Recently, the Government has advised the Automobile Manufacturers in India, to start manufacturing Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) and Flex Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV) complying with BS-6 Norms in a time bound manner.
- They have engines that can run on flexible fuel — a combination of petrol and ethanol, which can include up to 100% ethanol.
- When FFV is integrated along with strong hybrid electric technology, it is referred as FFV-SHEVs.
- Strong hybrid is another term for full hybrid vehicles, which have the capability to run solely on either electric or petrol modes.
- In contrast, mild hybrids cannot run purely on one of these modes and use the secondary mode merely as a supplement to the main mode of propulsion.
- In order to accelerate the introduction of FFVs, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme has included automobile and auto components of flex fuel engines.
- The policy is expected to reduce the demand for petroleum products.
- India presently imports more than 80% of its petroleum requirement, and this also represents one of the biggest outflows of money from the country.
- The wide uptake of ethanol or methanol as a fuel is intended to create an additional revenue stream for farmers.
- This will provide direct benefits to farmers and help in doubling the farmer’s income.
- It is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat and government’s policy on promoting ethanol as a transport fuel.
- This move will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles on a well-to-wheel basis.
- Thereby, helping India to comply with its commitment made at Conference of parties (COP26) to reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030.
- Recently, Australia, the US and the UK signed an agreement allowing the exchange of sensitive “naval nuclear propulsion information” between their nations.
- It is the first agreement on the technology to be publicly signed since the three countries announced the formation of a defence alliance, AUKUS, to confront strategic tensions in the Pacific where China-US rivalry is growing.
- Under the AUKUS deal, Australia would obtain eight state-of-the-art, nuclear-powered but conventionally armed submarines capable of stealthy, long-range missions.
- In September 2021, the US announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).
- The major highlight of this arrangement is the sharing of US nuclear submarine technology to Australia.
- Its Indo-pacific orientation makes it an alliance against China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea.
- It will involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries, as well as cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).
Impact on Indo-Pacific Realm/QUAD:
- There is concern that AUKUS could leave a deep scar on US-EU relations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and weaken the international coalition in the Indo-Pacific.
- NATO was established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of 4th April, 1949, by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
- NATO’s primary goals are the collective defence of its members and the maintenance of a democratic peace in the North Atlantic area.
- France had cancelled a scheduled meeting of the foreign ministers of Australia, France, and India at the UN.
- In the last couple of years, the trilateral has become an important element in the emerging Indo-Pacific architecture. But the cancellation of the meeting is a blow to the trilateral engagement.
- It is not clear whether the QUAD and AUKUS will reinforce each other or remain mutually exclusive.
- There are some beliefs that the “Anglosphere nations” — which share common cultural and historical ties to the UK — inspire more confidence in each other.
- QUAD is a grouping of India, USA, Australia and Japan which aims to safeguard the interests of democratic nations in the Indo-Pacific region and address global challenges.
- While the warming of the Indo-US relationship brings comfort to Indians, India should beware of hyperbole, obscuring reality, in the bilateral discourse.
- American offers of help “to make India a great power” and declarations that “two of the world’s great democracies should also have the world’s two greatest militaries,” must be taken with a generous pinch of salt.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT