SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [29th January 2018]- Day 46

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  • February 1, 2018
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2018: UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [29th January 2018]- Day 46




The debate came into existence, when China’s increasing economic and strategic influence in Sri Lanka which has prompted alarm bells in India. In recent times, Sri Lanka has leased out its strategically important Hambantota port to a Chinese state owned firm. China now practically owns every major infrastructure project from Hambantota to Colombo. To counter china’s influence India must keep a cautious eye on china’s growing economic and military influence and presence in Srilanka.

How china is influencing Sri Lanka?

China has focused mostly on the majority Sinhala areas in the South and East. India off late has understood the limitations of this approach and is trying to diversify its investments by focusing on the South and South East regions of Sri Lanka as well. However, it’s not a question of challenging directly with Chinese investments, because China clearly outshines the scale of Indian investments due to its sheer economic might.

Sri Lanka is also a part of China’s OBOR project, which is an ambitious plan involving 68 countries that aims to revive the ancient silk route. As a result, China puts a lot of thought into its investments. They are driven not just by economic considerations but rather by strategic calculations.

How India is trying to enhance its ties with Srilanka?

It is in this context that India is trying to further its existing strong ties with Sri Lanka by enhancing its investments to counter China’s rising influence. For example, India has recently announced a joint venture with Sri Lanka to help revamp and operate its second international airport at Mattala, an ambitious project that was launched earlier but failed to generate traffic or revenue. In this regard, India need to assess whether it can deliver on its promises and match up to the inroads made by China.

On economic front:

India has previously concentrated its investments exclusively on the Tamil regions in Sri Lanka i.e. Northern and Eastern Provinces and had largely ignored the majority Sinhala areas of South and South Eastern Sri Lanka. For example, Indian investments like the housing project for IDP’s in the conflict hit North and East provinces, revival of Trincomalee port etc.

On military front:

India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise “Mitra Shakti 2017” focusing on counter-terrorism operations and an infantry company from both countries is participating in the same

India has a unique advantage in Sri Lanka – it’s ‘Soft Power’ and the general goodwill it enjoys amongst Sri Lankans. India is further trying to leverage this by diversifying its investments. Thus the airport project at Mattala and the Trincomalee oil farm project with Japan is crucial to enhance India’s footprint.


India needs to pay attention to the development indicators of its neighbours. It should support these friendly countries to grow socio-economically and capitalize on the goodwill it generates to build strategic ties in order to counter China’s massive commercial and strategic investments in the region.

Best Answer: Quest


2. The formal resolution of the border dispute with China would free India of a huge diplomatic handicap, remove many constraints in India’s diplomacy towards its neighbours and offer India new opportunities in Asia-Pacific. Discuss.


  • Introduction- Areas of borders which are disputed. A brief.
  • Benefits f resolution of border dispute
  • Challenges
  • Way out
  • Conclusion


The recent standoff between India and China at the Doklam plateau which lies at a tri-junction between the India, China, and Bhutan has brought the issue of border dispute between the two nations in limelight.

Regions of dispute:

Pic credit: https://www.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fqph.ec.quoracdn.net%2Fmain-qimg-bc2ed90bd0eaf6eac7cf45d05e5c1db3&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.quora.com%2FHow-are-India-China-relations&docid=9flQEvpAR9YZfM&tbnid=5Myzu-1_cEvLQM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwi2tvDO8f7YAhXKp48KHaaVC0MQMwhHKBYwFg..i&w=602&h=372&bih=803&biw=1440&q=border%20dispute%20india%20china%20images&ved=0ahUKEwi2tvDO8f7YAhXKp48KHaaVC0MQMwhHKBYwFg&iact=mrc&uact=8

Benefits of formal resolution of border dispute:

Border disputes between India and China have been a major bone of contention between the two nations. Successful resolution would result into multiple benefits like-

Free India of huge diplomatic handicap:

  • The efforts required to get membership of NSG, recognizing anti-state elements like Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as terrorists globally etc would diminish with China supporting these endeavors of India. China has been a major hurdle in recent times in these issues.

Remove constraints in Indian diplomacy towards our neighbors:

  • Resolution would result into India developing infrastructure in border regions and thereby connecting better with neighboring countries.
  • It would help India to focus on bilateral relations without fear of China looming large.
  • India can then tackle the issue of border dispute with Pakistan in effective manner, as China’s interference has further complicated the issue.
  • India’s look east policy can be more effective. Further apprehension associated with groupings like Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, RCEP, BIMSTEC etc will dissipate, resulting into much required mutual cooperation and groeth in the region.

New opportunities in Asia-Pacific:

  • Amicable resolution would help generate much required trust between the two nations. India can then join OBOR, the connectivity project by China, thereby, reaping multiple opportunities availed by the grouping.
  • The two countries can work mutually to make 21st century truly an Asian century.


  • Historical aspect- While China claims the border dispute is confined to 2,000 km, mainly Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts the dispute covered the whole of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.
  • The bonhomie between China and Pakistan.

Way ahead:

  • Strengthening communication and dialogue and having friendly consultations.
  • Amicable resolution requires mature understanding of the issue.


Given the stakes are high as the global power centre is shifting from Pacific to Indian ocean, the two nations need to show diplomatic skill to solve the long-standing issue of border dispute.

Best answer: Shobhit Jaiswal

India has one of the largest border disputes with China. Its dispute with China on the Line of Actual Control is a major detriment to stronger ties with China and has also resulted in immense trust deficit between the two nations.

Negative consequences of the dispute:

1) Immense animosity and trust deficit between the two biggest nations in Asia
2) A major concern which can boil down to a territorial dispute or a full time warfare

3) Ambiguous positioning of border has resulted in multiple disputes like Doklam and also a full scaled war in 1962.

4) China largely pushes the border dispute as an excuse to reject India’s claim over POK

New opportunities that can come up once a resolution is in place:
1) For a peaceful rise of Asian century both China and India are required to work in collaboration to push for the interets of the region.

2) Dispute resolution will be big push for the overall development of North East region – new economic opportunitites with China, regional stability, free from the nervous state of affairs/war, boost physical and digital connectivity
3) Positive spillover in India’s neighborhood can also be seen in the form of a well functional RCEP, RIC, BBIN, BIMSTEC grouping.

4) Chart out a clear pathway in India’s participation in CPEC

Border dispute is one of the reason between India-China animosity and is not the only reason for the rift. Structural issue like Chinese support to PAK terrorist proxies, Tibet issue, clarity of Arunachal Pradesh, conflict for strategic space still needs to be resolved.

The latest meeting of the special representatives to solve the border issue is a welcome step in this regard.

3. The diplomatic gains of isolating Pakistan in the global community are enormous and that would reap strategic dividends for India. Examine.

  • Introduction: Give small intro about the present reputation of Pakistan in global space.
  • Body: In body, the answer should contain two parts, one about gains and dividends for India. Second part how it might backfire especially on India.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion.


Finally the world countries have recognized the role of Pakistan in spreading terror around the world. With India’s growth and global outreach, we have been able to isolate them in global platforms and the gains from it are enormous to both India and world peace.


Diplomatic gains and Strategic gains for India:

  • Funding cut.
  • Sanctions
  • Restricting participations in global platform.
  • Loss of support from Western nations.
  • Kashmir issue.
  • Stability in Afghanistan.
  • Loss of US support.
  • More Attacks on its soil by world powers especially US.

Issues with isolation of Pakistan:

  • Radicalizing
  • Influx of militants into Kashmir.
  • Army takeover and fall of civilian government.
  • Talibanization of Afghanistan.
  • China’s presence in Pakistan.
  • Unrest in the region.
  • Safe haven for global terrorists.
  • Head quarter of terrorism.

Note: Explanations are required for all points. 8-10 points are enough. Give equal weightage to both part of answer.


Isolating Pakistan is a very good move and has enormous benefits to region and especially India but the problem which will arise because of this will be also enormous. There are also chances of problems outweighing benefits.  So a very careful strategy has to be worked out to deal with Pakistan in long term to create a terrorism free world.

Connecting the dots:

  • China-Pakistan Relationship.
  • Pakistan influence in the region.

Best Answer: Intersteller




4. A stable Afghanistan is key to India’s policy towards Central Asian countries. Comment. Also examine the associated challenges.

  • Introduction: Give small intro about the present condition of Afghanistan
  • Body: In body, the answer should contain two parts, one about how stable afghan is needed for India’s policy towards CAC. Second part what are the challenges for stable Afghanistan.
  • Conclusion: 2-3 line conclusion.


Afghanistan was an ancient treasure where many civilizations flourished, it was cultural and traditional capital to the region and it was the route for many ancient empires to come and conquer India. Such a country is now in ruins because of terrorism and ideological battles.


How stable afghan is key to India’s Policy towards central Asian countries:

  • Trade route: Afghan will be trade route to CAC. Industrial goods, Capital goods, agricultural goods.
  • Energy Security: Access to energy rich countries of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan etc. TAPI, Uranium Deposit.
  • Strategic needs: India’s Airforce base in Tajikistan.
  • Soft power: Education, Service sector etc.
  • Social Sector: Diaspora, culture.
  • Projects: International North south corridor, tackling string of pearl.
  • Chinese influence: countering growing Chinese influence.


  • Pakistan: ISI, Army.
  • Local militants: Taliban, AL-qaeda etc.
  • Chieftains: Battle for regional control.
  • Defence: Ill-trained defence forces to tackle.
  • Golden crescent.
  • Radicalization and religious conflicts: Minorities and caste conflicts.

Note: Explanations are required for all points. 8-10 points are enough. Give more weightage to first part.


India is playing a key role in bringing stability in Pakistan especially after US decided to pull out troops. We have contributed in training its defence forces, building of parliament, Salma Dam and providing training in various capacities. It is high time western countries also come together to establish stability in the region.

Connecting the dots:

  • Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
  • Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

Best Answer: Maximus



Q.5 Connectivity is the most vital component of Indo-Bangladesh bilateral ties. Comment. Also discuss the ongoing initiatives on this front and their potential in ensuring better regional trade and investment.


  • It is two part question
  • First you have to show how connectivity is a vital aspect of Indo Bangladesh relations
  • In the second part, mention the ongoing project
  • Conclude optimistically


Amongst its neighbours, India shares her longest border with Bangladesh. Furthermore, the geographic location of Bangladesh and the recent trends in Indian foreign policy make connectivity the central piece of India-Bangladesh bilateral ties.

  • As part of India’s Act East Policy, Bangladesh can play an important in improving the connectivity to India’s north-east.
  • Strategically, it can help reduce India’s dependence on the narrow “chicken neck” corridor near Siliguri which is vulnerable to Chinese aggression such as the recent Doklam issue
  • Neighbourhood First – growing connectivity (physical and people-to-people) between the two countries will increase bilateral trade and help counter increasing Chinese influence in South Asia through OBOR
  • Regional Connectivity is the main focus area of various south Asian forums as SASEC, BIMSTEC, BCIM, BBIN etc.

Also, people to people connectivity is important to bring the nations together which share a common history and culture. Ongoing initiatives in this regard:

  1. Kolkata Dhaka Agartala bus service
  2. In 2017 Bandhan Express railway line started between Kolkata and the Khulna – a major industrial town in Bangladesh
  3. Motor Vehicle Agreement signed between India Bangladesh and Nepal for cross-border transportation of goods and people
  4. MOU signed for linking Krishnapatnam port with Chittagong port
  5. Border Haats opened on India-Bangladesh border for people-to-people contact and small trade

Robust regional connectivity, increasing bilateral cooperation and trade can further lay the foundation for resolving long standing issues such as the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement between the two countries.

Best Answer: Sharad Sharma




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