Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict


The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the centre of three major wars and multiple clashes for decades. The flare-up began recently after Azerbaijan claimed that it had captured the territory in Karabakh in a retaliatory campaign, after an Armenian attack killed one Azerbaijani soldier.


Prelims, GS-II: International Relations (Important Foreign Policies and Developments), GS-I Geography (Maps), GS-I: History (World History)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Nagorno-Karabakh begin conflict
  2. The Azeri-Armenian war of 1991
  3. The war of 2016 and 2020
  4. Current peace talks

Nagorno-Karabakh begin conflict

  • Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked, mountainous and forested region, falling within the boundaries of Azerbaijan.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh, called Artsakh in Armenian, hosts a predominantly ethnic Armenian population with an Azeri minority.
  • It is located in the South Caucasus region and is roughly made up of modern-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh, which was once a part of the Armenian kingdom, has been ruled by several empires over the centuries — the Ottomans, the Persians, and the Russians.
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia later became separate Republics, with the Azeris incorporating Nagorno-Karabakh into their Republic.
  • During the First World War, the Ottomans, aided by Azeris, attacked the south Caucasus, especially targeting ethnic Armenians.
  • As the Ottomans retreated at the end of the World War, Azerbaijan and Armenia descended into a full-blown war in 1920.

The Azeri-Armenian war of 1991

  • Soon, the Bolsheviks took over south Caucasus to expand Soviet influence and Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia became Soviet Republics.
  • The Soviets officially placed Nagorno-Karabakh as an autonomous Oblast (administrative region) in Azerbaijan’s territory, despite the chiefly Armenian population.
  • As Soviet power began to wane in the 1980s, the ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh expressed a desire to be reunited with their roots and become a part of Armenia, organising a vote for the same in 1988.
    • This did not go down well with Azerbaijan and military clashes ensued.
  • The war killed nearly 30,000 people and caused numerous ethnic Azeris to flee Karabakh and Armenia.
    • Some Armenians in parts of Azerbaijan fled too.
  • By 1993, Armenia had taken control of most of Nagorno-Karabakh. The war ended in 1994 when both countries entered into a ceasefire brokered by Russia but the borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan were not demarcated.
Peace talks by Minsk Group:
  • Peace talks were initiated by the Minsk Group but peace treaty could not be brokered.
    • The Minsk Group, created by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in early 1990, was co-chaired by Russia, the United States, and France.
  • The Minsk Group’s proposals were continously rejected by both Yerevan and Baku.
  • The role of the Minsk Group declined during the 2020 war between the two countries, as other negotiating groups entered the scene.

The war of 2016 and 2020

  • A ceasefire signed in 1994 could not prevent multiple flare-ups between the Nagorno-Karabakh rebel armed forces backed by the Armenian military, and the Azerbaijani military.
  • Some skirmishes turned into direct clashes and the conflict has resulted in several casualties over the years.


  • A clash started between Azerbaijan and Armenia which lasted for four days.
  • A ceasefire signed in Moscow put an end to the war but the Nagorno-Karabakh issue was far from resolved.
  • Fresh clashes erupted on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border in September of 2020,


  • It turned into a fierce six-week war in which more than 2,000 people died.
  • The fighting began after Azerbaijani President Aliyev launched an offensive vowing to take back Nagorno-Karabakh and other Armenian-occupied districts.
  • Both parties entered a ceasefire brokered by Moscow in November 2020.

Current peace talks

  • Despite the 2020 ceasefire, clashes have not stopped.
  • Recently, seven Azerbaijani and six Armenian soldiers were killed in border clashes.
  • With the efforts of the Minsk Group remaining largely unsuccessful, Baku saw an opportunity to introduce its own peace proposal, which calls for the mutual recognition of each State’s territorial integrity, meaning the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijani territory.
  • The European Union, meanwhile, has emerged as a potential peace broker.
  • European Council President spearheaded meetings between both countries for the beginning of peace talks While both countries have now agreed to formulate border security and delimitation commissions and start talks for a peace deal, a permanent solution for the Karabakh issue remains out of sight.

Fundamental Duties


Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana said fundamental duties in the Constitution are not merely to serve a “pedantic or technical” purpose, they are meant to guide citizens engineer a social transformation.


GS II- Polity (Indian Constitution)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?
  3. What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?


  • The need to enforce fundamental duties arises due to new illegal trend of protest by protesters in the garb of freedom of speech and expression.
  • Vandalism, blocking of road and rail routes in order to compel the government to meet their demands is a sheer violation of the FDs which are generally not enforceable.

How were the fundamental duties incorporated in the Constitution?

  • The fundamental duties were incorporated in Part IV-A of the Constitution by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
  • Article 51(A) describes 11 fundamental duties — 10 came with the 42nd Amendment; the 11th was added by the 86th Amendment in 2002, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister.
  • These duties are not enforceable by law.
    • However, a court may take them into account while adjudicating on a matter.
  • They were made a part of the Constitution to emphasise the obligation of the citizen in return for the fundamental rights that he or she enjoys.

What are the fundamental duties of the citizen?

Article 51(A) says it shall be the duty of every citizen of India:

  • to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
  • to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  •  to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  • to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
  • to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  • to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
  • to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
  • to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
  • to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
  • to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
  • who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

The last subsection, (k), on the education of children, was added in 2002 by The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act. The same amendment also introduced Article 21A in the Constitution: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.”

Triple Talaq


Five years after the Supreme Court’s five-judge Bench invalidated instant triple talaq in August 2017, the women petitioners continue to live a life of half-divorcees. 

  • No arrests could be made for giving instant triple talaq as the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 came into force long after pronouncement of instant talaq.


GS-II Social Justice

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. History of Triple Talaq and Legislation
  2. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019
  3. Arguments favouring the bill
  4. Arguments opposing the bill

History of Triple Talaq and Legislation

  • The case dates back to 2016 when the Supreme Court had sought assistance from the then Attorney General on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of “triple talaq”, “nikah halala” and “polygamy”, to assess whether Muslim women face gender discrimination in cases of divorce.
  • The Supreme Court later announced the setting up of a five-judge constitutional bench to hear and deliberate on the challenges against the practice of ‘triple talaq, nikah halala’ and polygamy.
  • In 2017, the Supreme Court set aside the decade-old practice of instant triple talaq saying it was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 was tabled in the parliament for gender equality and justice, proposing to make the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence.

Key provisions of the bill:
  • The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
  • It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.
  • Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
  • The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years imprisonment with a fine. 
  • The bail may be granted only after hearing the woman (against whom talaq has been pronounced), and if the Magistrate is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for granting bail.
  • The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman (against whom talaq has been declared).
  • A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.  The amount of the allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.
  • A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children. The manner of custody will be determined by the Magistrate.

Arguments favouring the bill:

  • Bill is needed so that even Muslim women also get equality on par with other Muslim men.
  • Triple talaq adversely impact rights of women to a life of dignity and is against constitutional principles such as gender equality, secularism, international laws etc.
  • The penal measure acts as a “necessary deterrent”
  • It significantly empowers Muslim women.
  • The practice of triple talaq has continued despite the Supreme Court order terming it void.
  • The practice is arbitrary and, therefore, unconstitutional
  • The law is about justice and respect for women and is not about any religion or community
  • It protects the rights of Muslim women against arbitrary divorce
  • Instant triple talaq is viewed as sinful and improper by a large section of the community itself.
  • The fine amount could be awarded as maintenance or subsistence.

Arguments opposing the bill:

  • Since marriage is a civil contract, the procedures to be followed on its breakdown should also be of civil nature only.
  • Civil redress mechanisms must ensure that Muslim women are able to negotiate for their rights both within and outside of the marriage
  • The mutual divorce provision is missing in the proposed law and needs to be debated.
  • Some representatives have given it a political and religious color.



Polio, a deadly disease that used to paralyze tens of thousands of children every year, is spreading in London, New York and Jerusalem for the first time in decades, spurring catch-up vaccination campaigns.


GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Polio?
  2. Polio in India
  3. India’s Pulse Polio Programme
  4. Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India

What is Polio?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines polio or poliomyelitis as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.”
  • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g., contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
  • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
  • In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.
  • There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunization.
  • There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains:
    1. Wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)
    2. Wild Poliovirus type 2 (WPV2)
    3. Wild Poliovirus type 3 (WPV3)
  • Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death.
  • However, there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains separate viruses which must each be eradicated individually.

Polio in India

  • India received polio-free certification by the WHO in 2014, after three years of zero cases.
  • This achievement has been spurred by the successful pulse polio campaign in which all children were administered polio drops.
  • The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13th January 2011.

India’s Pulse Polio Programme

  • With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in 1995. Children in the age group of 0-5 years administered polio drops during National and Sub-national immunization rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
  • The Pulse Polio Initiative was started with an objective of achieving hundred per cent coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
  • It aimed to immunize children through improved social mobilization, plan mop-up operations in areas where poliovirus has almost disappeared and maintain high level of morale among the public.

Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India

  • Maintaining community immunity through high quality National and Sub National polio rounds each year.
  • An extremely high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being maintained.
  • All States and Union Territories in the country have developed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country.
  • To reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries, international border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock.
  • Government of India has issued guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely:  Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

Women Heroes of India’s Freedom Struggle, Mentioned by PM in His Independence-Day Speech


PM said, Laxmibai, Durga Bhabhi, Rani Gaidinliu, and Velu Nachiyar, among others, embody the spirit of India’s ‘nari shakti.


GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Rani Laxmibai
  2. Jhalkari Bai
  3. Durga Bhabhi
  4. Rani Gaidinliu
  5. Rani Chennamma
  6. Begum Hazrat Mahal
  7. Velu Nachiyar

Rani Laxmibai

  • The queen of the princely state of Jhansi, Rani Laxmibai is known for her role in the First War of India’s Independence in 1857.
  • Born Manikarnika Tambe in 1835, she married the king of Jhansi.
  • The couple adopted a son before the king’s death, which the British East India Company refused to accept as the legal heir and decided to annex Jhansi.
  • Refusing to cede her territory, the queen decided to rule on behalf of the heir, and later joined the uprising against the British in 1857.
  • Cornered by the British, she escaped from Jhansi fort.
  • She was wounded in combat near Gwalior’s Phool Bagh, where she later died.
  • Sir Hugh Rose, who was commanding the British army, is known to have described her as “personable, clever…and one of the most dangerous Indian leaders”.

Jhalkari Bai

  • A soldier in Rani Laxmibai’s women’s army, Durga Dal, she rose to become one of the queen’s most trusted advisers.
  • She is known for putting her own life at risk to keep the queen out of harm’s way.
  • Till date, the story of her valour is recalled by the people of Bundelkhand, and she is often presented as a representative of Bundeli identity.
  • According to Ministry of Culture’s Amrit Mahotsav website, “Many Dalit communities of the region look up to her as an incarnation of God and also celebrate Jhalkaribai Jayanti every year in her honour.”

Durga Bhabhi

  • Durgawati Devi, who was popularly known as Durga Bhabhi, was a revolutionary who joined the armed struggle against colonial rule.
  • A member of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, she helped Bhagat Singh escape in disguise from Lahore after the 1928 killing of British police officer John P Saunders.
  • During the train journey that followed, Durgawati and Bhagat Singh posed as a couple, and Rajguru as their servant.
  • Later, as revenge for the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, she made an unsuccessful attempt to kill the former Punjab Governor, Lord Hailey.
  • Born in Allahabad in 1907 and married to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) member Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Durgawati, along with other revolutionaries, also ran a bomb factory in Delhi.

Rani Gaidinliu

  • Born in 1915 in present-day Manipur, Rani Gaidinliu was a Naga spiritual and political leader who fought the British.
  • She joined the Heraka religious movement which later became a movement to drive out the British.
  • She rebelled against the Empire, and refused to pay taxes, asking people to do the same.
  • The British launched a manhunt, but she evaded arrest, moving from village to village.
  • Gaidinliu was finally arrested in 1932 when she was just 16, and later sentenced for life.
  • She was released in 1947.
  • Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, according to the Amrit Mahotsav website, described Gaidinliu as the “daughter of the hills”, and gave her the title of ‘Rani’ for her courage.

Rani Chennamma

  • The queen of Kittur, Rani Chennamma, was among the first rulers to lead an armed rebellion against British rule.
  • Kittur was a princely state in present-day Karnataka.
  • She fought back against the attempt to control her dominion in 1824 after the death of her young son.
  • She had lost her husband, Raja Mallasarja, in 1816. She is seen among the few rulers of the time who understood the colonial designs of the British.
  • Rani Chennamma defeated the British in her first revolt, but was captured and imprisoned during the second assault by the East India Company.

Begum Hazrat Mahal

  • After her husband, Nawab of Awadh Wajid Ali Shah, was exiled after the 1857 revolt, Begum Hazrat Mahal, along with her supporters, took on the British and wrested control of Lucknow.
  • She was forced into a retreat after the colonial rulers recaptured the area.

Velu Nachiyar

  • Many years before the revolt of 1857, Velu Nachiyar waged a war against the British and emerged victorious.
  •  Born in Ramanathapuram in 1780, she was married to the king of Sivagangai.
  • After her husband was killed in battle with the East India Company, she entered the conflict, and won with support of neighbouring kings.
  • “She went on to produce the first human bomb as well as establish the first army of trained women soldiers in the late 1700s,” says the Amrit Mahotsav website.
  • Her army commander Kuyili is believed to have set herself ablaze and walked into a British ammunition dump.
  • She was succeeded by her daughter in 1790, and died a few years later in 1796.

The Revolutionaries Whom PM Mentioned in his Independence-Day Speech


In his address from the Red Fort on Independence Day, Prime Minister paid tribute to a range of personalities from India’s freedom struggle, including fearless revolutionary heroes, leaders of tribal movements, spiritual leaders, women leaders, and several others who fought colonial rule outside the mainstream national movement.


GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Mangal Pandey
  2. Tantya Tope
  3. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru
  4. Chandrashekhar Azad
  5. Ashfaqulla Khan
  6. Ramprasad Bismil

Mangal Pandey

  • A soldier with the British Indian army, Mangal Pandey is believed to have sparked off the mutiny of Indian soldiers at Meerut that eventually became the great revolt of 1857, and spread to other parts of North India.
  • The revolt is said to have been sparked by the introduction of the new Enfield rifle, which required soldiers to bite off the cartridge casing before the weapon could be fired.
  • Soldiers believed the casing was greased with cow fat and pig fat, which offended both Hindus and Muslims.
  • Pandey was court-martialed for his protest and sentenced to death, and the rebellion was put down in some months.
  • But the revolt marked the first united Indian challenge to colonial rule and left a deep and long-lasting imprint.

Tantya Tope

  • Born in 1814, Tantya Tope was a trusted lieutenant of Nana Sahib, the adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II of the Maratha empire.
  • Nana Sahib lost his ancestral rights under the ‘Doctrine of Lapse’ that disallowed adopted heirs of Indian rulers from ascending to the throne.
  • In the summer of 1857, Tantya brought together armed forces to declare Nana Sahib the ruler of Kanpur and attempted to protect the seat of power for over five months.
  • After Kanpur was lost to the British in December 1857, he assisted the Rani of Jhansi, whose adopted son was also a victim of the Doctrine of Lapse, to mobilise an armed force.
  • Tantya Tope was sent to the gallows in April 1859 in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, after a trusted aide betrayed him.

Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Rajguru

  • Of all the great revolutionary heroes of India’s freedom struggle, Bhagat Singh is perhaps the most charismatic and storied.
  • Bhagat Singh, who was inspired by communist thought, anti-colonialism, and anti-communalism, was involved in the symbolic bombing of the Central Legislative Assembly.
  • He was hanged by the British at the age of 23. Along with Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were also hanged to death.

Chandrashekhar Azad

  • Azad, a comrade and intellectual fellow traveller of Rajguru, Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh, Ramprasad Bismil, and Ashfaqulla Khan, was born in Allahabad and began taking part in revolutionary activities from the age of 15.
  • He gave himself the name ‘Azad’ and vowed never to be held captive; when cornered by police in his final moments, he chose to shoot himself.

Ashfaqulla Khan

  • Born in Shahjahanpur, Khan helped form the HSRA and was part of the Kakori incident.
  • In September 1926, Khan’s close friend Ramprasad Bismil was arrested, and finally, Khan too was arrested.
  • The trial continued for about a year and a half, and in April 1927, Bismil, Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and Roshan Singh were sentenced to death.

Ramprasad Bismil

  • Bismil was associated with the Arya Samaj from an early age.
  • He started writing powerful patriotic poems in Urdu and Hindi under the pen names ‘Bismil’, ‘Ram’, and ‘Agyat’. His autobiography is considered one of the finest works in Hindi literature, and the cult patriotic song “Mera rang de Basanti chola” is attributed to him.
  • He was executed at the age of 30.

Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)


In a first, an indigenously developed howitzer gun, ATAG, became part of the 21-gun salute during the Independence Day ceremony at the Red Fort Monday. Developed by the DRDO, the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) was used alongside the traditional British-origin ’25 Pounders’ artillery guns


GS III- Science and Technology (Indigenization Of Technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ATAG System
  2. Features

ATAG System

  • The ATAGS is a 155-mm, 52-calibre artillery gun jointly developed by the DRDO in partnership with Bharat Forge of the Kalyani Group and the Tata Power SED.
  • ATAGS has greater than 95% of indigenous content. It set a world record for the longest unassisted projectile range of 48 kilometres.
  • The ATAGS has demonstrated a range of over 45 km, making it the “most consistent and accurate gun in the world”.


  • The gun has a barrel, breech mechanism, muzzle brake, and recoil system, and can fire 155 mm calibre ammunition with a range of 48 kilometres.
  • It includes an all-electric drive to assure long-term dependability and minimal maintenance.
  • It has advanced features such as high mobility, quick deployment, auxiliary power mode, sophisticated communication system, automatic command and control system with night capabilities in direct fire mode, and automatic command and control system.


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