- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- Vande Bharat Express
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
Focus: GS II: International Relations
Why in News?
Minister of State for Culture & External Affairs inaugurated the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Young Authors’ Conference in New Delhi.
What is the SCO?
- Founded in June 2001, it was built on the ‘Shanghai Five’, the grouping which consisted of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
- They came together in the post-Soviet era in 1996, in order to work on regional security, reduction of border troops and terrorism.
- They endowed particular focus on ‘conflict resolution’, given its early success between China and Russia, and then within the Central Asian Republics.
- Some of their prominent outcomes in this arena entail an ‘Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas’ (in 1996) between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which led to an agreement on the mutual reduction of military forces on their common borders in 1997.
- It would also pitch in to help the Central Asian countries resolve some of their boundary disputes.
- In 2001, the ‘Shanghai Five’ inducted Uzbekistan into its fold and named it the SCO, outlining its principles in a charter that promoted what was called the “Shanghai spirit” of cooperation.
- The precise assertion, combined with some of the member states’ profiles, of building a “new international political and economic order” has often led to it being placed as a counter to treaties and groupings of the West, particularly North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
- India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- The SCO also has four observer states — Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia — of which Iran and Belarus are now moving towards full membership.
- Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states;
- Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, economy, research and technology, and culture.
- Education, energy, transport, tourism and environmental protection.
- It also calls for joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
Organizational structure of SCO
The SCO secretariat has two permanent bodies —
- SCO Secretariat based in Beijing
- Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
Other than this, the grouping consists of
Heads of State Council (HSC):
- It is the supreme decision-making body of the organisation.
- It meets annually to adopt decisions and guidelines on all important matters relevant to the organisation.
Heads of Government Council (HGC):
- The HGC (mainly including Prime Ministers) also meets annually to zero in on the organisation’s priority areas and multilateral cooperation strategy.
- It also endeavours to resolve present economic and cooperation issues alongside approving the organisation’s annual budget.
Foreign Ministers Council:
- The Foreign Ministers Council considers issues pertaining to the day-to-day activities of the organisation, charting HSC meetings and consultations on international problems within the organisation and if required, makes statements on behalf of the SCO.
Vande Bharat Express
Focus: Indigenization of technology
Why in News?
The Prime Minister flagged off Rajasthan’s first Vande Bharat Express train via video conferencing.
About Vande Bharat 2:
- Vande Bharat 2 will be equipped with more advancements and improved features like 0 to 100 Kmpl speed in just 52 second, maximum speed up to 180 Kmph, lesser weight of 392 ton instead of 430 ton and WI-FI content on demand.
- New Vande Bharat will also have 32-inch LCD TVs which was of 24 inch in earlier version.
- 15 percent more energy efficient ACs with dust free clean air cooling of traction motor will make the travel more comfortable.
- Side recliner seat facility which is being provided to Executive Class passengers, will now be made available for all classes.
- In the new design of Vande Bharat Express, photo-catalytic ultra violet air purification system is installed in the roof mounted Roof Mounted Package Unit (RMPU) for air purification.
- As recommended by Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, this system is designed and installed in both ends of RMPU to filter and clean the air free from germs, bacteria, virus, etc. coming through fresh air and return air.
About Vande Bharat Express:
- The Train18, later named Vande Bharat Express, is an Indian semi-high-speed, intercity, EMU train which was designed and manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) at Perambur, Chennai under the Indian government’s Make in India initiative, over a span of 18 months.
- The train was launched on 15 February 2019.
- It is a semi-high speed trainset, each of 16 coaches, and self-propelled — they do not require an engine.
- This is called a distributed traction power system, which is increasingly becoming the norm the world over for passenger operations.
- Distributed power gives the train higher acceleration and deceleration compared to loco-hauled trains, which take a much longer time to reach top speed or to gradually come to a halt.
- It is capable of running at a maximum speed of 200 km/h (120 mph), but the tracks on which the train operates are not capable of supporting such high speeds, hence the train is operated at a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
- This made it the fastest train to run in India and the second fastest operating train in India, behind the Gatimaan Express which operates at 160 km/h (99 mph).
- Some of its passenger friendly features include; European-style seats, diffused LED lighting, GPS-based infotainment systems, modular bio-toilets, fully sealed gangways for dust-free environment, centrally controlled entry/exit doors with sliding footsteps, divyang friendly toilet and automatic sliding cabin doors.
- It is energy-efficient as its coaches will be fitted with LED lights. Coaches will have automatic doors and retractable footsteps.