Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 25 September 2023

Hoysala temples on UNESCO heritage list

GS Paper - 1 (Art and Culture)

Three Hoysala-era temples in Karnataka made it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, under the collective entry of ‘Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas’. Hoysala temples are known for the rare beauty and finesse of their wall sculptures, and have been described as “art which applies to stone the technique of the ivory worker or the goldsmith”. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the three temples selected for the UNESCO list are important not just because they demonstrate their builders’ superior skill, but also because they narrate the tale of the politics that shaped them.

Which are the three Hoysala temples selected for the UNESCO list?

  • The three temples include the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu, and the Keshava Temple in Somanathapura.
  • The announcement was made by UNESCO during the World Heritage Committee’s 45th session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. India submitted the nomination dossier for the temples in January 2022.

Who were the Hoysalas?

  • The Hoysalas held power in Karnataka from the 10th century to the 14th century.
  • The dynasty began as provincial governors under the Western Chalukyas, but as the two dominant empires of the South, the Western Chalukyas and the Cholas, crumbled, the Hoysalas established themselves as rulers.
  • Two of the temples that made it to the UNESCO list are located in cities that served as the capital of the Hoysalas — earlier Belur, and then Halebidu (or Dwarasamudra).

When were the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas built?

  • The Chennakeshava temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was consecrated around 1117 AD by the mighty Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana, to mark his victories against the Cholas. It is thus also called the Vijaya Narayana temple.
  • The other Vaishnava shrine, the Kesava temple, was built in Somanathapura in 1268 by Somanatha, a general of Hoysala King Narasimha III.
  • The Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu is believed to be the largest Shiva temple built by the Hoysalas, and is dated to the 12th century.

I2U2 announces joint space venture

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

IndiaIsrael, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, or I2U2 have announced a new joint space venture on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to take forward their partnership.

More about Joint venture

  • Primarily using space-based observation data and capabilities of the four I2U2 partner countries, this project aims to create a unique space-based tool for policymakers, institutions and entrepreneurs, enabling their work on environmental and climate change challenges and furthering our cooperation in the applications of space data for the greater good of humanity, according to a readout by the State Department following the announcement on 22 September 2023.
  • Meanwhile, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S.-UAE Business Council, the UAE-India Business Council, and the UAE-Israel Business Council to create the I2U2 Private Enterprise Partnership.
  • This new public-private partnership will work to increase awareness of the I2U2 initiative in business communities and support projects and other efforts that further the goals of the initiative.
  • The four-nation grouping also launched its website to enhance cooperation between the member countries and partnerships across the globe.
  • The public-private partnership aims to draw greater awareness to the potential of the I2U2 Initiative, particularly in the seven key sectors, namely waterenergytransportationtechnologyspacehealth, and food security.

India-Canada ties in numbers

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The unprecedented escalation of tensions with Canada — a first-of-its-kind situation in the history of India’s diplomatic relations with the West — has triggered concerns over potential ripple effects in a range of areas including trade and people-to-people ties. This is especially because the connections between the two countries are old and deep, and Canada is home to more Sikhs as a percentage of the national population than even India.

Canada accounts for 0.56% of the total FDI in India

  • According to the Indian Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the total FDI equity inflow in India between April 2000 to June 2023 stood at $645,386.0884 million, of which 0.5644 per cent ($3,642.5243 million) came from Canada.

Canada is home to 5.26% of overseas Indians

  • According to the data available from the Ministry of External Affairs, of the 3,21,00,340 overseas Indians5.26% (16,89,055) are in Canada.
  • These include 1,78,410 Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and 15,10,645 Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs).

Every 7th Indian student studying abroad is in Canada

  • In 2022, of the estimated 13,24,954 Indian students abroad13.83% (1,83,310) were in Canada, according to data maintained by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Canada is the fourth largest source of tourists in India (based on 2021 figures)

  • Canada accounted for 5.3% (80,437) of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during 2021; 45.9% of these tourists were female, and 54.1% were male.
  • 72.6% of the Canadian FTAs were members of the Indian diaspora2.5% came for leisure, holiday, and recreation, 1.1% for business and professional reasons, and 0.3% for medical reasons.
  • A small 0.1% of Canadian FTAs in 2021 were students, and 23.4% were in the category of others. They spent 52.32 days in India on average.

Bilateral trade with Canada accounts for only 0.70% of India’s total trade

  • India’s bilateral trade with Canada stood at $8,161.02 million during the financial year 2022-23 (April-March), which was just 0.70% of India’s total trade of $1,165,000.88 million.
  • Canada was India’s 35th biggest trading partner country. India has higher bilateral trade with smaller countries like Nepal ($8,855.61 million) and Taiwan ($10,901.77 million).
  • The balance of trade is in India’s favour, and Canada is among the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.
  • In 2022-23, India’s exports to Canada stood at $4,109.74 million, which exceeded its imports ($4,051.29 million) from the country — leaving a trade surplus of $58.45 million.

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