Heatwaves in India: A Growing Threat

Question : Discuss the impact of climate change on the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India, highlighting recent trends and their implications for public health and safety. Evaluate the criteria used by the IMD to declare heatwaves and severe heatwaves.

Climate Change and Heatwaves

  • Effects of climate change on Indian summers are evident (shrinking spring, hotter Marches).
  • Heatwaves are common in May-June, sometimes extending to July.

Criteria for Declaring a Heatwave (IMD)

  • Plains: Minimum 40°C.
  • Hilly regions: Minimum 30°C.
  • Increase from normal temperature:
    • 5-6°C: Heatwave
    • 7°C or more: Severe heatwave
  • Actual maximum temperature ≥ 45°C: Heatwave (regardless of normal)

Recent Heatwave Trends

  • Early heatwaves in 2022 and 2023 (March).
  • Increased frequency and intensity due to climate change.
  • IMD warns of longer heatwave spells (10-20 days vs. 4-8 days).

Health Effects

  • Data on heatwave mortality varies between IMD, NDMA, and NCRB.
  • Experts agree on protecting vulnerable populations.

Heat Action Plans (HAPs)

  • Developed after a deadly heatwave in Ahmedabad (2010).
  • Focus on:
    • Early warning systems
    • Increased healthcare capacity
    • Workplace adaptations
    • Public awareness
  • Estimated to save 1,000 lives annually in Ahmedabad.
  • Over 20 states have developed HAPs.

Limitations of HAPs

  • Critics say they are:
    • Not regularly updated
    • Unfunded
    • Ineffective for vulnerable populations (slum dwellers, elderly, outdoor workers)
  • Under-resourced municipalities struggle to implement them.
  • Need for more local weather observatories (e.g., Navi Mumbai tragedy).

The Way Forward

  • Fine-tune heatwave criteria based on local conditions (humidity).
  • Develop robust data collection to protect vulnerable populations.
  • Implement comprehensive heat action plans with local capacity building.

 

 

 

How Delhi Maps the World

Question: Evaluate the emerging geopolitical concerns in regions like Zomia and Khorasan, focusing on potential challenges such as ethnic unrest, religious extremism, and border tensions. Discuss India’s potential role in addressing these concerns and its implications for regional stability.

Shifting Strategic Focus

  • India’s strategic focus has shifted in the last decade, reflected in its evolving vocabulary of world regions.

Indo-Pacific

  • Initially viewed with skepticism (seen as an American plot).
  • Embraced by Prime Minister Modi in 2018 due to:
    • Deteriorating relations with China.
    • Growing strategic partnership with the US.
  • Institutionalized by the Quad (India, Japan, Australia, US).

Eurasia

  • Gained traction due to:
    • Russia’s promotion of the concept.
    • India’s ties with Russia and desire for a multipolar world.
    • SCO membership (2017).
  • India’s interest has waned due to:
    • Deepening problems with China.
    • Growing Russia-West conflict.
    • Deepening Sino-Russian alliance.

Europe

  • Previously neglected in India’s foreign relations.
  • Increased engagement in the last decade:
    • High-level exchanges (Modi’s visits, Jaishankar’s travels).
    • Growing trade and investment.
    • Free trade agreement with EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland).
  • France’s rising political salience.
  • Recognition of Europe’s regional complexities (Nordic region, Med 9, Caucasus).
  • Dmytro Kuleba’s visit (Ukraine’s Foreign Minister) highlights India’s potential role in Europe.

Other Regions

  • Middle East, Africa:Growing economic and strategic engagement.
    • Abraham Accords, Gaza conflict, India’s partnership with UAE and Saudi Arabia.
    • Increased naval presence in the Red Sea.
    • Plans for an economic corridor between India and Europe.
  • South Asia:Focus on sub-regional cooperation due to SAARC’s failure.
    • Pakistan’s economic integration with China (CPEC) and ties with Arab Gulf states.

The Rise and Fall of Regions

  • “Regions” are not fixed but shaped by politics, economics, and ideology.
  • “South Asia” is a potential loser due to regional dynamics.

Emerging Geopolitical Concerns

  • Zomia (Northeast India, Southwest China, Southeast Asia):
    • Potential political vacuum in upper Burma due to military struggles.
    • Risks of ethnic unrest, religious extremism, and minority issues.
  • Khorasan (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia):
    • Ethnic restiveness, religious extremism, and border tensions.
    • Potential instability due to groups like the Islamic State.

Conclusion

  • India’s foreign policy has seen a strategic shift towards islands, the Indo-Pacific, and Europe.
  • New geographies like Zomia and Khorasan might demand future attention.

 

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