25 May 2024: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

25 May 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. Prejudiced past and forsaken future: the DNTs’ battle for dignity
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. The missing links in IMEC, as shown by the Gaza war
F. Prelims Facts
1. At WTO, India still opposes ‘plurilateral pact’ on investment
2. U.S., Egypt agree to allow Gaza aid through Kerem Shalom
3. Myanmar junta revives plans for its China-backed mega-dam project
G. Tidbits
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

F. Prelims Facts

1. At WTO, India still opposes ‘plurilateral pact’ on investment

Context: India is facing pressure at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to support the inclusion of the China-led Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) pact into the formal WTO framework as a plurilateral agreement. 

  • Despite this pressure, India remains steadfast in its opposition, arguing that investment should not be a subject for discussion within the WTO. 
  • This stance was reiterated at the recent WTO General Council meeting and aligns with India’s position at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi.


  • WTO Framework: The WTO is a global organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. Its agreements are typically multilateral, meaning they are binding on all members.
  • Plurilateral Agreements: These are agreements endorsed by some, but not all, WTO members. They are binding only on their signatories.
  • Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Pact: Proposed by China, the IFD aims to streamline and facilitate investment policies among its signatories.

India’s Position

  • MC13 Stance: At the 13th Ministerial Conference, India opposed the inclusion of investment facilitation in the WTO framework, maintaining that it is not an appropriate subject for WTO discussion.
  • General Council Meeting: India reiterated its opposition, stating that the lack of exclusive consensus among member countries makes it unsuitable for formal inclusion as a plurilateral agreement.
  • Concerns Over Policy Space: India is worried that the IFD’s provisions could require the government to consult investors on policy matters, potentially limiting its policy autonomy.


Lack of Consensus

  • Member Disagreement: The IFD pact does not have unanimous support among WTO members, with notable opposition from countries like India, South Africa, and the United States.
  • Plurilateral vs. Multilateral: The move to include the IFD as a plurilateral agreement raises concerns about fragmenting the WTO framework and undermining the principle of multilateralism.

Sovereignty and Policy Autonomy

  • Investor Consultations: Provisions in the IFD that mandate government consultations with investors are seen as encroachments on national policy space.
  • Regulatory Challenges: Implementing such requirements could pose significant regulatory challenges and restrict the ability of governments to enact policies independently.

2. U.S., Egypt agree to allow Gaza aid through Kerem Shalom

Context: The U.S. and Egypt have reached an agreement to temporarily allow United Nations-provided humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

  • This development comes amid escalating humanitarian crises in Gaza, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict and closure of critical border crossings. 
  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi have discussed measures to facilitate aid delivery and reopen the Rafah crossing under mutually acceptable terms for Egypt and Israel.


  • Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza: The Gaza Strip has been facing severe humanitarian challenges due to ongoing conflicts, blockades, and restricted access to essential supplies.
  • Kerem Shalom Crossing: One of the main entry points for goods into Gaza, located at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, bordering Israel and Egypt.
  • Rafah Crossing: Another crucial crossing point between Gaza and Egypt, which has been largely closed, exacerbating the humanitarian situation.

Recent Developments

  • U.S.-Egypt Agreement: The agreement allows temporary UN-provided humanitarian aid to flow through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
  • Presidential Discussion: In a phone call, President Biden expressed support for efforts to reopen the Rafah crossing and indicated that the U.S. would send a senior team to Cairo for further talks.


Humanitarian Access

  • Access Restrictions: The closure of the Rafah crossing has prevented much-needed aid from reaching Gaza, leading to deteriorating living conditions.
  • Food Supplies Wasting: Aid supplies, including food, have been waiting to enter Gaza, with some beginning to spoil due to delays.

Political and Security Concerns

  • Border Control: Israel’s control over the Rafah crossing from the Palestinian side since May 6 has complicated aid delivery and heightened security concerns.
  • Legal Mechanisms: The need for legal and administrative frameworks to ensure the safe and effective reopening of the Rafah crossing.


Humanitarian Relief

  • Immediate Aid: The temporary opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing is critical for providing immediate relief to the people of Gaza facing hunger and other crises.
  • Long-term Solutions: Efforts to reopen the Rafah crossing could establish a more sustainable mechanism for continuous humanitarian aid flow.

Diplomatic Relations

  • U.S.-Egypt Cooperation: This agreement signifies strong diplomatic cooperation between the U.S. and Egypt, aiming to address a pressing humanitarian issue.
  • Regional Stability: Facilitating aid delivery and reopening crossings can contribute to stabilizing the region by alleviating humanitarian suffering.

3. Myanmar junta revives plans for its China-backed mega-dam project

Context: The Myanmar junta has recently revived plans for the Myitsone Dam, a $3.6 billion Chinese-backed project in northern Kachin State. Initially suspended in 2011 due to public opposition, the dam’s revival has sparked renewed concerns about environmental impact and local benefits.


  • Myitsone Dam Project: Proposed as a 6,000-megawatt hydropower project on the Ayeyarwady River.
  • Initial Suspension: Halted in 2011 by a previous junta due to public and environmental opposition.
  • Current Development: Revival announced in April 2024, with a new leading group set up to manage the project.

Key Players

  • Myanmar Junta: Governing authority reviving the dam project.
  • China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC): Partnering with Myanmar on the project through Yunnan International Power Investment Company.
  • Environmental and Local Opposition: Strong resistance due to potential environmental damage and limited local benefits.


Environmental Concerns

  • Ecological Impact: Potential large-scale alteration of the Ayeyarwady River flow, affecting biodiversity and water resources.
  • Displacement: Risk of displacing communities and disrupting local livelihoods, particularly in Kachin State.
  • Assessment Reports: A 2015 environmental assessment advised against the project, citing significant environmental risks.

Social and Political Context

  • Local Opposition: Strong opposition from local communities and environmental groups.
  • Kachin Conflict: Ongoing conflict between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the military, complicating the project’s implementation.
  • Public Relations Challenges: Need for effective public relations to address concerns and opposition.

Economic and Strategic Factors

  • Economic Benefits: Limited benefits to Myanmar, as 90% of the generated power is planned for export to China.
  • Belt and Road Initiative: The project is part of China’s broader strategic interests in Myanmar under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).


Strategic Importance

  • China-Myanmar Relations: The project is a crucial component of China’s BRI, strengthening its economic and strategic foothold in Myanmar.
  • Regional Stability: The project’s revival could influence regional stability, especially in conflict-prone Kachin State.

Environmental and Social Impact

  • Biodiversity: Significant potential impact on the Ayeyarwady River basin, affecting millions of residents and diverse ecosystems.
  • Community Displacement: High risk of displacing local communities, exacerbating social tensions and conflicts.

G. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Which country is NOT involved in signing the IMEC project?
  1. UAE
  2. USA
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Germany 

Answer: c


There were discussions about the UK’s potential involvement to strengthen its global position post-Brexit, but it hasn’t joined yet.

Q2. According to the Indian government's definition, which of the following 
is NOT a criterion for classifying a community as a Denotified Tribe (DNT)?
  1. Traditionally nomadic or semi-nomadic existence
  2. History of being labelled as “criminal tribes” by the British
  3. Widespread social stigma and lack of integration into mainstream society
  4. Recognition within the Indian caste system

Answer: d


DNT communities are typically excluded from the caste system, existing on the fringes of society. Options (A), (B), and (C) are all characteristics that contribute to the classification of a DNT.

Q3. What key pillars are included in the IFD Agreement?
  1. Tariff reduction, market access, and trade facilitation
  2. Transparency of investment measures, streamlining procedures, international cooperation, and sustainable investment
  3. Intellectual property rights, dispute settlement, and environmental standards
  4. Labour rights, social protection, and poverty alleviation

Answer: b


The IFD Agreement focuses on making it easier for businesses to invest in other countries by promoting transparency, streamlining procedures, and encouraging cooperation between governments. This can lead to increased investment flows, which can benefit both the developing countries that attract investment and the developed countries that provide it.

Q4. Which of the following countries have direct land borders with the Gaza Strip?
  1. Egypt 
  2. Jordan 
  3. Israel
  4. Syria

Choose the correct option:

  1. Only one 
  2. Only two 
  3. Only three 
  4. All

Answer: b


The Gaza Strip shares its borders with two countries: Egypt and Israel. Jordan and Syria do not directly border the Gaza Strip.

Q5. Which of the following Chinese-backed dam projects is correctly matched 
with its respective country?
  1. Kamchay Dam – Cambodia
  2. Bakun Dam – Sarawak, Malaysia
  3. Myitsone Dam – Burma (Myanmar)
  4. Merowe Dam – Sudan


  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Only 3
  4. All of the above

Answer: d


All are correctly matched.


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