Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
General studies 3:
Nuclear Security Summit
“There is no nuclear security as long as nuclear weapons exist”, was the blunt message carried by the demonstrators on the opening day of the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on March 31, 2016.
This message from the people and the outcomes of the fourth nuclear summit clearly indicate the vulnerability of the nuclear security strategy of the world.
A history of the Nuclear Security Summits:
Key objective of nuclear security summit: The Nuclear Security Summits have been about adoption of measures to prevent terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda from gaining access to nuclear weapons, fissile or radiological material, or from attacking nuclear facilities, through an array of national, bilateral or multilateral measures.
Failure of USA to keep up its promise:
It was President Barack Obama, who announced his initiative to convene serial Nuclear Security Summits in his much acclaimed Prague speech in 2009.
But his key declaration in the speech was the re-commitment of the US to the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Thus accepting, nuclear disarmament and nuclear security were integrally linked.
What did USA say at the fourth nuclear security summit?
On the eve of the summit, the US President said: “we’ve reduced the number and role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy. We have also ruled out developing new nuclear warheads and narrowed contingencies under which the US could ever use or threaten to use nuclear weapons”.
This implies USA will not completely zero down its stockpile of nuclear weapons, it will only reduce the number. (by how much ? is the key over here…)
A point to note:
USA reportedly plans to spend $1 trillion over 30 years on an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines.
After the Ukraine crisis, USA has reportedly ordered 200 additional nuclear weapons to be deployed in Europe.
Will this imply an act of nuclear disarmament?
Outcome of the fourth nuclear summit:
The summit adopted a Washington Communiqué and five fairly detailed “action plans” relating to key components of the nuclear security regime.
These are all directed towards the laudable aim of securing all nuclear-related materials, devices and facilities so as to prevent access by non-state actors and terrorist groups.
For the communiqué and the actions plans, refer the following links:
The Prime Minister announced several contributions to nuclear security.
India will participate in the informal international “contact group”, which fosters cooperation in countering nuclear smuggling.
India’s own Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) will participate in the group on nuclear security training and support centres and centres of excellence.
India has also announced that none of its research reactors will be using HEU (highly enriched uranium) henceforth.
India also used the summit to focus on the threat to nuclear security posed by state sponsorship of terrorist groups and the pursuit of risky escalatory policies such as the deployment of theatre nuclear weapons.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the nuclear doctrine of India with special emphasis on the cold start strategy.
General studies 2:
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation; Development processes and the development industry- Governance Issues
General studies 3:
Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
Logistics sector in India: Removing the roadblocks in transportation
Importance of Logistics:
Serves as the prime requirement of a modern economy with a complex supply chain taking care of the procurement, supply, and maintenance
Covers all that takes place between producers of various components and producer of the final product and between the latter and the final consumer
Road transportation- the most important component of the logistics sector in India; improving the efficiency of transportation would lead to improvement in the efficiency of the logistics sector
With an average speed of 20 to 25 km per hour, a vehicle on Indian roads covers 250 to 400 km in a day. In developed countries, the distance covered could be significantly higher – about 700 to 800 km in a day. Thus, vehicles in India cover only 80,000 to 100,000 km in a year; in the US, they cover up to 400,000 km
Poor road conditions
Old vehicle fleets
Delays at toll booths and checkpoints
Better alignment of policies across states and between the states and the Centre and institutions
Innovative use of technology
The ‘toll’ on roads—
Toll roads: Way of mobilising resources for building better roads and maintaining them properly by applying the “user pays” principle
Limited in India; planning underway
Issues- Congestion and delays at toll plazas
Solution (Nandan Nilekani Committee):
Need to expedite introduction of the technology of electronic toll collection (ETC)—ETC allows tolls to be collected while the vehicles move through the toll plaza, without even perceptibly slowing down
Need to have in place a proper legal framework for suitable handling of violators
Check & ‘Pay’—
Long queues of trucks at border crossings as well as at the border between two states- Two-fifths of the time lost on roads is due to stoppages at state borders (Entry barriers- to prevent leakages and evasion of taxes)
Physical verification of road permits and waybills at checkpoints
Administrative delays due to paperwork
States need to learn from each other and incorporate the best practice and standardise the form, without detracting from their powers granted by the Constitution. Even in the case of GST, mutually binding agreements among the states and the Centre is required.
The move from origin-based value-added tax (VAT) to destination-based goods and services tax (GST) can help states in relaxing the requirement of road permits for outward transportation
TIR or Transports Internationaux Routiers (International Road Transport) Convention
Concluded in Geneva on November 14, 1975; can be adapted for transportation across states in India
Under the TIR:
a vehicle remains sealed throughout the journey and is generally not inspected at border crossings, except randomly or if an irregularity is suspected
Consignments are sealed at the origin by the relevant Customs authority and technical specifications apply to the construction of load compartments or containers
Authorised vehicles carry large blue-and-white TIR plates
The International Road Transport Union (IRU) prints and distributes the so-called TIR Carnet, which serves both as international Customs document and proof of guarantee
The Customs duties and taxes at risk throughout the journey are covered by an international guaranteeing chain managed by the IRU.
Connecting the Dots:
Discuss the idea of opening ‘road transport sector’ to the private players.