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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 20th October ’21 | PDF Download


Second Quad? | ToI

  • Foreign minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Israel
  • A proposed new Quad grouping of the US, Israel, India and UAE.
  • The Abraham Accords that saw the Donald Trump administration facilitate normalisation of relations between Israel and the Arab states of UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have led to a significant realignment of strategic interests in the region.
  • And with India having separately cultivated close strategic-security ties with Israel and the Gulf Arab nations, the new Israeli-Arab compact creates unprecedented space for New Delhi.
  1. It ties India into another alliance with the US, which is imperative to counter China’s belligerence.
  2. India already has a lot of soft power in the Middle East combined with a huge Indian diaspora of nearly 8 million.
  • In fact, the Middle East is already an important foreign market for Indian exporters, which can grow further given the region’s youth-dominated demography.
  • With the US reorienting its focus to the Indo-Pacific and powerful Arab states viewing Israel in a new light, the time is right for India to step up.
  • And with Israel’s high-tech economy and the Gulf Arab nations’ bid to diversify away from oil, there is much that can be done in Big Data, AI, quantum computing and other technologies of the future.
  • Of course, India still needs Iran to protect its interests in Taliban’s Afghanistan.
  • Besides, the last thing India would want is to be sucked into a wider sectarian conflict in the region.
  • Indian diplomacy is going to be tested here like never before.
  • It must grow up and be nimble if it wants to successfully navigate the Middle East’s tricky roads while reaping the rewards of a new alliance.

India Should Boldly Join Key Trade Blocs | ET

  • There is welcome turnaround on trade; merchandise exports have surged 57% during April-September to add up to $197 billion, and seem likely to exceed the target of $400 billion set for the year.
  • Global trade in goods is now estimated at $17 trillion and rising
  • We need to take advantage of the buoyant conditions to strike mutually beneficial trade deals with our main trading partners
  • India must confidently join large trade blocs such as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free-trade pact among 15 Asia-Pacific nations signed late last year, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which also includes Canada, Chile and Mexico.
  • In parallel, we do need to arrive at trade pacts with the EU, the US and Britain sooner than later.
  • The policy objective ought to be to proactively boost trade and duly shore up internal efficiency, and also to gainfully engage with the world as a rising regional power.
  • The recent upsurge in trade may be due to recovery from the pandemic and restoration and readjustment of supply chains.
  • But to sustain exports growth, we need to enlarge our product basket and explore new geographies.
  • We cannot afford to walk away from RCEP, which is dominated by China, and simply disengage from the world’s most dynamic region.
  • India’s longterm interests would require that we boost trade openness for clear-cut gains.
  • The recently launched GatiShakti scheme streamlines logistics to enable efficient trade.
  • Items that comprise 70% of world trade make up a mere 30% of our export basket.
  • Hence the pressing need to put in place forward-looking policy to enhance competitive advantage in the manufacture and export of electronics and other sophisticated products and services, even as we seek to increase exports in apparel, gems and jewellery and other items.

Trouble in Bangladesh | TH

  • The UN, the U.S. and India have condemned incidents of majoritarian violence against Bangladesh’s Hindu minority community during Durga Puja in the past few days.
  • Six people dead and dozens injured
  • Fake news played a big role in triggering the violence
  • Prime Minister Hasina has promised strict action
  • New Delhi will have to act cautiously in light of all the various links between India and Bangladesh.
  • While the Indian High Commission’s act of meeting local minorities comes from a sense of compassion, it could be read as an act of interference.
  • The impact of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in 2019 had a widespread effect in Bangladesh, and at least 12 people were killed in protests against Mr. Modi’s visit to Dhaka earlier this year.
  • And any act that is seen as religiously partisan is bound to destabilise the otherwise close and productive relations between the two countries, which have a shared history of cooperation over much of the past 50 years.

A global player in solar power | TH

  • Rapid growth of large-scale solar projects in Tamil Nadu
  • The cumulative installed capacity witnessed a four-fold increase to 4.4 GW, as of March 2021
  • Tamil Nadu released the Solar Policy of 2019, aiming for 9GW of solar installations by 2023.
  • Potential 279GW
  • The sharp decline in the prices for solar and resulting cost competitiveness is another factor.
  • ‘First-generation’ solar cells use mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline silicon wafers.
  • While the former is made from a single crystal of silicon (of higher purity), the latter is made by combining several fragments.
  • The efficiency of mono-crystalline panels is about 24%, while for multi-crystalline panels it is about 20%.
  • Crystalline silicon technologies are one of the oldest in the market and occupy 95% of the global photovoltaic (PV) market.
  • Bifacials solar cells can augment the power output by 10-20%
  • The thin film technologies developed later are classified as the ‘second generation’ of solar PVs.
  • New and upcoming solar cells are grouped as ‘third generation’ and contain technologies such as perovskite, nanocrystal and dye-sensitised solar cells.
  • Perovskites have seen rapid advances in recent years, achieving cell efficiency of 18%.
  • They have the highest potential to replace silicon and disrupt the solar PV market, due to factors such as ease of manufacture, low production costs and potential for higher efficiencies.
  • There is also interest in the use of Graphene Quantum-dots for solar PVs.
  • Graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms bonded together as hexagons.
  • Policy support is essential to fast-track adoption of new technologies.
  • A portion of the budget for renewable energy targets should be set aside exclusively for new technologies.
  • Grants and subsidies can also be provided for their adoption.
  • Efforts must be taken to address gaps in research, development, and manufacturing capabilities in the solar sector through sector-specific investment and incentives.


  • PM Modi to inaugurate Kushinagar International Airport in UP today; To launch and lay foundation stones of various development projects
  • Prime Minister assures all possible help to heavy rain affected Uttrakhand; Rescue and Relief Operations in full swing
  • Met Department forecasts heavy to very heavy rainfall in some places in Kerala during next two days; Fishermen asked not to venture into sea till Oct 22
  • Over 99 crore doses of COVID vaccine administered so far; Recovery rate stands at 98.14 pct
  • Centre asks States and Union Territories to enhance second dose coverage of COVID vaccination
  • Army chief General MM Naravane visits forward areas along LoC in Jammu region to take stock of counter-infiltration operations
  • Indian Army wins gold medal at Cambrian Patrol Exercise in UK
  • PM Modi to interact with CEOs and experts of Global Oil & Gas Sector today
  • HM Amit Shah flags off Modi Van under ‘Seva Hi Sangathan’ programme
  • Earth Sciences Minister Dr Jitendra Singh launches Air Quality Early Warning System
  • Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell dies at 84 due to COVID-19 complications
  • China denies testing hypersonic nuclear missile; US accuses it of deviating from its ‘minimal nuclear deterrence’ strategy
  • Fire breaks out in Kuwait’s largest oil refinery, Several injured

Q.) According to the Henley Passport Index for 2021, passport holders of which two countries ae allowed visa-free travel to 192 countries?

  • Japan and Australia
  • France and Sweden
  • Germany and South Korea
  • Japan and Singapore

Q.) What does Article 23 of the Indian Constitution represent?

  • Reservation of seats for SCs/STs
  • Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour
  • Abolishing untouchability
  • Prohibition of child labour


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