International Relations

UPSC Syllabus for International Relations

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
• India and its neighbourhood- relations
Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
Indian diaspora


1) ‘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. (150 words)
The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2,500 years old, and both sides have built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction. India’s historical relationship with Sri Lanka as an "age-old friend" has played a significant role in shaping India's role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka.
India is an age-old friend of Sri Lanka
  • Relations go back to the times of the advent of Buddhism
  • India–Sri Lanka Accord (ISLA)
  • Shastri–Sirimavo pact
  • India–Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, 1998
Recent Crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Reduction in agricultural production due to ill-advised policy decisions on organic farming and fertilizer import ban
  • Inflation has surged to a staggering rate of over 50%
  • Essential transportation services were affected due to fuel shortage
  • Scarce foreign currency reserves impede Sri Lanka's ability to meet import demands
India's role in the recent crisis in Sri Lanka
1. Financial assistance
  • To meet the immediate requirements, the Government of India has provided food, health and energy security packages as well as foreign reserves support amounting to more than US$ 3.5 billion including a concessional loan of US$ 1 billion to the Government of Sri Lanka.
  • Aline of Credit (LOC) of US$ 500 billion for financing purchase of petroleum product
  • In order to support the dwindling foreign reserves, India has extended a currency swap facility of US$ 400 million under the SAARC Currency Swap Framework 2019-22.
2. Humanitarian aid
  • Large consignment of drugs and medical supplies was gifted to various hospitals in Sri Lanka.
3. Support to revive the economy
  • Assistance to revive the tourism sector
  • Establishment of the air bubble arrangement between India and Sri Lanka in April 2021
4. International Assistance
  • India has played a significant role in the IMF as well as in the regional and plurilateral organisations in encouraging other countries to support Sri Lanka
India has demonstrated its trustworthiness as a steadfast ally for Sri Lanka, underscoring the importance of cooperation between the two nations to address security concerns in the Indian Ocean. It is essential for both countries to work together in resolving bilateral issues amicably, fostering a stronger sense of trust, and unlocking the immense potential of a resilient partnership.

2) Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organisation like the SAARC? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two? How are Indian foreign policy objectives realized by forming this new organisation? (150 words)

BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) are regional organizations that aim to promote cooperation and integration among member countries.
There are some similarities between BIMSTEC and SAARC, but it would be inaccurate to characterize BIMSTEC as a parallel organization to SAARC.
Similarities between BIMSTEC and SAARC
  • Regional Cooperation: Both BIMSTEC and SAARC aim to promote regional cooperation among member countries and facilitate dialogue on various issues of mutual interest.
  • Member Countries: Some countries are common members of both organizations.
    E.g.: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar are members of both BIMSTEC and SAARC
  • Consensus-driven decision-making: Ensures that all member countries have an equal say and are actively involved in shaping the direction and outcomes of the organizations.
Dissimilarities between BIMSTEC and SAARC
  • BIMSTEC has been perceived by some as a more effective and action-oriented organization compared to SAARC.
  • BIMSTEC has been successful in holding regular summits, establishing sectoral working groups, and implementing various projects and initiatives.
  • SAARC, on the other hand, has faced difficulties in realizing the full potential of its cooperative agenda due to regional political challenges and the lack of progress in key areas.
  • Presence countries like Pakistan
Indian Foreign Policy Objectives and BIMSTEC
  • Act East Policy: BIMSTEC serves as a platform for India to deepen its engagement with Southeast Asian countries and promote connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia. This supports India's Act East Policy, aimed at fostering greater economic, strategic, and cultural linkages with the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Regional Integration and Trade: By participating in BIMSTEC initiatives, India aims to expand its regional trade, strengthen supply chains, and promote economic growth in the Bay of Bengal region.
  • Sub-regional Cooperation: BIMSTEC provides a sub-regional platform for India to engage with neighbouring countries on issues of mutual interest. It allows India to pursue cooperative projects and initiatives that have sub-regional significance, particularly in areas such as energy, connectivity, and disaster management.
    E.g.: Kaladan Multimodal project
Limitations of BIMSTEC to realize India's foreign policy goals
  • No Free Trade Agreement: There has been little movement forward towards agreement on Free Trade Area (FTA).
  • No department setup: there is a department set-up to oversee the functioning of the BIMSTEC.
Both platforms hold significance for India's strategic interests, and they have the potential to mutually reinforce each other if SAARC were to become fully operational.

3) How will I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transforms India’s position in global politics? (250 words)

The I2U2 Group is a grouping of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The group's first joint statement states that the countries aim to cooperate on "joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security."
I2U2 grouping transform India's position in global politics
  • Strengthening India's Role in Arab-Israeli Conflict Resolution: India's historical ties with both Israel and Arab nations, along with its reputation as a non-aligned country, can provide a platform for constructive dialogue and mediation.
  • Balancing China's Emergence in the Asian Region: Collaborative efforts with the United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates can enhance India's strategic partnerships and counterbalance China's regional ambitions.
  • Reinforcement of India's Position in the Multipolar World: Cooperation with like-minded countries in various sectors, such as technology, energy, and transportation, can enhance India's global standing and influence.
  • Access to Cutting-Edge Technologies: The I2U2 group offers India the opportunity to access cutting-edge technologies in areas of mutual interest, including water management, energy efficiency, healthcare, and food security.
  • Showcasing India's Space Technology Capabilities: With India's notable achievements in space exploration, collaboration with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States can further showcase India's capabilities and strengthen its position as a global space power.
  • Advancement of Multimodal Transportation Corridors: The I2U2 group can help materialize India's aspirations for multimodal transportation corridors connecting India with Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
In conclusion, the I2U2 grouping has the potential to transform India's position in global politics by strengthening its role in conflict resolution, balancing regional power dynamics, showcasing its technological capabilities, and advancing key infrastructure projects. By fostering collaboration and cooperation among India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, India can elevate its standing and influence in the international arena.

4) 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. (250 words)

India has been an active participant in the international climate change negotiations and has taken significant steps towards reducing its carbon footprint. The country has recognized the need for clean energy and has embarked on an ambitious plan to increase its renewable energy capacity.
Clean Energy as order of the day
  • India's Renewable Energy Expansion: The Indian government's push for clean energy has been driven by concerns about air pollution, energy security, and a commitment to the Paris Agreement targets.
  • European Union's Clean Energy Transition: The EU's commitment to renewable energy and sustainability is evident through its ambitious targets set under the European Green Deal, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • Middle East and North Africa's Solar Initiatives: The sun-drenched region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has recognized its potential for solar power generation.
  • China's Renewable Energy Leadership: China has emerged as a global leader in clean energy adoption and production.
India's changing policy towards climate
1. India’s Climate Change Commitment: Panchamrit strategy
  • Reach 500 GW Non-fossil energy capacities by 2030.
  • 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.
  • Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030.
  • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • Reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005levels.
  • Achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.
2. International Solar Alliance: India launched the ISA in 2015 which aims to mobilize $1 trillion in investments in solar energy by 2030 and has the potential to transform the energy landscape in developing countries.
3. Initiatives under G20: At the G20 summit held in Hamburg in 2017, India highlighted the need for affordable and accessible clean energy technologies.
4. CoP-26: India asserted that it is the only country delivering in "letter and spirit" the commitments under the Paris Agreement.
India's changing policy towards climate change reflects its commitment to clean energy and sustainable development. The country's efforts towards reducing its carbon footprint have the potential to transform the energy landscape not only in India but also in other developing countries.


5) “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. (150 words) 

In the realm of international relations, India has recognized the increasing significance of Africa as an emerging and dynamic region. India has been actively engaging with African nations, aiming to forge stronger partnerships and enhance cooperation in various sectors.
The last few decades were of Asia’s growth story
  • Demographic Dividend: Asia's large and young population, particularly in countries like India and Indonesia, provided a demographic dividend.
  • Technological Advancements: Asian countries, particularly Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, made significant strides in technological advancements and innovation.
  • Export-Oriented Manufacturing: Asian countries, particularly the East Asian "Tiger" economies (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong), adopted export-oriented industrialization strategies.
Next few are expected to be of  Africa’s
  • Demographic Advantage: Africa has a young and rapidly growing population, which is expected to surpass Asia's population by the end of the 21st century.
  • Natural Resources: Africa is rich in natural resources, including minerals, oil, gas, and arable land.
  • Growing Digital Economy: Africa has witnessed a surge in digital technology adoption, particularly mobile phones and internet connectivity.
India’s influence in Africa in recent  years
1. Economic Engagement
  • Bilateral trade between India and Africa has witnessed substantial growth, reaching $63 billion in 2019-2020.
  • India has invested in diverse sectors such as infrastructure development, agriculture, healthcare, education, and technology in African countries.
  • India has also extended lines of credit and provided technical assistance for infrastructure projects, including the construction of railways, power plants, and ports in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
2. Development Assistance
  • India has been actively involved in providing development assistance to African countries through initiatives such as the India-Africa Development Fund and the Pan Africa e-Network Project.
  • These initiatives aim to support capacity building, skill development, and technology transfer to promote sustainable development in various sectors.
  • Additionally, India has been involved in providing humanitarian aid and assistance during natural disasters and emergencies in African countries.
3. Defense Cooperation: The Indian Navy has conducted joint naval exercises and provided maritime security assistance to ensure the safety of sea lanes in the region.
4. Diplomatic Engagement: India has intensified its diplomatic engagement with African nations, exemplified by the India-Africa Forum Summit.
5. People-to-People Relations: India has a significant diaspora in African countries, contributing to cultural exchanges, trade, and investment. Indian universities and institutions offer scholarships to African students, fostering educational and cultural ties.
Overall, India's multifaceted approach showcases India's commitment to strengthening ties with African countries and underscores the potential for India to contribute to Africa's growth story in the coming decades.

6)“The USA is facing an existential threat in the form of a China, which is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union.” Explain (150 words) 

In the post-cold war era shows multi polar world order. In this china is a major player than USSR in cold war time.
Reason for existential threat in the form of a China, which is much more challenging than the erstwhile Soviet Union
  • Economic power: China has become the world's second-largest economy, and its economic growth has been fuelled by large and growing domestic market, a strong manufacturing sector, and a focus on innovation and technology.
  • Military modernization: China's expansion of its naval capabilities, development of advanced missile systems, and space-based capabilities, have the potential to disrupt the balance of power and challenge U.S. military dominance in the region.
  • Diplomatic influence: China has been expanding its diplomatic influence through initiatives
    E.g.: Belt and Road Initiative, engagement in Africa and Latin America etc
  • Technological Advancements: China has made significant strides in developing advanced technologies, particularly in areas such as artificial intelligence, 5G telecommunications, and quantum computing. Its ambition to become a leader in emerging technologies threatens American technological supremacy.
  • Regional Ambitions: China’s assertive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region, especially in the South China Sea, poses strategic challenges to American interests and regional stability.
  • Ideological challenge: China is also challenging the USA's democratic and liberal values, promoting its own model of authoritarian capitalism as an alternative to Western-style democracy.
Overall, the challenge presented by China presents is not an exact replica of the Soviet Union threat during the Cold War. China's economic interdependence with the rest of the world, extensive global trade networks, and participation in international institutions create a more complex and nuanced relationship.

7) Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for  India? (250 words)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a regional multilateral organization comprising eight-member states, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan.

Aims and objectives Importance to India
Security Cooperation SCO combats terrorism, separatism, and extremism, ensuring regional stability. It enables intelligence sharing, joint military exercises, and counterterrorism coordination. o    E.g.: The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) It is crucial for India, as it faces significant security challenges from terrorism and cross-border threats. India actively participates in RATS, benefitting from information exchanges.
Economic Cooperation Promote economic cooperation among member states, including trade, investment, and infrastructure development. India's SCO involvement facilitates economic diversification through initiatives like INSTC and the Ashgabat Agreement, offering alternative routes to access Central Asia and beyond.
Regional Stability The SCO prioritizes regional peace, stability, and dialogue among members. It advocates peaceful dispute resolution, non-interference in internal affairs, and respect for sovereignty. Through the SCO, India has opportunities to engage in dialogue and build constructive relationships with Pakistan, despite bilateral tensions.
Geopolitical Influence and Collaboration Aims to  strengthen strategic partnerships, and shape regional policies.   India's SCO involvement boosts ties with Central Asia and Russia, offering diplomatic interactions, bilateral meetings, and cooperation on security, connectivity, and economic development.
  For India, However, there are also challenges associated with the SCO. One of the main concerns is that the organization is dominated by China and Russia, and some members have expressed apprehension about being overshadowed by the two major powers. Moreover, there are differences in the economic and strategic interests of the member countries, which can make it difficult to achieve consensus on key issues.

8) The newly 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.   (250 words)

The AUKUS partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States is aimed at enhancing their collaboration on security and defence issues in the Indo-Pacific region. The partnership is primarily focused on countering China’s growing military and economic ambitions in the region.
Will it supersede the existing partnership?
AUKUS is not aimed at superseding existing partnerships in the region, but rather complementing and enhancing the existing security architecture.
  • Shares common members: United States and Australia is a member in both Quad and AUKUS. Hence both the partnerships works in synergy to ensure regional stability.
  • Limited representation: AUKUS is only a trilateral partnership whereas the existing partnership groups such as ASEAN and its dialogue mechanism such as ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asian Summit have wider regional representation.
Strengths and scope
  • Technological Advancements: By leveraging the expertise and technological prowess of the United States and the United Kingdom, AUKUS helped Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines.
  • Enhanced Defense Capabilities: The partnership enables Australia to improve its naval capabilities which includes advancements in submarine technology, intelligence sharing, and joint military exercises.
  • Strategic Significance: AUKUS holds strategic significance as it holds a unified approach to safeguarding regional stability, maritime security, and rule-based order.
AUKUS have raised certain concerns which could be counter-productive such as:
  • Nuclear race: May instigate a nuclear/conventional arms race in the region. China and Russia may react by supplying sensitive defence technologies to other states.
  • Regional stability: AUKUS which is perceived as an anti-China grouping by China may lead to erosion of regional stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Trust deficit: Manner in which AUKUS was formulated ignoring France may increase trust deficit between the like-minded democratic countries on other matters of global importance.
AUKUS receives mixed reactions: Japan and India welcome security cooperation, while France raises concerns about formation and defense contracts. Success hinges on addressing diplomatic challenges and engaging other regional stakeholders.


9) Critically examine the role of WHO in providing global health security during the Covid-19 pandemic. (150 words)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. It was established in 1948 to promote health, prevent and control diseases, and improve access to healthcare services worldwide.
Role of WHO during Covid-19 pandemic
  • Early Warnings and Response: The WHO's role in providing early warnings and coordinating global responses to public health emergencies is a key aspect of its mandate.
  • Guidance: The WHO played a crucial role in generating and disseminating scientific knowledge and provided guidelines and recommendations to member states, assisting them in formulating effective public health responses.
  • Coordination: The WHO facilitated international collaboration and information sharing among member states for understanding the virus and formulating evidence-based responses.
    E.g.: WHO established the Global Alert and Response System to coordinate international efforts.
  • Counter measures: Such as development and distribution of vaccines and other medical countermeasures, including through the COVAX facility.
  • Financial Aid: Provided financial assistance to essential supplies and information to the frontline workers, to accelerate research and development of vaccine and treatment.
    E.g.: WHO setup the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
Challenges associated
  • Confused and delayed initial response: Initially, the organization opposed travel ban and maintained that masks to be used by only those with symptoms.
  • Failed to ensure a human-rights approach to health: Questions were raised about WHO’s silence in the face of the human rights consequences of harsh government responses, such as mandatory quarantine and isolation measures.
  • Failed to Challenge sovereignty: Initially WHO failed to act on information it had from other sources. It also failed to share that information with other countries.
Despite these criticisms, the WHO remains a critical player in global health security. Moving forward, the WHO will need to continue to work closely with member states to ensure a coordinated response to future pandemics and to address the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases.

10) ‘Indian Diaspora has a decisive role to play in the politics and economy of America and European Countries’. Comment with examples. (150 words)

According to estimates released by the United Nations, India was the leading country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million strong diaspora.
Role of Indian diaspora in the politics and economy of America and European countries.
Political Dimensions
  • Political Influence: In western countries, Indian diaspora have successfully entered politics and held prominent positions.
    E.g.: Kamala Harris, who has Indian heritage, became the Vice President of the United States in 2021.
  • Electoral Power: The growing number of Indians in host countries has entrusted them with the ability to influence election results. 
    E.g. Indian-Americans make up around 1% of the electorate and their votes are crucial in swing states.
  • Emerging Leaders: Many people of Indian origin hold top political positions reflecting their ability to lead.
    E.:g 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.
    E.g. India-U.S. nuclear deal.
  • Soft Power: Indian diaspora through Yoga, movies, spirituality, has created tremendous ‘soft power’ power in host countries.
  Economic Dimensions  
  • Indian Industrialists: Indian professionals, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers have excelled in sectors such as technology, finance, healthcare, and academia.
    E.g.: In the UK, Indian companies such as Tata Steel, JLR, and Infosys are significant employers.
  • Technological Powers: Similarly, in the US, Indian companies such as TCS, Infosys, and Wipro have a significant presence.
  • Remittances: Additionally, remittances sent by the diaspora to their home countries, including India, have significant economic impacts.
Overall, the Indian diaspora's contributions strengthen bilateral relations, foster cultural exchange, and contribute to the overall development of societies they reside in.

11) ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)’ is transforming itself into a trade bloc from a military alliance, in present times – Discuss. (250 words)

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum that includes the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
Transforming QUAD into a trade bloc
  • India-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI): It is an open, non-treaty-based global initiative which include Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Science, and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport.
    E.g.: Australia and Japan have agreed to lead IPOI pillars on Maritime Ecology and Connectivity respectively.
  • Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP): 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.
    E.g.: It could directly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI):SCRI is a direct response 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: It need to better explain the Indo-Pacific Vision in an overarching framework with the objective of advancing everyone’s economic and security interests.
In conclusion, the Quad's shift from a military alliance to a trade bloc reflects the evolving geopolitical and economic dynamics in the Indo-Pacific. The countries prioritize free trade, reducing reliance on China's supply chain, and countering the BRI. However, the Quad's primary focus remains security, with trade and economic initiatives aimed at reinforcing the strategic objectives of the four nations.

12) What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (250 words)

The evolving strategic dynamics and geopolitical interests have led India to diversify its defence partnerships, with a growing emphasis on the United States. In 2020, the US overtook Russia to become India's second-largest defence supplier after France.
Indo – Russian defence deal:
  • 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: It involves the development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.
    E.g.: BrahMos.
  • Concern: India desires to diversify its defence imports as there is dissatisfaction in India with post-sales services and maintenance offered by Russia.
Significance of Indo-US defence deal over Indo – Russian
  • Technological Advancements: Provide India with access to advanced defence technologies, including high-end military equipment and systems.
    E.g.: Procurement of Apache AH-64E attack helicopters
  • Defense Cooperation: It promotes interoperability between their armed forces, joint exercises, military operations, and humanitarian missions.
    E.g.: Annual Malabar Naval exercise and Yudh Abhyas joint military exercise
  • Aligning with Regional Partners: It align India with like-minded countries to maintain stability and counterbalance to potential regional threats.
    E.g.: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group
  • Strategic Leverage: It also serve as a means for India to balance China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
In conclusion, the significance of Indo-US defence deals and Indo-Russian defence deals in the context of regional stability in the Indo-Pacific region depends on the evolving geopolitical dynamics in the region. The growing defence partnership between India and the US is likely to have an impact on India's defence procurement from Russia, which could affect the regional balance of power in the long run.


13) 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. (150 words)

India and Japan have indeed been working towards building a strong contemporary relationship, and such a partnership holds significant importance for Asia and the world.
Need for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship
  • Shared Values and Democracy: India and Japan are both vibrant democracies, sharing common values of freedom, pluralism, and respect for human rights.
  • Synergy in economic Collaboration: India has the world’s largest youthful population, Whereas Japan has financial and technological power, India has human capital and a huge market.
    E.g.: India is a leader in software and Japan a leader in hardware which generate strong synergies through economic collaboration.
  • Complementarity: Vision of convergence allows for closer collaboration in areas such as infrastructure projects, connectivity initiatives, and maritime security.
    E.g.: India’s Act East Policy and Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) emphasis on connectivity, infrastructure development, and economic integration.
  • China’s factor: Both countries recognize the need to balance and shape the regional power dynamics, particularly in the context of China's rise as a major global player.
  • Multilateral Engagement: India and Japan share a common commitment and amplifies their voices and enables them to address global challenges.
    E.g.: Multilateralism in various international forums such as the G20, and ASEAN-related mechanisms.
In conclusion, a strong contemporary relationship between India and Japan holds immense significance for Asia and the world. Their cooperation across various sectors and shared values contribute to regional stability, economic growth, and a rules-based order.

14) ‘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’. (150 words)

UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that was established in 1945. Its primary goal is to promote international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture, and communication.
Finance structure of UNESCO
  • UNESCO relies heavily on assessed, mandatory membership contributions as its primary source of income.
  • Member states are required to make annual payments towards the regular budgets, which are approved by the UNESCO General Conference every two years.
  • Approximately 60 percent of UNESCO's budget comes from national contributions.
  • The United States, in particular, used to provide nearly one-fifth of UNESCO's total budget annually.
Too little cash, too much politics, leaves UNESCO fighting for life
  • US ceased its financial contributions to UNESCO in 2011 due to recognition of Palestine as a full member state in 2011, not to expel Syria from Human Rights committee in 2012 and designation of the old city of Hebron, a Palestinian World Heritage site in 2017
  • Outstanding due of $10 million owed by Israel
  • Other unpaid dues from several member countries
Consequent impacts
  • Significant funding gap due to the withdrawal of financial support. Its budget in 2017 was approximately $326 million, nearly half of its 2012 budget.
  • Forced to cut programs, freeze hiring
  • Reduced permanent science position
  • Key areas such as basic sciences, earth observation, remote sensing, and renewable energy have been negatively affected
  • Rely on voluntary contributions
  • Setback for multilateralism: Nations exploit UNESCO as a platform to advance their domestic political agendas
To address these challenges, all UNESCO members should collaborate to implement grassroots reforms in bridging the financial gaps and depoliticize the institution.

15) “The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized nations has disappeared on account of its new-found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate (250 words)

India's foreign policy has undergone a major transformation in the last two decades, especially after the liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1991. This has led to a significant change in India's image from being a leader of the oppressed and marginalized nations to that of a rising global power.
Historically India was the leader of the oppressed and marginalized Nations
  • Supporting vulnerable nations: India took control of narratives regarding various developing and marginalized nations in the first 4 decades since independence.
    E.g.: Important among them were NAM and G-77.
  • During Cold war era: India was at the forefront of these attempts to create a global space for developing nations and regions whose voices went unheard.
India’s newfound role in the emerging global order:
  • Shift to realpolitik: There is a shift in India's foreign policy priorities, with greater emphasis strategic interests rather than moral and ethical considerations.
    E.g.: India’s growing economic and military might be now seen as a potential counterbalance to China's growing power.
  • Growing engagement with the developed world: Growing trade and investment ties with other countries have strengthened the perception of viewing India as a partner of the developed world
    E.g.: Formation of QUAD
  • Emergence of India as global power: India has emerged as one of the world's largest economies has been perceived as a departure from its previous role as a champion of the marginalized.
  • Prioritizing national interest: India was willing to place its own national interest – both economic and security – ahead of broader ideas of global justice and equity.
    E.g.: Defence exercises with western countries.
However, it is important to consider that India's evolving role does not negate its ongoing commitment to addressing global challenges and supporting the development and empowerment of marginalized communities.

16) What introduces friction into the ties between India and 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.(250 words)

India-US relations have witnessed significant positive developments over the past decade. India's designation as a major defence partner by the US highlights the strong momentum. However, challenges have emerged due to the inability to align the US national strategy with India's national self-esteem and ambitions.
Frictional Elements between India and the US on the strategic and global platform
  • Global Strategy Alignment: India seeks a clearer and more prominent position in the U.S.'s global strategy that aligns with its own ambitions and national self-esteem.
    E.g.: India seeks a more prominent role in the U.S.'s strategy in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China's assertive behaviour.
  • Pakistan Factor: The U.S. maintains balance in its approach towards both India and Pakistan, causing India to feel its concerns are not fully addressed.
  • Arms Sales and Technology Transfer: India's desire for advanced military technologies sometimes clashes with the U.S.'s concerns about technology transfer and regional stability.
  • Global Decision-Making: India aspires to play a larger role in global decision-making processes.
    E.g.: India’s longstanding demand for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, where the U.S. holds significant influence.
  • Geopolitical Considerations: The U.S. must balance India's rise on the global stage with its own geopolitical considerations and the interests of other countries, leading to occasional differences in approaches.
  • Trade and Economic Relations: Disputes over trade policies and market access have been sources of friction between India and the U.S.
    E.g.: For instance, disagreements over tariffs and intellectual property rights have strained economic ties.
Way forward
  • The US should return to the best of its past practices toward India by strengthening India’s capabilities without any expectations of clear quid pro quos.
  • India should articulate a geopolitical vision that preserves a special priority for the US and look for creative ways to demonstrate strategic solidarity with Washington.
Fostering a stronger India-U.S. partnership requires addressing challenges in strategic alignment, defence cooperation, and global decision-making through dialogue and mutual respect.


17) “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (150 words)

India-Israel relations most notably exemplify realism as cardinal International relations theory wherein the expediency of national interest turns out to be the guiding force behind a nation’s foreign policy.
Depth and diversity in India-Israel relations in recent past:
  • Role of geopolitics: Both countries share common challenges, such as terrorism and regional instability.
    E.g.: India's longstanding conflict with Pakistan have created a natural convergence of interests with Israel, which has faced similar security threats.
  • Defense cooperation: Israel is renowned for its advanced defence technologies, particularly in areas like missile defence, cybersecurity, intelligence, and counterterrorism.
  • Economic cooperation: Both India and Israel have recognized the mutual benefits of collaboration in sectors such as agriculture, water management, renewable energy, and technology.
    E.g.: Israel's expertise in agriculture, particularly in arid conditions, has helped India address its agricultural challenges.
  • Technology and innovation: Indian startups and companies partnering with Israeli counterparts in sectors like cybersecurity, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence.
  • Shared democratic values: Shared democratic ethos has provided a strong foundation for cooperation in various fields, including academia, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.
    E.g.: Both India and Israel are vibrant democracies that value freedom, diversity, and rule of law.
Way forward
  • Boosting Trade – The two sides must expedite talks on trade and investment to take bilateral ties to the next level
    E.g.: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as well as a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) at the earliest to forge greater business-to-business ties.
  • India should utilize Israel’s superiority in water conservation techniques to address its water stressed conditions and to clean polluted rivers.
  • India can leverage its space technologies to Israel for its developmental purposes where India enjoys upper hand.
In conclusion, the India-Israel relationship has undergone a significant shift in recent years, leading to greater depth and diversity in their engagement. Both nations have worked to balance their relationships with other countries while strengthening their own partnership.

18) 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. (150 words)

Central Asia is a region of great interest to India, given its strategic location and rich natural resources. Ashgabat Agreement is a multilateral transport and transit corridor agreement signed among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman, and India, with an aim to enhance connectivity and trade in the region.
Implications for India Joining Ashgabat Agreement
  • Counterbalance: India joining the Ashgabat Agreement is significant as it provides a non-intrusive way of engaging with the region, without arousing the suspicion of other powers.
  • Expansion of economic and trade links: By joining this agreement, India aims to tap into the region's economic potential and enhance bilateral trade with Central Asian countries.
    E.g.: Increase scope of Chabahar to become a vital gateway and the shortest land route to Central Asia.
  • Greater connectivity and infrastructure development: Improved connectivity will enhance trade but also promote people-to-people contacts, cultural exchanges, and tourism between India and Central Asia.
    E.g.: It also contributes to India's vision of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • Reduced dependency on Pakistan: Joining the Ashgabat Agreement will reduce the dependency of India and Afghanistan on Pakistan for transit and trade permits.
  • Energy security: It will help ease India’s energy requirement needs, as it connects India with the mineral-rich regions of Central Asia.
Way forward
  • India must leverage its membership in the Ashgabat Agreement to increase its trade ties with the Central Asian countries and promote regional connectivity.
  • India must also engage in dialogue with other outside powers in the region to safeguard its interests and maintain regional stability.
  • India should continue to invest in the development of Chabahar port as a strategic gateway to Central Asia and as an alternative to Gwadar port in Pakistan.
India should leverage Ashgabat Agreement membership to enhance trade with Central Asia and promote regional connectivity. And also, engagement with other outside powers is crucial to safeguard interests and maintain stability.

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? (250 words)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established to promote free and fair international trade among its member countries in the era of globalisation by facilitating negotiations, establishing trade rules, and reducing barriers.
Key Areas of Reforms
  • Dispute Settlement Mechanism: Reforms should aim to ensure a fully functioning and independent Appellate Body, with timely and efficient dispute resolution processes.
    E.g.: The Appellate Body has faced challenges due to the United States blocking the appointment of new judges.
  • Rulemaking and Negotiations: India, as a major player in the digital economy, would benefit from rules that address these areas effectively.
    E.g.: The organization should encourage negotiations on emerging trade issues such as digital trade, e-commerce, services, and investment.
  • Special and Differential Treatment: This enables developing countries to effectively participate in global trade and address their specific development needs.
  • Agriculture: Addressing issues such as domestic support, market access, and export subsidies would benefit Indian farmers and promote fair competition in global agricultural markets.
  • Intellectual Property Rights: Balancing intellectual property rights with access to affordable medicines and technologies is of great importance to India.
    E.g.: Reforms should ensure that the TRIPS Agreement supports affordability of essential goods.
  • Trade Facilitation: Enhancing trade facilitation measures can help reduce barriers and streamline customs procedures.
  • Development Agenda: This includes addressing issues related to capacity building, technical assistance, and enhancing the participation of developing countries in global trade.
  • Transparency and Public Participation: Strengthening the engagement of civil society, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders.
These are some of the key areas of reform that could help the WTO survive in the current context of trade wars while taking into account India's interests. It is important for WTO members to engage in constructive dialogue and negotiations to bring about meaningful changes and ensure the organization remains relevant and effective in the evolving global trade landscape.

20) In what ways would the ongoing US-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to its situation? (250 words)

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was an agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China) to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. However, in 2018, the Unite States had withdrawn from the JCPOA agreement.
Implications for India's national interest
  • Impact on India's energy security: Any disruption in oil supplies due to the conflict could have serious consequences for the Indian economy.
    E.g.: India imports a significant amount of oil from the Middle East,
  • Issue in India- Iran bilateral relation: The US's withdrawal from the nuclear pact and the imposition of sanctions on Iran could affects projects in jeopardy
    E.g.: India has been building closer ties with Iran, especially with regard to energy security and the development of the Chabahar port.
  • Issue in India- US bilateral relation: US's decision to withdraw from the nuclear pact has put India in a difficult position, as it tries to balance its relations with both the US and Iran.
  • Terrorism: Instability in the region has already resulted in rise of extremist group and more uncertainty will only provide them with more safe havens.
India’s Response
  • Diplomatic Engagement: India should continue to engage diplomatically with both the countries and convey its concerns regarding regional stability and its own interests.
    E.g.: Promote dialogue, advocate for peaceful resolutions.
  • Energy Diversification: India should further diversify its energy sources to reduce dependence on any single supplier.
    E.g.: Exploring alternative oil suppliers, investing in renewable energy sources etc.
  • Economic Adaptation: Exploring alternative markets and sectors for trade diversification can help mitigate any adverse effects on the Indian economy.
  • Regional Cooperation: India could engage with regional partners, including other countries in the Middle East, to promote stability, dialogue, and peaceful resolutions.
Overall, India should prioritize its national interests while maintaining a balanced approach in its engagements with the United States and Iran. By actively monitoring the situation, engaging in diplomatic efforts, and pursuing diversification strategies, India can navigate the challenges arising from the controversy.


21) “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. (150 words)

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.
Emergence of China as Potential Military Power using Economic relations
  • Debt trap diplomacy: By establishing economic dependencies, China can leverage its economic relations to gain geopolitical advantages.
    E.g.: BRI initiative
  • Technological Advancement: China has utilized its economic relations and trade surplus to acquire advanced technologies from other countries.
    E.g.: Fighter jet technology from Russia
  • Maritime Expansion: China has also invested in naval infrastructure, developed a blue-water navy, and established military outposts in the South China Sea and in Indian ocean.
    E.g.: Hambantota in Sri Lanka
  • Military Modernization: China economic strength has allowed China to invest heavily in research and development, defence technology, and military infrastructure.
Impact on India
  • Territorial issues: CPEC passes through Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a region claimed by India. This raises strategic concerns for India as it perceives CPEC as a violation of its territorial integrity.
  • Economic Competition: China's economic influence in the Asian region, potentially posing economic competition for India.
  • Security Challenges: China's presence in the Indian Ocean region, including the development of the Gwadar Port raises security challenges for India, as it increases China's naval capabilities and potential strategic encirclement.
  • Strategic Encirclement: The development of naval facilities limit the India's strategic options and freedom of movement in the Indian Ocean.
  • Economic and Energy Security: Many of the locations associated with String of Pearls concept are strategically positioned along major sea lanes. Any disruption over these routes could impact India's energy supplies and economic interests.
  • Competition for Influence: India has historically considered the Indian Ocean as its backyard but the China's expanding presence challenges India's influence.
Overall, India sees China's economic and military activities in the region as a challenge to its own security and has been taking steps to counter it. India has been working to strengthen its own economy and military capabilities to ensure that it remains a major power in the region.
22) What are the main functions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)? Explain different functional commissions attached to it. (150 words) 
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) was established in 1945 to promote international economic and social cooperation, as well as to advance human rights and sustainable development.
Main function of ECOSOC
  • Coordination: ECOSOC facilitates international cooperation among governments, UN agencies, and other organizations to achieve its objectives.
  • Policy development: ECOSOC promotes the development of policies and programs to address economic, social, and environmental issues.
  • Review: ECOSOC reviews the work of UN agencies and other organizations in the economic, social, and environmental fields.
  • Capacity-building: ECOSOC assists developing countries in building their capacities to address economic and social issues.
  • Advocacy: ECOSOC advocates for policies and programs to promote economic and social development and human rights.
Functional commissions attached:
Functional commissions are subsidiary bodies established to focus on specific thematic areas.
  • Commission on Population and Development: Addresses issues related to population, including demographic trends, reproductive health, and migration.
  • Commission for Social Development: Focuses on social development issues, including poverty eradication, employment, youth, and disability. It promotes social inclusion, equality, and social justice.
  • Commission on the Status of Women: Addresses women's rights, gender-based discrimination, and violence against women.
  • Commission on Sustainable Development: Addresses sustainable development issues, including environmental protection, energy, and natural resource management.
  • Commission on Science and Technology for Development: It advises ECOSOC on policies related to technology transfer, innovation, and scientific research for development.
These functional commissions provide specialized expertise and recommendations to ECOSOC, helping to advance the UN's goals of economic and social development and promoting international cooperation in specific areas of focus.

23) 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. (250 words)

India's energy security is indeed crucial for its economic progress, given its growing energy demand. India has actively pursued energy policy cooperation with West Asian countries to ensure a stable and diversified energy supply.
India's energy policy cooperation with West Asian countries
  • Oil Imports: India is one of the largest importers of oil globally, and its energy policy seeks to diversify its sources to ensure a steady supply and mitigate risks associated with price fluctuations.
  • LNG Imports: LNG imports help meet India's growing demand for cleaner energy sources and reduce its dependence on coal and oil.
  • Investment and Infrastructure: Indian companies have invested in upstream oil and gas projects in countries like Oman and UAE.
    E.g.: India has been involved in the development of Chabahar Port in Iran, which offers access to Central Asia.
  • Renewable Energy Cooperation: In addition to fossil fuels, India and West Asian countries are increasingly collaborating in the field of renewable energy
    E.g.: India has partnered with the United Arab Emirates to establish the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which aims to promote solar energy adoption globally.
India's energy policy cooperation with West Asian countries plays a significant role in ensuring its energy security and economic progress. By diversifying its energy sources, securing oil and LNG supplies, investing in energy projects, India aims to meet its growing energy demands while reducing vulnerabilities associated with energy imports.

24) 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. (250 words)

South East Asia is home to many Indians who contribute significantly to the region's economy and society. Additionally, significant from an economic and strategic standpoint is India's trade with South East Asia, which accounts for roughly 10.2% of all Indian trade.
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.
  • 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:
  • Education and Healthcare: Many Indian diaspora members are educators, healthcare professionals, and researchers who have made significant contributions to the education and healthcare sectors in South-East Asian countries.
  • Cultural Exchange: The Indian diaspora has facilitated cultural exchange between India and South-East Asian countries.
    E.g.: They have introduced traditional Indian arts, music, dance, and cuisine, promoting cultural diversity and understanding.
  • Philanthropy and Social Welfare: Indian diaspora members have actively engaged in philanthropic activities, supporting social welfare projects, educational initiatives, and community development in their host countries.
The Indian diaspora has the unique ability to integrate itself with the local community in a good way while serving as a bridge to India’s heritage and culture. They are making significant contributions to the region and ensures a strong relation between India and the south east Asian countries.


25) “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.(200 words)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established to promote free and fair international trade among its member countries in the era of globalization. The Doha round of negotiations, address the concerns of developing countries by focusing on issues such as agricultural subsidies, access to medicines, and intellectual property rights.
Aims and objectives of WTO
  • By facilitating negotiations, establishing trade rules, and reducing barriers.
  • Promotes non-discrimination among member countries, eliminating unfair trade practices, and ensuring a transparent and predictable trading environment.
  • Also plays a vital role in resolving trade disputes and fostering cooperation among nations.
Doha Round of Negotiations - significant points were 
  • To keep the need of developing countries at the heart of the talks
  • Less than full reciprocity on Non-Agricultural Market Goods (NAMA)
  • Clear mandate for liberalisation in Agricultural Products
  • Flexibility in liberalisation for developing countries
  • The agreement should cover all aspects of trade in integral manners and signed as a “single undertaking”
India's perspective on the Doha Round negotiations
  • On Agricultural Subsidies: It argued that these subsidies distorted global agricultural markets and had adverse effects on farmers in developing countries, including India.
  • On Access to Developed Countries Market: It pushed for the removal of trade barriers and restrictions that hindered the export of Indian agricultural goods.
  • On Special and Differential Treatment: It emphasized that developing nations required flexibility in implementing trade rules to address their unique circumstances and promote their development goals.
It is important to note that the Doha Round negotiations faced challenges with little progress being made towards reaching a consensus among the diverse membership of the WTO. The differing positions and priorities of developed and developing countries contributed to the impasse.
26) Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario. (200 words)
India's Look East Policy (LEP) was launched in the early 1990s as a strategic shift in India's foreign policy towards Southeast Asia, aimed at deepening economic and strategic ties with the region. The policy was launched in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario, which witnessed the emergence of Southeast Asia as an important region in terms of economic growth and strategic importance.
Economic Dimensions of LEP:
  • Economic Integration: This economic integration facilitated by the policy opened up new opportunities for trade, investment, and economic growth for India.
    E.g.: Enhancing trade and investment linkages through forums like ASEAN.
  • Connectivity and Infrastructure Development: These efforts aimed to facilitate seamless movement of goods, services, and people, thereby promoting regional economic integration.
    E.g. India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project
  • Investment and Market Access: Policy also sought to attract FDI from ASEAN countries and create opportunities for Indian businesses.
Strategic Dimensions of LEP:
  • Geopolitical Considerations: India aimed to forge closer ties with Southeast Asian countries to counterbalance the influence of China and strengthen India's strategic position in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Maritime Security: The policy recognized the importance of maritime security cooperation in maintaining peace, stability, and freedom of navigation in the region.
  • Regional Architecture: It involves closer engagement with ASEAN in promoting a rules-based order, and supporting regional connectivity initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Policy also facilitated to enhance defence cooperation, promote strategic dialogues, and deepen diplomatic engagement in the region.
    E.g.: Strategic partnerships with key Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Singapore.
Overall, India's Look East Policy, which later evolved into the Act East Policy, encompasses both economic and strategic dimensions. It seeks to leverage economic opportunities, enhance connectivity, and deepen regional integration while also addressing geopolitical considerations, promoting maritime security cooperation, and actively participating in shaping the regional architecture in the post-Cold War international scenario..

27) “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. (200 words)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was established in 1985 to promote regional cooperation and foster economic and social development among its member countries.
Cross-border terrorist attacks and interference in the internal affairs as challenges for future of SAARC
  • Cross-Border Terrorism in India: Cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan by terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
    E.g.:2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2016 Pathankot attack, and the 2019 Pulwama attack.
  • Proxy War in Jammu and Kashmir: The infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC) continues to destabilize the region.
  • Non-Cooperation on Counterterrorism: Despite India's repeated calls for cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, Pakistan's response has been inadequate.
  • Interference in Afghanistan: Afghanistan's instability has broader implications for the security of the entire South Asian region and led to tensions within SAARC
  • Deteriorating India-Pakistan Relations: Political and territorial disputes between India and Pakistan, spill over into SAARC meetings and discussions, hindering effective cooperation and collaboration.
  • SAARC Summit Cancellations: The SAARC summit, which is supposed to be held annually, has faced repeated cancellations due to India-Pakistan tensions.
  • Impact on Regional Trade: The persisting political tensions between India and Pakistan have adversely affected regional trade within SAARC.
    E.g.: South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), have not been fully realized due to political roadblocks.
The challenges faced by SAARC have led some member countries to explore alternative regional initiatives. For instance, India, along with other countries in the region, initiated the formation of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which excludes Pakistan.
This move reflects a shift towards regional cooperation frameworks that are not hindered by the India-Pakistan tensions, further undermining SAARC's prospects.

28) What are the aims and objectives of the McBride Commission of the UNESCO? What is India’s position on these?(200 words)

The McBride Commission, officially known as the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, was established by UNESCO.
Aims and Objectives of McBride Commission of the UNESCO
  • To study and analyse the communication problems faced by the world, particularly in relation to media ownership, cultural diversity, and unequal access to communication resources.
  • To identify the implications of these communication problems for global development, cultural expression, and democratization of communication.
  • To make recommendations for policy changes and reforms that would promote a more equitable and democratic international communication system.
  • To address issues related to media concentration, cultural imperialism, and the impact of media on development and cultural diversity.
India’s Position
  • Supporting member: India was one of the member states that supported the establishment of the commission and actively participated in its proceedings.
  • Western dominance: India has been critical of the dominance of Western media and its potential impact on cultural imperialism.
  • Addressing digital divide: India has emphasized the importance of access to communication resources and technologies for developing countries. India has highlighted the need to bridge the digital divide and ensure equal opportunities for all nations to participate in global communication processes.
India's position aligns with several recommendations made by the McBride Commission, such as promoting pluralism, diversity, and media ownership by marginalized groups, as well as fostering a more balanced and inclusive international communication order.


29) Increasing interest of India in Africa has its pro and cons. Critically Examine. (200 words)
In recent years, India's interest in Africa has expanded, as evidenced by the "Addis Ababa Declaration,". India is a "development partner" of Africa and has placed a greater focus on this and other economic diplomacy techniques to assure Africa's continued development and growth.
Pros of India-Africa partnership
  • Economic Opportunities: India's investment in the telecom sector in Africa has led to significant improvements in communication infrastructure.
    E.g.: Indian telecom companies like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have expanded their operations in African countries, providing better connectivity and driving economic growth.
  • Resource Access: India's engagement with Angola has resulted in oil exploration and production agreements. Indian oil companies like ONGC Videsh Limited have invested in oil blocks in Angola, securing a vital energy resource for India.
  • Development Cooperation: India's development cooperation with Ethiopia includes capacity-building programs in sectors like agriculture, healthcare, and education.
    E.g.: It helps in enhancing Ethiopia's self-reliance and sustainable development.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: Such as providing medical assistance, including personnel and medical supplies, to affected countries, demonstrating solidarity and humanitarian support.
    E.g.: During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, India provided medical assistance
Cons of India-Africa partnership
  • Competition with China: Indian companies have faced challenges in securing infrastructure projects in Africa due to competition from Chinese firms offering similar services with significant financial backing.
  • Debt Burden: There have been concerns that some African countries might face debt burdens as a result of infrastructure loans from India.
    E.g.: Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway project, financed by India, has raised concerns about debt sustainability.
  • Security Concerns: India has faced security challenges in some African countries, especially in regions with political instability or insurgency.
    E.g.: Indian nationals have been victims of kidnapping by terrorist groups in certain African nations.
  • Environmental Impact: India's mining operations in some African countries have faced criticism for inadequate environmental safeguards, leading to concerns about ecological impact and local community displacement.
  • Cultural Challenges: Cultural differences between India and African countries can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or challenges in cooperation and understanding.
In conclusion, India's increasing interest in Africa offers significant opportunities. However, it also presents challenges. India needs to navigate these factors carefully and adopt a well-coordinated approach to maximize the benefits and mitigate the challenges of its engagement with Africa.
30) Discuss the impediments India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UNSC.(200 words)
India has been pushing for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a long time now. However, there are several impediments that India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UNSC.
Major Impediments that India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UNSC
  • Opposition from permanent members: The existing permanent members of the UNSC, namely the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom, have been opposing India's bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC.
  • Lack of consensus among member states: Many countries have their own interests and aspirations and are not willing to support India's bid for a permanent seat.
  • Pakistan's opposition: It has been arguing that India is not a responsible nuclear power and has been violating the human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • India's own approach: While India has been lobbying for the seat, it has not been able to articulate its vision for a reformed UNSC clearly.
  • UN Reform process: Any change in the structure of the UNSC requires the approval of two-thirds of the member states of the UN, which is a difficult task to achieve.
Way forward
  • India has to continue its demands by mobilising a favourable public opinion at the global level.
  • It is important to maintain the support we receive from the majority of the UNGA and UNSC members.
  • As former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed, our priority must be to achieve a sustained growth rate of 10% for at least ten years, so that we will be eventually invited to be a permanent member of the UNSC.
  • Hence, instead of over-investing on our diplomatic capital, India need to devise strategies to become a more economically, militarily and diplomatically important power.
In conclusion, India faces multiple challenges in its pursuit of a permanent seat in the UNSC. While India has made some progress in this direction, it needs to take a more proactive and sustained approach to achieve its objective. It needs to work with like-minded countries to build a consensus and articulate a clear vision for a reformed UNSC.
31) Project ‘Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian government to improve relationship with its neighbours. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss(200 words)
Project 'Mausam' is a foreign policy initiative of the Indian government aimed at strengthening cultural and economic ties with neighbouring countries. The project explores and showcases the historical maritime linkages between countries in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.
Promotion of neighbourhood relationship
  • Creating trust: It contributes to regional goodwill and cooperation, by promoting cultural understanding, heritage tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.
  • Regional cooperation: By strengthening regional connectivity, and countering the influence of other powers in the region.
  • Security: Facilitates dialogue on maritime security challenges and enhances cultural diplomacy efforts for India's strategic objectives.
Strategic Dimensions of the project:
  • Soft Power and Influence: By emphasizing the shared historical and cultural heritage, India aims to foster goodwill and positive perceptions among neighbouring countries.
  • Economic Cooperation: 'Mausam' aims to enhance regional integration, trade, and investment, leading to greater economic interdependence and stability in the region.
  • Countering Rival Powers: 'Mausam' carries a strategic dimension in countering the influence of other powers in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Maritime Security Cooperation: This leads to joint efforts in combating piracy, maritime terrorism, thus ensuring stability and security in Indian Ocean.
  • Cultural Diplomacy: This cultural diplomacy enhances people-to-people interactions, builds mutual trust, and strengthens bilateral relationships.
In conclusion, the Project ‘Mausam’ has a strategic dimension to it, and it can contribute to India’s strategic objectives by improving its economic and cultural ties with the countries in the region, and by establishing its role as a key player in the region.
32) Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India – Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchange could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples.(200 words)
Terrorism has been a major issue between India and Pakistan, with India accusing Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and supporting terrorist activities in India. In this context, the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchange could play a significant role in generating goodwill between the two countries.
Role of Sports Diplomacy in generating goodwill between the India & Pakistan
  • Cricket Diplomacy: Matches provide an opportunity for fans from both sides to come together, cheer for their teams, and share a common passion for the sport.
    E.g.:2004, a cricket series was credited with improving bilateral ties and creating a more positive atmosphere for diplomatic dialogue.
  • Sports for Peace: Sporting events that promote peace and harmony, like the Aman Ki Asha cricket tournaments, bring together players from both countries to compete in a friendly manner.
Cultural exchange
  • Film and Music: Cultural exchanges in the form of films, music, and arts can help create a better understanding of each other's cultures and traditions.
    E.g.: Bollywood movies are widely popular in Pakistan, and Pakistani television dramas and music are appreciated by Indian audiences
  • Festivals and Events: Participation in each other's festivals and events can promote mutual respect and appreciation for diverse cultures.
    E.g.: Celebration of Diwali and Eid in both countries can be an opportunity for people to come together.
The use of soft power like sports and cultural exchange could play a significant role in improving India-Pakistan relations by creating goodwill and building bridges between the people of the two countries. However, it is important to recognize that soft power alone cannot solve the underlying issues.


33) With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China.(200 words)
India is a non-party in the dispute surrounding the South China Sea which involves China, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, India has a deep and abiding interest in the region for multiple reasons.
Need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region
  • Trade and Economy: The Indian Ocean region is a hub for international trade, with a significant portion of global maritime trade passing through its waters.
  • Regional Stability: Many countries in the Indian Ocean region face security challenges, including piracy, smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal fishing.
  • Military and Strategic Interests: Several countries have military bases and installations in the Indian Ocean region, making it a significant area of strategic interest.
Bilateral issues between India and China:
  • Right to free passage: Roughly half of India’s naval trade with other countries is carried out via the South China Sea, so the continued peacefulness and protection of the right to free passage in international waters, in accordance with international legal principles is of significance to India.
  • Resource exploration in South China Sea: India has signed agreements with Vietnam to conduct oil exploration of blocks in the South China Sea. While Vietnam claims that the blocks are in Vietnamese waters, China has responded unfavourably and looked down upon the agreement between Vietnam and India.
  • Balance of power: Increased cooperation and naval exercises in the Indian Ocean is a point of concern for China which looks unfavourably upon the partnership between Japan, Australia and India under the purview of USA.
  • Competition for Influence: India has historically considered the Indian Ocean as its backyard but the China's expanding presence challenges India's influence.
  • Regional security: One of the most significant bilateral issues between India and China in this context is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. India has refused to join the BRI, citing concerns about the project's impact on regional security and sovereignty.
It is important to note that while the maritime disputes and tensions between India and China primarily center around geopolitical competition. Advocating rules-based order, peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight is necessary to ensure regional stability and security.
34) The aim of Information Technology Agreements (ITAs) is to lower all taxes and tariffs on information technology products by signatories to zero. What impact would such agreements have on India’s interests? (200 words)
The Information Technology Agreement (ITA) is a plurilateral trade agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO) that aims to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers on IT products among its member countries. The ITA covers a wide range of IT products, including software, hardware, computers, telecommunications and electronic equipment, and semiconductors.
India was a part of the first phase of the ITA, known as ITA-I, which came into force in 1996. However, India has stayed away from the negotiations for ITA Phase II.
Impacts on India’s Interest
  • ITA-I had adverse consequences for India by making it heavily dependent on imports of IT equipment.
  • As tariffs and trade barriers were eliminated, it became more economical for India to import these products rather than manufacture them domestically.
  • With cheap imported equipment flooding the market, domestic manufacturers would face increased competition, potentially forcing them to scale back operations or even shut down.
  • The scaling back or closure of manufacturing operations would likely result in job losses, affecting workers in the IT equipment manufacturing sector.
  • By relying more on imported IT products, India's ability to develop indigenous technologies, nurture domestic innovation, and enhance its technological capabilities might be hindered.
  • As a significant importer of IT products, the reduction in taxes and tariffs could lead to increased imports, potentially widening the trade deficit.
But from a consumer perspective, the elimination of taxes and tariffs on IT products could lower prices and increase affordability, making technology more accessible to a wider population.
In conclusion, signing an ITA could have impacted India's interests. India's decision to sign an ITA would depend on a careful assessment of the costs and benefits involved.
35) Some of the International funding agencies have special terms for economic participation stipulating a substantial component of the aid to be used for sourcing equipment from the leading countries. Discuss on merits of such terms and if, there exists a strong case not to accept such conditions in the Indian context.
Tied aid refers to the condition where the recipient country is obligated to use a portion of the financial assistance or aid to purchase goods or services from the donor country or a predetermined group of countries.  The tied aid practice is primarily employed by donor countries to support their own industries, promote exports, and stimulate economic activity within their own country.
Merits of Tied aid
  • Tied aid can bring economic benefits to the donor country by boosting exports and creating employment.
  • By sourcing equipment from leading countries, India can gain access to advanced technologies.
  • This could lead to the transfer of technology and expertise, which would help India to upgrade its manufacturing and industrial sector.
Demerits of Tied aid
  • The requirement to source equipment or goods from specific countries may restrict competition, limit choices, and potentially result in higher costs for the recipient country.
  • Stipulations such as the one requiring the country receiving the aid to source equipment from other countries are detrimental to local industries in the country in need of aid.
  • In the long term, this could substantially increase the imports while the imports will receive no boost, because the state is not promoting the local industries by procuring equipment abroad. This will lead to an unhealthy reliance on imports, and neglect of the domestic industry.
In the Indian context, there is a strong case for not accepting such conditions. India has a robust manufacturing sector and a large pool of technical expertise. Therefore, it is in India's interest to develop its own industries and technologies rather than rely on equipment sourced from other countries. Furthermore, by developing its own industries and technologies, India can also become a major exporter of equipment and technology, which would help to reduce the country's trade deficit and improve its overall economic growth and development.
In conclusion, while special terms and conditions for economic participation could have both merits and demerits, in the Indian context, there is a strong case for not accepting such conditions. India has the potential to develop its own industries and technologies, and it is in the country's long-term interest to do so.
36)    India has recently signed to become founding member of New Development Bank (NDB) and also the Asian Infrastructure Bank (AIIB). How will the role of the two Banks be different? Discuss the strategic significance of these two Banks for India. (200 words)
The New Development Bank (NDB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are two multilateral development banks that have been established with the aim of financing infrastructure projects in developing countries.
New Development Bank
  • The NDB was established in 2015 by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) with the aim of financing sustainable development projects in developing countries.
  • It is headquartered in Shanghai, China, and has an initial authorized capital of $100 billion, with each member country contributing $20 billion.
  • The NDB's focus is on financing projects in the BRICS countries and other developing countries, with a particular emphasis on sustainable development and renewable energy.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  • The AIIB, on the other hand, was established in 2016 by 57-member countries, including India, with the aim of financing infrastructure projects in Asia.
  • It is headquartered in Beijing, China, and has an initial authorized capital of $100 billion, with China being the largest shareholder.
  • The AIIB's focus is on financing projects in Asia, with a particular emphasis on infrastructure development and connectivity.
In terms of governance, both banks have a similar structure, with each member country having an equal say in decision-making. However, the AIIB has been criticized for its lack of transparency and environmental and social safeguards.
Strategic significance for India
  • India has been a major beneficiary of multilateral development assistance and has been seeking to diversify its sources of funding beyond traditional donors like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
  • India's involvement in these two banks also has geopolitical significance, as they provide an alternative to Western-dominated development institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
  • India's participation in the NDB and the AIIB is expected to deepen economic ties with other member countries, particularly China, and facilitate greater regional integration and connectivity.
India needs to ensure that its own interests are served by its membership very explicitly. It should make sure that AIIB and NDB do not end up becoming a tool of Chinese geopolitical agenda.
37) WTO is an important international institution where decisions taken affect countries in a profound manner. What is the mandate of WTO and how binding are their decisions? Critically analyse India’s stand on the latest round of talks on Food security. (200 words)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has a mandate to facilitate global trade and promote open, fair, and predictable international trade relations.
Mandates of WTO
  • Promoting trade liberalization by reducing trade barriers, including tariffs and non-tariff barriers, to facilitate the flow of goods and services across borders.
  • The organization strives to ensure that its members do not discriminate against each other in trade by adhering to the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) principle, which requires members to extend the same trade concessions and benefits to all WTO members.
  • It also aims to establish a framework for fair trade practices by addressing unfair trade practices, such as dumping.
  • The WTO serves as a forum for negotiations among its member countries to develop and update multilateral trade agreements.
Nature of decisions
  • The decisions taken by the WTO are legally binding and enforceable.
  • The WTO has a dispute settlement mechanism which allows member countries to challenge each other's trade policies and practices.
  • If a country is found to be in violation of WTO rules, it can be required to change its policies or face sanctions.
India’s Stand on Food Security
  • One of the key issues that India has been advocating for is food security. India has argued that the subsidies it provides to its farmers to ensure food security should be exempt from WTO rules.
  • Demand for differential treatment of developed and developing country.
  • Flexibility in decisions which impact basic necessity of the poor people.
  • Renegotiation of subsidy: WTO should renegotiate subsidy rules for government backed food purchasing programs aimed at feeding poor citizens in developing and poor countries
  • Fishing subsidies: India has highlighted that developing countries not engaged in distant water fishing should be exempted from overfishing subsidy prohibitions for at least 25 years, as the sector is still at a nascent stage.
This was clear from the India’s stand point to provide subsidies for public stockholding of food grains for food security purposes.


38) The proposed withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014 is fraught with major security implications for the countries of the region. Examine in light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests. (200 words)
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was a multinational military mission established by the United Nations (UN) Security Council in 2001 to assist the Afghan government in establishing security and stability in Afghanistan. The mission was formed in response to the September 11 attacks in the United States to remove the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Security Implications for the countries of the region and safeguarding India’s own strategic interests
  • Increased Instability in Afghanistan: The withdrawal of ISAF created a security vacuum in Afghanistan. This allowed militant groups to exploit the situation and regain strength and spill-over effects in neighbouring countries, including India.
  • Threat of Terrorism: India has been a target of terrorist attacks emanating from the region in the past, and the withdrawal of ISAF increased concerns about the possibility of a renewed wave of terrorism.
  • Border Security Challenges: India shares a porous border with Afghanistan through the sensitive region of Jammu and Kashmir. The withdrawal of ISAF raised concerns about the infiltration of militants and the smuggling of arms and drugs across the border.
  • Impact on Regional Stability: The instability in Afghanistan can lead to increased tensions among regional powers, including Pakistan, Iran, and Central Asian countries. Any escalation or proxy conflicts in the region can have a direct impact on India's security interests.
  • Implications for India's Strategic Influence: India has been involved in development projects and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Hence the withdrawal raised concerns about the sustainability of India's investments and the potential loss of influence in Afghanistan.
  • Refugee Crisis: The worsening security situation in Afghanistan led to a significant increase in the number of Afghan refugees seeking asylum in neighbouring countries. India, being a regional power, faced the challenge of managing and addressing the humanitarian aspects of the refugee crisis.
In light of these challenges, India has to increase its cooperation with other regional and international partners to address the security implications arising from the withdrawal of ISAF.
India also needs to play a proactive role in the region by engaging with all stakeholders in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, and work towards a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.
39)    What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. (200 words)
String of Pearls is a geopolitical theory that refers to a strategic encirclement of India by China through a series of military and economic alliances with countries along the Indian Ocean rim. It is called ‘String of Pearls’ as each alliance is compared to a pearl on a necklace that China is trying to build around India.
Impact of string of pearls on India
  • Strategic Encirclement: The development of naval facilities limit the India's strategic options and freedom of movement in the Indian Ocean.
  • Maritime Security Challenges: The establishment of these naval bases and Chinese naval activities potentially altering the balance of power and impacts India’s naval operations.
  • Economic and Energy Security: Many of the locations associated with the concept are strategically positioned along major sea lanes. Any disruption over these routes could impact India's energy supplies and economic interests.
  • Competition for Influence: India has historically considered the Indian Ocean as its backyard but the China's expanding presence challenges India's influence.
Steps Taken by India:
  • Strengthening its bilateral ties: India strengthened its cooperation with countries particularly those that are part of China’s string of pearls, such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
  • Increased Naval presence: Initiated various naval cooperation agreements with other countries.
    E.g.: Malabar exercise, Milan exercise, IBSAMAR exercise
  • Importance of regional cooperation: India has been actively participating in regional organizations such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the BIMSTEC.
  • Increased presence in the region: India has also sought to enhance its presence in the region through initiatives like the "Act East Policy" and the "SAGAR" (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine.
Through these steps, India aims to safeguard its strategic interests, maintain regional stability, and counter the potential challenges posed by China's String of Pearls concept in the Indian Ocean region.
40) Economic ties between India and Japan while growing in the recent years are still far below their potential. Elucidate the policy constraints which are inhibiting this growth. (200 words)
In the financial year (FY) 2012-13, India-Japan bilateral trade reached US $ 18.61 billion. The percentage of India’s import from out of total imports and India's exports to Japan out of India's total exports are not more than 2.5%. This shows that the economic ties between the countries are still far from below.
The growing nature of ties can be seen from the fact that:
  • FDI: Japan is the third largest foreign investor in India.
  • Investment in Specific Mega Infra Projects, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC), the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) etc.
  • Investment in North-eastern Region by Japan to enhance connectivity and promote developmental projects.
  • Smart Cities- Japan has decided to be associated with the development of Chennai, Ahmedabad and Varanasi as smart cities.
However, the economic partnership has been far from potential because of several reasons.  
Policy constraints inhibiting growth:
  • Trade Barriers: The lack of a comprehensive trade agreement between the two nations is a major constraint in this regard.
    E.g.: Both India and Japan have imposed tariffs and non-tariff barriers on each other's goods, which has slowed down bilateral trade.
  • Investment Restrictions: Japan has been hesitant to invest in India due to restrictions on foreign investment in certain sectors, such as retail, and restrictions on land acquisition.
  • Regulatory Issues: Regulatory challenges, including inconsistent policies and cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, can create uncertainties for businesses.
  • Political Instability: Political instability and uncertainty in India have been a major concern for Japanese investors. This has led to Japanese companies being cautious in their investment decisions in India.
  • Lack of effective IPR Protection: Strengthening IPR frameworks and enforcement mechanisms can provide greater confidence to Japanese investors and encourage technology and knowledge sharing.
  • Lack of Legal Framework and Dispute Resolution: Enhancing the legal framework and ensuring efficient resolution of commercial disputes can instil trust and attract more Japanese investments.
To counter these constraints, both the countries have signed several agreements on trade, investment, and infrastructure development. The Indian government has also taken steps to ease foreign investment restrictions, streamline land acquisition procedures, and improve the ease of doing business in India.
41) The protests in Shahbag Square in Dhaka in Bangladesh reveal a fundamental split in society between the nationalists and Islamic forces. What is its significance for India? (200 words)
The protests at Shahbag Square in Dhaka, Bangladesh, also known as the Shahbag Movement or Gonojagaran Mancha, took place in early 2013. The protests were triggered by the controversial verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) regarding war crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.The protests also highlighted a deeper split in society between secular nationalist forces and Islamic groups.
Demanded the death penalty for Abdul Quader Molla, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was accused of war crimes committed during the war.
Significance of protest in Dhaka for India
  • Secularism and Democracy: The protests reaffirmed the importance of secularism and democratic values in the region, which resonates with India's own ethos.
  • Regional Stability: India shares a long border with Bangladesh and has historical, cultural, and economic ties with its neighbour. Any significant internal conflicts can potentially impact India's security and stability in the region.
  • Counterterrorism and Extremism: India, as a victim of cross-border terrorism has a vested interest in countering such forces in the region. The Shahbag protests, which predominantly represented a more secular voice, align with India's efforts to combat terrorism.
  • Economic Cooperation: A stable and secular Bangladesh that upholds democratic values is conducive to fostering stronger economic ties between the two countries. The protest's emphasis on justice and accountability can contribute to a stable environment for economic collaboration.
  • Refugee Crisis: Any social or political unrest in Bangladesh can result in a significant refugee crisis, with potential implications for India.
  • Regional Diplomacy: India's foreign policy and regional diplomacy involve engaging with neighbouring countries to maintain peace and stability. The split in society highlighted by the Shahbag protests necessitates India's active diplomatic efforts to foster dialogue.
India's significance in relation to the Shahbag protests lies in its role as a neighbouring country and a regional power. India can play a constructive role in promoting dialogue, encouraging democratic processes, and supporting efforts to uphold justice, accountability, and secularism in Bangladesh.
42) Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (200 words)
It began as a series of peaceful protests that broke out in the Maldives in 2011. Demonstrators were protesting what they considered the government's mismanagement of the economy and were calling for the ouster of President Nasheed. President Nasheed resigned after a police uprising that amounted to a coup. And the first round of elections which was held in September 2013 declared void by Supreme Court.
Concerns regarding political developments in Maldives to India
  • Regional instability: The concerns for India primarily revolve around maintaining stability and ensuring the preservation of democratic values in the region.
  • Threat of Terrorism: Terrorist groups such as Lashkar can use the Maldives as a staging ground for terrorist attacks against India.
  • Impact on India’s strategic influence: India has been involved in strategic projects in Maldives. Political unrest raised the concerns about the sustainability of India's investments and the potential loss of influence in the island nation.
  • Competition for influence: India has historically considered the Indian Ocean as its backyard but the political unrest in the Maldives can increase China's presence in the Indian Ocean.
  • Maritime security challenges: Any political instability or security threat in the Maldives can have a spill over effect on India's security and stability.
  • Economic Backlash: Termination of India's GMR's contract to construct Male's international airport.
India has expressed support for democratic processes and stability in the Maldives. Continued engagement, and cooperation can contribute to the Maldives' political stability and overall regional security.
43) In respect of India-Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. (200 words)
India was among the first countries to recognize Sri Lanka's independence in 1948 and has consistently supported its neighbour in various capacities, but domestic factors on both sides have influenced their foreign policy towards each other.
Influence of domestic factors influence foreign policy
  • Tamil Nadu's political dynamics have been a crucial factor in shaping the country's policy towards Sri Lanka. The Tamil Nadu political parties have been demanding that India support Tamil rights and pressurize the Sri Lankan government to address their grievances.
    E.g.: during the final phase of the Sri Lankan civil war, the Indian government came under pressure from Tamil Nadu politicians to intervene, leading to India's support for the UN Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka.
  • In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese nationalist forces have been influential in shaping Sri Lanka's foreign policy towards India. Sinhalese nationalist forces have been wary of India's influence in Sri Lanka and have viewed India's support for Tamil rights as interference in their internal affairs.
  • Closer ties with China, which has been willing to invest in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. This has led to concerns in India that Sri Lanka is becoming a part of China's String of Pearls strategy.
In conclusion, domestic factors on both sides have played a crucial role in shaping India-Sri Lanka relations. It is important for both countries to address these domestic concerns and work towards building a stable and mutually beneficial relationship.
44) What is meant by Gujral doctrine? Does it have any relevance today? Discuss. ( 200 words)
The Gujral Doctrine refers to a set of principles proposed by former Indian Prime Minister I.K. Gujral. The doctrine is based on India's foreign policy approach towards its smaller neighbouring countries, particularly in South Asia.
Key principles
  • Non-reciprocity: It advocates for India to provide unilateral concessions and assistance to its smaller neighbours without expecting immediate or equal reciprocation. This approach aims to address the power asymmetry between India and its smaller neighbours and build trust and goodwill among them.
  • Non-interference: It promotes respect for their sovereignty and encourages India to refrain from interfering in their domestic matters.
  • Regional Cooperation: It also highlighted the importance of regional cooperation and integration. It encourages India to actively engage with its neighbouring countries to address common challenges, promote economic cooperation, and enhance regional stability.
Relevance of Gujral doctrine currently
  • Neighbouring Relations: The non-reciprocity principle of the Gujral Doctrine is still relevant in India's engagement with its smaller neighbours. India continues to provide development assistance, preferential trade arrangements, and other forms of support to promote their socio-economic development and stability.
  • Regional Cooperation: Initiatives like the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) reflect India's commitment to regional cooperation.
  • Evolving Challenges: While the Gujral Doctrine provides a framework for India's engagement with its neighbours, new challenges such as border disputes, cross-border terrorism, and regional power dynamics require nuanced approaches and flexibility in policy implementation.
  • The geopolitical landscape in the region has witnessed significant shifts since the formulation of the Gujral Doctrine. The rise of China's influence, evolving dynamics in Afghanistan, and the Indo-Pacific concept necessitate India's adaptability and strategic recalibration in its neighbourhood policy.
In conclusion, some aspects of the doctrine remain relevant today, but the changing regional dynamics call for a pragmatic and adaptive approach to India's neighbourhood policy.

45) The World Bank and the IMF, collectively known as the Bretton Woods Institutions, are the two inter-governmental pillars supporting the structure of the world’s economic and financial order. Superficially, the World Bank and the IMF exhibit many common characteristics, yet their role, functions and mandate are distinctly different. Elucidate. (200 words)

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were established in 1944 as part of the Bretton Woods Conference, with the aim of promoting international economic cooperation and development.
Common characteristics between the World Bank and the IMF
  • The primary objectives of both the IMF and the World Bank are to promote global economic stability, foster economic growth, reduce poverty, and support sustainable development.
  • Both institutions provide financial assistance to member countries.
  • Both institutions have a similar membership structure. Currently, they have 190-member countries, including almost all nations globally.
Difference between the World Bank and the IMF
World Bank
  • Primarily focused on providing financial assistance to developing countries for long-term development projects
  • It provides low-interest loans, grants, and technical assistance to member countries, and also acts as a forum for sharing knowledge and expertise on development issues.
  • The World Bank has five institutions under its umbrella, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
  • It provides short-term financial assistance to member countries experiencing balance-of-payments difficulties, in the form of loans that come with conditions designed to address the underlying causes of the country's financial problems.
  • The IMF also provides policy advice and technical assistance to member countries, and monitors global economic trends and developments.
In conclusion, while the World Bank and the IMF share many similarities, their roles, functions, and mandates are distinctly different.