India rejects China’s ‘unilateral’ claims on LAC

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

India comprehensively rejects Chinese claims on the location of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, with a reminder that the 1959 claim made by Beijing was not mutually agreed upon.

Key Details:

  • According to MEA “India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control (LAC)”
  • Recently a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry stated that the LAC was “clear” and that “it is the LAC of November 7, 1959”.

LAC

  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a national demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
  • The term is said to have been used by Zhou Enlai in a 1959 letter to Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • It subsequently referred to the line formed after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, and is part of the Sino-Indian border dispute.
  • The LAC, together with a disputed border in the east (the McMahon Line for India and a line close to the McMahon Line for China) and a small undisputed section in between, forms the effective border between the two countries.

LADAKH

  • Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting a part of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947.
  • It is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region to the east.
  • In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders between Tibet Autonomous Region and Ladakh in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism.

  • Since Ladakh is a part of the strategically important Kashmir region, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.
  • Ladakh is one of the most sparsely populated regions in India. As its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet, it is known as the “Little Tibet”.
  • Ladakh is the largest and the second least populous union territory of India.
  • In August 2019, a reorganisation act was passed by the Parliament of India which contained provisions to reconstitute Ladakh as a union territory, separate from the rest of Jammu and Kashmir on 31 October 2019.
  • Under the terms of the act, the union territory is administered by a Lieutenant Governor acting on behalf of the Central Government of India and does not have an elected legislative assembly or chief minister.

1993 Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in the Sino-Indian Border

  • Signed in Beijing on September 7, 1993, this agreement provides the “framework for border security between the parties until final determination is made regarding border demarcation.”
  • The parties agree to keep “military forces in the areas along the line of actual control to a minimum level” and “reduce troop levels” compatible with friendly and good relations between them.
  • They also agree to carry out confidence-building measures along the LAC control, including by providing prior notification of “military exercises of specified levels near the line of actual control permitted under this Agreement.

1996 Agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Confidence-Building Measures

  • The agreement allows for “military disclosure when the parties are undertaking border exercises and for the reduction of troop levels in the border areas.
  • It also allows the parties to observe and inspect troop movements in each other territory upon invitation.”
  • In this agreement, the two sides agreed to reduce or limit their military forces within mutually-agreed geographical zones along the LAC.
  • It specifies the major categories of armaments to be reduced or limited: “combat tanks, infantry combat vehicles, guns (including howitzers) with 75 mm or bigger calibre, mortars with 120 mm or bigger calibre, surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and any other weapon system mutually agreed upon.” (Art. 3.)
  • It also stipulates that “[n]either side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control.” (Art. 6.)

Amnesty International halts India operations

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Amnesty International India said the government had frozen all its bank accounts, leading to all of its work in the country coming to a halt.

Background

  • In November 2019, The CBI registered a case against Amnesty International India and three of its associate organisations for alleged violation of laws pertaining to Rs 36 crore foreign fundings.
  • The CBI registered the case following a complaint lodged by the Home Ministry for alleged violation of the provision of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 and Indian Penal Code.
  • After the searches, Amnesty International India alleged that over the past year, a pattern of “harassment” has emerged every time Amnesty International India stands up and speaks out against “human rights violations” in India.
  • In past few years the Home ministry has cancelled the licences of more than 19000 NGOs including those involved in human rights work, and allegedly termed them as anti-national.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.  Foreign contribution is the donation or transfer of any currency, security or article (of beyond a specified value) by a foreign source.

Features of the new bill

  • It regulates the acceptance and utilisation of foreign funding by individuals, associations and companies.
  • It prevents transfer of foreign funding to any other person.
  • It reduces the limit of usable foreign contribution for administrative expenses from 50% to 20%.
  • It empowers cancellation of the FCRA certificate for an additional period of 180 days beyond the 180 days allowed at present.
  • Also, the provisions lay down that renewal of licence will happen every six months provided the applicant is not fictitious, not convicted for triggering communal tension and not guilty of diversion of funds.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INDIA

  • Amnesty International India is a country unit of the Amnesty International network, and was part of a global movement promoting and defending human rights and dignity.
  • An Amnesty International office was first set up in India in Bihar in 1966.
  • Since then, the organization has worked on cases related torture, prisoners of conscience, abusive laws, women’s rights, corporate accountability and other human rights violations.
  • Amnesty International India collaborates with Railway Protection Force, Western Railways in Mumbai to ensure female passengers’ right to safety.
  • It also runs a campaign to reduce the number of under-trials in jails in India.
  • Some of Amnesty India’s campaigns include seeking justice for the victims in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as well as opposing the use of the death penalty in India.
  • The organization opposed the executions of Ajmal Kasab, Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon as Amnesty considers capital punishment to be “the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights.”

Maharashtra modifies Forest Rights Act

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari issued  a notification modifying the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 that will enable tribals and other traditional forest dwelling families to build houses in the neighbourhood forest areas.

Key details

  • It will a major relief to Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest-dwelling families residing in the scheduled areas of the State.
  • The move aims to prevent the migration of forest-dwelling families outside their native villages and provide them housing areas by extending the village site into forest land in their neighbourhood.
  • The notification has been issued by the Governor using his powers under the Schedule V of the Constitution.
  • The notification is the result of the consistent efforts of Vayam — a community-based organisation — working for the empowerment of tribal communities.

Forest Rights act 2006

  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.
  • It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.
  • The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India.
  • The act recognizes and vest the forest rights and occupation in Forest land in forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD)who have been residing in such forests for generations.
  • The act also establishes the responsibilities and authority for sustainable use, conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecological balance of FDST and OTFD.
  • The Act provides forest dwellers with the right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood.
  • Right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce (includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin) which has been traditionally collected within or outside village boundaries;
  • According to Section 2(c) of Forest Rights Act (FRA), to qualify as Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, three conditions must be satisfied by the applicants, who could be “members or community”:
  1. Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed; and
  2. Primarily resided in forest or forests land prior to 13-12-2005; and
  3. Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

India, Denmark launch Green Strategic Partnership

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

India in a unique move has launched Green Strategic Partnership for the first time with Denmark as its partner as the two aim to be at forefront of the global fight against the Climate Change.

Key Details:

  • India-Denmark partnership would build on and consolidate the existing agreement establishing a Joint Commission for Cooperation (signed 6 February 2009) between both the countries which envisaged cooperation within the
    • Political field;
    • Economic and commercial field;
    • Science and technology;
    • Environment; energy;
    • Education and culture.
  • THE GREEN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP is a mutually beneficial arrangement to advance political cooperation, expand economic relations and green growth, create jobs and strengthen cooperation on addressing global challenges and opportunities; with focus on an ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Paris Agreement

  • Paris Agreement is signed in 2016 by UNFCCC 195 signatories.
  • The agreement intends to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The goal of the Paris Agreement

  • To curtail the rise of global temperature this century below 2-degree Celsius, above pre-industrial levels; and also pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees celsius.
  • Develop mechanisms to help and support countries that are very vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. An example would be countries like the Maldives facing threat due to sea-level rise.
  • Confirms the obligation that developed countries have towards developing countries, by providing them financial and technological support.

The agreement talks about 20/20/20 targets, i.e.

  • Carbon Dioxide emissions reductions by 20%,
  • Work on increasing the renewable energy market share by 20%
  • Target to increase energy efficiency by 20%

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):

  • It means the contributions that need to be done by each country to achieve the overall global goal.
  • The contributions need to be reported every 5 years to UNFCCC.
  • The contributions are not legally binding.
  • The goal is to make sure that all countries have access to technical expertise and financial capability to meet the climate challenges.

Malabar exercise: Quad meeting in Tokyo to discuss Australia’s entry

Paper:

Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

India will discuss its decision on whether to allow Australia into the Malabar trilateral exercise at the next week’s Quad Foreign Ministers meeting in Tokyo.

Key Details:

  • Australia first requested for observer status in the trilateral exercise in April 2017.
  • While New Delhi was reluctant to accept Canberra’s request, the bilateral cooperation has gone up significantly over the years.
  • Recently, India And Australia the two countries signed the long-pending Mutual Logistics Support(MLSA), elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Malabar Naval Exercise– Indian, US, Japanese Navy

  • Malabar Exercise is an annual Trilateral Maritime Exercise conducted between Navies of India, the United States, and Japan.
  • Although it started off in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the US, Japan joined in 2015 to make it a trilateral exercise.
  • Singapore and Australia have been non-permanent members previously.
  • This exercise includes a diverse range of activities such as fighter combat operations and maritime interdiction operations.
  • The exercise was initially held in the Indian Ocean.
  • In 2007, it was held in the Bay of Bengal for the first time.
  • Malabar Naval Exercise 2019 – India, US, Japanese Navy Warships, submarine, Aircrafts Participation
  • After years of reluctance due to china’s sensitivities India said it was open to Australia’s inclusion in the Malabar which began as a bilateral naval exercise.
  • The exercise has also grown in scope and complexity over the years further boosted by India signing three of the four foundational agreements with the US and increasing defence procurements from the U.S. increasing interoperability.
  • Japan and the U.S. have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar.

Relevance of QUAD:

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the Informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

  • India has taken a significant turn in its policy for the subcontinent by joining quad grouping.
  • It provides New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia.
  • It will deepen India’s ties with the US, Australia, and Japan with benefits in diplomatic leverage and sharing of burden in defense.
  • It will also provide India a significant chance in shaping US policies in Afghanistan-Pakistan to the benefit of India.
  • It will provide a powerful platform to advance Indian interest in the region and strengthen the Act East policy.
  • Foster economic growth with better market adaptation, so it will lead to more employment opportunities in India.
  • It helps India and the other three nations to counter China’s OBOR.
  • As India is refused to join OBOR it helps India to connect with other markets like Central Asian and Southeast Asian markets.