- India-Australia relationship
- Linking PAN with Aadhaar
- Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM)
- Mimeusemia ceylonica
After a visit to the cricket stadium in Ahmedabad with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted about the fierce but friendly sporting rivalry between the two nations.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- India-Australia Bilateral Relationship: A Historical Perspective
- Strategic Ties between India and Australia: Recent Developments
- The China Factor in India-Australia Relations
- Wide cooperation
India-Australia Bilateral Relationship: A Historical Perspective
The India-Australia bilateral relationship has been built on shared values, common traits, and growing economic engagement. Here are some key points highlighting the historical perspective of the relationship:
- The bilateral relationship is underpinned by the shared values of pluralistic, Westminster-style democracies and Commonwealth traditions.
- Both countries have strong, vibrant, secular, and multicultural democracies, a free press, an independent judicial system, and English language, which serve as the foundation for closer cooperation.
- The end of the Cold War and India’s economic reforms in 1991 provided the impetus for the development of closer ties between the two nations.
- Growing economic engagement led to the ever-increasing numbers of Indian students travelling to Australia for higher education, and the growing tourism and sporting links, which played a significant role in strengthening bilateral relations.
Evolution of Ties:
- With the passage of time, ties evolved in the direction of a strategic relationship, alongside the existing economic engagement.
- In recent years, the relationship has charted a new trajectory of transformational growth.
- There is greater convergence of views on issues such as international terrorism, and a shared commitment to a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The two democracies have taken their cooperation to plurilateral formats, including the Quad (with the United States and Japan).
Strategic Ties between India and Australia: Recent Developments
The India-Australia bilateral relationship has seen significant progress in recent years, with a focus on strategic ties. Here are some key points highlighting recent developments:
- In September 2014, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited India, and in November that year, Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Australia after Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.
- At the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit in June 2020, Modi and Prime Minister Scott Morrison elevated the bilateral relationship from the Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).
- Modi and Morrison spoke by phone on three occasions in 2021, and met in person in Washington DC and at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
- Prime Ministers Modi and Albanese also met thrice in 2022.
- At the 2nd India-Australia Virtual Summit in March 2022, several key announcements were made, including on a Letter of Intent on Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement to foster the exchange of skills, and a Letter of Arrangement for Educational Qualifications Recognition to facilitate the mobility of students and professionals.
- There has been a series of high-level engagements and exchange of ministerial visits in 2022 and 2023.
- The External Affairs Minister travelled to Australia on February 18, and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong visited from February 28 to March 3.
- Australia’s Education Minister Jason Clare also visited.
The China Factor in India-Australia Relations
The strained relationship between Australia and China has had implications for India-Australia relations as well. Here are some key points to consider:
- Ties between Australia and China were strained after Canberra in 2018 banned Chinese telecom firm Huawei from the 5G network.
- Later, Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, and slammed China’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
- In response, China imposed trade barriers on Australian exports and cut off all ministerial contact.
- India has been facing an aggressive Chinese military along the border.
- New Delhi and Canberra have been assessing the Chinese challenge since 2013.
Convergence of Interests:
- Former Australian envoy Peter Varghese has highlighted the importance of India in strategies aimed at balancing and constraining China.
- Varghese has also noted that both Australia and India support a rules-based international order and are partners in seeking to forge regional institutions in the Indo-Pacific that promote economic integration and manage tensions.
- The countries’ participation in Quad is an example of their convergence of interests based on shared concerns.
- The Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) — the first free trade agreement signed by India with a developed country in a decade — entered into force in December 2022, and has resulted in an immediate reduction of duty to zero on 96% of Indian exports to Australia in value (that is 98% of the tariff lines) and zero duty on 85% of Australia’s exports (in value) to India.
- Bilateral trade was US$ 27.5 billion in 2021; with ECTA, there is potential for it to reach around US$ 50 billion in five years.
- India is one of the top sources of skilled immigrants to Australia.
- As per the 2021 Census, around 9.76 lakh people in Australia reported their ancestry as Indian origin, making them the second largest group of overseas-born residents in Australia.
- To celebrate India@75, the Australian government illuminated more than 40 buildings across the country, and Prime Minister Albanese issued a personal video message.
- The Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications (MREQ) was signed on 02 March 2023. This will facilitate mobility of students between India and Australia.
- Deakin University and University of Wollongong are planning to open campuses in India.
- More than 1 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher education degrees in Australian universities, making Indian students the second largest cohort of foreign students in Australia.
- The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was held in September 2021, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Australia visited in June 2022.
- The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) was concluded during the Virtual Summit in June 2020, and the two militaries held several joint exercises in 2022.
- Australia will host military operations with India, Japan, and the US in the “Malabar” exercises off the coast of Perth in August, and has invited India to join the Talisman Sabre exercises later this year.
- Albanese visited INS Vikrant, and declared “there has never been a point in both of our country’s histories where we’ve had such a strong strategic alignment”.
- The countries signed a Letter of Intent on New and Renewable Energy in February 2022 which provides for cooperation towards bringing down the cost of renewable energy technologies, especially ultra low-cost solar and clean hydrogen.
- During the Virtual Summit in March 2022, India announced matching funds of AUD 10 million for Pacific Island Countries under Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) and of AUD 10 million for Pacific Island Countries under International Solar Alliance (ISA).
-Source: Indian Express
Linking PAN with Aadhaar
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has asked all taxpayers to link their permanent account number (PAN) with their Aadhaar by March 31, 2023. Any non-compliance will mean that the PAN will become inoperative from April 1, 2023.
GS III: Indian Economy
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is the rationale behind linking PAN with Aadhaar?
- Who is not required to link PAN with Aadhaar?
- What will happen if PAN is not linked with Aadhaar?
- Why has SEBI made it mandatory for investors to link PAN with Aadhaar?
What is the rationale behind linking PAN with Aadhaar?
- The Income-tax Department announced the linking of PAN with Aadhaar after it came across instances where multiple permanent account numbers (PANs) were allotted to one person, or where one PAN was allotted to more than one person.
- To have a robust way of de-duplication of the PAN database, it was made mandatory for a taxpayer who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar, to quote his Aadhaar in the application form for PAN and return of income.
Who needs to link PAN with Aadhaar?
- As per a circular issued by CBDT in March 2022, the Income-tax Act makes it mandatory for every person who has been allotted a PAN as on July 1, 2017, to intimate his/her Aadhaar number so that Aadhaar and PAN can be linked.
- This is required to be done on or before March 31, 2023, failing which the PAN shall become inoperative.
Who is not required to link PAN with Aadhaar?
There are a few categories of individuals for whom this linkage is not compulsory.
- Any person of age 80 years and above;
- A non-resident as per the Income-tax Act;
- A person who is not a citizen of India.
What will happen if PAN is not linked with Aadhaar?
- CBDT has said that in case a person fails to link his or her PAN with Aadhaar, the PAN will become inoperative.
- In such a case, the person will not be able to furnish, intimate, or quote his/ her PAN, and shall be liable to all the consequences under the Income-tax Act for such failure. Some of the major implications of non-compliance are:
- The person shall not be able to file the income tax return using the inoperative PAN.
- Pending returns will not be processed.
- Pending refunds cannot be issued to inoperative PANs.
- Pending proceedings as in the case of defective returns cannot be completed once the PAN is inoperative.
- Tax will be required to be deducted at a higher rate if PAN becomes inoperative.
- Besides these consequences, the person may find difficulties in doing other financial transactions such as with banks, as PAN is an important KYC criterion for these transactions.
Why has SEBI made it mandatory for investors to link PAN with Aadhaar?
- Since PAN is the key identification number and part of KYC requirements for all transactions in the securities market, all SEBI-registered entities and Market Infrastructure Institutions (MIIs) are required to ensure valid KYC for all participants.
- All existing investors are required to ensure the linking of their PAN with their Aadhaar before March 31, 2023, for continual and smooth transactions in the securities market and to avoid consequences of non-compliance with the March 30, 2022, CBDT circular, as such accounts would be considered non-KYC compliant, and there could be restrictions on securities and other transactions until the PAN and Aadhaar are linked.
-Source: Indian Express
Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM)
Recently, the Indian Navy has carried out a successful test-firing of a Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MRSAM) and a ship-launched version of BrahMos missile.
GS III: Science and technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile:
- About BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
About Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile:
- The Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile is also known as the ‘Abhra’ Weapon System. It is a technologically advanced weapon system used for medium-range air defence.
- Joint Venture: The missile is a result of a joint venture between DRDO and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is produced at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
- Function: The missile is designed to detect and destroy hostile aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and drones at a range of 70km.
About BrahMos supersonic cruise missile
- The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land.
- It is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world.
- BRAHMOS is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India (DRDO) and the NPOM of Russia.
- Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
- It is a two-stage (solid propellant engine in the first stage and liquid ramjet in second) air to surface missile with a flight range of around 300 km.
- However, India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has extended the range of the BRAHMOS missile to reach 450 km-600km, a shade above its current MTCR capped range of 300 km.
- Brahmos is a multiplatform i.e., it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.
- It operates on the “Fire and Forgets” principle i.e., it does not require further guidance after launch.
- Brahmos is one of the fastest cruise missiles currently operationally deployed with speed of Mach 2.8, which is 3 times more than the speed of sound.
-Source: The Hindu
Two researchers from Tamil Nadu have spotted a rare moth species for the first time in India in the buffer zone of the Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) after it was last sighted 127 years ago — at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka in 1893.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
About Mimeusemia ceylonica
- Mimeusemia ceylonica is a moth species that was first described in 1893 by George Hampson, an English entomologist.
- The species was rediscovered in 2020 during a moth survey conducted in the buffer zone of KMTR in Tirunelveli district, India.
- The moth was then spotted in the same area in 2021 and later in the Vallanaadu Blackbuck Sanctuary in Thoothukudi district in 2022.
- There is limited data available about the history of this species, and further studies are needed to understand its characteristics.
- The discovery of this species in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts highlights the rich biodiversity of the region and the need for more research on moths.
-Source: The Hindu