THE figures released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, on rise in military expenditure in the world, are clear indications of the present times where national security has assumed an important priority. As per the data, world’s military spending increased by 2.6 per cent last year which is 2.1 per cent of the world GDP. The United States and China, locked in a race for the tag of global power, accounted for half of the world’s military spending. From the Indian point of view, a welcome signal is the increase in military spending by 3.1 per cent in 2018. There has been a consistent demand from all the three Armed Forces on enhancing procurement of weapons and other ancillaries to counter rising border challenges from China and Pakistan. While China is way ahead of India, there also has been a significant increase in military spending by Pakistan. The Union Government is awake to this reality and measures are afoot to enhance combat capabilities of our forces with advanced technology, modern weaponry, and latest gadgets.
A LAUDABLE initiative is on in Nepal where the Government, Army and civilians have joined hands to clean Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak. This is the first time all stakeholders have come together for an ambitious campaign. The start may be seen as a small step but the intention of restoring the glory of the magnificent peak is truly commendable. Efforts were made earlier too but with moderate success. The present clean-up campaign is driven by the pride of ridding the Mt Everest of the notoriety of being the world’s highest garbage dump. In the first phase the campaigners collected 3000 kg of garbage till the base camp. This is a sad commentary on human indifference for nature’s precious gift. Of late, Mt Everest expeditions have transformed into commerce-driven picnics rather than adventure. It was bound to create a mess as most treks are organised without proper guidelines of waste disposal for the participants. The ongoing clean-up drive must be backed by stringent measures to keep the pristine glory of Everest.