Current Affairs (25th June 2021)
Proposed integrated theatre commands
- Recently, Chief of Defence Staff held a meeting with the Vice Chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and representatives of the Ministries of Home and Finance, National Security Council, Integrated Defence Staff, and Department of Defence, among others.
- The meeting was held in the backdrop of concerns about the proposed model of the integrated theatre commands — both within the Services and outside, as it involves paramilitary forces as well.
What are integrated theatre commands?
- It is a unified command under which all the resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are pooled, depending on the threat perception.
- The commands could be geographical — like looking at a border with a particular country — or thematic, like a command for all maritime threats.
- Several nations in the world have theatre commands, including the United States and China.
Is theatre commands a new idea?
- The idea of creating an integrated tri-Services command in India is not new — it had been recommended at various levels after the Kargil conflict.
- When Gen Rawat was appointed Chief of Defence Staff in January 2020 with a mandate to raise such commands within his three-year tenure, the idea was finally brought to the design table.
- After his appointment, he had commissioned studies within each of the armed forces to come up with ideas of what these commands could look like. These were headed by the Vice Chiefs of the forces.
- Last year, he had suggested that the first of these commands, the Air Defence Command, could come up by the end of 2020. However, the process has been delayed due to multiple factors, including the COVID-19.
What is the proposal under discussion?
- A model with four to five integrated tri-Services theatre commands is under discussion, with each command headed by a three-star officer.
- This officer, the theatre commander, will report to the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), which, as the name suggests, includes the three Service chiefs, and is headed by the CDS as its permanent chairman.
- This brings in a major change — the Service chiefs currently have all the operational control over their forces; operational powers will now move to the COSC.
- Each of these commands will have the needed assets from all the three forces. Operational control over all those assets, regardless of the force, will lie with the commander of that theatre.
What will be the role of the Services, if not operational?
- As of now, the Services must speak to each other in times of need and urgency to request their assets to conduct a particular operation.
- The proposal is to have a theatre commander who will have operational control of the assets under his command, thus enhancing jointness among the forces, and reducing duplication of resources.
- However, this would leave the Service chiefs with no direct control over their assets operationally. This does not mean their roles will be made redundant. Now the Services will have the core tasks to Raise, Train and Sustain their respective forces.
- Also, as each chief will be a member of the COSC, and an expert of his/her domain, his or her inputs will be necessary for all operational decisions.
Peter Pan Syndrome
- During a hearing in a special court in Mumbai, the accused had told the court he suffered from “Peter Pan Syndrome”.
- The term ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ first appeared in 1983, in Dr Dan Kiley’s book. He described it as a “social-psychological phenomenon”.
- While the World Health Organization does notrecognise Peter Pan Syndrome as a health disorder, many experts believe it is a mental health condition that can affect one’s quality of life.
- Peter Pan Syndrome is not currently considered a psychopathology.
- It is said that people who develop behaviours of living life carefree, finding responsibilities challenging in adulthood and basically, “never growing up” suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome.
- It could affect one’s daily routine, relationships, work ethic, and result in attitudinal changes.
- The affected people have body of an adult but the mind of a child.
- The syndrome can affect anyone, irrespective of gender, race or culture. However, it appears to be more common among men.
- Wendy Syndrome takes after Wendy Darling, who appears beside Peter Pan but is seen as playing an antithetical character.
- She is often called a “mother”, taking on the role of an adult or someone more mature.
- People suffering from Wendy Syndrome as often seen making decisions, tidying up messes, and offering one-sided emotional support”.
Draft IPCC Report
- A draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns about impacts of climate change on the Earth and its species.
- The 4,000-page draft report is scheduled for release in 2022.
- It offers the most comprehensive rundown to date and predicts that up to 80 million more people than today will be at risk of hunger by 2050.
- The basis for human health is sustained by three pillars: the food, access to water, and shelter. All three pillars are totally vulnerable and about to collapse.
- The report offers a distressing vision of the decades to come malnutrition, water insecurity and pestilence (fatal disease).
- It recommends that making changes in policies and choices right now can limit these consequences.
- Everyone at every stage must treat the issue as a global issue to avoid massive displacement and migration.
- It warns of the cascading impacts of crop failures, falling nutritional value of basic foods and soaring inflation.
- If humans cannot get a handle on carbon emissions and rising temperatures, a child born today could be confronted with multiple climate-related health threats before turning 30.
- It projects disruptions to the water cycle that will see rain-fed staple crops decline across sub-Saharan Africa.
- Up to 40 per cent of rice-producing regions in India could become less suitable for farming the grain.
- Global maize production has already declined 4 per cent since 1981 due to climate change and human-induced warming in West Africa has reduced millet and sorghum yields by up to 20 and 15 per cent respectively.
- Even as rising temperatures affect the availability of key crops, nutritional value is declining.
- The protein content of rice, wheat, barley and potatoes is expected to fall by between 6 and 14 per cent, putting close to 150 million more people at risk of protein deficiency.
- Essential micronutrients are already lacking in many diets in poorer nations and will further decline as temperatures rise.
- Extreme weather events will be more frequent and multiple crop failures will hit food production ever more regularly.
- As climate change reduces yields and demand for biofuel crops and CO2-absorbing forests grows, food prices are projected to rise as much as a third in 2050.
- It will bring an additional 183 million people in low-income households to the edge of chronic hunger.
- Across Asia and Africa, 10 million more children than now will suffer from malnutrition and stunting by mid-century, despite greater socioeconomic development.
- As with most climate impacts, the effects on human health will not be felt equally as the draft suggests that 80 percent of the population at risk of hunger live in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Water Insecurity
- Access to safe water will be affected by climate change.
- Just over half the world’s population is already water insecure and climate impacts will undoubtedly make that worse.
- Research looking at water supply, agriculture and rising sea levels shows that between 30 million and 140 million people will likely be internally displaced in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by 2050.
- Up to three quarters of heavily tapped groundwater supply (main source of potable water for 2.5 billion people) could also be disrupted by mid-century.
- The rapid melting of mountain glaciers has already strongly affected the water cycle and can create or exacerbate tensions over water resources.
- And while the economic cost of climate’s effect on water supply varies geographically, it is expected to shave half a percent off global GDP by 2050.
- Access to safe water will be affected by climate change.
- The warming planet expands habitable zones for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying species.
- Half the world’s population could be exposed to vector-borne pathogens such as Dengue, Yellow Fever and Zika virus by mid-century.
- Risks posed by Malaria and Lyme disease are set to rise and child deaths from Diarrhoea are on track to increase until at least mid-century, despite greater socioeconomic development in high-incidence countries.
- Climate change will increase the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
- Diseases associated with poor air quality and exposure to Ozone (O3), such as lung and heart conditions, will rise substantially.
- There will also be increased risks of food and water-related contamination” by marine toxins.
- As with most climate-related impacts, these diseases will impact the world’s most vulnerable, as already seen in the case of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
- The report shows how the pandemic, while boosting international cooperation, has revealed many nations’ vulnerability to future shocks, including those made inevitable by climate change.
- Covid-19 has made the fault lines in the global health systems extremely visible. The effects and shocks of climate change will strain health systems even more, for a much longer period.