28 July, 2021 - Daily Current Affairs Analysis & MCQs - The Daily News Simplified from The Hindu
- Afghanistan - Central Asia and India (International Relations)
- Assam - Mizoram border dispute (Polity & governance)
- European floods and Climate change (Environment)
- Dholavira - UNESCO World Heritage site (Art and Culture)
- Prelims MCQs
- Reference - Anti-trafficking bill
- Question for the Day
UPSC Current Affairs: Needed, a more unified Asian voice for Afghanistan | Page – 06
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper II- International relations and Prelims: places in news
Sub Theme: India-Afghanistan relations | UPSC
Context: With US and NATO forces withdrawing from Afghanistan, Central Asia is emerging as key player for bringing in stability in the region. Further India which has been reluctant to engage with Taliban has been left out of major initiatives aimed at handling the afghan situation. Let us look at the challenges and opportunities for India via the central Asia led engagement in Afghanistan
Central Asia and its Geography
How is central Asia emerging as a key player?
- Russia, China and the US are key global powers interested in resolving the Afghan issue. They are turning towards central Asia to handle the situation.
- Three meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) contact group on Afghanistan have been held this month and
- Meeting of SCO Defence Ministers in Tajikistan also took place.
- The Central and South Asia conference on regional connectivity took place in Uzbekistan.
- U.S. has announced a new, surprise formation of a “Quad” on regional connectivity — U.S.-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan that does not include India. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is conducting trial runs of truck convoys from Tashkent to Karachi and back
Why Central Asia is crucial for the Afghan Situation?
- Connectivity - The land locked central Asian countries can access the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan.
- Safety - The safety of transit of Central Asian goods will depend upon relations with the Taliban.
- New Investments - Central Asian countries are part of the BRI of China, which provides them opportunity of new investments.
India has been left of the Afghan process -
- US, Russia and china have met with Taliban and have involved Pakistan to reach at a resolution to the current situation.
- India's developmental efforts have not helped India gain a key role the Afghanistan.
- End of formal dialogue between India and Pakistan since 2016 and trade since 2019, have resulted in Pakistan blocking India’s over-land access to Afghanistan.
- India's effort to trade with Afghanistan Via Chabahar port has not seen the light of day because of US sanctions on Iran.
- India’s boycott of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and now tensions at the Line of Actual Control after the Chinese aggression , make another route to Afghanistan off-limits
- India has been reluctant to engage with the Taliban.
Uzbekistan playing a key role -
- The new Uzbek President has resolved the existing border disputes with its neighbours.
- Uzbekistan has reached out to US and China. Earlier it was seen as being under the Russian influence.
- It became one of the first countries to publicly invite a Taliban delegation from Doha, Qatar to visit
- It has promoted a number of ambitious trade and connectivity initiatives with the Afghan government.
India and central Asia's shared concerns -
- Both share the common concerns of rise in terrorism and extremism because of Taliban takeover.
- It is necessary for both to provide finances to the Afghan government to save it from collapsing at the hands Taliban.
- As part of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), India must also step up its engagement with the Central Asian countries on fighting terror.
- India should also provide military equipment to the Afghan forces.
But for India and the centra Asian countries to pursue their shared concerns, the need of the hour is more strategic engagement with Pakistan.
UPSC Current Affairs: Dangerous conflagration I Page 06
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS II: National security and internal disturbances.
Theme: Border issues | UPSC
on July 26, violent clashes erupted at the Assam-Mizoram border and five personnel of the Assam police lost their lives in the exchange of fire between the forces of the two north-eastern states. Boundary demarcation issue was behind the clashes between them.
Border issue turned violent:
The boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram dates back to 1930s
- Mizoram borders Assam’s Barak Valley. The boundary between the two states, which runs 165 km today, has a history dating back to the time when Mizoram was a district of Assam (back then known as Lushai Hills)
- Boundary demarcations made by the British in 1933, is at the heart of the dispute.
In 1933, British demarcated the boundary between Lushai Hills, cachar district of Assam and neighbouring state Manipur. The Mizos do not accept this demarcation on the ground that the Mizo tribal chiefs were not consulted. Things got complicated after Independence when Mizoram as an Union territory was carved out of Assam in 1972. The dispute has been simmering since Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972 and then a state in the 1980s. The two states signed an agreement that status quo should be maintained at no-man’s land set up in the boundaries. While alleged transgressions have often happened over the decades, skirmishes have happened very frequently in recent months. This culminated in the violent clashes on July 26th.
Other Interstate border disputes
- Assam has border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram. A committee of Joint secretaries was set up by MHA in 2020 to review these border issues
- Recently a border dispute was erupted between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha when AP govt announced panchayat polls in a group of villages which were claimed by Odisha.
These kind of Interstate border disputes not only weakens National integration but also causes Law and order problems. So, there is a need to settle these long standing disputes.
Constitutional Mechanism to address Interstate disputes:
- Interstate council:
- The Inter-State Council is a non-permanent constitutional body enshrined in Article 263 of the Constitution of India. It was set up in 1990 through a presidential ordinance for the first time as per the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission under the Ministry of Home affairs.
- One of the functions of this council is to Inquire and advise upon disputes which may have emerged between the States
- Zonal Council: The Zonal Councils are statutory bodies, which were established by States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
- Zonal Council may discuss, and make recommendations with regard any matter concerning border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport
- Supreme court has exclusive original jurisdiction over Inter state disputes
UPSC Current Affairs: Let’s make room for the river I Page 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper I, III: Geography, ecology, and environment
Sub Theme: Climate change and floods | UPSC
Since 12 July 2021, several European countries have been affected by floods, some
were catastrophic, causing deaths and widespread damage.
The floods started in the United Kingdom as flash floods causing some property
damage and inconvenience.
Later floods affected several river basins across northern and central Europe
including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Switzerland and Italy.
Now since the floods have followed unprecedented heat waves in the Pacific Northwest
and Northern Europe, prompting scientists to evaluate a possible connection to climate
Can we draw any connection of these floods with climate change?
Scientists had warned that extreme weather events would become more common as
a consequence of climate change.
Examples of such extreme events would include
o Heavy rainfall;
o An increase in the atmospheric temperature allows it to absorb more water
vapour, resulting in more precipitation.
Climate change might also have resulted in the jet stream becoming more erratic,
which could lead to more frequent extreme weather phenomena.
UPSC Current Affairs: Dholavira in Gujarat on UNESCO World Heritage list I Page 08
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper I: Art and culture, Prelims: Important historical places
Sub Theme: World heritage sites | UPSC
- Dholavira is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag of world heritage by UNESCO.
- The ancient city of Dholavira, the southern centre of the Harappan Civilization, is sited on the arid island of Khadir in the State of Gujarat.
- After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
- The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
- A cascading series of water reservoirs,
- Outer fortification
- Two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace.
- Nine gates with unique designs
- Funerary architecture — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas