Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 30]

  • September 30, 2015
  • 2
Think and Learn-2015, TLP Mains 2015, UPSC, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 30]



Q.1) The recent engagements of India and UAE embark India’s Look West Policy but it equally defines GCC’s Look East Policy for the greater Indian engagements with West Asia. Elaborate.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Heidi

Ans) The recently revived India- UAE relation is more than a bilateral engagement, it is more of a ‘look at each other’ strategic partnership between India and Gulf Cooperation Council.

GCC’s Look East Policy

  1. GCC Sunny regimes including heavyweights like Saudi and UAE are worried about the recent US- Iran (Shia dominated) engagements.
  2. India can be a strong defense partner to protect the resource rich regions of GCC in the conflict ridden middle east.
  3. The shift in the global energy market from the west to the east makes India an important player in the region.
  4. GCC is the big stake holder of India’s ‘regional stability’ policy.

India’s Look West Policy

  1. GCC supplies almost 2/3 of India’s energy requirements.

2- Indian exports of textiles, electrical goods, IT products and spices to GCC is significant and account for a 84bn USD trade.

  1. GCC provide job for almost 5 million Indians.
  2. GCC is important for India in tackling terrorism in the region.

Look at Each Other Policy

The recent India- UAE engagements reveals the positive shift of GCC towards India. The acknowledgement of religious pluralism and multiculturalism in India by GCC and Rich Arab culture by India call for a new foreign policy epoch. Both parties have bright future to walk along.

Q.2) The past two decades of Look East Policy (LEP) have provided the foundation for rapid growth of India–ASEAN relations. Yet, a critical analysis of the LEP would show that its full potential has not been realised. Critically examine.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Santhosh Venkatesh

Ans) India’s Look East policy has laid foundation for the institutionalization of ASEAN-India relations that began with the First ASEAN-India Summit in 2002 and has achieved considerable success.

– India-ASEAN have institutionalised their dialogue on political and security issues. Eg- BIMSTEC, (EAS), Mekong Ganga cooperation, naval exercises such as SIMBEX.

– ASEAN relations have helped India secure its interests. Eg Double taxation agreement with Indonesia and renewal of India’s oil blocks in south china sea by Vietnam.

– Along with this new FTA in services will open up a plethora of opportunities for Indian service sector.

But India is yet to realise its full potential with ASEAN because

– India is behind China in terms of volume of trade and economic ties with ASEAN countries.

– FTA with ASEAN has increased imports and decreased exports due to duty inversion

– String of Pearls Theory, South China Sea and Philippines Shoal incidents have been instances of China’s assertive behaviour and India’s intervention has been limited.

– The deepening of Economic ties is not possible without proper Infrastructure and connectivity to ASEAN countries via NE states.

– Although India and ASEAN countries are Net importers of Hydrocarbon there has been limited cooperation on alternative sources energy.

Addressing these issues would not only strengthen India’s Energy security and Economic ties, but would also counter the rising assertiveness of China in the region.

Q.3) Trace the structural changes in India’s foreign policy since independence.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – SK

Ans) Structural changes in India’s foreign policy since independence can be viewed in polity, economy, defence and federal.


During the Nehruvian era, the foreign policy was based on the political ideas of non-alignment, “idealism”, peace and cooperation. Post Nehru, a gradual shift from mix of idealism-realism to pure realism was witnessed.


Nehru believed in international peace under UN, and neglected defence development. This has costed us 1962 China war. Later, Lal Bahadur Shastri govt undertook massive modernization of defence forces. India could successfully defend Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Going forward, India witnessed nuclear tests twice – Pokhran 1 (1974) and Pokhran-II (1998).


Nehruvian era focussed on “self-sufficiency” and “import substitution”. India’s economic policy was largely influenced by Soviet Socialism and Five Year Planning. After Cold-War, with the disintegration of USSR, India undertook LPG reforms and embarked upon free market capitalism.

Federal structural changes

With the increasing globalization and coalition politics, the foreign policy came to be hinged upon states’ interests, unlike earlier when the Centre alone used to decide. From conflict politics arising out of states’ personal interests, as witnessed in Teesta Deal, Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, India’s foreign policy has gradually shifted to the centre stage of cooperative and competitive politics from states, as witnessed in Gujarat Vibrant Summit and Andhra Pradesh’s Capital building with Singapore’s assistance.

Q.4) Discuss the strategic significance of International North- South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for India. What are the prospects and bottlenecks for India in achieving the fruits of INSTC?

The Top Answer to this question is written by – Mr. Red Panda

Ans) The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a multi-mode transit (Road, Rail and sea ways) that moves freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.

Strategic Significance:

  1. Augments India’s “Connect Central Asia’s Policy”. The rich Uranium, oil and natural gas resources can be accessed. It also complements India’s efforts as part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
  2. India’s “Look West Policy” gets boost. It strengthens relations with Iran and Ukraine. Blue Navy efforts of India finds an echo with improved Russian and Europe relations.
  3. India’s role in controlling terrorism would lifted to global stage.


  1. India’s Chabahar deep port project in Iran would give access to markets of West Asia and Turkey using Iranian road network. It would boost India’s plantation, saffron and auto-mobile manufacturing.
  1. The markets of Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and others of Europe would be accessible that can help India’s cropping in horticulture and textile industry.


  1. There is no strong mechanism in existence to follow-up the project.
  1. Trade procedures including customs and documentation not yet streamlined.
  1. Security fears from Afghanistan and other terror outfits in the region.
  1. The threat of freight movement being one sided would increase cost.

Sustainable dialogue in the form of independent joint groups and regional cooperation are crucial to complete the project.

Q.5)  “In the last two decades, Indian States have played a pivotal role in shaping her foreign policy”. Comment.

The Top Answer for this question is written by – Maari

Ans) In India,Centre has been shaping up country’s foreign policy but off late States role in foreign policy has been increasing since last two decades which can be seen in following ways

1) Political:

  1. i) Jammu and Kashmir has been the nodal point in shaping India’ s relation with Pakistan
  2. ii) Tamil Nadu -Sri Lanka : In relations with Sri Lanka and in skipping CHOGOM meet and UNHRC resolution India’s stand has been greatly influence by aspirations and interests of Tamil Nadu .

iii)West Bengal-Bangladesh : Many agreements including recently concluded Land Boundary Agreement West Bengal played a pivotal role in influencing decisions.

iv)North East States are crucial for success of India’s Look and Act East Policy.

2) Economic

  1. i) States have been taking initiatives in economic development activities vis- a-vis foreign countries led to development of cities like Hyderabad ,Bangalore and recently Andhra Pradesh taking help of Singapore in finalizing master plan for its capital city.

ii)Migrants from Kerala send major part of remittances from the gulf countries and also have been instrumental in India maintaining friendly relations with the Gulf countries.

3) Social

  1. i) China has signed sister city agreements for the better people to people contacts with following cities Chennai -Chongqing,Hyderabad -Qingdao,Aurangabad -Dunhuang.

Recent initiatives like Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), appointing a joint secretary for “Centre-State” relations for facilitating foreign investment reflects the increasing importance of States.

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