GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

2nd World Congress On Marxism To Be Held In Beijing.

Background-

  • The 2nd World Congress on Marxism is scheduled to be held in Peking University in Beijing May, 2018, the organiser said on 22nd October, 2017.
  • The congress, to be held from May 5 to May 6, 2018, is expected to attract more than 300 Marxism researchers to discuss Marxism in the 21st century and its developments in China.

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The congress coincides with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth and 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, said Gu Hailiang, head of the academic board of the organising committee.
  • It will be a significant event for the world Marxism research and scientific socialism, Gu told a press conference.
  • The conference, with the theme of “Marxism and the current world and China”, will have 17 subforums covering topics like Chinese solution and modernization approach by the developing countries, said Sun Daiyao, vice president of the School of Marxism of Peking University.
  • Gu said the congress will focus on Marxism research by the global academic circle and Marxism in current China.
  • The congress will help to interpret to the world academic circle the China road, China theory and China experience, Gu said.

Sources- Business-Standard.

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Bangladesh Signs Gasoil Import Deal With India.

Background

  • Bangladesh on 22nd October, 2017 signed a long-term sales and purchase agreement with an Indian refiner to import gasoil to meet the country’s energy demand.
  • The deal between Bangladesh Petroleum Corp (BPC) and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) was signed in presence of India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in Dhaka on 22nd on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral issues.
  • Her visit comes as Bangladesh is struggling to cope with an influx of almost 600,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar since Aug. 25, 2017, when the U.N. says the Myanmar army began a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” following insurgent attacks.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The deal with NRL, which is majority owned by refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), is the country’s first long-term agreement with any Indian supplier.
  • Under the deal, BPC will take up to 250,000 tonnes of gasoil each year from NRL for the first three years of the deal to the BPC’s northern fuel depot via a 131-km (79 mile) pipeline, which will be built by India.
  • The import volume will be increased in line with demand, a senior BPC official said, adding the deal would come into effect when the pipeline is built.
  • BPC will pay a premium of $5.50 per barrel over Middle East quotes under the 15-year deal, up from the current premiums of $2.20 a barrel for gasoil cargoes it receives by tanker through the country’s southeastern port of Chittagong.
  • NRL already supplies a small volume to state-owned BPC for the country’s northern region.
  • The refinery, located in the eastern Indian state of Assam, will supply around 22,000 tonnes of gasoil with a sulphur content of 500 parts per million (ppm) between October and December by railroad, BPC officials said.
  • BPC received its first batch in October, 2017 under the three-month agreement.
  • Bangladesh typically ships in around 3.2 million tonnes of diesel and 2.5 million tonnes of fuel oil annually.
  • Sellers include Kuwait Petroleum Corp, Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad, Emirates National Oil Company, Philippines National Oil Co, Vietnam’s Petrolimex, Thailand’s PTT, Indonesia’s Bumi Siak Pusako and Zhenhua Oil.

Sources- Reuters.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Former IB Chief Dineshwar Sharma To Represent Govt For Kashmir Dialogue.

Background

  • In a major recalibration of its policy, the union government formally signalled its intent to begin a dialogue with all stakeholders to generate a peaceful solution to the problem of Kashmir.
  • Accordingly, union home minister Rajnath Singh, on 23rd October, 2017, appointed former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director Dineshwar Sharma to be the Centre’s “special representative” in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Sharma, a 1979-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, served as the IB director from December 2014 to 2016, has been given the rank of a cabinet secretary.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Through this, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has signalled a major course correction: while it has not shied away from taking the hardline, it is also willing to talk peace.
  • In the last one year security forces, especially after the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army, have aggressively targeted terrorists. According to the union home ministry’s statistics, between January and August this year (2017), the security forces have killed 132 militants compared to 150 in 2016 and 108 in 2015.
  • The union government’s decision was welcomed by both sides of the aisle in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Drawing on PM Modi’s Independence Day address, Rajnath Singh maintained that the government was serious about making Kashmir a part of the mainstream. He also implicitly signalled that Sharma would be free to initiate a dialogue even with the separatists.
  • In 2010, under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had formed a three-member committee of interlocutors, but failed to generate a solution.
  • Radha Kumar, former head of the Delhi Policy Group, a think tank, and one of the three interlocutors appointed by the UPA backed a two track dialogue process — one with the Kashmiris and the other with Pakistan.
  • Senior BJP leaders said that the talks between the union government, separatists and other stakeholders would set the ball rolling on restoring normalcy in the valley.

Sources- Livemint.