Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 72]

  • November 12, 2015
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Think and Learn, TLP Mains 2015, UPSC, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 72]


Q.1) After the formation of Asian Infrastructure Bank by China, do you think that the New Development Bank of BRICS has become redundant? Critically analyse.


IASBaba’s Views – 

1.The focus of NDB is global while AIIB focuses only on Asia.

2. NDB can address -global economic concerns like Basel norms, Taxation information exchange etc. But scope of AIIB is narrow – infrastructure

3. The NDB can fund poverty alleviation schemes, social projects etc.

4. The AIIB has a mix of developing and developed nations on board, while the NDB has the five BRICS economies as backers.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Draconian


Ans) The formation of two recent financial institutions – NDB of BRICS and China-led AIIB was and is envisioned as an answer to the stranglehold that the Brenton Woods Institution wield over the world which has given rise to impossible debts to be paid by Second and Third World nations.

Despite China being at the center of both the institution ,they are different in their approaches:

1) AIIB focuses only on infrastructure finance in Asia like the construction of roads, railways, and airports in the Asia-Pacific Region only while NDB will also act as a platform for developing and weaker countries to represent their grievance at the global level.

2) AIIB is an asia centric institution lead by china while NDB with five BRICS emerging economies as backers is having a global character providing a financing alternative to the World Bank .

3) AIIB is a finance based institution while NDB is a ideas sharing finance institution which makes it more attractive.

4) AIIB extends China’s financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the ADB while NDB aims is to enhance the bloc’s role in the international arena and promote reform of global economic governance.

5) NDB is more democratic in approach as it gives voting rights based on equality rather than equity of AIIB which can lead to dominance by big nations.

6) AIIB is supplementing World Bank (IBDR) on the other hand NDB is more of a IMF type of body as its prime is on CRA(contingency reserve ) and managing liquidity .

While AIIB with its large resource base seems attractive but it is untimely to state that NDB formation would be redundant because as in the long run the developing countries of Africa and Latin America will look up to the NDB for funds for their development whose main focus is on global economic governance. 

Q.2) The SCO is described by Western analysts as a way for Russia and China to cooperate with each other in creating stability in Central Asia as well as challenging the current, Western-dominated global order. Critically comment. Do you think India’s eagerness to join SCO can have negative impact on its relations with the West ?


IASBaba’s Views –


Use these quotes for analysis and enrich answer with debates, suggest you to pick up gist from these quotes and write in own words

An Indian analyst warned two years ago that “Washington is not interested in New Delhi’s official admission to the nuclear power club because that would enhance the latter’s influence in international affairs. An important objective of the Americans in the region is to turn India into a major factor capable of counterbalancing a rapidly growing China.

“In order to reduce the SCO’s role and influence in the region and to promote realisation of the American concept of a ‘Greater Central Asia,’ Tokyo and Washington are trying to drag New Delhi into a so-called Quadrilateral of Democracies aimed at building an alliance-like relationship between the US, Japan, Australia and India.”

Another Indian writer at the time echoed the same concern in stating, “It is indeed sad that New Delhi should continue to underestimate the importance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

“So enamoured are our foreign policy mandarins of the new found friendship with Washington that they have found no time to evaluate the SCO’s great potential strategic importance to India.

“The US has sought to undermine the SCO and given an opportunity, it would have loved to throttle it in its infancy.

“India is the most important ‘swing state’ in the international system. It has the potential to emerge as a strong, independent centre of power. Must India allow the US to play midwife to the birth of a new great power?”


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Saurabh Sharma


Ans) SCO membership includes energy deficient countries like China, India and Pakistan on one hand and surplus countries like Russia and 4 central Asian countries on the other.

The Central Asia is energy rich region. It has large deposits of natural gas, coal, uranium and other minerals. However, due to low infrastructural connectivity, trade and investment, this region has not seen potential economic development. Hence SCO provides a necessary institutional arrangement to cater to these needs.

However, there is a strategic dimension attached to it also which some perceives as anti-west.

It can lead to large amount of energy trade to be done in domestic currencies through bilateral exchanges. This will challenge the hegemony of dollar and provide immunity to members from any unilateral sanction of the west.

SCO agenda coupled with Chinese revival of old silk route provides prospects for a predominantly land based trade route so as to thwart US monopoly in international shipping.

The economic prosperity in the central asia will also contribute in stabilizing the region and thwarting US influence.

US ,as an effort to contain expansionist China and its association with Russia, wants increased collaboration with India in Asia-pacific region. however, being an energy deficient country, India’s induction to SCO is natural rather than provocative. On one hand, India needs to look first for its own requirements rather than pacifying US suspicions. On the other, the clean past record of India suggests that it has never joined a grouping just for military needs. 

Q.3) The growth of regional trade partnerships as well as bilateral and multilateral FTAs by different countries will make WTO irrelevant in future. Do you agree?


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Praneeth


Ans) The deadlock in WTO negotiations is pushing the world towards bilateral and multilateral FTAs. The recent TPP covers 12 countries accounting for 40% of global GDP and 1/3rd of trade. Slowly this will make WTO irrelevant in future because:

1. WTO functioning is based on consensus and developed countries view unified resistance of developing countries as a huge hurdle. Former are pushing for greater liberalization and greater access to developing markets without any proportionate benefits in return to them.

2. In this context, bilateral and multilateral fora provide greater scope for developed countries to push their demands because of lesser bargaining power for developing countries. Thus, stringent standards can be imposed and greater access to markets. For e.g. recent TPP stringent labour and IP standards could be imposed, which other would have been opposed by developing countries such as Vietnam.

3. Or developing countries which are too strong to be coerced can simply be left out of these multilateral FTAs.

4.Developing countries cannot afford to be left behind and thus are joining FTAs and trying their best to get their concerns addressed. Also, in some cases their interests are better served by lower standards than WTO, especially in case of trade between developing countries.

Thus, the develped world would be reluctant to push for WTO. However, relevance of WTO grows for developing countries. Thus, it is important from the perspective of the developing world to push for WTO. 

Q.4) Should there be an Union of SAARC countries on the lines of European Union to promote free trade,movement of people and ensure security across the borders. What can be the negative consequences of such an agreement?


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Draconian


Ans) Chapter VIII of United Nations Charter encourages the formation of Regional integration for the goodwill and overall development of the region and welfare of its citizens while maintaining peace and security.

In contrast to UN charter SAARC, might as well be a blueprint as to how nations should NOT form a regional co-operation agreement because:

1. Fear of Indian domination: India is positioned strong in terms of economy, technology and demography and thus the partner States fear that economic integration would help India only.

2). The success of Euro was facilitated by France and Germany, the two bitter rivals, coming together. In contrast, India and Pakistan, the two big rivals continue to engage in direct and proxy wars

3). SAARC charter doesn’t allow discussion of bilateral issues as a result of which the contentious issues continue to simmer and countries are not able to come forward

4 ) Barriers to trade: Tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers have also played their role in keeping the level of integration low while Pakistan hasn’t extended MFN status to India with so many items been put under the ‘negative list’

5) Difficult business environment: Failure to ensure single window clearance and removal of clumsy procedures resulted in high cost trade inhibiting the growth potential of the region.

6. Regional problems: Srilankan Tamil issue, Bangladesh’s political conflict, Nepal’s unstable terrain, and political instability in Pakistan further aggravated by militancy creating real bottlenecks in developing the region.

6. Lack of infrastructure: Non-availability of adequate infrastructure in the form of roads and cargo/ship handling equipment has also hindered the progress

7. Domestic Markets- Euro countries having rich intra- country trade. In contrast, to countries in south Asia being poor had less possibility of intra- country trade.Also.Euro markets are facilitated with more finance and technology allowed them to invest in technologies to facilitate trade, monitoring, etc


SAARC to reclaim its space in the world,the stability in the region is must to transform South Asia likewise European Union has changed Europe and India as the largest country and fastest growing economy had to play a vital role in it. 

Q.5) Why is the permanent membership in UNSC so important for India? Do you think India’s claim to permanent membership is valid? Elucidate.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Draconian


Ans) A permanent seat in UNSC would elevate India to the status of USA, UK, France, China and Russia in the diplomatic sphere and warrant India a critical say in all global matters that matter globally.


Importance for India


—India can tackle human rights violations in neighbor countries SriLanka (After civil war crimes), Myanmar (Rohyanga Muslims), Afghanistan (Gender inequality) with more authority and can bring them to notice of UNSC.

—India can put its requirements and ask for more funds from UN contribution as part of Social and economic development of third world countries.

—Indian diaspora across will also benefits if any issues arise like unfair treatment to diplomats, racial attacks, providing equal opportunities in foreign countries.

—As regional representation increases, India could represent other countries to stop western forces (USA, UK, France) from promoting their vested Invasion of Iraq, bombing of Libya, non-recognition of Palestine state are few examples.

—Indian Ocean can be declared as “Zone of Peace”. This will stop China from deploying submarines in strategic locations engulfing India with its jingoistic “String of Pearls” policy.

—To protect her interests, India can enforce Pakistan to stop supporting terror elements and let non-state

actors use its soil for terrorist actions.

— Having UNSC permanent membership, India can have leverage in geopolitics, military, economic and political groupings and negotiations in area likes Intellectual property rights, maritime issues, border conflicts etc


Why India Deserves it?

–India was among the founding members of United Nations with one of the largest constant contributors of troops in peace-keeping to United Nations.

–India happens to be the second fastest growing economy in the world making it an ideal destination for foreign investment and future growth

–India Ruled by a democratic, secular government which has never been upstaged by an army coup and can be labelled as a “responsible” nuclear power.

–With becoming most populous country by 2022. India can’t be kept from decision making table of UNSC which brings with itself the “veto” power.


But great power always comes with great responsibility. which means India had to make a world a better place with peace and prosperity. As Pandit Nehru envisaged in its famous speech that ” Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.”

High Order Thinking


Q.1) The recent terrorist attack in the city of Gurdaspur in Punjab has revealed fault-lines in the state that can be exploited by external state and non-state actors to destabilize India. Moreover, it has also brought in front, the issue of Sikh militancy with faint yet considerable signs of its resurgence in Punjab. Elucidate.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Debasmita Nayak


Ans) Internal disturbances indicating instability within, also make a state vulnerable to external forces. Recent Gurdaspur attacks are a reminder of the following-

– Border security is of uncompromising priority.

– Lack of Coordination and cooperation among central intelligence agencies and the state police force can prove fatal.


However, the problem in the state of Punjab goes beyond mere security loopholes :

– Unemployment among youth.

– Drug peddling facilitated by proximity to border.

– Female infanticide and domestic violence.

– Most recently, incidents of intolerance like the ‘desecration’ of the holy book of the Sikhs- the Guru Granth Sahib.

All these factors indicate an unstable atmosphere in the state making it a fertile land to breed militancy and terrorism, and thus revive sikh militancy.

Also, with creation of Telangana, separatist movements have also revived across various regions.


The road ahead:

– Government initiatives on developmental front like Skill India are welcome.

– States need to put security at top of priority catalogue, thereby trying to reach a consensus at the federal NCTC.

– Above all, an atmosphere of tolerance needs to be set up. While preserving the pluralistic nature of our country, security and sense of belonging has to be ensured among religious minorities. 

Q.2) Police modernization must become the foremost priority in order to thwart security threats even if it emerges from outside India. Examine the statement in light of the recent terrorist attack in the border city of Gurdaspur in Punjab.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Anish


Ans) The response to recent Gurudaspur attack by local Police was in many easy reminiscent of 26/11 Mumbai attacks. But the fact that we repeated some similar mistakes raise bigger question of police prepardness in case of such attacks.

1) Some policemen had inferior self loading guns against automatic rifles used by terrorists. This bring down morale of our forces.

2) Lack of attention to protection by local policemen who rushed to site without protective gears. Even the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team was not wearing rudimentary protection at Dinanagar.

3) The police had to borrow bulletproof vehicles from the army to approach the building under siege. 

4) Lack of coordination among various response teams was clearly visible.

5) Punjab has been downgraded in terms of support for expenditure on security, and the Central scheme for police modernisation has also been scrapped. This is despite the fact that the IB is constantly issuing warnings that Punjab is a “sensitive state”.


The above clearly raise serious issues about the capabilities of our force in terms of both material and operational preparedness. Terrorism is a real threat that can occur anywhere anytime. SO our forces should also be ready to respond as such.

This needs special emphasis for police modernisation ensuring right equipment are available and also right training as rigtht response is important as good equipment. 

Q.3) The Teesta river water sharing agreement is a complex geopolitical challenge that not only involves the issues of interstate relations and India’s treatment of it’s neighbors but also encompasses environmental and livelihood concerns. Comment.


The Top Answer for this Question is written by – Noboundriz


Ans) Teesta river which originates in Sikkhim, flows through West Bengal and into Bangladesh has been a teething problem in the bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh. Earlier attempts attempts in 1983, 2011 and 2013 did not solve the issue


Issues involved

1. Inter state :

a. WB continues to claim more share by citing its dependence on farming which is not acceptable to Sikkim

b. HEP in sikkhim are reducing flows to WB


2. Bilateral relationships:

a. Bangladesh is an important for N-E and look east policy ex: Transit facilities, and insurgency

b.All other relations are contingent upon Teesta deal

c. To shed big brother attitude this deal is vital


3. Livelihood issues

a.Teesta basin consists of 30 Mn farmers. Climate change and erratic monsoon is already threatening their livelihood. Ex:WB has been citing this reason


4. Environmental issues

a. Climate change, drying of aquifer and rising sea levels etc are adversely affecting the Bangladesh and Teesta basin.

b.Encroachment of sea water is making the basin uncultivable.


sharing would help both the countries as the benefits spread across different sectors and a holistic view of the problem can be taken. And also the deal would help joint development of the basin which would be a win-win situation.

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