SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [9th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]

  • November 23, 2016
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2016 [9th Nov] – UPSC Mains GS Questions [HOT]


1. India’s relations with Central Asia has been more symbolic than of substance. More than two decades of stagnation and cosmetic ties have diminished India’s prospects in the region vis-a-vis China. Do you agree with this assessment? Critically comment. What course corrections would you suggest to give boost to the ties?


Start with giving a line or two about India’s relationship with CAR or about efforts to review the same by PM making a visit or just the 2 lines of question itself by accepting that there is a problem.

Body: – There are three parts in the question.

1st part should be about why there is downfall:-

-There are many reason for the same, categorize them to stay in limits. It can be Political, Economical, geographical and diplomatic. Compare them with china in a line.

-For instance, say in political we are democratic and pluralist unlike them where some are totalitarian and heavily centralized so China has advantage. Also chances of upsetting Russia.

-Geographical can be we have lack of access unlike china which shares border. Same for economic, we lack infrastructure and money to invest where as China has surplus in them.

2nd part is should be to show that we are still in the game:-

-Mention about the historic ties we share with them and good will too.

-India’s only overseas air force base in Tajikistan.

-Co-operation in education sector especially in Medical where hundreds of Indian medical aspirants study there.

3Rd Part is about course correction:-

-Talk about strengthening diplomatic relations and also TAPI and INSTC playing a huge role in bringing us together.

-With success of Indian companies overseas, investment by them in CAR can be a game changer.

-Increase in service sector concentration especially financial, IT, education and tourism since CAR hosts historical and cultural spots.

-Being energy rich more exploration and joint exploration chances by both PSU and private entities.


End with how we can use our soft power to make an influence in the region like how we have made in western countries and how our membership in SCO can be utilized to create bigger influence. Also how completion of Chabahar port will provide alternate route to region and help in increased trade connections.


Best Answer: abhishekrwt597

India’s relations with Central Asia has been more symbolic than of substance. More than two decades of stagnation and cosmetic ties have diminished India’s prospects in the region vis-a-vis China. Do you agree with this assessment? Critically comment. What course corrections would you suggest to give boost to the ties?
The area of Central Asia despite historically warm ties, has been characterized by a static diplomatic outreach, falling low on priority within the MEA. The relationship, despite grand narratives, has failed to really take ff because:

1) Geographical Distance: The region does not share a border with India. Further, it is buffered by countries that are either disturbed (Eg Afghanistan), or that India doesn’t enjoy good relations with (Pak,China). This has limited our outreach.

2) The region is considered to be the backyard of Russia (Former Soviet Union). Any substantive outreach by India has been ably resisted by the Russians.

3) China has been a provider of steady diplomatic support (To the region’s many faux democracies), as well as finances for mineral exploration and defense modernization. India lacks the capability to pursue either.

However, India hasnt neglected the region completely:

1) India continues to enjoy historical cultural links and goodwill among the public (Indo-soviet leftover)

2) India has strategic interests in the region that is also home to its only overseas airbase (Farkhor in Tajikistan)

3) India has recently been admitted in the SCO, which is a sign of the progress made.

To overcome the alleged stasis in the relationship, the following steps may be taken:

1) More no of high level visits, that add more axis to the relationship (Transactional to strategic)

2) The region is rich in mineral resources, and India may tap this (TAPI pipeline, requires Pak’s cooperating), along with other commodities of trade (Software export, training,etc)

3) The region has witnessed several youth joining the IS. India’s secular fabric and ability to thwart IS’s presence can be a lesson for these countries.

4) Use the SCO membership to gain greater access to the region that is also vital for connectivity to further East (Europe; India’s plans for INSTC and Chabahar port)

Relations with Central Asia need to be revitalized at the earliest. With Pakistan joining the SCO as well, India needs to move proactively on this front.

2. It would be more productive to influence ASEAN countries and participate in their development, while at the same time, working to produce better relations with China. Do you agree? Critically examine.


Your introduction should define the relationship between India and ASEAN. Also mention the current status of India – china relations at present.

Mention how international arena is not a zero sum game. why it is important to have a better relation with even a country with which you have disputes i.e. spillover effect will help in solving the existing issues.

Body: –

Mention the areas in which India can participate in development of ASEAN countries or they can mutually benefit:

  • Geo- strategic importance: – India’s changing position in geo-politics bring hostility with Chinese counterparts. To maintain a balance, India need like-minded partners which can be found in the form of ASEAN countries. China is also trying to contain India through its Initiatives of OBOR and String of Pearls. Defence ties and strategic ties to counter China with these countries is in their mutual interest.
  • Development goals: – Most countries are developing ones; ties in agriculture, manufacturing, technology will help in mutual development. India’s look east policy will help in growth of India’s north east and will also help in development of region including laos, Cambodia etc.
  • Trade routes: -South East Asia is a road for gaining access into the Pacific and securing India’s right to free and fair access to seas. They are located in strategic trade routes through which India’s trade passes.
  • Regional trade pacts: – India risks being disproportionately affected by TPP (not china, already moving towards a knowledge economy). Closer relations with ASEAN may improve Chances of India’s membership, or at least soften TPP’s blow.
  • Collective bargain and multi polarity: – Relation with ASEAN will help India to collectively bargain in global forums and it can act as a new pole in global politics.

India and China are not enjoying warm relations at present, though both enjoy a bilateral trade

of $100B in China’s favor. India is enhancing it ties –

  1. ASEAN would of great help as Indo-China region has cultural ties with China too.
    b. Improved trade ties and collaborations (RCEP, AIIB etc.)
  2. Both are part of multilateral institutions like BRICS, SCO, G20, etc. engagement on these lines and bilaterally are important to both.


There are some contentious issues which can create miscreants in India- china relations:

  1. China – ASEAN disputes in south china Sea
  2. ASEAN countries are more inclined towards US bloc which irked china.
  3. India – Indonesia – Japan trilateral will create issues as china has strange relations with all three especially Japan.
  4. China is one of India’s leading trading partners, any such move may harm business interests in India

(you can add more points here)

Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that growing clout of china in world politics will force other countries to re align themselves and grow. So, India should use its unique position to engage with China while at the same time work with other major bloc like ASEAN to help them grow and get mutually benefitted.

Best answer: – abhishekrwt597

India has recently upped the Diplomatic initiative in its extended neighbourhood. While its relationship with China has at best been frosty, it has actively pursued closer ties with ASEAN, both as a grouping, as well as with individual countries. Seeing the above two relationships as a zero sum game has the following advantages:

1)India cannot match China Economically and Militarily alone. With long standing issues(Boundary,etc) set to continue, India should seek more support.(ASEAN important in this)

2)With Multipolarity being the future, India should seek to play a greater role in the American pivot of rebalance of ties in Asia, to ensure a rise of a peaceful China.

3)The ASEAN countries have issues with China in the South China sea wrt maritime boundaries. Indian, being an aspiring Asian power, should express solidarity with them(Also, Brahmos missile export to Vietnam)

4)India risks being disproportionately affected by TPP(not china, already moving towards a knowledge economy). Closer relations with ASEAN may improve Chances of India’s membership, or atleast soften TPP’s blow.

However, this has the following risks:

1)Any overt diplomatic or military posture by India(Joint Indo-US summit, Export of Brahmos, Proposal of US for joint naval exercises in South China Sea) may irk China, escalating risks of a war with India.

2) ASEAN is not a homogeneous region, and each country enjoys different relationships with China. Many may actively thwart India’s outreach(Eg Brunei, Myanmar are close to Chinea, Philipines recently declared alignment with China), leaving India stranded(Losing both)

3)India has little to offer in terms of finance(ASEAN more prosperous), or military support(No naval bases in South China Sea, only Philipinnes and Vietnam have major border issues).

4)China is one of India’s leading trading partners, any such move may harm business interests in India.

5) US (ASEAN and India’s main ally) itself doesnt view its relation with China as a zero sum game. (US-china trade growing). Advocating US interests may thus only harm India(Eg Recent G-2 decision over Climate Change agreement of the two countries’s INDC, Both denying APEC membership to India)

India thus needs to ensure that it plays a balancing game, and does not end up staking its credibility without first developing the capabilities to defend it. Keeping both ASEAN and China happy may be in the long term interests of India.

3. Even though the G20 platform is meant to promote global economic recovery, promote sustainable development and discuss the roadmap for combating climate change, the recent terrorist attacks have brought terrorism at the forefront of discussions. It only shows that global prosperity and development is possible only in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. Comment.

How directly the terrorism threat is connected with economy and environment can be understood by a small fact that UPSC in its civil services exam has included internal and external security in GS paper 3 with economy and environment, so that we can make a connection between them.

Since terrorist activities has transcend all the natural and political boundaries, it has become a common problem for entire earth. How is it impacting global prosperity and development can be explained through following points:

Ecological impact: direct attacks, bombing, and full fledged wars destroys both flora and fauna of the place. Animals and birds are forced to migrate to a new habitat and air, water as well as land is irreversibly polluted.

Psychological impact: if the mind is in constant fear, it won’t be able to think towards development. The mental productivity decreases this way.

Direct impact on economy:

  • Loss of life and property due to direct impact.
  • A lot of money is diverted towards defence which could have been chanelised towards developmental projects.
  • As a chain reaction it is increasing the arms hoarding as well.
  • Terrorist activities are fed through other illegal activities like drug trafficking, money laundering etc.
  • International trade is disrupted.
  • Counterfeat money is pumped in countries.
  • There is large scale migration worldwide which is again disturbing for individual economies.

(Note: More points can be added in this section apart from these. Also you need to give a strong conclusion. No need to mention so many points on steps which can be taken by the governments to curb terrorism.)

Best Answer: CSE Aspirant

Terrorism has been in debate in many forums. Interestingly, it formed focal point in discussion at many forums such as G20, which have no direct relation with terrorism. India has constantly pushed issues like state sponsored terrorism, CCIT at various occasions. These incidences point to the fact that global prosperity is possible only in atmosphere of peace and harmony.


Firms are more likely to invest in regions which are free from disturbances so as to avoid any damage to their investment.

(2) TRADE :

Terrorism (particularly state sponsored) strains the trade relations between nations, which affect the global economy.

(3) ECONOMIC and TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS is hindered by terrorism, which has a exponential impact on the economic recovery and development in a region.


Money laundering, fake currency circulation is an integral part of terrorism and in process destroys economy of a nation.


No one can gainsay loss of important human capital and associated property by terrorist activities.

Terrorist groups are fostering ill will between people of various nations. Ex : Europe not accepting Syrian and Middle east refugees due to preconceived notions about them.

It’s time that whole world shake hands to eliminate the terrorism and make world a better place to live helping economies to grow and developing nations to prosper.

4. What do you understand by the term ‘Maritime Silk Road’? Critically examine its implications vis-a-vis India’s interests?


Provide comprehensive definition of the term ‘Maritime Silk Road’

Part 2: Should be very comprehensive (Focus on how MSR affects India’s interests)

Some of the below points could be –  How MSR affects:

1) India’s interest with respect to fundamental shift of power towards Asia (i.e, India wants power sharing not a single country’s hegemony

2) India’s interest to become global leadership cannot happen without being a regional power – China’s MSR will impact India’s interest to become regional power

3) Wrt Indian ocean or any ocean and trade routes – India’s interest is free and peaceful trade route and connectivity

4) India’s attempts to push for greater economic integration have repeatedly been frustrated, so how MSR plays a positive role, how it affects India’s multilateral relations

5) India wants equitable and inclusive development of all states

6) You can add some contemporary policies too like Neighbour First, Link East, BCIM etc..

7) Also security and strategic interests

Or simply put in short – achieving its strategic vision/interest of acting as a stabilizer in its neighborhood, a balancer in Asia, a reformer of global trade and monetary policies, and a responsible power in global peace and security

Note: Bring up the analysis, dont just revolve around India versus Pakistan or China’s string of pearls

Best answer: Mani

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/336502a030432dd96cac94479d31a8c154675b399d8932e8c1d22de01510f9cb.jpg
  2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1773e9db271ebd326bc94f8b0bbe4c48306f912c412846c17f9df19cb01c502.jpg
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5. The recent visits of the PM abroad have indicated a more inclusive policy for the Indian Diaspora. Analyze the role of the Indian Diaspora in India’s soft power diplomacy.



Your introduction should talk about the recent visits by PM Modi and his efforts to engage with the Indian diaspora i.e. Madison Square garden, Toronto etc.

  • Mention the presence of Indian diaspora across the continents in various sectors. (in brief)

In the globalized world, the Indian diaspora is the second largest diaspora in the world and the largest English speaking diaspora

  • Mention the shift in India’s policy towards its diaspora.
  • Explain in brief about soft power diplomacy.

Joseph Nye defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments.”

Indian soft power has enormous influence in the world – from religious and spiritual aspects to popular culture and its IT-related expertise, crucial in today’s increasingly digitized world.

Body: –

  • Role of Indian Diaspora in India’s soft power diplomacy. (general info + points related to Q.)
  • The etymological origin of diaspora means dispersion, and the Indian migrants have indeed scattered in multiple directions. Estimates from the ministry of overseas Indian affairs suggest that the Indian diaspora has a sizeable presence of over 25 million and these include non-resident Indians (NRIs), overseas citizens of India (OCIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs), of these over 5.5 million are in the Gulf, 2.2 million are in the US, 1.7 million in the UK and over a million in Canada.
  • Leaving aside the colonial period of indentured labour, the Indian diaspora has evolved over three phases — the quest for employment and education, as a source of Indian remittances and now, increasingly, as active players in shaping the policies in their host countries.
  • The Indian Diaspora settled in countries far away from India, since long have been contributing significantly to the development of India, especially of late in terms of investment, foreign trade, transfer of technology and skills, development of cultural linkages with foreign countries etc. Besides, they have also been fighting very hard for safeguarding India’s interests in foreign countries. Blocking the Burton amendment, support for India during Kargil, nuclear tests and the agreement between India and the US on civil nuclear cooperation are examples where the Diaspora community in the US, for example, acted positively as lobbying or pressure group to promote India’s interests.
  • people of Indian origin are extremely important sources of support for the Indian Government in the execution of its policies through the influence and respect they command in the countries in which they live
  • Spreading of India culture i.e. cuisines, religion, dress, Bollywood etc.
  • Through spiritualism and yoga.
  • Work as a linkage between the local government and the Indian government.

(you can add more points here)

Conclusion: –

Your conclusion should say that the global reach of media and revolutionary changes in the communication have helped create Diaspora networks and instant connectivity with the motherland. It is, therefore, important to constantly engage the Diaspora and develop policies suited to each segment according to its characteristics. The destinies of India and the Diaspora are intertwined. It is in the interest of both to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. It is an important tool for India’s soft power diplomacy.

Best answer: – abhishekrwt597 

The current govt has invested a sizeable amount of diplomatic capital to reinvigorate the relationship between India and its Diaspora. The PM has actively courted NRI’s addressing packed stadiums to sellout crowds, making them aware and proud of their native countries achievements and heritage.

The diaspora plays a critical role in a country’s soft power diplomacy as:

1)As mini representatives due to their ethnicity, they are flagbearers (or pseudo diplomats) who shape India’s image in their country of residence (India considered a culturally rich nation due to this).(Cultural Diplomacy)

2)The influential Indian diaspora in the US (riches in per capita) has ensured bipartisan support for India in the US congress. (Pressure on Pakistan)

3) The US diaspora has actively pushed for recognition of more state festivals by the state dept. (This year UN celebrated Diwali for the first time, Yoga)

4)Many Indians occupy senior positions in foreign govt(US, Canada, UK,etc). This helps them develop a favorable opinion in India’s favor with their own govt.

5)Bollywood has a growing global popularity that has much to do with Indian expats making it popular globally (SRK fans, Bollywood dance,etc)

The diaspora is very important for India’s global aspirations, and can be a vital tool in spreading its soft power globally.


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