UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 04-July-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Ladakh triggers andamans build-up

  2. Isro's MOM captures image of the biggest moon of Mars

  3. India may invoke GATS security exception at WTO to justify ban on Chinese apps



LADAKH TRIGGERS ANDAMANS BUILD-UP

Why in news?

  • India is now looking to fast-track plans for basing additional military forces in the strategically-located Andaman & Nicobar archipelago, along with the requisite development of infrastructure, as an effective counter to China’s expanding strategic presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). 


Highlights:

  • The Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) was set up in 2001 as the country’s first — and till now the only — “theatre” command with all land, sea and air forces under one operational commander.

  • It has for long suffered from general apathy, fund crunches, lack of environmental clearances to build infrastructure and, of course, crippling turf wars among the three services. 

  • The ongoing troop confrontation in eastern Ladakh with China is making the defence establishment re-examine ANC’s role as India’s crucial military outpost that overlooks China’s critical sea lanes transporting the bulk of its crude oil imports and other trade through the Malacca Strait.

  • These “choke points” of China can be swiftly threatened, if required, by Indian warships and aircraft operating from the ANC. 


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ladakh-triggers-andamans-build-up/articleshow/76778355.cms )



ISRO'S MOM CAPTURES IMAGE OF THE BIGGEST MOON OF MARS

Why in news?

  • The Mars Colour Camera (MCC) onboard Isro's Mars Orbiter Mission has captured the image of Phobos, the closest and biggest moon of Mars. 


Highlights:

  • Phobos is largely believed to be made up of carbonaceous chondrites.

  • According to Isro, "the violent phase that Phobos has encountered is seen in the large section gouged out from a past collision (Stickney crater) and bouncing ejecta." 

  • Stickney, the largest crater on Phobos along with the other craters (Shklovsky, Roche & Grildrig) are also seen in this image

  • The mission also known as Mangalyaan was initially meant to last six months, but subsequently Isro had said it had enough fuel for it to last "many years." 

  • The country had on September 24, 2014 successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft in orbit around the red planet, in its very first attempt, thus breaking into an elite club. 

  • Isro had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month- long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013. 

  •  The Rs 450-crore MOM mission aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars). 

  • The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments - Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS)


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/isros-mom-captures-image-of-the-biggest-moon-of-mars/articleshow/76775901.cms )



India may invoke GATS security exception at WTO to justify ban on Chinese apps

Why in news?

  • As India has not made any separate commitment on digital services at the WTO, China may find it difficult to establish a case, say officials


Highlights:

  • India may use its right to invoke security exceptions under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), if required, to justify the ban on 59 Chinese mobile apps, including the popular TikTok app, imposed by the Centre earlier this week.

  • India has not taken on any separate commitment on digital services at the WTO. So, China may find it difficult to establish its case against the ban. Whatever limited commitments India has taken on in the area of services are all contained in the GATS schedule. 

  • The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had earlier said in an official statement that the ban on 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps could be a breach of WTO rules, and the country should create a fair business environment.

  • The ban was placed amidst the ongoing border tension between the two countries in Ladakh.

  • The relevant provision of the GATS security exception that India can invoke to defend the ban states that nothing in the agreement should be construed to prevent any Member from taking any action which it considers necessary for the protection of its security interests taken in time of war or other emergency in international relations.

  • The breach-of-national-security argument given by India to defend the ban is a strong one as all the identified Chinese mobile app companies do report to the Chinese government.

  • As people tend to share sensitive information on the apps, there does exist a threat.

  • But whether banning the apps is the best way to counter China is something that can be debated.


Source : Hindu Business Line ( https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/india-may-invoke-gats-security-exception-at-wto-to-justify-ban-on-chinese-apps/article31980218.ece?homepage=true )




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