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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 JANUARY 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic – Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1) Isolation of indigenous groups is crucial today. Comment in light of the recent debate around the issue.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The recent incident involving Sentinelese tribe has brought the attention on such indigenous tribes and our policy with respect to them. The article delves deep in the issue and discusses why it’s important for us to leave such indigenous tribes alone.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the current status of indigenous tribes, highlight our policy towards them, explain the reasons why it’s important to leave them and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss why this issue is in news.

Body

  • Discuss the status quo highlighting the situation of such tribes
  • Discuss how such tribes are protected currently – The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
  • Discuss why it’s important to leave them alone
    • large chunk of the population of the 10 Great Andamanese tribes was wiped out after the indigenous peoples caught syphilis, measles, and influenza on an epidemic scale following contact with the early settlers etc

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

                The death of an American Christian missionary whose covert expedition to convert the residents of North Sentinelese Island raised eyebrows across the world. The Sentinelese are the world’s last known pre-Neolithic tribal group. The episode has cast a spotlight on the threats faced by the world’s remote indigenous groups.

Body:

                The current status of the indigenous groups is highly vulnerable. There are reasons for non interference in areas of indigenous groups. The indigenous groups face the following grave threats.

  • Dwindling Population: Indigenous communities’ combined share of the world population is now at just 4.5%. Colonial excesses had reduced aboriginal population in Andaman islands from more than 25 tribes to just four tribes
  • Threat of new diseases: Indigenous tribes show aggression to outsiders mainly because they associate outsiders with violence and infectious diseases like small pox leading to their depopulation during colonization time.
  • Past Experiences: British colonial excesses whittled down the aboriginal population of the Andaman Islands, which includes North Sentinel Island, from more than two dozen tribes 150 years ago to just four today.
  • Alienation: This is due to increased encroachments of the lands they reside in. Example: Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to repeal constitutional safeguards for aboriginal lands in order to expand developers’ access to the Amazon rainforest.
  • Dwindling forestlands: indigenous societies have been pitted against loggers, miners, crop planters and other interlopers. In the last 12 years alone, according to satellite data, Brazil’s Amazon Basin has lost forest cover equivalent in size to the entire Democratic Republic of Congo

Due to the threats faced by them, the governments across the world have taken many measures           to protect them.

  • After decolonization period, many independent countries made “no contact policy” for indigenous tribes respecting their right to their ancestral land and maintaining seclusion.
  • In India, Andaman and Nicobar (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation , 1956 declares areas of tribes as reserves and prohibits entry ,filming and photography. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties. But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently.
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous people

The indigenous tribes have to be left alone. Their way of living over centuries has helped them live in synergy with the nature. The importance of isolation of indigenous tribes are:

  • Right to Life: Many of tribal groups have traditions and customs which are peculiar to them. They must be respected which is in accordance to their fundamental rights.
  • High Vulnerability: Many primitive vulnerable tribes particularly in Andaman and Nicobar islands are vulnerable to even diseases such as common flu and their exposure to outside population would wipe out their existence.
    • Example: large chunk of the population of the 10 Great Andamanese tribes was wiped out after the indigenous peoples caught syphilis, measles, and influenza on an epidemic scale following contact with the early settlers
  • Natural way of Life: Indigenous tribes have good understanding of and show reverence for nature.
    • Example: When the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, more than a quarter-million people died across 14 countries, but the two isolated Andaman tribes, which rely on traditional warning systems, suffered no known casualties.
  • Protectors of Nature: As world environmental sentinels, they safeguard 80%of global biodiversity and plays critical role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • They act as hub of biological treasure for scientists seeking to reconstruct evolutionary and migration histories.
  • Past experiences of interference in their indigenous lives has led to many unfortunate events like Insurgency and Extremism as seen in Central and north eastern Indian tribes.

Way forward:

  • Knee jerk reaction such as easing norms of Restricted area permit should be avoided.
  • Integrational approaches involving interactions with such groups must be taken up.
  • Complete assurance of their autonomy and preservation of their diversity should be the guiding principles.
  • Providing infrastructure like proper health care facilities, educational facilities, access to modern technology can help them grow better.
  • The tribal policy of Panchasheel can act as a guiding light in this direction.

Conclusion:

                Indigenous people are an essential element of cultural diversity and ecological harmony. The least the world can do is to let them live in peace in the ancestral lands that they have honoured and preserved for centuries.


Topic– Indian polity : issues

2) Critically analyze the process of selection of supreme court judges in India. How can the process be made more transparent?(250 words)

 

Why this question

The recent decision of the collegium to replace two HC chief justices selected for elevation has once again brought the system of appointment of judges under the scanner. This article analyzes this issue in detail.

Key demand of the question

we have to describe the provisions dealing with the appointment of SC judges and discuss those provisions critically. We also have to suggest measures to rectify the arrangement. we have to identify and briefly discuss the key provisions dealing with the appointment of SC judges in India and form an opinion on them, particularly on their shortcomings. then we have to simply enlist measures required to prevent the executive’s unnecessary intervention into the judiciary.Directive word

Directive word
critically analyze-When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of Answer:

introduction- briefly describe article 124 of the constitution and mention NJAC .

Body

  • enlist the eligibility and procedure of selection of SC judges in detail.
  • describe the first, second and third judges cases
  • discuss the shortcomings in the process. e.g lack of well defined rules and procedures and instances of discretion
  • suggest necessary amendments required in the legal provisions. e.g prescription of time limit and also bringing transparency and logic in the process of selection of judges etc.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

                Article-124 of the constitution deals with the appointment of judges in higher judiciary. With the 99th constitutional amendment act and NJAC Bill 2014, National judicial appointment commission was established by the union government to bring transparency and accountability in appointment of judges. However, the Supreme Court struck down the amendment citing it as a threat to judicial independence, an integral part of Basic Structure Doctrine.

Body:

The Constitution mentions the following as criteria for eligibility:

  • Should be a citizen of India.
  • Should have been a judge of High court for five years (Continuously) or Advocate of high court for 10 years.
  • A distinguished jurist, in the opinion of President.

Process of selection of judges of Supreme Court:

  • The method of selection of judges by a Collegium of Supreme Court judges finds no place in the Constitution.
  • The Constitution confers the power of appointment of judges on the President of Indiae. the Government of India to be made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • With the best of intentions of securing the independence of the judiciary, the Supreme Court rewrote the provisions of the Constitution for appointment of judges and appropriated the power to appoint judges by the judges.
  • S P Gupta case or First Judges Case (1981):
    • By the first case the power was vested in the Chief Justice of India in whom it was held the primacy lay in appointments assisted by two judges of the Supreme Court. It declared that the “primacy” of the CJI’s recommendation to the President can be refused for “cogent reasons”. This brought a paradigm shift in favour of the executive having primacy over the judiciary in judicial appointments for the next 12 years.
  • Supreme Court Advocates-on Record Association vs. Union of India case — the “Second Judges Case”(1993):
    • In the second case the court took away the primacy of the Chief Justice of India and vested the power in a Collegium of the Chief Justice of India and some senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
    • “Justiciability” and “primacy” required that the CJI be given the “primal” role in such appointments. It overturned the S P Gupta judgment, saying “the role of the CJI is primal in nature because this being a topic within the judicial family, the executive cannot have an equal say in the matter. Here the word ‘consultation’ would shrink in a mini form.
  • Third Judges Case(1998) (by a follow-up President’s Reference to the Court):
    • The Collegium was expanded to include the CJI and the next four (up from two) senior-most judges. It was concluded that the CJI could only recommend judges for appointment after consultation with the other four judges, and any candidate has to be supported by a majority of the Collegium.
    • Once the Collegium makes a recommendation to the President, the President can either accept it or send it back to the Collegium for reconsideration. If the Collegium once again recommends that candidate for appointment with unanimous agreement the President is bound by the recommendation.
    • The final position is thus that even though the formalities need to be performed by the President, the actual decision-making power when it comes to appointment of Supreme Court judges rests with the Collegium

However, there are shortcomings in the process:

  • Controversial appointments:
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticised for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
  • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Supreme court is overburdened:
    • The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • Lacking this infrastructural backup the collegium resorts to ad hoc informal consultations with other judges in the Supreme Court who are expected to know the merits of a proposed appointee from a High Court or occasionally by sounding a member of the Bar.
    • These methods are poor substitutes for a full time intensive collection of data about an incumbent, his work, standing, merit, integrity and potential which requires to be made considerably in advance for filing in the vacancy.
    • This system overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Besides, the collegium’s deliberations are secret, the system is opaque and the choice of a judge is only known when his name is forwarded to the Government for formal appointment.
  • The collegium has necessarily limited its field of choice to the senior-most judges from the High Court for the appointments to the Supreme Court, overlooking the several talented junior judges in the High Courts or members of the bar.
  • Skewed representation of socio economic backward classes like women, scheduled castes and tribes in the Supreme Court.

The collegium system needs reforms:

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process. In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges. Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodating the federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a Fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

                The appointment of judges to higher judiciary is shrouded with opacity and delays. This has in turn lead to delayed justice, huge pendency of cases, nepotism which can malign the judiciary organ of our democracy. There is an urgent need to take up the reforms and induce the transparency and uphold the sanctity of Judiciary.

     


          

Topic-Indian polity : issues

3) Critically comment on the way the courts have interpreted the Section 124(A) of the penal code. Comment on what do you think the future of sedition law in India should be? (250 words)

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Why this question

Sedition law is again in news courtesy chargesheet filed against the accused in JNU row. This issue needs to be examined in detail and we need to form an opinion on what the future of sedition law in the country should be.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what section 124A entails and comment on the courts interpretation of the same. Thereafter, we need to logically give an argument regarding the future of sedition law in the country.

Directive word

Critically comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Critically comment is also forming opinion on main points but in the end you have to provide a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why this issue is in news.

Body

  • Explain that In india,sedition is 124A of Indian penal code & when person charged under this IPC. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for life.
  • Court have interpreted 124A of Indian penal code in many cases relate to 124A section:
    • Kedar Nath Singh Vs State of Bihar 1962: constitutional bench of supreme court made clear that allegedly seditious speech & expression may be punished only if speech is an incitement to violence or public disorder.
    • Subsequent cases have further clarified the meaning of this phrase.
      In Indra Das vs State of Assam & Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam, Supreme Court stated that only speech that amounts to “incitement to imminent lawless action” can be criminalised.
    • Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, Supreme Court overturned the convictions for sedition(124A IPC) and Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc (153 A IPC).
  • Based on the opinion of the court and how the sedition law has been used in the country, give your view on the future of sedition law.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward

Introduction:

The Delhi Police filed a charge sheet against 10 people, including student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and Anirban Bhattacharya, in a sedition case for allegedly raising “anti-national slogans” during an event on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in February 2016.

Body:

‘Sedition’ is an offence incorporated into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1870. Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition and says:

  • whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, the government established by law; or
  • whoever by the above means excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law, has committed the offence of sedition.

The offence is punishable with imprisonment for life.

Courts have interpreted 124A of Indian penal code in many cases relate to 124A section:

  • Kedar Nath Singh Vs State of Bihar 1962: constitutional bench of Supreme Court made clear that allegedly seditious speech & expression may be punished only if speech is an incitement to violence or public disorder. Subsequent cases have further clarified the meaning of this phrase.
  • Indra Das vs. State of Assam & Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam: Supreme Court stated that only speech that amounts to “incitement to imminent lawless action” can be criminalised.
    • Therefore, advocating revolution or advocating even violent overthrow of State, does not amount to sedition, unless there is incitement to violence & more importantly, incitement is to imminent violence.
  • Maneka Gandhi case, 1978: The Maneka Gandhi judgment was a balanced judgment and is one of the best judgments that Indian Supreme Court has ever given.
    • The judgment’s importance can be seen today also because the way in which the bench construed Article 21 and expanded its horizons has given way for the resolving of problems left unsolved by the Parliament.
    • The SC stated that Criticizing and drawing general opinion against the Govt. policies and decisions within a reasonable limit that does not incite people to rebel is consistent with the freedom of speech.
    • The judgment saved the citizens from unquestionable actions of Executive.
  • Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab: In one of most important judgements in this regard, Supreme Court overturned the convictions for sedition(124A IPC) and Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc (153 A IPC).
    • In this case, accused raised slogans such Khalistan Zindabad, Raj Karega Khalsa (Khalsa will rule) & Hinduan Nun Punjab Chon Kadh Ke Chhadange, Hun Mauka Aya Hai Raj Kayam Karan Da (Hindus will leave Punjab, we will rule) i.e. a few hours after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
    • Despite the slogans clearly undermining Indian sovereignty and government, SC acquitted or free from charge or verdict of not guilty the accused because the slogans did not imminently incite violence.
    • Thus, even advocating secession of country or violent overthrow of government, does not attract sedition unless there is imminent incitement to violence.
    • ‘Incitement’ rather than ‘advocacy’ is the important element of section 124A.

 Dark side of Applying Sedition Law:

  • Before Independence, this charge was used by the British to suppress the freedom movement.
  • Ironically, the same draconian law has become a tool that the country is now using against its own people.
  • During colonial period section 124-A was interpreted by the privy council in a way to suppress every act that expressed discontent against the government.
  • Many freedom fighters were slapped with these charges for invoking feelings of nationalism and educating people of India against the policies adopted by the colonial power.
  • Draconian laws such as the Section 124-A only serve to give a legal veneer to the regime’s persecution of voices and movements against oppression by casting them as anti-national.
  • Figures of the National Crime Records Bureau reveal that in the two years preceding the JNU case, there were a total of 77 sedition cases.
  • Beyond the high-profile urban cases, the reach of Section 124-A has extended even to faraway places. An entire village in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu had sedition cases slapped against it for resisting a nuclear power project. Adivasis of Jharkhand, resisting displacement, topped the list of those slapped with sedition in 2014.
  • Instead of critically analysing why citizens, be they in Kashmir or Chhattisgarh or Bhima Koregaon, are driven to dissent, the government is using an iron-fist policy with the sedition law playing a leading role to completely shut out contrarian views.

Way Forward:

  • All speech-related offences should be made bailable offences; this would lessen the harmful impact of using arrest and custody as a way of harassing anyone exercising their rights under Article 19(1) (a). The chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression must be erased.
  • Forming a committee involving Government and renowned civil society members while deciding cases under section 124 A.
  • To limit the discretionary power as much as possible through better and comprehensive drafting of guidelines.
  • The offences should be made non-cognisable so that there is at least a judicial check on the police acting on the basis of politically motivated complaints.
  • In the case of offences under Sections 153A (“promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”) and 295A of the Indian Penal Code, it is mandatory under Section 196(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to obtain prior sanction of the government before taking cognisance of the offences. This needs to be extended to the offence of sedition under Section 124A.
  • In the case of hate speech, it is important to raise the burden of proof on those who claim that their sentiments are hurt rather than accept them at face value.
  • And finally, it is crucial that courts begin to take action against those who bring malicious complaints against speech acts.

Conclusion:

Dissent is the lifeblood of democracy. Democracy has no meaning without freedoms and sedition as interpreted and applied by the police and governments is a negation of it. Hence, before the law loses its potency, the Supreme Court, being the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens has to step in and evaluate the law and may declare Section 124A unconstitutional if necessary.

The word ‘sedition’ is thus extremely nuanced, and needs to be applied with caution. It is like cannon that ought not be used to shoot a mouse; but the arsenal also demands possession of cannons, mostly as a deterrent, and on occasion for shooting.


Topic– India and its neighbourhood- relations

4) Examine the major issues in India Bhutan relations and suggest measured for continuing the cohesive and durable relationship with Bhutan?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss in brief the status and history of India Bhutan relations. Thereafter, we need to discuss the teething issues in India Bhutan relations and discuss how such issues can be resolved.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief history of India Bhutan relations.

Body

  • Discuss the major issues
    • Issues with the hydropower project
    • Allegations of interference against India
    • India’s power-surplus status and the advent of other renewable energies like wind and solar power will make it more difficult for Bhutan to ensure that its hydropower sector becomes profitable.
    • Unless India finds ways to help, it will be accused of the same sort of “debt-trapping” that China is accused of today.
    • India also needs to focus on policing cross-border trade The goods and services tax still hurts Bhutanese exporters, and demonetisation has left lasting scars on the banking system
  • Discuss the way forward
    • India’s effective neighbourhood approach will prove conducive towards building a cohesive and durable relationship with Bhutan in the coming days.
    • The hydropower projects, where delays in construction and commissioning by the Indian companies took place, have led to the Country’s increase in the national debt. The tariffs need to be re-negotiated. Moreover, in India advent of wind / solar makes it more difficult for Bhutan to ensure that its hydropower sector becomes profitable.
    • Considering this legacy of Independent democracy, India should refrain from interfering in sovereign matters of Bhutan.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, has shared a cordial relations with India based on our long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural relations. India has been an all-weather friend of Bhutan since the latter’s independence. The India –Bhutan treaty of friendship and cooperation was signed in 1949 and was updated in 2007, subjecting the Himalayan nation’s security needs to supervision. The Treaty provides for perpetual peace and friendship, free trade and commerce, and equal justice to each other’s citizens.

 

Body:

 

Importance of Bhutan:

 

  • Bhutan in a buffer state between India and china. Bhutan shares a 470 km long border with China.
  • Strategic importance: The Chumbi Valley is situated at the trijunction of Bhutan, India and China and is 500 km away from the “Chicken’s neck” in North Bengal, which connects the northeast with rest of the country.
  • To contain insurgency in North-East: Bhutan has in the past cooperated with India and helped to flush out militant groups like United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from the Himalayan nation.

 

Assured by India for its distinct identity and autonomy since India’s independence Bhutan has been in the good book of India since the very beginning. There has arisen a need to revisit the India’s Bhutan policy and address issues that have come up in the past few years.

  • Hydro-power projects:
    • Three hydro-electric projects (HEPs) totalling 1416 MW, (336 MW Chukha HEP, the 60 MW Kurichu HEP, and the 1020 MW Tala HEP), are already exporting electricity to India.
    • Delays in constructing and commissioning in Bhutan by Indian companies have led to the country’s burgeoning national debt.
    • India’s power-surplus status and the advent of other renewable energies like wind and solar power will make it more difficult for Bhutan to ensure that its hydropower sector becomes profitable.
    • Unless India finds ways to help, it will be accused of the same sort of “debt-trapping” that China is accused of today.
  • Trade and Commerce:
    • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner. India and Bhutan have signed an Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit in 2016, which provides for a free trade regime between the two countries aimed at boosting the bilateral trade for mutual benefit.
    • The goods and services tax still hurts Bhutanese exporters, and demonetisation has left lasting scars on the banking system.
    • Government’s decision to cut cooking gas subsidy just before the 2013 elections in Bhutan has often been shown as proof of Indian interference.
  • Security Issues:
    • Doklam crisis and incidences of Indian presence being mistakenly represented as Indian encroachment have the potential to deteriorate the relationship between the two countries and push Bhutan into the lap of China.
    • It has even raised doubts of a few that India is acting as a “Big Brother”.
  • Joint Ventures:
    • The joint ventures are stuck because the Indian PSEs insist on having more managerial control and have refused to come up with agreed financing.
  • Connectivity:
    • India’s plan for regional connectivity seems to have hit a dead-end with Bhutan.
    • The Bhutanese Parliament didn’t ratify the implementation of BBIN project which will further affect the connectivity.

 

The measures for continuing the cohesive and durable relationship with Bhutan are:

  • The principles of Panchsheel and Gujral doctrine must drive our relations towards Bhutan.
  • The hydropower projects, where delays in construction and commissioning by the Indian companies took place, have led to the Country’s increase in the national debt. The tariffs need to be re-negotiated.
  • The advent of wind / solar energy in India makes it more difficult for Bhutan to ensure that its hydropower sector becomes profitable. This concern must be addressed.
  • India must be careful not to seem bossy, and end up souring up its relationship with Bhutan as was done in the case of Nepal. Considering this legacy of Independent democracy, India should refrain from interfering in sovereign matters of Bhutan.
  • A politically stable Bhutan is important to India. An unstable and restive Bhutan would not only jeopardize India’s investments in that country but also provide a safe haven for anti-India activities and anti-India militant groups.
  • India needs to focus on policing cross-border trade.
  • India needs to discard the tradition of offering economic subsidies and negotiating project proposals with neighbouring capitals and focus instead on enabling agreements, and let market forces leverage the existing economic and geographic complementarities.
  • Standby credit facility extended to Bhutan need to be reassessed as per current exchange rates and economic stability.
  • The Doklam crisis can be taken as a wake-up call and be used as an opportunity rather than as a continuing threat with China.
  • More people to people contact: Steps should be taken to involve people in national, regional or cultural events so that close and strong relations between the two countries could be sustained.
  • India needs to give more attention in inviting Bhutanese youth to study in India at all levels.
  • Media, particularly social media, needs to be harnessed to reach out to Bhutanese policymakers and common people to give them the confidence that India will stand by them for their economic and cultural development.

 

Future of the relations:

 

  • There are many potential areas ideas like organic farming, eco-tourism, developing north eastern states that can be explored and cooperation to be strengthened.
  • There are high level groups on security, water management, power, trade, investment, culture which can smoothen the relations between nations.
  • India looks for the opportunity for Bhutanese students in every kind of institutions and the scholarship for them has also been expanded.
  • In cultural aspect, there is a Nehru-Wangchuck Cultural Centre in Bhutan and they also have very rich culture where exchanges do have a broad opportunity.
  • India being the fast growing economy has to align itself with Bhutanese ideas of sustainable development in various aspects.

 

Conclusion:

Hydro-electric power generated by Bhutan’s run-of-the river dams is the economic bedrock of the India-Bhutan relationship. India needs to act robustly to address Bhutanese concerns that are weakening the traditionally strong India-Bhutan bilateral bond, as a strong relationship with India could reduce the chances of Bhutan succumbing to Chinese pressure.


Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations

5) Discuss the importance of Maldives in Indian foreign policy? Examine the impact of recent election outcome in Maldives on its relationship with India? (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first bring out the reason why Maldives is so crucial for India particularly with respect to India’s role and position in Indian Ocean. Thereafter, we need to bring out the recent election outcome and what it means for India. Finally, we need to provide a way forward.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion should remain focussed on explaining the importance of Maldives for India.

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that voters in the Maldives delivered a stunning defeat for President Abdulla Yameen in a contentious presidential election, an outcome regarded as a victory for democracy over authoritarianism in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Body

  • Explain the importance of Maldives for India
    • India sees itself as a net security provider in Indian Ocean for which Maldives is an important partner
    • A member of SAARC
    • Large number of Indian nationals living in Maldives
    • Competition between India and China over Maldives etc
  • Discuss how relation between India and Maldives had deteriorated under President yameen. Talk about the tilt towards China, thwarting of democracy etc
  • Discuss the impact of the election results on india’s relationship with Maldives

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss the way forward.

 

Introduction:

        Relations between India and the Maldives have been strong for decades. India played a major role in building the Maldives economy and military. The Operation Cactus in 1988 was a success of India’s foreign policy without signalling any interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country.

The victory of Ibrahim Solih should come as a great relief and as a boost to India’s efforts to strengthen its partnerships in the neighbourhood. It marks not only the triumph of democratic forces in the Maldives, but also reflects the firm commitment to the values of democracy and the rule of law.

 

Body:

Importance of Maldives for India:

  • The Maldives, long a popular tourist destination, has grown in strategic importance in recent years as China and India to establish their influence in the region, and as Beijing pushes ahead with its global trade and infrastructure plan.
  • Spread over nearly 1,200 islands spanning more than 90,000 sq km, key shipping lanes where Beijing and New Delhi compete to pursue their often-conflicting maritime strategies pass through this tiny Indian Ocean nation.
  • Though small, the Maldives is India’s important neighbour. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Maldives “a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood”.
  • India-Maldives “ties are built on a very strong foundation” the contours of which are defined by shared strategic, security, economic and developmental goals.
  • However, the bilateral ties are not without irritants, which can be seen in two broad areas: political and strategic.

 

The Bilateral ties between Maldives and India under previous President Yameen was on a downward curve and deteriorating. Some of the irritants were

 

  • There was a serious suppression of democracy with many opposition leaders being jailed under Arson and Sedition. The former pro-India Maldivian president Nasheed was also incarcerated. He even proclaimed Emergency fearing Impeachment
  • In March 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cancelled his state visit to the island nation protesting the gross injustice and authoritarian moves of Yameen.
  • The Maldives also declined India’s invitation to take part in its biennial eight-day naval exercise, MILAN, last year.
  • Yameen’s government has also rejected visa renewals for Indians who were legally working in the Maldives, without giving any explanation.
  • Maldives growing “closeness” with China: Both China and Pakistan stepping up their strategic inroads into the Maldives and China even signed a Free-Trade agreement.
  • Religious radicalization: The Maldives is being radicalized by the Saudi funds and influence
  • ISIS threat: Growing Islamic radicalisation in the tiny island-nation of about four lakh people once known for its tolerant practices has many foreign governments, including India, deeply concerned.
  • Yameen government had asked India to remove its Dhruv advanced light helicopters from Maldives (which India had gifted in 2013).
  • Yameen government has alleged that tensions over the presence of the two Indian helicopters in two strategically important locations in the Laamu and Addu atolls have been growing.
  • Work permits were not being issued to Indian Nationals.

 

The impact of the election results on India’s relationship with Maldives are

 

  • It gives a boost to India’s efforts to strengthen its partnerships in the neighbourhood.
  • In keeping with ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy, India looks forward to working closely with the Maldives in further deepening our partnership.
  • India can now renew its ties with the new government and work with Maldives for ensuring stability and security of Indian ocean region(IOR).
  • India can renew talks over the fate of Indian Coast Guard and Air Force personnel stationed in the Maldives, whose visas have been pending since June 2018.
  • With new regime at Centre, India would hope that democratic institutions are upheld, political prisoners are released and bilateral relations are improved.

 

Conclusion:

        With the people electing a more democratic form of government in Maldives, India can engage with Maldives to establish much more friendly relations than previous government era to protect the safety and security of entire Indian Ocean region. India can stand together with the aspirations of citizens of neighbouring countries and the prospects of a long-term sustainable relationship will be much brighter.


Topic – India and her neighbourhood relations.

6) BIMSTEC provides India with a viable alternative to SAARC and boosts India’s act east policy. Analyze.(250 words)

Key demand of the question:

It’s a statement based question where sometimes parts of the questions are not directly evident. However, the meaning of the statement is clear. Also in this question there are TWO main parts that are evident. You have to analyse whether you agree or not with the statement. You may give both sides and provide suggestions too.  

Directive Word:

Analyse -When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.Structure of Answer:

In the introduction in 1-2 lines write importance of Bay of Bengal and why BIMSTEC can be ver useful for India especially when SAARC is not working thanks to uncooperative/uninterested neighbours(give context). In one line you may express your stand (like it’s too early to say BIMSTEC is an alternative or you may strongly agree too – depending on amount of facts you have to substantiate your stance)

In the body, divide answer into TWO main parts: First part to prove/disprove(or give both views) why BIMSTEC is alternative to SAARC. Further divide into small parts to analyse each aspect. In the Second main part, analyse if it’s a feather to India’s Act East Policy (give current affairs examples – Myanmar and Thailand related)

In the conclusion, you may conclude that both are very much needed and should be strengthened.

 

Introduction:

        The Bay of Bengal is fast becoming a key area of economic and strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific. It’s the largest bay in the world and forms an important part of southern Asia. The limitations of SAARC due to multiple reasons have led to South Asian region being the least integrated region in the world vis-à-vis the European and ASEAN experiences.

BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia. BIMSTEC has gained more favour as the preferred platform for regional cooperation in South Asia

Body:

BIMSTEC provides an alternative to SAARC due to the following reasons:

  • Connectivity:
    • BIMSTEC serves two purposes for India – it makes it easier for India to share a common regional platform with its neighbours in South Asia (sans Pakistan) and secondly, BIMSTEC also establishes a linkage between South and Southeast Asia.
    • Urgency of promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation via BIMSTEC and BBIN has to be seen in the context of China’s BRI and the compelling strategic challenge posed by China’s muscular geo-economic and geo-political interventions in Asia, particularly in India’s neighbourhood.
    • The development of the North-eastern region, by opening up to Bangladesh and Myanmar, is another incentive for India.
  • Regional Co-operation: Regional cooperation under the ambit of SAARC has become difficult made BIMSTEC more viable:
    • Despite India’s keen interest in cooperating and strengthening intra-regional connectivity by backing the SAARC–Motor vehicle agreement, the agreement was stalled following Pakistan’s reluctance.
    • Similarly, the SAARC satellite project that India proposed was abandoned following objection from Pakistan in 2016
    • SAARC has also faced obstacles in the area of security cooperation. A major hindrance in this regard has been the lack of consensus on threat perceptions, since member countries disagree on the idea of threats. Example: cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
  • Cordial Relationship:
    • The member countries have generally cordial relationships, something patently missing among the SAARC countries.
    • BIMSTEC’s major strength comes from the fact that it includes two influential regional powers: Thailand and India. This adds to the comfort of smaller neighbours by reducing the fear of dominance by one big power.
  • Economic vistas: As a trade bloc, BIMSTEC provides many opportunities.
    • The region has countries with the fastest-growing economies in the world. The combined GDP in the region is around US$2 trillion and will likely grow further.
    • Trade among the BIMSTEC member countries reached six percent in just a decade, while in SAARC, it has remained around five percent since its inception.
    • Compared to SAARC, BIMSTEC has greater trade potential as well. Among the member countries, India’s intra-BIMSTEC trade is around 3 percent of its total trade.
    • BIMSTEC regional grouping happens to have five nations that are also part of SAARC. The fact that this region is growing at 6.5% per annum, collectively comprises of 1.5 billion people, is the drive behind India’s focus being part of BIMSTEC.

However, there are concerns which need to be addressed.

  • Infrequency of the BIMSTEC summits, the highest decision-making body of the organisation. In its 20 years of existence, the BIMSTEC summit has taken place only thrice.
  • The delay in the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a framework that was agreed upon in 2004, fuels doubts about BIMSTEC’s efficacy.
  • BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement [MVA] is an instrument that was conceived to transform and facilitate trade. It has not yet been completely successful as Bhutan is worried about security and environmental fallout of such an agreement.
  • In the latest summit in 2018, it was noted that the Motor Vehicle Agreement and the Coastal Shipping Agreement would still need more time for finalisation.
  • Both Thailand and Myanmar are criticised for having ignored BIMSTEC in favour of ASEAN.
  • Region lacks physical connectivity. The tri-lateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand has been a non-starter.
  • BIMSTEC has identified 14 priority sectors and has signed an FTA (2004) and a Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking (2009). The pace of implementation has been quite sluggish so far.

 

BIMSTEC is an extra feather to India’s act east policy:

 

  • India was motivated to join BIMSTEC as it wanted to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN countries: a major component of its Look East Policy, now rechristened ‘Act East’
  • In terms of connectivity, BIMSTEC has at last three major projects that, when finished, could transform the movement of goods and vehicles through the countries in the grouping.
    • One is the Kaladan Multimodal project that seeks to link India and Myanmar.
    • Another is the Asian Trilateral Highway connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar. It represents a significant step in establishing connectivity between India and Southeast Asian countries.
    • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) has signed a pact for the movement of goods and vehicles among them.
  • The agenda of BIMSTEC is in sync with other regional/sub-regional organisations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), etc. Simultaneously, BIMSTEC fits in the agenda of a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific too.
  • The political rivalry between India and Pakistan never allowed SAARC to be the driving factor in an augmenting regional cooperation within South Asia. Hence, it would be pragmatic for India to work closely with BIMSTEC and ASEAN to expand regional cooperation in areas of mutual concerns including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and insurgency; food security, energy; trade and investment, connectivity and infrastructure, poverty alleviation to name a few.
  • India’s stimulating outlook towards Southeast Asia vis-à-vis Asia-Pacific as expressed through Act east policy and the other way round, i.e, the Asia-Pacific’s desire to have India as a strong stakeholder in the region.
  • BIMSTEC offers many opportunities to its member countries. For India, it aids in its Look East Policy and South­–South cooperation efforts. The development of the North-eastern region, by opening up to Bangladesh and Myanmar, is another incentive.

Conclusion:

BIMSTEC region is notable for its diversity, the member states need to build on the regional synergies and work towards utilising the available resources in the most optimal manner. This would help build a stronger and a more dynamic BIMSTEC.