Article 370: 1 Year Of Abrogation

Article 370: 1 Year Of Abrogation

With the abrogation of article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir completing first anniversary on 5 August, let us take a look at its history and the impact of its removal.

Crux of the Matter

History Of Article 370

  • 1808: Jammu won by the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • 1819: Kashmir was added to the Sikh territory.
  • 1822: Ranjit Singh appointed General Gulab Singh as the “Raja of Jammu”.
  • 1846: After the Anglo-Sikh war, Britain grants Gulab Singh the rule of J&K in exchange for a sum of ₹75 lakh. The Dogra dynasty is established.
  • October 1947: Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession (IoA) in favour of India after Pakistani armed men attack the state. Initially granted the Indian Parliament the “power to legislate in respect of J&K only on the matters of defence, external affairs, and communications”.
  • 1948: India and Pakistan go to the United Nations over the occupation of Kashmir, and Sheikh Abdullah appointed the Prime Minister of J&K in March.
  • 1950: The Constitution of India is formed, containing Article 370 under the heading of ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’ to provide special status to J&K. Except “defence, foreign affairs, finance, and communications”, the Centre required approval of the state government to implement any laws. The Constitution also contained Article 35A which allowed J&K to define “permanent residents” and provide “special rights and privileges” to them.
  • 1956: J&K implements its own constitution.
  • 1965: The title of the Prime Minister of J&K is changed to Chief Minister. Sheikh Abdullah became the CM with Congress support, but removed and reinstated several times, with Central rule being imposed at times.
  • 1980s-90s: Increase in activities of separatist militants. The targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits forces them to flee the state.
  • 2019: Indian govt “abrogated” Article 370 using provisions of Article 370 to the point of making it defunct – J&K to be treated as any other state/UT. The state was turned into 2 UTs – J&K a UT with legislature, and Ladakh without legislature.

Impact Of Removal

  • People from all over India would now be able to purchase property in the state and settle there (under certain conditions).
  • Non-permanent residents of the state are now eligible to apply for government jobs in the state.
  • J&K assembly would have to comply with the national laws, just like all other Indian states.
  • End of discrimination against women concerning property. Earlier, a woman from the state would lose her property rights if she married a person from outside the state.
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act now applicable in the state.
  • Increase in democratic functioning: Block development polls occurred in Oct, 2019 for the first time in J&K with a 98.3% voter turnout.
  • Private Universities are expected to open in the state for the first time, and industrialization would now be possible in the state.

Case Of Valmikis
Valmikis belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) from Punjab were brought for sanitation work in the state in 1957. However, they were not provided the ‘permanent residency’. Consequently, they had no right to vote in the state elections, and could not avail reservation benefits as the state did not provide their SC certificates. The absence of certificate also rendered them ineligible for promotions as only the post of ‘safai karamcharis’ was available to them. The plight of the children of the Valmiki community was exacerbated as they were eligible to study only up to graduation in the state, and were consequently eligible only for the position of a sweeper.

The removal of Articles 370 and 35A ended all the mentioned discriminations faced by the Valmiki and other non-permanent resident communities in J&K.

  • Naya Kashmir was the name given to the memorandum by Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of Kashmir’s leading political party in 1944. It was the outline of a plan to convert the Jammu and Kashmir state from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy.
  • Our Moon has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits is a 2013 memoir by Indian author Rahul Pandita about the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in the late 1989 and early 1990.
  • Pheran is the traditional outfit for both males and females in Kashmir. The pheran consists of two gowns, one over the other. According to some sources, the pheran was introduced by Mughal emperor Akbar when he conquered the valley in 1586.

History Of Ayodhya Ram Temple

History Of Ayodhya Ram Temple

With the date of inauguration of the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 5th August, let us take a look at the long history of the temple, permeated by conflicts at certain intervals.

Crux of the Matter

The Ceremony for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya would be held on 5th August, 2020 to initiate the construction of the temple by “the installation of a 40 kg silver brick as the foundation stone by the Prime Minister”.

Only 5 people are expected to be on stage including PM Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath to maintain social distancing. The Temple construction is expected to be done in “3 to 3.5 years”. The dimensions of the temple are expected as follows:
Width: 270- 280 feet
Height: 161 feet
Length: 280-300 feet

With such dimensions, it is expected to be the 3rd largest Hindu temple of the world after the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia and the Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.

Soil and holy water from temples and rivers across India have reached the temple site as “blessings”, including contributions from the Sangam – the confluence of Ganga, Saraswati, and Yamuna rivers – and soil from Kamakhya temple (Assam), Char Dhams and several other places of worship.

Timeline Of Dispute

  • 1528: Babri Mosque constructed in Ayodhya by Mir Baqi, the commander of Mughal emperor Babur. Hindus allege that Ram temple at the site was demolished to construct the mosque, and claim the place claimed as the place of birth of Lord Ram (Janmbhoomi).
  • 1859: Fence to separate places of worship constructed by British, with the Inner court provided to Muslims and the Outer court provided to Hindus.
  • 1885: Court rejected Mahant Raghubir Das’s plea to construct a temple on Ram chabootra.
  • 1949: Idol of Lord Ram ‘resurfaces’, and the Government declares it a “disputed site” and locks up the premises.
  • 1950: Plea filed by Gopal Singh Visharad to allow worship of idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi’.
  • 1959: Nirmohi Akhara, a denomination of Hindu religion worshipping Lord Ram, files suit to claim possession of the disputed land, and claims itself a “custodian” of Ram Janmbhoomi.
  • 1961: The UP Central Sunni Waqf board files suit claiming possession of the mosque and disputed land, and demands the removal of Lord Ram idols from the Mosque.
  • 1983: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) starts nationwide movement demanding construction of temple at the disputed site.
  • 1986: Local court directs the gates to be opened and allows Hindus to worship inside the Mosque. The Babri Masjid Action Committee is set up by Muslims.
  • 1989: Shilanyas ceremony performed by the VHP, where the first stone is placed in the plan of construction of the Ram temple.
  • 1990: BJP leader LK Advani leads Rath Yatra (procession) from Somnath to Ayodhya to demand construction of the temple.
  • 1992: The Babri Mosque is demolished by ‘Kar Sewaks’ comprising of VHP, Shiv Sena and BJP workers.
  • 2002: Allahabad High Court begins hearings concerning the ownership of the disputed land.
  • 2010: Allahabad HC directed a 3-way division of land between the Sunni Waqf board, Nirmohi Akhara, and Ram Lalla (infant form) represented by Hindu Mahasabha.
  • 2011: The Supreme Court (SC) stays the Allahabad HC order.
  • 2019: In August, the SC starts daily hearings after the mediation failed.
  • November 2019: The SC orders the disputed 2.77-acre land to be given to a trust for the construction of Lord Ram temple and allots 5 acres of land for Mosque construction at a different site in Ayodhya.
  • February 2020: The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust (Temple Trust) is announced for the construction of the temple.
  • March 2020: First phase of construction begins, as idols of deities are shifted to temporary places where they would be kept till the construction of the temple is complete.
  • May 2020: The Temple Trust claims the discovery of “a five-foot Shivlinga, seven pillars of black touchstone, six pillars of red sandstone, structures of flowers and broken idols of deities” at the Ram Janmabhoomi.

  • The word “Ayodhya” is a regularly formed derivation of the Sanskrit verb yudh, the initial ‘a’ is the negative prefix; the whole, therefore, means “not to be fought”. This meaning is attested by the Atharvaveda, which uses it to refer to the unconquerable city of gods.
  • Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Since around 1850, the Cambodian flag has featured a depiction of Angkor Wat in the center.
  • Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra is a trust set up for the construction and management of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya. It was created as per the verdict of the Supreme Court of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of the trust in the Lok Sabha on 5 February 2020. The trust is led by Mahant Nrityagopal Das.

China And Pakistan Sign A Biowarfare Deal

China And Pakistan Sign A Biowarfare Deal

China and Pakistan reportedly agreed on a “biological research” deal, with the actual motive of the collaboration being cited as a biowarfare development.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Agreement
China and Pakistan recently agreed on a collaborative deal, with the title of the joint research being “Collaboration for Emerging Infectious Diseases and Studies on Biological Control of Vector Transmitting Diseases”.

The agreement was reported by Anthony Klan, who is an investigative journalist from Australia. Klan also claimed that the Wuhan Institute of Virology of China will provide “all financial, material and scientific” resources.

Active Motive
According to Klan, the actual aim of the joint research is to isolate Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), which is extremely similar to Bacillus Anthracis, which causes deadly Anthrax disease. The Bacillus Anthracis is a “classified bio-warfare agent”, which might be used in an offensive against rival nations.

The development came after the recent experiment of the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV), a virus similar to the Ebola virus. The experiment was done by Pakistan using aid from China. The BT collaboration is being cited as a “bonus” for China, as it can perform dangerous experiments on “foreign soil”.

History Of BioWarfare

  • In 1925, the Geneva protocol banned the “use of chemical and biological weapons in war”.
  • Complete breach of the protocol occurred in World War II. The breach was mainly done by Japan in the East, which reportedly scattered disease-causing fleas and pathogens on Chinese cities and water systems.
  • While China has agreed to the Geneva protocol for biological weapons, it has received criticism from the US since the Bill Clinton regime. The US has repeatedly claimed that China is engaged in developing biological weapons, which China denies vehemently.

Chinese Influence

  • The Wuhan Institute of Virology received a shipment of “Ebola and Henipah viruses” from Canada 1 month before the Covid-19 outbreak, drawing criticism for not revealing the details of such crucial dealing.
  • Both Chinese and Canadian governments claim that no links exist between the two incidents.
  • Chinese company Huawei has reportedly $56 million of investment in Canadian research institutes, allegedly along with several undisclosed investments in the US education and research system.

China-Pakistan Relations

  • Pakistan was among the few countries supporting China in its crackdown of the 1989 Tiananmen square protests.
  • China openly supports Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, while Pakistan does the same for Tibet and Taiwan.
  • China is the biggest arms supplier of Pakistan.
  • Pakistanis a crucial part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with a deal worth $60 billion to aid the country.
  • China recently funded the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam, which is located in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • Unit 731 was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest gas chamber in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.
  • The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story is a best-selling 1994 non-fiction thriller by Richard Preston about the origins and incidents involving viral hemorrhagic fevers. The basis of the book was Preston’s 1992 New Yorker article “Crisis in the Hot Zone”.
  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan is China’s biggest arms buyer, counting for nearly 47% of Chinese arms exports. According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 75% of Pakistanis view China’s influence positively with only 15% expressing a negative view.

Multipolar World And The Future

Multipolar World And The Future

India’s recent suggestion to the US to prepare for a multipolar world seems appropriate in the current times, with a post-Covid world looking towards the breaking of power from the usual binaries to a nebulous spread.

Crux of the Matter

Definition And Recent US-age
Multipolar world can be defined as the state when there are more than 2 dominant nations, with several nations having similar level of economic, cultural and military strength.

In the ‘India Ideas Summit’ 2020′, Dr. S. Jaishankar, the Minister of External Affairs of India, advised the US “to learn to work with a more multipolar world with more plurilateral arrangements” amidst the recent conflict between the US and China, where several key nations have emerged with a larger role than the traditional powers.

Era Of Regional Alliances
Regional alliances were common before World War I. In the war, the major Central powers were Germany, and its adjoining neighbor, the Austro-Hungarian empire. Italy was also a part of their pact, but stayed neutral earlier, later joining the Allies. These Central powers were later joined by the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), and adjoining Bulgaria.

On the other side, the Allied powers had Russia, Britain and France joined through the Triple Entente pact. The US and Japan later joined on the Allies side, signifying a shift towards the formation of alliances with countries outside Europe that entered the war.

World War II Alliances
While countries outside the European region took part in the war, prominent alliances were formed between countries belonging to different regions and continents after World War II.

The Tripartite Pact was signed between the Axis powers Germany, Italy, and Japan, which was situated 9,000 km far from Germany in Asia. These were later joined by Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, etc. The major powers on the Allied side were Britain, France, Soviet Union, and the US, which also signed the United Nations declaration in 1942.

Cold War Alignment
The US and the Soviet Union engaged in the Cold War after World War II, which lasted until the dissolution of the latter in 1991. In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) came into existence, whose members were US, Italy, Canada, Britain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, etc. The Treaty claimed that any “armed attack” against any member was to be considered an attack on the whole, and the required response would be taken by the whole group.

In 1954, the NATO rejected the membership request of the Soviet, while agreed on that for West Germany. Consequently, in 1955, the Warsaw Pact was signed by 8 Members including the USSR, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc.

In 1955, the Bandung conference took place to boost ties between Asian and African nations like India, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, China, etc. In the meeting, the nations called for “abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers”. These nations then decided not to take the overt side of either the US or the USSR in the Cold War. Consequently, in 1961, the Non-Aligned Movement was agreed between the developing nations to avoid conflict at the international level.

India’s Unique Position
India imported food supplies from the US between 1947 and 1959 due to poor harvest and insufficient agricultural system. In 1950, India rejected the ‘Uniting for Peace Resolution’ by the US as it reduced the powers of the USSR in the international stage. Consequently, India developed strong ties with the USSR while the US developed relations with Pakistan.

The Non-alignment of India suffered when China attacked in 1962 over a lack of support provided. Consequently, in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, the US openly supported Pakistan while the USSR countered the US and supported India.

Future Power
Several experts claim that India could be the next global power amidst calls against China for its role in the Covid-19 spread as well as its dealings with Hong Kong and Taiwan. One of the major reasons cited by experts is that India, with 2nd largest population in the world, could be potentially the next market hotspot as industries seek to shift from China in recent times.

India recently developed strong ties with Australia, Israel, Japan, the US, Russia, the European Union, etc, with these ties providing an edge to it over China. With Covid-19 affecting major economies like the US and Japan (both in recession), India is poised for being possibly the next power in the multipolar world.

  • The balance of power theory in international relations suggests that states may secure their survival by preventing any one state from gaining enough military power to dominate all others. Some realists maintain that a balance-of-power system is more stable than one with a dominant state.
  • Hegemonic stability theory (HST) is a theory of international relations, rooted in research from the fields of political science, economics, and history. HST indicates that the international system is more likely to remain stable when a single nation-state is the dominant world power or hegemon. The 1973 book The World in Depression: 1929-1939, argues that the economic chaos between World War I and World War II that led to the Great Depression was partly attributable to the lack of a world leader with a dominant economy.
  • International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. The three most prominent theories are realism, liberalism, and constructivism.

India-US Naval Exercises

India-US Naval Exercises

Amidst recent clashes with China, India boosted its ties with allies through military collaborations and naval exercises, adding to its recent success of similar joint ventures.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Drills
Navies of India and the US recently conducted a joint navy exercise near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indian ships carried the drill with the US Navy “carrier strike group” led by USS Nimitz, which passed through Malacca strait located to the southeast of A&N – the strait is of strategic importance to India and China. The naval exercise took place amidst the sailing of the US ships from the South China Sea to the Middle East.

Passex is short for Passing Exercise in Navy terms. It is done to check the “communication and coordination” between navies, required in case of a mission or war. A drill which was conducted on short notice, the India-US drill was an example of Passex.

Cautioning China
Several drills have occurred in the South China Sea amidst its recent implementation of the ‘Security Law’ in Hong Kong and its conflict with Taiwan.

The US Navy recently conducted drills in the South China Sea, with the aircraft carriers USS Reagan and USS Nimitz leading the drill. China criticized the move and increased its deployment of warships and aircraft in the region, with the move gaining disapproval from Vietnam and the Philippines.

The US also sailed its warship in the strait between Taiwan and China at the time when Chinese aircraft reportedly entered the Taiwanese border.

India’s Naval Exercises
India held several navy drills in the recent past and it conducts joint annual exercise with several nations.

  • June 2020: Indian Navy conducted a joint exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Malacca Strait in the Indian Ocean.
  • December 2019: India and Russia held a “tri-service exercise” of the Army, Airforce, and Navy, named ‘Indra 2019’.
  • November 2019: India held the “Za’ir-Al-Bahr” (Roar of the Sea) maritime exercise with Qatar in Doha.
  • September 2019: India and Thailand conducted the 28th “coordinated patrol” (CORPAT) exercise.
  • May 2019: The 8th CORPAT drill took place between India and Myanmar.
  • Malabar is the annual naval exercise with the US and Japan, with Australia and Singapore being past non-permanent participants. The addition of Australia to the drill is expected in 2020.
  • Varuna is an annual naval drill with France.
  • Milan includes annual naval exercises with multiple nations. 30 participant countries including Australia and Singapore were confirmed for the 2020 drill, which got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • SIMBEX is an annual naval drill with Singapore.
  • SLINEX is a naval exercise with Sri Lanka. While the exercise occurred once in 2 years, it has been made an annual event since 2018.
  • The Indian colonial navy was titled as His Majesty’s Indian Navy. When India became a republic in 1950, the Royal Indian Navy as it had been named since 1934 was renamed to the Indian Navy.
  • शं नो वरुणः is the motto Indian Navy. The Sanskrit phrase means “May the Lord of Water be auspicious unto us”.
  • Navy Day in India is celebrated on 4th December every year to recognize the achievements and role of the Indian Navy to the country. 4 December was chosen as on that day in 1971, during Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank four Pakistani vessels including PNS Khaibar.