9 PM Daily Brief – June 12th,2020

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9 PM for Main examination

GS-2

  1. Role of Quiet Diplomacy in easing tensions with China
  2. Territorial Issue– India and Nepal

GS-3

  1. What happened in Baghjan? – The Baghjan oilfield blast case

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Role of Quiet Diplomacy in easing tensions with China

Source: The HinduThe Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-India and its neighborhood- relations.

Context: On June 6, India and China had reached an agreement for a partial disengagement of troops from some of the points of stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Background: 

  • China had multiple incursions in the last one month. China’s moves may be motivated by its insecurities at India’s recent improvements in infrastructure on the Indian side of the LAC.
  • Agreed by Corps Commander-level talks: Both sides identified five locations of conflict in the western sector in Ladakh. A separate ongoing stand-off in NakuLa in Sikkim was not on the agenda.
  • The five spots include Patrolling Points 14, 15 and 17, Chushul and the north bank of Pangong
  • A broad plan has been agreed to hold a series of talks at lower ranks of Colonel, Brigadier and Major General at four of those points in the coming week to take forward the disengagement process.
  • Problem with PangongLake: There appear to be serious differences which may require another round of higher level talks at the Corps Commander level.
  • Changing status quo: The Fingers 1 to 8, running from west to east, refer to mountain spurs on the north bank. The Chinese troops have dug in at the Finger 4 area on the lake’s northern bank and still remainpresent on India’s side of the LAC which runs at Finger 8.

China is an assertive power and dealing with it is not easy. India needs quiet diplomacy along with strong military resistance.

Strategy in dealing with China:

    • Quiet diplomacy coupled with strong military posture: Previous governments have followed this approach along with allowing the adversary a way out at the same time.
    • Depsang incursion 2013:
    • The Indian government had privately conveyed to China that an upcoming visit by China’s Premier would be off if the stand-off didn’t end.
    • The key to arriving at a successful outcome was keeping public rhetoric calm and steady and displaying strength and giving the adversary a way out.
  • Chunar stand-off 2014:
    • India quietly but forcefully stopped the Chinese road-buildingand deployed 2,500 soldiers which outnumber the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). As a result, PLA withdrew.
    • Both sides disengaged and followed a moratorium on patrolling into contested areas for months.
  • Doklam crisis 2017: 
    • Indian troops crossed over into Bhutan to stop a Chinese road construction on territory India sees as Bhutanese and accused China of unilaterally altering the India-Bhutan-China trijunction.
    • Restoring status quo: Beijing demanded an unconditional withdrawal. Both sides disengaged without divulging the terms. It later emerged that the deal struck resulted in India withdrawing first and then China stopped construction.

There is a 24/7 demand on social media for information and unprecedented capacity for disinformation.

Role of government during such times:

    • Opposition in confidence:It needs to keep the Opposition informed.
    • Engaging with media: It needs to proactively engage with the media even if that may be through low-key engagement that does not escalate into a public war of words. It is in the government’s own interests to ensure what’s reported is well-informed and not speculative or exaggerated.
    • Idea of public debate: The expectations of having a public debate about the difficulty of every border stand-off or for the PM to weigh in when negotiations are ongoing — need to be tempered. This will only risk inflaming tensions and reduce the free hand for both sides.
    • The broader objective shouldn’t get lost in political debates: The objective is to ensure India’s security interests remain protected and the status quo on India’s borders isn’t changed by force.

Way Forward

There is the urgent need for better communication to address the strategic mistrust that prevails on both sides of the LAC.

2.Territorial Issue– India and Nepal

Source – Indian Express

Syllabus – GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Context – Nepal’s House of Representatives unanimously approved the tabling of an amendment to the country’s constitution which will now formally depict nearly 400 sq km of Indian territory extending west from the Lipulekh Pass, and including it, as part of Nepal’s sovereign territory.

Map- Disputed Border Region

Historical facts related to the disputed border region

PHASE 1 – 1816 to 1950

  1. Anglo-Nepal Treaty of Sugauli of 1816– It determined the Kali river as the western boundary between British India and Nepal. According to the treaty, the British rulers recognised Nepal’s right to the region that fell to the east of the river Kali.
  2. Origin of river– According to Nepal, the east of the Kali River should begin at the source of the river. The source according to them is in the mountains near Limpiyadhura, which is higher in altitude than the rest of the river’s flow.
  • India claims, Kali River originates from a natural spring at Kalapani, where it is joined by a rivulet flowing down from Lipulekh Pass. This was not challenged then nor at any time subsequently until after 1990.
  • Nepal’s claim of the territory east of Kali is based on the Limpiyadhura origin, India says the river actually takes the name Kali near Kalapani.

PHASE 2 – 1950 to 1969

  1. Chinese occupation of Tibet– India had, in the early 1950s, set up, with the consent of Nepal, a string of military-cum-police posts along the Nepal-China border after the Chinese occupied Tibet.
  2. India- China tradeagreement– India and China concluded an agreement in 1954 for trade and transit between India and Tibet and among the six border passes listed for the purpose, Lipulekh was included. There was no protest from the Nepali side.
  3. Nepal China Agreement– China and Nepal reached a border agreement in 1961. Article 1 in the agreement describes the western extremity of the China-Nepal border and this conforms to the alignment claimed by India.
  4. Withdrawal in 1969– Nepal asked India to withdraw all these posts from Nepali territory. This was done but the Indian post at Kalapani was not in the Nepali list.

PHASE 3 – 2015 TO 2020

  1. 2015 – The first time that Nepal protested formally was in 2015 when India and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding for conducting border trade between the two countries through Lipulekh Pass.
  2. 2019 – Nepal raised concerns again when India in its new political map, realised in November 2019, depicted the region as its own part.

Way Forward – Since all the historical facts support India, Indian leaders need to engage with Nepal based on these facts and documents to ensure objectivity in talks. As part of a peaceful solution, Nepal may have privileged access to the Kalapani area for trade or pilgrimage. Nepali citizens may be permitted to use any infrastructure created in this or other border areas for easier access from one part of Nepal to another.

3.What happened in Baghjan? – The Baghjan oilfield blast case

Source: The Indian express

Syllabus: GS-3- Disaster Management

Context: Two fire service officers of state-owned Oil India Ltd (OIL) lost their lives when a gas well at Baghjan in Tinsukia district of Assam caught fire.

Baghjan Oil Field: The Baghjan oilfield is owned by the Oil India Limited (OIL). It is a part of the Greater Chandmari Fields. It is engaged in in active oil production since 2003.

Baghjan Oil filed Blast 

A gas leak was first reported on May 27 from a well that was under renovation. A fire broke out on June 9th. According to experts, lack of adequate safety and disaster management plan led to the industrial disaster.

Major Industrial/Chemical Disasters in India

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), over 130 significant industrial/ chemical accidents have been reported in India in the recent past.

Major incidents:

  • 1984: Bhopal Gas Tragedy caused by accidental release of toxic gas Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC).
  • 2011- Chlorine Gas Leak in an effluent treatment plant in Chinchwad, Pune
  • 2014: Poisonous Gas Leak from BhilaiSteel Plant in Durg, Chhattisgarh
  • 2017- blast in the boiler area of state-run NTPC Ltd’sUnchahar power plant in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh
  • 2018: Ammonia Gas link from a plant in Ratnagiri, Mumbai
  • 2020- Styrene Gas Leak, Visakhapatnam

Suggested Reforms:

Role of Industry

  1. Identification of hazardous activities:
  • Good knowledge about the safety aspects of the industrial operations would enable prevention and mitigation
  • Use of appropriate hazard identification tools such as checklists analysis, safety audit would help in mitigating the hazards.
  1. Maintenance of plant facility and equipment
  • Proper maintenance of all the equipment and machinery at regular intervals
  • Regular site safety and health inspection

Role of government

  1. Accident investigation board and chemical accident database: An accident investigation board should be set up in India to investigate the chemical disasters and bring out guidelines based on lessons learnt in each incident.
  2. Awareness Campaigns: This would help workers in reducing unsafe acts and in tackling the disaster if it were to happen.
  3. Research and development:Research into new methods of producing the product with less toxicity can to a large extent reduce the adverse effect if any accident were to happen.
  4. Offsite Emergency Planning: This would ensure that the local authority adequately discharges his duty to minimize the consequences of major accident to people and environment.
  5. Ensure Accountability:The government should ensure accountability by proper implementation of laws.

Conclusion:  The toxic gas leak in Visakhapatnam is grim reminder to the importance of prevention and response to chemical disasters. It also highlights that there is an urgent need to strengthen occupational safety in India.


9 PM for Preliminary examination

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