Daily IAS Current Affairs March 07, 2020 | PendulumIAS

2020-03-07 | 4 minutes

General Studies – II-Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

1. India approved as observer state of Indian Ocean Commission


India joins the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as an observer state.


  • India has joined China (made observer in 2016) and International Organisation of Francophonie, the EU and Malta (all made observer in 2017).
  • The decision marks a part of the government’s push for greater salience in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The commission is also important due to its strategic location, as the islands sit around a key choke-point i.e. the Mozambique channel in the Indian ocean.
  • India seeks this an opportunity to increase its naval presence and support for its maritime projects across the Indo-Pacific amidst the China’s growing presence in the region.

Prelims Facts

Indian Ocean Commission (IOC):

  • It was formed in 1984 and is a group of five islands nations viz. Madagascar, French Reunion, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles.
  • There are five observer states – India, China, EU, Malta, International Organisation of La Francophonie (54 – French Speaking nations)

Map of Indian Ocean Commission

General Studies-II-India and its Neighborhood- Relations

2. Annual festival of St. Antony’s Shrine


The annual festival of St. Antony’s shrine has started in Katchatheevu Island.

Prelims Facts

Katchatheevu Island:

  • It is an uninhabited island that was a disputed territory between India and Sri Lanka until 1974.
  • In 1974, India handed over the island to the government of Sri Lanka. After two years, India also gave up its fishing rights in the region.


General Studies-II-Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.

General Studies-III-Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security; Money-Laundering and its prevention.

3. National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs


A National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs was organised by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D).



  • Union Minister for Women and Child Development advised to make an SoP for “One Stop Center for Women.”
  • She also emphasized on the inter-departmental coordination and coordination among other stakeholders of the Criminal Justice System.
  • Themes for discussion:
  1. Cyber stalking and Bullying of Women: Steps for Protection
  2. Challenges Faced by CAPF women in Operational Areas.

Prelims Facts

Bureau of Police Research and Development:

  • It was established in 1970 and is located in New Delhi
  • It is an agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It is a Consultancy and research organisation that prepares crime records, researches various aspects of police modernization, etc.


General Studies-I-Important Geophysical Phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

General Studies-III-Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

4. Coral Bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef


Scientists have warned that the Great Barrier Reef would face a critical period of heat stress in the coming weeks.


  • The health of the reef is degrading due to warming ocean temperatures (climate change).
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is home to near about 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, various kinds of fish and shark.
  • The marine park is spread over 2,300 km and is a world heritage area.
  • The greatest threat to coral reefs is climate change, along with coastal development, land-based run-off, illegal fishing, etc.
  • As per the latest Reef health update, sea temperatures are stable but is still above normal, which is a cause of concern.

Prelims Fact

Coral Bleaching:

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when Corals are stressed by changes in conditions such as temperature, light or nutrients, they expel the algae living in their tissue, causing them to turn white, hence bleached.
  • Corals expel a certain algae called zooxanthellae, which provides yellow or reddish-brown color to corals.

Mains Questions:

  1. What is coral bleaching? What are the reasons behind coral bleaching? (150 words)
  2. How significant is India’s joining as an observer state in the Indian Ocean Commission? (125 words)