UN Security Council designates Masood Azhar as global terrorist
Topic Cover : General Studies – II International Relation
Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar is listed as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council 1267 Committee.
Chronology of events:
- 2009: India moves a proposal by itself to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, a listing that will subject him to global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo. China blocks the move.
- 2016: India again moves the proposal with the backing of the P3 – the United States, the United Kingdom and France in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar.
- 2017: The P3 nations move a similar proposal again. China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocks the proposal from being adopted.
- February 27, 2019: The US, the UK and France move a fresh proposal in the UN Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
- March 13, 2019: China puts the hold on the proposal scuttling yet another attempt to blacklist the JeM chief. The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.
- March 28, 2019: The US, supported by France and the UK, directly moves a draft resolution in the UN Security Council to blacklist the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief.
- April 3, 2019: China hits out at the US for threatening to use all available resources to designate the JeM chief as a ‘global terrorist’, saying Washington’s move is complicating the issue and not conducive to peace and stability in South Asia.
- April 30, 2019: China says “some progress” has been achieved on designating Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN and hopes that the vexed issue will be properly resolved.
May 1, 2019: The 1267 Sanctions Committee designates Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifts the hold on the proposal of the US, the UK and France.
• At the end of March, the U.S. circulated a draft resolution (to sanction Azhar) among the UNSC members, i.e., outside the 1267 Committee, presumably to pressure China into either supporting the listing or having to take a stand in open proceedings and risk being seen as supporting terror.
• However, the US moved a draft resolution to the UNSC, which would have forced a vote on the issue and then the only way China could have blocked the process was by a veto.
• Earlier this week, China had said “some progress” had been made and indicated it was willing to change its decade-long position.
• The decision by China to lift its technical hold was achieved after intense negotiations across global capitals.
• Designation as a terrorist would mean a travel ban, arms embargo and asset freeze on Azhar.
• Indonesia as chair of the 1267 designation committee played a key role.
Reasons for listing:
The reasons for designating Azhar as a terrorist as per the listing includes
• His support for the JeM since its founding.
• Being associated with the al-Qaeda by recruiting for them and “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities or supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material”.
• It also pointed to his role in recruiting fighters in Afghanistan.
• The JeM itself was sanctioned by the 1267 Committee in 2001.
• However, the reasons for listing did not mention the Pulwama attack of February 14, for which the JeM had claimed responsibility, and which found mention in the latest (February 27) listing request for Azhar.
Iraq remains top oil supplier to India
Topic Cover : General Studies – 2 International relation
Iraq has, for the second year in a row, become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in 2018-19 fiscal year.
News in Detail :
• Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in 2017-18 fiscal year.
• While India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following reimposition of economic sanctions this month by the U.S., the Persian Gulf nation was the third largest crude oil supplier to India.
• Iran was India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11, but western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the seventh spot in subsequent years.
• UAE topped Venezuela to become India’s fourth-largest crude supplier.
• Nigeria, Kuwait and Mexico are other major suppliers.
• The U.S., which began selling crude oil to India in 2017, is fast becoming a major source.
Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch window
Topic Cover : General Studies – III Science and Technology
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that India set to launch second mission to the moon Chandrayan-2 in July.
More in News
• India’s much-delayed second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is now set to be launched any time between July 5 and July 16 this year.
• The moon landing is likely to be in September nearly two months after the launch, close to the lunar South Pole, ISRO said.
• The lunar South Pole is believed to contain ice and other minerals, and international space expedition plans are hotting up with NASA planning to land astronauts there by 2024, while China reportedly plans to build a scientific research station on the lunar South Pole within the next decade.
• Chandrayaan-2 is a fully-indigenous mission that comprises three modules
1. An Orbiter,
2. A Lander named ‘Vikram’
3. A Rover named ‘Pragyan’
• It will be launched on board a GSLV-MkIII rocket.
• The GSLV-MkIII is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle that has been designed to carry four-tonne class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
• The Chandrayaan-1 mission was launched on board a PSLV.
• The Chandrayaan-2 weighs around 3,290 kg.
• It would orbit around the moon and carry out remote sensing of the moon.
• The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
• The Orbiter and the Lander will be stacked together as an integrated module, while the Rover will be housed inside the Lander.
• According to ISRO, once the Orbiter reaches the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander will separate from it and ISRO will carry out a controlled descent at a specific site and deploy the Rover.
• The six-wheeled Rover will “move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.
• The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
News In Brief
Varuna – Indo-French joint naval exercise
• The annually held Varuna naval exercise is an integral part of France–India strategic relationship in the 21st century and consists of naval cooperation drills between the French Navy and the Indian Navy.
• The inaugural Varuna naval exercise took place in 2001.
• The joint-exercises are held either in the Indian Ocean or Mediterranean Sea with the aim of improving Indo-French coordination on capabilities like cross-deck operations, replenishment-at-sea, minesweeping, anti-submarine warfare and information sharing.
• The Indo-French joint naval exercise,Varuna 19.1, began off the Goa coast.
• The exercise aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and mutual cooperation.
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