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Current Affairs 2nd February 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

President addresses Joint Session of the Parliament

Context: President Droupadi Murmu addressed the Joint Session of the Parliament.

Historical Evolution

  • Establishment of the Practice: The tradition of the President addressing Parliament in India commenced following the 1919 Government of India Act.
  • Early Years (1947-1950): Between 1947 and 1950, no addresses were made to the Constituent Assembly (Legislative).
  • Inaugural Address: President Rajendra Prasad delivered the first address to both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members on January 31, 1950, after the Constitution was adopted.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 87: It deals with the President’s address to Parliament.
  • Occasions: At the start of the first session following each general election
    • At the beginning of the first session annually.
  • Format and Content: No fixed format for the speeches.
    • The main requirement being to explain the reasons for the summons.
    • Generally sets forth the government’s policy goals and plans for the coming year.
  • Post-Address Procedures: Both Houses pass motions to thank the President for the address.

Importance of the President’s Address

  • The President’s address is a pivotal event in the Parliamentary calendar, symbolising the unity of Parliament and serving as a platform for the government to announce its policy and legislative agenda.

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Israel-Lebanon Close to a War

Context: The conflict between Israel and Lebanon erupted after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed several others in cross-border raids.

About Hezbollah

  • About: Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamic militant organisation based in Lebanon.
  • Origins:
    • Emerged during Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990)
    • Reaction to Palestinian presence and marginalisation of Shiites
    • Inspired by Iran’s 1979 revolution and Shiite ideology
  • Founding and Support:
    • Funded and trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)
    • Gained reputation for militancy and attacks on foreign targets (e.g., 1983 Beirut bombing)
  • 1985 manifesto:
    • Expel Western powers from Lebanon
    • Destroy Israel
    • Pledge allegiance to Iran’s supreme leader
    • Advocate for Iran-inspired Islamist regime (with Lebanese self-determination)
  • Role:
    • Became a vital asset for Iran in the Middle East
    • Bridged Shiite Arab-Persian divides
    • Established itself as a major political force in Lebanon

Previous Year Question

Q. Mediterranean Sea is a border of which of the following countries? (2017)

  1. Jordan
  2. Iraq
  3. Lebanon
  4. Syria

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 3 and 4 only

Answer: c

Explanation: Countries that border the Mediterranean Sea are Algeria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Croatia, France, Egypt, Italy, Israel, Greece, Libya, Lebanon, Monaco, Morocco, Slovenia, Montenegro, Syria, Spain, Turkey and Tunisia.

MQ – 9B Drones Deal

Context: The US State Department has approved the sale of 31 MQ-9B Skyguardian drones, missiles and supporting equipment to India.

About the Deal

  • 31 MQ-9B SkyGuardian aircraft,
  • 161 Embedded Global Positioning & Inertial Navigation Systems (EGIs),
  • 35 L3 Rio Grande Communications Intelligence Sensor Suites,
  • 170 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles,
  • The other equipment included ground control stations, missile launchers, tactical training rounds, high frequency radios, and radars.

About MQ-9B Drones

  • The MQ-9B is a version of the MQ-9 “Reaper”, designed for both remote and autonomous flight capabilities.
  • These drones are equipped for high-altitude, long-duration missions, armed with precision strike missiles.
  • Developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the U.S. Air Force.
  • Variants:
    • Includes two main models: SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian.
    • The Indian Navy has been utilising the MQ-9B SeaGuardian since 2020.
  • Developed by: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF).

MQ-9B SkyGuardian Features

  • Advanced RPAS Technology: Represents the latest in remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) advancements.
    • Delivers continuous intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities globally.
  • Extended Flight Capabilities: Designed for long-duration missions, capable of 40+ hours of flight time termed as High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drones.
    • Operates in all weather conditions and can fly beyond the horizon via satellite link.
  • Civil Airspace Compatibility: Engineered to safely integrate into civil airspace, providing joint forces and civil authorities with real-time situational awareness worldwide, both day and night.
  • Advanced Sensor Suite: Equipped with the Lynx Multi-mode Radar and a high-performance electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor for enhanced surveillance.
  • Operational Enhancements: Features automatic takeoff and landing for operational convenience.

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