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Technology and Diplomacy Twitter, the New Age Diplomat

 
 
 
Abstract
In the past times, diplomacy developed as a means to avoid war. Diplomats used to be the agents of the state or of the ruler who used to stay in far off lands and take policy decisions on behalf of their state. Diplomats had to make well thought of decisions based on their own wit in alliance with their country’s policy and national interest. Hence, a lot of power resided in the hands of these diplomats and they were given a lot of privilege and grand titles during that time. In today’s world, there is a shift which has been witnessed from government to government diplomacy to public to public diplomacy and this has been possible due to the many social based platforms which have emerged due to the advent of technology. With a single click or comment nowadays a lot can be conveyed and little by little it effects the foreign policy or the way a nation conducts itself in the international arena. When we talk about social media one of the most used platforms which has been highly utilize for public diplomacy has been twitter. In fact recently the US secretary of state and various officials of Palestine have been exchanging tweets which has been helpful to identify America’s interest and further role in the Palestinian crisis in the future. This is one of the examples of how twitter is playing such a vital role in the conduct of diplomacy. Also, social media makes diplomacy very transparent and available for the general public, therefore, making democracy a core value in international politics. In this paper, the role of social media in specific to that of the role of twitter in conducting diplomacy is going to be analysand as Twitter being the new age diplomat.
 
 
 
 
Introduction
The innovation of new technology mostly in the field of gadgets and telecommunications has affected diplomacy. It was, for example, the entry of the railroads that originally gave diplomats extraordinary portability over land. Another significant defining moment was the innovation of the electric broadcast, which empowered immediate and quick correspondence among headquarters and missions. The technological platform provided a new form of governance and diplomacy in the international arena. It introduced the government and the citizens to social platforms which made the diplomacy public.
Diplomacy can be defined as the method of influencing the behavior as well as the decisions of foreign governments and their subjects through negotiation, dialogues, and another measure in order to avoid war and also, secure good relations for the benefit of one’s own nation. In the past diplomacy was mainly used to conduct bilateral relations with sovereign states but the end of the twentieth century, diplomacy became more multifaceted and expanded its horizons across the world to cover international institutions, summit meetings, international conferences, parliamentary diplomacy, and unofficial diplomacy through non-governmental organizations and the works of international civil service.
“E-diplomacy” can be defined as the use of innovative web-based communication technology by governments which allows convenient access to government information and also supports citizens to participate in democratic processes (Fang, 2002; Howard, 2001). Since the U.S. government introduced an e-government initiative in 1993, the Internet has been widely recognized as a key medium for communication between government and citizens(Achoo & Park, 2011). E-diplomacy provides new means for conducting diplomacy through internet and Ictus which plays a very vital role in today’s international relations. Diplomacy as a practice has been changing across the world and through time. It has become very important in the conduct of International Relations.
According to The U.S. Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger, “France had introduced a modern approach to International Relations under Cardinal Richelieu and it was based on the theory of Nation States and was guiding by National Interest as being the ultimate purpose of any state.” Also, when we talk about eighteenth and nineteenth-century diplomatic practices became more complex and spread throughout the globe as a result of the multilateral nature of issues and structures in the International arena. Large scale destruction had engulfed Europe during the early twentieth century and that gave rise to multilateralism in diplomatic practices. Institutions like League Of  Nations and later after the second world war, the United Nations was founded and with the passage of time, as the colonial structure started eroding across Asia, Middle East, America, and Africa, more and more nations started getting introduced to various diplomatic practices and these were hence widely followed.  In recent times, technology and various innovations have reached new heights. Earlier to send a diplomatic message people had to travel far and wide, and the diplomat in the foreign nation was completely dependent on himself to manage the affairs of the state and in matters relating to foreign policy, the public had no say as there was no means for direct communication.
Diplomacy with the help of technological advances has made it very transparent for the general public. Earlier the Catholic Church used to maintain its hegemony over the written word which gave it an advantage in gathering intelligence within Europe but the practice was soon eroded. As the printing press was invented, this democratized information and also diplomacy developed along with this development. Soon because of technology the entire process of nation building and foreign policy became a highly democratic symbol of the new world.
However, there were many who criticized the role of technology in diplomacy. When British foreign minister, Lord Palmerston received his first telegram in the 1840’s he thought that it was the end of diplomacy. But the contrary has happened as diplomacy has not just survived but it has thrived through technology. There are certain alterations in the world of a diplomat with the embracing of technology in the making of foreign policy. Still, it is generally accepted that the use of technology has weakened the independence of diplomatic representatives from their ministry of foreign affairs. Although, many of the technological innovations have influenced diplomacy they haven’t challenged the core nature of diplomatic procedures.
Social media acts as a medium for foreign policy makers to reach all over the globe while making it accessible to governments at the same time so that they can act instantly upon it. Twitter helps in creating and broadcasting news and opinions that too with only 140 characters in a simple manner which helps in furthering the foreign policy goals. Though one cannot ignore the potential threats or risks of this new age technology due to its wide exposure, it certainly has many positive effects as it brings the citizens and its government closer. It has two major positive effects, firstly, it fosters an exchange of ideas between the policy makers and well as the citizens and also it gives the diplomat a platform  Twitter has two big to enhance their ability to gather information and to analyse, manage and react to events.
 
 
 
Historical Background – The road to the use of technology in US public diplomacy
From the very beginning, Americans have established the use of technology in promoting their national image and influence all over the world. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were both skilled scientists who showed the world with their invention of technology to carry messages. From 1935, Woodrow Wilson sent his 14 points to the most notable American newspaper known as Wireless File which was sent to every US diplomatic post.
The US Public Diplomacy got more technologically advanced with the start of a radio broadcast with the show “Voice of America.” It brought a new wave in America as it became fast media to communicate with the world. During the cold war technology played a vital role as the US shared its technology with its allies. It provided its ally states with the acquisition of television and later computer got introduced as well which enhanced the prestige of the US in front of the world. Hence, providing it with a higher status than the other nations and making US superior and dominant world power.
During Reagan’s presidency, the USA had both the budget and the skilled experts in order to develop the technology. Reagan’s close friend Charles Z. Wick started a huge technological investment. Satellite television become the best-known step taken by Wick, he launched “world net” it was a step forward in order to give the feed according to the regions to all the US embassies around the world. This initiative helped in connecting the local journalists to the politics which included special press conferences in embassies. By the end of Reagan’s presidency, computers became far more developed and the usage became common. It had several centralized data banks and information which resulted in connecting technology with the headquarters and straight to the public. A new form of public diplomacy was taking shape in the United States. The George H.W. Bush presidency witnessed more upgrades in the technological world which were directly linked with the headquarters and this field was known as US – Infection but until Clinton’s era, the field was directly then linked to the public. The US soon understood the exchange field and its unique potential of the technology to maintain virtual communities and links with other countries and also the public.
After the terrorist attack of 9/11, US diplomacy got a brutal makeup call which resulted in the new Secretary of State, Colin Powell to establish a whole new office and department of E-Diplomacy which had the most skilful technicians and Foreign Service personnel. Its purpose was basically to digitalize the working of the United States. In 2003, the US started focus sing on E diplomacy and Public diplomacy which used the power of the internet to communicate with the local public and Americans in a locally branded product. The first virtual consulate was launched in Yekaterinburg, Russia which was the expansion of US advisory commission on public diplomacy to offer helpful ground rules. The US came up with an innovative and interactive digital website with the Arab world called WWW.Dialogue.org which operated with the counsel of American Muslim understanding. Basically, it invited all the Muslims from the world to share their personal experiences of the United States and its citizens.
President Obama’s presidency was very different from George Bush. While Bush policy focused more on elections and military invasions, he believed in a more bottom-up approach and good use of technology to influence the decisions around the globe. A prime example of this is the policy adopted by the state department during Obama’s rule to promote the use off twitter in Iran. In fact, the use of Twitter was so essential for the Iranian reformed movement that the state department asked Twitter to change its scheduled maintenance in order o stop Twitter from shutting down its website which was supposed to happen on the fourth day of the Iranian protests. Then, twitter reschedules its maintains to one thirty am Iranian time, which is a middle of the day in the U.S. and therefore, the prime time for American twitting so that t does not disrupt the Iranian users. With Trump becoming the president of the United States, twitter diplomacy is at its peak right now. The use of technology especially twitter used by Trump would be further critically analyzed in this paper.
 
Twitter and Trump
Donald Trump has been very vocal about his opinions and his thoughts and that is certainly risky for the United States especially with his frequent use of Twitter. Despite the fact that Twitter has been considered as the most important social media website in order to conduct informal diplomatic exchanges with various world leaders and foreign governments. It is supposed to be used with caution as it can reflect greatly upon on foreign policy of a nation. And trumps highly opinionated tweets carry weight and greatly affect the image of the United States in front of the entire International community. Also, Trumps style of diplomacy s highly unexpected, for example, his offer of a summit to the North Koreans was completely unexpected and his decisions to suspend joint military exercises with the South Koreans. Twitter is used as a vehicle by Donald Trump in which he controls each and every opinion without having to cross check with the state department diplomats.
On 13th June 2018, President Trump tweeted “Just Landed- a long trip, but anybody can now feel a much safer than I took office. There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea; meeting with Kim Dong An was an interesting and a very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!”  Even though he is very transparent and open to the public with Twitter as a way of communication, he seems to reject the idea of multilateralism. It appears that he believes that the United States can no longer project his power through multilateral Institutions like G7 or the United Nations. Instead, he prefers one on one deal or bilateral discussion with like-minded leaders.
Another example of Trumps Twitter diplomacy can be seen in his administration communication with the Palestinian officials, Jason Greenbelt. Trump aids began diplomacy through twitter with Palestinian officials after a year of silence; there had been a breakdown of communication with Trump administration since United States President recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since January 2019, Jason Greenbelt has been reaching out to the Palestinian leaders through his tweets. However, The Palestinian officials have not responded yet and due to this United States have cut down all aid and funding to the Palestinian security forces which are essential for maintaining the peace in the area. Palestinian leaders have criticized Trump’s style of diplomacy by saying that “Twitter diplomacy is the triumph of narrow minds, anaemic intellectuals and minuscule attention spawns, precluding thorough and responsible analytic critical interactions that are honest, contextual and insightful. We are witnessing global ramifications of this failure.” The United States has however through its tweets made an invitation to the Palestinian leaders to come and discuss the peace plan in the White House.
 
India’s Twitter Diplomacy
Twitter diplomacy is not just common to the United States but has been widely used in India as well especially after the NDA government under Prime Minister Midi came to power. Kendra Midi is the third most followed leader on Twitter in the world and Bushman Sward is the most followed foreign Minister in the world. The Indian foreign ministry of external affairs has made the most use of #Diplomatically in order to connect with citizens in situations of distress, facilitating visas, helping foreign nationals or connecting with foreign leaders. India is among a few countries that have top diplomats and all its missions highly active on Twitter. Prime minister Midi is also the most followed leader in Asia and effectively uses social media platforms to announce his visits to foreign countries and talks and as well takes a suggestion from people’ on various concerns. Earlier Indian diplomacy was a part of a very conservative and protective life but now it has transformed itself and become very active and as well as interactive.
Ministry of External Affairs has been successful in creating a mechanism wherein less than 24 hours, the action begins on all the issues taken by people and is sorted out. All the grievances are handled with utmost urgency and resolved in no time, this has created a sense of transparency in diplomacy and also created an environment which has empowered people, removed red priapism and made grievances addressable faster.
Michael Magellan, a senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson centre told the Quartz India magazine “People feel empowered about the thought that if you find yourself in a difficult situation abroad you can send a tweet to your foreign minister, embassy asking for help- with the very real expectation that they will respond and help you.” Indian Foreign minister has been successful in this aspect.
Bushman Sward has a 24/7 active office on Twitter itself where she helps Indians as well as foreigners. She has a record of responding in no time, sometimes be at 2 am or 4 am. Bushman Sward tweeted “Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian embassy will be there to help you.”
She also uses Twitter to deliver certain political messages to foreign nations, sometimes extending a hand of friendship and other times rebuking them the way she did to Pakistan foreign ad visor to Tartar Ariz. Social Media has been used effectively to reach out to the government, The Indian government’s fast action in matters such as the rescue mission in Yemen or saving the stranded Indian seafarers in UAE or bringing back abducted Indians show the Indian success story of effectively using social media platforms.
Social Media especially twitter has been effective in conducting foreign relations with various nations around the world. Prime Minister Kendra Midi uses twitter to directly connect with foreign Ministers in an informal setup, he tweeted in Japanese to connect with Shinto Abe, he congratulated Israeli Pm, Benjamin Bhutanese in Hebrew and got a response back which was in Hindi. He shared selfsame with Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turn bull in Delhi Metro. Therefore, twitter diplomacy has become the new face of Indian diplomacy which is fast and effective, approachable and transparent.
 
 
 
 
 
Conclusion
‘Speaking directly to citizens – seeing a country’s people, as well as its government – is not just a rhetorical device’, explained Professor Slaughter of Princeton University.
It is a way to help make diplomacy more efficient, more inclusive, and more engaging. It has certainly shaken the diplomatic elite and forced all traditional players to adopt a more open approach in which listening becomes as important as acting.
Social media training for diplomats becomes more and more important as governments try to adapt to less-structured environments and less-traditional ways of conducting diplomacy. Training diplomats in the use of digital diplomacy channels is a way for governments to fully embrace present and future opportunities provided by the Internet and social media. ‘The potential results would be more transparency in governance, a government agenda that is better informed by direct citizen input, and a more informed, globally aware populace’, reads a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
Better training and the ‘smarter’ use of tools like Twitter produces a positive impact on how diplomacy works. At the same time it creates the resources, education, and much-needed skills to access and participate in the free flow of reliable and useful information while empowering diplomats and foreign policy players with the ability to make considered decisions about a nation’s economic, social, and political existence.
The goal, for the United States in the aftermath of September 11, 2012, and for all governments engaging in digital diplomacy, is to ensure an open dialogue but still be engaging, offering the true position of a government’s agenda. The risks are always going to be present, but a responsible way to engage, yet political with strong assertions, must be pursued at all times
Indeed, the social media revolution has been changing the way we see the world and has been changing the way we talk to the world. Not only it has made easier for governments and ambassadors to engage with the public, both foreign and at home, it has made everybody more aware of the effects – both positive and negative – a single word, tweet, Facebook comment, video, or image can have in a relatively short time frame. Not only that, it has emphasized the need to strengthen the way we analyze social media.
 
References
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Achoo, S. E., & Park, H. W. (2011). Government organizations’ innovative use of the Internet: The case of the Twitter ac- Nativity of South Korea’s ministry for food, agriculture, for- entry and fisheries. Cliometricians , 90, 9-23. do: 10.1007/ s11192-011-0519-2
Cull, N. (2013). The Long Road to Public Diplomacy 2.0: The Internet in US Public Diplomacy. International Studies Review,15(1), 123-139. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24033171
 
Dostoevsky, M. (2017, February 05). In defence of Donald Trump’s Twitter diplomacy | Mary Dostoevsky. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/05/in-defence-of-twitter-diplomacy
 
Fang, Z. (2002). E-government in digital era: Concept, practice, and development. International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, 10, 1–22
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Bourbaki, J. (1999). Diplomacy in the age of information technology.In Innovation in diplomatic practice (pp. 171-191).Engrave Macmillan, London.
 
Lichtenstein, J. (2010). Digital diplomacy. New York Times Magazine16, 26-29.
 
Glendale, J. (2018, June 16). Donald Trump’s highly personal style of diplomacy. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44482020
 
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Technology is Changing Diplomacy. (2019, January 30). Retrieved from https://intpolicydigest.org/2018/11/15/technology-is-changing-diplomacy/
 
Submitted by:
Meghan Jaywalk
 
 
 
 

A potentially Risky Indo-US bonhomie

The country heaved a sigh of relief when the US Secretary of State Mike Pompey announced that the US is deploying its forces in Asia, (South China Sea) in order to counter the increasing threat posed by China.  But what we blatantly failed to take account of, is the diplomatic changes in the Indian Foreign Policy, that might have been prompting China into such aggression.
There is no denial of the fact that China has been trying to intrude our borders for quite a long period of time. It has a very cunning tactic when it comes to territorial annexation. Taking one small part at a time. It embarked upon this very technique to claim the Gal wan Valley and the Pan gong So Lake area in Lakh. This tactic is not just exclusive for India. Our neighbor and probably our “former friend “Nepal has fallen victim to such shrewd strategy of China.  When the border turmoil was on with India, China deceitfully has captured quite a few agricultural villages in Nepal, which, the Nepalese Government has been denying so vehemently.
While experts are eyeing the construction of the strategic “One Belt, One Road” by China as the main reason for such aggressive border stance and India’s position as a big obstacle to the construction of the OBOR; there is another reason which is not being taken into account by many.  An unprecedented booming of relations between the US and India, not just in the economic front but in the military front as well. India is set to purchase more than USD3billion dollars of military equipment from the US in 2020, not to mention the increased frequency of military exercises between the two countries and also the looming threat from the QUAD States. (US, Japan, Australia and India). In the face of such unprecedented diplomatic crisis with China, the recent Malabar exercise between the Indian and US naval force, with the mighty Super Carrier USS Nimitz, has triggered more apprehension in the Chinese mind, about I do US intention. With Australia set to join another naval exercise with US, Japan and India, the idea of a formidable Asia Pacific alliance of the QUAD nations, is actually being materialized into a reality.
China is seeing this new honeymoon phase between US and India as a potentially grave threat to her expansionist policy. Taking every economic, military aspect into account, there still remains a huge gap between China and the US in their capability. China still needs a hefty amount of time before it can outdo the US. And this new bonhomie between the US and India is not good news for her.  Hence, this urgency on China’s part to threaten India and remind us sometimes about the Chinese dragon breathing fire in our borders.
So long, India has maintained a Non-Aligned stance engineered by Nehru, when it comes to its foreign policy, so much so, that this has been the strategic mantra of Indian Diplomacy. With close allies like Russia, inching towards China, India has no other options but to look for other means to counter China, and USA  has presented itself as the best option.  The animosity that exist between the “superpower” US and the “rising power” China, is what is going to define the overall international relation among the states in this decade. US will try to explore every option available at hand to counter the potential superiority of China. And what better way to do that than involving another emerging powers in that very region to counter her nemesis. Voilà!  Here comes India. The existence of this common enemy will only bring India and US closer to each other, than ever before.
Even though our Foreign Minister, S. Shankara has made it clear, that India will not be joining any alliances per SE, some facts cannot really be overlooked here. With China’s ever-growing lust for territorial power, coupled with her increasing military and economic might, India losing that age-old spark with Russia, and this new border crisis acting as a catalyst, she may be forced to take an extreme stance of joining an alliance, especially with the US.  As the Realist School of International Relations suggest that the foreign policy of a state is influenced by the need for its survival and sustenance in the international realm.  On this same line of argument, India, at the end of the day, has to secure her territorial sovereignty and ensure her survival by any means, whatsoever, which is evident from this shift in India’s foreign policy towards the US. Already, experts are saying that this new Chino-Indian conflict might be the death knell to India’s strategic Non Alignment policy. Such views are to be taken with serious consideration.
This sudden boom of camaraderie might prove fatal for India too. Engaging itself in the emerging “Cold War” between the two powers, even if not deliberately, runs the risk of becoming a site for a proxy war. History presents us with an ample amount of examples to prove this statement. The more India will get closer to US, the more China will try to attack her, to make India reconsider her stance towards the US. That is what is happening at this very juncture, too.
The present situation is far too chaotic to say what steps India should take as of now. It has to use its diplomatic skills and act according to how the situation presents itself.  As many strategists claim, that India should not be too much involved with the US and should adopt a safe distance. This is one of the biggest diplomatic crisis the country is facing, and any wrong step can prove fatal for India.
 

Cracking the Code: why we need a UCC?

No discussion on the original vision for the Indian state can be addressed without grasping the key principle of secularism and understanding the context in which the civil code was designed. Looking back seven decades to the constitutional moment, the constituent assembly was confronted with a vital question in an already deeply divided society; one that asked how an equilibrium could be reached between establishing legal uniformity whilst accounting for different religious practices. To prevent the debate around the civil code from becoming an inhibition to forming the Republic, the decision was postponed to a time in the future when the institutions and
establishments of a potentially more united India could reach a consensus. 72 years later, as the BJP proposes the Uniformed Civil Code (UCC) in their election manifesto, and the parliament outlaws the Shariat law of unilateral divorce, the very same question comes to light, with equal pertinence and potency.
 
India, unlike many of its neighbours, has a fundamental separation between state and religion. The country has taken a more pluralistic approach to this separation by carefully constructing a civil code that allows for variety between the different religious groups. However, this decision has many pit-falls – the obvious one being a lack of consistency in the law for the equal citizens of India. Moreover, if Hindu law can be viewed from the Mayukha, Mithakshara and Dayabhag schools of thought, then one can see that even within a religion, the regulation of personal life in different communities can vary. The current civil code is a convoluted nexus of inconsistent laws that can in no way apply to each and every specific religious directive; instead, we need a universal code that can apply to all Indians overarchingly.
 
Further, we need to question whether maintaining traditional laws at the state level is even relevant in the modern day. We no longer apply punishments from religious books like flogging and castration in criminal law. If our society has moved past certain archaic traditions then they should not be included in our civil code either. Even a religious state, like Pakistan, has moved away from
traditional inheritance laws. If religious law is a personal direction on moral values for an individual then it does not need to be reflected into state legislature. If faithful, the individual can still practice their own religious beliefs within their own community and family. These considerations point to one key element – religion and personal law are by and large independent from one another.
Lawyer and independence activist, KM Munshi alluded to this idea when he said, “the sooner we forget this isolationist outlook on life, it will be better for the country. Religion must be restricted to spheres that legitimately appertain to religion, and the rest of life must be regulated, unified, and modified in such a manner that we may evolve, as early as possible a strong and consolidated
nation. Are we helping those factors which help the welding together into a single nation, or is this country to be kept up always as a series of competing communities?”
 
Let us look at the Sabrimala Temple case where the Supreme Court, upholding the principle of equality between genders, permitted women to enter a temple that was traditionally only accessible to men. This shows that equality of gender is a value enshrined in the constitution that is shared by all regardless of religion. This proves that religious values such as biased inheritance or succession laws will not always be cohesive with gender equality under the constitution. Therefore, the traditional critique of UCC that claims that it will infringe on Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of religion, is not valid because the articles are limited to those that will not harm public order. In fact, the UCC will uphold the constitution by allowing for freedom of religious practices in so far as they do not harm the public by their discord with higher norms, such as gender equality. Surely we can agree it is unacceptable for religious communities to vehemently insist on their right to subordinate a certain gender by harking back to age-old traditions.
 
To conclude, I will acknowledge a very legitimate concern in relation to establishing a UCC. A uniformed code could easily end up representing solely the will of the majority. This is not a reason to cast aside the UCC. Instead, our country should strive to produce a universally acceptable code by opening the debate on a much larger scale in academic forums and ensuring the involvement of a diverse collection of representatives in the legislative process. Perhaps, it could be advantageous to set up a special committee for the establishment of a UCC to prevent the biases of a parliamentary majority from creating an under-representative bill. As the UCC concerns the personal lives of many and the emotional topic of religion, it should be approached with conciliation and sensitivity to convince the wider public and religious communities of its logical sense.
 
by  Diva Jain

The State of Afghani Refugees in India

India and Afghanistan share deep history from the days of Indus Valley civilization. The northern region of India was occupied by a number of invaders. Invaders who came from the modern day, Afghanistan. Among them were the Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khaljis, Suris, Mughals, and Durranis. During these eras, especially during the Mughal period (1526–1858), many Afghans began immigrating to India due to political unrest in their regions. The rise of Mughal Empire in India provided safe heaven for the Afghani immigrants.
Hundreds of years have passed and India still manages to maintain a relationship with Afghanistan. A relationship which is political by nature and controversial by synthesis. India has invested more than $2 billion in Afghan infrastructure, including highways and hospitals. It also is helping rebuild the Afghan police, judiciary and diplomatic services. Recently India has invested 90 million USD to build parliament building in Afghanistan. Our country is pouring exuberant amounts of money to build a stable political connection with Afghanistan and by default with USA. This political connection is suffocating India’s social and cultural connections with the country. India is home for nearly 18,000 registered Afghan Refugees, who have fled from their country because of the atrocities committed by Taliban. These refugees are refrained from getting a refugee status and LTV(long term visa) unlike immigrants from Sri Lanka and Tibet. The first reason for this is our national laws and the second is our foreign policy. Afghanistan is very crucial for India’s movement in central Asia. It is a gateway of heaven and thus Indian government needs to develop parallelism with the ideologies of Afghan government. In 2015 The Refugees and Repatriations Ministry of Afghanistan has launched a slick social-media campaign to get its message out. The message stated “Don’t go. Stay with me. There might be no return!” The government of Afghanistan is humiliated on the amount of human resource the country is losing on a daily basis. Thus, India as a good ally has given these refugees a temporary place to live; in a hope that someday they will have to leave and re-join their country. Since India is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees (1951) and the accompanying protocols (1967), and has left it to the United Nation High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR) to take charge of those seeking refuge/asylum in the country.
As the Indian government is not liable to provide for these immigrants; they are on the mercy of UNHCR and their own community. UNHCR provides them with a blue registration card. UNHCR card is not an equivalent to Indian visa. The card barely helps them to secure a rental home. UNHCR provide them with minimal amount of money but it’s not enough. As Afghani immigrants don’t have a LTV, they are forced to find work in the informal sector. Degree in engineering can only fetch you job as of an electrician. The economic condition of women is even worse. Women who doesn’t have a male partner to rely on, constantly struggle to balance their work and personal lives. Many NGO’s like Conserve India and Sillaiwali are working towards integrating these refugee women in the Indian society. They provide them livelihood in textile industry. These women stich and sew in day to feed their children at night. The Afghani children cannot rely on mid- day meals, as it’s very difficult to get enrolled in a government school without LTV. Teenagers also cannot attend government colleges without a LTV. They are forced to work at the age of 18, hoping for the day they will receive their LTV or an immigration call from a more developed country. For most of the Afghan refugees here, the ultimate goal is to resettle in the U.S. or Europe, where they believe there are even greater opportunities. But Europe is already closing its doors on the flood of Syrian refugees, so the people of Little Kabul may have a long time to wait.
The process of relocation is also very cumbersome. The COVID-19 pandemic has added more agonies to the lives of Afghani refugees as the international immigrant system has come to a complete halt. Moreover they don’t have a medical system to fall back on if they get the corona virus. Unlike other Indian citizens, they are not supported for food and other basic amenities hence they have to go to work every single day. If they stay at home; the risk is still the identical because of the cramped rental space and the shared bathrooms. Every Afghan refugee is exposing themselves to potential life threat every day, when our country is busy flushing billions of dollars in their homeland.
India needs to work on the Gandhian idea of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam”, the world is one family. It’s an absolute necessity for us to develop strong political bonds with Afghanistan, but in doing so we should not forget about the shared history of our two communities. The moral responsibilities, India has to support these war torn immigrants. War on terrorism is not just about eradication of terrorist, it is also about building a society in which people refuses to lift guns. And the only way to achieve this to provide them with stable and sustainable lives. It’s high time that India start spending substantial amount of money to provide them with basic living amenities.

Afghanistan: Relief as fleeing Afghans arrive in Qatar - and the terror of  those left behind | World News | Sky News By  Monya

India and the United States need each other to combat terror in south Asia


Author: Shambhavi Jaiswal
Research Coordinator, GCTC
Areas of interest: Diplomacy, international relations, geopolitics

Introduction

If we think of a major event in the past 20 years that changed the world, there’s a particular moment that stands as a catalyst to so much that has defined our era and impacted millions of people. The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, changed much about the world as we know it and ushered in a new era of conflict and fear. from mass government surveillance, new immigration programs alongside growing anti-immigrant sentiments and Islamophobia to the wars in Af- Afghanistan, and Iraq, the conflict between Pakistan and India, the rise of Daesh. War on terror starts with Al Qaeda yet it doesn’t end there, it won’t end until each terrorist oppressor gathering of worldwide reach has been discovered, halted, and crushed.

US and Afghanistan Relation

Afghanistan and the US initially recorded contact was in 1830 when Josiah Har- plan, a political dissident, and adventurer headed out to south Asia in anticipation of turning into a prince of Afghanistan. within the first anglo-afghan war that broke out around 8 years after the fact, Harlan inspected the results and acknowledged Dost Mohammad’s was too solid to even think about being toppled, consequently he flew back to the US. Not long after the third anglo-afghan war, the deal was marked to end the contention. in 1921, The Afghan authorities at that point visited the US to set up diplomatic ties. at the point when the authorities got back to Afghanistan, they likewise brought back a letter from US President Warren G. Hard- ing, adjusting that the two presently have an official diplomatic relation. After the foundation of two-sided relations, the US started contributing and increasing the expectation of living in Afghanistan. Things were entirely stable within the two for some time, yet evidently, during world war two, the ties turned into a little un- steady when Afghanistan actually had ties with nazi Germany. Afghanistan did anyway figured out how to remain impartial in the war and kept its binds with the two sides of the contention.
Afghan-American relations turned out to be significant during the beginning of the cold war, between the US and the soviet union. In the principal half of the cold war, we see a solid connection between the two. with the US president Harry S. Truman, expressing that the relations between the two nations must be ‘strengthened and preserved’. we likewise observe the first official Afghanistan ambassador at the US Habibullah Khan Tarzi, who served from 1946-53. in the 50’s Af- Afghanistan likewise mentioned a mutual defense agreement with the US. despite the fact that the US declined the solicitation, they did anyway increased the eco-nomic aid developmental program with Afghanistan. during the start of the cold war, Afghanistan abided between both of the socialist forces to be reckoned with on the planet, that being the soviet union and china. Notwithstanding, during the 1960s we saw the establishment of the communist party within Afghanistan. this being exceptionally alarming due to the already cold war tensions within the region. inevitably, in 1978 we see the ‘ revolution also called the April revolution,’ a coup led by the Soviet-backed people’s democratic party of Afghanistan against the Afghan President Mohammed Daoud Khan. The US began Operation Cyclone which Centrally focused to provide Intelligence Agency’s program to arm & finance the Afghan Mujahideen. US assistance provided around $500 loans, grants, improved education systems, increased agricultural production, and im- proved government operation. this was mainly to counter the outspread of communism and the ‘soviet union’ into south Asia. After around 9 years of Af- Afghanistan-soviet warMujahideen was able to counteract the Soviets through the use of shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles supplied by the united states. Then, the Mujahideen went into their own civil war subsequently.

Taliban- rise to power

After world war one, Afghanistan became independent and the monarchy came into force. Mohammed Zahir Shah was the last lord of Afghanistan who controlled for around a long time from 1933-73. He achieved different changes, c diplomatic re- relations with many countries, increased employment, provided women with their basic rights. notwithstanding, in 1973, Mohammed Daoud Khan ousted Mo-hammed Zahir Shah’s system with the assistance of PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan). Be that as it may, in 1978, Afghanistan president Mo-hammed Daoud Khan was ousted and killed in a Coup by the PDPA which is famously known as the SAUR upheaval. Presently, PDPA assumed control over the control which was a communist party, which currently became Russia and the Soviet’s focal point. In any case, PDPA had its own inside common war going on between Khalq – Parcham. Despite the fact that PDPA attempted to build up the nation through different methods like land appropriation, changes for class, and society yet could just stand stable for about a year. Amidst the cold war, in December 1978, the Soviets attacked Afghanistan to stop the communist party PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan) against a developing Sur- agency. After the soviet union intervened and occupied Afghanistan in 1979, Is- Islamic Mujahedeen contenders occupied a battle with the Soviet forces. Around 90,000 afghans, were prepared by Pakistan ISI during the 1980s which was totally supported by the US. From 1979-89, the Soviet-Afghan war proceeds- ed, and before the finish of 1989, Gorbachev had decided to seek a troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Afghan civil war 1992-96

after the fall of the soviet-upheld system of Mohammad Najibullah in 1992, numerous afghan ideological groups April concurred on harmony and force-sharing arrangement, ‘The Peshawar accord’ which made the Islamic State of Af- Afghanistan and selected an interim government for a momentary period. However, the Islamic State and its governing body were incapacitated right from the earliest starting point, due to equaling bunches fighting for full oversight over Kabul and Afghanistan. Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islamic Gulbuddin party refused to recognize the interim government and in April penetrated Kabul to assume control over the force for itself, along these lines beginning this civil war.

Taliban 1994-96

The Taliban are a development of strict understudies (Talib) from the Pashtun territories of eastern and southern Afghanistan who were taught in conventional Is- Islamic schools in Pakistan. Mullah Mohammad Omar in September 1994 in his old neighborhood of Kandahar with 50 understudies established the group. Omar was baffled that the Islamic law had not been introduced in Afghanistan in the wake of outcasting the communist rule, and now with his gathering promised to free Afghanistan of warlords and lawbreakers. inside months, 15000 understudies, frequently Afghan exiles, from strict schools or madrasas joined the gathering.

Rise to Power

on 3rd November 1994, the Taliban in a surprising attack conquered Kandahar city. within a year, until 1995 the Taliban had established control over 12 afghan territories. militias controlling the different often surrendered without a fight. During this phase, the Taliban was favored as they were responsible got stamping out corruption, bringing lawlessness, and constructing roads.  in an offer to set up their standard all over Afghanistan, the Taliban began shelling Kabul in mid-1995. on 26 September 1996, as the Taliban arranged for another significant hostile, the Taliban entered Kabul on September 27, 1996, and set up the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda

 Al Qaeda is a broad-based militant Islamist organization founded by deadly terrorist Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s. he engaged in various conflicts and wars, particularly the Afghanistan conflict and 9/11. in 1991 bin Laden was ex- pulled from Saudi Arabia by its regime after repeatedly criticizing the Saudi al- license with the US. After Osama bin laden’s return to Afghanistan, he became in-tent on attacking the united states.Bin laden announced war on the united states in the following year 1996. he issued a fatwa against the united states. the 1998 African embassy bombings and bin laden’s February 1998 fatwa marked a turning point for Al-Qaeda’s terrorist organization. However, the US could be blamed for establishing the Taliban and mujahideen right from the Afghan war in 1979.

Attack 9/11

There were different motives behind this attack, such as the Israeli-Palestine conflict, The US actions against Russia, and Russia intervention in the middle east. The 9/11 attack, were a progression of 4 facilitated fear-based oppressor assaults by the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the US on the morning of Tues- day, 9/11, 2001. A total of 2996 people were killed in the 9/11 attack including the 19 terrorist hijackers abroad the four airplanes.

The US- Intervention 2001

On 20 September 2001, US President George W. Bush, speaking to a joint session of congress, tentatively blames al-Qaeda for the 9/11 attack. in the response to the attack, the united states launched the war of terror to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and capture Al-Qaeda operatives. Soon after the 11 September attack, within a month, the united states was majorly supported by countries like the united kingdom, Canada, and other countries including several from the NATO alliance. They altogether commenced military actions, bombing Taliban and Al-Qaeda-related camps. the stated intent of the military operation was to remove the Taliban from power and prevent the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operation. However, Pakistan has been accused of continuing to support the Taliban, which disrupted the US-Pakistan relations.

Operation Neptune spear

Osama bin Laden, founder of the Islamist group Al-Qaeda was killed in Abbot- bad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, by the united states navy SEALs of the U.S. naval special warfare development group. He was the man behind the September 11 attack, and his demise ended 10 years of search for Osama bin laden. Oba- ma, before addressing Operation Neptune spear first thought of considering a joint operation with Pakistan forces and military. later, however, he decided that Pakistani authorities could not be trusted for the operation Neptune spear. The activity, code-named Operation Neptune spear, was requested by us president, Barak Obama. bin laden was executed within the fortified of the building and his body was taken by U.S. forces.

US security policy in South Asia since 9/11

Becoming Xenophobic- the 9/11 attack introduced another age of approaches that organized public security and defense frequently to the detriment of common freedoms and basic liberties. the attack characterized the organization of George. hedge and prompted the biggest government safeguard rebuilding since the formation of a department of defense. the inability to uncover the biggest terrorist attack on US soil and the absence of coordination and insight sharing among government offices prompted the making of the division of country security. a bureau level office that combined 22 government offices with the essential mission “to prevent terrorist attack within the US” and “to reduce the vulnerability of the united states to terrorism”. among the organizations that fell under the division of country security, various of them were combined into what is currently known as the US immigration and customs enforcement or ICE. ICE was allowed a special mix of common and criminal positions to capture, keep and expel unapproved settlers effectively inside the US. since its arrangement, the office has been liable for an enormous expansion in removals and increased a dubious standing, particularly when Donald Trump came into power and presented zero-tolerance strategy towards undocumented immigrants. In any case, presently numerous US legislators are calling to annul ICE contending that movement issues should be isolated from criminal implementation. Individuals raised cases, for example, “why migration attached to the battle against illegal intimidation?” Muslims suffered from increasing hate crimes after the 9/11 attack. as indicated by the FBI, the hate crimes reports against Muslims are around multiple times more incessant than they were before 2001. the dread of Muslims and reconnaissance of Muslim people groups have become the new reality for American Muslims.
The rise of the surveillance state- the U.S. intelligence state bloomed in the wake of 9/11. government oversight increased through a vast network of phone and web surveillance. the U.S. public security organization likewise took advantage of the workers of nine web firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to follow online correspondence n a reconnaissance program known as PRISM. Snowden’s revelation in 2013 made the American public aware of PRISM’s existence for the first time though it began in 2007 under the Bush administration. amid the furor over the revelations, the pew research center found that 47% of Americans were concerned that anti-terror programs had gone too far in restricting- ing civil liberties. the US involvement in the war of terror prompted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks resulted in a dramatic change in the country’s foreign and domestic policies. but most importantly, the country’s military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world have left devastating impacts and far-reaching consequences the scope of which are yet to be known.

Pakistan-U.S. Counter-Terrorism co-operation

the U.S. Pakistan counter-terrorism co-operation relationship remains in distress post 9/11 period. Pakistan has been providing a suitable environment to various terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and, hence it still stays on the FATF Grey list till February 2021. Some might argue that the level of stress has receded in the last few years. Watchdog might re-member that the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan almost collapsed in 2017. At some point, both countries stopped sharing intelligence related to terrorism. However, there has been Recovery from a low point, yet a lot more conflict than cooperation. There are still three strategic verticles from the Ameri- can perspective that has dwelled upon. First capturing and killing of Al-Qaeda Islamic state and some of their allied actors in Pakistan and Afghanistan region. The second verticle has been, Kill and capture of Afghan-Taliban leadership. The
The U.S. continues to demand degradation of the infrastructure of the Afghan insurgency inside Pakistan that remains a sticking point and ways on the relationship. The third being, arrest prosecution, and targeting of Pakistani jihadists focused on India specifically who wants to engage in violence in Kashmir and other parts of India. moreover, indications are that Pakistan has used three counter-terrorism goals, especially under the Trump administration. Pakistan had also pushed the
The U.S. and continues to ask for sanctions against ballot separatists based in Af- Afghanistan and some parts of Europe. In 2019 we address some movements on that, the U.S. government sanctioned the below liberation army which fulfilled a key Pakistani demand, and finally Pakistani seeks U.S. to recognize in effect use of afghans terrorism as a problem for Pakistan.

Pakistani county insurgency was effective for a period of time, it did degrade the capabilities of a lot of such organizations but Pakistani insurgency violence did not try to settle the root causes of the militancy. there is enormous civilian suffering during which the population is really alienated. The threat remains in the tribal areas like civil rights abuses, Pashtun Tahafus movement. Pakistan has become politically more cohesive, it is marshaling more organizational capital. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan remains aligned with Al-Qaeda. this threat remains re- silent which should be of concern to U.S. policymakers.

Terrorism in Kashmir and India

 In 1935 British presented a law which was known as the government of India act of 1935, which separated the country into two sections those which were in a roundabout way managed by the British and those of kings, and how princely states were needed to sign Instrument of Accession before emergence. the segment of Hindu controlled India and Muslim administered Pakistan for a similar bill of Indian independence act which was passed in the house of commons in Lon- don. continuing ahead, the development of 565 princely states into the particular nations, and the consequenced looked by the administration of India during the rise with Hyderabad, Junagarh, Jammu, and Kashmir. Zeroing in principally on the integration of Kashmir, Which subsequent to marking the instrument of ac- cession states to be a necessary piece of India which anyway and still, after all, that prompted the greatest clash among India and Pakistan. We also address the battle of individuals of Kashmir and Kashmiri pandits and also how the Indian armed force battled on the forefront and blocked Pakistani armed forces to enter Jammu and Kashmir. besides, article 370 came into power and how the following 65 years it was nullified subsequent to winning a greater part of votes in both the houses. the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been settled, the main issue that remains is the arrival of Kashmiri pandits, which can likewise be tackled by sending 10,00,000 ex-servicemen giving them security, land, and assurance. There have been remarks made by mehbooba mufti like India as involving power and j&k accession invalid and void and demands have been made, of Jammu and Kashmir’s own flag to be authorized.

Pakistan and India Relations

Pakistan has a very different narrative of India universally. Pakistan has been a huge discussing UN resolution and instrument of accession in the UNSC. zeroing in on few narratives that had been brought by Pakistan they are-coercive Indian control of Jammu and Kashmir, the pressure of maharaja of Kashmir to sign the instrument of accession, Hindu ruler on Muslim greater part state, and subsequently, accession being illegal. huge numbers of the nations which uphold India in the annulment of article 370, anyway a considerable lot of the media of these nations don’t uphold India. Continuing further, how Pakistan assaulted with power Jammu and Kashmir and harmed a large portion of the residents and Indian officers. There have been a series of terrorist attacks on India, by various terrorist organizations funded by Pakistan like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Jaish-e-Mohammed

Jaish-e-Mohammed is a terrorist group active in Kashmir. The group’s primary motive is to separate Kashmir from India and merge it with Pakistan. it has carried out several terrorist attacks primarily in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. it also maintained close relations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and continues to be allied to them. in September 2016, the jihadi militant attacked the Indian brigade headquarter in Uri, close to the Loc, in Indian-held Kashmir. the attack resulted in 19 soldiers. In the following years, on 14 February 2019, Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out and claimed responsibility for the Pulwama Attack, which was a suicide bomb attack in Kashmir on a convoy of security forces that killed at least 44 Indian Jawans of the Central reserve police force (CRPF).

Indo-US Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

In both India and the US operate at different levels as far as the perception of terrorism and as far as counterterrorism is concerned. 2 decades ago, our relations and defense cooperation were not so strong as they are today. moreover 2 decades ago before the 9/11 attack happened, the US did not take India seriously regarding Pakistan sponsor terrorism or cross-border terrorism. it is only after the 9/11 attack when the US realized the potential of engagement with India and there has been a steady improvement of the relationship since then. a couple of months later after the 11 September attack, we addressed the parliament attack on India, it was then George W. Bush administration was reaching out to democracies, and then onwards the cooperation between the two countries started both in defense and counterterrorism. India now carries out various joint exercises with the United States such as joint working groups, India-US strategic dialogue, In- dia-US homeland security dialogue, Indo-US Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, to the extent that India does not have such joint exercises with any other countries. There have been several operations of Indo-US Cooperation, but while we have been having these initiatives we must address the difference between the US and India in regards to terrorism which now primarily focuses on the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and Pakistan sponsor terrorism. whereas the US is the global hegemony and India is a regional power, so there is a contrast in nature where India focuses on Lashkar- e-Taiba, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the US counterterrorism operation is focused on transnational groups such as Haqqani network, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, so this also shapes how we combat terrorism. despite having various differences, we have addressed great cooperation between India and the US in the last decade.
In July, a US warship reached the strait of Malacca near Andaman and Nicobar islands to carry out the naval exercise (PASSEX) with the Indian navy. Followed by Malabar maritime exercise, which is a trilateral naval exercise, after a decade India invites Australia for the Malabar exercise with full support from the united states. Also, the US has authorized more than $20 billion in defense sales to In- dia. this shows the strong relationship between the US and India. but the most important of all is a 2+2 ministerial dialogue between India and the US to discuss bilateral defense issues. The two countries have already signed GSOMIA (2002), LEMOA (2016), and COMCASA (2018) to exchange ministry logistics and enable secure communications. BECA (basic exchange and cooperation agreement) is the fourth and final ‘foundational’ understanding between the US and In- dia. BECA focuses on geospatial intelligence and sharing information on maps and satellite images for defense. BEC has allowed India to use the US’s ad- advanced geospatial intelligence and enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones. it will enhance topographical and aeronautical data and products that will aid navigation and targeting. in the case of Pakistan, if there is ever another airstrike similar to one like breakout, India will be able to access satellite and other data from the US to verify the success of its hits.

Social Media and Media in US Capitol Attack

Lessons on Social Media and Mainstream Media in the Light of US Capitol Attack

An EU official termed the attack on Washington incident as “social medias 9/11” and we need to acknowledge that 9/11 caused a shift in global security so should this unfortunate incident. Social media offers a platform that I free of consequences, legal and otherwise.President Donald Trump legitimized radical supporters by calling out to the on social media, in person and other platforms. Plans to storm the capitol were made in a public forum and nothing was done to combat with such obvious warning signs.
The fact that mainstream media in its way enabled the attack is irrefutable. Right-wing media spread disinformation about the election and contested President-Elect Joe Bidens claim to the Oval Office. They intentionally avoided all warning signs by experts who claimed that the disinformation on mainstream media will lead to violence. When right-wing media feigns surprise at the acts committed in the Capitol they conveniently forget their actions that have directly aided the situation. With millions of rigorous listeners to morning “talk shows” and right-wing anchors who instead of maintaining journalistic integrity went on national television and supported President Trump’s claims of alleged election fraud.
Storming a government building in the US was discussed before on social media in the US hundreds wandered into the Nevada desert in 2019 to Storm Area 51 which conspiracy theorists believe aliens are kept by the US Government. Because of the lack of planning nothing major occurred but this time was different. The reaction by the police was unfortunate and the whole incident is characteristic of a terrorist attack.
We need to legally address the problems and challenges posed by social media and media outlets. Archaic Laws can no longer govern a platform that advanced ad futuristic. Social media contests the line between journalism and opinionated speech or hate speech. Nothing is more proof than the statements of those who stormed the capitol building claiming to do that as an act of journalism and nationalism.
Here it is essential to note the important movements that gained traction online- #MeToo #Timesup #BlackLivesMatter and #MarchforOurLives. We need to understand the dual nature of social media and it is feeding into vigilante justice and extremism. There is a documented increase in Islamophobic, anti-Semitic activity online. It has become a breeding ground for Pro-Nazi sentiments. The system puts a paramount of the stress on content moderators who are often overworked and proven inefficient. 9281 tweets are sent globally every second. 92% of Americans have used Twitter at least once. Facebook has over 2 billion active monthly users. Close to 70% of all US adults use Facebook. The inability of social media companies to properly moderate content due to lack of labour and other difficulties shows that we need better security measures.
Media houses have a responsibility to differentiate facts from opinions and the lack of reliable sources make people susceptible to fake news. There is a lack of a common fact-checking platform. We need to focus on content moderations and control of fake news and spread of disinformation which has been proven to be worse than misinformation. I started by quoting the Capitol attack as social medias 9//11 and I would like to end by saying that this has exposed vulnerabilities in all our systems which is not limited to the US so we need to update our security to match our technology.
 

BY Neha Ramesh

Increasing accessibility to E-learning during the pandemic in Argentina

Topic: Increasing accessibility to E-learning during the pandemic in Argentina

 

With the dissemination of SARS 2019 Novel Covid across the globe, the close vicinity of 1.5
billion novice learners is denied in-person education and presently relies upon remote learning.
The catastrophe exacerbated massive pre-COVID-19 education, ponderously jolted the
education precinct, towering monumental constraints and stipulation leading to the temporarily
shutting down of academic establishments. With social distancing coming into utmost foreplay,
education and empowerment of the masses have taken the backseat. The fear of losing
semesters, classes, and board examinations has taken a mental toll on some, while families
coming from marginalized sections have to choose between their basic sustenance to survival to
digital literacy mode. Closure of learning spaces has called for UN agencies, government, and
other stakeholders to pursue policy responses that align with the bedrock of just, equal and
peaceful schooling, the nodal indicator of the progress of all SDGs.
Demarcating the Pampas region in the south, bordering five other countries, Argentina had shut
down academies for more than seven months. A survey conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry
of Education accounted for nearly 1.3 million children having minimal or no communication
with their educators during quarantine. The households with children, having access to good
quality Internet or a computer available for educational purposes are mostly well off or are
urban-centric. With an upsurge in the number of drop-outs,gender-biased crimes like sexual
exploitation, child trafficking, child labour, child marriage have recorded a massive influx over
the past months as most economically challenged families are dependent on school-feeding
programs. A recent study showcased that girls are prone to a gender digital divide that barred
them from distance learning programs, causing the second-highest decline in school enrollment
in the region.

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics (Ibid. 2020a)
accords 3.1 million secondary and nearly 14.2
million primary learners have to avail
themselves to e-learning medium of study. The
Govt. of Argentina, in observation to
international protocols of SDGs, have laid down
didactic proposals which aim to provide (i)
pedagogical standard procedures for carrying
out activities at distinct stages of educational
circuits; (ii) equip mentors with precise and
legitimate coaching at various educational
levels; and (iii) conducting educative
methodologies which will enable institutes to hand out germane academic materials to the
students. The teachers in Argentina are continuously engaged in providing dynamic educational
content that would relatively ease the predicament of e-learning.
UNICEF is trying to restore effective distance and
home-based learning delivered through radio, TV,
the internet, and other platforms to ensure
quality education received by all. CTERA, a
member of Education International (EI), have
accentuated the obligation to continue improving
the program in coordination with provincial
authorities, integrating new content with resources that the jurisdictions themselves have
already published online in an effort to reach students affected by school
closures throughout the country. They have further encouraged the educationists and management teams from all
schools throughout the country to visit the “Seguimos Educando” (Let’s Keep Teaching) platform
which boosts the health of the teachers through series of digital educational resources and
materials, which has reduced the cancellation of classes.
To bring the ‘call to action to life, policies, strategies and protocols should be put in place and
implemented across the region to ensure safe school operations, facilitate the return to school
and retention of the most vulnerable groups, make adequate funding available for safe
reopening, guarantee the continuity of learning and scale-up social protection measures for
everyone.
By: Anamitra Banerjee

Nuclear Fuel Induced Propulsion in Military Aircrafts

Nuclear energy has been the key binding factor in early renewable energy enrichment with majority of nuclear fuel being accessible within technological reach. The various industrial purposes of the nuclear energy are under energy and military industries with main emphasis being undertaken in the defence advancement and technology. Nuclear propulsion is under active operational process in defence sectors over various machinery and vessel propulsions which includes heavy aircraft carriers, ice breakers and submersibles. The latest eye for technological advancement under military aircrafts is being brought under existence in Fuel capacitance and efficiency of the airborne vessels. These are being implemented in the best interests of the increase long range sorties with stealth capability being the most important aspect of the advancement in the military aircrafts. Nuclear fuel usage in aircrafts is considered to be one of the best advancements in addition to enhancements in avionics and aeronautical engineering design which form the backbone of manoeuvring tactics. Nuclear energy inclusion in various military class aircraft would be mobilised soon to increasing capacitance of the aircrafts to attain long sorties and stealth capabilities without the requirement of primary overhaul. This paper emphasizes on the need for a future security environment attributes such as rangeability ,dominance combined with ever rising fuel costs due to draining reserves which are to be compromised with the usage of Nuclear Reactor based power. This can be analysed through the technological analysis of a nuclear-powered aircraft in various roles within the established nuclear legal principles, wherein one can envision a concept of operations that allows future decision makers to effectively balance these risks while operationalising a nuclear-powered aircraft.

DETAILED ANALYSIS

          • NUCLEAR POWER AND ITS EMERGENCE

            Nuclear power is the resource which is capable of bringing about the needed change in lowering the dependence on oil and gas deposits that stands to be the highest contributor to the energy consumption on the planet. The military advancements in various nations across the world are part of the increasing international tensions for warfare-based engagements that are of critical importance on the planet. This non-renewable source of energy is part of the fuelling requirements for military technologies and enhancing advancement generations of aircrafts and airborne machinery. The requirement for major improvements to increase the efficiency levels of operation and controllability of the aircraft are of keen and costly interest. These advancements take high research costs that show upon in the form of manoeuvring capabilities to increase the sortie duration of the aircraft. These requirements are limited to and end point when the usage of fossil-based propulsion is integrated for the aircraft. The advancement integration of renewable energy usage in the airborne machineries to decrease the dependency and increase the efficiency of the aircraft increases with higher emphasis. These factors form the foundation for implementation of the nuclear fuel-based propulsion within the aircraft machinery

          • NUCLEAR PROPULSION AIRCRAFTS – EXPERIMENTAL

            The scope of nuclear fuel-based aircrafts has seen a lesser emphasis and research due to the fact of much known infamous nuclear fuel-based reactor accidents in the energy sector. This was termed as line of production for radioactive elements-based fuel usage for electricity generation. These were part of domestic and commercial production in various countries alongside research integration for better and efficient reactors. The infamous nuclear accidents of 3-mile island, Chernobyl nuclear reactor and Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster which involved negligent levels of vigilance towards providence of increased safe operational characteristics towards the reactor efficiency. Nuclear-powered aircrafts were brought into existence with major research and testing probations done by the United States Air Force (USAF)in the year 1955 under supervision and engineering analysis of General Electrics (GE Power). The technology of heat source production from the operations within a nuclear reactor were used and re designed for B-47 jet engine propulsion. These designed operations were undertaken onboard the X-39 Bomber Aircraft to achieve a theoretical value in rangeability of 30,000 miles at an airspeed of 460 miles per hour. These theoretical values were brought up into existence on the B 36 bomber of The United States Air Force (USAF) but reactors were never connected to the power and propellant grid of the aircraft. The nuclear reactor retrofitted B 36 bomber flew 47 sorties in 5 years with the engineered propellant onboard, thus displaying a possibility of working capability and operational capacity of flying the nuclear reactor at varied flying heights. The ground tests of the theoretical results from the nuclear test aircraft program were completely efficient with a huge implication of high mechanised costs in manufacturing.

          • INTERNATIONAL DESIGN TESTING CONDITIONS

            With major improvements being brought into existence of lightweight, heavy armament and manoeuvrable war planes, the technology for enhancing the nuclear power production under a lightweight reactor was part of a major research project. In the Development phases under 9 countries which were mandated to provide an international design of safety and operational compliance for its induction into various fighter aircrafts and bomber capabilities. These systems were adjusted and controlled within security and safety regulations. The design provisioned the countries with an operational probabilistic power output ranging from 40 megawatts to 200 megawatts at 100%-110% operating capacity of the reactor. The commercial usage capability was diagnosed during the theoretical tests that valued in range of 10-84 months, which is the highest range and timeframe possibility for a single sortie till date. Nuclear power poses unique risks to the health and safety which are to be controlled, prevented, and avoided. However, nuclear power also promises many significant benefits in a variety of current and future military applications which range from nuclear-powered ships and submarines which are part of active service and power to military installations in the United States, India and other locations in the future. Attack aircraft provide the capability to rapidly project both nuclear and conventional power irrespective of terrain, geography, and environmental conditions. This power can support ground forces in direct combat, prevent enemy reserves from entering the battle or disrupting strategic targets such as enemy leadership, communications nodes or industries used to develop future combat forces.

          • ENGINEERING DESIGN CAPABILITIES

            The nuclear aircrafts were fuelled by re-engineered capabilities within the propulsion systems designed by aircraft engine propulsion manufacturers. There are two classes of propulsion systems inducted during the operational design of a nuclear-powered aircraft i.e. Direct Cycle Propulsion system and Indirect Cycle Propulsion system. The direct system of cycle operations used in nuclear reactors of the aircraft involved the inward gauging of air through the nuclear reactor, which is in turn heated by the fuel rods of the reactor. This thermal energy is transferred to the turbine that courses way for compressor driven propeller. The final stage of DCP system has the heated air expelled at high velocities through the exhaust nozzles that gives the turbine throttle and power. Whereas, in case of an Indirect Cycle was planned to be operationalised under the capabilities similar to nuclear power reactor in an atomic power station. The process involved usage of the thermal energy generated from the nuclear reactor, with absorption of heat by the liquid metal coolant placed in the buffer zonal regions around the reactor. The liquid metal coolant connected to an intermediate heat exchanger which converts the developed heat into a secondary loop leading the heated air to jet engines.
            The jet engine contains radiators which acts as a medium of transfer for thermal energy to the air stream flowing through the engine on continuous sortie of aircraft. The propulsion projects were undertaken by series of operational procedures under the organisations involved in previous nuclear reactor constructions.This formed the foundation for development of the indirect propulsion system for turbines to reach a final credible research and development in the late 1950’s.
            The airframe involved in protection and safety of the reactor onboard the aircraft was brought into due diligence for consideration after propulsion designs. These studies were limited to research and analysis based upon frameworks provided to the reactor in the atomic power station. Construction, operation, and testing of low-powered reactors with suitable shields, analysis of flight sortie requirements, and propulsion research studies were one of the critical factors involved in development stage of the nuclear aircraft propulsion in tactical reliability.

          • AIRCRAFT NUCLEAR POWER PLANT DESIGN AND REACTOR REQUIREMENTS

            The Nuclear Power Plant in the Military Aircraft forms the heart to complete propulsion of equipment, machinery, and rotary operations in the aircraft. With the increasing requirements of flying heights and propulsion speeds in the military technology, A 3 Phased division was made in 1950’s to indicate the requirements of Military aircrafts in terms of warfare and long-range capabilities. The First division included the capability operational characteristic of Sea Level Operation at an air speed of 0.9 Mach followed by the second and third division with an Operational height of 45,000 Feet from GL at an airspeed of Mach 1.5 and Operational height of 65,000 Feet from GL at an airspeed of Mach 0.9, respectively. This brought upon the much-required military requirements into focus with compliance to be made to at least one of the aforementioned phases in order to have an operational capability and efficiency. The nuclear power plant design for the aircraft is to be made with due consideration given to other flight operational characteristics and performance efficiencies required by the military. As per the basic operational capability of Military Warfare, the nuclear power plant should have a power density within the core exceeding 1 kw/cm3with an optimal high efficiency power density as 5 kw/cm3.
            The most efficient propulsion engines which can be retrofitted into the nuclear-powered aircraft are the Turbojet Engines and Compressor Jet Engines due to Inlet air-based circulation capabilities and lower handicapped properties which do not comply to the military requirements. The basic requirement of Nuclear power plant is to fulfil the provision of air inlet temperature into the turbojet engine as per the requirement of at least 1140 Degree Fahrenheit, which define the efficiency and operability levels of the engine to propel the aircraft. Based upon these characteristics of high heat requirements for inlet temperatures, the mechanical characteristics that decide the physical characteristics of size and weight of the Nuclear power plant in a manned aircraft are Specific Thrust and Specific Heat Consumption.
            Specific Thrust in context to aircraft requirements refers to the amount of thrust that is generated or produced in pounds from pound of air being handled or propelled through the engine mechanisms which in layman terms, can be defined as the amount of downward force exerted from the aircraft with a pound of volumetric air being propelled through the engine mechanism of the aircraft. Whereas Specific Heat Consumption or Specific Fuel consumption in aircrafts refers to the loss of heat or fuel-based energy produced in the form of heat from the propulsion system into the atmosphere. The Temperature of the Fluid which propels the aircraft in the propulsion system stands to be the important factor affecting the aforementioned characteristics of Specific Thrust and Specific Heat Consumption, which was displayed in the TAB of ANP Program of USA in 1950.
            In addition to the presence of Nuclear Fuel based reactor onboard the manned military bomber / aircraft, the presence of Chemical Fuel is to be present as a supplementary heat source. The Reactor based Nuclear Fuel and Chemical Fuel should not be accumulated or cross linked due to their high vulnerability to cause loss in process safety measures leading to a possible Radiation Explosion. The Chemical Fuel is to be kept as an auxiliary supplement to the Propulsion system of the manned aircraft in the systems. The major importance of presence of Chemical based propulsion as an auxiliary system includes its survivability role in powering the aircraft propulsion system in case of a Non-Destructive and Non-Damaging sequences of events. Its presence would be helpful in bringing upon the warming up conditions and quality assurance checks on board the aircraft with minimal risk being posed to ground personnel during operational repair and overhaul. A partial involvement of the chemical fuel in increasing the Specific thrust provided during take-off or high-speed operations in varying altitudes can be of immense efficient propulsions considering its role in increasing the air temperature above the required levels within the turbines of the turbojet engines.
            The Various reactor types which were analysed to meet the requirements of size, structure, cooling capability and propulsion compliance included 7 to 8 categories of Aircraft reactor types designed with the basic foundation propulsion design. The Reactors included usage of Solid Fuel and Liquid Fuel based Reactors under the Stationary Fuel category of Aircraft reactor alongside the Homogeneous Fuel and Separated Moderator based Technology being used under the Circulating Fuel Aircraft Reactor category. The Basic categorisation of Fuel Flow based Reactor type is explained as shown below:
            • The Stationery Fuel in aforementioned context refers to Fuel Source with minimal kinetic energy in terms of rotation throughout the nuclear power plant in the aircraft, wherein the Fuel remains intact in various enclosed cabins or containers.
            • Circulatory Fuel refers to the fuel source which is placed and dispersed under continuous flow throughout the reactor containment with the fuel being completely in dissolved formats throughout the moderator which affects the flow of neutrons within a radioactive element being used as the source of fuel in the nuclear reactor.( Representation Diagram for Power Plant Connectivity to Turbine Propulsion System )

            Nuclear fuel alternatives after Fukushima have challenges ahead

          • Source : Forbes Magazine Excerpt

            Within these reactor fuel types; A solid fuel can be used which is usually Sintered Uranium Dioxide which can be noticed to be used as a source of fuel in most of the Nuclear Power Plants in various nations. These are placed in a close compact pellet shaped enclosures or cermet’s to have high resistance and efficiencies. Liquid Fuel is used in some cases wherein the Fuel is placed in Tubular casings within the reactor. These form the Fuel component within the Stationery Fuel category of Aircraft Reactor.
            The Coolant which acts as the source of cooling the reactor from high heat generation capabilities and protect the reactor from all possible damages in relation to the loss of reactor flow. Coolants used are dependent upon the Type of moderator being used and the Fuel Source being used within the reactor with due consideration being given to Stationery and Circulatory requirements of the fuel. The Stationery and Circulation Fuel systems in the reactor can be operated on various propulsion majorly upon Turbojet Propulsion system, with an exception of Turbo Compressor Jet Engines being compatible within the Stationery Fuel Type of Sintered Uranium Dioxide alongside a Boiling Coolant or Gas Based Coolant within the reactor design.

          • OPERATIONAL RADIATION DAMAGE AND DOSAGE RATES ANALYSIS

            The Operational Radiation damage refers to the deterioration and inefficiency caused to the Operational Crew and the Mechanism installed within the aircraft due to excessive exposure than the permissible limits of radiation from fuel source. Shielding is the mechanism which stands to be the permanent mechanical and chemical protection which allows the compartment of Reactor to be isolated from the rest of the compartments in the aircraft. This allows lower chances of Radioactive emissions, thereby leading to lower levels of Radiation dosage and loss of operational equipment on board the aircraft.
            The Shielding based weight imparted within the aircraft is of major consideration, as it involves the levels of permissible dosage for the crew and other organics / mechanical equipment within the aircraft during its operation .Gamma radiation doses have been expressed in roentgens (r) for many years, 1 r being the gamma radiation dose giving an energy deposition of83.8 erg/g of air. On the same basis, the “rep”(roentgen equivalent physical) was devised to serve as a measure of both neutron and gamma radiation doses. Thus 1 rep in gammas i s equal to 1 r, and 1 rep in neutrons is a dose giving an energy deposition of 83.8 erg/g of tissue. This stands to be the basic conversion and dosage measurements that were used to accurately measure the shielding and permissible limits for the crew designed to operate the nuclear propelled aircraft. The Living tissue within the human body stands to be of major importance and is most affected by high-speed neutrons within the nuclear fuel, thereby to correlate the damage caused by gamma and neutron-based rays being emitted from the nuclear fuel, “rem” was established which stands for roentgen equivalent man.
            On an overview, “rep” represents the damage caused by neutron and gamma rays emitted from nuclear fuel to the organic material in the aircraft whereas, “rem” represents the damage caused by neutrons and gamma ray emission from nuclear fuel to the human tissues of the aircraft crew.
            The usually accepted permissible limits in the laboratory facilities is 15 rem/ year which is usually deviated by a rate of 7 times the permissible rates due to due negligence by the operating personnel. Considering the same, a permissible limits of 100 rem was established as the regulation of operability within the aircraft for the crew, A shielding protection designed to contain 1 rem / hr would permit 100 hours of operational flying hours for the crew. If a better shielding is provisioned within the aircraft which involves a protection limitation of 0.1 rem / hr, this would increase the flying operational hours by 10 times i.e. 1000 hours per crew.
            The radiation damage induced in the aircraft not only applies on the operational crew but is effective on the mechanism and mechanical operating parts of the aircraft which are organic in nature. The amount of maintenance work required to maintain the aircraft in proper conditions completely depends on the reliability and service life planned for the specific equipment in the aircraft. The organic materials embedded or transferred in flight during a sortie are highly vulnerable to deterioration and damage from nuclear radiation in the operating environment , thereby bringing up the requirement of placing upper limits on the shielding levels in the aircraft and the degree of division required.
            A Practical engineering-based experimentation was done on various materials used in the aircraft as part of the analysis to test for its strength and agility towards the radiation emissions from the power plant. The various minor parts used within the aircraft were tested against the nuclear radiation, wherein the best available quality of equipment was used for testing purposes against the emissions.
            It was noticed that the highest quality of materials when exposed to 30,000 rep / hr which is equivalent to 3,00,000 rem / hr would be completely damaged and deteriorated leading to loss of aircraft equipment and major fluctuation in operational stability of the aircraft. Based upon this foundation of exposure test and engineering analysis , it was devised of having a nuclear-powered airplane truly operational, to have a desirable and essential limitation on radiation dose from there actor to a value such that elastomers and greases would have an operational life of at least 300Hrs , if located 10ft from the reactor. To satisfy this condition the reactor shield should be designed to emit a dose of not more than 1000 rep/hr which is equivalent to 10,000 rem/hr at a distance of 50 feet from the centre of the reactor.

          • GROUND HANDLING , EMISSION AND AIRCRAFT MAINTANENCE ANALYSIS

            A proper examination is done to analyse the risks and hazards from operating a nuclear-powered aircraft under stall position or post and pre sortie positions. These stages pose the highest risk of contamination in a societal area rather than in a flying sortie. An aircraft requires regular maintenance and overhauls to have better efficiency in the operational mechanism of the sortie. During the maintenance and operational repairs / overhauls of the aircraft, three phased categories of works are possible to be operated within the reach of the personnel involved. The Range of 50 ft from the core of the reactor releases a radiation emission of 1000 rem/hr considering direct human intervention. This is considered as the full power dose with the limitation of shielding from emission to be the maximum in engineering capabilities.
            The Three phased working requirements as part of handling and maintenance of nuclear aircraft can include the following :
            • Regular Maintenance operations – Usage of Auxiliary Shielding can be provisioned to enhance ground resistance capability from radiation emissions to the working / operating personnel.
            • Post-Sortie / Pre-Sortie Handling and Maintenance –Usage of Auxiliary ground shielding not possible due to its presence in taxiway or runway regions / tarmac area.
            • Unscheduled Activity of Emergency –Auxiliary Shielding cannot be available due to the unprecedentedestimation involved in the emergency requirements and operational emergencies of the aircraft.
            With the Testing flight program initiated to operate a nuclear based power plant within a B 36 bomber of the United States Air Force under Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program, it was noticed that the aircraft requires approximately 2000 Personnel working hours for Regular Maintenance per flight. The 2000 working hours has been estimated with consideration being given to one sortie operations in a week.With consideration given to the maintenance operation under Regular Maintenance, the aircraft is placed under shutdown mode for the 1st phase maintenance operations. The emission levels from the radioactive source falls by a factor of 20 when the reactor onboard is shutdown. The Fission products which are generated as part of the operations in nuclear fuel when nearing to decay reduce the emission levels factor further by 2 times in addition to the 20 Times reduction on shutdown.
            A proper decontamination and protection schedule must be planned for the maintenance and operations team personnel, with 1/3rd of the maintenance hours devoted being at a distance of minimal effect from the reactor staging in the aircraft and the remaining 2/3rd within the vicinity of the aircraft. The Auxiliary shielding for the reactor is arranged in the 1st phase of maintenance operations by replacing the fuel or water in the shielded region of the reactor with Zinc bromide , mercury, or oil metal shot mixture. Since these materials are induced into the shielding , the shielding material needs to be strong enough to sustain the dead load and operating load due to these mixtures being replaced as an when required in the reactor.
            The Below mentioned infographic gives an idea of the Shielded Nuclear Reactor with fuel elements representation which can be retrofitted within the aircraft as per ORNL Research Document , United States of America

CONCLUSION

This basis of foundation to develop nuclear propulsion in the fighter aircrafts and bomber / air surveillance warplanes of future generations can be made with increasing technological advancements. These can lead to low-cost nuclear reactors which are durable, lightweight, and cost efficient based upon the 3D printing capabilities. These make the strategic goal and availability of long-range military and commercial aircrafts possible in the near future with continuous advancements. Nuclear energy is determined to stand strong and efficient in the face of decreasing fossil fuel-based propulsion, which are limited and are struck with depleting reserve levels. The planet’s dependency on renewable sources will bring the most possible and efficient output, of which nuclear energy stands to be part of the future technology of long commutation, higher military control and economic warfare.
REFERENCES

  • Report on Manned Aircraft nuclear Propulsion program by Comptroller General of United States – Department of Defence – The United States of America
  • Air Command and Staff College Report – Major Brian JG (United States of Air Force)
  • Application of Atomic Engine in Aviation – Military Press of MoD for USSR

 BY  Pasagada Pardha Sai, CNSP (P), M. Tech (HSE),B. Tech (Civil Engg.)

The Big Shocks-Crisis that changed the world

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Author: Pallav Shrivastava
Research Coordinator, GCTC
Areas of interest: International affairs, macroeconomics, international finance, foreign policy, public policy, climate change and modern history
 
 
 
INTRODUCTION
Four external global big shocks have hit the world: Pandemics, World Wars, Economic crises, and Ecological crises. One can argue that these are very different catastrophes and cannot be compared with each other but they have a lot in common. Pandemics, World Wars, and Ecological crises cause large-scale deaths. 65 million people died in the Spanish Influenza of 1920 and World war 2 each. All the big shocks create huge economic crises as billions and trillions of dollars are lost and economies contract. The world economy contracted by 4.4% due to covid-19, the biggest decline since the Second World War with a far stronger contraction than the 1.7 percent recorded in 2009 during the global financial crisis [1]. In case of a war, capital is diverted to military expenditure, putting a hold on other priorities. In case of a pandemic, capital and resources need to be diverted in the pandemic response and lockdowns have huge economic costs. In case of an economic/financial crisis, people lose their savings, assets. All the big shocks at best lead to a recession or at worst, lead to depression. All the big shocks lead to significant political and social changes. Many blame the great depression for the rise of Fascism and Nazism in Italy and Germany, World War 1 for the Bolshevik Revolution, the decline of the Byzantine Empire after the Black Plague, and many instances [2]. Surprisingly, there are many things common among the Big shocks.
SUDDENNESS AND PREPAREDNESS
No country in the world can claim that it is prepared for big shocks. The covid-19 Pandemic is the most recent example. Developed countries like the USA, UK, France etc had no pandemic preparedness and even if they had, it just remained in papers. All the big shocks till now were unexpected and caught everyone off guard. Every country wants to exploit opportunities but knowingly ignore the risks associated with those. Each country sees these opportunities in forming alliances and accumulating arms for the sake of balance of power but no country thinks  about the disastrous outcome [full-scale war] which can be based on miscalculation and distrust. During the global financial crisis of 2008, the housing market saw a boom but it all came crashing down when it was realized that the boom was actually a bubble, created by too big to fail investment banks and lack of regulatory oversight [3]. Covid-19 is not the first pandemic of the 21st century. We have had SARS in 2003, H1B Influenza [ Swine Flu] in 2009 and ebola in 2013. These pandemics had a much higher mortality rate but their impact was disproportionate. They did not affect every country equally but the countries that did get affected did much better against covid-19. Countries like South Korea, Taiwan etc followed and implemented textbook practices of 3ts [ testing, tracing and treatment] to contain covid 19 and they were quite successful [4].
Humanity has not invented the time machine yet but we do have enough knowledge, data and tools to predict and forecast. In fact, with time, predictions and forecasting ability have only gotten better [5]. Countries don’t just get involved in arms races to showcase their hard power. They know very well that if the time would arrive, they will use those arms even if it is due to a miscalculation. The post-cold war period has not witnessed any major arms control treaty, on the contrary, countries are building up their military arsenals. The Macroeconomic forecasts and financial models failed to predict the global financial crisis of 2008. The sovereign rating agencies gave AAA ratings [ best ratings] to sub-prime mortgages [low-quality mortgages] which were largely responsible for the global financial crises. Health experts have been warning the world against a global pandemic for years [6]. Countries should work meticulously on risk analysis and risk mitigation but we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.
THE ACTUAL SHOCK
The world is a chronic procrastinator when it comes to big shocks. It delays everything until we hit the crisis but during the crisis, it diverts all its resources to fight it. The actual shocks are like a nightmare for humanity. Deaths, taking place in large numbers, cities being bombed, people losing their jobs and life-savings and so many more consequences. 21 million and 65 million people died in World War 1 and world 2 respectively. Billions and trillions of dollars of income were lost in the great depression and global financial crises. 65 million people died in Spanish Influence while in covid-19, 4 million lost their lives which is much less if we compare it to the past global pandemics [7].
 
Big shocks affect every sphere of life. Everyone is affected directly or indirectly. During these big shocks, markets take the back seat while the state and community gets forward. The role of the state expands while solidarity within the community increases [8]. One can argue that the
states are not prepared against these big shocks but states certainly have more tools and powers to fight these shocks. The global financial crisis of 2008 could have become the second depression but with the right fiscal and monetary policy, it was avoided. Deaths per million people in covid-19 is low because of modern medical science and the ability to test, trace and isolate on such a large scale. The lightning speed in which vaccines were developed will keep the covid deaths much lesser as compared to other pandemics.
People go through a horrendous time during a shock but there have been instances in the past where the state strategically used the time of crises to implement its agenda or long-pending reforms which may not have been possible during normal times. Naomi Klein, a Pulitzer prize winner, in her book “The Shock Doctrine”, explained this in detail. In the book, she elaborates on “Disaster Capitalism” which means implementation of free-market policies during the time of crises. During the time of shock, there is widespread suffering so people will not be able to protest against the state and big bang reforms can be enforced.
ECONOMIC DESPAIR AND SOCIAL UNREST
The big shocks expose the fault lines and vulnerabilities of the economy and society. The issues of wealth inequality and social problems come to the forefront of national discourse. The aftermath of the global financial crises, with the slow recovery and rising disparity, left tens of millions of people behind the fading hope of climbing up the social ladder. Though triggered by different events, ranging from rising transport costs to higher fuel prices, and specific demands vary by country, a common theme underlying the social discontent is reported to be stagnating living standards and inequality .
The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening existing Socio-economic inequality. The lockdown measures have taken a huge toll on the labour markets with surging unemployment and plunging labour force participation. Job losses are concentrated in industries with lower wages, and among women and youth. The recent riots in South Africa, protests in the US against police brutality and systematic racism and farmers protests in India are few examples of social unrest. The big shocks contribute to social unrest by lowering economic growth and increasing inequality [9].
Since the economy contracts or struggles due to the big shocks, a large number of people get eliminated from the labour market. But the fear is that technological change may disrupt labour markets in transition, as they take over certain tasks and make traditional jobs obsolete. The coming age is the age of Artificial Intelligence and robots. A recent survey of business leaders and human resource strategists of large companies around the world shows that over 80% are accelerating the digitization of their work processes and expanding their use of remote work.Whereas 50% indicate that they will accelerate the automation of jobs in their companies [10]. Automation certainly raises productivity but it also increases Inequality by displacing low skilled workers. We may be looking forward to jobless recovery and growth. This is a tricky issue that needs to be addressed by policymakers. If left unchecked, growing disparities will lead to long-lasting grievances and ultimately to social unrest, forming a vicious cycle.
POST CRISES BOOM
Black death, which is the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the deaths of 75 million- 200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa, peaked in Europe from 1347 to 1351. It had pretty interesting economic consequences. Due to the deaths of so many labourers, the demand for labourers increased which in turn increased their wages. This proved to be unprofitable for many landowners as their costs increased in the time of the pandemic. This sort of made society and economy more equitable.
The period following World War 1 saw impressive economic growth until the October crash of 1929. Many scholars attribute the period following World War 2, from 1945 to 1971, as the “Golden age of Capitalism” [11]. The period marked the achievement of a high and sustained level of economic growth and a high level of productivity growth along with low unemployment.
The globalization of trade and finance accelerated economic growth. International solidarity and Bretton wood system guided the war-torn world. Though, it can be argued that this is not true for the third world countries as half of them had just attained independence while the other half was fighting for their independence. The “Golden Age of Capitalism” ended in 1971 when president Nixon abandoned the Gold standard and ended the Bretton woods system [12]. When a financial crisis happens, markets correct themselves and depict the real value instead of a bubble.
There are many reasons for these post-crisis booms. During a big shock, GDP plunges but after the recovery, it does bounce back. It is because of  multiple reasons. First, during crises people save [ due to panic] and do not spend, once the normalcy gets back, people spend and invest. Second, crises encourage people and businesses to try new ways of doing things. Apollo’s arrow, a new book by Nicholas Christakis of Yale University, shows that the Spanish Flu pandemic gave way to “increased expression of risk-taking”. Today new business formation is once again surging across the world, as entrepreneurs seek to fill gaps in the market. Third, every time after a big shock, the state, market and society get more organized. Big shocks challenge the state, market and society and inform them about their fault lines and leakages. Fourth, political upheaval often follows, with unpredictable economic consequences. Finally, big shocks increase the level of government spending as fiscal and monetary policy is expanded to rescue the economy. It is important to implement these policy measures as no spending will lead to depression, exacerbating the shock [13]. Due to the covid pandemic, global debt has reached an all-time high of $281 trillion or more than 355% of global GDP, according to the institute of international finance. Government deficits and debt to GDP ratio are at an all-time high in every major country. There is no easy answer to solve the debt problem but a discussion should start to reduce this unsustainable debt and deficits.
WAY FORWARD
The World has not faced recently any Global Ecological Diasater. The biotic crises in the past, have led to mass extinction. The earth faced five mass extinctions in the past and the ongoing mass extinction caused by human activities is called the sixth extinction [14]. The biggest shock and existential threat to humanity in the future is: climate disaster. Ecological crises should be categorized as natural disasters but increase in their frequency and scale is clearly due to climate change. Superstorms, cyclones, melting of glaciers, extreme rainfall, flooding, desertification, wildfires, droughts etc give ample evidence about climate change. There is no doubt among scientists that human activities caused and are still causing climate change. The Paris agreement of 2015 was a historic achievement in the fight against climate change but its proper implementation and achievement of targets are way more important. Due to the current big shock, governments around the world have realized the significance of resilience and
sustainability. This is the reason why more governments are taking climate change seriously and investing in green energy and technology to decarbonize their economy by 2050. Our actions will tell whether we learnt from our mistakes in the past or we failed to treat history as an important source for precautionary measure for predicted upcoming disaster..
 
Do not write this sentence or do not write in the conclusion ” this article focussed…..”. It gives the audience the impression that this piece is not yours but written by someone else.

Will the coronavirus prove fatal for the European Union too?

The pandemic Covid’19 within a few months became something so dramatic and deadly that the current generation was just unable to fathom. With no treatments and vaccines in place (yet), countries have to opt for drastic preventive measures which are having a monumental impact on the economy and society. As the IMF recently declared, that the world economy has entered a depression as worse as The Great Depression of the 1930s, predicting the loss of jobs for millions around the world.
The political impact of the pandemic is proving to be equally severe and extreme. The multi-regional organizations are set to be the most affected, with the European Union facing the most fatal blow.
The EU was the very first among all the existing regional organizations which for the first time experimented with sort of a smaller version of the idea of a “World Government”. It adopted a host of “adventurous” measures to make this experiment a success. The dilution of borders, the establishment of the Schengen Area within the EU states with officially abolishing passport and border control, which was to function under a single jurisdiction, is just to name a few.
The most ambitious plan, however, has been the introduction of the Euro, as a single currency to be in circulation among all its member states, precisely with the aim of consolidating the European economy in a unilinear fashion. The result of this ambitious plan has been mixed so far, with the Greek Government Debt crisis of 2009, revealing the faulty side of the Euro plan. Luckily, the EU was able to overcome the disaster, thanks to the German intervention, for bringing the situation under control.
The sudden rise of right wing nationalism in Europe, during the last few years, has posed a veritable threat to the existence of the EU. With the infamous Brexit of 2019, the matter worsened further. Now in the face of the pandemic, the EU is confronted with an unprecedented challenge.
To curb the rate of infection of this highly contagious disease, the lockdown has been in place in almost all the major states of the EU, with the sealing of borders, suspension of visas, and commercial activities. With the economy shut down, the pandemic is wreaking havoc in the European economy, with major countries like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, etc dealing with the most fatal blow. As a way out of this depressive phase of the economy, Italy and many other states of the EU have pushed for the issuance of “corona bonds”- the idea is to share the economic debt of the pandemic by all the EU states. This has led to unparalleled internal clash and discontent among the finance ministers of the Eurozone, with states like the Netherlands opposing the idea vehemently. Even though after a lot of debates and discussions the EU finally approved $ 590 billion as a stimulus to boost the economy, it miserably failed to arrive at a decision over the joint debt. Things worsened further when the Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Comte warned about the “failure of the EU’ over the Covid outbreak, subtly hinting at the imminent threat posed to the whole existence of the EU.
If the European Union fails to lead the member states through such an abnormal economic depression, the question of its credibility and relevance is bound to arise, with the right-wing parties acting as catalysts in an already wretched situation, thus pushing one of the most successful experiments of a multi-regional Government to the brink of extinction, making the future of the European Union as uncertain as to the future of the human civilization itself.

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