Trivia Thursday: Indian Navy Day

Trivia Thursday: Indian Navy Day

Did you know that 4th December is celebrated as ‘Indian Navy Day’? What’s more exciting is the story behind it. Hello and welcome folks to another exciting edition of Trivia Thursday where we will have a look at the background of why Navy Day is celebrated on 4th December and some really interesting trivia about Indian Navy.

Crux of the Matter

Why Is Navy Day Celebrated On 4th December?
Indo-Pakistani War
of 1971 was a military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It occurred during the Bangladesh Liberation War from 3 December to 16 December 1971.The war began with preemptive aerial strikes on 11 Indian air stations.

It led to the commencement of hostilities with Pakistan and Indian entry into the War of Independence in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on the side of Bengali nationalist forces. Lasting just 13 days, it is one of the shortest wars in history.

Operation Trident was an offensive operation launched by the Indian Navy on Pakistan’s port city of Karachi during the Indo-Pakistani War. Operation Trident saw the first use of anti-ship missiles in combat in the region. While India suffered no losses, Pakistan lost a minesweeper, a destroyer, a cargo vessel carrying ammunition, and fuel storage tanks in Karachi.

India celebrates its Navy Day annually on 4 December to mark this operation.

Interesting Facts
From 15 August 2001, the then ensign of the Indian navy was replaced with a white ensign bearing the Indian Navy crest, as the previous ensign was thought to reflect India’s colonial past. However, complaints arose that the new ensign was indistinguishable as the blue of the naval crest easily merged with the sky and the ocean. Hence, in 2004, the ensign was changed back to the previous with the addition of the emblem of India.

  • Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest naval academy in Asia.
  • Indian navy holds the distinction of one of the only two naval aerobatic teams in the world. The name of the aerobatic demonstration team is Sagar Pawan.
  • Mauritius is part of India’s security grid including the Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) station of the Indian Navy’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence network. The Heads of the Mauritius Navy and the Mauritian National Security Advisor are Indian officers.
  • One of the most distinguished and efficient special forces in the world, MARCOS or Marine Commandos are the special operations unit of the Indian navy. MARCOS is acknowledged as ‘Dadhiwala Fauj’ (Bearded Army) by the various terrorist groups, due to their bearded disguises in civil areas.
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha emperor, is considered the ‘Father of the Indian Navy’.
  • INS Arihant is the first ballistic missile submarine to have been built by a country other than the five permanent members of the UNSC.

To read our previous week’s Trivia Thursday around Indian cinema at some of the world’s biggest stages, click here.

K-Pop Band ‘BTS’ Saved From Military Service For Now

K-Pop Band 'BTS' Saved From Military Service For Now

As South Korea deferred the military service of K-Pop stars ‘BTS’, let us look at the background of the change and a similar case with an EPL footballer.

Crux of the Matter

Revised Army Service
On 1 December 2020, South Korea revised its conscription laws. Earlier, conscription for men was to be done at the age of 28 if not done before. Now, the limit has extended to 30 for people eligible for deferral.

Conscription is compulsory military service.

BTS Rejoices
The revision has also been called ‘BTS Law’, as it has provided major relief from doing military service to the K-Pop band BTS members. 2 of its members (Jin and Suga) are nearing 28, with Jin’s birthday approaching on 4 December.

BTS members have been eligible for deferral since 2018 when they were rewarded for enhancing South Korean “cultural influence”. However, they are ineligible for the exemption that classical musicians or athletes get, and are required to complete a minimum of 21-month conscription.

Chance For BTS To Make More History

  • Their song “Life goes on” became the 1st Korean song to rank 1st on Billboard ‘Hot 100’.
  • Recently nominated for Grammy in best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.
  • Became the 1st K-Pop group to be nominated for Grammy Award.

For the sake of the fairness, we are not talking about exempting them from their duty, but pop musicians and artists like BTS – their careers can blossom in their 20s. We cannot let military duty block their way at the height of their careers

Jeon Yong-gi, Member of Democratic Party

Son Heung-Min And Tottenham
Son Heung-Min of South Korea plays as forward for EPL club Tottenham Hotspur. He completed his military service in South Korea in April-May 2020.

He was exempted from 21-month conscription by winning Gold in the 2018 Asian Games with the national team. However, exempted athletes are still required to complete a 3-week service.

Read more about the compulsory military service in South Korea, here.

  • Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, achieving widespread coverage in mainstream media. The music video is often credited for bringing spotlight to K-Pop on a global level. 
  • A conscientious objector is an individual who refuses to perform military services on the ground of religion or conscience. Zivildienst is alternate military service for such individuals to fulfill their national service in the fields of social work, environmental protection, or public administration. It is practised in Switzerland and Austria.
  • Norway introduced female conscription in 2015, making it the first NATO member to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women.

Compulsory Military Service In South Korea

Compulsory Military Service In South Korea

As military service of BTS was postponed, let us look at the concept of compulsory military service in South Korea, notable exemptions and the reason for it amidst conflict with its Northern neighbour.

Crux of the Matter

South Korea And BTS
South Korea recently extended the deferral age for conscription from 28 to 30. It has provided relief for K-Pop band BTS as 2 of its members turn 28 soon. They are now required to complete 21-month service at 30, with only athletes and classical musicians being exempted.

Conscription is compulsory military service.

Military Service Law Of South Korea
South Korea has conscription for “able-bodied” males in the age group 18-28 (deferral in special cases). The tenure is:

  • 21 months for Army.
  • 23 months for Navy.
  • 24 months for Air Force.

People are imprisoned for refusing or using unfair means to avoid service. ~20,000 people have been imprisoned to date for such.

Neighbour North Korea
In October 2020, South Korea added the option of serving as workers in prisons as an alternative for conscription. However, it requires a service of 3 years in such a case.

The emphasis on conscription in South Korea mainly occurs due to its neighbour North Korea. NK has an Army strength of more than 1 million and is also engaged in a conflict with SK. The decline in the birth rate in SK for decades has been a further cause of concern.

Famous Exemptions

  • Exemption for its Football team was announced if they reached the Round of 16 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Notably, they reached the semifinals instead and were exempted.

  • A similar exemption was announced for its Baseball team if they reached the semifinals of World Baseball Classic 2006. They reached the semifinals and finished 3rd, thus being exempted.

Exemptions have restricted since due to backlash. Currently, exemptions allowed only for athletes winning certain International medals and classical/folk musicians winning certain awards. Even in such cases, they are required to serve 3-4 weeks. Stars like BTS are allowed to defer but are not exempted from 21-24 months conscription.

  • Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, achieving widespread coverage in mainstream media. The music video is often credited for bringing spotlight to K-Pop on a global level. 
  • conscientious objector is an individual who refuses to perform military services on the ground of religion or conscience. Zivildienst is alternate military service for such individuals to fulfill their national service in the fields of social work, environmental protection, or public administration. It is practised in Switzerland and Austria.
  • Norway introduced female conscription in 2015, making it the first NATO member to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women.

CS-1: World’s Biggest Computing Chip

CS-1: World's Biggest Computing Chip

At the supercomputing conference SC20 held this month, makers of the world’s largest computer chip, Cerebras Systems’ CS-1, confirmed that the computing system has achieved a new performance milestone, achieving speeds far beyond what existing CPUs and GPUs could deliver. Is that why it is being called the “fastest AI computer in existence”?

Crux of the Matter

How Fast Is It?
As per reports by Cerebras and the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the CS-1 is 22x faster than the recently launched Nvidia A100 80GB chip and 200x faster than the Joule Supercomputer – ranked 82nd on the list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world – when simulating combustion within a powerplant.

How Was It Modelled?
The workload carried out to deliver the performance of CS-1, required modelling a number of real-world scenarios, including fluid dynamics and energy efficiency, via WSI.

Wafer Scale Integration is a rarely used system of building very-large integrated circuit networks, which use an entire silicon wafer to produce a single “super-chip”. Many companies before Cerebras had attempted to develop WSI production systems in the 1970s and 80s, but all had failed.

Z-Dimension Cooling
Cerebras co-founder Sean Li said that that rather than trying to move power and cooling horizontally across the chip as in traditional chips, both were delivered vertically at all points across the chip, ensuring consistency.

Why This Need For Speed?
CS-1 will be used to train neural networks and perform high-fidelity simulations of real-world scenarios, like calculating the best way for a helicopter to land on a flight deck by modelling air flow patterns around its rotors.

Matrix Style Simulations
Researchers have also claimed that CS-1 can predict the future “faster than the laws of physics, which produce the same result”. This is similar to what philosopher Nick Bostrom stated in his Simulation Hypothesis of 2003 i.e in the future, enormous amounts of computing power will be used to run realistic simulations of the universe.

  1. A Turing machine is a mathematical model of computation that defines an abstract machine. Despite the model’s simplicity, given any computer algorithm, a Turing machine capable of simulating that algorithm’s logic can be constructed. 
  2. The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) for its line of Macintosh computers. Apple claims that it has the world’s fastest CPU core “in low power silicon” and the world’s best CPU performance per watt.
  3. The experiment, known as Laplace’s Demon, was first described in 1814, hypothesizing “an intelligence” that could predict the future and reveal the past by calculating “all positions of all items of which nature is composed”. In his Philosophical Essay on Probabilities, Laplace wrote: “For such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.”

What Do Latest GDP Numbers For India Say?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers for the July-September 2020 quarter for India were recently published by the RBI. As economies of world nations tumble due to Covid-19, India’s latest GDP numbers suggest that India made the best comeback among major economies from its worst-affected quarter. Let’s see what economic indicators are suggesting about India’s growth.

Crux of the Matter

GDP of India in the July-September 2020 quarter shrank by 7.5% (year-on-year) compared to a contraction of ~24% (year-on-year) in the April-June 2020 period.

However, when compared with previous quarters (qoq), India’s Jul-Sep GDP grew by ~23%. Let’s see how India performed compared to other nations.

Apr-Jun 2020 is considered China’s bounceback quarter after its worst-affected quarter (due to Covid-19) of Jan-Mar 2020 – China’s quarter-on-quarter growth in Apr-Jul 2020 was 21.1%. Among major economies, the July-Sept 2020 quarter is considered a bounceback quarter after the worst-affected quarter (due to Covid-19) of Apr-Jun 2020.

India’s bounceback quarter recorded higher growth than major economies at 23.24% (quarter-on-quarter).

Technically, 2 back to back quarters of Year-on-Year GDP slump indicates recession. The Quarter-on-Quarter trend of actual GDP numbers gives hope for a V shaped recovery in India.

India In Technical Recession
For the first time in history, India has entered into a ‘technical recession’. A country enters into a technical recession when it reports ‘two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth’. India reported negative GDP growth in the Apr-Jun 2020 quarter with -24%, and in the Jul-Sep 2020 quarter with -7.5%. Note that these quarterly figures are compared with the same quarterly figures in the preceding year.

What Are Other Indicators Suggesting?
Gross Value Added (GVA) was -7% (year-on-year) in Jul-Sep quarter as compared to -22.8% (year-on-year) in the Apr-Jun quarter. GVA is simply the result of GDP minus Net Product Taxes. Although India is ‘technically’ in a recession, other indicators suggest an uptick in economic activity. Have a look at the infographic below:

Other indicators that are potential green shoots for the economy are:
Monthly GST collections are in level or exceeding year-on-year figures
Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 58.9 – decade high – in October 2020
Toll collection was up in September 2020 – higher than pre-Covid levels
Exports increased by 5.99% in September 2020 after declining for 6 months.

Do you think India’s economy is set for a V-shaped recovery? Do write us your views on

  • Energy intensity is a measure of the energy inefficiency of an economy. It is calculated as units of energy per unit of GDP. High energy intensity means high industrial output as a portion of GDP. Countries with low energy intensity signifies a labor intensive economy.
  • A final good or consumer good is a commodity that is used by the consumer to satisfy current wants or needs, rather than to produce another good. GDP is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period.
  • Purchasing power parity is an economic term for measuring prices at different locations. It is based on the law of one price, which says that, if there are no transaction costs nor trade barriers for a particular good, then the price for that good should be the same at every location. Ideally, a computer in New York and in Hong Kong should have the same price. If its price is 500 US dollars in New York and the same computer costs 2000 HK dollars in Hong Kong, PPP theory says the exchange rate should be 4 HK dollars for every 1 US dollar.