geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 26th April 2022

    1.    RAISINA DIALOGUE

    • News: The friendship between Russia and China has “no limits”, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
    • About Raisina Dialogue:
      • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi, India.
      • Since its inception in 2016, the conference has emerged as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics.
      • The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, an independent think tank, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
      • The conference is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving a variety of global policymakers including heads of states, cabinet ministers and local government officials.
      • In addition, the Dialogue also welcomes major private sector executives, as well as members of the media and academia.
      • It is designed on the lines of Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialogue.
      • The name “Raisina Dialogue” comes from Raisina Hill, an elevation in New Delhi, seat of the Government of India, as well as the Presidential Palace of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan.
    • About Shangri – La Dialogue:
      • The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defence ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states.
      • The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002.
      • The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defence and security community in the region.
      • Government delegations have made the best out of the meeting by holding bilateral meetings with other delegations on the side lines of the conference.
      • While primarily an inter-governmental meeting, the summit is also attended by legislators, academic experts, distinguished journalists and business delegates.
      • The participants have included Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

    2.    KURIL ISLANDS

    • News: A set of four islands situated between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean near the north of Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido are under dispute as both Moscow and Tokyo claim sovereignty over them.
    • Details:
      • These are a set of four islands situated between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean near the north of Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido.
      • Both Moscow and Tokyo claim sovereignty over them though the islands have been under Russian control since the end of World War II.
      • The Soviet Union had seized the islands at the end of World War II and by 1949 had expelled its Japanese residents.
      • Tokyo claims that the disputed islands have been part of Japan since the early 19th century.
      • According to Tokyo, Japan’s sovereignty over the islands is confirmed by several treaties like the Shimoda Treaty of 1855, the 1875 Treaty for the exchange of Sakhalin for the Kuril Islands (Treaty of St. Petersburg), and the Portsmouth Treaty of 1905 signed after the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 which Japan had won.
      • Russia, on the other hand, claims the Yalta Agreement (1945) and the Potsdam Declaration (1945) as proof of its sovereignty and argues that the San Francisco Treaty of 1951 is legal evidence that Japan had acknowledged Russian sovereignty over the islands. Under Article 2 of the treaty, Japan had “renounced all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.”
      • However, Japan argues that the San Francisco Treaty cannot be used here as the Soviet Union never signed the peace treaty.
      • Japan also refuses to concede that the four disputed islands were in fact part of the Kuril chain.
      • In fact, Japan and Russia are technically still at war because they have not signed a peace treaty after World War II.
      • In 1956, during Japanese Prime Minister Ichiro Hatoyama’s visit to the Soviet Union, it was suggested that two of the four islands would be returned to Japan once a peace treaty was signed.
      • However, persisting differences prevented the signing of a peace treaty though the two countries signed the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, which restored diplomatic relations between the two nations.
      • The Soviet Union later hardened its position, even refusing to recognise that a territorial dispute existed with Japan.
      • It was only in 1991 during Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Japan that the USSR recognised that the islands were the subject of a territorial dispute.
      • Since 1991, there have been many attempts to resolve the dispute and sign a peace treaty. The most recent attempt was under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when joint economic development of the disputed islands was explored.
      • In fact, both countries had agreed to have bilateral negotiations based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration. Russia was even willing to give back two islands, the Shikotan Island and the Habomai islets, to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty as per the 1956 declaration.
      • Japan’s attempt to improve ties with Russia was driven by its need to diversify energy sources and Russia by its need to diversify its basket of buyers and bring in foreign investments. But nationalist sentiments on both sides prevented resolution of the dispute.

    3.    INDUS WATER TREATY

    • News: Pakistan has objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir and the laying of foundation stones for the construction of the Rattle and Kwar hydroelectric projects on the Chenab river, which it claimed was a “direct contravention” of the Indus Waters Treaty.
    • About Indus Water Treaty:
      • The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank, to use the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries.
      • It was signed in Karachi on 19 September 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani President Ayub Khan.
      • The Treaty gives control over the waters of the three “eastern rivers” — the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej with a mean annual flow of 33 million acre-feet (MAF) — to India, while control over the waters of the three “western rivers” — the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum with a mean annual flow of 80 MAF — to Pakistan.
      • India has about 20% of the total water carried by the Indus system while Pakistan has 80%.
      • The treaty allows India to use the western river waters for limited irrigation use and unlimited non-consumptive use for such applications as power generation, navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc.
      • It lays down detailed regulations for India in building projects over the western rivers.
      • The preamble of the treaty recognises the rights and obligations of each country in the optimum use of water from the Indus system in a spirit of goodwill, friendship and cooperation.
      • This has not reduced the Pakistani fears that India could potentially create floods or droughts in Pakistan, especially in times of war.

    4.    COUNTRY OF PARTICULAR CONCERN

    • News: Observing that religious freedom conditions in India had “significantly worsened“ in 2021, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan independent body, has recommended, for the third year in a row, that India be designated a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC).
    • About Country of Particular Concern:
      • Country of Particular Concern (CPC) is a designation by the United States Secretary of State (under authority delegated by the President) of a nation guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998 (H.R. 2431) and its amendment of 1999 (Public Law 106-55).
      • The term “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as:
        • Torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
        • Prolonged detention without charges;
        • Causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction or clandestine detention of those persons; or
        • Other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons. Nations so designated are subject to further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States.
      • Issuing recommendations as to countries it believes should be designated as countries of particular concern for their religious liberty violations is the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a separate agency created by IRFA (along with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom) to monitor the state of religious freedom around the world.
      • Both entities provide policy recommendations to the president, the secretary of state and US Congress.
      • Its recommendations are not always followed by the Secretary of State.

    5.    UNIFORM CIVIL CODE

    • News: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Monday termed Uniform Civil Code a “good step”.
    • About Uniform Civil Code:
      • Uniform Civil Code is a proposal in India to formulate and implement personal laws of citizens which apply on all citizens equally regardless of their religion, sex, gender and sexual orientation.
      • Currently, personal laws of various communities are governed by their religious scriptures.
      • Personal laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance.
      • Meanwhile, article 25-28 of Indian constitution guarantee religious freedom to Indian citizens and allows religious groups to maintain their own affairs, article 44 of the constitution expects the Indian state to apply directive principles and common law for all Indian citizens while formulating national policies.
      • Personal laws were first framed during the British Raj, mainly for Hindu and Muslim citizens.
      • The British feared opposition from community leaders and refrained from further interfering within this domestic sphere.
      • Indian state of Goa was separated from British India due to colonial rule in the erstwhile Portuguese Goa and Damaon, retained a common family law known as the Goa civil code and thus being only state in India with a uniform civil code till date.
      • Following India’s independence, Hindu code bills were introduced which largely codified and reformed personal laws in various sects among Indian religions like Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs while exempted Christians, Jews, Muslims and Parsis, being identified as distinct communities from Hindus.

    6.    INDIA 3RD HIGHEST MILITARY SPENDER

    • News: World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching a record $2.1 trillion despite the economic fallout of the pandemic, according to new data on global military spending published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
    • Details:
      • The five largest spenders in 2021 were the U.S., China, India, the U.K. and Russia, together accounting for 62% of expenditure.
      • The U.S. and China alone accounted for 52%.
      • India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world. This was up by 0.9% from 2020 and by 33% from 2012.
      • Amid ongoing tensions and border disputes with China and Pakistan that occasionally spill over into armed clashes, India has prioritised the modernisation of its armed forces and self-reliance in arms production.
      • Stating that military spending in Asia and Oceania totalled $586 billion in 2021, the report noted that spending in the region was 3.5% higher than in 2020, continuing an uninterrupted upward trend dating back to at least 1989.
      • The increase in 2021 was primarily due to growth in Chinese and Indian military spending. Together, the two countries accounted for 63% of total military expenditure in the region in 2021.

     

     

    • Raisina Dialogue is a security dialogue organized by
    1. Sri Lanka
    2. India
    3. Singapore
    4. United States
    • Treaty of Shimoda, Treaty of St. Petersburg and Treaty of San Francisco are related to
    1. Ukraine – Russia Dispute
    2. China – Japan Dispute
    3. Russia – Japan Dispute
    4. None of these
    • Consider following statements regarding the Indus Water Treaty and choose the correct option
      1. It was signed in Karachi between Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani President Ayub Khan
      2. India has about 30% control over the three western rivers.
      3. World Bank is a mediator between India and Pakistan for any water disputes regarding Indus
    1. 1 and 2
    2. 2 and 3
    3. 1 and 3
    4. All are correct
    • “Country of Particular Concern” tag is designated by United States Secretary of State for which of the following reasons
    1. Violation of religious freedoms
    2. Currency manipulations
    3. Tax Haven Nation
    4. Deteriorating Democracy
    • Uniform Civil Code exists in only one state in India. Which state is this?
    1. Puducherry
    2. Jammu and Kashmir
    3. West Bengal
    4. Goa

     

    1 B 3 C 5 D
    2 C 4 A