TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related ART AND CULTURE 1. 10-day Dasara extravaganza begins GEOGRAPHY 1. Titli turns into severe cyclonic storm B. GS2 Related POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. How was decision on Rafale made, asks SC INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. Cooperate to fight trade protectionism, says China C. GS3 Related SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. ‘Sophia’ set to steal many a heart! ENVIRONMENT 1. Containing a virus D. GS4 Related E. Editorials POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Draconian move (Section 124) 2. Next steps after the 377 judgment (Section 377 of the IPC) INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1. The power of non-alignment (Non-Aligned Movement) F. Tidbits 1. A WhatsApp network helps protect hearts G. Prelims Fact 1. Coal shortage hits aluminium units H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
- The 10-day Dasara festivities got off to a traditional start atop Chamundi Hills in Mysuru on Wednesday with prayers for the welfare of the State.
- It also signalled the continuation of a hoary tradition that has made Dasara synonymous with Mysuru to showcase the best of the ancient and modern cultural practices that draw tourists in large numbers. The city has been decked up and illuminated for the event and this has shored up the festive spirit.
- While the Infosys Foundation chairperson Sudha Murty inaugurated the festival atop Chamundi Hills in the morning, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy launched the cultural programmes at the palace late in the evening.
More about Dasara
- Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami, Dasara, or Dashain) is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a gazetted holiday in India, which is marked on the 10th day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja), according to the Hindu calendar.
- Many people of the Hindu faith observe Dussehra through special prayer meetings and food offerings to the gods at home or in temples throughout India. They also hold outdoor fairs (melas) and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a mythical king of ancient Sri Lanka). The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening. Dussehra is the culmination of the Navaratri festival.
- Many Hindus also believe that it is lucky to start a new venture, project or journey on Dussehra. They may also exchange gifts of leaves from the Shami tree (Prosopis spicigera) as a symbol of the story of the Pandavas brothers’ exile in the Mahabharata stories.
- Dussehra celebrates the Hindu god Rama’s victory over the demon king Ravana and the triumph of good over evil.
- Ravana plays an important role in the Ramayana. Ravana had a sister known as Shoorpanakha. She fell in love with the brothers Rama and Lakshmana and wanted to marry one of them. Lakshmana refused to marry her and Rama could not as he was already married to Sita.
- Shoorpanakha threatened to kill Sita so that she could marry Rama. This angered Lakshmana who cut off Shoorpanakha’s nose and ears. Ravana then kidnapped Sita to avenge his sister’s injuries. Rama and Lakshmana later fought a battle to rescue Sita. The monkey god Hanuman and a huge army of monkeys helped them.
- The Mahabharata is another series of Hindu stories that play a role in the Dussehra festival. The Pandavas were five brothers who fought evil forces with a set of distinctive weapons. They abandoned their weapons and went into exile for one year. They hid their weapons in a Shami tree and found them at the same place when they returned from exile. They then worshipped the tree before going to a battle, which they won. This epic is also commemorated during Dussehra.
- The very severe cyclonic storm ‘Titli’ over the westcentral Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards with a speed of about 18 kmph and lay centred about 230 km southsoutheast of Gopalpur (Odisha) and 190 km southeast of Kalingapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) on Wednesday night.
- It is very likely to intensify and move north northwestwards and make landfall between Gopalpur (Odisha) and Kalingapatnam on Thursday morning, with wind speed touching 145 kmph. Thereafter, it is very likely to re-curve northeastwards, move towards the Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually.
How a cyclone gets its name?
- Tropical cyclones passing over the northern part of the Indian Ocean are named by eight countries in the region, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman and Thailand.
- The process only began in 2004, four years after World Meteorological Organization agreed in principle to allow them to name cyclones originating in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The alphabet system is used to designate the name of a cyclone, which means the name of the year’s first cyclone begins with A.
- Previously, till 1979, cyclones were only given female names. Male names were only introduced in the same year. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintains the database of cyclone/hurricane/typhoon names.
- There are six lists of names used in rotation and they are recycled every six years. The names are picked from this pre-designated list and are usually familiar with the people living in the region. India has so far contributed the following names: Agni, Bijli, Akash, Jal, Lehar, Megh, Sagar and Vayu.
B. GS2 Related
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to submit details of the decision-making process in the Rafale deal with France in a sealed envelope by October 29. A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, clarified that it was not asking for information on the price of the fighter jets and technical particulars.
- “We are not on the issue of pricing and suitability of the Rafale jets but only on the decision-making process,” the Bench, also comprising Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, said.
- The Rafale is a 4th generation Aircraft with twin-engine, multi-role fighter aircraft. According to Dassault, it is capable of carrying out all combat missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
- These two squadrons will be like a spearhead or an arrowhead for the IAF formations. They will be used for the long range possessions attack missions.
- Rafale provides standoff capability when any country attacks India. An active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which enables the pilot to look 200 to 400 kms away. It gives long range precision strike capability, the pilot can detect enemy aircraft and share the information and also destroy the targets.
- The 4th generation Aircraft capabilities involve Situational awareness in which Aircraft has got those sensors which enable the pilot to be aware situationally and detect the enemy Aircraft for which the Rafale has got AESA radar.
- The weapons package includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile considered the best in the class with range of over 150 km and Scalp long range air to ground missiles. The Rafale will also be fitted with MICA missiles, an Air to Land precision missile of more than 300 km range.
- Today the warfare is beyond the range capability and not face to face.
- This deal includes the cost of 36 Rafale fighters, the full weapons package, simulators, spares, maintenance, performance-based logistics, India-specific enhancements and associated supplies for five years.
- The Rafale Aircraft will give India a superior Nuclear Strike capability and add to the existing nuclear strike capability of Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage-2000.
- It is the IAF which will spearhead the nuclear deterrence and Rafale will spearhead the deterrence.
- China has asked India to counter jointly the growing threat of trade protectionism championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
- A statement issued by the Embassy of China in India said that attempts were being made to sow discord between China and India and they should not fall for such traps.
- “Under the current circumstances, China and India need to deepen their cooperation to fight trade protectionism. As the two largest developing countries and major emerging markets, China and India are both in the vital stage of deepening reform and developing economy, and both need stable external environment,” Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Embassy, said.
- The spokesperson said the U.S. was promoting protectionism while trying to keep India away from China by planting ideas that China’s financial support for developing countries would lead to a “debt trap”.
What is protectionism?
- Protectionism is the economic policy of restricting imports from other countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, import quotas, and a variety of other government regulations.
- Protectionist policies help immune the producers, businesses, and workers of the import-competing sector in the country from foreign competitors.
Why protectionism is gaining prevalence?
- To protect indigenous industrial sectors especially infant and sunrise sectors.
- High unemployment rate
- Slow growth recovery post global financial crisis
- Rising apprehensions with respect to immigrants leading to xenophobia
What is trade war?
- Trade war is an economic conflict between two or more nations regarding trade tariffs on each other.
- This type of conflict usually arises because the nations involved are trying to improve imports or exports for its own country.
- The last time the world saw trade war was in the 1930s when countries had tried to boost their trade surplus. The result was a massive slowdown around the world, which eventually resulted in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
C. GS3 Related
- Sophia will be the star attraction at the Vizag Fintech Festival being organised from October 22 to 26 by the Fintech Valley Vizag, an initiative of the State government to create a sustainable and comprehensive ecosystem for the growth of fintech.
- Sophia, the first social humanoid robot, will arrive in the city fully packed in a suitcase from Singapore to speak on the future of fintech on October 23.
- Immediately on arrival on October 22, various devices of the robot, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and embedded systems, will be assembled.
- The next day, Sophia will speak briefly, and later take part in an interactive programme with financial experts, regulators, investors and IT professionals.
Know about Sophia
- Sophia was created by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics with the purpose of using such creations for the care of the elderly and crowd management at big events.
- Sophia had hit the headlines after it was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia and the United Nations Development Programme appointed it as its Innovation Champion.
- The robot is equipped with voice recognition technology and facial reading. Cameras are fixed in its eyes along with computer algorithms to see. It is capable of showing over 50 facial expressions like a human being.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
- To make it simple – Artificial Intelligence is intelligence exhibited by machines.
- It is a branch of computer science which deals with creating computers or machines as intelligent as human beings.
- The term was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at the Dartmouth conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- It is a simulation of human intelligence processes such as learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction by machines, especially computer systems.
- Nowadays it has become an umbrella term which encompasses everything from robotic process automation to actual robotics.
- Recently it has become widely popular and gained prominence due to its multifaceted application ranging from healthcare to military devices.
- A canine distemper virus (CDV) has led to many deaths in the Gir sanctuary. In September alone, 21 lions died. Every year, it is normal for 80-90 lions to die in Gujarat, according to wildlife experts.
- Wildlife experts say that more than the numbers, it is the fear that mutation in a virus could have caused deaths that is perturbing. Scientists at the National Institute of Virology, Pune have confirmed the CDV virus in only five of the dead lions. But many more may have taken sick. Experts say that the virus may have jumped from dogs to lions.
What is Canine Distemper?
- This is a viral disease that is frequent in dogs, foxes, wolves, big cats and even primates. It is caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae (the family of viruses causing measles, mumps and bronchiolitis in humans).
- It infects the spinal cord and brain and also the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. The virus is believed to have a 50% fatality rate in dogs.
- In 1994, the CDV was responsible for an epidemic in the Serengeti region of Africa, where 1,000 lions died in three weeks. Its prevalence in India has not been studied and only a few reports are available regarding its detection in wild carnivores.
How can the outbreak be checked?
- The lion population should be immediately vaccinated with the available vaccine for CDV. At present, most of the available vaccines are made of CDV American genotypes 1 & 2. These have been used in a number of countries and found to be effective.
- As the CDV is transmitted by airborne route as well as infected body secretions, healthy lions from the Gir forest ought to be shifted to an alternative suitable location. Moreover, as many of the Gir lions live outside protected areas and are in contact with domestic dwellings, their susceptibility to new pathogens has risen, according to scientists.
- In 2013, the Supreme Court had called for shifting of some lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh to “to save [them] from extinction, due to catastrophes like epidemic”. However, this is yet to happen.
- Wildlife experts say vaccination is a bad idea as it could introduce new complications to the immune systems of the wild lions and make them vulnerable to unknown viruses.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Note to Students:
Although this editorial primarily deals with Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code, we have even covered Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code to lend a greater perspective as Section 124A frequently appears in the news and often students confuse the provisions under these two sections.
A Note on Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code:
According to Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code, “whoever, with the intention of inducing or compelling the President of India, or Governor of any State, to exercise or refrain from exercising in any manner any of the lawful powers of such President or Governor, assaults or wrongfully restrains, or attempts wrongfully to restrain, or overawes, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, or attempts so to overawe, such President or Governor, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- Further, it is important to note that this is a Non-Bailable, Cognizable offence and triable by Court of Session
- This offence is NOT compoundable.
A Note on Section 124A of Indian Penal Code
- Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, shall be punished by imprisonment or fine.
Certain Arguments in favour of the Sedition Law
- In the year 1962, the Honourable Supreme Court of India in the Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar case upheld Section 124A. The Court held that it struck a “correct balance” between fundamental rights and the need for public order.
- Further, the court has reduced the scope of Sedition law to only those cases where there is incitement to imminent violence towards overthrow of the state.
Arguments against section 124A
- Arguments against section 124A suggest that it stifles the democratic right of people to criticize the government.
- In the Menaka Gandhi case, the Honourable Supreme Court of India had held that freedom of speech and expression is not confined to geographical limitations and that it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad too.
- Thus, stemming from this, criticism against the government policies and decisions within a reasonable limit that does not incite people to rebel is consistent with freedom of speech and expression.
- Recently, R.R. Gopal, Editor of the Tamil magazine Nakkheeran was arrested.
- The Tamil Nadu Governor’s office had complained to the police, seeking to book Mr. Gopal under Section 124 of the IPC. The Governor’s office had cited some articles published in the magazine.
- It is important to note that this section, was seldom used even during colonial times. It applies to assaulting high constitutional functionaries such as the President and the Governor with “an intent to compel or restrain the use of any lawful power”.
- The important point to note here is that whether the articles in question were in bad taste or not is the subject for a separate debate. But however offensive or derogatory the articles may have been, they did not attract Section 124.
- The present Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit had threatened a few months ago to use Section 124, when the DMK staged black flag demonstrations at sites where the Governor held meetings with district-level officials.
- Going into specifics, it is doubtful whether a black flag demonstration can be construed as an attempt to “overawe” the Governor in a manner that restrains his office from exercising power.
- Further, being “overawed”, at the very least, would suggest the commission of an offence that poses a real danger to the exercise of authority. To extend the meaning of “overawe” to a work of journalism raises many questions.
- What further raises question marks is the claim in the police complaint prepared by the Deputy Secretary to the Governor that the offending articles express an “intention of inducing or compelling the Governor… to refrain from exercising his lawful powers”.
- The articles published in the Tamil magazine had linked Mr. Purohit’s name to the controversy surrounding assistant professor Nirmala Devi, who is in jail for allegedly trying to lure students into sex work.
- In conclusion, it is believed that if Mr. Purohit believed they were unfounded and damaged his reputation, there were other forms of legal redress available to him.
- By seeking registration of a Section 124 case against the magazine’s Editor, journalists and employees, the Governor’s office has only turned the spotlight on itself unnecessarily.
- It is believed that he should withdraw the complaint now as it is unlikely that the Tamil Nadu police will take such a decision on its own.
Note to the Students:
- We have covered a detailed video-based lecture on YouTube which explains the recent judgement by the Honourable Supreme Court of India towards decriminalizing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
- This video link as below:
- The recent judgement by the Honourable Supreme Court of India towards decriminalizing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code should be celebrated for ejecting an ugly Victorian norm from the Indian criminal justice system.
- This landmark decision breaks new ground by removing restrictions that made consensual sexual relations between members of the same sex and the transgender population a crime.
- However, experts believe that this judgment of the Supreme Court will, however, likely have unintended negative consequences for one group that has used Section 377 to protect itself from sexual violence — women.
Married Women and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code
- It is important to note that an overwhelming majority of women who utilised Section 377 of the IPC at police stations are abused and physically tormented married women.
- Utilising new data as well as research conducted at police stations across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, we find that female complainants invoked most cases of Section 377 in the context of Section 498A.
What is Section 498A?
- In an attempt made towards safeguarding the interest of woman against the cruelty they face behind the four walls of their matrimonial home, the Indian Penal Code,1860 was amended in 1983 and inserted S.498A which deals with ‘Matrimonial Cruelty’ to a woman.
- Matrimonial Cruelty in India is a cognizable, non bailable and non compoundable offence.
- Whoever being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine.
- Critics believe that ever since Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was diluted by the Supreme Court last year (2017), it became more difficult for women to utilise the one law that had some teeth in deterring husbands from causing harm to their wives.
- It is important to note that in the Indian criminal justice system, Section 498A has a connotation as a “minor” gendered crime. This is partly why the Supreme Court suggested that first information reports should not be registered immediately after such a case comes before a police officer.
- The court mandated that no arrests or coercive action based on the law should be carried out until “family welfare committees” had looked into a case under Section 498A, and reconciliation centres had made an effort to resolve the couple’s differences.
- Thus, in other words, woman and spouse would be “counselled” before the case was handled by the justice system.
- In a particular study, that involved research conducted at police stations across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, it was found that for every hundred Section 377 cases, more than half are filed by women in the context of Section 498A.
The particular relation between Section 377 and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code :
- It is important to note that women who register spousal abuse, especially in the form of Section 498A, often do so as a case of last resort.
- Further, in extreme circumstances, women encourage police officers to register an additional case of Section 377 against their husbands.
- This is done to elevate the “heinousness” of Section 498A, i.e., to signal to the police that their abuse is not simply “cruelty” but also one of sexual abuse.
- Crucially, Section 498A has the lowest conviction rate of any law in India, and by tacking on Section 377, women are potentially able to increase the likelihood of the husband being punished.
- In a legal context in which marital rape is not recognised, Section 377 emerges as a tool for married women to highlight the “unnatural” abuse they face.
- Importantly, the media in Kerala have found that the use of Section 377 is often added to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to increase POCSO’s stringency.
Possible view taken on Section 377 and Section 375:
- In its recent judgment, the Honourable Supreme Court of India appears to have been conscious of the fact that Section 377 has been used to protect women but implied that as Section 375 (rape) already criminalises non-consensual acts, Section 377 is redundant when applied to women.
- Further, the court also implied that Section 377 was obsolete because the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 broadened the scope of Section 375 to include non-penile-vaginal penetration, “thereby plugging important gaps in the law governing sexual violence in India”.
- While Section 377 will now apply to minors and in cases of bestiality, it is still unclear as to whether or not abused married women will be able to use the law in quite the same way as they did before.
What is bestiality?
Bestiality refers to sexual relations between a human being and an animal.
There are important points to note here in this regard:
- The Supreme Court of India has made it clear that sex with animals will remain an offence.
- The court also said that any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of fundamental rights.
Finally, it is important to note that if women are physically abused by their husbands, they should be able to register a case easily.
- A far more effective and progressive strategy would be for the state to now criminalise marital rape. This could be done by passing a new law or merely removing the exemption in Section 375.
Note to Students:
This particular article in the Hindu focuses on the Non-Aligned Movement. We have taken the liberty of providing a background to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) from a historical perspective.
- The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War. During the early days of the Movement, its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which led later to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and peoples and to the founding of tens of new sovereign States. Throughout its history, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.
- While some meetings with a third-world perspective were held before 1955, historians consider that the Bandung Asian-African Conference is the most immediate antecedent to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement.
- This Conference was held in Bandung on April 18-24, 1955 and gathered 29 Heads of States belonging to the first post-colonial generation of leaders from the two continents with the aim of identifying and assessing world issues at the time and pursuing out joint policies in international relations.
- This First Summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries was convened by the leaders of India, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria and Yugoslavia. On April 26, 1961, the Presidents of the Arab Republic of Egypt (Nasser) and Yugoslavia (Tito) addressed the Heads of State and Government of 21 “non-Aligned” countries and suggested that, taking recent world events and the rise of international tensions into account, a Conference should be held to promote an improvement in international relations, a resistance to policies of force and a constructive settlement of conflicts and other issues of concern in the world.
- The Movement played an important role in the support of nations which were struggling then for their independence in the Third World and showed great solidarity with the most just aspirations of humanity.
- It contributed indisputably to the triumph in the struggle for national independence and decolonization, thus gaining considerable diplomatic prestige.
The ten principles of Bandung:
- Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
- Respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
- Recognition of the equality among all races and of the equality among all nations, both large and small.
- Non-intervention or non-interference into the internal affairs of another -country.
- Respect of the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.
- Non-use of pressures by any country against other countries.
- Refraining from carrying out or threatening to carry out aggression, or from using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
- Peaceful solution of all international conflicts in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Promotion of mutual interests and of cooperation.
- Respect of justice and of international obligations
A Few More Notable Points:
- The movement has succeeded to create a strong front on the International level, representing countries of the third world in the International organizations on top of which the United Nations.
- Current Challenges facing the NAM include the necessity of protecting the principles of International law, eliminating weapons of mass destruction , combating terrorism, defending human rights, working toward making the United Nations more effective in meeting the needs of all its member states in order to preserve International Peace , Security and Stability, as well as realizing justice in the international economic system.
- On the other hand, the long-standing goals of the Movement remain to be realized. Peace, development, economic cooperation and the democratization of international relations, to mention just a few, are old goals of the non-aligned countries.
- In conclusion, The Non-Aligned Movement, faced with the goals yet to be reached and the many new challenges that are arising, is called upon to maintain a prominent and leading role in the current International relations in defense of the interests and priorities of its member states and for achievement of peace and security for mankind.
- It is important to note that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and its precursor, the Bandung Afro-Asian conference in 1955, were examples of soft balancing by weaker states towards great powers engaged in intense rivalry and conflict.
- Since the NAM countries had little material ability to constrain superpower conflict and arms build-ups, these newly emerging states under the leadership of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indonesia’s Sukarno, and later joined by Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito, adopted a soft balancing strategy aimed at challenging the superpower excesses in a normative manner, hoping for preventing the global order from sliding into war.
The Hidden Narrative of NAM:
- Oftentimes, the NAM is not credited enough for what it deserves. This is because by the 1970s, some of the key players, including India, began to lose interest in the movement as they formed coalitions with one or the other superpower to wage their conflicts with their neighbours.
- Further, some experts believe that the NAM has not been theorised by scholars properly.
- Further, the Western countries have often portrayed the idea of non-alignment as pro-Soviet or ineffective.
- The general intellectual opposition which the NAM faced was the result of the Western scholarly bias against a coalitional move by the weaker states of the international system.
- Some experts believe that this is very similar to how upper classes or castes respond to protest movements by subaltern groups in highly unequal and hierarchical societies.
The Context of NAM:
- Experts assert that it is often forgotten as to when the Bandung meeting took place. The Bandung meeting took place when the world was witnessing an intense nuclear arms race, in particular, atmospheric nuclear testing. The fear of a third world war was real. There were many crises which were going on in Europe and East Asia, with the fear of escalation lurking. Further, the vestiges of colonialism were still present.
- In essence, one narrative which we should take into account is that the international system is hierarchical and the expectation is that the weaker states should simply abide by the dictates of the stronger ones.
- Despite all its drawbacks, the NAM and the Afro-Asian grouping acted as a limited soft balancing mechanism by attempting to delegitimize the threatening behaviour of the superpowers.
Impact on Nuclear Tests:
- It is important to note that the non-aligned declarations on nuclear testing and nuclear non-proliferation especially helped to concretise the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty.
- The non-aligned declarations also helped create several nuclear weapon free zones as well as formulate the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
- Currently, across the world, there are important developments to take note of: We see that the great powers are once again launching a new round of nuclear arms race and territorial expansion and militarisation of the oceans.
- Thus, in response to this, a renewed activism by leading global south countries may be necessary to delegitimize their imperial ventures, even if they do not succeed immediately.
- Currently, we see that the freedom of navigation activities of the U.S. are generating hostile responses from China, which is building artificial islets and military bases in the South China Sea and expanding its naval interests into the Indian Ocean.
- As a consequence to this, smaller states would be the first to suffer if there is a war in the Asia-Pacific or an intense Cold War-style rivalry develops between the U.S. and China.
- Many questions arise. For example: What can the smaller states do? Can they develop a new ‘Bandung spirit’ which takes into account the new realities?
- Experts suggest that these small states could engage in soft balancing of this nature hoping to delegitimize the aggressive behaviour of the great powers.
- It is important to note that the rise of China and India, with their own ambitious agendas, makes it difficult that either will take the lead in organising such a movement.
- In conclusion, experts suggest that more concrete initiatives may have to rest with emerging states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping.
- From the border town Uri in Baramulla to the mountains of Banihal and Tanghdar, a WhatsApp group has emerged as a saviour for heart patients in Jammu and Kashmir.
- It was started by a group of three cardiologists in 2016, with three more doctors joining in 2017. The ‘Save Heart Initiative’ has multiplied from one to three WhatsApp groups, with 256 senior physicians and cardiologists in each group.
- Over the past 288 days, 7,029 patients, mostly in remote and inaccessible areas, have survived cardiac emergencies, thanks to the network’s intervention during the ‘golden hour.’
- “Myocardial infarction and cardiac illnesses are touching epidemic levels in Kashmir. Timely management is vital. So we decided to integrate all levels of healthcare in Kashmir and use WhatsApp as a tool to provide expert opinions and live demonstrations,” said Dr. Nasir Shamas, a physician and founder member.
G. Prelims Fact
- The Aluminium Association of India (AAI) has written to the government asking it to stop prioritising coal supply to power plants. The exclusion of other industries that required coal was depriving them of the much-needed raw material essential for their functioning, the association said.
- The government on September 22 directed State-run coal companies to first send coal rakes to power plants as they were facing acute shortage of coal.
- The issue has come at a time when the aluminium sector is already struggling with the dumping of scrap from the U.S. and China, as both countries have raised import tariffs on each other’s products.
- Also called black gold.
- Found in sedimentary strata [layers of soil].
- Contains carbon, volatile matter, moisture and ash [in some cases Sulphur and phosphorous].
- Mostly used for power generation and metallurgy.
- Coal reserves are six times greater than oil and petroleum reserves.
H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. With reference to “Kadaknath chicken”, recently in news, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
- The famous Kadaknath chicken meat from Jhabua district of Rajasthan has now got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
- Kadaknath is locally known as Kalamasi and is used for the treatment of many diseases, besides being considered an aphrodisiac.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 2. With reference to “Project Mausam”, recently in news, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
- Project ‘Mausam’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Earth and Science.
- It is to be implemented by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 3. Consider the following statements with reference to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam, which recently won UNESCO award for cultural heritage conservation:
- Gopuram of this temple is the biggest gopuram in Asia.
- It is built in the Vesara style of architecture.
- It is a temple dedicated to Shaiva cult.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 2 and 3 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1 only
I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam
- Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in a mountain valley bond by forests and inhabited by ethnic communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with unforeseen contingencies? (150 words)
- Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public Administration. (150 words)
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Current Affairs Webinar’. Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”