GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

Maratha Light Infantry Celebrates 250th Anniversary.

Background

  • Indian Army’s one of the oldest and most decorated regiments, the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, on 4th February, 2018 began year-long celebrations to mark its 250th anniversary.
  • The Regiment’s training centre is located in Belgaum, Karnataka. The Martha regiment has bagged  56 battle honours and 10 theatre honours.
  • Lt Gen P J S Pannu, the Colonel of the Regiment and Deputy Chief, Directorate of Organisational Training (DOT) at Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) said that Maratha light infantry regiment is crossing the milestone of 250 years of glorious rising. It draws its inspiration from Chhatrapati Shivaji and the Maratha warriors who were adept in guerrilla warfare. As a result, the regiment was involved in Afghanistan and other theatres before Independence.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Stating that Maratha Light Infantry was the first infantry unit to be designated “light infantry” by the British during the first Afghan war for being “swift-footed,” Pannu said the regiment is good in night warfare.  Outlining the regimental philosophy, Pannu said they do not have a command called attention. they are in relaxed position but ready for a task.
  • The first battalion of the Regiment was raised as ‘second battalion Bombay Sepoys’ in 1768 which was later known as ‘jangi paltan’. February Four also has a historical significance as on this day in 1670 Chhatrapati Shivaji conquered Fort Kondana, famously known as Sinhgarh.
  • The regiment has a long history of gallantry and sacrifice. During the World War I the regiment was honoured with 15 battle honours. In the World War II the regiment size increased from six to 13 battalions and has the rare honour of winning two Victoria Crosses – Naik Yeshwant Ghadge and Sepoy Namdev Jadhav.  
  • At present, the regiment has 21 regular battalions, four Rashtriya Rifles battalions and two Territorial Army battalions. Highlighting ther achievements of the regiment, Colonel S S Shekhawat said it is the only regiment of the Army from which two battalions were converted into the Special Forces(SF) including the 2 and 21 Para Special Forces.
  • Shekhawat of 21 Para SF is one of the most decorated soldiers serving and his medals for gallantry include Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and Sena Medal(gallantry) and Vishisht Sena Medal(VSM) for distinguished service.
  • The Regiment has inter-service affiliation with Navy ship INS Mumbai and 20th Squadron of the Indian Air Force besides Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman and Diu.

Sources- The Pioneer.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India Joins Ashgabat Agreement.

Background

  • India has joined the Ashgabat agreement which envisages setting up of an international transport and transit corridor linking central Asia with the Persian Gulf to significantly ramp up trade and investment.
  • The external affairs ministry said that Turkmenistan, as depository State of Ashgabat Agreement, informed India on 1st February, 2018 that all the four founding members have consented to the accession of India (to the agreement).

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Besides Turkmenistan, the other founding members of the agreement are Iran, Oman and Uzbekistan and these countries had signed the pact on April 25, 2011.
  • Accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with central Asia and have a positive influence on India’s trade and commercial ties with the region.
  • The statement said India’s accession to the agreement came into force on Saturday, 3rd February, 2018.
  • After approval of the Union Cabinet, India had deposited the instrument of accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016.

Sources- TOI.

 

GS Paper IV- Ethics.

Sweden Commits Record $370m Of Aid To UN World Food Programme.

Background

  • Sweden and the United Nations World Food Programme on 2nd February, 2018 signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement committing an unprecedented $370 million dollars to WFP over the next four years, the agency said, hailing the Scandinavian nation as a global leader in aid.
  • The contribution for the period 2018-2021 is the biggest ever made by a donor within a WFP Strategic Partnership Agreement, WFP underlined.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • For almost a decade, the Swedish government has been the largest donor of flexible funds to WFP whereas 90 per cent of government funding to WFP is earmarked for specific operations or activities, the agency said.
  • WFP Executive Director David Beasley said that Sweden’s extremely generous contribution provides WFP with one of the largest amounts of flexible and predictable funding any country has ever given, enabling them to save lives at any given place and at any given time.
  • The Swedish contribution comes at a time of record need as the world faces the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, with multiple large-scale hunger emergencies occurring across the planet, WFP said.
  • For the first time in a decade, the number of hungry people in the world is increasing and the majority of world’s hungry people now live in countries affected by conflict, WFP said.
  • Ten of the 13 largest food crises on the planet are driven mainly by conflict, said WFP.
  • Food assistance is one of the most critical ways to respond to famine and save lives in acute emergency situations, said Sweden’s International Development Minister and Deputy Premier Isabella Loevin.
  • As part of their partnership, they are working closely with WFP to develop sustainable approaches to save livelihoods, she added.

Sources- Business-Standard.