US Current Affairs

India’s genetically modified crop area fifth largest in world: Report

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) latest ‘Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/ GM Crops in 2017’ report, India with 11.4 million hectares (mh) has world’s fifth largest area cultivated under genetically modified (GM) crops in 2017.  India’s entire GM crop area is under single crop BT Cotton incorporating genes from Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.

Key Highlights of report

United States has highest area under transgenic crops, at 75 mh. It is followed by Brazil (50.2 mh), Argentina’s (23.6 mh) and Canada (13.1 mh). In 2017, farmers across the world have planted 189.8 mh under transgenic crops. This is as against 1.7 mh in 1996, the year when transgenic crops were grown commercially for the first time.
The highest share in world’s total 189.8 mh GM crop area in 2017 is of soyabean (94.1 mh), followed by maize (59.7 mh), cotton (24.1 mh), canola (10.2 mh), alfalfa (1.2 mh) and sugar-beet (0.50 mh). The GM traits of these crops (due to introduction of alien genes into host plants) included both insect-resistance and tolerance for application of glyphosate herbicide.

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9 nuclear countries have total 14,935 nuclear warheads: SIPRI

According to updated count by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the number of nuclear warheads with nine nuclear countries has reduced from 14,935 at start of 2017 to 14,465 at start of 2018. These nine countries are United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. SIPRI is an independent think tank that uses open sources to compile such data since 1966.

SIPRI’s report Highilgihts

Out of 14,465 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2018, 3750 are actually deployed. This compared with 14,935 warheads at the start of 2017. Russia (with 6850 nuclear warheads) and US (with 6450 warheads) hold 92% of world’s total nuclear warheads. However, they have long-term programmes under way to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads and nuclear weapons production facilities.

World’s nuclear powers are reducing their nuclear arsenals but they are also modernising, putting fresh and worrying focus on strategic deterrence. The reduction is due to arms control commitments by US and Russia in 2010 Treaty on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START Treaty).

Britain has 215 nuclear warheads, France has 300, China has 280, India 130-140, Pakistan 140-150, Israel 80 and North Korea 10-20. These countries are either deploying or planning to deploy new nuclear weapons system. North Korea also demonstrated unexpected rapid progress in testing of two new types of long-range ballistic missile delivery systems for delivery of its nuclear weapons.

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