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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 12 May 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 12 May 2023


Contents

  1. India’s Strategic nuclear gamble worked
  2. Why India is Warming Slower than the World

India’s Strategic Nuclear Gamble Worked


Context

  • On this day 25 years ago, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the prime minister at the time, declared that India has conducted three nuclear tests at Pokhran.
  • On May 13, he declared that “India is now a nuclear weapon state” following the completion of two further tests.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology; Nuclear Technology

Mains Question

Why were the nuclear tests so significant at the time for India? What modifications has the nuclear testing made to India? (250 Words)


Key Highlights:

  • On May 18, 1974, India successfully tested a nuclear bomb for the first time under the codename “Operation Smiling Buddha” (Pokhran-I).
  • In May 1998, India tested five nuclear bombs at the Pokhran Test Range operated by the Indian Army. These tests were known as Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II).
  • The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is an international agreement that forbids the testing of nuclear weapons and all other nuclear explosions for both military and non-military reasons in any setting.
    • Although the United Nations General Assembly adopted it on September 10, 1996, India has not ratified it.
  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is an international agreement whose goals include promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, and advancing the cause of general and complete disarmament.
    • The treaty came into effect in 1970 after being made available for signature in 1968. India refused to ratify the NPT.

Why were the examinations so crucial at the time for India?

  • The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) served as the cornerstone of the post-second world war system for global nuclear regulation, which included the P-5 and other nations.
  • India was not very pleased with this biassed world, while being fully involved in the peaceful applications of atomic energy.
  • The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations in the 1990s created a challenging position.
    • We would have permanently eliminated our nuclear option if we had ratified the CTBT.
    • If we declined to sign, we would have to state our objections in writing.
    • After May of 1998, a deadline had been established for signing the CTBT.
  • Pakistan aggressively began acquiring nuclear weapons after 1974.
    • It was well known that China was providing Pakistan with materials and technology.
    • The Pakistani Army’s nuclear arsenal was fully known to the Indian military.
  • Thus, India was put in a position where it had to contend with two enemies who were nuclear capable.
  • Other geopolitical factors also existed, but the crucial issue is that India had to decide to conduct tests since the situation had reached that point.

What was the response from around the world to the tests, and how did it go?

  • The response was, for the most part, as expected by India.
  • However, several of these nations were also openly criticising us while sending us congrats through unofficial methods.
  • After the tests on May 11 and 13, the US-led economic sanctions did not have the terrible effects they previously may have since the Indian economy had developed sufficiently to withstand them following liberalisation.
  • India was expanding and viewed as a promising nuclear market.
    • The Russians were eager to provide India with goods, but they insisted that the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group regulations needed to be resolved first.
  • Following protracted discussions, India and the United States reached agreements on civil nuclear cooperation, as well as deals with France, Russia, and other nations.

What modifications has the nuclear testing made to India?

  • In terms of being a full member of the NSG and having de facto but not de jure access to weapons, India is still not quite in the mainstream.
  • So, while not everything is complete, India has mostly assimilated into the global nuclear mainstream.
  • India’s emergence as a nuclear power also has implications for its antagonistic neighbours.
    • By maintaining a credible deterrent with regard to China, it has helped to balance the military disparity.
    • Pakistan was defeated by India at Kargil shortly after the n-tests; this was the first time the US did not support Pakistan in a fight with India.
  • The impact on access to global technologies has been the most significant.
    • Before this, even importing a high-end computer from another country was frowned upon.
  • The Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) took place, and there has been a growing level of interaction in the high-tech fields of atomic energy, space exploration, and defence even with the United States.
  • In terms of technology, India is nowadays well incorporated with the rest of the world.
  • And the nation is reaping many benefits from that.
  • For instance, they would not have accepted India as a partner in ITER if they had not known that it was a major participant in nuclear technology.
    • National pride and its indirect benefits are another asset, as is India’s participation in a huge number of current international mega-science initiatives, such as LIGO and the Thirty Metre Telescope.
    • Although it is challenging to pinpoint specific advantages, it is a crucial element.
    • India’s standing in the world has increased. The way people view India has changed. And it benefits the economy and business.
    • India’s technology integration has increased the potential of the young people by several times.

Way Ahead:

  • Pokhran II was criticised at the time for departing from India’s proclaimed commitment to peace by many.
  • Complete nuclear disarmament should be a global goal, but given the realities of the post-atomic age, that is unlikely any time soon. In the meantime, India is a responsible nuclear power and May 11, 1998, is a major milestone in its journey.
  • It is said that India gained political freedom in 1947, economic freedom in the early 1990s, and technological freedom after 1998.

Why India is Warming Slower than the World


Context

The world’s yearly mean temperature is reported to have risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to the norm between 1850 and 1900. However, as is to be expected, this growth is not constant.

varied geographical areas and seasons have varied effects on it.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Biodiversity, and Environment

Mains Question

Examine the causes of India’s temperature increase being less than the world average. (150 Words).


Points to remember

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a scientific organisation in 1988.

It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to influence and inform global climate change policy.

Important Takeaways:

  • The temperature rise over land is substantially higher than that over the oceans.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment shows that since preindustrial times, the annual mean temperature has increased overland by as much as 1.59 degrees Celsius.
  • In comparison, ocean temperatures have increased by roughly 0.88 degrees Celsius.
  • There are vast differences in the warming trends over the Indian region.
  • Annual mean temperatures had increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius since 1900, according to a Ministry of Earth Sciences estimate of climate change over the Indian subcontinent.
  • This is much less than the global increase in land temperatures of 1.59 degrees Celsius.
  • The Arctic has experienced noticeably more warming than the other polar areas.
  • According to the IPCC study, the Arctic has warmed at least twice as much as the rest of the world.
  • Compared to pre-industrial times, its present annual mean temperatures are around 2 degrees Celsius higher.
  • Other research indicate that the Arctic may be warming much more quickly.
  • The albedo effect, or how much sunlight a surface reflects, is another significant factor.
  • Ice traps the least amount of heat and reflects the majority of solar energy as compared to land or water, therefore when the Arctic’s ice cover melts, more land or water will be exposed to the sun.According to more recent study, the albedo effect, changes in clouds, water vapour, and air temperatures could all be to blame for the increased warming in the polar region.
  • The 1.1 degree Celsius increase in global temperature can be mostly attributed to the warming in the polar regions.

Why Is India Warming Less?

  • Tropical Location: o It is well known that the increase in temperature is more pronounced at higher elevations, close to the polar regions, than close to the equator.
    • This is caused by a variety of atmospheric events, including the movement of heat from the tropics to the poles via prevailing air circulation patterns.
  • India is located in a tropical area, somewhat near to the equator.
  • Land-Ocean Dynamics: In India, the distribution of land and oceans affects the country’s rising temperature.
    • Compared to land, oceans have a higher heat capacity and can store more heat energy.
    • As a result, land areas typically warm up more quickly than oceanic locations.
    • Because India is primarily an oceanic landmass, the moderating impact of the surrounding waters is likely the cause of the country’s significantly slower temperature rise.
  • Atmospheric Circulation: India’s proximity to the equator and tropical climate have an impact on atmospheric circulation patterns.
    • Air mass movement, like the monsoon circulation, can affect regional temperature changes.
    • The monsoon winds bring rain and moisture to India, which has a cooling impact and helps control the temperature.
    • The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which brings moisture and cloud cover that can lower temperatures, also has an impact on India’s climate.
  • Aerosols’ Impact: Aerosols are any type of particle suspended in the atmosphere, and they have the capacity to modify the local temperature in a variety of ways.
    • Many of these reflect sunlight back, allowing the soil to absorb less heat.
    • Aerosols have an impact on how clouds form. The amount of sunlight that is reflected or absorbed is affected by clouds.
    • Both natural and artificial factors contribute to the high aerosol concentration over the Indian subcontinent.
  • India is accustomed to dust due to its location in the tropics and its dry environment. However, there is currently a lot of pollution there as well.
  • A lot of aerosols are produced in the Indian region as a result of emissions from automobiles, industry, construction, and other activities.
    • An unforeseen but advantageous side effect could be a decrease in warming.
    • Over the Indian region, aerosols have the capacity to prevent warming by 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius.

Factors Affecting the Difference in Global Temperature Rise Between Different Regions:

  • Heat Capacity: Oceans are more heat-resistant than land. They have greater capacity for heat energy absorption and storage.
  • Oceans warm up consequently more gradually and to a lesser amount than land regions.
  • Surface Albedo: Surface reflectivity is referred to as albedo. The albedo of land surfaces, particularly those with darker hues like asphalt and forests, is lower and absorbs more solar radiation, hastening warming.
    • By contrast, oceans’ reflecting properties cause a greater proportion of solar energy to be reflected back into space, lessening the warming effect.
  • Temperature disparities are influenced by heat transfer, which is the transport of heat energy by air circulation patterns from the tropics to the poles.
    • Warm air rises near the equator and flows in the direction of the poles, transferring heat.
    • Higher latitudes, especially in the polar regions, experience more warming as a result of this process.
  • Atmospheric Dynamics: o The distribution of temperature is influenced by atmospheric circulation patterns such prevailing winds, jet streams, and global wind systems.
    • The regional changes in temperature can be influenced by these patterns, which can move warm or cool air masses across different regions.
  • Land Use Modifications: o Human activities like urbanisation and deforestation alter the land surface and may be a factor in localised temperature rises.
    • Urban areas absorb and retain heat due to their concrete and asphalt surfaces, resulting in “urban heat islands” with greater temperatures than the nearby rural areas.
  • Ocean Currents: Ocean currents have the power to carry warm or cold water masses across great distances, changing local temperature patterns.
    • Temporary temperature anomalies can be brought on by changes in ocean currents, such as El Nio or La Nia occurrences.
  • Geographical Features: o Mountain ranges, sizable water bodies, and closeness to coastal regions can all have an impact on regional temperature variances.
    • Mountains can provide temperature gradients, with lower temperatures at higher altitudes and maritime effects and breezes affecting coastal regions.

Conclusion:

Several factors, including India’s tropical position, land-ocean dynamics, and aerosol concentrations, affect temperature trends, causing India’s temperature rise to deviate from the world average. Understanding the impacts of climate change in India requires an understanding of these complexity.


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