Tibet: Chinese Growing Influence

  • China opened strategic 40.4-kilometre highway in Tibet between Xigaze airport and Xigaze city centre with short section linking to the Nepal border.

  • This highway in Tibet to Nepal border could be used for both civilian and defence purpose- improving road connectivity between Tibet and Nepal.

  • Strategic highway enables China to increase influence into South Asia in both economic and defence terms.

  • Highway shortens the journey between dual-use civil and military airport and Tibet’s second-largest city.

  • The highway is regarded a forerunner to a railway line connecting Nepal.

US Designates Hizbul Mujahideen as Foreign Terrorist Organisation

  • United States named Pakistan based Kashmiri terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) ” paving way for a series of US sanctions dealing blow to Pakistan projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people and validates India’s position on cross-border terrorism.

  • Other Terrorist Outfits in US List Include Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) - 2001.

  • Includes anti-India groups, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (2016) and Indian Mujahideen (2011).

IAEA- World’S First Low-Enriched Uranium Bank in Kazakhstan

  • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - UN global nuclear watchdog opened world’s first Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen in Kazakhstan.

  • First of its kind LEU bank not to be under control of any individual country.

  • IAEA manages 123 tons of uranium in Angarsk, Russia under the control of Russian government.

  • LEU Bank has reserve capacity to store 90 tons of LEU needed to make the fuel for light-water nuclear reactors.

  • Reserve enough to load a light-water reactor for supplying electricity to a large city for three years.

Important International MoUs

  • India, Nepal sign 8 MoUs

  • India and Nepal on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

  • MoU between India and Sweden on IPRs

  • EU India Agrees to Enhance Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • 2 MoUs between Indian Railways and Swiss Confederation (Switzerland)

  • Myanmar: Conservation of Earthquake-Damaged Pagodas at Bagan

  • India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund

  • India and Brazil: Cooperation in the Fields of Zebu Cattle Genomics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies

  • Jointly Issue of Postage Stamps between India and Canada MNRE & GIZ Signs Agreement to Improve Framework Conditions for Grid Festival of India in Cote D’ivoire, Liberia and Guinea from 15th August, 2017 – 28 January, 2018

MoU by Election Commission with Election Management Bodies of Other Countries

Election Commission has entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration with the Election Management Bodies of other countries and International Agencies:

  • The National Electoral Council of Ecuador

  • The Central Election Commission of Albania

  • The Election Commission of Bhutan

  • The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan

  • The National Independent Electoral Commission of Guinea

  • The Union Election Commission of Myanmar

  • The India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM)

  • The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA).

Preparatory Meeting of the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’

  • Two-day Preparatory Meeting of the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ marks the first phase, organized by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

  • Exercise will provide a platform to share the Best Practices on comprehensive aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

  • Strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among BIMSTEC nations.

  • Disaster Management Exercise of BIMSTEC to help in augmentation of capacities, especially response capacity, besides promoting cooperation and coordination in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

  • Sharing of Best Practices in DRR including Prevention, Mitigation and Resilience critical to Disaster Management.

Republic Day 2018, Not One Guest but 10 ASEAN Leaders- Act East Policy

  • Giving boost to act East Policy, India to invite ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), leaders for the Republic Day 2018.

  • First time ever so many leaders will together be chief guests at the parade displaying India’s military might.

  • Very important strategically as China and India were engaged in a standoff at Doklam.

  • Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are the members of ASEAN.

  • Focus areas of cooperation between ASEAN member states and India described as 3Cs- Commerce, Connectivity, and Culture.

Chabahar Port: India, Iran for Early Operationalization

  • India and Iran expressed commitment for early completion of Chabahar Port- considered very important from strategic and trade perspective.

  • India ready to aid Iran in taking up operations in Chabahar Port between the actual activation of contract.

  • Strategically located in the southeastern Sistan - Balochistan province, on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran’s border with Pakistan.

  • India requested Iran for an early submission of loan application for Chabahar Port Development to Exim Bank of India.

  • Iran had requested India for $150 million credit for activation of the Chabahar Port contract.

Calcutta Convention of 1890 (Important): Indian-China Dhok La Dispute

  • Historically, maps were vague and were not to be relied upon.

  • The Survey of India established in 1767 developed best maps for Asia.

  • However, maps have a margin of error due to projection of 3D data on a-two dimensional scale.

  • Topographic indicators are thus used to make maps more specific, for example, parts of the US-Mexico border are delineated by the river Rio Grande.

  • However, river changing its course produces distortions in the map.

Panchsheel Agreement between Indian and China

  • Historically, India and China have had relations for more than 2,000 years, but the modern relationship began in 1950 when India was among the first countries to end formal ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) recognize the PRC as the legitimate government of Mainland China.

  • The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence:

    • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

    • Mutual non-aggression.

    • Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

    • Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.

    • Peaceful co-existence.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 30, 2018

Policy/Governance, International Relations/Organizations, Disaster Management

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