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September 19, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


India – Canada Bilateral Relations

India Tuesday rejected as “absurd and motivated” an accusation by Canada that it was involved in the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader in Canada.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had alleged that Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing “credible allegations” of a “potential link” between the Indian government and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and expelled an Indian diplomat.

Nijjar, head of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, Canada, was killed in June this year. He was the chief of the separatist organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). Nijjar, who was 46, was shot dead by two unidentified men on the premises of the gurdwara.

Countering Trudeau’s remarks that Canada is a “rule-of-law country”, the MEA said, “We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law.”


Use of Armed Forces to quell internal security crises remains controversial:

 During the debate on the no-confidence vote in Parliament on August 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke emotionally about the use of the Indian Air Force against villages in Mizoram on March 5, 1966, to quell a rebellion, and the use of the Indian Army in the Golden Temple to flush out terrorists.

There is a difference between using the professional Indian armed forces against foreign terrorists and against our own people.

 In the event of using the Armed Forces, Civilian casualties may have been limited, but the damage to the collective psyche is large and exponential. It will take years of dedicated hard work to remove that negative collective psyche.

 In hindsight, many observers feel that the nation’s Armed Forces should not have been used to tackle the internal security crises in Mizoram and at the Golden Temple.

The instructions on Aid to the Civil Authorities by the Armed Forces, 1970, clearly provide for a role for the Armed Forces in disaster management, maintenance of law and order (through flag marches and show of force), maintenance of essential services (including critical infrastructure) and the like.

However, heavy weaponry and air power should always be reserved for use against external adversaries, not one’s own people.


 G20’s inclusive thrust should extend to global governance on health issues

 The ideal role of global health governance lies in ensuring universal and equitable access to health infrastructure and medical supplies, and adequate and timely financing.

It must also guarantee that the research and development (R&D) agenda does not neglect areas with little commercial benefit, that there is a geographical balance in R&D and manufacturing, and research output is made available to southern countries.

During Covid-19, National interests took priority over collective action during the pandemic. Richer countries pre-ordered almost half the vaccine production capacity in the early stages of the crisis.

The US and Europe stopped the export of N95 masks. The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) — a G20 initiative to promote access to vaccines, tests and treatments — did not fulfil its mandate sufficiently.

COVAX was unable to mobilise commitment and funds for vaccines from high-income countries, constraining timely procurement.

The availability of $10 billion to the COVAX AMC in March 2020, instead of June 2021, could have enabled vaccine equity much earlier.

Global Arrangements

The International Health Regulations Legal Framework (post-SARS) focuses on countries’ rights and obligations in health emergencies,

The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (post the H1N1 pandemic) deals with increasing access to vaccines for developing countries and

The WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme (post-Ebola) is concerned with data and standard setting.


One year report card on ‘Project Cheetah’

 The project’s goal is to establish a viable cheetah metapopulation in India that allows the animal to perform its functional role as a top predator and provides space for the expansion of the cheetah within its historical range.

The current status doesn’t indicate any progress to achieve the stated goal.

Currently, 14 adult cheetahs and one cub are surviving and all the cats are in some form of captivity or the other. That, in a nutshell, is the status of the Cheetah Project a year after implementation.

Of the 20 adult cheetahs that were imported, four have died in captivity and two have died while ranging free. Of the litter of four cubs, three are dead.

Till now, four of the cheetahs have not yet been released to range free for even a day in KNP.

 Regulatory Framework of Livestock Importation

 As per the regulation of import of live animals under the Livestock-Importation Act, 1898.” The prescribed quarantine period is 30 days.

Pitfalls in the Conservation Efforts

Planning and implementation of this project needed to have involved scientists and conservationists who have decades of experience working with free-ranging cheetahs in the wild.

Similarly, the project authorities should have paid heed to constructive criticism. Instead, they have decided to exclude the wild-cheetah experts and continue to ignore scientific advice.

 The project authorities are also on record stating that two of cheetahs from Namibia will not be released as they were hand reared.

This shows a faulty selection process which allowed the import of an animal which was ill, and two animals behaviourally unfit for release in the wild.


 Greater Political Power alone will not improve women’s status:

 The Political Pitch for attracting Women Voters

This welfarism has an added aspect: championing measures such as Uniform Civil Code (UCC) on the grounds of justice to Muslim women.

In the latter pitch, the party hopes to reach out to a section of Muslim women, as well as its Hindutva constituency that sees Indian secularism as biased in favour of conservative sections of the minority community.

Accused by the Opposition and many commentators of being wary of Muslims as a community, the govt passed a Bill making instant triple talaq a criminal offence, arguing that gender justice required tough measures.

With the party also reviving the debate on the need for UCC, it projects such steps as ones aimed at justice for Muslim women.

There is an electoral imperative as well:

The turnout of women voters, with a few exceptions, has been steadily increasing since 1962 when 62% of men and just 46.6% of women voted in the Lok Sabha elections. That percentage rose to 67.2% in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections — surpassing the share of men (67%).

 With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, most political parties will promise measures addressing women as a horizontal political constituency – consider the Congress’s guarantees on stipend and free bus services in Telangana announced Saturday.

‘Greater political power alone will not improve women’s plight’

Inequality can be measured in multiple ways. The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, for instance, has four dimensions – Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. The first three are self-explanatory as indicators of progress, relating to the ability to earn, be well-informed and healthy.


From September 19, the ongoing special House session will move to the new Parliament building. The existing Parliament will be turned into a museum.

 The Old Parliament Building

 Designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker when the British decided to move their capital to New Delhi, the 164-pillared building first housed the Imperial Legislative Council (From January 18, 1927 to August 15, 1947).

After Independence, it served as the Constituent Assembly of India, and once the Constitution was adopted and India became a republic, as the Parliament of India, housing the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

 Did the Chausath Yogini temple inspire the Parliament?

 Locals in the area say so, though there is no evidence Lutyens or Baker ever visited it. The article on the MP tourism website says, “The Chausath Yogini Temple is in a Seismic Zone 3 area.

Since its construction in the 1300s, the temple has withstood many an earthquake with almost no visible damage. One theory suggests that this could be the reason why Lutyens may have sought reference or inspiration from a building of such an unusual shape.”

 According to the Morena district’s website, it was built around 1323 by King Devapala of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty.

Dedicated to the 64 (chaunsath in Hindi) yoginis, its architecture is different from the temples dedicated to one deity.


 Karnataka’s sacred ensembles of Hoysalas inscribed on UNESCO world heritage list

 The sacred ensembles of Hoysalas, the group of temples in Karnataka’s Halebeedu, have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The world body made the announcement in a post on X on Monday, a day after Shantiniketan, the famed place in West Bengal where poet Rabindranath Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, received the coveted tag.

 The decision was taken during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee currently underway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The ensembles, consisting of temples, shrines, and associated structures, are scattered across Karnataka and have earned international recognition for their exquisite architectural beauty and intricate stone carvings.

 The Hoyasala Dynasty

 The Hoysala dynasty ruled over Karnataka from the 11th to the 14th centuries.

 Known for their patronage of art and architecture, the Hoysalas left an indelible mark through their intricately crafted temples and sculptures.


September 19, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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