GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Rohan More Becomes First Asian To Swim Across Ocean Seven.

Background

  • Pune-based swimmer, Rohan More became the first Asian as well as the first Indian to swim across the Ocean Seven. Rohan is the youngest person in the world to swim across the Ocean Seven.
  • The Ocean’s Seven marathon consists of seven long-distance open-water swims, which includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar.
  • The swimming marathon is widely considered equivalent to the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • With this, More becomes only the ninth person in the world to complete it.
  • After waiting for a long time, due to bad weather conditions, Rohan got the chance to swim on February 9, 2018. He began swimming at about 9:30 a.m. from the North Island.
  • For the first five hours, the water was calm and the temperature was around 19 degrees Celsius.
  • However, as he progressed towards the South Island, the water temperature dropped by about four degrees Celsius, due to currents from the Antarctic water.
  • He fought bravely against the cold water and strong Antarctic currents to complete the swim in eight hours 37 minutes.
  • Talking about his achievement, More said that it is the greatest moment of his life as he swam across Cook Strait in New Zealand which was the seven and last in the Ocean Seven.
  • More completed his first marathon swim at the age of 11. He completed the Triple Crown almost twenty years later, in less than 11 months and continues to set and accomplish marathon goals.
  • In 1996, he crossed Dharamtar to Gateway of India Channel (35 km) in seven hours and 29 minutes.
  • More also completed six of the Oceans Seven swims between 2014 and 2016: English Channel (13 hours and 23 minutes), North Channel (12 hours and 43 minutes), Catalina Channel (10 hours and 17 minutes), Molokai Channel (17 hours and 28 minutes), Tsugaru Strait (10 hours and 37 minutes) and Gibraltar Strait (3 hours and 56 minutes).
  • He is a national figure and has received the Tenzing Norgay Award from the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  • The award, also known as the National Adventure Award, was presented by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Sources- ANI.

 

GS Paper II- Governance.

Nitin Gadkari Releases Highway Capacity Manual For Road Augmentation.

Background

  • Road, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari on 12th February, 2018 released a manual laying down guidelines on when and how to expand or manage different types of roads.
  • Prepared by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Central Road Research Institute, the Indo-Highway Capacity manual lays down parameters for capacity augmentation of roads based on a country-wide study of traffic characteristics on different categories of roads such as single lane, two-lane, multi-lane urban roads, inter-urban highways and expressways and the intersections of these roads.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • It has been developed based on the unique nature and diversity of traffic on Indian roads. While countries such as the US, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan developed their own highway capacity manuals a long time ago, this is the first time that a manual has been developed in India.
  • Gadkari expressed hope that the long-awaited manual would help in scientific planning and expansion of road infrastructure in the country. He said India needs to catch up with the best technology and practices being used in the sector so that it can build world class infrastructure that is safe, cost effective and environment friendly.
  • He said there was an urgent need in the government to give up conservative approach and adopt new technologies to push the pace of highway construction in the country. Our officials and department lag behind rest of the world when it comes to construction of roads. The speed of highway construction is not as high as it should be, he added.
  • The manual comes at a time when the government is undertaking an ambitious road network programme called Bharatmala to add 35,000 km of new highways with an outlay of Rs5.35 trillion over the next five years.

Sources- Livemint.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

India Gets Access To Strategic Oman Port Duqm For Military Use, Chabahar-Gwadar In Sight.

 

Background

  • In a strategic move to expand its footprint in the Indian Ocean region, India has secured access to the key Port of Duqm in Oman for military use and logistical support. This is part of India’s maritime strategy to counter Chinese influence and activities in the region.  
  • This was one of the key takeaways of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Oman over the last two days (11th-12th Feb, 2018).
  • He met Sultan of Oman Sayyid Qaboos bin Said Al Said and an annexure to the Memorandum of Understanding on Military Cooperation was signed  between the two countries. Following this pact, the services of Duqm port and dry dock will be available for maintenance of Indian military vessels.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The Port of Duqm is situated on the southeastern seaboard of Oman, overlooking the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is strategically located, in close proximity to the Chabahar port in Iran. With the Assumption Island being developed in Seychelles and Agalega in Mauritius, Duqm fits into India’s proactive maritime security roadmap.
  • Recently, Duqm has seen a rise in Indian activities. In September last year (2017), India  deployed an attack submarine to this port in the western Arabian Sea. A Shishumar-class  submarine entered Duqm along with naval ship INS Mumbai and two P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. India gets access to strategic Oman port for military use, reconnaissance aircraft. The naval units were on a month-long deployment with the aim of enhancing surveillance and cooperation.
  • Following Modi’s visit to Oman, the joint statement said the two sides noted that the MoU on Military Cooperation, signed in 2005 and renewed in 2016, has provided the general framework to strengthen bilateral defence ties. India and Oman noted that the MoUs on cooperation in maritime security and between Coast Guards of the two countries, signed in May 2016, have provided a firm foundation for deepening institutional interactions.
  • They agreed to provide further impetus to the robust defence relations, including through regular joint exercises by the three defence forces, training of Navy, Air and Army officials, as also cooperation in the area of coastal defence and through participation in defence exhibitions, the statement said.
  • The Port of Duqm also has a special economic zone, where about $1.8 billion investments are being made by some Indian companies. The Adani group had signed an MoU with Duqm port authorities last year(2017), but no investments have been made so far.

Sources- The Indian Express.