27 April, 2020 72 Min Read
|GS-I||Lord Basaveshwara||History And Culture|
|Great Barrier Reef suffers third major bleaching event||Geography|
|GS-II||Nuclear Arm Race-Compliance Report and Nuclear treaties||International treaties and conventions|
|India’s Entry into NSG||International treaties and conventions|
|Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and USA||International treaties and conventions|
|GS-III||NTPC launches Hydrogen Fuel bus and car project for Leh and New Delhi||Science and Technology|
|Study shows that COVID 19 may affect the Central Nervous System causing loss of smell and taste||COVID-19|
|India top fifth sextortion countries||Internal security|
|Convalescent plasma therapy||Science and Technology|
|PT Pickups||With Europe hit by COVID-19, mango exports from Karnataka look uncertain||Economy|
GS-I : History And Culture
Great Barrier Reef suffers third major bleaching event
Part of: GS-III- Environment and Coral reefs (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem located in Australia, recently experienced its third major bleaching event in five years.
About coral reef
Coral reefs are among the world’s most diverse ecosystems, with more than 800 species of corals providing habitat and shelter for approximately 25% of global marine life. Coral reefs are also extremely beneficial to humans: They protect coastlines from tropical storms, provide food and income for 1 billion people, and generate $9.6 billion in tourism and recreation each year. But according to the United Nations Environment Programme, coral reefs are endangered and rapidly degrading due to overfishing, bottom trawling, warming temperatures and unsustainable coastal development.
Also, the abundance and diversity of fish serve as an important indicator of overall reef health
Growth conditions for Coral Reefs
Types of Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs are differentiated into three categories based on their shape, nature and mode of occurrence.
Coral Reefs in India
India has its coastline extending over 7500 kilometres. It is due to the subtropical climatic conditions, there are a very few coral reefs in India. The major coral reefs in India include the Palk Bay, the Gulf of Mannar, the Gulf of Kutch, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands. Among all these coral reefs, the Lakshadweep reef is an example of atoll while the rest are all fringing reefs.
Situated in the south-east coast of India, Palk Bay is separated from the Gulf of Mannar by the Mandapam Peninsula and the Rameshwaram Island and is centered on 9 °17’N and 79° 15′. The one fringing reef in the Palk Bay is 25-30km long, and less than 200m wide lies in the east-west direction of the Pamban channel. This reef has a maximum depth of around 3 m.
The Gulf of Mannar
Situated around a chain of 21 islands, the Gulf of Mannar lies between Tuticorin and Rameswaram at a stretch of 140 km. These 21 islands fall between latitude 8°47′ N and 9° 15′ N and longitude 78° 12′ E and 79° 14’E and form a part of the Mannar Barrier Reef which is 140 km long and 25 km wide.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands fall between 6°-14° N lat and 91 °-94° E longitude. They are situated at the south-eastern part of the Bay of Bengal and consist of 350 islands, of which only 38 are inhabited. These islands extend southward from the Irrawaddy Delta of Burma to the Arakan Yoma Range. All the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar groups are almost fringing reefs.
The Gulf of Kutch
The Gulf of Kutch is situated in the northern part of Saurashtra Peninsula and is located between 22°15′-23°40′ N Latitude and 68°20′-70°40′ East Longitude having an area of about 7350 sq km. These reefs are of fringing type and are about 170 km long and 75 km wide at the mouth which narrows down at a longitude of 72° 20′. Due to the mud deposits on various coral reefs, these coral reefs are in a highly degraded condition.
Located between 8°N – 12°3’N latitude and 71 °E- 74°E longitude, the Lakshadweep Islands which lies scattered in the Arabian Sea are situated at about 225 km to 450 km from the Kerala Coast. The islands covering an area of 32 km2 consist of 36 tiny islands, 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks, with lagoons occupying about 4200 km2.
Due to the warm humid climate of these islands, the temperature of the water varies between 28-31 °C with salinity ranging from 34% – 37%.
The United Nations has reported that:
According to a recent report, if stern measures to bring down the greenhouse gas emission levels are not adopted urgently, then Australia’s Great Barrier Reef might be in danger of coral bleaching as frequently as every two years by 2034. Large scale coral bleaching in 2016 destroyed thousands of square kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef.
Hawaii became the first U.S. state to put curbs on the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can cause coral bleaching.
What is Coral Bleaching?
Causes of Coral Bleaching?
Nuclear Arm Race-Compliance Report and Nuclear treaties
Part of: GS-II- International treaties (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
In News: 2020 Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Compliance ReportThe Trump Administration just released its “Executive Summary of Findings on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments,” also known as the Compliance Report. As directed by Congress, the Department of State is required to provide an annual report on “the status of United States policy and actions with respect to arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament.” An unclassified report (with classified annexes, as necessary) must be submitted to Congress by April 15 each year. The full report has reportedly been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The 2020 Executive Summary of the Compliance Report includes a number of assessments and significant concerns and charges that were not present in the 2019 Compliance Report. In addition to new language describing the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, there is language expressing stronger concern over whether China, Iran, and Russia are now, or have previously been in violation of their obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention. The summary also makes several new assessments about compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Certain language describing China’s nuclear weapons testing program requires immediate clarification for the confusion it has generated. Contrary to some news reports published in the hours immediately following the document’s public release, the United States did not conclude that China has conducted covert or yield-producing nuclear tests during 2019, nor did it conclude that China is in non-compliance with any of its commitments regarding nuclear weapons testing. Rather, the Executive Summary cites several additional activities that “raised concerns regarding [China’s] adherence to the ‘zero yield’ standard adhered to by the United States.” Both Russia and China have already denied the charges leveled in the report regarding low-yield testing and made counter-accusations about the U.S. testing program.
In this summary, the United States also certified that Russia is in compliance with its obligations under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START or NST) which is set to expire on February 5, 2021. This agreement may be extended for up to five years upon presidential agreement, but the Trump Administration continues to say it is reviewing a possible extension.
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (CHINA)
China maintained a high level of activity at its Lop Nur nuclear weapons test site throughout 2019. China’s possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round, its use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur, and lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities – which has included frequently blocking the flow of data from its International Monitoring System (IMS) stations to the International Data Center operated by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization – raise concerns regarding its adherence to the “zero yield” standard adhered to by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France in their respective nuclear weapons testing moratoria.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION (RUSSIA)
The United States finds that Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that have created nuclear yield and are not consistent with the U.S. “zero-yield” standard. The United States does not know how many, if any, supercritical or self-sustaining nuclear experiments Russia conducted in 2019. Despite Russia renewing its nuclear testing moratorium in 1996, some of its activities since 1996 have demonstrated a failure to adhere to the U.S. “zero-yield” standard, which would prohibit supercritical tests.
In November 2019, the Acting IAEA Director General (DG) reported the detection by IAEA inspectors of particles of chemically processed uranium at an undeclared location in Iran, and noted that this indicates the possibility of undeclared nuclear material in Iran. The IAEA continues to engage Iran regarding an explanation for the presence of these uranium particles that is consistent with the IAEA’s technical analysis. Iran’s intentional failure to declare nuclear material subject to IAEA safeguards would constitute a clear violation of Iran’s CSA required by the NPT, and would constitute a violation of Article III of the NPT itself. Until Iran provides a full and complete explanation for the presence of this man-made uranium, the IAEA’s safeguards -7- concerns are a matter of current proliferation concern. (Following the reporting period, additional concerns arose with regard to Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations and commitments. In March 2020, the IAEA DG reported that Iran had failed to provide inspector access at two locations not declared by Iran, and did not substantively respond to the IAEA’s requests for clarification regarding possible undeclared nuclear material or activities at those locations and a third, unspecified location.) During the reporting period, Iran progressively expanded its uranium enrichment activities and stockpile of enriched uranium, key factors in determining the amount of time required to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon or device, should Iran decide to pursue nuclear weapons. If Iran were to manufacture or otherwise acquire a nuclear weapon, such actions would violate its obligations under Article II of the NPT.
U.S. COMPLIANCE In 2019
The United States continued to be in compliance with all of its obligations under arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements. When other countries have formally raised a compliance concern regarding U.S. implementation activities, the United States has carefully reviewed the matter to confirm its actions were in compliance with its obligations under the following instruments:
a) Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention or BWC);
b) Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention or CWC);
c) Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces or INF Treaty);
d) Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests (Threshold Test Ban Treaty or TTBT), Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist -4- Republics on Underground Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes (PNET), and Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water (Limited Test Ban Treaty or LTBT);
e) 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare;
f) Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE);
g) Treaty on Open Skies (OST);
h) Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT);
i) Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START or NST); and
j) Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Management and Disposition of Plutonium Designated as No Longer Required for Defense Purposes and Related Cooperation, as amended (Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement or PMDA)
With the voluntarily increasing of Nuclear Weapons in the world, the threat and the irreparable damage of its use brought the consideration of world leaders into it. The leaders from the world have come forward to bring various treaties to curb its proliferation and future use. The IAEA promotes adherence to and implementation of International legal instrument on Nuclear Safety adopted under its auspices. This includes the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, as well as the two emergency preparedness and response conventions.
Convention on Nuclear Safety:
• Adopted in Vienna, Austria on June 17 1994, and came into force on October 24, 1996, to commit participating states operating land based civil nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks to which States would subscribe.
• The basis of the convention is Parties' common interests to achieve higher level of safety to be ensured through regular meetings.
• It obliges parties to submit reports on the implementation of their obligations for "peer review" at meetings that are normally held at IAEA Headquarters.
• As of July 2015, there are 78 state parties to the Convention plus the European Atomic Energy Community. The states that have signed the treaty but have not ratified it include Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
• The Organizational Meeting for the Seventh Review Meeting was held on 15 October 2015.
Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste management:
• Adopted in Vienna on 5th September 1997 and came into force on 18th June 2001.
• It is the first legal instrument to address the issue of spent fuel and radioactive waste management safety on a global scale.
• The convention applies to spent fuel resulting from the operation of civilian applications. It also applies to spent fuel and radioactive waste from military or defence programmes if such materials are transferred permanently to and managed within exclusively civilian programmes, or when declared as spent fuel or radioactive waste for the purpose of the Convention by the Contracting Party concerned.
• The states that ratify the Convention agree to be governed by the Convention's provisions on the storage of nuclear waste, including transport and the location, design, and operation of storage facilities.
• The Convention implements meetings of the state parties that review the states' implementation of the Convention.
• Five review meetings were convened since the Joint Convention entered into force. The fifth review meeting of the Joint Convention was held in May 2015.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):
• Adopted on June 12 1968 at UN, New York and came into force on March 5th 1970.
• The NPT aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament.
• The Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the IAEA, which also plays a central role under the Treaty in areas of technology transfer for peaceful purposes.
• As of August 2016, 191 states have adhered to the treaty, though North Korea, which acceded in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003, following detonation of nuclear devices in violation of core obligations.
• Four UN member states have never accepted the NPT, three of which are thought to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, and Pakistan. In addition, South Sudan, founded in 2011, has not joined.
South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (Rarotonga Treaty):
• Opened for signature on August 6th 1985, came into force on Dec 11, 1986, a permanent nature treaty which will remain into force indefinitely.
• It was signed by the South Pacific nations of Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Western Samoa on the island of Rarotonga (where the capital of the Cook Islands is located).
• It formalises a Nuclear -Weapons Free Zone in the South Pacific. The treaty bans the use of testing and possession of Nuclear Weapons within the borders of the zone.
• There are three protocols to the treaty, which have been signed by the five declared nuclear states, with the exception of Protocol 1 for China and Russia who have no territory in the Zone. – no manufacture, stationing or testing in their territories within the Zone – no use against the Parties to the Treaty, or against territories where Protocol 1 is in force – no testing within the Zone
• In 1996 France and the United Kingdom signed and ratified the three protocols. The United States signed them the same year but has not ratified them. China signed and ratified protocols 2 and 3 in 1987. Russia has also ratified protocols 2 and 3 with reservations.
Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (Treaty of Bangkok):
• It is a Nuclear Weapons Moratorium Treaty between 10 South-east Asian Member states under the auspices of the ASEAN.
• It was opened for signature at the treaty conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on 15 December 1995 and it entered into force on March 28, 1997 and obliges its members not to develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons.
• The Zone is the area comprising the territories of the states and their respective continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ); "Territory" means the land territory, internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, the seabed and the sub-soil thereof and the airspace above them.
• The treaty includes a protocol under which the five nuclear-weapon states recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), namely China, the United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom (who are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) undertake to respect the Treaty and do not contribute to a violation of it by State parties. None of the nuclear-weapon states have signed this protocol.
Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT):
• Also known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water, which prohibits all test detonations of nuclear weapons except for those conducted underground.
• The PTBT was signed by the governments of the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and United States in Moscow on 5 August 1963 before being opened for signature by other countries.
• The treaty formally went into effect on 10 October 1963. Since then, 123 other states have become party to the treaty. Ten states have signed but not ratified the treaty.
• Negotiations initially focused on a comprehensive ban, but this was abandoned due to technical questions surrounding the detection of underground tests and Soviet concerns over the intrusiveness of proposed verification methods.
Conference on Disarmament (CD):
• A forum established by the International Community to negotiate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements.
• Established in 1979, it was the forum used by its member states, currently numbering 65, to negotiate the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention.
• It is not formally a United Nations (UN) Organization, but it is linked so because of the personal representation of UN Secretary General. Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly often request the conference to consider specific disarmament matters. In turn, the conference annually reports its activities to the Assembly.
• The Conference succeeded the Ten-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1960), the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament (1962-68) and the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament (1969-78). • In the 1990s, the Conference held intensive efforts over three years to draft the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was submitted by Australia to UNGA on Sep 10 1996.
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty:
• It is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear explosions, in all environments by everyone. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996 but has not entered into force as eight specific states have not ratified the treaty at the time of its adoption.
• As of August 2016, it has 183 signatories of which 166 have ratified it.
• Obligations: – Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control. – Each State Party undertakes, furthermore, to refrain from causing, encouraging, or in any way participating in the carrying out of any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.
Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT):
• A proposed international treaty to prohibit the further production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. Neither this treaty has been negotiated nor have its terms been defined.
• Fissile Material is any material which can be used to create a Nuclear Bomb. It includes high enriched uranium and plutonium (except plutonium that is over 80% Pu-238).
• Plutonium-239 is the isotope most useful for nuclear weapons. Plutonium-239 and 241 are fissile, meaning the nuclei of their atoms can break apart by being bombarded by slow moving thermal neutrons, releasing energy, gamma radiation and more neutrons.
Conclusion: The world has entered a new nuclear age. While the risk of large-scale, world-ending nuclear war has declined, regional instability, the proliferation of weapons and the materials to make them along with emerging threats like cyber and terrorism mean the risk of a single nuclear weapon or device being detonated - by accident, by miscalculation or on purpose - is on the rise. Our current nuclear policies have not adapted to today's security environment. This status quo is not sustainable, and the consequences of inaction are unacceptable. Unless we adapt our policies and forces to deal with new and emerging threats, global security will remain at serious risk.
LIST OF TREATIES
The treaty prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, or acquisition of biological and toxin weapons, and mandates the elimination of existing weapons, weapons production material, and delivery means.
The Geneva Protocol prohibits the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare. The Protocol provided the basis for the BTWC and CWC.
The Agreement provides for the complete prohibition of chemical weapons in India and Pakistan, and requires both countries to make a commitment to not develop, possess or use chemical weapons.
The CWC requires State Parties not to develop, produce, acquire, stockpile or retain, transfer, use, or make military preparations to use chemical weapons. It entered into force in 1997.
The Mendoza Agreement, signed in 1991, was an agreement between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile which never entered into force. The Parties agreed not to develop, produce, acquire, stockpile or retain, transfer, or use chemical or biological weapons.
The Arms Trade Treaty obligates Parties to regulate ammunition or munitions fired, launched, or delivered by enumerated conventional arms, including battle tanks, combat vehicles, missiles, missile launchers, and small arms. Parties must also regulate export of parts and components that may assemble these conventional arms.
The CFE Treaty established an agreement aimed at reducing the possibility for major offensive operations in Europe through the reduction of troops and armaments in Central Europe.
The Treaty on Open Skies is an international agreement in which States Parties are given authorization to conduct unarmed observation flights over the territories of other States Parties.
The Convention on Nuclear Safety is an incentive-based instrument that commits States operating nuclear power plants to establish and maintain a regulatory framework to govern the safety of nuclear installations.
The CPPNM is the only legally binding international agreement focusing on the physical protection of peaceful use nuclear materials.
The Joint Convention is the first international instrument to focus on minimizing the effects of hazardous radiological materials and promoting an effective nuclear safety culture.
The Agreement obligates India and Pakistan to refrain from undertaking, encouraging, or participating in actions aimed at causing destruction or damage to nuclear installations or facilities in each country.
The Joint Declaration was a treaty in which South and North Korea agreed not to possess, produce, or use nuclear weapons, and prohibited uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing.
The Lahore Declaration was an agreement between India and Pakistan that called for both to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, among other confidence-building measures.
SALT refers to two rounds of talks between the US and the USSR on nuclear arms control. SALT I (1969-1972) led to the ABM Treaty.
SALT refers to two rounds of talks between the US and the USSR on nuclear arms control. SALT II lasted from 1972-1979.
The treaty mandates the United States and Russia to mutually decrease and limit strategic nuclear weapons, with each party reserving the right to determine the structure of its strategic offensive arms.
New START is an agreement for nuclear arms reduction between the United States and Russia, establishing a limit on deployed strategic warheads.
START I limited the number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles and warheads. START II complemented START I by attempting to establish further limits on strategic nuclear weapons for each party.
START II complemented START I by attempting to establish further limits on strategic nuclear weapons for each party.
The INF Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was the first treaty to reduce nuclear arms instead of establishing an arms ceiling.
The PNE Treaty allows the United States and the USSR to conduct underground peaceful nuclear explosions at any location under their jurisdiction or control.
The ABM Treaty is an agreement between the United States and Soviet to cease construction of a national anti-ballistic missile system to limit the development and deployment of defensive missiles.
The Agreed Framework was an agreement between the United States and North Korea, which called for replacing a North Korean nuclear reactor in exchange for normalizing relations and other incentives.
The CTBT prohibits nuclear weapon test explosions. It has not yet entered into force, since three of the 44 required states have yet to sign it and five to ratify it.
The Convention covers a broad range of acts and possible targets, including nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors. It criminalizes the planning, threatening, or carrying out acts of nuclear terrorism.
The PTBT requires parties to abstain from carrying out nuclear explosions in any environment where such explosions cause radioactive debris outside the limits of the State that conducts an explosion.
India’s Entry into NSG
Part of: GS-II- International treaties (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also known as P5 countries (China, France, Russia, Britain and the US) - have concluded their meetings to discuss issues related to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
NOTE: The four multilateral export control regimes are Wassenaar Arrangement (WA), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group (AG) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India is not a member of NSG only.
Impediments to India’s NSG bid
Significance of NSG Membership for India
Pelindaba Treaty (African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty)
India and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and USA
Part of: GS-II- Nuclear disarmament (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
U.S. President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. is quitting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a bilateral agreement with Russia signed in 1987.
The decision was not unexpected since the U.S. has long maintained that Russia has been violating the treaty and Mr. Trump has been critical of arms control agreements because, according to him, other countries cheat putting the U.S. at a disadvantage.
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty:
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Under the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. agreed to eliminate within three years all ground-launched-missiles of 500-5,500 km range and not to develop, produce or deploy these in future.
The U.S. destroyed 846 Pershing IIs and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs) and the U.S.S.R., 1,846 missiles (SS-4s, SS-5s and SS-20s), along with its support facilities.
Importance of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in U.S.-Russia relations:
Under the Treaty, the two parties agreed that a whole important class of nuclear weapons would be removed from Europe, and only tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) or short-range missiles mostly deployed on the territory of Germany would remain.
The INF Treaty for years served to mitigate fears of both parties in relation to possibility of military escalation, operational miscalculation, and helping to shift the logic of MAD [mutually assured destruction] to the higher “more sensitive” political level.
Adverse consequence of the present decision by Mr.Trump:
Mr. Trump’s decision has generated dismay and concern that this will trigger a new nuclear arms race in Europe and elsewhere.
What it ignores is that the INF Treaty reflected the political reality of the Cold War of a bi-polar world with two nuclear superpowers no longer consistent with today’s multi-polar nuclear world.
The greater challenge today is to understand that existing nuclear arms control instruments can only be preserved if these evolve to take new realities into account.
What is the impact of U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty on China?
Intermediate-range missile systems and cruise missiles would considerably enrich U.S. capabilities in a potential clash over Taiwan or other contentious strategic issue.
As the PLA of China has a variety of cruise missiles that can be launched from land, air, sea, and sub-surface platforms, returning to intermediate-range systems would equip American forces with the capability to strike targets that are highly difficult to penetrate for conventional weapons at present.
Meanwhile, vectoral enhancement of political relations with states all over the world, particularly those that are economically and politically affiliated to China, with possible shows of economic might and deeper engagement on the field of security.
All this will serve as a catalyst of economic allegiance and a probe of America’s security creed, especially in the region of the Pacific and Asia.
Nevertheless, joining the arms race in Asia may lead China into a trap of “competitive strategy.”
Foreign and Security policy consequences for U.S. nuclear deterrence in the absence of the INF treaty:
Leaving the INF Treaty would allow the U.S. to balance the military technology gap with these assets, which has grown since 1980, especially between U.S. and China.
In harmony with the Limited Test Ban Treaty of the 1960s, SALT [Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty] and START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty], the INF has had a codifying effect on the two superpowers’ strategic relations.
Washington’s leaving the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] and INF Treaty creates a formal agreement to vertical proliferation of WMD and gives higher status to the concept of power in international politics.
In today’s return of major power rivalry, it is no longer a bi-polar world, and nuclear arms control is no longer governed by a single binary equation.
There are multiple nuclear equations — U.S.-Russia, U.S.-China, U.S.-North Korea, India-Pakistan, India-China, but none is standalone.
Therefore, neither nuclear stability nor strategic stability in today’s world can be ensured by the U.S. and Russia alone and this requires us to think afresh.
The most important achievement of nuclear arms control is that the taboo against use of nuclear weapons has held since 1945.
Preserving the taboo is critical but this needs realisation that existing nuclear arms control has to be brought into line with today’s political realities.
GS-III : Science and Technology
NTPC Ltd, India's largest power producer and a central PSU under Ministry of Power, has invited Global Expression of Interest (EoI) to provide 10 Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) based electric buses and an equal number of Hydrogen Fuel Cell based electric cars in Leh and Delhi. The EoI has been issued by NTPC's wholly owned subsidiary, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) Limited.
The move to procure Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles is first of its kind project in the country, wherein a complete solution from green energy to the fuel cell vehicle would be developed.
Fuel cell Technology
A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity. If hydrogen is the fuel, electricity, water, and heat are the only products. Fuel cells are unique in terms of the variety of their potential applications; they can provide power for systems as large as a utility power station and as small as a laptop computer.
Benefits of fuel cell:
How Fuel Cells Work
How COVID-19 virus affects the CNS?
The paper accepted in ACS Chemical Neuroscience and supported by Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory Body of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), has suggested probable therapeutic strategies that could be adopted to combat it on the basis of understanding the neurological manifestations of the COVID-19.
Why COVID-19 virus is a life threatening disease?
India top fifth sextortion countries
Part of: GS-III- Internal security Cyber crime (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
As per a report by SophosLab, India is among the top 10 countries from where the sextortion spam emails originate.
Researchers from the British cybersecurity firm Sophos traced the origin of millions of sextortion spam emails sent between September 2019 and February 2020 to conclude that India is among the top 10 sextortion mail source countries.
Being the source of 3.73 per cent of all sextortion emails, India is placed at fifth position preceded by Vietnam at the top (7.01 per cent), Brazil at second (5.89 per cent), Argentina at third (4.76 per cent), and Korea at fourth (4.76 per cent).
What is sextortion?
Sextortion is a widely used form of spam attack where cybercriminals extort money by claiming to have receiver’s compromising pictures or evidence of their sexual activity. The attacker threatens to share such pieces of evidence with the receiver’s friends and family unless they pay ransom money.
Sextortion email is not different from any other phishing. It’s more of a subcategory of ransomware emails. It includes malware that can hack the system upon accepting or activating the link.
The National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP) 2013 is a policy framework by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT). The NCSP underscores the need for the creation of a secure computing environment and generating adequate trust in online systems and networks.
National Cyber Security Policy 2013 Objectives
Key Highlights of National Cyber Security Policy 2013
Karnataka’s first plasma donor, whose plasma will be administered to a COVID-19 patient, hopes to inspire others to come forward and help in the fight against the pandemic.
He contracted the virus in the end of March after travelling to Dubai.
What is plasma and what are platelets?
Plasma is the liquid portion of whole blood. It is composed largely of water and proteins, and it provides a medium for red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to circulate through the body. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are blood cells that cause blood clots and other necessary growth healing functions.
Platelet activation plays a key role in the body's natural healing process.
Facts about plasma
How does plasma keep you healthy?
What is convalescent plasma? Is it a COVID-19 treatment?
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With Europe hit by COVID-19, mango exports from Karnataka look uncertain
With most European countries in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of them going through an extended lockdown period, uncertainty looms over mango exports from Karnataka. Growers producing export-quality fruits are keeping their fingers crossed with limited cargo flight operations.
Even though it is an “off-year” for the mango crop, Karnataka was expecting a yield of about 8 lakh tonnes, with the first batch of fruits harvested from trees with “manipulated” flowering already hitting the markets and fetching a handsome price.
The fruit varieties, mainly Alphonso, Badam, Saindoora, Mallika, Baganpalli and Kesar, are also exported to the Middle East, especially the UAE market, and the United States, but Europe has been the major market and the largest importer of mangoes.