IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd June, 2020

DNA 23rd June


In India-China, the Russia role

Russia has emerged, all of a sudden, as a key diplomatic player amid the tension between India and China. It is set to host the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting.

Raksha Mantri at RIC

-Tensions being at the peak, India will discuss supply and purchase of new defence systems — like the S-400 missile defence system — with the Russian top brass in the military and government.

-India has made this decision to reach out to Russia not just out of choice, but also out of necessity.

-Moscow has leverage and influence to shape and change Beijing’s hard stance on the border issue.

Russia: A mediator

-While India and China have been talking at each other — and not to each other — the outreach to Moscow is noteworthy.

-It is widely known that Russia and China have grown their relationship in the past few years.

-The Moscow-Beijing axis is crucial, especially since Washington has been at loggerheads with China in recent months and Russia much more calibrated, even in its response on the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sino-Russian ties: History

-Russia and China have had a rocky start to their relationship after Mao Zedong founded the People’s Republic of China.

-When Mao made his first visit to Moscow after winning control of China, in 1949, he was made to wait for weeks for a meeting with the Soviet leader.

-During the Cold War, China and the USSR were rivals after the Sino-Soviet split in 1961, competing for control of the worldwide Communist movement.

-There was a serious possibility of a major war in the early 1960s and a brief border war took place in 1969.

-This enmity began to reduce following Mao’s death in 1976, but relations were not very good until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

India and Russia

-India has a historical relationship with Russia, spanning over seven decades.

-While the relationship has grown in some areas and atrophied in some others, the strongest pillar of the strategic partnership is of the defence basket.

-Although New Delhi has consciously diversified its new purchases from other countries, the bulk of its defence equipment is from Russia.

-Estimates say 60 to 70 per cent of India’s supplies are from Russia, and New Delhi needs a regular and reliable supply of spare parts from the Russian defence industry.

-In fact, Prime Minister Modi has held informal summits with only two leaders — Xi and Putin.

Russia position: then & now

-During the Doklam crisis in 2017, Russian diplomats in Beijing were among the few briefed by the Chinese government.

-While Russia’s position during the 1962 war was not particularly supportive of India, New Delhi takes comfort in Moscow’s support during the 1971 war.

-On the events in Galwan, Moscow responded in a much-calibrated manner.

-Kremlin has expressed its concerns over a clash between the military on the border between China and India but believes that the two countries could resolve this conflict themselves.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-china-border-dispute-galwan-faceoff-resolution-russia-6471548/


Decarbonising transport in India

Context: NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum (ITF) will launch the “Decarbonising Transport in India” project on 24 June, with the intention to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.

More about the initiative:

-The “Decarbonising Transport in India” project will design a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India.

-It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.

Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE)

-It is part of the “Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies” (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions. India, Argentina, Azerbaijan, and Morocco are current participants.

-The DTEE is collaboration between the ITF and the Wuppertal Institute, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

International Transport Forum (ITF)?

  • The International Transport Forum at the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation with 60 member countries.
  • It acts as a think tank for transport policy and organises the Annual Summit of transport ministers. ITF is the only global body that covers all transport modes
  • The ITF is administratively integrated with the OECD, yet politically autonomous.
  • India has been a member of ITF since 2008. 

Source: http://ddnews.gov.in/national/decarbonising-transport-international-project-develop-pathway-low-co2-mobility-india#:~:text=NITI%20Aayog%20in%20collaboration%20with,carbon%20transport%20system%20for%20India.


China to join UN arms trade treaty

Context: National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, has voted to join the global treaty to regulate conventional arms sales at a time when the country has been cornered over its handling of pandemic and curbing of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

This comes after US President Donald Trump announced plans last year to pull the United States out of the agreement — which entered into force in 2014.

Arms Trade Treaty

-It has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

-The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

-It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

-It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.

-The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?

- It includes tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.

-It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts and arms components.

-The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/un-arms-trade-treaty-explainer/25117736.html


The lone wolf threat


The recent knife attack at a park in Reading, a town west of London, which killed three people and injured three others.

This incident is yet another reminder of the threat of lone wolf attacks the U.K. is facing.

Since November 2019, the country has seen three such major incidents.


-The term “lone wolf” is used by US law enforcement agencies and the media to refer to individuals undertaking violent acts of terrorism outside a command structure.

-A lone actor, lone-actor terrorist, or lone wolf is someone who prepares and commits violent acts alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.

-They may be influenced or motivated by the ideology and beliefs of an external group and may act in support of such a group.

Why is it hard to prevent such attacks?

-Terrorist organisations embrace this tactic to spread violence in countries where coordinated big attacks are impossible.

-In coordinated terror attacks, the chances of competent intelligence agencies detecting the perpetrators are much higher. However, in Lone wolf attacks, extremist individuals translate their beliefs into violent actions, and therefore are hard to detect and prevent.

Steps needed to be taken:

The government and the security agencies need to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards radicalisation, which is anchored in human intelligence, strong ties with communities and community leaders and de-radicalisation programmes.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-lone-wolf-threat-on-isolated-terror-attack-in-london/article31893294.ece



Context: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate with seizure of a consignment of exotic macaws, which had been smuggled from Bangladesh to Kolkata.

More about the case:

-The birds were identified as Hyacinth Macaw, Pesquet’s Parrot, Severe Macaw and Hahn’s Macaw.

-All the birds were seized under provisions of the Customs Act and Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. Offences under these laws are punishable with a sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment.

Protection status:

They are all protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which implies ban in global and domestic trade of the species. Hyacinth Macaw being accorded the highest protection and listed under Appendix I.

About Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI):

-The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an Indian intelligence agency. It is India's chief anti-smuggling intelligence, investigations and operations agency.

-DRI works to secure India's national and economic security by preventing the outright smuggling of contraband such as firearms, gold, narcotics, Fake Indian Currency notes, antiques, wildlife and environmental products. Moreover, it also works to prevent the proliferation of black money, commercial frauds and trade based money laundering.

-DRI enforces provisions of the Customs Act in addition to over 50 other statutes including the NDPS Act, Arms Act, WMD Act etc.

-DRI is also a part of the Cabinet Secretariat's National Authority Chemical Weapons Convention, the Special Investigation Team on Black Money, the Task Force on Shell Companies, the Multi Agency Center (MAC) on National Security, the Ministry of Home Affairs/NIA's special wings on Left Wing Extremism Financing, as well as various inter-ministerial committees on Terror Financing, Coastal Security, Fake Indian Currency Notes, etc.


KumbharSashaktikaran Program

About it:

-It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for empowerment of potters’ community in the remotest of locations in the country.

-The program reaches out to the potters in many states including U.P., M.P., Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.

This program provides the following support to potters.

-Training for advanced pottery products.

-Latest, new technology pottery equipments like the electric Chaak.

-Market linkages and visibility through KVIC exhibitions.

About Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC):

-KVIC is a statutory body formed in April 1957 (as per an RTI) by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, 'Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956'.

-It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India, which seeks to - "plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.