29 Solved Questions with Answers
20. Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South East Asian countries economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context. (2017)
Though India’s cultural interaction with Southeast Asia (SEA) precedes the dawn of Christian era, large scale Indian emigration began in the 19th and 20th centuries as a result of the colonial system.
Economic Contribution by Indians in SEA
- In Brunei, apart from running businesses mini-marts and small restaurants, Indians have filled up human resources vacuum - thus making an important contribution to its economy.
- In Philippines and Indonesia, members of the Indian Community have played a prominent role in the export of textile products – which has powered their economy in the recent past.
- The Indian community's contribution to Malaysia's GDP is about 2% and its share in Malaysia's international trade is about 3%.
- In Malaysia and Myanmar, almost all important spheres of life like the civil services, education, professional services, trade and commerce are largely in the hands of the Indian community.
- Part of Singapore's IT industry today is being fuelled by Indian expertise. There is also a significant Indian contribution to scientific research including in bio-technology and medicine.
Role of Indian Diaspora in SEA Society
In most of the Southeast Asian countries, the Indian community has integrated itself very well with the local populace. Quite a few Indian settlers have married the natives. Practically in every country, there is good presence of places of worship of almost all Indian religious communities which also celebrate religious and cultural festivals and events with great fervour and enthusiasm. The older generations, in particular make a special endeavour to keep Indian religious traditions and languages alive by holding religious and language classes in temples, mosques and gurudwaras.
Thus, the Indian Diaspora has been making significant contributions to the economy and society of the Southeast Asian countries serving as an important bridge to Indian culture and heritage.
- In Brunei, apart from running businesses mini-marts and small restaurants, Indians have filled up human resources vacuum - thus making an important contribution to its economy.
20. What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these? (2016)
The McBride Commission Report was one of the most significant multilateral interventions in the history of international communication. The main aim of the report was to analyse communication problems in modern societies, particularly relating to mass media and news, consider the emergence of new technologies, and to suggest a kind of communication order to diminish these problems to further peace and human development. The report argued that Western cultural and financial dominance over the poorer nations through the media denied those countries growth and development. The committee was setup to suggest a kind of New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO). It discussed issues like media coverage of the developing world, unbalanced flows of media influence, concentration of media, commercialization of the media and unequal access of information and communication.
The main political force behind NWICO was the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) representing the developing countries of the "South" or the "Third World". India particularly played a very significant role by facilitating various meetings in different generics, cultural and geographical backgrounds. This was supported by India’s diverse language culture and the need to preserve and share one’s language beyond the realms of culture was what made MacBride really unique back then. B.G. Varghese was the Indian who represented the nation in the committee which drafted the MacBride report.
20. In what ways would the ongoing U.S-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to this situation? (2018)
The unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the historic nuclear deal between the permanent members of the UN Security Council, E.U. (P5+1) and Iran, which limited Iran’s nuclear programme and lifted the crippling economic sanctions, will have serious ramifications for nations having strategic interests in the West Asia.
India’s relations with Iran extend beyond the geopolitical and geo-economic binary. The cultural relations between India and Iran extend centuries, but the recent US behaviour has led India on crossroads. This controversy would affect India in following ways-
- Strategic Autonomy - Strategic Autonomy has been the guiding principle of Indian foreign policy since independence. India maintains that it abides by only UN sanctions and not unilateral sanctions by any one country. In this case, US is coercing India and other countries to sever ties with Iran. This has direct implications on autonomous policy making.
- Oil Supply - Iran has been one of the top three oil suppliers to India. Sanctions on Iran, which would be the next logical step by the Trump administration, will disrupt the crude oil supplies. US has presented India with shale imports, but the Gulf region has regional proximity to India. The withdrawal will also raise the crude oil prices, this fluctuation has a direct impact on the Indian economy (inflation, Balance of Payment, Current Account Deficit).
- Indian Investments - India’s plans to acquire stakes in Iranian natural gas field, build pipelines as well as develop the Chabahar port – a key Indian connectivity initiative – all stand to be seriously affected.
- Indian Diaspora - In case this spirals out into direct confrontation between US allies and Iran, then lives Indians living in the Gulf region would be at stake. Their protection and evacuation would be a huge diplomatic and military manoeuvre.
- Terrorism - Instability in the region has already resulted in rise of extremist group and more uncertainty will only provide them with more safe havens. This might have a direct effect on India’s national security.
Other partners of the agreement are willing to move forward despite the US withdrawal. India is an important stakeholder in the issue. So, India should work with like minded countries to defuse the situation and if possible, bring US back to the table if not, then prepare a separate mechanism for dealing with Iran including other stakeholders.
India has always maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy international community’s strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
20. “What introduces friction into the ties between India and the United States is that Washington is still unable to find for India a position in its global strategy, which would satisfy India’s National self-esteem and ambitions” Explain with suitable examples.
In 2016, the United States designated India as ‘major defence partner’, a status unique to India. However, recently, the US foreign and economic policies have started to appear against India’s self-esteem and ambitions. There are several issues that introduce friction into what US considers its global strategy and what India envisages as its self-esteem and ambitions.
- West Asia: The US’ West Asia policy is aligned in line with that of Israel and Saudi Arabia which stands adversarial to that of Iran. But for India, a strong, united and peaceful Iran holds significance not only for its oil imports but also for the Chabahar port and International North-South Transport Corridor (INTC) that will enable India to have a reach to Central Asia and counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, this stands opposed to the US policy of restricting Iran’s influence in the region. The US has pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and subsequently imposed sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Iran.
- Afghanistan: Political development in Kabul have always had its implications in New Delhi. Situation in Afghanistan also poses security risks for India given Pakistan’s close proximity to the Taliban. This is more so given India’s huge investments in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability there. But the US policy has moved to focus on its withdrawal of troops. Any peace deal with the Taliban, an insurgent body, will legitimise the terrorist activities and hurt India’s interests.
- Russia: India’s strategic relations with Russia have historically been very significant and useful given Russia’s veto power at the Security Council. Russia is also the major defence partner of India. It is also emerging as a major option to meet India’s energy requirements. But, as bequeathed by the Cold War, the US considers Russia as its adversary and it has brought Russia under the CAATSA. This stood opposed to India’s defence deals with Russia involving the S-400 missile systems.
- Trade relations: Being a developing country, India wants to bring millions of its masses out of poverty and to have a strong economic footprint globally. The US is a major trade partner in this context and it Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) has been a useful mechanism for India. But the US’ policy to bring back jobs home and to restrict China’s growth trajectory has negative fallout on India. The US has accused India of not opening the Indian economy for American trade by means of tariffs, intellectual property regulations, subsidies, etc. and has clamped tariffs on Indian exports to America.
Moreover, the USA’s National Defense Strategy 2018 marked Russia and China as its central challenge and for the US India is an ideal balancer against rising China. In this context, India must convince the US that a strong India is in concurrence with the US’ interest. Besides, India must follow strategic hedging i.e. simultaneous engagements with major powers because in international relations, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.
20. What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
India’srelationship with the US on defence and strategic issues hasstrengthened asreflected in IndoUS proximity in the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region. In 2014, the US emerged as the top arms supplier to India, pushing Russia to the second position.
Russia: A Traditional Partner
- Russia has been a longstanding and time-tested partner. India has longstanding and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia in the field of defence.
- Military-technical cooperation has evolved to involve the development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems, such as BrahMos.
- However, India desires to diversify its defence imports. There is also dissatisfaction in India with post-sales services and maintenance offered by Russia.
The 21st century has seen the rise of a relentless China. China’s assertive, and bullying attitude is most evident in the Indo-Pacific region where it is challenging the sovereignty of ASEAN countries thus also threatening free sea.
An engaging feature of the current global situation is the transformation of the Sino-Russian relationship from enmity to entente. The changed scenario has an impact on India and the USA.
USA: India’s New Best Friend?
- India has steadily developed important military ties with the US as their interests in the Indo-Pacific are being threatened by China’s expansionist policies.
- The US supports India’s desired role as a “net security provider” to preserve maritime transportation routes in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Thus, India and theUS have signed a number of defence dealswhich also includesfourfoundational agreements viz., LEMOA, COMCASA, BECA, and GSOMIA. They enable interoperability of assets, provide each other logistic support, and allow sale of sensitive weapons.
- The US has also sold weapons like Apache, P-8I aircraft which have enhanced India’s defence capabilities.
- QUAD which is an informal strategic forum between US, India, Japan, and Australia has a shared objective to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.”
- However, the US support doesn’t come without a rider. It has also frowned on the S-400 deal which India has signed with Russia and has also threatened to impose sanctions on India under CAATSA.
In the last two decades, the US and India defence relations have strengthened due to sustained efforts from both the countries to iron out differences and agree on protocols in working together against common threats. But, India needs to balance relations with its two defence partners by considering its concerns associated with China and Pakistan over security issues.
20. The new tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario.
AUKUS is a trilateral security partnership between the United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific region. Under the AUKUS alliance, the UK, the US and Australia seek to increase the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing.
Creation of the AUKUS is an attempt to send a stronger message to China as it will give its members a credible deterrence powers towards China by deepening military capabilities. It will also enhance the patrolling and surveillance power of the members in Indo-Pacific, thus restoring the sanctity of norms and rules-based order in the region. By providing nuclear submarines to Australia, it will enhance its capabilities to project power in the Indo-Pacific.
However, critics allege that AUKUS is also likely to supersede the existing partnership in the region. For example, the Quadrilateral Dialogue (QUAD) comprising India, Japan, Australia and the US may get lesser importance as the US might be obliged to share its strength and competence to AUKUS and QUAD both. AUKUS may also weaken the Five Eyes alliance group and the ASEAN centrality in the region.
On the stronger side, the focus of AUKUS will be on integrating all defence and security-related science, supply chains, industrial bases, and technology. The partnership would also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries and cooperation across emerging technologies like AI, quantum technologies, and undersea capabilities.
With respect to India, AUKUS may instigate a nuclear/conventional arms race in the Indo-Pacific region. It may lead to China and Russia supplying sensitive defence technologies to other states. With its exclusionary vision, AUKUS may also run contrary to India’s vision of an inclusive Indo-Pacific. AUKUS was formulated ignoring France, which may increase trust deficit between the like-minded democratic countries on other matters of global importance.
Thus, though AUKUS offers the advantage of balance of power, strategic autonomy, and a check on Chinese aggression, it also has significant challenges as it has been termed as Indo-Pacific NATO. India’s diverse relationships with the West must be deployed in full measure to prevent a split in the Indo-Pacific coalition.
20. 'Clean energy is the order of the day.' Describe briefly India's changing policy towards climate change in various international fora in the context of geopolitics.
India’s climate change policy has undergone a significant change over the years, from seeking energy security to taking initiative in the field of clean energy at a global level, the country’s diplomatic stand at the Conference of Parties reflects its pro-environment outlook. By accepting the net-zero commitments, India has reiterated its stand that its policy on climate change is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
India, since ancient times, has always promoted harmony with nature. This can be further evidenced by the country’s commitment to the Paris Accord and the acceptance of the net-zero targets, proving that India is aware of clean energy’s significance.
In this context, the five-point agenda of Panchamrit for dealing with climate change, including ambitious targets related to the use of renewable energy for meeting the country’s energy requirements, reduction in carbon emissions and intensity in its economy and achieving the target of net-zero, are a clear statement by India of its commitment towards clean energy as well as its intent for taking a leading role in the same.
- India’s geopolitical and global outlook, based on the constantly evolving global environmental challenges, can be witnessed by the country’s diplomacy at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- India does not agree to the imposition of legally binding targets since it requires strategic autonomy to (a) pursue its domestic developmental agenda and (b) identify the method required to commit to targets related to climate change and clean energy.
- India, keeping the ambition of enhancing its global profile and power ambitions, has moved away from a reactionary to a participatory approach. This can be seen with India’s change in position from its response to the Kyoto Protocol commitments as compared to the Paris Agreement.
- Further, keeping in line with its diplomatic endeavours globally and the recognition of clean energy’s significance, India has taken a leading role along with other major global players in several international initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the One Sun, One World and One Grid programme and the Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) Movement.
- Further, India has also raised its concerns regarding the reluctance of the developed nations in sharing the necessary technologies with the developing nations to enable them to effectively deal with climate change.
Thus, India has modified its climate change policy according to the developments taking place on a global scale and has taken initiatives in mitigating issues arising out of climate change while keeping in mind its geopolitical objectives.
19. The question of India’s Energy Security Constitutes the most important part of India’s economic progress. Analyse India’s energy policy cooperation with West Asian countries. (2017)
Indian economy is one of the fastest growing major economy in the world. To sustain the high economic growth of around 8% in the coming decades, energy security is of paramount importance to India. Despite India’s efforts to develop its domestic energy capacity, it is dependent on imports for 80% of its oil needs, of which roughly 55% is sourced from the Persian Gulf region and more than 80% of gas supplies. This highlights the need for energy policy cooperation with the
resource richWest Asian countries. Consequently, India has adopted a ‘Look West’ or ‘Link West’ policy in this regard.
Saudi Arabia is India’s second largest source of oil. Iraq is also a major source of Indian energy imports. Further, the energy imports from Iran picked up in the recent past after the easing of sanctions by
US. India has also enhanced its bilateral engagement with countries like Oman and UAE and also at institutionallevel with GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).
Though countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq
andQatar will continue to be its major suppliers of oil and gas, India is trying to walk the diplomatic tight ropein West Asia by partnering with Israel in its Leviathan natural gas filed in the EastMediterranean Sea.
India’s energy relation with West Asian countries
areintricately related with the Central Asian countries. Thus India has developed Chabahar port in Iran to access the Central Asian energy market. Besides energy infrastructure projects like TAPI gas pipeline and International North SouthCorridor will have ripple effects on the India’senergy engagements with the West Asian Nations.
India’s energy policy engagement with the West Asian region is also related to providing maritime security in the region as most of the shipping vessels pass through
PersianGulf and IndianOcean. Other major powers like China have increased its footprint in the region. Thus India must also take stock of this geopolitical game in order to secure its own energy security.
19. "Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)." Explain with suitable examples. (2016)
In the 31 years since the organization’s founding in 1985, SAARC’s efficacy in the region has been limited by tensions and disagreements between India and Pakistan. SAARC has largely been defunct for the last few years because of India-Pakistan friction and could soon become non-functional.
This was highlighted in the aftermath of an attack by militants that crossed the Line of Control into India-administered Kashmir to strike at an Indian Army camp in Uri. Since the attack, the Indian government has strongly condemned Pakistan and looked to isolate Islamabad on the world stage. This was followed by India pulling out of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016. Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh also followed suit.
By pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, India tried to achieve two ends: sending a tough message in the wake of the Uri attack but also that it is going ahead with its plan for ‘SAARC minus Pakistan’ instead. Some believe that SAARC minus one can better address South Asian challenges because the civil-military dissonance on Pakistan's policy towards India is making it difficult for Pakistan to relate to other states of the South Asian region. Also, Pakistan has been singularly stalling the process of economic integration through its policy of disallowing connectivity through its territory. Two most recent examples have been the talks on trade liberalisation and cross-border trade in energy during the last years where Islamabad pulled back just when the agreements were ready for signature. Pakistan also walked away from agreements on road connectivity which resulted in a ‘sub-regional cooperation’ called BBIN framework between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Further, India is looking at the BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) as an alternative to SAARC as was witnessed with the BIMSTEC summit on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.
All of the above limit the ability of SAARC to prosper as a regional organization. However, without effectively engaging Pakistan, the multiple challenges faced by SAARC countries on the economic and security fronts cannot be met satisfactorily. Much of the security challenges emanate from Pakistan because it uses terrorism as an instrument of its state policy. It stands between South Asia and Central Asia and holds the key to intra as well as inter-regional trade and commerce. Therefore, it is difficult to address the aforesaid challenges without roping in Pakistan into the SAARC framework for regional cooperation.
19. What are the key areas of reform if the WTO has to survive in the present context of ‘Trade War’, especially keeping in mind the interest of India? (2018)
World Trade Organization (WTO) officially commenced in 1995 after replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). WTO intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. But recent trade wars, initiated by USA with China, India and other countries, evoke the need of reform in WTO if it has to survive in the present context. The key areas of reforms are:
- Dispute Settlement System: There are suggestions regarding bringing transparency, shortening of time frames, permanent panel body, special and differential treatment for developing countries etc. India can benefit from the reforms if proposals specific to developing countries are accepted
- Reducing Trade Costs: Though WTO has come out with Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in this regard, but it mainly addresses the trade of goods. India being a major service provider would benefit if reforms are carried out in trade facilitation of services. It is expected that there are considerable economic benefits from the better movement of people across borders.
- Modalities of Negotiations: Some progress has been made, as the ‘single undertaking’ nature of negotiations is all but discarded. There are proposals to make them more flexible.
India is one of the prominent members of WTO and is largely seen as leader of developing and under developed countries. More than 40% Indian economy is exposed to international trade. If we want to achieve a double-digit growth over a sustained period and create jobs, our external trade has to grow at more than 15% a year, which is not possible in an uncertain trading environment. Therefore, India should call upon all WTO members, including the US, to undertake a systemic reform in the above-stated crucial areas of the WTO’s functioning.
19. ‘The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate.
As the founding member of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), India propagated its vision among the newly independent countries of the colonized world to not align with any of the power blocks as these newly independent countries were weak in terms of military, economics and development aspects.
These ideas of Non Alignment, Peaceful Cooperation and Co-existence, End of Imperialism and Colonialism have made India one of the leaders of the marginalized nations.
The leadership and idealistic credentials of India was sustained and can be seen:
- During the cold war era.
- Upholding the interests of the smaller economies in Doha round of WTO.
- Supporting the cause of vulnerable nations during the Climate change negotiations.
Shift in India’s approach towards its strategic foreign policy perspective:
- Economic Development is now a major agenda of India’s growth as a world power, which is now reflected in India’s foreign policy.
- This trend was observed in NAM Summit Havana 2006, where India focused on anti-terrorism, nuclear disarmament, energy security, investing in Africa and such issues which are vital to India’s growth and doesn’t resemble priorities of developing or marginalized countries.
- India has actively supported the cause of developing and marginalized nation in Climate Change negotiations by thrusting on “differentiated responsibility” but recently diluted its stand in Paris negotiations.
- India has also been blamed for interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, for instance, Nepal, which led to friction in relations between the two nations.
- In regional forum SAARC, India has hard pressed its agenda of boycotting Pakistan, which resulted in the non-functioning of SAARC, which may result in delaying of development projects of SAARC in our smaller neighbouring nations.
- India’s involvement in QUAD, its focus on Indo Pacific Regional Growth and countering China has became its top priority.
These inferences are pointing towards shift in India’s approach from the leader of the oppressed countries to a great power in its own terms. India’s approach is shifting from Idealism to Realism and is prioritizing its national interests over the collective interests of the developing countries.
19. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is transforming itself into a trade bloc from a military alliance, in present times Discuss.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan, and Australia. The Quad was established, primarily as a strategic bloc, to counter China’s aggressive stance in the South China Sea. However, Quad’s shared objective to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region, is also forming the basis of a trade agreement and turn it into a major trade bloc.
Is Quad Transforming into a Trade Bloc?
- India-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI): The IPOI is an open, non-treaty-based global initiative that aims at practical cooperation in seven thematic areas which also include Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Science, and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport. Australia and Japan have agreed to lead IPOI pillars on Maritime Ecology and Connectivity respectively.
- Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP): Japan’s FOIP builds around ‘two continents’, Asia and Africa, and ‘two oceans’, Pacific and Indian. Japanese FOIP endorses cooperation with countries who share the common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- Blue Dot Network: It is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the USA along with Japan and Australia to bring together governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development. It could directly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI): As COVID-19 and trade tensions between China and the United Statesthreatened globalsupply chains, Japan mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade,with India and Australia asthe key-partners. SCRI is a directresponse to individual companies and economies concerned about Chinese political behaviour and the disruption that could lead to the supply chain.
- Integration: All the trade associated initiative launched by the QUAD nations are independent. There is a need for a joint push in the domain of trade and economy.
- Lack of Cooperation: The Quad nations have so far not been able to iron out their trade-related difference. For example, India still does not have a Free Trade Agreement with Australia and the USA.
- Need for Clear Vision: The Quad nations need to better explain the Indo-Pacific Vision in an overarching framework with the objective of advancing everyone’s economic and security interests.
- This will reassure the littoral Statesthat the Quad will be a factor for the regional benefit, and a far cry from Chinese allegations that it is some sort of a military alliance.
Quad member countries agreed that a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region will serve the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. However, there is a need to put the military component and the economic component together.
19. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India?
Created in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security, and stability in the region. India became a permanent member of the SCO in 2017.
SCO aims to strengthen relations among member states. But India-Pakistan-Russia-China relations create a complex matrix of diverging and conflicting interests. To illustrate, China has shown little respect to an international rule-based order. ‘Chequebook’ and ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy, human rights violations, etc. raise fundamental questions on Chinese commitments to aims and objectives of SCO. Moreover, under the guise of economic co-operation, China has pushed its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects through SCO.
Likewise, SCO seeks to safeguard regional peace, security, and stability. But, China (in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Ladakh), Russia (in Ukraine) and Pakistan (in Jammu & Kashmir) are accused of destabilising the regional peace, security, and stability.
Importance of SCO for India:
- SCO is part of India’s stated policy of pursuing “multi-alignments” and “strategic autonomy”.
- The challenges of terrorism, radicalism, and instability pose a grave threat to Indian sovereignty and integrity. SCO’s counter-terrorism body, the Regional Anti-Terror Structure (RATS), may prove useful for India in this context.
- SCO allows India to deepen its strategic reach in Central Asia. India already has substantial soft power potential in Central Asia. India’s membership of SCO can boost energy security by providing access to mineral and energy resources of the Central Asian countries.
- India’s presence in the SCO will help in India’s aim to link itself to the larger Eurasian region, and to Europe via INSTC.
- SCO membership will also help India, which is currently boxed in the South Asian region, to become a major pan-Asian player.
- SCO can play a vital role in deepening people-to-people engagement through cooperation in the field of education, medicine, tourism, etc.
India’s relations with countries in the region have enormous potential for enhancing ties in areas such as economy, security, policy, investment, trade, connectivity, energy, and capacity building. However, India’s benefits from the SCO will be limited due to the role of China and Pakistan in the organisation. Positive outcomes will depend on how Indian diplomacy deals with its rivals.
19. How will I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India's position in global politics?
I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE and the US. It is also referred as the ‘West Asian Quad’. I2U2 was initially formed in 2021 to deal with issues concerning maritime security, infrastructure and transport.
Role of I2U2 to Transform India’s Position in Global Politics
- Ties with West Asia
- India will have more freedom to interact with Israel and its Gulf partners because of I2U2 grouping.
- The Abraham Accord will help India to close the gap between Israel and the Gulf countries.
- Crude Oil and Defence
- UAE and Saudi Arabia are India’s one of the top oil exporters. And Israel is India’s important defence partner.
- Success of India’s Foreign policy in West Asia
- India has successfully balanced its diplomatic ties with Israel and Gulf Countries, despite the Israel’s missile attack on Gaza Strip and West Bank.
- I2U2 grouping will further deepen India’s ties with both UAE and Israel.
- Also, it will also help India to project itself as a strong bridge between the Israel and Arab world.
- India and USA
- Now, India and the US have two platforms to engage with each other in Indo-pacific region, i.e. QUAD and I2U2 group.
- It further strengthens India’s role as net security provider in Indian Ocean Region.
- Food Security
- USD 2 billion will be invested to create a number of Integrated Food Parks around India along with modern climate technologies.
- It will aid in food insecurity in South Asia and the Middle East.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
- It is a boost to Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed between India & UAE, which is the highest contributor of FDI to India from Gulf.
- Clean Energy
- A hybrid renewable energy project of wind and solar power along with battery energy storage technology, will be established in Gujarat.
- It will reduce the energy scarcity in South Asia through grid network.
The I2U2 group makes lot of sense in West Asia and South Asia geopolitics. For India, it leverages its good relations with Israel, the Gulf and the USA to further build economic and diplomatic relations. But there is need for confidence building measures between Israel and Arab world as both of them don’t trust each other. Here, India can act as a communication channel to build trust among Israel and Arab world.
- Ties with West Asia
18. Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post Cold War international scenario. (2016)
India started following the ‘Look East Policy’ in the early 1990s when at the end of the cold war it sensed a change in the locus of world economic power from ‘west’ to the ‘east’. It focused on strengthening ties between India and the ASEAN countries by increasing economic and commercial ties. Over the years, it also focused on strategic and security aspects in the East and South East Asia region. Eg: South China Sea.
Under the strategic thrust of this policy, India firmed up strategic relations with the countries of ASEAN and East Asia through extensive consultations on regional and global security issues and consistent cooperation in defence sector. India’s strategic vision for the East extends to the whole of Asia-Pacific region as India has manifested both its willingness and capability to play a critical role in the emerging strategic dynamics and architecture for this region.
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and India has helped in deeper economic integration. ASEAN is India's fourth largest trading partner. Further, RCEP and FTA for Investments and Services will bolster economic engagements between the two. With the economies of India and the ASEAN growing and their energy needs going up, maritime security and enhanced cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy also become concern areas.
India further bolstered its Look East Policy with the announcement of the ‘Act East Policy’ in 2014, through which it seeks to revive and reinvigorate its relationship with ASEAN and expand beyond the region to encompass Koreas, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh as well as countries in the Far East. Now, instead of merely ‘looking’, India is ‘engaging’ and ‘acting’ with East.
17. “The broader aims and objectives of WTO are to manage and promote international trade in the era of globalization. But the Doha round of negotiations seem doomed due to differences between the developed and the developing countries.” Discuss in the Indian perspective. (2016)
India has been trying to prevent attempts by rich nations to introduce 'new issues' like labour and environment. India wants the discussions on these non-trade and WTO-plus issues to take place only after outstanding matters related to the Doha Round negotiations have been resolved. India took this stand because the declaration brought out at the end of Ministerial Conference of WTO at Nairobi did not reaffirm the mandate of the Doha Round aimed at opening up global trade. India, along with other developing countries, had opposed the declaration.
India feels that issues like environment and labour should be kept out of the purview of WTO and instead, should be dealt under concerned global bodies like UNFCCC and ILO. Since rich nations have superior standards on these issues, they can pose a challenge for developing nations by acting as non-tariff barriers, thereby adversely impacting their exports to rich nations. Further, outstanding issues, like the 'Special Safeguard Mechanism' for protecting the interests of poor farmer in developing countries and a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security, need to be resolved before discussing new non-trade issues.
For this, India wants the countries pitching for introduction of the 'non-issues' to meet the following 2 criteria:
- Establish the relevance of issues in context of trade.
- Ensure consensus among all 162 WTO members for taking up the agenda.
India can only be successful in this endeavour of putting an end to attempts to introduce new issues if it can establish a strong alliance of developing and poor countries and training a sufficient pool of trade law experts to represent them effectively at WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).
13. India and USA are the two large democracies. Examine the basic tenets on which the two political systems are based. (2018)
India and USA are the two large representative democracies in the world. In USA, democracy got its full swing with the drafting of the US Constitution in 1789 while the democracy in India is partially a result of British rule followed by the enforcement of the new, modern and living constitution, framed after Independence.
The basic tenets on which the two political systems based are:
- Rule of Law and Republicanism: Both, the countries have written constitutions ensuring rule of law and guaranteeing fundamental rights to their citizens. Both the countries are republican in nature and provide adult franchise to the citizens.
- Separation of Powers: In USA, there is a clear-cut separation of powers between judiciary, executive and legislature while the same is not observed exactly in India, as there is fusion between executive and legislature.
- Federal System: India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic in which the President of India is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government whereas the United States is a federal presidential republic in which the President is the head of the state and of the government as well. As per Article 1, India is a “Union of states” which implies that Indian federation is not the result of an agreement among the states unlike USA whose federation is result of agreement among the states. However, Indian federalism has more features of unitary form of government than that of the US.
- Independent Judiciary: Both the political systems provide for an independent judiciary to interpret the constitution and enforce the law. However, in India single system of courts enforces both the central laws as well as the state laws but in USA, the federal laws are enforced by the federal judiciary and the state laws are enforced by the state judiciary.
- Party System: US has bi-party system while India has multi-party system.
Though the US and Indian political systems are similar in many respects, yet they are the product of their unique history and socio-economic milieu, and varying political culture. However, they should cooperate with each other on many fronts to provide a hope to the humanity which is facing numerous challenges.
10. What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it. (2017)
The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the United Nations. ECOSOC helps
UnitedNations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.
It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.
Functional Commissions of ECOSOC
Statistical Commission: It oversees the work of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the highest body of the global statistical system.
Commission on Population and Development: It monitors, reviews and assesses the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development at the national, regional and global levels, identifying reasons for success and failure, and advising the Council thereon.
Commission for Social Development: It advises ECOSOC on social policies of a general character and, in particular, on all matters in the social field not covered by the specialised inter-governmental agencies.
Commission on the Status of Women: It is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Commission on Narcotic Drugs: It assists the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties.
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: It acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.
Commission on Science and Technology for Development: It provides the General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues.
United Nations Forum on Forests: It is
intergovernmentalbody to strengthen political commitment and action with respect to sustainable forest management.
10. A number of outside powers have entrenched themselves in Central Asia, which is a zone of interest to India. Discuss the implications, in this context, of India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement, 2018. (2018)
In a quest for global supremacy, Central Asia has become a part of the ‘New Great Game’ between regional and world powers. Being rich in energy and mineral resources, it acts as transit corridor for regional and global trade. Also control over Central Asian hinterland provides strategic supremacy over peripheral regions such as Persian Gulf.
As a result, major powers like US have military bases in region while China through Belt and Road Initiative is building connectivity projects to Europe through the region. But India also has huge stake in the region as it is important for India’s ambition as regional power, securing energy and trade transit needs. Its importance is evident from India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement.
Joining Ashgabat Agreement will:
- Enable India to utilize the existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interactions with the Eurasian region through better integration with Eurasian Economic Union and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
- Increase scope of Chabahar to become a vital gateway and the shortest land route to Central Asia.
- Provide access to high-value minerals of Central Asia.
- Increase India’s trade with Central Asia which is currently over $1 billion - only 0.11% of Central Asia’s trade.
- Sychronize the existing trade corridors with International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) – complimenting India’s efforts for enhanced regional connectivity and accessibility.
Therefore, Ashgabat Agreement acts as a India‘s doorway to Central Asia - thereby providing accessibility for trade, energy security and strategic balance to global power politics.
Ashgabat Agreement - A multimodal international agreement aiming at the establishment of Transport and Transit corridor between Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Oman and Iran and enhance connectivity within the Eurasian region.
10. Too little cash, too much politics, leaves UNESCO fighting for life.’ Discuss the statement in the light of US’ withdrawal and its accusation of the cultural body as being ‘anti-Israel bias’.
UNESCO was created in 1945 with the firm belief that, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, political and economic alliances were not enough to build world peace. In this sense, peace must be established on the basis of humanity and our moral and intellectual solidarity with one another.
The announcement of the US to withdraw from this cultural body has once again highlighted the politicization of its activities and limitation of funds-
- At the heart of its problems is a financing crisis since 2011, when UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as a full member state and Washington responded by halting payment of its annual $80 million in dues.
- Since then, Israel has regularly complained over resolutions on cultural sites in the West Bank and Jerusalem, arguing that they are worded to delegitimize the Jewish state. Israel’s foes say it uses U.S. support to deflect bona fide criticism.
- Without U.S. money, UNESCO, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, has been forced to cut programmes, freeze hiring and fill gaps with voluntary contributions. Its 2017 budget was about $326 million, almost half its 2012 budget.
- Other major contributors such as Japan, Britain, and Brazil delay funds, sometimes citing objections to the body’s policies.
- Japan, for example, has threatened to withhold dues over the inclusion of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in the body’s “Memory of the World” programme.
- Russia and Ukraine have been at odds over Crimea, with Kiev accusing Moscow of trying to legitimise its annexation of the territory through UNESCO.
The fact is that UNESCO was all about solidarity and creating a climate for peace between countries, but nations now use their dues/funds to influence programmes. The preservation of shared human heritage needs a concerted effort involving all countries, for this, nations should sacrifice zero-sum game of politics.
10. ‘Indian diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples.
According to estimates released by the United Nations, India was the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019 with a 17.5 million strong diaspora. The diverse profile of India diaspora allows it to actively shape the polity and economy of the host country.
- Electoral Power: The growing number of Indians in host countries has entrusted them with the ability to influence election results. Forinstance, Indian-Americans make up around 1% of the electorate, but their votes are crucial in swing states. In 2019, the British House of Commons had 15 MPs of Indian origin.
- Emerging Leaders: Many people of Indian origin hold top political positions reflecting their ability to lead. Examples include Kamala Harris - USA’s vice president, Rishi Sunak - UK’s Finance Minister, António Costa - Portugal’s Prime Minister.
- Lobbying Capacity: The Indian community’s efforts at lobbying the US Congress are seen in the context of diasporic mediations in international relations, like the India-U.S. nuclear deal.
- Soft Power: Indian diaspora through Yoga, movies, spirituality, has created tremendous ‘soft power’ power in host countries. It helps India to build strong diplomatic relations.
- Technological Prowess: Indian diaspora is known for their innovative skills and tech-savvy attitude which has contributed in benefiting the host countries. For example, at Silicon Valley, they have significantly contributed towards the growth of the IT industry. Technological giants like Google, Microsoft are headed by Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadela.
- Indian Industrialists: Indian Industrialists have left their mark on American and European industrial landscape. Indians abroad have made the nation a brand. There are several eminent British industrialists of Indian origin, including Lakshmi Mittal, and Hinduja brothers.
- MNCs: Many Indian MNCs have made their global presence felt by investing heavily and creating employment. For example, Jaguar and Land Rover, which are British car manufacturers, are owned by Tata.
The Indian diaspora has gained new visibility as their political and financial clout has grown. It contributes by way ofremittances, investment, lobbying forIndia, promoting Indian culture abroad and for building a good image of India by their intelligence and industry.
10. “The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of China, that is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain.
The last few decades have seen an exponential rise of China as a competitor of the US on the global stage. In the present scenario, the experts are debating on the cold war conditions prevailing between the two biggest economies of the world (US-China).
After the Second World War, the US faced a challenge from the erstwhile USSR. While today the US is facing the same threat from China, it is not same as the erstwhile USSR:
- In the last few decades China has become the manufacturing hub of the world. Its economy has grown at a rapid pace and forms a special knot in the global supply chain. This is opposed to the USSR, which had a crippled economy and could not compete with the US over the period.
- The Soviet Union and the United States were hardly interdependent either economically or politically. Although there are divergences and disputes, China and the United States are the two largest economies in the world and share a wide range of interests, especially in the economic sphere. To illustrate, the US and China have a trade of over 500 billion with each other.
- Today’s global economy is more integrated as compared to the cold war era. Even after two countries are not on good terms with each other, they are still dependent on each other.
- In the face of internal and external problems, the Soviet Union often repelled, but China has constantly reformed. China outpaced the USSR in governance models and is now challenging the US as a global power.
Given the high degree of interdependence and the prevalence of globalisation, the so called cold war situation between the US and China may not result in a full-fledged war. Nevertheless, both the countries, in particular, and the global community, in general, must strive to keep the conflicts at minimum and avoid any situation that may precipitate into violent clashes.
10. Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organisation like the SAARC? Waht are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two? How are Indian foreign policy objectives realized by forming this new organisation?
The failure of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to nurture cooperation in South Asia has pushed regional players to search for an alternative. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a grouping of nations in the Bay of Bengal region, is popularly favoured as the viable option.
BIMSTEC as a parallel organisation to SAARC
- BIMSTEC’s primary focus is on economic and technical cooperation among the countries of South Asia.
- BIMSTEC member countries have generally cordial relationships, which is missing in SAARC.
- Pakistan’s sponsored terror attack on Uri, Pathankot, has forced India to stop engagement with Pakistan.
- SAARC satellite project was abandoned, following objection from Pakistan in 2016.
- SAARC does not have any arrangement for resolving disputes or mediating conflicts.
Similarities and Dissimilarities between SAARC and BIMSTEC
- Both are inter-regional organisation of South Asia.
- India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh are common members.
- Both focus on economic and regional cooperation.
- SAARC has a Free Trade Agreement, but BIMSTEC does not have one.
- SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer, but BIMSTEC does not have this.
- SAARC is more about territorial connectivity (BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement) while BIMSTEC focuses more on maritime association.
BIMSTEC is fulfilling India’s foreign policy objectives
- Failure of SAARC as Pakistan’s non-cooperation has stalled inter-regional connectivity, which forced India to look for an alternative of SAARC.
- BIMSTEC acts as a bridge between South Asian and Southeast Asia in terms of science, technology, trade and commerce.
- Two influential regional powers, Thailand and India, adds to the comfort of smaller neighbors by reducing the fear of dominance by one big power.
- BIMSTEC countries have much greater trade potential as compared to SAARC. The free trade agreement will be beneficial for the growth story of South Asia.
- India’s goal of net security provider in Indian Ocean Region also gets a push with coordination and communication among BIMSEC countries.
The two organisations focus on geographically overlapping regions. However, this does not make BIMSTEC, an alternative of SAARC. The success of BIMSTEC only adds a new chapter in regional cooperation in South Asia. The resurgence of SAARC is also important for India-Afghanistan relations because at present India does not have diplomatic relations with Taliban led government in Afghanistan.
9. ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’. In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. (2017)
China has emerged both as an economic and a military powerhouse. It has a trade surplus with most of the countries in Asia including India. China’s economic initiatives like One Belt One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Road (MSR), though promoted primarily as economic initiatives have
Possible impact of China’s rise on India are–
- China could emerge as a direct military threat to India as has been seen in the recent Doklam standoff and other border disputes.
- In face of rising assertion in the international affairs, China could hamper India’s interest in multilateral forums like UNSC and those initiated by Beijing like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
- Growing economic cooperation between China and Pakistan could be seen as a policy to contain India. This is evident from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which has potential to emerge as a threat to India.
- China’s deepening relation with South Asian countries, where China is involved in infrastructure building, poses
significantchallenge to India’s position in the region. At present China has more say in this region where India had in the past. stronghold
China’s rising economic influence in Asia will allow Beijing to spread its influence in the entire region, which could be used to India’s detriment. In face of these challenges, India’s policy response must focus on building indigenous military power and forging regional cooperation at the same time.
9. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (2018)
The diplomatic relations between India and Israel were established in 1992. Since then especially during Kargil war when Israel’s MOSSAD helped India’s RAW by providing critical intelligence inputs, relations between both countries have gained strength both in depth and diversity.
- During the Indian Prime Minister 25 visit to Israel last year, both countries signed many important agreements such as setting up of India-Israel Technological Innovation Fund, cooperation in space technology, Water Conservation in India, Three Year Work Program in Agriculture 2018-2020 etc.
- The rise of Islamic extremist terrorism brought together both the countries against the global threat of terrorism.
- Barak 8 is jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India's Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) which is capable of protecting sea vessels and ground facilities from aircraft and cruise missiles.
- India is the Israel's seventh largest trading partner and number three arms supplier.
- Reasons for Israel’s affinity towards India are -Ideological Compatibility, Economic Partnership, National security and counter-terrorism, Cultural and People to People Ties.
India’s evolving ties with Israel are based on pragmatism and emerging global scenario and the mutual dependency and trust have move to that extent from where it cannot be roll back. However, based on the value of democracy, secularism and human rights, India has generally conducted its Israel policy with careful attention to the sensitivities of Palestinians and advocated for peaceful and democratic resolution of Palestine issue.
9. The time has come for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship, one involving global and strategic partnership that will have a great significance for Asia and the world as a whole. Comment.
The India-Japan partnership, described as one of the most rapidly advancing relationships in Asia, has emerged as a significant factor contributing to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region. Deviating from the traditional policy of focusing on economic engagements, the partnership has significantly diversified to include a wide range of interests—including regional cooperation, maritime security, global climate, and UN reforms.
The strategic consequences of a rising China in the Indo-Pacific is providing greater momentum to the India-Japan partnership. Both Japan and India through strategic convergence seeks to re-calibrate Asia’s balance of power. It can be reflected in flowing initiatives:
- Cooperation in Indo-Pacific region:
- It is a confluence between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy.
- It will strengthen the rule of law and freedom of navigation, which is threatened by China’s muscle flexing in the South China sea.
- It will enhance cooperation with Japan and ASEAN countries.
- Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC):
- Japan looks to invest nearly $200 billion in Asia Africa region, that will turn the 21st century from an Asian century to Asian-African century.
- Japan will provide the state of the art technology and India will bring its expertise of working in Africa.
- AAGC seeks to counter China’s influence, that it is establishing through Belt and Road Initiative.
- Japan, US, India(JAI) and Australia combinedly called Quad, is seen as an informal organisation that seeks to counter China.
- Japan is taking the North-East Road Network Connectivity improvement project, this will be a crucial link in India’s Act East policy.
- India and Japan are negotiating cross-service agreements that will give access to each other’s military facilities and could foster much closer military to military relations.
Apart from this, there are several engagements between India and Japan which are independent of China.
- Economic engagement: Japan has made investment in India’s infrastructure. For example: Delhi-Mumbai economic corridor, Bullet train, Delhi metro etc.
- India along with Japan, Brazil and Germany forms the grouping called G4 countries, that seeks UNSC reforms.
- India is the first(non-signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT,) country with whom Japan has signed a civil nuclear deal.
- This will establish India’s credibility as a responsible nuclear power.
- It will boost India’ make in India initiative.
- It will augment India’s INDC commitment at Paris climate deal.
Japan can prove to be a development multiplier in India. Therefore, India should develop an independent relation with Japan which is not to be seen in the context of China, US or any other country.
- Cooperation in Indo-Pacific region:
9. Critically examine the role of WHOin providing global health security during the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHO’s primary role isto direct and coordinate international health within the United Nationssystem. Its main areas of work are health systems; health through the life-course; non-communicable and communicable diseases; preparedness, surveillance and response; and corporate services.
WHO during COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 is characterised as a virus-induced pandemic which refers to a new disease for which people do not have immunity.
- The WHO issued guidelines and practices to be followed by the people to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- However, the WHO was criticised for not functioning independently under Chinese pressure. It also delayed declaring COVID-19, a pandemic.
- WHO was also criticised for its handling of China, where the virus had originated. There was a deliberate delay in releasing virus-related information.
- Delay in releasing information resulted in late actions by countries which aggravated the pandemic.
- On the one hand, the WHO was accused of dancing to China’s tunes and, on the other, there were serious questions on the powers that the WHO enjoys when it comes to taking strict action against deep funders like China.
- Withdrawal of the USA, inadequate funds and manpower further curbed the WHO’s independence and its ability to function.
Today’s global institutions are extremely dependent on their contributors for funding that they often become pawnsfortheir political agendas. When the US cutfunding to the WHO, China increased its contribution. However, the WHO is not a failure. Possibly, it needs restructuring. In the 70 years since its founding, the WHO did a commendable job in helping eradicate smallpox, reduced polio cases and has been on the front lines of the battle against outbreaks like Ebola.
9. “If the last few decades were of Asia’s growth story, the next few are expected to be of Africa’s.” In the light of this statement, examine India’s influence in Africa in recent years.
The last few decades saw extraordinary growth of Asian countries mainly driven by China, South Korea, Japan, India and others. Now the paradigm is tilting towards Africa. Since 2000, at least half of the world’s fastest-growing economies have been in Africa. And by 2030, Africa will be home to 1.7 billion people, whose combined consumer and business spending will total $6.7 trillion. A surplus of workers is something which is turning the heads of everyone towards Africa.
India’s influence in Africa in recent years:
- Political Engagement: In the last few years, Africa has been the focus of India’s development assistance and also diplomatic outreach, as evident in plans to open 18 new embassies.
- Economic Engagement: India’s duty-free tariff preferential scheme for Least Developed Nation (LDCs) launched in 2008 has benefited 33 African states. India was the fourth largest importing partner and the fifth largest export destination for South Africa in 2017-18.
- Grants in Aid: After South Asia, Africa is the second-largest recipient of Indian overseas assistance with Lines of Credit (LoC) worth billions of dollars.
- Capacity Building: India is investing in capacity building providing more than $1 billion in technical assistance and training to personnel under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program.
- Security Cooperation: Approximately 6,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in UN peace-keeping missions in conflict zones in Africa.
- Cooperation on Multiple Fronts: This includes solar energy development (International Solar Alliance), information technology, cybersecurity, maritime security, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and military training.
- Medical Diplomacy: Under the e-ITEC initiative, India has shared COVID-19 management strategies, training webinars exclusively aimed at training health-care professionals from Africa by Indian health experts.
India and Africa offer a lot of opportunities for each other in coming times like addressing the food security problem, becoming the voice of the developing world, preventing global rivalries, and maintaining diplomatic ties. India-Africa (Gandhi-Mandela) friendship in a longer will benefit both mutually.
9. ‘India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka.’ Discuss India's role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka in the light of the preceding statement.
Sri Lanka is one of the neighboring countries of India. Both countries have been in a cordial relationship since the rule of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. Both countries have a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction.
Currently, Sri Lanka is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.
Reasons Behind the Sri Lankan Crisis
- Easter Bomb Blasts, 2019 have impacted the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, which has lead to decline in forex reserves.
- The new Government in 2019 promised lower tax rates.
- Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted the exports of tea, rubber, spices and garments.
- High Government expenditure led to fiscal deficit more than 10% in 2020-21.
- In 2021, overnight shift to organic farming impacted food production.
India’s Support to Sri Lanka in the Recent Crisis
- Food, health and energy security package as well as foreign reserves support amounting to more than USD 3.5 billion.
- A concessional loan of US$ 1 billion.
- A Line of Credit (LOC) of USD 500 million for financing purchase of petroleum product such as diesel, petrol and aviation fuel.
- A consignment of 40,000 MT of fuel supplied by Indian Oil Corporation outside the LOC facility.
- A currency swap facility of USD 400 million under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework 2019-22.
- A large consignment of drugs and medical supplies was gifted to various hospitals in Sri Lanka.
- A dollar credit line amounting to USD 55 million for the procurement of 65000 MT Urea fertiliser from India for the Yala season cultivation.
The Sri Lankan crisis is not just a domestic problem, but it has a spill-over effect on other South Asian countries also. India’s assistance to Sri Lanka is in line with its policy of neighborhood first and vision for Security and Growth for All (SAGAR). These twin principles underline India’s emphasis on emerging as a first respondent to meet the requirements of neighboring countries in the region.