- Iran to promote Chabahar as curbs will hit main port
- Recently when U.S. sanctions threatening Iran’s main port of Bandar Abbas, the Iranian government is planning to promote the Chabahar port being developed by India in a major conference on February 26, highlighting the potential of the Indian Ocean port beyond India-Afghan trade alone.
- The advantage of Chabahar was that it had received a waiver from the U.S. This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan.
About Chabahar Port
- Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman.
- It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port, and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.
- The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast.
- The Chabahar Agreement was signed in June 2015 and approved by Iran’s Guardian Council in November 2016.
- It is being seen as a gateway for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries.
- The first and foremost significance of the Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
- Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
- Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port.
- With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East.
Other benefits for India
- When Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India.
- The import cost of oil to India will also see a considerable decline.
- Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This will in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries.
- From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.
- The last of the elusive pangolins
- Obsession for its supposedly medicinal scales in China is believed to have made the ant-eating Chinese Pangolin, one of two species found in South Asia, extinct in India.
- The pangolin is the most trafficked mammal in the world.
- It is hunted for its meat across the northeastern States and in central India and the demand for its scales in China has made it the most critically endangered animal in less than a decade.
- Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet. According to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
- Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India.
- They are Chinese pangolin, mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin.
- Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered” in (IUCN) Red List.
- Indian pangolin has been listed as “endangered” in IUCN Red List.
- It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
- Great Indian hornbills can adapt to modified habitat: study
- Recently a group of researchers from NCBS-TIFR in Bengaluru and Nature Conservation Foundation in Mysuru observed eight hornbill nests, three located in contiguous forests and five located in modified habitats such as coffee plantations.
- They found that the birds followed similar nesting behaviour but adapted to the changed environment.
- The study is published in the journal Ornithological Science.
About Great Indian Hornbill
- The great hornbill (Buceros bicornis) also known as the great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill, is one of the larger members of the hornbill family.
- It is predominantly fruit eating, but is an opportunist and preys on small mammals, reptiles and birds.
- IUCN status: Vulnerable (Uplisted from Near Threatened in 2018).
- It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES.
- National Emergency Declared in United States
- President of the United States Donald Trump declared a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States.
- President Donald Trump, citing an “invasion” of drugs and criminals, declared a national emergency to fund construction of a border wall along US-Mexico Border.
- US President can now bypass the opposition in Congress (Parliament in the United States) and can redirect billions of dollars in federal funds to build the wall.
Emergency Powers in the United States Constitution
- In the United States Constitution neither the term “emergency” nor any comparable term appears in the text.
- The President in the United States has Emergency Powers derived from the National Emergencies Act, 1976.
National Emergencies Act, 1976
- Under the National Emergencies Act, the president can declare a national emergency, providing a specific reason for it.
- A national emergency is declared in a national crisis or a situation where circumstances threaten the country and call for an immediate response.
- The act offers no specific definition of “emergency” and allows a president to declare one entirely at his or her discretion.
- The acts require a president to notify Congress publicly of the national emergency and to report every six months.
- The law also says the president must renew the emergency every year, simply by notifying Congress.
- The Congress can revoke a declaration by majority vote, though it would take a two-thirds vote by each house to override an expected presidential veto.
Previous Stances of Emergency Declaration
Other President who declared National Emergency
- President Barack Obama declared a national emergency in 2009 during the swine flu outbreak to allow hospitals and local governments to establish sites to deal with the virus.
- In 2001, President George W. Bush declared a national emergency days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that suspend certain aspects of the law, including provisions that limit the size of the military.
- EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019
- EXERCISE VAYU SHAKTI-2019 is recently held close to the border with Pakistan at Pokhran in Rajasthan by Indian Air Force.
- The Indian Air Force showcased repower capability of indigenously-developed platforms like Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and efficacy of Akash surface-to-air missile and Astra air-to-air missile.
- Vayu Shakti and Gagan Shakti are the two important exercises held by Indian Airforce.
About Gagan Shakti
- It is the biggest military exercise in decades undertaken by India to showcase its air dominance over the entire extended area of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- As per military protocol, both Pakistan and China have been kept in the loop about the exercise.