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Today's UPSC current affairs 11 June 2024 from The Hindu and Indian express

From Warp seed to reset, the sate of India-U.S. tiesTopic: India-U.S. Relations

General Studies Paper: GS Paper 2 (International Relations)

UPSC Optional Subject: International Relations

Essay Topic: India's Foreign Policy, International Relations

Key Points

  1. Context and Recent Developments

  • One-Year Anniversary: The article marks one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the United States, highlighting the importance of the visit in advancing bilateral ties.

  • Key Focus Areas: The visit featured significant announcements on strategic and high-tech cooperation, including the Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) initiative.

  • Objective: These moves were intended to set the stage for a new phase in India-U.S. relations.

  1. State of Current Relations

  • Mixed Results: Despite high ambitions, the past year has seen mixed results in India-U.S. relations due to various external and internal factors.

  • Upcoming Engagements: The newly-sworn-in Indian Prime Minister is set to engage with the U.S. President at the G7 outreach summit in Italy, and senior U.S. officials are expected to visit Delhi soon.

  1. Historical Perspective

  • 25 Years Since Pokhran: Reflects on the 25th anniversary of the turnaround in India-U.S. relations following India’s nuclear tests in 1998.

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Vision: Recalls Vajpayee’s vision of India and the U.S. as "natural allies in the quest for a better future."

  1. Growth in Strategic Trust

  • Military Cooperation: Significant growth in strategic trust, evidenced by the conclusion of foundational agreements and joint military exercises.

  • Enhanced Engagement: Increased military interoperability, coordination in maritime operations, and concerns over China’s aggression have brought Delhi and Washington closer on the strategic front.

  1. Bilateral Engagement Areas

  • Diverse Spheres: Cooperation has expanded into various fields such as climate change, green energy, critical and emerging technologies, and outer space.

  • Slow Progress: Progress in consular issues and trade has been slow, impacting the overall pace of relationship development.

  1. Contentious Issues

  • U.S. Concerns: The U.S. has expressed concerns about India’s human rights records and the democratic process, which has been a point of contention.

  • India’s Stance: India has maintained a firm position on international law and humanitarian principles, affecting its engagement with global issues like food, fertilizer, and energy security.

  1. Major Events Impacting Relations

  • Gaza Conflict: Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in May 2023 influenced the iCET review and U.S.-India engagement on technological cooperation.

  • Summit Participation: Joe Biden's focus on engagements like the G20 Summit and meetings in the Indo-Pacific, including with Korea and the Philippines, reflects strategic priorities that also impact India-U.S. relations.

  1. Key Challenges and Concerns

  • Assassination Incident: The attempted assassination of a Khalistani separatist in Canada (June 2023) and subsequent allegations against India have strained bilateral trust.

  • Diaspora Issues: Rising concerns over the treatment of Indian diaspora in the U.S. and visa-related issues remain unresolved, affecting bilateral ties.

  1. Future Prospects

  • Coalition Management in the U.S.: The U.S. needs to address internal political coalition management to effectively engage with India.

  • Upcoming U.S. Elections: The uncertainty surrounding the U.S. elections and potential leadership changes could impact the future trajectory of India-U.S. relations.

  • Diplomatic Visits: Continued high-level engagements and visits, like the Indian Prime Minister’s potential trip to the U.S., are crucial for advancing bilateral cooperation and resolving outstanding issues.

Background and History

India-U.S. relations have seen significant evolution, particularly over the past few decades. The 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests initially strained relations, but subsequent diplomatic efforts, including then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision of India and the U.S. as "natural allies," paved the way for a strategic partnership. This partnership has since expanded into multiple domains such as defense, technology, climate change, and more. Despite these advancements, issues like human rights concerns and trade imbalances continue to pose challenges. The dynamic political landscapes in both countries and the shifting geopolitical environment further shape this bilateral relationship.

Powers of the Speaker

General Studies Paper: GS II (Polity and Governance)

UPSC Optional Subject: Political Science & International Relations (Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures)

Essay Topic: Role of Institutions in Democracy

Constitutional Mandate:

  • The Speaker's role is vital in parliamentary democracy, as mandated by the Constitution of India.

  • Article 93 provides for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

  • The Speaker is elected by a simple majority and can be removed via a resolution of no-confidence passed with a majority vote.

  • Responsibilities commence from the first session post-election.

  • Role and Powers of the Speaker:

  • Conducting the House:

  • Manages the order of business, maintaining decorum.

  • Decides admissibility of questions and the legislative process.

  • Casting Vote:

  • Rarely used but critical in case of tie votes.

  • Generally favors the government.

  • Disqualification of Members:

  • Powers under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law).

  • Can disqualify members for defection, with recent significant rulings by the Supreme Court affirming the Speaker's authority in such matters.

  • Questions and Records:

  • Manages parliamentary questions and ensures relevancy.

  • Critical remarks are expunged from records.

  • Division of Votes:

  • Speaker decides on the division of votes in the House and passes bills through a voice vote or division vote.

  • No-Confidence Motion:

  • Decides the admissibility and voting process for no-confidence motions against the government.

  • Historical Context and Precedents:

  • The role has been pivotal during coalition governments, e.g., handling coalition allies such as TDP and JD(U).

  • Notable Speakers of the coalition era include Somnath Chatterjee, GMC Balayogi, and Purno A Sangma.

  • Recent instances, such as Sumitra Mahajan in 2018, showcased the Speaker's influence during no-confidence motions.

  • Salary and Position:

  • The Speaker's salary is drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India, indicating the position’s significance.


The Speaker of the Lok Sabha plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity and functionality of parliamentary proceedings. Historically, the Speaker's position has been crucial during periods of coalition governments, managing competing interests and ensuring smooth legislative functioning. The role encompasses maintaining order, deciding on procedural issues, and exercising powers granted by the Constitution, particularly under the Tenth Schedule concerning anti-defection laws. The Speaker's impartiality and decision-making capacity have often been tested, notably during no-confidence motions and key legislative debates, highlighting their importance in India's democratic framework.

What is Happening in French Territory of New Caledonia?

General Studies Paper: GS II (International Relations)

UPSC Optional Subject: Political Science & International Relations (Topic: Decolonization and Challenges of Independence)

Essay Topic: Challenges of Decolonization in the 21st Century

  • Current Situation:

  • On June 3, the Socialist Kanak National Liberation Front (FLNKS) called on French President Emmanuel Macron to abandon plans to amend the electoral reform in New Caledonia.

  • Widespread protests erupted in response to the French parliament’s decision to amend the voters’ list.

  • New Amendment Bill:

  • Aims to incorporate citizens who have either been born in or lived in the territory for at least ten years.

  • Seen by the Kanaks as diluting their electoral power, marginalizing them further.

  • Demographic and Political Impact:

  • Kanaks comprise 43% of the population, while Europeans (including Wallisians and Futunians) make up 37%.

  • The new voting amendment gives the majority to loyalists, impacting future decolonization efforts.

  • Historical Context:

  • Kanaks are the original inhabitants of New Caledonia.

  • Post World War II, France controlled the territory but granted Kanaks citizenship after independence movements.

  • The Nouméa Accord in 1998 transferred powers from Paris to local authorities, with referendums to decide independence.

  • Referendums in 2018 and 2020 favored remaining with France. The 2021 referendum, postponed due to COVID-19, resulted in a low turnout with 96% voting against independence.

  • Economic and Social Context:

  • Persistent social inequalities despite France's promises.

  • 2019 census: 32.5% poverty rate among Kanaks, compared to 9% among non-Kanaks.

  • Economic progress stalled, with electoral composition changes seen as attempts to suppress Kanak independence.

  • French Strategy:

  • Tactical Peace: Reducing violence to prevent threats to French citizens and Macron’s party.

  • Strategic Integration: Key to France’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

  • France views New Caledonia as critical for control over the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and significant nickel resources.

  • The islands offer a strategic position for military presence and economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.


New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific, has a complex history of colonization and struggle for independence. The Kanaks, indigenous Melanesians, have long sought autonomy, facing political and social marginalization. The 1998 Nouméa Accord was a milestone, promising referendums to decide on independence. However, recent changes to the electoral list, favoring French loyalists, have reignited tensions. The Kanaks view these changes as diluting their influence and undermining their quest for independence. France’s interests in the region’s strategic and economic potential further complicate the issue, making New Caledonia a focal point in the broader Indo-Pacific strategy.

General Studies Paper: GS II (International Relations and Security)

UPSC Optional Subject: Political Science & International Relations (Topic: India's Security Challenges)

Essay Topic: National Security and Defence Preparedness

Key Points

  • Current Developments:

  • Reports suggest that the Indian Navy's long-standing demand for a third aircraft carrier is moving forward.

  • Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) to construct the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-2 (IAC-2), a 40,000-tonne platform.

  • Aim: Prevent CSL’s expertise from lapsing and avoid the issues faced during the 'lost decade' (1995-2005) with submarine construction.

  • Technical and Strategic Aspects:

  • IAC-2, with upgrades and local content, will prevent skill decay and bolster operational efficiency.

  • Designed to counter anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) threats from China and Pakistan.

  • Recent cruise missile advancements facilitate easier A2/AD operations.

  • Military Opinions:

  • Mixed views within the Navy: some favor a 'sea denial' strategy using submarines and smaller ships over a new carrier.

  • Argument: High cost of a new carrier vs. the effectiveness of other assets (submarines, destroyers, frigates).

  • Financial and Operational Concerns:

  • IAC-2 cost concerns vs. maintaining current fleet readiness and operational efficacy.

  • Financial constraints impacting the Navy’s plans to build 200 assorted ships by 2027 under the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCPP).

  • IAF’s View and Upgrading Capabilities:

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) emphasizes the need for a carrier to handle threats, despite budget constraints.

  • IAF’s Jaguar IM fleet and other assets need upgrades for better maritime strike capability.

  • Calls for enhancing Andaman and Nicobar military capabilities for strategic dominance.

Background and History

The Indian Navy's pursuit of a third aircraft carrier stems from a desire to maintain and enhance maritime dominance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The past decade saw significant challenges, including corruption scandals and delays in submarine construction, which highlighted the need for indigenous development capabilities. The existing INS Vikramaditya and the upcoming INS Vikrant fulfill critical roles, but the growing A2/AD capabilities of regional adversaries necessitate additional, more advanced platforms. The debate revolves around balancing cost with strategic necessity, considering India’s evolving maritime security environment.

UPSC Prelims Previous Year Questions on the Topic


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