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4th March 2023 (8 Topics)

US, South Korea announce largest field exercises in 5 years

Context

The South Korean and U.S. militaries announced to hold of their most extensive joint field exercises in five years, as the U.S. flew a long-range B-1B bomber to the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea.

Background:

  • The two countries last conducted Foal Eagle in 2018.
  • Recently, both countries have been expanding their joint military exercises in the face of an evolving North Korean nuclear threat.
  • The United States flew a supersonic bomber over ally South Korea as part of an enormous combined aerial exercise involving hundreds of warplanes in a show of force meant to intimidate North Korea over its barrage of ballistic missile tests.
  • The US has fired B-1B missiles to demonstrate its determination and ability to use the full range of its military capabilities, including nuclear, to defend its allies.

North Korea is highly sensitive to the deployment of B-1Bs, which are capable of carrying a large conventional weapons payload.

  • It responded to the previous flights of multiple B-1Bs by test-launching two short-range missiles.

Details of the exercise:

  • The South Korean and U.S. military will conduct the Freedom Shield exercise, a computer-simulated command post training, to strengthen their defence and response capabilities, and separate large-scale joint field training exercises called ‘Warrior Shield FTX.’
  • It is going to be conducted from March 13 to 23, 2023.

Why is such an exercise being conducted?

  • North Korea test-fired more than 70 missiles in the year 2022, the most ever in a single year, and several more this year.
  • Many missiles were nuclear-capable weapons designed to strike the U.S. mainland and South Korea.
  • The Hwasong-15 is one of North Korea's three existing ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), all of which use liquid propellants that require pre-launch injections and cannot remain fueled for extended periods.
  • The North is pushing to build a solid-fueled ICBM, which would be more mobile and harder to detect before its launch.

Nuclear Diplomacy:

  • Nuclear diplomacy deals with the prevention of nuclear war and peacetime proliferation.
  • It also deals with the use of the threat of nuclear warfare to achieve diplomatic goals.

India and Nuclear Power:

  • India, one of the world’s nuclear weapon powers, should pay a lot more attention to the international nuclear discourse that is acquiring new dimensions and taking a fresh look at its own civilian and military nuclear programmes.
  • Nuclear cooperation has brought a new dimension to India’s nuclear diplomacy in the 21st India’s status as a responsible nuclear power is predicated upon the civil relationships in the nuclear domain that it has established with major powers.

Significance to possess nuclear weapons:

  • Possessing nuclear weapons can confer India increased leverage to conduct foreign policy in both regional and international contexts.
  • There are two ways in which the possession of nuclear weapons can affect a state’s conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy.
  • The first involves military and strategic signalling. This includes military-oriented functions of deterrence, coercion, and brinkmanship.
  • The second deals with non-military affairs.
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