Gist of The Hindu: April 2014

Gist of The Hindu: April 2014

INDIA, PAKISTAN EXCHANGE NUCLEAR FACILITIES LIST

Pakistan and India Pakistan handed over list of its nuclear installation to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Similarly External Affair Ministry handed over its list to Pakistan High Commissionin New Delhi.

Exchanged the listof their nuclear installations under a bilateral agreement that bars them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.

The agreement, which was signed on December 31, 1988 and entered into force on January 27,1991, says that the two countries inform each other of nuclear installations andfacilities to be covered under the Agreement on January 1 of every calendar year.

This is the 23rd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, the first one having taken place onJanuary 1, 1992.

Pakistan and India also exchanged the lists of prisoners under the Consular Access Agreement between the two countries.

According to ForeignOffice here, Pakistanhas handed over a list of 281 Indianprisonerswhile India has reciprocated with a list detailing 396 Pakistani prisoners heldinIndianjails.

As per the list, there are 232 Indian fishermen and 49 civilians in Pakistanjails.

India has 396 Pakistani prisoners ofwhich 257 are civilianswhereas 139 are fishermen.

PRESIDENTNOD FOR LOKPAL BILL

Themuch talked-aboutLokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013, got President PranabMukherjee’s assent. The Bill,whichwas passed by Parliament in the justconcluded winter session, provides for creation of anti-graft ombudsman to investigate corruption charges against public functionaries including Prime Minister,Ministers andMembers of Parliament. Among other provisions, the Bill makes it incumbent upon States to make within a year their own law for setting up Lokayuktas on the lines of the Lokpal Bill.

The Billwas sent to the President on Tuesday. Itwill now be notified in the official gazette for it to become an Act. The Act shall be notified by the Law Ministry.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2011 and was taken up in the Rajya Sabha but could not be voted upon. Itwas referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Later the Billwas tabled inthe Rajya Sabha and referred to the select committee. The amended Bill was again tabled in the Rajya Sabha onDecember16 and passed byvoice vote. The following day, it was passed by the Lok Sabha without debate.

INDIA TO CONDUCT ON-GROUND ASSESSMENT IN SOUTH SUDAN

India will conduct anon-ground assessment of its interests inSouth Sudan, especiallythewell being of its 2,000soldiers who are part of a UnitedNations stablisation team. The Indian Army contingent had lost three men after its camp was overrun in the ongoing ethnic strife. In an earlier ambush in April last year, four Indian soldiers and anofficerwere shot dead in an ambush.

The Indian Army contingent had to be evacuated by air and the situation is considered so delicate thatNew Delhi has sent back a senior army officer to serve an unusual second term as the deputy chief of the United NationsMission in South Sudan (UNMISS) because of his knowledge of the land.

India as one of the three biggest contributors of soldiers to U.N. peacekeeping missions has been unhappy about not being consulted on some of the ways inwhich operations are now being carried out. India, alongwith some other nations,has also urged the U.N. Security Council to take steps for going after people responsible for the killing of their troops.

But India’s interests are also political and economic and their furtherance depends onpeaceful ties not onlywithin South Sudan but stable tieswith Sudan fromwhich it was carved out in 2011. Indian companies have 25 per cent stake in a South Sudan oil companywhose crude is sent across Sudan by an India-built pipeline.

InAfrica, the two Sudans have the third largest crude reserves and India appointed a Special Envoy for South Sudan even as its independence was being negotiated. It was among the earliest to open a consulate in Juba, four years before it formally became thenational capital.Both Sudans are keenon Indian assistance and expertise in infrastructure development and capacity building and a wider footprint by its corporates.

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