- Government sets up task force for promotion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India
- The Ministry of Electronics and IT has recently established a task force to draft a roadmap for the artificial intelligence ecosystem.
- The task force will focus on boosting research and facilitating tools for startups and IT companies.
- Government has also asked startups and participants to volunteer for the task force and to put all the building blocks for AI in the country together for the government to take it up.
- IndiaAI Platform:
- The IndiaAI platform aims to promote Indian startups, research, and innovation.
- The government will provide an empowering framework by not creating roadblocks for the innovative ecosystem.
- The platform is expected to deliver better governance, development, and create an innovation ecosystem that will contribute to the digital economy.
- Projected impact of AI:
- Estimates predict that AI will add USD 967 billion to the Indian economy by 2035 and USD 450-500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.
- AI is projected to account for 10% of India’s USD 5 trillion GDP target.
- Holistic approach:
- NASSCOM will work to create a roadmap based on sectors like clean tech, biotech, and space tech.
- Government will also focus on developing skilled professionals, with the goal of creating one million world-class skilled professionals by 2025.
- Promotion of authentic data sets to create solutions, while others called for enhanced computing nodes and market support for innovation.
What is Artifical Intelligence?
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that involves developing intelligent machines that can perform tasks that typically require human-like intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.
- AI technologies are designed to learn, reason, and self-correct, making them highly useful for automating routine tasks, solving complex problems, and optimizing decision-making processes.
Challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Skilled workforce: There is a shortage of skilled professionals in the AI industry in India and the demand for skilled professionals still outstrips the supply.
- Data quality and availability: The lack of standardization and structure in data sets, particularly in sectors like healthcare and education, can limit the effectiveness of AI solutions.
- Infrastructure: The availability of computing infrastructure is essential for the development and deployment of AI solutions and India needs to invest in improving its computing infrastructure to support the growing demand for AI solutions.
- Funding: Despite the potential benefits of AI, funding for AI startups and research in India is relatively low compared to other countries for which more funding is needed to support the development and growth of the AI industry in India.
- Ethical and social implications: AI can have significant ethical and social implications, such as bias, privacy concerns, and job displacement.
Importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for India
- Economic Growth: AI is expected to contribute significantly to India’s economic growth by creating new job opportunities, increasing productivity, and fostering innovation.
- Healthcare: AI has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector by improving patient outcomes, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs through better disease diagnosis, drug development, and personalized treatment.
- Education: AI can enhance the quality of education by providing personalized learning experiences, automating administrative tasks, and improving student outcomes.
- Agriculture: AI can improve agricultural practices by optimizing crop yields, reducing waste, and increasing profitability through accurate weather predictions, soil analysis, and crop monitoring to help farmers make informed decisions.
- Governance: AI can help in improving governance by increasing transparency, reducing corruption, and improving service delivery by better fraud detection, resource allocation, and decision-making.
Government steps to promote AI
- National AI Strategy: It is a proposed plan by the government to develop a national AI Strategy with focus on research, development, and deployment of AI-based solutions across various sectors.
- AI research institutes: The government has established AI research institutes in the country, such as the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), to promote research and development in AI.
- Start-up programs: It has integrated programs to support AI startups, such as the Startup India program, which provides funding, mentorship, and other resources to startups.
- Skill development: The government has launched several initiatives to promote skill development in the AI industry, such as the National Programme on Artificial Intelligence, which aims to train professionals in AI-related technologies.
- Overall, AI can play a crucial role in driving India’s growth and development in various sectors, and the draft proposal by the Indian government is a step in the right direction.
- The roadmap for the artificial intelligence ecosystem will help promote the development and adoption of AI in India and is expected to have a significant impact on the growth of the AI industry in the country.
Silicon Valley Bank crisis
- Silicon Valley Bank has recently been shut down by its regulators.
More about the news
- SVB’s collapse:
- SVB, which was founded in 1983, dealt with high-growth, high-risk businesses such as technology startups.
- Silicon Valley Bank provided banking services to nearly half of venture capital-backed technology and life-science companies, according to its website, and over 2,500 venture capital firms.
- SVB became the second-biggest collapse in the history of the US.
- SVB, which was founded in 1983, dealt with high-growth, high-risk businesses such as technology startups.
- Role in India:
- The bank offered an easy way for startups in India, especially those in the Software as a Service (SaaS) sector who have a number of US clients, to park their cash — as they could set up accounts without a US Social Security Number or Income Tax Identification Number.
- Issues & Outcomes:
- Global financial stocks:
- SVB is known to be fueling numerous VC-backed tech start-ups. After the crisis, global financial stocks are believed to have lost $465 billion in market value in just two days.
- Tech companies:
- With its unprecedented crisis, the spotlight is now on all the tech companies that have been impacted by the bank’s free fall.
- Start ups:
- As the startup ecosystem tries to make sense of Silicon Valley Bank’s implosion, some entrepreneurs whose funds are frozen at the bank are turning to loans to make payroll.
- Global financial stocks:
Impacts of failure of a large bank like the Silicon Valley Bank
- Damage to the financial system & domestic economy:
- The failure of a large bank anywhere can have a contagion effect across the world.
- The impairment or failure of a bank will more likely damage the domestic economy if its activities constitute a significantly large share of domestic banking activities.
- Therefore, there is a greater chance that impairment or failure of a larger bank would cause greater damage to the financial system and domestic real economy.
- Damage of confidence:
- The impairment or failure of a bank with large size is also more likely to damage confidence in the banking system as a whole.
- Possibility of failure of other banks:
- Impairment or failure of one bank may have the potential to increase the probability of impairment or failure of other banks if there is a high degree of interconnectedness (contractual obligations) with other banks.
- This chain effect operates on both sides of the balance sheet.
- Affecting services:
- The greater the role of a bank as a service provider in underlying market infrastructure like payment systems, the larger the disruption it is likely to cause in terms of availability and range of services and infrastructure liquidity following its failure.
- Costs borne by the bank customers:
- The costs to be borne by the customers of a failed bank to seek the same service at another bank would be much higher if the failed bank had a greater market share in providing that particular service.
Impact on India
- Different structures & no impact:
- The reasons for SVB’s failure are unlikely to play out in India as domestic banks have a different kind of balance sheet structure, according to bankers.
- No bulk withdrawals:
- In India, we don’t have a system where deposits are withdrawn in such a bulk quantity.
- unlike in the US, where a large portion of bank deposits are from corporates, household savings constitute a major part of bank deposits in India.
- Today, a large part of deposits is with public sector banks and the remaining deposits are with very strong private sector lenders like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
- Protection of depositors’ money:
- In India, the approach of the regulator has generally been that the depositors’ money should be protected at any cost.
- Whenever banks have faced any issue, the government has come to their aid. The finest example is the rescue of Yes Bank where a lot of liquidity support was provided.
- Affcting stock markets:
- The SVB issue, however, created nervousness in the stock markets with bank shares taking a hit and investors losing money in the process.
|D-SIB framework Significance of the framework:The financial system has global linkages. During the 2008 crisis, the problems faced by certain large and highly interconnected financial institutions hampered the orderly functioning of the financial system, which in turn, negatively impacted the real economy.Learning from the experience of the global crisis, the Reserve Bank issued a framework for dealing with D-SIBs on July 22, 2014. ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’:SIBs are perceived as banks that are ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’. This perception of TBTF creates an expectation of government support for these banks at the time of distress. Due to this perception, these banks enjoy certain advantages in the funding markets.How does it work?The D-SIB framework requires the Reserve Bank to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs starting from 2015 and place these banks in appropriate buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs). Depending on the bucket in which a D-SIB is placed, an additional common equity requirement has to be applied to it.This means these banks will have to earmark additional capital and provisions to safeguard their operations.While Basel-III Norms have prescribed a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) – the bank’s ratio of capital to risk — of 8 per cent.In India, the RBI has gone one step ahead and mandated the CAR for scheduled commercial banks to be 9 per cent and for public sector banks 12 per cent.G-SIBsBasel-based Financial Stability Board (FSB), an initiative of G20 nations, in consultation with Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and national authorities, identified the list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs). There are 30 G-SIBs as of now. They include JP Morgan, Citibank, HSBC, Bank of America, Bank of China, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs. However, no Indian bank figures in the G-SIB list.|
Bhopal Gas Tragedy
- Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed the government’s curative petition for additional compensation from the Union Carbide Corporation.
- The Central government on the account of updated death figures (3,000 to 5,295 ) of victims approached the Supreme Court for top up of the original settlement.
- The court rejected the petition saying that among other reasons the attempt to enhance the compensation should have been made in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and not three decades later.
Bhopal Gas Tragedy :
- On December 3, 1984, Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) (Chemical formula- CH3NCO or C2H3NO) leaked from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals), in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal.
- Methyl isocyanate is a colourless highly flammable liquid that evaporates quickly when exposed to the air. It has a sharp, strong odour.It is extremely toxic and if its concentration in the air touches 21ppm (parts per million), it can cause death within minutes of inhaling the gas.
- It is one of the worst chemical disasters globally and still continues to have its ill effects on the people of the affected areas.
- In 1989,The government reached an out-of-court settlement with Union Carbide for US$470 million for damages caused in the Bhopal disaster.
- Legislative Actions in the Aftermath:
- The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act was passed in 1985, giving certain powers to the Indian government for settling claims. It provided the Central Government the exclusive right to represent, and act in place of every person connected with the claims.
- The government of India enacted a Public Liability Insurance Act (1991), making it mandatory for industries to get insurance .The premium for this insurance would contribute to an Environment Relief Fund to provide compensation to victims of a Bhopal-like disaster.
Learning Science via Standards’ initiative
- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution launches an initiative for students to learn science via standards.
- The National Standards Body of India, known as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), has recently introduced an educational programme called ‘Learning Science via Standards’ for students.
- This initiative is designed to help students grasp different schemes, policies and concepts through the lens of standards.
- The initiative is in continuum with an earlier BIS initiative under which ‘Standards Clubs’ are being established in educational institutions across India.
- Over the years, more than 4200 such Clubs have been formed with over one lakh student members who are exposed to industries and laboratories for developing standards as learning experience.
What is the ‘Learning Science via Standards’ initiative?
- The initiative focuses on a series of lesson plans aimed to use scientific concepts, principles and laws governing the Indian standards system.
- The initiative will help students understand their practical applications in manufacturing, functioning and testing of quality characteristics of different products as stated in the relevant Indian Standards.
- The subjects for the lesson plans are largely related to products used in day-to-day life and have been chosen based on their relevance to education as part of the course curriculum as well as to industrial applications.
- BIS officials and resource personnel will transact the lesson plans to the students for an interactive learning experience which will also be hosted on the BIS website.
Purpose of the initiative
- The lesson plans will serve as a means for the students of schools and colleges to appreciate the significance of quality and standards.
- It will empower them to boldly face real-life situations in any of their future endeavours.
- The initiative is expected to benefit a wide range of students, including those in schools, colleges, and technical institutions.
Challenges of ensuring standards in India
- Lack of Awareness: Lack of understanding of standards among manufacturers, consumers, and policymakers leads to non-compliance with standards and a lack of demand for quality products.
- Weak Enforcement: Despite the existence of standards and regulations, their enforcement is weak, which leads to non-compliance by manufacturers and importers.
- Lack of Infrastructure: The lack of adequate infrastructure for testing, certification, and quality control such as insufficient laboratory facilities, shortage of trained personnel, and inadequate accreditation systems.
- Fragmented Market: India has a fragmented market with a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which lack the resources to comply with standards and certification requirements.
- Cost: Compliance with standards and certification requirements can be expensive, which is a significant challenge for SMEs and startups.
- Technological Obsolescence: The fast-paced technological changes create a challenge for standards development and enforcement as the standards need to be updated regularly to keep pace with technological advancements.
- International Harmonization: The global trade requires harmonization of standards between countries while India faces the challenge of aligning its standards with international standards while preserving its domestic priorities.
Importance of ensuring standards
- Consumer Protection: Standards help protect the health, safety, and well-being of consumers by ensuring that products and services meet certain quality and safety standards.
- Quality Assurance: Standards promote quality assurance and help to prevent the sale of substandard or counterfeit products.
- Innovation: Standards play a vital role in fostering innovation and supporting the development of new products and technologies.
- Trade and Commerce: Standards help to facilitate trade and commerce both domestically and internationally by ensuring that products and services meet certain quality and safety standards.
- Environment: Standards also help to promote environmental protection and sustainability by encouraging the use of environmentally friendly technologies and practices.
- Competitiveness: Standards can enhance the competitiveness of Indian businesses by ensuring that their products and services meet global standards and are therefore more attractive to customers.
- Public Health: Standards in healthcare can help ensure the safety and efficacy of medical devices, drugs, and treatments, thereby safeguarding public health.
|Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)|
|It is the national standards body of India established in 1947 under the Indian Standards Institution (ISI) Act, 1946.It is responsible for the development of standards, product certification, and testing and quality control in India.It operates through its headquarters in New Delhi and five regional offices located in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, and Delhi. It develops and publishes standards for products, systems, services, and processes to ensure the safety, quality, and reliability of products and services.BIS operates a product certification scheme, which provides third-party assurance of the conformity of products to Indian Standards.It has developed over 24,000 standards in various fields such as engineering, food, agriculture, textile, consumer goods, and services.BIS is also a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC).|
- The proposed initiative is expected to contribute towards the capacity building of students to engage successfully in a variety of economic sectors in the country.
- However, there is a need for a multi-pronged approach, involving awareness-building, capacity-building, infrastructure development, simplification of procedures, and closer collaboration with stakeholders to ensure desired results.
- The ‘Learning Science via Standards’ initiative is a step towards bridging the gap between theory and real life use of science education.
- It will enable students to relate the concepts of science to their actual applications and also promote a culture of quality and standardization in the country.”
- Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),has provided the information that In the year 2022, 3,73,434 Indians emigrated to 18 countries.
- India has become a major exporter of Skilled and semiskilled workers to developed nations particularly to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Europe, and other English-speaking countries.
- Reasons for Emigration:
- Better standard of living: The developed countries provide better living standards, salaries, tax benefits, etc, which becomes a great attraction for emigration.
- Easy migration policies: with Fertility levels falling,The developed nations are easing migration policies to attract talents to boost their economy.
- Lack of higher education opportunities: The increasing cut-offs and legion of competitive exams make access to higher education difficult in India.
- Lower-income: Developed countries offer better pay to sectors like health, research, IT, etc. Income is one of the main triggers of emigration from India.
- Lack of financial research support: India’s Gross domestic expenditure on research has stayed at 0.7% of the GDP for years. India has one of the lowest GERD/GDP ratios among the BRICS nations. So, the minds in R&D tend to migrate to other countries to continue their research.
- Emigration from India will provide remittances to the country.
- During 2021-22, India received foreign inward remittances of $89,127 million which was the highest ever inward remittances received in a single year.
- It will strengthen Indian interests abroad.
- Emigration benefits the foreign economy with skills that were developed at the cost of the Indian taxpayer.it is a net loss of talent.
- Emigration deprives India of skilled manpower.
- Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Programme: The programme aims to attract talented youth to the study of science at an early stage and build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and R&D base.
- The Ramanujan Fellowship: It is meant for brilliant Indian scientists from outside India to take up scientific research positions in India.
- The Ramalingaswami Fellowship: It provides a platform to scientists who are willing to return and work in India.
- Vaishvik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) summit: Under this, Numerous overseas Indian-origin academicians and Indians participated to form ideas on innovative solutions to several challenges.
- By focussing on education and with adequate investment in cutting edge technologies India should create conditions favourable for attraction of talent rather than looking to contain emigration.
- The Kochi landfill site around Brahmapuram that caught fire earlier this month was a stark reminder that Indian cities need to be prepared for more such incidents as summer approaches.
- Solid waste management is a major aspect of waste processing in any country.
Why do Landfills catch fire?
- India’s municipalities have been collecting more than 95% of the waste generated in cities but the efficiency of waste-processing is 30-40% at best.
- Indian municipal solid waste consists of about 60% biodegradable material, 25% on-biodegradable material and 15% inert materials, like silt and stone.
- The openly disposed waste includes flammable material like low-quality plastics, which have a relatively higher calorific value.
- In summer, the biodegradable fraction composts much faster, increasing the temperature of the heap to beyond 70-80° C.
- Higher temperature + flammable material = a chance for the landfill to catch fire.
Landfill fires: Surface & Underground fires
- Surface fires: It involves recently buried or uncompacted refuse, situated on or close to the landfill surface in the aerobic decomposition layer. Surface fires generally burn at relatively low temperatures and are characterized by the emission of dense white smoke and the products of incomplete combustion.
- Underground fires: Underground fires in landfills occur deep below the landfill surface and involve materials that are months or years old. The most common cause of underground landfill fires is an increase in the oxygen content of the landfill, which increases bacterial activity and raises temperatures (aerobic decomposition). These so-called “hot spots” can come into contact with pockets of methane gas and result in a fire.
Impacts of Landfill Fires
- Health Risks: Landfill fires pose a particular health risk, as they can release hazardous fumes when these materials and substances ignite.
- Smoke from landfill fires generally contains particulate matter, which can aggravate pre-existing pulmonary conditions or cause respiratory distress. Another serious concern in landfill fires is the emission of dioxins. The term dioxins refers to a group of chemical compounds with similar chemical and biological characteristics that are released into the air during the combustion process.
- Environmental impact: The dense plumes of smoke are the major cause of air pollution. The further release of GHG gasses increases the atmospheric temperature.
- India creates more methane from landfill sites than any other country, according to GHGSat, which monitors emissions via satellites. Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide – but it is a more potent contributor to the climate crisis because it traps more heat.
- Roadblock to Transportation: Sometimes smoke caused by fire impairs the visibility of commuters.
Landfill Fire prevention
- Fire prevention can reduce property damage, injury, health, and environmental hazards of landfill fires. The cost of prevention is usually much less expensive than the cost of fighting and cleaning up a fire.
- Effective landfill management: Management measures include prohibiting all forms of deliberate burning, thoroughly inspecting and controlling incoming refuse, compacting refuse buried to prevent hot spots from forming, prohibiting smoking onsite, and maintaining good site security.
- Monitoring the emission of methane: If methane levels in or around the landfill become explosive, the landfill operator must take immediate steps to mitigate the danger.
- Converting Landfill Gas to Energy: The conversion of landfill gas to energy turns this landfill byproduct into a marketable resource. The converted gas can be used to generate electricity, heat, or steam.
Solutions to manage landfill fires
- The permanent and essential solution is to ensure cities have a systematic waste-processing system where wet and dry waste are processed separately and their by-products treated accordingly (recycling, soil enrichment, etc.). This will need multiple stakeholders, including municipalities and waste-processing unit operators, to cooperate.
- Clear the piles of waste through bioremediation – i.e. excavate old waste and use automated sieving machines to segregate the flammable refuse-derived fuel (RDF), such as plastics, rags, clothes, etc., from biodegradable material.
- Under the “Clean India” initiative, the efforts are being made to remove these mountains of garbage and convert them into green zones.
- The Global Methane Pledge: A pact to collectively cut global emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
- India didn’t join because most of its methane emissions come from farming – some 74% from farm animals and paddy fields versus less than 15% from landfill.
Alluri Sitharama Raju and Komaram Bheem
- The Telugu movie ‘RRR’, which won the Best Original Song for ‘Naatu Naatu’ at the 2023 Oscars, is inspired by the lives of Indian freedom fighters Alluri Sitharama Raju and Komaram Bheem.
Alluri Sitharama Raju
- Alluri Sitarama Raju, born in Andhra Pradesh in 1897/1898, led the Rampa or Manyam Rebellion of 1922 and was involved in opposing the British in response to the 1882 Madras Forest Act.
- The Forest Act of 1882 banned the collection of minor forest produce such as roots and leaves, and tribal people were forced into labour by the colonial government.
- The Rampa or Manyam Rebellion continued in the form of a guerrilla war until May 1924, when Raju, the charismatic ‘Manyam Veerudu’ or Hero of Jungle, was finally captured and executed.
- He was given the title: “Manyam Veerudu” (transl. Hero of the Jungle) for his heroic exploits.
- Komram Bheem was born in 1900/1901 in the Gond tribal community at Sankepally village in Komaram Bheem District of Telangana.
- He led the rebellion against the feudal Nizams of Hyderabad.
- He spread the message of “Jal, Jangal, Zameen” among tribal people, which became a clarion call for indigenous people’s rights to natural resources.
Nanakshahi Sammat 555
- Recently, the Prime Minister greeted the Sikh community on the commencement of Nanakshahi Sammat 555.
- Nanakshahi Sammat 555 is a calendar system that was introduced by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in 2003.
- It is named after the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji to mark his 500th birth anniversary.
- It is a tropical solar calendar used in Sikhism.
- The Nanakshahi calendar is used by Sikhs around the world to mark important dates and festivals in the Sikh calendar, including the birth anniversaries of the ten Sikh Gurus, the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, and the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa Panth.
- It is based on the “Barah Maha” (Twelve Months), a composition composed by the Sikh gurus reflecting the changes in nature conveyed in the twelve-month cycle of the year.
- The year begins with the month of Chet, with 1 Chet corresponding to 14 March.
- The reference epoch of the Nanakshahi calendar is the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, corresponding to the year 1469 CE.
Survey on Coding S
- Recently, NSSO carried out a survey to measure the number of people capable of writing computer programs in the country .
- The National Sample Survey Office, under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation conducted the “multiple indicator survey” from January 2020 to August 2021.
- The survey report was released earlier this month as part of the NSSO’s 78th round.
- It observed that there are more young men and women in South India who can write computer programs using specialised languages, or code, than in other parts of the country
- Specifically, 9.8% of people aged 15-29 in Kerala — the highest in India — were adept at programming, followed by Sikkim (6.8%), Tamil Nadu (6.3%), Karnataka (6.2%), Telangana (5.7%) and Andhra Pradesh (4.2%). The States near the bottom of the table included Bihar (0.5%), Chhattisgarh (0.7%), Assam (0.7%), and Meghalaya (0.2%).
- The reason for the findings can be attributed to high literacy rates, the presence of IT hubs such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and the availability of skilled young professionals.
|National Statistical OfficeThe National Statistical Office(NSO) consists of the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO).It acts as the nodal agency for planned development of the statistical system in the country. Along with release of important indicators,It also lays down and maintains norms and standards in the field of statistics,|
SCO International Conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage”
- Recently, the first international conference of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Shared Buddhist Heritage was held in New Delhi.
- Nodal Ministry: It was organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of External Affairs and the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC-as a grantee body of the Ministry of Culture).
- Aim: To re-establish trans-cultural links and seek out commonalities, between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museum collections of the SCO countries.
- Focus of the Conference: India’s civilizational connection with the SCO nations.
- The event, under India’s leadership of SCO has brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform to discuss Shared Buddhist Heritage.
- It will not only celebrate Buddhist common heritage but will also build stronger and deeper bonds amongst the countries.
|Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation of Eurasian Nations with a secretariat in Beijing.It is a political, economic and military organisation that aims at maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.Shanghai Five emerged in 1996 from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks between 4 former USSR republics and China.Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.With the accession of Uzbekistan in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO.The SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003. India and Pakistan both were initially observer states. Both were given full membership in 2017.2021 SCO summit in Dushanbe agreed for Iran to join the SCO. Belarus has also begun the membership process for SCO.The SCO currently comprises of eight Member States (China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and six “Dialogue Partners” (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka The SCO’s official languages are Russian and Chinese.Structure of the OrganizationHeads of State Council:It is the supreme SCO body that decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations.It also considers contemporary international issues.Heads of Government Council:It approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related to economic spheres of interaction within SCO.Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs:It considers issues related to day-to-day activities.Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS):It was established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.SCO Secretariat: It is based in Beijing. It provides informational, analytical & organisational support.|
Exercise Bold Kurukshetra
- Recently,the Singapore Army and Indian Army participated in the 13th edition of Exercise “Bold Kurukshetra”.
- It was the 13th edition of Exercise Bold Kurukshetra and is a bilateral armour exercise which was held at Jodhpur Military Station, India.
- It was first conducted in 2005.
- This year, it was hosted by the Indian Army and the exercise involved soldiers from the 42nd Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment and an Armoured Brigade of the Indian Army.
- It involved an understanding of mechanised warfare in emerging threats and evolving technologies,
- This exercise underscores the strong and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between both countries and enhances cooperation between the two armies.