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GS Paper II- International Relations.

China Raises ‘Major Problems’ As Ajit Doval Meets His Chinese Counterpart In Beijing.

Background

  • Amid heightened tensions over the border standoff at Sikkim, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met with his counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Thursday, 27th July, 2017.
  • The bilateral or one-on-one talks were held on the sidelines of a summit of top security officials from BRICS – Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.
  • The Indian government has so far not commented on whether the dispute at Sikkim was discussed.

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Key Points Of The Development-

  • China’s State Councillor Yang separately met senior security representatives from South Africa, Brazil and India and set forth China’s position on bilateral issues and major problems.
  • China says that last month (June, 2017), Indian troops crossed the border at Sikkim to stop the Chinese army from constructing a road on a remote Himalayan plateau it calls Donglang. Bhutan says the region is Doklam, and is part of its tiny kingdom.
  • The row has festered for more than a month as India and China refuse to back down in the distant but strategically key territory.
  • India, a close ally of Bhutan, deployed troops to stop the road construction project, prompting Beijing to accuse India of trespassing on Chinese soil. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj recently said that both sides should pull back soldiers to allow talks on the conflict.
  • But China in response warned that it would step up its deployment, and insists that India must withdraw its troops before any proper negotiation takes place.
  • The standoff is a very public sign of India’s willingness to push back.
  • The road was being built close to the “Chicken’s Neck,” a narrow, essential strip of land connecting India to its north-eastern states.
  • Beijing maintains that Doklam has been part of China since ancient times, countering that Indian troops triggered the standoff by crossing a boundary established in an 1890 agreement with Britain.
  • Xi in particular must exude strength as he consolidates power before a crucial Communist Party congress later this year.
  • India has also voiced concern about another Chinese project: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will give Beijing access to the Arabian Sea but passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Sources- NDTV.

GS Paper III- Security, Technology.

DRDO Develops India’s First Unmanned Tank, Muntra; Rolls It Out Of Chennai Lab.

Background

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an unmanned, remotely operated tank which has three variants – surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats. It is called Muntra.
  • Though developed and tested for the Army by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) in Avadi, paramilitary has expressed interest to use them at Naxal-hit areas. That will require a few modifications.
  • The two remotely operated vehicles designed like an armoured tank were on display at an exhibition – Science for Soldiers – organised by DRDO as a tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam at CVRDe in Avadi.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • Muntra-S is the country’s first tracked unmanned ground vehicle developed for unmanned surveillance missions while Muntra-M is for detecting mines and Muntra-N is for operation in areas where there is a nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk.
  • The vehicle has been tested and validated at Mahajan field firing range in Rajasthan under dusty desert conditions where temperatures touched 52 C. Army comfortably tele-operated the vehicle.
  • It has surveillance radar, an integrated camera along with laser range finder which can be used to spy on ground target 15km away – may be a crawling men or heavy vehicles.
  • The exhibition also showcased CCPT vehicle which is a remote command centre.
  • Besides heavy weights, the DRDO also showcased a few inventions like a handheld wall penetration radar which if placed on a wall will project on a screen the presence of people inside a building.
  • From a helmet-mounted night vision to nano-driven thermal and electromagnetic protection and laser weapons, DRDO showcased hundreds of products in an exhibition aimed at boosting the confidence of its employees and to change a negative perception towards the organisation in the government at heavy vehicles factory.
  • DRDO chairman S Christopher said that the organisation was working on installing AWAC (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) on an A330 aircraft. The system is now perfected for use on a smaller Embraer plane.

Sources- The Economic Times, Firstpost.

 

GS Paper IV- Ethics.

Punjab Launches Flagship ‘Care Companion Programme’ Scheme In District Hospitals.

Background

  • To improve patient care through better family engagement and education, the Punjab government on Thursday, 27th July, 2017 launched a flagship health scheme — Care Companion Programme (CCP).
  • Under the innovative program, the hospital hallways or wards will turn into classrooms and taps into the most compassionate and willing resource available for care, that is the patient’s own family, by teaching the family high-impact medical skills to take care of their loved ones in the hospital and at home, according to the State Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra.

 

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Key Points Of This Development-

  • Mohindra said the state department of health and family welfare has entered into an MoU with Noora Health India Trust, a healthcare non-profit organisation, for implementation of the ‘Care Companion Programme’ (CCP).
  • He said the innovative programme turns hospital hallways or wards into classrooms by teaching the family of patients high-impact medical skills to take care of the patients in the hospital and at home.
  • The minister said the CCP will be initially implemented in maternal and child health wings of six district hospitals — amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, SBS Nagar, Sangrur, Tarn Taran — and shall be rolled out to additional public health facilities in the state in the near future.
  • Mohindra further said that staff nurses from all six hospitals are trained on how to engage and teach patients in the wards.
  • Families will learn high-impact health skills for taking care of the new-born baby, their hygiene, thermal care, breastfeeding, and maternal nutrition.
  • The aim is to reduce the number of baby deaths and complications like infections in the first 30 days’ post-discharge, and ensure adoption of long-term health pro motive behaviours.

Sources- Outlook, The Pioneer.