Daily Current Affairs for 03nd Feb 2024

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India to start pulling out military personnel from Maldives

Why in news?

  • India will withdraw its military personnel from the Maldives between March and May, but will continue to operate the two helicopters and a Dornier aircraft in the island nation with the help of Indian civilian replacements and Maldivian defence personnel.
  • The Maldives Foreign Ministry statement said “both sides agreed that the Government of India will replace the military personnel in one of the three aviation platforms by 10 March 2024, and will complete replacing military personnel in the other two platforms by 10 May 2024”.

Why decision was taken?

  • The Ministry of External Affairs did not spell out any timeline in its statement, but said both sides “agreed on a set of mutually workable solutions to enable continued operation of Indian aviation platforms” that provide humanitarian and medical evacuation services to the people of Maldives.
  • The only “workable solution” for continued operation of Indian platforms turned out to be replacing them with Indian civilian personnel and Maldivian defence personnel who are trained in operating the three platforms.
  • Around 80 Indian military personnel are stationed in the Maldives to operate these platforms.
  • On January 14, after the first meeting of the core group, the Maldives government had set a March 15 deadline for India to withdraw its military personnel from the country.
  • Sources said the two sides worked to enable continued operation of these three platforms which are the lifeline of Maldives medical emergency services.
  • This withdrawal of Indian military personnel is being seen as Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu able to have his way on the ‘India Out’ plank on which he rode to power last year.

Meeting between two countries:

  • The Maldives Foreign Ministry said it was “agreed that the third meeting of the high-level core group will be held in Male on a mutually agreeable date during the last week of February”.
  • This meeting will essentially take stock of the progress in the process of withdrawal of Indian military personnel.
  • The Indian statement, however, did not give any specific timeline for the next meeting and said, “It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the high-level core group in Male on a mutually convenient date.”
  • The Maldives Foreign Ministry said, “During the meeting held at the Ministry of External Affairs, both sides reviewed the existing bilateral cooperation for improving and enhancing the partnership in the fields of defence and security cooperation, economic, and development partnership.”
  • The MEA said, “During the meeting, both sides continued their discussions on wide-ranging issues related to bilateral cooperation towards identifying steps to enhance the partnership, including expediting the implementation of ongoing development cooperation projects.”

Why situation escalated?

  • Soon after taking oath as the President in November, Muizzu, widely seen as a pro-China leader, had formally requested India to withdraw its military personnel from his country, saying the Maldivian people had given him a “strong mandate” to make this request to New Delhi.
  • Muizzu won the presidential election, ousting Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, after promising to remove Indian military presence from the Maldives.
  • Barely a month after asking India to withdraw its military personnel, the Muizzu government also announced that it would not renew the previous government’s agreement with India on a hydrographic survey of Maldivian waters.
  • Last month, after he returned from his five-day state visit to China, Muizzu indirectly hit out at India while addressing the media at the airport. Without naming any country, he said: “We may be small, but that doesn’t give you the licence to bully us.”
  • Before visiting China and Dubai for COP28, Muizzu had chosen Turkey as his first foreign destination. This was a departure from the tradition of Maldivian Presidents choosing India as their first overseas stop after entering office.



India economy moving fast

Why in news?

  • Addressing industrialists at Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024 here, the PM said the auto and automotive component industry will play a significant role in making India a global economic powerhouse.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India is moving fast and will become the world’s third-largest economy in the “third term” of his government.

Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024, Narendra Modi, largest economy, indian economy, Indian express news, current affairs

Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024

  • The first of its kind global mobility show in India. This global expo brings together the entire mobility value chain under one roof. It is not just an event; it is a curtain raiser for tomorrow’s Mobility.
  • Bharat Mobility Global Expo feature exhibits and event covering vehicles of the future, cutting-edge technologies in automotive components, electric vehicle battery and charging technologies, alternate powertrains, innovative and disruptive technologies like urban mobility solution, connected, autonomous and much more.
  • The expo has an extensive display of technologies and solutions in the commercial vehicle space. However, in comparison, the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler segment had few launches.
  • Mahindra & Mahindra showcased the Supro Profit Truck Excel (less than two-tonne segment), and last-mile mobility solutions such as the Treo Plus and Zor Grand electric three-wheelers, and a prototype of its flex-fuel technology (ethanol plus gasoline).
  • Tata Motors displayed 10 trucks, buses, tippers and small trucks. It also displayed future-ready technologies such as hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, twin-cylinder CNG, efficient fuel delivery systems, battery electric powertrains and hydrogen fuel cell.
  • The company is leading India’s transition towards zero-emission technology. Volvo and its partner VECV focused on electrification, both displaying electric truck

India’s economy:

  • India will become the third largest economy by 2030, and the country’s GDP is likely to grow from 6.4% in 2023 to 7% in 2026, a report released by S&P Global.
  • India is currently the fifth largest economy in the world behind the US, China, Germany and Japan.
  • India reaching 7 percent in 2026-27 fiscal and India is set to become the third-largest economy by 2030, and it will be the fastest-growing major economy in the next three years,”
  • According to the “Global Credit Outlook 2024” by S&P, India is projected to be the fastest-growing emerging market globally.
  • However, the critical challenge lies in determining whether the country can successfully evolve into the next major global manufacturing hub.



New laws to tackle damage to property

Why in news?

  • From reversing the burden of proof to introducing fines equal to the market value of the public property damaged, the 22nd Law Commission of India recommended key changes in the law to tackle damage to public property.
  • “Compelling the offenders to deposit the estimated value of the public property as a condition for granting bail would definitely be a sufficient deterrent against destruction of public property,” the 284th report stated.

Why law panel suggested this?

  • The panel headed by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said “bearing in mind the gravity of the issue and the loss being borne by the state exchequer”, it took up the issue Suo motu and prepared the report.
  • Starting with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, the Jat (2015) and Patidar (2016) quota agitations, Bhima Koregaon protests (2018), anti-CAA protests (2019), farm law stir (2020) to the violence following the remarks made on Prophet Mohammad (2022) and the large-scale clashes in Manipur last year, the report cites several incidents to underline the scale of loss and damage to public property.
  • The matter was referred to the law panel by the law ministry in August, 2017.
  • The panel relied on the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Subramaniam Swamy v. Union of India in which the court upheld the constitutionality of the offence of criminal defamation.
  • The court had said that the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(2) of the Constitution is subject to certain reasonable restrictions, such as protecting the right to reputation.

Recommendation of law panel?

  • The Commission recommended making amendments to the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
  • It also recommended the enactment of new laws to deal with “wilful obstruction of public property”, either through a separate enactment, or via amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or the newly enacted Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023.
  • It alternatively suggested the introduction of a comprehensive law to address “wilful obstruction and blockade of public spaces and roads for prolonged periods”, to address the hardships they cause to the general public.
  • In the section titled “Inadequacies in Law to Deal with Destruction of Public Property”, the report makes note of a 2007 case where the Supreme Court took Suo motu cognizance of destruction of property during protests and ordered the formation of two committees to look into the issue.
  • The 285th Report on criminal defamation said there is a need to balance “open discourse” with the need to protect individuals from “malicious falsehoods” that would irreparably damage a person’s reputation.

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