GS 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc.
Sittwe Port becomes operational in Myanmar –
The Sittwe Port in Myanmar has been made operational with the departure of the inaugural shipment, the MV-ITT LION (V-273), from Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata.
This development is part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Project which aims to provide alternate connectivity from the eastern coast of India to the northeastern states through the Sittwe port.
About Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project –
- It connects the seaport of Kolkata in India to Sittwe seaport in Rakhine State, Myanmar, by sea.
- In Myanmar, the project links Sittwe seaport to Paletwa in Chin State via the Kaladan river boat route and then from Paletwa by road to Mizoram state in Northeast India.
- The project is being funded by the Indian government and is aimed at reducing the distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1,328 km.
History of the Project –
- It was initially scheduled to be completed by 2014.
- The project is affected by Chin conflict, Rohingya conflict, and militant groups such as Arakan Army and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
Route of the Project –
- There are different sections of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which combines multi-modes of transport, including sea, river, and road routes.
- It includes- Kolkata-Sittwe shipping route, Sittwe seaport to Paletwa inland jetty river boat route, Sittwe Special Economic Zone at Ponnagyun town, Paletwa inland jetty to Zorinpui road route in Myanmar, and the Zorinpui to Aizawl road route in India.
- This project will complement the river-road route of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project in Myanmar-Mizoram.
- It has the Sittwe-Kyaukhtu railway in Myanmar, Kyaukhtu-Zorinpui in Myanmar, and the Zochawchhuah (Zorinpui)-Sairang railway in India.
About Sittwe Port, Myanmar –
- The Sittwe Port in Myanmar has been built under a grant assistance from the Indian government.
- It has been developed under a framework agreement between India and Myanmar for the construction and operation of a multimodal transit transport facility on the Kaladan river.
Significance of Sittwe Port –
- The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has stated that the port will open up new opportunities for trade and transit from and to Myanmar, particularly the Rakhine state.
- The port is expected to enhance trade and commerce between India and Myanmar, and the wider region.
Connectivity of KMTTP –
- Once fully operationalized, the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project will provide alternate connectivity from the eastern coast of India to the northeastern states through the Sittwe port.
- The port connects to Paletwa in Myanmar through an inland waterway, and from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram through a road component.
- The port is expected to boost trade and commerce between India and Myanmar, and the wider region.
GS 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology, Pharma Sector & Health Science
FDA approves first vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus –
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first vaccine ‘Arexvy’ for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to lower respiratory tract disease in people older than 60 years.
What is Respiratory Syncytial Virus?
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can cause illness in people of all ages.
- It is the most common cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, and it can also affect older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
- RSV is highly contagious and spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching one’s face.
- Symptoms of RSV can range from mild to severe, including runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
- In severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, bronchiolitis, or death.
Identification of Protein F –
- In 2013, Barney Graham and other scientists identified the key protein, protein F, responsible for the RSV virus to infect human cells.
- The protein, introduced in humans, elicited neutralizing antibodies against the virus.
Approval and Efficacy of Arexvy –
- The FDA has approved Arexvy, the first RSV vaccine to be approved anywhere in the world, manufactured by GSK.
- The approval was based on a phase-3 trial carried out on nearly 25,000 participants.
- It showed a single dose of the vaccine reduced the risk of developing lower respiratory tract disease caused by the RSV virus by 82.6% and severe disease by 94.1% in people older than 60 years.
- The vaccine will be available for older adults in the U.S. before the 2023-2024 RSV season.
GS 3 : External State & Non-State Actors: Challenges To Internal Security.,Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates
The Maoist Insurgency –
The recent ambush of the convoy in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district resulting in the deaths of 10 personnel of the District Reserve Guards (DRG) highlights that the Maoist insurgency remains a significant threat in India. The Home Minister has repeatedly given the impression that the end of the Maoist problem is near, but history has shown otherwise.
What is mean by Insurgency?
- Insurgency refers to a violent uprising against the established government or authority of a country, typically carried out by a group of individuals or an organization that seeks to challenge the existing political, economic, or social order.
- It often involves armed conflict, sabotage, and other forms of violence aimed at destabilizing the government or seizing power.
- The ultimate goal of an insurgency is to overthrow the existing government and establish a new political system that is more in line with the insurgents’ ideology or goals
Rise of Insurgency India –
- The Communist Party of India (Marxist) split in 1967, with a section of the party rejecting the electoral path and advocating for armed struggle to overthrow the Indian state.
- The Naxalbari uprising in West Bengal in 1967, where a group of peasants led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal revolted against the local landlords and police. The uprising was brutally crushed by the state, but it gave birth to the Naxalite movement.
- The formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in 1969, which became the political front of the Naxalite movement.
- The formation of the People’s War Group in Andhra Pradesh in 1980, which became one of the most active Naxalite groups in the country.
- The merger of the People’s War Group with the Maoist Communist Centre in 2004, to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is the largest Naxalite group in India today.
- The expansion of the Naxalite movement from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh to other states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, and Maharashtra, among others.
- The violent attacks by Naxalites on the state and central police forces, government officials, politicians, and civilians, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives over the years.
What are the flaws in the anti-Naxal strategy?
- Outsourcing operations to central armed police forces:
- In most states, there is a tendency to outsource the operations against Naxals to the central armed police forces.
- This strategy is flawed because unless the local police, who know the language and terrain, take the lead in anti-Naxal operations, the problem would linger.
- Imposed development paradigm:
- The development paradigm pursued since independence has always been imposed on the tribal communities and has been insensitive to their needs and concerns. As a result, government plans have ended up in destroying their social organization, cultural identity, and resource base and generated multiple conflicts.
- The tribals want schools and hospitals, but they neither need nor want capital-intensive plants or factories, which are inevitably accompanied by deforestation and displacement.
- Insensitivity towards tribal communities:
- The development paradigm pursued since independence has always been imposed on the tribal communities and has been insensitive to their needs and concerns. As a result, government plans have ended up destroying their social organization, cultural identity, and resource base and generated multiple conflicts.
- Lack of an overall strategic plan:
- There is no overall strategic plan against the Naxals. States have been carrying out anti-Naxal drives according to their individual understanding.
- Territorial domination is essential, and security forces are able to achieve that, but that should be followed by the administrative apparatus establishing its network in the affected areas.
- Absence of peace talks:
- The government should seriously think of applying the healing touch. If it can have peace talks with the Nagas and several other insurgent outfits in the Northeast, there is no reason why it should not take the initiative to have a dialogue with the Maoist leadership. This would not be seen as a sign of weakness on the contrary, it would be taken as a magnanimous gesture.
The way ahead to address the Naxal insurgency in India –
- Multi-pronged approach:The government should adopt a multi-pronged approach to address the Naxal problem that includes development initiatives, security measures, and dialogue with the Naxal leadership.
- Focus on development:The government should focus on development initiatives in Naxal-affected areas that are tailored to meet the needs of the local population. This includes building infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and roads, creating employment opportunities, and addressing land rights issues.
- Empowering local police:The state police should be empowered to take the lead in anti-Naxal operations as they have a better understanding of the local language and terrain.
- Humanitarian approach: The government should adopt a humanitarian approach in dealing with the problem. The use of excessive force should be avoided, and care should be taken to ensure that the local population is not adversely affected.
- Dialogue with Naxal leadership: The government should initiate a dialogue with the Naxal leadership to address their grievances and concerns. This would help in building trust and confidence between the two sides and pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the problem.
- Coordination among states:The states should coordinate their efforts to address the Naxal problem. The sharing of intelligence, resources, and best practices would go a long way in addressing the issue.
- Strengthening of institutions: The government should strengthen institutions like the police, judiciary, and administrative machinery to ensure that they are better equipped to deal with the problem.
- Long-term vision:A long-term vision should be adopted to address the Naxal problem. This requires sustained efforts over a period of time to ensure that the problem is effectively tackled.
India’s Maoist insurgency problem is not one that can be solved by just law and order enforcement. It is crucial to address the underlying social and economic aspects of the problem. The government should acknowledge the flaws in its anti-Naxal strategy and undertake a comprehensive approach to solve the problem. It must ensure that the local police take the lead in anti-Naxal operations, and the development policies must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the tribal communities. Initiating peace talks with the Maoist leadership could also go a long way in resolving the issue.
GS 2 : India & it neighbourhood
Japan, South Korea seek to deepen cooperation, overcome old disputes –
Japan and South Korea agreed to take forward ties and move past lingering historical disputes, pledging to transform a relationship that could have broad implications for the region.
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida became the first Japanese leader to visit Seoul in 12 years.
- The visit followed a trip to Japan in March by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
What are the common concerns?
- Both countries are brought together by shared concerns over
- North Korea’s nuclear programme
- China’s regional muscle-flexing
What are the disputes between South Korea and Japan?
Relations between the two North Asian U.S. allies have been strained over disputes dating to Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of Korea.
- Japan’s colonial-era atrocities:The two Asian nations have long had lukewarm relations because of Japan’s colonial occupation of the peninsula for 35 years until 1945. Japan’s colonial-era atrocities towards Korea, such as sexual slavery and forced labor.
- Abuse of women workforce:Koreans accuse Japan of forcing women to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military and using forced labour, among other abuses.
- Trade restrictions:Relations deteriorated in 2019 when Japan restricted exports of high-tech material to South Korea.
- Territorial dispute:The two countries also have a territorial dispute over a cluster of windswept volcanic islets, known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.
- The islets are controlled by Seoul, with a small contingent of coast guard personnel, but are also claimed by Tokyo.
How would it impact India?
- India, which has friendly bilateral relations with both Japan and South Korea, is in a position to steer the trilateral relationship towards outcomes that provide an effective deterrent to China’s overreach.
- India, Japan and South Korea are major countries willing to contribute to the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region.
- The latest development gives India a template to explore anew triangle with Japan and South Korea, where New Delhi shares a wide range of interests.
- Common security issues:
- maritime politics in East Asia and the Indian Ocean
- non-traditional security threats
- Chinese assertiveness
- regional politics covering China, North Korea, and Afghanistan etc.
- This possible trilateral cooperation tends to focus on the “balance of power” equation that can institutionalize structural frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region.
India’s Bilateral Cooperation with Japan and South Korea –
- India’s Look East Policy was initiated in 1992 to deepen its relationship with Southeast Asia.
- Since the introduction of theLook East Policy in 1992, NewDelhi’s bilateral engagements with its East Asian partners have seen tremendous progress.
- Its relations with Japan and South Korea have grown significantly as a result of the three ambitious nations’ shared progressive beliefs.
- In 2010 and 2011, respectively, India signed theComprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)with South Korea and Japan, signify that the elevation of the relationship to integrate the developmental aspirations that all three countries encompassed with their economic growth paths.
GS 3 : Security challenges & their management in border areas
Manipur Violence: What is a ‘Shoot at Sight’ Order –
The Manipur government had earlier issued a “shoot at sight” orders as violence in the state had spread to capital Imphal.
What is a ‘Shoot at Sight’ Order?
- In India, shoot-at-sight orders are a contentious and uncommon type of law enforcement.
- The directives allow police or other security forces to shoot anyone who defies the orders without warning or even attempting to apprehend them.
When is a shoot and sight order issued?
- Authorities issue them when they believe there is an imminent threat to public order or security and that the use of lethal force is required to prevent it.
- Orders to ‘shoot at sight’ are typically granted for a short time and in specific places where there is a significant potential of violence.
What is the legal basis of such an order?
Under Sections 41-60 and 149-152 of the CrPC, 1973, a “shoot-at-sight” or shooting order may be issued in accordance with the legislative authorities relating to the arrest or prevention of offences or the disbandment of unlawful assemblies.
- Section 46 (2) of CrPC: It authorises the use of force during an arrest. The law states that if a person “forcefully resists the attempt to arrest him or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest.”
- Limitation: Section 46(3),however, limits this executive power by stating that the provision does not grant the ability “to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life”.
- Section 81 of the IPC:“nothing is an offence merely by reason of its being done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm, if it is done without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.”
- Section 144 of the CrPC: It authorises the employment of broad powers in dealing with urgent cases of “apprehended danger” or nuisance by issuing orders.
- Section 144(3) of the Act authorises curfew orders to be issued in the case of a “specific individual,” “persons residing in a particular place or area,” or “the general public when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.” The executive frequently issues “shoot-at-sight orders” using the authority granted to it by Section 144.
- Section 3(a) of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act of 1958, as amended by the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Amendment Act of 1972, gives the armed forces the authority to use force in “disturbed areas.” A notification in the Official Gazette declaring an area “disturbed” may be issued by the “Governor of the State, the Administrator of that Union Territory, or the Central Government, as the case may be.”
GS 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth
Status of the US dollar as the World Reserve Currency –
The status of the US dollar as the world reserve currency has been a topic of speculation, especially as China, India, and Russia explore alternative currencies for international trade. However, the demise of the dollar as the world reserve currency is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Rise of the dollar: Historical Context –
- The rise of the dollar as the world’s preferred currency aligns with the rise of the US as one of the world’s strongest economies with a deep financial system and stable government.
- Though the position of the dollar has been challenged over time by the Great Britain Pound, the euro, and other currencies, the dollar has maintained its dominance.
What is the current status of Dollar as forex reserve?
- According to reports from the International Monetary Fund, the dollar’s share of foreign exchange reserves has fallen over time from 80% in the 1970s to about 60% in 2022.
- The euro has made up for about 20% of the remaining 40% room created by this fall.
- Smaller currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars, Swedish krona, and South Korean won have claimed their share in the portfolios of various countries’ foreign exchange reserves making up most of the remaining gap of 20%, with Chinese currency taking up the rest.
How Dollar maintained its dominance as a reserve currency?
- The strength of the U.S. economy:The U.S. has one of the world’s strongest economies, with a deep financial system and a stable government. This has contributed to the popularity of the dollar as a preferred currency for international trade and as a reserve currency.
- Demand for dollar-denominated assets: Many countries hold U.S. government debt as a hedge against currency fluctuations affecting the valuation of their reserves. Additionally, many currencies are pegged to the U.S. dollar and some countries use the dollar as their own currency. This has meant that a huge proportion of U.S. dollars reside outside the U.S.
- The dollar premium:The U.S. government debt is in high demand worldwide, which allows it to issue debt at the lowest interest rate. This relaxes the fiscal constraint substantially, boosting the debt-issuing government’s capacity to borrow more without having to deal with the negative effects of such borrowing on the domestic economy. This phenomenon is often referred to as the dollar premium.
- No serious competition:Although the position of the dollar as the world currency has been challenged from time to time by other currencies, no currency has emerged as a serious contender. The only serious competitor at this point is the euro, which stands second but at quite a distance.
What are the Factors supporting the US Dollar?
- Status as Reserve Currency:The US Dollar is still the world’s most dominant reserve currency, which means that central banks and governments around the world hold significant quantities of it as part of their foreign exchange reserves.
- Large Financial Market:The US has one of the largest and most liquid financial markets in the world, which makes it an attractive destination for foreign investment.
- Safe Haven Status:The US Dollar is often seen as a safe haven during times of global economic uncertainty, due to the perceived stability of the US economy and political system.
- Demand for US Treasury Bonds:The US government issues Treasury bonds, which are widely held by foreign governments and investors as a low-risk investment.
- Petrodollars:The US Dollar is used as the currency of choice for global oil trading, which means that countries that buy oil from the OPEC countries must hold US Dollars to pay for it. This leads to a constant demand for US Dollars.
- Military and Political Influence:The US has a significant military and political influence on the world stage, which gives it leverage in global trade negotiations and financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank.
Challenges facing the US Dollar –
- Increased global competition:As more countries try to shift away from the US dollar, there is increased competition from other currencies such as the euro, the Chinese renminbi, and even cryptocurrencies. This could potentially reduce the demand for the US dollar.
- Rising US debt levels:The US has been running persistent budget deficits and adding to its national debt for many years. This could lead to inflation and a loss of confidence in the US dollar, particularly if investors begin to worry about the US government’s ability to service its debt.
- Geopolitical risks:Political tensions and instability around the world could also undermine the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. For example, sanctions imposed by the US on other countries could prompt them to look for alternatives to the US dollar in international trade.
- Emerging technologies:The rise of digital currencies and blockchain technology could challenge the dominance of traditional currencies, including the US dollar. If cryptocurrencies become more widely accepted, they could potentially weaken demand for the US dollar as a global reserve currency.
Future of the US Dollar –
- Despite the challenges, the US dollar is likely to remain the dominant reserve currency for the foreseeable future due to its widespread use in international trade, its deep and liquid financial markets, and its historical stability.
- The euro and other currencies may continue to gain ground, but are unlikely to displace the dollar anytime soon.
- The growing use of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, may also pose a challenge to the traditional reserve currency system in the future, but it remains to be seen how this will play out.