Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 03 June 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

03 June 2022-Friday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Report on International Religious Freedom in 2021

Why in the news?

  • The US Department of State just released the 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom (IRF).
  • The text differs from the IRF report issued by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
  • The USCIRF is a bipartisan federal government institution, whereas the IRF is part of the US State Department. The former’s report is legally required.

What exactly is the United States Office of International Religious Freedom?

  • The International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA, 1998) was signed into law by then-US President Bill Clinton in 1998.
  • The Act established the Office of International Religious Freedom, which is overseen by an Ambassador-at-Large inside the US State Department, as well as the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
  • The mission of the US Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF) is to monitor religiously motivated abuses, harassment, and discrimination around the world.
  • Furthermore, it recommends, develops, and implements policies and programmes to solve the aforementioned issues.
  • The IRF also says that it helps fledgling democracies around the world adopt religious and conscience freedom.
  • Identify and condemn regimes that persecute on the basis of religion, and work with non-governmental organisations around the world to promote religious freedom.

What are the report’s main points?

Rising Attacks in India:
  • Attacks against persons and places of worship have increased in India as a result of religious intolerance.
  • Throughout the year, there were attacks against members of religious minority communities, including murders, assaults, and intimidation.
  • These included ‘cow vigilantism’ events against non-Hindus based on suspicions of cow slaughter or beef trade.
Anti-conversion laws:
  • The India portion also discusses anti-conversion laws in the country, stating that 28 states have such legislation and that arrests have been made in accordance with them.
  • It also mentions that numerous state administrations have indicated plans to pass anti-conversion legislation.
Police arrests:
  • Non-Hindus were detained for making statements in the media or on social media that were considered disrespectful to Hindus or Hinduism.
Suspected Terrorists:
  • Attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have targeted and killed civilians and migrants, particularly Hindu migrant workers from Bihar.
  • According to sources, this sparked widespread anxiety in the Hindu and Sikh populations, resulting in a mass departure of migrants from the area.
  • In 2021, there will be lynchings of Muslims in Tripura, Rajasthan, and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Foreign Contributions Regulations Act: The government used the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act to limit the operations of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
  • According to the government, the Act is utilised to increase monitoring and accountability of international non-governmental organisations.
  • World: Vietnam and Nigeria have been mentioned as countries where religious expression is restricted.
  • Other countries with religious freedom limitations mentioned include US ally Saudi Arabia, as well as China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
  • China’s genocide and repression of mostly Muslim Uyghurs and other religious minority groups continues.
  • Many people in Pakistan have been charged of blasphemy or sentenced to death by courts in 2021.
  • Morocco, Timor-Leste, Taiwan, and Iraq are examples of countries that have achieved progress on religious freedom.
  • Some governments did not respect people’ “fundamental rights,” including utilising apostasy and blasphemy laws and restricting religious expression, for as by prohibiting religious dress.

What is the status of religious freedom in India?

  • Religion freedom is a fundamental right protected by Articles 25-28 of the Indian Constitution.
  • 25th Article (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practise and propagation of religion).
  • 26th Article (Freedom to manage religious affairs).
  • 27th Article (Freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any religion).
  • 28th Article (Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions).
  • Furthermore, Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution address the preservation of minorities’ interests.

Expansion of China in Pacific Island Countries

Why in the news?

  • China’s Foreign Minister is now visiting 10 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and co-hosted the Second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting with Fiji.
  • However, China’s efforts to push through a comprehensive framework agreement at the summit failed to achieve consensus among the PICs.
  • China inked a contentious security agreement with the Solomon Islands in April 2022, raising regional fears.

What exactly are Pacific Island Countries?

  • The Pacific Island Countries are a group of 14 states located primarily in the Pacific Ocean’s tropical zone between Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
  • Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are among them.

What is the Importance of PICs?

The following are the largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs):
  • The islands are separated into three distinct parts based on physical and human geography: Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.
  • Despite their tiny land area, the islands cover a large region of the Pacific Ocean.
  • As a result, while being among the world’s smallest and least inhabited governments, they have some of the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).
Economic Potential: 

Large EEZs have a high economic potential since they can be exploited to exploit the abundance of fisheries, energy, minerals, and other marine resources.

As a result, they prefer to be known as Big Ocean States rather than Small Island States.

Indeed, Kiribati and FSM, both PICs, have greater EEZs than India.

Part in Major Force Competition:

As springboards for power projection and laboratories for developing and testing strategic capabilities, these countries have played an important role in major power rivalry.

The colonial era’s great nations contended with one another for control of these vital provinces.

Significant Nuclear Weapon Test Sites: 

Due to the islands’ remoteness from the Soviet Union and major population centres across the world, some of the United States’, United Kingdom’s, and France’s major nuclear weapon test sites were placed here.

Potential Vote Bank: 

The 14 PICs, united by common economic and security concerns, account for the same number of votes in the UN and serve as a potential vote bank for large powers seeking to mobilise international opinion.

What Is the Importance of PICs in China?

Develop an Effective Blue Water Navy:
  • The PICs are in the logical path of China’s maritime interest and naval force buildup.
  • They are located beyond China’s ‘First Island Chain,’ which signifies the country’s first maritime expansion hurdle.
  • The PICs are strategically positioned in what China refers to as its “Far Seas,” control of which will make China a formidable Blue Water Navy – a vital prerequisite for becoming a superpower.
Countering Quad: 

The necessity for China to influence the PICs has become even more essential at a time when the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has developed as a major force in the Indo-Pacific in comparison to China.

Taiwan’s Role:
  • Aside from the huge marine wealth of the PICs, the Taiwan factor plays a significant role in China’s Pacific calculus.
  • China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade state, is preparing for what appears to be an impending military assault.
  • In this framework, it is critical to break Western dominance of Pacific island chains that could stymie reunification.
  • Keeping the PICs away from the West and Taiwan will make China’s goal of Taiwan reunification simpler to achieve.
  • Through economic generosity, China has gained diplomatic recognition from ten of the fourteen PICs.
  • Taiwan is now recognised by only four PICs: Tuvalu, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Nauru.

What are the Consequences of China’s Latest Move?

PICs may be drawn into major power struggles:
  • Because the PICs as a group did not agree to China’s comprehensive and ambitious demands, China was unable to reach an agreement on the contract.
  • Signing the economic and security agreement proposed by China could have negative consequences for PIC sovereignty and unity, potentially dragging them into significant power confrontations in the future.
Traditional regional powers have been more cautious:
  • The strengthening of China’s diplomacy toward the Pacific Islands has made the regional powers, such as the United States and Australia, more apprehensive.
  • Since the China-Solomon Islands agreement, the US has begun to reconsider its diplomatic priorities for the region.
  • The US could play a role in mobilising opposition to China’s proposed treaty because the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is the only country that recognises China while also being a signatory to the Compact of Free Association with the US.
  • The Federated States of Micronesia is a republic made up of over 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean.

What are the Key Aspects of India-PIC Relations?

  • About: The existence of a sizable Indian Diaspora in the region continues to boost India’s involvement with the PICs.
  • Nearly 40% of Fiji’s population is of Indian heritage, and there are currently roughly 3000 Indians in Papua New Guinea.
  • In terms of institutional engagements, India is a member of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) as one of the Forum’s core conversation partners.
  • The creation of an action-oriented Forum for India and Pacific Islands Cooperation in recent years has been the most significant development in facilitating India’s relationship with the PICs (FIPIC).
  • FIPIC, a worldwide organisation, was founded in 2014.
Blue Economy:
  • The PICs, with their resource-rich EEZs, can be appealing sources of natural resources such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrocarbons to fuel India’s developing economy, as well as new markets.
  • Given its own emphasis on the concept of ‘Blue Economy,’ India may engage with these countries in particular.
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Because of their geographical location, these island countries are particularly exposed to the negative consequences of climate change.
  • Rising sea level affects low-lying island states by increasing soil salinity, which also creates a relocation problem.
  • As a result, climate change and sustainable development are critical issues that require greater collaboration to find effective and meaningful solutions.
Disaster Management:
  • The majority of Pacific Island countries are vulnerable to a wide range of natural disasters, which have widespread social, economic, and environmental implications.
  • India can help enhance disaster risk resilience capacity.
  • India launched Climate Early Warning Systems in seven PICs in September 2017.
  • PICs, while geographically small, have significant economic, strategic, and political significance in international affairs.
  • Recent engagement efforts in the region have brought India significantly closer to these countries.
  • India’s approach to the PICs is based on transparency, necessity, and an inclusive partnership with the region based on shared values and a shared future.
  • With the third FIPIC summit set to take place soon, India’s involvement with the PICs is expected to deepen in the following years.

Sri Lanka's Trincomalee Port

Why in the news?

  • Sri Lanka intends to build Trincomalee port into an industrial powerhouse of international renown.
  • The idea is a long-standing concept to generate revenue from property owned by the Sri Lanka Port Authority by attracting global and domestic investment for a special economic zone, industrial park, or energy hub.

What are the main points?

Trincomalee Port Information:
  • Trincomalee harbour is located on Sri Lanka’s northeastern coast. It is located on a peninsula in Trincomalee Bay, which was once known as Koddiyar Bay.
  • The port of Trincomalee is the closest to Chennai, India.
The Port’s Importance:
  • Geopolitical and Strategic Importance: The strategic importance of this port in the Indian Ocean has piqued the interest of various countries, notably India, Japan, and the United States.
  • Japan commissioned the 2020 ADB (Asian Expansion Bank) study on Trincomalee port development.
  • Trincomalee already has many dedicated port terminals, including the Lanka Indian Oil Company facility, the Tokyo Cement facility, a grain facility for a flour industry, and a tea terminal.
  • A jetty is also available for bulk goods such as coal, gypsum, and cement.
  • Decongest Other Ports: This development will decongest other ports and aid in unloading operations at Colombo Port, hence expanding the supply chain.
  • Non-Containerised Cargo Traffic: This would require the port being developed for non-containerised cargo traffic, such as cement, coal, or other industrial raw materials.

What does the agreement mean for India?

  • Natural Harbour: It has one of the best natural harbours in Asia, which India can profit from.
  • Balance China’s influence: The construction of this port will help to balance China’s influence in the Indian Ocean region. Because China already has access to Hambantota Port, Trincomalee Port is vital to India.
  • Marine Trade Routes: If Indian enterprises participate in this development, Indian maritime trade routes in the region will be improved.
  • Earlier this year, Lanka Indian Oil Company and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation agreed to build a vast oil storage tank farm in Trincomalee erected during British control. This agreement will benefit from the transaction.
The Way Forward
  • Trincomalee port, with its key benefits of natural deep-water, shelter, unique tourist destinations, and ample land for industrial and logistics in the port’s vicinity, was ideally placed to service the region’s projected growth of maritime cargo trade, particularly in light of the development of ports in Bangladesh and Myanmar, as well as on India’s eastern seaboard.
  • In terms of Sri Lanka’s local ethnic factors, a Trincomalee port joint project with India makes sense.
  • If the initiative is successful, it will assist Sri Lanka in escaping China’s debt trap.

Other’s News

Generation Tamagotchi

  • According to a new book, by the third quarter of this century, parents will be able to create digital babies who will only exist in the digital world of metaverse. This is the “Tamagotchi Generation.”
  • The name ‘Tamagotchi’ is derived from the computerised pet made by Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai, which was a global craze in the 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Tamagotchi is a keychain-sized egg-shaped video game with a screen and buttons.
  • When you activate the pet, an egg appears on the screen and hatches into a pet for you to raise. What the pet becomes depends on how the player has trained and reared it.
  • Future ‘Tamagotchi’ children can be designed to look like their parents.
  • Wearing high-tech gloves when touching the Tamagotchi child may also simulate the tactile sensations of caressing, nursing, and playing with one’s child. It is possible to control how rapidly the children mature.
  • A well-cared-for Tamagochi has a 12-day lifetime on average.
  • They will be free to start because they will require few resources. They have the potential to alleviate the overblown problem of overpopulation.

PM Shri Schools

  • The Centre intends to establish ‘PM Shri Schools,’ which will attempt to prepare children for the future.
  • The ‘PM Shri Schools’ will be cutting-edge schools that will serve as the ‘laboratory of NEP 2020.’
  • They will properly prepare pupils for the future by providing them with 21st-century information and skills.
  • The 5+3+3+4 approach of the NEP covering pre-school to secondary school, Emphasis on Early Childhood Care & Education Program (ECCE), Teacher training & adult education, Integration of skill development with school education, and Prioritizing learning in the mother tongue are the steps for preparing global citizens of the twenty-first century.
  • Best practises in education from various states and UTs will work together to develop India’s youth into ‘Vishwa-Manavs’ (global citizens).
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