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- India-Russia cooperation is based on the solid foundations of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the USSR, 1993 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation, 2000 Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation and 2010 Joint Statement elevating the Partnership to a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.
- Cooperation between India and Russia spans across the whole gamut of sectors and rests on the fundamental pillars of political and strategic cooperation, military and security cooperation, cooperation in the spheres of economy, energy, industry, science and technology, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
- Prime Minister of the Republic of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi and President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir V. Putin met for the 19th edition of the Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 4-5, 2018.
- During this meeting on October 4-5, 2018, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.
- They declared that this relationship is an important factor for global peace and stability and appreciated each other’s respective roles as major powers with common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability.
- This meeting takes place after the informal summit in Sochi on May 21, 2018 which was a unique meeting in international diplomacy, reflecting the deep trust and confidence between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. The Sochi Summit manifested the role of interaction and cooperation between India and Russia in building a multi-polar world order.
Important Excerpts from the Joint Statement Released by India and Russia:
- Developments on the Economic front:
- The two sides reviewed the progress on the achievement of the goal to increase two-way investment to USD 30 billion by the year 2025 and noted with satisfaction that both countries were on the way to achieving this target.
- They noted that in 2017 bilateral trade increased by more than 20% and agreed to work towards its further increase and diversification. The Sides expressed their support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies.
- The Indian Side invited Russian companies to participate in the development of industrial corridors in India, including in areas of road and rail infrastructure, smart cities, construction of wagons and creation of a joint transportation logistics company.
- The Russian Side offered its expertise in tax collection based on satellite navigation technologies for the realization of joint projects in India including in the framework of above mentioned industrial corridors.
- The Russian Side expressed its interest in participating in the international competitive biddings as and when the Ministry of Railways of India decides to execute the railway speed raising projects.
- They called for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) through intensified efforts by finalizing pending issues related to Customs authorities, development of road and rail infrastructure and financial facilitation through bilateral discussions as well as discussions with other partner countries at the earliest.
- India and Russia supported the early launch of the Green Corridor project aimed at the simplification of customs operations in respect of goods being transported between India and Russia. They regarded this as an important step towards enhancing mutual trade.
- India and Russia agreed to work together to explore joint projects for productive, efficient and economic use of natural resources in each other’s country through application of appropriate technologies while ensuring affordable environment friendly utilization of natural resources.
- The two sides acknowledged the agriculture sector as an important area for cooperation and committed themselves to eliminating trade barriers, greater production and trade in agricultural products.
- The two sides agreed to explore opportunities of joint collaboration in precious metals, minerals, natural resources and forest produce, including timber, through joint investments, production, processing and skilled labour.
- The Russian Side invited the Indian Side to invest in the Russian Far East. The Indian Side welcomed the decision to open an office of the Far East Agency in Mumbai.
- b) Developments in the area of Science and Technology:
- The Sides stressed the importance of the longstanding and mutually beneficial India-Russia cooperation in outer space and welcomed the activity on setting up measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS in the territory of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India respectively.
- India and Russia agreed to further intensify cooperation in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including human spaceflight programmes, scientific projects, as well as agreed to continue developing cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation.
- Both sides expressed interest in the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic, inter alia in the sphere of joint scientific research.
- b) Developments in the area of Energy:
- The Sides acknowledged the interest of Russian and Indian companies in cooperation in the field of LNG and welcomed the commencement of supply of LNG under the long-term contract between Gazrpom Group and GAIL India Ltd.
- The Sides expressed their support to companies from both sides for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields in the Russian territory, including in the Arctic shelf of Russia and joint development of projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.
- Civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia is an important component of strategic partnership contributing to India’s energy-security and its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
- India and Russia noted the progress achieved in the construction of the remainder of the six power units at Kudankulam NPP as well as the efforts being made in the components manufacturing for localization.
- India and Russia highlighted the progress achieved in fulfillment of the agreements envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.
- Both sides also decided to further explore possibilities of closer cooperation on hydel and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, including in order to reduce the negative effects of climate change.
- c) Developments in the area of Military-Technical Cooperation:
- The Russian Side positively evaluated the Indian participation in the Army Games 2018, Army 2018 and Moscow Conference on International Security.
- India and Russia commended the successful completion of the first ever Tri-Services Exercise INDRA 2017 and committed to continue their Joint Military Exercises – INDRA Navy, INDRA Army and Avia INDRA – in 2018.
- India and Russia welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India.
- Both India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military technical cooperation between India and Russia, which has a long history of mutual trust and mutual benefit.
- Both India and Russia expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognized the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.
- They highly evaluated the Military Industrial Conference process as an important mechanism to promote the “Make in India” policy of the Government of India.
- c) Developments in the area of International Issues:
- The two sides declared their support to Afghan government’s efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.
- The two sides reaffirmed the commitment of India and Russia for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, through an inclusive Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
- India and Russia expressed the serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. They reaffirmed that the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.
- India and Russia underlined common approaches to ensuring security in the use of ICTs and their willingness to strengthen bilateral interagency practical dialogue in furtherance of the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.
- The two sides confirmed their determination to enhance interaction and coordination of efforts in the regional multilateral fora such as BRICS, G-20, SCO, RIC and East Asia Summits. India expressed its aspiration to broaden cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
- India welcomed the initiative of Russia to create a Larger Eurasian Partnership that stipulates conjugation of national development strategies and multilateral integration projects in the interests of building effective platform of constructive cooperation based on strict observance of the international law, principles of equality, mutual respect and taking in account each other national perspectives.
- Russia welcomed the participation of India in the counter-terror military exercise “Peace Mission – 2018”. Both Sides consider the goal of developing an economic component of SCO as an important one, including realization of transportation and infrastructure projects aimed at providing interconnection within the SCO Organization and with observers, partner countries, as well as other interested states.
- They stood for increasing the role of SCO in the international affairs and believe it necessary to expand contacts and cooperation of SCO with the UN and its structures, other international and regional organizations. The Sides agreed to deepen cultural and humanitarian ties within the SCO.
- On the 5th of October, 2018, India and Russia announced a number of agreements, including a $5.43 billion S-400 Triumf missile system deal, a space cooperation arrangement to put an Indian in space, and an action plan for a new nuclear plant.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Putin also addressed a business summit, in an attempt to diversify ties and increase bilateral trade.
- Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries is below $10 billion.
- It is believed that much of the fresh momentum in bilateral engagement will come from the energy sector.
- Several billions of dollars worth of investment and energy deals are in the pipeline.
Significance of the S-400 air defence system deal:
- This deal denotes India’s desire to deepen defence cooperation with Russia. It also denotes that India is prepared to do this despite U.S. warnings that the deal could attract sanctions.
- The fact that this deal comes just a month after India signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for better interoperability with the U.S. military, is a sign that India will not be forced or even persuaded into putting all its eggs in one strategic basket.
- It is believed that more defence deals with Russia will make it increasingly difficult for the U.S. to give India a waiver from sanctions under CAATSA.
- It is believed that both on CAATSA and on the U.S.’s proposed sanctions on Iran that go into force on November 4, 2018, India will need to make some tough decisions.
- The purpose of the Section 153 A is to punish persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion.
- The jurisdiction of this Section is widened so as to make promotion of disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities punishable. Offence on moral turpitude is also covered in this section.
- The offence is a cognizable offence and the punishment for the same may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
- However, the punishment of the offence committed in a place of worship is
enhanced up to five years and fine.
A look at the ingredients of Section 153-A:
- The act of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste, community or any other group.
- Acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different groups or castes or communities, if the acts disturb public tranquility.
- Acts causing fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity among members of any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community by use of criminal force or violence against them.
A Note on Section 295 and 295-A of the Indian Penal Code:
- Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code makes destruction, damage, or defilement of a place of worship or an object held sacred, with intent to insult the religion of a class of persons, punishable with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with fine , or with both. This section has been enacted to compel people to respect the religious susceptibilities of persons of different religious persuasion or creeds.
- The object of Section 295-A is to punish deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulating its religion or the religious beliefs. This section only punishes an aggravated form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of a class.
A look at the ingredients of Section 295-A:
- The accused must insult or attempt to insult the religion or religious beliefs of any class of citizens of India.
- The said insult must be with a deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of the said class of citizens.
- The said insult must be by words, either spoken or written, by signs or by visible representation or otherwise.
- The offence under Section 295-A is cognizable and a non-bailable and non-compoundable offence.
- The police have a power under to arrest a person charged under Section 295-A without a warrant.
- It is important to note that sending someone to the “safety” of a prison is no answer to questions raised by a prosecution under stringent laws that involve restrictions on free speech on grounds of maintaining public order and tranquillity.
- In the video post against the backdrop of the Konark temple, Mr. Iyer-Mitra had made some comments which were clearly satirical in nature.
- In the wake of this, although it is entirely possible that his remarks offended some people, it is incorrect to assume his intent was to sow discord or create religious enmity.
- The State police of Odisha charged him with outraging or wounding religious feelings. Further, quite surprisingly, the police alleged that his remarks were directed against the “Odiya people”.
- Experts believe that Mr. Iyer-Mitra’s arrest in New Delhi by a police team from Odisha for his comments and some other tweets is another instance of the rampant misuse of two sections of the Indian Penal Code, which are 153A and 295A on the charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.
- This entire episode raises the flag of a larger concern.
- This concern revolves around the fact that provisions which ought to be invoked only under serious circumstances, an example of which being: a grave threat to public order and tranquillity, for instance, or, in the case of Section 295A, when a purported insult to religion has been done with malicious and deliberate intent, are being misused in a routine manner.
- When the onus is on the prosecution to show there was criminal intent either to provoke disharmony or deliberately offend religious sensibilities, it is simply wrong to invoke these sections for everything that someone finds objectionable.
- It is important to note that irreverence or even bad taste is not a crime.
- In conclusion, it is important to note that in a mature democracy, the casual resort to criminal prosecution for perceived insults to either a religion or a class of society ought to be actively discouraged.
- As a matter of fact, the case must serve as yet another prompt to begin the process of reading down Sections 153A and 295A.
- Tuberculosis (TB) has drawn unprecedented attention in recent times
- A growing sense of urgency in dealing with this global threat made the United Nations (UN) schedule its first-ever high-level meeting on TB in New York on 26 September
- The meeting offered participating nations the potential to energize the discourse on TB and chart a roadmap for global action on TB
- One of the major discussion points focused on accelerating research and development (R&D) efforts to end TB
Gaps in research in TB cure
- The lack of advancement in TB R&D is one of the major reasons why the disease continues to thrive and exact a heavy toll on human life
- Until 2016, we used a century-old microscopy test that detects only 50% of cases and treated TB patients with long drug regimens that have severe side effects
- We are also yet to discover an effective vaccine against the disease
Efforts by India
- India has established the India TB Research Consortium (ITRC)
- Since its inception, ITRC has raised the profile of TB research, attracted investments in TB product development and conducted several validation studies on new TB tools
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also recently taken steps to initiate trials for two new TB vaccine candidates
- Recognizing this, the ICMR, under which the ITRC was formed, was awarded the prestigious Stop TB Kochon Prize for 2017
- An example of such a partnership is the BRICS TB Research Network through which the five nations are working together on multiple research projects covering TB diagnostics, vaccines, new drugs, and infection control
- While this is encouraging, more countries must come together not just to collaborate on future research, but to also facilitate cross-learning by sharing the results of their ongoing efforts
- By doing so, they would spend less time reinventing the wheel and are likely to get faster results
What else can be done?
- It is equally important for countries to quickly adopt new and emerging drugs, therapies, and devices within their borders
- This can be done by agreeing to standardize regulatory processes
- For example, the ASEAN countries have accepted a set of uniform standards for medical equipment in the region which helps in the easy registration of these devices
- Along the same lines, it is vital for countries to update their existing tools based on the latest scientific evidence
- The World Health Organization’s new guidelines on the treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB needs to be adopted swiftly
- These guidelines, which recommend the use of Bedaquiline as a frontline medicine to treat MDR TB, will revolutionize TB treatment by minimizing the use of painful injectable drugs that are known to cause serious side effects
- We also need to focus more research efforts on developing biomarkers to determine those who are predisposed to develop active TB among the close contacts of TB patients so that efficient preventive therapy can be provided
- Shorter and more efficient anti-TB regimens need to be developed to improve the adherence to treatment and decrease the failure and relapse rates
- Research for the prevention of transmission of drug sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis in the healthcare setting is critical
- In the age of globalization, the containment of an infectious disease like TB within borders poses a considerable challenge
- The recently concluded meeting saw the endorsement of a political declaration that underscored the criticality of research in our common goal of eliminating TB
- Hopefully, this will act as a starting point for countries’ efforts to advance future TB research built on the foundations of a collaborative spirit and a willingness to share individual strengths
- Intelligent administration of the criminal justice system (CJS) thrives on how crime data is reported, analysed and disaggregated
- Not merely CJS but safety and development of the entire social order depends on the state of criminal records
- But there is a recent concern with the “politicisation” of data
- Regimes in power may interfere with established official data-gathering channels and even manipulate these
Changes proposed by NCRB in crime data collection
- The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has put forward proposals to improve from 2019 onwards the collection and classification of criminal data on several dimensions
- These include crimes against media persons, RTI and social activists, whistle-blowers and witnesses, senior citizens, persons belonging to Northeast states and by saints, khap panchayats, servants, guards, proclaimed offenders, parolees, cadres of political parties, illegal immigrants and organised groups
- Cybercrimes feature conspicuously among additional new reporting categories
- There will also be data related to complaints against police personnel, human rights violations by police, custodial deaths and escape from police custody
Filing of crimes essential
- Criminologists tell us that the “dark figure of crime” looms large over a society where criminal records are ill-kept
- If the FIRs are not filed despite the Supreme Court’s insistence that such filing is mandatory, the dark figure expands
- It becomes even sinister as in the case of lynching, social boycott, or stripping and parading
Law vs Economic wisdom
- Law reform wisdom says that the certainty of punishment matters more than severity and so do state investment on policing and associated administrative costs
- The economic approach to crime and punishment says that severity is better than certainty (or high probability) because it saves on these costs
- In the long run, more policing, by signalling a high probability of arrest, should bring down crime and associated social costs
- The “broken windows theory” has empirically maintained that in place of large social narratives of crime causation (such as impoverishment, patriarchy), policing will be effective when concentrated on a chain of events where small incidents of a breakdown in civic order were effectively prosecuted and punished
- The New York police in the 1990s contributed to crime reduction by taking in offenders for the pettiest of crimes
Making police more efficient
- To examine the deterrence effect of police visibility in marginalised neighbourhoods in India, data enrichment is required
- The NCRB provides state-level data for police density (by area and population)
- But this is neither disaggregated by district nor by the nature of duty (patrolling, clerical) to correctly gauge “visibility”
- Thus, it is not useful for the efficient allocation of police by a state among its districts
Further disaggregation of data
- The data for crimes against women or SC/STs is only disaggregated by age and sex but it should extend to religion and educational background as well
- This is currently done for convicts, it is not very useful without information about the crimes they have committed
- One may also consider data for the economic background or nature of the regular job of both offenders and victims
- Data should also be disaggregated according to gang or lone-wolf crime
- Data concerning the socioeconomic characteristics of repeat offenders or “hardened criminals” or about “crime schooling” in prisons leading to “career criminalisation”, should be provided
- In this regard, longitudinal surveys, conducted for most societies of the world, will be useful
- These capture time-varying attributes of the same offenders, like relationship with family, beliefs about their future, substance use and risk perception
- Disaggregation should reflect the extent to which a cost-benefit approach rather than impulse or the influence of drugs or alcohol (as is the case with juveniles but not only there) drives crime, which will have crucial policy implications
- Social conditions and structures shape individuals, which show that those designated as criminals are not born but made so by society
- An accurate record of perpetrators and victims concerning the nature of crime and punishment is rightly recognised as an attribute of a civilised state
- Better crime control statistics will not only be a tool for effecient policing but also an instrument of efficacious social policy and constitutional transformation of the Indian criminal justice system
- Preventing an extra single degree of heat could make a life-or-death difference in the next few decades for multitudes of people and ecosystems on this fast-warming planet.
- The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its gloomy report at a meeting in Incheon, South Korea.
- Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate, the report states.
Quick recap of IPCC
- IPCC is a scientific government body under the UN established in 1988 by two UN organizations, the WMO and the UNEP and later endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.
- The IPCC produces reports that support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is the main international treaty on climate change.
- IPCC reports cover the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
- Membership of the IPCC is open to all members of the WMO and the UNEP.
Findings of the Report
- Half as many people would suffer from lack of water.
- There would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases.
- Seas would rise nearly 4 inches (0.1 meters) less.
- Half as many animals with back bones and plants would lose the majority of their habitats.
- There would be substantially fewer heat waves, downpours and droughts.
- The West Antarctic ice sheet might not kick into irreversible melting.
- And it just may be enough to save most of the world’s coral reefs from dying.
The 1.5℃ Goal
- In 2010, international negotiators adopted a goal of limiting warming to 2°C since pre-industrial times. It’s called the 2° goal.
- In 2015, when the nations of the world agreed to the Paris climate agreement, they set dual goals — 2°C and a more demanding target of 1.5°C from pre-industrial times.
- The 1.5° was at the urging of vulnerable countries that called 2°C a death sentence.
- The world has already warmed 1°C since pre-industrial times, so the talk is really about the difference of another half-degree C from now.
- There is no definitive way to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 above pre-industrial levels.
Advantages of warming below 2℃
- The IPCC studies have looked at the physical impact on the land and ocean, as well as at the socio-economic impact, like health, malnutrition, food security and employment.
- Some examples:
- Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could prevent around 3.3 million cases of dengue every year in Latin America and the Caribbean alone.
- A World Bank report on Climate Change and Health, 2015 said that an additional 150 million people could be at risk from malaria if the temperature was allowed to increase beyond 2°C.
- A study in the journal Climate Change in 2016 claimed that the world could have 25 million fewer undernourished people by the end of the century, if the 1.5°C goal was achieved.
- A study published in PNAS in March 2017 said about 350 million additional people could be exposed to deadly heat waves if the warming increased to 2°C as compared to 1.5°C.
- A study in Nature Climate Change in March 2018 said the 1.5°C could prevent 153 million premature deaths due to air pollution by 2100, as compared to the 2°C scenario.
- A UNDP report in 2016 claimed that a 1.5°C strategy could create double the number of jobs in the energy sector by 2050.
- Also, compared to the 1.5°C scenario, extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and heat waves are likely to become more severe and frequent, and freshwater supply could fall sharply, in a 2°C world.
How to reach the 0.5 ℃ target?
- As of now, the world is striving to prevent the temperature rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius, in accordance with the stated objective of the Paris Agreement of 2015.
- To meet that target, the aim is to reduce greenhouse gases by only 20 per cent, from 2010 levels, by the year 2030 and achieve a net-zero emission level by the year 2075.
- Net-zero is achieved when the total emissions is balanced by the amount of absorption or removal of carbon dioxide through natural sinks or technological interventions.
Is the 1.5°C target attainable?
- The IPCC report suggests possible pathways to attain the 1.5°C objective.
- Any such path would involve much sharper and quicker emission cuts by big emitters like China, the US, the European Union and India, than what these countries currently plan to do.
- However, their publicly declared planned actions currently are not big enough to achieve even the 2°C target.
- In Paris in 2015, the countries had acknowledged that if they failed to do more, annual emissions of carbon dioxide could touch 55 billion tonnes in 2030.
Problem of CO2
- Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, stays in the atmosphere for 100-150 years.
- That means even if all greenhouse gas emissions were to somehow miraculously stop all of a sudden, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would remain at the current levels for many years to come.
- That is why there is a significant interest these days in technologies that can physically remove the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and store it somewhere, either temporarily or permanently.
- Caron Dioxide Removal (CDR) would be used to compensate for residual emissions.
- CDR is a reference to physical removal of the stock of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce its concentrations.
- But the technologies for CDR are still undeveloped and untested.
Way Forward: Nothing is Impossible
- Limiting warming to the lower goal is not impossible but will require unprecedented changes
- To limit warming to the lower temperature goal, the world needs “rapid and far-reaching” changes in energy systems, land use, city and industrial design, transportation and building use, the report said.
- Meeting the more ambitious goal would require immediate, draconian cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases and dramatic changes in the energy field.
- It is up to governments to decide whether those unprecedented changes are acted upon.
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