1.The arc to Tokyo (The Hindu and MEA)

2.Hurricanes and Climate change (Down to Earth)

1.The arc to Tokyo (The Hindu and MEA) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the recent visit by Japan’s prime minister to India. (GS paper II)


  • The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilizational ties. The modern nation States have carried on the positive legacy of the old association which has been strengthened by shared values of belief in democracy, individual freedom and the rule of law.
  • Over the years, the two countries have built upon these values and created a partnership based on both principle and pragmatism. Today, India is the largest democracy in Asia and Japan the most prosperous. Recent visit by Japanese Prime Minister’s to India as part of annual summits between the two countries has set strategic ties on a fast track.

Recent ties

  • Prime Minister and his Japanese counterpart has laid the foundation stone in Ahmedabad for the country’s first ₹1.1 lakh crore, 508 km high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ambitious project is being implemented with nearly 90% financial support and technology from Japan.
  • Japan has been keen to export its high-speed train technology along with rolling stock, and India’s move to confirm the Japanese contracts while China wins projects along its Belt and Road railway line is significant. The joint statement and comments by the two Prime Ministers sent out a similar message that will be read closely in China on several counts.
  • Displaying strategic convergence, India and Japan asked North Korea to shut down its nuclear and missile programmes. Both sides also hinted at Pakistan’s past involvement with North Korean nuclear and missile programmes and sought accountability of “all parties” who helped Pyongyang acquire nuclear technology even as Japan promised to help India deal with cross-border terrorism.

Mr. Abe mentioned that North Korea is a “joint” challenge for India and Japan.

  • The joint statement between both the countries mentions “Toward a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific”, and substantive paragraphs on cooperation in the region, indicates a much closer alignment between India and Japan in countering China’s influence in the South China Sea, its forays into the Indian Ocean, and investments in South Asia and Africa.
  • India-Japan nuclear deal and more military and maritime exercises will buttress such efforts. India has also extended to Japan an offer denied to any other country, which is to assist in infrastructure development in the Northeast.
  • Both the countries have decided to finalise four new locations for special Japanese industrial townships, it might address the difficulties of businessmen face in India.

Way ahead

  • The new set of relations between India-Japan on an accelerated geopolitical course will be a major factor in its dealings with the rest of the world, especially China, at a time when the U.S. is perceived to be retreating from the region.
  • It is imperative that India and Japan also look beyond their lofty geopolitical aims, at the more basic aspects of bilateral engagement.

Question–  Throw a light on India-Japan relations. How Japan can be an important destination to reap the demographic advantage of India?



2.Hurricanes and Climate change (Down to Earth) (GS paper III)

About Hurricane-Irma

  • Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic hurricane, the most intense observed in the Atlantic since Dean in 2007. It was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, it is second major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in parts of the north-eastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.

Relation of Hurricanes and Environment-

  • The current hurricane climate mentioned that there are signs that climate change can influence hurricanes in several different ways. However, these signals are inconclusive due to inadequate understanding of how hurricanes interact with the environment.
  • The Evidence of the environment’s role on hurricane development has been noted since the early 1950s, but a major milestone was achieved by Kerry Emanuel in his studies of hurricane dynamics in the late 1980s.
  • His idea was to consider hurricanes as heat engines that can extract heat from the ocean surface and exhaust it at the upper troposphere. In this way, Emanuel was able to obtain a mathematical expression showing how the maximum potential intensity a hurricane can attain in a given environment depends on sea surface temperature and temperature near the top of the atmospheric troposphere around 14 kilometers, or 8.8 miles, above the sea. According to Emanuel’s formulation, a warmer sea surface temperature would result in a higher intensity.
  • The relationship between hurricane intensity and sea surface temperature dictates how strong a hurricane can be for a given environmental condition. Numerous studies have then confirmed the importance of sea surface temperature in controlling hurricane maximum intensity, and suggest an increase of 2-3 percent in hurricane strength per 1 Celsius degree increase in sea surface temperature under favourable conditions.
  • From this perspective, it can be asserted that hurricane intensity variations must be connected to the global climate due to the vital role of ocean temperatures in hurricane development. Indeed, many studies of hurricane intensity climatology consider ocean temperature as a main proxy to detect the future trend in hurricane intensity change.
  • The common consensus among these studies is a conclusion that future hurricanes will tend to be stronger than those in the present-day climate, assuming that sea surface temperature will continue its current warming trend into the future.
  • Some research has also indicated that the change in global climate could lead to a shift of the jet stream behaviours, the emergence of triple hurricanes in the Atlantic basin during September 2017 can be a potential signal of the more favourable conditions for hurricane formation from climate change.
  • In principle, a change in global air circulation patterns could influence the steering flows that guide hurricane movement, much like a leaf carried away by a river. As such, variations in global circulations associated with climate change could introduce another degree of variability to hurricane impacts that we have to take into account.
  • A recent climatologically study suggested a pole ward shift of the hurricane maximum intensity location in a warming climate. But unlike the connection between hurricane intensity and the ambient environment, the linkage between global circulation change and hurricane movement is much harder to quantify at present.
  • So there are several other factors that could strongly interfere with hurricane development, such as the change of atmospheric temperature with height. These factors directly affect the interaction of hurricanes with the surrounding environment.
  • However, these are very difficult to quantify in the context of climate change due to the different time scales between hurricane development measured on the order of days and weeks and climate change, which occurs over decades.

Question What co-relation can be established between climate change and the intensity of hurricanes?