The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday welcomed the completion of the notification process in the U.S. Congress on August 29 for a commercial agreement between General Electric Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India and the commencement of the negotiations. The leaders lauded the settlement of the seventh and last outstanding World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between the two countries.
- Biden arrived in New Delhi in the evening to attend the G-20 Summit and went straight to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence for a bilateral meeting. The summit will be held on Saturday and Sunday.
- A joint statement issued after the bilateral talks said: “President Biden welcomed the issuance of a Letter of Request from the Ministry of Defence of India to procure 31 General Atomics MQ-9B (16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian) remotely piloted aircraft and their associated equipment, which will enhance the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of India’s armed forces across all domains.”
- The MQ-9B drone is a variant of the MQ-9 “Reaper”, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.
- These are high-altitude long-endurance drones armed with strike missiles which can take out enemy targets with high accuracy.
- It was developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), primarily for the United States Air Force (USAF).
- The MQ-9B has two variants — SkyGuardian and its sibling SeaGuardian.
- The Indian Navy has been operating the MQ-9B Sea Guardian since 2020.
Features of MQ-9B SeaGuardian :
- It can carry up to 5,670 kg and has a fuel capacity of 2,721 kg.
- The drone can operate at over 40,000 feet.
- The Predator also has a maximum endurance of 40 hours, making it useful for long-hour surveillance.
- It can support land, maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, electronic warfare and expeditionary roles.
- It is also capable of automatic take-offs and landings.
- It can safely integrate into civil airspace, enabling joint forces and civil authorities to deliver real-time situational awareness anywhere in the maritime domain — day or night.
- Called the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), 2023 and the Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023 they are to replace the existing Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.
- There is an explicit provision in the BNSS on the registration of a cognisable offence in any police station, irrespective of the area where the offence is committed.
- The new Sanhita provides for a mandatory visit of the crime scene by a forensic expert and the collection of forensic evidence for offences punishable with more than seven years of imprisonment.
- Despite a ban on the two-finger test in a case of rape, and this test having been termed by the Supreme Court to be unscientific and violative of the dignity and privacy of a rape victim/survivor (in Lillu @ Rajesh & Anr vs State Of Haryana, 2013), the ban does not have a place in the Code.
- A provision in the Sanhita that has raised the eyebrows of critics is the increase in the period of police custody exceeding 15 days, as provided in the CrPC. This may help the police to interrogate an accused person again if additional evidence is found during an investigation.
- What must not be forgotten is that police stations are generally under-staffed, have poor mobility, insufficient training infrastructure and poor housing facilities. Police personnel work under stressful conditions.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s whistle-stop summit sojourn to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta earlier this week was primarily aimed at deepening India’s engagement with the economically significant grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations.
- Coming on the eve of India’s hosting of the G-20 summit in New Delhi as the current holder of the bloc’s presidency, Mr. Modi’s presence at the annual ASEAN-India summit was an opportunity to cement traditional ties with the neighbouring Asian economies at a time of heightened global trade uncertainty.
- Modi’s pitch, laying stress on the need for a rules-based post-COVID-19 world order and a free and open Indo-Pacific, was clearly directed at members among the Asian bloc who are increasingly disquieted by China’s recent muscle flexing and claims over the South China Sea.
Highlights of 20th ASEAN-India summit:
- Theme: ‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’
- KeyPoints of PM’s address:
- ASEAN is the central pillar of India’s Act East Policy.
- India supports ASEAN’s outlook on ASEAN-India centrality and Indo-Pacific.
- The progress of a free and open Indo-Pacific and elevating the voice of the Global South is in the common interest of all.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN):
- ASEAN was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
- Founding Members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Other Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
- Motto of ASEAN: “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
- Organizational Structure: The annual summit is ASEAN’s highest body (ASEAN Summit).
- The chairmanship of the ASEAN Summit and Ministerial Conferences has rotated annually in alphabetical order between member states.
- ASEAN Secretariat: Indonesia, Jakarta.
- Objective: To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region.