Recalibrating India-Nepal ties Paper:
Mains: G.S. II International Relations
Why in news?
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla arrived in Kathmandu and spoke in fluent Nepali to the media, there was hope that the visit would go beyond the traditional exchange of pleasantries.
- The two countries have had a strained relationship since the imposition of five month strong blockade in 2015 in Nepal.
- The Nepal-India relationship have never been free of controversy as the perspectives of both the sided are yet to change. Many in Nepal continue to equate being anti-India with being nationalistic.
- Politicians and political parties whip up such sentiments and compete with each other on who can be more extreme.
- India continues to think that by providing largesse to Nepal in the form of aid and development projects, it can win Nepali hearts. But despite pouring billions of rupees into Nepal over decades, it has still not been able to do so.
- Two issues are important to understand here.
- First, all aid to Nepal from countries other than India and China go through the plans of government of Nepal. Indian aid is seen in Nepal as a favour bestowed on a constituency it wants to garner support from rather than a contribution to Nepal’s planned development.
- Second, India competes with China in providing aid outside government budgets. And China picks up projects of visibility and strategic location.
- India inherited the boundary with Nepal, established between Nepal and the East India Company in the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816.
- Kali river constituted the boundary, and the territory to its east was Nepal.
- Nepal is an important neighbour of India and occupies special significance in its foreign policy because of the geographic, historical, cultural and economic linkages/ties that span centuries.
- India and Nepal share similar ties in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini located in present day Nepal.
- The two countries not only share an open border and unhindered movement of people, but they also have close bonds through marriages and familial ties, popularly known as Roti-Beti ka Rishta.
- Nepal is right in the middle of India’s ‘Himalayan frontiers’, and along with Bhutan it acts as northern ‘borderland’ flanks and acts as buffer states against any possible aggression from China.
- Rivers originating in Nepal feed the perennial river systems of India in terms of ecology and hydropower potential.
- Indian workers in Nepal constitute a big part of the workforce and send about $3 billion to India every year. In terms of remittances to India, Nepal ranks eighth. So, GoI needs to keep in mind that many households in India are being run with remittances from Nepal.
- Nepalis have migrated in the past 20 years to more than a hundred countries; India is not the only country that Nepalis rely on for jobs or education. This is a new Nepal comprising young people with global aspirations.
- There are some fundamentals that we simply cannot forget; geography will not change, the border will remain open as millions of livelihoods on both sides depend on it, and China is going to be a big global player with varied interests.
- Therefore, the India-Nepal relationship has to be recalibrated.
Fight ‘fake news’: BRICS Media Forum
Mains: G.S. II Polity and Governance, Social Justice
Why in news?
Representatives of media organisations from BRICS called for the five nations to work together to jointly combat the virus of disinformation in the pandemic era.
- I&B ministry said that fake news is more dangerous than paid news and there is need for government and media to combat it jointly.
- Fake news is news, stories or hoaxes created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers. Fake news, defined by the New York Times as “a made-up story with an intention to deceive”
- Usually, these stories are created to influence people’s views, push a political agenda or cause confusion and can often be a profitable business for online publishers.
- Fake news stories can deceive people by looking like trusted websites or using similar names and web addresses to reputable news organizations.
- There are three elements to fake news; Mistrust, misinformation and manipulation.
- Popular fake examples from India:
UNESCO has declared Jana Gana Mana best national anthem in the world.(Whatsapp) Dying woman molested, video shows.(The Hindu newspaper)
Fatwa in Saudi Arabia, men can eat wives when hungry.(AajTak) GPS tracking nano chip in 2000 rupees note.
Missing JNU student has joined the ISIS.
- Causes for rise in fake news: Internet and Social Media Lack of checking authenticity
No code of practice for social media
There is no specific law against fake news in India. Free publication of news flows from Article 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.
- How to tackle it? Education and awareness Strict regulations
An ombudsman institution Legislation to curb fake news Accountability of social media
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Paper:
Mains: International Relations and International Organisations
Why in news?
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu held the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government.
- SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
- It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
- It was created in 2001.
- The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.
- The SCO’s official languages are Chinese and Russian.
- SCO has two permanent bodies: SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Executive Committee of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure in Tashkent.
- Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
- Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.
- India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
The SCO must be used as a platform to deepen solidarity and mutual trust and resolve disputes and differences through dialogue and consultations. It will help in de-escalating tensions between India and its neighbouring countries China and Pakistan.
Corruption Perception Index Paper:
Mains: G.S. I & II Social Issues and Social Justice
Why in news?
The bribery rate survey conducted by Transparency International revealed that bribery rate was highest among the Asian nations surveyed. Nearly half the Indians surveyed said that the corruption had been rising in the country.
- Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain or specific group interest”. The United Nations points out that corruption can take many forms that vary in degree, from the minor use of influence to institutionalized bribery, and that “this can mean not only financial gain but also non-financial advantages”
- Corruption is more pervasive in countries where money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments only listen to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
- Transparency International has recommended a series of measures to combat rising corruption across the world. Following are the recommendations:
Manage conflicts of interest.
Control political financing.
Strengthening electoral integrity.
Tackle preferential treatments.
Reinforcement of checks and balances.