9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 17, 2021

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The Questions Surrounding COVID Vaccine Exports by India

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS:2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Synopsis: The government should make sure to citizens that the COVID vaccine exports by India are not at the cost of their health.


Recently Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs stated that India is Exporting Vaccine after considering the domestic and international Factors.  Further, he also mentions that India will continue to export vaccines based on the production and needs of the national vaccination programme.

Potential of India’s vaccine exports:

  1. According to Ministry of External Affairs statistics, upto April 13, India alone supplied over 65 million vaccines to 90 countries globally. This accounts for one month of India’s current COVID-19 vaccines production. Of these
    •  More than 10 million doses are sent as grants.
    • Almost 36 million on a commercial basis.
    • About 19 million under the COVAX programme.
  2. India also exports vaccines to GAVI. India is a member of Gavi’s COVAX facility. Further, India also receives other vaccines from GAVI. So, exporting vaccine to GAVI is an obligation to India.

Why India need to export vaccine?

India explained the need to export vaccine during the recent Raisina Dialogue.

  1. Our PM mentioned that Humanity as a whole must be at the centre of our thinking and action. Further, he explains India must think of the entire humanity, not merely of people with Indian boundary.
  2. Also, the Minister of External Affairs mentions “equitable access to vaccines is critically important“. Further, he also mentions that “no one will be safe till everyone is safe”.
  3. Indian PM also mentioned the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. (the world is one family). India desires to be a good global citizen. A similar concept is also enshrined in the Objective Resolution. (moved by Jawaharlal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly by 1946.)

So being a responsible global power, India needs to think beyond itself. So, exporting vaccine is essential as much as vaccinating Indians.

How India calculates the number of Vaccines to be exported?

Being a global citizen India needs to export vaccines but not at the cost of non-vaccinating Indians. The recent Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs speech mentions that it is decided based on three factors.

  1. Quantum of domestic production.
  2. The demands of the national vaccine programme
  3. Requests for vaccines manufactured in India.

Questions surrounding quantum of exporting vaccine:

  1. Despite the above factors, the export value is not clearly defined. There is an ambiguity on how these factors collectively help in the decision-making process of calculating vaccine exports. For example, If an independent judgment is based on domestic production and national vaccine programme, then only the leftover(remaining) vaccine has to be exported.
  2. Even if it is obligatory to send vaccine to the COVAX programme, sovereign states can always invoke national interest to override obligations.
  3. Similarly,  the commercial contracts of the company can also get disregarded under existing laws to fulfil national interests.

So exporting vaccine is for the general foreign policy of India. But the government have to clarify to its people, that vaccine exports are not at the cost of their health.

Bringing Down the Western Hegemony on the World Order

Gs2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Source: The Hindu

Synopsis: Developing countries must unite to meet the challenges of the US-led liberal hegemonic world order


  • The US hegemony started after the end of British imperialism in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis (1956).
  • After, six decades-long control over the world order, the authority of the US has started declining.
  • As a result, the world will witness a more decentralised and pluralistic global order.

Reasons why the authority of the US is declining?

  • One, the rise of China as a rival to challenge the US hegemony. For example, China is the world leader in renewable energy, dominates global investment and trade, and with a military budget of $230 billion.
  • Two, the rising economic power of the BRICS nations that are aggressively building a parallel economic order.
  • Three, a decline in America’s image as a result of Trump-era policies. For instance,
    • Threatening to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
    • Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change
    • Poor handling of the marginalized immigrants
    • Apathy towards Democratic values in support of ultra-nationalism and ethnic purity.
  • Four, rising impact of Asian Regionalism on international trade and commerce with China spearheading Asian regionalism.

Nevertheless, America will continue to play a prime role in the international world order. Because its economy and Military strengths are still unmatched, and the global dominance of its MNC’s.

What role can China play to control the hegemony of the US?

  1. First, China must strengthen the opposition to the West through the promotion of regional multilateral institutions. China’s self-centered policies such as Belt and Road Initiative and the Silk Road project have raised skepticism among the other countries. Hence, China must push to harmonise regional tensions.
  2. Second, power rivalry in a multipolar world is a possibility, and it will give rise to military conflict. For instance, Russia’s assertion of power in Georgia and Ukraine, India’s disputes with Pakistan and China’s infiltration into India, etc., China must resist using its military might in the Power rivalry. Rather, it should focus on challenging the established western world economically.
  3. Third, China adopted the idea of absolute sovereignty and followed the nation-state model. This helped China to rise as a global superpower. But it cannot continue to rise by following the same idea of absolute sovereignty. It needs to ensure the liberal democratic model, to gain trust from other countries. Otherwise, U.S will deepen the divide against China. For instance, the U.S is already encouraging NATO members to join the US against China.

Way forward

  • The developing countries should attempt to overcome their territorial aspirations. They should prioritize cultural mediation and democratic values.
  • They should increase their cooperation through mutual sharing of knowledge and signing inclusive treaties.
  • This will help them to tackle the challenge posed by the western hegemony

An Anlaysis of SC Ruling on Rohingyas

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Synopsis: Supreme court recently ruled against providing protection to Rohingya refugees. It signifies a flawed understanding of the international convention to protect Refugees.


  • Recently an application was filed before the supreme court to release the Rohingya refugees. They were detained in a sub-jail in Jammu and were likely to be deported to Myanmar.
  • The Supreme court disposed of the application.
  • It signifies a lack of understanding of international law and constitutional protections for refugees.

About Rohingyas

  • The Rohingyas are termed as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority by the U.N
  • In August 2017, the Myanmar military launched a clearance campaign in the Rakhine state (home to the ethnic Rohingya).
  • As many as 7,50,000 Rohingyas fled to the neighboring states to escape a military crackdown and brutality.

India and Rohingyas

  1. Nearly 40,000 Rohingyas who were feared of Genocide entered India and got settled in Refugee camps.
  2. Recently, the home ministry had issued circulars to states sharing borders with Myanmar to identify, detain and deport Rohingyas back to Myanmar.
  3. Following this, few states withdrew their support to provide food, shelter, or even essential medical care to the refugees.
  4. In Jammu and Kashmir after a biometric verification drive, over 170 Rohingya refugees were detained despite having UNHCR refugee cards.
  5. The Indian government labeled them as illegal economic migrants and perceived them as a national security threat. They are also excluded from the Citizenship Amendment Act.
  6. In the past, India has differentiated illegal migrants and Refugees in its treatment of Afghan, Sri Lankan, or Tibetan refugees.
  7. However, lack of consideration over Rohingyas as refugees is a disservice done to thousands of lives who are already affected by Ethnic cleansing.

What arguments are given by the supreme court?

  1. First, SC held that refugees cannot invoke Article 32 right. However, the constitutional safeguards of Articles 14 and 21 are equally available to every person, including refugees.
  2. Second, the distanced itself from commenting on the genocide happening in Myanmar. The court distanced itself despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) observation that the Rohingya had suffered genocide.
  3. Third, the court ignored India’s binding commitment to non-refoulment and obligations in prohibiting genocide. India has ratified the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1959.
      • Principle of Non-Refoulement: It prevents expulsion of a refugee where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
  4. Fourth, allowing Rohingyas to get deported is a breach of Article 21 and against the Gujarat High Court ruling In Ktaer Abbas Habib Al Qutaifi v Union of India. Even, Delhi High Court in Dongh Lian Kham v Union of India (2016) held the same view.
      • According to the Delhi and Gujarat High court, the Principle of Non-Refoulement protects the life and liberty of a human being irrespective of his nationality.
  5. Fifth, the court stated that petitioners’ claim to a right against deportation should be seen along with the right to reside. Under Article 19 right to reside is only available to citizens. But Rohingyas had never asked for the right to reside. Rather they have prayed for the right to life to reside in a camp and the right to liberty to protect them from arbitrary arrests, harassment, and intimidation.

The US Afghan Strategy Fails to Control Taliban

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Synopsis: The US Afghan strategy to pull out the US troops without any settlement leaves the Taliban stronger.


In 2020, the Trump administration signed a deal with the Taliban to pull off US troops from Afghanistan. Following that, the current President Joe Biden upheld the agreement and agrees to pull off US troops. But there is no settlement reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It leaves the Afghan government as a vulnerable stakeholder.

Background of the US Afghan strategy :

  • The U.S. and Taliban signed an agreement for “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” on February 29, 2020, at Doha. (also called Doha agreement).
  • Features of Doha Agreement
    • Troops Withdrawal: The US and NATO will withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. All the troops will be out of Afghanistan within 14 months. The withdrawal will start on May 1, 2021, with a full withdrawal by September 11.
    • Taliban: Taliban will not allow any of its members to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
    • Prisoners: Exchange of prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban will be done to build trust.
    • Sanctions Removal: As per the Doha agreement, US and UN sanctions on the Taliban leaders will be removed.

The US Afghan strategy under Joe Biden:

  1. After becoming President Joe Biden ordered a review of the U.S.’s Afghan strategy. This includes the implementation of the Trump-Taliban deal(Doha Agreement).
  2. There was also speculation that the current President will delay the implementation of the Doha Agreement. It will have to wait until there is a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. This is because of the following reasons.
    1. The Biden administration also actively pursued to establish a peace plan between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
    2. Under this, the US also initiated an UN-led regional peace conference. It is scheduled to take place in Ankara, Turkey, in the next week.
  3. But the Taliban has made it clear that it will not participate in the conference. Further, they also threatened to step up attacks if the US did not meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline. So, the US president upheld the Doha Agreement.

Vulnerability of Afghan Government:

  1. There is an ambiguity with the peace conference. It is not clear whether the peace conference will go through without the Taliban’s participation. If it is without the Taliban participation then there is no point in conducting it at all.
  2. After September, the Afghan government will not get troop support from the US and NATO. The Afghan government will be on its own to fight the Taliban. The Afghan government depend on US forces driving out the Taliban in the past.
    • For example, whenever the Taliban overran cities, U.S. airpower was crucial in driving them back.
  3. The country is also witnessing a series of targeted killings of journalists, activists and other civil society members opposing the Taliban. So, with US and NATO troops are gone this will intensify as the Afghan government is not capable to control the Taliban.

So, Once the Americans are gone, the balance of power will shift in favour of the Taliban.

Hope for Afghan government:

  1. Already, The US promised that it would continue remote assistance to the Afghan government.
  2. The role of regional players such as Russia, China and India is also crucial in deciding the Afghan’s future.

Despite that, the US Afghan strategy not only lost the war, but it also lost the process of withdrawal also. As there is no clear peace settlement and peace roadmap between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. This leaves the Taliban a stronger force in Afghanistan.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 17 Apr, 2021

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