Tag Archives: IR

India’s UNSC moment Editorial 26th Jan’21 TimesOfIndia

World is changing fast today:

  • The world of today is evolving rapidly.
  • Structurally, we are seeing a re-emergence of great power contestation (now between the US and China) unlike any we have seen since the end of the Cold War (when it was between the US and Soviet).
  • Fragmented world emerging: 
    • A rising China is challenging the fundamentals of the liberal global order.
    • Meanwhile, support for an expansive American global engagement is at its lowest.
    • A fragmented world order is emerging which is redefining the norms and relationships.
  • Economic decoupling:
    • Moving away from globalization, we are now entering the phase of economic decoupling (countries not trying to not be too interlinked economically with any other country).
    • Trade relationships have got affected, with nations looking towards friendlier nations for close cooperation.
  • Multilateral institutions struggling:
    • Credibility of global multilateral institutions is at its lowest, leading to the emergence of various coalitions.
  •  Covid-19 and its impact has accentuated these trends.

India at UNSC:

  • At the beginning of 2021, India commenced its two year stint as a non-permanent member of the 15-nation United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • Besides India, Norway, Mexico, Ireland and Kenya also took their place as non-permanent members.
  • It is the eighth time that India is part of the powerful UNSC platform.
  • India won its eighth UNSC term in 2020 elections when it secured 184 of the 192 votes cast at the UN, signalling a broad acceptance of India’s global role.

India’s action agenda at UNSC:

  • India today is more willing than ever before to contribute to its share for global governance via the UNSC.
  • India made it clear that it intends to use its time at UNSC “to bring human-centric and inclusive solutions to matters of international peace and security”.
  • India also said that it intends to be “a voice for the developing world.”
  • India reiterated its commitment to raise its “voice against the common enemies of humanity like terrorism”.

India remains committed to multilateralism:

  • Today, multilateralism and global governance is facing one of the most serious challenges in the post-Second World War phase.
    In such a time, it is important for a nation like India to step up and contribute its bit, which has been a traditional supporter of multilateralism.
  • India has been emphasizing the need for “reformed multilateralism,” in line with today’s needs.
  • UNSC is a great platform for India to project its image of a responsible global stakeholder.

India is seeking to redefine its role in the changing world:

  • Meanwhile, India is also seeking to redefine its global role in a significant way as rule shaper (not just a rule follower) in the global order.
  • As a consequence, India’ss approach to multilateralism and what it wants from being part of the UNSC has also evolved.
  • Its critique of the UN has become more specific, calling for UNSC to have better representation and a refreshed mandate.

India has called for UN reform and new multilateralism:

  • India has noted that the current outdated leadership structure of the United Nations itself a challenge to its credibility and to its effectiveness.
  • The Indian Prime Minister called for a new template of multilateralism that “reflects today’s reality, gives voice to all stakeholders, addresses contemporary challenges, and focuses on human welfare.”
  • Underlining growing impatience in India about the pace of reforms in the UN, the Prime Minister asked for how long will India be kept out of the decision making structures of the United Nations.
  • The PM has been warning the UN that despite its inherent faith in the global multilateral order, India’s absence from the decision making structures and lack of genuine reforms might force India to look for alternatives.

Reform at UNSC will not be easy:

  • India will get an opportunity as part of the UNSC to put some of its core concerns on the global agenda.
  • However, it is clear by now that any reform at UNSC will not be easy, and it will definitely not be quick.
  • The divisions among major powers on the UNSC today are perhaps at their sharpest ever since the end of the Cold War, which will preclude anything significant from happening in the realm of global governance.

India should use its UNSC tenure to advance its vital strategic interests:

  • Meanwhile, India should focus on how its UNSC membership can possibly advance its vital strategic interests.
  • From leveraging its role to target issues like terrorism and maritime security to building bridges with Africa, India can do much during its term.

Conclusion:

  • New Delhi should certainly continue to demand that the UNSC becomes more representative of the changing world.
  • In the meantime, it would be wiser to spend its limited diplomatic capital on issues that have a direct bearing on Indian interests.
  • Indian diplomacy should be focussed towards making India powerful – in terms of capabilities, institutions and ideational underpinnings.
  • That alone will ensure making India the critical node of global governance architecture.

Importance:

GS Paper III: International Relations

International Relation: About G-7

About: G-7

  • G-7 or ‘Group of Seven’ is the group of the largest advanced economies of the world comprising of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.
  • It is the only forum where the world’s most influential and democratic, open societies and advanced economies gather for discussions.
  • G-7 has its origins in an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975 by the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Canada joined the group in 1976.
  • The European Union began attending the G-7 Summits in 1977. It holds all the rights and responsibilities of full members except to chair or host the meeting.
  • The G-7 does not have a formal constitution or a fixed headquarters.
  • Scope:
    • The initial scope of this group was to discuss economic issues.
    • With time, the scope of deliberations was expanded to other critical challenges, like financial crises, terrorism, arms control and drug trafficking etc.

  • G7 to G8 to G7:
    • Russia joined the G-7 in 1997 and now, G-7 was named as G-8.
    • However, Russia was expelled from G-7 in 2014 after it annexed Crimea region of Ukraine. This was seen by other members as violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukraine.
    • Thus, G-8 again became G-7.

  • Summits:
    • Annual summits of G-7 are organised and presided over by leaders of member countries on a rotational basis.
    • The decisions taken by leaders during annual G-7 summits are non-binding.

  • In the recent decades, the global relevance of G-7 has reduced with rise of other economies like China, India and Brazil. Moreover, the share in global GDP of G-7 countries has now fallen to around 40% from about 70% when it was formed.

India and G-7

  • India attended the extended G-7 meet in 2019 which was held in France. The Indian PM was invited as a special guest by the French President.
  • India was also invited for the 2020 summit hosted by the US — which could not take place due to the pandemic.
  • India had earlier attended the G-8 summit (it became G-7 from G-8 with the expulsion of Russia in 2014) five times between 2005 and 2009.

Expanding G7:

  • In 2020, the US President Trump said that G-7 as it exists today doesn’t fully represent the current state of global politics and economics.
  • He wanted to include 4 more countries- India, Australia, South Korea and Russia in it. This grouping will be called as G-10 or G-11 depending upon whether Russia is included or not.
  • However, Russia’s admission will depend on many factors.
    • For example, some of the G7 countries like Germany are opposed to Russia rejoining the group.
    • Geopolitically, Russia is also seen as an ally of China and has been critical of the US in recent times.
    • But, some sections of the strategic community in the US want the US to develop tactical ties with Russia to balance China.

What is the Chagos Islands dispute about?

Headline : What is the Chagos Islands dispute about?

Details :

The News:

  • Mauritius has called the UK an “illegal colonial occupier” after it ignored a UN mandated deadline to return the Chagos Islands.
  • Chagos is a small archipelago (group of islands) in the Indian Ocean.

About: Chagos Islands

  • The Chagos Islands are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean.
  • This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean.

 

Background of the Dispute

  • Mauritius was a British colony Mauritius was a British colony from 1810 and gained its independence in 1968.
  • In 1965, Mauritius was forced to give up the Chagos Archipelago in exchange for independence.
  • Britain purchased it and created the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), and since then, Chagos islands remained a British overseas territory.
  • In 1971, UK allowed the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands and evicted the entire population from the islands.
  • Since independence of Mauritius, the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago is disputed between the UK and Mauritius.
  • In 2017, the UN General Assembly asked the ICJ to offer its opinion on the sovereignty claim of the Chagos Islands.
  • In February 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in its Advisory Opinion, ruled that the United Kingdom claim over the island as illegal and should end its control. It asked the ordered UK to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and ruled that continued British occupation of the island is illegal.

ICJ decision however is non-binding:

  • The majority decision by the international court of justice in The Hague is non-binding and only advisory in nature.
  • However it is seen as significant as the unambiguous clarity of the judges pronouncement is a humiliating blow to Britain’s prestige on the world stage.

UNGA voted for UK to give up Chagos:

  • In May 2019, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Chagos Islands being returned – with 116 states backing the move and only six against.
  • The UN said that the decolonisation of Mauritius by Britain was not conducted “in a manner consistent with the right to self-determination” and that therefore the continued administration of the territory “constitutes a wrongful act”.

 

News Summary:                 

  • The UN had given the UK six months to give up control of the Chagos Islands – but that period has now passed.
  • The UK continues to insist that it does not recognise Mauritius’ claim to sovereignty, and insists it has every right to hold onto the islands – one of which, Diego Garcia, is home to a US military airbase.
  • As the six-month period came to a close at the end of November, the Mauritian Prime Minister said the UK was now an “illegal colonial occupier”.

 

Way ahead:

  • The deadline is not binding, so no sanctions or immediate punishment will follow – but that could change.
  • However, UN maps could start reflecting the legal fact that the UN sees this islands as belonging to Mauritius.
  • Also, Britain is going to find itself under pressure at institutions like the ICJ that it has traditionally seen as very important.
Section : International Relation

FATF group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan

Headline : FATF group ‘blacklists’ Pakistan

Details :In News:

  • In a huge victory for India, the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and Terror Financing (APG) has put Pakistan in the Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist) for its failure to meet its standards.
  • The APG is one of nine regional affiliates of the FATF.

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Background:

  • In June 2018, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan on the ‘grey list’, because of its deficiencies in the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regime.
  • Grey-listed countries are those whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Pakistan was given a 27-point action plan that was to be implemented by September 2019, and its progress on these 27 points is being monitored by the FATF Asia-Pacific sub-group (APG).
  • If Pakistan does not act based on the action plan of FATF, it could be placed in the Blacklist that comes with stringent restrictions on its financial system.
  • In February 2019, FATF continued the ‘Grey’ listing of Pakistan.

News Summary:

  • The APG recently discussed a five-year review of the Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) for Pakistan.
  • Pakistan failed in 32 of 40 ‘compliance’ parameters for its legal and financial systems, and failed 10 of 11 ‘effectiveness’ parameters for enforcing safeguards against terror-financing and money-laundering.
  • Pakistan has been placed on the lowest rung, or Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist), of the APG for non-compliance and non-enforcement of safeguards against terror financing and money laundering.
  • The APG’s final report will be published in October.

Impact:

  • While the placing does not bring any new punitive measures on Pakistan, it will mean quarterly reporting to the group on improvement in its financial safeguards.
  • The APG process is one of three review processes that Pakistan faces in the next few months.
  • In early September, the APG will meet again, to take forward the main 15-month process of Pakistan’s FATF evaluation.
  • APG will present its recommendations for the FATF plenary session in Paris in mid-October.

FATF review in October:

  • At present, Pakistan is on the “greylist” of the FATF. It is at the risk of being blacklisted by FATF, if it does not take appropriate compliance action against its 27-point action plan, before the October 2019.
  • The Paris FATF plenary in October will decide whether to remove Pakistan from the greylist, continue the listing, or downgrade it to a blacklist of non-cooperative countries.
  • The downgrade might not occur, given that any three countries in the FATF can veto it, and Pakistan is likely to secure the backing of China, Turkey and Malaysia.
  • However, the APG decision on Friday would make it difficult for Pakistan to extricate itself from the greylist.

About: Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • The Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
  • In 2001 its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing.
  • It is also termed as “international terror financing watchdog”.
  • The FATF Can be seen as a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • The FATF has developed a series of recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and terror financing.
  • The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Members:

  • Currently, FATF consists of 39 members, including
    • 37 member jurisdictions with voting powers
    • Two regional organisations – the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council
  • India is a member, as well as important countries like China, US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Interestingly, Hong Kong is also a separate member jurisdiction. 
  • Pakistan is not a member.
  • Indonesia is an FATF Observer.
  • Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), Eurasian Group (EAG), Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT) etc. are FATF Associate Members.

Functions

  • Sets international standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures
  • Assesses and monitors compliance with the FATF standards
  • Conducts typologies studies of money laundering and terrorist financing methods, trends and techniques
  • Responds to new and emerging threats, such as proliferation financing

Lists maintained by FATF

  • FATF maintains two different lists of countries:
  • Grey List:
    • Those countries that have deficiencies in their Anti Money Laundering /Counter Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) regimes but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes.
    • There are eight countries in Grey list: Pakistan, Ethiopia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
  • Black List:
    • The FATF black list means the country concerned is “non-cooperative” in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
    • Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced due diligence and counter measures, increasing the cost of doing business with the country and in some cases severing it altogether.
    • There are two countries in the blacklist: Iran and North Korea
  • Note:Following grey listing, three reviews are conducted, followed by a round at which it will be decided whether a country is to be blacklisted.

About: Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)

  • The APG is the FATF-style autonomous regional anti-money laundering body for the Asia-Pacific region, established by unanimous agreement among 13 original founding members.
  • Its secretariat was established in Sydney, Australia. 
  • APG is an FATF Associate Member.
  • It is an inter-governmental organisation founded in 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • The mutual evaluation process by the APG is separate from the FATF but it is based on the implementation of 40 FATF recommendations.
  • It consists of 41 member jurisdictions, focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement the international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.

Primary FunctionsofAPG

  • Mutual evaluations: The APG assesses the levels of compliance by its member jurisdictions with the global Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism standards through a mutual evaluation (peer review) programme.
  • Global engagement:  The APG contributes to international Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism policy development and actively engages with the global network of FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs). The APG also participates in a number of FATF working groups and in its plenary meetings.
  • Technical assistance and training: The APG Secretariat coordinates bi-lateral and donor-agency technical assistance and training in the Asia/Pacific region for its member jurisdictions in order to improve compliance with the global standards.

Section : International Relation

Can Pakistan get the ICJ to undo India’s decision on J&K’s special status?

Headline : Can Pakistan get the ICJ to undo India’s decision on J&K’s special status?

Details :

In News:

  • Pakistan has decided to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the recent revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by India.

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Theme of the topic: The topic analysis the ICJ’s Jurisdiction over the Jammu and Kashmir case

About/; International Court of Justice (ICJ)

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the main judicial organ of the United Nations (UN), established in 1945, after World War II to resolve international disputes.
  • The seat of the Court is in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York(USA).
  • The Court’s role is to settle, the cases in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States.
  • It gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it, but is not a criminal court.
  • Composition: The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • Official Languages: English and French

Note: Only countries are eligible to appear before the ICJ, and  individuals, non-governmental organisations, corporations or any other private entities are not eligible .

ICJ’s jurisdiction:

  • The nature of the ICJ’s jurisdiction is twofold:
    • Jurisdiction in contentious Cases: Contentious jurisdiction involves States that submit the dispute by consent to the Court for a binding decision. It decides, in accordance with international law, disputes of a legal nature that are submitted to it by States.
    • Advisory Jurisdiction: It gives advisory opinions on legal questions at the request of the organs of the United Nations, specialized agencies or one related organization authorized to make such a request.

Basis of ICJ’s Jurisdiction:

  • The ICJ’s jurisdiction takes three forms: compulsory, special agreement, and treaty-based.
    • Compulsory Jurisdiction: Any international legal dispute involving the UN Member States that have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction may be submitted to the Court, provided that all the States party to the dispute before the ICJ have accepted its compulsory jurisdiction.
    • Special Agreement Jurisdiction: States may also submit a dispute to the ICJ by special agreement, accepting the ICJ’s jurisdiction only with regard to the specific dispute at issue.
    • Treaty-based Jurisdiction: States may accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction with regard to particular areas of international law when they join a treaty that specifically provides that disputes will be submitted to the ICJ for resolution, such as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Is the ICJ’s Jurisdiction compulsory in Jammu and Kashmir case?

  • India and Pakistan have filed compulsory declarations in 1974 and 2017, respectively.
  • Filing such a declaration means that the concerned country (which acknowledges the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ) has the right to move the ICJ against any other country, which also accepts the same obligation, by filing an application instituting proceedings with the ICJ.
  • However, it is not clear if the jurisdiction of the ICJ will be compulsory in the J&K case since India has repeatedly said that it is an “internal matter”.

Procedure for filing a case in the ICJ:

  • In case of a unilateral application, the applicant state (Pakistan, in this case) will have to specify the legal grounds for ICJ’s jurisdiction.
  • In addition, it will need to state the precise nature of the claim, “together with a succinct statement of the facts and grounds on which the claim is based”.
  • However, Proceedings cannot begin until the country, against whom the application has been made (India. in this case), consents to the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the matter.
  • Furthermore, to determine its jurisdiction in the early stages of the proceedings, the ICJ can request the parties concerned to “argue all questions of law and fact” and cite evidence about the issue.
  • The proceedings can be instituted by way of a special agreement as well, which is bilateral in nature and in which the application can be filed by either party.

What happens when the jurisdiction of the ICJ is disputed?

  • In case there is a dispute related to the ICJ’s jurisdiction, the matter is settled by the decision of the ICJ itself guided by provisions given under Article 36 of the statute.
  • The purpose of the statute is to “organise the composition and functioning of the court”.

Can the ICJ’s judgments be revised?

  • A judgment can be revised only if there is discovery of a fact important to the matter which was not known to the ICJ and the party claiming revision when the judgment was first delivered.
  • The party asking for a revised ruling needs to assure the ICJ that the presence of the fact wasn’t simply neglected.

Section : International Relation

Headline : Explained: Sikkim, from Chogyal rule to Indian state

Headline : Explained: Sikkim, from Chogyal rule to Indian state

Details :

In News:

  • Recently, Sikkim’s longest serving Chief Minister, Pawan Chamling, became the sole elected Opposition representative in the Assembly after the remaining 12 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) MLAs defected, with 10 joining the BJP and another two joining the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM).

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Context of the topic:

  • The current political instability follows a unique event: the voting out of a government in power for the first time in Sikkim’s history.
  • However, since joining India in 1975, Sikkim has seen its government changed only twice and in both cases, the government had fallen before the new one was voted in.
  • The current events has been described as a departure from monarchic psychology to strengthening democracy.

Theme of the Topic: The topic gives a background on the transition of Sikkim from monarchy to full Indian statehood.

In Focus: History of Sikkim

Sikkim under Chogyal rule:

  • Sikkim was under the rule of Chogyals (or kings) of the Namgyal dynasty of Tibetan descent for 333 years before 1975.
  • The first ruler of Sikkim, Penchu Namgyal, was installed as king by Tibetan lamas in 1642.
  • At its zenith, the Sikkim kingdom included the Chumbi valley and Darjeeling. However, after 1706, there were a series of conflicts between the powers of the region, which included Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, resulting in a shrinking of Sikkim’s territorial boundaries.

Alliance with East India Company (EIC):

  • In 1814, Sikkim allied with the East India Company (EIC) in the EIC’s campaign against Nepal.
  • In reward, Company restored to Sikkim some of the territories that Nepal had wrested from it in 1780.

EIC purchased Darjeeling

  • In 1841, the Company purchased Darjeeling from the Namgyal rulers.

Treaty of Tumlong of 1861:

  • The Treaty of Tumlong effectively made Sikkim a de facto protectorate of the British India.

Anglo-Chinese Convention, 1890:

  • The Convention also known as Calcutta Convention demarcated the border between Sikkim and Tibet, and was signed by Viceroy Lord Lansdowne and Qing China’s Imperial Associate Resident in Tibet.
  • Later, the Lhasa Convention of 1904 affirmed the Calcutta Convention.

Indo-Sikkim Treaty, 1950:

  • Under the Indo-Sikkim Treaty of 1950, Sikkim was to become a protectorate of the Indian Government while maintaining its autonomy.

Formation of Sikkim State Congress:

  • The gaping income inequality and feudal control over key resources led to popular discontent against the Chogyal rulers.
  • In December 1947, diverse political groupings came together to form the Sikkim State Congress.
  • In 1949, the Chogyal agreed to appoint a five-member Council of Ministers, with three Congress nominees, and two of his own.

Introduction of a new Constitution and elections in the state:

  • In 1953, the Chogyal introduced a new Constitution, and four general elections were held based on separate electorates in 1957, 1960, 1967, and 1970.
  • However, plagued by distrust between the Chogyal and the Congress, none of these elections helped further democracy.

Break down of law and order:

  • In the early 1970s, violent protests took place in the state, demanding a more democratic constitution for Sikkim, as well as more powers for the elected representatives.
  • This led to a breakdown of law and order in the princely state.

May 8 Agreement of 1973:

  • This was an agreement entered into by the Chogyal, the Government of India and leaders of the political parties of Sikkim following complete breakdown of the law and order situation.
  • Both the demands of the agitators (i.e. “a more democratic constitution” and “greater legislative and executive powers for the elected representatives of the people”) were provided in the Agreement.
  • In addition, the Indian Government was “requested” to take “responsibility” for law and order and appoint a chief executive or head of administration in Sikkim.
  • Elections on the basis of one-man one-vote were introduced.
  • The Indian chief executive held complete administrative authority.
  • If any difference of opinion rose between him and the Chogyal, it was to be “referred to the political officer in Sikkim, who shall obtain the advise of the Government of India, which shall be binding”.

New Government in state:

  • In 1974, elections were held, in which the Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji emerged victorious over pro-independence parties.

Abolition of institution of the Chogyal:

  • In 1974, a new constitution was also adopted, which restricted the role of the Chogyal to a titular post.
  • The Chogyal resented this, and refused to deliver the customary address to the elected Assembly.

Protectorate to associated State

  • Also, in 1974, India upgraded Sikkim’s status from protectorate to “associated state”, allotting to it one seat each in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Referendum in 1975:

  • The Chogyal was unhappy with this move, and sought to internationalise the issue. This did not go down well with Sikkim’s elected leaders, and a referendum was held in 1975.
  • A total 59,637 voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and joining India, with only 1,496 voting against.
  • Subsequently, India’s Parliament approved an amendment to make Sikkim a full state.

Special Constitutional provisions regarding Sikkim:

  • Article 371(F) of the Constitution, provides special status to the Sikkim.

The important Special Provisions include:

  • It states that the Legislative Assembly shall consist of not less than 30 members.
  • In order to protect the rights and interests of the different sections of the population in the state of Sikkim, seats in the assembly are provided to people of these different sections.
  • The Governor shall have special responsibility for peace and equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population of Sikkim.
    • The Governor of Sikkim shall, subject to such directions as the President may, from time to time, deem fit to issue, act in his discretion
  • Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any dispute or other matter arising out of any treaty, agreement, engagement or other similar instrument relating to Sikkim.

Section : Polity & Governance

International Organisations and Reports: Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.

Headline : India protests over UN chief’s report

Details :

In News:

  • The United Nation has recently released its Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.
  • India is disappointed with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for including in the report situations in India that are neither armed conflicts nor a threat to international security.

 

About Annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.

  • The present report covers the period from January to December 2018, was submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2427 (2018).

UN Resolution 2427In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution aimed at a framework for mainstreaming protection, rights, well-being and empowerment of children throughout the conflict cycle.

  • The report highlights global trends regarding the impact  of  armed  conflict  on  children  and  provides  information  on  violations committed as well as related protection concerns.
  • The present report also include a list of parties that, in violation of international law, engage in the recruitment and use of children, the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, attacks on schools and/or hospitals and attacks or threats of attacks against protected personnel,1and the abduction of children.

Highlights of the Report:

  • Violence against Children: More than 12,000 children were killed or maimed in around 20 conflict situations of 2018. Children continue to be used in combat, particularly in Somalia, Nigeria and Syria. They also continue to be abducted, to be used in hostilities or for sexual violence,
  • Sexual Violence against children: Some 933 cases of sexual violence against boys and girls were reported, but this is believed to be an under-estimate, due to lack of access, stigma and fear of reprisals.
  • Overall decrease in attacks on schools and hospitals: Attacks on schools and hospitals have decreased overall, but have intensified in some conflict situations, such as Afghanistan and Syria, which has seen the highest number of such attacks since the beginning of the conflict in the country.
  • Access to education: Mali provides the most serious example of children being deprived of access to education, and the military use of schools.
  • Detention and release of children involved in conflict: Rather than being seen as victims of recruitment, thousands of children around the world were detained for their actual or alleged association with armed groups in 2018 (in Syria and Iraq), the majority of children deprived of their liberty are under the age of five.
  • Increase in number of children benefiting from release and reintegration: The number of children benefiting from release and reintegration support, however, rose in 2018 to 13,600 (up from 12,000 in 2017).

Recommendations given:

  • All parties to conflict must refrain from directing attacks against civilians, including children, as peace remains the best protection for children affected by armed conflict.
  • Parties to conflict must protect children and put in place tangible measures to end and prevent these violations.
  • The nations to work with the UN to help relocate foreign children and women actually or allegedly affiliated with extremist groups, with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration.
  • Increased resources and funding to meet the growing needs, as more children are separated from armed groups.

 

About India in the report:

  • India was mentioned under a section of the report titled “Situations not on the agenda of the Security Council or other situations”.
  • The report mentions terrorist groups in Jammu & Kashmir and Maoist groups elsewhere that recruit child fighters, children killed in these areas, and sexual violence against them, although India is not in armed conflict.
    • According to the report, terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoists groups elsewhere have recruited children as fighters.
    • It also added that children continued to be killed or injured in operations by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and in areas of Maoist activity.
    • The report noted that there were reports of sexual violence against girls by security forces in Kashmir citing the Kathua rape case.

 

India’s Objections to the Report:

  • India has strongly expressed its disappointment over the report.
  • The section on “Situations on the agenda of the Security Council”, which conforms to its mandate, deals with countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are in a civil war situation that overwhelms the nations. (This section also included Israel and Palestine territories.)
  • The inclusion of India and countries like Thailand and even Pakistan in an added section appears to be arbitrary because it places them on the same level as those countries covered by the Council mandate.
  • However, at the same time the report ignored countries in Central America, for example, where violence has led to an exodus of thousands of children escaping the brutalities.
  • Such attempt to expand mandate in a selective manner to certain situations only politicises and instrumentalises the agenda, obfuscating and diverting attention from the real threats to international peace and security.
Section : International Relation

Everything about About Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)

Headline : US ends Cold War nuke treaty with aim of countering China

Details :

In News:
  • The USA has withdrawn from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed in 1987.
About INF Treaty
  • The missile crisis of 1970s and 80s represented the high-point of cold war, with both USA (and its NATO allies) on one side and USSR on the other, building up their nuclear arsenal.
  • In this backdrop, the landmark  Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed in 1987 aimed to arrest the global arms race of the time.
  • The INF treaty put an obligation on the parties (USA, NATO allies and Russia) to eliminate and permanently abjure all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
    • The INF treaty does not cover missiles launched from air or water.
  • As a result of the INF Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed nearly 2,700 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of 1991.
Background to US withdrawal:
  • Russian missile development:
    • The United States has since 2014 been alleging that Russia was in violation of its INF Treaty obligations.
    • It said that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the US and its allies, particularly in Europe.
  • Chinese missile development:
    • The US officials said that China also was making similar noncompliant weapons, leaving the US alone in complying with the aging arms control pact.
    • Russia was also concerned about the treaty as it prevents it from possessing weapons that its neighbors, such as China, are developing and fielding.
News Summary:
  • With worries over Russian and Chinese missiles, the US suspended its own obligations under the INF Treaty in early 2019 and formally announced its intention to withdraw from the treaty.
  • Russia also announced that Russia will be officially suspending its treaty obligations as well.
  • With the expiry of 6 months since US announced its intention to withdraw, the US has now formally withdrawn from the INF Treaty.
Way ahead
US to develop intermediate range missiles:
  • After exiting the treaty, the US is free to develop weapons systems that were previously banned.
  • The US plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under the INF.
  • However, some experts say that the US is now years away from effectively deploying weapons previously banned under the INF agreement.
New START treaty under threat:
  • Arms control advocates worry that America’s exit from the INF treaty will lead the two nations (US and Russia) to also scrap the larger New START treaty, which expires in early 2021.
  • Trump hasn’t committed to extending or replacing New START, which beginning in 2018 imposed limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers.
Calls for inclusion of China in arms control agreements:
  • The US administration claims that with China’s growing arsenal of nuclear warheads, Beijing can no longer be excluded from nuclear arms control agreements.
  • Most experts now assess that China has the most advanced conventional missile arsenal in the world, based throughout the mainland.
  • US President Trump has expressed a desire to negotiate a trilateral arms control deal signed by the US, Russia and China.
About: START Treaties
START I:
  • START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was a bilateral treaty between the US and the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet, in short) on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.
  • The treaty barred its signatories from deploying more than 6,000 nuclear warheads atop a total of 1,600 inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers.
  • It had a duration of 15 years. Reductions mandated by the treaty were to be completed no later than 7 years after its entry into force, and parties were then obligated to maintain those limits during the next 8 years.
  • START includes an intrusive verification regime consisting of a detailed data exchange, extensive notifications, 12 types of on-site inspection, and continuous monitoring activities designed to help verify that signatories are complying with their treaty obligations.
  • It was signed in 1991, and entered into force in 1994 (delay in enforcement was due to break up of the Soviet Union).
  • Significance:
    • Start-I played an indispensable role in ensuring the predictability and stability of the strategic balance and serving as a framework for even deeper reductions.
    • By the time of the treaty’s expiration, the US and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals were significantly below those stipulated in the treaty.
  • Issues:
    • START I proved to be excessively complicated, cumbersome and expensive to continue, which eventually led the United States and Russia to replace it with a new treaty in 2010.
New START:
  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) was signed in 2010 in Prague and entered into force in 2011.
  • The treaty capped deployed strategic nuclear warheads and bombs at 1,550 while the deployed missiles and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions were limited to 700.
  • Both Russia and the United States announced that they met New START limitations by 2018, meeting the due date set by the treaty.
  • New START does not limit the number of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but it does monitor them and provide for continuous information on their locations and on-site inspections to confirm that they are not added to the deployed force.
  • Non-deployed missiles must be located at specified facilities away from deployment sites and labeled with “unique identifiers” to reduce concerns about hidden missile stocks.
  • New START’s verification regime includes relevant parts of START I as well as new provisions to cover items not previously monitored.
  • The treaty’s duration is ten years from entry into force (i.e till 2021) unless it is superseded by a subsequent agreement and can be extended for an additional five years.
Section : International Relation

Every about Sino- India Border Dispute

China destroys maps showing ‘wrong’ border

The news

  • Chinese Customs officials have destroyed 30,000 world maps printed in the country for not mentioning Arunachal Pradesh and Taiwan as part of its territory.

Background

  • China claims the north-eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet and persistently objects to Indian leaders visiting Arunachal Pradesh.
  • However, India maintains that the State of Arunachal Pradesh is integral and inalienable part of the country and the leaders frequently visit the state.
  • The two countries have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute covering 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh but with no conclusions.

 

News Summary

  • According to a report in Global Times, a Chinese media house, customs officials in China have destroyed 30,000 world maps, which were printed by China for export to an unspecified country.
  • The 30,000 World maps were “incorrect” according to the officials as they were showing Taiwan as a separate country and had wrong depiction of the Sino-Indian border.
  • They destroyed the maps as it didn’t mention Arunachal Pradesh and Taiwan as part of China’s territory.
  • They consider this step as legitimate and necessary to maintain their sovereignty and territorial integrity, considering both Taiwan and South Tibet as integral parts of Chinese territory.

 

About India China border Dispute

  • The entire disputed Sino-Indian border is depicted below.
  • The border stretches from the Aksai Chin plateau in the west (administered by China but claimed by India), through Sikkim in the middle, and across to the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (administered by India but claimed by China as ‘South Tibet’).

  • The dispute originatedin 1914, at the Anglo-Tibetan Simla Conference, where the British colonial authorities drew the McMahon Line, which established the boundary between British India and Tibet.
  • Although Chinese representatives were present at Simla, but they refused to sign or recognise the simlaconvention ‘on the basis that Tibet was under Chinese jurisdiction and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties’.
  • After independence in 1947, India made the McMahon Line its official border with Tibet.
  • Later, following the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet, India and China came to share a border with each other, which was demarcated by the McMohan line drawn by the same Simlaconvention.
  • China viewed this McMahon Line as an illegal, colonial and customary borderline.
  • After a brief period of soured relationship between India can China, armed conflict erupted between the two nations in 1962.
  • During the conflict, Chinese forces advanced deep into Indian Territory in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, before withdrawing back to their previous positions.
  • Since then, China maintains that the McMahon Line effectively sees India occupying some 90,000 square kilometres of its territory in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh whereas India says the State of Arunachal Pradesh is its integral and inalienable part.
  • On the other hand, India claims that China is ‘occupying 38,000 square kilometres of land in Aksai Chin in the North Eastern corner of Jammu and Kashmir’ and a further ‘5180 square kilometres of land in Kashmir ceded to it by Pakistan in 1963’.
  • Since then, both the countries are trying to resolve this dispute but despite over 30 years of regular dialogues, Sino-Indian border issues remain complicated and difficult.

 

About Arunachal Pradesh

  • Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India created on 20 January 1972, located in the far northeast.
  • It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Burma in the east, Bhutan in the west, and the China in the north.
  • The majority of the territory is claimed by China as part of South Tibet.
  • The northern border of Arunachal Pradesh reflects the McMahon Line, a 1914 treaty between the United Kingdom and the Tibetan government which was never accepted by the Chinese government.
  • The treaty is also considered invalid by Tibetans due to unmet condition specified in the treaty, and not broadly enforced by the Indian government until 1950.
  • This territory is administered by India.

 

Section : International Relation

Economic ties are one of the biggest positive drivers of India-China relationship but the high imbalance of trade in favour of China remains a matter of concern. Discuss along with measures to reduce trade deficit for India. (15 marks)

Economic ties are one of the biggest positive drivers of India-China relationship but the high imbalance of trade in favour of China remains a matter of concern. Discuss along with measures to reduce trade deficit for India. (15 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduce with India-China relationship
  • Make a note on facts about trade imbalance
  • Explain the reasons for trade deficit
  • Suggest measures to improve trade balance
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

India and China enjoy robust economic ties which have progressively increased over the years. China is among the top five trading partners of India. It has been hailed as among the biggest positive drivers of a relationship that is often beset with difficult political problems.

Trade imbalance:

In 2017-18, India’s exports to China touched $33 billion while imports were of $76.2 billion, leading to a huge trade deficit to India of about $43 billion. The large trade imbalance in favour of China, which imports from China much higher than Indian exports to China is a matter of much concern. Various factors causing this trade imbalance include:

  • China’s competitiveness in various sectors: China’s competitiveness in manufacturing across various sectors like manufactured goods and electronics cause them to flood India with cheap imports.
  • High logistics cost in India: India’s poor logistics and infrastructure, in terms of connectivity of efficiency of ports, insufficient warehouses etc. raise export costs and reduce competitiveness. In 2014 it cost $1,332 on average to export a container from India, compared with $823 to ship from China.
  • Barriers to services trade: Services trade between China and India remains small, with Indian powerhouse in IT and ITeS facing language barriers and various non-tariff barriers, including complex requirements for participating in contracts of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and visa restrictions.
  • Trade barriers in China: China has high trade barriers for rice, meat, pharmaceuticals and IT products from India.
  • Non-tariff barriers: Farm exports, including bovine meat, as well as pharmaceutical exports from India face hindrances in the form of complex and opaque regulatory requirements.

Some measures to reduce trade deficit for India:

  • Greater market access: India is making efforts to seek market access for various Indian agricultural products, IT services, animal feeds, oil seeds, milk and milk products, pharmaceutical products etc.
  • Lower logistics costs: Programmes like Sagarmala and great investment in infrastructure including roads, freight corridors, power and warehouses are expected to bring down logistics costs.
  • Lowering barriers in China: Government of India has been taking continuous and sustained steps to bridge trade deficit by lowering the trade barriers for Indian exports to China.
  • Manufacturing in India: Other way to help eliminate the trade deficit is to get those manufacturering in China, including Chinese, to start making goods in India.

During the 11th session of India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations(JEG) in 2018, the Trade Ministers of two countries agreed to increasing bilateral trade between the two countries in a balanced and more sustainable manner. India must ensure this becomes a reality especially considering that China is under pressure already due to its trade war with China.

Subjects : International Relations

U.S. ends waiver for India on Iran oil

Headline : U.S. ends waiver for India on Iran oil

Details :

The News

  • Recently, the United States has decided not to issue any additional Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) to existing importers of Iranian oil.

 

Background

  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and the P5, plus Germany and the EU in 2015, which aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Under the deal:
    • most of Iran’s enriched uranium was shipped out of the country
    • a heavy water facility was rendered inoperable
    • operational nuclear facilities were brought under international inspection
  • In return, the deal involved lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
  • In May 2018, the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, citing the below reasons:
    • The deal did not target Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
    • It does not focus on Iran’s nuclear activities beyond 2025.
    • It also leaves Iran’s role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
    • According to US, the ‘one-sided deal’ did not bring calm and peace to the region.
  • Later in June 2018, Iran notified IAEA of it’s nuclear enrichment plans.
  • In reaction to this, US announced sanctions on Iran again in November 2018.

Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs)

  • In November 2018, Eight countries (India, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece and Taiwan) were given exemptions from US sanctions for importing oil from Iran for a 180-day period, which is due to expire on May 2.
  • Now, the U.S. has clarified that it will not renew exemptions from its sanctions for importing oil from Iran.

 

Impact of non-renewal of waiver

  • Oil exports from Iran hit a low of 1.0 million bpd in March 2019, down from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018 and is expected to further reduce after the end of waiver.
  • India, China, Japan, South Korea and Turkey will be the most impacted by the non-renewal of waivers.
  • However, the other three currently exempted countries Italy, Greece and Taiwan have already reduced their imports from Iran to zero.
  • Also, the sanctions have provided the U.S. an opportunity to put more of its own crude on the market.

 

Impact on India

  • The re-imposition of sanctions will impact India’s oil imports and may also surge oil prices in India.
  • It may also impact the development of the Chabahar port (Iran), which has a strategic value for India allowing access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

 

Way ahead for India and Iran:

  • Options like the Rupee-Rial trading mechanism can be explored.
  • Opening of Iranian banks in India and Indian banks in Iran could also be considered. This would facilitate movement of money and income between the two countries.

 

 

 

 

Section : International Relation

The Naga insurgency has been a major threat to India’s security and integrity and can destabilize multiple states in north-eastern India. Elaborate. Also discuss various measures taken by the governments in handling the issue.

Approach:

Introduce the issue of Naga insurgency.

Explain its impact on security of India as well as that in northeastern states.

Provide measures undertaken by Government especially Naga peace accord.

Conclude appropriately.

Model Answer :

Ever since Indian Independence, the Naga Insurgency has taken many forms, including the demands for secessionism to wanton violence. The Naga Insurgency at present is driven by demand for Independent Nation – Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.

Impact on India’s security:

Violence: Thousands of lives have been lost due to violence in the region.

Secessionism: It also influences other Secessionist movements like Kuki insurgents, Bodo rebels and ULFA (Assam), HNLC (Meghalaya), NLFT (Tripura) etc in many states

Collaboration with hostile nations – There has been international collaboration with hostile countries like China, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

Extortion industry is thriving leading to loss of confidence in law and order situation.

Impact on other NE states:

Those demanding Naga nation seek to assert claims to the Naga inhabited areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur and even in Myanmar. The violence and secessionist movements influenced similar groups and tactics in other NE states, destabilizing them.

Measures taken by governments at various levels:

1. Security related measures:

oUAPA: Many militant/insurgent groups declared as terrorist organization under UAPA – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

oAFSPA: Most of NE declared as ‘Disturbed Areas’ under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

oCAPF: Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

Surrender and Rehabilitation Policy: Onetime payment and vocational training.

2. Center’s assistance to States:

Assistance for additional battalions: Sanction of India Reserve (IR) battalions, setting up of Counter Insurgency and Anti Terrorism (CIAT) schools;

Scheme for Modernization of State Police Forces (MPF scheme).

3. Border Management:

Deployment of Assam Rifles along the Myanmar border and strengthening border fencing.

4. Development related measures:

Infrastructure creation- Road, Rail, Telecom, Power and Waterways sectors

Agriculture – Horticulture promotion, Organic Farming etc.

Employment – Capacity building, Tourism, Skills training and industrial development.

Act East Policy- to link ASEAN with our North East.

5. Attempts for political solution:

Tripartite Naga Accord signed in 2015

Greater autonomy and decentralization

Special provisions like VI Schedule, Article 371 C for Manipur, Hill Councils etc.

Naga Accord has given opportunity for peace and stability in region, which can be utilized for development so that people can be weaned away from insurgency and illegal activities. At the same time more clarity can be brought regarding Naga peace accord to allay fears of neighboring states.

In Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan is fighting a hybrid war, and Indian response should also be in the hybrid domain”. Discuss.

Approach:

Introduce with Hybrid conflict

Talk about how Pakistan indulges in regular and hybrid wars against India and India’s response

Discuss why India needs to engage in hybrid war and what it involves

Conclude appropriately

Model Answer :

Hybrid war is one fought through a combination of conventional, irregular (efforts to win legitimacy and influence over the populations), and asymmetric (for example, terrorism, insurgency, guerrilla warfare etc.) means. It can include the combination of special operations and conventional military forces, intelligence agents, political provocateurs, media representatives, economic intimidation, cyber-attacks, and proxies and surrogates, terrorist, and criminal elements.

Pakistan’s hybrid war against India:

For the last 70 years, India’s response to Pakistan’s efforts at direct war have been professional and effective (1947, 1965 etc).

As a result, Pakistan has indulged in a hybrid conflict with India which extends to multiple domains, including promotion of radical ideology, creation of alienation among people, intimidation, and importantly, maintaining financial conduits for the unimpeded flow of money into the conflict system. Their cause is being furthered by the separatists in India.

Need for India to engage in Hybrid war:

In this conflict, India’s approach has been defensive, reactive and tentative. Fighting the adversary in a hybrid conflict, like the one in Jammu & Kashmir, through the military route has been ineffective.

There is an increasing body of opinion in India that the response to Pakistan’s hybrid war in Kashmir should be through hybrid warfare.

Methodology:

There is a need of for the national strategy to incorporate all elements of national power i.e. intellectual, economic, intelligence, cyber capabilities, scientific, business, trade and diplomatic.

Hybrid warfare has a strong espionage element and India needs an aggressive intelligence posture with an expertise and specialists from diverse fields like technology, economy, finance, culture, arts and politics.

Indian security community needs to indulge in information warfare and adopt proactive ways of bringing information operations to the fore while dealing with hybrid conflict.

Agencies, led by NIA, have recently been successful in targeting the financial support to radicalism and terrorism in Kashmir.

India also needs to develop the ability to conduct covert strikes in Pakistan to take out high value terrorist targets.

Hybrid warfare is not a new strategy. Since times immemorial, such tactics have been the essential instrument of the statecraft. India also has the capabilities, but not the experience. To deal with an enemy like Pakistan, hybrid war is the need of the hour. To this end, fault-lines in Pakistan need to be identified and effectively utilised for our geo-political ends.

BIMSTEC

  • It is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
  • This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. 
  • The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
  • BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
  • The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy.
  • The objective of building such an alliance was to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation in different areas of common interests by mitigating the onslaught of globalization and by utilizing regional resources and geographical advantages.
  • Unlike many other regional groupings, BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization.
  • Starting with six sectors—including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries—for sectoral cooperation in the late 1997, it expanded to embrace nine more sectors—including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change—in 2008.
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC)’s Permanent Secretariat Headquarters is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Fourth BIMSTEC summit to be held at Nepal in 2017

East Asia Summit – EAS

  • East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
  • It has evolved as a forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern and plays an important role in the regional architecture.
  • Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern in an open and transparent manner at the highest level.
  • The membership of EAS consists of ten ASEAN Member States (i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the USA.
  • EAS is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.
  • The concept of an East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad.
  • India has been a part of this process since its inception in 2005 in Kuala Lumpur and the fact that Indian Prime Ministers have participated in all the Summits, stands testimony to the importance India attaches to this process.

G-20

  • G20 was initiated in 1999 and consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU).
  • Before the outbreak of global financial crisis in 2008, G20 meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors were held to discuss international financial and monetary policies, reform of international financial institutions and world economic development.
  • The first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in 2008 in Washington D.C., United States of America.
  • In September 2009, the Pittsburgh Summit announced G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, marking an important progress in global economic governance reform.
  • The tenth Summit was held in Antalya ,Turkey in November, 2015.
  • Hangzhou in China which was the venue of the 2016 G 20 summit and 2017 venue was Hamburg Germany.

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966.
  • which is headquartered in Ortigas Center located in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines, and maintains.
  • It promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.
  • From 31 members at its establishment, ADB now has 67 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • The ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.
  • At the end of 2014, Japan holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.7%. The United States holds 15.6%, China holds 6.5%, India holds 6.4%, and Australia holds 5.8%.

International Organizations: UNHRC

  • It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
  • The term of each seat is three years, and no member may occupy a seat for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and engages the United Nations’ special procedures.
  • The General Assembly can suspend the rights and privileges of any Council member that it decides has persistently committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during its term of membership. The suspension process requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly.

UPSC CSE Mains General Studies Paper – II Syllabus

General Studies Paper – II
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

a. Constitution and Polity

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
    Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

b. Social Justice and Governance 

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Role of civil services in a democracy.

c. International relations

  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.