1. VIENNA’S WOES-
GS 3- Security-Terrorism
(i) The attack in Vienna that killed four people on Monday night underscores(highlights) the transnational threat European countries face from Islamist terrorists.
(ii) The assault(attack) follows the beheading of a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb and a knife attack in Nice that took three lives.
Plug The Loopholes
(i) In Vienna, the suspected gunman, Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, a dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia and of Albanian origin, opened fire near a synagogue before being shot dead by the police.
(ii) He had a previous terrorism conviction(charge of commiting offence). In April last year, he was sentenced to 22 months after he tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. He was released in December because of his age.
(iii) The immediate question the Austrian authorities face would be about the failure in preventing the attack.
(iv) How did a terrorism convict slip off the security radar and launch an attack in the capital city at a time when Europe was on high alert following the terror assaults in France?
(v) Austria will also have to plug(fill) the security loopholes as several countries in the continent, including France and the U.K., have raised the threat levels.
(vi) The larger challenge is how to address the issue of radicalisation among youth and counter attempts to disrupt the social cohesion of the continent.
(i) Austria’s conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, known for his fiery anti-immigrant politics, sent the right message when he called for unity in the fight against terrorism.
(ii) He said the fight is not between Christians and Muslims or Austrians and immigrants, but between “civilisation and barbarity”.
(iii) Mr. Kurz, who had teamed up with the Islamophobic far-right Freedom Party in 2017 to form the government for the first time, is now in power with the Green Party and has more political leeway(freedom) to build a stronger national response to terrorism.
(iv) Jihadists use violence to create social discord(disturbance). While they unleash violence on the public in the name of Islam, the rising Islamophobic, nationalist parties in Europe seize on such incidents to bolster(raise) their fortunes.
(v) France’s Marine Le Pen, with an eye on the 2022 presidential election, has called for a ban on immigrants from some Muslim countries and declared “a war” to “evict Islamism by force from our country”.
(vi) In Austria, the Freedom Party would take cues from her National Rally party. This is a two-front attack on the democratic and secular values Europe stands for — and that is what the terrorists want.
(vii) Leaders of France, Austria and other terror-hit countries should not allow the jihadists to have their way.
(viii) They should clamp down on terror networks, isolate and punish the jihadists, counter the ideology of political Islamists and build on the values of pluralism, secularism, democracy and equality, and step up deradicalisation efforts with help from communities.
(ix) This is a fight they cannot afford to lose.
While stopping terror, authorities should build on values of pluralism and secularism.
2. THE FORGOTTEN FACT OF CHINA-OCCUPIED KASHMIR-
GS 3- Security challenges and their management in border areas
(i) Following the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a China-Pakistan tandem(alongside) has emerged to internationalise the issue, including in the UN Security Council.
(ii) Pakistan has feigned(faked) solidarity with the people of Kashmir and continues to train and fund separatists and terrorists.
(iii) The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog that monitors terror financing, has retained Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ for a good reason.
(iv) China’s support for Pakistan is motivated by a desire to perpetuate its own territorial grab in the trans-Karakoram Shaksgam Tract of Kashmir.
(i) China treats the J&K issue as a “bilateral dispute left over from history” to be resolved between India and Pakistan.
(ii) It has turned a blind eye to the constitutional shenanigans(mischielfs) by which Pakistan’s so-called federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan has acquired complete sway over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
(iii) It ignores Pakistan’s agenda of integrating Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.
(iv) Yet, China has the temerity(boldness) to question the establishment of the Union Territory of Ladakh and to term it a ‘unilateral’ attempt to change “the status quo in the Kashmir region”.
(v) China has no locus standi(position/stand) to comment on India’s internal affairs since the erstwhile princely State of J&K acceded to India through the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947.
(vi) The Shaksgam valley in the trans-Karakoram tract, part of PoK, was handed over on a platter by a supine(weak) Pakistan to China through an illegal border agreement on March 2, 1963.
(vii) However, the continuing Chinese occupation of Kashmir’s territory does not find adequate mention in the contemporary discourse surrounding this issue.
(viii) China occupies 5,180 square kilometres in the Shaksgam Valley in addition to approximately 38,000 square kilometres in Aksai Chin.
(ix) China and Pakistan have colluded to obfuscate(hide) these facts, even as they brazenly promote the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which runs through parts of Indian territory under their respective occupation.
History, Underhand Methods
(i) Historically, China played an insidious(wicked) role in changing the frontiers of Jammu and Kashmir through fictitious claims and unscrupulous(unprincipled) alliances with local chieftains.
(ii) China exploited the ‘Great Game’ between British India and Russia in the late 19th century.
(iii) It pitched territorial claims far beyond the traditional frontiers of Xinjiang. It gradually crept(invaded) into areas in the Taghdumbash Pamirs and the Karakorams, well south of its frontier along the Kun Lun mountains.
(iv) While the British and the Russians were busy creating buffer zones along the frontiers of Xinjiang and Tibet, China was systematically stepping into the void.
The Pakistan Connection
(i) It is this border that was blatantly compromised by Pakistan in its so-called agreement with China on March 2, 1963.
(ii) By giving in to China’s expansionist designs and spurious claims to a boundary along the Karakoram range, Pakistan not only compromised India’s traditional frontier along the Kun Lun range to the north-west of the Karakoram Pass, but also enabled China to extrapolate a claim line eastwards along the Karakoram range in Ladakh.
(iii) This collusion allowed China to claim the whole of Aksai Chin in which it had no historical presence.
(iv) After the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, from 1953, Chinese troops actively started transgressing the frontier in eastern Hunza.
(v) In October 1959, they rustled some livestock from the area, prompting an angry response from Pakistan that it was determined to defend its frontiers.
(vi) However, President Ayub Khan, spotting an opportunity in the rapidly deteriorating India-China ties in the late 1950s, decided, instead, to pander to the Chinese.
(vii) Pakistan deliberately chose to downgrade the historical claims of the Mir of Hunza and eventually signed away the Shaksgam valley to China in 1963.
As Party To The Dispute
(i) The provisional nature of the territorial settlement between China and Pakistan is evident in Article 6 of the 1963 agreement.
(ii) It clearly states that “the two Parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China, on the boundary as described in Article Two of the present Agreement, so as to sign a formal Boundary Treaty to replace the present agreement”.
(iii) In effect, this agreement has established China as a party to the dispute. It has a vested interest in legitimising its illegitimate gains in the trans-Karakoram tract.
The anniversary of the Instrument of Accession, on October 26, is a reminder of China’s illegal territorial occupation.
3. THE CRUCIAL EXPERTISE OF CAPFS-
GS 3- Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
(i) When disaster strikes our country in any manner, be it natural or man-made, the government summons(calls) the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to carry out the task of overcoming the disaster.
(ii) They not only carry out rescue and relief operations, but also helps in mitigating(reducing) the pains and problems arising out of the disaster.
(iii) Even before the country got to know about the oncoming hydra of COVID-19, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had already set up its 600-bed quarantine centre in Chawla on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Alacrity Of ITBP
(i) Out of the 324 Indian passengers in the first batch that arrived in New Delhi from China’s Wuhan on February 1, 2020, 103 were quarantined at the ITBP Centre, while the rest were confined to an Army facility in Manesar.
(ii) That the confidence reposed in the ITBP was not misplaced is evident from the fact that the Director-General of ITBP was given just two days to establish the 600-bed quarantine, and it was ready within the given time.
(iii) The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had roped in specialists from the Safdarjung Hospital to coordinate with ITBP officials. Doctors and paramedical personnel of other CAPFs were also roped in.
(iv) Another 10,000-bed quarantine centre was established in Chhatarpur in New Delhi by the ITBP, where over 10,000 patients have been treated till now, according to ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey.
(v) This is the largest quarantine centre in the world, he added.
(i) The expertise acquired by ITBP personnel and the Standard Operating Procedure prepared by the ITBP came handy for the States and other police forces in establishing their own quarantine centres and COVID-19 hospitals.
(ii) The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had directed the CAPFs to establish 5,400-bedded quarantine centres with 75 isolation wards, spread over 37 centres across the country.
(iii) CAPFs comprise the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Assam Rifles and the ITBP.
(iv) A sum of ₹10 crore was sanctioned for the CRPF by the MHA to carry out relief work for those displaced in the aftermath of the lockdown.
(v) Though the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been actively involved in combating the spread of COVID-19, its services have not been adequately mentioned in the media.
(vi) Mandated to carry out rescue and relief operations in disaster-affected areas, the NDRF has been rendering yeoman’s service not only in carrying out rescue and relief operations, but also in training the State Disaster Response Forces personnel in all States.
(vii) Immigration officials entrusted with conducting COVID-19 tests of the passengers arriving in New Delhi were trained by the NDRF.
(viii) Along with its parent body, the National Disaster Management Authority, of which the Prime Minister is the Chairman, the NDRF has trained over 30,000 personnel in disaster management across the country.
Far Off Corners
(i) With 12 battalions of the NDRF— each comprising 1,149 personnel — spread across the country, its experts have the core competency to tackle biological disasters like COVID-19.
(ii) There is, however, a need to augment the strength of trained personnel.
(iii) Since NDRF personnel are wholly drawn from the CAPFs, there is a good reserve of trained personnel who go back to their parent force after their stint(role) with this specialised force is over.
(iv) Such personnel can be deployed at quarantines centres after short-term courses.
(v) A proposal mooted by NITI Aayog last year, to conduct a bridge course for dentists to render them eligible for the MBBS degree, could be revived, and such doctors could be on stand-by to help in such emergency crises.
(i) It is these CAPF personnel who give a semblance (appearance)of existence of government administration even in the remotest corners of the country.
(ii) Their versatile(flexible) experience can be utilised to the nation’s advantage.