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InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. India and Japan Converge in Southeast Asia


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Tantalum
  2. Atmospheric Waves Experiment
  3. Houthi rebels
  4. Ghol as the Gujrat’s state Fish
  5. Near-space command



  1. Transgender is Cricket



  1. ‘Operation Karuna’ (Myanmar)



India and Japan Converge in Southeast Asia

GS Paper 2


Syllabus: International Relations


Source: TH

 Context: The Philippines is turning to Japan and India for development and security cooperation, shifting focus from Chinese-led projects.


Issues between the Philippines and China:

The Philippines and China have ongoing disputes over the South China Sea. Tensions have escalated due to territorial claims and China’s expansive maritime activities, including the presence of Chinese vessels in Philippine waters. The Philippines has raised concerns about the infringement of its sovereign rights and called for adherence to international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Philippines successfully won 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea against China.


India-Philippines Relationship:

AboutIndia and the Philippines are two democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region that share a common approach towards the Indo-Pacific, emphasizing the importance of a free, open, and stable region.
Political RelationsDiplomatic relations were established on 26 November 1949, shortly after both countries gained independence (Philippines in 1946 and India in 1947)
 Intensification of relations with the Philippines resulted from India’s Look East Policy (1992) and further diversified with the Act East Policy (2014).
Economic RelationsIndia is currently the Philippines’ fifteenth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade worth approximately USD 3 billion in 2022. The Philippines is a net importer of goods trade with India.
Defence CooperationBrahMos missile deal; opening of a resident Defense Attache office in Manila, consideration of India’s offer for a concessional Line of Credit to meet the Philippines’ defense requirements; cooperation on maritime domain awareness (MDA), joint patrols, and information exchange


Japan and India’s engagement in Southeast Asia:

  1. Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP):It is aimed at curbing China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan’s concept of FOIP is complementary to India’s concept of the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)
  2. Partnership with ASEAN: To enhance economic, political, and cultural ties with the member nations.
  3. Infrastructure Development: Japan, through initiatives like the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, has been involved in infrastructure development projects in Southeast Asia, including the construction of ports, roads, and energy facilities.
    1. India has also expressed interest in infrastructure projects in the region.
  4. Connectivity Projects: Japan and India’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific includes promoting connectivity. India has been actively involved in enhancing connectivity through projects like the Trilateral Highway that connects India, Myanmar, and Thailand.
  5. Economic Assistance: Both countries provide economic assistance and development aid to Southeast Asian nations to support their socio-economic growth. This includes financial support, capacity building, and technology transfer.
  6. Security Cooperation: Japan and India have engaged in security dialogues and joint military exercises with Southeast Asian countries to address common security challenges, including maritime security and counter-terrorism.
  7. Human Resource Development: India and Japan have collaborated in human resource development programs, including scholarships and training opportunities, to enhance skills and knowledge in various sectors.
  8. Regional Forums: Both countries actively participate in regional forums and organizations such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to address regional challenges and promote dialogue.


India-Japan Relations:

Shared ValuesDemocracy, Freedom, and Rule of Law
Defence and Security CooperationIndia and Japan Vision 2025: Work together for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world
Relationship elevated to Special Strategic and Global Partnership (2014)
“2+2” Dialogue
Inclusive and Rule-based International order in Indo-Pacific
FOIP (Free and Open Indo-Pacific).
Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement with India
Military exercises: Dharma Guardian (army), Veer Guardian (Air Force), MILAN, JIMEX (Navy), and Malabar
Strengthening India’s Act East PolicyJapan supports strategic connectivity linking South Asia to Southeast Asia through synergy between the “Act East” policy and “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure.”
Economic CooperationJapanese help during India’s Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis in 1991
Bilateral trade over US $20 billion (2022)
Japan was the 4th largest investor in India in FY2020.
Industries Competitiveness Partnership
Comprehensive and Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since 2011
HealthcareNarrative of AHWIN (Japan’s) for AYUSHMAN Bharat.
Investment and ODAIndia has been the largest recipient of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for decades (e.g., Delhi Metro, Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, High-Speed Railways).
Global PartnershipBoth are members of G4, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, Supply chain resilience initiatives, and QUAD.
SpaceLUPEX Mission (India’s lunar lander and Japanese rover will explore the moon).
Nuclear CooperationIndia-Japan Nuclear Deal 2016 will help India build six nuclear reactors in southern India.
Digital Infrastructure CooperationCooperation in promoting joint projects for digital transformation (5G, Open RAN, Telecom Network Security, submarine cable systems, Quantum Communications).
ChallengesClimate change and WTO talks (Japan siding with developed countries). Japan’s frosty relations with Russia (Kuril Island dispute).
ConclusionRelations between two powers can greatly support stability in the world.
Japan can help in India’s rise, e.g., India’s quest to become a global semiconductor Chip Manufacturing hub.


Insta Links



Mains Links

The India-Japan relationship is facing challenges due to the changing global geopolitical scenario. Analyse the challenges and suggest measures to address them. (250 Words)


Prelims Links

Consider the following countries: ( UPSC 2018)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Japan
  6. USA

Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN?

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5
(b) 3, 4, 5 and 6
(c) 1, 3, 4 and 5
(d) 2, 3, 4 and 6


Ans: C


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE 

Context: Tantalum, a rare metal, has recently been discovered in the Sutlej River by an IIT Ropar team


More about News:

What is Tantalum? It is a grey, heavy, and highly corrosion-resistant element with the atomic number 73
Discovery:Tantalum is a rare metal which was first discovered in 1802 by Swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekenberg.
Properties:Grey, heavy, highly corrosion-resistant
Forms an oxide layer when exposed to air
Ductile, allowing stretching into thin wires
Extremely resistant to chemical attack at temperatures below 150°C
High melting point, exceeded only by tungsten and rhenium.
Uses of Tantalum:Capacitors in the electronic sector for compact energy storage.
Component in chemical plants, nuclear power plants, aircraft, and missiles.
Substitute for platinum due to its high melting point.
Used in medical applications for surgical equipment and implants.
Composite with tantalum carbide (TaC) used in high-speed machine tool cutting edges.
Significance of Discovery:The discovery in the Sutlej River sand suggests a potential domestic source, reducing import dependence and benefiting India’s electronics and semiconductor industry.
India imports almost all of its Tantalum, mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest producer in the world.
Reserve in India Tantalum ore is available in India in the form of tantalite-columbite ore in mines in Bihar, Rajasthan, and Karnataka.
About Satluj River:It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River and the longest of the five rivers in Punjab, northern India, and Pakistan (Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj).
It is also known as Satadree, an antecedent river maintaining its original course despite topographic changes.
It rises on the north slope of the Himalayas in Lake La’nga in southwestern Tibet.

Sutlej River meets the Beas River in Harike in the Ferozpur district before entering Pakistan. The combined rivers then form the Panjnad, the link between the Five Rivers and the Indus.

It is home to Bhakra Dam and the Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project  Flows from Tibet to India, meeting the Beas River in Punjab.

Atmospheric Waves Experiment

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE


Context: NASA’s Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) is a ground-breaking mission designed to study the interactions between terrestrial and space weather.

  • It aims to investigate one of the key drivers of space weather – Earth’s weather.
  • The study is crucial due to the increasing reliance on satellite-based services for navigation and communication, making forecasts and data on space weather vital.


About Atmospheric Waves Experiment:

  • The AWE mission will focus on studying Atmospheric Gravity Waves (AGW), a type of vertical wave generated by extreme weather events or sudden disturbances causing a vertical displacement of stable air.
  • These waves, including AGWs, play a role in space weather, affecting the overall weather, climate, and space conditions.
  • It will measure airglow at the mesopause (85 to 87 km above Earth), capturing faint airglow in the infrared bandwidth.
  • The mission will use an Advanced Mesospheric Temperature Mapper (ATMT) to scan the mesopause, mapping the brightness of light at specific wavelengths


About Space Weather:

Space weather refers to the environmental conditions around Earth and other planets influenced by the Sun’s activities, such as solar flares and emissions, as well as the prevailing matter in space.

Severe space weather events can impact critical Earth installations like satellite-based communication, radio communication, navigation systems, and power grids

Houthi rebels

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: LM

 Context: The Houthi rebels hijacked the India-bound cargo ship Galaxy Leader in the Red Sea, claiming it was Israeli.

  • However, the Israeli government denied the claim, stating the ship is owned by a British company and operated by a Japanese firm.
  • The incident marks an escalation in the Houthi threat against global maritime shipping, following their earlier failed missile attacks targeting Israel.


Houthi rebels are a Shiite Muslim insurgent group based in Yemen. The Houthis take their name from their founding leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. They adhere to a branch of Shia Islam known as Zaidism

Near-space command

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: WION

 Context: China has reportedly established the world’s first ‘near-space command,’ forming the People’s Liberation Army’s fifth force alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Rocket Force.

  • Chinese researchers see near-space as the next battleground and assert that it is a crucial zone that could determine the outcome of future battles.
  • The near-space command will utilize modern hypersonic missiles for precise and swift attacks on enemy military assets.
  • Equipped with automated drones and spy balloons, it aims for high-altitude surveillance globally.
  • The space command is expected to have spy balloons, solar-powered drones, and supporting equipment, raising concerns about potential political and military repercussions.

Operating in the ‘near-space’ area, the command relies on hypersonic weapons that can operate at more than five times the speed of sound and outmanoeuvre air defence systems


What is Near Space ?

Near space is the region between 75,000 feet (23 km) and 62.5 miles (100 km). It’s also defined as the area between airspace Flight Level 600 (18 km) and 160 km above sea level. 

Near space is too thin for planes to fly in, so military planes avoid it.

Transgender is Cricket



Source: ESPN Cricinfo

 Context: The ICC has implemented a significant change to its gender eligibility regulations, prohibiting any player who has transitioned from male to female and undergone any form of male puberty from participating in women’s international cricket.


Why the prohibition?

ICC’s new policy is to protect the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness, and inclusion. Also, Physiological differences established during puberty can create significant performance advantages. Testosterone boosts athletic performance by increasing muscle mass, strength, and haemoglobin levels.

What does other sports body do?

  • World Athletics (WA): Differences in sex development (DSD) athletes must keep their Testosterone below 2.5 nmol/L for 24 months to participate in the female category across events.
  • World governing bodies for cycling (UCI) and swimming (FINA) and World Rugby barred trans women from competing in women’s events.
  • As per the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it is the responsibility of individual federations to determine eligibility criteria in their sport for transgender people.


Impact of the ruling?

This ruling affects Danielle McGahey, the first transgender player in international cricket, who will no longer be able to compete in women’s international games. The policy will be reviewed within two years.


About ICC

The International Cricket Council (HQ: Dubai) is the global governing body of cricket. It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England, and South Africa. It was renamed as the International Cricket Conference in 1965 and adopted its current name in 1987

‘Operation Karuna’ (Myanmar)



Source: TH

 In Myanmar, Rakhine state is the worst-hit while in Bangladesh the cyclone destroyed shelters in the world’s largest refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar which houses a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.


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