SYNOPSIS [17th DECEMBER,2020] Day 58: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • December 19, 2020
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [17th DECEMBER,2020] Day 58: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


Q1. India’s influential diaspora is a big strategic asset for India. Do you agree? Comment. 

Approach – It expects students to write about Indian diaspora and highlight on whether Indian diaspora is big strategic asset for India.


According to Global Migration Report 2020, India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world, and it received the highest remittance of $78.6 billion (this amounts to a whopping 3.4% of India’s GDP) from Indians living abroad. 


Indian diaspora:

  • The Indian migration began in large numbers during the British rule as indentured labourers to former colonies like Fiji, Kenya and Malaysia. It continued in the post-independence period with Indians from different social strata moving to countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Gulf countries.
  • In India, diaspora is commonly understood to include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), of which PIO and OCI card holders were merged under one category — OCI — in 2015.

Indian diaspora as a biggest strategic asset for India:

  • Global labour source: With one of the largest pools of relatively low wage semi-skilled and skilled labour, India can become a critical centre of global labour sources. The past few decades has seen an upsurge of migration from India to the Gulf and, to North America. Given these emerging realities, India take advantage of these future trends to not only maximise the welfare of Indians outside the country, but also those within the country Can international migration and the Diaspora be a strategic asset for the country instead of just depleting its best and brightest.
  • Influential Positions: From Google CEO Sundar Pichai to Nobel laurete scientist Har Gobind Khorana and Microsoft CEO Sathya Nadella to world’s one among the leading music conductors Zubin Mehta, the list of NRIs and their contribution to the world goes endlessly. The President of Singapore, Governor-General of New Zealand and prime ministers of Mauritius and Trinidad and Tobago were all of Indian descent.
  • As a Pressure groups: The influential Indian diaspora affects not just the popular attitude, but also government policies in countries where they live, to the benefit of India. India benefits tremendously through these people in luring large multinational companies as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Example: lobbying for the US-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement Bill in 2008
  • Agents of change: Diaspora acts as ‘agents of change’ facilitating and enhancing investment, accelerating industrial development, and boosting international trade and tourism. Another tangible long-term advantage in nurturing ties with an active Diaspora is an accelerated technological sector.
  • Soft Power:  The spread of Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian spiritualism, Bollywood, Indian cuisine across the world has made India famous. It has even led to revival of many lost relationships with many countries.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: There are many instances where diaspora has stood up for their Indian kins in times of disaster. Example: during the recent Kerala floods, immense help in the form of men, material and money from diaspora was given. Indian diaspora residing in China’s Shanghai has contributed Rs. 32.13 lakh to the Chief Minister’s distress relief fund for Kerala floods.
  • Political power: Many people of Indian origin hold top political positions in many countries, in the US itself they are now a significant part of Republicans and Democrats, as well as the government. The three ministers Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma, and Priti Patel have held top roles in the UK government currently.

Government initiatives to strengthen the Indian diaspora:

  • There is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) for implementation of the Pravasi Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PKVY).
  • Know India Program’ (KIP) is a flagship initiative for Diaspora engagement which familiarizes Indian-origin youth (18-30 years) with their Indian roots and contemporary India.

Challenges Faced by Indian Diaspora:

  • West Asian Crisis: The volatility in West Asia, together with the fall in oil prices, has caused fears of a massive return of Indian nationals, curtailing remittances and making demands on the job market.
  • Returning Diaspora: India must also realise that diaspora in West Asia is semi-skilled and mainly engaged in the infrastructure sector. After the infrastructure boom will get over India should be ready for the eventuality of Indian workers returning. Returning to due COVID 19 pandemic lockdown.

Way forward – 

  • Deepening links within existing Diaspora: India needs to court two important, but untapped, segments of the existing Dia-spora: the young, second generation of overseas Indians; and those approaching retirement.
  • Diversify: Currently, Indias migration is concentrated in English-speaking countries for obvious reasons. The EU, Japan, Latin America and Russia should also be targeted over the next few decades. Also, there is greater scope for jobs at all skill levels in global transportation, health and home care. This requires major investments in specific educational services.
  • Increase investment engagement: Diaspora should be treated at par with other Indian citizens, including the right to work, both in the private and public sectors, and the right to buy and sell property to attract talented persons into the public sector.


The Sun never sets in the Indian Diaspora. With the versatile role of Diaspora, India could fulfil its cherished dream of being a super power and it could make much head way in its international and foreign affairs. The Indian diaspora is the bridge between their nation and India where they can grow simultaneously for betterment of their citizens. The diaspora can provide the requisite strategic impulse, which makes it all the more important to unlock their potential.

Q2. Indo-Japan relations have achieved greater strategic heights in recent years. Do you agree? Examine the background. 

Approach – It expects aspirants to write about – in first part write about strategic ties between India-Japan – in second part write about areas of concern between two countries.


“We see Japan as a natural partner in our journey of becoming a major centre of manufacturing, investments & knowledge industries” – Indian prime minister. India and Japan relation has been time tested and are major partners of development as well as defence in the Asian/indo-pacific region.


India-Japan strategic ties:

  1. Quad grouping: Both countries have a rivalry with China and to counter its behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region the two countries formed the Quad which includes the USA and Australia too.
  2. 2+2 dialogue: Japan is only the second country (after the United States) with which India has such a dialogue format. The India-Japan 2+2 dialogue is an endorsement of the special strategic partnership between New Delhi and Tokyo.
  3. Japan is the most important partner in Indo-Pacific region. After the joint army (Dharma Guardian), navy (Malabar) and air force exercises (SHINYUU Maitri-18), the two nations are looking to allow their respective naval forces to use each other’s facilities.
  4. Both countries have a rivalry with China and to counter its behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region the two countries formed the Quad.
  5. India and Japan share robust ties with cooperation in areas of defence, science and cooperation and trade.
  6. In 2014, India and Japan upgraded their relationship to ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
  7. The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that came into force in August 2011 covers trade in goods, services, movement of natural persons, investments, Intellectual Property Rights, custom procedures and other trade related issues.

The areas of concern between India and Japan – 

  • Focused on countering China
    • Both countries have border and hegemonic issues with China. So their policy stance hinges generally on China, rather than growing comprehensively.
  • Security ties
    • In matters of security realm, Indo-Japanese relationship has remained below potential, and that Japan does not accord due importance to India in its security calculus.
    • Japan has offered neither military hardware nor technology to India. There seems to be a difference in perceptions about China;
      • Japan, while highlighting its own security concerns in the East and South China Seas, is seen to play down the multiple threats that India faces from China.
  • Trade between the two countries
    • Today, India-Japan trade languishes at around $15 billion, while Japan-China trade is around $300 billion.


In a world where protectionism is becoming the new normal and tit-for-tat escalation is on the rise, Japan carves out a different path. As a reluctant globalist turned free trade champion, it is evident that Japan’s trade policy agenda will be an important tool to provide economic stability, growth and development in the foreseeable future. At a critical juncture when India is leaping to further greatness coinciding with the 75th anniversary of her Independence in 2022, Japan and India have so many potential areas to tap jointly.

Q3. What are India’s interests in ASEAN? In this regard, what are current impediments and opportunities? Examine.

Approach – It expects aspirant to write about – in first part write about Significance of ASEAN for India – in second part write about challenges related to India-ASEAN – in third part write about what further measures required.


South-east Asia is a diverse and complex region where every major culture and civilisation of the world finds a place. Since 1992, ASEAN-India partnership has evolved from sectoral dialogue to strategic partnership.


ASEAN Significance for India:

  • Economic Significance
    • 3 Cs–Culture, Connectivity and Commerce– will shape India’s ties with the ASEAN bloc.
    • Connecting India’s North-eastern states with ASEAN.
    • India is part of ASEAN led RCEP which aims to create the world’s largest free trade area with more than a third of the global GDP and commerce.
    • For the first time, bilateral trade between ASEAN and India has crossed US$ 80 billion mark.
    • Singapore has become India’s investment and trading hub in the East.
  • Security Significance
    • ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region
    • Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security has gained high attention.
    • India and ASEAN can collaborate to combat terror financing, cyber security threats, tax evasions and many more.
    • India needs ASEAN support in achieving a rules-based regional security architecture.
  • Geo-Strategic Significance
    • Partnership with ASEAN nations might help India counter the growing presence of Beijing.
    • ASEAN is seen as the most successful regional organisation next only to the EU
    • To develop connectivity through water, ASEAN and India are working on the Kaladan MultiModal Transit Transport Project.
    • ASEAN-India cooperation in maritime domain is one of the key focus areas for growth and development of the Indo-Pacific region.

Challenges related to India-ASEAN:

  • SMEs are a vital aspect of both Indian as well as the ASEAN economy, contributing nearly 45% to the Indian manufacturing.
  • However, a range of factors hamper FDI inflows and SMEs collaboration between India and ASEAN countries.
  • Some of them include:
    • challenges in establishing a supply chain
    • poor infrastructure
    • bad maritime and air connectivity
    • bureaucratic costs involved in complex tax and duty structures
    • licensing, and other business activities
  • Complexity – All the countries of the region have differing levels of socio-economic development, posing a challenge.
  • The Indian SMEs have to adjust with a new set of supply-chain strategies to each country’s varying regulatory requirements.
  • Technology – The SME sector in India is hugely dependent on foreign technologies because of lack of in-house R&D.
  • China – The CLVT countries (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand) are emerging as manufacturing hotspots for China.
  • China is increasingly outsourcing its production to countries along the Belt and Road project, mainly ASEAN members.
  • Given the low levels of manufacturing, these countries stand to gain from industrial capacity cooperation with China.

Following steps should be taken to resolve issues:

  • Technological upgrading is pivotal to enabling the SMEs to be more competitive in the global market.
  • India’s logistics sector and the supply-chain environment should be developed to a world-class level.
  • The ongoing projects and arrangements for infrastructure development and connectivity should be carried on without delays.
  • They include:
    • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway
    • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement, 2016
    • Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (linking the Kolkata with Myanmar’s Sittwe port)
  • LDCs of ASEAN bloc, like Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, are the beneficiaries of generalised system of preferences in US and EU.
  • Indian manufacturers setting up business units here are bound to get the benefits while exporting to the US and EU markets.
  • India must use the upcoming commemorative summit to project it as a lucrative investment destination for the ASEAN countries.


India’s geostrategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region depend on India’s bilateral and multilateral engagements with the countries in the region. Maintaining cordiality with ASEAN as an organisation and with the individual Southeast Asian countries remains crucial for India.

Q4.  What are India’s most critical challenges in WTO? Discuss. What has been India’s response to those? Examine.

Approach – In the introduction candidate can start by explaining historical association of India with WTO. In the first half of main body part clearly explain the kind of concerns India has with that of WTO. In the next part give how India has responded to these concerns, what measures India has adopted and what strategy it has adopted so that our concerns get addressed by WTO. Candidate can conclude by giving a brief way forward. 


India has been a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since January 1995 and also had been a member of the WTO’s forerunner General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) since July 1948. As a developing country, India has played a significant role in the proceedings of the WTO, especially in voicing its own concerns and also of the entire developing world. 


In the Doha WTO conference that took place in 2001, India emerged as the most outspoken of advocates for the developing bloc. However, there are many challenges for the Indian economy as a result of the many agreements signed as part of the WTO.

  • Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS): This agreement forbids the host country to discriminate against investments from abroad vis-a-vis domestic investment i.e. agreement requires investment to be freely allowed by nations. 
  • Peace Clause: High subsidies are seen to be distorting global trade. The peace clause protects a developing country’s food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case subsidy ceilings are breached.
  • India’s turn towards protectionist trade policy over the past years has not gone unnoticed at the WTO and a pattern is beginning to be visible when it comes to India at the WTO. For instance, USA consistently voicing the subsidy issues at WTO. 
  • Minimum Support Price and WTO: WTO’s hard stand on agricultural procurement at minimum support price is a big concern, where India is defending its complex web of minimum support prices at the WTO amid international isolation and even opprobrium.
  • Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS): Intellectual property rights seek to protect and provide legal recognition to the creator of the intangible illegal use of his/her creation. Since the law governing these aspects vary vastly across countries, the agreement stipulates a basic homogeneity of the law so that no infringement of rights occurred.
  • Due to TRIPS the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are expected to be hit the hardest. Another impact on India is expected to be in the transfer of technology from abroad.
  • Ban on Chinese Mobile Apps: After India banned 59 mobile apps of China, they have claimed that India has violated World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Which poses a challenge for India that it has to comply with the international trading norms. 
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Tariff Case: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has decided to set up a dispute panel against India. The panel is being set up on the request of Japan and Taiwan. The dispute panels of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would determine whether India’s customs duties on imports of certain information and communications technology (ICT) products infringe WTO norms or not.
  • Developed countries have been putting pressure on inclusion of non-trade issues such as labour standards, environmental protection, human rights, rules on investment, competition policy in the WTO agreements.
  • Fisheries Subsidies: WTO members are negotiating to finalise disciplines to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing. Which is a clear threat to India’s domestic fishing industry. 

India’s Response to WTO’s challenges:

  • India’s participation in an increasingly rule based system in the governance of international trade is to ensure more stability and predictability, which ultimately would lead to more trade and prosperity. 
  • India has an obvious interest in the liberalisation of services trade and wants commercially meaningful access to be provided by the developed countries. Since the Uruguay Round, India has autonomously liberalised its Services trade regime across the board.
  • To comply with WTO TRIPS terms, it required some changes in the domestic laws of countries including India. As a result, India amended the Copyright Act, the Patents Act, and the Trade and Merchandise Act.
  • Ensuring food and livelihood security is critical, particularly for a large agrarian economy like India. India is persistently demanding for a permanent solution on public stockholding subsidies at WTO.
  • India strongly favours extension of higher levels of protection to geographical indications for products like Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea, and Alphonso mangoes at par with that provided to wines and spirits under the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
  • India has responded against any inclusion of non-trade issues that are directed in the long run at enforcing protectionist measures (based on non-trade issues, the developed countries like USA and European Union are trying to ban the imports of some goods like textile, processed food etc.), particularly against developing countries.
  • Besides, India has sought a clear dispute settlement mechanism in the global agreement to end harmful fisheries subsidies.


The role of WTO in future is very crucial as world is going through extraordinary situations such as the protectionism, trade war (like USA & China), Covid-19 Pandemic and Brexit. Since the WTO is consensus-based, reaching an agreement on reforms among all 164 members is extremely difficult. One possibility moving forward could be a plurilateral agreement with a group of like-minded countries on a new set of rules that serve as an addendum (supplement) to the broader WTO.

Q5. What are your views on the consistent decline of multilateralism in recent years? How is it impacting global affairs? Discuss.


It expects students to write about multilateralism and present a viewpoint on decline declining multilateralism and its impact and its impact on global affairs. 


Multilateralism has a long history, but it is principally associated with the era after World War II, during which there was a burgeoning of multilateral agreements led primarily by the United States. The organizations most strongly embodying the principle of multilateralism are to be found in trade (the World Trade Organization [WTO]), security (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]) and environment (numerous multilateral environmental institutions also exist).



  • Multilateralism is the process of organizing relations between groups of three or more states. Beyond that basic quantitative aspect, multilateralism is generally considered to comprise certain qualitative elements or principles that shape the character of the arrangement or institution. 
  • Those principles are An indivisibility of interests among participants and A system of dispute settlement intended to enforce a particular mode of behavior.

Consistent decline in multilateralism:

  • Pursuing an aggressive “America first” policy, the Trump administration has relinquished the traditional role of the US as herald of the international liberal order and withdrawn from the Paris climate convention, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 
  • China, aiming to bend the multilateral system in its favour, is setting up parallel governance structures such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or the China Development Bank. 
  • The EU, a traditional champion of multilateralism, is internally divided and losing influence on the international scene. The G8 has shrunk to the G7, and a trade war is looming between the US and China.
  • UN and its manifold agencies have been losing their lustre, criticised for their lack of efficiency, institutional sclerosis and ideological infighting. 
  • The WTO has failed to conclude the negotiations of the Doha Agenda started in 2001, as bilateralism and protectionism are resurging worldwide, and its dispute settlement system has stalled. 
  • The complex architecture of arms control set up at the end of the Cold War is threatened by the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal.
  • The governance of the internet is forfeiting its initial aspiration of a borderless knowledge society as a few private companies are hoarding data exponentially and authoritarian states are misusing it as a tool of surveillance and repression.
  • As the current COVID crisis is illustrating, while existing multilateral mechanisms such as the WHO have excruciatingly shown their limits and shortcomings, alternative routes of unilateralism and uncoordinated action at the state levels have proven dead ends in containing the spread of the virus and are unlikely to address the global repercussions of the pandemic. 

Impact of declining multilateralism on global affairs:

  • Deadlock at WTO: The recurrence of deadlocks in the Doha Round for over the last 15 years is a clear sign of discontent from multiple stakeholders. Trump administration for the wreckage over WTO’s Appellate Body, the practice of actually blocking appointments and re-appointments of judges.
  • UN is undermined: United Nations Security Council failed to restrict terrorism by their use of the veto. In the most recent example of this power being exercised, Russia and China voted against a draft resolution that would have condemned a crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria and called on Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, to step aside. China’s rejection of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision in the South China Sea case, despite signing up to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • Rise of Nationalism: Over the past decade and more, the world has been moving in direction opposite to that of multilateralism. There has been an upsurge in narrow nationalism, an assertion of parochial interests over pursuit of shared interests. There has been increased competition among states rather than embracing collaboration.  US-China Trade war, BREXIT, US coming out of Paris Climate deal, Rise of right wing parties in Europe and decline in WTO are reflection of this trend.
  • Increasing Incidences of Lawfare: It means the misuse of existing International and national laws by several countries (via forced technology requirements, intellectual property rights violations, and subsidies), to gain an unfair advantage over other countries. For example: The imposition of extraterritorial sanction (under CAATSA) by the US has affected development in developing economies like India and China. The trade war between the US and China has challenged the existing global trade.
  • Dual Use of Global Supply Chain: Some of the developed countries have jurisdiction and control over global supply chains. Due to growing convergence between commercial interests with strategic goals, these supply chains enables them to have vast extraterritorial influence and has created new power asymmetries. For example: China through BRI is enhancing its role in global economic governance. The internet has become a distributed system of surveillance. There are fears pertaining to dual-use (commercial viability and military application) of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Finding solutions to fix the malaise of multilateralism Four sets of additional measures will be crucial:

  • Reconsidering past trade-offs: This means reconsidering past trade-offs and developing a new bargain on globalisation with better distributive mechanisms, both domestically and internationally. 
  • Multilateralism will need a brand new narrative: Appealing to global public goods and the welfare of future generations are likely to prove insufficient as rationales, especially to those who feel shortchanged and are enduring economic hardships. This new narrative will need to have individual and group appeal. It will also need to work across different levels of politics local, regional, national, and global.
  • Fundamental renegotiation of multilateral institutions is essential:  To do this effectively, it would be wise to tap into ongoing efforts of the global South (e.g., UN Security Council reform). Additionally, however, given the risks that weaponised interdependence and economic statecraft pose today, multilateral rules will have to be updated to prevent their misuse and abuse.
  • Agreeing values: Amidst the great power competition currently underway, fractures are emerging over first-order values, such as democracy, pluralism, embedded liberalism, and rule of law. 


The current context, characterized by a weakening of multilateralism, the return of protectionism and the rise of extremist political movements, undermines the advancement of that global consensus, poses a grave challenge to the world economy and threatens the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Since US and West have adopted nationalistic leaning, India should step into the leadership role by advocating the multilateral approach of tackling the pandemic, climate change and terrorism.

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