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6th September Current Affairs

Logistics agreements

(GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

In News:

India is all set to conclude the bilateral logistics agreement with Russia (the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS)) soon while the agreement with the U.K. is in the final stages of conclusion.

What are logistics agreements?

The agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.

India has signed several logistics agreements with all Quad countries, France, Singapore and South Korea beginning with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S. in 2016.

Benefits of such logistics agreements:

The Navy has been the biggest beneficiary of these administrative arrangements, signed with several countries, improving operational turnaround and increasing inter-operability on the high seas.

What is LEMOA?

It is a tweaked India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the U.S. has with several countries it has close military to military cooperation. It is also one of the three foundational agreements — as referred to by the U.S.

LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment.

Naga peace process

(GS-III: Internal security related issues)

In News:

Members of Parliament, ideologues and activists have called for replacing R.N. Ravi as the interlocutor in the Naga peace process to prevent it from derailing.

Details:

Ravi is the Governor of Nagaland and has been crossing swords with the extremist Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or the NSCN (I-M) for almost two years.

Background:

The process has been ongoing since mid-1997 when the NSCN (I-M) declared a ceasefire with the armed forces. Other groups began opting for talks in 2001. However, it has been put in a cold storage” since the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015.

How old is the Naga political issue?

Pre- independence:

The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.

In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.

The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

Post- independence:

On March 22, 1952, the Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Agreement in this regard:

The NSCN (IM) entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997 and the two have been holding talks since then, while a conglomerate of seven different Naga national political groups (NNPGs) also got into separate talks with the Centre since 2017.

The Centre signed a “framework agreement” with NSCN (IM) in 2015, and an “agreed position” with the NNPGs in 2017. However, the NSCN (IM)’s demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution has been a delaying factor in signing a final deal on the protracted Naga political issue.

China- Taiwan relations

(GS-II: India and its neighbourhood- relations)

In News:

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

Details:

Recently, 19 Chinese aircraft including nuclear-capable bombers had flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

In response, Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.

Rationale behind such acts:

China often mounts such missions to express displeasure at something Taiwan has done or at shows of international support for the democratically ruled island, especially by the United States, Taiwan’s main arms provider.

China has described its activities as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

Issues:

China has increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan, whose residents overwhelmingly reject Beijing’s demand for political unification with the mainland.

China has long blocked Taiwan from taking part in the UN and other international organizations and has stepped up such pressure since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016.

China- Taiwan relations- Background:

China has claimed Taiwan through its “one China” policy since the Chinese civil war forced the defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, to flee to the island in 1949 and has vowed to bring it under Beijing’s rule, by force if necessary.

While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.

Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.

Presently, Taiwan is claimed by China, which refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the region.

Indo- Taiwan relations:

Although they do not have formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan and India have been cooperating in various fields.

India has refused to endorse the “one-China” policy since 2010.

Nipah Virus

(GS-II: Issues related to Health)

In News:

After a gap of over three years, a case of the zoonotic Nipah virus infection has been reported in Kozhikode district of Kerala.

What measures are being taken to control the spread of the virus?

A contact list of 188 persons, a majority of them healthcare workers, has been prepared. Symptomatic persons will be shifted to hospital.

Need of the hour:

At a time when there is a relentless surge in Covid-19 infections in Kerala, accounting for a lion’s share of the nationwide case load, the return of the dreaded Nipah virus to the State is a cause for major concern.

This is the time for the Centre and the State government to take up containment measures with mutual trust and coordination.

There are urgent steps that need to be taken jointly, including contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, collection, and transportation of samples for lab testing and a detailed study of the surrounding areas by the National Centre for Disease Control from an epidemiological standpoint.

What is Nipah?

It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).

It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.

It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.

Spread:

The virus is transmitted to people from animals and can also be passed on through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person.

Fruit bats are considered to be a natural reservoir of the virus.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include acute encephalitis and respiratory illnesses.

Prevention:

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.