India-US: Exercise to respond to nuke & bioterror attacks

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    • In a first, India-US conduct drills on nuke, chemical, bio terror attacks prevention.

    More about the news

    • Exercise TARKASH:
      • The exercise by the National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF) is being held in Chennai.
      • Indo-US joint exercise has for the first time included “Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response” in its drill.
      • During the course of joint exercise, both forces also conducted joint mock counter-terrorism drills at multiple locations in Chennai to enhance interoperability and coordination between the two special forces.
    • Sixth edition:
      • This is the sixth edition of the exercise which began on January 16 and will end on February 14.
    • Significance:
      • Russian allegations:
        • The exercise comes in the backdrop of Russian allegations against Ukraine recently that Kyiv had orchestrated a chemical attack in Kharkiv. 
      • Opportunity:
        • The training provided an opportunity for both the forces to gain proficiency and enhance skill sets for an effective CBRN terror response. 
        • Subject matter experts in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear warfare from the US Special Forces and the NSG exchanged valuable knowledge in handling CBRN threat in an urban counter-terrorism environment.

    CBRN weapons

    • CBRN weapons, which are also classified as weapons of mass destruction (WMD), have been used by States and terror elements in the past. 
      • The most recent use of CBRN in the form of a sarin gas attack was witnessed in Syria in 2017 when more than 100 people died.
    • According to the UN, the prospect of non-state actors, including terrorists and their supporters, gaining access to and using WMDs or CBRNs is a “serious threat to international peace and security”.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

    • WMDs are weapons with the capacity to inflict death and destruction on such a massive scale and so indiscriminately that its very presence in the hands of a hostile power can be considered a grievous threat. 
    • Modern weapons of mass destruction are either nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons—frequently referred to collectively as NBC weapons.

    India-USA Relations

    • About:
      • India and US share values of democracy, rule of law, human rights, religious freedom that bind the countries together.
    • Bilateral engagement:
      • India and the United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic  partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by  shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues,  and vibrant people-to-people contacts.
      • Regular exchanges at the leadership-level have been an integral  element of the expanding bilateral engagement.
      • Despite COVID-19 pandemic, India-U.S. cooperation witnessed  intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in a wide  range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science  & technology, energy and people-to-people ties.
    • Defence and Security: 
      • India-US defence cooperation is based on “New Framework for IndiaUS Defence Cooperation”, which was renewed for a period of ten years in  2015. 
      • In 2016, the defence relationship was designated as a Major  Defence Partnership (MDP). 
        • The MDP recognizes a shared desire to build  a comprehensive, enduring and mutually beneficial defence partnership. 
      • Several defence agreements have been signed in recent years. These  include:
        • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016) 
        • Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defence Innovation Unit (DIU) 
        • the Indian Defence Innovation Organisation – Innovation for Defence Excellence (2018)
        • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018)
        •  Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019);
        • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).
      • Bilateral military exercises and defence exchanges are important  aspects of deepening military-to-military cooperation.
        • In addition to a number of service-to-service exercises, in 2019 a tri-services exercise– Tiger Triumph– was conducted in November 2019. 
        • Bilateral and regional exercises include: Yudh Abhyas (Army); Vajra Prahar (Special Forces); RIMPAC; Red Flag
        • In November 2020, the Royal Australian Navy joined the U.S.-India-Japan MALABAR Naval Exercise held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. 
        • Both sides have conducted  a number of PASSEX with the US carrier groups in the Indian Ocean Region.
    • Quad: 
      • The four Quad partners (India, Japan, United States & Australia) first formed a “Core Group” in 2004, to swiftly mobilise aid during the joint response to the 2004 Tsunami. Since 2017, Quad engagements have increased and intensified.
      • In 2019, the first Quad Foreign Ministerial Meeting was held in New York (December 2019).
    • Counter Terrorism Cooperation:
      • Cooperation in counter-terrorism has seen considerable progress with information exchange, operational cooperation and sharing of counterterrorism technology and equipment. India-U.S. Joint Working Group on  Counter-Terrorism oversees the expanding CT cooperation.
    • Cyber Security Cooperation:
      • The India-US Cyber Framework signed in September 2016, provides for expanding cooperation in the cyber domain.
    • Trade & Economic Relations: 
      • The rapidly expanding trade and commercial linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States. 
      • The U.S. is India’s second largest trading partner and a major destination for our exports of goods and services. 
      • Bilateral trade in goods and services stood at US$ 146 billion in 2019.
      • During the financial year 2020-21, India received the highest ever foreign direct investment amounting to USD 81.72 billion, as per data published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. 
      • The US replaced Mauritius as the second largest source of foreign direct investment into India during 2020-21 with inflows of USD 13.82 billion. 
      • The US is one of the top 5 investment destinations for Indian FDI.
    • Energy sector:
      • India and the US have a strong bilateral partnership in the energy sector.
      • In 2010, bilateral Energy Dialogue was launched. 
    • Science and Technology:
      • India-US cooperation in Science and Technology is multi-faceted and has been growing steadily under the framework of the India-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2005, which was renewed for a period of ten years in September 2019.
      • ISRO and NASA are working together to realise a joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). 
    • Education partnership: 
      • It is an important pillar of India-US ties and both the countries share strong linkages and history of higher education collaborations.
      • The United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI) was set up after a bilateral agreement on education exchange was signed between India and the US on February 2, 1950
    • Indian Diaspora: 
      • About 4.2 million Indian Americans/Indian origin people reside in the US. The Indian Americans [3.18 million] constitute the third largest Asian ethnic group in the US.

    Source: IE