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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Kalapani Dispute

4th June, 2020

Why in News?

In the recently released political map of India, after the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, the Kalapani territory became the bone of contention between India and Nepal.

Kalapani historical aspects of conflict:

  • In 1816, the East India Company and Nepal signed the Treaty of Sagauli under the conclusion of the Anglo-Nepalese War and Nepalese territories including Darjeeling were handed over to the British East India Company as concessions.
  • The treaty defined river Mahakali as the western border of Nepal. 
  • Several tributariesof River Mahakali merge at Kalapani.
  • India claimsthat the river begins in Kalapani as this is where all its tributaries merge.
  • But Nepal claims that the river begins from Lipulekh Pass, the origin of most of its tributaries.
  • Hence Nepal has laid claim to all areas east of the Lipu Gad— the rivulet that joins the river Kali on its border.
  • According to Nepal, the Kalapani area was included in the Census of Nepal until 58 years ago.
  • According to some sources, the late Nepalese King Mahendra had “handed over the territory” to India in 1962in the wake of the India-China war.
  • Nepal has claimed that India had occupied an additional 62 sq km land.
  • However a map of 1879 shows Kalapani as part of British Indiaand India on its part has presented administrative and tax records dating back to 1830s to back its claims.
  • Nepal has also raised concern over Lipulekh Pass,which has been made a trading tri-junction route between India and China, reportedly without Nepal’s consent, since 2015.
  • However the Indian side claims that Lipulekh pass has been referred to as a border trading point since 1954.
  • Though in 1981, a Joint Technical Boundary Committee was formed, no final settlement could be reached. In 2014, joint commission meeting was led by the foreign ministers. In 2016, an Eminent Persons Group was formed to look into several bilateral issues.

Why is the conflict lingering:

  • As the Indian government released the new map of India on November 2, 2019, following the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir, the bone of contention now is a 35-square km area within Uttarakhand.
  • Nepal claims that the Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani areas shown in India’s maps lie within its territory.

Nepal’s Supreme court has ordered the government to submit the original map exchanged with India during the signing of the Sugauli treaty in 1816.

  • It has also asked the authorities to furnish other official maps either exchanged with various countries or with international organisations including the United Nations.
  • It has directed to submit the original map exchanged while signing a Boundary Treaty with India in 1960, the map published by the East-India Company on February 1, 1827 and a separate map published by the British Government in 1847.
  • However India has rejected allegations and has said that the map accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India and has in no manner revised its boundary with Nepal.
  • With Kalapani dispute, the Susta territorial disputehas arisen as a result of the shifting of the course of the Gandak river.
  • The Treaty of Sagauli defined Gandak as the international boundary between India and Nepal and at that time Susta was on the right bank of the river Gandak which falls in Nepal territorial control.
  • But, in due course of time, the river has changed its course and Susta now falls on the left bank of the Gandak, which is controlled by India.

Importance of Kalapani:

The 35-square kilometre region plays a strategic role in this tug-of-war. Kalapani is a trijunction meeting point of India, Tibet and Nepal borders. Since 1962, it has been manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

  • Lipulekh Pass in Kalapani serves as an important vantage point for India to keep an eye on Chinese movements. India’s surveillance of Chinese movementsare aided by the height of the Lipulekh pass.

Solutions:

The latest maps have nothing to do with Nepal and were published to reflect the recent bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). According to There is no change in the depiction of India-Nepal boundary. 

Though in the past, Nepal had claimed territory in the Kalapani area and Susta (in Uttar Pradesh) as its own, both sides had agreed that these differences should be resolved through friendly negotiations and their foreign secretaries were mandated to undertake this exercise.

In recent years, Nepal has blamed India for interfering in its internal matters. The relationship deteriorated considerably after the unofficial 135-days trade blockade of Nepal in 2015.

Despite this, India still enjoys great leverage with Nepal. India is Nepal’s largest trading partner and the two countries are culturally intertwined. In the past, India has played a considerable role in maintaining stability and development in Nepal.

Since the free movement of people is permitted across the border, Nepal enjoys immense strategic relevance from India’s national security point of view. Therefore, stable and friendly relations with Nepal is one of prerequisites which India can’t afford to overlook.

Nepal has proposed foreign secretary-level talks with India in mid-January on the boundary issue. It is therefore imperative to resolve the issue by peaceful negotiations which will be a win-win situation for both the countries.

The existing bilateral treaties between India and Nepal have not taken the shifting of Himalayan rivers into consideration. Hence both nations should try to resolve the dispute by taking into account all shared environmental characteristics.

National Technical Research Organisation(NTRO)

Why in News?

The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the technical intelligence agency under National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, will now have similar powers as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RandAW)

  • The Union Home Ministry on May 15 issued a notification listing NTRO under the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1985 — a demand of the organisation for over a decade.

About the act:

  • The act was first passed in Parliament in 1985 to regulate intelligence agencies, to ensure that intelligence personnel do not spill the beans and embarrass the government of the day
  • The act prevents employees of a notified agency from forming unions/associations, bars them from communicating with the press or publishing a book or other document without permission of the head of the intelligence organisation
  • The notification doesn’t give NTRO any interception powers but aims to “bring certain norms of conduct applicable to other intelligence agencies

Opposition by other agencies:

  • The IB and the RAW had earlier opposed the inclusion of any other organisation in the list of monitoring agencies under the Act.
  • Following this, the Home Ministry declined to grant powers to NTRO to monitor phones

Reasons put forward by NTRO:

  • NTRO has been making presentations and demanding that they shall be included on the list as they have the right to lawfully intercept and monitor communications externally
  • The Official Secrets Act is already applicable to NTRO employees, though many are from the private sector
  • It has restrictions about getting involved in political activities in the country and only makes external intrusions

What is Official Secrets Act?

The Official Secrets Act 1923 is India‘s anti-espionage act held over from the British colonial period.  According to this Act, helping the enemy state can be in the form of communicating a sketch, plan, model of an official secret, or of official codes or passwords, to the enemy.

About the NTRO:

  • The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is an Indian highly specialized technical intelligence gathering agency under NSA, which acts as the primary advisor on security issues to the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers of India.
  • NTRO’s activities include developing technology and satellite and terrestrial monitoring.
  • These technologies include cryptology, Cyber security and data management.
  • NTRO inherited a number of RAW’s techint assets.

Facts for Prelims

Charru Mussel:

It is an invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts.

  • It is now spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala, elbowing out other mussel and clam species and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries.
  • The rapid spread may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017.
  • Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekkaya in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size.
  • Its colour varies from black to brown, purple or dark green.

Interahamwe” Militia:

  • It is a far-right Hutu paramilitary organization active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
  • Formed around 1990 as the youth wing of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND according to its French name), the then-ruling party of
  • The Interahamwe were the main perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutus were killed from April to July 1994, and the term “Interahamwe” was widened to mean any civilian bands killing Tutsi.

 

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