The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot (24th Aug 2019) by Arora
Question – What is START? Are we moving towards a new arms race? Analyze (250 words)
Context- New START at risk following the comment of the U.S. President stating it as “a bad deal by the Obama administration”.
What is START and New START?
- START refers to Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
- The START treaty was signed in 1991 by the United States and the former Soviet Union. Five months later after the treaty was signed the S.U. dissolved and in its place there emerged four independent states Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan and all of them possessed nuclear weapons. So, on May 23, 1992, the United States and the four nuclear-capable successor states to the Soviet Union signed the Lisbon Protocol, which made all five nations party to the START I agreement.
- This agreement expired in December 2009.
- And New START (also called START II) is an extension of this treaty after it expired in 2009.
- New START continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals.
- But the comment made by the U.S. President threatens the renewal of this treaty which is set to expire in February 2021.
- If this treaty is not renewed, it lead to the possession of nuclear arms by the two major nuclear powers unchecked.
- This might push the world towards a new nuclear arms race.
- In 1985, U.S.A. and USSR entered into a negotiation to end the arms race and move towards arms control. This had three points: the first, dealt with the control of strategic weapons with ranges of over 5,500 km this led to the start agreement in 1991. The second, dealt with intermediate-range missiles, and this led to the INF Treaty in 1987. The third, Nuclear and Space Talks, but this did not yield any concrete outcome.
- The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty was hailed as a great disarmament pact even though no nuclear warheads were dismantled and similar range air-launched and sea-launched missiles were not constrained.
- But the problem was that it was a bilateral treaty between the USA and USSR. But at that time, it hardly mattered because these were the only two major nuclear powers and it was an age of bipolarity and the USA-USSR nuclear equation was the only one that counted.
- There were intensive verification measures, including on-site inspections.
- So, with the signing of the INF treaty, the end of the Cold War, and the break-up of the USSR in end-1991, the arms race was over.
- But now the equation is different. With the emergence of China as a major player in the Indo-Pacific region and the way it is trying to assert its hegemony in the region, this INF treaty had become a major concern for the US, because it was a bilateral treaty and did not apply to China.
- The U.S. believes that the INF Treaty was putting it at a disadvantage compared to China which is rapidly modernising and currently has 95% of its ballistic and cruise missile inventory in the INF range.
- So international analysts had already assumed that the INF treaty was going to end. And this is what happened when on 2nd August, USA formally quit the pact.
- With the U.S. Presidents comment regarding the New START treaty which still exists, it is assumed that if the US President is re-elected, USA might pull out of this treaty too or not renew it if it when it ends in 2021.
- If this happens, the U.S. and Russia will not be constrained by any arms control agreement.
- A new nuclear arms race could just be the beginning. Unlike the bipolar equation of the Cold War, this time it will be complicated because of multiple countries being involved.
- Technological changes are bringing cyber and space domains into contention. All this raises the risks of escalation and could even strain the most important achievement of nuclear arms control — the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons that has stood since 1945.
- The global leaders in top decision-making positions must act more responsibly.
The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot (24th Aug 2019) By Arora
Note: There is another article called ‘Shallow draughts’. Not many points are given but these are the possible highlights:
- This article is on the recent statements made by the U.S. President.
- It further says that the Indian PM and the U.S. President are supposed to hold in the side lines of the G-7 summit. There is already a list of agendas that both the countries need to discuss like defence and strategic cooperation, discussions to resolve outstanding trade issues, India’s upcoming purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-missile systems and the possible U.S. sanctions, and the future of Iran sanctions for oil purchases. Also, India’s concerns over the U.S.-Taliban peace process will also be high on the agenda.
- But the constant statements made by the U.S. President indicate that he wants to talk and “mediate” between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, despite India’s rejections.
- The problem apart from his interference is also that he calls the he calls India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir a “religious problem”. It is not a religious problem.
- Partition was not on the basis of a religious divide, but an ideological one: the ‘idea of Pakistan’ vs. the ‘idea of India’.
- Pakistan was carved out of India because sections of Muslims believed that they could not live equitably with the majority Hindu community. India consisted of those who believed people of all religions could live together in a secular, pluralistic society; and it should be noted that more Muslims chose to live in India than in Pakistan. India’s claim over J&K, a State that included Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, stemmed from this very premise.
- So the remarks of the U.S. President stem from a very narrow perception of the problem. It gives voice to what Pakistan has been saying from 70 years.
- The issue should not be given a communal colour.
- The government has repeatedly stressed that its decision on J&K was mandated by a desire to provide better governance and development for the people there.
- India has been wise to ignore the comments but it needs to convey this idea to the U.S. President that his perception of the situation is wrong. It is not religion but ideology.
- This clearance is required not only in the interest of smooth bilateral relations between India and the U.S. but also for the resolution of the problem itself.
The Hindu Editorials Mains Sure Shot (24th Aug 2019) By Arora
Question – With a downturn in economic growth in the last few months, what are the measures announced by the government to revive it?(250 Words)
Context – Announcements made by the FM yesterday.
The present scenario:
- India’s GDP continues to grow at a faster pace than the global economy and any other major country.
- But the problem that lies is that this economic growth is slowing down, many foreign investors are pulling out their investments and if this is left unchecked, there can be serious economic challenges that will be more difficult to address.
- Taking note of this situation, some announcements were made to restore the growth rate.
What are the measures?
To encourage Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI):
- The government announced a rollback of enhanced surcharge on foreign portfolio investors levied in the Budget, to encourage investment in the capital market.
- Angel tax provisions to be withdrawn for start-ups and their investors.
- A dedicated cell under a member of CBDT will be set up for addressing the problems of start-ups.
Regarding CSR norms and capital infusion:
- Violations of CSR norms under the company’s law will be treated only as a civil liability and not as a criminal offence.
- Capital infusion of ₹70,000 crore into public sector banks, a move aimed at boosting lending and improving liquidity situation.
- This move is expected to generate an additional lending and liquidity in the financial system to the tune of ₹5 lakh crore.
- From October 1, all notices, summons, and orders of the Income Tax Department would be issued through a centralised computer system and would also have a computer-generated unique Document Identification Number.
- All pending GST refunds of MSMEs will be paid within 30 days. Also, in the future, all GST refunds of MSMEs will be paid within 60 days from the date of application.
Revisions in Loans and Repo Rate:
- Loans for home, vehicles and consumption goods will become cheaper and new loans will be easily available through banking and non-banking finance companies.
- Banks will launch repo rate and external benchmark-linked loan products that will lead to reduced easy monthly installments for housing, vehicle and other retail loans.
- Banks will pass on RBI rate cut benefits to borrowers through MCLR reduction.
- Working capital loans for industry will become cheaper.
- Public sector banks (PSBs) will ensure mandated return of loan documents within 15 days of loan closure
- The government announced partial credit scheme for purchase of pooled assets of non-banking finance companies and HFCs.
- NBFCs will be permitted to use the Aadhaar authenticated bank ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) to avoid repeated processes.
- Changes will be made in PMLA rules and Aadhaar regulations to ease the lending process.
For boosting the Automobile Sector:
- BS-IV vehicles purchased up to March 2020 will remain operational for the entire period of registration.
- Both electric vehicles (EVs) and Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICV) will continue to be registered.
- Centre to lift ban on purchase of new vehicles for replacing all old vehicles by government departments.
- Focus will be on setting up of infrastructure for development of ancillaries/components, including batteries for exports.
- Additional 15% depreciation to be allowed, on all vehicles acquired from now till March 2020, taking the total to 30 %.
- Revision of one-time registration fees has been deferred till June 2020.
- Proposal to establish an organisation to provide credit enhancement for infrastructure and housing projects with an aim to enhance fund flows towards such projects.
- Putting an end to all speculations the government had made clear that it is concerned about the interests of “wealth creators”. And these measures are aimed to help them.
- The government had done what it could, now it is for the wealth creators to respond.
- Before making any major changes in policies the government should consider the long-term consequences.