Sunday February 23, 2020
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‘Need for concrete policy against terrorism’

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By Rupesh Dutta

There was urgent need for a concrete policy against terrorism to prevent incidents like Monday’s terror attack in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, former state police chief K.P.S. Gill said, adding that political parties should desist from hyping such attacks.

Gill, 81, who is credited with rooting out militancy in Punjab about two decades back, said India should be firm about its policy concerning Pakistan.

Other security experts IANS spoke to also said that India needs to adopt a tough approach in dealing with its western neighbour.

Gill said tackling terrorism was not child’s play and there was need to take concrete policy measures rather than indulging in rhetoric.

“Politicians should stop giving hype to such attacks and instead get together and formulate a policy to curb terrorism.
Three civilians and four security personnel, including a superintendent of police, were killed early Monday when three heavily-armed terrorists suspected to have infiltrated from Pakistan went on a killing spree in Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur district, shattering two decades of calm in Punjab.

All three attackers were killed after an 11-hour gun battle.

Gill said the attack did not signal that Khalistani groups were trying to revive militancy in Punjab.

However, he said there were still a lot of pockets in Punjab and its borders with Pakistan where people harboured pro-Khalistan ideology.

He said such thinking needs to be rooted out before tackling the menace beyond Indian borders. Gill said it was disappointing to see political leaders creating “media-hype” after a major terror strike.

“I wonder why all this? Instead, why not formulate a policy aimed at retaliating against militant groups and their masterminds? Why go soft every time even after knowing where they (terrorists) come from,” Gill said.

Gill denied that intelligence failure was a major reason for Monday’s terror attack, saying that cross-border terror groups keep making persistent efforts to carry out their designs and are able to penetrate and carry out attacks only a few times.

Strategic expert Brigadier S.K. Chatterji (retd) said India will continue to be prone to such attacks if the government does not firm up its stance vis-a-vis Pakistan and terror outfits operating from its soil.

“Retaliation is the answer to such terror attacks. The actual reason behind the Gurdaspur attack will come to light after some days. I feel there is a need for consistency and toughness,” Chatterji told IANS.

He said India’s intelligence-gathering apparatus also needed to be strengthened.

Chatterji said there was need for the Indian Army to observe more closely how militants were misusing the border areas and take necessary counter-measures.

He said the Gurdaspur terror attack was an attempt to shatter the hard-won peace in Punjab.

“There is a need to intensify patrolling along the border and monitor movements carefully,” he said.

E.M. Rammohan, former director general of Border Security Force, said Indian security agencies needed to understand how militants struck in a border area.

He said either they were foreigners who infiltrated and reached the civilian areas in Dinanagar with their arms and ammunition or they could be members of Pakistan-based outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir or Punjab.

Dinanagar is about 15 km from the international border from Pakistan.

Rammohan also said that the government should not follow a policy of vacillation towards Pakistan by sometimes going soft on its approach to talks.

(With inputs from IANS)

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A Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Can Pose a Threat To Ocean Life, Says Study

A lingering question is whether the survivors could still get food from the sea

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Ocean
For the study, published in Geophysical Research Letters journal, the researchers looked at how climate changes stemming from nuclear war would affect the ocean life. Pixabay

A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could worsen the impact of ocean acidification on corals, clams, oysters and other marine life with shells or skeletons, says a study.

“We found that the ocean’s chemistry would change, with global cooling dissolving atmospheric carbon into the upper ocean and exacerbating the primary threat of ocean acidification,” said the study’s co-author Alan Robock, Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

For the study, published in Geophysical Research Letters journal, the researchers looked at how climate changes stemming from nuclear war would affect the oceans.

They used a global climate model in which the climate reacted to soot (black carbon) in smoke that would be injected into the upper atmosphere from fires ignited by nuclear weapons. They considered a range of hypothetical nuclear wars, including a relatively small one between India and Pakistan and a large one between the US and Russia.

Excess carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels enters the ocean and reacts with water to form carbonic acid, which decreases ocean pH (makes it more acidic) and lowers levels of carbonate ions. Corals, clams, oysters and other marine organisms use carbonate ions to create their shells and skeletons, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A more acidic ocean makes it harder to form and maintain shells and skeletons. The massive amount of smoke from a nuclear conflict would block sunlight and cause global cooling, the study said.

The cooling would temporarily boost the pH in the surface ocean over five years and briefly lessen the decline in pH from ocean acidification. But the cooling would also lead to lower levels of carbonate ions for about 10 years, challenging shell maintenance in marine organisms, said researchers.

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A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could worsen the impact of ocean acidification on corals, clams, oysters and other marine life with shells or skeletons, says a study. Pixabay

“We have known for a while that agriculture on land would be severely affected by climate change from nuclear war,” Robock said. “A lingering question is whether the survivors could still get food from the sea. Our study is the first step in answering this question,” Robock added.

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The next step is to combine projected changes in ocean chemistry with projected changes in temperature and salinity and assess their impacts on shellfish and fish stocks throughout the oceans, he said. (IANS)