Indian Express Explained 25/05/2020

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1)Explained: What is the Open Skies Treaty and why Trump wants US to exit:

What is the History of Open Skies Treaty ( OST) : First proposed in 1955 by former US President Dwight Eisenhower as a means to deescalate tensions during the Cold War, the landmark treaty was eventually signed in 1992 between NATO members and former Warsaw Pact countries following the demise of the Soviet Union.
It went into effect in 2002 and currently has 35 signatories along with one non-ratifying member (Kyrgyzstan).

The OST aims at building confidence among members through mutual openness, thus reducing the chances of accidental war. Under the treaty, a member state can “spy” on any part of the host nation, with the latter’s consent. A country can undertake aerial imaging over the host state after giving notice 72 hours before, and sharing its exact flight path 24 hours before.

The information gathered, such as on troop movements, military exercises and missile deployments, has to be shared with all member states.

Why is US Withdrawing :- Washington had for over a decade accused Russia of non-compliance with OST protocols, blaming Moscow of obstructing surveillance flights on its territory, while misusing its own missions for gathering key tactical data.

Significance of the treaty:-
1. Surveillance Aircraft can collect many such data as not possible by Satellite surveillance.
2.  US has an extensive military satellite infrastructure, other NATO members would have to rely on Washington to obtain classified satellite data, which would be more difficult to obtain compared to OST surveillance records that have to be shared with all members as a treaty obligation.

Let’s See one Question regarding this :-

Q. Which of the Following Statements are correct regarding Open Skies Treaty
1. Data collected under this has to be shared among all the member sstates.
2. India is not a member of this Treaty.

Options :-
A) 1 Only
B) 2 Only
C) Both
D) None

Answer :- C) Both are Correct ( India is not a member of the Treaty)

Editorials of the Day : – On What things the Post Covi World Focus:-

Areas to be focused upon in the post-COVID world:

  1. Strengthening Internationalism:There is an urgent need to strengthen internationalism and reform global institutions such as WHO, UNICEF etc. Global institutions should prioritize on healthcare, education, environment, terms of trade, disarmament and strengthening global financial system.
  2. Strengthening Central Banks:In the post Covid-19 world, the role of central banks will expand beyond regulatory and monetary functions. It is important to strengthen the autonomy of Central banks.
  3. Strengthening Regionalism:Regionalism and internationalism should go hand-in hand. It is important to revive regional associations like SAARC, South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative.
  4. Equality and Equity:Commitments towards egalitarianism, secularism and democratic principles needs to be strengthened.
  5. Role of government: The government policies should be inclusive, progressive and pro-people. Focus should be on public healthcare, education, R&D, livelihood creation, clean environment.

3) Hydroxychloroquine or HCQ, the anti-malarial drug touted by some as a potential weapon against Covid-19, has put the spotlight on a company founded by Prafulla Chandra Ray

The Kolkata-based Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Limited, the only public sector unit that manufactures anti-malarial drug in India, said it will apply for a licence to produce HCQ soon.

Bengal Chemicals had started HCQ’s production but was stopped decades ago.

Prafulla Chandra Ray

  • Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray is known as “Father of Indian Chemistry”.
  • Prafulla Chandra Ray (1861-1944) was a well-known Indian scientist and teacher and one of the first “modern” Indian chemical researchers.
  • He discovered the stable compound mercurous nitrite in 1896.
  • The British Government first honoured him with the imperial title of CIE (Companion of the Indian Empire) and then with the Knighthood in 1919.
  • In 1920, he was elected General President of the Indian Science Congress.
  • As a nationalist he also wanted that the Bengalis should come up in the world of enterprise.
  • He himself set an example by establishing a chemical firm called the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works (1901).
  • He was completely against the caste system and other irrational social systems and carried on work of social reformation till his death.
  • Prafulla Chandra Ray authored, among other books, the ‘History of Hindu Chemistry – From the Earliest Times to the Middle of the Sixteenth Century AD’, a book that documented India’s indigenous chemical practices starting from the Vedic era.

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