Daily Current Affairs May 21

Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas.


Why in News?

The Ministry of External Affairs reported China was hindering normal patrols by its troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh and Sikkim and strongly rejected Beijing’s allegations that Indian forces trespassed into the Chinese side.

About Line of Actual Control (LAC)

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, formed after the 1962 war. 

Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a 4,057-km porous border running through glaciers, snow deserts, mountains and rivers separate India and China. The LAC traverses three areas: western (Ladakh, Kashmir), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal).

In the narrow sense, it refers only to the line of control in the western sector of the borderland between the two countries. In that sense, the LAC forms the effective border between the two countries, together with the disputed McMahon Line in the east and a small undisputed section in between. In the wider sense, it can be used to refer to both the western line of control and the McMahon Line, in which sense it is the effective border between India and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Both the nations have differing perceptions of LAC. This has sharpened in last few years ever since New Delhi has started building military infrastructure along the LAC in response to Beijing’s defence build-up and deployment of troops.

Transgressions along the LAC into India from the Chinese side are more frequent in the Western sector. At the heart of boundary dispute is the issue of Arunachal (90,000sqkm), which China describes as ‘Southern Tibet’. Beijing is reported to be demanding that at least the Tawang Tract of Arunachal Pradesh, if not the whole of it, should be transferred to China.


Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.


Why in News?

The Nepal government on Wednesday unveiled a new political map of the country that depicts Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepalese territory.

More in News

The move came little more than six months after India published new maps of the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh that showed Kalapani as part of Uttarakhand state. The three territories were shown as part of Byas rural municipality in Darchula district of Sudurpaschim province. 


The diplomatic row began on May 8 after defence minister Rajnath Singh opened an 80-km road that ends at Lipulekh Pass on the border with China. The road was built so that pilgrims going to Kailash-Mansarovar in the Tibet Autonomous Region can avoid dangerous high-altitude routes through Sikkim and Nepal. 

Nepal’s foreign ministry summoned the Indian envoy to protest against the construction of the road. New Delhi has rejected Kathmandu’s protest, saying that the Lipulekh region is completely within the territory of India and that both sides could resolve such boundary issues through diplomatic dialogue.

India and Nepal share a 1,800-km open border. Nepal claims all territories east of the Kali river, including Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh, under the Treaty of Sugauli that it signed with the erstwhile British administration in 1816.

Historical Ties with Nepal

  • Nepal is an important neighbour of India and occupies special significance in its foreign policy because of the geographic, historical, cultural and economic linkages/ties that span centuries. 
  • India and Nepal share similar ties in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini located in present day Nepal.
  • The two countries not only share an open border and unhindered movement of people, but they also have close bonds through marriages and familial ties, popularly known as Roti-Beti ka Rishta. 
  • The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal.

Importance of Nepal

  • Nepal shares border with 5 Indian states- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar. Hence it is an important point of cultural and economic exchange.
  • Importance for India can be studied from two different angles:  their strategic importance for India’s national security and their place in India’s role perception in international politics.
  • Nepal is right in the middle of India’s ‘Himalayan frontiers’, and along with Bhutan it acts as northern ‘borderland’ flanks and acts as buffer states against any possible aggression from China.
  • Rivers originating in Nepal feed the perennial river systems of India in terms of ecology and hydropower potential.
  • Many Hindu and Buddhist religious sites are in Nepal making it an important pilgrim site for large number of Indians.


Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

  1. WAG-12

Why in news?

The Indian Railways has commissioned its most powerful locomotive till date, 12000 hp electric Locomotive WAG 12, and it hauled 118 goods wagons. WAG 12, the Made-In-India locomotive was commissioned into service at the Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Jn Station.

About WAG 12

The WAG-12 is a three phase, twin-section electric freight locomotive consisting of two identical sections, each of which rests on two twin-axled Bo-Bo bogies. The locomotive is being jointly developed by Alstom and Indian Railways, and is the first Indian Railways locomotive that has a power output greater than 10,000 horsepower.

The locomotive is being developed for deployment on the Dedicated Freight Corridors, where it will be used to haul freight trains weighing more than 6,000 tonnes at speeds of 100 km/h to 120 km/h, essentially doubling the average speed of freight trains in the sector.

Features of WAG-12

  • The WAG-12 locomotive designed to haul freight, packs a whopping 12,000 horsepower and is capable of hauling loads up to 6,000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph. 
  • WAG-12 comes with a twin Bo-Bo design and can be tracked through GPS with the help of embedded software.
  • WAG-12 is capable of working on railway tracks with conventional OHE lines as well as on Dedicated Freight corridors with high rise OHE lines. 
  • It has air-conditioned driver cabs on either side.
  • It is also equipped with regenerative braking system which provides substantial energy savings during operations. 
  • The high horse power locomotives will help to decongest the saturated tracks by improving average speed of freight trains.

After this development, India becomes just the sixth country in the world to produce high-horse power engine indigenously. It is also the first time such a high horse powered engine has been operationalised on any broad gauge track in the world.