Daily Editorial Analysis for 4th May 2021

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The nuclear challenge

Why in News

  • The US call for “stern deterrence” in response to North Korea’s nuclear programme and Pyongyang’s angry reaction, accusing the Biden administration of being “hostile”, suggest that both countries are headed towards a diplomatic showdown.
  • US president in his first congressional address said the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea posed a “serious threat to America’s security and world security” and promised to respond through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

The U.S. Policies towards North Korea

  • The USA has reviewed the North Korea Policy.
  • The strategy of Biden Administration is likely to steer between Barack Obama’s “strategic patience” and Donald Trump’s top-level summary in dealing with the North Korean nuclear challenge.
  • North Korea has remained an unresolved foreign policy puzzle for all post-war American Presidents.
  • In recent times, U.S. Presidents have shown a willingness to diplomatically engage with Pyongyang.
  • The Clinton administration had signed a framework agreement with Pyongyang to halt its nuclear programme.
  • Obama had initiated talks with North Korea in 2012, which collapsed after Pyongyang launched a satellite.
  • He then adopted a wait-and-watch approach, which came to be called “strategic patience”.
  • Trump administration altered his predecessor’s North Korea policy by reaching out to the regime and meeting its leader, Kim Jong-un, thrice, but without a breakthrough.
  • Both, the Trump administration and North Korea had agreed to a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but failed to agree on its formula.
  • In the 2019 Trump-Kim summit at Hanoi, the U.S. proposed removal of sanctions for de-nuclearization, but North Korea rejected it.
  • Pyongyang had taken a phased approach and sought sanctions removal in return. Ever since, there has been no improvement in ties.

Challenges under Biden Administration

  • After Mr. Biden assumed office, North Korea had conducted short-range missile tests, which the U.S. saw as a provocation.
  • Biden does not have many good options in dealing with North Korea.
  • The U.S.’s key goal in northeastern Asia is the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
  • And the only practical way to achieve this is through diplomacy as a military strike on North Korea, a nuclear power, is out of the question.
  • Despite its threats to expand its nuclear programme, North Korea sticks to the self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests.


  • North Korea as acknowledged by Mr. Kim recently, is going through a tough economic crisis and is open to talks.
  • Biden should seize this opportunity and try to reach common ground with Mr. Kim that addresses both North Korea’s economic worries and the U.S.’s nuclear concerns.
  • That should be the focus of the Biden administration’s new North Korean strategy.


GS PAPER II & III                                 

A ‘One Health’ approach that targets people, animals


  • The father of modern pathology, Rudolf Virchow, emphasized in 1856 that there are essentially no dividing lines between animal and human medicine.
  • This concept is ever more salient as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • “One Health” can be defined as the interconnectedness of animals, humans, and the environment.
  • Discussions that took place around World Veterinary Day, on April 24, 2021, focused on acknowledging the interconnectedness i.e. “One Health”.

Across the species barrier

  • Infectious diseases can be divided into two categories:
  • Zoonotic: It can be transferred between animals and humans and vice-versa) and
  • Anthropozoonotic: It gets transferred from humans to animals.
  • The transboundary impact of viral outbreaks in recent years such as the Nipah virus, Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Avian Influenza has further reinforced the need for us to consistently document the linkages between the environment, animals, and human health.

India’s framework, plans

  • India’s ‘One Health’ vision derives its blueprint from the agreement between the tripartite-plus alliance comprising the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — a global initiative supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.
  • India established a National Standing Committee on Zoonoses as far back as the 1980s.
  • In the year 2021 funds were sanctioned to establish “center for one health” at Nagpur.
  • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has launched several schemes to mitigate the prevalence of animal diseases since 2015, with a funding pattern along the lines of 60:40 (Centre: State); 90:10 for the Northeastern States, and 100% funding for Union Territories.
  • Under the National Animal Disease Control Programme, Rs 13,343 crore have been sanctioned for Foot and Mouth disease and Brucellosis control.
  • Government is working to revamp programmes that focus on capacity building for veterinarians and upgrading the animal health diagnostic system such as Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD).
  • Assistance will be extended to State biological production units and disease diagnostic laboratories.
  • WHO estimates that rabies (also a zoonotic disease) costs the global economy approximately $6 billion annually.
  • Considering that 97% of human rabies cases in India are attributed to dogs, interventions for disease management in dogs are considered crucial.
  • DAHD has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the National Action Plan for Eliminating Dog Mediated Rabies.
  • This initiative is geared towards sustained mass dog vaccinations and public education to render the country free of rabies.

Way Forward

  • According to the Scientists, 7 million viruses circulating in wildlife, which indicates that the India is at high alert to many more pandemics in times to come.
  • To achieve targets under the ‘One Health’ vision, efforts are ongoing to address challenges pertaining to:
  • Veterinary manpower shortages,
  • The lack of information sharing between human and animal health institutions, and
  • Inadequate coordination on food safety at slaughter, distribution, and retail facilities.
  • These issues can be remedied by consolidating existing animal health and disease surveillance systems.
  • For Example: The Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health, and the National Animal Disease Reporting System — developing best-practice guidelines for informal market and slaughterhouse operation (e.g., inspections, disease prevalence assessments), and creating mechanisms to operationalize ‘One Health’ at every stage down to the village level.
  • Increased investments toward meeting ‘One Health’ targets are the need of the hour.

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