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22nd April 2023

India, Iran and Armenia form trilateral grouping


In a move aimed at strengthening regional cooperation, India, Iran, and Armenia have formed a trilateral grouping.

About the grouping
  • This trilateral grouping is expected to open up opportunities in different areas for cooperation including energy, transportation, trade, investment, and transportation.

Key highlights of the first-ever meeting

  • The first-ever meeting focused on connectivity, especially the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
    • INSTC was initially signed by Iran, Russia, and India in 2002 and has since then expanded, and a freight corridor connecting which is expected to connect three countries — India, Iran, and Russia.
    • The main aim of this corridor is to reduce time and costs in the movement of goods from Mumbai to Moscow.
  • The focus of the three sides during the meeting was on economic issues and regional communication channels.
  • They also talked about trilateral cooperation in various fields as well as a further deepening of people-to-people and cultural contacts.

Focusing on the relationship

  • Iran and Armenia

    • Iran and Armenia, which share a border, also have robust ties.
    • Last year, Iran opened a consulate in Armenia’s Kapan.
    • The two countries have also been working together to enhance trade and economic cooperation.
  • India and Iran
    • India and Iran also have historic ties, with the two countries sharing a common cultural heritage.
    • The Chabahar port in Iran has been key to connectivity between the two sides. India has provided equipment worth $25 million to aid in the development of the port, including six mobile harbor cranes.
      • The port has the potential to serve as a gateway for India to access Central Asia and Afghanistan, while also providing Iran with an alternative trade route to the Persian Gulf.
  • Iran and Armenia
    • Iran and Armenia, which share a border, also have robust ties. Last year, Iran opened a consulate in Armenia's Kapan.
    • The two countries have also been working together to enhance trade and economic cooperation with Armenia serving as a transit route for Iran to access the Eurasian Economic Union.
    • The trilateral grouping between India, Iran, and Armenia is expected to pave the way for greater cooperation in a range of areas, including trade, investment, energy, and transportation.

Sudan: India lines up evacuation


India began preparations for the evacuation of an estimated 3,000 Indian nationals presently situated in different parts of Sudan which have seen intense fighting between the army and a paramilitary force for a week now.

Where is Sudan?

  • Sudan is in north-east Africa and is one of the largest countries on the continent, covering 1.9 million square kilometers.
  • It is also one the poorest countries in the world, with its 46 million people living on an average annual income of $750 (£606) ahead.
  • The population of Sudan is predominantly Muslim and the country's official languages are Arabic and English.
  • Sudan borders the Red Sea, the Sahel region, and the Horn of Africa.
  • It's strategic location and agricultural wealth has attracted regional power plays, complicating the chances of a successful transition.

Who is fighting who in Sudan?

  • What’s happening? In Sudan, powerful rival military factions are battling for control.
  • Who is fighting? The fight is between the army and the powerful paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
    • Both groups were allies. Together, they seized power in a 2021 coup.
    • But tensions increased over the proposed integration of the RSF into the military.
    • The key question is who is in control and who would be the military’s commander-in-chief during an integration period.
  • Main players on the ground: Since the 2021 coup, Sudan has been run by a council of generals, led by the two military men at the center of this dispute:
    • Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and in effect the country's president
    • And his deputy and leader of the RSF, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.
  • They have disagreed on the direction the country is going in and the proposed move towards the civilian rule.
  • The main sticking points are plans to include the 100,000-strong RSF in the army, and who would then lead the new force.

Rapid Support Forces

  • The RSF was formed in 2013 and has its origins in the notorious Janjaweed militia that brutally fought rebels in Darfur, where they were accused of ethnic cleansing.
  • Since then, Gen Dagalo has built a powerful force that has intervened in conflicts in Yemen and Libya. He has also developed economic interests including controlling some of Sudan's gold mines.
  • The RSF has been accused of human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 120 protesters in June 2019.
  • Such a strong force outside the army has been seen as a source of instability in the country.

What is at stake?

  • No end to the conflict: The popular uprising had raised hopes that Sudan and its population of 46 million could emerge from decades of autocracy, internal conflict, and economic isolation under Bashir. The current fighting could not only destroy those hopes.
  • Destabilization of the region: It could destabilize a volatile region bordering the Sahel, the Red Sea, and the Horn of Africa.
  • Increasing competition among strong powers: It could also play into competition for influence in the region between Russia and the United States, and between regional powers who have courted different actors in Sudan.

India raises its logistics game, rises six spots on World Bank Index to 38


India has improved its ranking in the World Bank's Logistic Performance Index 2023 by six places, owing to significant investments in both soft and hard infrastructure as well as technology, which has led to an improvement in the country's port performance.

Key Highlights of the Report

  • Singapore and Finland are the most efficient and highest-ranked LPI countries.
  • India’s ranking: According to the report, India's rank in the index of 139 countries has risen to 38 from 44 in 2018.
    • International shipments: In 2023, India's ranking for international shipments improved significantly, moving up from 44 in 2018 to 22.
    • Logistics competence and equality: The country also climbed four places to rank 48 in logistics competence and equality.
    • Timeline: In terms of timelines, India saw a significant improvement, moving up 17 places in the rankings.
    • Tracking and tracing: Additionally, India improved three places in tracking and tracing, now ranking at 38.

What is Logistic Performance Index 2023?

  • The LPI is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.
  • The LPI 2023 allows for comparisons across 139 countries.
  • The 2023 LPI for the first time measures the speed of trade with indicators derived from big datasets tracking shipments.

Overview of the Logistics Industry in India

  • Meaning: Broadly, logistics is the time, resources, and money invested in storing and transporting a commodity from its origin to its destination. 
  • The logistics industry in India is growing rapidly, with the country’s economy expanding at a rapid pace.
  • India’s logistics sector is estimated to account for about 14.4% of the GDP. The unorganized sector amounts to over 90% of the logistics sector.
  • The average logistics cost per GDP among BRICS countries was 11%. However, in the case of India, the cost share per GDP was 14%.
  • The sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5% between FY 2019 and FY 2024.
  • The sector employs around 22 million people and is expected to create another 1.2 million jobs by 2025.

Government Scheme to Improve India’s logistics sector

  • National Logistics Policy: It is a comprehensive effort to address issues of high cost and inefficiency by laying down an overarching interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral, and multi-jurisdictional framework for the development of the entire logistics ecosystem.
  • PM GatiShakti – National Master Plan for muti-modal connectivity: It aims to give further boost and complementarity with the launch of the National Logistics Policy.
  • Other Related Initiatives to Logistics:
    • Multi-Modal Logistics Parks
    • Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) Report
    • Dedicated Freight Corridor
    • Sagarmala Projects
    • Bharatmala Project
    • Multimodal Transportation of Goods Act, 1993

1 Crore Olive Ridley Turtles Hatch On Odisha Coast


At least 1 crore baby Olive Ridley turtles hatched on the Odisha coast in the last few days. It is expected that around 2 crores more baby turtles will hatch on Odisha's coast before the culmination of this year’s breeding season.

About Olive Ridley Turtles:
  • They are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
  • Major nesting sites in India: Rushikulya rookery coast (Odisha), Gahirmatha beach (Bhitarkanika National Park), and mouth of the Debi River.
  • Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea; also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle.
  • Presence: Found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
    • CITES Appendix I 
  • Features:
    • Known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs. 
    • These are carnivores and feed mainly on jellyfish, shrimp
    • The eggs hatch in 45 to 60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand and atmosphere during the incubation period.

Breeding Season

  • Lakhs of Olive Ridley sea turtles usually congregate in the coastal sea of Odisha for breeding purposes every year.
  • It is believed that around 50 percent of the Olive Ridley turtles in the world visit the Odisha coast to lay eggs.
  • The breeding season of Olive Ridley turtles begins in November every year and concludes in May.
  • The turtles usually lay eggs on Odisha's coast between November and the second week of March. The baby turtles hatch in the months of April and May.

Poonch attack


There has been a terrorist attack on an army vehicle in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, in which the country has lost 5 of its brave soldiers in this terrorist attack.

Who is responsible for the attack?

  • The attack was carried out by the People's Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), a terror organization supported by the Jaish.

What is the People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF)?

  • The People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) is a military group engaged in the current conflict in Jammu and Kashmir between Kashmiri separatists and Indian security forces. 
  • India asserts that it’s a division of the Lashkra-e-taiba. 
  • PAFF organization was discussed for the first time when Article 370 was removed in J&K in 2019. 

Increasing Terrorism in India

  • India ranks 13thon The Global Terrorism Index (GTI). The GTI report is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), a think tank, using data from Terrorism Tracker and other sources.

Framework for Combating Terrorism in India:

  • India recently hosted a special meeting of the UNSC's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), with the theme of 'Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes'. 
  • India also hosted the meeting of “No Money For Terror“, which was an initiative of the French government, to specifically focus on cooperation between countries to choke terror funding.
  • In August 2019, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967 was revised to include the ability to label individuals as terrorists.
  • National Investigation Agency is the lead law enforcement investigative agency to combat terrorism.
  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act of 2008 has been amended by the Indian Parliament to give NIA the ability to investigate terrorism cases overseas.

Why erasing terror is becoming a challenge?

  • Increased freelancers: Radicalised individuals, also called ‘lone wolves’, ‘DIY’, or ‘freelancer’ terrorists are now committing random acts of terrorist violence.
  • Darknet: Terrorists have expanded the use of The Onion Router (TOR)-enabled darknet for propaganda, and recruitment on encrypted chat forums and platforms beyond the gaze of the security agencies.
  • Evolving tech, evolving terror: Advancing and emerging technologies like autonomous systems, 3D printing, and deep fake potentially offer terrorist prospects for weaponization.

Short News Article

Polity & Governance

Sangathan Se Samriddhi campaign

The government launched the ‘Sangathan Se Samriddhi’ campaign.


  • The campaigns aim to empower marginalized rural households by bringing all eligible rural women into the fold of Self Help Groups (SHGs).

What are SHGs?

  • Self-help groups are informal groups of people who come together to address their common problems. 
  • India has around 12 million SHGs, 88 per cent of which have only women members, according to the Economic Survey 2022-23.


Magnaporthe oryzae


Scientists have warned that the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, which is destroying South American wheat crops, could spread worldwide.


  • Magnaporthe oryzae infects wild and cultivated grasses, most notably rice and wheat.
  • The pathogen affects the crop in a disease known as ‘wheat blast’. 
  • The seriousness of the disease is indicated by the fact that crops are burnt to avoid this disease.


Botanical gardens and life on earth


On this Earth Day (April 22), we should celebrate the recent decision of the Tamil Nadu government to establish a large botanical garden (the Chengalpattu Botanical Garden) in the State as an important and welcome piece of news.

Botanical Garden

  • Educational institution- A Botanical garden is an educational institution for scientific workers and the general public or layman to awaken and enlighten interest in plant life.
  • Ex-situ conservation- It is an ex-situ conservation area and a place where economically endangered plants can be displayed for research and education.
  • Labelled with scientific names- Every plant in the Botanic Gardens is labelled with its botanical and scientific names as well as its family.

History of Botanical Gardens:

  • During Ancient Civilization- In the ancient civilization gardens were prominent features of the grounds of temples or palaces, as well as of the homes of the nobility The “Hanging Gardens” of Babylon are counted among the wonders of the ancient world.
  • Flourished through different dynasties-The Indian history, which runs through thousands of years, we find that these gardens flourished with the rise of different dynasties and dwindled away with their fall.
  • Reflect the glory of a nation- The botanical gardens reflected the growth of human culture of the regions in which they were situated today, and reflect the glory of a nation or of a country.
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