Assam, Mizoram border dispute
(GS-III: Internal security related issues)
The Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram have sought to ease tensions along the border.
The police forces of both States exchanged fires on July 26. This left six Assam policemen and a civilian dead and 60 others injured.
Assam claimed the firing was one-sided and unprovoked, while Mizoram said they retaliated to the aggression by the Assam police.
Origins of the dispute:
The two States share a 164.6-km volatile border and the conflict is decades-old.
At the center of the dispute are two notifications- 1875 and 1993:
Mizoram claims that the land is theirs is based on an 1875 notification, which came from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873.
Assam claims that the land is theirs based on a 1933 notification that demarcated the Lushai Hills, which Mizoram was formerly known as, from the province of Manipur.
Impacts of such incidents:
After recent incidents, locals in Assam blocked the National Highway-306 besides uprooting a stretch of the lone railway track connecting Mizoram. Transportation of people and goods to and from Mizoram had thus been affected.
What needs to be done?
The Supreme Court should be approached for an amicable solution.
CRPF forces should patrol and monitor the region under the direct supervision of the Union government should be increased.
Avoid posting sensitive messages and make judicious use of social media platform” to prevent any possible escalation of the situation.
World Rhino Day
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
Assam marked World Rhino Day — September 22 — with a special ceremony by burning a stockpile of nearly 2,500 horns of the one-horned rhinoceros.
It has been publicised as a milestone towards rhino conservation and is aimed at busting myths about rhino horns.
It’s a loud and clear message to the poachers and smugglers that such items have no value.
Is the government allowed to do so?
India is a signatory to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna). Thus, it is illegal to sell the horns in the country anyway.
Also, the case for the destruction of horns is a process that is in compliance with Section 39(3)(c) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
About One- horned rhinos:
Only the Great One-Horned Rhino is found in India.
Also known as Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.
It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit, and aquatic plants.
IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I (Threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research).
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
Other Conservation Efforts by India:
The five rhino range nations (India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia) have signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species.
The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has begun a project to create DNA profiles of all rhinos in the country.
National Rhino Conservation Strategy: It was launched in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
About the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020):
Launched in 2005.
IRV 2020 is an initiative led by the Forest Department, Government of Assam, in partnership with WWF India, International Rhino Foundation, and several other organizations.
The goal of IRV2020 was to increase the rhino population in Assam to 3,000 by establishing populations in new areas.
Rhinos are now found in four Protected Areas in Assam: Pabitora Wildlife Reserve, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Manas National Park.
SCO Peaceful Mission 2021
(GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)
Indian Military Contingent recently participated in the 6th Edition of Exercise SCO Peaceful Mission 2021 at Orenburg, Russia.
Exercise SCO Peaceful Mission:
Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is a Multilateral Exercise, which is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states.
The aim of the exercise is to foster close relations between SCO member states and to enhance abilities of the military leaders to command multi-national military contingents.
The exercise will enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations.
About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
It is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation.
It’s creation was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
The SCO’s main goals are as follows:
Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states; promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region; and moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
SCO comprises eight member states, namely the Republic of India, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
NASA’s VIPER Mission
(GS-III: Awareness in space)
NASA has chosen a landing site for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER).
The site is on the western edge of Nobile crater, near the lunar south pole. The crater was named after Italian polar explorer Umberto Nobile.
NASA, in July 2021, announced that it will launch its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, in 2023.
NASA is undertaking the mission to understand if it is possible for human life to sustain there, by using locally available resources.
About the mission:
VIPER is a mobile robot.
It is the first resource mapping mission on any other celestial body.
NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) will be providing the launch vehicle and lander for what’s going to be a 100-day mission.
Objectives of the mission:
To explore the Moon’s South Pole region.
Help create lunar resource maps.
Evaluate the concentration of water as well as other potential resources on its surface.
Significance of the mission:
VIPER’s findings will inform “future landing sites under the Artemis program by helping to determine locations where water and other resources can be harvested” to sustain humans over extended stays.
IMO urged to act on Black Carbon emissions
(GS-III: Conservation related issues)
With Arctic summer ice reaching its 12th lowest ever extent, the Clean Arctic Alliance has called for urgent cuts to black carbon emissions from shipping, ahead of the 77th Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting (MEPC 77) at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in November.
About the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC):
In order to ensure that a proactive stance is taken by in order to protect and safeguard the interests of the marine environment and ecosystem, the IMO has established the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).
The committee seeks to provide a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by the constant and heavy traffic of ships in the oceanic areas.
The committee in its sessions also seeks to provide required revisions to the existing MARPOL stipulations and guidelines.
The creation and enforcement of PSSAs (Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas) and other special oceanic zones is also an area that is looked into by the environment protection organisation.
What is black Carbon? What are the concerns?
Black carbon results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass. BC is produced both naturally and by human activities as a result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass.
Primary sources include emissions from diesel engines, cook stoves, wood burning and forest fires.
It is a short-lived pollutant that is the second-largest contributor to warming the planet behind carbon dioxide (CO2).