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India offers tsunami alert system to SCS countries

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December 11, 2016

Why in news?

India is looking to have South China Sea countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Philippines use the tsunami early warning-system developed by India.

How does the early warning-system work?

  • Since a deadly tsunami struck Tamil Nadu in 2004, India has put in place its own tsunami-alert system over the years that immediately warns concerned authorities in India of any large earthquake in the Indian Ocean and the threat it poses.
  • However, because of limited data on the historical occurrence of tsunamis, scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) have developed a technique that uses mathematical modelling to estimate if an earthquake will result in a tsunami.
  • The system is also designed to send out a series of graded warnings to warn officials of danger.
  • There are also sensors lodged on the ocean floor that will measure actual earthquake signals and based on that we can revise our warnings.
  • We’ve expanded our modelling capabilities to include countries in the South China sea and so it can be useful to them too.

What is the significance of the move?

  • India already provides earthquake and tsunami-warning alerts to several countries in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood, as do Australia and Japan.
  • The South China Sea is a controversial region with China exerting territorial rights over a large part. Some of these territorial claims have been challenged by Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • By the current move India is aimed at achieving soft power i.e it isn’t expecting a commercial deal to result but fame and leadership from the effort. This could help with broader government efforts.
  • India so far has only said that all countries must abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which governs how countries must respect international waters and the ocean boundaries of countries. China too is a signatory to this convention.
  • Talks were held with China last year to use India’s early warning system.


Category: Mains | GS-II | India & Neighborhood

Source: The Hindu



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