Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim declared terrorists under new anti-terror law

Headline : Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim declared terrorists under new anti-terror law

Details :

The News:

  • India has declared Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, LeT’s supreme commander of operations in Kashmir Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, all based in Pakistan, as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
  • Earlier, only groups or organisations could be declared as terrorists but after the amendment, individuals could also be declared as terrorists.

Telegram: https://t.me/SimplifiedIAS www.UPSCExpress.com

In brief about the Declared Terrorists:

Masood Azhar:

  • The JeM chief was involved in attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in 2001, attack on Parliament in 2001, attack on Pathankot airbase in 2016, attacks on BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017 and Pulwama attack on February 14.
  • Azhar was also designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019, and was declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA)

Hafiz Saeed:

  • He was involved in various attacks, including Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and the attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.

Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi:

  • He was involved in Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008 and on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dawood Ibrahim:

  • Dawood ran an international underworld crime syndicate and was involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad.
  • Dawood was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorise common man.
  • Dawood also executed a series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from the destruction of properties on a massive scale.

News Summary:

  • All the four blacklisted terror masterminds are already tagged as ‘global terrorists’ under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 and are also subjects of Interpol red corner notices.
  • In August 2019, UAPA was amended to allow the government to ban individual terrorists if it believed they are involved in terrorism.
  • Notifying the names of the Pakistan-based terror masterminds in the Fourth Schedule to UAPA brings the Indian terror blacklist in sync with the UN list of designated terrorists.
  • This also conforms to FATF standards that require all member countries to ban those designated as global terrorists.
  • The ‘individual terrorist’ tag would help Indian agencies with investigation, prosecution and trial of cases registered against the notified terrorists.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019

Designation as Terrorist :

The central government may designate an organisation as well as an individual (added in the recent amendment ) as a terrorist if it:

  • commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
  • prepares for terrorism,
  • promotes terrorism, or
  • is otherwise involved in terrorism. 

Approval for seizure of property by NIA:

  • An investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
  • If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property (added in recent amendment).

Investigating Officer:

  • Investigation of cases may be conducted by:
    • Officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or
    • Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
    • Inspectors of the National Investigation Agency(added in recent amendment).

NIA’s powers:

  • The NIA (which is under the control of the central government) can go to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities.

Note: The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms. However, the UAPA Bill does not provide any such detail.

Concerns regarding the UAPA Act:

  • The power of NIA (which is under the control of the central government) to any state without taking permission from state police concerned for checking anti-terror activities has been opposed fearing it would amount to encroaching upon the rights of the states.
  • The law it could be misused against political opponents and civil society activists who spoke against the government may be branded as “terrorists.”

Section : Defence & Security

Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

Headline : Mobile scheme to quit tobacco has over 2 million users in India

Details :

In News:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released its 7th report on global tobacco epidemic.
  • The report analyses national efforts to implement the most effective measures from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

 

About: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

  • The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003.
  • This World Health Organization (WHO) treaty came into force in 2005.
  • The FCTC, is a supranational agreement that seeks “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke“.
  • To achieve this, it seeks to enact a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide
  • Demand reduction provisions: The core demand reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are:
    • Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco
    • Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, including regulation of the contents of tobacco products, packaging and labelling of tobacco products, Education, communication, training and public awareness etc.
  • Supply reduction provisions: The core supply reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are:
    • Illicit trade in tobacco products;
    • Sales to and by minors; and,
    • Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.

 

About: “MPOWER” interventions:

  • To help countries implement the WHO FCTC, WHO introduced MPOWER, a package of technical measures and resources, each of which corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO FCTC.
  • MPOWER builds the capacity of countries to implement certain provisions of the WHO FCTC.
  • The MPOWER report was launched in 2007 to promote government action on six tobacco control strategies in-line with the WHO FCTC to:
    • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
    • Protect people from tobacco smoke
    • Offer help to quit tobacco use
    • Warn people about the dangers of tobacco
    • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
    • Raise taxes on tobacco
  • “MPOWER” interventions, have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure.

 

About: Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products

  • llicit trade poses a serious threat to public health because it increases access to often cheaper tobacco products, thus fueling the tobacco epidemic and undermining tobacco control policies.
  • It also causes substantial losses in government revenues, and at the same time contributes to the funding of international criminal activities.
  • In response to the growing illicit trade in tobacco products, often across borders, The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was adopted in 2012.
  • It is the first protocol to the WHO FCTC, and builds upon and complements Article 15 of the WHO FCTC, which addresses means of countering illicit trade in tobacco products, a key aspect of a comprehensive tobacco control policy.
  • The Protocol has the objective of eliminating all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products through a package of measures to be taken by countries acting in cooperation with each other.

 

News Summary:

  • About 1.1 billion people are currently smokers, out of which about half of those who use tobacco will die as a result.
  • In 2017, a Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) found that 38.5 per cent of adult smokers and 33.2 per cent adult users of smokeless forms of tobacco had attempted to quit.
  • The WHO’s 7th report on global tobacco epidemic “Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies” was recently released, special reference about India’s efforts in helping smokers quit.

Findings

At the world level:

  • Remarkable progress has been made in global tobacco control since MPOWER was introduced.
  • Progress is being made, with 2.4 billion people living in countries now providing comprehensive cessation services (2 billion more than in 2007). However, only 23 countries provide cessation services at best-practice level.
    • Tobacco cessation services include national toll-free quit lines, “mCessation” services to reach larger populations via mobile phones, counselling by primary health care providers and cost-covered nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Nearly two thirds of countries (121 of 194) – comprising 63% of the world’s population – have now introduced at least one MPOWER
  • However, the report reveals that lives are still at risk from tobacco, with billions of people living in countries that have not yet fully implemented even one of six effective measures to control tobacco recommended by the organisation.
  • About 2.7 billion people still have no protection from the illness, disability and death caused by tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, or from associated economic, environmental and social harms.

Findings on India

  • India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products, with more than 200 million users of smokeless tobacco and 276 million consumers of tobacco overall.
  • India advanced to best-practice level with their tobacco use cessation services.
  • The GATS survey conducted in India in 2009–10 revealed that 47% of current smokers and 46% of current users of smokeless tobacco planned to quit tobacco use eventually.
  • Considering the high interest in quitting among tobacco users, the Government of India launched a countrywide tobacco cessation programme and national toll-free quitline in May 2016.
  • India is among countries with the highest level of achievement in reducing tobacco use among the youth, and also in motivating users to quit.

 

India’s efforts in helping smokers quit.

  • The National Tobacco Control Programme
  • The mCessation programme being implemented by the Indian government with support from the WHO and International Telecommunication Union’s Be He@lthy, Be mobile

 

About: National Tobacco Control Programme

Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08.

Aim:

  • create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption,
  • reduce the production and supply of tobacco products,
  • ensure effective implementation of the provisions under “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003” (COTPA)
  • help the people quit tobacco use, and
  • facilitate implementation of strategies for prevention and control of tobacco advocated by WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control .

Objectives :

  • To bring about greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and Tobacco Control Laws.
  • To facilitate effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Laws.
  • The objective of this programme is to control tobacco consumption and minimize the deaths caused by it.

 

Be He@lthy, Be Mobile initiative

  • It harnesses the power and reach of mobile phones to address the non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors by educating people to make healthier lifestyle choices to help prevent and manage NCDs via their phones.
  • The initiative uses mobile phone technology to deliver disease prevention and management information directly to mobile phone users, and strengthens health systems by providing training to health workers.

 

About m-Cessation Programme

  • As a part of Digital India initiative, mCessation programme was launched using text messages in 2016.
  • It uses two-way messaging between the individual seeking to quit tobacco use and programme specialists providing them dynamic support.
  • The programme allows people who want to quit tobacco use to register by giving a missed call to a dedicated national number.
  • The programme’s progress is monitored in real-time through an online dashboard that details the number of registrations.
  • The programme has shown strong outcomes in terms of health and outreach, and provides a huge opportunity to help several million tobacco users who want to quit.
  • mTobaccoCessation version-2 has also been launched recently, which can deliver content through SMS or interactive voice response in 12 languages.

Note: MCessation could be included in PHC (Primary Health Care)-level advice to enable maximum reach.

Section : Social Issues

 Explained: The new debate on defence funding

Headline : Explained: The new debate on defence funding

Details :

In News

  • The Union Cabinet has amended the terms of reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission (FC) to widen their scope.
  • Through the change, the government has requested the FC to look into the possibility of a separate mechanism for the funding of defence and internal security.

 

Finance Commission

  • The Finance Commission is a constitutional body that owes its existence to Article 280 of the Indian Constitution. It has a five-year term.
  • There have been fifteen commissions to date. The most recent (15th FC) was constituted in November 2017 and its recommendations will apply from 2020 to 2025. It is chaired by N. K.Singh, a former member of the Planning Commission.

 

Mandate

  • Its mandate is to determine the distribution of tax revenues between the Centre and the states, and amongst the states themselves.
  • Federal structure: In a federal structure such as India’s, powers and responsibilities are divided between the Centre and the states. While the Union collects a majority of the tax revenue, states have a greater responsibility for the delivery of public goods.
  • Thus, FCs aim to do two types of adjustments.
    • Vertical imbalance: Address the vertical imbalance between the taxation powers of the Centre and the expenditure priorities of the states.
    • Horizontal imbalance: Allay the horizontal imbalances between the states themselves with the objective of ensuring balanced regional development.
  • In the past, FCs have also dwelt on the distribution of central grants to states, as well as the flow of resources to the third tier of governance — the panchayats and the municipalities.

 

Members

  • The Chairman is selected from people with experience of public affairs.
  • The other four members should be
    • A judge of high court or one qualified to be appointed as one.
    • A person who has specialised knowledge of finance and accounts of the government
    • A person who has wide experience in financial matters and in administration.
    • A person who has special knowledge of Economics

 

  • Recommendations: The Commission submits its report to the President. He/She lays it before both the Houses of the Parliament, along with an explanatory memorandum as to the actions taken on its recommendations. The recommendations are only advisory in nature and not binding on the government.

 

Role of Terms of Reference

  • One of the reasons why FCs are reconstituted every five years is to ensure that they can take into account the changing dynamics of the political and fiscal landscape.
  • Even though the ToRs are essentially in the nature of guidelines to the FC, yet a change in ToRs over the years has reflected the changing needs of India’s overall development.

 

Current updation of ToR

  • The latest addition to the 15th FC’s ToR calls for the FC to examine the possibility of allocation of adequate, secure and non-lapsable funds for defence and internal security of India.
  • In other words, the Centre has requested the FC to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up, and how such a mechanism could be operationalised.

 

Seventh Schedule

  • The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution lists the separate (Union List and State List) and joint (Concurrent List) responsibilities of the Centre and the states.
  • Defence is in the Union List.

 

Why is the Centre resorting to this move?

  • The Centre’s request to the FC for greater resources is rooted in its limited ability to ramp up expenditure on items in the Union list due to the limited fiscal space at its disposal.
  • The Centre’s expenditure on items in the State and Concurrent Lists has been increasing over the years.
  • Research has shown that the share of the Centre’s revenue expenditure on items in the State List has broadly grown over the years; it went up from 13.4 per cent in 2002-03 to 23.1 per cent in 2008-09, before declining to16.2 per cent in 2015-16.
  • Similarly, the Centre spent 16.4 per cent of its revenue expenditure on Concurrent List subjects in 2015-16, up from 11.8 per cent in 2002-03.
  • This increase in spending by the Centre on items in the State and the Concurrent Lists has led to a reduction in its spending on items in the Union List.

 

Are states being squeezed out of funding?

  • The added fiscal pressures of the Centre and the requirement of having to share tax revenues with states has left the Centre in a peculiar position.
  • To shore up its revenues, the Centre has, over the years, begun to rely more on cesses and surcharges.
  • In the recent Union Budget, too, it increased the special additional excise duty and road and infrastructure cess on petrol and diesel by one rupee each.
  • But the revenue from cesses and surcharges is not part of the divisible tax pool that is shared with the states. It is kept by the Centre. This leads to the states receiving a lower share of the Centre’s gross tax revenue collections.

 

Impact of the move

  • With capital spending on defence continuing to fall short of requirements, it is difficult to contest the basic premise that spending on defence needs to be bolstered.
  • However, sequestering funds for defence from the Centre’s gross tax revenues means a reduction in the overall tax pool that is shared with states.
  • This is likely to be protested by the states, several of whom are already arguing for an increase in their share in taxes collected to 50 per cent from the current 42 per cent.
Section : Economics

Why the attack in Gadchiroli is significant?

Headline : Why the attack in Gadchiroli is significant?

Details :

The News

  • The Maoist attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district led to the death of 15 Police personnel.

 

Background

  • This attack in Gadchiroli is another significant event in the long history of Maoist violencein Gadchiroli, where the naxal movement began in 1980.
  • This district has been the hot-bed of naxal activities in Maharashtra with the Maoist violence claiming 418 lives in the past three decades.
  • The Maharashtra government has been building a narrative of asserting control over the district after their huge success of the encounter carried out inGadchiroli in April 2018 thatleft 38 alleged Maoists dead.
  • Now, the attack in the same district must have some signals to give.

 

Summary of the news

  • The Maoist attack in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district led to the death of 15 Maharashtra Police C-60 personnel and the driver of their private vehicle.
  • The attack was carried on with IED blast.

 

Failures attributed to the attack

  • Failure of intelligence: The Maoists are present in the area and the police claims to have active intelligence networks but still they were unable to identify this threat, which amounts to failure of intelligence.
  • Violation of Standard Operating Procedures: IED blasts cause damage when they hit forces travelling together and that is why in Maoist areas, forces are encouraged to travel on foot or on motorcycles with a gap between two bikes but as these police personnel were travelling together in a private vehicle, is against the Standard Operating Procedures.

 

Why this attack is significant?

  • Selection of difficult terrain: Gadchiroli has dense forests and rivers and sparse population, this has always been a difficult terrain for security personnel to control the district and operate in.
  • Location of Gadchiroli: It is at the trijunction of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Telanagana, which facilitates the Maoists to cross state borders at their will, making it difficult for the state police to catch them.
  • Safe Area: Gadchiroli offers both a corridor for passage as well as a mostly safe holding area for Maoists due to lack of coordination between the connected state’s police.
  • Efforts of the state: Maharashtra’s efforts to connect to local adivasis and build local intelligence, has just helped them reduce hold of Maoists but it has not helped them tocarry out aggressive attacks.
  • Registering presence: After the April 2018 encounter, the Maoists would have felt the need to register their presence.
  • Logistics and Strategy: The comeback of Maoists after a year signals that they have now got their logistics in place and carrying out a low-cost strike with IED blast could be their strategy.
Section : Defence & Security

Indian Army gets first batch of Dhanush artillery guns

Headline : Indian Army gets first batch of Dhanush artillery guns 

Details : 

The News

  • In a major boost to its fire power, the indigenously produced long-range artillery gun, Dhanush was inducted into the Indian Army.

 

In focus: Dhanush

Introduction

  • Dhanush is the first indigenously produced long-range artillery gun.
  • It has been developed by the Ordnance Factory Board and manufactured by the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory.
  • About 81% of its components are indigenously sourced which would scale up to 90 per cent by 2019.
  • Indian Army will induct a total of 114 Dhanush artillery guns by 2023.
  • The 155mm 45 caliber Dhanush is a long-range artillery gun system of 2 varieties
  • Towed-variety
  • Self-propelled mounted gun system variety

 

Specification

  • It is a 45 caliber 155mm towed artillery gun. (caliber is the internal dia of the barrel and 155mm is the length of the barrel)
  • It has a 6-round magazine.
  • Capable of firing 60 rounds in 60 minutes.
  • Maximum firing range of 38 km in the plain areas.(11 km more than Bofors guns)
  • It can achieve a bigger range in high-altitude region where the density of air is much thinner and thus less air-friction.

 

Advanced features

  • Inertial navigation based sighting system.
  • Day and night direct firing capability with a thermal imaging system.
  • All electric-drive gun laying and sighting system.
  • Advanced communication system
  • Automated command and control system
  • Self-propelled and thus capable of quick deployability and high mobility in difficult mountainous terrain.

 

In brief: The artillery System of India

  • India has a 2-front porous border of 7000-odd kms and 4000-odd kms with China and Pakistan respectively.
  • The operational requirement to fight a 2-front war is 3000-odd artillery guns in addition to aerial weapons, precision-guided weapons, multi-barrel rocket launches etc.
  • The categories of artillery systems include
  • Long-range guns of towed variety
  • Self-propelled guns mounted on a high-mobility vehicle (K9 Vajra)
  • Light howitzers for difficult mountainous terrains. (M777 howitzers)

 

K9 Vajra T guns

  • The K9 Vajra-T gun is a 155-mm, 52-calibre artillery gun.
  • It is a South Korean artillery gun in the self-propelled mounted gun category.
  • It has a range of 28-38 km.
  • It is the first ever-artillery gun that will be manufactured by private sector in India with L & T India manufacturing 90 of them.
  • Further, K9 Vajra is capable of ‘burst firing’ meaning which it can fire 3 rounds in 30 seconds.

 

M777 Ultra Light Howitzers

  • The M777 is a 155-mm, 39-calibre towed medium artillery gun.
  • It has a maximum range of 30 km.
  • M777s are light artillery guns with a weight of 4 tonnes and are capable of being air lifted by Chinook helicopters.
  • Thus, M777 can be deployed in mountainous terrains devoid of roads & tracks.

Section : Defence & Security

In Brief: ISIS and It’s Rise and Fall

About ISIS

  • The Islamic State, or ISIS, is a militant organization that emerged as an offshoot of al Qaeda in 2014.
  • It was founded by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi.
  • It quickly took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, raising its black flag in victory and declaring the creation of a caliphate and imposing strict Islamic rule.
  • The militants’ goal is an ultra-conservative caliphate that strictly enforces Shariah, or Islamic law.

Role of Territory acquisition

  • The ISIS group collected taxes from millions of people residing over the occupied territory, which made them the world’s richest terrorist group.
  • The terrorist group used the tax money to make a number of innovations including learning how to manufacture their own weapons, their own rockets and mortars, making them self-sufficient and recruiting tens of thousands of foreign fighters.
  • So, territory was crucial to the heights they could reach as a terrorist organisation.
  • The loss of territory means they no longer have the ability to collect taxes.
  • However, it has lost its territory but it still has thousands of ISIS fighters just in Iraq and Syria and also has its presence outside Iraq and Syria.

Growing influence outside Iran and Syria:

  • ISIS’s presence is strong and growing in Afghanistan, in the Philippines and in West Africa.
  • According to United Nations report estimates, in Afghanistan there are 2,500 fighters.

Influence in India

  • India has close to 200 million Muslims and it could influence less than 100 persons to travel to join the group in Iraq and Syria.
  • The low numbers points out the efforts at countering radicalisation and plurality of the society that might have helped in stopping the ISIS message seeping down.
  • ISIS Threat in Kashmir
    • There have been instances of ISIS flag being displayed in Kashmir. However, the extent and amount of coordination of ISIS’s support in the Valley is unclear.
Section : Defence & Security

Everything about Mission Shakti

Headline : Successful anti-satellite missile test puts India in elite club

Details :

In News

  • India successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test, named Mission Shakti, becoming the fourth country in the world to demonstrate the capability to shoot down satellites in orbit.

News Summary

  • Under Mission Shakti, India demonstrated the capability to destroy a satellite in the low earth orbit (LEO) using an anti-satellite missile.
  • India became only the 4th country to conduct an Anti-Satellite missile test.
  • 3 countries that have tested the anti-satellite missile capability so far include USA, Russia and China.

 

In focus: Mission Shakti: The A-SAT Missile Test

  • Introduction
    • The A-SAT missile under Mission Shakti targeted and destroyed a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit at about 300 km above the surface.
    • The missile was launched from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island launch complex near Balasore in Odisha.
  • Target
    • The target chosen for testing the A-SAT was Microsat R.
    • Microsat R was an imaging satellite placed in an orbit 274 km above the Earth surface.
    • Microsat-R orbiting the LEO has an orbital velocity of 7.8km/s.
  • Technology: ‘Hit to Kill’
    • The anti- satellite test involved the ‘hit to kill’ missile technology.
    • Under the ‘hit to kill’ technology, a missile is shot at the satellite in order to hit and kill the satellite.
  • Kill vehicle technology
    • The anti-satellite missile used was an advanced version of ‘Prithvi Defence Vehicle’ of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence system.
    • This is because the target satellite was in the 300km orbit.
    • The Prithvi Defence Vehicle is an interceptor missile designed to intercept targets in the exo-atmosphere at altitudes of 50-150km.
    • The A-SAT missile was based on the exo-atmospheric kill vehicle technology.
    • It includes
  • A 3-stage interceptor missile
  • 2-stage solid propellants
  • A long range tracking radar
  • Infra-red and radar frequency seekers to reach the target satellite and hit it

 

Note 1: 2-layered Ballistic Missile Defence System

  • 1st layer
    • The single stage solid rocket-propelled Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile.
    • The AAD interceptor missile is primarily designed to intercept enemy missiles in the endo-atmosphere at altitudes of 20-40 kilometers.
  • 2nd layer
    • Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor and Prithvi Defense Vehicle are designed to destroy missiles at exo-atmosphere.

 

Note 2: For higher orbits, the Agni-V-based ballistic interceptors would be used. (because of 5000km range)

 

 

In brief: A-SAT: Anti satellite technologies

Background

  • Satellites form an integral part of a country’s critical infrastructure.
  • Intercepting satellites can halt various critical applications including navigation systems, communication networks, broadcasting, banking systems, surveillance etc.

What is A-SAT?

  • Anti-satellite technology is a counter-space capability of a country to neutralize space-based assets of enemy country.

Types of A-SAT

  1. Missile-based A-SAT: A missile is used to hit and destroy satellite using
  • Direct-ascent kinetic kill vehicle (Chinese A-SAT in 2007, India now, USA and Russia)
  • Co-orbiting missile (Russia has this type)
  1. Co-orbital drones which approach the target satellite and deviate it from its orbit. (China, UK, Russia are working on this technology)
  2. High-energy lasers that blind the sensors of the satellites.
  3. Interception and jamming of signals from the satellites by sending more powerful radio signals.

 

History of A-SAT Missile Tests

  • ASAT missile tests have been conducted by USA and Russia in the cold-war era.
  • USA has the anti-satellite weapon since 1959 followed by Russia in 1960
  • The cold-war witnessed the anti-satellite weaponry tests till early 1980s.
  • China conducted A-SAT weaponry test in 2007. (800km orbit)
  • Russia has recently shot down satellite using ASAT weaponry as lately as October, 2018.

 

Concerns with A-SAT weapons

  • Militarization of space
    • Proliferation of A-SAT weapons can have serious implication of militarization of space.
  • Space debris
    • A-SAT weapons have serious implication on addition of ‘space debris’ which could affect the functioning of existing satellites.
    • Space debris cannot be controlled in terms of its destination and impact.
  • Trigger for ground-based wars
    • Anti-satellite weapons can disrupt critical communications of a country and thus may trigger other ground-based warfare.
  • May close the door for Universe exploration
    • In case the A-SAT based wars amplify to a level where countries destroy satellites like Hubble space Telescope, it may close the doors for exploration of universe that has so much to offer to curiosity of human mind.

 

Treaties governing Outer Space

Outer Space Treaty 1967

  • According to this treaty, outer space shall be used only for peaceful purposes.
  • It prohibits countries from placing into orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction.
  • It requires that celestial bodies shall be used by all parties exclusively for peaceful purposes and no weapon can be stationed on them.
  • However, Outer Space Treaty by itself does not prevent arms race in space.
  • India is a party to Outer Space Treaty

 

UN Resolution: PAROS to TCBMs: An unfinished task

PAROS

  • The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) is a UN resolution that advocates for a ban on the weaponization of space.
  • It was conceived of during the Cold-war era.
  • The PAROS resolution acknowledges the limitations of Outer Space Treaty in preventing of an arms race in outer space.
  • However, US opposition has thwarted treaty negotiations in the UN General Assembly.

 

TCBMs and PPWT

  • Since 2005, the UNGA has adopted annual resolutions on “Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures in Outer Space Activities.”
  • China and Russia in 2008 submitted the following treaties to reiterate the importance of a weapon-free outer space.
  • Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT)
  • Treaty on threat or use of force against Outer Space Objects.

 

 

Section : Defence & Security

Dozen insurgent camps ‘smashed’ along India-Myanmar border in joint military operation

The News

  • Recently, the armies of India and Myanmar conducted a “coordinated operation” against insurgents in Myanmar territory to avert a possible threat to the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project.

 

Kaladan multi-model transit transport project

  • India entered into a framework agreement with Myanmar in April 2008 to facilitate implementation of the project.
  • Objective: To create a multi-modal sea, river and road transport corridor for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar through Sittwe port as well as to North-Eastern part of India via Myanmar.
  • It has three different stretches involving:
    • Shipping
    • Inland Water
    • Road transport
  • The longest among of them is shipping segment from Kolkata to Sittwe port (approx 540 km) in Myanmar.
  • On the Indian side, work is on to extend the Aizawl-Saiha National Highway by 90 km to the international border at Zorinpui.

 

 

Significance:

  • The Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project is being viewed as India’s gateway to the Southeast Asia
  • It is expected to contribute to the economic development of the North-Eastern States of India, by opening up the sea route for the products.
  • It also provides a strategic link to the North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor.
  • The project not only serves the economic, commercial and strategic interests of India, but also contributes to the development of Myanmar, and its economic integration with India.
  • Being a key connectivity project, it will promote economic, commercial and strategic links between India and Myanmar.
  • Furthermore, the project will help India counterbalance China’s growing influence in Myanmar.

 

News Summary:

  • The Assam Rifles has the responsibility to guard the international border with Myanmar.
  • After a series of meetings between personnel from both the countries, it was decided to carry out the coordinated operation.
  • The focus of the operation was to repress the members of the Arakan Army, an insurgent group in Myanmar.
  • During the operation, the Indian Army enhanced the security along the border from Nagaland and Manipur to ensure that the insurgents do not cross over to the Indian side.
  • The Indian Army also helped the Myanmarese Army by providing them intelligence.
  • There were also inputs that some members of the Arakan Army were also planning to sneak into India.
  • Setting up of camps by the insurgent groups was being viewed as a grave concern by armies of the two countries.
  • Around a dozen insurgent operating bases and camps were smashed along the India-Myanmar border.
  • The operation was also undertaken keeping in view the safety of Indian workers engaged in the project.
  • Additional troops were moved to the international border areas, besides deploying the Assam Rifles personnel.

 

Section : Environment & Ecology

Everything about INS Kalvari

INS Kalvari

• INS Kalvari is a Scorpene-class submarine described as a “deadly predator”.

• It is one of six built by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai as a part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy.

• Kalvariis a potent Man o’ War capable of undertaking offensive operations spanning across the entire spectrum of Maritime Warfare.

• Kalvari is named after a deep sea tiger shark and weighs about 1,600 tonnes.

• The state-of-the-art features of the Scorpenes include superior stealth and ability to launch crippling attacks with precision-guided weapons.

• The boat also has two 1250 kW MAN diesel engines for rapidly charging batteries.

• The submarine boasts of a highly advanced Combat Management System and a sophisticated Integrated Platform Management System.

• India has just about 15 submarines, a mix of Russian-origin Kilo-class vessels and German HDW submarines.

Everything about Mi8 Helicopter

• Indian Air Force is phasing out the Mi-8 helicopters.

• Mi-8 helicopter has been used in numerous operations, missions, expeditions and movements conducted by IAF.

• Most of the Indian Air Force Officials have called the helicopter ‘iconic’.

Mi-8 helicopters

• They are a utility and medium sized assault helicopter.

Induction in IAF

• In 1972, they were inducted in IAF from erstwhile USSR.

• They were first assembled at Mumbai and were test-flown by Russian and Indian teams before they were despatched to their first unit in Assam.

Roles

Mi-8 helicopter is most commonly used as:

1 Transport helicopter

2 Airborne command post

3 Armed gunship

4 Reconnaissance platform

Versions

• They are available in civil and military versions.

Mi-8T transport helicopter

• The Mi-8T military transport helicopter is configured with a conventional pod and boom, with a tail rotor and non-retractable tricycle nose-wheel landing gear.

• The five-bladed rotor is made from aluminium alloy.

• The cockpit accommodates three crew: commander, navigator and flight mechanic.

• An oxygen system is provided for the crew and for casualties in the ambulance and rescue variants of the helicopter.

Mi-8TV armed helicopter

• The armed variant is designated as Mi-8TV.

• It is fitted with 7.62mm built-in machine guns and six external weapons racks with S-5 rockets.

• The helicopter can also deploy anti-tank missiles and is also capable of laying minefields.

Mi-8MPS search and rescue helicopter

• The Mi-8MPS search and rescue helicopter was developed for the military transport helicopter.

• In rescue missions, the helicopter crew drop radio-beacons to mark the distress area and deliver rescue teams to aid and recover the casualties.

• The helicopter can lift ten people at a time on a sling and is provided with an emergency landing device that ensures buoyancy for up to 30 minutes.