Indo Pacific Region And India.

#Gs2 #Internationalrelations 

Context 

  • Describing India as one of the most important partners of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, the Joe Biden administration said it welcomes India’s emergence as a leading global power. 
  • India is one of the most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region for us. India’s role as a net security provider in the region. 

 

Significance of the Indo-Pacific Region 

  • In 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue India had clearly indicated the geographical reach of India’s idea of the Indo-Pacific, which starts from Africa to the America, which covers both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tandem with that of Japan. 
  • It is a very rich region in terms of natural resources (fisheries, oil, gas) as well as mineral resources. 
  • Trade of some of the major economies like China, Japan, Korea or the west coast of the United States goes through this region. 
  • About 50% of India’s trade is conducted through the South China Sea. India has been one of the major players in the region. India conducts many naval exercises with the United States, countries of ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. 
  • The international community including India wants freedom of navigation, freedom of over flights in the region. 

 

Why is the Indo-Pacific crucial? 

  • The interconnectedness of the Indo-Pacific is finally coming into full play. 
  • A motivating factor is the region’s emergence as a driver of international trade and well-being. 
  • The Indo-Pacific ocean system carries an estimated 65 percent of world trade and contributes 60 percent of global GDP. 
  • Ninety per cent of India’s international trade travels on its waters. 
  • For us, and for many others, the shift in the economic trajectory from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific has been hugely consequential. 
  • The rise of China and the imperative for a global rebalancing have added to the mix. 
  • A rules-based international order is achievable only with a rules-based Indo-Pacific. 

 

India’s Indo-Pacific strategy 

  • India’s Indo-Pacific strategy was enunciated in 2018 as the SAGAR doctrine. 
  • SAGAR is an acronym for “Security and Growth for All in the Region”. 
  • This aspiration depends on securing end-to-end supply chains in the region; no disproportionate dependence on a single country; and ensuring prosperity for all stakeholder nations. 
  • An Indo-Pacific guided by norms and governed by rules, with freedom of navigation, open connectivity, and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, is an article of faith for India. 

 

A rules-based regional architecture 

● Using this Initiative, India plans to support the building of a rules-based regional architecture resting on seven pillars. These are: 

➔ 1) Maritime security 

➔ 2) Maritime ecology 

➔ 3) Maritime resources 

➔ 4) Capacity building and resource sharing 

➔ 5) Disaster risk reduction and management 

➔ 6) Science, technology and academic cooperation 

➔ 7) Trade connectivity and maritime transport 

  • We have sought to strengthen security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific by becoming a net security provider - in the Gulf of Aden. 
  • Sharing what we can, in equipment, training and exercises, we have built relationships with partner countries across the region. 

 

Coastal surveillance and its importance.

  • In the past six years, India has provided coastal surveillance radar systems to half a dozen nations - Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh. 
  • All of these countries also use Indian patrol boats, as do Mozambique and Tanzania.
  • Mobile training teams have been deputed to 11 countries. 
  • Located just outside New Delhi, the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region has enhanced maritime domain awareness among partner countries. 
  • India has also promoted and contributed to infrastructure, connectivity, economic projects and supply chains in the region. 

 

 

Houthis Insurgency 

#GS2 #InternationalRelations

Context 

  • Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeted the Abha International Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, causing a civilian plane on the tarmac to catch fire. 
  • Firefighters brought the blaze under control, without offering word on possible casualties from the assault. 

 

Yemen Crisis 

  • The conflict has its roots in the Arab Spring of 2011, when an uprising forced the country’s long-time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. 
  • The political transition was supposed to bring stability to Yemen, one of the Middle East’s poorest nations, but President Hadi struggled to deal with various problems including militant attacks, corruption, food insecurity, and continuing loyalty of many military officers to Saleh. 
  • Fighting began in 2014 when the Houthi Shia Muslim rebel movement took advantage of the new president’s weakness and seized control of northern Saada province and neighbouring areas. 
  • The Houthis went on to take the capital Sanaa, forcing Mr Hadi into exile abroad. 
  • The conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states - backed by the US, UK, and France - began air strikes against the Houthis, with the declared aim of restoring Hadi’s government. 

 

 

Uapa And Conviction 

#PRELIMSFACT

Context 

  • Only 2.2 % of cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act between the years 2016 and 2019 ended in convictions by court, according to data presented by the Union Home Ministry in the Rajya Sabha. 
  • Union Minister of State for Home informed the Upper House that as per the 2019 Crime in India Report compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau, the total number of persons arrested under the Act in 2019 is 1,948. 

 

Key points 

  • The total number of the persons arrested and the persons convicted in the years from 2016 to 2019 under the UAPA in the country are 5,922 and 132, respectively. 
  • The NCRB does not maintain this data on the basis of religion, race, caste or gender. 
  • In the year 2019, as many as 96 persons were arrested for sedition (Section 194A IPC) but only two were convicted and 29 persons were acquitted. 
  • Of the 93 cases of sedition, the charge sheet was filed in 40 cases the same year.
  • When asked about the steps taken to strengthen the sedition law in the country, the Minister stated, “Amendment of laws 

 

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

  • Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. 
  • The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so. 
  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments. 

 

Key features of the act 

  • Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. 
  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India. 
  • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court. 

 

As per amendments of 2019 

  • The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency. 
  • The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate 
  • cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state. 

 

 

Major port authority bill,2020

#GS3 #INFRASTRUCTURE #PORTS 

 

Context 

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Major Ports Authority Bill, 2020 with 84 votes in favour and 44 against. 

To make the ports world class 

  • The Bill aimed to make the ports world class and give the port authorities power to make their own decisions. 
  • The minister denied the Opposition’s charge that it would lead to privatisation. 

 

Major Ports Authority Bill, 2020 

  • The bill will replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. 
  • This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports. 

 

Objectives:

  • Decentralise decision making and infuse professionalism in governance of major ports. 
  • Impart faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability. 
  • Reorient the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. 

 

 

Salient features of the Bill 2020

  • Compared to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 the bill reduces the number of sections to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections. 
  • Simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests. 
  • Provision has been made for inclusion of representative of State Government in which the Major Port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government Nominee Member and a Member representing the employees of the Major Port Authority. 
  • Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions. 
  • An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects. 

 

Authorities Concerned With Bills 

  • The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. 
  • The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure established or proposed to be established within the port limits and the land appurtenant thereto and such master plan shall be independent of any local or State Government regulations of any authority whatsoever. 
  • Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports and Tariff of Major Ports. 

 

Purpose Of the Proposal 

  • Currently, most major port trusts in India carry out terminal operations as well, resulting in a hybrid model of port governance. 
  • The involvement of the port authorities in terminal operations leads to a conflict of interest and works against objectivity. 
  • The neutrality of the landlord port authority is a basic requirement for fair competition between port service providers, particularly the terminal operators. 

 

 

Titanium Spills 

#Gs3 #Environment #BioDiversity 

 

Context 

  • An emergency clean-up was launched along the coast to mitigate the fallout of furnace oil leak into the sea from the Kerala government undertaking Travancore Titanium Products Ltd. (TTP) at Kochuveli, near the State capital. 
  • TTP officials put the spillage, caused by a rupture in a pipeline carrying the oil, at roughly 5,000 litres. 
  • After the alarm was raised in the morning, the district administration declared the coastal stretches along Shanghumughom, Vettucaud and Veli off-limits to the public and tourists for two days.

 

Fishing banned

  • Fishing activities along these regions also stand banned as a precautionary measure. 
  • Locals, largely comprising the fishing community, expressed outrage over the oil leak, blaming the TTP for negligence. 
  • They alleged that the oil leak would have a prolonged impact on marine resources, and consequently, their livelihood. 
  • The leakage occurred around 7 a.m., but it went unnoticed at the time. 
  • The oil spilled out into a drain that opens out into the nearby beach, contaminating the beach and coastal waters. 
  • The leak was promptly plugged once the alarm was raised around 8 a.m. 

 

Probe Was Ordered 

  • The situation was under control. She ordered an investigation by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB). 
  • The PCB study will also cover the possible fallout of the oil leak. 
  • On its part, the TTP too ordered an internal investigation. A preliminary survey revealed that the oil spill was largely confined to near-shore waters and the beach. 
  • As a troubleshooting measure, the top soil along the affected stretch of coast would be removed. 
  • The Coast Guard is closely monitoring the situation using a ship and a Dornier aircraft. 
  • The leak was reportedly discovered by fishers in the densely populated neighbourhood. 
  • The fishing community demanded urgent measures to clean up the beach and the coastal waters. 
  • They fear the oil leak will have a prolonged impact on fishing activities unless prompt measures are initiated. 

 

Bioremediation Mechanism for Oil Spills 

  • The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai has developed an eco-friendly crude oil bioremediation mechanism technology using consortia (group of two or more species) of marine microbes wheat bran (WB) immobilized (microbes controlled degradation) on agro-residue bacterial cells. 
  • Wheat bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel. It's stripped away during the milling process. 

 

Eco-friendly Crude Oil Bioremediation Mechanism Technology 

  • Bioremediation: It can be defined as any process that uses microorganisms or their enzymes to remove and or neutralize contaminants within the environment to their original condition. 
  • In the marine ecosystem, deep sea hydrocarbonoclastic (ability to degrade hydrocarbon) microbial consortium plays an important role in breaking down oil in the event of a spill. 
  • The microbial community serves as energetic primary degraders of a complex mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons into various aldehydes, ketones and acidic metabolites. 
  • These hydrocarbon degrading bacteria don’t depend on hydrocarbons for survival, but have a metabolic mechanism where they use petroleum products as carbon and energy source and thus, help cleaning up oil spills. 
  • The complete breakdown and degradation of crude oil is achievable using wheat bran marine bacterial consortia (which are low-cost non-toxic agro-residues) in an environmentally sustainable manner. 

 

 

 

PIB ANALYSIS

World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

#PRELIMSFACTS

 

Key Points

  • The World Sustainable Development Summit 2021 is the 20th edition of The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) flagship event.
  • It will be virtually held from February 10 to 12, 2021.
  • ‘Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all’ is the theme of the summit.
  • The Summit will bring together a number of governments, academicians, business leaders, youth, climate scientists, and civil society to fight against the problem of climate change.
  • Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy are the major partners of the summit.
  • Some of the topics that will be discussed during the summit are Energy and industry transition, nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience, climate finance, clean oceans circular economy, and air pollution.
  • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  • TERI is a research institute that conducts research in the fields of sustainable development, environment, and energy. It was established in the year 1974 and is headquartered in New Delhi.

 

 

Tropex-21 Exercise

#PRELIMSFACTS 

The biennial Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX 21) which is the largest war game of the Indian Navy is presently underway. TROPEX 21 began in early January and presently has the participation of all operational units of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Coast Guard

 

Key Points

  • The exercise will conclude by the third week of February.
  • The exercise is being conducted over a vast geographical expanse in the Indian Ocean Region including its adjunct waters.
  • The exercise aims to test the combat readiness of the Indian Navy in complex scenarios.
  • The exercise also aims to promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region, validate Navy’s offensive-defense capabilities and safeguard national interests in the maritime domain.
  • The exercise is being overseen by Naval Headquarters with participation from all three Commands of the Indian Navy and the Tri-Services Command at Port Blair.
  • TROPEX also has different phases. In the first phase, the Indian Navy had conducted coastal defence exercise ‘Sea Vigil’ along the entire coastline and Island territories of India from January 12-13, 2021. This exercise validated the coastal defence setup of the country which has been improved after the 26/11 Terror attacks at Mumbai.
  • Indian Navy, Marine Police of 13 coastal States and UTs, Coast Guard, and other stakeholders participated in the exercise.
  • Sea Vigil was followed by Tri-Service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX-21.
  • AMPHEX-21 was conducted from 21-25 January in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands.
  • AMPHEX-21 validated the capabilities of the country to safeguard the territorial integrity of its Island territories and to enhance joint warfighting capabilities amongst the three Services.

The Weapon Workup Phase of TROPEX also concluded recently. It saw multiple ‘on-target’ ordnance deliveries including torpedoes, missiles, and rockets from frontline submarines, warships, and aircraft. It also showcased the lethal firepower of the Indian Navy and its capability to carry out long-range maritime strikes in the Indian Ocean Region.

 

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