India-Afghanistan-Taliban Relations

India-Afghanistan-Taliban Relationship

With the US leaving Afghanistan after 20 years, the world wonders what will the fate of the country be, which is as unstable as ever.  Let’s understand what role can India play in maintaining regional peace.

Crux of the Matter

Before USA
Taliban is a militia insurgency group waging ‘jihad’ against the Afghan Government. Taliban in Pashto means Students.

  • 1992 – Mujahideen overthrew Najibullah’s communist regime and came to power. It formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
  • 1996 – Taliban took over Kabul and the country and imposed sharia law.
  • Mujahideen led Northern Alliance fought the in-power Taliban. With US support, they defeated the Taliban and formed a government in 2001.
  • This alliance was backed and aided by India. Till then, India had no contact with the Taliban and considered them to be a proxy of Pakistan.

India – Taliban
India hasn’t had any official relations with the Taliban because:

  • India didn’t want to anger the Afghan Government.
  • India didn’t know who to contact due to internal divisions in the Taliban.
  • India didn’t want to go against its idea of not talking to ‘terrorists’.

IC 814 Hijack
Indian Airline flight IC-814 was hijacked and forced to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. India was forced to release 3 militants, including Masood Azhar in return. India as they had no contact whatsoever with the Taliban then.

Taliban’s Stance On India
In 2019, the Taliban said that it had no interest in Kashmir and that it is India’s internal matter. As per Al Jazeera, unofficial backchannels were opened with Taliban in 2021.

India-Afghanistan
India has invested heavily in Afghanistan and has provided with ~$2 billion in aid and funded projects like the Afghan parliament.
India funded Chabahar port in Iran is connected to central Asia via Afghanistan. Thus, India needs to protect its investments in Afghanistan.

Experts have cited the need for India to have influence in the Afghan Govt to counter the regional influence of Pakistan and China after the US leaves. India is also the only regional country that has friendly relations with the US and other western countries, as well as Russia and Afghanistan.

Peace negotiations in earnest is the only answer. An acceptable compromise that reflects Doha process, Moscow format & Istanbul process is essential. The future of Afghanistan cannot be its past. A whole new generation has different expectations. We should not let them down.

S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, India

Curiopedia
  • Hindu Kush means ‘Killer of Hindu‘ which might refer to the fact that slaves from the Indian Subcontinent would struggle to survive in the harsh Afghan mountains. It is the name of the 800 km long mountain range that stretches through Afghanistan mostly.

What Are Cloudbursts?

What Are Cloudbursts?

Northern cities like Dharamshala have been receiving heavy rainfall for the last few days which has triggered flash floods and damage. Let’s have a look at these cloudbursts which have fatal consequences to human life.

Crux of the Matter

In News
Northern states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have received heavy rainfall in July which has triggered floods and put the governments in high alert mode.

Cloudbursts
Rainfall of 10 cm or more in an hour over 10 km x 10 km area is defined as a cloudburst. Landslides and flash floods are its fatal consequences. It is difficult to predict due to its very small scale in space and time. Ancient people believed clouds are like balloons which burst and pour water, hence the name.

How does it happen?

  • It takes place when saturated clouds rise up in the sky due to warm currents.
  • When they rise, they accumulate more water and the already existing water droplets become heavier. This process is known as Langmuir precipitation.
  • When the water droplets are too heavy to be held, a violent downpour occurs.
  • Since hilly areas have low pressure on the top, these warm currents are prevalent there and cloudbursts are common there.

Cloudburst V/S Heavy Rainfall
These two terms are used interchangeably. Since it is very difficult to measure rainfall in hilly areas, one can never know for sure if an incident of heavy rain is a cloudburst. Thus, all heavy rains which cause damage are termed a cloudburst.

Examples

The worst cloudburst took place in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe in 1970 when 38mm of water poured from the sky in a minute.

Curiopedia
  • The central region of the United States where tornadoes occur the most is called Tornado Alley. A tornado is a vigorously rotating column of air that is in contact with both the ground and a cumulonimbus cloud.

IIT Madras And Altair Collaborate For Indigenous Microprocessor Shakti

IIT Madras And Altair Collaborate For Indigenous Microprocessor Shakti

IIT Madras and Altair have joined hands to make India’s indigenous microprocessor Shakti available to all techies around the world. Read the story to know more.

Crux of the Matter

In News
IIT Madras and US-based global technology company Altair have collaborated to make India’s home-grown computer microprocessor ‘Shakti’ available across the world, to design their own Embedded systems.

An embedded system can be further used to make a larger system. It can be used to control the system and interact with the user.

Altair
Altair specializes in developing algorithms for complex embedded systems. Shakti has joined the list of vendors like Arduino, and Raspberry Pi whose microcontrollers and processors are supported by Altair.

Shakti
India’s first indigenous RISC-V processor, ‘Shakti’, is developed by IIT Madras and backed by Ministry of Electronics and IT.

Curiopedia
  • Moore’s Law is prediction that states that the number of transistors present in a microchip will double every two years. It is named after Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, who first made this observation.

Researchers Discover Four ‘Rogue Planets’

Researchers Discover Four 'Rogue Planets'

Scientists from the University of Manchester, have discovered 4 rogue planets which are similar to the Earth, however, they do not belong to a star system.

Crux of the Matter

In News
A team of researchers from the University of Manchester have used NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope data from 2016 to find four homeless planets which have similar mass to Earth.

The Newly Discovered Planets
The scientists have termed them as rogue planets, as they do not revolve around a star and are free-floating. They believe that they were expelled from their star systems by the gravitational pull of the heavier planets.

Microlensing
The scientists used a technique called microlensing, which describes how the light from a background star is temporarily enlarged by foreground stars. As a result, there is a short burst in brightness that lasts between a few hours to a few days.

Curiopedia
  • Uranus, an Ice Giant planet which is nearly four times larger than Earth, was the first planet founded by a telescope. It was founded by William Herschel in 1871.

NASA’s Satellites Used To Track Microplastics

NASA's Satellites Used To Track Microplastics

In a major breakthrough, a team of scientists have figured out a way to track microplastics in the oceans. This method can be used to help fight the rising destruction causes by plastics in water bodies.

Crux of the Matter

In News
A team from the University of Michigan has come up with a method to track microplastics in water bodies using NASA’s satellites.

Microplastic
Plastic trash breaks down into microplastic under sunlight and ocean waves. Microplastic is damaging to the marine ecosystem and is very difficult to track.

NASA’s Satellite
The team developed a method to use data from NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS). It is a group of eight satellites that help in hurricane forecasting.

Scientists measured the roughness of the ocean and wind speeds above the oceans and found that microplastics tended to be present in smoother waters.

Curiopedia
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan was born on 22nd December, 1887 in the Madras Presidency of British India. He did his Bachelors of Arts in research from Trinity college in Cambridge University.