Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – July 18

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  • Discuss the importance of the trilateral Malabar naval exercise in addressing common maritime challenges across the Indo-Pacific region.(GS 2) Indian Express Malabar naval exercise :-

    • It is a naval exercise involving the US, Japanese and Indian maritime forces. It is aimed at “achieving deeper military ties between the three nations.

    Maritime challenges in the Indo Pacific ocean:-

    • The challenges of piracy, maritime terrorism, organised crime like drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related material, all have forced navies to conduct joint patrols and provide escort duties for shipping assets.
    • In conjunction with these non-conventional challenges, the challenge to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, unrelenting firing of missiles by North Korea and apprehension of non-accessibility of crucial choke points have elicited varying responses from the stake holders.

    How will it address it :-

    • The exercise is a demonstration of the joint commitment of all three nations to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations and will go a long way in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region for the benefit of the global maritime community.
    • It has become imperative for navies to cooperate with each other, ensure interoperability and position maritime assets to ensure peace and stability. Over a period of time, naval exercises between like-minded nations have become a viable mechanism to practice drills in a simulated setting in order to eliminate functional gaps that may lead to insecurities.
    • It is being held at a time when China has become more assertive and increasing attempts by their submarines to venture into the Indian Ocean region.
    • operations are all about interoperability and jointmanship to work together from humanitarian aid disaster relief to anti-piracy.
    • Deeper geopolitical salience of the exercise is about joint stewardship of the maritime domain- the traditional global commons.
      • It is instructive to note that the concept of a ‘global common’ has now been extended to include the cyber and space domains and in many ways the Malabar exercise is a symbol of the depth of such collective endeavour.
    • While interoperability is at the core of such exercises, Malabar will burnish India’s credibility in the maritime domain and punctuate the Indian Ocean region in a manner that prioritises collective effort to secure the first of the three global commons.
    • It is an indication of resistance to any aggressive posturing and change in status quo in these waters.

    Therefore exercise Malabar, if upgraded to a quad of the navies of these countries as Australia is interested, will further reiterate the message of strategic deterrence and solidarity among these like-minded nations, thereby ensuring greater security given the complex dynamics of mistrust, ambition and competition prevalent in the Indo-Pacific region.

    2. What are cryptocurrencies? Do you think that cryptocurrencies should be banned?(GS 3) The Hindu Introduction :-

    • Recently the government is considering the introduction of a regulatory regime for virtual or crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin, that would enable the levy of the Goods and Services Tax on their sale. In the light of this the discussion whether to ban cryptocurrencies has come to light.

    Crypto currencies:-

    • It is a digital currency which allows transacting parties to remain anonymous while confirming that the transaction is a valid one. It is not owned or controlled by any institution – governments or private.
    • There are multiple such currencies bitcoin, ethereum, ripple are some of the popular ones.
    • Currently, they are neither illegal nor legal in India.

    Yes,they need to be banned :-

    • Government is wary that regulation will provide legitimacy to “what is currently ambiguous,” and may lead to further rise in its valuation and end up contributing “to the investment bubble.
    • concerns about companies that run MLM and Ponzi schemes in the name of Bitcoin.
    • Effective policy to curtail ransomware which has caused havoc in the UK’s National Health Service and elsewhere would be to ban the use of bitcoin and similar “cryptocurrencies”.
    • Anonymity and fungibility have always made cash the favoured tool for illegal activities.
    • Credit cards, cheques and bank transfers are too easily traceable. Bitcoin moves the criminal’s favoured financial tool online, with disastrous consequences.


    • Regulation is fine
      • It can be traded on registered exchanges in a bid to “promote” a formal tax base, while keeping a tab on their use for illegal activities such as money laundering, terror funding and drug trafficking.
      • The lack of regulation or acknowledgment by Indian authorities has led to the Indian cryptocurrency industry establishing its own self regulatory body and watchdog titled the Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DABFI).
    • Crypto-currency can also be used for a lot of legal activities such as booking tickets, buying coffee or fast food, depending of which retailers accept such currency
    • Banning will give a clear message that all related activities are illegal and will disincetivise those interested in taking speculative risks.
    • Banning will impede tax collection on gains made in such activities.
    • Any decision that ruled the cryptocurrency to be illegal in India would mean that India’s nascent but growing bitcoin industry will have to shut down.
    • International examples:
      • Japan declared Bitcoins as a legal tender in April this year, causing the price of Bitcoins to spike.
      • Australia recently declared that it will accept Bitcoins as legal currency from July 2017 and it will also be exempt from goods and service tax.
      • Russia is planning to adopt Bitcoin as a legal payment method in 2018.
    • Decentralised nature of Bitcoin makes it impractical to ban, and this will encourage the use of illegal channels like hawala networks.

    What can be done?

    • Regulating the currency instead would signal a boost to blockchain technology, encourage the development of a supervision ecosystem (that tracks legal activities and may also assist in tracking illegal activities) and promote a formal tax base.

    3 .“Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” Analyze. (GS 4) Emotional intelligence:- Four main skills of emotional intelligence are:-

    • Self-awareness– our ability to perceive our emotions and understand our tendencies to act in certain ways in given situations
    • Social awareness– our ability to understand the emotions of other people, what they are thinking and feeling
    • Self-management– our ability to use awareness of our emotions to stay flexible and direct our behavior positively and constructively
    • Relationship management– our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully

    Importance of emotional intelligence: 1.At work place:

    • An employee with low emotional intelligence can negatively impact a workplace and their team members leading to poor morale.
      • Examples of low emotionally intelligent behaviour includes; not being able to take critical feedback, laying blame on other staff, passive-aggressive comments.
    • In management, those with low emotional intelligence exhibit the same traits, but can also be leaders who do not listen to the recommendations of the staff that they manage and become out of touch with those that they lead.
    • Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation and Self-Motivation
      • Employees who possess high levels of emotional intelligence are much more self-aware.
      • In the workplace this translates to an employee who understands their own strengths and their own weaknesses in addition to how their actions could affect their team members.
      • Self-aware employees are also better equipped to handle constructive criticism and learn from their mistakes.
      • An employee with high emotional intelligence can also reveal and control their own emotions to team members
      • Emotionally intelligent people are also self-motivated, but they are not motivated by money or a title alone
    • Empathy and Interpersonal Skills
      • An empathetic employee is an employee who has compassion and understands human nature.
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