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Indo-US exercise TARKASH has drill against nuke, bio terror attacks for the first time. What are these attacks?

GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


The ongoing Indo-US joint exercise named TARKASH, being held in Chennai, has included a “Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terror response” in its drill for the firsttime. This is the sixth edition of the exercise that commenced on January 16 and is scheduled to conclude on February 14.


The exercise is a joint venture between the National Security Guard (NSG) and US Special Operations Forces (SOF). The objective of the joint exercise by NSG and US (SOF) teams is to rapidly neutralise terrorists, rescue hostages safely and deactivate chemical weapons.

The drill for CBRN terror response involves a small team insertion by IAF helicopters to the target area, successful intervention in a large auditorium, rescue of hostages and neutralisation of the chemical agent weapon.


The new drill has been introduced in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, in which Russia accused Ukraine of orchestrating a chemical attack in Kharkiv to blame Russia and receive aid from western countries. Additionally, the exercise also included a drill for tackling chemical and biological attacks by terrorists


CBRN Weapons

  • Weapons of mass destruction are classified as CBRN weapons due to their capability of creating mass casualties and mass disruption
  • These weapons have an extensive range, including –
  • Chemical weapons like mustard gas, which damages the respiratory tract, skin, and eyes, and nerve agents that cause victims to rapidly become unconscious, have breathing difficulties, and may die. 
  • Biological agents such as anthrax, botulinum toxin that leads to the paralysis of respiratory muscles, and plague are some examples of biochemical weapons. 
  • Radiological weapons include weaponisedradioactive waste, dirty bombs.
  • Nuclear weapons


History of CBRN weapons in modern warfare

  • CBRN weapons have been used by various countries and terrorist organizations. 
  • The French forces during the first month of World War I deployed tear-gas grenades that were developed in 1912 for police use, marking the first instance of any form of CBRN weapons being used in modern warfare. 
  • Later, in October 1914, Germany fired shells containing dianisidinechlorosulfate, a lung irritant, at the British army at Neuve-Chapelle in France. 
  • In 1925, countries signed the Geneva Protocol, which prohibited the use of “asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices” and “bacteriological methods of warfare”
  • Despite the treaty, various countries, including Italy, Nazi Germany, and the United States, violated it. 
  • In the 1980s, Iraq used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, which was later confirmed by the United Nations.
  • In 2013, the Syrian army carried out a sarin gas attack against civilians during the Syrian Civil War, leading to hundreds of deaths, which is the most recent use of CBRN weapons.


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Fact File 

Equatorial Guinea confirms Marburg virus outbreak: What we know so far

  • Equatorial Guinea reports its first-ever Marburg virus outbreak with at least nine deaths in Kie-Ntem province, as confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • Marburg virus disease (MVD) is a rare, severehemorrhagic fever caused by a genetically unique zoonotic RNA virus of the filovirus familythat also includes the Ebola virus.
  • This highly dangerous pathogen causes severe fever often accompanied by bleeding and can target multiple organs, diminishing the body's ability to function independently.
  • It was first recognized in 1967 during outbreaks in Germany(Marburg and Frankfurt) and Serbia (Belgrade). 
  • The African fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus, is the reservoir host of Marburg virus, and after it crosses over to humans, it spreads through person-to-person contact with infected bodily fluids or objects contaminated with those fluids. 
  • It can also spread through semen from a recovered male patient. 
  • No authorized vaccines or drugs are available to treat Marburg virus, but rehydration treatment can alleviate symptoms and increase survival chances. 
  • Fatality rates for the virus range from 24% to 88% depending on the strain and case management.

Junior lawyers in Kerala to get Rs 3,000 monthly: What is the scheme

  • The Kerala government introduced a monthly stipend of Rs 3000 for junior lawyers in the state, under a scheme launched by the Bar Council of Kerala and the Advocates Welfare Trust.
  • Eligibility: The plan grants a monthly stipend only to junior lawyers under 30 years old with less than three years of practice and an annual income below Rs 1 lakh.
  • The plan is based on the Kerala Advocate Stipend Rules, 2021 passed by the Bar Council of Kerala on December 18, 2021. 
  • The Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act of 1980 mandates the creation of an advocate's welfare fund, which includes contributions from various sources and grants from the government. 
  • In 2018, the Kerala government issued an order to provide a monthly stipend of up to Rs 5,000 from the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund, but it was not immediately implemented. 
  • Following a petition in the Kerala High Court, the Bar Council passed the 2021 stipend rules and allowed a monthly stipend of up to Rs 5,000 for junior lawyers. 
  • However, in June 2022, the government reduced the stipend amount to Rs 3,000 and added a provision for advocates from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities with no annual income limit.


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