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International relations

13 Solved Questions with Answers
  • 2018

    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.

  • 2017

    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 strategic undertone.

    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 significant challenge to India’s position in the region. At present China has more say in this region where India had strong hold in the past.

    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.  

  • 2018

    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.

    Additional Information

    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.

  • 2017

    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 United Nations 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 intergovernmental body to strengthen political commitment and action with respect to sustainable forest management.

  • 2018

    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.

  • 2016

    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).

  • 2016

    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.

  • 2018

    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.

  • 2016

    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.

  • 2017

    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 rich West 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 institutional level with GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

    Though countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and Qatar will continue to be its major suppliers of oil and gas, India is trying to walk the diplomatic tight rope in West Asia by partnering with Israel in its Leviathan natural gas filed in the East Mediterranean Sea.

    India’s energy relation with West Asian countries are intricately 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 South Corridor will have ripple effects on the India’s energy 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 Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. 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.

  • 2018

    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.

  • 2016

    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.

  • 2017

    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.

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