Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 11th January 2022

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1.  India-South Korea relations

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 2: International Relations |
Sub Theme: Historical overview, common interest |UPSC

India-South Korea relations:

Historical Overview

  • India’s first foreign secretary, K P S Menon, served as Chairman of the 9-member UN Commission (1947) to oversee elections in Korea.
  • During the Korean War (1950-53), a UN resolution sponsored by India calling for a ceasefire; which was declared on 27 July 1953.
  • South Korea is part of India’s Look East policy while India is part of New Southern Policy of Korea.

 

Common interest:

  • Development of Indo-Pacific
  • Cultural ties
  • Soft diplomacy: Entertainment, Bollywood, K-pop, Buddhism, etc.
  • Strategic expansion in Indian Ocean.
  • Free and open trade through South China sea.
  • Research and Development in Technology: 5G telecommunication.
  • Expansion of trade: electronics, automobile, energy etc.
  • Common thought process on climate change and role in UN.

 

Other aspects:

  • Joint anti-piracy, search and rescue exercise, Sahyog- Hyeoblyeog
  • Indian Army has already inducted the K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers (which has roots in South Korea’s K-9 Thunder)
  • India-South Korea trade ties have grown from few hundred million dollars to $22 billion at the end of 2018. (FTA 2010)
  • India has created ‘Korea Plus’ mechanism under the

 

2.  India lays emphasis on UNCLOS

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 3|Economy
Sub Theme:  All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey | UPSC

Two lakhs more jobs in 9 sectors

Context:

Quarterly employment survey (MoLE) has reported an increase in formal establishment sectors.

Overall percentage of female workers stood at 32.1%, higher than 29.3%

Survey has covered manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education,

health, accommodation and restaurants, IT/BPOs and financial services sectors.

Basically, the survey has proved that employment has increased amid the COVID pandemic.

 

Part of the All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (AQEES).

Why:

Enable the government to frame a sound national policy on employment.

Benefit:

As it covers only those establishments which are having 10 or more employees it is basically covering the formal sector.

Limitations:

It leaves out over 90% of informal employees who are no working under these 9 sectors for example agricultural labour.

Most of the recent surveys are telephonic based.

It provides only demand side aspect of employment against  supply side of PLFS.

Turns to be overhyped as most of these sectors were under negative growth in past two years.

All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey is conducted in two phases:

  1. Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)
  2. Area Frame Establishment Survey (AFES); Covers the unorganised segment (with less than 10 workers) through a sample survey.

 

3.  T.N govt allows Jallikattu in spite of Covid surge

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 1: Culture
Sub Theme:  Key facts regarding jallikattu| UPSC

Context- Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday allowed the conduct of Jallikattu

Key facts regarding Jallikattu:

  • Jalikattu is believed to have been practiced since at least 2500 years.
  • It is a bull taming competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull ownerswho rear them for mating.
  • It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
  • The earliest evidence of jallikattu or bull taming can be found in ancient Indian cave paintings and seal iconography. Majority of cave paintings in Tamil Nadu consisted of tamed animals such as deer, horse, boar and the bull. The iconography of the bull and in particular, scenes depicting humans taming bulls were a common representation in seals, not just in South India but also in the Indus valley sites.
  • For instance, an Indus seal found at Banawali carries the image of a bull with five figures and two symbols. A short text accompanying the image reads, “buffalo battling a human (or deity)”. Similarly a terracotta clay tablet found at Harappa carries the image of a bull, two human figures and a crocodile. The posture of the bull suggests submission while the human figure is depicted in domination, grasping the horns of the bull with one leg on its head.

There are references to people enjoying witnessing and participating in Jalikattu in Silappatikaram one of the 5 great epics of Tamil classical period.

 

4.  China’s presence in Indian Ocean

UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper 2: International Relations
Sub Theme:  Chinese presence in Sri Lanka, Steps taken by India| UPSC
Context: During his visit to Sri Lanka, Chinese foreign minister said that no third party should interfere in China-Sri Lanka relations and the friendly relations between the 2 countries are not targeted towards any third party (an indirect reference to India). These comments came in the backdrop of recent shifting of Chinese solar project from northern Sri Lanka to Maldives in the wake of security concerns expresses by India.

 

Chinese presence in Sri Lanka:

  • Recently Sri Lanka gave approval to Chinese funded ‘Colombo port city’ with some autonomy. It will include a Special Economic Zone where China will be free to operate in any currency. However, this is not a one-off case. This is reflection of growing china-srilanka partnership.
  • Already China developed the Hambantota port which was later leased to it for a period of 99 years
  • Sri Lanka also endorsed Belt and Road initiative of China

Why China in Sri Lanka?

  • Control of Hambantota and Colombo ports gives China a vantage position in the eastern Indian Ocean to address its Malacca Dilemma
·         Malacca dilemma

China is heavily dependent on oil from the Arabian Gulf – 80% of its oil imports are sourced from there and transit through the Straits of Malacca, one of the most strategically important geopolitical chokepoints in the world. strait of Malacca Falls between Sumatra Islands and Malay Peninsula and has Singapore to its east. This narrow stretch of water could be easily blocked by the rival nations of China, as Singapore is a close ally of the USA. This fear of China is referred to as Malacca dilemma

 

But recently there has been a perception shift in relations between Sri Lanka and China because

  • Sovereignty issue: Opposition parties and civil society groups challenged the Colombo port city claiming that it would infringe upon the country’s sovereignty and create a “Chinese enclave” in Sri Lanka
  • Debt-trap diplomacy: China is the major Foreign direct investor for srilanka but large foreign loans, contracted at high interest rates, have pushed the country into a debt trap. This has already forced Colombo to hand over the Hambantota Port to China and China has become the top source for Sri Lanka’s imports
  • Non-Aligned policy: Opposition parties in Sri Lanka are not interested in getting too closer to China against the concerns of India and making Sri Lanka a centre of conflict between both the major powers in the region
  • Ethnic dimension: China did not acknowledge the Tamil sentiments in srilanka and Tamil legislators in Sri Lanka are against any decision that may hurt the geopolitical concerns of India in the region

over presence of China in Indian ocean gives credence to the String of pearls theory and a cause of concern to India

“String of pearls” Policy:

‘String of Pearls’ refers to a geopolitical theory to the network of Chinese intentions in India Ocean Region (IOR). It refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities developed by China in countries falling on the Indian Ocean between the Chinese mainland and Port Sudan.

 

Policy Steps taken by India to counter Chinese influence in South Asia and Indian ocean region:

  • Neighbourhood first policy
  • Regional Connectivity Initiatives like
  • BBIN motor vehicle agreement,
  • IMT trilateral highway,
  • Indo-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade,
  • Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project
  • Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC

RBI extended Currency swap arrangements to SAARC countries to avoid BoP crisis in their countries. It especially benefited Sri Lanka and Maldives whose economies faced crisis by borrowing heavily from China.

  • India as a Net Security Provider Indian Ocean Region (IOR)
  • Developing Naval bases
  • Indian signed s deal with Singapore to expand existing Indian access to Changi Naval base
  • developing military infrastructure on the Agalega island of Mauritius and seeks to develop naval infrastructure on the Assumption island of Seychelles
  • Joint defence exercises

Ex: Malabar, Ekuverin etc.

  • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster relief operations (HADR)
  • Operation Sahayata (India was the first respondent to Mozambique to provide relief operations during the time of Idai cyclone)
  • Operation Vanilla (Indian Navy provided relief and assistance to the cyclone-hit population of Madagascar)
  • Actively participating in the regional groupings like IORA (Indian ocean Rim association)IONS (Indian ocean naval symposium)Indian ocean commission (IOC) to address common concerns and play a leadership role in the region.
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