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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 27 November 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. India urged to spell out policy on Tibetan exiles
  2. RIC meeting reveals differences over Indo-Pacific region
  3. India, Maldives and Sri Lanka – Exercise ‘Dosti’
  4. 50% population of Bihar ‘multidimensionally poor’

India urged to spell out policy on Tibetan exiles

Context:

With growing concerns in New Delhi about China’s transgressions at the Line of Actual Control and reports of the settlement of villages along it, the leadership of the Tibetan community in exile says it is concerned that China might be “pushing” more Tibetans out to the border areas while using the opportunity to settle more mainland Chinese in Tibetan cities.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Tibet
  2. India and Tibet
  3. Sino-Indian Conflict Over Dalai Lama
  4. What is Sinicization?
  5. Sinicization Tibet
  6. Concerns of Tibetan Community
  7. Significance of Tibet for India
  8. Why are Tibetans leaving India?

About Tibet

  • Tibet is a region on the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, spanning to nearly a quarter of China’s territory.
  • It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups.
  • Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest.

History of Tibet

  • From 1912 until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, no Chinese government exercised control over what is today China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
  • Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as China’s rule imposed after the People’s Liberation Army occupied TAR in 1950.
  • The Dalai Lama’s government alone ruled the land until 1951. Tibet was not “Chinese” until Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) marched in and made it so.
  • The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet.
  • India granted him political asylum and the Tibetan government-in-exile is based on Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh since then.
  • Since 1959, Tibet has been witnessing periodic incidents of violence, unrest and protest against Beijing.
  • China asserts that Tibet has been its part since the 13th century and will remain so forever.

India and Tibet

  • Apart from the border disputes, another major irritant for China has been over the Dalai Lama, who enjoys a spiritual status in India.
  • China considers Dalai Lama a separatist, who has great influence over Tibetans. It must be mentioned that Dalai Lama gave up his support for Tibetan independence in 1974, and only wants China to stop repression against the community.
  • The Government of India has built special schools for Tibetans that provide free education, health care, and scholarships. There are a few medical and civil engineering seats reserved for Tibetans.
  • While India’s role in the rehabilitation of Tibetan refugees has been criticised by China, it has drawn praise from international bodies and human rights groups.

Sino-Indian Conflict Over Dalai Lama

  • Apart from the border disputes, another major irritant for China has been over the Dalai Lama, who enjoys a spiritual status in India.
  • China considers Dalai Lama a separatist, who has great influence over Tibetans. It must be mentioned that Dalai Lama gave up his support for Tibetan independence in 1974, and only wants China to stop repression against the community.
  • Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to provide all assistance to the Tibetan refugees to settle in India until their eventual return.
  • The Government of India has built special schools for Tibetans that provide free education, health care, and scholarships. There are a few medical and civil engineering seats reserved for Tibetans.
  • While India’s role in the rehabilitation of Tibetan refugees has been criticised by China, it has drawn praise from international bodies and human rights groups.

What is Sinicization?

  • Sinicization, sinofication, sinification, or sinonization (from the prefix sino-, ‘Chinese, relating to China’) is the process by which non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han-Chinese culture, language, societal norms, and ethnic identity.
  • Areas of influence include diet, writing, industry, education, language/lexicons, law, architectural style, politics, philosophy, religion, science and technology, value systems, and lifestyle.
  • In particular, sinicization may refer to processes or policies of acculturation, assimilation, or cultural imperialism of norms from China on neighboring East Asian societies, or on minority ethnic groups within China.
  • Evidence of this process is reflected in the histories of Korea, Japan, and Vietnam in the adoption of the Chinese writing system, which has long been a unifying feature in the Sinosphere as the vehicle for exporting Chinese culture to these Asian countries.

Sinicization Tibet

  • The sinicization of Tibet is the change of Tibetan society to Han Chinese standards, which has been underway since the Chinese regained control of Tibet in 1951.
  • In present-day Tibet, traditional Tibetan festivals have “been turned into a platform for propaganda and political theater” where “government workers and retirees are barred from engaging in religious activities, and government workers and students in Tibetan schools are forbidden from visiting local monasteries.”
  • According to president of the Central Tibetan Administration, Lobsang Sangay, with the ongoing expulsion of monks and nuns from monasteries and nunneries, and destruction of the Larung Gar monastery, Tibet’s largest Buddhist institution, “unfortunately what is happening is that the Chinese government is reviving something akin to cultural revolution in Tibet.”

Concerns of Tibetan Community

  • There are concerns of China driving more Tibetans to the border regions while also taking advantage of the chance to establish more mainland Chinese in Tibetan towns.
  • Communities in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) are “losing their culture” since schoolchildren are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese rather than Tibetan, and finding work is difficult unless they have received Chinese education.
  • The Chinese government is less tolerant of other cultures and languages, promoting the slogan “One nation, one party, one language, one culture.”
  • China is investing huge sums of money for infrastructure investments in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) albeit at the cost of its environment.
  • Tibet’s downtown Lhasa has all the trappings of a modern city. But this is by destroying the unique Tibetan culture and mainstreaming Chinese culture into the region and also notably leading to significant demographic shift.
  • The outflow of refugees from Tibet has been curtailed by the Chinese authorities by convincing Nepal to close a popular route.
  • Many third generation Tibetans settled in India have no idea about their motherland and India’s attitude towards giving them citizenship has been stern.
  • In recent times there is also a rise in the younger and more radical “Rangtsen” (freedom) groups demanding an independent Tibet.
  • The primary concern that looms over the community is that of its future leadership.
  • This is because the present Dalai Lama is getting older and there is no firm announcement about their next leader.

Significance of Tibet for India

  • India’s land boundaries with China are virtually the same as those with Tibet. China’s views on India are affected in many ways by its Tibet policy.
  • Aside from a shared border, portions of India and Tibet have cultural ties.
  • The Tibetan aristocracy viewed the outside world through the prism of India, and thousands of Tibetans fled to India as refugees in 1959.

Why are Tibetans leaving India?

  • Tibetans are recognised as “foreigners” only by the Indian government, not as refugees. India has declined to ratify the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which identifies refugees and holds states responsible for their well-being.
  • The neighbourhood has paid a high price for the government’s intransigence.
  • They are not allowed to own property or seek government positions in this country.
  • Tibetans were unable to obtain loans to start enterprises until 2014.
  • Despite the fact that the law enables them to work in the private sector, several firms have refused them since they are not Indian nationals.

-Source: The Hindu


RIC meeting reveals differences over Indo-Pacific region

Context:

A virtual meeting among the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China revealed the inherent differences among the three countries on the future of the Indo-Pacific region.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Groupings, Foreign Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Russia-India-China Grouping (RIC)
  2. Subtext to India-U.S. ties
  3. Links in the grouping: The RIC engagement still has significance

Russia-India-China Grouping (RIC)

  • RIC is a strategic grouping that first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
  • The group was founded on the basis of ending its subservient foreign policy guided by the USA and renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.
  • Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of global GDP.
  • Even though India, China and Russia may disagree on a number of security issues in Eurasia, there are areas where their interests converge, like, for instance, on Afghanistan. RIC can ensure stable peace in Afghanistan and by extension, in Central Asia.

The initial years

  • When the RIC dialogue commenced in the early 2000s, the three countries were positioning themselves for a transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world order.
  • The RIC shared some non-West (as distinct from anti-West) perspectives on the global order, such as an emphasis on sovereignty and territorial integrity, impatience with homilies on social policies and opposition to regime change from abroad.
  • The initial years of the RIC dialogue coincided with an upswing in India’s relations with Russia and China.

Subtext to India-U.S. ties

  • Since the 2000s India’s relations with the U.S. surged, encompassing trade and investment, a landmark civil nuclear deal and a burgeoning defence relationship that met India’s objective of diversifying military acquisitions away from a near-total dependence on Russia.
  • The strategic sub-text is that as China was rapidly emerging as a challenger to its global pre-eminence, the U.S. saw value in partnering with a democratic India in Asia.
  • The texture of the relationship with Russia also changed, as India-U.S. collaboration widened — in defence and the Indo-Pacific. As U.S.-Russia relations imploded in 2014 (after the annexation/accession of Crimea), Russia’s pushback against the U.S. included cultivating the Taliban in Afghanistan and enlisting Pakistan’s support for it.
  • The western campaign to isolate Russia drove it into a much closer embrace of China — particularly in defence cooperation — than their history of strategic rivalry should have permitted.

Links in the grouping: The RIC engagement still has significance

  • India is in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is driven by Russia and China and includes four Central Asian countries.
  • Pakistan’s membership of SCO and the potential admission of Iran and Afghanistan (as member states) heighten the significance of the SCO for India.
  • Growing Chinese influence is testing the informal Russia-China understanding that Russia handles the politico-security issues in the region and China extends economic support.
  • The ongoing India-Iran-Russia project for a sea/road/rail link from western India through Iran to Afghanistan and Central Asia, is an important initiative for achieving an effective Indian presence in Central Asia, alongside Russia and China.
  • Access to Russia’s abundant natural resources can enhance our materials security — the importance of which has been highlighted by COVID-19.

The Indo-Pacific issue

  • For India, the Indo-Pacific is a geographic space of economic and security importance, in which a cooperative order should prevent the dominance of any external power.
  • China sees our Indo-Pacific initiatives as part of a U.S.-led policy of containing China.
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry sees the Indo-Pacific as an American ploy to draw India and Japan into a military alliance against China and Russia.

-Source: The Hindu


India, Maldives and Sri Lanka – Exercise ‘Dosti’

Context:

The 15th edition of the biennial trilateral coast guard exercise ‘Dosti’ involving India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka is underway in the Maldives.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors), GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Exercise ‘Dosti’

About the Exercise ‘Dosti’

  • The exercise was first initiated in 1991, between the Indian and Maldives Coast Guard. Sri Lanka joined the exercise for the first time in 2012. The year 2021 marks 30 years since these exercises were first launched.
  • The aim of the exercise is to further fortify the friendship, enhance mutual operational capability, and exercise interoperability and to build cooperation between the Coast Guards of Maldives, India and Sri Lanka.
  • The Exercises carried out over the past ten years have focused on exercises and drills on providing assistance in sea accidents, eliminating sea pollution, and the Coast Guard’s procedure and conduct during situations such as oil spills.
  • Indian Coast Guard vessels Vajra and Apoorva have been deployed for the exercise (2021).

-Source: The Hindu


50% population of Bihar ‘multidimensionally poor’

Context:

With over 50% of the population in the State identified as “multidimensionally poor”, Bihar has the maximum percentage of population living in poverty among all the States and the Union Territories, according to Government think-tank NITI Aayog’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Poverty and Hunger)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is multidimensional poverty?
  2. About the National Multidimensional Poverty Index
  3. National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report on Bihar

What is multidimensional poverty?

  • Multidimensional poverty refers to the multiple deprivations that poor people face on a daily basis, such as poor health, a lack of education, insufficient living standards, disempowerment, low employment quality, the fear of violence, and living in ecologically hazardous places, to name a few.
  • In order to formulate policies aiming at alleviating poverty and hardship in a nation, a multidimensional measure of poverty might include a variety of indicators that represent the complexity of this phenomenon.

About the National Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • A national Multidimensional Poverty Index is a poverty metric that is adapted to each country’s specific circumstances.
  • Niti Aayog, an Indian think tank, produces the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).
  • The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) created rigorous methods for it.

National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report on Bihar

  • In Bihar, 50% of the population was classified as “multidimensionally poor.”
  • Among all the States and Union Territories, Bihar has the highest percentage of people living in poverty.
  • Bihar has the highest poverty rate at 51.91 percent, followed by Jharkhand (42.16 percent), Uttar Pradesh (37.79 percent), Madhya Pradesh (36.65 percent), and Meghalaya (32.67 percent).

Report on Other States

  • Kerala has the lowest rate of poverty (0.71 percent), followed by Puducherry (1.72 percent), Lakshadweep (1.82 percent), Goa (3.76 percent), and Sikkim (3.82 percent).
  • Tamil Nadu (4.89 percent), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (4.30 percent), Delhi (4.79 percent), Punjab (5.59 percent), Himachal Pradesh (7.62 percent), and Mizoram (9.8%) are among the states and union territories where fewer than 10% of the population is impoverished.

-Source: The Hindu

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