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26th June – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Contents

  1. Why China is being aggressive along the LAC?
  2. Drug abuse amidst pandemic

WHY CHINA IS BEING AGGRESSIVE ALONG THE LAC?

Focus: GS-II International Relations

What led to the current situation?

  • In 2017, India and China agreed to amicably resolve the Doklam standoff that lasted for more than two months. No blood was spilt then.
  • Barring occasional joint statements issued with leaders from the U.S. and Asia-Pacific countries, reasserting India’s commitment to “freedom of navigation”, India has stayed away from criticising China on controversial topics.
  • One argument is that China’s move is driven by local factors such as India’s infrastructure upgrade and its decision to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • There is a clear shift in Chinese foreign policy post the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • This is seen in China’s rising tensions with the U.S., its threats against Taiwan, repeated naval incidents in the South China Sea, and a new security law for Hong Kong. The tensions along the LAC are part of this shift.

Salami slice strategy

  • Unlike the Soviet Union of the 1940s (in the early stages of the Cold War), China is not an ideological state that intends to export communism to other countries. But like the Soviet Union of the post-war world, China is the new superpower on the block.
  • With the global economy in the doldrums, globalisation in an irrecoverable crisis accentuated by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the U.S. under an isolationist and aggressive position towards China – China can think the global order is at a breaking point.
  • It is fighting back through what game theorists call “salami tactics” — where a dominant power attempts to establish its hegemony piece by piece.

Perception of decline

  • China doesn’t see India as a ‘swing state’, rather it sees India as an ally-in-progress of the U.S.
  • If India is what many in the West call the “counterweight” to China’s rise, Beijing’s definite message is that it is not deterred by the counterweight.
  • Within this broader framework there could be a host of factors — local, regional and global — that influenced China’s moves.
  • When most of the world’s big powers are grappling with the pandemic, revisionist powers such as China have more room for geopolitical manoeuvring.
  • The Indian economy was in trouble even before COVID-19 struck the country, and the NRC and CAA moves may have weakened the Indian polity.

Other Factors that impact India Include:

  1. Tensions with Pakistan have been high keeping the troops occupied in the border areas;
  2. Nepal raised boundary issues with India;
  3. Sri Lanka is diversifying its foreign policy and China is making deep inroads into that region;
  4. Bangladesh was deeply miffed with the CAA
  5. In Afghanistan India is not included, where Pakistan, China, Russia and the U.S. are involved in the transition process.

-Source: The Hindu


DRUG ABUSE AMIDST PANDEMIC

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Introduction

  • The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse or leave them vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime.
  • In the global recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis, drug users sought out cheaper synthetic substances and patterns of use shifted towards injecting drugs, while governments reduced budgets to deal with drug-related problems.
  • All over the world, the risks and consequences of drug use are worsened by poverty, limited opportunities for education and jobs, stigma and social exclusion, which in turn helps to deepen inequalities, moving us further away from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The affected segments

  • One out of three drug users is a woman but women represent only one out of five people in treatment.
  • People in prison settings, minorities, immigrants and displaced people also face barriers to treatment due to discrimination and stigma.
  • Number of people using drugs in 2018 increased by 30% from 2009, with adolescents and young adults accounting for the largest share of users.
  • While the increase reflects population growth and other factors, the data nevertheless indicate that illicit drugs are more diverse, more potent and more available.
  • At the same time, more than 80% of the world’s population, mostly living in low- and middle-income countries, are deprived of access to controlled drugs for pain relief and other essential medical uses.

Deficiencies in Actions taken

  • Data indicate that support has actually fallen over time, imperilling government commitment as well as regional and global coordination.
  • Development assistance dedicated to drug control fell by some 90% between 2000-2017.
  • Funding to address drugs may be provided under other budget lines, but there is little evidence of international donor attention to this priority.
  • Assistance for alternative development — creating viable, licit forms of income to enable poor farmers to stop growing illicit opium poppy or coca — also remains very low.

Way Forward

  • Leaving no one behind requires greater investment in evidence-based prevention, as well as treatment and other services for drug use disorders, HIV, hepatitis C and other infections.
  • We need international cooperation to increase access to controlled drugs for medical purposes, while preventing diversion and abuse, and to strengthen law enforcement action to dismantle the transnational organised crime networks.
  • Health-centred, rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to drug use and related diseases deliver better public health outcomes.

Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

  • The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • In 1991, the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) expanded the mandate of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs has two distinct mandate areas:

  1. it has treaty-based and normative functions under the international drug control conventions
  2. operational, policy-guidance functions as the governing body of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, which is administered by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Commission adopted the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on strengthening actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of joint commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem.

-Source: The Hindu

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