GS 3 – Internal Security

26/11 key accused wanted ‘medal’ for ‘top class’ input

Why in News?

Tahawwur Rana, key accused in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, wanted it to be conveyed to one of the Pakistani co-conspirators a year after the 2008 attacks that he deserved a ‘medal’ for ‘top class’ contribution and that the “Indians deserved it,” papers filed by the U.S. government in a California court.

Context

  • The U.S. authorities told the court that “decides whether the fugitive should be surrendered to the requesting country”.
  • Rana, wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2008 terror attack case, is currently lodged in a Los Angeles prison, awaiting extradition to India.
  • Commuted his jail sentence as he tested positive for COVID-19, federal prosecutors provisionally arrested him in the wake of the pending extradition request from India.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intercepted a conversation between Rana and David Coleman Headley, another prime accused, that “nine LeT attackers who had been killed during the attacks should be given Pakistan’s highest military honour”.
  • Ten heavily armed men, trained by Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT and officials in the Pakistan security establishment, launched coordinated attacks on 12 locations in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, killing 166 people, including six Americans.
  • The 10th terrorist – Ajmal Kasab – was caught and later hanged to death at a Pune prison.
  • The U.S. federal prosecutors filed an “extradition memorandum” in the district court of California, regarding Rana’s extradition.
  • Rana and Headley attended military high school together in Pakistan and were close friends.
  • The Pakistani-Canadian citizen who was arrested in 2009 has challenged the extradition and filed a plea in the U.S. court. He was convicted for providing material support to the LeT in 2013.
  • Unlike Headley, Rana did not enter into a plea bargain with the U.S. and he was placed under “provisional arrest”.
  • Headley, a prime accused, had entered into a plea bargain with the U.S. soon after his arrest and he cannot be extradited to India due to the “double jeopardy” clause which bars punishment for the same crime twice.
  • Rana was acquitted by the jury at the Illinois court of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in India.
  • In accordance with the provisions of the Extradition Treaty between India and the U.S., the Embassy of India submitted a diplomatic note formally requesting Rana’s extradition.

 

National Investigation Agency (NIA)

The Government to enact a legislation to make provisions for establishment of a National Investigation Agency.

NIA in a concurrent jurisdiction framework, with provisions for taking up specific cases under specific Acts for investigation.

At present NIA is functioning as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.

 

GS 2 – Polity & Governance

Reforms have brought new opportunities: PM

Why in News?

Prime Minister said the demands raised by farmers over the years had been met in the form of the recent agriculture reforms, which have brought new opportunities.

Context

  • All political parties had been making promises to the farmers but now these promises had been fulfilled.
  • The PM’s address came at the end of a week marked by protests by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi against the three farm Bills passed by Parliament in September.
  • The agricultural reforms in the past few days have also now opened new doors of possibilities for our farmers.
  • These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also given them new rights and opportunities.
  • The new farm laws passed in September came to his aid. Under this law, it was decided that all dues of the farmers should be cleared within three days of procurement, failing which, the farmer can lodge a complaint.
  • The farmer was able to lodge a complaint and get his pending dues cleared within day.
  • Whichever the field, correct knowledge, free from misconceptions and rumours can act as a force multiplier for every individual.

 

GS 2 – International Relations

China nod for downstream dam on Brahmaputra

Why in News?
China’s media reported that authorities have given the go-ahead for a Chinese hydropower company to construct the first downstream dam on the lower reaches of the Brahmaputra river, or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in Tibet, marking a new phase in China’s hydropower exploitation of the river with potential ramifications for India.

Context

  • A report in the Chinese media said the state-owned hydropower company POWERCHINA had last month signed “a strategic cooperation agreement” with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government to “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River” as part of the new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).
  • China in 2015 operationalised its first hydropower project at Zangmu in Tibet, while three other dams at Dagu, Jiexu and Jiacha are being developed, all on the upper and middle reaches of the river.
  • The report said this will be the first time the downstream sections of the river will be tapped.
  • There is no parallel in history and the downstream reaches of the river offered “a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry”.

 

Potential spot

  • Great Bend” of the Brahmaputra and at the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Medog county, where the river falls spectacularly over a 2,000 metre-drop and turns sharply to flow across the border into Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This 50-km section alone offered the potential of developing 70 million kWh “which equals more than three Three Gorges power stations”.
  • The 60-million kWh hydropower exploitation at the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River could provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually.
  • It will play a significant role in realising China’s goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060.
  • It is a project for national security, including water resources and domestic security.
  • It remains unclear whether technical feasibility studies for the downstream dams will be approved, as POWERCHINA is not the first hydropower company to push for ambitious dams downstream on the Zangbo.
  • Chinese hydropower groups have long campaigned to tap the “Great Bend”, but projects have so far not taken off over concerns over the technical feasibility in the steep Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon.
  • India has expressed concerns to China over the four dams on the upper and middle reaches, though Indian officials have said the dams are not likely to impact the quantity of the Brahmaputra’s flows in India greatly because they are only storing water for power generation and the Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows with an estimated 35% of its basin in India.
  • A dam at the Great Bend, if approved, would raise fresh concerns, considering its location downstream and just across the border from Arunachal Pradesh.

 

GS 2 – International Relations

India rejects OIC reference to Kashmir

Why in News?

India on Sunday ‘strongly’ rejected the criticism of its Kashmir policy by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Context

  • The Ministry of External Affairs hinted at Pakistan and said the OIC is being used by the country for its campaign against India.
  • We strongly and categorically reject the factually incorrect, gratuitous and unwarranted references to India in resolutions adopted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
  • The decision of the Indian government towards changing the demographic and geographic composition of the territory, and the continuous blockade and restrictions together with human rights abuses, had awakened renewed efforts of the international community towards a resolution of the conflict.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
  • The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969) following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.