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UPSC Online News Analysis


Context: With self-reliance push, China looks to reset ties with world

Topic in the syllabus: Mains – Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora (GS-2)

About China’s new approach:

  • President Xi Jinping outlined in an essay published in the November edition of the Communist Party’s official journal, is an aim to essentially make China less reliant on the world and to make the world more reliant on China.
  • Call it Atmanirbhar China. Self-reliance isn’t only the flavour of the moment in India, but increasingly the phrase of choice in China, where a leadership, chastened by the impact of COVID­19, a trade war with the U.S., and a reassessment by many countries of their dependence on Chinese supply chains, is making an accelerated push to reframe the nature of China’s engagement with the world.
  • “Dual circulation” is the name that Beijing has given this approach favoured by Mr. Xi, of boosting the domestic economy (or internal circulation) while recalibrating China’s external relations (the other circulation) — an anodyne term that blurs the increasing importance of self-reliance in Beijing’s outlook today.
  • The Chinese President said “the strategy of domestic demand expansion” should be China’s priority, and “building a complete internal demand system bears on China’s long-term development and long term peace and stability.
  • The most revealing part of Mr. Xi’s essay was his statement that China “must tighten international production chains’ dependence on China” with the aim of “forming powerful countermeasures
    and deterrent capabilities”. This would give China leverage should countries threaten to limit access to key technologies, as the U.S. has done with semiconductors.
  • The key difference with India’s own “self-reliant” emphasis is that China is at the same time embracing new trading arrangements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), from which India withdrew last year, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the other big regional trading bloc that succeeded the TPP after America’s withdrawal, which Mr. Xi has expressed interest in joining.


Context: The Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), the nodal agency for maritime data fusion set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, will soon become a National Maritime Domain Awareness (NDMA) centre, with all stakeholders having their presence there, two defence officials said.

Topic in the syllabus: Mains – Security challenges and their management in border areas – Maritime security (GS-3)

What is the role of IMAC?

  • The IMAC tracks vessels on the high seas and gets data from the coastal radars, white shipping agreements, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) transponders fitted on merchant ships, air and traffic management system and global shipping databases.

What is white shipping and how does it help in India’s maritime security?

  • White shipping information refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
  • Being aware of the identity of these vessels is imperative to preventing any potential threat from the sea from impinging on the coastal and offshore security of the country.
  • The 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack is a case in point. Indian Navy has thus been working towards achieving complete Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) along with all other concerned agencies like the coast guard, customs, ports, fisheries, etc.
  • Having advance information of the vessel, its destination and planned itinerary, etc. is thus extremely helpful towards collating an effective MDA as it can then be properly identified when detected. This information is likely to be available with the country from whose port it sails.
  • The information is equally relevant for the destination country and those it passes enroute. Thus mutual exchange of such information, called white shipping information, is extremely useful for all concerned.


Context: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla reached Kathmandu in a major outreach to Nepal, which has been caught in a bitter boundary dispute with India regarding the Kalapani region for more than a year.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Proejcts in news | Mains – India and its neighbourhood- relations. (GS-2)

What did they discus?

  • Both sides discussed multiple plans like the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project as well as the starting of an air travel bubble between Nepal and India.
  • Both reviewed various aspects of Nepal­India relations covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, investment, culture, people to people relations among others.

What is the stand of Nepal?

  • Foreign Minister Gyawali briefed a Parliamentary Committee in Kathmandu and said Nepal
    would convey to India and China that it wants to move together with both.

About Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project:

  • Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) is a bi-national hydropower project to be developed in Mahakali River bordering Nepal and India.
  • Development of PMP, is a mutual interest project between two countries, and is covered under integrated Mahakali Treaty signed between Nepal and India according to which, equal sizes of underground power house i.e. of 3240MV will be constructed on each side of Mahakali river in India and Nepal.
  • Moreover, the PMP also offer benefit of regulated water for irrigation to a vast area of agricultural land both in Nepal and India along with benefit of flood control at downstream.


Context: NCB probes terror angle in huge heroin haul at sea

Topic in the syllabus: Mains – Internal security (GS-3), IR – (GS-2)

How Sri Lanka will be the future hotspot of drug activities?

  • The well-coordinated operation involving defence, intelligence and other drug law enforcement agencies was launched on November 17 on the basis of a specific input that Pakistan ­based
    smugglers would be transferring a huge consignment of drugs at sea on to a Sri Lankan boat.
  • The security agencies were already working on information that a group of international drug peddlers were operating along the Pakistan ­Sri Lankan water route transporting drugs to many countries.

Let us look at golden crescent and golden triangle of drugs transportation:


Context: WITH LESS than two months of his tenure remaining, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday exercised his powers under the Constitution to pardon Michael Flynn, his former National Security Advisor, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims & Mains – Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries. (GS-2)

How US President pardons?

  • The President of the US has the constitutional right to pardon or commute sentences related to federal crimes.
  • The US Supreme Court has held that this power is “granted without limit” and cannot be restricted by Congress.


  • Presidents “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment”.
  • The power only applies to federal crimes and not state crimes — those pardoned by the President can still be tried under the laws of individual states.

How Indian President pardons?

  • Unlike the US President, whose powers to grant pardons are almost unfettered, the President of India has to act on the advice of the Cabinet.
  • Under Article 72 of the Constitution, “the President shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence where the sentence is a sentence of death”.
  • Under Article 161, the Governor too has pardoning powers, but these do not extend to death sentences.
  • The President cannot exercise his power of pardon independent of the government. Rashtrapati Bhawan forwards the mercy plea to the Home Ministry, seeking the Cabinet’s advice.
  • The Ministry in turn forwards this to the concerned state government; based on the reply, it formulates its advice on behalf of the Council of Ministers.
  • In several cases, the SC has ruled that the President has to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers while deciding mercy pleas.
  • These include Maru Ram vs Union of India in 1980, and Dhananjoy Chatterjee vs State of West Bengal in1994.
  • Although the President is bound by the Cabinet’s advice, Article74(1) empowers him to return it for reconsideration once. If the Council of Ministers decides against any change, the President has no option but to accept it.

Examples related to Ethics (GS-4)

  • THE Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by car-makers Skoda Auto Volkswagen India
    Private Limited to quash an FIR against it in Uttar Pradesh over a customer’s complaint alleging
    use of “cheat devices” – which manipulate emission figures–in Audi cars he bought. authorities subsequently found that there was higher emission of nitrogen oxide in the company’s models. Hearing two other applications, the NGT had in March last year concluded that cheat devices were “in fact used” and directed the manufacturers to pay Rs500 crore as damages. (Against Business ethics)
  • The CBI has booked many ministers in connection with alleged illegal regularisation of encroached forest land in his name under the Roshni Act. (Against the values of public service, integrity in government institutions)
  • Today’s editorial about profiteering during pandemic-
    • Hoarding, for black marketing essential goods in drought ­affected areas is unethical.
    • Over­ charging of commodities and services during any natural disaster is unethical.

Important one liners:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday again pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, saying it is the need of the country as elections taking place every few months hamper development works.
  • The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has converted two scrapped NMMT buses into mobile toilets, which will operate in crowded areas. The NMMC said the move is a step towards ensuring cleanliness in the city and maintaining its distinction of being the only civic body in the State to bag a double plus rating in the Swachh Bharat Survekshan. (this type of innovative examples can be used in essay & case studies)
  • India’s renewable energy deployment plans for the coming decade are likely to generate business opportunities worth $20 billion a year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Inviting global investors to
    join what he termed India’s unparalleled journey towards expanding power generation capacity so that each citizen got access to electricity, he said the country’s renewable energy capacity was now the fourth largest in the world.
  • India’s economy has exhibited a stronger ­than ­expected pick up in momentum of recovery following a multispeed normalisation of activity in the second quarter, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said.
  • India’s GDP likely contracted 10.7% in the second quarter, with a further recovery likely in the third quarter, SBI Research said in a report released on Thursday, citing improvements in economic
    indicators over October and November.

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