UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 20-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. US blames China for incursions into India, border clashes

  2. The strategic importance of Galwan Valley

  3. India signs $750 million agreement with AIIB for Covid support 

US BLAMES CHINA FOR INCURSIONS INTO INDIA, BORDER CLASHES

Why in news?

  • US President Donald Trump has warned that a “complete decoupling” from China remains a policy option for Washington after surmising that Beijing may have spread the coronavirus intentionally to economically damage the US and other countries. 


Highlights:

  • US lawmakers, officials, and policy mavens are concluding that an expansionist and assertive China feels confident enough to make territorial grabs in the region, including incursions into India, to distract from its role in spreading the coronavirus pandemic among other travails. 

  • We extend our deepest condolences to the people of India for the lives lost as a result of the recent confrontation with China. We will remember the soldiers' families, loved ones, and communities as they grieve.

  • The US commentariat was also lockstep with American lawmakers and mandarins, calling out China for its belligerence towards India and other neighbors as part of its "regional bullying." 

  • As the Chinese economy struggles amid the pandemic, President Xi Jinping appears to be letting the People’s Liberation Army act out abroad. This may be a nationalist play to shore up domestic support. Or perhaps Mr. Xi simply feels confident enough to achieve longstanding territorial goals


Source : TOI ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-blames-china-for-incursions-into-india-border-clashes/articleshow/76470496.cms )


THE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF GALWAN VALLEY

Why in news?

  • The Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh that saw a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese troops on the night of June 15 resulting in casualties on either side has strategic significance

Highlights:

  • Strategic significance because of its proximity to the vital road link to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO)---the world’s highest landing ground that lies close to the Line of Actual Control and serves as an important aerial supply line.

  • India is engaged in building up border infrastructure in this area, including the all weather 255 km Darbul-Shayok- DBO road. The road runs almost parallel---at places very close---to the LAC and extends up to the base of the Karakoram pass, which when complete, will reduce the travel time from Leh to DBO from the present two days to just six hours.

  • Road and bridge construction works have recently been speeded up with a large number of labourers being ferried in.

  • The Galwan valley connects with Shyok on the road under construction and lies between DBO and Chushul to the south near Pangon Tso, another hot spot, providing convenient access to Shyok and the areas beyond. Control of the ridgeline along the valley also allows domination of the road.

  • Looking eastwards, control of the Galwan valley gives access to the Aksai Chin plateau, through which part of the Xinjiang-Tibet highway passes.

  • While the road is highly prone to Chinese interdiction or long range artillery, it serves a vital peace time role in maintaining forward posts and building up reserves.

  • An alternate route to DBO is being developed from a different axis in Ladakh that has adequate depth from the LAC.

About Galwan River :

  •  The Galwan river flows westwards from the disputed Aksai Chin region in to Ladakh after originating in Samzungling area on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and joins the Shyok River, one of the tributaries of the Indus. The fast flowing river runs for about 80 km.

  • The Galwan river is to the west of China's 1956 claim line in Aksai Chin. However, in 1960 China advanced its claim line to the west of the river along the mountain ridge adjoining the Shyok river valley.

  • India had established some military posts in this sector.

  • During the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, Indian posts in the Galwan Sector were attacked and overwhelmed by the Chinese, resulting in casualties and some prisoners-of-war.

  • After the war, this sector largely remained dormant till the recent face-offs.


Source : Tribune India ( https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/the-strategic-importance-of-galwan-valley-100037 )


INDIA SIGNS $750 MILLION AGREEMENT WITH AIIB FOR COVID SUPPORT

Why in news?

  • The Indian government and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed a $750 million “COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme” on Friday to assist India to strengthen its response to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on poor and vulnerable households.


Highlights:

  • This is the first-ever budgetary support programme from the AIIB to India.

  • The Programme will provide the Government of India with budget support to mitigate the severe adverse social and economic impact of COVID-19.

  • The current loan will be the second to India from AIIB under its COVID-19 crisis recovery facility apart from the earlier approved $500 million loan for the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.

  • The Primary Programme beneficiaries would be families below the poverty line, farmers, healthcare workers, women, women’s self-help groups, widows, people with disabilities, senior citizens, low wage earners, construction workers and other vulnerable groups.

  • The project is being financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the amount of $2.250 billion, of which $750 million will be provided by AIIB and $1.5 billion will be provided by ADB.

  • The project will be executed by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, through various line ministries.


Source : The Statesman ( https://www.thestatesman.com/coronavirus/india-signs-750-million-agreement-with-aiib-for-covid-support-1502901635.html )


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