Daily Current Affairs : 17th February 2024

Topics Covered

  1. Chabahar Port
  2. Facts for Prelims

1 . Chabahar 


About Chabahar Port

  • It is a seaport in Chabahar located in southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. 
  • It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port, and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti, each of which has five berths. 
  • It’s located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast. 
  • It is only about 170 kilometres west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar. 
  • Chabahar is made of Persian words Chahar meaning four; and bahar meaning spring. 
  • Chabahar is important for its fishery sector and will act as an important trade center connecting South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. 
  • India and Iran first agreed to plans to further develop Shahid Beheshti port in 2003. 
  • In May 2016, India and Iran signed a bilateral agreement in which India would refurbish one of the berths at Shahid Beheshti port, and reconstruct a 600 meter long container handling facility at the port. 
  • The port is partly intended to provide an alternative for trade between India and Afghanistan as it is 800 kilometers closer to the border of Afghanistan than Pakistan’s Karachi port. 

Chabahar connection for Al Biruni and Alexander the Great 

  • In his 11th century AD book, titled Kitab Tarikh Al-Hind (‘A History of India’), Al Biruni, the Persian scholar and polymath who travelled to India in 1017, stated that coastal India began from a town named ‘Tis’ (it was renamed from ‘Tiz’). Legend has it that Alexander the Great also crossed Tiz, a fishing village at the time, as his troops marched towards India in 326 BC. Modern Chabahar, which houses Tis, came into being in the 1970s. 
  • Legend has it that Alexander the Great also crossed Tiz, a fishing village at the time, as his troops marched towards India in 326 BC. 

Strategic importance of Chabahar port for India 

  • The port gives access to the energy-rich Persian Gulf nations’ southern coast and India can bypass Pakistan with the Chabahar port becoming functional. 
  • Chabahar port will boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia. 
  • Chabahar port will be beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea. 
  • With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, Iran also becomes a military ally to India. 
  • Chabahar could be used in case China decides to flex its navy muscles by stationing ships in Gwadar port to reckon its upper hand in the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Middle East. 
  • With Chabahar port becoming functional, there will be a significant boost in the import of iron ore, sugar and rice to India. 
  • Chabahar port will ensure in the establishment of a politically sustainable connectivity between India and Afghanistan. This is will, in turn, lead to better economic ties between the two countries. 
  • From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated. 

2 . Facts for Prelims


National Common Mobility Cards (NCMC): 

  • National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is an inter-operable transport card conceived by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs of the Government of India. It was launched in 2019. 
  • The transport card enables the user to pay for travel, toll duties (toll tax), retail shopping and withdraw money. 
  • It is enabled through the RuPay card mechanism. 
  • The NCMC card is issuable as a prepaid, debit, or credit RuPay card from partnered banks such as the State Bank of India, Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and others. 

Technical Recession: 

  • It refers to two straight quarters of negative growth. 
  • It’s a quantitative measure used to assess the health of an economy, indicating a period of economic contraction. 

Xiakong: 

  • China has been constructing 628 such Xiaokang or “well-off villages” along India’s borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region for over five years now. 
  •  These have been constructed all along the LAC, including the Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh borders. 
  • The structures include mostly double-storey, large and spacious buildings. The construction for most of these planned villages has already been completed, as per officials. 

Sora:  

  • OpenAI, the creator of the revolutionary chatbot ChatGPT, has unveiled a new generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) model that can convert a text prompt into video, an area of GenAI that was thus far fraught with inconsistencies. The model, called Sora, can generate videos up to a minute long while maintaining visual quality and adherence to the user’s prompt. 
  • It is capable of creating complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background. 
  • The company also claimed that the model can understand how objects “exist in the physical world”, and “accurately interpret props and generate compelling characters that express vibrant emotions”. 

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