China’s growing nuclear force
- More evidence emerged recently that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is expanding the size of its nuclear arsenal by building more missile silos
- The construction of the nuclear missile silo field in Xinjiang region in western China indicates the PRC is fielding a larger nuclear force based on fixed land-based capabilities.
- The most likely reason behind the current expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal is: increase the survivability of its arsenal against a first strike from their nuclear adversaries, most prominently the United States
- Land-based nuclear capabilities also enable the Chinese to present a nuclear adversary with a larger menu of targets to strike, exhausting a large number of the enemy’s missiles in a first strike.
- The PRC is expanding its nuclear forces if not to match the larger nuclear forces fielded by the Americans and the Russians, but sufficient to withstand a first strike and then execute a retaliatory attack that would defeat U.S. missile defences.
- The PRC’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capabilities and Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) capabilities in the form of the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) and the DF-26, respectively, are its most potent land-based missile systems
- The growth in China’s nuclear arsenal might not have an immediate impact on India, but its development of land-based nuclear silos in the Xinjiang province should worry decision-makers and strategic elites in New Delhi given the region’s proximity to India.
- More importantly, it is likely to have an impact on the ongoing boundary stand-off between the two countries in Eastern Ladakh
Police we need
- The most positive feature today is that many IPS officers are technology savvy.
- This augurs well for the future of law enforcement in India.
- it is distressing to note the declining levels of integrity among senior IPS officers who are expected to be role models for their junior colleagues
- Citizens desire a friendly police force which treats the rich and poor alike.
- In an ideal world, brilliant and straightforward officials would be chosen to occupy public positions calling for objectivity and skill. Unfortunately, this is not the case with IPS appointments.
- Many officers are given plum posts based on their links and loyalty to the ruling party.
- A silver lining, however, is the Supreme Court mandate laying down the process for selection of Director General of Police
- India needs a police force that is responsive and respected and not one that is feared
Appointment of new judges
- Eight judges and one lawyer from the Supreme Court Bar have been recommended.
- They are Karnataka High Court Chief Justice A.S. Oka, who is the most senior Chief Justice;
- Gujarat Chief Justice Vikram Nath; Sikkim Chief Justice J.K. Maheshwari;
- Telangana Chief Justice Hima Kohli, who is also the only serving woman Chief Justice;
- Justice Nagarathna; Kerala High Court judge C.T. Ravikumar;
- Madras High Court judge M.M. Sundresh;
- Gujarat High Court judge Bela M. Trivedi;
- and senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, in that order
- The Taliban call themselves the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Currently, Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, where President is the head of state.
- The Taliban are expected to change the name in the coming days, which would also mean that their supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada would be the ‘Emir’ of Afghanistan.
- Taliban are concerned about the public perception, at least for now, as the transition is under way
- When the Taliban were in power during 1996-2001, even basic human rights were suspended in Afghanistan.
- Women were not allowed to work and girls were not allowed to go to schools.
- Women could not venture out of their homes without a male companion.
- Men had to grow their beard.
- Music, TV, cinema, photography, painting and even kite-flying were banned.
- The sixth century monumental statues of Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed.
- Most top officials in the Afghan government, including President Ghani, have fled the country.
- The only top official who still stays defiant is Amrullah Saleh, the former First Vice-President.
Palm oil Farming
- The Centre will offer price assurances, viability gap funding and planting material assistance to oil palm farmers to boost domestic production and reduce dependence on imports.
- Over a five-year period, the financial outlay for the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) will amount to ₹11,040 crore of which ₹8,844 crore is the share of the Central government, according to an official statement.
- The Mission hopes to increase oil palm acreage by an additional 6.5 lakh hectares by 2025-26 and grow production of crude palm oil to 11.2 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and up to 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30
- “The government will develop a mechanism to fix and regulate palm oil prices. So if the market is volatile, then the Centre will pay the difference in price to the farmers through direct benefit transfer,”
- In a bid to encourage oil palm cultivation in northeastern India and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, the Centre will bear an additional cost of 2% of the crude palm oil prices in these States.