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Daily Editorial Discussion and Analysis-3rd May

India & World/ IR (GS 2)

Europe to the Centre (Indian Express, 3rd May 2022)

Author: – C. Raja Mohan

Collective Europe

  • Last week Ursula von Der Leyn, unveiled the new contours of the EU’s strategic partnership with India by launching the India-Europe Trade and Technology Council.
  • Last year, the EU signed a similar agreement with the US.
  • This week, the focus is on India’s key bilateral partnerships with European majors — Germany, France & The Nordic Countries.
  • The PM’s Tour should give Delhi a better appreciation of the new mood in Europe that has been shaken by the Russian aggression.
  • The PM will have an opportunity to find ways to limit some of the negative regional and global consequences of the war

In Berlin

  • In Berlin, the PM will have an opportunity to commiserate with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
  • Both the leaders have problems coping with President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
  • Having built up a significant engagement with Moscow over the decades.
  • India and Germany are under pressure to disentangle from the Russian connection.
  • Both had bet that trading with China will moderate Beijing’s behaviour.
  • However now both are having second thoughts now thanks to Xi Jinping’s muscular foreign policy.

The Debate In Berlin

  • No Surprises that the war in Ukraine that will shadow Modi during the trip to Europe.
  • There is much surprise in India at the level of international interest in India’s strategic ties to Moscow.
  • But the Western debate on Germany is even harsher.
  • Berlin is tied far more deeply to Russia than India.
  • Germany’s annual trade with Russia is about $60 billion while India’s is at $10 bn.
  • Germany relies heavily on Russian natural gas, while Russian arms dominate India’s weaponry.
  • To be sure, Berlin and Delhi don’t like the Western pressures to reduce ties with Russia.

Commerce Drives Germany

  • Germany and India have no option but to live with circumstances over which they have no control
  • What really drives Germany is commerce.
  • Making India an attractive new destination for German capital.
  • Now under pressure to reduce its exposure to Russian and Chinese markets, should be the highest priority for PM Modi.
  • If there ever was a moment to think big about the future of German trade and investment in India, it is now.

Ties with Paris

  • In Paris — the enduring engine room of strategic Europe — PM will have a chance to reflect with President Emmanuel Macron.
  • Discussions on the implications of the war in Ukraine for Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific will be vital
  • Macron’s return to power offers a good moment for India to imagine the next phase in bilateral relations.
  • The two leaders laid the foundation for a strong strategic partnership in 2018.

Yet to tap full potential

  • But Delhi and Paris have been some distance away from demonstrating full possibilities of their defence partnership.
  • France has a critical role in making a success of India’s ambitious current plans to expand domestic production of weapons.
  • This coupled with greater participation of private and foreign capital.
  • PM Modi and Macron push their bureaucracies to come up with a major project for Defence industrial collaboration.
  • Can Delhi and Paris match India’s strategic collaboration with Russia on maritime nuclear propulsion?

India Nordic Ties

  • In Copenhagen, the bilateral talks with Danish leadership are about Delhi finally finding time for the smaller European countries.
  • In the last few years, Delhi has learnt that every one of them can contribute significantly to India’s development.
  • The Nordic summit hosted by Denmark underlines India’s discovery of the various sub-regions of Europe.
  • The Nordic Five — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
  • While they have a population of barely 25 million but their GDP at $1.8 trillion is greater than that of Russia.

Impact of War on Nordic Countries

  • The Nordic world, which shares frontiers with Russia over land as well as in the waters of the Arctic, is even more rattled by the war.
  • If Putin’s war has compelled Berlin to end its resistance to larger Defence expenditures.
  • Two members of the Nordic five — Sweden and Finland — are now rushing to end their long-standing neutral status and join NATO.
  • The other three — Denmark, Iceland, and Norway — have been founding members of NATO, set up in 1949.
  • In Copenhagen, Modi would want to build on the unique bilateral green strategic partnership with Denmark.
  • PM’s first Nordic summit in 2017 produced a framework for an ambitious bilateral agenda on a range of issues.
  • This included technological innovation and sustainable development.

Nordic Countries

Mineral & Energy Resources (GS 3)

Dark Days Ahead (Indian Express, 3rd May 2022)

Author: – Somit Dasgupta

Power Crisis!

  • Coal stocks available at thermal plants are at abysmal levels and about 106 plants out of 173 plants have reached a critical stage.
  • On average, coal stocks available are only good enough for about eight days’ generation against a norm of 24 days.
  • In some plants, the stocks available are just about enough to run the plant for a day or two more.
  • Part of the problem of poor coal stock is also rumored to be on account of the non-payment of dues of coal companies.
  • In some plants, the stocks available are just about enough to run the plant for a day or two more

Chronology of Crisis

  • First, with summer approaching before time, power demand has shot up to record levels.
  • Delhi’s power demand crossed 6,000 MW on April 28 which is a record.
  • The second reason for the rise in power demand is that the economy is recovering, and demand from the industrial sector is going up.
  • All things put together, power demand crossed 207 GW on April 29, which is about 14% higher than what it was a year ago.
  • This increase in demand should have posed no problem.
  • There was enough spare capacity available with coal-based stations operating at less than 60% capacity.

Coal Crisis

  • What is important to note is that this coal crisis is not because of any deficit in the supply of coal from domestic sources.
  • Coal dispatches from Coal India during 2021-22 were 23% higher than in the previous year.
  • The fall in coal stock in power stations is because of two main reasons.
  • The first is that due to a rise in the international price of coal on account of the Ukraine crisis.
  • All plants that were importing coal have either stopped generating completely or are generating at much lower levels.
  • The second reason for low coal stocks is the non-availability of rakes with Indian railways for transporting coal.

Railway Rakes

  • About 22 MT of coal may be available in power stations, if one includes the stocks available with mining companies, the figure is well over 70 MT.
  • So, it is all a question of transporting the coal to the power stations.
  • The railways have about 2,500 rakes which can be used for coal transportation.
  • With a turn-around time of about 4.5 days, the railways can provide only about 525 rakes on any single day.
  • Of this, about 100 rakes are used for transporting imported coal.
  • Therefore, only about 425 rakes are available on a daily basis for transporting domestic coal.

image

Way Forward

  • With efforts now being made to sort out the transportation problems, stocks will begin depleting faster.
  • Thus production has to be enhanced so that the replenishment rate is higher than consumption.
  • Unless we do that, the total stock of coal in the country will deplete further.
  • And it will no longer be a mere transportation problem as it is now, but a general lack of supply of coal.
  • This is the right time to enhance coal production and build adequate stocks because once the monsoon sets in, production will fall.

 

UPSC PYQ (2011)

What is the difference between a CFL and an LED lamp?

  1. To produce light, a CFL uses mercury vapor and phosphor while an LED lamp uses semi-conductor material.
  2. The average life span of a CFL is much longer than that of an LED lamp.
  3. A CFL is less energy-efficient as compared to an LED lamp.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Question Framed From Editorial

  • There is no doubt that Western Europe has moved from the margins to the centre of India’s foreign and security policies. Critically Analyse (200 words)

OR

  • Are we heading towards a “Dark & Hot Summer? Enlist the reasons for the recent power outages amidst soaring high temperatures across India. (200 words)

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