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27 Oct, 2021

35 Min Read

Indo Pacific

GS-II : International Relations Indo Pacific Region

Indo Pacific

What is Indo Pacific?

  • The “Indo-Pacific” idea was originally conceived in 2006- 07. It was 1st time used by Shinzo Abe in Japan in 2007.
  • Ministry of External Affairs has set up a dedicated Indo-Pacific division for matters related to the Indo-Pacific.
  • The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ combines the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the Western Pacific Region (WP) – inclusive of the contiguous seas off East Asia and Southeast Asia – into a singular regional construct.

  • The US was reinvigorated in the 2017 East Asia Summit. The US wants an open, free, inclusive, prosperous and rule-based Indo-Pacific system.
  • Significance of Indo-Pacific for India

    1. Natural resources, Market potential, Northeast States, Blue Economy aspirations, Freedom of navigation, counter China.
    2. It will provide the role of a Net security provider and security architecture.
    3. Help in Act East Asia Policy, multilateral groupings, and the role of ports.
    4. This is a shift from Asia-Pacific (including Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania) where India was included in APEC. India is still outside APEC.
  • India’s Vision for Indo-Pacific in the Shangri La Dialogue

    1. India embraced the concept of Indo-Pacific and said India stands for a free, open, inclusive region.
    2. It includes all nations in this geography as also others beyond who have a stake in it.
    3. Southeast Asia is at its Centre. And ASEAN is central to its future.
    4. Evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region. These rules and norms should be based on the consent of all, not on the power of the few.
    5. Rather than growing protectionism, India seeks a level playing field for all. India stands for an open and stable international trade regime.
    6. Connectivity is vital and India is doing its part, by itself and in partnership with others like Japan – in South Asia and Southeast Asia, in the Indian Ocean, Africa, West Asia and beyond.
    7. India’s view can be summarized into five S in Hindi: Samman (respect); Samvad (dialogue); Sahyog (cooperation), Shanti (peace), and Samridhi (prosperity).
  • India's role in Indo Pacific: India's goal is to

    1. Seek a climate of trust and transparency.
    2. Respect for international maritime rules and norms by all the countries.
    3. Sensitivity to each other's interests.
    4. Peaceful resolution of maritime security issues.
    5. Increase in maritime cooperation.
  • India's Initiatives for Indo-Pacific

    1. Defence Exercises, Strategic Partnership with countries.
    2. Forum of India-Pacific Islands Cooperation.
    3. Asia- Africa Growth Corridor.
    4. SAGAR Approach and Project MAUSAM.
    5. Quad-plus- were India, Japan, Australia, U.S. and countries of ASEAN.

What is in the news? Indo Pacific Regional Dialogue 2021

  • First conducted in 2018, the IPRD is the apex international annual conference of the Indian Navy and is the principal manifestation of the Navy’s engagement at the strategic-level. The National Maritime Foundation is the Navy’s knowledge partner and chief organiser of each edition of this annual event. The aim of each successive edition is to review both opportunities and challenges that arise within the Indo-Pacific.
  • India is fully determined to protect its maritime interests, while it supports the mandates of the UN Convention on Law of Seas, 1982
  • Seas are vital for the transport of goods, exchange of ideas, catalysing innovations & bringing the world closer
  • Need for efficient & collaborative harnessing of maritime potential of Indo-Pacific for a steady path to prosperity
  • A cooperative response is needed for challenges such as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking & climate change
  • The broad theme of IPRD 2021, is ‘Evolution in Maritime Strategy during the 21st Century: Imperatives, Challenges and Way Ahead.

Under the broad theme, the IPRD 2021 will focus on eight specific sub-themes. These are:

  • Evolving Maritime Strategies within the Indo-Pacific: Convergences, Divergences, Expectations and Apprehensions.
  • Adaptive Strategies to Address the Impact of Climate Change upon Maritime Security.
  • Port-led Regional Maritime Connectivity and Development Strategies.
  • Cooperative Maritime Domain Awareness Strategies.
  • Impact of the Increasing Recourse to Lawfare upon a Rules-based Indo-Pacific Maritime Order.
  • Strategies to Promote Regional Public-Private Maritime Partnerships.
  • Energy-Insecurity and Mitigating Strategies.
  • Strategies to Address the Manned-Unmanned Conundrum at Sea.

Source: PIB

Net-Zero Emissions and India's Stand

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Climate Change

Net-Zero Emissions and India's Stand

Context: Net Zero emission is highly important FOR prelims

“Why after PARIS net zero emission becomes the new buzz to solve the problem of climate change and sea level rise. Why? India should not sign it…”

What is NET ZERO EMISSION: Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

  • First, human-caused emissions (like those from fossil-fueled vehicles and factories) should be reduced as close to zero as possible. Second, any remaining GHGs should be balanced with an equivalent amount of carbon removal, for example by restoring forests.


  • It differs significantly if one is referring to CO2 alone, or referring to all major GHGs (including methane, nitrous oxide, and HFCs).
  • For non-CO2 emissions, the net-zero date is later because some of these emissions — such as methane from agricultural sources — are somewhat more difficult to phase out.
  • In scenarios that limit warming to 1.5 degrees C, carbon dioxide (CO2) reaches net zero on average by 2050.
  • Total GHG emissions reach net-zero between 2063 and 2068.

Global Scenario: By the end of 2020 twenty countries and regions have adopted net-zero targets. This list only includes countries that adopted a net-zero target in law or another policy document. The Kingdom of Bhutan is already carbon-negative, i.e. absorbs more CO2 than it emits.

Indian Condition: India’s per capita CO2 emissions – at 1.8 tonnes per person in 2015 – are around a ninth of those in the USA and around a third of the global average of 4.8 tonnes per person.(India is the third-largest emitter of CO2, behind China and the USA)

Pressure On India regarding NEW ZERO EMISSION: There is global pressure on India to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • On one hand, few argue that India should pledge to reduce its “net” emissions (emissions minus uptake of emissions) to zero by 2050, backed by a climate law. This will make India “hypercompetitive”, attract investment and create jobs.
  • For example, more ambitious policies to promote electric vehicles along with cleaner electricity and hydrogen electrolysis can create jobs in the auto manufacturing industry and in the electricity and construction sectors
  • While, on the other hand, there is a long-standing principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” that requires richer countries to lead and argue against any pledge that risks prematurely limiting Indian energy use for development.

Sectors that are the largest emitters:
Energy > Industry > Forestry > Transport > Agriculture > Building

Why India shouldn’t sign to NET ZERO EMISSION!!

“As the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made it clear, limiting the increase in the world’s average temperature from pre-industrial levels to those agreed in the Paris Agreement requires global cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide to be capped at the global carbon budget”

It is a truism that such a cap means that eventually, emissions must go to zero, or more precisely, net zero.


But reaching net zero by itself is irrelevant to forestalling dangerous warming. This is no more rocket science than saying that the promise of when you will turn off the tap does not guarantee that you will draw only a specified quantity of water.

What do promises of net zero do?

  • The top three emitters of the world — China, the U.S. and the European Union — even after taking into account of their net zero commitments and their enhanced emission reduction commitments for 2030, will emit more than 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide before net zero.
  • These three alone will exceed the limit of about 500 billion tonnes from 2020 onwards, for even odds of keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C.
  • With these committed emissions, there is no hope of “keeping 1.5°C alive.

“The target is dead-on-arrival”

  • For two-to-one odds for the same target, the limit is 400 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, a limit that is even more certain to be breached.
  • Neither the Paris Agreement nor climate science requires that net zero be reached individually by countries by 2050, the former requiring only global achievement of this goal “in the second half of the century”.
  • Claims that the world “must” reach specific goals by 2030 or 2050 are the product of specific economic models for climate action.
  • These are designed to achieve the Paris goals by the “lowest cost” methods, foregoing equity and climate justice.
  • They front-load emission reduction requirements on developing countries, despite their already low emissions, to allow the developed world to backload its own, buying time for its own transition.
  • Less than a fifth of the world has been responsible for three-fifths of all past cumulative emissions, the U.S. and the EU alone having contributed a whopping 45%.
  • Promises of net zero in their current form perpetuate this hugely disproportionate appropriation of a global commons, while continuing to place humanity in harm’s way.

What India must do?

  • India is responsible for no more than 4.37% of cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era (UPSC PRELIMS), even though it is home to more than a sixth of humanity.
  • India’s per capita emissions are less than half the world average (
    , less than one-eighth of the U.S.’s, and have shown no dramatic increase like China’s post-2000.
  • For India to declare net zero now is to accede to the further over-appropriation of the global carbon budget by a few.
  • India’s contribution to global emissions, in both stock and flow, is so disproportionately low that any sacrifice on its part can do nothing to save the world.
  • Due to such expectations, India would endanger the future of its own population, subjecting it to unprecedented hardship.

India, in enlightened self-interest, must now stake its claim to a fair share of the global carbon budget.

A critical aspect for NET ZERO!!

  • The failure of the developed world to meet its pre-2020 obligations along with its refusal to acknowledge this provides little confidence for the future.
  • The allocation of property rights, without grandfathering, is essential to ensure equitable access to any global commons.
  • The global carbon budget has been subject to no such restriction allowing the developed countries to exploit it fully, in the past and the present.
  • Only China, from among the rest, has managed to surmount this barrier to access. Technology transfer and financial support, together with “negative emissions”, if the latter succeeds, can compensate for the loss of the past.
  • In the absence of such a claim, India’s considerable current efforts at mitigation are a wasted effort, only easing the way for the continued over-exploitation of the global commons by a few.

India’s LONG TERM objective for NET ZERO!

  • The responsible use of coal, its major fossil fuel resource, and oil and gas, to bootstrap itself out of lower middle-income economy status and eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition for good.
  • India’s resource-strapped small industries sector, needs expansion and modernization, which provides employment and livelihoods to the majority of the population outside agriculture.
  • The agriculture sector, the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions for India after energy (UPSC-Prelims), needs to double its productivity and farmers’ incomes and build resilience.
  • Infrastructure for climate resilience in general is critical to future adaptation to climate change.

All of these will require at least the limited fossil fuel resources made available through a fair share of the carbon budget.


Net zero well before 2050: Developed countries and China, on the other hand, if they are serious about the Paris Agreement targets, must reach net zero well before 2050. For a target of 2°C, there is more room for the rest of the world, since the cumulative emission limit for it, with the same even odds, is 1,350 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.


However, without restriction of their future cumulative emissions by the big emitters, to their fair share of the global carbon budget, and the corresponding temperature target that they correspond to made clear, India cannot sign on to net zero.

Even if India were to enhance its short-term Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement in some fashion, unnecessary as of now, it should do so while staking a claim to its share of the global commons. This will ensure that its efforts will not further enable the free-riding of the developed world and protect its access to this strategic resource, vital to India’s industrial and developmental future.

Source: The Hindu

Global Hunger Index

GS-III : Economic Issues Hunger

Global Hunger Index and India

Context: Highly Important for PT-MAINS-PT – Useful in Paper-3 and Sociology

Annual Report: Jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

It was first produced in 2006. It is published every October. The 2021 edition marks the 16th edition of the GHI.

Aim: To comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels.

Calculation: It is calculated on the basis of four indicators:

  • Undernourishment: Share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
  • Child Wasting: Share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
  • Child Stunting: Share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
  • Child Mortality: The mortality rate of children under the age of five.


  • Based on the values of the four indicators, the GHI determines hunger on a 100-point scale where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
  • Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.

Data Collection:

  • Undernourishment data are provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and child mortality data are sourced from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).
  • Child wasting and stunting data are drawn from the joint database of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, among others.

Global Scenario:

  • The fight against hunger is dangerously off track.
  • Based on current GHI projections, the world as a whole - and 47 countries in particular - will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.
  • Food security is under assault on multiple fronts.
  • Worsening conflict, weather extremes associated with global climate change, and the economic and health challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are all driving hunger.
  • After decades of decline, the global prevalence of undernourishment - a component of the Global Hunger Index - is increasing.
  • This shift may be a leading indicator of reversals in other measures of hunger.
  • Inequality - between regions, countries, districts, and communities - is pervasive and, left unchecked, will keep the world from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mandate to “leave no one behind”.
  • Africa, South of the Sahara and South Asia are the world regions where hunger levels are highest. Hunger in both regions is considered serious.

Indian Scenario

  • Since 2000, India has made substantial progress, but there are still areas of concern, particularly regarding child nutrition.
  • India’s GHI score has decreased from a 2000 GHI score of 38.8 points - considered alarming - to a 2021 GHI score of 27.5 - considered serious.
  • The proportion of undernourished in the population and the under-five child mortality rate are now at relatively low levels.
  • While child stunting has seen a significant decrease - from 54.2% in 1998-1999 to 34.7% in 2016-2018 - it is still considered very high.
  • At 17.3%, India has the highest child wasting rate of all countries covered in the GHI. This rate is slightly higher than it was in 1998-1999, when it was 17.1%.
  • According to the Index, only 15 countries fare worse than India.
  • The report ranks India at 101 out of 116 countries, with the country falling in the category of having a ‘serious’ hunger situation.
  • India was also behind most of the neighbouring countries. Pakistan was placed at 92, Nepal and Bangladesh at 76 and Sri Lanka at 65.

Government of India Stand:

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has criticised the report claiming that the methodology used by FAO is unscientific.
  • According to the Government, the Global Hunger Index Report 2021 and FAO report on ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021’ have completely ignored the following facts:
  • They have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup.
  • The scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and Height, whereas the methodology involved here is based on a Gallup poll, based on a pure telephonic estimate of the population.
  • The report completely disregards Government’s massive effort to ensure food security of the entire population during the Covid period such as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY) and Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS).

A reminder that India still trails in the hunger fight- The HINDU article

CONTEXT: Government’s objection to the methodology of the Global Hunger Index is not based on facts

  • The Global Hunger Report (GHR) has once again made headlines in India for the country’s poor ranking in terms of the Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  • The report ranks India at 101 out of 116 countries, with the country falling in the category of having a ‘serious’ hunger situation.
  • The ranks are not comparable across years because of various methodological issues and so it is wrong to say that India’s standing has fallen from 94 (out of 107) in 2020. However, it is true that year after year, India ranks at the lower end — below a number of other countries that are poorer in terms of per capita incomes. This in itself is cause for concern.

The indicators

The Government of India, refuted the GHI, claiming that it is ‘devoid of ground reality’ and based on ‘unscientific’ methodology.

The GHI is ‘based on four indicators —

  • percentage of undernourished in the population (PoU);
  • percentage of children under five years who suffer from wasting (low weight-for-height);
  • percentage of children under five years who suffer from stunting (low height-for-age),
  • percentage of children who die before the age of five (child mortality)’.

The first and the last indicators have a weight of one-third each and the two child malnutrition indicators account for one-sixth weightage each in the final GHI, where each indicator is standardized based on thresholds set slightly above the highest country-level values. Looking at each of these indicators separately, India shows a worsening in PoU and childhood wasting in comparison with 2012. It is the PoU figure of 15.3% for 2018-20 that the Government is contesting.

From official data sources

The Government’s objection to the methodology, that

“They have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup”, is not based on facts.

  • The report is not based on the Gallup poll; rather, it is on the PoU data that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) puts out regularly (as has also been clarified by the publishing agencies).
  • PoU, according to the FAO, ‘is an estimate of the proportion of the population whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels that are required to maintain a normal active and healthy life’.
  • PoU is estimated taking into account a number of factors such as food availability, food consumption patterns, income levels and distribution, population structure, etc.
  • All the data used are from official data sources of respective national governments.
  • In the absence of food consumption data in most countries, this indicator is an estimate based on a modelling exercise using available data; therefore, there is some margin of error.
  • Most of the criticism of the FAO’s PoU data has been about how it underestimates hunger rather than over.
  • Therefore, while there is scope for a valid discussion on the GHI methodology and its limitations, this objection by the Government is not warranted.

Slow rate of progress

The main message that the GHR gives is to once again remind us that India has not been very successful in tackling the issue of hunger and that the rate of progress is very slow. Comparable values of the index have been given in the report for four years, i.e., 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2021. While the GHI improved from 37.4 to 28.8 during 2006-12, the improvement is only from 28.8 to 27.5 between 2012-21.

The PoU data show that the proportion of undernourished population showed a declining trend up to 2016-18 when it reached the lowest level of 13.8%, after which there is an increase to 14% for 2017-19 and 15.3% for 2018-20.

Other data also broadly validate these findings. The partial results of the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) also show that stunting and wasting indicators have stagnated or declined for most States for which data is available.

The leaked report of the consumption expenditure survey (2017-18) also showed that rural consumption had fallen between 2012-18 and urban consumption showed a very slight increase.

A period before the pandemic

It must also be remembered that all the data are for the period before the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many indications based on nationally representative data — such as from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy and various field surveys conducted by research organisations, academics and civil society groups — that the situation of food insecurity at the end of the year 2020 was concerning, and things are most likely to have become worse after the second wave.

Many of these surveys find that over 60% of the respondents say that they are eating less than before the national lockdown in 2020.

Services such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and school mid-day meals continue to be disrupted in most areas, denying crores of children the one nutritious meal a day they earlier had access to.

It would, therefore, not be surprising if national surveys (hopefully conducted soon) show a further slowdown in improvement in malnutrition.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected food security and nutrition across the world. In countries such as India — where the situation was also already poor to begin with — the impact is probably worse.

The response cannot be one of denial; rather, what is needed are measures to ensure rapid recovery.

It has been pointed out by many that the relief measures of the Government, so far, have been inadequate in comparison to the scale of the problem.

Cuts for schemes

The only substantial measure has been the provision of additional free foodgrains through the Public Distribution System (PDS), and even this has been lacking.

It leaves out about 40% of the population, many of whom are in need and includes only cereals.

Also, as of now, it ends in November 2021. At the same time, inflation in other foods, especially edible oils, has also been very high affecting people’s ability to afford healthy diets.

On the one hand, while we need additional investments and greater priority for food, nutrition and social protection schemes, Budget 2021 saw cuts in real terms for schemes such as the ICDS and the mid-day meal.

The argument that the GHI is an indicator of under nutrition and not hunger, is only diverting attention away from more substantial issues. Of course, malnutrition is affected by a number of factors (such as health, sanitation, etc.) other than food consumption alone, but that in no way means that healthy diets are not central. There is no denying that diverse nutritious diets for all Indians still remain a distant dream.

Source: Aspire IAS Notes

Agni 5 Missile

GS-III : S&T Missile system

Agni 5 Missile

  • A successful launch of the Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile, Agni-5, was carried out on October 27, 2021, at approximately 1950 hrs from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha.
  • The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy.
  • The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’.

Allied Topics:

Source: PIB

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