SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [8th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • November 19, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [8th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. Why is India concerned about Nepal’s constitution? Also give your comments on the role being played by India in Nepal’s historic legislative exercise.


Start with giving a line or two intro about the prevailing condition in Nepal due to Madhesi protest which is affecting our relationship. For instance, with ongoing protests and undeclared blockage, there has been tension prevailing between both countries due to acquisition by Nepal about India’s interference in their political stalement.

Body: – Both parts should be given equal concentration.

1st part should be about why we are concerned about Nepal’s new constitution:-

-The main reason is because of Madhesi people who are not given due representation in country and their political future in bleak, so the whole answer revolves around them.

-You can write about how the protest there will eventually spread to India and cause unrest due to socially and cultural connection between Madhesi and people of UP, Bihar etc.

-Mention about the political unrest it can cause because of both states being politically very important.

-Due to open borders, how it can lead to huge refugee inflow and also anti-social elements leading to social unrest.

2nd part is role played by India in their legislative exercise:-

-First and foremost is the peaceful transition from monarchy to republic, in which India played the role of mediator and negotiator.

-Second is playing the role of negotiator between various political fractions in the hill state.

-Mention about help provided in drafting the constitution with its expertise and helping to make it a Secular, democratic, republic state.

– Also the recent persuasion to bring in an amendment to give equal representation to all people and create egalitarian society.


End with saying to aim the role of leader of the region and super power, the relationship with neighbors should be cordial especially Nepal and we should be able to take some shots being big brother and also not interfere too much in their political process but just act as advisors and protectors.


Best Answer: El Nino 

The new Nepalese constitution has become an important element in India-Nepal relation. Following are India’s concern:

  1. Porous Boundary: Open border with Nepal can cause ripple effect in India due to discontentment and turmoil in Nepal on account of non-inclusiveness.
  2. Interests of Madhesi: Madhesi share close ethnic and matrimonial ties with India. Marginalization can lead to migration to already stressed states of India.

iii. Demography – issues which N-E India is facing can erupt in northern states as well. Domestic politics will further get vitiated.

  1. Leadership role – Status of being a leader required active participation in ensuring peace and stability in the region.

India has been playing following role in Nepal’s constitution making exercise:
i. Persuasion – PM and president of India have nudged Nepal for an all-inclusive constitution. Even before the formulation of the new constitution, India had been advocating for a non-partisan constitution.

  1. Madhesi demand – has been voiced by India on several occasion.

iii. Indian constitution – has also directly or indirectly inspired Nepalese constitution to include features like Secular, Socialist, Democratic, Republic, Fundamental Rights, bicameral legislature etc.

It has also been alleged that India adopted coercive techniques blockade at the India-Nepal southern border for Nepal to adopt non-partisan constitution. But Nepal reciprocated with resentment.

India sharing open border with Nepal has genuine interest in its domestic stability. But India also has to respect sovereignty and “Right to self-determination” of Nepal.

2. What is the Cold Start doctrine? Why was there a need for this doctrine? What are the advantages in using Cold Start? Explain.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should explain what is cold start doctrine.

  • Cold Start is a military doctrine developed by the Indian Armed Forces to put to use in case of a war with Pakistan
  • The main objective of the Cold Start Doctrine is to launch a retaliatory conventional strike against Pakistan inflicting significant harm on the Pakistan Army before any international community could intercede, but not in way Pakistan would be provoked to make a nuclear attack.
  • Cold Start Doctrine deviated from India’s defence strategy since 1947 – “a non-aggressive, non-provocative defense policy,” – and will involve limited, rapid armoured thrusts, with infantry and necessary air support

Body: –

Mention about the need of this doctrine

  • Cold Start Doctrine was developed as the limitations of the earlier doctrine – Sundarji Doctrine – was exposed after the attack on the Indian Parliament.

How this doctrine evolved? – (for knowledge purpose)

  • In May 2001, Operation Vijayee Bhava was launched by the Indian army, involving 50,000 troops to boost synergy between various banches of the armed forces. The objective of this operation was to reduce the mobilisation time drastically to 48 hours, and was successful in achieving it. Operation Vijayee Bhava is considered to be a trail run of the Cold Start Doctrine.
  • Post the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, Indian government took a decision not to implement the Cold Start Doctrine. This was to defeat the strategic goals of Pakistan to redirect the attacks of other Islamist millitant groups attacking Pakistan to an external threat – India.
  • Later in 2011, Operation Sudarshan Shakti was conducted to revalidate Cold Start Doctrine. Focus of Sudarshan Shakti was to practice synergy and integration between ground and air forces.

Official stand

  • Indian Army’s official stance was denying the existence of the Cold Start Doctrine. However, a “proactive strategy” being in place.

Advantages of using cold start

  • A military doctrine helps standardize operations, facilitating readiness by establishing common ways of accomplishing military tasks. Its objective is to foster initiative and creative thinking and links theory, history, experimentation and practice
  • The new war doctrine would compel the political leadership to give political approval ‘ab-initio’ and thereby free the armed forces to generate their full combat potential from the outset
  • Pakistan must not enjoy the luxury of time. Cold Start aims for eight “Battle Groups”, comprising independent armoured and mechanised brigades that would launch counterattacks within hours. These Battle Groups will be fully integrated with the Indian Air Force and naval aviation, and launch multiple strikes round the clock into Pakistan. Each Battle Group will be the size of a division (30,000-50,000 troops) and highly mobile unlike the strike corps. Ominously for Pakistan, the Battle Groups will be well forward from existing garrisons. India’s elite strike forces will no longer sit idle waiting for the opportune moment, which never came in the last wars.
  • Only such simultaneity of operations will unhinge the enemy, break his cohesion, and paralyze him into making mistakes from which he will not be able to recover
  • Multiple divisions operating independently have the potential to disrupt or incapacitate the Pakistani leadership’s decision making cycle, as happened to the French high command in the face of the German blitzkrieg of 1940
  • rather than seek to deliver a catastrophic blow to Pakistan (i.e., cutting the country in two), the goal of Indian military operations would be to make shallow territorial gains, 50-80 km deep, that could be used in post-conflict negotiations to extract concessions from Islamabad
  • Where the strike corps had the power to deliver a knockout blow, the Battle Groups can only “bite and hold” territory. This denies Pakistan the “regime survival” justification for employing nuclear weapons in response to India’s conventional attack.

Issues and criticism

  • As the Indian military enhances its ability to implement Cold Start, it is simultaneously degrading the chance that diplomacy could diffuse a crisis on the subcontinent.
  • Pakistan has declared it will launch nuclear strikes against India when a significant portion of its territory has been captured or is likely to be captured, or the Pakistani military suffers heavy losses. At the same time the Pakistani military is taking out another insurance policy – through battlefield nuclear weapons (tactical nuclear weapons)

Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that Cold Start was devised by India’s brightest military minds to end the standoff in the subcontinent. No country can be allowed to export terror and brandish nuclear weapons at India, without a fitting response. As Chanakya wrote in the Arthashastra, the Indian treatise on statecraft, 2300 years ago: “The antidote of poison is poison, not nectar.”

However, with power comes responsibility. A mechanism should be designed to ensure that the discussion of using this doctrine should not be taken in haste or emotions.

Best Answer: – Dharavi Writer



3. Though India aspires to become a world leader, it is not possible for India to be a world leader or even an Asian leader without first being a South Asian leader. Critically comment.

Tracing the Indian trajectory of growth and increase in sphere of influence, we can say that India has undoubtedly emerged as leader of the developing nations. With stronger assertive stance and individual opinions in the world forums, stature of India has increased worldwide.

There is an argument that if India aspires to become a world leader, it has to become a South Asian leader first. The question is, what exactly do we mean by a leader?

If we see, amongst the South Asian countries, India has the strongest economy and a large local market to sustain it even if there is disturbance in the international market. Also India has cordial relations with all South Asian countries except Pakistan, whose only claim to fame is that it is a nuclear nation. As long as Pakistan is supporting terrorist activities in India and is not ready to talk about Kashmir, it is difficult for India to have a proper friendly relation with it. It is because of this SARC and SAFTA are not as successful as they should have been. In this scenario, if we observe, India can be called a leader of South Asian nations.

In this multipolar world, India is working on many fronts simultaneously, with its large diaspora and market, India is playing an important role in the world economy. With G4 countries, India is pushing for UN reforms and is a strong contender for a permanent seat in UNSC.

Indian medicine system, culture and Yoga are increasingly adopted in the west enhancing its soft power status.

Considering all these factors we can observe, that India has already claimed the status of South Asian Giant, and is already a contender to become the next big power of the world.

(Note: many more facts can be written in this answer but remember that you never leave the line of the question. Just putting in irrelevant facts won’t serve the purpose.)

Best Answer: Sahil Garg (This answer is having a different outlook than the synopsis. So you can have two opinions.)



4. The Act East policy of Indian government has the potential to make India the pivot for a vibrant South Asia. India must respond to the call of history for her to take the lead in creating a United Southern Asia. Elucidate.

Introduction: –

Your introduction should briefly introduce about the Act East Policy of Indian government. Also mention the various initiatives taken under it (in brief)

Body: –

  • Advantages of United Southern Asia
  • Mention the areas which reflects the potential to make India the pivot for a vibrant South Asia
  • Starting in the 1990s, India’s Look East Policy led to proactive engagement with the Southeast Asian region, especially on the trade front. India has comprehensive economic agreements covering trade in goods, services, and investment with Singapore and Malaysia. It is negotiating similar comprehensive agreements with the other two major economies of the region, Indonesia and Thailand. It also has a free trade agreement in good with the bloc as a whole (the India-ASEAN FTA), and the services component of the India-ASEAN FTA is currently under negotiation.
  • In the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), India has a forum that provides an existing bridge between BBIN countries and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Myanmar). While BIMSTEC has largely been stagnant in terms of tangible policy achievements, it has an ambitious agenda on regionalism that goes beyond just trade in goods, services, and investments. It has working groups dealing with issues of trans-regional transportation and trade facilitation, energy cooperation, and education, among other key areas. These bilateral and regional agreements provide India the basic building blocks for a more comprehensive goal of integration for a larger region that includes BBIN countries plus ASEAN member states.

(points given below is for understanding purpose – such detailing not required)

Market: –

  • A united Southern Asia would represent an economic powerhouse. The proposed group’s member states had a combined GDP of almost $16 trillion USD (measured in PPP) in 2014, accounting for 14 percent of the global economy. As a region Southern Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing. Southern Asia’s GDP more than doubled between 2001 and 2014, while world GDP grew by just around 40 percent in the same period. If current trends continue Southern Asia will account for about 20 percent of global GDP by 2020.
  • Household consumption in Southern Asia has grown by about 215 percent between 2001 and 2013, much faster than the overall global figure of 85 percent. A rising middle class and rapid urbanization is fast changing the region into a major engine of consumption. In 2001, the region as a whole had 180 million urban citizens; today it has over 250 million. In just a decade the region has added more than the entire population of France as new urban citizens, highlighting the rapid pace of growth.
  • With a population of over 2 trillion, it is home to almost 30 percent of humanity, and would account for almost 40 percent of the world’s working population in 2020. With the right investments in skills and integrated markets that allow it to leverage its economies of scale, Southern Asia would be a global economic leader, and one of most important engines of global growth.

Energy: –

  • As India looks for alternative oil, gas, and other energy resources, Southern Asia offers a great opportunity. Myanmar is emerging as major natural gas producer. Bangladesh has significant resources, and new resources have come to light in recent times. Indonesia’s Natuna fields can emerge as one of the richest sources of gas globally in the coming years. Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines all have ambitious on-shore and off-shore oil and gas field development plans. Indonesia is today the world’s largest exporter of coal, and Indian firms have already a significant presence in the Indonesian coal sector. The Trans-ASEAN energy pipeline being developed in partnership by ASEAN member states envisages a grid of pipelines connecting the region.

Strategic Interests: –

  • A united Southern Asia, leveraging the combined strategic and military might of India, and the larger ASEAN states like Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, would be able to resist any outside manipulation of this region. Unlike China, India is not perceived to have any hegemonic designs by ASEAN member states

How can India lead the task for creating a United Southern Asia?

  • India needs an ambitious geostrategic and economic goal, and the desire to develop an institutional framework around it. Potentially, the goal should be to create a framework for the economic integration of the wider Southern Asia region, linking India (and Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal) with the ASEAN economies. Such economic integration would go far beyond traditional trade agreements and encompass time-bound connectivity infrastructure projects (like China’s OBOR), production network linkages facilitated by FDI, and the integration of energy and electricity infrastructures.
  • Both Japan and the United States have been quietly lobbying for a more proactive Indian role in the region, and would be strategically aligned to such an objective.
  • Connectivity: -India- Myanmar- Thailand highway connectivity.
  • India should createa proactive mechanism to integrate the mandates of the various trade agreements already in place between India and ASEAN. These include India’s bilateral with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the regional agreement with ASEAN. It also includes multi-sector initiatives like BIMSTEC, that need to be reinvigorated with a sense of purpose, specific projects, and firm deadlines in areas like energy grid integration, transport and trade facilitation, and education (people to people linkages)
  • On the security front, India could offer military training to all ASEAN member states, and launch a joint Southern Asian military exercise that brings together the militaries of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and all of the ASEAN member states.
  • India will also need to encourage Southern Asian states to resolve all outstanding irritants in bilateral relations, starting with its own issues. A priority would be to address issues like the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh, and working to heal the rift in India-Nepal relations. India could also offer to proactively mediate between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the Rohingya refugee issue

Challenges in creating United Southern Asia

  • Bilateral relations between Myanmar and Bangladesh suffer from acrimony due to the Rohingya issue in Rakhine state. India would itself need to be proactive and resolve the Teesta river water sharing issue with Bangladesh. Difficulties remain in the Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Malaysia relations due regional conflicts at the border areas
  • Slow paced development from Indian side i.e. Thailand- Myanmar- India Highway
  • China’s presence

Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that unlike the Chinese, India’s leadership in this region has historically been through economic and cultural roles and not through political and military might. It is time to revive that historical role, and take the lead in turning Southern Asia int    o the world’s most dynamic economic region.

Best Answer: – abhishekrwt597

The act east policy of the Indian govt presents the country with a unique opportunity to emerge as a true regional superpower with global aspirations, besides helping the region of South asia to live up to its true economic potential. This puts a disproportionate responsibility on India as:

1)Historically, much of the divided Subcontinent was united as Bharat.

2)Culturally, India’s influence extended beyond its sovereing borders(Rajendra Chola expedition, spread of buddhism, Hinduism across S Asia, Hindu epics popularity)

3) India, through its Ports along the S indian coastlien(Eg Muziris) served as an imp transit route between the Asian-european trade(current Spice route and Mausam).

4)Currently in S Asia, India is the largest economy, has the largest(and youngest) demography, and is best placed to play the role of a regional pivot.

The act east policy is vital to revitalise S Asia with India as its centrepiece as:

1)It opens the trade routes between the prosperous S-E asia and the resource rich Central Asia, with further linkages all the way to the West(Europe)

2)India can act as the gateway to the east(SAARC, BIMSTEC, MCG,etc are initiatives for the same)

3)Depsite being linked historically, intra SAARC trade languishes at around 2%.Much can be learnedin this regard from the booming ASEAN region. The act east policy is vital for the same.

4) South asia suffers from lack of connectivity, high cost of trade and low mobility of human resources. Projects such as BBIN, the Indo-myanmar-thai trilateral highway, BCIM corridor can resolve this greatly.

5) The govt can through its efforts, re-invigorate SAARC before looking at future SAARC-ASEAN linkages.

6)the act east policy can help India develop its own economy through greater linkages with ASEAN. This in turn can be used to fuel development initiatives in SAARC areas, leading to more equitable development.

The act east policy of the govt provides a unique multifaceted opportunity to India, and needs to be exploited to its full potential.

5. What significance Maldives hold for India? Discuss. Also enumerate the irritants in Indo-Maldives relations. How do you assess the present status of relationship?

Ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links have been binding India and Maldives bilateral relations for long. India was among the first country to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965.


  • The geo-political factor and geo-strategic location of Maldives in the Indian Ocean. A significant portion of world trade takes place through the Indian Ocean as Maldives straddles in important Sea Lanes of Communication.
  • Security interests of both the countries are interlinked. (India maintains a naval presence in Maldives)
  • Issue of maritime security and counter terrorism.
  • South-South cooperation, building solidarity and partnership between developing nations.
  • To contain China’s rise and to extend India’s influence in Indian Ocean Region (net-security provider).
  • Economic significance – trade, tourism, fish industry, pharma, space and technology, to check black money and related issues.
  • Environmental significance – Climate change.


  • Maldives growing “closeness” with China
  • Turbulent Maldivian politics
  • GMR issue
  • Proposals for Maldives to lease an island in perpetuity to China and Maldives being an enthusiastic partner of China in the Maritime Silk Road disregarding India’s reservations.

Relations between India and Maldives have therefore been rather uneasy since 2012 and Maldives is the only South Asian country which has not been visited by Indian Prime Minister.

Assessment of present status of relationship

In his recent visit, President of Maldives Abdul Gayoom declared that Maldives has an ‘India First’ foreign policy and said that Maldives would always take care of India’s security concerns. He reiterated continued Indian participation in the Uthuru Thila Falhu project to create berthing and dockyard facilities for Coast Guard. He also invited India to participate in the ambitious “IHavan Integrated Development Project” which is planned as a major trans-shipment and logistics hub, mainly with Chinese investment.

The brief visit by AYAG should therefore be seen as an initiative by Maldives to repair its relations with India.

Maldives needs to be made aware of India’s Red Lines vis-à-vis both China and religious fundamentalism. Maldives needs to realize that it should avoid provoking India and fully appreciate and accommodate the security and strategic interests of its giant immediate neighbour.

India, on its part, needs to reassure Maldives that while as a principle we support democracy and a liberal polity, we would not take sides in the internal political struggle in that country. India also supported Maldives to prevent punitive action from Commonwealth Ministerial Conference.

In the final analysis, safety, security and stability in the region is of paramount importance and it can best be ensured by the countries of the region themselves. In this context, the MOU on Action plan for Defence Cooperation signed during the Presidential visit is significant.

Best answer: abhishekrwt597

The island of Maldives holds the following importance for India:

1)It falls within its India’s zone of regional projection(help in quelling a coup and during water crisis) and strategic interests.(net security provider)

2) Is vital from the India’s point of naval security(specially with China’s string of Pearls)

3) As a successful example of India’s advocacy for democracy.

4)Recent recruits from Maldives have joined AQ and IS in large numbers, this is of concern to India.

5) Large no of Indian nationals work in maldives, recent rise in intolerance and weakening of democratic institutions in Maldives a concern.

There have been several irritants in the Indian maldives relations:

1)India accused of interference in Maldives internal affairs, specially the formers support to Former Prez Nasheed.

2)The new Maldives Govt pro chinese tilt, seen in the cancellation of the contract for its international airport(Hulhule)

3)New laws in Maldives that allow it to lease land to foreign nations (with $1 BILLION or more), specially those specialising in dredging operations(Again China)

4) India’s silence on Maldives criticism by CHOGM,and its decision to leave the grouping been a thorn in the relation.

The present relation can be characterised as one of cautious optimism as:

1)The Current dispensation has sought to correct the public perception of Pro-chinese tilt(Public statements of neutrality,etc).

2)India has chosen to keep mum over recent incidents in Maldives, respecting its sovereignity and to prevent China’s growing clout(attack on Prez, Money laundering allegations,etc).

3)Despite calls from former Prez Nasheed for India’s intervention, India hasnt tried to actively destabilize the regime.

From the time when the current Indian PM decided to skip a visit to the Maldives, the relationship can be stated to be on the mend. It is imperative for India that Maldives, being located in its immediate neighbourhood remains a satisfied and steadfast ally


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