Contents

  1. Nagorno-Karabakh region and Turkish visit
  2. Maldives in UNGA and Indian consulate in Addu Atoll
  3. U.S. Senate passes bill to boost U.S. tech industry
  4. ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ 

Nagorno-Karabakh region and Turkish visit

Context:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will visit Azerbaijan to celebrate its victory over Armenia in a brief war in 2020, touring a region recaptured in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: International Relations (Important Foreign Policies and Developments), GS-I Geography (Maps), GS-I: History (World History)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
  2. About the 2020 Conflict
  3. How the ceasefire in 2020 was achieved?

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

  • The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians, and seven surrounding districts, inhabited mostly by Azerbaijanis until their expulsion during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War between 1988 and 1994.
  • The conflict has its origins in the early 20th century, though the present conflict began in 1988, when the Karabakh Armenians demanded that Karabakh be transferred from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia.
  • During the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, ethnic tensions between Armenians and Azerbaijanis increased in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
  • In the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, 1988-94 Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • A ceasefire signed in 1994 provided for two decades of relative stability, which significantly deteriorated along with Azerbaijan’s increasing frustration with the status quo, at odds with Armenia’s efforts to cement it.
  • A four-day escalation in 2016 became the deadliest ceasefire violation (until the 2020 conflict) and the 2016 fighting stopped with a ceasefire agreement in 2020 by which most of the territories lost by Azerbaijan during the First Nagorno-Karabakh war were returned to Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - Wikipedia

About the 2020 Conflict

  • In 1994, Russia mediated a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but the conflict has continued for three decades, with instances of ceasefire violations and violence instigated from both sides.
  • In 2016, the region was particularly tense because of violent fighting between the two countries in what came to be known as the Four-Day War.
  • Experts say the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been tense since 2018, particularly after Azerbaijan moved troops into the area, close to its border with Georgia.
  • In a break from the violence that the disputed region has witnessed for over 30 years, this area had been relatively calm in 2018 and 19.
  • It was not immediately clear what started the round of fighting in 2020, with multiple reports from the two countries reporting deaths of soldiers in the border.
  • According to one report, Azerbaijan had said it had destroyed an Armenian fortification and artillery and had inflicted casualties on “hundreds” of Armenian soldiers, a claim that Armenia had denied. Armenia in turn said Azerbaijan had triggered the conflict.

How the ceasefire in 2020 was achieved?

  • Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia, remained neutral in the early days of the war when Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan. Russia brokered a ceasefire two weeks into the conflict, but it didn’t hold.
  • Later, Russia established small military outposts along the Armenian border, apparently to prevent the conflict spilling into mainland Armenia and also to send a message to Baku.
  • Also, Russia conducted a massive air strike in Syria’s Idlib against Turkish-backed militants, killing dozens of them, which is seen as Moscow’s warning against Turkey.
  • Russian President Putin accepted Azerbaijan’s victory (as the ceasefire allows Azeri troops to control the territories they have seized) but prevented a total defeat of Armenia. Under pressure from a decisive Moscow, both sides agreed to cease the operations.

What are the terms of the ceasefire?

  • According to the ceasefire, Armenia agreed to withdraw its troops from much of the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • The core of the enclave with ethnic Armenians and Stepanakert as its capital would remain outside the control of Azerbaijan.
  • Baku will build a road linking the newly captured territories to Nakhchivan, an autonomous republic of Azerbaijan which had been geographically separated from the mainland.
  • As the broker of the truce, Russia would send some 2,000 peacekeepers to the region, who would patrol between the Azeri troops and Nagorno-Karabakh, including the Lachin corridor, which connects the enclave with Armenia.
  • Basically, Azerbaijan gained territories, but not the whole of Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Armenia lost territories it controlled since the 1990s but avoided a total defeat as much of Nagorno-Karabakh would remain independent of Azeri control.
  • And Russia gained a bigger foothold in the region with its troops being deployed within Azerbaijan.

-Source: The Hindu


Maldives in UNGA and Indian consulate in Addu Atoll

Context:

  • Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who has been elected President of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, with a striking majority shared his thoughts throwing light on what is expected out of the new leadership.
  • The Maldives has made no decision on opening an Indian consulate in its southern Addu Atoll – said the Maldives president a fortnight after the Indian Cabinet cleared a proposal for it.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions, India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policy Affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the UNGA president on Vaccine Nationalism
  2. On Indian consulate in Addu Atoll
  3. About Addu Atoll

Click Here to read more about the UNGA and India supports Maldives for the Presidency of the UNGA session

About the UNGA president on Vaccine Nationalism

  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) president-elect and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has warned against Vaccine nationalism and said that it would destroy countries’ efforts to eradicate the pandemic and must be avoided “at all costs”.
  • He termed the disparity in vaccination coverage in developed countries and the rest of the world “unacceptable”.
  • Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries. This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer.
  • Vaccine nationalism is harmful for equitable access to vaccines and it disadvantages countries with fewer resources and bargaining power.
  • Vaccine nationalism deprives populations in the Global South from timely access to vital public health goods and if it is taken to its extreme, it allocates vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.

On Indian consulate in Addu Atoll

  • The Maldives President remarked on the proposed Indian consulate in the southern Addu Atoll, appearing to keep the option open, amid an ongoing “#SaveAddu” social media campaign by a section of Maldivians sceptical of another Indian mission presence, in addition to the Embassy in Male.
  • Legislators from Addu and local body representatives — from the ruling coalition widely perceived as India-friendly — have pledged support to the initiative.
  • Opposition voices, which earlier led an ‘#Indiaout’ campaign against enhanced military cooperation between the neighbours, have opposed the proposed consulate.
  • Apart from its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, Addu is the second largest city in the archipelago, home to over 30,000 people. Indian government sources familiar with the proposal said the rationale for the consulate was to help Addu residents with speedy visa services.
  • Further, the fact that the announcement appeared in the Indian media last month, before either government made an announcement, has prompted criticism of Indian “heavy handedness”.

About Addu Atoll

  • Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.
  • Administratively, Addu Atoll is the location of Addu City, one of the three cities of the Maldives.
  • Unlike other atolls of the Maldives, Addu Atoll has a lagoon that is a natural anchorage, accessible through four natural channels.
  • This results in a natural harbor that is very calm and safe for sea vessels at all times and is not affected by seasonal changes.
  • The islands are protected from the storms and high waves of the Indian Ocean by barrier reefs.

-Source: The Hindu


U.S. Senate passes bill to boost U.S. tech industry

Context:

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that aims to boost U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition, most notably from China.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies of Interest to India), GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the U.S. Bill on boosting semiconductor production
  2. About India’s PLI scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing

About the U.S. Bill on boosting semiconductor production

  • The Passing of this bill at the Senate demonstrates how confronting China economically is an issue that unites both parties in Congress.
  • The centerpiece of the bill is a $50 billion emergency allotment to the Commerce Department to stand up semiconductor development and manufacturing through research and incentive programs previously authorised by Congress.
  • It comes as the nation’s share of semiconductor manufacturing globally has steadily eroded from 37% in 1990 to about 12% in 2021, and as a chip shortage has exposed vulnerabilities in the U.S. supply chain.
  • One of the bill’s provisions would create a new directorate focused on artificial intelligence and quantum science with the National Science Foundation.

Click Here to read more about the Semiconductor Chip shortage issue

About India’s PLI scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing

  • In 2020, the government of India notified three schemes involving total incentives of around Rs 48,000 crore for electronics manufacturing,
  • The Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for large scale electronics manufacturing.
  • The scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS).
  • The modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
  • PLI for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing scheme proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain including electronic components and semiconductor packaging. Under the scheme, electronic manufacturing companies will get an incentive of 4 to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies over a period of next 5 years.
  • The Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors proposes a financial incentive of 25% of capital expenditure has been approved by the Union Cabinet for the manufacturing of goods that constitute the supply chain of an electronic product. The SPECS notified for manufacturing of electronics components and semiconductors has a budget outlay of Rs 3,285 crore spread over a period of eight years.
  • Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme 2.0 has a total incentive outlay of Rs 3,762.25 crore spread over a period of 8 years with an objective to create 10 lakh direct and indirect jobs under the scheme. The EMC 2.0 scheme will provide financial assistance up to 50% of the project cost subject to a ceiling of Rs 70 crore per 100 acres of land for setting up of Electronics Manufacturing Cluster projects.

-Source: The Hindu


‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan’ 

Context:

Recently, NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation launched ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyan’ in 112 aspirational districts to assist the administration in providing home care support to Covid-19 patients, who are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Health, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Aspirational Districts Programme
  2. ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyan’

About Aspirational Districts Programme

  • Aspirational Districts are those districts in India, that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators.
  • These are aspirational in the context, that improvement in these districts can lead to the overall improvement in human development in India.
  • At the Government of India level, the programme is anchored by NITI Aayog. In addition, individual Ministries have assumed responsibility to drive the progress of districts.
  • The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts.
  • Aspirational Districts’ programme (ADP) is based on 49 indicators from the 5 identified thematic areas, which focuses closely on improving people’s Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure.
  • With States as the main drivers, ADP seeks to focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
  • There are 115 districts identified from 28 states as Aspirational Districts, at least one from each state.

‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyan’

  • The ‘Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyan’ campaign is under a special initiative – Aspirational Districts Collaborative – in which local leaders, civil societies and volunteers will work with the district administrations to address emerging issues across key focus areas of the Aspirational Districts Programme.
  • It will be led by district magistrates in partnership with over 1000 local NGOs, which will enlist and train over 1 lakh volunteers to connect with patients through inbound/outbound calls.
  • Volunteers will be trained to support 20 affected families each by educating caretakers to follow protocols, provide psycho-social support and timely updates about patients to the administration.
  • The campaign is expected to play a key role in district preparedness for managing nearly 70% of Covid-19 cases at home, reducing pressure on the health system, and stemming the spread of fear amongst the people.
  • It will provide long-term support to India’s poorest communities in the Aspirational Districts by addressing the lasting impact of Covid-19.

-Source: The Hindu

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