THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 13 January 2020 (Man-made disaster: On Iran shooting down Ukraine plane (The Hindu))

Man-made disaster: On Iran shooting down Ukraine plane (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2: International
Prelims level : Surface-to-air missile
Mains level : Iran shooting down Ukraine plane


  • The shooting down of a passenger plane by Iran’s military on Wednesday, a few hours after it launched missile attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, is the most tragic outcome of the recent spike in U.S.-Iran tensions.
  • The Ukrainian jet with 176 aboard was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile shortly after it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport.
  • After initially rejecting western assertion that an Iranian missile brought down the plane, Tehran on Saturday said one of its soldiers fired the missile, mistaking the jet for an enemy aircraft “as it turned to a sensitive area”.


  • This is not the first time U.S.-Iran tensions have led to an aviation disaster.
  • In 1988, in the last stage of the Iran-Iraq war, a U.S. Navy warship shot down an Iran Air flight over the Gulf, killing all 290 passengers.
  • Then the U.S. troops said they mistook the plane for a military aircraft that was going to attack the ship.
  • Iran says the same today. In both incidents, innocents, who did not have anything to do with the conflict, became victims.

Man-made disaster:

  • Iran blames “human error” for the attack on the passenger plane. But whatever the context is, it cannot abdicate responsibility for what happened.
  • Ukraine International Airlines says the flight took off after clearance from the airport.
  • The airline also rejects the Iranian military’s claim that the plane veered off its route.
  • Iran’s admission and apology is a step in the right direction. But it should carry out, along with international investigators, a thorough probe into what led to the “accident”, and punish whoever is responsible for the “human error”.
  • Such mistakes are unacceptable even in war.
  • Iran should have put in place the highest safety measures and followed international protocols while preparing itself for enemy retaliation.
  • Clearly it did not do so. And innocent people paid a price for Iran’s mistake.

Way ahead:

  • Both Iran and the U.S. should also ask themselves whether the confrontational path they have chosen since Mr. Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018, was worth the risk.
  • Both countries were on the brink of an all-out war early this week.
  • At least 226 people, mostly Iranians, have already lost their lives in tragedies related to the Soleimani killing (over 50 were killed in a stampede at the funeral).
  • If Iran is sincere in its apology, it should not only unearth what happened and punish the culprits but also take immediate steps to reduce tensions with the U.S.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Leishmaniasis, consider the following statements:
1. It is spread by the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquitos.
2. Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is also known as kala-azar.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B
Mains Questions:

Q.1) Iran should have had safety steps for civilian aircraft while preparing for enemy retaliation. Comment.

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