IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th August, 2023 Geography


The expansion of the BRICS grouping and the inclusion of new member countries.

About Iran

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  • Iran, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is located in the Middle East.
  • It is bordered by several countries, including Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  • The country has a diverse geography, featuring mountains, deserts, forests, and coastlines along the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Historical Significance

  • Iran has a rich history dating back thousands of years. It was once the center of the Persian Empire, one of the world's most powerful ancient civilizations.
  • The country's historical contributions include art, literature, mathematics, and science during different periods.

Cultural Heritage

  • Iran has a vibrant cultural scene influenced by its long history, religious traditions, and ethnic diversity.
  • Persian culture has a significant impact on art, poetry, music, and architecture in the region.

Religion and Politics

  • The official state religion is Twelver Ja'fari Shia Islam, which has a strong influence on the country's culture and politics.
  • Iran has a unique political system with a combination of theocratic elements and elected institutions. The Supreme Leader holds the highest authority.

Nuclear Program and International Relations

  • Iran's nuclear program has been a major point of contention in international relations.
  • The country maintains that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, while some nations have expressed concerns about potential military applications.
  • Sanctions have been imposed on Iran by various countries and international organizations due to concerns about its nuclear program and human rights issues.

Economy and Energy Resources

  • Iran possesses vast oil and natural gas reserves, which have historically played a crucial role in its economy.
  • Economic diversification efforts have been made to reduce dependence on oil and promote other sectors such as manufacturing and technology.

Social Dynamics

  • The population of Iran is ethnically and linguistically diverse, with Persian being the predominant language.
  • Women's rights and societal norms have been points of discussion and change over the years, with women participating in various aspects of society, including education and employment.

Cultural Attractions

  • Iran boasts numerous historical and cultural sites, such as the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the city of Isfahan known for its stunning architecture, and the religious city of Mashhad with the Imam Reza shrine.

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Iran faces challenges such as economic hardships, youth unemployment, environmental issues like water scarcity, and tensions with neighboring countries.
  • However, the country also has the potential to harness its educated population, rich cultural heritage, and diverse resources to achieve growth and stability.

About Saudi Arabia

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  • Saudi Arabia is a country located in the Middle East, covering a large portion of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • It shares borders with several countries, including Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen.
  • The country has a diverse landscape, featuring deserts, mountains, and coastlines along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

Historical Significance

  • Saudi Arabia holds historical and cultural importance due to its role in the rise and spread of Islam. It's home to the two holiest cities in Islam, Mecca and Medina.
  • The Arabian Peninsula has been a crossroads for trade and cultural exchange for centuries.

Religion and Society

  • Islam is the state religion, and Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism.
  • The country's legal system is based on Islamic law (Sharia) and traditional customs, influencing various aspects of daily life.

Monarchy and Governance

  • Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, meaning the ruling king has significant power over the government and society.
  • The King holds both political and religious authority, often referred to as the "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques."

Economy and Oil Wealth

  • Saudi Arabia possesses the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, making oil exports a cornerstone of its economy.
  • The country's economy has undergone efforts to diversify through initiatives like "Vision 2030," aimed at reducing dependence on oil and developing other sectors like tourism, entertainment, and technology.

Social Dynamics

  • Saudi society has undergone significant changes in recent years, including efforts to increase women's participation in the workforce and public life.
  • Traditional gender roles and societal norms are being gradually challenged, with more opportunities for women in education and employment.

International Relations

  • Saudi Arabia's foreign policy often centers around its regional influence, particularly as a major player in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  • The country maintains a close relationship with the United States and other Western nations, driven partly by strategic alliances and energy interests.

Cultural Landmarks

  • Saudi Arabia is home to several cultural landmarks, including the Kaaba in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, which hold immense significance for Muslims.
  • The country is working to develop its tourism sector, allowing non-Muslim tourists to explore its historical and natural attractions.

Challenges and Reforms

  • Despite progress, Saudi Arabia faces challenges such as high youth unemployment, gender inequality, and human rights concerns.
  • Efforts for reform, including allowing women to drive and expanding entertainment options, are aimed at modernizing the society while respecting cultural and religious norms.

About Egypt

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  • Egypt is a transcontinental country located mainly in the northeastern corner of Africa, with a small part in the Middle East's southwestern tip.
  • It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west.

Historical Significance

  • Egypt is renowned for its ancient civilization, one of the world's oldest, with significant contributions to art, architecture, literature, and mathematics.
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza, a part of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs' tombs, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Nile River and Agriculture

  • The Nile River runs through Egypt, providing a vital source of water for irrigation and agriculture in an otherwise arid environment.
  • Ancient Egyptian civilization flourished along the Nile due to its fertile floodplains.

Cultural Heritage

  • Egypt has a rich cultural heritage influenced by its ancient history, Arab identity, and Islamic traditions.
  • Cairo, the capital, is home to the Al-Azhar Mosque and historic Islamic architecture.

Modern Republic

  • Egypt is a republic with a presidential system of government.
  • The President is the head of state and government, and the country has seen both stable and tumultuous political periods.

Arab Spring and Political Changes

  • Egypt was a focal point of the Arab Spring in 2011, leading to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years in power.
  • Subsequent political transitions have seen moments of instability, including the election and removal of President Mohamed Morsi and the rise of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Economy and Suez Canal

  • The Suez Canal, a strategic waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, plays a vital role in global trade and Egypt's economy.
  • Tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors also contribute to the economy.

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Egypt faces challenges such as high population growth, unemployment, poverty, and inadequate infrastructure.
  • Economic reforms and investments, including in energy and transportation, aim to address these challenges and stimulate growth.

Cultural and Historical Tourism

  • Egypt's historical sites, including the Pyramids, Sphinx, and temples of Luxor, attract millions of tourists each year.
  • The government is working to develop its tourism sector while preserving its cultural heritage.

Language and Religion

  • Arabic is the official language, and Islam is the dominant religion, shaping daily life and cultural practices.

International Relations

  • Egypt has historically played a significant role in regional and international diplomacy, given its strategic location and historical importance.
  • The country has maintained diplomatic ties with various nations and organizations, including the United States and the Arab League.


About UAE

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  • The UAE is a country located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
  • It comprises seven emirates: Abu Dhabi (the capital), Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah.

Modern Development

  • The UAE is known for its rapid modernization and urban development over the past few decades.
  • It has transformed from a desert region into a global hub for business, tourism, and innovation.

Economic Diversification

  • The UAE's economy has shifted from a reliance on oil to a more diverse range of sectors, including finance, tourism, real estate, and technology.
  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi are major international financial centers.

Tourism and Landmarks

  • The UAE boasts iconic landmarks, such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
  • The country has become a popular tourist destination, offering luxury shopping, entertainment, and cultural experiences.

Cultural Diversity

  • The UAE is culturally diverse, with a mix of Emirati citizens and a large expatriate population.
  • The country's culture is influenced by Islamic traditions while embracing modernity.

Religion and Tolerance

  • Islam is the official religion, and the UAE promotes a vision of moderate Islam.
  • The country is known for its religious tolerance, with various faiths coexisting peacefully.

Political Structure

  • The UAE is a federation of emirates, each governed by an absolute monarch.
  • The President of the UAE is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, and the Vice President is the ruler of Dubai.

Vision 2021 and Beyond

  • The UAE's Vision 2021 outlines goals for becoming a knowledge-based, diversified economy with a focus on innovation, healthcare, education, and sustainable development.
  • Initiatives like the Mars Mission and investments in renewable energy demonstrate the country's ambition for the future.

Foreign Policy and Relations

  • The UAE is active in international diplomacy and regional affairs, contributing to peacekeeping efforts and humanitarian aid.
  • It has strong alliances with countries like the United States and plays a role in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Infrastructure and Connectivity

  • The UAE boasts world-class infrastructure, including modern airports, ports, and transportation systems.
  • Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports globally.

Challenges and Opportunities

  • While the UAE has achieved remarkable progress, challenges include sustaining economic growth, managing social changes, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
  • Opportunities lie in continued diversification, technological innovation, and positioning as a global hub for various industries.

About Argentina

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  • Argentina is a country located in South America, bordered by Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay to the east, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east and south.

Natural Diversity

  • Argentina boasts a diverse range of landscapes, including the Andes mountains to the west, fertile plains known as the Pampas, the vast Patagonian region, and a long coastline.

Cultural Heritage

  • Argentina has a rich cultural heritage influenced by indigenous peoples, Spanish colonization, and waves of immigration from Europe.
  • It's known for tango music and dance, as well as literature, art, and film.

Economic Profile

  • Argentina has one of the largest economies in South America, with agriculture, manufacturing, and services being significant sectors.
  • It's a major exporter of agricultural products such as soybeans, beef, and wine.

Political History

  • Argentina has experienced periods of political turmoil and military rule, with transitions between democratic and authoritarian governments.
  • The country has a presidential system of government, and the President serves as both head of state and government.

Peronism and Politics

  • Peronism, a political movement influenced by Juan Domingo Perón, has played a significant role in Argentine politics.
  • It emphasizes social justice, labor rights, and a strong role for the state in the economy.

Human Rights and the Dirty War

  • Argentina went through a period of military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983, known as the Dirty War, marked by human rights abuses and forced disappearances.
  • Efforts for justice and remembrance continue to influence Argentine society.

Cultural Influence

  • Argentina has produced notable writers, including Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, and has a strong tradition in literature and arts.
  • Football (soccer) is a central part of the culture, with Argentina producing legendary players like Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Environmental Concerns

  • Environmental issues in Argentina include deforestation, soil degradation, and threats to biodiversity.
  • Conservation efforts are underway to protect natural resources and wildlife.

International Relations

  • Argentina is a member of various international organizations, including the United Nations and the G20.
  • The country has historically maintained diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and other global players.

Economic Challenges

  • Argentina has faced economic challenges, including inflation, fiscal deficits, and external debt.
  • These challenges have led to periods of economic instability and policy reforms.

About Ethiopia

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  • Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the northeastern part of Africa, often referred to as the Horn of Africa.
  • It shares borders with Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, South Sudan to the west and southwest, Kenya to the south, Somalia to the southeast, and Djibouti to the east.

Historical Significance

  • Ethiopia is one of the world's oldest countries, with a history dating back thousands of years.
  • It's one of the few African nations that was never formally colonized by European powers, giving it a unique cultural identity.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

  • Ethiopia is incredibly diverse with over 80 ethnic groups and numerous languages spoken.
  • Amharic is the official language, and many regional languages have their own scripts.

Ancient Civilization and Religion

  • The country has ancient historical sites, including the city of Aksum, known for its obelisks and ancient ruins.
  • Ethiopia has a rich religious heritage, with Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity being a prominent faith.

Famine and Development Challenges

  • Ethiopia has faced challenges related to food security, droughts, and famines in the past.
  • The country has undertaken development initiatives to improve infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

Political Structure

  • Ethiopia is a federal democratic republic with a President as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the head of government.
  • The country has experienced changes in leadership and political dynamics in recent years.

Economic Growth and Agriculture

  • Ethiopia has seen notable economic growth, driven by agriculture, services, and investments in infrastructure.
  • Coffee is a major export product, contributing to the country's economy.

Cultural Heritage Sites

  • Ethiopia is home to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the ancient city of Axum.

Diverse Landscapes

  • The country features diverse landscapes, including the Ethiopian Highlands, fertile valleys, and the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest places on Earth.

Challenges and Reforms

  • Ethiopia faces challenges such as ethnic tensions, political unrest, and regional conflicts.
  • The government has undertaken efforts to promote unity, reconciliation, and democratic reforms.

Unique Wildlife and Conservation

  • Ethiopia is a biodiversity hotspot with unique species like the Ethiopian wolf and Gelada baboon.
  • Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect the country's natural heritage.

Coffee and Culture

  • Coffee holds cultural significance in Ethiopia, where the coffee ceremony is a traditional social activity.
  • The country's coffee beans are known for their quality and unique flavors.


Q)  Analyze the differing perspectives of India and China on the expansion of BRICS grouping and its potential impact on the dynamics of the BRICS coalition. (150 words)