• The Van Gogh 360° exhibition is currently taking place in Delhi, exhibiting the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night is one of his most well-known paintings.
• The Starry Night, painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1889, is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It depicts the starry night sky that van Gogh saw from the window of his asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.
• Interestingly, the yellow Van Gogh used to paint The Starry Night’s luminous moon originated in India. •The Starry Night is regarded as one of the final masterpieces to use it before its production was banned in India.
Production of Indian Yellow
- The color was derived from the urine of cows fed a special diet of mango leaves and water, sometimes mixed with turmeric, in order to produce brilliant yellow urine.
- Urine was collected in earthen containers and placed overnight over a fire to achieve a more concentrated liquid, which was then strained and hand-pressed into sediment balls that were further dried over a fire. The piuris arrived in Europe via traders sailing from Kolkata.
- Indian Yellow was fashionable in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
- A yellow pigment known as gorocana, which was also believed to be derived from cow’s excrement, was used in several Indian rituals and applied as tilak.
- Banning the colour
- In the early 1900s, the production of the color was outlawed as a result of cruelty to animals during its extraction.
- Mango leaves are known to contain the toxin urushiol, which would negatively impact the health of a bovine animal.
Nations of the Pacific
• In Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister attended the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit.
Highlights of the Recent Summit
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 12-point development strategy for the Pacific Island nations as part of India’s Act East Policy.
- The 12-point development plan focuses on a variety of areas, including healthcare, renewable energy, and cyber-security.
- The majority of India’s engagement with Pacific Island nations is through capacity building and community development projects under South-South Cooperation.
Pacific Island Nations
- The Pacific Islands are a region of the Pacific Ocean consisting of three ethnogeographic divisions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.The region consists of sovereign states, associated states, and non-Pacific country portions. Australia, the islands of the Aleutian Chain, and the Indonesian, Philippine, and Japanese archipelagos are not included in the Pacific Islands.
- The Pacific Islands form a triangle, beginning with New Guinea and extending to Hawaii and New Zealand. New Zealand and Papua New Guinea account for approximately 90 percent of the total area of the Pacific Islands.
- Papua New Guinea is the largest nation in terms of land area and population, while Nauru is the smallest.
- In addition to tens of thousands of islands, enclaves, and atolls, there are 15 independent Pacific Island nations. Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna are the independent nations. New Zealand is an industrialized nation. The remaining nations and territories are classified as developing nations.
India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)
- The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was established in November 2014 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Fiji.India and 14 island nations make up FIPIC: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.The FIPIC initiative represents a significant endeavor to increase India’s involvement in the Pacific region.
- Provide pertinent information and facilitate trade and investment opportunities.
- Facilitate meetings between the businessmen involved on both parties.
- Exchange of commercial delegations between India and countries of the Pacific Islands.
- Services for online and offline matchmaking.
- Planning events and trade shows.
Significance of Pacific Island Nations for India
- In recent years, India’s attitude toward the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) has gradually shifted in a more positive direction.
- Multiple geopolitical, economic, and strategic factors contributed to this transformation. Geopolitically, the Pacific Island Countries are a part of the Indo-Pacific region.
- The current globalized world relies heavily on international commerce, of which 90 percent is transported by sea.The sea channels of the Indo-Pacific region are vital to international trade, and the Pacific Islands are situated directly in the middle of them. Consequently, the increasing regional and global significance of the Indo-Pacific has placed the PICs at the center of global attention.
- Countries such as the United States, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, and Indonesia have focused on the broader Pacific region due to its strategic and economic importance.
- In recent years, New Delhi has sought out to these small island states, demonstrating the government’s desire for a deeper relationship.
G7’s Anti-China Strategy
Syllabus: GS2/ Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests
• During a recent meeting, the term “de-risking” was used to characterize the G7 nations’ stance toward China on economic matters.
- The president of the United States has previously stated that the G7 is not seeking to decouple from China, but rather to derisk and diversify its relationship with China.
What does “de-risking” mean?
- The US State Department defines de-risking as “the phenomenon of financial institutions terminating or restricting business relationships with clients or categories of clients in order to avoid, rather than manage, risk”
- Simply stated, de-risking is the process of relocating a business away from potentially risky return-generating areas.
- Previous instances of “de-risking”:
- In 2016, the World Bank reported that global financial institutions were terminating or restricting business relationships with smaller local banks in certain regions in an effort to “de-risk,” as it is commonly believed that these banks would be unable to repay loans.
- Context of China:
- In the context of China, de-risking can be understood as a reduction of reliance on China in the economic sphere — for the supply of materials or as a market for finished products — in order to reduce potential risks to trade and disruptions to supply chains.
G7’s strategy for China
- In the G7 statement, the countries stated, “Our policy approaches are not intended to harm China, nor do we seek to impede China’s economic development and progress.” A rising China that adheres to international norms would be of global importance.”
- The statement clarified, “We are not decoupling or inwardly focusing.” Nonetheless, we acknowledge that economic resilience necessitates de-risking and diversification. Individually and collectively, we will make investments in our own economic vitality. We will reduce disproportionate reliance on key suppliers in our supply chains.”
- The term ‘decoupling’ is used here as an alternative to an economic boycott.
- To improve the trade balance with China, the US administration increased tariffs on China’s exports of aluminum and steel in 2018, resulting in a trade conflict after China imposed tariffs worth hundreds of billions of dollars on US products.
Group of Seven (G7)
- It is an intergovernmental organization comprised of the seven most industrialized and developed economies in the globe.
- Present Members:
- France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States of America, Canada, and Japan.
- It began with an informal meeting of the Finance Ministers of France, West Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan (the Group of Five) in the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis.
- In 1976, Canada joined the group, and in 1977, the European Union (EU) began attending meetings.
- It was renamed G7 when Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 due to its annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. It had been referred to as the G8 after Russia joined the original seven nations in 1997.
- The group identifies as a “community of values,” with freedom and human rights, democracy, the rule of law, prosperity, and sustainable development as its guiding principles.
- It takes pride in being a collection of nations that promote liberal democracy and experience economic prosperity, which they wish to institutionalize through multilateral cooperation.
- It meets once a year to discuss topics of mutual concern, such as international security, energy policy, and global economic governance.
- European Union representatives are always present at the annual meeting of G7 chiefs of state and government.
- o It lacks a formal constitution and a permanent headquarters, and the decisions made at its annual summits are non-binding.
G7 summit in Hiroshima in 2023
- The annual summit of the Group of Seven (G7) leaders was recently held in Hiroshima.
- India is an invited guest to the summit.
Issues with G7:
- The G7 is still plagued by ideological divisions and a lack of dominant leadership.
- Managing the dual menace of Russia and China while maintaining cohesion is another challenge for the G7.
- The G7 forum has struggled to accomplish inclusive diplomacy, coordination, and follow-through in response to recent complex and urgent issues.
- The G7 focuses insufficiently on environmental security and climate finance to assist developing nations in adopting renewable energy.
- In recent decades, the G7 has been criticized for being obsolete and ineffectual due to its exclusion of India and China, two of the world’s largest economies.
Way ahead for India & G7
- India is now a regular G7 participant. China’s exclusion from the event is another selling factor for India.
- India can play a significant role as a bridge between industrialized and developing nations.
- India must participate in any and all sustained efforts to find solutions to global problems.
Syllabus: GS2/ Education
• A workshop organized by the Ministry of Education seeks to bring together under one umbrella the sixty school examination boards that operate in various Indian states and Union territories.
- The primary component of this plan, envisioned as the National Assessment Centre, is PARAKH, which is administered by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
Need & Significance
- To establish a coherent framework to ensure smooth transitions for students moving between boards or regions.
- This will involve harmonising curriculum, grading, and evaluation procedures to enhance the reliability and credibility of certificates and grades obtained.
- Unification also aims to address the prevailing rote examination culture and promote holistic assessments that encompass various dimensions of a student’s abilities and potential.
- PARAKH stands for The Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development.
- PARAKH was launched as part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, which envisioned a standard-setting body to advise school boards regarding new assessment patterns and latest research, and promote collaborations between them.
• The Union Education Ministry has discontinued the ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ and the ‘Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar’ in an effort to rationalize the numerous awards established by the Centre.
• The ‘Shiksha Puraskar’ was introduced by the Centre in 1992 to encourage original Hindi writing in various educational disciplines. Each year, five awards of?1 lakh each are presented.
• “Hinditar Bhashi Hindi Lekhak Puraskar,” an award given to foster writings in Hindi by non-Hindi-speaking authors; a?50,000 cash prize.
Panch Karma Sankalp
Syllabus: GS2/ Miscellaneous
• The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW) announced the ‘Panch Karma Sankalp’ at the second Chintan Shibir conducted by the ministry in Munnar, Kerala.
The ‘Panch Karma Sankalp’ includes 5 major announcements which are –
- To provide a 30 percent financial contribution to the promotion of green shipping;
- Under the Green Tug Transition Programme, Jawaharlal Nehru Port (Navi Mumbai), VO Chidambaranar Port (Tuticorin, TN), Paradip Port (Odisha), and Deendayal Port, Kandla (Gujarat) will each acquire two tugs;
- Deendayal Port and VO Chidambaranar Port will be developed as a Green Hydrogen Hub;
- By next year, Jawaharlal Nehru Port and VO Chidambaranar Port, Tuticorin will become smart ports.
- Single Window Portal for river and sea cruise monitoring;
‘Harit Sagar’ Guidelines
• In order to achieve the Zero Carbon Emission Goal, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways launched the Green Port Guidelines in May 2023 under the name “Harit Sagar.”
• The Harit Sagar Guidelines – 2023 envision ecosystem dynamics in port development, operation, and maintenance, while aligning with the ‘Working with Nature’ concept and mitigating the impact on the biotic components of the harbor ecosystem.
• It emphasizes the use of clean/green energy in port operations, developing port capabilities for the storage, processing, and bunkering of greener fuels, such as green hydrogen, green ammonia, green methanol/ethanol, etc.
- The GAINS 2023 has been launched by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.
• GAINS 2023 (GRSE Accelerated Innovation Nurturing Scheme – 2023) is a startup competition designed to identify and encourage the development of innovative solutions for technological advances in shipbuilding by Startups.
Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE)
• Status: It is a Category 1 Mini Ratna public sector enterprise governed by the Ministry of Defence.
• Mandat: GRSE is one of the foremost shipyards in India. It constructs and repairs both commercial and military vessels. GRSE also constructs export vessels.
• Accomplishments: It is the first Indian shipyard to construct 100 warships and the first Defence Shipyard to be publicly traded.
- It was established in 1884 on the eastern shore of the River Hooghly.
Syllabus: GS3/Internal Security/Defence
• The Indian Navy’s Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuratna has returned to India after undergoing a significant upgrade in Russia.
- The submarine underwent a Medium Refit Life Certification (MRLC) process in Russia that extended its life.
- The submarine, with its modernized weapon and sensor suite, will increase the force level in the Western Seaboard and open a new and exciting chapter in submarine operations in the Indian Ocean Region.
Indian Navy Submarines
- The Navy operates sixteen conventional submarines. There are seven Kilo-class submarines from Russia, four HDW submarines from Germany, and five Scorpene-class submarines from France.
- India’s submarine fleet has bases in Visakhapatnam and Mumbai.
- Kalvari Class: INS The submarine Kalvari is the first of six Scorpene-class subs constructed under Project 75. In 2017, the submarine was commissioned.
- Sindhughosh Class: Sindhughosh class submarines are diesel-electric submarines of the Kilo class. They were constructed under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and the Indian Ministry of Defense and bear the designation 877EKM.
- The submarines have a displacement of three thousand tons, a maximum diving depth of three hundred meters, a peak speed of eighteen knots, and can operate alone for 45 days with a crew of fifty-three.
- Shishumar Class: Submarines of the Shishumar class (Type 1500) are diesel-electric. These submarines are created by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Germany.
- The vessels were put into service between 1986 and 1994. These submarines have a surface displacement of 1,660 tons, a top speed of 22 knots (41 kilometers per hour), and a complement of 40 personnel, including eight officers.