The HINDU Notes – 05th January 2019 - VISION

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Saturday, January 05, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 05th January 2019

📰 After the inevitable exit

India must be prepared for the potential consequences of withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan

•Despite the White House’s spirited denial of reports that it has issued no orders for the pullout of U.S. troops, the course seems set for a thinning of American presence in Afghanistan. U.S. President Donald Trump had promised this during his campaign, and several advisers have said since then that he is keen to bring back most, if not all, troops before his re-election bid in 2020. If anything, Mr. Trump’s ill-judged remarks this week only underline his desire to leave: he suggested that regional players like Russia, India and Pakistan should be more involved in stabilising the situation, and mocked India for not doing enough.

•As a result, the U.S. war in Afghanistan, that began as revenge for the 9/11 attacks, evolved into a mission for ensuring democracy and prosperity in Afghanistan. In recent years, challenged by the resurgence of the Taliban, it has now become a mission mainly to ensure an honourable exit. This isn’t the first time the U.S. has sought to do this: President Barack Obama had faced similar challenges in 2010, just before he announced the big drawdown. As Mr. Trump now moves to cutting American presence to a few well-guarded military bases, India must consider the consequences closely.

Shift in policy

•To begin with, it is time to recognise that the U.S.’s South Asia Strategy for Afghanistan, as announced by Mr. Trump in August 2017, has been discarded. Mr. Trump had defined the strategy with three features: that U.S. troops would remain involved in the country until “conditions”, not a timeline, mandated their return; that the U.S. would put Pakistan on notice for its support to the Taliban and a political settlement with the Taliban would only follow “after an effective military effort”; and that the policy would hinge on further developing the strategic partnership with India

•Sixteen months later, it is easy to see that each element of the U.S.’s policy on the ground has shifted, if not been entirely reversed. The appointment of special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in September to lead talks with the Taliban after a particularly brutal year shows that the U.S. is no longer waiting for military operations to take effect. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report to the U.S. Congress, casualties of Afghan National and Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) in May-September 2018 were the “greatest it has ever been” compared to corresponding periods since 2001, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan “documented more civilian deaths in the first nine months of 2018 than they had during the same nine-month reporting period since 2014”.

•Mr. Khalilzad’s direct talks with the Taliban that cut out the National Unity government (NUG) in Kabul reportedly didn’t even have President Ashraf Ghani in the loop until after the first talks were held in Qatar — this reversed the previous U.S. position not to engage the Taliban until it engages the NUG. Far from the tough talk on Pakistan for support to the Taliban, Mr. Trump wrote a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan thanking him for his efforts. Afghanistan’s High Peace Council members also disclosed that Mr. Khalilzad was on a deadline: Mr. Trump has reportedly given him six months to show results with the talks process, failing which the pullout may be speeded up.

•The departure from the avowed U.S. position on an “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led” process has clearly ruffled feathers in Kabul. In December, Mr. Ghani appointed two aides of former President Hamid Karzai known for their hardline position on the Taliban and Pakistan as his Defence and Interior Ministers. Putting the seal on the clear drift in the U.S. Afghanistan and South Asia policy from the past was the exit of Defence Secretary James Mattis, author of the South Asia policy. Mr. Mattis had pushed most strenuously to keep India in the Afghan game by swinging a waiver for India on Chabahar and Iran oil purchases. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump will continue those waivers past May this year.

•The internal situation in Afghanistan is aggravated now by the uncertainty of the democratic process. Parliamentary elections were held in October after being delayed by more than two years, but even their preliminary results haven’t yet been declared, casting doubt on the government’s ability to conduct elections. Presidential elections have been postponed till July, despite the constitutional clause that they were to be completed by April 22, 2019. Meanwhile, Mr. Ghani has been unable to keep his commitment to hold a Loya Jirga (grand council of representatives) to turn Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s post in the NUG into an executive Prime Ministership.

The way forward for India

•For India, these developments may appear discouraging, but a more pragmatic view is necessary to deal with all possible outcomes. The U.S.’s eventual pullout as Afghanistan’s peacekeeper is inevitable, and it would make more sense to prepare for it than to deny it will happen. New Delhi was caught off guard in 2010 when Mr. Obama planned the drawdown and discouraged India from a stake in projects there in an effort to placate Pakistan.

•Mr. Trump’s administration has no doubt been much more welcoming of Indian investment in Afghanistan, but that itself is symptomatic of his desire to pare down “Pax Americana” in every part of the world. The removal or reduction of the U.S. presence from most theatres of action has created space for regional players: leaving Syria to Iran and its allies; Yemen to Saudi Arabia; Afghanistan to players like Russia, Pakistan and Iran; and Pakistan to China.

•Some other hard truths must be faced: India cannot replace Pakistan’s position geographically, nor can it ever offer the U.S. or any other force what Pakistan has offered in the past, including bases and permission for U.S. forces to bomb its own territory. The decision to abandon the SAARC in favour of groupings like BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) and IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) may have provided some short-term returns in “isolating Pakistan”, but it has had the effect of cutting Afghanistan loose from Indian leadership of South Asia as well. India’s best course with Afghanistan remains its own regional strategy, not becoming a part of any other country’s strategy. Close bilateral consultations like this week’s visit to Delhi of National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib may not always yield dramatic headlines, but are the basis of India’s ability to help Afghanistan according to its needs, not India’s ambitions, and the reason for the immense popularity and goodwill India continues to enjoy in Afghanistan.

•Finally, it is necessary to recognise the cyclical nature of interventions in Afghanistan, which has been called the “graveyard of empires” for forcing all world powers to retreat at some point or the other. The words of Rev. George Gleig, a soldier who survived the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42), are worth remembering: “A war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it.” Greig’s description of the British retreat could ring true for Soviet forces in the 1980s, and American forces post-9/11 as well.

📰 Left out, abused: on the state of child care institutions

The shocking neglect of child care institutions must be urgently reversed

•Child care institutions in India have been trapped in an administrative blind spot, as revelations of the sexual abuse of inmates in a balika grih at Muzaffarpur in Bihar showed last year. A home meant to protect girls rescued from exploitation itself turned into a den of predation. The shocking rot in the management of such shelters has now been reported by a Central government committee. It studied 9,589 Child Care Institutions and Homes, mostly run by NGOs, that come under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Only an emergency measure to address the serious lacunae can bring some semblance of order to these faceless shelters. Most of the inmates are orphaned, abandoned, sexually abused, trafficked or victims of disasters and conflict. Among them are 7,422 children in conflict with the law, and 3,70,227 in need of care and protection, including 1,70,375 girls. That they often have to live in facilities without proper toilets, secure compounds or the opportunity to vent their grievances as provided for under law underscores the painful reality that they remain virtually invisible. Reform of this depressing system, as the Ministry of Women and Child Development seeks, can be achieved only through systematic scrutiny by State governments. This could be done by appointing special officers whose task it would be to ensure that all institutions register under the JJ Act, account for funds received by each, and enforce mandatory child protection policies during adoption.

•As per the recently disclosed study, only 32% of Child Care Institutions or Homes were registered under the JJ Act as of 2016, while an equal number were unregistered, and the rest were either empanelled under other schemes or awaiting registration. The priority should be to bring about uniformity of standards and procedures, evolving common norms for infrastructure, human resources, financial practices and external audits. The panel found child care standards were poor in many institutions, sans proper bedding, food and nutrition and sanitation. Some States obviously have too few homes, giving authorities little incentive to take up cases of children in distress. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala together account for 43.5% of all shelters. A few States do not have even one home of every category, such as child care, observation and adoption. The Ministry’s study lays bare the disconnect between civil society and the welfare system for children, and the poor engagement elected representatives have with such a vital function. The imperative now is to turn the findings of the Ministry’s committee into a blueprint for action. Credentialed NGOs should take a greater interest in this effort, holding the authorities to account.

📰 Data protection law finalised: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Data protection law finalised: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Government will soon introduce it in Parliament, says Union IT Minister

•Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the government had finalised the data protection law and it would soon be introduced in Parliament.

•Mr. Prasad said the government was in the process of finalising guidelines for social media intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Google and WhatsApp.

•The draft bill, which was released last year, had proposed that critical personal data of Indian citizens be processed in centres located within the country. It had also proposed financial penalties for data processor for violations of the data protection law. Likening Google to the East India Company, BJP MP Rakesh Sinha said that companies in the West have collected data related to all aspects of the lives of Indians and this was a step in the direction of “neo-imperialism.”

•Responding to this, Mr. Prasad said, “irrespective of how big the company was, if they tried to manipulate the data of Indians, strict action would be initiated.”

•While responding to a question on hacking of data, Mr. Prasad said as per the information provided by the Reserve Bank of India, a total of 1191, 1372, 2059 and 921 cases of frauds involving ATM/debit cards, credit cards and Internet banking frauds (amount involving ₹1 lakh and above) were reported during the years 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 (Up to Sept. 30, 2018) respectively. “In comparison to the number of transactions, the number of fraud or data manipulation was miniscule,” he said.

📰 Lokpal search panel formed, it will frame its own rules of functioning, govt tells SC

SC orders govt to file affidavit detailing steps so far taken in Lokpal appointment process

•The government informed the Supreme Court on Friday that a eight-member search committee has been constituted in September 2018 for zeroing in on eligible candidates for Lokpal and the anti-corruption authority will frame its own rules of functioning. The panel is led by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.

•On September 27, the Department of Personnel and Training issued a notification listing the names of the committee members. They are, retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice S.R. Singh Yadav, former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, former State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, IAS officer Dr. Lalit K. Panwar, former IPS officer S.S. Khandwawala, Prasar Bharati chairperson A. Surya Prakash, former ISRO chairman Dr. A.S. Kiran Kumar.

•A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, ordered Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to file an affidavit detailing the steps taken so far in the search for Lokpal.

•"We request the Attorney General to ensure the steps taken till today is brought on record," Chief Justice Gogoi observed in the order.

•When Mr. Venugopal offered to pass on to the court a "note" detailing the steps taken, Chief Justice Gogoi insisted that the Centre should filed a sworn affidavit.

•The court then posted the case for further hearing to January 17.

•Advocate Prashant Bhushan, for petitioner NGO Common Cause, submitted that Section 4 of the Lokpal Act mandated the government to be transparent about the search and appointment process.

'Names not put on website'

•"They have not put the names of those in the search committee on the website. They have not put the minutes of the meeting on the website," Mr. Bhushan said.

•However, the government side countered that the names were already published on the government website.

•On July 24 last, the Supreme Court said the government's stand on completing the appointment of a Lokpal, an ombudsman to protect the common man from corruption in public service and power centres, was "wholly unsatisfactory".

•The court was reacting to an affidavit filed by the government, of which the stated aim was to specify the exact timeframe by which it would appoint the Lokpal. Instead, the government had said the appointment was a "complicated" process.

•The eight-page affidavit said the Selection Committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met on July 19 on the choice of a Search Committee for Lokpal. Search Committee would prepare a panel of names for Lokpal.

•On July 19, Selection panel had discussed that the Search Committee would comprise persons from expertise as diverse as anti-corruption policy, public administration, insurance, banking, law and management, etc. Besides 50% of them should be drawn from SC/ST category, OBC, Minorities and women. The Selection panel decided to discuss this further the next time they meet at a convenient time.

Contempt plea against govt

•The NGO had filed a contempt petition against the government for not appointing Lokpal despite an April 2017 judgment by the Supreme Court, said the court should now take over and appoint the Lokpal.

•The court has for the past several months been constantly urging the government to complete the Lokpal appointment.

•Though passed in 2014, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 was not implemented all these years because there was no Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the 16th Lok Sabha. The 2013 statute includes the LoP as a member of the selection committee. The Act intends the LoP to be the part of the selection committee of the PM, the CJI and the Speaker, which has to first appoint an eminent jurist among their ranks.

•However, on April 27 last year, the Supreme Court, in a judgment, clarified that the Lokpal appointment process need not be stalled merely due to the absence of the LoP.

•The judgment had dismissed the government's reasoning that the Lokpal appointment process should wait till the 2013 Act was amended to replace the LoP with the single largest opposition party leader.

📰 Open defecation continues unabated

Open defecation continues unabated
‘Open defecation levels are still above 40% in ODF States; Swachh Bharat has not brought behavioural change’

•New research on the impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the rural parts of four northern States shows that while open defecation has fallen and toilet ownership has increased, the percentage of people who owned toilets but continued to defecate in the open has remained unchanged between 2014 and 2018.

•This indicates that the Mission has been more successful at toilet construction than at driving behaviour change, according to the authors of the study, being released by the research institute for compassionate economics (r.i.c.e.) and the Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research next week.

•A working paper released on Friday shows that approximately 44% of people over two years old in rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh still defecate in the open. This finding is based on a late 2018 survey, which covered 9812 people in these states. The researchers visited the same areas and families which who participated in a similar June 2014 survey which had showed that 70% of people then defecated in the open.

•The 2014 survey took place before the launch of the government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission which aims to eliminate open defecation across the country by October 2, 2019. According to the Mission, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are already open defecation free or ODF states. Bihar has achieved 98.97% coverage of toilets for every household, while Uttar Pradesh has achieved 100%, according to government data, although the state has yet to be declared ODF.

•The working paper confirms that the Mission has driven toilet construction, although its findings are more modest than government claims. Almost 60% of households covered by the survey which did not have a toilet in 2014 had one by 2018, said the study.

•One major statistic, however, has remained unchanged since 2014: the fraction of people who own a toilet, but who nevertheless defecate in the open remains at about 23%.

•“We find that nearly the entire change in open defecation between 2014 and 2018 comes from increases in latrine ownership, rather than from changes in behaviour (that is, differences in the proportion of owners and non-owners who defecate in the open),” said the working paper. “This finding is consistent with our qualitative interviews, which found that local officials were far more likely to stress latrine construction as a priority of the SBM than they were to stress use of latrines.”

📰 ‘Precarious family milieu forces children to homes’

Survey of 9,589 shelters across nation found more than a lakh inmates are from single parent homes

•Most children at childcare institutions are not orphans, but belong to family structures that are unable to look after them such as those that are headed by unwed mothers, abandoned wives, widows and in some cases single fathers, shows a pan-India study conducted under this aegis of the Women and Child Development Ministry.

•The study records a total of 9,589 shelters across the country. These include shelters for children who are in need of care and protection such as those who don’t have a home or parents as well as children in conflict with law or those who have been accused of or found to have committed a crime. The survey found more than 3.7 lakh children housed at these centres.

Presented to SC

•The report, Mapping of Child Care Institutions under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was conducted by Childline India Foundation and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has now been made public by the Ministry.

•According to the report, children of single parents constituted a third of the total number of total children in homes, accounting for 1,20,118 children. This number is more than double that of children orphaned, abandoned and those surrendered by their parents at 41,730, 7,677 and 6,791 respectively.

•“Single parents could be a wide gamut of caregivers including unwed mothers, abandoned wives and widows and even single fathers. We have seen that daily wage labourers, domestic workers place their children in homes for their safety and education,” said Harleen Walia of Childline India.

Procedures ignored

•“Economic vulnerability or a dysfunctional family situations are some of the primary reasons for children being sent to shelters, followed by the fact that there is no extended family or protective structure at community level to support such vulnerable families,” she added. A total of 1,575 survivors of sexual abuse were found at these centres. However, the study doesn’t examine whether sexual abuse at these homes was prevalent.

•Children rescued from trafficking accounted for just 3,173 inmates. There were 19,834 children suffering from mental and physical disabilities and as many as 4,999 were infected by HIV or suffering from AIDS, the report says.

•“There is a need to focus on measures like sponsorship schemes laid down under the JJ Act so that families can be helped with expenses towards education of children and they can remain within their families and don’t have to be abandoned. The whole idea of protection of children has to be about strengthening families so that they are able to look after their children if they can’t do so for reasons beyond their control,” said Bharti Ali, Co-founder, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.

•The Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), 2015, lays down that sending children to an institution should be the last resort and that they have the right to be re-united with their families at the earliest.

Poor follow-up

•However, certain findings of the survey raise questions about the efficacy of shelters in trying to restore children to their families.

•The Act requires that a child brought to a home be produced before a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours. The CWC then declares the child abandoned, surrendered or orphaned. According to the report many child care institutions (CCIs) recorded a poor rate of producing a child before the CWC, ranging from no such cases in Manipur through 17% in Kerala, 32 % in Uttar Pradesh to 48% in Sikkim and 50% in Uttarakhand.

•Only 19.3% of CCIs made an effort to trace the biological parents of a rescued child. Similarly, a mere 18.32% of the homes made an effort to file an FIR in case of missing children reported to it.

•Only 37.21% centres maintained records of a child being reunited with his or her family, such as a letter from a parent or a guardian with an identity proof.

📰 A global slowdown?

Policymakers will have to bust recessionary fears with more than just monetary policy

•Stock markets across the world had very little reason to celebrate in 2018. They witnessed the return of extreme volatility after many years, and most of them recorded their worst performance in a decade. Much of this gloom has to do with the rise in fears that global economic growth could come to a grinding halt in the near future. The economic expansion in the United States, which began after the 2008 recession, is now the second-longest in history. Many believe that a recession is overdue now. China is another major concern as the People’s Bank of China’s earlier moves to rein in a massive credit-fuelled bubble have been dampening momentum with a lagged effect. The country’s private manufacturing sector contracted in December for the first time in 19 months and the official manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) number dropped below 50 for the first time since mid-2016. Other major economies such as Europe and Japan have also shown signs of a potential slowdown in growth. Global stocks have been pricing in these very real risks, particularly with major central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remaining on the path to normalise interest rates from near-historic lows. The steep fall in the price of oil is another indicator of faltering demand for commodities as the global economy cools down. The tightening of monetary policy has often been followed by a slowdown in economic growth, and this time may be no different.

•Going forward, a major worry for policymakers globally will be the lack of sufficient central bank firepower should the global economy move into a full-fledged recession in 2019. After years of adopting a monetary policy regime marked by near-zero interest rates, central banks like the Fed now have very little room to lower rates if they want to fight a recession. This is despite the gradual tightening of rates and unwinding of asset purchases in the last few years. The next recession may thus witness central banks adopting even more unconventional methods to stimulate their economies. Some hope that governments will ramp up spending to compensate for the lack of monetary policy leeway. But it is unlikely that any fiscal stimulus will fully compensate for the absence of an accommodative monetary policy, particularly when most governments are already deeply mired in debt. Further, the overuse of monetary policy will eventually lead to diminishing returns. A further escalation in the trade war between the U.S. and China is another imminent risk to global growth as additional tariffs could increase the overall tax burden on the economy. In order to tackle the next recession, policymakers will have to come up with reforms to boost economic productivity, instead of just relying on an ultra-easy monetary policy to boost their economies.

📰 Lunar rover named as ‘Yutu 2’

It will carry out a string of experiments on the unexplored far side of the moon

•China has named the lunar rover, successfully deployed on Thursday to carry out a string of experiments on the far side of the moon, as ‘Yutu-2’.

•The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that the Yutu-2 touched the lunar surface at 10:22 p.m. local time on Thursday, leaving a trace on the loose lunar soil. The rover’s touchdown is part of China Chang’e-4 lunar probe.

•Analysts say that China’s lunar probe is part of its ‘Made in China-2025’ project, which focuses on advanced technology, including space applications.

Homegrown GPS

•It follows the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System — China’s homegrown Global Positioning System that started worldwide service last month. Next year China plans to launch its Mars explorer mission. In 2022, it hopes to complete its own Earth-orbiting space station.

•Some observers say that China’s advances can mutate into a Cold war-style competition in outer space with the United States.

•Already China and the United States are roiled in a so-called trade war. U.S. administration officials are on record stating that there deep opposition to the ‘Made-in-China 2025’ project.

•The Hong Kong based South China Morning Post quoted Chen Hongqiao, a researcher at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in the southern city of Guangzhou, as telling that the landing could intensify the space race between China and the U.S. “Today the fight [between China and the U.S.] is on trade. Tomorrow it can be on the moon,” he observed.

A military dimension?

•According to the Nikkei Asian Review, after the latest launch, Beijing is moving forward with plans to build a research base on the moon. It is also said to be considering mining there for helium-3, a rare substance on earth that can be used as a fuel in nuclear fusion power generation. The publication added that the U.S. is growing increasingly alarmed because a more advanced Chinese space programme could be translated into military strength.

•The rover has been programmed to launch ground penetration radar that would help map the moon’s inner structures. It would also analyse soil and rock samples for minerals, apart from activating a radio telescope to search for possible signals from deep space.

•The payload also carried a canister filled with air, soil, water, bacterium, silkworm eggs, the seeds of a small flowering plant and a potato, the SCMPreported. Scientists hope that the small eco-system will spring to life and produce the first blossoming flowers on the moon in about three months’ time.

•The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said the Chang’e-4 mission had “lifted the mysterious veil” from the far side of the moon, which is permanently blocked from view from earth, and “opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration”.

📰 China develops its own ‘Mother of All Bombs’: report

China’s defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb, the country’s largest non-nuclear bomb, state-run Global Times reported.

•China has developed a massive bomb, said to be the country’s answer to the US-built ‘Mother of All Bombs’, the most powerful non-nuclear weapon, official media reported on Friday.

•China’s defence industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased the aerial bomb, the country’s largest non-nuclear bomb, state-run Global Times reported.

•It is dubbed as the Chinese version of the “Mother of All Bombs” due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons, the daily said.

•The bomb was airdropped by an H-6K bomber and caused a gigantic explosion, showed a promotional video released by China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) on its website at the end of December.

•This is the first time the new bomb’s destructive powers have been shown in public, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

•Last year, while waging war against militants in Afghanistan, the US military dropped a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon, more commonly known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” on the Islamic State.

•Although China is using the same nickname for its bomb, said to weigh several tonnes, the Chinese weapon is smaller and lighter than its American counterpart.

•Judging from the video and the size of the H-6K’s bomb bay, the bomb is approximately five to six meters long, Beijing-based military analyst Wei Dongxu told the Global Times on Thursday.

•“The massive blast can easily and completely wipe out fortified ground targets such as reinforced buildings, bastions and defence shelters,” Wei said.

•It can also be used to clear a landing zone for troops on helicopters to rappel down, in case the area is covered by obstacles such as forests, Wei noted.

•Mr. Wei said that the Chinese bomb is smaller and lighter than the US one, enabling it to be deployed on the H-6K bomber.

•“The US bomb is so large that it has to be carried by a larger transport aircraft rather than a bomber,” Mr. Wei said, noting that a bomber can fly faster and is better at targeting than a transport aircraft, and the Chinese bomb’s designer must have had this in mind when it produced the bomb to fit the H-6K.

•To match the U.S. weapon, Russia developed the “Father of All Bombs” which is both bigger and thermobaric, meaning it uses gas to create a huge fireball rather than a shockwave, Wired reported.

•A NORINCO representative clarified that the bomb shown in the video is not a thermobaric weapon, but did not provide additional details, the Global Times report said.

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