Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 03 Mar 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

03 Mar 2022-Thursday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Montreux Convention

Why in News?

In response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Turkey intends to invoke the Montreux Convention.

The declaration that the situation in Ukraine has devolved into a war allows Turkey to invoke the Montreux Convention and prohibit Russian warships from entering the Black Sea via the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.

Where are the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits located?

The Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, also known as the Turkish Straits or the Black Sea Straits, connect the Aegean and Black Seas through the Sea of Marmara.

It is the only way for Black Sea ports to access the Mediterranean and beyond.

Every day, over three million barrels of oil, or about 3% of the world’s daily supply, pass through this waterway, the majority of which is produced in Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

Large amounts of iron, steel, and agricultural products are also shipped from the Black Sea coast to Europe and the rest of the world via this route.

What precisely is the Montreux Convention?

Australia, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Japan, Romania, Yugoslavia, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and Turkey signed the international agreement, which has been in effect since November 1936.

The Montreux Convention on the Regime of the Straits of Maghreb gives Turkey control over the water route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

On the Crimean Peninsula, Russia has a major navy base at Sevastopol.

Ships must, however, pass through two straits controlled by Turkey under the Montreux Convention in order to travel to and from the Mediterranean – and beyond.

It restricts civilian and military warship passage through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus straits. The Montreux Convention’s key elements are as follows:

In the event of a war, the pact gives Turkey the authority to regulate naval warship transit and to close the straits to warships from the countries involved in the conflict.

Any country with a Black Sea coastline – Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, or Ukraine – must notify Turkey eight days in advance of their intention to send warships through the straits.

Other countries that do not border the Black Sea must give Turkey 15 days’ notice.

Turkey has previously used the convention’s powers. During WWII, Turkey prevented the Axis powers from sending warships to attack the Soviet Union – and prevented the Soviet navy from fighting in the Mediterranean.

What is Turkey’s Role in the Current Crisis?

The Turkish government is currently in a difficult position, as both Ukraine and Russia are key partners in critical energy and military trade agreements.

Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, seeks to strengthen ties with the West while avoiding upsetting Russia. Its control over these critical straits may put its balancing act to the test.

In this context, Turkey has claimed that it cannot bar all Russian warships from entering the Black Sea due to a pact provision that exempts those returning to their registered base.

Article 19 of the treaty makes an exception for Black Sea countries that can effectively undermine Turkey’s power by preventing Russian warships from entering or exiting the Black Sea.

Vessels of war belonging to belligerent powers, whether or not they are Black Sea Powers, that have become separated from their bases may return to them.

This exception allows Russia to use the Montreux Convention in a different way by reassigning some of its ships to the Black Sea.

UNGA Resolution on Russia-Ukraine

Why in the news?

India recently abstained from voting at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The resolution demanded that Russia withdraw its troops unconditionally.

The General Assembly session was called after a similar resolution failed to pass the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) due to Russia’s veto

What are the resolution’s main points?

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 96 countries, needed to be supported by two-thirds of those present and voting in order to pass. It condemns Russia’s’special military operation’ over Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It declares that no territories gained by force will be recognised and demands that Russia withdraw from Ukraine “immediately, completely, and unconditionally.”.

What is India’s position and what are its concerns?

S. Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, stated that the “safe and uninterrupted passage” of Indian nationals, particularly students, was India’s “top priority.”

India has also demanded a “immediate ceasefire” and humanitarian access to conflict zones.

India hoped that the second round of talks between Russia and Ukraine would be fruitful.

Russia’s actions have put India in an awkward position as it tries to balance its interests with both Russia and Western countries.

Given its own experiences with China and Pakistan, India is also concerned about the consequences of not condemning one country unilaterally attempting to change the borders it shares with another.

India strongly urges all Member States to demonstrate their commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, international law, and respect for all states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.

A number of countries in India’s neighbourhood supported the resolution, including Bhutan, Nepal, and the Maldives. Afghanistan, which is currently ruled by a militant organisation (the Taliban), and Myanmar, which is currently ruled by a military junta, both voted in favour of it.

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, along with India, voted no. China also voted no.

Are UN resolutions legally binding?

Resolutions and decisions are formal expressions of UN organs’ opinions or will. The nature of the resolution determines whether or not it is binding on states. Resolutions of the General Assembly are referred to as “recommendations” in Articles 10 and 14 of the UN Charter.

The International Court of Justice has repeatedly emphasised the recommendatory nature of General Assembly resolutions.

Some General Assembly resolutions, however, dealing with internal UN matters, such as budgetary decisions or instructions to lower-ranking organs, are clearly binding.

In general, resolutions adopted by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter are considered binding; however, they are subject to veto by permanent members of the UNSC under Article 25 of the Charter.

The Effect of the Russian Invasion on Global Chip Shortage

Why in the news?

The ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict is exacerbating the global chip shortage crisis.

It was previously predicted that the chip shortage would last until at least 2023.

The prediction was based on the pandemic’s impact on a component that has become a lifeline for the majority of the devices we use on a daily basis.

The global semiconductor market is expected to grow by 8.8 percent to USD 601 billion, led by double-digit growth in the sensors and logic category, and with recent trends in electric mobility, automotive safety, and the Internet of Things (IoT), demand for semiconductors will only grow.

How did the scarcity crisis start?

Lockdowns boosted laptop sales to their highest level in a decade.

As office work moved out of the office, home networking equipment, webcams, and monitors were in high demand, and laptops were in high demand for a time as schools closed.

The stay-at-home rules also led to an increase in console gaming.

These high-demand devices run on thumbnail-sized semiconductor pieces (or pieces at times), performing multiple functions on a single device, and are manufactured on 200mm or 300mm wafers. These are then subdivided into tiny chips.

While larger wafers are more expensive and are mostly used for advanced equipment, devices in high demand required smaller diameter wafers.

However, even before the pandemic began, the manufacturing equipment needed to make them was in short supply. This was due to the industry’s shift toward 5G, which necessitated the costly wafers.

High consumer demand for low-cost products, combined with large orders from tech firms, suffocated chip makers, whose factories were also shut down during the lockdowns.

Logistics complexities exacerbated the problem as the industry gradually attempted to pull itself out of the supply crunch.

The cost of transporting containers around the world then drove up the price of the core component used in the majority of electronic devices and automobiles.

Why is there a chip shortage as a result of the Russian invasion?

Ukraine supplies rare gases used in semiconductor fab lasers, and Russia exports rare metals such as palladium used in semiconductor manufacturing.

This combination is required for the creation of chipsets that power a wide range of devices, from automobiles to smartphones.

Russia and South Africa are the two largest palladium producers. Russia supplied 2.35 million ounces (66 million grammes) of palladium in 2021.

Without those supplies, the silvery-white market would go into a severe deficit, driving up prices.

While platinum and rhodium can be used in place of palladium, Russia is also a major producer of the other platinum group metals.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalates, the country is facing Western sanctions, which could disrupt exports and leave semiconductor firms with fewer options for sourcing raw materials to make chip sets.

What is palladium and what are its applications?

Palladium is frequently used as an alternative to gold in the manufacture of various devices due to its high malleability and corrosion resistance.

The rare metal is considered softer than gold, but it is much harder and more durable than gold.

Palladium has a higher impact resistance and a higher resistance to denting due to this quality. As a result, automakers, electronics manufacturers, and biomedical device manufacturers prefer the silvery-white metal.

Palladium is used in nearly all electronic devices, and the metal is essential in the fabrication of chipsets and circuit boards. It is used in the production of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs), which are used in the production of smartphone screens, stereo systems, and power circuit breakers.

What are businesses and governments doing to adapt to these changes?

Businesses are reversing their plans for offshoring. They are considering’reshoring’ as a means of protecting themselves from global supply chain disruptions.

Reshoring, also known as onshoring, is the inverse of offshoring and involves the return of goods production and manufacturing to the original country of the company.

Intel announced a USD20 billion investment in two new chip fabrication facilities in the state of Ohio in February 2022. (US). Over the next decade, the company intends to invest USD100 billion and construct eight more fab factories in the state.

Intel is one of the few companies that designs as well as manufactures its own chipsets.

On the other end of the spectrum is government assistance in creating a favourable environment for businesses to establish facilities for the construction of semiconductor factories.

The US government is attempting to pass the CHIPS Act, which would provide semiconductor companies with USD52 billion in subsidies in order to advance chip manufacturing in the country.

What exactly is a semiconductor chip?

It is an electric circuit composed of numerous components such as transistors and wiring that are formed on a semiconductor wafer. An electronic device that contains many of these components is known as an Integrated Circuit (IC), and it can be found in computers, smart phones, appliances, gaming hardware, and medical equipment.

These devices are widely used in almost all industries, particularly the automotive industry.

Semiconductors are materials with conductivity intermediate between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements such as silicon or germanium, or they can be compounds such as gallium, arsenide, or cadmium selenide.

What about India’s Semiconductor Demand and Initiatives?

India currently imports all chips, and the market is expected to grow from USD24 billion to USD100 billion by 2025.

The Union Cabinet recently allocated Rs.76,000 crore to support the development of a “semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem.”

It is a belated but welcome recognition of the strategic importance of integrated circuits, or chips, in today’s economy.

India has also launched the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS), which has a budget outlay of Rs 3,285 crore spread over an eight-year period for the manufacture of electronics components and semiconductors.

The United Nations Environment Assembly's Fifth Session

Why in the news?

The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly recently concluded with 14 resolutions to strengthen actions for nature in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The overall theme of UNEA-5, which was hosted by the UN Environment Programme, was “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Assembly will be followed by “[email protected],” a two-day Special Session of the Assembly to commemorate UNEP’s 50th anniversary, during which member states are expected to discuss how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world and to endorse a draught Political Declaration.

What exactly is the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)?

It is the UN Environment Programme’s governing body.

It is the world’s highest-level environmental decision-making body.

The Assembly, comprised of the 193 UN Member States, meets every two years to advance global environmental governance.

It was established in June 2012, as part of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as RIO+20.

What are the Session’s Key Highlights?

Plastic Pollution Resolution:

The world’s environment ministers agreed to form an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) with the mission of forging an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution.

INC’s work will begin in 2022, with the goal of completing a draught global legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.

This development is regarded as the most significant environmental agreement since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Countries will be expected to develop, implement, and update national action plans that reflect country-driven approaches in order to contribute to the instrument’s objectives under the legally binding agreement.

Resolution on Chemicals and Waste Management: It supports the establishment of a comprehensive and ambitious science policy panel on the responsible management of chemicals and waste, as well as pollution prevention.

The Ministerial Declaration acknowledges humanity’s failure to manage chemicals and waste to date, a threat exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic due to widespread use of single-use plastics and disinfectant chemicals.

Nature-based solutions are the focus of the resolution:

It focuses on nature-based solutions in the spirit of the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030): actions to protect, conserve, restore, use sustainably, and manage ecosystems.

The resolution requests that UNEP assist in the implementation of such solutions that protect the rights of communities and indigenous peoples.

Three resolutions prioritise ecosystem restoration, biodiversity conservation, resource efficiency, consumption and production patterns, climate mitigation and adaptation, job creation, and poverty reduction.

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