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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 1 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy


  1. Switzerland’s neutrality policy attractive again
  2. TEQUIP ending, MERITE project as replacement
  3. Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite launched by ISRO



Switzerland’s traditional foreign policy of neutrality has become attractive again because of the changing political reality in the world according to the Swiss Ambassador in India.


GS-II: International Relations (International Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding Policy of Neutrality
  2. What is Swiss neutrality?
  3. How does Switzerland’s policy of Neutrality align with India?

Understanding Policy of Neutrality

  • Policy of Neutrality is a foreign policy position wherein a state intends to remain neutral in future wars.
  • A sovereign state that reserves the right to become belligerent if attacked by a party to the war is in a condition of armed neutrality.
  • A permanently neutral power is a sovereign state which is bound by international treaty, or by its own declaration, to be neutral towards the belligerents of all future wars. (Switzerland, Ireland & Austria are examples of Permanently neutral countries).
  • National policies of neutrality are aimed at promoting the use of preventive diplomacy, which is a core function of the United Nations.
  • The term “Preventive diplomacy” refers to diplomatic action taken to prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of conflicts when they occur.

What is Swiss neutrality?

  • Swiss neutrality is one of the main principles of Switzerland’s foreign policy which dictates that Switzerland is not to be involved in armed or political conflicts between other states.
  • This policy is self-imposed, permanent, and armed, designed to ensure external security and promote peace.
  • Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world and it has not participated in a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815.
  • Switzerland maintained its impartial stance through World War I (1914-18), when it mobilized its army and accepted refugees but also refused to take sides militarily.
  • Switzerland maintained its independence even during World War II, when the country found itself encircled by the Axis powers, by promising retaliation in the event of an invasion.
  • The League of Nations formally recognized Swiss neutrality in 1920 after World War I exempting Switzerland from military obligations and also chose Geneva as its headquarters.
  • Since World War II, Switzerland has taken a more active role in international affairs by aiding humanitarian initiatives, but it remains fiercely neutral with regard to military affairs. It has never joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union, and only joined the United Nations in 2002.
  • However, Switzerland’s Neutrality should not be confused with pacifism as maintains an army, including obligatory conscription for men which it had even during the two world wars.
Reopening wave sweeps Europe, with Swiss permitting 1,000+ people events  from 1 September

How does Switzerland’s policy of Neutrality align with India?

  • India and Switzerland have had cordial and friendly relations since India’s Independence, based on shared values of democracy and rule of law.
  • India’s policy of non-alignment and Switzerland’s traditional policy of neutrality led to a close understanding between the two countries and Switzerland established diplomatic relations with India soon after Independence.
  • A Treaty of Friendship between India and Switzerland was signed in 1948 as one of the first such treaties to be signed by independent India.

-Source: The Hindu



  • A World Bank funded project Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) is coming to and end leaving more than 1,200 assistant professors out of a job and some rural colleges bereft of half their faculty.
  • Centre is preparing its own MERITE project with some similar objectives to improve technical education, but that may be too late for the faculty employed under the current project.


Prelims, GS-II: Social Justice (Schemes for Education)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQUIP)
  2. MERITE project

About Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQUIP)

  • Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQUIP) was started in 2002 by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development with the assistance of the World Bank aiming to upscale the quality of technical education and enhance capacities of institutions.
  • TEQUIP aims to develop technical education as a key component for improving the quality of Engineering Education, by taking graduates from elite institutions to rural and remote engineering colleges in poorer States.
  • The Objective is to improve quality and equity in engineering institutions in focus states such as in low-income states.

MERITE project

  • The MERITE project has an objective to improve technical education like the TEQIP.
  • However, the MERITE Project is still in the conceptual stage and has not yet received Cabinet approval.

-Source: The Hindu



ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C51) rocket launched Brazil’s Amazonia-1 and 18 co-passenger satellites makring a new high point in space cooperation between the two countries that began nearly two decades ago.

This was the first dedicated mission for New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO.


Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology (Achievements of India in Space Technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About PSLV
  2. About New Space India Limited (NSIL)
  3. What are Earth Observation Satellites?
  4. About Amazonia-1 Satellite
  5. About other Satellites that were launched by the PSLV-C51
  6. Recently in news regarding Earth Observation Satellites (EOS)

About PSLV

  • India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle and the first launch vehicle which is equipped with liquid stages.
  • PSLV was used for two of the most important missions, these are Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013.
  • PSLV-C51 which launched Brazil’s Amazonia-1 – marks the 53rd flight of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) program.
  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark II and GSLV MkIII are other two launch vehicles in India.

About New Space India Limited (NSIL)

  • The establishment of NSIL was announced in Budget 2019.
  • One of the mandates of NSIL is to mass-produce and manufacture the SSLV and the more powerful PSLV in partnership with the private sector in India through technology transfers.
  • Its aim is to use research and development carried out by ISRO over the years for commercial purposes through Indian industry partners.
  • It differs from ISRO’s existing commercial arm Antrix Corporation:
  • Antrix will handle ISRO’s commercial deals for satellites and launch vehicles with foreign customers.
  • NSIL will deal with capacity building of local industry for space manufacturing.

What are Earth Observation Satellites?

  • An Earth Observation Satellite or Earth Remote Sensing Satellite is a satellite used or designed for Earth Observance (EO) from orbit, including spy satellites and similar ones intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, cartography and others.
  • The most common type are Earth imaging satellites, that take satellite images, analogous to aerial photographs; some EOS satellites may perform remote sensing without forming pictures, such as in GNSS radio occultation.
  • The first occurrence of satellite remote sensing can be dated to the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, by the Soviet Union in 1957.

About Amazonia-1 Satellite

  • The Amazonia-1 Satellite is an earth observation satellite.
  • It will provide remote sensing data for users monitoring deforestation in the Amazon forests.
  • Furthermore, it will analyze diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory.

About other Satellites that were launched by the PSLV-C51

Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT) Satellite

  • It is a nano-satellite developed by Space Kidz India.
  • It will study the radiation levels, space weather and will demonstrate long-range communication technologies.

UNITYsat Satellites

  • UNITYsat Satellites are a combination of three satellites designed and built jointly by some colleges in India.
  • The satellites were launched for providing radio relay services.

Other Satellites from U.S.A

  • The other satellites were from the U.S.A. Among them, one was a technology demonstration satellite
  • Technology demonstration satellites help in the demonstration of new technologies and techniques testing. These technologies will have a use in future space missions.

Recently in news regarding Earth Observation Satellites (EOS):

  • India launched its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine international customer spacecraft onboard its PSLV-C49 rocket from spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November of 2020.
  • EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite and is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
  • Other earth observation satellites launched by ISRO include RESOURCESAT- 2, 2A, CARTOSAT-1, 2, 2A, 2B, RISAT-1 and 2, OCEANSAT-2, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL and SCATSAT-1, INSAT-3DR, 3D, etc.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024