1. The Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor is said to be a game-changer in increasing socio-economic development and trade in South Asia. Discuss with special reference to India
One of the major initiatives in Subcontinent is developing a trans-national economic corridor between Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar which has strategic implications for the region in form of increasing trade and socio-economic development.
Game-changer in the region:
Trade: It increases market access and trade between the regions as all four regions are heavily populated regions of world.
Infrastructure: It builds infrastructure by connecting the unconnected regions especially north eastern regions.
Tourism: It increases tourism as North eastern part of country has huge potential.
Transportation: Increases connectivity and interconnectivity between roadways, railways, airways and waterways.
Energy security: Regions are high in hydro energy potential and other natural resources. There extraction and exploitation will be easy.
Ancient ties: Revival of ancient trade routes and revive ancient cultural connections.
Social development: Alleviation of poverty and social development in north eastern region.
Social evils: rooting out human trafficking, drug trafficking and illegal migrations.
Security: Keeping separatists and Naxalites in check and bursting there hideouts through improved connectivity and infra.
The BCIM Corridor is a win-win arrangement. The linkages of transport, energy, and telecommunications networks will enable the region to emerge as a thriving economic belt that will promote social development of communities along the Corridor.
2. UNSC reforms are long called for. Many emerging economies including India are pressing for immediate reforms. Why? Analyse. Also discuss the interests of countries like Japan, Brazil and Germany to get permanent membership of the UNSC.
UNSC was formed right after Second World War and till date no significant reforms have taken place in them. There is an urgent need to UNSC reforms as it has passed its expiry date and doesn’t represent today’s realities.
Need for reforms:
Second World War: It represents 1940’s world powers not present days.
Western domination: Out of 5, 4 seats are held by western powers.
Expansion: Was expanded only once but UN members have increased to 193.
Africa: No representation from whole continent where 75% work is carried out.
Conflicts: Not able to respond to present day conflict.
Peacekeeping: India and Brazil are among largest contributors but no voice for them.
Veto: 5 members have veto powers on all matters even on which they are not concerned.
Germany, Japan, Brazil and India are members who support each other’s bid for permanent seat.
Change in global power: All these three countries have major influence in world politics but no representation.
Industrial power: All these four are major industrial powers.
Contributors: All four provide major share in the UN missions in terms of Fund, expertise, manpower etc.
There is a urgent need to reform the UNSC to represent the present Multipolar world. But coffee club is formed to oppose entry of these four which is causing a major hurdle in reforms to take place.
3.The status of Indian diaspora in the Middle East requires immediate attention from the government. Do you agree? Substantiate. Also suggest policies to cater to the special needs of diaspora in this part of the world.
According to Ministry of External Affairs, India currently has 31 million of diaspora abroad and majority of it resides in the middle east. The diaspora in Middle east largely consists of skilled and unskilled workers.
Immediate attention required due to following reasons:
Poor working conditions- improper working environment, long work hours and below standard wages.
Repressive rules and regulations like the Kafala system which prohibits workers from changing jobs without the consent of the employer. Nitaqat law brought in by Saudi Arabia.
Poor social conditions
Issues aggravated due to economic slowdown in Middle East countries owing to decreased prices of crude oil hurting Indian labourers in terms of wages and job availability.
Regional conflict because of terrorism led by ISIS and the ongoing rivalries between various nations in the region.
Puting in place standard operating procedures and plans for quick and immediate evacuation in case of civil war spreading. In such a scenario there should be proper coordination between airforce and embassies in these countries for quick evacuation.
Strengthening Indian consulated in Middle East countries. They should assist Indias facing issues like physical abuse or any discrimination. MADAD app launched by MEA is thus a welcome step.
Ramp up intelligence, security and joint counter terrorism efforts with other countries.
Skilling of Indians who are thinking of migrating to these countries. Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana is a step in right direction.
Government should also institute a policy for rehabilitation of those returning back to India from these countires due to job loss, security threat etc..
Government should also create reserve funds to cater their economic needs in times of distress
Diaspora is a unique resource for any country and it is moral responsibility of that country to support it in difficult situations. Middle East diaspora requires different strategies and policies as it is one of the most volatile, war torn countries.
4. France holds immense significance for India in areas of defence, security, energy and space. Discuss. Also examine the importance of the vow made by India and France to work above and beyond Paris at a time of uncertainty towards commitment by the US to cut its emissions.
France–India relations have traditionally been close and friendly and both countries have a ‘special relationship with each other. With the establishment of the strategic partnership in 1998, there has been a significant progress in all areas of bilateral cooperation including in strategic areas such as defense, nuclear energy and space.
Under the framework of the structured talks under the Indo-French Defence Cooperation Agreement several meetings on industrial collaboration and service exchanges are held regularly. Indo-French Air Force Exercise Garuda Indo-French Joint Naval Exercise Varuna ,joint army exercise shakti are regularly being conducted.
As Strategic Partners, the two countries share converging views on key regional and global issues and continue to consult each other closely on strategic and security matters of mutual interest. India and France reiterated their commitment to counter terrorism to intensify cooperation between the Indian and French security forces in the fields of homeland security, cyber security, Special Forces and intelligence-sharing to fight against criminal networks and tackle the common threat of terrorism.
Agreement on Prevention of Consumption of Illicit Drugs & Psychotropic Substances is in the pipeline, first-ever bilateral dialogue on Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean Region held on January in Paris 2016 which paved the way for enhanced cooperation in maintaining the safety of sea-lanes for trade and communications, countering the threat of piracy and maritime terrorism
A landmark Framework Agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation was signed between India and France on 30 September 2008France acknowledged the need for India to have lifetime guarantee of fuel supply and renewed its commitment to reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to nuclear fuel supply on revised MOU between EDF and NPCIL for the construction of six EPR units at Jaitapur.
Translating their shared commitment to clean energy and combating climate change into practical action, both jointly launched the new International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative in Paris on 30 November 2015 on the sidelines of the COP 21.
ISRO and CNES (French National Space Agency) have an umbrella agreement, operating successfully since 1993, under which joint missions like Megha-Tropiques and SARAL have been successfully developed. ISRO has launched French SPOT satellites (Spot-6 & SPOT-7) on PSLV satellite launch vehicles.
Under a commercial Launch Service Agreement between Antrix Corporation Limited (ANTRIX), the commercial arm of ISRO and ASTRIUM SAS, two advanced Remote Sensing satellites were successfully launched in 2013 & 2014.
Arianespace based at France has been the major provider of launch services to Indian Geo-Stationary satellites. Subsequent to the launch of APPLE satellite, 18 Indian satellites have been launched by Arianespace.
INDIA & FRANCE ABOVE AND BEYOND PARIS:
The Paris agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. India and France believe that the accord represents shared heritage of the whole world. The ISA and the commitment to INDC’S by both the countries will be an ideal way to move forward and make the Paris deal a reality as they are third and fifth highest emitters of GHG’S and their commitment to the deal will reiterate the trust that both developed and developing countries can work towards common objectives and shared future.
5. What significance does European Union (EU) hold for India? Discuss. Why is India-EU trade well below its potential? Examine the factors.
India is one of the 10 countries that the European Union (EU) has chosen as strategic partners in the international community-a reasonable choice since India is the most populous democracy in the world. The 1994 EU-India Cooperation Agreement, the legal framework for EU-India relations, boosted political, economic and sectorial cooperation.
What significance does European Union (EU) hold for India?
The EU is India’s largest trading partner: The two-way trade in goods between India and the EU stood at $ 98.5 billion in 2014-15, and India received $24.91 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows from EU between April 2012 and May 2015.
To support India for a permanent membership in UNSC
Trade and employment from Europe based companies, vital for Indian economy
The EU and India share a number of interests across a range of policy areas, including energy and climate change; environment; research and innovation; pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, migration and mobility; ICT; competition policy; macroeconomic issues, sustainable development; and education.
Why is India-EU trade well below its potential?
India EU FTA disagreement
a) India is demanding a data secure status from the EU, as the high cost of compliance with EU’s data protection laws renders Indian SMEs un-competitive.
b) India wants the EU to cut its agricultural subsidy as fishery and dairy products are highly subsidized in the EU. If FTA is signed, EU dairy products will flood the Indian markets.
c) India has reduced duties on automobile parts but maintains high import duties on assembled vehicles for protecting domestic firms.
d) The EU also seeks deeper cuts in India’s tariffs on wines and spirits.
e) India’s IPR is another impediment. European pharmaceutical companies are wary of India’s patent law which prevents “ever greening”- a provision that allows companies to renew patents on old drugs by making incremental changes.
Recent developments like ban on Indian mangoes and on sale of 700 drugs tested by GVK biosciences have further soured the issue.
Rising Protectionism in European countries like UK(Brexit and Visa Issue)
However, things have started moving in a positive direction. India seems to have got an upper hand in terms of narrowing their other demand on liberalising legal services. The government has also assured the EU it is willing to reduce tariffs on automobiles and wines and spirits. In the bargain, India has asked the EU to grant it a ‘data secure’ nation status. This will pave the way in boosting the country’s IT and IT-enabled services sectors.