News 1 – Defence Minister Launches Army Cloud, Data Centre & Digi-Locker for the Indian Army :-
The facility under the Army Cloud includes a Central Data Centre, a Near Line Data Centre, both in Delhi and a Disaster Recovery site for replication of its critical data along with virtualised servers and storage in an environmentally controlled complex. This is similar to the Meghraj; the Cloud of National Informatics Centre (NIC) and will provide all Information Technology Infrastructure including servers for computing, storage, network and network security equipment centrally, for automation of Indian Army. The latest technologies in the field have been incorporated in the implementation of the first ever Software Defined Data Centre, wherein all the resources could be provisioned to different applications on the Cloud, on click of a button. It has already started providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to the pan Army users as the first Cloud service and will soon provide Software as a Service (SaaS).
With the launching of Digi-Locker, it will provide a secure and exclusive data storage space to all the units and formation headquarters of the Army over its dedicated data network. The Digi-Locker of Indian Army is similar to e-Locker of Digital India program and has all the advanced features like digital signatures and watermarking. This is an important step towards implementation of cyber security as it precludes carriage of soft copies of data on CDs/DVDs and removable media. Users can store, share and access the data from anywhere any time on the Army Data Network. The infrastructure and platforms being made available for automation and digitisation will catalyse the pace of digitisation in all branches of Army and is a landmark towards transforming Indian Army from platform centric to a Network Centric Force, which would leverage the technology as a force multiplier.
In keeping with the national vision of Digital India, the Indian Army has launched a program for Digital Army with nine pillars for digitisation. Three of the nine pillars of this umbrella program, namely Broadband highways, Universal access to telephones and Army Data Network stress upon Information Technology Infrastructure development. Another three namely e-Governance, Electronic delivery of services and Online information for all, focus on delivery of services to all units and formation headquarters. For any modern army, the Network Centric Operations are essential for meeting enhanced challenges of asymmetry, lethality, fluidity and non-linearity in the present day battlefield. The Indian Army is addressing this key area comprehensively.
News 2 –Nuclear capable, long-range Agni-IV missile sucessfully test-fired. The details of Agni IV is in the PDF , mentioned above.
2) SAADMEx – South Asian Annual Disaster Management Exercise
The main focus of this exercise will be to test the inter-governmental coordination, create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation on disaster response among the member countries of SAARC region.
This will be the first-ever joint exercise to be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) of India.
Through the exercise, the important aspects of responding to disasters by pooling of resources/expertise will be addressed and also the imperative of presenting a well coordinated response within the SAARC region will be emphasised.
3) “Heart of Asia” – Istanbul Process:- (India, Pakistan ,Afghanistan and others )
News –Pakistan recently extended invitation to India for Heart of Asia conference.
About :- The Istanbul Process provides a new agenda for regional cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ by placing Afghanistan at its center and engaging the ‘Heart of Asia’ countries in sincere and result‐oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole.
Areas of Engagement:-
The countries participating in the Istanbul process have agreed on the following three elements for the follow-up to the Istanbul Process:
A) Political consultation involving Afghanistan and its near and extended neighbours.
B) A sustained incremental approach to implementation of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the Istanbul Process document; and
C) Seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to the work of various regional processes and organisations, particularly as they relate to Afghanistan.
‘Heart of Asia’ participating countries:
1. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
2. Republic of Azerbaijan
3. People’s Republic of China
4. Republic of India
5. Islamic Republic of Iran
6. Republic of Kazakhstan
7. Kyrgyz Republic
8. Islamic Republic of Pakistan
9. Russian Federation
10. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
11. Republic of Tajikistan
12. Republic of Turkey
13. Republic of Turkmenistan
14. United Arab Emirates
4)Saving Asian vulture from fatal drugs :-
After successfully campaigning for the ban on multi-dose vials of painkiller drug diclofenac in veterinary use, conservationists have stepped up pressure for withdrawing two more drugs – Ketoprofen & Aceclofenac, which they say, are fatal for Asian vultures.
The “three species of Gyps vultures endemic to South and Southeast Asia, oriental white-backed vulture (Gyps bengalensis), long-billed vulture (G. indicus) and slender-billed vulture (G. tenuirostris), are the worst affected and are threatened with global extinction after rapid population declines, which began in the mid-1990s
IUCN lists Vultures as Critically Endangered
Why do we need to save Vultures:-
The disappearance of vultures has allowed other species, such as rats and wild dogs, to take their place. These newly abundant scavengers, however, are not as efficient as vultures. A vulture’s metabolism is a true “dead-end” for pathogens, but dogs and rats become carriers of the pathogens.
Wild dogs, carrying diseases from rotting carcasses (rabies, anthrax, plague, etc.),are directly or indirectly responsible for thousands of human deaths. Today in India, 30,000 people die from rabies each year, more than half the world’s total.Hence Wild Dogs are inefficient scavengers.
Treating these diseases is extremely costly for the Indian government and people. Around half a million Indians are treated for rabies each year, at a cost of 1500 rupees per person,
While the sanitary, ecological, and economic consequences are considerable, the cultural impact is also notable.
According to Parsi beliefs, Earth, Fire, and Water are sacred elements, and both cremation and burial are sacrilegious. For the deceased Parsi to reach heaven, vultures serve as intermediaries between earth and sky. The dead body is placed on a Tower of Silence where vultures, by consuming the body, liberate the soul.
The 82,000 Parsi Indians, deprived of their celestial emissaries, have been obliged to drop these ancient customs for reasons of hygiene, since now bodies take six months to disappear.
5) H1N1 threat looming large as Winter sets in India:-
The Swine flu virus is an Influenza virus , it is spherical RNA virus
They are usually 3 types:
Type A –
Type A has multiple sub-types – H1N1,H1N2,H2N2,H5N1 and may more, among them H1N1 is known to cause deadly Swine Flu
Note :- the H stands for hemagglutininand N stands for neuraminidase
Notorious Type A :-
It undergoes mutation that can take place within the genome (Antigenic drift) / or re-assortment among the genetic materials of subtypes (Antigenci Shift ) resulting in a new virus thus making the existing incapable of handling it.
Antigenic Drift is responsible for new seasonal strains that makes necessary surveillance to detect these strains and to prepare new seasonal influenza vaccine (yearly basis)
Antigenic Shift may result in a new virus easily transmissible from man to man for which the population has no immunity : Results in Pandemics
High Risk Groups :- young children with pre disposing risk factors, old age; Pregnant mothers, Health workers, Co-morbid conditions (Lung disease, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, blood disorders, Diabetes); Immuno-compromised; long term steroid treatment
Temperate zones: epidemics occur in winter Tropics/ Sub tropics: epidemics occur in rainy season Sporadic cases: round the year
Overcrowding – Mostly affect urban and peri-urban areas.High attach rates may be witnessed in Army Barracks, College hostels, Schools, Residential hostels of schools, aircrafts, ships etc
Government and Medicinal responses :-
Health being a State subject, the State Governments is expected to take prompt measures for preventing the spread of H1N1 virus and for diagnosis, case management and treatment of the patients. However, the Central Government has been pro-active in assisting the State Governments
Oseltamiviris the drug recommended by WHO. The drug is made available through the Public Health System free of cost. The drug is also sold through Schedule X Chemists. The States have been asked to review the geographic locations of Schedule X Chemists and issue fresh license for unrepresented areas and to ensure availability of Osetamivir with them.
NCDC – National Center for Disease control does round-the-clock monitoring.
People who have swine flu can be contagious one day before they have any symptoms, and as many as 7 days after they get sick. Kids can be contagious for as long as 10 days.Most symptoms are the same as seasonal flu, they can include:
stuffy or runny nose
6)India-Russia Joint Army Exercise Indra-2015 in Bikaner to Focus on Counter Terrorism :-
Indian and Russian Armies would be conducting a joint military exercise as a part of a continuing series of annual joint exercises under the banner ‘Exercise INDRA-2015’
The joint exercise this year would focus on ‘Counter Terrorism Operations in Desert Terrain under a United Nations Mandate’.
To achieve inter operability in joint operations in the future, troops from an Independent Russian Motorised Brigade and Indian Army’s Infantry Battalion would initially acquaint themselves with the approach to such operations, Command and Control systems as well as arms and equipment of each other