01 July 2021 – 06 July 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Consider the following statements with respect to NIPUN Bharat

  1. It creates an enabling environment to accomplish that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27.
  2. It will be implemented by the Department of School Education and Literacy under the aegis of the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha Scheme.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.   1 only
  • b.   2 only
  • c.   Both 1 and 2
  • d.   Neither 1 nor 2

Archaeologists have recently encounter distinct traces of three cultural phases at the excavation site at Durgadevi village. The Durgadevi village is located in?

  • a.   Kerala
  • b.   Odisha
  • c.   Tamil Nadu
  • d.   Andhra Pradesh

Global Peace Index Report, 2021, was recently published by?

  • a.   Economist Intelligence Unit
  • b.   Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • c.   UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute
  • d.   None of the above

Which of the following statement(s) is/ are incorrect with respect to LEAF Coalition

  1. It offers the financial assurance needed for countries to start prioritizing policies that reduce deforestation.
  2. It is an initiative with all the G20 Nations as its members. 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  • a.   1 only
  • b.   2 only
  • c.   Both 1 and 2
  • d.   Neither 1 nor 2

MAP OF THE DAY

  1. What is the Human Genome Project? :-

Since the release of the draft human genome sequence in 2001, sections were left unsequenced, and some sequence information was incorrect. Now, two decades later, we have a much more complete version.

What is the human genome sequence?

  • The human genome sequence is contained in our DNA and is made up of long chains of “base pairs” that form our 23 chromosomes.
  • Along our chromosomes are the base pair sequences that form our 30,000 genes.
  • All humans share a great degree of similarity in their genome sequences – the same genes are ordered in the same manner across the same chromosomes.
  • Each of us is unique (except for identical twins) in terms of the exact base pair sequence that makes up our genes and thus our DNA/chromosomes.
  • It is this similarity that, in a genetic sense, defines us as “human” and the specific variation that defines us as individuals.

The Human Genome Project

  • As early as the 1980s, momentum was gathering behind activities that supported, and would eventually define, the Human Genome Project.
  • Conversations had turned into workshops that likened characterization of the human genome to characterization of the human anatomy that had centuries earlier revolutionized the practice of medicine.
  • In 1990, with continued support from the US and widespread international collaboration and cooperation, the $3 billion dollar Human Genome Project was launched.
  • The project aimed to determine the sequence of the human genome within 15 years.
  • By 2000 (well ahead of schedule) a working draft of the human genome was announced.
  • This was followed by regular updates and refinements and today we all have access to a human “reference genome sequence”.

Why did it take 20 years?

  • Much of the newly sequenced material is the “heterochromatic” part of the genome.
  • This is more “tightly packed” than the euchromatic genome and contains many highly repetitive sequences that are very challenging to read accurately.
  • These regions were once thought not to contain any important genetic information but they are now known to contain genes that are involved in fundamentally important processes such as the formation of organs during embryonic development.
  • Among the 200 million newly sequenced base pairs are an estimated 115 genes predicted to be involved in producing proteins.

Two key factors made the completion of the human genome possible:

  1. Choosing a very special cell type
  • The new sequence was created using human cells derived from a very rare type of tissue called a complete hydatidiform mole, which occurs when a fertilized egg loses all the genetic material contributed to it by the mother.
  • Most cells contain two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent and each parent’s chromosome contributing a different DNA sequence.
  • A cell from a complete hydatidiform mole has two copies of the father’s chromosomes only, and the genetic sequence of each pair of chromosomes is identical.
  • This makes the full genome sequence much easier to piece together.
  1. Advances in sequencing technology
  • A new method called “shotgun sequencing”, involved breaking the genome into very small fragments of about 200 base pairs, cloning them inside bacteria, deciphering their sequences, and then piecing them back together like a giant jigsaw.
  • This was the main reason the original draft covered only the euchromatic regions of the genome — only these regions could be reliably sequenced using this method.
  • The latest sequence was deduced using two complementary new DNA-sequencing technologies.

2)What are Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) Explosion? :-

The emission from the most notable Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) explosion away from 4.5 billion light-years has been traced by Indian researchers.

What are GRB Explosions?

  • GRBs are immensely energetic explosions that have been observed in distant galaxies.
  • They are the brightest and most energetic electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe.
  • Bursts can last from ten milliseconds to several hours.
  • After an initial flash of gamma rays, a longer-lived “afterglow” is usually emitted at longer wavelengths (X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, microwave and radio).
  • The intense radiation of most observed GRBs is thought to be released during a supernova or superluminous supernova as a high-mass star implodes to form a neutron star or a black hole.

What makes GRB special?

  • The explosions are both extremely energetic (a typical burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime) and extremely rare.

3) What is the ‘Heat Dome’ causing record temperatures in USA? :-

A US city has recorded the highest temperatures as high as 46-degree Celsius part due to the historic heatwave that lasted as a result of a phenomenon referred to as a “heat dome”.

What is a Heat Dome?

  • To understand what causes a heat dome, one should liken the Pacific Ocean to a large swimming pool in which the heater is turned on.
  • Once the heater is on, the portions of the pool close to the heating jets will warm up faster and therefore, the temperature in that area will be higher.
  • In the same way, the western Pacific ocean’s temperatures have increased in the past few decades and are relatively more than the temperature in the eastern Pacific.
  • This strong change in ocean temperature from the west to the east is what a team of scientists believe is the reason for the heat dome.
  • This occurs when the atmosphere traps heat at the surface, which encourages the formation of a heatwave.
  • To compare, the reason that the planet Venus is the hottest in the Solar System is that its thick, dense cloud cover traps the heat at the surface, leading to temperatures as high as 471 degrees Celsius.

Is this heat wave a result of climate change?

  • It cannot be said for sure if the heatwave is a direct result of global warming.
  • Scientists are usually wary of linking climate change to any contemporary event mainly because of the difficulty in completely ruling out the possibility of the event having been caused by some other reason.
  • Similarly, scientists who have been studying the climate tend to agree that the heat waves occurring today are more likely to be a result of climate change for which humans are responsible.

4) What is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)? :-

India’s manufacturing industry has slid back to a decline in June, as per the IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

Purchasing Managers’ Index

  • PMI is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
  • It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before.
  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.
  • The PMI is compiled by IHS Markit based on responses to questionnaires sent to purchasing managers in a panel of around 400 manufacturers.

How is the PMI derived?

  • The PMI is derived from a series of qualitative questions.
  • Executives from a reasonably big sample, running into hundreds of firms, are asked whether key indicators such as output, new orders, business expectations and employment were stronger than the month before and are asked to rate them.

How does one read the PMI?

  • A figure above 50 denotes expansion in business activity. Anything below 50 denotes contraction.
  • Higher the difference from this mid-point greater the expansion or contraction. The rate of expansion can also be judged by comparing the PMI with that of the previous month data.
  • If the figure is higher than the previous month’s then the economy is expanding at a faster rate. If it is lower than the previous month then it is growing at a lower rate.

What are its implications for the economy?

  • The PMI is usually released at the start of the month, much before most of the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and GDP growth becomes available.
  • It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
  • Economists consider the manufacturing growth measured by the PMI as a good indicator of industrial output, for which official statistics are released later.
  • Central banks of many countries also use the index to help make decisions on interest rates.

5)Global Cybersecurity Index 2020 :-

India has made it to the top 10 in Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2020 by ITU, moving up 37 places to rank as the tenth best country in the world on key cybersafety parameters.

Global Cybersecurity Index

  • GCI assessment is done on the basis of performance on five parameters of cybersecurity including legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity development, and cooperation.
  • The performance is then aggregated into an overall score.
  • For each of the five aspects, all the countries’ performance and commitment are assessed through a question-based online survey, which further allowed for the collection of the supporting evidence.

India’s progress

  • As per the ranking, India has moved up by 37 places to rank as the tenth best country in the world.
  • The US topped the chart, followed by the UK and Saudi Arabia tied on the second position, while Estonia was ranked third in the index.
  • India has also secured the fourth position in the Asia Pacific region, underlining its commitment to cybersecurity.

Its significance

  • The affirmation by the UN body of India’s efforts on cybersecurity comes just ahead of the sixth anniversary of Digital India on July 1.
  • India is emerging as a global IT superpower, asserting its digital sovereignty with firm measures to safeguard data privacy and online rights of citizens.

6) International Telecommunication Union

  • ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.
  • Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks. It is Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
  • Recently, India got elected as a member of ITU Council for another 4-year term – from 2019 to 2022. India has remained a regular member since 1952.

7)United District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 :-

The Union Education Minister has released the Report on United Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2019-20 for School Education in India.

What is UDISE+?

  • UDISE+ is one of the largest Management Information Systems on school education.
  • It covers more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children.
  • Launched in 2018-2019, UDISE+ was introduced to speed up data entry, reduce errors, improve data quality and ease its verification.
  • It is an updated and improved version of UDISE, which was initiated in 2012-13 by the Ministry of Education under the UPA govt by integrating DISE for elementary education and SEMIS for secondary education.

Why is it important?

  • As per the UDISE+ website, “Timely and accurate data is the basis of sound and effective planning and decision-making.
  • Towards this end, the establishment of a well-functioning and Sustainable Educational Management Information System is of utmost importance today.”
  • In short, the UDISE+ helps measure the education parameters from classes 1 to 12 in government and private schools across India.

What does the 2019-20 report say?

  • The total enrolment in 2019-20 from primary to higher secondary levels of school education was a little over 25.09 crore.
  • Enrolment for boys was 13.01 crore and that of the girls was 12.08 crore.
  • This was an increase by more than 26 lakh over the previous year 2018-19.

8) Middle Income Trap :- The middle income trap is an economic development situation in which a country that attains a certain income (due to given advantages) gets stuck at that level. The term was introduced by the World Bank in 2006 and is defined by them as the ‘middle-income range’ countries with gross national product per capita that has remained between $1,000 to $12,000 at constant (2011) prices.

9) Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition :-

At the recently concluded Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition was announced.

LEAF Coalition

  • LEAF Coalition is a collective of the US, UK and Norway governments.
  • It is a public-private effort, thus supported by transnational corporations (TNCs) like Unilever plc, Amazon, Nestle, Airbnb etc.
  • It came up with a $1 billion fund plan that shall be offered to countries committed to arresting the decline of their tropical forests by 2030.
  • The LEAF coalition initiative is a step towards concretizing the aims and objectives of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism.

How does this coalition work?

  • The LEAF Coalition can help reverse the trend by providing unprecedented financial support to tropical forest governments implementing forest protection, contributing to green and resilient growth through sustainable investments.
  • It empowers tropical and subtropical forest countries to move more rapidly towards ending deforestation while supporting them in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
  • Reductions in emissions are made across entire countries or large states and provinces (“jurisdictions”) through programs that involve all key stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Why is it significant?

  • Financial impetus is crucial as it incentivizes developing countries to capture extensive deforestation and provide livelihood opportunities to forest-dependent populations.
  • The initiative comes at a crucial time when the tropics have lost close to 12.2 million hectares (mha) of tree cover year last year according to global estimates released by Global Forest Watch.
  • Most of these lost forests were located in the developing countries of Latin America, Africa and South Asia.
  • India’s estimated loss in 2020 stands at 20.8-kilo hectares due to forest fires

What lies next?

  • Implementation of the LEAF Coalition will help pump in fresh rigour among developing countries like India, that are reluctant to recognize the contributions of their forest-dwelling populations in mitigating climate change.
  • With the deadline for proposal submission fast approaching, India needs to act swiftly on a revised strategy.
  • Although India has pledged to carry out its REDD+ commitments, it is impossible to do so without seeking knowledge from its forest-dwelling population.

10) Black Hole swallows Neutron Star :-

In an entirely strange phenomenon, astronomers have spotted two neutron stars being swallowed by different black holes.

What are Black Holes?

  • A black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it.
  • Neutron stars and black holes are among the most extreme objects in the universe. They are the fossil relics of massive dead stars.
  • When a star that is more than eight times as massive as the Sun runs out of fuel, it undergoes a spectacular explosion called a supernova.
  • What remains can be a neutron star or a black hole.

There is no upper limit to how massive a black hole can be, but all black holes have two things in common: a point of no return at their surface called an “event horizon”, from which not even light can escape and a point at their centre called a “singularity”, at which the laws of physics as we understand them break down.

What about Neutron stars?

  • Neutron stars are typically between 1.5 and two times as massive as the Sun but are so dense that all their mass is packed into an object the size of a city.
  • At this density, atoms can no longer sustain their structure and dissolve into a stream of free quarks and gluons: the building blocks of protons and neutrons.

What is the news observation?

  • Gravitational waves are produced when celestial objects collide and the ensuing energy creates ripples in the fabric of space-time which carry all the way to detectors on Earth.
  • The reverberations from the two celestial objects were picked up using a global network of gravitational wave detectors.

What makes this strange phenomenon?

  • This is the first time scientists have seen gravitational waves from a neutron star and a black hole.
  • Previous gravitational wave detections have spotted black holes colliding, and neutron stars merging but not one of each.

Why study this?

  • Neutron star-black hole systems allow us to piece together the evolutionary history of stars.
  • Gravitational-wave astronomers are like stellar fossil-hunters, using the relics of exploded stars to understand how massive stars form, live and die.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.“Event Horizon” is related to (CSP 2018):

(a) Telescope

(b) Black hole

(c) Solar glares

(d) None of the above

11) Project BOLD :-

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has launched the unique Project Bamboo Oasis on Lands in Drought (BOLD) in Rajasthan.

Project BOLD

  • Project BOLD seeks to create bamboo-based green patches in arid and semi-arid land zones.
  • It is a unique scientific exercise serving the combined national objectives of reducing desertification and providing livelihood and multi-disciplinary rural industry support.
  • 5000 saplings of special bamboo species: Bambusa-Tulda and Bambusa-Polymorpha specially brought from Assam – have been planted over 25 bigha (16 acres approx) of vacant arid Gram Panchayat land.
  • KVIC has thus created a world record of planting the highest number of bamboo saplings on a single day at one location.

Why Bamboo?

  • KVIC has judiciously chosen bamboo for developing green patches.
  • Bamboos grow very fast and in about three years’ time, they could be harvested.
  • Bamboos are also known for conserving water and reducing evaporation of water from the land surface, which is an important feature in arid and drought-prone regions.

Significance of the move

  • The project will help in reducing the land degradation percentage of the country, while on the other hand, they will be havens of sustainable development and food security.
  • The bamboo plantation program will boost self-employment in the region.
  • It will benefit a large number of women and unemployed youths in the region by connecting them to skill development programs.

Bamboo in India

  • Bamboos are tall treelike grasses.
  • With an amendment in 2017 in the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Bamboo has ceased to be a tree anymore.
  • Earlier, the definition of tree in the law included palm, bamboo, brushwood and cane.
  • The move aims to promote cultivation of bamboo in non-forest areas to achieve the “twin objectives” of increasing the income of farmers and also increasing the green cover of the country.
  • Bamboo grown in the forest areas would continue to be governed by the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.

Editorials of the Day

How police can serve citizens better :-

Cost of inefficient criminal justice system

  • However, there is a reluctance to implement the Supreme Court-mandated police reforms of 2006.
  • The economic cost of the failed criminal justice system is reflected in the reluctance of foreign companies to set up manufacturing and commercial ventures in India for want of quick settlement of criminal, labour and civil disputes.
  • The social implications can be gauged from the report, “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Investigation and prosecution need improvement and all criminal trials must be completed within a year.
  • Technology-driven service delivery mechanisms can help achieve this.

Need to ensure time-bound delivery of services

  • Along with prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order, police stations in India undertake numerous daily tasks.
  • These tasks include providing verifications and no objection certificates of different kinds to citizens.
  • In criminal and non-cognisable cases, police stations provide copies of FIRs, complaints and final reports.
  • Police stations also verify domestic help/employees of central and state governments/public sector undertakings/students going abroad for studies.
  • The Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) had identified 45 such tasks in 2017.
  • Ease of business means police stations dispose of these requests in a transparent and time-bound manner.
  • The procedures are non-transparent and timelines are often blurred which encourage corrupt practice.
  • Even as police reforms are pursued by the Supreme Court, a definite attempt can be made to ensure time-bound delivery of the above-mentioned services to citizens.

Use of technology for service delivery

  • These e-portals of various state police seek to provide citizen-centric services such as requests for issue/renewal of various NOCs, verification requests for servants, employment, passport, senior citizen registrations etc.
  • The India Justice Report (IJR) 2020 supported by Tata Trusts has studied the e-portals of various state police organisations.
  • The report mentions that “despite the push for digitisation, no state offered the complete bouquet of services…
  • The report also mentions that users face numerous problems of accessibility to these services.
  • The IJR 2020 audit confirms that states need to invest more resources to upgrade their e-portals for providing the 45 identified basic services to the citizens

Way forward

  • This highlights that technology for service delivery to citizens has not been prioritised by the police leadership.
  • . This is a task that police leadership can concentrate on without any political interference.
  • The Bureau of Police Research had worked out the timeline for each service and the hierarchy/levels involved.
  • The recommendations have been shared with the state police organisations.
  • Adhering to a defined process with a timeline and clear delineation of the levels of police officers involved can ensure transparent and non-corrupt service delivery.
  • It will reduce the number of fruitless visits a citizen makes to a police station chasing different officers.
  • Along with ease of use, the language of e-portals needs attention too.
  • Citizens seeking clearances may not be very educated.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earmarked about Rs 20,000 crore for the modernisation of police (2017-2020), for schemes such as crime and criminal tracing networks and system (CCTNS), police wireless and e-prisons.
  • States can take up this crucial service delivery mechanism.

2) Rule of Law vs Rule by Law :-

Understanding law

  • Law, in its most general sense, is a tool of social control that is backed by the sovereign.
  • However, such a definition of law can be used not only to render justice, it can also be used to justify oppression.
  • Therefore it is argued that a law cannot really be classified as a “law” unless it imbibes within itself the ideals of justice and equity.
  • So, any law backed by a sovereign must be tempered by certain ideals or tenets of justice.
  • Only a state that is governed by such law, can be said to have the Rule of Law.
  • The British colonial power used the law as a tool of political repression, enforcing it unequally on the parties, with a different set of rules for the British and for the Indians.
  •  It was an enterprise famous for “Rule by Law”, rather than “Rule of Law.

Four principles of rule of law

  • Clarity and accessibility: Laws must be clear and accessible, the people at least ought to know what the laws are.
  • Another implication of this principle is that they should be worded in simple, unambiguous language.
  • Equality: An important aspect of equality before law is having equal access to justice.
  • This guarantee of equal justice will be rendered meaningless if the vulnerable sections are unable to enjoy their rights because of their poverty or illiteracy or any other kind of weakness.
  • Another aspect is the issue of “gender equality”.
  • Participation of people: The third principle, the “right to participate in the creation and refinement of laws”.
  • The very essence of a democracy is that its citizenry has a role to play, directly or indirectly, in the laws that govern them.
  • In India, it is done through elections.
  • The idea that people are the ultimate sovereign is also to be found in notions of human dignity and autonomy
  • Strong independent judiciary: The fourth principle stemsp from the idea that the judiciary is the “guardian” of the Constitution.
  • The judiciary is the primary organ which is tasked with ensuring that the laws that are enacted are in line with the Constitution.

Independent judiciary and role of media

  • The judiciary cannot be controlled, directly or indirectly, by the legislature or the executive, or else the Rule of Law would become illusory.
  • At the same time, judges should not be swayed by the emotional pitch of public opinion either, which is getting amplified through social media platforms.
  • Judges have to be mindful of the fact that the noise thus amplified is not necessarily reflective of what is right and what the majority believes in.
  • Therefore, media trials cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases.
  • It is, therefore, extremely vital to function independently and withstand all external aids and pressures.
  • While there is a lot of discussion about the pressure from the executive, it is also imperative to start a discourse as to how social media trends can affect the institutions.

3) What lies ahead for Afghanistan after US exit? :-

The US troops are departing away after coordinating the 20-year-long war in Afghanistan, effectively ending their military operations in the country.

Why did the US invade Afghanistan?

  • Weeks after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the US declared war on Afghanistan.
  • It was then ruled by the Taliban.

Terror then gets safe heaven

  • Al-Qaeda’s leaders and key operatives fled to safe havens in Pakistan.
  • The US rejected an offer from the Taliban to surrender and vowed to defeat the insurgents in every corner of Afghanistan.
  • In 2003, US announced that major military operations in the country were over.
  • The US focus shifted to the Iraq invasion, while in Afghanistan, western powers helped build a centralized democratic system and institutions.
  • But that neither ended the war nor stabilised the country.

Why is the US pulling back?

  • The US had reached the conclusion long ago that the war was unwinnable.
  • It wanted a face-saving exit.

What are the terms of US exit?

  • Before the Doha talks started, the Taliban had maintained that they would hold direct talks only with the US, and not with the Kabul government, which they did not recognize.
  • The US effectively accepted this demand when they cut the Afghan government off the process and entered direct talks with the insurgents.
  • The deal dealt with four aspects of the conflict — violence, foreign troops, intra-Afghan peace talks and the use of Afghan soil by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the IS.
  • According to the agreement, the Taliban promised to reduce violence, join intra-Afghan peace talks and cut all ties with foreign terrorist groups, while the US pledged to withdraw all its troops.

Present situation in Afghanistan

  • After the agreement was signed, the US put pressure on the Afghan government to release thousands of Taliban prisoners — a key Taliban precondition for starting intra-Afghan talks.
  • Talks between Taliban representatives and the Afghan government began in Doha in September 2020 but did not reach any breakthrough.
  • At present, the peace process is frozen. And the US is hurrying for the exit.
  • The Taliban reduced hostilities against foreign troops but continued to attack Afghan forces even after the agreement was signed.
  • Kabul maintains that the Pakistan support for the Taliban is allowing the insurgents to overcome military pressure and carry forward with their agenda.

Pakistani role in reviving Taliban

  • Pakistan was one of the three countries that had recognized the Taliban regime in the 1990s.
  • The Taliban captured much of the country with help from Pakistan’s ISI.
  • After the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan’s military dictator Musharraf, under pressure from the Bush administration, cut formal ties with the Taliban and joined America’s war on terror.
  • But Pakistan played a double game. It provided shelter to the Talabani leaders and regrouped their organization which helped them make a staged comeback in Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan successfully expected these groups to launch terror activities against India.

Again in the spotlight

  • A violent military takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban may not serve Pakistan’s core interests.
  • It wants to check India’s influence in Afghanistan and bring the Taliban to Kabul.
  • But a violent takeover, like in the 1990s, would lack international acceptability, leaving Afghanistan unstable for a foreseeable future.
  • In such a scenario, Pakistan could face another influx of refugees from Afghanistan and strengthening of anti-Pakistan terror groups, such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban.
  • From a strategic point of view, Pakistan would prefer the Taliban being accommodated in power through negotiations and a peaceful settlement.
  • But it’s not clear whether Pakistan has the capacity to shape the post-American outcome in Afghanistan.

Why is India reaching out to the Taliban?

  • India had made contacts with the Taliban in Doha. New Delhi has not denied reports of its outreach to the Taliban.
  • India has three critical areas in dealing with the Taliban:
  1. One, protecting its investments, which run into billions of rupees, in Afghanistan;
  2. Two, preventing a future Taliban regime from being a pawn of the ISI;
  3. Three, making sure that the Pakistan-backed anti-India terrorist groups do not get support from the Taliban.

Is the Afghanistan government doomed?

  • The American intelligence community has concluded that Kabul could fall within six months.
  • None of the global leaders are certain about the survival of the Afghan government.

Taliban is pacing its action

  • One thing is certain — the American withdrawal has turned the balance of power in the battleground in favour of the Taliban.
  • They are already making rapid advances, and could launch a major offensive targeting the city centers and provincial capitals once the last American leaves.

Future of Afghanistan

There seems three possibilities:

  1. One, there could be a political settlement in which the Taliban and the government agree to some power-sharing mechanism and jointly shape the future of Afghanistan. As of now, this looks like a remote possibility.
  2. Two, an all-out civil war may be possible, in which the government, economically backed and militarily trained by the West, holds on to its positions in key cities. This is already unfolding.
  3. A third scenario would be of the Taliban taking over the country.

Any nation planning to deal with Afghanistan should be prepared for all three scenarios.

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