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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 13th September ’21 | PDF Download

From 2001 to 2021, the return of the age of strategic rivalry | HT

  • After 9/11 – A “global war on terror” was launched.
  • In 1998, secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, famously described America as “the indispensable nation”.
  • Explaining why the US used military power, she said, “We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.”
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in the Balkans had stunned the world with the display of military superiority.
  • The Russian economy had shrunk to the size of that of Portugal.
  • China was just entering the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • The age of strategic rivalry has returned.
  • Joe Biden’s efforts in recent months to reassure allies that “America is back”
  • In 2001, the US embarked on two operations. Against Taliban and al-Qaeda
  • General Pervez Musharraf, who had been threatened into cooperating, pleaded that he couldn’t, unless he got the Pakistan army officials — serving and retired — who had been working with the Taliban out of Afghanistan.
  • The US played ball and the Kunduz airlift began in November.
  • It lasted nearly a week, and between 2,000 and 3,000 people were airlifted, including not just the Pakistanis but also several senior Taliban and other jihadi leaders.
  • The second botch-up was in December 2001, when Osama bin Laden was cornered at Tora Bora.
  • Brigadier James Mattis, deployed in Kandahar (later defence secretary General Mattis), asked for reinforcements to surround the area, but Central Command chief, General Tommy Franks, declined as he was preoccupied with finalising the operational plans for the Iraq invasion for Donald Rumsfeld.
  • The task was subcontracted to a local Afghan commander Hazrat Ali, and bin Laden, with his group, managed to escape across the Durand Line.
  • In parallel, the US launched a second operation in Afghanistan with the Bonn Conference.
  • The die was cast once the process of legitimisation of the Taliban began with the opening of its Doha office in 2013.
  • The US exit was a given; the only question was when.
  • Once direct negotiations began in 2018, the timeline became apparent.
  • The US withdrawal deal signed in Doha in February 2020 was sold to the world as a “peace deal”, with a “reformed” Taliban, a Taliban 2.0.
  • To underline that this was now a Pakistani enterprise, the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) lieutenant-general Faiz Hameed visited Kabul on September 4 for confabulations with different actors.
  • The clear winners are the Haqqanis, who have long been known for their proximity to ISI.
  • Most important, the Haqqanis will control the appointment of governors to seven eastern provinces (Loya Paktia) that border Pakistan.
  • Yet, even those countries that promoted the idea of a Taliban 2.0 seem to be hesitant about rushing forward with political and diplomatic recognition.

At 15, BRICS has made incremental progress | HT

  • Celebrating 15 years, BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — countries held their 13th summit on September 9 virtually.
  • BRICS must become more result-oriented in the next 15 years.
  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke of knowing “sorrow and hardship”, while “we have also known solidarity and cooperation”.
  • He underlined the world’s obligation to ensure “equal access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics”.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping plugged for promoting “true multilateralism” and called for the building of “a community of shared future for mankind”.
  • While Afghanistan could be viewed by many in South Africa and Brazil as a peripheral issue, it is of vital concern to the Asian trio — China, Russia and India.
  • Indian diplomacy prudently leveraged it to craft a clear-cut BRICS position on Afghanistan.
  • The gap between Beijing’s words and action reveals the potential vulnerability of BRICS.
  • But concerning the expansion of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, all that China and Russia could do was to stick to their decade-old sentence, indicating that China and Russia supported the aspiration of the other three to play a greater role in the UN.
  • As one appraises the 15-year-long record of intra-BRICS interaction covering the three pillars of political, economic and social exchanges, there are indications of incremental progress.
  • The group’s agenda now includes diverse realms such as customs, digital health, green tourism and space.
  • India ensured that a special focus was placed on the deployment of digital technology to secure progress in the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 agenda.
  • Among notable economic initiatives, the New Development Bank has drawn global attention, especially as it recently opened its doors to new members — Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
  • To ordinary (but informed) citizens, what matters is whether the agreements reached are being implemented and, more importantly, whether their implementation will bring some benefit to the people at large.
  • This yardstick should be used to measure the impact of BRICS meetings and a plethora of pacts produced by them.
  • So viewed, BRICS is a work in progress.

Don’t Go For Boosters Now | ToI

  • Vaccines boosted confidence that the pandemic could end through mass vaccination.
  • As high-income countries stepped up vaccination in early 2021, the main global concern was related to gaping inequities in vaccine availability across countries.
  • With efficacy rates in trials far exceeding the pre-set regulatory threshold of ‘50% protection against Covid-19 disease’, the whole world competed for the vaccines.
  • There was reassuring news from the UK and elsewhere that full vaccination is substantially protective against severe disease and death.
  • The advent of the Delta variant changed the dynamics of viral transmission among vaccinated persons.
  • Concerns have arisen from reports that the huge surge of antibodies that the mRNA vaccines generated decline in 6-8 months.
  • That, by itself, does not necessarily indicate fadeout of all immunity against the virus.
  • Cellular immunity that is also stimulated by the vaccines may last longer and ‘memory’ lymphocytes that maintain identikits of past microbial invaders may still trigger a good immune response when challenged by the virus.
  • This is an area of evolving knowledge.
  • However, countries which have vaccine stockpiles are not waiting to find out how well other components of the immune system offer long term protection against Covid after antibodies decline.
  • Booster dose
  • Will these additional ‘booster’ doses provide greater and longer lasting benefit?
  • If so, will all population groups need them?
  • Will there be increased safety concerns?
  • A recent study from Israel, involving over 4 million persons aged over 60 years, suggested an 11-fold reduction in the risk of clinical infections and a 15-fold reduction in the risk of severe infection, with three doses of the Pfizer-BNT vaccine when compared to two.
  • The nature and scale of adverse effects are often better recognised after mass immunisation starts, than during clinical trials.
  • We do know that vaccines, administered even in standard dosage confer considerable benefit by reducing severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
  • When vaccination rates are low and the virus is actively circulating in a population, there is greater risk of more infectious and vaccine-evading variants emerging.
  • India will do well not to rush onto the extra dose road but focus on covering all our population with full standard dosage, while considering an extra dose only for those at high risk.
  • Till vaccines become widely available to the whole world, priorities have to be strictly defined for boosters everywhere.


  • Bhupendra Patel to be sworn-in as new Chief Minister of Gujarat today
  • Six States,UTs administer first dose of Covid vaccine to their entire eligible population
  • India’s vaccination coverage crosses 74 crore mark
  • CBI arrests 11 people in connection with post-poll violence in West Bengal
  • IMD forecasts heavy rain in several parts of Maharashtra during next three days
  • Union Health Minister congratulates States, UTs for administering 1st COVID19 vaccine dose to 100% of adult population
  • Indian Coast Guard saves lives of 11 fishermen near Sagar Island
  • Vice President calls upon large institutions and govt organisations to adopt sustainable energy practices
  • Chandra Mukhi Devi demands immediate appointment of members in women’s commission of Maharashtra
  • UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi all set for talks in Iran
  • Schools reopen after nearly 18 months in Bangladesh
  • Taliban cancels inauguration ceremony of their newly formed interim govt in Afghanistan
  • Pakistan International Airlines to resume flights from Islamabad to Kabul next week

Q.) Name the best higher education insitution in India by Union Ministry

  • IIT Madras
  • IIS, Bengaluru
  • IIT Kharagpur
  • IIT Mumbai

Q.) Who is the father of Indian Botany?

  • Jadgish Chandra Bose
  • William Griffith
  • Lutchman Singh
  • William Roxburgh


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