Topic Covered :
Open Skies Treaty
New plant species found in Western Ghats
Royal Bengal Tiger found dead
Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana
OPEN SKIES TREATY
Why in news?
The U.S. has given notice that it will exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST).
It is an agreement that allows countries to monitor signatories’ arms development by conducting surveillance flights over each other’s territories.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced the withdrawal, said Russia had “continuously and flagrantly” violated the treaty.
The idea behind the OST, first proposed in the early years of the Cold War by former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, came to fruition decades later and was signed in 1992, during the George H.W. Bush presidency and after the Soviet Union had collapsed.
The OST came into effect in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration and it allows its 34 signatories to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territory of treaty countries.
The U.S. has used the treaty more intensively than Russia. Between 2002 and 2016, the U.S. flew 196 flights over Russia (in addition to having imagery from other countries) compared to the 71 flights flown by Russia, as per a BBC report.
Chris Ford, a senior U.S. diplomat for non-proliferation, also cited changes to the security environment as a reason for the U.S. exiting the OST.
New Start Treaty :
The U.S.’s exit last year from another arms deal the West had signed with Russia — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty — as well as its imminent departure from the OST has raised the strong possibility that the Trump administration may not renew the New Start Treaty, an agreement signed by the Obama administration with Russia that caps Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The New Start Treaty is due to expire next February.
The Trump administration has been worried that extending New Start would negatively impact an arms deal with China and Russia.
New Start doesn’t include China and thus is worried about the increasing nuclear stockpile of China.
NEW PLANT SPECIES FOUND IN WESTERN GHATS
Why in news?
A team of scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have reported the discovery of three new plant species in the evergreen forest patches of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.