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[ Day 26 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – International Relations & Ethics



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.

International Relations


Q1. India would have to advance its “national interests” by identifying and exploiting opportunities created by global contradictions. Comment. 10M


National Interests refer to a sovereign state’s goals and ambitions, be they economic, military, cultural, or otherwise. National interest has been the governing principle of India’s foreign policy inspired by the ideal of world peace, toleration and mutual respect among nations


  • Global contradictions, which need can be exploited
    • Contradictions in US and EU energy policies: Russia supplied the EU with 40% of its natural gas last year. The United States and the European Commission have asked India to stop oil imports from Russia.
    • Contradictions in Climate policies: The contributions by the largest emitters are radically insufficient to reach the well below 2 degrees Celsius limit and are even further from the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature limit identified in the Paris Agreement.
    • Contradiction on Indo pacific: Ex: US – China trade war: The trade war caused economic pain on both sides and led to a diversion of trade flows away from both China and the United States; China – Australia trade war: China imposed “anti-dumping” tariffs ranging from 107.1% to 212.1% on wine imported from Australia.
    • Contradictions on Central Asia: Ex: Inability of America and its western allies to control Terrorism and ensure peace in the region, China-Central Asian Relations Reversing Course
    • Negative global image of china: due to its handling of Corona virus, Intellectual threat allegations, human rights violations in Xinjiang. A third of supply chain leaders had plans to move at least some of their manufacturing out of China before 2023. Corona virus-related sales slumps and supply chain disruption, as well as rising production costs, have also hastened the exodus.
  • How to exploit the opportunities created by Global Contradictions:
    • Foreign Policy:
    • Engage America, manage China, cultivate Europe, reassure Russia, bring Japan into play, draw neighbors in, extend the neighborhood, and expand traditional constituencies of support
    • India’s rise requires a persistent striving to expand space and options. To ensure greater prosperity at home, peace on the borders, protection of our people and enhancing influence abroad are required
      • Ex: Proactive role of India in the Afghanistan Crisis
    • Creating global alternatives for climate related challenges:
  • India requires quality leadership and judgment to take advantage of a favorable environment through bold action
    • Ex: International solar alliance to harness solar power under the leadership of India, can be effectively utilized to ensure energy security and tackle the climate change
  • Influence regional trade:
  • India must follow diplomatic policies, seeking to build strong relationships with the major global players, if they are to find themselves in a position to exploit opportunities required by the purposeful pursuit of national interest
    • Ex: Apart from the shortcomings, India should have signed the RCEP to be able to influence the institutional policies of regional trade, which will shape the future of regional trade. India’s active participation in Multilateral Bodies like WTO, SCO, ASEAN and so on
  • Structural Changes:
  • India needs to develop and strengthen its economy to not only respond but actually leverage the opportunities created.
    • Ex: Textile industries preferred Bangladesh and Vietnam more than India.
    • Building its healthcare:
      • Through Vaccine diplomacy, generic drug production, India can Leverage the leading pharma industry of the world and can promote medical tourism which can boost our healthcare infrastructure.
    • India needs to act boldly, so as to enjoy spectacular gains.
      • Ex: Despite opposition from major players India did 1998 nuclear tests which procured benefits for India:
        • Acceptance of India’s nuclear weapons program
        • Eventual integration into the global nuclear order.
      • India can be a unique bridge between different worlds
        • Ex: Through NAM, India can be a leader of the Third World and fulfill the vacuum created in the global world order
      • India needs to leverage American power to build its own national strength in indigenization of technology.
        • Ex: CISMOA, BECA and so on
      • Cultural Diplomacy:
        • Popularizing cultural contributions such as yoga, Ayurveda, and namaste.
        • Encouraging the more prolific use of our own languages in interacting with the world and striving to be liked rather than just being respected


India’s sense of self, its colonial past, its substantial natural endowments, and its strategic potentialities all combine to strengthen its determination to protect its freedom of action and can help India realize the opportunities created by global contradictions.


Q2. The success of Quad will be determined by its ability to emerge as a forum that will shoulder underlying realities in the Indo-Pacific. Discuss. 15M


The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the Quad, is an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. One of the primary objectives of the Quad is, to work for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

India is playing a major role in normatively ordering the Quad to ensure it becomes an institutionalized framework suitable to address the existing and emerging issues in the Indo-Pacific region


  • The underlying realities in the Indo-Pacific:
    • Nuclear and missiles threat from North Korea on South Korea and Japan
    • China’s aggressive behavior and territorial expansionism:
      • China Challenges international maritime laws in the South China Sea and confronts Japan over the Senkaku Islands dispute.
      • Dispute over the Spratly Islands: Six nations, China and Taiwan are involved in the dispute due to its vast reserves of oil and natural gas.
      • China has strongly militarized some portions of the disputed isles, islets and coral reefs
    • Refusal to Act Against China: due to its economic and strategic importance to other countries like India which imports nearly 80% API from China
    • Problems with Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): does not address issues of trade and tariffs.
    • Chinese Belt and Road Initiative(BRI): For instance, Manila and Beijing sealed $24 billion worth of deals and 13 government-to-government agreements.
    • Challenges to QUAD:
      • Economic relations between Quad countries and China: All Quad countries have complex economic relations with China. It is either the 1st or 2nd largest trading partner or a key import/export partner for all of the Quad countries.
      • Formation of AUKUS: Australia, UK and US have created AUKUS to take up security challenges in the Indo-Pacific which will negatively impact the Quad.
      • Absence of institutional structure like a secretariat and any permanent decision-making body.
      • On one hand, India’s neutral stand in the Russia-Ukraine conflict and on the other hand other three countries criticized Russia’s aggression, which will affect QUAD
      • Divergent views on Chinese threat: Ex: For the US, it is about trade and Taiwan, for India, it is about aggressive Chinese claims to territory.


  • How can QUAD help deal with issues highlighted:
  • Counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Quad nations agreed to extend more than $50 billion of assistance to the Indo-Pacific region over the next five years to bridge the infrastructure gaps. They will coordinate capacity-building programmes for the Indo-Pacific region to bolster the critical cyber security infrastructure of the region.
  • Strengthen Naval ties: India has strengthened its naval ties with each of the other Quad countries which benefits India’s position as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region.
  • QUAD has a shared commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and the importance of upholding the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • Enhance strategic partnerships and defence capabilities: Ex: Malabar exercise 
  • Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA): effectively respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, and combat illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Quad Partnership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Indo-Pacific: strengthen collaboration to effectively respond to disasters in Indo-Pacific region. 
  • Importance of continued solidarity, ensuring that no Conflict (Ukraine and Russia conflict) is ever repeated in the Indo-Pacific
  • Way Forward:
    • Expand the partnership: Quad Plus that would include South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam and so on
    • Expand cooperation: focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, Cyber-security, energy security, and regional capacity-building.
    • Foster mutual trust: engage in regular discussions and improve the lack of trust among the members.
    • Cooperation with ASEAN: seek to harness consensus with ASEAN as a whole, promoting cooperation in the shared interests among the two.


The Quad has evolved as a unique partnership and is poised to play a meaningful role in promoting stability, security and development in the Indo-Pacific region. It should strive for promoting a regional order based on sovereign equality, openness and respect for international law to ensure adherence to the UN Law of the Seas.



Quotation-Based Question:

Q3. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”- Plato 10M


                          Quote means if a child is afraid of the dark i.e, a child commits any mistakes; he can be easily forgiven because he is just a child and an inexperienced person. But when ‘Adults’ make such things and refuse to learn from them then it turns into tragedy.


Here Light could refer to exposure to someone’s evil or bad deeds. So when somebody did some bad things in their life and they fear that one day this could come out and it may ruin their reputation or something that can hold them back from reaching their full potential.

  • So this could become a tragedy that they got to carry that mistake around with them for the rest of their life.
  • Eg – A reputed politician is involved in a crime for his political gain.

Knowledge or truth can also be one form of light. All Individuals are born ignorant. As they grow in life, they learn valuable lessons from the world and become knowledgeable. An adult is expected to be knowledgeable by his age and experience.

  • However, many adults refuse to accept reality, learn the right knowledge and remain ignorant. An ignorant person thus suffers various tragedies in his life while a knowledgeable person can sail through problems due to his knowledge.
  • Eg- Social evils such as the dowry system, child marriage, and caste discrimination are present in society and done by grown-up adults.

The light could also mean proper and moral behaviour in life. So once an individual finds out what is morally right and what an ethically good action is, he has to follow it. It may involve sacrificing self-interest.

  • But when an individual is not able to do such sacrifices or he prefers to justify his unethical behaviour with excuses rather than making an effort to change his behaviour. This in itself could become a tragedy.
  • Eg – Civil servants to be politically neutral and to be humble in their services. But for the sake of individual welfare, some civil servants are involved in corruption, nepotism, favouritism etc.


Henceforth individuals need to be aware of truth, knowledge and moral, and ethical values to avoid tragedies in their life and their effects on society too.


Case study: 20M

Q4. You are the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance in the state Government. Amongst others, the mandate of this ministry is to discharge funds to the relevant schemes and prepare annual reports. Even though the current government is performing well; it is spending a lot on welfare schemes. The debt to GDP ratio of the state has drastically increased. The state has largely borrowed from mortgaging state assets. Alarmed by rising welfare spending the Central government has asked the State to report on its off-budget borrowings. But the chief minister wants you not to report on certain borrowings of higher interest rates. He wants you to downplay the situation by any means possible.

In this situation,

    1. Discuss the ethical issues around large welfare spending.
    2. What will be your response to the instructions of the chief minister?


The case study highlights the issue of improper utilization of public funds by the state government for welfare schemes. The case study also highlights the effect of higher borrowing on state government.


  1. Ethical issues around larger welfare spending.
  • Lack of financial discipline:
    • Larger welfare spending indicates the government is providing irrational freebies distribution for electoral gain.
  • Populism:
    • It shows that the government is using public funds to increase government popularity.
    • Larger welfare spending may motivate state people to spend on unnecessary things and make them to be heavily dependent on the state.
  • Policy paralysis:
    • Larger spending indicates policy paralysis — the government’s inability to take important policy decisions at the right time. It wants to downplay the situation.
  • Misuse of public assets:
    • Government is largely borrowed from mortgaging state assets shows misuse of public assetse, inappropriate use of government property and also failure to safeguard such assets.
    • Higher Debt to GDP ratio also reduces the creditworthiness of the state in repayment.
  • Lack of future planning:
    • Present Higher Debt to GDP ratio may cause repayment issues under unforeseen circumstances like the COVID pandemic.
  • Lack of accountability and transparency:
    • Under-reporting reflects a lack of accountability and transparency by the state to the centre.
  • Stunting growth:
    • Larger public spending causes a crowding effect, which largely affects private participation in social sectors.
  1. My response to the instructions of the chief minister.

Firstly, I will not agree with the chief minister’s instructions as it will erode my ethical values like Integrity, and impartiality.

  • So I will try to persuade and convince the CM not to under-report spending and borrowing by the state to the centre as it will raise questions about the accountability and transparency of the state government.
  • Because upon the cross-check by the central government if under-reporting has been found out, it will affect the credibility of state government to the centre and opposition parties may utilize such instances for the political motive that in turn affects future election results.
  • Thus I will tell CM to genuinely report about the state government’s borrowings to the centre and will also request the centre not to impose any restrictions on the state’s borrowings and to cut down central funding.
  • Along with the report, I will also submit reasons for higher borrowing and policies that led to higher borrowing.
  • Finally, I will suggest the CM make a group of experts or committee for rational policy-making, restricting higher borrowing from mortgaging state assets and borrowing with higher interest rates.

Supervision is an opportunity to bring someone back to their own mind, to show them how good they can be”. Thus, this is an opportunity to bring back the state government to the on ground financial realities. It would be prudent to report honestly to the central government.