16 January, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu

  • Nepal raises Kalapani boundary issue with India Page 10 - International Relations
  • Double Ignominy Page 06 - Polity and Governance
  • Mounting pressure on China, U.S. blacklists Xiaomi, CNOOC Page 13 - (International Relations)
  • After U.S., Russia pulls out of Open Skies treaty Page 13 - International Relations
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    UPSC Current Affairs:  Nepal raises Kalapani boundary issue with India | Page 10

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Kalapani |India-Nepal |UPSC

    Context:

    • Nepal has raised the Kalapani boundary dispute with India during the Joint Commission meeting, visiting Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said here on Friday. The Minister said that the Indo-Nepal boundary dispute existed in “two segments” and Kathmandu wished to find a solution to the matter urgently. Mr. Gyawali also took up Nepal’s requirement for vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as Kathmandu has approved Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield vaccine.

    Territorial sovereignty

    • Sovereignty in regard to a territory is known as territorial sovereignty. Territorial Sovereignty is the right of a State to exercise over its own territory, to the exclusion of any other States, the functions of a State.   It has a positive and a negative aspect. The first aspect relates to the exclusivity of the right of the State with regard to its own territory, while the second aspect refers to the obligation to protect the rights of other States.
    • A State exercises its territorial sovereignty within its boundary.
    • Boundary is an imaginary line that delineates the territorial limit of a State.

    Cause of the dispute:

    • The Treaty of Sugauli signed by Nepal and British East India Company in 1816 defines the Kali River as Nepal's western boundary with India.
    • However, what is meant by "Kali River" in the upper reaches is unclear because many mountain streams come to join and form the river.

    About the road

    • The road that starts from Dharchula in Uttarakhand and runs 80 km to the Lipulekh pass was built by the Border Roads Organisation to help shorten the travel time to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet by about three days each way.
    • The new road makes this route the shortest and the least expensive way to reach Mount Kailash as it is just a fifth of the distance when compared to other routes..
    • It also ensures that the majority of the travel is in India (84 per cent) as compared to other routes where 80 percent of the road travel is through China.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: Double Ignominy | Page 13

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity and Governance

    Sub Theme: USA President Impeachment |UPSC

    Context:

    Mr Donal Trump has been impeached twice.

    The following explains the basics of impeachment, what happens next, and why Trump is unlikely to be removed from office.

    Why Impeachment?

    • The founders of the United States feared presidents abusing their powers, so they included in the Constitution a process for removing one from office.

    Criterion for impeachment?

    • The president, under the Constitution, can be removed from office for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanours.
    • Who defines these terms?
      • “High crimes and misdemeanours” has historically encompassed corruption and abuses of the public trust, as opposed to just indictable violations of criminal statutes.
      • An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.
    • So what was the criterion in this case?
      • The impeachment process began from Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy when he asked the Zelenskiy for “a favour.”
      • Trump wanted the Ukraine government to investigate Democrats in the 2016 election and his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, in return for military aid the young democracy relies on as it confronts an aggressive Russia.

    So What has been the experience so far?

    • No president has ever been removed as a direct result of impeachment.
    • One, Richard Nixon, resigned before he could be removed.
    • Two, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were impeached by the House but not convicted by the Senate.

    How does the process of impeachment works?

    • Impeachment begins in the House, the lower chamber, which debates and votes on whether to bring charges against the president via approval of an impeachment resolution, or “articles of impeachment,” by a simple majority of the body’s members.
    • If the House approves articles of impeachment, a trial is then held in the Senate. House members act as the prosecutors; the senators as jurors; the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presides.
    • A two-thirds majority vote is required in the Senate to convict and remove a president.
    • Hence it is unlikely that president trump could be removed.
      • The Senate now has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents who usually vote with the Democrats. Conviction and removal of a president would require a two-thirds majority. So, for Trump to be removed from office via impeachment, in the case of all 100 senators voting, at least 20 Republicans and all the Democrats and independents would have to vote against him.

    Who becomes president if trump is removed?

    • In the unlikely event the Senate convicted Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would become president for the remainder of Trump’s term, which ends on Jan. 20, 2021.

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: Mounting pressure on China, U.S. blacklists Xiaomi, CNOOC | Page 13

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: US China Trade war |UPSC

    Context:

    The Us and China cooled their trade war recently after announcing a “Phase one” agreement that reduces some US tariffs in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of American farm goods. 

    Let us now analyze the evolution of this trade war:

    US-China Trade War

    • Recently, the US administration imposed 15% tariffs on imports valued at $300 billion. After including
    • Technology Theft:
      • US has targeted China primarily for what it perceived to be violations by the latter of IPRs of American companies. US’s argued that China was forcing these companies to transfer their proprietary technologies.
    • Currency Wars:

    US invoked the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act which authorises the Treasury Secretary to examine whether the US’s trade partners are manipulating the rate of exchange for purposes of preventing effective balance of payments adjustments or gaining unfair competitive advantage in international trade.

    Chinese Reply:

    • China announced additional tariffs on more than 5,000 products imported from the US valued at $75 billion. The sensitive sectors of agriculture and forestry were targeted.
    • Tariffs were also hiked for the first time on crude oil.
    • China initiated a dispute in the World Trade Organisation against US’s unilateral tariff increases.

    Impact:

    • Global slowdown
    • Spirit of multilateralism and trust in them eroding in solving global economic disputes
      • WTO
        • The USA’s pursuit of unilateral policies is hurting the spirit of multilateralism which was the bedrock of global economic architecture since World War II.
        • USA has repeatedly blocked WTO members to conduct negotiations on the rules to respond to the needs of the members, especially the Least developed countries.
        • USA by blocking the appointments of new members on the Appellate body of WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism has made it non-functional. (Appellate body should have seven members but new members have not been appointed in place of retiring members).

    Impact of the trade regulations imposed by USA on China on its trade deficit:

    • Despite many measures taken by Trump regime since 2018 to reduce its trade deficit and dependence of China the impact of these measures has been not showing the anticipated results.
    • In 2018, almost nine months of which saw the trade war playing out, US’s trade deficit vis-à-vis China reached a record high of over $419 billion, nearly 12% higher than that in the previous year and the steepest increase since 2010. In other words, the tariffs did not reduce the deficit.
    • The current round of tariff increases would hurt the US economy even more since China has targeted agriculture and crude oil, two of the most sensitive sectors which has wide political repurcussions.
    • Also, the current round of tariffs target products like garments, toothbrushes, footwear, toys and video games, USA’s consumer goods market would be impacted quite considerably and the price of these products will increase for US consumers.
    • The tariff escalation can bring world economy closer to an economic slowdown.

    Pros of trade war:

    • Protects domestic companies from unfair competition
    • Increases demand for domestic goods
    • Promotes local job growth
    • Improves trade deficit
    • Punishes nation with unethical trade policies

    Cons of trade war:

    • Increases costs and induces inflation
    • Causes marketplace shortages, reduces choice
    • Discourges trade
    • Slows economic growth
    • Hurts diplomatic relations, cultural exchange

     

    UPSC Current Affairs: After U.S., Russia pulls out of Open Skies treaty | Page 13

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: New Start | Open Skies |UPSC

    Arms Race and building tensions between USA and Russia

    Context:

    Russia has withdrawn from the Open Skies Treaty after the US withdrew from the agreement earlier.

    Open Skies Treaty

    The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving access to aerial surveillance over the entire territory of the country. The treaty was signed in 1992 in Helsinki. It entered into force in 2002.

    Current Membership:

    Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

    Important Provisions of the Treaty:

    • Entire territory accessible to aerial observation
    • Observation flights to be conducted by unarmed fixed wing aircraft
    • Aircraft may be equipped with video cameras and panoramic and framing cameras for daylight photography; infra-red line scanning systems, which can operate by day and night; and synthetic aperture radar, which can operate day and night in any weather.
    • Each State Party in Open Skies has agreed to a quota of observation flights which it is willing to accept annually from other States Parties.
    • Imagery collected from Open Skies missions is available to any state party upon request for the cost of reproduction. As a result, the data available to each state party is much greater than that which it can collect itself under the treaty quota system

    Russia’s reasons for withdrawing from the treaty:

    1. Earlier the US has withdrawn from the treaty.
    2. However, Russia believed US can continue to have access of information under the treaty as many of its military alliance partners are still party to the treaty. Russia has proposed changes in the treaty by which members would not have been able to share information gathered under the treaty to non-member countries. However, since these changes were not accepted, Russia decided to withdraw from the treaty.

    Other treaties from which the two countries have withdrawn

    INF Treaty

    US and Russia have withdrawn from the INF treaty which banned the two countries from developing missiles with range between 500 km to 5500 km. USA withdrew from the treaty citing Chinese military buildup.

    New Start Treaty

    This was a nuclear arms reduction treaty between USA and Russia. The treaty called the two countries to limit their nuclear arsenal. It also limits the number of nuclear launchers the two countries can deploy. It also provides for an inspection and verification mechanism to verify that promises under the treaty are kept.

    The treaty was signed in 2010 and entered into force in 2011. The treaty was to last for a duration of 10 years. However, both the countries have failed to arrive at an agreement to extend the period of the treaty.

    USA wants China to join the treaty, which China has not shown interest for.

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