IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd August, 2019


India, U.S. to hold 2+2 dialogue today

The interactions will lay the ground work for the visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to the U.S.

Focus of the Meeting:

. Strengthening the strategic partnership .

. Advance cooperation on critical diplomatic and security priorities.

. Discussion on a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

. Consider steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation.

2+2 Dialogue:

- It is a concept of foreign policy of involving two important ministries simultaneously to bring coordinated approach in foreign policy.

- India initiated 2+2 dialogue with Japan.

- India also holds it with USA.

- The External affair ministry and Finance ministry are involved in 2+2 dialogues.

- It maintains regular communication between key stakeholders.

- It brings synergy in the relationships.

Key Components covered under 2+2 dialogue:

- Trade Issues

- Defence Agreements

- Cooperation on Fighting terrorism

- Advancing a Free, Open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

- Promoting sustainable “debt-financing ” in the region.

India-US 2+2 dialogue:

Strengthening the Defence and Security Partnership:   

- Inclusion of India by the United States among the top tier of countries entitled to license-free exports, re-exports, and transfers under License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA-1).

- Expansion in two-way trade in defence items and defence manufacturing supply chain linkages.

- Signed Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing U.S.-origin platforms.

- Began negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would support closer defence industry cooperation and collaboration.

- Committed to the creation of a new, tri-services exercise and to further increase personnel exchanges between the two militaries and defence organizations.

- Commitment to encourage and prioritize co-production and co-development projects through the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

- Increase information-sharing efforts on known or suspected terrorists and to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2396 on returning foreign terrorist fighters.

- Enhance their ongoing cooperation in multilateral fora such as the UN and FATF.

- Reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

- Called on Pakistan to ensure that the territory under its control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries.

- Launch of a bilateral dialogue on designation of terrorists in 2017, which is strengthening cooperation and action against terrorist groups, including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, D-Company, and their affiliates.

Partnership in the Indo-Pacific and beyond: 

- Committed to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing   a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on recognition of ASEAN centrality and on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, rule of law, good governance, free and fair trade, and freedom of navigation and overflight.

- Emphasized the need to work collectively with other partner countries to support transparent, responsible, and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development.

- Reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan.

- Expressed support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.

- Work together to counter North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs and to hold accountable those countries that have supported them.

- Welcomed India’s enhanced role in Afghanistan’s development and stabilization.

- Welcomed India’s accession to the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Promoting Prosperity and People-to-People Ties:

- Facilitation of  trade, improving market access, and addressing issues of interest to both sides.

- Full implementation of the civil nuclear energy partnership and collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company for the establishment of six nuclear power plants in India. 

Reference : https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/india-us-to-hold-22-dialogue-today/article29218935.ece


ED, CBI allege ‘illegal’ FIPB approvals

Agencies say these relate to clearances granted during Chidambaram’s tenure as Finance Minister.

The ED is pursuing money-laundering charges and investments in movable/immovable assets in India and countries like the United Kingdom, Spain and Malaysia.

the former Finance Minister and his son have refuted the allegations, terming them as political vendetta and a witch-hunt.

Look Out Circulars(LOCs):

- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issues the basic guidelines (regarding the publication of the LOCs in relation to Indian citizens).

- It allows immigration officer to catch hold of the absconding offender given there is a pending look out circular against absconder.

- The request to issue LOC must be issued with the approval of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India/Joint Secretary in the State Government/Superintendent of Police concerned at the district level.

- Lookout Notice for all immigration check posts against any Indian person can be issued only in the format prepared by the Home Ministry.

Reference : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-cbi-allege-illegal-fipb-approvals/article29214386.ece



RBI’s MPC votes for saving some ammunition as transmission lags

Akin to its decision in the June monetary policy meeting, members of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) monetary policy committee (MPC) voted unanimously to lower interest rates and ease the policy stance in its 7 August monetary policy review. They had the interest rate by 35 basis points. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

- There is an issue of Rate transmission. Cumulative repo rate reduction of 75 bps, effected since February 2019, has so far resulted in 29 bps reduction in weighted average lending rate (WALR) of banks on fresh rupee loans.

- There is still limited clarity on how deep this economic slowdown be it domestic or global.

- Future rate cuts should be calibrated to tackle a scenario of a sharper downturn, going forward.

- The six-member MPC had lowered its FY20 GDP growth forecast from the earlier 7% to 6.9%.

- The government has to work hand-in-hand with its fiscal measures. 

- Many banks have linked their home loans rates to Repo rate.




Amazon, Microsoft, may be putting world at risk of killer AI, says report

Amazon, Microsoft and Intel are among leading tech companies that could spearhead a global AI arms race, according to a report that surveyed major players from the sector about their stance on lethal autonomous weapons.


- Developing technology that could be relevant to kill robots.

- Working on related military projects.

Use of AI in weapons:

- Automatically select and attack targets

- Herald a third revolution in warfare after gunpowder and Atomic bomb.

- Kill people without human intervention.

- Provide cloud infrastructure for military assets.

- Scalable weapons of mass destruction: a single person can launch a million weapons or a hundred million weapons

- Use machine learning to distinguish people and objects in drone videos.

- Focus in on developing the autonomous weapons of present version.

- Israel's Harpy is an autonomous drone that already exists, "loitering" in a target area and selecting sites to hit.

- They will have destructive capacity of a nuclear bomb but leave all the buildings behind.

- Can wipe out one ethnic group or one gender.

- Wipe out all people with a political view using social media information.


- European Union in April published guidelines for how companies and governments should develop AI.

- Need for human oversight.

- Working towards societal and environmental wellbeing in a non-discriminatory way.

- Respecting privacy.

- Need of an international ban on lethal AI.

Reference : https://www.livemint.com/companies/news/amazon-microsoft-may-be-putting-world-at-risk-of-killer-ai-says-report-1566444179682.html



Govt to set up committee to study corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board

The Government is set to form a high level committee to examine the aspects of corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and work out the modalities.

The need for Corporatization:

- Slow decision making.

- Poor accountability and result orientation.

- Poor in forming the Joint ventures and partnerships.

- OFB needs support from budgetary allocation. Needs to make them profit oriented.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-to-set-up-committee-to-study-corporatisation-of-ordnance-factory-board/article29214555.ece



Explained: Report on illegal global tiger trade counts 2,359; highest in India

Overall, a conservative estimate of 2,359 tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories globally. These occurred from a total of 1,142 seizure incidents, the report said.

A new report has quantified the illegal global trade in tigers and tiger parts over a 19-year period between 2000 and 2018. India has the world’s largest tiger population — 2,967 in the Tiger Census released last month — and the highest extent of tiger trade also happens in the country.

The new report has been compiled by Traffic, a NGO working in conservation and currently in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

While the latest census has put India’s tiger population at 2,967, the Traffic report uses the 2016 WWF estimate of 2,226, with India home to more than 56% of the global wild tiger population. India is the country with the highest number of seizure incidents (463, or 40% of all seizures) as well as tigers seized (625). In terms of various body parts seized, India had the highest share among countries for tiger skins (38%), bones (28%) and claws and teeth (42%).


More on Traffic:

- NGO working in conservation and currently in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/tiger-trade-report-counts-2359-shows-where-5924998/