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InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically


Table of Contents:


GS Paper 2:

1. What constitutes a war crime?

2. CAATSA waiver.


GS Paper 3:

1. NASA’s 1st Artemis moon landing.

2. Russia-Ukraine crisis may worsen global chip shortage.

3. IPCC Report.


Facts for Prelims:

1. What are Participatory Notes?

2. Suez Canal.

What constitutes a war crime?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.



An International Criminal Court prosecutor has launched an investigation on the “situation in Ukraine” following Russia’s invasion.

  • There is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine since 2014.


What’s the issue?

ICC had received many queries “with respect to the crime of aggression” but could not exercise “jurisdiction over this alleged crime” as neither Russia nor Ukraine were signatories to ICC’s founding Rome Statute.

  • But, now ICC believes that it has has jurisdiction because Ukraine had twice accepted the court’s mandate, once in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and again in 2015, when it recognised the court’s jurisdiction for “an indefinite duration”.


Has Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine?

  • On the morning of February 28th, Russian Grad missiles rained death on the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.
  • Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, said the missiles were deliberately targeted at civilians and described the attack as a war crime.


What is a war crime?

According to the United Nations, a war crime is a serious breach of international law committed against civilians or “enemy combatants” during an international or domestic armed conflict.

In contrast with genocide and crimes against humanity, war crimes have to occur in the context of armed conflict.


Geneva Conventions:

The meaning of war crimes was clarified in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

  • Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as “wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.


ICC developments:

The Rome Statute of the ICC expanded the list of crimes that constitute war crimes. The statute, for example, recognises forced pregnancy as a war crime.


Proportionality, distinction and precaution:

The three main pillars of humanitarian law are the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. If any or all of these principles are violated, it could be found that a war crime has been committed.


Insta Curious:

  1. Ethics and war crime: Read Here
  2. Examples of war crimes: Read Here 



Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of War Crimes as defined by Geneva Conventions.
  2. About ICC.
  3. Members and jurisdiction.
  4. Ukraine and Russia war.

Mains Link:

What constitutes a war crime? What are the international conventions in this regard.

Sources: the Hindu.

CAATSA waiver:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.



With tensions escalating between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis, India, which has major defence cooperation with Moscow and also with Kyiv, faces uncertainty over timely deliveries in the near future in addition to the lingering threat of U.S. sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) over the S-400 deal.


What’s the concern?

In the past, tensions between Russia and Ukraine had considerably delayed the modernisation of the AN-32 transport fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

  • So, the latest concern is that this war could result in delays in deliveries from Russia both due to their own domestic commitments as well the sanctions imposed by the West.


Overview of India – Russia military trade:

While Russia has been a traditional military supplier sharing platforms and technologies that others wouldn’t, the cooperation has further deepened in recent years.

  • For instance, with the $5.43bn deal S-400 air defence systems as well as other big ticket deals, the defence trade between the two countries has crossed $15bn since 2018.
  • Even today, over 60% of Indian military inventory is of Russian origin, especially with respect to fighter jets, tanks, helicopters and submarines among others, while several major deals are in the pipeline.

India had also signed a separate deal with Ukraine for eight Zorya-Mashproekt gas turbine engines for the frigates.

  • Ukraine is also upgrading over 100 An-32 transport aircraft of the IAF under a deal finalized in 2009.


What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.


Current Affairs


What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

  • Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • Enacted in 2017.
  • Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.


What sanctions will be imposed?

  1. prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  2. prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  3. prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  4. denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.


Current Affairs


Significance of the deal:

The S-400 decision is a very strong example of how advanced our defence and strategic partnership is, and how strong Indian sovereignty is, to choose its international partners, especially when it comes to issues of national interest and national security.


Insta Curious:

Do you know about the foundational agreements? There are three agreements called foundational agreements. Reference: read this.



Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: the Hindu.

Artemis Program:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.



NASA’s first crewed landing of the Artemis program on the moon is expected to take place in 2026. Meanwhile, NASA will launch Artemis 1 in May 2022.

  • Reasons for the delay: NASA said it needed time to develop and test the human landing system and NASA’s next generation spacesuits.


What is Artemis?

Artemis stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun.

  • It is NASA’s next mission to the Moon.



To measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it.

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.


Significance of the mission:

With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.


Mission details:

  1. NASA’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will send astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft nearly a quarter million miles from Earth to lunar orbit.
  2. Astronauts will dock Orion at the Gateway and transfer to a human landing system for expeditions to the surface of the Moon.
  3. They will return to the orbital outpost to board Orion again before returning safely to Earth.


Artemis 1 vs. 2 vs. 3:

NASA will fly two missions around the Moon to test its deep space exploration systems.

  • Artemis 1 is aiming to send an uncrewed spacecraft around the moon using a combination of the never-flown Space Launch System rocket, along with the once-flown Orion spacecraft.
  • NASA hopes to extend the program with the moon-orbiting crewed Artemis 2 mission in 2024, then a landing on Artemis 3 in 2025, ahead of other crewed missions later in the 2020s.


Scientific objectives:

  1. Find and use water and other critical resources needed for long-term exploration.
  2. Investigate the Moon’s mysteries and learn more about our home planet and the universe.
  3. Learn how to live and operate on the surface of another celestial body where astronauts are just three days from home.
  4. Prove the technologies we need before sending astronauts on missions to Mars, which can take up to three years roundtrip.


Moon Exploration:

  1. In 1959, the Soviet Union’s uncrewed Luna 1 and 2 became the first rover to visit the Moon.
  2. Before the USA sent the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, it sent three classes of robotic missions between 1961 and 1968.
  3. After July 1969, 12 American astronauts walked on the surface of the Moon until 1972.
  4. In the 1990s, the USA resumed lunar exploration with robotic missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector.
  5. In 2009, it began a new series of robotic lunar missions with the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).
  6. In 2011, NASA began the ARTEMIS.
  7. In 2012, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity.
  8. Apart from the USA, the European Space Agency, Japan, China, and India have sent missions to explore the Moon. China landed two rovers on the surface, which includes the first-ever landing on the Moon’s far side in 2019.


Insta Curious:

On 20th July, 1969, Neil Armstrong along with Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first human to step on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.


Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Names of various craters and their locations on the moon.
  2. Manned missions to the Moon so far.
  3. India’s missions to the moon.

Mains Link:

Write a note on NASA’s Artemis program.


Current Affairs

Sources: Indian Express.

Russia-Ukraine crisis may worsen global chip shortage:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Developments in Science and Technology.



Russia and Ukraine are important centres of the global semiconductor supply chain, providing rare metals like palladium, and gases like neon, that are needed in the production of the silicon wafers present in almost all modern devices and equipment.

  • Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, it is expected that the situation may worsen global chip shortage.


What’s the issue?

Just as Russia supplies the global semiconductor industry with rare metals, Ukraine supplies (speciality) gases required by the chip-making industry. Thus, there is potential to extend the stress in the supply chain of semiconductors, which are key to manufacturing autos and other electronic equipment in the Asia-Pacific region.


Current Affairs


What are Semiconductor Chips?

Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide or cadmium selenide.


Significance of Semiconductor Chips:

  • They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.
  • They are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.


Recent Increase in Demand:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic-driven push to take sizable parts of daily economic and essential activity online, or at least digitally enable them.
  • The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world also forced shut crucial chip-making facilities in countries including Japan, South Korea, China and the US.


India’s Semiconductor Demand and Related Initiatives:

India currently imports all chips and the market is estimated to touch $100 billion by 2025 from $24 billion now.


Efforts by the government to address the shortage:

  • Earmarked Rs 76,000 crore for semiconductors and display manufacturing segment.
  • Launched the PLI and other schemes to boost semiconductors.
  • Released a vision document for the electronics sector which envisages that the domestic electronic production has potential to reach around Rs 22 lakh crore by 2026.
  • Launched the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) under which a budget outlay of Rs 3,285 crore is spread over a period of eight years for manufacturing of electronics components and semiconductors.


Challenges ahead:

  1. High Investments Required.
  2. Minimal Fiscal Support from Government.
  3. Lack of Fab Capacities.
  4. Insufficient Grants under PLI Scheme.
  5. Resource Inefficient Sector.


Insta Curious:

Did you know that electronics is recognised as a ‘meta-resource’ across the world? What is a ‘meta-resource’? Reference: read this.


Russia is the world’s largest producer of palladium, the second-largest producer of platinum, and produces nearly 80 percent of all European gold.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is India Semiconductor Mission?
  2. India’s Status in Semiconductor Design and manufacturing?
  3. Key proposals under the National Policy on Electronics.
  4. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  5. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

Growing importance of Semiconductors or chips/integrated circuits (ICs) and China’s experience with the manufacturing and design of the same provides a strong case for focusing on chip designs in India. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

IPCC Report:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:  Conservation related issues.



The second part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report was released recently.

  • This second part of the report is about climate change impacts, risks and vulnerabilities, and adaptation options.
  • The first part of the report was released in August last year. That one was centred around the scientific basis of climate change.


What is the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?

The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the sixth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical, and socio-economic information concerning climate change.

  • This report evaluates the physical science of climate change – looking at the past, present, and future climate.
  • It reveals how human-caused emissions are altering our planet and what that means for our collective future.

The Assessment Reports, the first of which had come out in 1990, are the most comprehensive evaluations of the state of the earth’s climate.

  • So far five reports have been released (1990, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2015).


Highlights of the report:

  • The latest report has, for the first time, made an assessment of regional and sectoral impacts of climate change.
  • It has included risks to, and vulnerabilities of, mega-cities around the world. For example, it has said Mumbai is at high risk of sea-level rise and flooding, while Ahmedabad faces serious danger of heat-waves.


Impact on health:

For the first time, the IPCC report has looked at the health impacts of climate change.

  • It has found that climate change is increasing vector-borne and water-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue, particularly in sub-tropical regions of Asia.
  • It has also said deaths related to circulatory, respiratory, diabetic and infectious diseases, as well as infant mortality, are likely to increase with a rise in temperature.
  • Increasing frequency of extreme weather events like heat waves, flooding and drought, and even air pollution was contributing to under-nutrition, allergic diseases and even mental disorders.


India specific study:

The report identifies India as one of the vulnerable hotspots, with several regions and important cities facing very high risk of climate disasters such as flooding, sea-level rise and heat-waves. Mumbai is at high risk of sea-level rise and flooding.

Ahmedabad faces serious danger of heat-waves.

  • Several cities, including Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Patna and Lucknow, are approaching dangerous levels of heat and humidity.
  • Infrastructure, including transportation, water, and sanitation and energy systems has been compromised by extreme and slow-onset events, with resulting economic losses, disruptions of services and impacts to well- being.
  • Urban India is at greater risk than other areas with a projected population of 877 million by 2050, nearly double of 480 million in 2020.
  • At present, wet-bulb temperatures in India rarely exceed 31 degrees C, with most of the country experiencing maximum wet-bulb temperatures of 25-30 degrees C, according to IPCC.


Significance of IPCC Reports:

IPCC reports form the scientific basis on which countries across the world build their policy responses to climate change.

  • These reports, on their own, are not policy prescriptive: They do not tell countries or governments what to do. They are only meant to present factual situations with as much scientific evidence as is possible.
  • And yet, these can be of immense help in formulating the action plans to deal with climate change.
  • These reports also form the basis for international climate change negotiations that decide on the responses at the global level. It is these negotiations that have produced the Paris Agreement, and previously the Kyoto Protocol.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

  • It is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations responsible for advancing knowledge on human-induced climate change.
  • It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • Headquarter: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Function: To provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.


Insta Curious:

Wet-Bulb Temperatures is a measure that combines heat and humidity. A wet-bulb temperature of 31 degrees Celsius is extremely dangerous for humans, while a value of 35 degrees is unsurvivable for more than about six hours, even for fit and healthy adults.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:


What are Participatory Notes?

Participatory Notes or P-Notes (PNs) are financial instruments issued by a registered foreign institutional investor (FII) to an overseas investor who wishes to invest in Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  • P-Notes are Offshore Derivative Investments (ODIs) with equity shares or debt securities as underlying assets.
  • They provide liquidity to the investors as they can transfer the ownership by endorsement and delivery.
  • While the FIIs have to report all such investments each quarter to SEBI, they need not disclose the identity of the actual investors.


Suez Canal:

  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt, to connect the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
  • The canal separates the African continent from Asia.
  • It provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans.
  • It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, carrying over 12% of world trade by volume.

Why in the News?

Cash-strapped Egypt has increased transit fees for ships passing through the Suez Canal with hikes of up to 10%.


current affairs

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