- CURRENT AFFAIRS – 21/09/2023
- The Khalistan shadow on India-Canada ties, over the years
- Taking a giant leap for a new ethics in outer space
- Vietnam, key piece of America’s Indo-Pacific puzzle
- Three years of the Abraham Accords
- World Alzheimer’s Day
- Oldest yet fossils of a plant-eating dinosaur found in Rajasthan
- ADB moderates India GDP growth to 6.3%
CURRENT AFFAIRS – 21/09/2023
The Khalistan shadow on India-Canada ties, over the years
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : The Indian Express
Relations between India and Canada have faced significant strains due to Canada’s alleged leniency toward Khalistani supporters.
- The situation hit a new low when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused India of involvement in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, designated as a terrorist by India, in Surrey in June.
- India rejected these allegations and accused Canada of providing shelter to Khalistani extremists.
- Historical Tensions:
- 1948 Kashmir Plebiscite:
- As early as 1948, Canada supported a plebiscite in Kashmir, highlighting historical differences.
- 1998 Nuclear Tests:
- In 1998, Canada recalled its high commissioner to India following India’s nuclear tests, marking a rift between the two nations.
- Tensions in Recent Years:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justin Trudeau, who assumed leadership in 2015, have been at odds over Khalistani extremism.
- Trudeau’s appointment of Sikhs to his Cabinet strained relations.
- In 2017, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh refused to meet Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, accusing him of associating with separatists.
- During Trudeau’s 2018 visit to India, he received a cool reception, further straining relations.
- The invitation to convicted extremist Jaspal Atwal added to the tension.
- Thaw and Reversal:
- Relations seemed to improve when Canada mentioned ‘Sikh extremism’ and Khalistan in its 2018 ‘Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada.’
- However, a year later, Canada removed these mentions, causing criticism.
- Recent Developments:
- In 2020, India accused Trudeau of inciting extremists when he expressed concerns about India’s response to the farmers’ protest.
- In March 2022, Trudeau’s Liberal Party formed an alliance with the New Democratic Party (NDP), led by Jagmeet Singh, who openly endorsed the Khalistan Referendum on Canadian soil.
- During the recent G20 summit in New Delhi, PM Modi conveyed “strong concerns” about “continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements” in Canada.
- Canada’s Historical Connection to Khalistan Movement:
- In 1982, Surjan Singh Gill established the ‘Khalistan government in exile’ office in Vancouver, issuing Khalistani passports and currency, but gained limited support among local Sikhs.
- The militancy in Punjab during the 1980s had repercussions in Canada, with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declining to extradite Talwinder Singh Parmar, accused of killing two police officers in Punjab.
- Operation Bluestar and Diaspora Movement:
- The aftermath of Operation Bluestar in June 1984 and the damage to the Akal Takht bolstered the Khalistan movement among the Sikh diaspora.
- The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), BabbarKhalsa, and World Sikh Organisation originated in countries like Britain and Canada, advocating for an independent Sikh state.
- Air India Kanishka Bombing:
- In June 1985, the BabbarKhalsa orchestrated the bombing of Air India Kanishka, resulting in 331 civilian deaths, including 80 children.
- Talwinder Singh Parmar masterminded the bombing.
- Shifts in Canada-India Relations:
- Relations appeared to improve during Stephen Harper’s tenure as Canadian PM from 2006 to 2015, marked by high-level visits and collaborations.
- Amardeep Singh noted initial efforts toward reconciliation during Modi’s tenure, with many radicals removed from the blacklist.
- Sikh Community’s Political Influence:
- The Sikh community in Canada, comprising over 7.7 lakh Sikhs (approximately 2% of Canada’s population), holds significant political influence, with 18 Sikh MPs in the Canadian parliament in 2019, surpassing India’s Sikh MPs.
- The ongoing tensions and Khalistan movement have led to a 246% increase in asylum claims by Indian nationals, primarily Punjabis.
- Changing Dynamics in Khalistan Movement:
- A research paper titled ‘The Khalistan Movement and Its Impact in Canada’ from the University of Alberta suggests that interest in the Khalistan movement in Canada has waned.
- Support for the movement is now often among second-generation Canadians who have not lived in Punjab, shaped by social media and music.
- 1948 Kashmir Plebiscite:
About The Khalistan Movement
The Khalistan Movement is a separatist political and militant movement that seeks to establish an independent Sikh state called “Khalistan” in the Punjab region of India.
- Partition of India (1947):
- The partition of India in 1947 into India and Pakistan had a profound impact on the Sikh community.
- The Punjab was divided between India and Pakistan, leading to significant displacement and communal violence.
- This period marked the beginning of demands for greater autonomy and recognition of Sikh identity within India.
- Anandpur Sahib Resolution (1973):
- The Anandpur Sahib Resolution, adopted by the Shiromani Akali Dal (a Sikh political party), articulated several demands, including greater political and economic autonomy for Punjab.
- While the resolution did not explicitly call for Khalistan, it laid the groundwork for Sikh political mobilization.
- Militancy (1980s):
- The Khalistan Movement gained momentum in the early 1980s when militant groups emerged in Punjab.
- These groups, such as the BabbarKhalsa and the Khalistan Commando Force, engaged in acts of violence, including bombings and assassinations, to advance their cause.
- The movement reached its peak during this period.
- Operation Blue Star (1984):
- The Indian government’s military operation, known as Operation Blue Star, was conducted to remove militants from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, which is the holiest Sikh shrine.
- The operation, which resulted in significant damage to the Akal Takht (the highest temporal seat of Sikhism), deeply angered Sikhs and fueled the demand for Khalistan.
Taking a giant leap for a new ethics in outer space
(General Studies- Paper III and IV)
Source : TH
The innate human desire for exploration, competition, and territorial claims, as exemplified by historical events related to Antarctic expeditions and territorial claims are always present.
- The urge to explore and be competitive is deeply ingrained in human nature, stemming from survival instincts.
- The desire to plant one’s flag in uncharted territories is an expression of political instincts.
- Antarctic Exploration in the Early 20th Century:
- In the early 1900s, two significant polar expeditions were being prepared in the northern hemisphere.
- British naval officer Robert Scott was planning an expedition to the South Pole.
- Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was preparing an expedition to the North Pole but redirected his efforts towards the South Pole when dubious claims of reaching the North Pole emerged.
- Race to the South Pole:
- Scott and Amundsen were aware of each other’s goals but raced to the South Pole with courtesy.
- Scott’s team used dogs and horses, while Amundsen employed dogs and sledges.
- Amundsen and his team reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911, 34 days before Scott’s team.
- Amundsen planted the Norwegian flag, named their South Pole camp “Polheim,” and renamed the Antarctic Plateau as “King Haakon VII’s Plateau.”
- Legacy of Antarctic Exploration:
- In historical accounts of exploration, Amundsen is celebrated as the successful pioneer of the South Pole.
- However, Scott’s ill-fated journey has left a lasting legend that often overshadows Amundsen’s achievement.
- Territorial Claims in Antarctica:
- In 1939, Norway laid claim to a vast Antarctic area called Dronning Maud Land (Queen Maud Land).
- Norway also asserted a claim to Peter I Island.
- Apart from Norway and Britain, five other countries (Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, and New Zealand) have staked territorial claims in Antarctica.
- Antarctica’s territorial claims are distinct from imperial colonies of the past.
- Unlike colonies, Antarctica has no native residents, no denial of freedom, and no resource exploitation for the “mother country.”
- Despite the inhospitable conditions, the deeper question is why these seven nations claim territory in Antarctica.
- Regulation and the Antarctic Treaty:
- The International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1958 saw increased international activity in Antarctica.
- Concerns about potential Cold War rivalries prompted U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to convene an Antarctic Conference in 1959, involving the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the IGY, to negotiate a treaty.
- Argentina proposed a complete ban on atomic explosions in Antarctica, but the U.S. objected, suggesting that only tests conducted without prior notice and consultation should be prohibited.
- With support from the USSR and Chile, Argentina’s proposal gained acceptance, leading to the negotiation of the Antarctic Treaty.
- Antarctic Treaty Principles:
- The Antarctic Treaty emphasized two fundamental principles:
- Freedom of scientific research in Antarctica.
- The peaceful use of the continent.
- An indirect consensus emerged in favour of demilitarization, resulting in the treaty prohibiting nuclear testing, military operations, economic exploitation, and further territorial claims in Antarctica.
- The Antarctic Treaty emphasized two fundamental principles:
- Current Status of the Antarctic Treaty:
- Today, there are 54 parties to the Antarctic Treaty, with 29 having consultative status.
- India, with its research station on Queen Maud’s Land, is among the 29 nations with consultative status.
- The treaty established close monitoring systems to regulate the activities of countries present in Antarctica, ensuring the preservation of its ecological integrity.
- Challenges to Antarctica’s Well-being:
- Despite the treaty’s regulations, there are approximately 66 scientific research stations in Antarctica, with 37 operational year-round.
- During the summer months, about 4,000 people inhabit the continent, with around 1,000 staying over winter.
- This raises concerns about the well-being of Antarctica due to the human footprint, questioning whether the scientific work conducted justifies the presence of humanity in this extreme environment.
- Antarctica’s Significance Beyond Itself:
- The discussion extends beyond Antarctica itself to the broader context of space exploration.
- There is a race in outer space among powerful nations to penetrate higher and faster, emphasizing the urgent need to prevent an arms race in outer space.
- The Moon’s Attraction:
- The Moon has attracted explorers, just as the South Pole attracted Amundsen and Scott, and it continues to do so with recent missions by Russia (Luna-25) and India (Chandrayaan-3).
- The Moon Agreement:
- The Moon Agreement was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 (resolution 34/68).
- It outlines principles for space exploration, emphasizing peaceful use, non-disruption of the moon’s environment, and the need to inform the United Nations about the location and purpose of lunar stations.
- It declares the moon and its natural resources as the common heritage of humanity, suggesting the establishment of an international regime to govern resource exploitation when feasible.
- Parallels with Antarctic Treaty:
- The Moon Agreement reflects the world’s experience with Antarctica and the Antarctic Treaty, serving as a self-regulating covenant of restraint.
- It anticipates human desires for control, territorial claims, and exploitation in space, much like what happened in Antarctica.
- India’s Role and Responsibility:
- The success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission brings pride and exhilaration.
- India should adopt a mature policy for its lunar endeavors, viewing the moon as a partner, not property, and focusing on collaborative scientific exploration rather than colonization.
- A New Ethical Framework for Space:
- India, as an earth-pioneer on the moon, can lead the way in establishing a new ethics for human activity in outer space.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement about Chandrayaan-3 belonging to all of humanity is commendable.
- India should take the initiative to craft a declaration of the fundamental rights of outer space, aligning the Outer Space Treaty and Moon Agreement with a moral compass.
- This new ethic should prioritize non-militarization of outer space and address the issue of space debris.
- Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth.
- It is located almost entirely within the Antarctic Circle, surrounded by the Southern Ocean.
- Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent by land area.
- It covers approximately 14 million square kilometers (5.4 million square miles), making it larger than Europe and Australia combined.
- Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on Earth.
- The interior experiences extreme cold, with temperatures often dropping below -60°C (-76°F).
- Coastal regions are relatively milder, with temperatures in the summer months ranging from -10°C to 0°C (14°F to 32°F).
- It is covered in ice, with an average ice thickness of about 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles).
- Antarctica is characterized by vast ice sheets, glaciers, and icebergs.
- It contains 70% of the world’s fresh water in the form of ice.
- The continent has several mountain ranges, including the Transantarctic Mountains and the Ellsworth Mountains.
- The highest peak in Antarctica is Mount Vinson, standing at 4,892 meters (16,050 feet).
- Despite its extreme conditions, Antarctica is home to various species of wildlife.
- Penguins, such as the Emperor, Adélie, and Gentoo penguins, are iconic inhabitants.
- Seals, including Weddell seals, Ross seals, and leopard seals, are found along the coastlines.
- Numerous seabird species also thrive in the region.
- The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is rich in marine life, including krill, which is a crucial food source for many animals.
About Indian Research facilities in Antarctica
India has operated multiple research facilities in Antarctica over the years.
- DakshinGangotri Research Station (1983-1990):
- DakshinGangotri was India’s first research station in Antarctica.
- It was established on January 26, 1983, and served as a pioneering base for Indian Antarctic research.
- The station was located on the Princess Astrid Coast but was later buried under ice and abandoned in 1990 due to shifting ice and logistical challenges.
- Maitri Research Station (1989-present):
- Maitri is India’s second and current research station in Antarctica.
- It was established on February 9, 1989, and is located on the Schirmacher Oasis in East Antarctica.
- Maitri serves as a year-round research station and is equipped with various laboratories, accommodations, and support facilities.
- It is one of the key centers for scientific research in Antarctica, focusing on glaciology, geology, climate, and biology.
- Bharati Research Station (2012-present):
- Bharati is India’s third and newest research station in Antarctica.
- It was established on March 13, 2012, and is located on the Larsemann Hills in East Antarctica.
- Bharati is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities and renewable energy sources.
- The Indian Antarctic program is managed by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
- NCPOR coordinates logistics, scientific research, and operations related to India’s Antarctic expeditions.
Vietnam, key piece of America’s Indo-Pacific puzzle
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
The recent meeting between General Secretary Nguyen PhuTrong of the Communist Party of Vietnam and U.S. President Joe Biden marked a notable shift.
- It led to elevating their bilateral relationship to a U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, a step up from the Comprehensive Partnership established in 2013.
- Vietnam had entered into a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ with only four nations before this elevation: China, Russia, India, and South Korea.
- 50th Anniversary of Paris Peace Accords
- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords signed in 1973, which ended the Vietnam War.
- Despite a complex history, Vietnam-U.S. relations have evolved significantly over the years.
- Economic and Political Developments
- The economic ties between the U.S. and Vietnam have improved significantly, with trade volumes reaching billions of dollars.
- The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch in 2022 included Vietnam as a founding member, strengthening economic cooperation.
- Biden Administration’s Active Engagement
- The Biden administration has displayed a proactive approach in strengthening ties with Vietnam.
- High-level visits, such as those by U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris, have paved the way for the elevation of bilateral relations.
- Challenges and China’s Assertiveness
- Vietnam faces challenges due to Western sanctions on its largest defense supplier, Russia, following the war in Europe.
- China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and its actions in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone have implications for Vietnam’s foreign policy.
- Indo-Pacific and Technology Partnerships
- The Indo-Pacific region plays a crucial role in the evolving U.S.-Vietnam partnership.
- Technology partnerships, especially in critical and emerging technologies, are seen as opportunities for collaboration.
- The importance of the semiconductor industry and supply chains has been rising, with the U.S. seeking to strengthen Vietnam’s chip manufacturing capabilities.
- India’s initiatives in this area are also noted, along with the potential for technology standardization in the Indo-Pacific.
About the Vietnam War
- The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a prolonged conflict that took place from 1955 to 1975.
- It was one of the most significant and controversial wars of the 20th century, involving the communist forces of North Vietnam and their allies, including the Soviet Union and China, against the non-communist forces of South Vietnam, backed primarily by the United States and other anti-communist allies.
- The conflict was rooted in the struggle for control of Vietnam, which had been a French colony until the mid-20th century.
- After World War II, Vietnam was divided into North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh and the communist Viet Minh forces, and South Vietnam, which had a non-communist government supported by the United States.
- The Vietnam War was part of the broader Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.
- The United States viewed the war as a battle against the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.
- The war escalated in the 1960s, with the United States sending troops and becoming deeply involved in the conflict.
- The U.S. aimed to prevent the fall of South Vietnam to communism and supported the South Vietnamese government both militarily and financially.
- The war saw the extensive use of guerrilla warfare tactics by the communist forces, including the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network of supply routes through neighboring countries.
- Anti-War Movement:
- The Vietnam War sparked a significant anti-war movement in the United States and around the world.
- Protests, rallies, and opposition to the war grew throughout the 1960s and early 1970s.
- The war came to an end in 1975 when North Vietnamese forces captured Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.
- This event marked the reunification of Vietnam under communist control.
- The Paris Peace Accords:
- Peace negotiations took place in Paris, France, beginning in 1968.
- The primary parties involved were the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong, who were the communist forces in South Vietnam.
- Agreements: The Paris Peace Accords consisted of several agreements, with the main ones being:
- A ceasefire agreement that called for an immediate end to hostilities and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam.
- A commitment to hold free elections in South Vietnam to determine its future leadership and reunification with the North.
- The ceasefire went into effect on January 28, 1973, leading to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.
- The United States also pledged economic and military assistance to South Vietnam.
- With the signing of the accords, the direct U.S. military involvement in Vietnam officially ended.
- The war’s focus shifted to a struggle between North and South Vietnam.
- While the Paris Peace Accords temporarily halted the fighting and allowed the United States to withdraw its troops, they did not lead to a lasting peace.
- The promised elections in South Vietnam never took place, and the conflict between North and South Vietnam continued.
- In 1975, North Vietnamese forces launched a major offensive, leading to the fall of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and the reunification of Vietnam under communist control.
Three years of the Abraham Accords
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
This week marks the third anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords, a series of historic diplomatic agreements between Israel and countries in the Middle East.
- These accords have transformed the region and opened up new opportunities for cooperation.
- The Abraham Accords were driven by a shared commitment to promoting stability and peace in West Asia.
- They have not only connected governments but also brought people together, bridging differences in language, religion, and culture.
- Benefits for India and Business Community
- The Abraham Accords have created opportunities for India and its thriving business community.
- India has strong relations with the nations involved in these accords and can benefit from the new era of cooperation.
- Economic and Tourism Opportunities
- Trade between Israel and other West Asian countries has seen significant growth, with a 74% increase in 2022.
- Tourism, which was virtually non-existent in the past, has also flourished, with a 172% increase in visits from Israel to the UAE and a surge in travel to Bahrain.
- The Abraham Accords represent a positive step towards regional cooperation and hold the potential for further growth and development in the region.
- One significant outcome of these initiatives is the incorporation of Holocaust education into the UAE’s school curriculum after Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited the YadVashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
- This highlights the potential of the Abraham Accords to promote coexistence and religious tolerance.
About The Abraham Accords
- The Abraham Accords are a series of historic agreements signed between Israel and several Arab nations, marking a significant shift in Middle East diplomacy.
- These agreements aim to normalize diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours.
- Signatory Countries:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE): The UAE was one of the first countries to formalize diplomatic relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords.
- Bahrain: Bahrain followed the UAE in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel.
- Morocco: Morocco joined the Abraham Accords in December 2020, further expanding the normalization of relations between Arab nations and Israel.
- Sudan: Sudan announced its intention to normalize relations with Israel in October 2020, becoming one of the signatory countries.
- Objectives: The main objectives of the Abraham Accords include:
- Establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and participating Arab countries.
- Promoting economic cooperation and trade between the signatory nations.
- Encouraging cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
- Fostering stability and peace in the Middle East.
- The Abraham Accords were brokered by the United States government under the Trump administration.
- They represented a significant departure from the previous status quo, where many Arab countries did not formally recognize Israel’s existence.
World Alzheimer’s Day
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : TH
World Alzheimer’s Day, which takes place every Sept. 21, is a global effort to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
- Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects cognitive functions, including memory, thinking, and behavior.
- It is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for a decline in cognitive ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.
- Key characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Memory Loss: Individuals with Alzheimer’s often experience memory impairment, particularly in recalling recent events or conversations.
- Cognitive Decline: As the disease progresses, individuals may struggle with tasks that require thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.
- Behavioral Changes: Alzheimer’s can lead to changes in behavior, mood swings, and personality alterations. Individuals may become agitated, anxious, or even aggressive.
- Difficulty with Everyday Tasks: Simple daily tasks, such as dressing, eating, or bathing, can become increasingly challenging for those with Alzheimer’s.
- Communication Difficulties: People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble finding the right words, following or joining conversations, or repeating themselves.
- Spatial and Visual Problems: Spatial awareness and visual perception may be affected, leading to difficulty with balance and coordination.
- Difficulty in Recognizing Loved Ones: In later stages, individuals may struggle to recognize familiar faces, including family members.
- The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
- Abnormal protein deposits, such as beta-amyloid plaques and tau tangles, in the brain are characteristic of the disease.
- Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but various treatments and interventions can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with the condition.
- Early diagnosis and timely medical care are crucial in addressing the challenges posed by Alzheimer’s disease.
World Alzheimer’s Day serves as a reminder of the global impact of dementia and the importance of continued research, support, and awareness to improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
Oldest yet fossils of a plant-eating dinosaur found in Rajasthan
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : TH
Scientists from IIT Roorkee have made a significant discovery of dinosaur fossils in the Thar desert near the Jaisalmer Basin by the Geological Survey of India.
- These fossils belong to the Middle Jurassic period and represent a unique sauropod dinosaur, the Tharosaurusindicus, which is the oldest known fossils of its kind in the world.
- Characteristics of TharosaurusIndicus:
- Sauropod Family: The Tharosaurusindicus belongs to the sauropod family, known for its massive size and long necks.
- Sauropods were some of the largest dinosaurs ever to exist.
- This discovery is particularly unique because it is the first dicraeosaurid sauropod found in India.
- Dicraeosaurids are distinct from other sauropods, with smaller sizes and shorter necks and tails.
- The fossils found in India are approximately 167 million years old, making them the oldest known diplodocoid fossils in the world.
- Significance of the Discovery:
- The discovery sheds light on the diversity of dinosaur species during the Jurassic period and their presence in different regions of the world.
- While sauropods were known for their enormous size, the dicraeosaurid sauropods, like Tharosaurus, displayed unique characteristics and adaptations.
- About Sauropods:
- Sauropods are a group of dinosaurs that first appeared during the Jurassic period around 200 million years ago.
- They were known for their massive size, with some individuals growing over a hundred feet in length.
- Despite their large size, they were herbivores and had long necks for feeding on vegetation.
- Scarcity of Middle Jurassic Sauropod Fossils in India:
- Middle Jurassic sauropod fossils are a rarity in India, posing a paleontological enigma.
- While fossils from the Early Jurassic and Late Cretaceous periods have been discovered, there is a gap in the Middle Jurassic period, which spans around 160-180 million years ago.
- One reason for this gap is the scarcity of exposed rocks from the Middle Jurassic era in India.
- The country has not received significant attention in terms of exploring these rocks despite their potential for fossil discoveries.
- India has yielded fossils of both early, more primitive sauropods like Kotasaurus and Barapasaurus from the Early Jurassic period and now, more evolved sauropods like the dicraeosauridTharosaurus from the Middle Jurassic.
- Importance of Indian Landmass in Sauropod Evolution:
- About 167 million years ago, during Tharosaurus’ existence, India was part of Gondwanaland, a collection of southern hemisphere continents that included Africa, South America, Madagascar, and Antarctica.
- The discovery of Tharosaurus in India suggests that this region might have been the site of radiation for diplodocoid sauropods during the Middle Jurassic.
- These dinosaurs could have originated in India and later migrated to other continents.
- During this period, land connections existed between these continents, enabling the potential migration of sauropods from India to Madagascar, Africa, and South America.
- From there, they could have spread to North America and other parts of the world.
- Fossils of diplodocoid sauropods in other continents typically belong to a younger geological interval, supporting the hypothesis that India played a crucial role in their early radiation.
- The presence of archaic sauropod fossils in India, such as Kotasaurus and Barapasaurus from the start of the Jurassic period, suggests that India was a significant hub for the early evolutionary history of sauropod dinosaurs.
- Ongoing Quest for More Fossils:
- The recent discovery of Tharosaurusindicus in India is an exciting development, but it represents only the beginning of a more extensive exploration.
- Researchers found parts of the dinosaur’s backbone, indicating that there is much more to discover about this species and its anatomy.
- Paleontology is a dynamic field where new discoveries can lead to changes in ideas and even species identifications.
- Challenges in Middle Jurassic Sauropod Research:
- The Middle Jurassic period presents challenges due to gaps in the geological record and limited exposure of relevant rocks, making it difficult to explore and understand this era fully.
- The fossil record of Middle Jurassic diplodocoid sauropods is relatively sparse, influencing our understanding of their evolution and distribution.
- Importance of Further Exploration:
- Additional fossils will aid in clarifying the evolutionary path of sauropods during this critical period in Earth’s history.
- A more extensive and diverse fossil record will contribute to a better understanding of global sauropod evolution and biogeography.
- Rarity of Indian Dinosaur Discoveries:
- Indian dinosaurs are rare in paleontological records, not because they didn’t exist but due to a lack of extensive exploration and investment in the field compared to countries like the U.S., Canada, or China.
- Experts emphasize the need for increased attention and investment in paleontological discoveries in India, especially the establishment of natural history museums to showcase the country’s rich fossil heritage.
- The Jaisalmer area in India holds promise for Middle Jurassic dinosaur discoveries, making it a potentially vital region for paleontological research.
ADB moderates India GDP growth to 6.3%
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : TH
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revised India’s economic growth forecast for this year to 6.3%, slightly lower than the previous estimate of 6.4%.
- This adjustment is attributed to several factors impacting the economy.
- Factors Influencing the Revised Forecast:
- Impact of Falling Exports:
- A key factor contributing to the revised growth forecast is the impact of declining exports on India’s economy.
- Erratic Rainfall Patterns:
- Erratic rainfall patterns, potentially influenced by the developing El Niño, are also cited as a significant factor affecting farm output and the agricultural sector.
- Inflation Forecast Increase:
- The ADB economists have raised their inflation forecast for the year to 5.5%, up from the previous estimate of 5% made in April.
- Expectations for 2024-25:
- The ADB retained its real GDP growth projection for the fiscal year 2024-25 at 6.7%.
- This projection is based on expectations of increased private investment and industrial output.
- Factors Supporting Growth:
- Despite global uncertainties, India’s economy demonstrated robust growth of 7.8% in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
- The Bank anticipates that growth will be driven by robust domestic consumption as consumer confidence improves.
- Additionally, investments, including increased government capital expenditure, are expected to propel economic growth in the coming year.
- Impact on Agriculture:
- The erratic rainfall patterns, attributed in part to El Niño, have resulted in damage to the rice crop and lower sowing for pulses during the kharif season.
- Consequently, the ADB has revised its farm sector growth expectations downward by nearly one percentage point.
- Positive Outlook on Investment:
- Despite a decline in net foreign direct investment flows in the first quarter, the ADB holds a positive outlook on investment prospects in India’s economy.
- Investments are currently driven by the central government’s capital expenditure initiatives.
- Notably, State governments have also significantly increased their investments by 78%.
- Private Capex Indicators:
- Positive signs for private capital expenditure are observed in the 19% growth in bank credit in the first quarter, coupled with a decline in banks’ non-performing loans and improved capacity utilization rates in various industries.
- Overall Economic Assessment:
- While India faces challenges such as falling exports and erratic weather patterns, the ADB’s outlook underscores the strength of the economy, driven by domestic consumption, investments, and policy improvements supporting industrial growth.
- Impact of Falling Exports:
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional multilateral development organization established in 1966.
- Its primary mission is to promote social and economic development in Asia and the Pacific region.
- Headquarters: ADB’s headquarters is located in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
- ADB has 68 member countries, both from within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
- While the majority of its members are from Asia and the Pacific, some non-regional countries are also members.
- ADB is governed by its Board of Governors, which is the highest decision-making body of the bank.
- Each member country appoints a governor who represents them at the annual meeting of the Board of Governors.
- The Board of Governors oversees the general operations and policies of ADB.
- ADB provides financial assistance, technical expertise, and policy advice to its member countries to support sustainable and inclusive growth, reduce poverty, and improve living conditions for people in the region.
- Major Reports Published by ADB:
- Asian Development Outlook (ADO)
- Development Effectiveness Review
- Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific