1. Countering extremism, terrorism and separatism is a major objective of the SCO. Do you agree?(GS 2) Indian Express Introduction:
  • All most all member-states of SCO are facing the problem of radicalism, cross-border terrorism over the years.
  • Russia’s experience in Chechnya, China’s Xinjiang region and Central Asian states’ fight against terrorism, extremism is well known.
Yes:-
  • The SCO is primarily centered on its member nations' central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism,separatism and extremism.
  • To institutionalise fight against terrorism, they formed a regional anti-terrorist centre at Tashkent, which conducted anti-terror exercises.
  • In October 2007, the SCO signed an agreement with the collective security treaty organization (CSTO) to broaden cooperation on issues such as security, crime, and drug trafficking.
  • The organisation is also redefining cyberwarfare saying that the dissemination of information harmful to the spiritual, moral and cultural spheres of other states should be considered a "security threat".
  • Over the past few years, the organisation's activities have expanded to include increased military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism.
  • In addition to the final Astana Declaration, the SCO leaders have signed 10 other documents, including a convention on combating extremism and a declaration on the joint fight against international terrorism.
  • Indian prime minister said the inclusion of his country in the SCO would give fresh impetus to the fight against terrorism in the region
No:-
  • Sceptics would say the apparent convergence between what the SCO does and India wants may be somewhat deceptive.
    • They would insist that the difficulties encountered by the recent Indian bid to isolate Pakistan in various international forums on the question of terrorism should caution India against expecting too much on this front at the SCO.
    • For China is unlikely to allow India to put Pakistan on the mat.
  • The promotion of connectivity, trade and regional economic integration is the other major objective of the SCO.
  • Cultural cooperation also occurs in the SCO framework.
  • India is also likely to get greater access to major gas and oil exploration projects in Central Asia once it becomes part of the SCO. Many of the current members of the six-nation grouping have huge reserves of oil and natural gas. So terrorism is just one of the objectives of the SCO.
2. “Terrorism today has become an instrument of state policy for some countries.” Do you agree?(GS 2) The Hindu Introduction:
  • Terrorists have long found refuge in countries and in many cases worked hand in hand with the local governments.
  • Today several countries continue to attract terrorists and extremists for training and conspiring their attacks.
  • The host countries do not try to disassociate themselves fully from their ties to terrorism and in some cases continue to provide tacit support and use terror to accomplish broader objectives.
Terrorism has become a state policy for some countries :-
  • With the radical Taliban government establishing control, several radical Islamic (mostly Sunni) terror organizations used Afghanistan as their training and operational base.
  • According to US,several terrorist groups including Lebanese Hizballah, HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Ahmad Jibril's PFLP-GC have been provided funding, safe haven, training, and weapons in Iran.
  • Pakistan has long been the main staging ground and planning centre for Islamic terrorists operating in South Asia.
  • According to international reports, Pakistan's military and its secret spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been training and funding several terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and India, including the decades long terrorism campaign in Indian Kashmir and the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
  • Sudan has been a training hub and safe haven for members of several of the more violent international terrorist and radical Islamic groups of the last decade.
However the countries which were blamed to be the sponsors of terrorism also have been slowly realizing the disastrous consequences of this menace as well.
  • Also increasingly efforts have been taken like banning
  • The sanctions which the US imposes on countries on the list are
    • A ban on arms-related exports and sales
    • Prohibition of economic assistance and other sanctions are declared .
What to do?
  • Emerging economies should “take the lead” in finalising a comprehensive convention on international terrorism.
  • The need of the hour is for countries to work towards dismantling terror infrastructure, destroying terror network and drying up the sources of terror financing and weapons supply.
  • Efforts to prevent supply of arms to terrorists, disrupt terrorist movements, and curb and criminalise terror financing should be strengthened.
  • World needs  to delink terror and religion and work together to counter radicalisation,
3. Does the monsoon affect Indian economy? Critically discuss.(GS 3) The Hindu Yes,it affects:-
  • The monsoon is the lifeblood for India’s farm-dependent $2 trillion economy, as at least half the farmlands are rain-fed.
  • Agriculture:
    • A normal to above-normal and well-distributed monsoon boosts farm output and farmers’ income, thereby increasing the demand for consumer and automotive products in rural markets.
    • The monsoon has a direct impact on the country’s agricultural GDP.
    • delayed or poor monsoon means supply issues and acceleration in food inflation.
    • increases the imports of essential food staples and forces the government to take measures like farm loan waivers, thereby putting pressure on
    • A good monsoon will increase farm output and incomes, thereby stimulating rural demand.
    • A normal monsoon can soften food inflation and offset the upside risk to overall inflation from higher crude prices and sticky services inflation.
  • Other areas:
    • The second consecutive year of normal monsoon will help revive consumption demand, which was severely affected by the de-legalisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.
    • A deficit monsoon could also lead to a drought-like situation, thereby affecting the rural household incomes, consumption and economic growth.
    • A poor monsoon not only leads to weak demand for fast-moving consumer goods, two-wheelers, tractors and rural housing sectors but also.
    • Whereas a normal monsoon results in a good harvest, which in turn lifts rural incomes and boosts spending on consumer goods.
    • It also has a positive impact on hydro power projects.
    • Interest rates are all areas that can be influenced by the rains
    • A good monsoon means ­higher purchasing power.
    • Sectors such as autos and fast-moving consumer goods, which have significant rural demand, will benefit from rising rural incomes.
However government is taking measures with respect to water conservation,water management and making agricultural practices more climate resilient,so that farmers need not depend solely on monsoon rains.