Daily PT Capsule Feb 8

Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services
Daily PT Capsule UPSC Civil Services

Troops to continue staying in Siachen

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ruled out any troop withdrawal from the Siachen glacier after an avalanche in the first week of February 2016 claimed the lives of 10 soldiers.

A major avalanche hit a post on the northern glacier at a height of 19,600 feet being manned by soldiers of the Madras Regiment. One Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine soldiers were killed in the tragedy and efforts are still on to locate and retrieve their bodies.


The Siachen glacier is often called a struggle of two bald men over a comb. Stephen P Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution writes about the Siachen Glacier conflict, “It might be thought of as just another low-intensity border war — were it not being fought between the world’s two newest nuclear powers. Their combat over a barren, uninhabited nether world of questionable strategic value is a forbidding symbol of their lingering irreconcilability.

The Siachen Glacier is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world’s non-polar areas. ‘Sia’ in the Balti Language refers to the rose family plant, found in the region. ‘Chun’ references any object found in abundance, so in an ironic twist, Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses.

Siachen Map

The conflict began in 1984 with India’s successful Operation Meghdoot during which it gained control of the Siachen Glacier (unoccupied and undemarcated area). India has established control over all of the 70 kilometres (43 mi) long Siachen Glacier and all of its tributary glaciers, as well as the three main passes of the Saltoro Ridge immediately west of the glacier – Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La.

The conflict in Siachen stems from the incompletely demarcated territory on the map beyond the map coordinate known as NJ9842. The 1949 Karachi Agreement and 1972 Simla Agreement did not clearly mention who controlled the glacier, merely stating that the Cease Fire Line (CFL) terminated at NJ9842 thus holding onto the tactical advantage of high ground.


Source: TheHindu, Wikipedia


Indian Ocean Region a policy priority

Speaking at the International Fleet Review 2016 Prime Minister talked about reigniting the manufacturing sector with the ‘Make in India’ campaign. Defence and shipbuilding were its focus areas.

Pointing out that India is a maritime nation, Mr. Modi underscored the importance of the Indian Ocean region to the country. He wanted the youth of the coastal areas to join the endeavour to make India a Blue Economy.

“The Indian Ocean region is one of my foremost policy priorities. Our approach is evident in our vision of ‘Sagar,’ which means “Ocean” and which stands for Security and Growth for All in the Region. We would continue to pursue and promote our geo-political, strategic and economic interests in the seas, especially the Indian Ocean,” he said.


What is the Blue Economy? – “Blue Economy” is marine-based economic development that leads to improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

It includes the following.

  • Reframing the oceans as “Development Spaces” that are subject to spatial planning
  • Making use of that planning to integrate “conservation, sustainable use, oil and mineral wealth extraction, bio-prospecting, sustainable energy production and marine transport”
  • Incorporating the value of the oceans into economic decision-making
  • Establishing policies that favor low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive development (mirroring the Green Economy framework in this regard)
  • Prioritizing the use of the seas to benefit people, alleviate poverty, generate employment, and promote equity
  • Decoupling socio-economic development from environmental degradation
  • Improving relevant international law and governance mechanisms

What is the IORA? – The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), is an international organisation consisting of coastal states bordering the Indian Ocean.

The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them. It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.

The organisation was first established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched on 6–7 March 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation.

Source: SIDC, TheHindu, Wikipedia


Hepatitis E virus shell for cancer treatment

Scientists at a US university have found a way to use an empty shell of a Hepatitis E virus to carry anti-cancer vaccines or drugs into the body.

Hepatitis E virus is feco-orally transmitted, so it can survive the passage through the digestive system. But the particles could also be used to attack cancer.

They did some tinkering with the proteins, so that they carry sticky cysteine amino acids on the outside. They could then chemically link other molecules to these cysteine groups. They worked with a molecule called LXY-30, developed by researchers at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Centre, which is known to stick to breast cancer cells. The technique was tested in rodents as a way to target breast cancer.


What is Hepatitis E virus? – Hepatitis E is a viral hepatitis (liver inflammation) caused by infection with a virus called hepatitis E virus (HEV). It is one of five known human hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E.

Although Hepatitis E often causes an acute and self-limiting infection (it usually goes away by itself and the patient recovers) with low mortality rates in the western world, it bears a high risk of developing chronic hepatitis in immuno-compromised patients with substantial mortality rates. Organ transplant recipients who receive immuno-suppressive medication to prevent rejection are thought to be the main population at risk for chronic hepatitis E.

How these capsids be useful to reach to the targeted cancer cells?

Hepatitis E virus capsids can resist passing through the digestive system. These virus-like particles could be used to carry vaccines or drugs into the body through the oral route. By modifying the capsid proteins. They can attach molecules to the particle surface that target  cancer cells.

The virus-like particles  are based on Hepatitis E proteins. The particles do not contain any virus DNA, so they can’t multiply and spread and cause infections.

Such particles could be used as vaccines that are delivered through food or drink. The idea is that you would drink the vaccine, and after passing through the stomach the virus-like particles would get absorbed in the intestine and deliver vaccines to the body.


Eliminating Malaria in India ahead of 2030

India will soon launch an ambitious programme that seeks to eliminate malaria by 2027. The WHO’s global target for malaria elimination is 2030.

Under the National Framework for Malaria Elimination, now in final stages of planning ahead of a formal launch soon, states have been divided into three categories based on their annual parasite incidence (API). Elimination will be undertaken in a phased manner, and states with low incidence rates taken first, followed by the high-incidence ones.


What causes Malaria? – Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death.

What is the status of malaria in India? – Official estimates suggest nearly 1 million malaria cases are reported annually across the country, but this is widely regarded an underestimate, as 60 to 80 per cent patients in urban areas are treated by private doctors or health establishments, most of whom do not notify cases. Although malaria is a notifiable disease, it is only voluntary notification; there are no penalties for doctors or hospitals not doing so.

What does elimination mean? – Malaria elimination is defined as a situation where a given area – district or state – records no indigenous transmission of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, the two parasites responsible for the disease. Once all districts achieve that, a country is said to have eliminated malaria.

Source: Indian Express

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