Chapter 1: Basic Terminology

1. Strategic Partnership Agreement:

Written Formal Agreement + Based on Common values.

  • If they have the capability to protect themselves and doesn’t require security protection.
  • Engagement on multiple dimensions except security protection. E.g. Cultural, S&T co-op, Economic, Developmental Diplomacy, Security Co-op which may include a sale or purchase of defence equipment at a privileged price)
  • India has signed Strategic Partnership with over a dozen countries across the globe. E.g. India-Japan; India-US; India-France Strategic Partnership etc.
  • It is obvious that not all strategic partnerships are equally important. Some have a dominant Political element, while others have a prominent EconomicIn some cases, the Security dimension may be the most important.
  • Both Nations retain the flexibility to continue political engagement and economic co-operation with their common adversaries.
  • It aims to avoid Entrapment or being dragged into partner’s disputes and potentially into a Conflict.
  • Regular high level political and military interactions.
  • Mutual and collaborative approach towards strategic policies.
  • “Strategic partnerships are commonly associated with defense or security related issues, but a survey of formal strategic partnerships around the world reveal they can also be quite a hold-all, covering a wide range in bilateral relations, from defense to education, health and agriculture, and quite commonly, economic relations, including trade, investment and banking.”

Why Does India Have So Many ‘Strategic Partners’ and No Allies?

Because India as an independent nation has the capacity to defend itself and doesn’t want to join any alliance. 

2. Alliance

  • A written, formal agreement between two or more states.
  • This agreement is based upon common values like Political, Economic and Religious Values.
  • Alliances can be either formal or informal arrangements. A formal alliance is publicly recognised through the signing of a treaty in which the signatories promise to consider an attack on anyone of them as equivalent to an attack on all of them.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a good example of a formal security alliance. Warsaw Pact or Warsaw Treaty Organisation

Why a Country Proposes an Alliance to other Country

A big country proposes alliance to a small country primarily with an intention to gain preferential market access in the small country. In return, the big country promises to provide security protection as and when needed. 

3. Appeasement.

Appeasement is an extremely problematic foreign policy goal.

  • It is based on the assumption that acceding to the demands of aggressive states will prevent war from breaking out.
  • The folly of this approach lies in the fact that aggressive states are rarely satisfied in this way.
  • Capitulating to their demands simply feeds their thirst for power, making them even stronger.
  • The best example of failure of Appeasement is the Appeasement policy of the Britain and France with Germany.
  • Even after appeasing Germany with the Sudetenland, Germany attacked Britain. But there are occasions also to state that the policy of Appeasement has avoided a war.

4. Anarchy

  • Lawlessness or Chaos.
  • A state has no rule in place. Such a situation can cause instability in the system. The situation then is not conducive for diplomacy.
  • Anarchy is often associated with periods of revolutionary upheaval and extreme social and political turbulence.
  • Anarchyis the state of a society being freely constituted without authorities or a governing body. It may also refer to a society or group of people that entirely rejects a set hierarchy.


  • One way of dealing with the proliferation of weapons is through negotiated arms control agreements, which have a long history in international relations.
  • Arms control is different from Advocates of the latter argue that the only way to ensure peaceful international relations is to eliminate weapons from the calculations of states.
  • In contrast, the purpose of arms control is purely regulatory. Its goal is not to construct a new world order, but to manage the existing one. Indeed, arms control may go hand in hand with an increase in the numbers and types of weapons among states.

6. Poles


  • Unipolarity is a situation in which one state or superpower dominates the international system. Many would argue that the United States is in this position today.


  • Bipolarity exists when two states or blocs of states are roughly equal in power. The term is often applied to the period of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union.


  • The alternative is an emerging multipolar world where countries cultivate their own independent spheres of influence.
  • By this design, China could be the pole in East Asia. Russia in the Eurasia region. The EU – in some form – in Europe. The US in the Americas. And perhaps India in South Asia.
  • But this could also mean the evolution of different value systems in different regions of the world with a corresponding weakening of US influence in general.


  • In international relations, multilateralism refers to an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal.
  • For the US the best bet is still multilateralism. For, this ensures that the values of democracy, liberalism, human rights and freedoms that the US has championed for decades remain the highest ideals. However, the US would have to swallow its arrogance and be more accommodative of other rising nations.

7. Balance of Power

  • The theory of balance of power says, that the world in which we live in is called a system.
  • In the system there are countries.
  • All these countries are in a state of equilibrium. Which means all these countries have equal power.
  • The equilibrium of the system can be disturbed, if one country in the system becomes powerful. It means a country can become powerful if it follows three steps
    • Political Stable
    • Economic Stable
    • Security Stable
  • Traditionally, it refers to a state of affairs in which no one state predominates over others. Prescriptively, it refers to a policy of promoting a power equilibrium on the assumption that unbalanced power is dangerous.

8. Band-Wagoning

Band-Wagoning in International Relations occurs when a state aligns itself with a more stronger and great power. Band-Wagoning is a technique sometimes used to disturb the Balance of Power. Band Wagoning is a strategy employed by the states that find themselves in a weak position or disadvantageous position.

9. Bush Doctrine

  • The Bush doctrine represents a sweeping overhaul of US foreign policy and a highly aggressive plan to reshape world order in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon.
  • There are four identifiable pillars of the doctrine.
    • The spread of democracy;
    • Threat and preventive war;
    • Unilateralism;
    • American hegemony.

10. Cheque Book Diplomacy

  • Cheque Book Diplomacy, is used to describe a foreign policy which openly uses economic aid and investment between countries to curry diplomatic
  • The term has been used to describe the Marshall Plan of rebuilding the Western Europe after the WWII.
  • The recent allegations of China waiving of loans of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • Institutions like AIIB are being signalled to be tools of Cheque Book Diplomacy by China.
  • The oil-rich Gulf sheikdoms, particularly the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have long used cash-based diplomacy to try to shape regional events and support figures sympathetic to their worldview.
  • Over many decades the United States has used foreign assistance and trade to build and strengthen alliances around the world.

Cheque Book Diplomacy : Success depends on

  • Relative utility of the Economic Carrot.
  • Economic State Craft of the beneficiary nation.
  • Other tools to build the beneficiary country.

11. Capitalism

  • An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
  • Capitalismis an economic system in which private individuals or businesses own capital goods. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market—known as a market economy—rather than through central planning—known as a planned economy or command economy.
  • Capitalismis a political and economic theory which states that individuals are free. They are free to make money, own businesses, sell goods and services and crucially own private property. Emphasis within capitalist countries is on the role of individuals rather than the state.

12. Communism

  • In theory, a communist society is organised in such a way that individuals share in the fruits of their labours equally and hold property in common.
  • Individuals contribute what they can and consume only what they need.
  • They treat each other equally and fairly, regardless of gender, age, or nationality.
  • There is no need for the coercive power of the state to keep individuals under control, and the acquisitive behaviour that is characteristic of liberal capitalist societies becomes unthinkable.
  • Needless to say, this vision has never been fully realised in practice.

13. Clash of Civilisations

  • The world is divided into a number of civilisations. They are Western, Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Japanese. Within some of these civilisations, there is a core state, often possessing nuclear weapons. Sinic civilisation has China as its core; Japan has its own civilisation.
  • Western civilisation has linked cores in the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Russia is the core state of Orthodox Christianity. In contrast, Islam lacks a core state, as does Latin America and Africa.
  • In the future, we can expect conflicts to emerge along the major fault-lines between civilisations: Orthodox versus Western Christianity and Islam; Muslim versus Hindu; Sinic versus Hindu. Africa and Latin America will remain on the side-lines.

14. Coercion

  • Coercion involves the study of threats and demands that encourage the adversary to either reverse its action or stop what it has been doing.
  • Unlike deterrence, which stresses the prevention of an attack or the use of threats by state A to dissuade its enemy, state B, from attacking, coercion consists of the use of threats by state A, or the coercer (e.g. state hegemon, NATO,UN), to reverse an act of aggression by state B.
  • To coerce a state, then, means to employ a range of diplomatic and military options. These may include economic/trade sanctions, blockades, embargoes, and precision air-strikes.

15. Debt Trap

  • A situation in which a state has to spend much of its earnings from trade on servicing its external debts rather than on economic and social development. This is one of the most crippling problems for Third World countries.
  • The origins of the debt trap for poor states lie in the formation of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1973 and the dramatic rise in oil prices that year.
  • Presently China is known to use this policy of Debt Trap Diplomacy extending unsustainable loans to the various countries especially in the Indian Ocean Region and asking them political and military concessions in return for failure to pay back the debts.
  • Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and some African Countries. The BRI of China.
  • On some occasions, the institutions like World Bank and IMF have also been used by the US as back door Debt Trap Diplomacy.

China’s Stand on Debt Trap

  • First, a pure Economic Venture
  • Projects in Foreign Countries predate the BRI. Eg. Hambantota Port in Srilanka.
  • The mounting debt in host countries is a result of fiscal mismanagement and internal functioning errors.
  • Policy of fiscal assistance is fragmented and not designed to pursue any Strategic Objective.

16. Decolonization

  • The process whereby a colonial society achieves constitutional independence from imperial rule.
  • It is the reverse of colonisation – a process whereby one state occupies the territory of another state and directly rules over its population.
  • Decolonisation amounts to the granting or return of sovereignty to the colony.
  • In contemporary terms, decolonisation is most often associated with the achievement of political independence of Africa and much of Asia from the European states after 1945.
  • It began in earnest in the early 1950s and continues up to the present day. Between 1980 and 1989, for example, Britain granted independence to Zimbabwe, Belize, Antigua, and Brunei.

17. Disagreement in International Relations

  • Disagreement in IR may be due to absence of Shared common values or even in the presence of common values. The disagreement may be natural, border question, trade policy etc.
  • Afghanistan-Pakistan Border (Pashtuns)
  • India-Myanmar (FMR)
  • The Countries then try to resolves these disagreements diplomatically through talks (formal/official). If talk fails, leading to a dead lock, suspicion arises. Mutual Suspicion may lead to violence(Violence here is Accidental, Not deliberate, Unintentional, Ceasefire).
  • During the violent campaign a state may even occupy enemies territory, however, after the ceasefire there would be withdrawal, thereby maintaining the status quo.
  • g. India-China 1962 Conflict – Unilateral withdrawal after the violence or Skirmish (Short campaign of Violence)

18. Conflict

  • Conflict occurs because of a disagreement. Border Question
    • g. 1962 India-China Conflict;
    • 1999 India-Pakistan Kargil War
  • Conflict – Disagreement – Suspicion – Violence (Long) – Short campaign of Violence is called a Skirmish
  • If the Skirmishes are not resolved i.e., unresolved skirmish, it is called a stand off.
  • At the end of these there will always be a Cease Fire. Going back to status quo.
    • E0g 2017 Doklam Standoff.
      • Ended with ceasefire and an attempt to maintain status quo.
    • g 2020 Stand Off in Ladakh – Leading to Moonlight Massacre in Galwan Valley
      • Both the countries are negotiating ceasefire – to maintain status quo.

19. War

  • “an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.” 
  • Intention to attack- and its not accidental.
  • It leads to violating the sovereignty of another country
  • That country has a right to defend/retaliate.
  • The retaliation can be proportionate or disproportionate.
  • The war ends with an agreement.

20. Civil War

  • First and foremost, a Civil War is always Internal. It happens within the country.
  • No one is attacking your country. A fight within the borders of the country.
  • It is happening amongst the people of the country.
  • Now the question is why the people of a country with in a geographical borders fight with each other.
  • The answer is “Capture Political Power” through violence.
  • It means there must be at least two groups fighting to capture power. And if there are two groups, it also means these two groups have different political ideologies. Because they want one ideology to prevail over the other.
  • This Civil War can have international repercussions. E.g. Create instability in the international system, refugee influx etc. And this situation is also not conducive for diplomacy.

21. Gun-Boat Diplomacy

  • In International politics, the term gunboat diplomacyrefers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of naval power, implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare should terms not be agreeable to the superior force.
  • A country negotiating with a Western power would notice that a warship or fleet of ships had appeared off its coast.
  • The mere sight of such power almost always had a considerable effect, and it was rarely necessary for such boats to use other measures, such as demonstrations of firepower.

22. Neo-Colonialism

Neo-colonialism is the practice of using economics, globalisation, cultural imperialism, and conditional aid to influence a developing country instead of the previous colonial methods of direct military control (imperialism) or indirect political control (hegemony).

23. Democratization

The processes associated with the spread of democracy around the world from its core in Western Europe and North America.

24. Dependency

Dependency refers to exogenously imposed conditions whereby the exposure of Third World states to foreign direct investment (FDI), unequal trade agreements, interest payments on debt, and the exchange of raw materials for higher-priced manufactured goods creates structurally unequal relations between the core and the periphery.

25. Deterrence

  • In its simplest form, deterrence consists of the following threat, intended to dissuade a state from aggression: ‘Do not attack me because if you do, something unacceptably horrible will happen to you.’ In other words, deterrence is a form of persuasion in military strategy.
  • India’s Nuclear Doctrine is a deterrent in nature and approach.

26. Diaspora

  • A diaspora is a population that is scattered across regions which are separate from its geographic place of origin.

27. North and South

The North is mostly correlated with the Western world and the First World, plus much of the Second World, while the South largely corresponds with the Third World and Eastern world.

The two groups are often defined in terms of their differing levels of wealth, economic development, income inequality, democracy, and political and economic freedom, as defined by freedom indices.

Nations in the North tend to be wealthier, less unequal and considered more democratic and to be developed countries who export technologically advanced manufactured products.

Southern states are generally poorer developing countries with younger, more fragile democracies heavily dependent on primary sector exports and frequently share a history of past colonialism by Northern states.

Digital Divide

  • The technological disparity between the North and South is what characterises the digital divide.

28. Disarmament

  • The attempt to eliminate or radically reduce armaments. It can be distinguished from the concept of arms control, which entails restraint but not necessarily reduction in the number and kinds of weapons available to states.

29. Distributive Justice

  • Distributive justice concerns the socially just allocation of goods. Principles of distributive justice provides moral guidance for the political processes and structures that affect the distribution of benefits and burdens in society.
  • The basic principle of distributive justice is that equal work should produce equal outcomes and some people should not accumulate a disproportionate amount of goods.

30. Diplomacy

  • Diplomacy is the practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of states or groups. It entails influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments and officials through dialogue, negotiation, and other non-violent means.
  • The routine business of international affairs is conducted through the peaceful instrument of diplomacy.
  • Ambassadors, ministers, and envoys are official spokespersons for their country abroad and the instruments through which states maintain regular direct contact.
  • There are three main functions of diplomacy – intelligence gathering, image management, and policy implementation.

31. Ethnic Cleansing

  • Ethnic cleansingis the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically

32. Ethnicity

  • In international relations, Ethnicity refers to aspects of relationships between groups that consider themselves, and are regarded by others, as being culturally distinctive.
  • The word ethnicity is derived from the Greek ethnos (which in turn derived from the word ethnikos), meaning nation.

33. Extraterritoriality

  • In international law, extraterritoriality refers to instances in which the jurisdiction and laws of one sovereign state extend over the territory of another, usually under a treaty granting such rights.
  • In general, extraterritorial jurisdiction is most frequently exercised by consuls and diplomats in specific countries who, in addition to their ordinary consular duties, are vested with judicial powers.
  • The term is also sometimes defined as the immunity from the laws of a state enjoyed by diplomatic representatives of other states.

34. Failed State

  • A nominally sovereign state that is no longer able to maintain itself as a viable political and economic unit.
  • It is a state that has become ungovernable and lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
  • In recent years states that have been referred to in this way include Cambodia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
  • They cannot provide basic needs or essential services for their citizens, they have no functioning infrastructure, and they are without a credible system of law and order

35. Foreign Aid

  • Money, food, or other resources given or lent by one country to another.
  • There is a longstanding debate over the desirability and effectiveness of foreign aid from rich to poor states. Supporters of foreign aid programmes argue that aid is necessary to help capital-poor countries acquire new skills and technology.
  • Foreign technical assistance spreads the benefits of scientific research, most of which is conducted by the wealthiest states in the world.
  • In addition, government-to-government loans and United Nations multilateral assistance finance numerous development projects at lending rates below commercial levels.
  • Critics of foreign aid have put forward a number of reasons to explain why it has not been effective in promoting development.
  • Friendshoring is a strategy where a country sources the raw materials, components and even manufactured goods from countries that share its values.
  • The dependence on the countries considered a “threat” to the stability of the supply chains is slowly reduced. It is also called “allyshoring”.
  • For the US, Russia has long presented itself as a reliable energy partner, but in the Ukraine war, it has weaponized the gas against the people of Europe.
  • It’s an example of how malicious actors can use their market positions to try to gain geopolitical leverage or disrupt trade for their own gain.
  • The purpose of Frienshoring is to insulate countries’ supply chains from less like-minded nations, such as China in case of the US.


An endeavour to eradicate a people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion.

Article 2 of the United Nations Convention of the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of

Genocide lists five genocidal acts:

  • 1 killing members of the group;
  • 2 causing serious bodily or mental arm to members of the group;
  • 3 deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • 4 imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • 5 forcibly transferring children from the group to another group.

37. Geopolitics 

  • It is the study of the effects of Earth’s geography (human and physical) on politics and international relations.
  • At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables
  • Geopolitics focuses on political power linked to geographic space. In particular, territorial waters and land territory in correlation with diplomatic history.
  • Topics of geopolitics include relations between the interests of international political actors focused within an area, a space, or a geographical element; relations which create a geopolitical system.

38. Hegemony

It is the political, economic, or military predominance or control of one state over others.

In international relations theory, hegemony denotes a situation of

  1. great material asymmetry in favour of one state, that has
  2. enough military power to systematically defeat any potential contester in the system,
  3. controls the access to raw materials, natural resources, capital and markets,
  4. has competitive advantages in the production of value added goods,
  5. generates an accepted ideology reflecting this status quo; and
  6. Is functionally differentiated from other states in the system, being expected to provide certain public goods such as security, or commercial and financial stability.

39. Humanitarian intervention

  • It refers to (forcible) action by one state or a group of states in the territory of another state without the consent of the latter, undertaken on humanitarian grounds or in order to restore constitutional governance.
  • It usually involves military force, but it need not. In short, the intervention is undertaken by one state or group of states on behalf of citizens in another state, often against their own government.
  • Humanitarian intervention must be distinguished from humanitarian aid, whose delivery requires the consent of the receiving government. Humanitarian aid is consistent with state sovereignty. Humanitarian intervention is not.

40. Imagined Community

  • It is a condition in which the people come to believe that, as individuals, they are members of a particular nation that is entitled to sovereignty over a piece of territory and can feel so loyal to their nation that they are prepared to die in its defence.
  • It argues that nationalism has to be understood not in relation to self-consciously held political ideologies, but in relation to the large cultural systems that preceded it.


  • A policy aimed at conquering or controlling foreign people and territory.
  • The essence of an imperial state is that it seeks to derive a benefit of some sort from those states and people unable to defend themselves against its superior military and/or economic force.


  • The condition of a relationship between two parties in which the costs of breaking their relations or of reducing their exchanges are roughly equal for each of them.
  • In the study of international relations, interdependence between states has two dimensions: sensitivity and vulnerability. Sensitivity refers to the degree to which states are sensitive to changes taking place in another state. O
  • Vulnerability refers to the distribution of costs incurred as states react to such changes


  • A political strategy committed to minimal diplomatic participation in the international system.
  • The fundamental idea behind isolationism is that a state will be more secure and less prone to external interference if it limits its contact with other states.
  • Indeed, the tension between isolationism and internationalism is an enduring source of controversy in American diplomacy
  • Lebensraum
  • The territory which a group, state, or nation believes is needed for its natural development.
  • Following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, Lebensraumbecame an ideological principle of Nazism and provided justification for the German territorial expansion into Central and Eastern Europe.


  • Nuclear material that has been stolen from installations and military bases in the former Soviet Union and offered for sale on the black market.
  • This material includes warheads, weapons components, and fissile material such as highly enriched uranium (HEU) and weapons-grade plutonium.
  • The implications of ‘loose nukes’ are quite terrifying, particularly if they fell into the hands of terrorist organisations because this would automatically give them enormous political leverage

45. Mercantilism

  • The economic theory that trade generates wealth and is stimulated by the accumulation of profitable balances, which a government should encourage by means of protectionism.
  • Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal.
  • These policies aim to reduce a possible current account deficit or reach a current account surplus.
  • Mercantilism includes measures aimed at accumulating monetary reserves through a positive balance of trade, especially of finished goods.
  • Historically, such policies frequently led to war and also motivated colonial expansion. Mercantilist theory varies in sophistication from one writer to another and has evolved over time

46. Mercenary

  • A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military.
  • Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests.
  • In many countries, ruling authorities seek intervention by outside states even at times asking the Great Powers to intervene. However, the great powers at times are reluctant seeing the cost benefit analysis.
  • Sometimes they even seek intervention by United Nations peacekeeping forces. Given the difficulties of gaining consent by warring factions and the reluctance of troop-contributing states to provide forces and funding, this is often not a realistic option.
  • Thus it is not surprising that many governments are turning to the private sector in search of services traditionally provided by the public sector.


  • This term refers to three characteristics or principles underlying relations among states or groups of states and other actors in specific issue areas (particularly trade). The principles are non-discrimination, indivisibility, and diffuse reciprocity.
  • Although it is often argued that multilateral forms of cooperation provided the basis for the expansion of global trade in the second half of the twentieth century, today Regional Trade Arrangements are proliferating.


  • Nations and states may seem identical, but they are not.
  • States govern people in a territory with boundaries. They have laws, taxes, officials, currencies, postal services, police, and (usually) armies. They wage war, negotiate treaties, put people in prison, and regulate life in thousands of ways. They claim sovereignty within their territory.
  • By contrast, nations are groups of people claiming common bonds like language, culture, and historical identity. Some groups claiming to be nations have a state of their own, like the French, Dutch, Egyptians, and Japanese. Others want a state but do not have one: Tibetans, Chechnyans, and Palestinians, for example.

49. Nationalism

  • Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference, that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power.
  • It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics of culture, ethnicity, geographic location, language, politics, religion, traditions and belief in a shared singular history.
  • Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation’s traditional cultures.
  • It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism.
  • Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism.

50. Newly Industrialized Countries

  • A group of countries in East Asia that has achieved remarkably high rates of growth over the past 40 years. Often referred to as the ‘Asian tigers’ or the ‘four dragons’, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have demonstrated that it is possible for some former Third World economies to develop into economic and industrial giants.

51. Nuclear Umbrella

  • nuclear umbrellais a guarantee by a nuclear weapons state to defend a non-nuclear allied state. The context is usually the security alliances of the United States with Japan, South Korea, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (much of Europe, Turkey, Canada), and Australia, originating with the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
  • For some countries, it was an alternative to acquiring nuclear weapons themselves; other alternatives include regional nuclear-weapon-free zones or nuclear sharing.

52. Para Diplomacy

  • It introduces the idea of decentralisation of political power to make regional governments prominent actors in the international sphere.

53. Peace-Enforcement 

  • Peace enforcement is the use of military force to compel peace in a conflict, generally against the will of combatants. To do this, it generally requires more military force than peacekeeping operations.
  • The United Nations, through its Security Council per Chapter VII of its charter, has the ability to authorize force to enforce its resolutions and ceasefires already created.

54. UN Peacekeeping 

  • Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peace Operations as “a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace”. 
  • Peacekeeping operations are normally set up by the Security Council, which decides the operation’s size, its timeframe, and its mandate.
  • Since the UN has no military or civilian police force of its own, member states decide whether to participate in a mission, and if so, what personnel and equipment they are willing to offer.
  • Military and civilian personnel in peacekeeping operations remain members of their own national establishments but serve under the operational control of the UN, and they are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the exclusively international character of their mission.

55. Phoney War

  • A period or time, during which people or government are officially at War but are not in fact fighting.


  • Pre-emption constitutes one of the central tenets of the Bush doctrine. In international relations, pre-emption or preventive war refers to a state’s willingness and ability to attack another state that poses an imminent threat to its national security.


  • The main focus of preventive diplomacy is to identify and respond to brewing conflicts in order to prevent the outbreak of violence.
  • Supporters of preventive diplomacy believe that conflicts are easier to resolve before they become violent. Once a violent conflict has erupted, it is extremely difficult to bring it to an end.
  • Preventive diplomacy offers the possibility of avoiding much of the pain and suffering associated with violent conflict and the hurting stalemate that so often follows violence.

58. Prisoner’s Dilemma

The prisoner’s dilemma is a standard example of a game analysed in game theory that shows why two completely rational individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.

59. Public Goods

  • Public goods are recognised as having benefits that cannot easily be confined to a single buyer or set of buyers. Yet once they are provided, many can enjoy them for free.

60. Rapprochement

  • Rapprochement means resumption of good relations after a conflict of irritation in relationship.
    • India-Nepal Relations
    • Indi-Maldives Relations


  • This term refers to intensifying political and/or economic processes of cooperation among states and other actors in particular geographic regions (Eg ASEAN, EU etc).
  • In international relations, regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose combined with the creation and implementation of institutions that express a particular identity and shape collective action within a geographical region.
  • Regionalism is one of the three constituents of the international commercial system.


  • A state that regularly violates international standards of acceptable behaviour.
  • Over the last decade Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea have all been given this highly pejorative label.
  • It evokes images of a state that is outwardly aggressive, a threat to international peace, highly repressive, xenophobic, and arrogant, and which has no regard for the norms of international society.

63. Sanctions

  • Many people consider sanctions a peaceful and effective means to enforce international law.
  • Under Article 41 of the United Nations (UN) Charter, the Security Council may call on member states to apply measures not involving the use of armed force to give effect to its decisions.
  • Typically, sanctions cut off trade and investments, preventing a target country from buying or selling goods in the global marketplace. Sanctions may aim at particular items like arms or oil.
  • They may cut off air traffic, suspend or drastically curtail diplomatic relations, block movement of persons, bar investments, or freeze international bank deposits.
  • Sanctions can be imposed unilaterally or multilaterally. US as a nation is known for imposing large number of unilateral sanctions. Once UN sanctions are in place, a Sanctions committee of the Security Council, which operates secretively, supervises them.

64. Shuttle Diplomacy

  • It is a type of diplomacy wherein which a third country or an outside party is serving as an intermediary between the countries having a dispute.
  • It happens generally when, the conflicting countries do not take part in direct negotiations. In this scenario, the third party travels from one state to other state to settle the issue. When this type of diplomacy is involved it is called Shuttle Diplomacy.

65. Soft Power

  • Soft poweris the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than coerce (contrast hard power).
  • Power in international relations has traditionally been understood in the context of military and economic might.
    • It is known as Hard power (which is quantifiable)
    • Hard power is deployed in theform of coercion: using force, the threat of force, economic sanctions etc.
  • In contrast to the coercive nature of Hard power, Joseph Nye suggested concept of soft power in post cold war world
    • Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction.
    • The three pillars of soft power are: political values, culture, and foreign policy.
    • Nye argues that successful states need both hard and soft power, the ability to coerce others as well as the ability to shape their long-term attitudes and preferences.
      • For Instance, The United States can dominate others, but it has also excelled in projecting soft power, with the help of its companies, foundations, universities, churches, and other institutions of civil society.

What are India’s Dimensions of Soft Power?

India is unique country to be bestowed with multidimensional soft power. for eg:

  • Ayurveda
  • Buddhism
  • Cricket, Culture
  • Democracy, Diaspora, Hydro Diplomacy
  • Entertainment: Bollywood
  • Food (Indian style of cooking and spices)
  • Gandhian ideals
  • Colonial historical linkages with the nations
  • Yoga

Hard Power

  • Hard poweris coercive power executed through military threats and economic inducements and based on tangible resources such as the army or economic strength. For E.g. America imposing sanctions on Iran.

Smart Power

  • Using soft power or hard power according to the requirement.

Sharp Power

  • Using manipulative diplomacy to influence the targeted country towards your goal is called Sharp Power.

66. Sovereignty

  • Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies.
  • In international law, sovereignty is the exercise of power by a state. 
  • The concept of sovereignty originated with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, when governments ceased to support co-religionists in conflict.
  • Thus the extraterritorial authority of the Roman Church in particular was severely weakened, giving rise to the development of the secular nation-state.

67. Super Power

  • The term ‘superpower’ implies that there is a hierarchy of power among states.
  • It is a state that plays a crucial leadership role in the international system and is able to gain the allegiance of other states.
  • Within its sphere of influence, a superpower can impose its political will on smaller states with relative impunity.
  • Not only does a superpower have the capacity to project effective military power far from its territory, but it also has enormous military resources at its disposal.
  • Finally, one might argue that a superpower has special duties with respect to the maintenance of international order and holds a privileged status in international forums such as the United Nations.

68. Thaw

Relations becoming softer and warmer after a long time.

E.g. Relations between India and China improving after 1962 war when the then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi visited China.

69. Third World

  • This term is used (loosely) to refer to the economically underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, considered as an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birth-rates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries.
  • The First World is the developed world – US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan – and the newly industrialising countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan), Australia and New Zealand.
  • The Second World is the ex-communist world led by the former Soviet Union (USSR).
  • With the demise of the USSR and the communist bloc, there is of course no longer a Second World.
  • The Third World is the underdeveloped world – agrarian, rural, and poor.
  • Many Third World countries have one or two developed cities, but the rest of the country is poor.
  • Many parts of Central and Eastern Europe should probably be considered part of the Third World.

70. Fourth World

The term ‘Fourth World’ applies to some of the very poorest countries, especially in Africa, that have no industrialisation, are almost entirely agrarian (based on subsistence farming), and have little or no hope of industrialising and competing in the world market.


  • Unilateralism is a process in which one state acts independently of other states to implement and enforce its foreign policy objectives.
  • Unilateralism, in this sense, is closely tied to promoting the national interests of one state, even if it means unduly disrupting the peace and security achieved on other issues.
  • It should also be noted that only under certain conditions of self-defence does international law, or the UN Charter in this case, sanction unilateral actions.

72. Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

  • Wolf warrior diplomacy describes an aggressive style of diplomacy adopted by Chinese diplomats in the 21st century, under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s administration.
  • Dubbed “wolf-warrior diplomacy,” this new approach seems popular inside China and reinforces a presumed transition of Chinese diplomacy from conservative, passive, and low-key to assertive, proactive, and high-profile.


Chapter 2: India's Foreign Policy and Principles


Ministry of External Affairs: Agency that conducts the Foreign Relations

The Ministry of External Affairs is the Indian government’s agency responsible for the foreign relations of India. The Minister of External Affairs holds cabinet rank as a member of the Council of Ministers.

Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is current Minister of External Affairs. The Ministry has a Minister of State V Muraleedharan.

The Indian Foreign Secretary is the head of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and therefore, serves as the head of all Indian (ambassadors) and high commissioners.

Core Institutions that aid in Foreign Policy

  • FP bears the stamp of the ideological underpinnings of the PM, this is primarily due to the fact that the External Affairs ministry for a long time was under the PM directly after the Independence of the country.
  • The PMO Office, while supporting the PM also contributes in shaping the Foreign Policy of our country.
  • The External Affairs Ministry has evolved to be the most important executive arm of the government in shaping its Foreign Policy.
  • Political Party in Power also casts a shadow on the International relations showcasing its historical legacy of friends and foes in dealing with various countries on the international platform.
  • It’s a blend of Actors, Personality Politics, Neurological impulses and institutional support. Institutional influence on the execution of the Foreign Policy is above the personal diplomacy of the leader many a times.
  • The long culture of the country manifests in the form of institutional functioning which may supplement the leaders charismatic personality or even negate the thoughtless misadventures at times.

Foreign Relations during the Ancient Times

During 5th century B.C, ancient India was in connection with Rome. Herodotus in his book Histories gives information about the ancient India’s relations with Roman and Greek Rulers.

A book called Natural Historica written by Pliny in first century A.D. gives the picture of trade links between India and Italy. This gives us clarity that India has been connected to Europe through trade, politics and maritime connection for more than 2000 years now.

Various artifacts, merchandise, trading and coin exchange have been found which give us ample of evidence that the connections were strong and consistent. Along with Europe, ancient India had connections with China for more than 1500 years now.

This is supported by the evidence we found in accounts written by famous Chinese travelers to India namely Fa-Hien, Hieun Tsang and It-sing.

  1. Fa-hien visited India during the reign of Chandragupta II.
  2. Hieun Tsang visited India during the reign of Harshvardhan.
  3. It-sing in his book ‘A record of the Buddhist Religion as practiced in India and the Malay Archipelago’ tells about his education at Nalanda.

Two important scriptures of India, Ramayana and Mahabharata were the strong foundations of Foreign Relations of Ancient India.

When Lord Rama ruled the land of India almost 7000 years ago, he developed relations with other countries on spiritual grounds. According to Ramayana, India had relationship with Sri Lanka on the basis of religion and spirituality. The relations sustain even today

How does Past influence Indian Foreign Policy

  • US has had a past which is based on violence. The past is American Revolution. The Birth is the result of a civil war and it tries to champion the cause of Democracy.
  • The past of the US influences its behaviour. It displays bullying attitude.
  • China born as a result of Chinese Revolution – 1949 Civil War.
  • Past not only explains the present behaviour, it also explains the future behaviour.
  • US will never treat people equally. Indira Gandhi disturbed this. She wanted US to engage with India on equal terms.
  • Russian President : Vladimir Putin
  • Israel – Jews (Historically Persecuted) – Why? Most Hardworking and developed Economically – resulting in Insecurity. Still they lived and prospered. They now live in a territory where they never historically lived.
  • The importance of Past is that it helps in understanding the present behaviour of a state and helps in assessing the future behaviour the state ought to display.

How does Geography influence Indian Foreign Policy

  • Resource : The abundance of the resources attracted the foreign invaders to India. Be it natural resources or richness of our religious temples or kingdoms, all attracted the negative eyes of these invaders.
  • Gradually, the traders turned our masters with the sole intention to plunder our resources and left the country at the crossroads of peril.
  • Location : Even location wise India is located on a Geo-Political landscape en-route of the world trading routes. The possession of India provided them with access to the strategic trade routes and control of the choke points of trade.

Role of Diaspora in India’s Foreign Relations

As many as 44 million people of Indian origin live and work abroad and constitute an important link with the mother country. An important role of India’s foreign policy has been to ensure their welfare and wellbeing within the framework of the laws of the country where they live.

Historically the Indian Diaspora has been effectively used to coerce, ice breaking and also bridging the cultural gap between India and the other countries. The Indian Diaspora has emerged as an important pillar of its Foreign Policy.

Indophilia or Indomania is love, admiration or special interest for India or its people and culture. Indophile is someone who loves India, Indian culture, cuisine, religions, history or its people.

What are the Moral Aspects of India’s Foreign Policy?

Panchsheel (Five Virtues): They were formally enunciated in the Agreement on Trade between the Tibet region of China and India signed on April 29, 1954, and later evolved to act as the basis of conduct of international relations globally.

These Five Principles are:

  1. Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
  2. Mutual non-aggression
  3. Mutual non-interference
  4. Equality and mutual benefit
  5. Peaceful co-existence

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World is One Family): It is based on the concept of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.

In other words, India views the entire world community as a single large global family, where members live in harmony, work and grow together, and have trust in one another.

Proactive and Impartial Assistance: India does not hesitate in promoting democracy wherever potential exists.

This is done by proactively providing assistance in capacity building and strengthening the institutions of democracy, albeit with the explicit consent of the concerned Government. (Ex. Afghanistan).

Global Problem-Solving Approach: India advocates a global debate and global consensus on issues of global dimensions such as world trade regime, climate change, terrorism, intellectual property rights, global governance, health hazards.

Under the Vaccine diplomacy initiative, India exported 60 million doses, half on commercial terms and 10 million as grants.

Approach to India’s Foreign Policy?

  1. Promoting  national  interest  is  the  basic  objective  of  foreign  policy.
  2. Balancing Internal and External Development
  3. Pouring Ethical Values in Foreign Policy
  4. Policy Evolution Along with Maintaining Basic Principles
  5. Shaping the Global Agenda
  6. Diplomacy for Development
  7. Non-Reciprocity
  8. Realistic Intention to help
  9. Collective Approach to Tackle Environmental Issues

How does India’s Foreign Policy Reflect Its Active National Interest?

India First Policy: With 75 years of independence, the country has a greater sense of confidence and optimism in articulating an “India First” foreign policy. India decides for itself, and its independent foreign policy cannot be subject to intimidations.

Realistic Diplomacy: Today’s self-confident India has a new voice in the global firmament, rooted in its domestic realities and civilizational ethos, as well as firm in the pursuit of its vital interests.

Maintaining Balance of Power to its Advantage: From being the only global power to challenge China’s Belt and Road Initiative as far back as 2014 to responding to Chinese military aggression with a strong military pushback.

Growing Economic Ties: Since India’s economic interdependence with the rest of the world deepens, it has become more observant of markets for its products, sources of raw materials, and potential recipients of its expanding foreign aid.

Multi Aligned Approach: From the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad) to the BRICS, there is a long list of memberships that India holds.

Intervention over Interference: India does not believe in interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

What are the Challenges to India’s Foreign Policy?

Limitations of its military instruments

Diffidence in wielding coercive power acts

Russia Ukraine Issue: It is certainly a complex international political issue when countries like India find it difficult to choose between politics and moral imperative.

Russia is a trade partner, and it has leverage in the Eurasian region, and by going directly against Russia, India will jeopardize its interests in the region.

As realist prudence demands, India cannot simply undertake a moralist standpoint on Russia-Ukraine Conflict and ignore the dictates of politics.

Internal Challenges: A country cannot be powerful abroad if it is weak at home.

India’s soft power assets make sense when they are supported by its hard power.

Former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam repeatedly made the case that India can play an effective role on the world stage when it is strong internally as well as externally.

Refugee Crisis: In spite of not being a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, India has been one of the largest recipients of refugees in the world.

The challenge here is to balance protection of human rights and national interest. As the Rohingya crisis unfolds, there is still a lot that India can do to facilitate the finding of long-term solutions.

These actions will be key in determining India’s regional and global standing on human rights.


Chapter 3: Foreign Policy under various PMs since Independence


National Interests

  • “The meaning of national interest is survival—the protection of physical, political and cultural identity against encroachments by other nation-states”
  • The foreign policy of each nation is formulated on the basis of its national interest and it is always at work for securing its goals. It is a universally accepted right of each state to secure its national interests. A state always tries to justify its actions on the basis of its national interest.
  • The behaviour of a state is always conditioned and governed by its national interests. Hence it is essential for us to know the meaning and content of National Interest.
  • Hitler justified expansionist policies in the name of “German national interests.”
  • The US presidents have always justified their decisions to go in for the development of more and more destructive weapons in the interest of “US national interest.”
  • China justified its border disputes with India and the Soviet Union in the name of attempts to secure the national interests of China.

Methods for the securing of National Interests

  • Diplomacy
  • Propaganda
  • Economic Means
  • Alliances and Treaties
  • Coercive Means

While formulating the goals and objectives of national interest, all the nations must make honest attempts to make these compatible with the international interests of Peace, Security environmental protection, protection of human rights and Sustainable Development.

Grand Strategy

  • It is an aggregation of national resources and national capacity of a country.
  • It includes a combination of military, diplomatic, political, economic, cultural and moral capabilities a nation deploys in the service of national security.
  • A grand strategy is all about protection of domestic values.
  • Every State has certain values and to uphold these values are the primary goals of every state.
  • But as a state cannot protect all values, it resorts to satisfactorily protecting the few it holds the most sacred.
  • In case these values are threatened by a state or a non state actor, how the state deploys its resources to protect these values is known as Grand Strategy

Strategic Culture

  • Culture is the set of behaviour, belief, values and symbols that have been developed retained and handed over to the next generations in history. Strategic culture, therefore, is the set of the same in the context of the state behaviour in the matters considered as strategic.
  • The sources of the strategic culture of a nation-state are its geography, history, national culture, politics, economics, technology, etc.
  • The strategic can be understood in many ways as it has become a multidisciplinary term due to its importance for achieving a goal. But, strategic in its traditional meaning in International Politics/Relations has been primarily related to the military goals of a nation-state. 
  • The way a country responds to an external threat is called as a Strategic Culture.
  • This hel
  • ps as a deterrent strategy as the enemy knows the level of retaliation.

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “Jawaharlal Nehru”

Characteristics of Cold War

  1. Security Alliances
  2. Adversial Diplomacy
  3. Arms Race
  4. Bipolar Global Configuration
  5. Brinkmanship
  6. Assertive Intervention
  7. Unrelieved Hostility


  • Non-Alignment was India’s response to the Cold War. The focus was on having healthy engagement with World based on national interests. Under Non-Alignment India retained the power to take decisions based on autonomy and national interests and contributed to world peace by staying away from the Arms Race, yet challenged the Core Fundamentals of the Bipolar World.
  • Non-Alignment acted as a global stabilizer and reflected India’s latent leadership ambitions.

Core of the Non-Alignment

  • Interact with all nations but stay away from power politics
  • Resolve all international disputes peacefully
  • Emerge as a third force and not a third bloc
  • Serve own national interests
  • Re-distribute global resources for economic development
  • Maintain your distinct identity and autonomy in Foreign Policy
  • Have faith in UNO

Non-Alignment – What the countries agreed to follow

  • Independent Course of action in their Foreign Policy
  • Commonly oppose Colonialism, apartheid, racialism and imperialism
  • Will not join military blocs and not conclude military specific treaties
  • Not to allow superpowers to use their territories as military bases.
  • Strive for world peace
  • Not to resort to any form of Arms Race
  • Put up a Common cause of the Third World countries
  • Strive for “New International Economic Order”
  • Enhance the bargaining power of the Global South over the Global North.

Steps to revive the spirit of Non-Alignment in the Post Cold War Era

  • As a forum to bring consensus on the IPR issue
  • As a forum to bring consensus on the Historical Responsibility on Polluting the World by the North and a consensus on Environmental Policy.
  • As a platform to seek better bargain for the nuclear resources
  • As a forum to bring balance in the representation in the forums like United States, World Bank, IMF & WTO etc.

National Interest : 1 – Industrial Development will advance India’s International Image

National Interest : 2 – Potential of India as a Great Power through Non-Alignment

National Interest : 3 – Prevent Subjugation of India to a foreign rule again

National Interest : 4 – Preservation of International Peace

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “Lal Bahadur Shastri”

  • He was the PM for a very short period of time.
  • He was known to be an idealist, however, gave utmost importance to the national interests above all.
  • His FP was greatly concerned with Security imperative.
  • Shastri Continued the tradition of Non-Alignment. However, when he was confronted with a challenge to the Sovereignty of India, he ordered the military to retaliate and ensure that adversary gets the message strongly that challenge to India’s territorial Sovereignty and Integrity shall not be accepted.
  • Therefore, India’s FP adopted Global Welfarism as a goal. This outlook of FP has remained in tact till today, and in years to come it will only get broadened.

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “Indira Gandhi”

  • During the Period of Indira Gandhi, the essence of Non-Alignment remained the same, but it was given new character.
  • She transformed Non-alignment by giving it an economic Colour.
  • Non-Alignment will be used for helping development in other countries. This is something Nehru has never said, because at that time India’s position was something different. That is the reason why his focus was in convincing people to stay independent.
  • However, by 1970s India developed some capabilities.
  • This is the time when we saw shift in the leadership aspiration of India. We will offer developmental support. So that it contributes to larger global welfare.
  • Therefore, India’s FP adopted Global Welfarism as a goal. This outlook of FP has remained in tact till today, and in years to come it will only get broadened.
  • In her FP she also said India has Global Power Aspirations.
  • While the domestic economy became more inward, the foreign policy economics became outward.
  • With this we can say that the IFP was dynamic in nature and not influenced by the Domestic Economic Policy.

National Interest : 1 – Equality as a basis for Global Engagement

National Interest : 2 – India as a Military Power

National Interest : 3 – Foreign Policy based on the Merit of each situation

Indira Gandhi infused pragmatic economic cooperation as a core element of Non-alignment. However, militarily she stated that a challenge to India’s Sovereignty shall have unimaginable consequences and dismemberment of Pakistan for repeated military aggression against India proved the point. The FP of IG was also influenced by the domestic change in the capabilities that we achieved. She emphasized on equality and Welfarism as core goals of IFP. She articulated global power aspirations for India.

Conditions when “Rajiv Gandhi” became PM & his Core FP

  • One thing we need to understand here that he came at a very volatile time.
  • The challenges that he had were very different from the challenges that his predecessors had.
  • Focus should be on a liberal economy. It will make the domestic economy outward and will fasten India’s development. If development picks up we will modify our global aspirations.
  • Focus should be on engaging with anyone who can fasten our development. This was a departure from the past. This led to enhancing India’s ties with US and China. The objective of the engagement was more driven by the National Interest of India.
  • India is a dominant power of the region. India will assert power. The fear was that India never defined this region. It was left to the wild interpretations of others. However, the neighbours didn’t like this stand of India.
  • If an adversary develops nuclear capability, so will India.

National Interest : 1 – Blend of Idealism and Realism

National Interest : 2 – Policy of “Enlightened Self-Interests

  • Rajiv Gandhi infused pragmatism in FP by giving primacy to national interests. Secondly, he focussed on FP engagement with all states that could enable India achieve faster development.
  • The reason for prioritising faster development was to bring about a shift in India’s aspirations.
  • However, he stated that if adversaries develop unique capabilities to challenge Indian Sovereignty, then India shall not stay away from exploring the same.
  • This reflected India’s rising dominance in the region.

An Overview of the FP during the Cold War (1945-1991)

  1. Firstly during the Cold War, the IFP was not only pragmatic but was also responsive in nature.
  2. India was open to changes in the FP as a response to change in the international environment.
  3. India’s foreign policy also changed with changing security concerns. Primarily, safeguarding India’s sovereignty was the key concern.
  4. Both concerns of breaking the country and colonising the country were the concerns.
  5. That is the reason why we see that during the Cold War, the IFP focussed more on the security.

Core Features of the IFP during the Cold War

  • Security was Primacy
  • National Interest had primacy
  • Well being of people mattered
  • Sharing development strategy
  • FP dynamic to international changes
  • Pragmatism

Background when “P V Narasimha Rao” became PM

  • Struggling International Environment
  • This resulted in uncertainty in the IFP
  • Indian Economy was going through a crisis period. In this background the government changed the economic principles.
  • Post Cold War also affected India at the Strategic level as well. This resulted in insecurity. India had to decide the future of our security. Based on imports from Russia or some other countries (diversify).
  • Choices have to be made and certain hard decisions to be made (Economic and Strategic Paradigm).
  • This resulted in deepening ties with US to learn from them both at economic and strategic level. This resulted in Strategic Diversification.
  • This is reasons for India’s deeper engagement with countries like France, Japan and Israel.
  • Experiential learning in FP.

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “P V Narasimha Rao”

National Interest : 1 – Economic Reforms and the Rise of Economic Diplomacy

Rao became the PM at uncertain international times. With the ending of Cold War, he directed IFP to adopt to radical changes. He infused open economy as a key source of guiding IFP.

He resorted to strategic diversification due to uncertainty caused by the disintegration of USSR.

The strategic diversification and need for experimental economic diplomacy led Rao to deepen ties with US and its friends and allies.

The Look East Policy of India in 1993, has to be seen in this larger changing strategic canvas.

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “I K Gujral”

National Interest : 1 – Gujral Doctrine

Grand Strategy

  • He opined that neighbourhood should be the focus. He said that the key to India’s growth is a stable neighbourhood.
  • He opined India being a dominant power in the South Asia, should not look for arithmetical reciprocation from the minor states. He opined that our growth should not lead to insecurity, rather it should inspire confidence.
  • He opined by following this India would come closer to its neighbouring states and accordingly distance them from our adversaries.
  • He even instructed to dismantle all human assets in Pakistan for covert operations. He felt that these tools would hinder constructive engagement with Pakistan. He can be called too idealistic.
  • He brought the element of Altruism in Foreign Policy.

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “A B Vajpayee”

National Interest : 1 – India must get its rightful place in the comity of Nations and International Institutions

Grand Strategy

  • India carried out its Thermonuclear Tests at Pokhran – Shakti I-V India asserted that the tensions from the Regional players forced India to undergo these tests.

National Interest : 2 – Indian Diaspora to act as Brand Ambassadors of India Abroad

Grand Strategy

  • His tenure saw visit of the US President Bill Clinton, which resulted in deepening of Economic ties. The Indian Diaspora also played a critical role in negating the negative effects of US Sanctions on India post the Pokhran Tests. This Bonhomie also continued after Clinton, during the Bush Administration.
  • India went closer to US and it shared lot of information related to the International Terrorism and the means and way to fight it. India extended all possible support to the US and its allies in the “Global War on Terrorism”(GWOT).

Core Principles of Indian Foreign Policy followed by “Manmohan Singh”

National Interest : 1 – India to resort to Great Power Diplomacy

Grand Strategy

  • The Diplomatic victory with the Chinese resulted in the reopening of the Nathula Pass which is an important place for bilateral trade with China Today.
  • The FP during his times also resulted in deepening of military ties with Russia and also simultaneously engaging with the US in Nuclear Energy. His Diplomatic skills also forced USA to accept India as a Major Power in the future.
  • The Economy also saw great heights with the highest GDP growths in the recent times in Indian History. His Economic Craftsmanship also saved India majorly from the GFC.

National Interest : 2 – India to resort to Development Diplomacy and Energy Diplomacy

Grand Strategy

  • Deepening of India’s relationship with the ASEAN states where the relationship was elevated to the level of Strategic Partnership
  • Singh also invested tremendous diplomatic capital to strengthen ties with Japan, the fruits of which India is enjoying even today.
  • The ties with West Asia also saw resurgence with the Oil Diplomacy. India also signed the Strategic Partnership with Saudi Arabia.
  • The ties with Africa also improved with initiatives ranging from Focus Africa Program to Pan-Africa-e-Network Projects.
  • India’s increased engagement with QATAR brought LNG supply to India for its energy security.
  • The foreign policy of India also saw India emerge as one of the lead players in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

India’s Foreign Policy under Narendra Modi

  • Strong Personal Relationships
  • India First Diplomacy
  • Samvad eventually emerged as a key pillar of his Foreign Policy

Narendra Modi Personal Relationships

National Interest: 1 – Modi Doctrine – India First

Grand Strategy

  • Retail Diplomacy
  • Personal Diplomacy
  • Cultural and Civilizational Diplomacy

National Interest: 2 – Indian Diaspora as a bridge between India and the World

Grand Strategy

  • Diaspora is oxygen to his Foreign Policy
  • Diaspora as a catalyst for transformative Diplomacy
  • Focus on the use of Diaspora for domestic development
  • Reversal from brain drain to brain gain
  • Diaspora as part of great Indian Family

National Interest: 3 – Economic Diplomacy as a Key to Great Power Status

Grand Strategy

  • Foreign Policy is driven by the economic thrust of making India a leading Commercial Power.
  • Domestic initiatives along with Geo-Strategic Imperatives arising out of external engagement are a key to India’s growth story.

National Interest: 4 – Soft Power is India’s Power

Grand Strategy

  • He has been successful in showcasing the Soft Power of India to the external world better than any PM in the past.
  • His success in getting 21 June declared as International Yoga Day is a classic example of his diplomatic acumen.
  • He has also been successful in getting the SAARC countries along to tackle global issues like COVID-19

National Interest: 5 – Neighbourhood is the key to Global Power Aspirations

Grand Strategy

  • Neighbourhood First Policy-with benefits shared by all will remove the tag of “Big Brother” from India.
  • Aim to develop India as a Collaborative Ally.

National Interest: 6 – Faith Diplomacy

Grand Strategy

  • Generally, Religion is kept put of Foreign Policy engagements. However, Modi has initiated a new diplomatic path of using Religion, as a tool to promote Global Harmony. E.g., Mongolia, China.
  • With the help of Buddhism, India is trying to reinforce its leadership in South East Asia.

National Interest: 7 – Strategy of Omi Alignment

Grand Strategy

  • “Strategic Autonomy” in place of “Non-Alignment”.
  • India is such a big power today that it cannot be part of any political-military camp.
  • Indo-Pacific as an inclusive bloc of pluralism and co-existence.
  • Co-operation of rivals in Asia alone can secure stability in the region.

National Interest: 8 – India as a rising power or a Middle Power

Grand Strategy

Three Inflexion points in the last 20 years

  1. The Nuclear Explosions in 1998.
  2. US-India Civil Nuclear Deal
  3. Abrogation of Article 370.

The Strategic Six Spots

  • Focus on Pluralism in international relations
  • Focus on Pragmatic cooperation with other states
  • Focus on convergence on national interests with many powers but congruence with no power
  • Focus on accommodation
  • Establishing a Foreign Policy which is not based purely on transnationalism but values Creating a world where internationalism and nationalism co-exist.


Chapter 4: Historical Genensis of Foreign Policy


  • The Ministry of External Affairs (India) (MEA), also known as the Foreign Ministry, is the government agency responsible for the conduct of foreign relations of India. 
  • With the world’s third largest military expenditure, fourth largest armed force, fifth largest economy by GDP nominal rates and third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity India is a prominent regional power, a nuclear power, an emerging global power and a potential superpower. India assumes a growing international influence and a prominent voice in global affairs.
  • As a former British colony, India is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and continues to maintain relationships with other Commonwealth countries. Since gaining independence from Britain in 1947, however, India is now classified as a newly industrialized country and has cultivated an extensive network of foreign relations with other states.
  • As a member state of BRICS – a repertoire of emerging major economies that also encompasses Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, India also exerts a salient influence as the founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement. 
  • In recent decades, India has pursued a more expansive foreign policy that encompasses the neighborhood first policy embodied by SAARC as well as the Look East policy to forge more extensive economic and strategic relationships with other East Asian countries.
  • Moreover, India was one of the founding members of several international organizations—the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, New Development BRICS Bank, and G-20, widely considered the main economic locus of emerging and developed nations.
  • India has also played an important and influential role in other international organizations like East Asia Summit, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund (IMF), G8+5 and IBSA Dialogue Forum. India is also a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • Regionally, India is a part of SAARC and BIMSTEC. India has taken part in several UN peacekeeping missions, and as of June 2020, is the fifth-largest troop contributor. India is currently seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, along with the other G4 nations.
  • India wields enormous influence in global affairs and can be classified as an emerging superpower.

Importance of Past in Foreign Policy

  • Past=History
  • It explains why a country is displaying a certain behaviour today. It showcases the values of that country.
  • It also helps us to understand how it will behave in the future.
  • History indelibly influences foreign policy.
  • US – Behavior – Interventionist-Urge to Dominate
  • The US wants other to behave either the way it behaves or the way it wants.
  • Is US dominating in nature?
  • Is US democratic when it engages with the world.
  • The proponent of Democracy is inherently is a Dictator.
  • US has had a past which is based on violence.
  • The past is American Revolution. The Birth is the result of a civil war and it tries to champion the cause of Democracy.
  • The past of the US influences its behaviour. It displays bullying attitude.
  • China born as a result of Chinese Revolution – 1949 Civil War.
  • Past not only explains the present behaviour, it also explains the future behaviour.
  • E.g., US will never treat people equally. Indira Gandhi disturbed this. She wanted US to engage with India on equal terms.
  • Russian President: Vladimir Putin
  • Israel – Jews (Historically Persecuted) – Why? Most Hardworking and developed Economically – resulting in Insecurity. Still, they lived and prospered. They now live in a territory where they never historically lived.
  • The importance of Past is that it helps in understanding the present behaviour of a state and helps in assessing the future behaviour the state ought to display.

How does India’s Past influence our Foreign Policy

What are our Past Values

  • Ramayana (Case Study) – An Indian Epic – Epics have a very imp influence on a society, because epic nurtures individual behaviours and a state is a collection of individual behaviour.
  • Case Actors (Ram, Sita, Hanuman and Ravana) and Case Objective (Does Ramayana offer anything relevant that influences India’s Foreign Policy). In the Epic Hanuman basically does Power Projection.
  • Ramayana an ancient Indian epic, asserts tremendous importance for our Foreign Policy because an analysis of the epic states that Hanuman resorted to project power, acted as an information agent and enjoyed diplomatic immunity, something that is a core feature of diplomacy.
  • Thus, India through Ramayana has contributed to evolution of good diplomatic history.
  • Ancient times Power Projection was done of the individual kings. Cholas used Navy as a Power Projection in the South East Asia, especially (modern day Thailand). 

How does Geography influence Indian Foreign Policy

  • Resource: The abundance of the resources attracted the foreign invaders to India. Be it natural resources or richness of our religious temples or kingdoms, all attracted the negative eyes of these invaders. Gradually, the traders turned our masters with the sole intention to plunder our resources and left the country at the cross roads of peril.
  • Location: Even location wise India is located on a Geo-Political landscape enroute of the world trading routes. The possession of India provided them with access to the strategic trade routes and control of the choke points of trade.

What are the ideas of Kautilya’s Arthasasthtra on Comprehensive National Power

  • It’s a textbook of Governance. Indian Treatise on Statecraft and Diplomacy.
  • His ideas resonate with realism. State is the most important and legitimate instrument that enjoys sovereignty.
  • The responsibility of the King is to guard his subjects and ensure their protection and survival. He advises the King to develop the Economy. This should be the primary national interest of a state.
  • He also emphasises on the economic development over the military development. He also talks about inclusivity in wealth creation. Unequal wealth creation will result in resentment.
  • With the increase in the wealth the power of the state rises. Creation of the Wealth and the Power improves the international stature of the state.
  • India’s relations with the world have evolved since the British Raj (1857–1947), when the British Empire took responsibility for handling external and defence relations.
  • When India gained independence in 1947, few Indians had experience in making or conducting foreign policy. However, the country’s oldest political party, the Indian National Congress, had established a small foreign department in 1925 to make overseas contacts and to publicize its independence struggle.
  • From the late 1920s on, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had a long-standing interest in world affairs among independence leaders, formulated the Congress stance on international issues. As Prime Minister from 1947, Nehru articulated India’s approach to the world.
  • India’s international influence varied over the years after independence. Indian prestige and moral authority were high in the 1950s and facilitated the acquisition of developmental assistance from both East and West.
  •  Although the prestige stemmed from India’s nonaligned stance, the nation was unable to prevent Cold War politics from becoming intertwined with interstate relations in South Asia.
  • On the intensely debated Kashmir issue with Pakistan, India lost credibility by rejecting United Nations calls for a plebiscite in the disputed area.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s India’s international position among developed and developing countries faded in the course of wars with China and Pakistan, disputes with other countries in South Asia, and India’s attempt to match Pakistan’s support from the United States and China by signing the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971.
  • Although India obtained substantial Soviet military and economic aid, which helped to strengthen the nation, India’s influence was undercut regionally and internationally by the perception that its friendship with the Soviet Union prevented a more forthright condemnation of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.
  • In the late 1980s, India improved relations with the United States, other developed countries, and China while continuing close ties with the Soviet Union. Relations with its South Asian neighbours, especially Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, occupied much of the energies of the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Even before independence, the Indian colonial government maintained semi-autonomous diplomatic relations. It had colonies (such as the Aden Settlement), who sent and received full missions, India was a founder member of both the League of Nations and the United Nations. After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, it soon joined the Commonwealth of Nations and strongly supported independence movements in other colonies, like the Indonesian National Revolution. 
  • The partition and various territorial disputes, particularly that over Kashmir, would strain its relations with Pakistan for years to come. During the Cold War, India adopted a foreign policy of not aligning itself with any major power bloc. However, India developed close ties with the Soviet Union and received extensive military support from it.
  • The end of the Cold War significantly affected India’s foreign policy, as it did for much of the world. The country now seeks to strengthen its diplomatic and economic ties with the United States, the European Union trading bloc, Japan, Israel, Mexico, and Brazil. India has also forged close ties with the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, the Arab League and Iran.
  • Though India continues to have a military relationship with Russia, Israel has emerged as India’s second largest military partner while India has built a strong strategic partnership with the United States. The foreign policy of Narendra Modi indicated a shift towards focusing on the Asian region and, more broadly, trade deals.

What are the Core Values Indian Foreign Policy believes in

  • Preference for the Middle Way/Path
  • Blend of Idealism and Realism
  • Value of Tolerance
  • Absence of Imperialistic Traditions
  • Express positive ideas through negative terms

Core Institutions that aid in Foreign Policy

  • FP bears the stamp of the ideological underpinnings of the PM, this is primarily due to the fact that the External Affairs ministry for a long time was under the PM directly after the Independence of the country.
  • The PMO Office, while supporting the PM also contributes in shaping the Foreign Policy of our country.
  • The External Affairs Ministry has evolved to be the most important executive arm of the government in shaping its Foreign Policy.
  • Political Party in Power also casts a shadow on the International relations showcasing its historical legacy of friends and foes in dealing with various countries on the international platform.
  • It’s a blend of Actors, Personality Politics, Neurological impulses and institutional support. Institutional influence on the execution of the Foreign Policy is above the personal diplomacy of the leader many a times. The long culture of the country manifests in the form of institutional functioning which may supplement the leaders charismatic personality or even negate the thoughtless misadventures at times.

Structural Changes in MEA in 2020

Corporate like Verticals

  • Economic Diplomacy Vertical
  • Trade Diplomacy Vertical
  • Development Partnership Vertical
  • Emerging Technology Vertical
  • External Publicity Vertical
  • Cultural Diplomacy Vertical
  • Indian Ocean and Indian-Pacific Vertical

Mains Question

  1. Discuss the role of History in shaping the Foreign Policy of a Nation with Examples? (250 Words) 15 Marks
  2. Explain how the principles propounded by Kautilya’s Arthasastra are relevant even in today’s context? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. How do the Core Values of the Indian Foreign Policy influence our relations with the rest of the world? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  4. Give a brief overview of the evolution of India’s Foreign Policy? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  5. Does Ramayana offer anything relevant that influences India’s Foreign Policy (150 Words) 10 Marks


Chapter 5: Neighbourhood Policy of India under Various PMs


Historical Perspective of India’s Regional Policy

  • Before Independence: India under British had an extended period of India’s regional primacy. As the regional expression of the then sole superpower, British Raj exercised a hegemony not only over the littoral neighbourhood but across the Indian ocean region.
    • On the continental side, the British Raj surrounded itself with a series of buffer states and protectorates and often projected military power beyond them.
    • Also, the Indian Ocean was dominated by the Royal Navy and the Indian Army. This allowed the British to develop new port cities (from Aden to Hong Kong) and construct trans-regional connectivity through roads and railways.
  • The British followed a policy of buffer states.
  • The policy was double line of defence and reverse slopes. The objective was to keep Russian advances at Bay.
  • In order to maintain status quo, British practiced policy of reverse slopes in Tibet, Nepal, Ahom Kingdom and Burma.
  • Afghanistan was left as a buffer state.

After Independence: 

  • India inherited the British Frontiers
  • The security conception was more regional than global. India desired a stable neighbourhood.
  • A Cold War player at the doorsteps
  • Restricted space the exercise Non-Alignment.
  • India lacked resources to ensure regional stability.
  • It doesn’t mean India was completely unsuccessful, Burma remained Non-Aligned, Nepal and Bhutan though didn’t join the NAM, but showcased similar FP tentacles.
  • Also Vietnam after its unification remained non aligned though officially never joined it.
  • Pakistan, China and Sri Lanka brought Cold War to the door steps.
  • The problem solving diplomacy of India was a mixture of Bilateralism and internationalism
  • When it came to Pakistan, India’s approach was internationalism. 1947 War, India took matter to UN, on the belief that these organisations are impartial.
  • However, the approach changed after our beliefs got shattered, when we realised that these organisations are biased to the countries that fund them.
  • But when it comes to China, India’s approach was bilateralism. The frontier issue with China was a bilateral issue as India inherited the British Frontiers on Independence.
  • Therefore India’s Policy was a mix of Internationalism and Bilateralism.

India’s Neighbourhood Contours Post Independence

India’s security conception was regional and not global. India strived to create a stable neighbourhood. The objective to have a peaceful neighbourhood was to prevent bipolar world to explore any space. This would also allow India to exercise non alignment without hindrances.

Neighbourhood Policy of India from Nehru to Modi

Neighbourhood Policy of India by Nehru

  • Nehru adopted a Global Strategy of Non-Alignment (India tried to position itself as a neutral force in the era of Bi-polarity)
  • His objective was to keep the cold war away from the doorsteps of India. However, a partial success was achieved in this policy as Pakistan and China became active participants in the Cold War.
  • At the problem-solving level, India practised a mixture of bilateralism and internationalism. India asserted the need for exercising power in Indian Ocean, perceived by India as its strategic backyard.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under Indira

  • Indira Gandhi favoured bilateralism over internationalisation in problem solving diplomacy
  • Fraught with Contradictions
    • India clung with Balance of Power and Sphere of Influence regionally, but rejected the same on international front.
    • India provided security to small nations but opposed intervention of great powers in the affairs of the weak states.
    • Adopted Interventionist Approach – 1971 Intervention in the East Pakistan
  • Indira Gandhi favoured bilateralism over internationalisation in problem solving diplomacy. The Shimla Agreement, 1972, is a testimony to the fact.
  • She asserted that international institutions need to exercise restraint in matters that affect India’s Sovereignty.
  • An important feature was use of military as a tool if territorial integrity was challenged. However, the neighbours perceived use of military as interventionist in nature.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under Rajiv Gandhi

  • He had three problems to address US + Pak + China
  • When Rajiv Gandhi assumed control, the Indian intervention in Maldives and Sri Lanka transformed India into a ‘Perceptual Regional Hegemon’.
  • Intervened militarily to assert Hegemony.
  • Neighbours began to tilt towards China.
  • Neighbours began to invite external power in the region.
  • Rise of Civil militarism in Foreign Policy.

India was positioned as a Regional Hegemon with an objective to safeguard India’s sovereignty which was under threat from multiple areas.

The focus was on resolving irritants bilaterally and international intervention was not favoured. The neighbours perceived excessive focus on hegemony as Civil-Militarism.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under P V Narasimha Rao

  • He inherited the Anti-India sentiment of IG+RG
  • End of Cold War and rising Anti-India sentiment.
  • Neighbours began to take bilateral disputes at the International Level (HR issues in Kashmir) false narration building.
  • India started countering Pakistan diplomatically at international level.
  • India not to interfere in the domestic and political affairs of the neighbours.
  • He gave importance to Economic growth in bringing stability with the neighbour.
  • Hands off Approach
  • The seeds of Gujral Doctrine were actually conceptualized by P V

India realised that the anti-India sentiment is on the rise and neighbours made attempts to internationalise bilateral disputes.

Thus, Rao adopted a Hands-off Approach, where he stated that to assert hegemony, India should focus on sharing fruits of development with all.

This approach didn’t solve the problems but did not create new problems. The hands-offs approach enabled to play the thrust of liberalisation.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under I K Gujral

I K Gujral

  • Introduced a proper doctrine for the neighbourhood for the first time.
  • Advocated Gujral Doctrine – Logic of Non-Reciprocity and Generosity. FP based on no transactionalism.
  • India re-evaluated its self-interests and decided to be more generous.
  • He tried to separate intelligence from the FP. Role of Intelligence restricted to creating Psychological Profiles and National Interests of the neighbouring countries. He restricted the use of Covert operations by these agencies. Even the creation of the covert assets was stopped. Aim was to build good will amongst neighbours instead of leaving space for the development of anti-India sentiment.
  • Gujral Doctrine enunciated:-
    • That no South Asian country will allow its territory to be used against the interests of another country of the Region.
    • Respect each others territorial integrity and sovereignty
    • Settle disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under A B V


  • Three Core Problems which the BJP government inherited
  • Rise of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India
  • Bangladesh began to support Pakistan
  • Bhutan soil was being used by the insurgents in the north east for Anti-India activities.
  • Busy in managing the fall out of the Pokhran – II at the global level.
  • India’s global power aspirations are linked with our neighbourhood.
  • He emphasized on the use of Regional Institutions to promote trade.
  • BJP decided to use the platform of SAARC as a platform for regional co-operation or Economic Integration. Dream of South Asian Union (Free Trade amongst states – With few negative list). BJP saw SAARC not only for economic co-operation but also as a Political Union on the lines of European Union.
  • He said Anti-India sentiments from the foreign soil will not be accepted. Challenge to India’s Sovereignty will not be accepted

Neighbourhood Policy of India under MM Singh

Manmohan Singh (UPA Government)

  • The UPA government favoured political dialogue with the neighbour.
  • It almost followed all the dimensions of the Gujaral Doctrine/Rao and Vajpayee without publicly accepting the same.
  • The UPA also tried to use SAARC as a platform to further integration amongst the neighbouring states.
  • Afghanistan became country of high priority for India. Economic Reconstruction of Afghanistan was the key. He wanted this to become as a template for Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and B’desh as well).
  • India also tried a social messaging that India will engage with everyone in Afghanistan (Search for Friends).
  • If the National Interest of my country is challenged, India will retaliate covertly. No marketing of Covert Operations.
  • Political Dialogue in front and military covert architecture behind.

The policy adopted was a blend of Rao/Gujaral/Vajpayee.

Afghanistan emerged as a template for development aspirations. Afghanistan became a laboratory to showcase India’s development diplomacy.

Economic prosperity was a key to assert regional and global power status. It was an attempt to build a positive narrative.

Neighbourhood Policy of India under Namo

Narendra Modi – Neighbourhood First Policy (Vistaarvaad Nahin, Vikasvaad) (Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas)

  • He emphasized that Neighbourhood should be given First Priority.
  • As part of the ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy India is now trying to provide to its neighbours from Resources to Technology.
  • The Search for friends continued. Open Dialogue with all the stakeholders. Overt engagement with Taliban.
  • India doesn’t shy away to engage with stakeholders that affect India’s sovereignty.
  • Public Diplomacy: Platforms like Shangrila Dialogue (India will be open to share ideas of FP and debate them) and Raisina Dialogue (Debate on FP ideas of our country; other countries are called especially the neighbours are given priority; they are allowed to put forth their views). In an informal atmosphere they get to speak. We in turn get to know what they feel.
  • It is trying to position itself as a ‘Net Security Provider’ (Building up of Defence relationships). This is largely in sync with India’s SAGAR or Security and Growth for All, and a ‘Net Development Provider’ by giving grants, line of credits, skill development and technology transfer (Mutual Benefit).
  • Focus would be on developing connectivity with neighbourhood, both Road and Rail connectivity. This was a new element in neighbourhood.
  • New dimension in connectivity – Space Connectivity (SAARC Satellite) – Display of Space Power and also reflecting rising capabilities of India.
  • Focus should also be on Cultural Engagement to leverage Religion (Religious Diplomacy).
  • India is moving towards search of common values thereby creating foundations for future Alliances.

Core Elements of Neighbourhood First Policy

  • Thrust upon trade and investment
  • Construct highways and rail infrastructure
  • Establishment of power grids
  • Foster Connectivity
  • Neighbours to get resource for commercial diplomacy
  • Focus on shared prosperity
  • Mutual Trust
  • Development Politics
  • India lead regional integration

Narendra Modi – Neighbourhood First Policy (Cons)

  • No Road map for Economic Integration (Absence of Path & Deliverables)
  • Serious Challenge – Delivery Deficit (Tendency to over commit)
  • No Road map even for Cultural Engagement

Neighbourhood Policy of India under Modi

The neighbourhood has been prioritised where India intends to position itself as a NSP and NDP.

The idea is to share economic and political benefits for all based upon mutual cooperation. Connectivity at land, air, rail, road and space is given priority. India is also exploring cooperation based on commonality of religious values.

However, the absence of a clear roadmap and delivery deficits may be a constraint in engaging with the neighbourhood optimally. 

India and its Neighbourhood Relations

  • Salient features of India’s Neighbourhood First’ policy
  • Immediate Priority to neighbours:The neighbourhood first policy of actively focuses on improving ties with India’s immediate neighbours.
  • Dialogue:It focuses on vigorous regional diplomacy by engaging with neighbouring nations and building political connectivity through dialogue.
  • Resolving bilateral issues:Focus is on resolving bilateral issues through mutual agreement. For instance, India and Bangladesh have signed a pact to operationalise the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA).
  • Connectivity: India has entered into MoU with members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). These agreements ensures a free flow of resources, energy, goods, labour, and information across borders.
  • Economic Cooperation: It focuses on enhancing trade ties with neighbours. India has participated and invested in SAARC as a vehicle for development in the region. One such example is the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN)
  • Technical Cooperation:The policy put emphasis on technical cooperation. Recently a dedicated SAARC satellite was developed to share the fruits of the technology like tele-medicine, e-learning etc. with the people across South Asia.
  • Disaster Management: India’s offer cooperation on disaster response, resource management, weather forecasting and communication and also capabilities and expertise in disaster management for all South Asian citizens.
  • Military and defence cooperation:India is also focusing on deepening security in the region through military cooperation. Various exercises like Surya Kiran with Nepal, Sampriti with Bangladesh aim to strengthen defence relations.

Various challenges

  • Relation with Pakistan
  • Unstable Afghanistan
  • China
  • Anti-Indian sentiments:Anti-Indian sentiments are getting rooted in the minds of people of region due to perceived notion of India’s big brother attitude and its economic dependence to India.
  • For instance, the recent step of Demonetization impacted many countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar which use the Indian currency as a parallel currency within their borders.
  • Divided Subcontinent on the Religious Lines
  • Emergence of China
  • Closed Economic Model
  • Influence of Domestic Politics

Agartala Doctrine

  • States should have a greater say in foreign policy matters involving neighbours so that their core interests are protected.
  • States should act as responsible stake holders and not as spoilers seeking narrow domestic electoral gains.
  • States should take the initiative to improve relations with neighbouring countries while keeping in mind the broader national interests.

India’s National Security Doctrine

Defensive – Defensive Offensive Strategies

  • India will go to the site of the origin of the offence and try to retaliate
  • India will however, will not shift to outright offensive mode
  • Globally isolate Pakistan for its adventurism
  • Branding Pakistan as a terrorist sponsor nation
  • Try to economically cripple Pakistan


  • There is no doubt that the challenges which India must deal with in its neighbourhood will become more complex and even threatening compared to two decades ago.
  • But neighbourhood first policy must be anchored in the sustained engagement at all levels of the political and people to people levels, building upon the deep cultural affinities which are unique to India’s relations with its neighbours.
  • India’s immediate neighbourhood directly impacts it geopolitically, geo-strategically and geo-economically because of its vicinity.
  • Closer to home, India’s neighbours are beset by political and economic instability and the ripple effects are threatening to reverberate across the region.
  • Pakistan and Sri Lanka, for example, face a grim economic future and the public are growing increasingly dissatisfied with their governments.
  • In Afghanistan it is a different challenge that awaits India: Almost a year after the US withdrawal and the collapse of the government, New Delhi and the Taliban have cautiously re-established contact in an effort to establish stability, security, and normalcy in the region.
  • The question for India is what role it will play as the world struggles to find its feet.
  • And how will its ambitions for leadership evolve in a new order? New Delhi has the opportunity to answer these questions when it takes over the presidency of the G20 before the close of 2022.
  • From that pulpit, India will work to set the agenda as the world navigates its realities of recessions and rogue states.
Chapter 6: Neighbourhood: India-China Relations


The Case of Assam

  • In 1212 AD Ahom Kingdom started in Assam. By 1820s, the Ahom Kingdom started weakening.
  • Britishers were ruling India in that period. Britishers were happy with this development. However, to the south of Ahom Kingdom, Burma was present.
  • While British were interested in Ahom Region due to the resource availability, the Burmese were looking for territorial expansion.
  • Burma wanted to make the Naga Tribes and the Assam Tribes as a unified block with territorial expansion of Burma.
  • This desire of Burma forced the Britishers to check mate the Burmese in Assam. The Britishers were also looking at Burma as a point of access to the sea and also in close proximity to the French Colonies in the east.
  • Before this, the Britishers were regularly conducting surveys in the then Ahom Kingdom. In these surveys, the Britishers learnt that, there is scope for tea plantation, wood and fuel resources in some areas like Digboi, Dibrugarh in Assam.
  • In this time period, Britain was witnessing the Industrial Revolution, and was hungry for resources to support the IR back home.
  • Britishers were foresighted to see Burma from a Strategic perspective. So the dream of Britain and Burma were different. Britain was dreaming big, Burma was dreaming small.
  • But both the contenders were wanting weakening of the Ahom Kingdom which they can utilise for their own advantage.
  • This finally culminated in the Anglo-Burmese War. In 1824, Britishers defeated Burma. This resulted in the control of Burma by the British. After Burma, British also annexed the weakened Ahom Kingdom.
  • When Britishers entered Ahom they not only got access to the resources of Ahom Kingdom, control & access to Burma and further sea and land route to the French Colonies, Britishers also learnt that, through the Ahom Kingdom they can also get access to Tibet.
  • British gained access to Tibet from Lohit Valley (Ahom Kingdom) and also from Tawang.
  • Britishers tried to establish their presence in Tawang. The Monpas in Tawang resisted the British presence in Tawang.
  • One thing we need to understand here is that, the Britishers entered Assam with a different motive. It was only after going their motive changed.
  • On entering Assam, they found the trade route with Tibet.


Modern Punjab was under the control of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. This control was not only restricted to Punjab but extended to the present-day Jammu and Kashmir.

  • This control was unified. Before him, Punjab was divided into small territories called Misls. Ranjeet Singh unified these misls and created a unified Punjab that extended to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • While the control over Punjab was direct, the control over the territories of the J&K was indirect. As a strategy of indirect rule, he appointed a ruler to control the affairs of J&K. This ruler was Gulab Singh Jamwal.
  • Gulab singh was under Ranjit Singh. Gulab Singh only objective was to control the J&K territory on behalf of Ranjit Singh.
  • So, Gulab Singh under the Ranjit Singh started Dogra Dynasty in J&K.
  • There was a difference between Rajit Singh and Gulab Singh. While Ranjit Singh was a Status Quoist ruler, Gulab Singh was Expansionist.
  • Gulab Singh Jamwal wanted to bring Ladakh under the control of J&K. Ladakh those days was a buffer between J&K and Tibet. The Ladakh people showed their allegiance with Tibet.
  • In 1830s, Gulab Singh sent his Army to Ladakh and occupied it and integrated it with J&K.
  • When his Army marched ahead of Ladakh and entered Tibet, Ambans resisted the Gulab Singh Army. (One needs to understand here that, the Gulab Singh Army had at one point even occupied Tibet till Kailash Mansarovar (1839-40).
  • At this stage the Tibetans and the Ambans in the Tibet strongly resisted this expansionism of Gulab Singh Army and requested him to go back and restore the boundary with Old Himalayan Frontiers.
  • Gulab Singh also realized this fact and retrieved till the point of Old Himalayan Frontiers. Had this retrieval not taken place, probably, Kailash Mansarovar would have been part of India.
  • In 1839, Ranjit Singh died. Gulab Singh supported elder son of Ranjit Singh named Sher Singh to be the next ruler.
  • The local people of Punjab called Sindhawalias were not happy with this development. The Sindhawalas said, Gulab singh that he was under Ranjit Singh and has no authority to decide who will be the ruler of Punjab.
  • He said that he is just giving an opinion. The Sindhawalias said that there is no rule that the next ruler of Punjab should be from the family of Ranjit Singh only. Anyone from Punjab can be the next ruler.
  • With these developments, Sher Singh became insecure. This eventually resulted in Sher Singh deepening his engagements with Gulab Singh.
  • In this backdrop, the Sindhawalias grew suspicious about this growing alliance of Sher Singh and Gulab Singh.
  • In 1839, Ranjit Singh died. Gulab Singh supported elder son of Ranjit Singh named Sher Singh to be the next ruler.
  • The local people of Punjab called Sindhawalias were not happy with this development. The Sindhawalas said, Gulab singh that he was under Ranjit Singh and has no authority to decide who will be the ruler of Punjab.
  • He said that he is just giving an opinion. The Sindhawalias said that there is no rule that the next ruler of Punjab should be from the family of Ranjit Singh only. Anyone from Punjab can be the next ruler.
  • With these developments, Sher Singh became insecure. This eventually resulted in Sher Singh deepening his engagements with Gulab Singh.
  • In this backdrop, the Sindhawalias grew suspicious about this growing alliance of Sher Singh and Gulab Singh.
  • Sindhawalias said Punjab doesn’t have that much money and cannot give. To this, the Britishers asked Sindhawalias to cede the territories of J&K and Ladakh to the British.
  • Sindhawalias accepted this. To effect this transfer of territory to British, the Sindhawalias signed a treaty with the British called the Treaty of Amritsar (1846). With this the British got the control of J&K and Ladakh.
  • Gulab Singh approached the Britishers and gave an offer of purchasing this territory from the British. British readily agreed and sold this territory to Gulab Singh for 75 Lakhs. The Britishers amended the Treaty of Amritsar and mentioned that the Britishers further are selling this territory to Gulab Singh.
  • Gulab Singh therefore got the authority to administer J&K and Ladakh, however the sovereignty remained with the British. Also, the Britishers said that Gulab Singh also doesn’t have the authority to define the frontiers of this territory.
  • The Britishers said that after some time, when things settle, the Britishers said they will carryout surveys and define the territories of J&K and Ladakh. Gulab singh started administering the gained back territories.
  • To the immediate north of Tibet was Kahsgar Region (present day Xingjian Province). Yakuk Beg was the ruler of this area. Over a period of time friendship developed between Yakub Beg and Gulab Singh.
  • Unlike Tibet, Kashger was under the direct Control of China and part of its territory.
  • Yakub Beg wanted Kahsger to be out of the control of Qing Dynasty and an independent territory like Tibet.
  • Yakub Beg requested support of Gulab Singh and his troops to fight rebellion with the Chinese Qing Dynasty in 1864.
  • Gulab Singh readily agreed and sent his troops for the support of Yakub Beg. With the help of Gulab Singh, Yakub Beg was successful in the rebellion and established an independent territory in Kahsger.
  • Yakub Beg was very happy. Yakub Beg wanted to repay Gulab Singh for his support. Yakub Beg offered Gulab Singh to identify any territory in Kashger and construct a fort for himself.
  • Gulab Singh went on tour to Kashger and identified Aksai Chin area and constructed a fort there. Gulab Singh left some troops for the upkeep, maintenance and safety of the fort. (Later China got back the Kashger Region in 1877 from Yakub Baig and renamed that area as Xinjiang. Ever since then, China is insecure with Xinjiang)
  • In this background, the British started their Survey of the frontiers. This Survey work was headed by a Surveyor General called Sir William Johnson. After completing the survey of Kashmir and Ladakh, British went up till the Aksai Chin.
  • On seeing Gulab Singh troops guarding the fort in Aksai Chin, the surveyors on ground incorporated the fort and the adjoining areas within the British boundaries. The boundary so drawn came to be known as the Johnson Line. This resulted in Aksai Chin being depicted within India and a map to this effect was issued in 1865.
  • General Walker, the Surveyor General of the British India saw this error three years later and said this is wrong. Aksai Chin was part of Kashger Region, which was in turn part of China.
  • Though Walker rejected this line, he made a big mistake of not rectifying this mistake by issuing a fresh map. Walker didn’t want to further antagonize China by issuing another map. So, he decided to keep silent about it. (The Britishers never published Johnson Line).
  • After Independence when the forward area maps were digged out, India claimed entire Aksai Chin as part of India and issued the political maps of Independent India depicting Aksai Chin as part of India.
  • In a way, India unnecessarily claimed an area as its own which was in reality never ours.

The Russian Angle

  • 1853 Crimean Wars, Russia defeated. Russia started expansionism and reached Central Asia and created entire Central Asia as buffer. Alternatively, Britishers made Afghanistan as Buffer.
  • The Britishers wanted to safeguard the entire norther axis from Afghanistan, Kashmir till the China border to check the southward expansion of Russia.
  • Towards this aim, Britishers created two military posts in Hunza and Naggar in Gilgit Baltistan. The Qing Dynasty objected to this. The Britishers responded by saying that the rulers of Hunza and Naggar were aware of these posts and they have not objected to this. The Chinese asked the Britishers to ask the rulers of Hunza and Naggar as to whom they show their allegiance, both the rulers said we show our allegiance to the Chinese.
  • To resolve this deadlock, in 1896, the Britishers appointed John Ardargh to carryout fresh survey and define the boundary.
  • John Ardagh was from the military intelligence and was aware of the impending Russian invasion from the north. He adopted a policy of Forward School of Thought.
  • He wanted to define the boundary as far and deep as possible. In this Ardagh Line (1896) he depicted Hunza, Naggar, Karkash/Yarkand (Ladakh), Aksai Chin everything as part of British India. Ardagh Line was published.
  • A map to this effect was issued. This was seriously objected by China. To pacify the antagonism of China (Britishers feared that China may join hands with Russia and invade India from North), Britishers themselves nullified the Ardagh Line.
  • In 1899, Britishers proposed Mc Cartney Mc Donald Line. As per this, the Britishers said, we will give our Aksai Chin to China, please don’t stake claims on Hunza and Naggar. Chinese were clever and never responded to this.
  • British withdrew this proposal later and adopted a policy of wait and watch (Britishers were actually waiting for the Qing Dynasty to collapse) and continued its military presence in Hunza and Naggar.

Political System in China

  • The People’s Republic of China is run by a single party, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), headed by the CCP General Secretary who tends to be the paramount leader of China.
  • China is among few contemporary party-led dictatorships to not hold any direct elections at the national level. State power within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is exercised through the CCP, the State Council, and its provincial and local representation.
  • The state uses Internal Reference, secret documents produced by Xinhua News Agency as a form of internal intelligence sharing to keep high-level CCP cadres informed of developments within the country.
  • China’s two special administrative regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau, have multi-party systems separate from the mainland’s one-party system.
  • Aside from the SARs, the PRC consists of 22 provinces (excluding Taiwan Province and ROC-controlled Fujian), four directly administered municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing), and five autonomous regions (Guangxi, Tibet, Xinjiang, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia).
  • The Chinese political system is authoritarian. There are no freely elected national leaders, political opposition is suppressed, all religious activity is controlled by the CCP, dissent is not permitted, and civil rights are curtailed.
  • Elections in China occur under a single-party authoritarian political system.
  • Elections occur only at the local level, not the national level


India –China Trade Relations

Tawang Clash

  • Location of Clash:
    • Soldiers of the two sides clashed in an area called Yangtse, in the upper reaches of Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh. 
    • The entire state itself, and within it, Tawang, are areas of serious contestation between India and China.


  • India-USA Military exercise:
    • The Yangtse incident came days after China said that the joint India-US military exercise Operation Yudhabhyas had violated the terms of the 1993 and 1996 border agreements.

Tawang Clash

  • Tawang is the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama and an important pilgrimage centre for Tibetan Buddhists. 
  • The 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in Tawang after he crossed over from Tibet to India in 1959, spending some days in the monastery there before proceeding further.
  • Agreed area:
  • Within Tawang, there are three “agreed areas” of differing Indian and Chinese perceptions of the LAC. 
  • Yangtse, which is about 25 km from Tawang town, north of the Lungroo grazing ground, is one of these areas. 
  • As a result, it has been the site of regular “physical contact” between the Indian Army and the PLA, especially as the high ground is on the Indian side, giving it a commanding view of the Chinese side.
  • Diversion from other issues:
    • It is also being claimed that the PLA’s motivation for creating a new crisis along the disputed border, this time in the east appears to be to extend the points of confrontation and keep the issue of India-China border alive at a time when the world is engaged in overcoming multiple crisis emanating from the War in Ukraine.

About Trade Ties 

  • Overview: China is India’s second biggest trading partner after the United States.
  •  In 2021-22, India-China bilateral trade stood at $115.83 billion, which was 11.19 percent of India’s total merchandise trade of $1,035 billion.
    •  The US was just a notch above, with 11.54 percent ($119.48 billion) share.
    • Other countries: Apart from the US and China, the other eight countries and regions among India’s top-10 trading partners during 2021-22 were UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, and Australia.
  • Imports Items: During 2021-22, 15.42 percent ($94.57 billion) of India’s total imports ($613.05 billion) came from China.
  • The top commodities that India bought included: electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers and parts; nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, and mechanical appliances and parts of thereof; organic chemicals; plastic and plastic articles; and fertilisers.

About Trade Ties 

  • Imports have been up significantly since Galwan clash:
  • The monthly figure of imports from China, which hit a low of $3.32 billion in June 2020 during the Covid lockdown, started rising soon after the easing of restrictions and rose to $5.58 billion in the following month (July 2020). Since then, it continued rising and scaled a new peak of $10.24 billion in July 2021.
  • Exports: In 2021-22, India’s exports to China stood at $21.25 billion, which was 5 percent of India’s total shipments ($422 billion).
  • Among the top commodities China bought from India included: Ores, slag, and ash; organic chemicals, mineral fuels, mineral oils, and products of their distillation, bituminous substances, mineral waxes; iron and steel; aluminum and articles of thereof; and cotton.
  • Among single items, light Naphtha ($1.37 billion) was India’s most valued export item to China during 2021-22.

Spike in Trade Deficit

  • Spike in trade deficit: India’s trade deficit with China has increased from $1 billion to $73 billion in the past 21 years.
  • During the first seven months (April-October) of the current financial year (2022-23), India’s trade deficit with China stood at $51 billion, which was 39 percent higher than the figure ($37 billion) recorded in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
  • In fact, China alone accounted for over one-third of India’s total trade deficit ($191 billion) during 2021-22.
  • The rising gap between imports and exports from China is evident from the fact that two decades ago, India’s imports accounted for about 60 percent of the total bilateral trade between the two countries, but now it is over 80 percent.

Memorabilia of Diplomatic Relations between China and India:

  • On April 1, 1950, China and India established diplomatic relations.
  • India was the first non-socialist country to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China..
  • In 1954, China and India signed the Joint Statement and jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
  • In 1962, the border conflict led to a serious setback in bilateral relations.
  • In 1976, China and India restored ambassadorial relations and bilateral ties improved gradually.
  • In 2003, the two sides agreed to establish the special representatives meeting mechanism on the India-China boundary question.
  • 2011 was the “China-India Exchange Year” both sides held a series of people-to-people and cultural exchange activities.
  • In 2015, China decided to open the Nathu La Pass to Indian official pilgrims to Xizang.
  • In 2018 and 2019 informal meetings were held between India and China.

Facts and Figures on China-India Cooperation

Political and Diplomatic Relations:

  • China and India have held 2 informal summits and exchanged views on long-term and strategic issues of global and regional importance.
  •  Exchanges and cooperation have been carried out through high-level visits, study tours, training courses and seminars.
  • Inter-parliamentary friendship groups have been set up by China and India. 
  •  Special Representatives’ meetings on the boundary question in 2003 have played an important role in maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
  • There are around 50 dialogue mechanisms between China and India for exchanging views on various topics of bilateral, regional and global concern.

Economy and Trade:

  • China and India have held several rounds of financial dialogues on macroeconomic policies, cooperation under multilateral frameworks as well as bilateral investment.
  • Both countries have held several sessions of China-India Joint Group of Economy and Trade to engage in bilateral trade in goods and services.
  • More than 1,000 Chinese companies have increased their investment in industrial parks, e-commerce and other areas in India, with 200,000 local jobs created
  • Indian companies are also investing in the Chinese market.
  • In 2019, the trade volume between China and India was $92.68 billion.
  • With a combined market of over 2.7 billion people and a GDP of 20% of the world’s total, China and India enjoy huge potential for economic and trade cooperation.

Science and Technology:

  • China and India have held 2 rounds of China-India Joint Research workshops on Science and Technology Innovation.
  • China and India have hosted conferences of China-India Technology Transfer, Collaborative Innovation & Investment.
  • Indian companies have set up IT corridors in China which helps in promoting China-India cooperation in information technology and high technology.
  • China and India have held meetings of the China-India Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.


  • China and India have held 8 rounds of “Hand-in-Hand” joint anti-terrorist exercises to enhance mutual understanding and trust.
  • China and India have held 9 rounds of China-India defence and security consultation to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the defence field.

People-to-People Exchanges:

  • China and India have held 2 rounds of meetings of China-India High-Level People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges Mechanism.
  • There is a China-India Think Tank Forum to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the field of media and think tanks.
  • Over 2,000 young Chinese are studying in India, and more than 20,000 Indian youth are studying in China.
  • The number of Indian pilgrims to Xizang Autonomous Region of China has increased from several hundred in the 1980s to more than 20,000 in 2019.
  • Two-way personnel exchanges between China and India have exceeded 1 million.
  • There are 134 flights linking major cities of the two countries every week.


  • The two sides have made great progress on exchanges and cooperation in the fields of art, publishing, media, film and television, museum, sports, youth, tourism, locality, traditional medicine, yoga, education and think tanks.

What are the Implications of China-Pakistan Closeness For India?

  • Two Front War: Convergence between the two countries raises the real specter of a ‘two-front’ war.
  • Negotiation of Lost Territory: China now looks to negotiate to ‘recover’ Indian territories that it claims namely, Aksai Chin, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
  • It also positions China to play a role in Kashmir and the region.
  • China’s Rise to Global Power Status: China and Pakistan both share a common objective to prevent India’s rise.
  • With China’s rise as a global power, India views its partnership with Pakistan as a greater concern than before.

What are the Implications of China-Pakistan Closeness For India?

  • What is the Present Status of the India-China-Pakistan Triangle?
  • The US-India closeness started by the nuclear deal in 2005-06 left both China and Pakistan worried.
  • China’s Belt and Road Initiative has manifested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through the disputed territory claimed by India.
  • From China’s perspective, it offers access to the western Indian Ocean through the Gwadar port in Balochistan.
  • However, from India’s perspective, the Gwadar port is a part of the String of Pearls Strategy, for the encirclement of India.

What are the Implications of China-Pakistan Closeness For India?

  • India’s August 2019 move to abrogate Article 370 and revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir has brought China and Pakistan even closer.
  • In 2020, China signed a defence pact with Pakistan to enhance defence cooperation between the Pakistan Army and the People’s Liberation Army.
    • Pakistan has procured Chinese-made combat drones or unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
  • Pakistan endorses China’s position on its core issues including the South China SeaTaiwan, Xinjiang, and Tibet.
  • After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, China has now sensed an opportunity to get into Afghanistan for influence and resources with help from Pakistan.

Mains Question

  1. Discuss how India need to move cautiously in finding a diplomatic solution to the pending boundary disputes with China? (150 words) 10 Marks
  2. Discuss how India-China relations convergence is imperative for realising the dream of Asian Century? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Enumerate the contentious issues between India and China? Also, suggest way forward to forge ahead despite divergences? (250 Words) 15 Marks
  4. The growing aggressive stand of China is disturbing the delicate thread of relationship of two Asian major economies? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
  5. Discuss the implications of China-Pakistan closeness for India? (150 Words) 10 Marks


China-Tibet Conflict

  • Tibet has been occupied and ruled over by China and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since 1951 in “a calculated and systematic strategy aimed at the destruction of their national and cultural identities” (14th Dalai Lama, 1997).
  • This has often been described by the Tibetan people as a Cultural Genocide (Goldstein, 1998).
  • Eight years of occupation and repression led to the Tibetan Uprising of 1959, in which Tibetans rebelled in an attempt to overthrow the Chinese government; instead, the uprising led to the fleeing of HH the Fourteenth Dalai Lama into India, where he has lived in exile ever since.
  • A few hundred Tibetans initially followed the 14th Dalai Lama into exile, and since then hundreds of thousands have followed.
  • After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933, political upheaval characterized much of Tibet until a new religious candidate could be found.
  • Deciding that power should be temporarily shared by a lama acting as regent, Reting, and a lay chief minister, the Tibetan government was sieged both by internal and external quests for control over the region.
  • The latter in the form of China sought to “liberate” Tibetans from their “serf-like” existence and to ultimately “return” Tibet to the motherland.
  • Aware that they would eventually be forced to deal with China, Tibetan officials attempted to maintain negotiations while denying requests.
  • Finally in 1937, a potential candidate for Dalai Lama was discovered in the Chinese-controlled province of
  • Forced to rely on Chinese aid for the removal of the boy to political Tibet, the entourage returned to Lhasa in 1939. By the time the Dalai Lama was to receive his vows in 1941, Tibet had long been under the corrupt rule of Reting’s regime.
  • Vindictive, greedy, and non-celebate, Reting was unwilling to allow a more senior monk, Takdra, to take his place as regent to give the Dalai Lama his vows. Resigning with the belief that Takdra would eventually reinstate him, Reting spent the next six years until his death in constant contention with the Tibetan government.
  • After dealing with the corruption left over from Reting’s reign and Reting’s many attempts at overthrow, Takdra finally approved Reting’s arrest by the Chinese in 1947. With the nation divided by these political allegiances and the country in need of revision and modernization, Tibet was unprepared for the increase in Chinese pressure for control and integration.
  • As the Chinese army advanced towards political Tibet, Tibetan religious leaders urged that state power be transferred to the young Dalai Lama and that government officials relocate to the Indian border.
  • In 1951, the Dalai Lama was forced to accept the terms of the Seventeen Point Agreement, forcing Tibet to return to Chinese jurisdiction while maintaining some level of autonomy including religious freedom.
  • However, throughout the 1950s, relations between Tibetan Buddhism and Communist China worsened as monasteries continued to be places of resistance and potential shelter for rebels.
  • With increased Chinese negativity towards religion and allegations of disappearing lamas, the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959.
  • After the imprisonment of the Panchen Lama for a dissenting report about the state of Tibetan affairs, China no longer felt restrained by its earlier promises and was free to enforce its policies.
  • The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) demonstrated this through the destruction of many symbols of Tibetan religious life, including temples and monasteries.
  • Furthermore, religious figures and other educated individuals were forced into reeducation and severely maltreated. Although Chinese policies in the 1980s tried to revert some of the destruction, the damage to Tibetan culture was already done.
  • In the late 1980s, tensions between Tibet and China increased until violence climaxed in early 1989 with the deaths of many protesting Tibetans by police fire.
  • Other demonstrations for the exiled Dalai Lama and pro-democracy (like the demonstration in Tiananmen Square in Beijing) received international attention and made Tibetan religious devotion tantamount to political views in the eyes of the Chinese government.
  • In an attempt to curb instability in Tibet during the 1990s and 2000s, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) pushed for the economic development of the region and campaigned for the removal of images of the Dalai Lama from public areas and many private residences.
  • Furthermore, the Chinese government re-hauled educational texts for Tibetan students, ultimately promoting Chinese ideologies in the Tibetan language


Who were the Han Chinese

The Han Chinese are an East Asian Ethnic Group native to China. They consist of various subgroups speaking distinctive varieties of the Chinese Language.

Originating from Northern China, the Han Chinese trace their cultural ancestry to the Huaxia, the confederation of agricultural tribes living along the Yellow River. This collective Neolithic confederation included agricultural tribes Hua and Xia, hence the name.

The estimated 1.4 billion Han Chinese people worldwide are primarily concentrated in the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), where they make up about 92% of the total population. 

In Taiwan, they make up about 97% of the population. People of Han Chinese descent also make up around 75% of the total population of Singapore.

Han Chinese Religion

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are considered the “three pillars” of ancient Chinese society.

Taoism teaches about the various disciplines for achieving perfection through self-cultivation.

As philosophies and religions, they not only influenced spirituality, but also government, science, the arts, and social structure.


Though closer to a philosophy than a true religion, Confucianism was a way of life for ancient Chinese people, and it continues to influence Chinese culture today.

Dynasties Ruling China

Ming Dynasty: Before 1644 China was ruled by Ming Dynasty. In 1644 certain tribals (Manchus) came from Mongolia and fought fiercely with the people of Ming Dynasty and defeated them (Manchu Rebellion). With the defeat of the Ming Dynasty the rule of Qing Dynasty started in China.

Qing Dynasty (1644): The people of Qing Dynasty were Buddhists. China came under the influence of Buddhism. Buddhism began to become a dominant religion. Rule of Buddhists started.

Qing Dynasty and the British India History

In the meanwhile, India came under the British Rule. And these Britishers started trading with the rest of the world. China was India’s neighbour and the Britishers wanted to trade with them.

People of Qing Dynasty however adopted a Closed Foreign Policy thereby drastically reducing international engagements. They wanted to establish trade relations by hook or by crook.

Britishers realised between China and India, Tibet was present as a buffer state. It was not part of China. It was an independent state. The Britishers started corrupting the Tibetan Youth by giving them drugs. With these drug addict youth they started doing illegal trade.

The Chinese emperors of the Qing Dynasty were upset with this development finally culminating in the form of OPIUM WARS.

Dynasties Ruling China

The First Opium War (1839–42) was fought between China and Britain, and the Second Opium War (1856–60), also known as the Arrow War or the Anglo-French War in China, was fought by Britain and France against China.

The Qing Dynasty of China was defeated in the Second Opium War. The Britishers did not control or acquire China, instead they took Trade Concessions from them.

After the Second Opium War, the Britishers took control of the Hong Kong, which was basically a Port city and the Britishers had Naval Superiority.

They got the complete control of Hong Kong. This Hong Kong was gradually transformed as a trade transit point. This was the port from where the global trade happened between the British and the rest of the world.

The Han Chinese and the Britishers Divide and Rule

  • The mainland China was inhabited by the Han Chinese. The Han Chinese trace their origin to the Han Dynasty which was in China during the 2nd They were the local inhabitants of China.
  • However, with the advent of the Qing Dynasty, Buddhism took the central stage and the Han Chinese were getting supressed.
  • Once Britishers acquired the control of Hong Kong, Britishers started supporting the Han Chinese in Hong Kong against the Buddhists rule. The famous Divide And Rule Policy of the British.
  • Understand Buddhists were a minority in China, so it was technically a minority rule in China.
  • The aim of the Britishers was to basically provide support to the Han Chinese, so that, in Hong Kong they can weaken the control of Buddhists (Qing Dynasty).
  • Once successful in their misadventures in Hong Kong, the Britishers carried forward this policy in mainland China as well.

The Han Chinese and the Britishers Divide and Rule and the Fall of Qing Dynasty

  • Gradually, the Han Chinese in the mainland China also started getting support tacitly. They, with this tacit support, started weakening the people of Qing Dynasty.
  • By the advent of 20th Century the Qing Dynasty became very weak and finally led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. The Qing dynasty was the last dynastic power to rule China. It governed the country from the middle of the 1600s until 1912.
  • The Xinhai Revolution of 1911-1912 resulted in the overthrow of the Qings and led to the establishment of the Republic of China.
  • After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the Han Chinese became dominant. Han Chinese established a Nationalist Party (why Nationalist because they were the original inhabitants) called “Kuomintang Party”(KMT).

The Impact of Russian Revolution on China

  • Russian Revolution happened in 1917, it inspired many dominant leaders and countries alike.
  • One Dr Sun Yat Sen and Mao Zedong of China were deeply inspired by the Russian Revolution. After being inspired, they formed in 1920, “Communist Party of China” (CPC).
  • Both KMT and CPC had different approaches to capture power in China. While the CPC concentrated to capture power in rural areas first and then spread the ideology to the urban centres (Rural to Urban).
  • The KMT followed a completely opposite stance (Urban to Rural). Both the parties tried to mobilize people with an intention to capture the state power.
  • Long March, (1934–35), the 6,000-mile (10,000-km) historic trek of the Chinese communists, which resulted in the relocation of the communist revolutionary base from south-eastern to north-western China and in the emergence of Mao Zedong as the undisputed party leader.

China under the grip of Civil Wars from 1920-1945

  • The impact of these ideological differences between KMT and CPC on the Chinese Society and Polity was that, China witnessed “Civil Wars” from 1920 onwards. (Civil war is a war that happens within the geographical boundaries of a country amongst two or more political parties with an intention to capture state power).
  • This capture of power need not be through Elections only, it can be through Brute Force as well.
  • From 1920 till 1945 China witnessed Civil wars. So for 25 years China was a victim of Civil Wars.
  • In 1945, at the end of the WWII, External State Actors also began to come into China.

Japanese Invasion of China – Manchuria

  • Seeking raw materials to fuel its growing industries, Japan invaded the Chinese province of Manchuria in 1931.
  • By 1937 Japan controlled large sections of China, and accusations of war crimes against the Chinese became commonplace. It was estimated that 20 million people were killed in this massacre.
  • In 1939, the armies of Japan and the Soviet Union clashed in the area of the Khalkin Gol river in Manchuria. This battle lasted four months and resulted in a significant defeat for the Japanese.
  • The United States, along with other countries, criticized Japanese aggression but shied away from any economic or military punishments.
  • Relations between the U.S. and Japan worsened further when Japanese forces took aim at Indochina with the goal of capturing oil-rich areas of the East Indies. 
  • Responding to this threat, the United States placed an embargo on scrap metal, oil and aviation fuel heading to Japan and froze Japanese assets in the U.S.
  • Furthermore, the S. demanded that the Japanese withdraw from conquered areas of China and Indochina. Japan, sensing conflict was inevitable, began planning for an attack on Pearl Harbour by April, 1941.
  • The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941 brought the United States officially into World War II.
  • In the surprise attack, Japan sunk several ships, destroyed hundreds of planes and ended thousands of lives. The Japanese goal was to cripple the U.S. Pacific fleet, and they nearly succeeded. 

The External State Actors in growth of Communist China

  • By the time WWII ended, CPC was supported by USSR and KMT was supported by UK &US.
  • Gradually the public sympathy started tilting towards the CPC, because, ever since the end of the WWII, CPC started a campaign, saying that KMT is deriving support from UK & US who are basically capitalist countries, who will eventually sell the country to foreign players.
  • As a result of this campaign, the people of China started sympathising with the CPC (Its all about campaigning – Remember Modi Campaigning).
  • Finally, in 1949, CPC defeated KMT in the Civil War, and eventually the “People’s Republic of China” was born. The PRC is ruled by the CPC. Mao Zedong, one of the important persons associated with the CPC.
  • KMT finally fled to present day Taiwan and formed “Republic of China”, who claim to be the original China.

The Communist & KMT Divide

  • From 1840-1940s, China had faced escalating social, economic, and political problems as a result of Western imperialism and the decline of the Qing Dynasty.
  • Cyclical famines and an oppressive landlord system kept the large mass of rural peasantry poor and politically disenfranchised.
  • The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed in 1921 by young urban intellectuals inspired by European socialist ideas and the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
  • The CCP originally allied itself with the nationalist Kuomintang party against the warlords and foreign imperialism, but the Shanghai Massacre of Communists ordered by KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek in 1927 forced them into the Chinese Civil War.

The Birth of Modern Day China

  • China was born out of Violence unlike India, that was born as a result of peaceful struggle.
  • The birth instincts (Violence) of China follow them even today, when China has territorial disputes with all its 18 neighbours. CPC started strengthening its periphery (China’s Periphery Diplomacy).
  • This is how there is a stark difference between India and China. When we became Independent, we focussed on strengthening of our Core (Domestic Borders). While our focus was Internal, Chinese focus was External.
  • Remember Mao Zedong’s “Palm and Five Fingers Policy”. Tibet to be China’s right hand palm, with five fingers on its periphery: Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh, and that it is China’s responsibility to “liberate” these regions.

China’s Periphery Diplomacy

  • China’s strategic rationales for working more closely with its neighbours include upholding the security of its border, expanding trade and investment networks, and preventing a geopolitical balancing coalition.
  • Beijing uses a range of tools for periphery diplomacy, including deepening economic integration, engaging neighbouring major powers, and at times using coercion to achieve its aims.
  • Although states around China’s periphery welcome trade and investment ties with Beijing, China’s more assertive actions in recent years have engendered fear and wariness about Chinese intentions.
  • Remember CPC followed a model of Rural to Urban. By the time of 1949, CPC developed strong holds in the Rural Hinterland and now it wanted to concentrate on the Urban clusters and the Peripheral areas.
  • This Policy of China resulted in the Annexation of Tibet, Annexation of Aksai Chin after the Indo-China Conflict of 1962, building Strong holds in the Xingjian Province (the western most province of China), continued assertion along India-China border, along border with Nepal and Bhutan and Non-recognition of Sikkim as Indian territory till 2003.

India-China Border Diplomacy

  • In 1947 India became Independent. In 1949, PRC was established. At that time both the countries had natural boundaries. A natural border had natural physical features like Mountains and Lakes.
  • The British never tried to aggressively create a border between India and China as the Qing Dynasty that ruled China followed the policy of Closed Foreign Policy.
  • As a result, British never found China to be a threat to their rule in India. Though they tried to solve border differences, but they were not interested deeply.
  • With the departure of British and the formation of PRC, now both the countries decided should we continue to have natural borders or shall we draw a physical border.
  • This discussion continued from 1949-1954. By 1954, it was decided that we will have a proper border. From 1954-1959, they started discussing the modalities of this proper border. Exchange of various maps happened, however, consensus never came on this matter.
  • By 1960, both the parties began to become insecure. Finally, in 1962 it led to a conflict. India got defeated in this conflict. To further humiliate us, Pakistan started tilting towards China.
  • In 1953, Pakistan and China signed a Boundary Agreement. In this Agreement, Pakistan gifted Shaksgam Valley (5180 Sq. Kms) to China.
  • Shaksgam Valley had around 242 Glaciers, a very rich fresh water source, which China didn’t need then, but were aware that they would need in near future, and happily kept the Valley under their control.

The US-China Bonhomie

  • In 1971, India-Pakistan engaged in a war, resulting in Vivisection of Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh an Independent Nation. This Military feat by Indian Army was disturbing to US and China both alike.
  • After the end of War, Pakistan was successful in creating an impression to the International community (especially US & China) that it had existential threats from Indian Army.
  • In this backdrop, US & China decided to keep the West Pakistan intact from Indian Army’s potential threat. To ensure survival of Pakistan, US and China became friends from 1972 onwards.
  • Both of them decided to keep Indian Army busy with Internal disturbances in India and this gave birth to the Khalistan problem in Punjab (US + Pakistan) and the North East Insurgency (US + China) in the North East. Indian Army now had to fight two fronts, leading to division of the resources of Indian Army

Capitalist Growth of China from 1972 onwards

  • China started focussing on Capitalist growth. Politically a Communist country started focussing on Capitalist Growth Model. In 1979, China started creating structures (governance structures like regulators etc) for a Capitalistic growth. The ruler was Den Xiaoping.
  • From 1980 onwards, started Domestic growth with the US support. This domestic growth led to GDP growth negatively impacting the environment. Rivers got polluted, environment got degraded but the growth trajectory continued
  • As a result, China became a resource hungry country. It was in 1990, China began to take Outward Impulse. For the first time China said I will go out to get the resource
  • The First area where China went was the Central Asia, being a neighbouring area. China started getting resources from Central Asia. But, with Central Asia China had Border Disputes.
  • To overcome this situation of resource crunch, in 1996, China created a group called Shanghai Five primarily to overcome the border problem displaying an open selfish stance in International Relations.
  • In a span of 6 years, the border disputes with the Central Asian neighbours were solved. As a result, in 2001, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) came into being. China then became a net product provider. China started Dumping its production in the Central Asian Region.
  • The Second Area China decided to go was Africa. Like Central Asia, Africa was also a resource rich area. However, Chinese model adopted in Africa was too selfish. They established factories, extracted the resources, employed their own country men and just shared a percentage of the profit with Africa.
  • This policy of China completely devasted African Continent. Even the share of the so called profits was adjusted with the loan repayments and other obligations of the Africans to China.


Tiananmen Square Incident-1989

  • The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China. They were halted in a bloody crackdown, known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, by the Chinese government on June 4 and 5, 1989.
  • This Pro-Democracy protests were brutally supressed by the Chinese government. Although thousands of protesters simply tried to escape, others fought back, stoning the attacking troops and setting fire to military vehicles.
  • Reporters and Western diplomats there that day estimated that hundreds to thousands of protesters were killed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and as many as 10,000 were arrested.

How Xinjiang was integrated with China

  • Xinjiang historically consisted of two main geographically, historically, and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names:
  • Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains; and
  • The Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, currently mainly inhabited by the Uyghurs.
  • Uyghur Khaganate in the 8th-9th century.
  • Uyghur power declined, and three main regional kingdoms vied for power around Xinjiang, namely the Buddhist Uyghur Kara-Khoja, the Turkic Muslim Kara-Khanid, and the Iranian Buddhist Khotan.
  • Eventually, the Turkic Muslim Kara-Khanids prevailed and Islamized the region.
  • In the 13th century it was part of the Mongol Empire. After that, the Turkic people prevailed again.
  • They were renamed Xinjiang in 1884, meaning “new frontier,” when both regions were conquered by the Manchu Qing dynasty after the Dungan revolt (1862–1877).

The History of Macau China

  • Macau is a former colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557.
  • Portugal paid an annual rent and administered the territory under Chinese sovereignty until 1887, when it gained perpetual colonial rights in the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking.
  • The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999, when it was transferred to China.
  • Macau is a special administrative region of China, which maintains separate governing and economic systems from those of mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems”.


One Country – Two Systems

  • One country, Two systems” is a constitutional principle of the People’s Republic of China describing the governance of Hong Kong and Macausince they became Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China in 1997 and 1999 respectively.
  • It was formulated in the early 1980s by Chinese leader Deng Xiaopingduring negotiations with the United Kingdom over Hong Kong.
  • He suggested that there would be only One China, but that these regions could retain their own economic and administrative systems, while the rest of Mainland China uses the socialism with Chinese characteristics system.
  • Under the principle, each of the two regions could continue to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs, including trade relations with foreign countries, all of which are independent from those of the Mainland.
  • The PRC has also proposed to apply the principle in the unification it aims for withTaiwan.


The History of Hong Kong

  • The First Opium War which ensued lasted from 1839 to 1842. Britain occupied the island of Hong Kong on 25 January 1841 and used it as a military staging point.
  • China was defeated and was forced to cede Hong Kong in the Treaty of Nankingsigned on 29 August 1842.
  • The island became a Crown Colony of the British Empire.
  • At midnight on June 30, 1997, Britain handed over Hong Kong, its colony for 150 years, to China in return for a promise that the region would be given “a high degree of autonomy” and retain its lifestyle for the next 50 years under a “one country, two systems” formula. What lay beyond 2047 was not spelled out.

A Brief History

  • Hong Kong was handed back to China from British control in 1997, but under a unique agreement which was based on a mini-constitution called the Basic Law and thus, a so-called “one country, two systems” principle came in the light.
  • Under the same agreement, Hong Kong had to enact its own national security law – this was set out in Article 23 of the Basic Law. However, it could not be enacted due to the protests against the law in 2003.
  • In the same year, Hong Kong tried to remove some of the provisions of article 23 in which nearly half a million people took part in the protest but was jettisoned.
  • Since early 2019, there has been a move to introduce an extradition bill which also faced huge protests in which 3-4 million people (out of around 7 million population of Hong Kong) participated; the extradition bill was cancelled.


  • It is the formal process of one state surrendering an individual to another state for prosecution or punishment for crimes committed in the requesting country’s jurisdiction.
  • This is generally enabled through a bilateral or multilateral treaty.
  • The legal basis for extradition with countries with whom India does not have an Extradition treaty is provided by Section 3 (4) of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962.

Basic Law

  • Basic Law allows Hong Kong to enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, barring matters of defence and foreign affairs.
  • Under Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong has to enact a national security law “to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.”
  • Article 23 aims at preserving national security but it will also allow China’s national security organs to formally operate and set up institutions in Hong Kong.

Issues With The Law

  • The law is an attack on the human rights of the people of Hong Kong as it curtails their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
  • The law could see people punished for criticising Beijing as well as the Chinese Communist Party – as it happens in mainland China.
  • It violates the basic law of Hong Kongwhich proposes the one country, two systems
    • The article 22 of the basic law of Hong Kong is violated which suggests that no central government. agencies can interfere in the functioning of the Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong).
    • Article 12 which suggests that there will be a high degree of autonomy is also violated.
  • The US and Hong Kong share a good business relationship due to no interference of China in the state matters which will possibly be not as good if the latter becomes a part of mainland China.
  • People of Hong Kong in response to the law have come out in thousands of numbers defying both the law and the social distancing norms imposed in the wake of Covid-19.

Chinese authorities have planned to bypass the Hong Kong’s legislature to enact a National Security Law that is believed by pro-democracy activists to crack down the dissent in the city.

What is the National Security Law

  • Under the national security law, a legal framework will be set up to prevent and punish subversion, terrorism, separatism/ secession and any foreign interference. The law makes any of these acts a crime.

Way Forward

  • International attention should be given to this and people of Hong Kong need to be encouraged for their effort.
  • It’s the high time to respond to China’s activities in order to prevent any severe actions in future.
  • Letting China have its way could lead to dire consequences for Taiwan and probably many other similar states.
  • China is immune to any individual country’s response and hence, a coordinated response from the bigger power nations is required.
  • Apart from the external factors, on the Hong Kong people’s part:
    • They have to take a stand for the universal suffrage rights.
    • They are needed to ask for separation of power and autonomy in the administration.
    • The crisis of the real estate within the region needs to be addressed too.



Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest and most dominant of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. 


The Dalai Lama title was created by Shunyi Wang in the Ming Dynasty, in 1578.


The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who lives as a refugee in India. The Dalai Lama is also considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.


India and China Relations

Understanding the Border Issue

The Case of Tibet

  • Ming Dynasty in China in 1368.
  • Inward looking Dynasties. Basically didn’t trade with the world. No interest to propagate the culture to the world.
  • China is at the center of the World. China was regarded as a Central Kingdom.
  • The control was never extended to Tibet. Tibet was an independent and autonomous country.
  • In 1644, the Ming Dynasty was replaced by the Qing Dynasty. Even the Qing Dynasty adopted the inward looking policy and also the status quo on Tibet was maintained.
  • In Tibet Political Rule was never strong as Tibet was basically a religious center.
  • The Dalai Lama was both the Political and Religious Head of the state. Dalai Lama is not the name of an individual. The real name of the present Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
  • Dalai Lama is a term to signify political and religious guru.
  • Even the Qing Dynasty people didn’t interfere in the internal affairs of Tibet and Tibet remained a complete independent state.
  • In 1717, Tibet witnesses Dzungar Rebellion.
  • Mongols were north of China. They were expansionist. Chengiz Khan. There was tribal group in South Mongolia called Dzungar.
  • The Dzungars started the southward expansion. They came to Tibet. In Tibet Dalai Lama was there, people were living in spirituality. There was commotion in Tibet due to this.
  • The Qing Dynasty sent troops to supress the Dzungar Rebellion. The Army sent by the Qing Dynasty was successful in supressing the Dzungars.
  • Even after this the Qing Dynasty maintained the status quo with Tibet and allowed Tibet to be independent and didn’t annex it.
  • However, Qing Dynasty now acknowledged the vulnerability of Tibet from Invasions from the North.
  • In this background, Qing Dynasty suggested positioning of a military Governor from China called Amban. Ambans would be given the responsibility to save Tibet from probable northern invasions from Mongolia. (British Resident, Modern Day Governor)
  • The Ambans had military power only.
  • Dzungar Rebellion affected Tibet. Tibet accepted Ambans and their presence in Tibet. Situation was okay till
  • In 1792, Qing Dynasty suggested signing of a 29 Point Agreement. As per this the Ambans would be given some extra power and secondly the Ambans will have status equivalent of the Dalai Lama.
  • Through this 29 Point Agreement, China was trying to basically weaken the position of Dalai Lama.
  • Here China didn’t want to directly annex Tibet, but surely wanted to weaken the position of Dalai Lama.
  • China was trying to influence the political landscape of Tibet through the elevated position of the Ambans.
  • Tibetans resisted this 29 Point Agreement. However, in 1792, Tibet was forced to sign this agreement.
  • This resulted in resentment in Tibet. The Tibetans therefore became against the Qing Dynasty.

China-Tibet Conflict

  • Tibet came under the control of the Qing dynasty of China in 1720 after the Qing expelled the forces of the Dzungar Khanate from Tibet.
  • It remained under Qing suzerainty (or protectorate) until 1912. The succeeding Republic of China claimed inheritance of all territories held by the Qing dynasty, including Tibet.
  • The Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China adopted in 1912 specifically established frontier regions of the new republic, including Tibet, as integral parts of the state.

Tibet’s Attempts to Remain Independent

  • In July 1949, in order to prevent Chinese Communist Party-sponsored agitation in political Tibet, the Tibetan government expelled the (Nationalist) Chinese delegation in Lhasa.
  • In November 1949, Tibetan government sent a letter to the U.S. State Department and a copy to Mao Zedong, and a separate letter to the British government, declaring its intent to defend itself “by all possible means” against PRC troop incursions into Tibet.
  • In 1950, the 14th Dalai Lama was 15 years old and had not attained his majority, so Regent Taktra was the acting head of the Tibetan Government.
  • Tibet has been occupied and ruled over by China and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since 1951 in “a calculated and systematic strategy aimed at the destruction of their national and cultural identities” (14th Dalai Lama, 1997).
  • This has often been described by the Tibetan people as a Cultural Genocide (Goldstein, 1998).
  • Eight years of occupation and repression led to the Tibetan Uprising of 1959, in which Tibetans rebelled in an attempt to overthrow the Chinese government; instead, the uprising led to the fleeing of HH the Fourteenth Dalai Lama into India, where he has lived in exile ever since.
  • A few hundred Tibetans initially followed the 14th Dalai Lama into exile, and since then hundreds of thousands have followed.
  • In 1951, the Dalai Lama was forced to accept the terms of the Seventeen Point Agreement, forcing Tibet to return to Chinese jurisdiction while maintaining some level of autonomy including religious freedom.
  • However, throughout the 1950s, relations between Tibetan Buddhism and Communist China worsened as monasteries continued to be places of resistance and potential shelter for rebels.
  • With increased Chinese negativity towards religion and allegations of disappearing lamas, the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959.
  • After the imprisonment of the Panchen Lama for a dissenting report about the state of Tibetan affairs, China no longer felt restrained by its earlier promises and was free to enforce its policies.
  • The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) demonstrated this through the destruction of many symbols of Tibetan religious life, including temples and monasteries.
  • Furthermore, religious figures and other educated individuals were forced into re-education and severely maltreated.
  • Although Chinese policies in the 1980s tried to revert some of the destruction, the damage to Tibetan culture was already done.
  • In the late 1980s, tensions between Tibet and China increased until violence climaxed in early 1989 with the deaths of many protesting Tibetans by police fire.
  • In an attempt to curb instability in Tibet during the 1990s and 2000s, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) pushed for the economic development of the region and campaigned for the removal of images of the Dalai Lama from public areas and many private residences.
  • Furthermore, the Chinese government re-hauled educational texts for Tibetan students, ultimately promoting Chinese ideologies in the Tibetan language.

Why China wanted to acquire Tibet in the first place

  • Firstly, if you remember, during the civil war in China both KMT and CPC collectively ensured urban and rural integration of China. This resulted in unification of the Core in the hindsight of the civil war. Now, China concentrated on strengthening its periphery. There came the question of Tibet.
  • Secondly, control over Tibet was essential to ensure uninterrupted integration of Kashger (Xinjiang Province) with China, as Tibet was bordering Kashger.
  • Kashger Region has been troublesome historically due to the fact that the people inhabiting this Region were from the Central Asian Region and were Muslims and not Han Chinese. So, control over Tibet was crucial for China.
  • Thirdly, control over Tibet is also essential to check any Indian misadventure in Tibet. China already saw an Indian king interfering in Kashger Region. In 1951 also when the PLA entered Tibet through Aksai Chin, India asked China to respect the sovereignty of Tibet and also questioned its movement of PLA troops into Tibet through Aksai China calling it as Indian territory.

China alleges India to have interfered in Tibet, while the reality is that, it was the Britishers who did it, not India

  • Recently also tensions erupted when Indian PM celebrated the birthday of Dalai Lama in India.
  • This news was telecasted in China with lot of criticism and dissatisfaction.
  • India now in some ways openly talks about the Tibet and India’s support to Tibet.


Chapter 7: Neighbourhood: India-Pakistan Relations


Basis of Rivalry of India and Pakistan

Belief System of Pakistan

  • India has not accepted the Partition and it wants to undo the Partition. However, this is wrong.
  • In 1950s Nehru said, the partition cannot stand for long and eventually it will merge with India.
  • However, this statement of Nehru was mistakenly understood. This statement was made from the perspective of Cultural Congruity.
  • India wants to use Military means to undo the Partition. Now, this is completely an imaginary value of belief of Pak.
  • One must understand here itself that, this narrative was being given so that the military in Pak can dominate the governance landscape of Pakistan.
  • Like Israel, Pak is surrounded by hostile states.
  • Here it is trying to highlight the disturbances with Afghanistan and India
  • However, this statement of Pak is unfound for, without any premise and justification.

IT goes on to say that these threats have compelled Pakistan to seek alliance based security. Pakistan is only trying to justify to its own citizens about its engagement with US and China. This is far from truth. India had invited Pak to join the NAM. Pak is drawing a narrative that US and now China have ensured Security of Pakistan.

Nature of State

  • Security threat from India-Internal conflict that is going on for the last 1000 years. One needs to understand here is that Pak is trying to make a narrative based upon History.
  • It wants to highlight that historically from 10/11th Century onwards, there is incompatibility between Hindus and Muslims.
  • They have ingrained a thought in its population that, Muslims cannot stay with Hindu and these Hindus will not accept them. However, this narrative doesn’t have any standing and is just vote bank politics.
  • To gain an edge by giving these kinds of narratives, Pak gave its Army leverage in its Foreign Policy. Pak using this strategy is trying to justify the superior Army structure.
  • Pakistan has created an euphoria that Democracy will not challenge the Strategic Culture of the enemies, it is the military might can challenge.
  • In Pakistan Democracy works in its sphere and the military works in its sphere.
  • Democracy will not challenge the Strategic Culture of the Army. The moment the Democracy tries to control the Strategic Culture of the Army, the Army will take over the governance through a military coup.
  • One of the important Strategic Culture component of the Pakistan’s Army is that Kashmir is dispute with India. And the democracy in Pakistan doesn’t have the right to change this component of the strategic culture.
  • Historically, whosoever PM tried to find a solution for the Kashmir problem, he has been eliminated.
  • Pakistan’s military economy sustains on Kashmir.
  • There are some problems for which we shouldn’t find a solution. And, in turn make a tacit understanding that we shouldn’t find solution. For India and Pakistan this is Kashmir, because if it remains problematic, then only we will have a testing ground.
  • India’s Fault Lines Terrorism, Naxalism, NEI etc. If all these fault lines are addressed and resolved, then the moral ground for purchasing high end military equipment will be lost.
  • The government will become accountable to the people for its extravaganza on defence budget. So, necessity needs to be developed for this kind of spending.
  • Today Pakistan is an Army controlled Democracy. It will remain so till the Strategic Culture is not threatened.
  • Once the Strategic Culture is threatened, it becomes Army Dominated Democracy.

Pakistan’s Narrative of India and their belief system

Pakistan has a belief system that India has not accepted the partition and intends to undo the partition. They argue that Pak is surrounded by hostile states like India and Afghanistan and this is why they have sought external security from US and China. Pak asserts that the conflict with India is eternal and shall continue for 1000 years.

Nature of State

  • India China defence capability. The CNP of china is 3 times that of India. It is very easy to write articles that we can easily tackle China.
  • They are 300 years ahead of us. The pace at which they are developing, in the next 50 years they will increase the gap in the power structure by 150 years.

Cabinet Mission Proposals and Interpretation of Muslim League and Congress

  • The British Territories in India can be divided into British Indian Provinces and the Princely States.
  • In 1946, Cabinet Mission Plan’s memorandum was prepared. Acc to this when the British Paramountcy ends, the power will be transferred to two dominions (India and Pakistan).
  • The princely states can decide whether to join India/Pak or decide to be independent.
  • Lord Mountbatten said, if any Princely state wants to join either of the dominions, they will sign two documents, A Standstill Agreement and the Instrument of Accession.
  • Stand Still you can sign when you are on the verge of decision making. To simply put it, say for suppose a princely state decided to join India, they it can sign the stand still agreement till the modalities of the integration are being worked out. So, it was kind of an interim arrangement before the signing of the Instrument of Accession.
  • Accede means to Join, Secede means to Back out/Part away. So who wish to secede are called
  • Standstill Agreement – Negotiate – Instrument of Accession.
  • The other option is, a Princely State can directly sign the Instrument of Accession as well, without going through the Stand Still Agreement.
  • CMP Proposal interpretation was different between ML and INC. INC said, the Princely State ruler will take into consideration the wishes of the people in his decision, while the ML said it is the sole discretion of the Ruler and no wishes of the people are required in deciding whom to join.
  • Here INC said that the wishes of the people doesn’t mean that they have to take a decision immediately, they can take some time. And this time is needed because, at places the security situation is not conducive for a fair voting. (In this context we will understand the issue in J&K)
  • India showcased Democratic approach while Pak showcased Authoritarian Approach.
  • g. Ruler of Junagarh wanted to join Pak, but India insisted for knowing the wishes of the people, eventually people decided to join India and finally Junagarh joined India. Similar issues in Hyd and Kashmir with slight variations.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Stand Still Agreement with Pakistan

  • Muslim Majority population ruled by a Hindu Ruler called Hari Singh. Insecure fellow. He felt insecure in joining Pak knowing that he being a Hindu Ruler, he would eventually be removed.
  • He also had fears in joining India because he was insecure with Nehru, he felt that his powers would be stripped off, if he decides to join India.
  • So, eventually he decided to remain independent.
  • If you see the strategic location, you see that it was geopolitically located between China, Pak and Central Asia. So, the independence of this territory was a big game. So, the big players will surely try to seek this territory.
  • In this backdrop, Hari Singh signed a Stand Still Agreement with Pakistan. This was intended to control the impending fear of Pakistan’s blatant action and in turn buy some time in decision making. Pakistan got the permission to start postal service and Telegraph service post signing of the stand still agreement.

Pakistan’s unrest for J&K

  • India was upset with this turn of events. In the meanwhile, observing India’s anxiety, Pakistan started pressurising Hari Singh to sign the Instrument of Accession.
  • Hari Singh became Insecure. He also felt, with what face shall I go to Nehru. Pakistan pressure was continuously increasing.
  • Pak realised, Hari Singh is delaying unnecessarily. Pak in the meantime decided to do some thing. This was the time, the soldiers had returned recently after fighting the WWII, and as such were experienced in fighting.
  • Pakistan wanted to use these soldiers in breaking the stalemate. Pakistan in the meanwhile, spoke to Britishers and tried to find a way out. The British suggestion ruled out use of soldiers as it is an undecided territory.
  • In turn, the British recommended Pak to use its Soldiers in training of Rebels (Lashkar).

The Irregulars entry into Jammu and Kashmir

  • Major Akbar Khan of Pakistan trained these Lashkars under a Grand Strategy to occupy Kashmir, carryout loot and kill the civilians.
  • By Sep 1947, these Lashkars crossed Pakistan and executed the tasks as assigned to them. Seeing this, the insecurity of Maharaja Hari Singh grew, he called India for help. India at this point denied any help, on the grounds that J&K is an independent territory. India also on top of it reminded the king that he has signed a Stand Still Agreement with Pak. India cannot do anything in this regard.
  • India however, gave an option of signing the Instrument of Accession and integration with India, for which the King readily agreed in the backdrop of impending threat.
  • Here Mountbatten recommended to take the consent of the people, which Hari Singh didn’t agree for seeing the dire situation and immediately signed the Instrument of Accession.

Jammu and Kashmir’s Instrument of Accession with India

  • At this point India said that the consent of the people is necessary. But as of now, just sign the Instrument of Accession.
  • Finally, in 1947, the Instrument of Accession was signed on the condition that as soon as the situation improves, the consent of the people will be obtained by conducting a Plebiscite.
  • J&K legally became part of India. Army was inducted, with instructions to remove the Lashkars and reoccupy the area illegally occupied by the Lashkars.
  • When Army entered it found that the terrain is very difficult and also found some soldiers of Pakistan who had served with them in WWII.

India-Pakistan War in 1947

  • With the presence of Army Soldiers disguised as Lashkars, it was an Invasion on the Indian Territory. India-Pakistan War started.
  • Nov 1947, while the War was going on, with the coming of winters, the weather turned very bad, but the Army conducted operations to reoccupy the territory, and lot of territory was reoccupied. However, the operations had to be stalled due to bad weather.
  • In Jan 1948, Batten advised in the backdrop of stalled operations, to go for plebiscite in J&K, he also advised to go for a plebiscite with UN help.

India seeking supervision of United Nations

  • Nehru resisted, but Mt. Batten insisted, by saying that a neutral agency’s presence would help in embedding a fair deal.
  • Nehru expressed faith in UN. In 1948, Nehru went to UN, proposed for a plebiscite in J&K under UN supervision.
  • Here, one needs to appreciate is that, the involvement of UN was sought for conducting a fair plebiscite in J&K and NOT to decide upon the legality of the Instrument of Accession.
  • We asked for supervision of the UN as a neutral agency due to the violent backgrounds by both the Armies. India insisted for the supervision of UNSC, to make a team and supervise the plebiscite.

Cabinet Mission Plan’s Proposal and Interpretation of INC & ML

Under the Cabinet Mission Plan, a Princely state was given the option to join  India or Pak or remain independent. To join either dominion, IOA and SA were used as strategic tools. The INC stated that the ruler of the Princely state has to take a decision based upon consent of the people whereas the ML stated that the ruler of the Princely State can take an independent decision.


Curious case of Hari Singh and his Game

Hari Singh wanted to remain an independent state, but owing to the geopolitical significance of Kashmir, it was not an acceptable option. Hari Singh was  insecure about joining Pak owing to demographic reasons whereas he was sceptical of joining India owing to power equations. He signed a Stand Still Agreement with Pak to maintain status quo.


Entry of Lashkars and the Change of Policy of Hari Singh

To put pressure on Hari Singh to join Pak, they used an Army of irregulars to create unrest in J&K. This move backfired because Hari Singh eventually sought security from India and in Oct 1947 concluded an Instrument of Accession with India on the condition of holding a plebiscite to ascertain the will of the people once peace prevails

The First India-Pakistan War

After signing the Instrument of Accession the army launched an operation against the Lashkars only to realise that they are Regular Pakistani troops disguised as Lashkars, this eventually led to the outbreak of First India-Pakistan War in 1947. The Army was given the instructions to repulse the Lashkars and reoccupy the territory they had occupied illegally. In Jan 1948, when Lashkars were repulsed, India, on advise of Mt. Batten sought supervision of UN for holding the plebiscite.


United Nations Resolutions on J&K

  • UN in Jan 1948, passed a UNSC resolution 39 and created a body called “United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan” UNCIP.
  • In Feb 1948, UNCIP sent a team to see does a conducive conditions exist for a plebiscite in J&K.
  • In Mar 1948, this team submitted the report to UNSC. In the report, it said there is fear in Kashmir’s people, the condition is not conducive for a plebiscite and this is due to the fact of too much presence of military.
  • In April 1948, UNSC passed one more resolution, UNSC Resolution 47. We are appointing Military Advisors for UNCIP, they will go to Kashmir to de-militarise Kashmir, so that the fear of the people is addressed.
  • In May 1948, these military advisors came to Kashmir. These observed that firstly, India and Pakistan need to maintain peace. To this effect both the countries need to sign a Ceasefire Agreement. This will bring stability in the Region.
  • The military advisors started discussions with India and Pakistan. Finally in Jan 1949, a Ceasefire agreement was signed by India and Pakistan. This Ceasefire agreement is called “Karachi Agreement”.
  • This agreement sought to maintain Status Quo. This Status Quo was meant for Conducive Conditions for Peace. This Ceasefire agreement also gave birth to the Ceasefire Line between India and Pakistan.
  • The Military Advisors went back to UNSC and told about the Status Quo Position. It was appreciated by the UNSC. It then advised these Military Advisors, now to try for demilitarisation of Kashmir.
  • UNSC with the objective of demilitarising J&K, created a group called UNMOGIP United Nations Military Observer group for India and Pakistan.
  • Some members of this UNMOGIP went to Pakistan and some came to India. Their focus was to create conditions for peace. This resulted in a competition between UNCIP & UNMOGIP.
  • In 1949, in the presence of UNMOGIP & UNCIP, conducive conditions for peace was still elusive. In the backdrop, plebiscite will be elusive.
  • In this backdrop, both the teams got directions from UNSC to fasten the peace process. Both the teams told Pakistan, to remove Army from the Ceasefire Line.
  • Pak told both the teams to ask India first to remove its Army, When they approached India, we said, ask them to remove first. Like this, things got delayed.

UN Military Advisors and their failed efforts to Demilitarise J&K

  • UNSC got irritated with the delay. In 1950, UNSC therefore passed a Resolution 91, and terminated UNCIP. With this the entire responsibility was given to UNMOGIP to demilitarise the ceasefire line and get the plebiscite done at the earliest.
  • UNMOGIP tried its best to demilitarise, but both the countries were headstrong in maintaining troops along the Ceasefire line.
  • However, the group was failing to convince Pak in demilitarising the CFL.
  • Gradually, the faith in the UN functioning was getting eroded, because the UN supervisory group was being arm-twisted by UNSC. This created a trust deficit on UNSC.

Kashmir at UN and Resolution No. 39

When India sought supervision of UN for plebiscite, UNSC through Resolution 39 in Jan 1948 established UNCIP to establish conducive conditions for Plebiscite. In Mar 1948, the UNCIP in a report to the UNSC stated that peace cannot be maintained till areas remain militarised.


Kashmir at UN, Resolution No. 47 & UNMOGIP formed

In April 1948, UNSC through Resolution 47 formed UNMOGIP for India and Pakistan. The military advisors (that later became part of the UNMOGIP) sought to demilitarise the region through a ceasefire.

Military Advisors, Formation of UNMOGIP and Karachi Agreement

The military advisors in consultation with both parties sought conclusion of a ceasefire agreement in Jan 1949 and a ceasefire line was established to maintain status quo. The military advisors, now came under a body called UNMOGIP and sought demilitarisation and conducive conditions for peace to hold plebiscite. The 1949 ceasefire agreement is also called as Karachi Agreement.

Case for Plebiscite, Reasons for no plebiscite and implications on UNCIP

One of the conditions for the Plebiscite was that law and order has to be maintained and peace has to be restored.

However, despite Ceasefire Line, the region remained militarised and UNCIP failed to ensure demilitarisation.

Thus, through Resolution 91 of UNSC, the UNCIP was terminated and UNMOGIP was given the responsibility to organise the conducive conditions for plebiscite.

Failure of UNSC in maintaining World Peace

  • In 1962, India-China Conflict occurred. We understood that the UN System has failed in controlling the escalation of Conflicts across the globe.
  • The UN as an international institution has failed in controlling the Arms Race which is an important element of World Peace.
  • In India’s context UNSC failed in escalation of dispute with Pak in 1947-48, India China conflict in 1962 and was just a mute spectator when Pakistan gifted Shaksgam Valley (a disputed territory between India) to China in 1963.
  • The 1965 War with Pakistan was an unnecessary provocation and classic example of Adventurism by Pak.

Finding of a Fault Line to Check mate Pakistan

  • After 1965 War India realized the repeated adventurism of Pakistan. In this backdrop, India decides to pay back in the same coin.
  • R&AW was carved out of IB and was given the exclusive responsibility of external intelligence.
  • One of the tasks entrusted to R&AW was finding a fault line that can be worked upon as a response to Pakistan’s repeated Adventurism against India. India identified East Pakistan’s alienation as an important fault line.
  • By 1970s we were successful in nurturing this fault line. The two tools that the R&AW used was Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and second is the training of the Mukti Bahini Force. A guerilla force used for subversive activities.

The Third India-Pakistan War

  • In 1971, Pakistan attacked India in the Western Sector. In contrast with the previous two engagements, where Pakistan was the natural aggressor, this time India created conditions for Pakistan to initiate an attack on India.
  • These conditions were created covertly, and Pakistan responded overtly to these covert operations and fell into the trap. As a result of this overt military action from Pakistan, India under its RTSD
  • They attacked India on the Western Front; We retaliated on the Eastern front.

Shimla Agreement

  • As a result, East Pakistan was sliced off.
  • 1971 brought culmination of grievances of the 1960s. From UN to plebiscite in J&K and Pak adventurism and all other grievances. After War, India called Pak and made Pak sign Shimla Agreement in 1972. The basic tenet of the Shimla Agreement was that, the Kashmir issue is an issue between India and Pak and that it will be resolved BILATERALLY.
  • One of the terms of the agreement was the returning of the surrendered soldiers. Now comes the opportunity to deal with the Ceasefire Line.
  • India said, diplomatically, Ceasefire means peace. However, Pak has over a period of time militarized the CFL. Therefore, Ceasefire and militarization which are otherwise antithetical to each other are co-existing along the India-Pak border.
  • At the end of the 1971 War, we again asked Pak, if they will demilitarize the Ceasefire Line. To which, the Pakistan replied in negative.
  • Presently as there is no Ceasefire at the CFL, so militarized ceasefire line is an antithetical situation, and we need to address this anomaly.
  • To this situation India said, we will sign another agreement. Under the Shimla Agreement, we signed another Agreement called the “Suchetgarh Agreement”. Under this agreement the CFL will be renamed as Line of Control (LOC). Line of Control is a Militarized Term.
  • On the issue of Kashmir Plebiscite, we told Pak that, UNMOGIP is unable to do anything, now we will discuss the issue bilaterally and the UNMOGIP has got no role to play. Pak agreed for UNMOGIP removal.
  • Finally, after 1972, UNMOGIP retreat from India and Pak. We nullified the option of any international mediation on Kashmir and the possibility of Pakistan taking the issue to UN.
  • 1971 India won the War against Pakistan and sliced off East Pak to create Bangladesh an independent nation.
  • 1972, India made Pakistan to sign Shimla Agreement with favourable terms to India.
  • In 1974, India carried out its Peaceful Nuclear Explosion.
  • All this combined, made Pak feel Insecure against India. In this background, Pak calls Abdul Qadir Khan, a nuclear scientist who was working in Holland, to return to Pak and started working on nuclear working of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan thus started making its nuclear weapon. India also paced up its nuclear weapon.

Pakistan’s becoming Nuclear

  • By 1986, one thing became clear that Pak has made its nuclear weapon ready.
  • If we remember once we conducted our PNE in 1974, our nuclear program was continuing, and by 1981 our nuclear weapon was ready.
  • In 1982, IG was ready for the test and all our preparations were ready. The US Satellite images captured this, and IG was threatened by US not to go for any nuclear explosions.

India’s Nuclear Deterrence against Pak

  • In 1987, India conducted an Army Operation called “Operation BRASSTACKS” in the western front aimed at Power Projection.
  • Around 1.5 Lakh soldiers fully armed participated in the operation. In counter to India, Pak launched Operation Flying Horse.
  • If we see the International picture, USSR was retreating from Afghanistan. This resulted in the signing of the Geneva Accord.
  • Pakistan colluded with the Mujahids who were wanting to take revenge with US to send their lower rung soldiers to India to terrorize the people in India and also to train Pakistani Mujahideen in Pak who can go to India in future and carryout terror attacks in India.
  • This was the phase of Mehman Mujahideen, those who returned from Afghanistan to India via Pakistan with an aim to terrorize Kashmiris. This entire plan of Pak was executed under Operation Topac.

1990s Intifada in Kashmir

  • Intifada is an Arabic Word which means Uprising. The situation in Kashmir at that time was bad.
  • In 1987, in Kashmir witnesses’ election. National Conference with INC was fighting as one team and the Islamists under the Muslim United Front (MUF) were fighting for political power in Kashmir.
  • At this time, the popularity of NC+INC, popularity had declined. However, the elections were rigged and NC+INC won the elections. MUF didn’t accept this defeat and approached Pak for help. In those days there was no fencing along the border the way it is today.
  • This gave an edge to Pakistan’s Operation Topac. MUF cadres got trained under Operation Topac. Now, Mehman Mujahideen, Pakistan Mujahideen and the MUF cadres were getting trained.
  • Eventually, in the 1990s, Terrorism started in J&K. One needs to comprehend here as to why terrorism started in 1990s only, when the Kashmir issue was present since 1947.
  • It is basically the larger factors of 1980s and its continuity in the entire 80s, paved the way for terrorism in J&K.
  • The growth of Intifada resulted in Violence in Kashmir in the early 1990s.
  • By 1996-97, India was largely able to control the violence, as we were aware of the modus operandi of these militants, by our tacit presence in Afghanistan.

India’s Nuclear Test Pokhran II- 1998

  • In 1998, India conducted its Second Nuclear Test, Operation Shakti. Pakistan also conducted its nuclear test, resulting in both the countries becoming Nuclear.
  • Pakistan was now happy that it has a nuclear weapons shield for carrying out Jihad.
  • In 1999, ABV, took lot of steps to maintain peace, and these are called Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
  • Bus Diplomacy, Speech at Minar-a-Pakistan etc. Even after these measures, Pak violated our trust.

Lahore Agreement

  • The Lahore Declarationwas a bilateral agreement and governance treaty between India and Pakistan. The treaty was signed on 21 February 1999, at the conclusion of a historic summit in Lahore, and ratified by the parliaments of both countries the same year.
  • Under the terms of the treaty, a mutual understanding was reached towards the development of atomic arsenals and to avoid accidental and unauthorised operational use of nuclear weapons.
  • The Lahore Declaration brought added responsibility to both nations’ leadership towards avoiding nuclear race, as well as both non-conventional and conventional conflicts.
  • Lahore Declaration was an important step in the backdrop of the recent nuclear tests conducted by India.

The Kargil Conflict

  • In 1994, India and Pakistan signed an agreement. The agreement stated that, by December every year, both the countries will withdraw their troops from the North LOC (Kargil & Drass Sectors) due to the inclement weather conditions and reoccupy them in Mar/April next year.
  • Both the countries respected this till 1997, however, in 1998, Pak played mischief here as well. When India withdrew its troops in 1998 Dec, Pakistan didn’t and occupied strategic heights on Indian side.
  • When, in 1999 April Indian troops went to reoccupy the heights they found Pakistani troops along with the irregulars already present in those heights on the Indian side.
  • In May 1999, India launched “Operation Safed Sagar”, India used Air Power and Military Power with the larger objective to destroy these bunkers made by Pak.
  • When we tried to evict them from the peaks of Kargil and Drass, Pak irregulars resisted and not the Army. Pakistan didn’t use its Army aggressively to retain the peaks.
  • It may be understood here that, this strategy was adopted by Pak to ensure that it doesn’t become clear that it was the Pakistan’s Army that did the mischief, they wanted the blame to be taken by the irregulars.


What did Pak try to achieve from the Kargil Conflict

  • The primary aim of Pakistan was to see that, when India tries to evict these irregulars from the peaks of Kargil and Drass, will India violate the LOC or not.
  • India had clearly warned the Air Force and the Army both not to cross the LOC at any circumstances. Because India was aware that, the moment India crosses the LOC, Pak will try to retaliate with Nuclear Weapon to safeguard its sovereignty.
  • So, it can be said that the main aim of the Kargil intrusion was to see whether India maintains the sanctity of the LOC or not.
  • In the bargain, the Nuclear bluff of Pakistan also got exposed, as they couldn’t do anything on the nuclear level.

The Hijack of IC-814 and resultant Attack on Parliament

  • In Dec 1999 IC -814 happened. We released, Maulana Masood Azhar, who later formed the Jaish-e-Mohd, which later attacked the Parliament in 2001.
  • India launched Operation Parakram to retaliate the attack on the Indian Parliament.
  • It was basically, troop mobilization and power projection, it was a deterrent move.
  • ABV actually did two things, one is Confidence Building Measures and the second is Composite dialogue. In composite Dialogue multiple issues were discussed. After this, the Composite Dialogue stopped.

The Coming of the UPA

  • UPA resumed the Composite Dialogue and the CBMs, however, the terror strike continued. So, somewhere Composite Dialogue failed to achieve peace.
  • During UPA, Domestic Terrorism began to rise. 26/11 was a defining moment. Stone pelting emerged as a new feature in Kashmir conflict.
  • Stone pelting is a direct result of unemployment of youth. The govt appointed interlocuters, these initiated dialogue with various stake holders, they prepared a report and suggested development as a solution for this behaviour.
  • In this backdrop, MM Singh released a package for J&K.

The Dawn of NDA

  • Extended a hand of Friendship. Invitation to the Oath taking ceremony. Army presence was increased to mitigate the effects of stone pelting. Policies created to mitigate the economic marginalization.
  • 2015, Modi visited Pak. However, terror attacks continued. Pathankot, Pampore, Uri, Pulwama etc.
  • We started articulating new position, we took a stand of NO DIALOGUE. We said, TALKS AND TERROR WILL NOT GO TOGETHER
  • No Trade with Pakistan. Pak should handover terrorists to India. Troop presence to be maintained in Kashmir. They responded by Cyber Jihad.
  • China is using Pak to test its Cyber Offensive Capabilities. In this backdrop, we need to improve our Cyber capabilities.
  • Pak has lately realized that it need not send across trained militants from Pak to carryout terror attacks in India.
  • It is using Cyber Weapon for radicalization and it is using the Indian youth as a fault line against India. The youth in India lacks common sense and is also social media addicted. Pak has gainfully utilized both these conditions to its advantage.
  • More thrust on digitization is helping Pak is exploiting this fault line. Instead on just digitization, we need to thrust on Digital Education.
  • Pak is not using youth through this way to carryout terror strikes, it is just using this to divide and create hatred. This has resulted in Economically viable terrorism. No need to invest in training, weaponry etc.
  • One more important dimension is, now Pak is not focusing on Kashmir alone, it is Pan India Centric.
  • India is not understanding that Pakistan is making efforts in Weakening The Value System of our state, and we are concentrating on military modernization, Kashmir centric approach and heavy investments in creating new structural modifications in the Army (theaterization of Commands, CDS etc).
  • Pakistan Narrative
    • Demographic Dividend – Which is unemployed
    • Demographic Nightmare.
  • This is our future fault line, which Pak can exploit.

The Abrogation of Article 370

In 2019, India abrogated Article 370.

When Hari Singh signed the IOA, the Indian Constituent Assembly was present. He sent 4 representatives to the Constituent Assembly. These representatives told 2 things

  1. When J&K signed IOA, we are giving you power over three areas Defence, External Affairs and Communication. If any power/law is needed to be made, you need to take consent of J&K.
  2. When the President of India makes any laws except these three areas on J&K, he needs to take the consent of J&K.

The Indian Constituent Assembly accepted these two points and said

  1. Article 370 was drafted and both the points were incorporated under that.
  2. Article 370 also stated to these 4 representatives that, you please create a constituent assembly for the state of J&K, which in turn will make a constitution for J&K, and in that constitution you also define the relationship of J&K with India.
  3. Ambedkar said that till such time J&K constitution assembly is not ready, we will insert this Article 370 in Part XXI of the Constitution of India. Part XXI contained Temporary, transitional and special provisions.

It is clear that from 1947, 370 was a temporary provision only. Only till making of CA for J&K and the defining of relationship of J&K with that of India.

  • These 4 representatives went back to J&K and told Hari Singh about these developments.
  • In 1951 – J&K Constituent Assembly was formed as an elected body. The task of this body was to frame a constitution for J&K
  • In 1952, this body told CA of India that, J&K will have democratic government and we will also get some protective measures for the permanent residents of J&K.
  • In 1952, Delhi Agreement was signed. Transfer of power from Monarchy to Democracy. Permanent Residents will get special rights and privileges.
  • In 1954, through a Presidential Order, Article 35A was inserted. Acc to this, outsiders will be prevented to buy property in J&K. If a Kashmiri woman marries any non permanent resident of Kashmir, she will loose the property status.
  • As Article 35A was inserted through a Presidential Order, it was deemed to be temporary in nature, because, if not today, tomorrow, J&K has to allow outsiders to come and buy property, though with some restrictions.
  • Similar restrictions exist even today in HP and Uttarakhand.
  • In 1956, J&K Constitution was ready. J&K said that we are Integral Part of India.

Why a need was felt for Abrogation of Article 370

  • Rising radicalization in the valley. Failure of the domestic state government of Kashmir and required intervention of the Union Government.
  • Failure of Gupkar Model. This was pointing towards corruption in the state of J&K.
  • US rhetoric of mediation in Kashmir. Shimla Agreement has clarified that Kashmir problem would be solved bilaterally. These growing rhetoric’s gave suspicion of intervention and it was felt that a UG can handle the intervention better than the SG.
  • Discrimination in Valley. Women, SC/ST and Refugees were being discriminated.
  • National Integration is not getting effective in J&K. These laws are limiting the unification of India.

Pakistan’s Strategy against Abrogation of Article 370

  1. Tried to take Muslim Ummah Support.
  2. Approached US for statements.
  3. Approached Russia.
  4. Human Rights Narrative.
  5. Approached UN and raised the issue in UNGA.
  6. Approached China

Criticisms to Abrogation of Article 370

  • Democratic Argument – Consultation – Dictatorial Move
  • Ethical Argument – Lockdown – Internet Clampdown
  • Failure of Bilateralism Argument – Audacity of the Argument
  • India will resort to Demographic Manipulation

India-Pakistan Gurudwara Diplomacy

  • The Kartarpur Gurudwara is situated on the Banks of River Ravi, in Narowal district of Pakistan. Guru Nanak lived here for 18 years before his death in
  • That is the reason why this Gurudwara holds immense religious significance for the Sikh community.
  • In 2018, both the countries decided to allow the pilgrims from India to visit the Kartarpur Gurudwara and return the same day without a visa under what came to be known as “Kartarpur Gurudwara Corridor”.
  • The year 2018 marked the 550th Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

The Reasons for the announcement of the Corridor in 2018

  • First, Pakistan was facing international isolation. The proposal of the corridor with India was one of the attempts to break the isolation.
  • Second, in the rural areas of Punjab there has been a long demand for opening the corridor as the rural folks have strong panthic leanings.
  • Third The corridor was a local octane attempt by Pakistan to initiate a dialogue with India.

Fear from the Corridor

  • The ISI-Army complex planned the corridor with ulterior motives because they want India to confront the Hobson’s Choice.
  • The ISI is planning to revive its old strategy and open a ‘Second’ Front in Punjab.
  • It wants to open up the corridor and use the Sikh pilgrims for radical indoctrination and revive the Khalistan Militancy.
  • The Khalistani groups operating in Pakistan have been deployed all across the corridor, who have been assigned the job to identify potential recruits from amongst the pilgrims and establish contact with them.
  • Once the contacts are established with the pilgrims, they can be subsequently used for carrying out propaganda of the revival of separatism.

The campaign of Khalistan Referendum 2020

  • The Khalistan Plan is called by the ISI as Operation Express.
  • Major Danish of the ISI of Pakistan, on a covert mission, posted, as an undercover diplomat in Pakistani mission to London, was involved in orchestrating the Khalistan Protest in London in 2018.
  • He was constantly tailed by R&AW in London. The attempt of R&AW is to retaliate to Pakistan for Khalistan. This strategy is called Engineered Subversion and hybrid war.
  • In London, the separatists unravelled the Khalistan Referendum 2020 that called for the Sikh Community to come forward and unite to fight for a separate country called Khalistan that would be born from the Pakistan Punjab and India Punjab.

Core Features of Pakistani Nuclear Policy

  • Pakistan Nuclear Weapons are India Specific
  • Pakistan’s Nuclear weapons program is based on perceived asymmetry with India in conventional warfare
  • And also to a large extent the response of the USA in not fully supporting in the 1965 and 1971 war with India
  • Deter external aggression
  • Deter a counter strike against strategic assets of Pakistan
  • Invest in conventional and strategic deterrence
  • Stabilise strategic deterrence
  • Pakistan has stated that it doesn’t have any confidence on India’s NFU Policy.
  • Pakistan deliberately favours the Stability-Instability Paradox.

Conditions under which Pak would deploy nuclear weapons

  • If India captures huge Pakistani territory and breaches the Space threshold
  • If India destroys land and air forces of Pakistan and breaches military threshold
  • If India resorts to domestic destabilisation and internal subversion
  • If India strangulates Pakistan Economy

India and Pakistan’s Nuclear Diplomacy Challenges

  • In 1998, the two tested their Nuclear Weapons.
  • We see Nuclear as deterrent, Pakistan sees its nuclear arsenal as a safeguard against India’s Conventional superiority.
  • Pak also tries to leverage its nuclear capability for carrying out low intensity conflicts.
  • The US and China connect in Pak Nuclear Arena is a cause of concern for India.
  • The entire nuclear arsenal of Pak is not under institutional control, with this any understanding with India is limited to institutional response, while the non state actors are free to engage at will.

Pakistan’s Seven Card Strategy against India

  • Kashmir Card (Low Intensity War)
  • Afghanistan Card (Strategic depth against India)
  • Muslim Ummah Card (Preventing India in the OIC)
  • Russia Card (encouraging it to open talks with Taliban and positioning itself as a new market for Defence)
  • China Card (the sweeter than honey partnership)
  • Terrorism Card (Bleeding India by a thousand cuts)
  • Nuclear Card (Nuclear rhetoric for low cost proxy war)

India’s Doctrine of Strategic Patience for Pak

  • Since 1998, Pakistan began to assert that it would use a nuclear weapon if India attacks Pakistan at conventional level.
  • They believe that the nuclear rhetoric has shattered the conventional military superiority of India.
  • The response of Nuclear rhetoric of Pakistan by India was the doctrine of “Strategic Patience”, where India stated that the Line of Control is sacrosanct and cannot be breached at any cost.
  • This doctrine was implemented by India in Kargil war and also from 2004-2014 during the UPA government.
  • Thus, post 1998, India began to follow nuclear restraint and asserted the “Sanctity of the LOC”.

India’s Doctrine of Offensive Defence for Pakistan

  • After 2014, a policy shift in dealing with Pakistan
  • First, India needs to strengthen its deterrent capabilities to tackle any threat from Pakistan.
  • Second, India has to devise an approach to break the nuclear buff of Pakistan, which it has been using since 1998.
  • One needs to understand here that, both these points need to be understood from the point of view that there is no need to maintain the sanctity of the LOC.
  • It is based on the logic that, if Pakistan is resorting to cross border terrorism, it means that Pakistan doesn’t respect the LOC.
  • The new doctrine aims to explore where the nuclear brink is rather than just resorting to mere speculation that it exists in breaching the LOC.
  • In 2016, Indian forces targeted the launch pads of terrorists across the LOC. This didn’t provoke nuclear rhetoric of Pak. This proved a point to the strategic community that an operation along the LOC on terror camps could be one option India can explore as a retaliation in future as well.
  • Again in 2019, as a response to the Pulwama attack, India breached the sanctity of the LOC and targeted the terrorist camps much deeper inside the LOC. Even this action by India didn’t invite the nuclear rhetoric of Pak.
  • The two strikes reaffirmed that if India is attacked through a Non-State Actor, it will not shy away to go to the spot of the origin of the attack and hit Pak hard.

Four Point Strategy of India to tackle Pak

  1. Military Component
  2. Diplomatic Component
  3. Political Component
  4. Covert Component

Home Work

  • Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Military Cooperation
  • India-Pakistan Trade Relations
  • How Soft Power like games and Cultural Exchanges can generate good will
  • Curious case of Kulbushan Yadav
  • Indus Water Treaty

Mains Question

  1. Can India and Pakistan ever become friends? Elucidate (250 Words) 15 M
  2. Is it right to blame China and US in deteriorating relations with Pakistan? (250 Words) 15 M
  3. Do you think the conversion of LOC as the IB is the probable solution to the problem of Kashmir? (150 words) 10 M
  4. Will the policy of India on solving the Kashmir issue purely from military perspective will see a logical end? Discuss. (150 Words) 10 M
  5. Do you think the criticisms against abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A are justified? Comment (150 Words) 10 M
  6. Discuss how the interpretation of the Cabinet Mission Proposals by the ML & INC laid the foundation of Kashmir Dispute? (150 Words) 10 M
  7. Do you agree that UN as a World body failed to supervise the conduct of Plebiscite in J&K? (150 Words) 10 M
Chapter 8: Neighbourhood: India-Bangladesh Relations


A Brief History

  • Historically Bangladesh was part of United Bengal. Culturally and ethnically people were similar.
  • Britishers in 1905 partitioned Bengal.
  • Britishers had to do the partition to create a constituency for the Muslim League that they were about to create in 1906.
  • One needs to understand here that the ML political power capture was to be in Bengal.
  • In 1909, the ML was to get the separate electorate (under the policy of appeasement).
  • However, the partition proposal met lot of resistance. Eventually under lot of public pressure, Britishers Annulled the Partition in 1911. But, the common public failed to understand that the larger aim of the British was already met in 1906 and 1909.
  • Though the Annulment united the Bengal, but the seeds of a separate state were sown.
  • Britishers were people with highest level of foresight. The Britishers knew that the seeds of partition will eventually end in the form of a separate state.
  • This finally happened in the year 1947, when East Pakistan was born.
  • The larger game of the Britishers in having an independent state in the east was to create small republics in the north east of India. In the third world, Britishers wanted to create a land of Christian Kingdoms.
  • This the Britishers did by incorporating Inner Line and outer line permits.
  • On the name of protecting the tribals, the Britishers proselytization the tribals and started promoting Christianity.
  • The intention of the Britishers was subversive.
  • Therefore, East Pakistan was to be a launch pad for carrying out these activities in the north east.
  • This patch of land has witnessed three partitions
    • 1905 Divided on the communal lines
    • 1947 Again Divided on the communal lines, East Pak was born
    • 1971 Bangladesh was born.
  • In 1947, East Pakistan created – Bengali Muslims
  • 1947 – West Pakistan- Punjabi Muslims
  • The Punjabi Muslims were irritated by the Bengali Muslims
  • Punjabi and the Bengali culture were a mismatch. Punjabis are basically businessmen, while Bengalis were intellectual people with inclination for education, Art and Culture etc.
  • Therefore, there was not only cultural difference, but ideological difference as well.
  • West Pakistan started looking down upon the East Bengalis. They started looking at the from Indian prism.
  • The Bengalis started feeling alienated.
  • Language is very sensitive for the people. In West Pakistan Punjabi and Urdu were the dominant languages spoken, while in East Pakistan Bengali was mostly spoken, urdu was lightly known. East Pakistan demanded Bengali as the official language for administration.
  • However, the West Pak didn’t accept this demand and started imposing Urdu on East Pakistan. This forceful imposing of a foreign language further increased the alienation.
  • Due to these factors of alienation, West Pak over a period of time drastically reduced the developmental support to the East Pak. This resulted in developmental gap between the West and the East. Alienation only widened due to this.
  • In a way, West Pakistan itself created lot of fault lines and gave it to India on a platter.
  • East Pakistan used to export jute and earn foreign earnings, whereas the trade performance of the West Pak was in shatters. This created a schism in the thought process against each other.
  • The representation in the National Assembly of Pak was also less for the East Pak despite larger territory and population.
  • The discrimination in the representation in the National Assembly was not only restricted to the East Pak alone, they discriminated even against the FATA, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly representation.
  • This resulted in the dominance of Punjabi’s and Sindhi’s in the Political and military landscape.
  • Therefore multiple and deep fault lines emerged between the West and the East Pakistan.
  • India was silently observing this growing fault line. Finally, in 1965, after the War, India decided to put a halt on Pak adventurism. To this effect, India in 1968 carved out R&AW from IB and gave the task of managing Pak to the R&AW.

From 1968, R&AW started

  • Psychological War-We started highlighting the Alienation of East Pak on world platforms and started building a NARRATIVE
  • Dec 1970, Pakistan goes for Election, in East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of the Awami League won the election. In West Pakistan ZA Bhutto won the election, but Bhutto became insecure. Bhutto understood that Awami League won due to India and its highlighting of the alienation narrative.
  • Even after winning the election, Bhutto didn’t allow SMR to take oath on the principles of “New Democratic Power”. They were never able to explain what it is. But, they denied them the right to form the govt. He was alleged to have taken support from subversive elements and didn’t take the name of India directly.
  • The new Democratic Power was nothing but the Sons of the soil concept, according to which the power can be garnered only by the son of a soil and not an outsider, and SMR by taking help from India has violated the principle of the Sons of the Soil.
  • We caught hold of this nerve and started making a narrative in the world that, Pakistan is suppressing Democracy.
  • In this effort, we also highlighted that Pak is an Ally of US and is supressing Democracy and the Democratic Process of Ruler Making.
  • In the background, due to this growing narrative, Pak was becoming more Insecure, day by day.
  • In 1971, Pak started Operation Search Light in East Pakistan. As part of this Operation, West Pakistan’s Army used to go the East Pak, look for supporters of the Awami League, apprehend them and tortured them, finally leading to genocidal conditions in East Pak.
  • R&AW started playing the card of HR Violation and suppression of Democracy. R&AW ran a psychological war campaign.
  • The insecurity of West Pak further increased and by now West Pak was clear that India is planning to do something in East Pak.
  • In this backdrop, out of frustration, Pak carried out Pre-emptive strike on India, on the western front. India immediately said, our Sovereignty has been violated and we are declaring war on Pakistan.
  • Throughout the entire 1971 India played the Psychological war campaign of HR violations and suppression of Democracy in East Pakistan. This resulted in “Priming Effect”.
  • As a retaliation to the Pre-emptive attack on the Western Front, India attacked Pakistan on the East and sliced off East Pak from West Pakistan, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh.
  • From 1971-1974, it was honey moon period for India-Bangladesh relations.
  • Now, US, UK and especially Pak were terrified with the outcomes. They all understood that now we cannot undo Bangladesh.
  • But we can create difficulty in the existence of Bangladesh.
  • All these countries started looking for opponents of SMR, by now he had become Pro-India and a Secular leader.
  • They found the Islamists as the only ray of hope as opponents to the Awami League. They started the Jaish-e-Islami in 1975 in East Pakistan and started consolidating all the Islamic connections within it. They brought together all the Islamists and clubbed them under the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
  • Today Bangladesh’s Political landscape can be divided into two parties. While, BNP is a Pro-Pak govt and with Islamist orientations with Khaleeda Zia as their leader, Awami League is a Pro-India govt with Secular underpinnings with Sheikh Haseena as their leader.

Issue of Migration and NRC

  • Migration from East Pak now Bangladesh happened in 3 Waves
  • Wave 1: Post Bengal Partition in 1905. Hindu Muslim divided – Loss of familial ties
  • Wave 2: 1947 to Pre 1971- An attempt to Familial ties – re unite and Religious Persecution.
  • Wave 3: Post 1971. Economic Reasons, Religious Persecution (BNP+JI)
  • Our concern is now the cumulative effect of all the three waves.
  • Due to these three waves, the illegal presence of them in India has increased.
  • Their presence in the NE is disturbing where they are disturbing the demographic profile.
  • Over a period of time it became a politically sensitive issue. By early 1980s the issue of illegal migration became the centre point of political battlefield. The Assam Ghana Parishad’s main election campaign agenda was the clamping down on these illegal migrants. This was followed by the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
  • The Assam Accord promised for an NRC for Assam and identification and deportation of illegal migrants from Bangladesh and the then East Pakistan.
  • However, the work on NRC got inadvertently delayed. Finally in the year 2014, the SC gave directions to complete the process in a time bound manner.
  • Finally, in 2018-19, the NRC report was submitted and around 19 lakh illegal migrants were identified. Now the real problem started, as Bangladesh denied to accept them as Bangladesh didn’t have any records of their migration from East Bengal to India. Bangladesh is neither accepting them to be B’desh citizens nor it is rejecting them as their citizens. The entire stand of B’desh is on the premise of non availability of any data related to migration.
  • Temporarily these identified migrants are being kept in temporary Detention Camps, thereby increasing their insecurity and creating a fault line in Assam that can be exploited by the adversary.
  • With the alienation of these identified illegal migrants we have sent a message to the masses in the NE that they are illegal migrants.
  • Now the question in front of the govt is when B’desh is not accepting them on one side and on the other side we have separated them from the mainstream society and kept them in detention camps, we have reduced the chances of them being accepted by the Assamese or any other north eastern state in the future.
  • We wont be able to absorb them even on the humanitarian grounds as well. This is a big uncertain future in Assam. Till such time B’desh doesn’t show positivity we cannot do anything unilaterally.
  • The Anti-Foreigner movement in the state of Assam is already very very dominant.

Defence Diplomacy

  • Today Bangladesh is on its Defence Modernisation journey. It engages with India, China, Russia, France, US and also Israel in procurement of weapons. It can be clearly seen that the Defence Procurement is diversified. India has also diversified its Def Procurement. There is a synchronisation in India and B’desh thought.
  • When B’desh was created in 1971, India gave a suggestion to B’desh to participate in the UN Peacekeeping mission. This will give its Army an international exposure. However, we had an hidden agenda here??
  • As you know B’desh is surrounded by India from 3 sides, and therefore no threat. In this absence of threat, its Army will be idle. An idle Army may interfere in the political affairs of the country.
  • So, with an intention to keep the B’desh Army busy and away from domestic affairs, India suggested B’desh to largely participate in the UN Peace keeping missions.
  • Today, B’desh is one of the largest contributors to the UNPKF.
  • By giving this suggestion, we prevented B’desh from becoming another Pakistan. This was of the suggestions given by R&AW to our then PM, IG, and she very cleverly institutionalised this in B’desh.
  • It will automatically strengthen India’s Security, with a win-win situation for both the countries.
  • In 2013, India and B’desh signed the Extradition Treaty. It is basically aimed at eliminating the element of criminality.
  • In 2017, India and B’desh signed “Defence Co-operation Agreement”, basically on Terrorism Cooperation.
  • As the time is progressing, we can witness a depth in the Defence Diplomacy between India and B’desh.
  • India also provides training to B’desh Armed forces in various academies of India at various levels starting from junior level officers to senior officers training.
  • In Maritime Sector also we are carrying our joint exercises, to improve the interoperability between the two navies.

Security Threats

  • JI+BNP are Islamist groups present in Bangladesh.
  • Pakistan utilises especially the Jaish-e-Islami in Tanzeem formation.
  • ISIS was also successful in making influence in Bangladesh. We need to understand here that entry to ISIS in Bangladesh was provided by Pakistan.
  • Alternate view is that with the ISIS presence in Bangladesh, it means it is at our door steps, and Pak has played an important role here.
  • We spoke earlier, the Indian youth is vulnerable, and it becomes easy for these anti social elements to target these youth. As such ISIS is a social media based group.
  • As part of Security Diplomacy, India always encouraged Bangladesh to increase the employment opportunities for the youth, so that they don’t fall into the trap of these elements.
  • Idle youth are more likely to get radicalised and in turn be an element of risk for India from its immediate neighbourhood.
  • India is now talking of sealing the border completely. Historically in 1947 the border was porous, after 1971 also the border was largely porous and even today around 400+ Kms of border is still porous.
  • This raises question on India’s intention of keeping this element of risk alive from its neighbourhood.

Commercial Diplomacy

  • Bangladesh was an Agrarian Economy. Today, however, it has become an Economic Dynamo.
  • It has mastered the Textile Industry and its GDP is growing at a faster pace than India. It has become an exporter of textiles to the world.
  • Bangladesh is exploring Fish Exports and positioning itself as reliable and cost effective Education Destination.
  • Bangladesh is fast emerging as a Education Hot Spot. It has intelligently caught the pulse of South Asia on Medical Education. With this Vision, Bangladesh is trying to achieve this.
  • India ironically has lot of potential, but lacks vision.
  • India is investing in Bangladesh in Steel Sector, Telecom Sector, Power and Transport (Automobile).

Land Boundary Agreement

Teesta River Issue

  • There are 54 transboundary rivers between India and Bangladesh.
  • Four major rivers include Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna and Teesta.
  • The Teesta river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, originates in the Teesta Kangse glacier and flows through the state of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.
  • In 1972, India and Bangladesh formed JRC (Joint River Commission).
  • The JRC was given the task of establishing consensus on these 54 rivers.
  • In 1983, JRC work enabled signing of an Adhoc Agreement on Teesta River. Teesta River originates in Sikkim, Kangse Glacier near Charmulke Region. From India after traversing a long distance, it enters Bangladesh. Therefore, India became an upper riparian state and Bangladesh became a lower riparian state.
  • In the Adhoc Agreement it was clarified that India will use 39% of the water while Bangladesh will use 36% of water and the remaining around 25% of water was unallocated.
  • The Teesta river issue assumed significance after the conclusion of the Ganga Water Treaty in 1996. Negotiations between India and Bangladesh on the sharing of the river waters began soon after but have made limited progress.
  • In 2011, a joint hydro observation station was found jointly. This station proposed that India should get 42.5% of water while Bangladesh should get 37.5%.
  • But this proposal was rejected by Bangladesh. India also kind of rejected. WB govt rejected sharing of 50% of water at any cost.
  • It would negatively affect the livelihood of WB.
  • This created a dead lock, ever since 2014 Para Diplomacy is in work. The dead lock continues ever since.
  • Due to India’s intransigence, Bangladesh had attempted to cultivate China and was “considering a proposal from China to dredge and embank large portions of the Teesta River so that it formed a single manageable channel.”
  • India had opposed the project since it did not want Chinese technicians close to the “Chicken Neck” corridor near Siliguri that links mainland India to its northeast. However, leading Bangladeshi scholars have questioned India’s stance on the issue and implored Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to go ahead with the project with the Chinese.
  • However, India has consistently shied away from addressing the Teesta water issue and this has irked Bangladesh. 
  • At a time when India and Bangladesh are apparently witnessing a Shonali Adhyaya (Golden Era) in their bilateral relationship, not addressing this contentious issues properly can dampen the spirit.
  • It is in India’s interest to conclude the Teesta water sharing agreement before Bangladesh slips into China’s tight embrace. Bangladesh has made its position clear. It will be a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) though it continues to believe India is its “most important partner.”
  • Dhaka is walking a diplomatic tightrope while it attempts to maintain cordial relations with both Beijing and New Delhi. Sheikh Hasina wants to conclude the Teesta agreement to appease her domestic audience. Shiekh Hasina has been viewed as “pro India” by Bangladeshis and it is important for her political future that the agreement goes through. 

China Factor

  • We have seen that Bangladesh is engaging with China in Defence Procurement (including Submarines) and also Commercial engagement.
  • Bangladesh is one of the partners in the BRI of China.
  • Recently, India invited Bangladesh to the QUAD Dialogue. China objected to the same. Bangladesh told China, that Bangladesh is a Sovereign State and can independently take decisions.
  • India advises Bangladesh to have an independent thought on engagement with China.

Chinese affinity with Bangladesh

  • China is the biggest trading partner of Bangladesh and is the foremost source of imports.
  • In 2019, the trade between the two countries was $18 billion and the imports from China commanded the lion’s share. The trade is heavily in favour of China.
  • Recently, China declared zero duty on 97% of imports from Bangladesh. The concession flowed from China’s duty-free, quota-free programme for the Least Developed Countries.
  • This move has been widely welcomed in Bangladesh, with the expectation that Bangladesh exports to China will increase.
  • China has promised around $30 billion worth of financial assistance to Bangladesh.
  • Additionally, Bangladesh’s strong defence ties with China make the situation complicated. China is the biggest arms supplier to Bangladesh and it has been a legacy issue — after its liberation.
  • Recently, Bangladesh purchased two Ming class submarines from China.
  • Emerging Disputes:

There should be efforts to resolve pending issues concerning sharing of waters, resolving continental shelf issues in the Bay of Bengal, bringing down border incidents to zero, and managing the media.

  • Bangladesh has already raised concerns over roll out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise carried out to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam and weed out illegal Bangladeshis.
  • Currently, Bangladesh is an active partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that Delhi has not signed up to.
  • In the security sector, Bangladesh is also a major recipient of Chinese military inventory, including submarines.

Comparison with Bangladesh on the development indicators

  • Growth rate: This year Bangladesh’s economic growth rate has surpassed India.
  • Social development indicators: In the last decade, on a range of social development indicators, from infant mortality to immunisation, Bangladesh has fared better.
  • India lagging behind the neighbours in quality of life: Undoubtedly, since economic liberalisation, Indians have grown much richer than Bangladeshis, but in terms of quality of life our neighbour largely outshines us.
    • India trails across several (not all) composite indices from the latest Global Hunger Index to the Gender Development Index.
    • Even on the 2019 World Happiness Index, Bangladeshis score better.
    • While, technically, on the Human Development Index, Bangladesh scores marginally less, this is largely because the index merges income and non-income parameters.

Challenges in India-Bangladesh relations

(1) Violent border incidents –

  • Despite the friendship remaining solid, the border has been sensitive.
  • At least 25 Bangladeshis were killed in the first six months of this year along the border by Indian forces, according to a rights watchdog.

(2) Sharing of River Waters 

  • The Teesta water dispute between West Bengal and Bangladesh remains unresolved.

(3) The Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens, which Ms Hasina called “unnecessary”, have created a negative impression about India.

(4) China’s economic footprint is growing 

  • China is making deep inroads into Bangladesh by ramping up infrastructure investments and expanding economic cooperation.
  • Bangladesh is overwhelmingly dependent on China for military hardware.
  • Since 2010, India approved three Lines of Credit to Bangladesh of $7.362 billion to finance development projects. But, just $442 million have been disbursed until December 2018.
  • India was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • Defence Cooperation:
  • Various Joint exercisesof Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries.
  • Border Management:India and Bangladesh share 7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours.
  • The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement(LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015.
  • Cooperation over Rivers:
  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission(JRC) has been working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems.
  • Cooperation in Power Sector:

This has become one of the hallmarks of India- Bangladesh relations.        

Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.

  • Economic Relations:
    • Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia. India’s exports to Bangladesh for financial year 2018-19 (April-March) stood at US 9.21 billion USD and imports from Bangladesh for the same period stood at US 1.22 Billion USD.
    • Bangladesh has appreciated the Duty-Free and Quota Free access given to Bangladeshi exports to India under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) since 2011.
  • Cooperation in Connectivity:
    • Both countries jointly inaugurated the newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh).
    • Welcomed the signing of the second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
    • Agreed to an early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative Motor Vehicles Agreement through the expeditious signing of the Enabling MoU for Bangladesh, India and Nepal to commence the movement of goods and passengers, with provision for Bhutan to join at a later date
  • Partnership on Multilateral forums:

India thanked Bangladesh for supporting India in its election to the United Nations Security Council.

  • Both countries agreed to continue working together towards achieving early reforms of the UN Security Council, combating climate change, attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and protection of the rights of migrants.
  • Highlighted that regional organisations such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) have an important role to play.
  • Bangladesh thanked India for convening the SAARC leaders Video Conference in March 2020 and for creation of the SAARC Emergency Response Fund to counter effects of the global pandemic in the South Asian region.
  • Bangladesh will assume chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in 2021 and requested the support of India for working towards greater maritime safety and security.

Way Forward

  • It is imperative for India to bolster ties with this all-weather friend, and there may not be a better time to do so than when Bangladesh is to celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence.
  • India should support Bangladesh’s fight against radical elements. India should also not allow the ideological inclinations of the ruling party to spoil the historic relationship between the two countries.
  • New Delhi should take a broader view of the changing scenario and growing competition in South Asia, and reach out to Dhaka with an open mind.
  • There is much room for course correction in Delhi and to shift the focus from legacy issues to future possibilities.


Chapter 9: Neighbourhood: India-Sri Lanka Relations


RAM Setu (ADAM’s Bridge)

Historical Relations

  • Relations from Epic Times
  • We always saw Sri Lanka as our Cultural backyard
  • Hanuman was the first diplomat of India
  • Adams Bridge that was constructed during the Ancient times is also an important connecting factor.
  • Buddhism, that travelled from India to Sri Lanka is also an important link between India and Sri Lanka. While Buddhism went as a religion for spreading, Hinduism basically played the role of Power Projection in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the motive of the common values was different.
  • We also find historical references of Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelling to Sri Lanka as part of his Udasis.

Modern Times

British Ceylon (1796–1900)

  • The British East India Company’s conquest of Sri Lanka, which the British called Ceylon, occurred during the wars of the French Revolution (1792–1801). When the Netherlands came under French control, the British began to move into Sri Lanka from India. The Dutch, after a halfhearted resistance, surrendered the island in 1796.
  • The British had thought the conquest temporary and administered the island from Madras (Chennai) in southern India. The war with France revealed Sri Lanka’s strategic value, however, and the British consequently decided to make their hold on the island permanent. In 1802 Ceylon was made a crown colony, and, by the Treaty of Amiens with France, British possession of maritime Ceylon was confirmed.

Control of Kandy

  • Not long after their arrival in 1796, the British established contact with the king of Kandy and contracted to replace the Dutch as protectors of the kingdom.
  • As they began to organize the administration, the British realized that the continuing independence of Kandy posed problems: the frontier with Kandy had to be guarded at much expense; trade with the highlands was hampered by customs posts and political insecurity; and land communications between west and east would be quicker if roads could be built through the centre of the island.
  • The advantages of political unification were obvious to the British, but the Kandyans remained deeply suspicious of all foreigners.
  • The first attempt by the British to capture the kingdom, in 1803, ended in failure; the king was popular with the nobility, who united behind him to rout the British forces. Subsequently, though, growing dissensions within the kingdom gave the British an opportunity to interfere in Kandyan affairs.
  • With the help of local Kandyan chiefs whose relations with the king had been deteriorating, the British succeeded in taking over the kingdom in 1815.
  • Soon after the acquisition the British guaranteed Kandyans their privileges and rights, as well as the preservation of customary laws, institutions, and religion. Initially, Kandy was administered separately, without any abrupt change from traditional patterns.
  • However, the trend toward reducing the status of the nobility and of the Buddhist faith was unmistakable; this led to a popular rebellion against British control in 1818. After it was suppressed, the Kandyan provinces were integrated with the rest of the country.

Modern Times

  • The native people of the Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) were Colonially under the British, but were not a part of British India Empire, being administered separately.
  • India became independent in 1947 and Ceylon in 1948. In 1948, India advocated the idea of federation based on a mutual defence agreement with India on the basis of a larger Federation.
  • Ceylon became extremely suspicious of India. India, time and again, did try to convey to Ceylon that it had no expansionist agenda and acknowledged its respect for Ceylon’s independence and sovereignty.
  • Ceylon was renamed as Sri Lanka in 1972, and later, in 1978 was officially named the “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka”.
  • As an autonomous federation, based on mutual defence alignment with the British, Sri Lanka signed a Defence Treaty with Britain and the British continued using Ceylon for naval and air activity.

Historical Background of Tamil Trump Card by the Britishers

  • The Britishers took Tamil In debentured labour to Sri Lanka in the early 1830s. This labour was being employed in the Tea, Coffee and the Rubber Plantations of Northern and North Eastern Sri Lanka.
  • These labour were not allowed to mingle with the local Sinhala population, the British deliberately wanted to create a fault line for capitalizing in the future.
  • The Britishers gradually used the Christian missionaries in converting these Tamil labors to Christianity. They also started imparting education to the wards of these labour.
  • To avoid the Sinhala Children from this educational effort, the Britishers started this education in the Tamil Language, gradually English was made the medium of instruction.
  • The British had a larger aim of converting them into a loyal class who would be subordinated to British in Future.
  • By strategically eliminating the local Sinhalese from this, the Britishers created a class divide in the society. Gradually, these British trained Tamil minority started occupying important administrative positions in the Ceylon Colony.
  • Sri Lanka, however since its inception, has been driven by Sinhalese majority policy, which was instrumental in creating alienation in the minds of the Tamils residing in the Northern Sri Lanka, thereby creating a fault line.
  • This Class Divide created unrest in the society and the local Sinhalese started resisting against the same. This gradually resulted in a scenario, where the government had to act.
  • Here, one must understand that the Britishers as a policy always imported labour from one colony to the other colony, they never use the labour of the same country in that country. This was aimed at avoid power concentration or a rebellion amongst the labour class.
  • The Britishers feared that, if these labour class becomes powerful, it may lead to an uprising and finally into a revolt.

Sri Lanka in 1950s

  • Sri Lanka made Sinhalese Language compulsory for higher posts in the state services and the political landscape
  • The Tamils felt isolated. These Tamils looked at India for support, however, India didn’t provide any support and asked them to live there only and follow the local country law and order. Sri Lankan government continued the discrimination against these Tamils.
  • Even the TN state government was asking to bring them back, so that the returned Tamils can be vote bank for the state government.
  • In 1964, LBS signed a pact with Sirimavo Bandaranayke called the Shastri-Sirimavo Pact.
  • As per this pact, India will accept returning of some Tamils.
  • Sri Lanka promised to give citizenship to around 3 lakh Tamilians who migrated between 1940s to 1948.
  • In 1974, IG signed a pact with Sirimavo, with similar statements related to the old pact. But nothing concrete was achieved in both the cases.
  • Though the objective of both these pacts was to Cool down the Rising tempers.
  • In 1970s, SL started tilting towards the US, and started procuring defence products from US. India became insecure, and started questioning this mov of SL. US was primarily trying to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean through SL.
  • 1971, is known as a turning point in India-SL relations. In 1971, during the B’desh Liberation War.
  • Sri Lanka was providing the refuelling facilities to the Air Crafts of Pak and also docking facility to the US Air Craft Carrier Kitty-Hawk.
  • India strongly objected to this. India decided to teach SL lesson for harbouring Indian enemies.
  • In this background, India decided to empower the Tamil population of SL and develop it to carryout protest in SL.
  • In 1976, with the help of India’s intelligence agency TELO was established – Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation and in the same year 1976 another organisation called LTTE Liberation of Tamil Tiger Eelam.
  • TELO was directed to politically negotiate with the SL govt and seek autonomy in North and North East.
  • LTTE was asked to support TELO, organize localized violence and create unrest. This became a resistant front.
  • Sri Lanka was providing the refuelling facilities to the Air Crafts of Pak and also docking facility to the US Air Craft Carrier Kitty-Hawk.
  • India strongly objected to this. India decided to teach SL lesson for harbouring Indian enemies.
  • In this background, India decided to empower the Tamil population of SL and develop it to carryout protest in SL.
  • In 1976, with the help of India’s intelligence agency TELO was established – Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation and in the same year 1976 another organisation called LTTE Liberation of Tamil Tiger Eelam.
  • TELO was directed to politically negotiate with the SL govt and seek autonomy in North and North East.
  • LTTE was asked to support TELO, organize localized violence and create unrest. This became a resistant front.
  • In 1984, SL approached US + Pak to support to suppress LTTE and TELO.
  • US said I am busy in Afghan, I will provide u arms and ammunition, Pak will provide you with training.
  • This further angered India. Pak when it reached SL, it said Jaffna has become hub of LTTE, seal Jaffna and suppress the terrorists there.
  • SL cut off essential supplies to Jaffna City, civilians also got affected, India directed SL to remove the cut off.
  • SL didn’t listen and told that they will carryout military operation.
  • RG summoned R&AW and asked what to do. R&AW suggested threat SL and provide AF supplies to Jaffna.
  • RG told SL, if you don’t stop the blockade, India will invade SL. This was the first and the last time when India openly threatened any country.
  • RG ordered the AF to carry supplies to Jaffna under Operation Poomalai.
  • US and Pak both backed off support to SL. SL got isolated.
  • India dropped the essential supplies and also called reconnaissance missions.
  • In 1986, Jayawardene called RG, and asked LTTE to not create trouble. He wanted to patch up.
  • On 29 July 1987, India-SL Accord was signed. (ISLA)

India-Sri Lanka Accord 1987

  • On 29 July 1987, India-SL Accord was signed. (ISLA). The provisions of the Accord were as follows
    • Give autonomy to the Tamil in the North and the North East
    • Constitution Amendment
    • IPKF – SL to disarm the LTTE and integrate them with SL
    • Tamil to be give Land, Policing, building, accept Language Tamil and representation in the political councils.
  • WE basically spoke about the power devolution in SL for the Tamils and self-reliance for Tamils.
  • Under this, the IPKF was sent to Sri Lanka to disarm the rebels.
  • Some leaders committed suicide, some resisted.
  • Against this resistance, IPKF numbers were increased.
  • This created a hotchpotch of situation. R&AW trained the LTTE, IB trained the TELO and Army went to IPKF.
  • For the Army, SL terrain was new, R&AW didn’t share the intelligence due to departmental rivalry, and ego clashes of these three entities was witnessed.
  • LTTE took the advantage of this mismanagement. It started inflicted heavy casualty as there was no pre-operational synchrony was established.
  • In the meanwhile RG completed his tenure as a PM. VP Singh became the new PM and finally in 1990, IPKF was withdrawn. R&AW was told to stop the operations, IB was also called back.

13th Amendment Issue

  • The Sri Lankan govt in 1987, through the 13th Amendment, resorted to the devolution of power by creating Provincial Councils.
  • The devolution also included devolve power of Land, Building, Police and Finance.
  • Tamil Provincial Councils were created under the Provincial Councils Act No. 42 of 1987. The North and the North Eastern Provinces were to be one administrative unit and administered by one elected council (North Eastern Provincial Councils).
  • India at one point of time linked the withdrawal of the IPKF to the implementation of the 13th
  • Gradually, the IPKF was recalled and the NEPC collapsed. LTTE assassinated RG.
  • After the defeat of LTTE in 2009, SL has announced the execution of the 13 Plus Amendment Act where the idea is to devolve more powers to the Provinces.
  • The reasons for the hesitancy in devolving more powers and especially the policing powers was owing to the fact that the active insurgent sleeper cells need more centralized control.
  • With that in mind, the provinces were strictly governed under the direct supervision of the Centre.

India-Sri Lanka from 1990s to 2009

  • R&AW maintained contact with LTTE, but the contact was limited. LTTE became more violent and resulted in a Chaoplexic Situation.
  • In the meantime, LTTE assassinates RG.
  • In this background India says, LTTE is problem of SL and you only manage. We disowned LTTE. The Indian Tamil leaders in TN were directed not to give any statements regarding LTTE.
  • India created space for someone else to come and manage LTTE. Remember, we created LTTE to bleed Sri Lanka.
  • From 1991 to 2009, LTTE continued the subversive activities. SL was responding by counter subversive activities. The resources of SL were bleeding.
  • In 2009, SL finally suppressed LTTE and Prabhakaran was killed.
  • In the bargain two things happened. SL was accused of War Crimes against the Civilians while trying to eradicate LTTE and secondly the resources of SL were completely exhausted.
  • The Economy of SL came to shambles.

India-Sri Lanka and the UNHRC Trio

  • After winning the civil war, Sri Lanka saw a huge international pressure coming up to probe its wartime atrocities. The UN in March 2009 said that the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE both committed war crimes which killed thousands of civilians, mostly Tamil.
  • Times newspaper reported that at least 20,000 people were killed just in the last phase of the war. There were allegations that Sri Lanka used heavy weapons to shell safe zones of civilians, hospitals and food distribution lines and conducted extra judicial killings.
  • To rebut these allegations and to justify its action in the civil war, Sri Lanka moved a resolution in the UNHRC in May 2009. The Resolution S-11/1 stressed that Sri Lanka had a sovereign right to act to defend its unity and territorial integrity and appealed for financial support in post-war reconstruction.
  • India abstained from voting on a resolutionin the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that makes a wide-ranging and damaging commentary on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. 
  • This is the eighth resolution on Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council since the end of the war against the LTTE in 2009. India’s record of voting on these resolutions shows the ups and downs of New Delhi-Colombo relations, the pressures on coalitions in India, the influence of politics and parties in Tamil Nadu, and the ebb and flow of regional and international geopolitics.
  • It refers to “persistent” lack of accountability for rights abuses committed through the years by “all parties” in Sri Lanka, including the LTTE. Most seriously, it expresses a lack of confidence in the ability of the present government in Colombo to address the shortcomings.
  • It describes “trends emerging over the past year” as an “early warning sign” of the deterioration of the climate in Sri Lanka for individual freedoms and rights, militarization of civilian government functions, erosion of independence of the judiciary and institutions responsible for protection and promotion of human rights, the marginalization of Muslims and Tamils, and policies that undermine right to freedom of religion.

Katchateevu Island Issue

  • Katchateevu is a small island located about 10 miles north east of Rameshwaram.
  • The fishermen used it to dry their nets and catch fish. It has been part of Raja of Ramnad’s territory who was controlling it as the lead zamindar.
  • When the zamindari system was abolished, Katchateevu became a part of the Presidency of Madras.
  • After independence, both the countries initiated a boundary negotiation at the maritime level.
  • Later, both the countries signed agreement (1974 & 1976), according to which the Indian fishermen had the Right to Access the Island for pilgrimage purposes without any requirement of visa.
  • The Indian govt has maintained that the right to access the island doesn’t not cover any fishing rights.
  • In 2008, the AIADMK filed a petition in the SC, asking the SC to declare the 1974 and the 1976 agreements as unconstitutional.
  • The government responded by saying that the Island has not been ceded.

India-Sri Lanka Issues

  • Delay in Projects-Several of India’s projects in Sri Lanka have been delayed due to environment clearances delaying and protest of the local population regarding rehabilitation related problems.
  • This has led to decreasing the faith of people and govt on Indian govt and increasing prospects for China.
  • Tilt towards China –Until recently, Sri Lanka had been pro Chinese and even now, allows China to carry on various projects on the island, along with allowing its vessels to dock.
  • However, the relationship is witnessing a careful walk by Sri Lanka owing to the hidden intensions of China in Sri Lanka

Katchatheevu Island Dispute

Indian-Sri Lanka Commercial Relations

  • Sri Lanka has long been a priority destination for direct investment from India. Sri Lanka is one of India’s largest trading partners in SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation).
  • India has traditionally been among Sri Lanka’s largest trade partners and Sri Lanka remains among the largest trade partners of India in the SAARC. In 2020, India was Sri Lanka’s 2nd largest trading partner with the bilateral merchandise trade amounting to about USD $ 3.6 billion.
  • Sri Lankan exports to India have increased substantially since 2000 when ISLFTA came into force and more than 60% of Sri Lanka’s total exports to India over the past few years have used the ISFTA benefits.
  • The main items of exports from Sri Lanka to India are: Base Oil, Poultry feeds, Areca nuts, (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard, Pepper, Ignition Wiring Sets, Copper wire, Marble, travertine and alabaster.
  • Main items of Imports from India to Sri Lanka are: Gas oil/ Diesel, Motorcycles, Pharmaceutical
    Products, Portland cement, Semi finished products of Iron, Military weapon, Fuel oil, Rice, Cement clinkers, Kerosene Type jet Fuel.
  • In addition to being Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner, India is also one of the largest contributors to Foreign Direct Investment in Sri Lanka. A number of leading companies from India have invested and established their presence in Sri Lanka. According to BoI, FDI from India amounted to about US$ 1.7 billion during the period 2005 to 2019.
  • The investments are in diverse areas including petroleum retail, IT, financial services, real estate, telecommunication, hospitality & tourism, banking and food processing (tea & fruit juices), copper and other metal industries), tires, cement, glass manufacturing, and infrastructure development (railway, power, water supply).
  • Apart from the growth in trade and investment, India has been the largest source market of tourists visiting Sri Lanka, prior to the pandemic.

India and Sri Lanka Nuclear Cooperation

Agreement on Civilian Nuclear Cooperation in 2017.

  • Radioactive Waste Management
  • Radioactive Disaster Mitigation
  • Environment Protection
  • Nuclear related training.

India – Sri Lanka Confidence Building Measures:

  • Currency Swap Agreements: The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) had signed an agreement for extending a USD 400 million currency swap facility to Sri Lanka to boost the foreign reserves and ensure financial stability of the country, which is badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic.
  • High Level Exchanges:Political relations between India and Sri Lanka have been marked by high-level exchanges of visits at regular intervals.
  • India’s Support against Terrorism:During the course of the civil war, India supported the right of the Government of Sri Lanka to act against terrorist forces.
  • The Indian Housing Project:It is Government of India’s flagship project of developmental assistance to Sri Lanka. Its initial commitment is to build 50,000 houses for those affected by the civil war as well as for the estate workers in the plantation areas.
  • Addressing Fishermen Issue:Given the proximity of the territorial waters of both countries, especially in the Palk Straits and the Gulf of Mannar, incidents of straying of fishermen are common.
  • Both countries have agreed on certain practical arrangements to deal with theissue of bona fide fishermen of either side crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line.
  • Joint Exercises:India and Sri Lanka conduct joint Military (Mitra Shakti) and Naval exercise (SLINEX).
  • Participation in Groupings:Sri Lanka is also a member of regional groupings like BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and SAARC in which India plays a leading role.
  • SAGAR:Srilanka supports India’s concern for the security of Indian ocean with its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region).
  • Line of Credit:India has extended a $400 million line of credit to Sri Lanka to help strengthen its infrastructure and economy. An additional $50 million to help Sri Lanka combat terrorism.

Development cooperation

  • India’s grants to Sri Lanka alone amounting to around USD 570 million, the overall commitment by GOI is to the tune of more than USD 3.5 billion.
  • A US$ 100 million LoC for undertaking solar projects in Sri Lanka has been signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and EXIM Bank on June 16, 2021.
  • The Indian Housing Project, with an initial commitment to build 50,000 houses in war affected areas and estate workers in the plantation areas, is Government of India (GoI)’s flagship grant project in Sri Lanka.
  • The country-wide 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service is another flagship project.
  • Some of other notable grant projects which have been completed are the 150-bed Dickoya hospital, livelihood assistance to nearly 70,000 people from fishing and farming community in Hambantota, supply of medical equipment to Vavuniya Hospital and 150 Boats and Fishing gear for Mullaithivu fishermen.
  • A modern 1500 – seat auditorium named after Rabindranath Tagore in Ruhuna University, Matara, is the largest in any University in Sri Lanka.
  • Under the LOC of USD 318 million, various projects for procurement of rolling stocks for Sri Lankan Railways, upgradation of railway tracks, setting up of railway workshop etc are at different stages of implementation.

Positives on India-Sri Lanka

  • India’s strong “hands-off policy” of non-interference in the internal political struggles on Sri Lanka since 1991 as gained a constructive vibe among the Sri Lankan government.
  • Meanwhile, the humanitarian work by Indian agencies like supplies of medicines, doctors and providing refuge during the decade-old civil war has created a sense of mutual cooperation among the countries natives.
  • At the same time categorically supporting each other’s claims in various regional and global cooperation like SAARC, UNHRC, WTO, etc, both have proved to be a true admirer of each other’s endeavors. For example, Sri Lanka supporting India’s stand-in SAARC and SAFTA while India’s support to Sri Lanka during the civil war.
  • With the signing of free trade agreements and ETCA, both countries share great prospects in future trade relations and golden chance to get resume the past glorified trade ties in spices and
  • Both countries are blessed with a long resourceful coastline and skilled fishermen communities. A framework system of technology and workforce transfer can be created to maximize the resource utilization at the same time exploiting the marine resources within the framework of sustainable development.
  • With the excellently equipped international port cities like Colombo, Cochin, and Chennai, both countries have the untapped potential to develop a trade route to southeast Asia via India-Sri Lanka and form an epicenter for commerce in the Indian Ocean.

Role of Indian Political Parties in India and Sri Lanka Relations

  • The influence of DMK and the AIADMK has been detected in India’s attitude to the Tamil Eelam question, though their instigation was not the sole deciding factor for our policy.
  • When RG went to sign the ISLA, in 1987, he have even taken the DMK and AIADMK into confidence despite such concurrence not being mandated constitutionally.
  • After RG assassination in 1991, when the Congress government came back to power, the AIADMK supported congress and in 1992, when it moved to ban the LTTE, the AIADMK was not only supportive but also actively helped the congress in the process.
  • In UPA-1, the DMK was supporter of the Congress party and advocated the “Hands off Approach”.
  • Post RG assassination, none of the Tamil parties took a pro-LTTE stand ever again.

China Factor in India-Sri Lanka Relations

  • In recent times China and Sri Lanka have deepened their ties. Presently SL is also part of the BRI. After, 2009 when SL looked at US for support, US denied any support to SL. US by now had developed close ties with India and didn’t want any SL support to maintain its presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • This gap was aptly filled by the Chinese who dolled out lot of funds for Sri Lanka. However, China knew that SL will not be in a position to pay back these funds on time. By this, China displayed neo-colonial tendencies of acquiring important ports of SL.
  • China took over Hambantota Port on lease for 99 years by erasing 1 billion dollars debt of SL. The R&AW says, this port will be used by Chinese War Ships and sub marines to refuel during war in the Indian Ocean.
  • China has also refurbished the Columbo Port to make it a transshipment hub and has created the Lotus Tower Infrastructure.
  • India and SL have no such infra projects in their history.
  • To counter this rising Port Diplomacy, India adopted a two point strategy.
  • First it decided to undertake strategic investments in SL. Second, it adopted the Two-Plus One Developmental Model, Where India and Japan have come together to offer infrastructural support as a challenge to BRI.
  • Due to the geo political significance of SL, China is bound to be present in close vicinity, because of its own vested interest.
  • India need to find the Red Lines where the Chinese projects can be a threat to the national security of India.

Way ahead

  • India should complete all its delayed commitments and prove Sri Lanka its credibility.
  • Sri Lanka should take help of US-India investigation expertise for inquiry on civil war and provide credible report which may satisfy Tamilians all over the world and human rights entities.
  • Clear stands on the issue of CEPA from both sides and all issues should be addressed to make it effective.
  • Bilateral agreements and enhance defense cooperation to protect each other’s interests.
  • Investment by India in the north and eastern side of country will not only serve Tamilians living there but has the potential of becoming a profitable tourism industry too.
  • Maritime boundaries and its demarcation problems should be addressed soon to solve the problems of fishermen.


  • India’s consistent position is in favor of a negotiated political settlement, which is acceptable to all communities within the framework of a united Sri Lanka and which is consistent with democracy, pluralism, and respect for human rights.
  • Progressive trade and economic ties are the keys to prosperity in India-Sri Lanka relations and the free trade agreement acts as a catalyst to address this solution.
  • One of the biggest challenges for Indian diplomacy in the subcontinent is to persuade its neighbor that India is an opportunity and not a threat. 
  • The growing economic strength can provide an equitable chance to all the countries in the subcontinent to prosper, Sri Lanka’s recovering stable polity and growing economic ties with India is an example of cooperation among mature democracies.

Home Work

  • India and Sri Lanka Commercial Diplomacy
  • India and Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
  • India and Sri Lanka Maritime Issues

Mains Question

  1. Despite deep historical ties based on shared common values, India and Sri Lanka have exchanged unpleasantries in contemporary times against each others interest. Discuss how these unpleasantries have shaped their relationship? (150 Words) 10 M
  2. Discuss the indispensability of a strong relation between India and Sri Lanka? (150 Words) 10 M
  3. ISLA provided India an opportunity to shape the narrative in SL? Comment (150 Words) 10 M


Chapter 10: Neighbourhood: India-Nepal Relations


History of Nepal

  • Records mention the Gopalas and Mahishapalas believed to have been the earliest rulers with their capital at Matatirtha, the south-west corner of the Kathmandu Valley.
  • From the 7th or 8th Century B.C. the Kirantis are said to have ruled the valley. Their famous King Yalumber is even mentioned in the epic, ‘Mahabharat’.
  • Around 300 A.D. the Lichhavis arrived from northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. The Lichhavis also established good relations with Tibet.
  • The Lichhavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived in 1200 A.D with the Mallas.
  • During their 550 year rule, the Mallas built numerous temples and splendid palaces with picturesque squares. It was also during their rule that society and the cities became well organized; religious festivals were introduced and literature, music and art were encouraged.
  • After the death of Yaksha Malla, the valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) and Patan (Lalitpur).
  • Around this time, the Nepal as we know it today was divided into about 46 independent principalities. One among these was the kingdom of Gorkha with a Shah ruler. Much of Kathmandu Valley’s history around this time was recorded by Capuchin Friars who lived in the valley on their way in and out of Tibet.
  • An ambitious Gorkha King named Prithvi Narayan Shah embarked on a conquering mission that led to the defeat of all the kingdoms in the valley (including Kirtipur which was an independent state) by 1769. Instead of annexing the newly acquired states to his kingdom of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan decided to move his capital to Kathmandu establishing the Shah dynasty which ruled unified Nepal from 1769 to 2008.
  • Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India, he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century, Nepal remained in isolation.
  • In 1847 Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal’s first prime minister to wield absolute power relegating the Shah king to mere figureheads.
  • He started a hereditary reign of the Rana Prime Ministers that lasted for 104 years. There were no democratic elections for Prime Ministers post.
  • The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s with support from the-then monarch of Nepal, King Tribhuvan.
  • Soon after the overthrow of the Ranas, King Tribhuvan was reinstated as the Head of the State.

Nepali Struggle with Constitutionalism

  • In early 1959, Tribhuvan’s son King Mahendra issued a new constitution, and the first democratic elections held.
  • The Nepali Congress Party (NC) was victorious and their leader, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala formed a government and served as Prime Minister. But by 1960, King Mahendra had changed his mind and dissolved Parliament, dismissing the first democratic government.
  • From 1960 onwards Nepal witnessed a Party Less Panchayat System. In this though the people elected the representatives, the King would wield the actual power.
  • After many years of struggle when the political parties were banned, they finally mustered enough courage to start a People’s Movement in 1990 (Jan Andolan I).
  • Paving way for democracy, the then-King Birendra accepted constitutional reforms and established a multiparty parliament with King as the Head of State and an executive Prime Minister.
  • In 1994 Unified Marxist Leninist Party (UML) which had got support from China, accused the NC as a spy of India and created an Anti-India feeling amongst the people of Nepal. Finally, in February 1996, the Maoist parties declared People’s War against monarchy and the elected government.
  • Then on 1st June 2001, a horrific tragedy wiped out the entire royal family including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya with many of their closest relatives. The Crown Prince Dipendra killed every one and shot himself to death.
  • With only King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra and his family surviving, he was crowned the king. King Gyanendra abided by the elected government for some time and then dismissed the elected Parliament to wield absolute power.
  • The Maoist movement in Nepal became fully manifested by 2005. Perceiving the unrest and the violence, King Gyanendra dissolved the Parliament again.
  • This dissolution of the Parliament caused massive protests, ultimately leading to the Second Jan Andolan II.
  • In April 2006, another People’s Movement was launched jointly by the democratic parties focusing most energy in Kathmandu which led to a 19-day curfew. Nepal swept into another Civil War.
  • Eventually, King Gyanendra relinquished his power and reinstated the Parliament.
  • On November 21, 2006, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2006, (also called Peace Accord) committing to democracy and peace for the progress of the country and people.
  • A Constituent Assembly election was held on April 10, 2008. 
  • On May 28, 2008, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old monarchy (that started in 1769). Nepal today has a President as Head of State and a Prime Minister heading the Government.
  • The Constituent Assembly made significant progress to accomplish the mandate of writing a new democratic constitution of Nepal during its first 4 years term. The country also had an extensive democratic exercise in that direction including collection of public inputs on the contents of the new constitution and intense deliberations in the Assembly.
  • However, due to political disagreements on some of the contentious issues like federal provinces and form of government, the first CA could not accomplish the historic task and there was natural termination of its mandate in 2012.
  • The main bone of contention was that, while the Maoists favored a Presidential System, others favored Parliamentary System. The second issue was related to the Madhesi assertion.
  • The election of CA II was held in November 2013 and in its first meeting, leaders of political parties set the timeline of 1 year to complete the task of writing the new constitution. However, even this task couldn’t be completed in the set time lines.
  • Devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Nepal in April 2015 followed by several powerful aftershocks causing loss of life, infrastructure and property in an unimaginable scale.
  • This terrible experience created a sense of urgency among political parties to expedite the constitution writing so that a political process would come to a meaningful conclusion and country can divert all its focus on post disaster reconstruction.
  • After weeks of zeroing in on most contentious issues, political parties sorted them out paving the way to finalize the constitution.
  • The new constitution of Nepal was promulgated through an overwhelming majority of the votes of CA members on September 20, 2015.
  • With this historic achievement, the decades-long dream of Nepali people to have a constitution made through an elected representative body has now been realized.
  • As per the provisions of the new constitution, elections of the new President, Prime Ministers and some other State positions have been successfully held.
  • Bidhya Devi Bhandari is the new President of Nepal and the current PM is Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Nepali, Tibet and China

  • The ‘Treaty of Betrawati’ signed by Nepal and Tibet on October 2, 1792 stipulated that both Nepal and Tibet recognize the suzerainty of the Qing Emperor Jiaqing, and further, stated that the Qing court would be obliged to help Nepal defend against any external aggression. 
  • However, during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16), the Qing Emperor refused the Nepalese government’s request to provide support to Nepalese forces, and, the latter’s defeat led to the establishment of the British Empire in India. Then after, Nepal initiated a policy of balancing the influence of Imperial China and British India.
  • According to Indian media sources, claims by China on Nepalese territory were first made in 1930 when Mao Zedong declared in the original version of The Chinese Revolution and the Communist Party, that “the correct boundaries of China would include Burma, Bhutan and Nepal”. He also postulated in his Five Fingers of Tibetpolicy that Tibet, which he claimed was an integral part of China, was like his right palm and Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) the five fingers attached to that palm.

Diplomatic relations and Nepalese neutrality

  • The 1950 military occupation of Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army raised significant concerns of security and territorial integrity in Nepal, drawing Nepal into a close relationship with extensive economic and military ties with Republic of India. 
  • China ordered restrictions on the entry of Nepalese pilgrims and contacts with Tibet. The 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendshipthat had established a close Indo-Nepalese relationship on commerce, and foreign relations, was increasingly resented in Nepal, which began seeing it as an encroachment of its sovereignty and an unwelcome extension of Indian influence; the deployment of an Indian military mission in Nepal in the 1950s and unabated migration of millions of bihari Indians into Nepal’s Terai region increased these concerns.
  • The bilateral relationbetween Nepal and China has been friendly and is defined by the Sino-Nepalese Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed on April 28, 1960 by the two countries
  • In 1955, Nepal restored diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and exchanged resident ambassadors by 1960. In 1956, both nations signed a new treaty terminating the Treaty of Thapathaliof 1856 and Nepal recognized Tibet as a part of China. 
  • In 1960, Nepal and China signed a boundary settlement agreement and a separate ‘Sino-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship’. Nepal also began supporting the change of China’s seat in the United Nations
  • In 1961, Nepal and China agreed to build an all-weather road connecting the Nepalese capital Kathmandu with Tibet.
  • During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, though Nepal overtly maintained neutrality, the government of Nepal however covertly obliged to the Indian government’s request to allow Indian troops to establish 18 border observation posts (BOPs) along the Sino-Nepal border including the Kalapani area.

India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950

  • The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship provides for everlasting peace, friendship and sovereignty to each other while it accepts non-interference in each other’s territory. (The treaty was signed by an ambassador from Indian Side and the Nepalese Rana Ruler)
  • As per the treaty, Nepal would consult India whenever they would procure arms form any country other than India.
  • The Treaty also extends National Treatment to each other. This National Treatment extends for industrial and economic development.
  • Another important point of the treaty is Open Borders.
  • As per Article X of the treaty, either party can ask for a change in the treaty whenever demanded. In 2014, the two sides established an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to review the treaty.
  • As per Articles 6 and 7, the two governments agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other, the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property (requires RBI permission), participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature (National Treatment).
  • This enables Nepalese and Indian citizens to move freely across the border without passport or visa, live and work in either country and own property or conduct trade or business in either country.
  • There are a large number of Indians living, owning property and working or doing business in Nepal as a beneficial aspect of the treaty for India. Reciprocally, many Nepalese live, own property and conduct business freely in India.
  • The King of Nepal enacted the Citizenship Act of 1952 that allowed Indians to emigrate to Nepal and acquire Nepalese citizenship. But as more and more Indian immigrants from Bihar started acquiring Nepalese citizenship, most Nepalese became resentful of this provision.

Criticisms to the Treaty

  • This treaty is called unequal by most Nepalese since Nepalese law does not permit an open border, and Indians, by law, should not be able to buy lands and properties in Nepal or carry out businesses in their names.
  • They claim that the 1950 treaty was signed by undemocratic rulers of Nepal and can be scrapped by a one-year notice. The treaty has been unpopular especially among Pahari segments of Nepal, who often regard it as a breach of its sovereignty. Also, agreements were manipulated in the favour of antidemocratic autocratic rule of Nepal, where the power of the people is fragmented

India-Nepal Border Dispute

  • The border region has historically existed at the edge of various Indian and Nepali kingdoms. It took its modern shape during the period of British rule in India which began in the 17th century. During the late 18th century the Nepali kingdom launched an expansion drive, bringing them into conflict with the British and resulting in the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814–16). 
  • Nepal was defeated, and by the Treaty of Sugauli it was forced to cede large areas of land to Britain, effectively creating the modern India-Nepal boundary. Finding the Terai region difficult to manage, the British returned parts of it to Nepal in 1816.
  • India gained independence in 1947, and three years later it signed a friendship treaty with Nepal, by which both countries agreed to respect the territorial integrity of the other. Since then relations have largely been cordial, though a number of border disputes remain. There have also been occasional blockades on the border at times of tension, for example in 1987 and 2015
  • There are two existing territorial disputes between India and Nepal, over the Kalapani territory, area at the India–Nepal–China trijunction in North West Nepal, and Susta, area in Southern Nepal.
  • In addition, in May 2020, Nepal has begun to dispute the source of the Kali River, claiming it to be at Limpiyadhura, and allocating 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi) of Indian territory to itself through the issue of a new map. It did not explain why this dispute newly arose.
  • The India–Nepal border is relatively peaceful. Indian and Nepali nationals do not need passports or visas to enter each other’s countries, and tens of thousands of people cross the border every day for tourism and commerce.
  • The Indian side of the border is regulated by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) along with local police. The Nepali side of the border is regulated by the Armed Police Force (APF) along with the local branch of Nepal Police. Often SSB (India) and APF (Nepal) perform joint patrols on the border.

Nepal objects to the Indian Road

  • Nepal raised objection over India inaugurating a strategically crucial link road connecting the Lipulekh pass at a height of 17,000 feet along the border with China in Uttarakhand with Dharchula, saying this “unilateral act” runs against the understanding reached between the two countries on resolving the border issues.
  • The 80-Km new road inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to help pilgrims visiting Kailash-Mansarovar in Tibet in China as it is around 90 kms from the Lipulekh pass.
  • The Kailash-Mansarovar yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme weather and rugged terrain.
  • The construction of the road began in 2008 and was scheduled to be completed in 2013, but it got delayed due to the tough terrain in the portion between Nazang to Bundi village.

Did China engineer this border dispute between India and Nepal?

  • No, the border dispute between India and Nepal was brewing for many months and years, so it is unreasonable to blame China for creating the crisis.
  • The counter-factual is clear: even if we hypothetically imagined China away, Prime Minister Oli and Nepali nationalists would always have reacted negatively to the Indian road announcement.
  • For many years, Delhi was well aware that the issue was prone to politicization in Nepal.
  • India’s Chief of Army Staff, however, suggested that Nepal may be bringing up the issue “at the behest” of a third party, alluding to China.
  • This was also contrary to India’s Ministry of External Affairs statement recognizing that there is a dispute and that both parties would proceed, as agreed, to sort this out through a diplomatic dialogue.
  • All this does not mean that Beijing has not supported or further instigated Kathmandu to take on a more assertive position, especially against the backdrop of the China-India military standoff in Ladakh.
  • This could have contributed to the severity of the India-Nepal crisis. But we simply don’t know enough about the China factor, and it is thus simplistic, if not outright harmful to call Prime Minister Oli’s government “pro-China” or reflexively “anti-India” because of his party’s communist credentials.

Susta Dispute between India and Nepal

  • The problem in Susta arises due to shifting of the course of the river. India has always asserted that Nepali people have allegedly occupied the lands of Susta in Bihar and Narsahi in Bihar.
  • The Nepali people have resorted to construction activities and also settling Nepali population in this area.
  • The best mechanism to deal with Susta is to accept shifting border as the river shifts or agree on a fixed border despite the shifting course of the river.

India and Nepal Border Dispute

India-Nepal Madhesi Problem

  • The present Constitution of Nepal is its 7th Constitution. One important thing to note here is that, this constitution has been drafted by politicians and not by Jurists and Legal luminaries.
  • The Constitution has failed to give representation to the Madhesi based on population. In the Pahadi Region, there is one representative for every 5000 people, while in the Terai Region, it is one representative for every one lakh people.
  • The total number of seats planned for the Parliament is 165. More than 50% of the Nepali population lives in the Terai. The total seats allocated to the people of Terai are just 65 in numbers.
  • The Pahadi region has got 100 seats at a time when the population is less than 50%.
  • Here, India has requested Nepal to go for an inclusive constitution with equal representation.
  • Under the Roti-Beti characteristic concept, women from UP and Bihar states of India who marry a Madhesi will be treated as a foreigner up to 5 years.
  • Many Madhesis have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization. As per the new constitution Art 282, it mandates that the posts of President, Vice-President and PM of Nepal and so forth, are to be reserved exclusively for those with citizenship by descent.
  • In fact, this distrust is deeply visible within Nepal also where the Nepali pahadi people consider the Madhesi people as the fifth column of India.

Nepali Citizenship Act 2020 and Impact on India

  • First Nepali Citizenship Act was enacted in 1952. This Act allowed the Citizens of India to acquire Nepali citizenship with much ease. This Act was amended in the year 1962.
  • The Indian women upon marriage with Nepalese, on renouncing Indian Citizenship would automatically acquire a Nepali Citizenship.
  • However, after the Citizenship Amendment Act, now the women would have to wait for seven years before acquiring the Nepali Citizenship. However, this law has not been framed exclusively for India, as it is universally applicable irrespective of the prior citizenship of the women.
  • However, as India has the deepest matrimonial ties, India feels the heat of this amendment more than any other country.


  • India is the largest trading partner of Nepal. India’s exports to Nepal were (US$ 5.85 bn).
  • Nepal’s main imports from India are petroleum products; motor vehicles and spare parts; M. S. billet; rice & paddy; other machinery & parts; medicine; hot-rolled sheet in coil; electrical equipment; cement; agricultural equipment & parts; coal; m.s. wires, rods, coils, bars; vegetables; cold rolled sheet in coil; thread, etc.
  • Indian Investment in Nepal: Indian firms are among the largest investors in Nepal, accounting for more than 30% of the total approved foreign direct investments. 
  • There are about 150 Indian ventures operating in Nepal engaged in manufacturing, services (banking, insurance, dry port, education and telecom), power sector and tourism industries.


  • India and Nepal have wide-ranging cooperation in the defence sector. India has been assisting the Nepal Army (NA) in its modernisation by supplying equipment and providing training. Assistance during disasters, joint military exercises, adventure activities and bilateral visits are other aspects of India’s defence cooperation with Nepal.
  • A number of defence personnel from Nepal Army attend training courses in various Indian Army training institutions. The ‘Indo-Nepal Battalion-level Joint Military Exercise SURYA KIRANis conducted alternately in India and in Nepal.
  • The 14thSurya Kiran exercise was held from 03-16 December 2019 at Saljhandi, Nepal. 
  • Since 1950, India and Nepal have been awarding each other’s Army Chief with the honorary rank of General in recognition of the mutual harmonious relationship between the two armies. 
  • The Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army are raised partly by recruitment from hill districts of Nepal. Currently, about 32,000 Gorkha Soldiers from Nepal are serving in the Indian Army. 
  • In addition to Military Pension Branch in Kathmandu, there are two Pension Paying Offices at Pokhara and Dharan, and 22 District Soldier Boards in Nepal, all functioning under the Defence Wing of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, which arrange the disbursement of pensions and organise welfare programmes for re-training, rehabilitating and assisting ex-Gorkha soldiers and their families.


  • Government of India’s development assistance to Nepal is a broad-based programme focusing on creation of infrastructure at the grass-roots level, under which various projects have been implemented in the areas of infrastructure, health, water resources, education and rural & community development.
  • In recent years, India has been assisting Nepal in development of border infrastructure through upgradation of 10 roads in the Terai area; development of cross-border rail links at Jogbani-Biratnagar, Jaynagar-Bardibas; and establishment of Integrated Check Posts at Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj.
  • The total economic assistance earmarked under ‘Aid to Nepal’ budget in FY 2019-20 was INR 1200 crore.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement

  • The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal(BBIN) Initiative is a sub-regional architecture of countries in Eastern South Asia, a sub-region of South Asia.
  • It meets through official representation of member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure.
  • India approved $1.08 Billion for construction and upgrading of 558 kilometres (347 mi) long roads that join Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The project will receive 50% funding from Asian Development Bank. It is estimated that this project will increase the regional trade by 60% while that with rest of the world by 30%.

Motor Vehicle Agreement

  • India proposed a SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement during the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November 2014. Due to objections from Pakistan, an agreement could not be reached.
  • India instead pursued a similar motor vehicle agreement with the BBIN. The BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) was signed on 15 June 2015 at the BBIN transport ministers meeting in Thimpu, Bhutan.
  • The agreement will permit the member states to ply their vehicles in each other’s territory for transportation of cargo and passengers, including third country transport and personal vehicles.
  • Each vehicle would require an electronic permit to enter another country’s territory, and border security arrangement between nations’ borders will also remain. 
  • Cargo vehicles will be able to enter any of the four nations without the need for trans-shipment of goods from one country’s truck to another’s at the border.
  • Under the system, cargo vehicles are tracked electronically, permits are issued online and sent electronically to all land ports. Vehicles are fitted with an electronic seal that alerts regulators every time the container door is opened.

Integrated check posts along India-Nepal Border

  • India and Nepal in 2020 launched the construction of a Rs 147.12-crore integrated check post (ICP) at Nepalgunj to streamline and boost cross-border trade, weeks
  • This will be the third ICP on the India-Nepal border and similar facilities at Birgunj and Biratnagar were operationalised in April 2018 and January 2020.
  • Since 2014 to enhance the collaborative relations between the two nations, Nepal and India started Trans-border bus services from New Delhi to Kathmandu connecting the nation’s capital of both countries.
  • At present(2019), Kathmandu to Delhi bus service, Kathmandu to Siliguri Bus service, Kathmandu to Varanasi, Delhi to Janakpur bus service are in operation.


  • On 31 August 2018, the two Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharmashala in Kathmandu.
  • Apart from grant assistance, Government of India has extended Lines of Credit of USD 1.65 billion for undertaking development of infrastructure, including post-earthquake reconstruction projects.
  • New Partnership in Agriculture:During the visit of Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. K. P. Sharma Oli to India in April 2018, the ‘India-Nepal New Partnership in Agriculture’ was launched with a focus on collaborative projects in agricultural research, development and education.
  • This is an important and timely initiative as vast populations of the two countries predominantly depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.


  • India and Nepal have a Power Exchange Agreement since 1971 for meeting the power requirements in the border areas of the two countries, taking advantage of each other’s transmission infrastructure.
  • There are more than twenty 132 kV, 33 kV and 11 kV transmission interconnections which are used both for power exchange in the bordering areas and for power trade.
  • For enhanced transmission of electricity, the first high-capacity 400 kV Muzaffarpur (India) – Dhalkebar (Nepal) cross-border power transmission line, with GoI LoC funding of US$ 13.2 million for Nepal portion of the line, was completed in 2016.
  • India is currently supplying a total of about 600 MW of power to Nepal.
  • An Agreement on ‘Electric Power Trade, Cross-border Transmission Interconnection and Grid Connectivity’ between India and Nepal was signed on 21 October 2014.
  • The Agreement is aimed at facilitating and further strengthening cross-border electricity transmission, grid connectivity and power trade between Nepal and India.
  • South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline, constructed and funded by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., connecting Motihari in India to Amlekhgunj in Nepal was remotely inaugurated by the two Prime Ministers on 10 September 2019.


  • Cooperation in water resources primarily concerning the common rivers is one of the most important areas of bilateral relations.
  • A large number of small and large rivers flow from Nepal to India and constitute an important part of the Ganges river basins.
  • These rivers have the potential to become major sources of irrigation and power for Nepal and India.
  • A three-tier bilateral mechanism established in 2008, to discuss issues relating to cooperation in water resources, flood management, inundation and hydropower between the two countries, has been working well.


  • There have been initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts in the area of art & culture, academics and media with different local bodies of Nepal.
  • India has signed three sister-city agreements for twinning of Kathmandu-Varanasi, Lumbini-Bodhgaya and Janakpur-Ayodhya

Multilateral Partnership

  • India and Nepal shares multiple multilateral forums such as BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) NAM, and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) etc

China Factor in India and Nepal Relations

  • Contrasting the conventional wisdom, China have been a dominant player in the international relations of Nepal.
  • When Britisher acquired control of India, Nepal courted China to provide defence against any expansionist moves of British India.
  • Nepal even went for Alliance type of arrangements with some Indian Rulers as well.
  • After the 1842, when the British won the Opium War against the Chinese, Nepal realised the changing geo politics and began to court the British.
  • But, after the 1857 revolt British took over the affairs of the EIC, Nepal rulers began to enjoy being a British Protectorate.
  • The biggest reason why historically, China was interested in the Nepal is to ensure that the Tibetans do not use Nepalese territory for breeding of discontent.
  • Initially, China engaged with the Monarchy only, but gradually it only engaged with Nepal other than the economic sphere, but also started engaging with the political class, the bureaucracy and Army as well. The aim here was to penetrate every aspect of Nepali public life.
  • Chinese are providing Mandarin language training to the Madhesi of the Terai, as a future market for labour in the industries of China. Probably, using them as a fault line against India cannot be ruled out.
  • China is wishing to be a Net Security Provider to Nepal, with a perceived threat from India, which China has successfully filled in the minds of the people through the Maoist agenda.
  • China wants to convert Nepal into a Land Linked country from a land locked To this effect, China wants to link Nepal with the Rail and road infrastructure in Tibet (Remember the Shigatse on the Tibet border between Nepal and Bhutan in Chumbi Valley).
  • China is planning for a Nepal China Economic Corridor.
  • India needs to shed of the mentality of looking at Nepal as a protectorate of British.
  • China willing to establish a National Defence University in Kathmandu, which Nepal is not happy about.
  • Similarly, Nepal is also reluctant to sign an Extradition Treaty with China, as it fears China will use it to extradite Tibetans, which may disturb India.

Is China’s political influence in Nepal harming Indian interests?

  • We know from other recent crises in the region, for example in the Maldives, in the aftermath of the 2017-18 Doklam crisis, that China rarely shies away from an opportunity to use India’s neighbours as proxies, especially when its relations with Delhi are tense.
  • Nepal and several other Indian neighbours are young democracies, developing new institutions in a political transition that can be instable, as we see in Myanmar.
  • But Beijing’s authoritarian system and appeal is growing and may hinder further democratization, undermine the rule of law, or curtail critical media and academic independence.
  • India has always seen a more democratic Nepal as being in its interest, leading to greater stability and inclusiveness, especially towards minorities in the Madhes. “stability in Nepal is in the best interests of India” and that “democracy in Nepal is the best guarantee of such stability.”
  • As China’s political influence grows in Nepal, Beijing may have, at least indirectly, encouraged Prime Minister Oli to take a bolder stance against India during the current crisis.
  • Recent examples show how China reportedly mediated between different factions to keep the CPN in power, how it put pressure on critical reporting in the Nepali media, and how it promoted the authoritarian governance model of China’s Communist Party.
  • But often it is also Nepali’s greed seeking to please China even when Beijing doesn’t really care that much and defers to Delhi.
  • By playing the China balancing card as a last resort, Nepali leaders often hope to get Delhi to pay attention to festering problems that Indian diplomacy neglects or forgets about.
  • This is a risky game because it raises alarm bells in Delhi, especially in the security and strategic establishments, which are quick to step in and tend to resort to coercive tools that can further escalate the dispute.
  • It is also risky because it assumes China is always willing to extend indefinite support to Nepal at the cost of its relations with India.

India and Nepal River Water Management and Hydro Diplomacy

  • Nepal is an upper riparian state.
  • Nepal also has a hydro power generation capacity of around 80000MW Power. However, the installed capacity is 800MW only.
  • In Nepal on an average sees 15 to 18 hours of power cuts.

India and Nepal have signed three Water Sharing Treaties

  • India and Nepal Kosi River Treaty – 1954
  • India and Nepal Gandhak River Treaty – 1959
  • India and Nepal Mahakali Treaty – 1996

India and Nepal have also concluded a (Power Cooperation Agreement) in 2014.  By 2021 GMR will establish a plant in Karnali to export 900MW electricity to India.


India and Nepal PTA 2014

  • Fixes prices of Electricity Trade
  • Established Framework for import and export of electricity
  • Establish Grid connectivity
  • Undertake joint explorations

Impact of PTA

  • India can counter China
  • India can use the electricity for energy security
  • Help create jobs in Nepal
  • Allow Nepal to meet its own power needs

Are domestic politics hindering Nepal’s foreign policy?

  • Nepal has one of the world’s youngest populations and, especially after India’s implicit support for the 2015 blockade on the landlocked country, anti-Indian sentiments have been running high. This offers a new generation of Nepali politicians a powerful fuel to mobilise the electorate.
  • This is one of the reasons why Nepal chose not to attend a multilateral BIMSTEC counter-terrorism exercise hosted by India, in 2018. Delhi had then expressed its disappointment, especially about the Nepali government caving in to popular reservations about BIMSTEC as an anti-China military alliance driven by India.
  • Similarly, the Nepali Communist Party has also created obstacles to the implementation of a United States-sponsored MCC grantthat will upgrade Nepal’s electricity transmission system and connect it to the Indian power grid.
  • Only China has been spared from such Nepali political protests, which is paradoxical given that Beijing has hardly delivered on any of its many BRI promises.
  • Nepal’s foreign policy establishment has embraced an ambitious and forward-looking agenda of external balancing and diversification in recent years, Kathmandu’s widening geostrategic horizons, seeking to place Nepal as a critical connectivity hub between China, South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

Challenges to India-Nepal Relations

  • Internal Security is a major concern for India; Indo-Nepal border is virtually open and lightly policed which is exploited by terrorist outfits and insurgent groups from North Eastern part of India eg. supply of trained cadres, fake Indian currency.
  • Overtime trust deficit has widened between India-Nepal because of the Indian reputation for delaying implementation of various projects.
  • Nepal over the years has witnessed chronic political instability, including a 10-year violent insurgency, damaging Nepal’s development and economy.
  • There is anti-India feeling among certain ethnic groups in Nepal which emanates from the perception that India indulges too much in Nepal and tinkers with their political sovereignty.
  • The establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and China and its growing influence in Nepal has resulted in declining traditional leverage of India in Nepal.

Way Forward

  • Both the countries are affected due to the misuse of open border by internal and external forces, the responsibility of border management and regulation depends on both.
  • India should provide an alternative narrative for India-Nepal ties, one that takes into account longstanding people-to-people ties and cultural connect.
  • India should focus on fructifying the potential of hydropower cooperation, which has remained untapped largely due to differing perceptions.
  • India should maintain the policy of keeping away from internal affairs of Nepal, meanwhile in the spirit of friendship India should guide the nation towards more inclusive rhetoric.
  • With its immense strategic relevance in the Indian context as Indian security concern, stable and secure Nepal is one requisite which India can’t afford to overlook.

Mains Question

  1. Discuss how China’s growing Political influence in Nepal is shaping India-Nepal relations? Is there a worry for India? (250 Words) 15 M
  2. Do you agree that Indian political class has failed to establish a rapport with Nepal akin to India-Bhutan relations? (150 Words) 10M
  3. Is the time ripe, owing to the mis-use of Open Borders, India should now go for fencing of the border with Nepal? Comment (150 Words) 10 M
Chapter 11: Neighbourhood: India-Bhutan Relations


Bhutan’s Significance to India

Geographical Significance:

  • Bhutan shares border with four Indian States: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Sikkim.
  • Nestled in the Himalayas, Bhutan serves as a buffer between India and China.
  • Security of Bhutan’s present borders especially its western border is very important for India.

Political Significance:

  • A politically stable Bhutan is important to India. An unstable and restive Bhutan can provide a safe haven to anti-India activities and anti-India militant groups.

Historical Background of India and Bhutan

  • Originally the State of Monyul (Traditional name Drukyul) country of Drukpas or the “Land of the Thunder Dragons”
  • India relations go back to 747 A.D. when a Buddhist monk ‘Padmasambhava’ went from India to Bhutan and led the ‘Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism’.
  • Thus India contributed to the cultural growth of Buddhism in Bhutan.
  • In modern times, British fought Anglo-Bhutan Wars (1864-65) but didn’t annex Bhutan, but signed the ‘Treaty of Sinchuala’, that was effective till 1910.
  • In 1910 as per the ‘Treaty of Punakha’, Bhutan was not officially annexed but the legal status of Bhutan remained undefined.

India and Bhutan Ancient and Modern Engagement

  • Bhutan and India have ancient relations based on Buddhism as a value. Padmasambahava has acted as a bridge between India and Bhutan. The British, after Anglo-Bhutan Wars never annexed Bhutan but under the Treaty of Punakha also didn’t define the legal status of Bhutan.

Post Colonialism to Nehruvian Policy

  • The bilateral relationsmake Bhutan a protected state, but not a protectorate, of India. India remains influential over Bhutan’s foreign policy, defence and commerce.
  • After Independence Nehru went on a horse back to Bhutan and advised the king K D Wangchuk to build relations with India.
  • In 1949, when China took over Tibet, it did create some tensions and fears of annexation in Bhutan. In fact, in 1949, China snatched away some villages of Bhutan on the China and Bhutan border.
  • This upset Bhutan to the extent that they decided not to have diplomatic relations with China and automatically got tilted towards India.
  • A negative Perception design of China was created in the minds of Bhutanese.
  • Nehru said Bhutan has always been an Independent nation but is culturally related to us. India respects an independent Bhutan. This created a foundation for future engagement.
  • Nehru regarded an Independent Bhutan can acts as a Strategic Buffer.
  • Nehru sent advisors to Bhutan to assist them in emerging as an Independent Nation.
  • Later, Nehru trekked to Bhutan and in 1949 India and Bhutan signed the ‘Treaty of Friendship’. Agreed to have an open border. In matters of External Affairs seek advise of India.

India and Bhutan Post Independence

  • As the British didn’t clarify the legal status of Bhutan, after they left India, the Chinese resorted to annexing border villages in North Bhutan. This created a negative and imperialistic image of China in the eyes of Bhutan. Nehru, driven by foresight, not only envisaged an independent Bhutan, but one that can act as a strategic buffer between India and China. He sent advisors to Bhutan to support emergence of an independent Bhutan thereby creating a positive sentiment about India.

India and Bhutan Treaty of Friendship

  • In 1949, when Nehru went to Bhutan, he signed the “Treaty of Friendship”. It’s a blend of Historical, Strategic and Altruistic angle in it.
  • The Treaty basically emphasised on the dimensions of trade, commerce, peace and justice. India basically pre-empted the Chinese in Bhutan.
  • India wanted to deepen the trade and commerce relations with Bhutan before the return of Chinese. It was a realistic approach of deepening relations.
  • From Justice we had two objectives of Social Justice and International Justice for Bhutan. We will have stakes in the development of Bhutan. We will partner in their development. We will help them the way they want.
  • In 1971, we took Bhutan to UN and go them the membership of UN.
  • National Treatment – India and Bhutan citizens will have freedom of employment, residence and property. The aim was to improve people to people contacts
  • Open Border – Basic defence structure will be there, but no visa required to travel across the border.
  • Bhutan in 2019 levied User Development Fees To discourage tourists. They are environmental sensitive state. The user fee is not a visa. One of the consequences of Economic growth is surplus wealth, and one of the ways to splurge the wealth is by tourism.
  • There will be a clause of extradition.
  • Co-operation in culture, science and tech, sports and health.

Treaty of Friendship – Article 2

  • Bhutan is a sovereign nation and has a right to conduct its external relations but will seek India’s assistance for the same.
  • We don’t wish to regulate or dominate Bhutan
  • The aim was to guide them and help them explore friendship with our friends.
  • It is to be seen as a Altruistic Angle and not Strategic or anything to control.
  • Either of the state can ask for Amendment of Treaty and the other side has to create a mechanism for the same. There were no conditions for the amendment. It can be initiated without any conditions. It showcases that it was not meant to be a static treaty by a dynamic treaty showcasing FORESIGHT in Foreign Policy.

India and Bhutan Treaty of Friendship

In 1949, TOF was signed and India stated importance of peace, justice, trade and commerce. India also signed extradition clause and decided to also support cultural, health, sports and tech diplomacy. Under Art 2 India allowed Bhutan to conduct their foreign policy independently but seek India’s assistance for the same. This was driven by the objective of helping Bhutan search for like minded friends.

Treaty of Friendship (Issues)

  • Article 2. Over period of time, since 1949, India played a pro-active role. Now, Bhutan feels it is in a position that they can manage their external relations. In this backdrop, in 2007, Bhutan made a proposal for amending the Treaty of Friendship.
  • This is when India brought the Strategic Angle to the TOF. This was in the backdrop of the growing North East Insurgents taking refuge in Bhutan and also the growing Drug Trafficking Trade. India also promised sharing of Intelligence between the countries.
  • India proposed amendment to the wording of the Article 2. “India and Bhutan will cooperate on matters of National Security”. This was a departure from the earlier stand of cooperating on matters of external relations.
  • Bhutan agreed to this. So, we see a shift from Altruism to Strategic Diplomacy.
  • Therefore, India is creating an International Narrative in Bhutan, that we can create an impact. This is India’s way to display power.
  • National Treatment. Where both the citizens are free to travel, stay and take part in the economy etc. In employment crafts and traditional art forms of Bhutan are manufactured in India and then Global sales are carried out. This enables them to get international recognition. The Indian MSME sector is
  • Private Investment in Bhutan. Over a period of time, lot of foothills are being owned by India and created hospitality related infrastructure. This has resulted in monopolisation of hospitality sector by the Indian Investors. Bhutan alleges India for undercutting the Bhutanese investors. This is creating a sense of domination in Bhutan. Bhutan might go for Legal Leverage to undercut the Indian Investors. This may Sour our relationship with Bhutan. This may create a FAULT LINE.
  • Open Border : Free movement of terrorists and criminals across the border
    • Over a period of time, stronger fencing, interception is being done.
    • Foot Hill Area, Marshy Land and that’s why the fence is not 100%.
    • There are some points where there is no fence and no patrolling, leading to intrusions.

India and Bhutan Treaty of Friendship (Issues)

The Open Border is also misused by Criminals and Terrorists. The National Treatment favour Bhutan more than India. In 2007, Bhutan sought amendment to Article 2 and India amended the same. In a win-win situation, the two parties today cooperate on matters on national security. The amendment to the treaty has given confidence to Bhutan that India looks at Bhutan as a partner and not a subordinate.

India and Bhutan Commercial Diplomacy


  • On the advise of India, Bhutan embarked on Planned Development with the initiation of its First Five Year Plan in 1961. India helped Bhutan in its First and Second Five Year Plan.
  • As we know, in 1971, India took Bhutan to UN and played an important role in getting Bhutan the membership of UN. After its acceptance as a member country of UN, the resource availability of Bhutan improved and Bhutan saw its development pace getting a face lift. This only leveraged the trade between Bhutan and India.
  • This is how, India played a constructive role in the rolling of its development trajectory and also giving it an international exposure. The developmental assistance is diversified with development of Infrastructure (Both Physical and Social) e.g. Creation of Airfields etc, Democratic values, education and skill development.

India and Bhutan Development Diplomacy Phase – I (1960-80)

In the First Phase from 1960-80, India emphasized on helping Bhutan in creation of Physical and Social infrastructure. The Planning Commission also laid down a foundation for development in Bhutan.

An Overview of Monarchy in Bhutan

  • Close Contact with the People
  • Monarchy has never been endangered
  • Monarchy Benevolent in Bhutan
  • Power gap between the Monarchy and the people is least in the World
  • Monarchy always encouraged the people to raise their voice.
  • A common citizen can meet the King easily and convey the issues.
  • No victimization of common people by the Monarchy
  • People have never been threatened by the Monarchy
  • People have developed a rationale thought of dialogue and engagement in the society supported by the Monarchy
  • The Monarchy prepared the people for participating in the Governance
  • Monarchy prepared the ground for introduction of Democracy. This shows willingness to share power

India’s Democracy Promotion Diplomacy

  • Doesn’t insist on Democracy
  • Let the country decide its own model
  • We will respect what ever governance model u have
  • We will not insist change of the governance model
  • We will support any legitimate people’s supported regime.
  • We will share our best practices
  • We will provide capacity building
  • Choice of model will remain yours
  • We carried out valueless sharing (No opinion based sharing)
  • Finally, India never IMPOSES its model of governance

India and Bhutan Development Diplomacy Phase – II (1980-2000)

In the Second Phase India contributed in developing democratic values by providing requisite guidance in the choice of governance structure. India provided supported for capacity building and shard best practices that helped in furthering Democracy. This resulted in Bhutan transitioned into a successful Democracy by 2007-08 where Democracy and the monarchy co-existed.

India and Bhutan Development Diplomacy Phase – III (2000- Till Date)

In the Third Phase from 2000s onwards, India has widened the developmental support with diversified engagement in Hydro-power, Education, skill development, IT services, R&D, Construction etc as a part of the new development agenda.

Challenges in India and Bhutan Hydro Diplomacy and Mitigation Strategies

India and Bhutan Hydro Power Diplomacy

  • Bhutan is an upper riparian state, with tremendous rainfall and the rivers are perennial in nature with the volume of water being very high. The potential to generate Hydro-Power exists naturally.
  • India advised Bhutan to self develop electricity taking advantage of the natural factors in Bhutan. In 1989, India assisted Bhutan with the establishment of a 33 MW electricity generation plant in Chukha (60% grants 40% loans). With this Bhutan tried to fulfil its power needs. It got uninterrupted power supply.
  • In 1989, India suggested Bhutan to explore Hydro-power. Later this resulted in a three phased approach
  • Foundational Phase (1987-2007). India Bhutan HEP at Chukha, Kurichu and Tala.
  • Domestically we established our own grid in the North East.
  • By 2007, Bhutan developed Surplus electricity.
  • Second Phase. (2007-2012) Bhutan starts exporting electricity. Bhutan got Forex in return.
  • Third Phase (2013 to Till date)
    • North Eastern Grid of India got connected with the Pan India grid
    • This resulted in India reduced purchasing of Electricity from Bhutan.
    • 2014 Assam witnessed flooding. Lot of effect on India. Bhutan also contributed to this havoc. They didn’t have expertise in water regulation. This created Anti-India sentiment in Bhutan.
    • In 2014-Guruji goes to Bhutan. We announced opening of Power Training Institute.
    • This will enable jobs in HPE and also efforts in construction training for Bhutanese citizens.
  • The Hydro Electric power generation from the rivers due to river freezing is badly affected. Bhutan buys electricity from India in winters.
  • In summers we earn forex and in winters we spend this forex in buying electricity from you. Net gain is zero.
  • India suggested development of Power Bank Capacitors. You can store the surplus electricity generated in the summers.
  • Bhutan also requested for selling this surplus power to B’desh. India agreed, but said India will create the physical infrastructure for the same, however, Bhutan should convince B’desh about the same.
  • But B’desh didn’t agree. No progress.
  • The Indian PM also laid the foundation stone for a 600 MW Hydroelectric power plant in 2014 at Kholongchu, Bhutan

India and Bhutan Energy Diplomacy

  • In1989, India assisted in development of a 33 MW Chukha plant.
  • Subsequently, India helped explore Tala and Kurichu.
  • Eventually, by 2000s Bhutan became a surplus state and was a potential exporter. From 2010 onwards, Bhutan exported surplus Hydro Power to India.
  • Over a period of time India developed adequate capacity for developing electricity. Consequently, the requirement of imported electricity in the NE grid reduced.

India and Bhutan Commercial Diplomacy


  • The trade between India and Bhutan is governed by “Agreement on Trade and Commerce, 2006”.
  • India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner. 80% of the Trade of Bhutan is with India, 20% is with the rest of the world. This trade percentage with India is a natural outcome and not under any domination or compulsion from India. Bhutan is basically a land locked country and its geography favours India more than China.
  • India has provided Duty Free Access to Bhutan for Third Country trade via Kolkata Port and also provide access to our rail and road infrastructure free of cost. This is an Altruistic angle in the commercial diplomacy.
  • India Imports
    • Hydro Power (We will discuss this at length)
    • Minerals
    • Wood
    • Traditional Medicines (Himalayan Herbs)


India Exports

  • Plant and Machinery
  • Food Products

The trade between India and Bhutan is governed by “Agreement on Trade and Commerce, 2006”.

  • The treaty has widened the trade basket
  • Allowed Bhutan to undertake manufacturing of Products in India for consumption in Bhutan with NO Duty being imposed. This is because of Geographical barriers in establishing big industries. Even the environmental norms are stricter in Bhutan.

India and Bhutan Commercial Diplomacy

India has supported development of Bhutan by helping them establish Planning Commission in 1960s. After 1971, external development support to Bhutan widened and also accelerated their development. Majority of Bhutanese trade is with India and since 2016, after the conclusion of Agreement on Trade and Commerce, the bilateral trade has acquired more depth.

India and Bhutan Defence and Security Diplomacy

India has supported development of Bhutan by helping them establish Planning Commission in 1960s. After 1971, external development support to Bhutan widened and also accelerated their development. Majority of Bhutanese trade is with India and since 2016, after the conclusion of Agreement on Trade and Commerce, the bilateral trade has acquired more depth.

  • Defence : Armed Forces Level; Security – Intelligence Agency level. The word strategic is a mixture of both Defence and Security.
  • India has strategic presence in Bhutan with the larger objective of positioning ourselves as a NSP. Our Grand Strategy for Bhutan is a mixture of Altruism and Strategic Diplomacy.
  • Bhutan is also important for India’s global power aspirations.
  • India has provided Bhutan with Defence Cooperation.
    • Defensive Cooperation – Providing training, defence trade and exercises
    • Offensive Cooperation – Sharing of Defence intelligence for joint military operation.
  • As of now, we just have defensive cooperation with Bhutan and no Offensive cooperation.
  • India has established IMTRAT (Indian Military Training Team) in Haa District of Bhutan. Defence training to lower level Bhutanese Officers.
  • India also provides military training to the senior officers of Bhutan in India at various training centres in our country (IMA & OTA).
  • The aim is to instil in them our defence values (to remain generally Defensive). It is a strategy of latent power projection. Also, share Defence Doctrines with a larger aim of achieving interoperability. Also, there is an aim to grasp the Defence Values of other states to bring diverse values in our forces.
  • At the Security Level, India has created a listening post in Bhutan (Intelligence gathering stations). These can be further integrated with the other intelligence architecture.
  • India offers to Bhutan even the Civilian Defence Training (Bureaucracy level training).
  • Since 1961, Border Roads Organisation under Project Dantak is providing strategically important infrastructure development (Social and Defence both).
    • Roads (Strategic), Schools and Colleges, Strategic Highways, Hospitals.
    • Airfields at Paro and Yangpula
    • Infrastructure at Tala
    • Dangsum steel plant (ultimate aim to manufacture low grade defence technologies)

Other Areas of Cooperation

Border Management:

  • There is a Secretary-level mechanism on border management and security related matters between the two countries.
  • There is also a Border District Coordination Meeting (BDCM) Mechanism between the bordering States and the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) to facilitate coordination on border management and other related matters.

Educational and Cultural Cooperation:

  • A large number of college going Bhutanese students study in India. Government of India provides number of scholarships to Bhutanese students.
  • Regular cultural exchanges take place between the two countries. One of the basic objectives of India Bhutan Foundation established in 2003 is to enhance people to people exchange in cultural field.

Indian Community:

  • About 60,000 Indian nationals live in Bhutan, employed mostly in the hydro-electric power construction and road industry.
  • In addition, around 8000-10,000 daily workers enter and exit Bhutan everyday in border towns.

Multilateral Partnership:

  • Both India and Bhutan are founding members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) that deals with economic, social and cultural development of South Asian Region.
  • Both of them also share other multilateral forums such as BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) etc.

China Factor in India-Bhutan Relations

  • The border issue between Bhutan and China has not been resolved.
  • China claims large tracts of land of the West Bhutan and North Bhutan. The claim on the West Bhutan bring China very close to the Chumbi Valley. The Chumbi Valley also has one artery running from Tibetan city of Shigatse to Yatung.
  • The Chinese intrusions deprive the people of Bhutan of Forest produce and create uncertainty about their resources and livelihood.
  • China and Bhutan began negotiations on border issues in 1984.
  • Since 2012, China has begun engaging with Bhutan in Cultural and Religious diplomacy. China gifted Bhutan a tall statue of Buddha in Thimpu.
  • China also started sending tourists, they are basically religious tourists. Through these tourists, China started showing tacit commercial presence.

Shigatse to Yatung One important Tibetan Artery running in Chumbi Valley

Chumbi Valley Strategic Significance and Strategic Concerns

Bangladesh Factor in India and Bhutan Relations : Issues, Challenges and Mitigation Strategies

  • Bangladesh citizens go to Bhutan as construction labourers and hospitality industry. Therefore, Bangladesh has Economic (employment) interests in Bhutan.
  • Bangladesh is a growing economy. They need Hydro Power. Bhutan is a Hydro Power producing and exporting nation. Bangladesh has Hydro interests in Bhutan. India opposed transporting of Hydro Power from Bhutan to Bangladesh via India.
  • Employing of Bangladeshis in the Hospitality and the Construction sites by India in Bhutan. This is turning to be an irritant in the relationship between India and Bhutan. If this is not addressed, it may end up to be a FAULT LINE.

Bangladesh Factor in India-Bhutan Relationship

The main interest of Bangladesh in Bhutan is economic in nature. The people of B’desh are absorbed in domestic sectors of Bhutan and gain access to various kinds of jobs in construction and hospitality. However, Bhutan has raises concern that, Indian investments, coupled with B’desh labour, is not giving much benefits to Bhutan itself. As it may emerge as a potential irritant, it is imperative for the two sides to mitigate the challenge by ensuring the Bhutanese labour also plays a role in development of Bhutan


  • There have been instances when India has meddled in Bhutan’s internal affairs. This has led to negative perception of India in the minds of Bhutanese.
  • There is a growing feeling in Bhutan that India’s development of Bhutan’s hydropower production is driven by self-interest as it is getting Bhutan’s surplus power at relatively cheap rates.
  • Bhutan’s concern regarding profitability of its Hydropower projects in the wake of India’s shift to renewable sources of energy like wind, solar etc.
  • From internal security perspective, illicit establishment of camps by militant outfits in the dense jungles of south-east Bhutan is a cause of concern for both the nations (Operation All Clear).
  • China’s continuous claims to important border areas such as Chumbi valley and Doklam and its continuous efforts for establishing strong diplomatic and economic relations with Bhutan have been continuous source of concern for India.
  • Way Forward
  • India needs to step up efforts to publicise the benefits that accrue to Bhutan from Indian projects.
  • India continuously needs to explore new areas of cooperation with Bhutan. Decision of setting up of ISRO’s ground station in Bhutan is a welcome step. The station will help Bhutan in providing weather related messages to its far flung areas.
  • India should try as much as possible to remain out of Bhutan’s internal matters, though it can act as a mentor.
  • Safety of Border from China is a concern for both nations. Therefore, both sides need to work together on this issue. Also, it needs to be ensured that border areas remain militants free.
  • Being neighbours, it is necessary that both nations continuously recognise value of each other. For this, regular high level visits from both the sides are necessary.

Mains Question

  1. India-Bhutan relations not only reflects the contemporary nature of their relationship but also lay the foundation for their future development in the 21st century. Elucidate the statement in the backdrop of India’s emphasis on neighbourhood-first policy?(250 words) 15 Marks
  2. Explain how India played an enabling role in the transitioning of Bhutan into a Democratic Country, where Democracy co-exists peacefully with the Monarchy? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Discuss how the engagement strategy with Bhutan can be a template for India’s Regional power ambitions? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  4. Elucidate how the Defence and Security Diplomacy in Bhutan furthers our strategic objective in Bhutan? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  5. Chumbi Valley is Strategically important for India’s Security and is contingent upon a narrow Siliguri Corridor. Discuss strategies that can enhance Indian Security? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  6. Discuss the different phases of Hydro Power Diplomacy between India and Bhutan? (150 Words) 10 Marks
Chapter 12: India & the World: India-US Relations


Communication Gap between India and US during the British Rule.

Role of US in Indian National Movement

  • Indian Students
  • Popular Personalities
  • American Missionaries

Indo-US Relations Before Independence

  • While the official US policy followed an uneven course, the US Congress, the media and the public remained steadfast in support of India’s cause. American missionaries started arriving in India in the early 19th century. But they became known for their non-evangelic work.
  • The end of World War I saw a large number of Punjabi Sikh farmers and ex-soldiers migrate to the USA. The pioneer Punjabis also succeeded in getting the American immigration laws changed to enable the Indians and other South Asians to reap the benefits of opportunities in the USA.
  • Some of them even condemned the British misrule and supported the nationalist freedom struggle.
  • Some Americans got together in the USA to form Indo-American National Forum to work for self-rule in India and to help Indian students in the USA.
  • One more lobby, “India League of America” with British Nationals also advocated for British withdrawal from India to ensure just and peaceful settlement of Indian situation and also condemned the British Policy for being responsible for the “most atrocious repression and inhuman conduct”.
  • Though the USA maintained an anti-colonial and anti-imperialistic policy, the British persisted with their mindset of empire builders.

The US administration was not prepared to support the British colonial rule over India for all times. The pressure of US opinion, the anti-imperialist stand of the Soviet Union, and Chinese support for the cause of India’s freedom (China was then ruled by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek) and the course of the war finally forced the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, and the Secretary of State, L.S. Amery, to agree in principle that transfer of power to India was ‘sine qua non’ at the end of the World War II.

Atlantic Charter

  • The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II.
  • No territorial aggrandizement, no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people (self-determination), restoration of self-government to those deprived of it, reduction of trade restrictions, global co-operation to secure better economic and social conditions for all, freedom from fear and want, freedom of the seas, and abandonment of the use of force, and disarmament of aggressor nations.
  • The charter inspired several other international agreements and events that followed the end of the war. The dismantling of the British Empire, the formation of NATO, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) all derived from the Atlantic Charter.
  • Winston Churchill’s View – The RTSD was held exclusively for Nazi Areas won in the War
  • Roosevelt’s View – It was a Universal Proposition and also applied to territories under Colonial Rule as well. Thus, for the US, India was a rightful claimant of RTSD.

October 13, 1949 Prime Minister Nehru Visits U.S.

  • Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru meets with U.S. president Harry S. Truman of the United States. The trip precedes India’s formal proclamation of neutrality in the developing Cold War, in which it would take a leadership role within the Non-Alignment movement. This sets the tone for U.S.-India relations throughout the Cold War, creating constraints within the relationship, as well as opportunity for amity between Delhi and Moscow.

India-US Relations during the Cold War

  • The period of Cold War remained a low phase in the relations between India and the US.
  • While India adopted Non-Alignment the US became the spreader of Capitalism – ideologically opposite ends leading to tensed relations
  • The US brought Cold War to the doorsteps of India by making Pakistan a member of CENTO and SEATO. As a result, India tilted towards USSR-resulting in the growth of suspicion.
  • However, the Democratic Values displayed by India during the Cold War helped US to find synchronization with India, due to which US extended help at Economic and Social level. Gradually Democracy became a shared value between the two.
  • Through this help the US was able to keep a check on China and prevent India from completely gravitating towards the USSR. That’s how the Arms support during the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
  • However, during the 1971 Bdesh Liberation War, the US threatened India with Nuclear Retaliation. This has remained a sore point in India-US relations till today.
  • After 1974, peaceful Nuclear Explosion, US isolated India by creating the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). All these prove that ties remained low in Cold War.

INDIA-US Defense Diplomacy

Immediately after the Cold War & Beyond Timeline

  • 1991 Kicklighter proposals
  • This was followed by Malabar I, II and III exercises
  • In 2005 India-US new Framework for Defence Trade
  • In 2010 Indo-US Counter Terrorism cooperation
  • In 2012 DTTI in place.
  • In 2013 Joint Principles for Defence Cooperation (Tech Tfr)
  • 2013 Est of Defence Policy Group
  • In 2014 India US Declaration on Defence Cooperation
  • In 2015 India Rapid Reaction Cell (Moving beyond Buyer-Seller Dynamics)
  • In 2016 LEMOA

Why Security Remains a Weak Dimension

  • Difference in perception of Global Role
    • Interventionism Vs Strategic Autonomy
    • Aggressive changes to Strategic Situations Vs Hands Off Approach
  • Role as a Superpower – India’s Non-Acceptance
  • Geo-Political Underpinnings
  • US not coming out clean on its Aim in Asia
  • Ideological Differences
  • Hard Core Capitalist Approach

India’s Defence Negotiation Style with US

  • India focuses on Sovereignty and not Alliances
  • India favours the Rule book
  • Cold War suspicion
  • Political Leadership plays a crucial role
  • India wants Technology Transfer
  • India Aims for Joint Production
  • Structural Problems: In India the Defence deals are led by Civilian bureaucrats; while in US it is led by Military officials who have an upper hand in military diplomacy.

Shortcomings/Problems in engaging with US in Defence Deals

  • India looks for support from the foreign player in domestic production
  • Negotiation Strategy Problems:
    • Indian DPP doesn’t have concept related to life cycle costs. The US suppliers favour life cycle costs, while India favours fixed costs.
    • The US officials also face problems related to negotiating prices with India
    • India favours more customization of the equipment due to the varied conditions in which the Indian Armed Forces operate. While the German and French suppliers are good at customization, the Americans struggle with customization.

India’s Defence Agreements with US

The USA has signed 3 important military agreements with India. These agreements are usually signed by the USA with its defence allies for smoother military cooperation. The list of agreements is given below.

  1. General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) – It was signed in 2002, to facilitate sharing military intelligence between India and the USA.
  2. Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) – It was signed in 2016, as per this agreement. India and USA can use each other’s military bases to carry out repairs and for resupplying.
  3. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) – This agreement is to share and secure communications exchange between 2 nations during training exercises and operations.

Other India’s Defence Agreements with US

  1. Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defence Innovation Unit (DIU)
  2. The Indian Defence Innovation Organisation – Innovation for Defence Excellence (2018)
  3. Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018)
  4.  Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019);
  5. Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (October 2020).

Which are the Military Exercises carried out by India and the US?

Different military exercises carried out by India and the USA are given below.

Yudh Abhyas – This military exercise started in the year 2002.

Vajra Prahar – This military exercise is carried out between Special Forces of India and USA

Tiger Triumph – This is a major military exercise carried out with the US, involving all 3 Indian Tri-Services i.e India Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

In November 2020, the Royal Australian Navy joined the U.S.-India-Japan MALABAR Naval Exercise held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Major Weapons Purchased

  1. Weapon Locating Radar
  2. C-130J Globe Master
  3. Global Positioning System
  4. Predator Drones MQ 9
  5. ISTAR
  6. P-81 POSEIDON



Major Weapons Purchased and Trends


According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the world’s largest importer of foreign arms in 2021.

From 2017-2021, SIPRI listed India as the first largest global importer, accounting for 11% of global major conventional weapons imports.

Russia is the top seller of arms to India, providing 46% of arms deliveries to India, a 47% decrease from the previous five-year period. France and the United States provided the second and third most weapons to India from 2017-2021.

The United States, India’s second-largest arms supplier from 2012–2016, delivered roughly 27% less weapons to New Delhi in 2017–2021.

India’s Nuclear Journey with US

  • From Suspicion to Strategic Partnership
  • India not signing the discriminatory NPT
  • US headstrongness on dates of 01 Jan 1967 for Nuclear Status.
  • 2004 Next Step in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) was announced
  • JN Dixit coming to the Centre Stage
  • 2005 Condoleezza Rice visit to India.
  • Signing of 123 Agreement July 2005.

Civil Nuclear Liability

  • The act of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) was passed in 2010 with its focus on setting liabilities on suppliers in case of a nuclear accident.
  • However, it has acted as a bone of contention in moving ahead with the India-US civil nuclear agreement deal signed in 2008.

The CLND Act affect the Indians in the following manner

  • The CNLD law capped all the liabilities to 300 million Special Drawing Rights or Rs 2610 crore.
  • Now, in case of Nuclear damage government will be liable to additional Rs 1110 crores. Thus, the government will end up spending the Indian taxpayers’ money which should be the suppliers’ liability.
  • The capped amount of Rs 2610 will not be sufficient in case of a Nuclear accident as we have seen in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The potential victims will suffer due to this.
  • Section 17 of CNLD acts specify that the right to the recourse of an operator is not mandatory but merely an enabling clause. This it will prohibit operators to sue suppliers. Thus overall, it will make victims more vulnerable to potential accidents.
  • The suppliers will be paying a nominal premium to the ‘Nuclear Insurance Pool’, hence this cost will be added in the total cost of building a nuclear plant and thus will finally have to bear by Indian consumers.
  • Section 46 prevents the Indian victims from moving to a foreign court. It also prohibits from claiming compensation under other laws.

INDIA-US Commercial Diplomacy

Trade & Economic Relations:

The rapidly expanding trade and commercial linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States.

  1. The U.S. is India’s second-largest trading partner and a major destination for our exports of goods and services.
  2. Bilateral trade in goods and services stood at US$ 119.42 billion in 2022.
  3. During the financial year 2020-21, India received the highest ever foreign direct investment amounting to USD 81.72 billion
  4. The US replaced Mauritius as the second largest source of foreign direct investment into India during 2020-21 with inflows of USD 13.82 billion.
  5. The US is one of the top 5 investment destinations for Indian FDI.


INDIA-US Other Areas of Cooperation

Comprehensive global strategic partnership: India and the United States enjoy a comprehensive global strategic partnership covering almost all areas of human endeavour, driven by shared democratic values, convergence of interests on a range of issues, and vibrant people-to-people contacts.

Bilateral Dialogue Mechanisms: India-U.S. cooperation witnessed intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in a wide range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science & technology, energy and people-to-people ties.

India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, led by the heads of Foreign and Defence Ministries of India and the U.S, reviews the bilateral ties in defence, strategic and security domains as well as important regional and global issues.

Quad: The four Quad partners (India, Japan, United States & Australia) first formed a “Core Group” in 2004, to swiftly mobilize aid during the joint response to the 2004 Tsunami. Since 2017, Quad engagements have increased and intensified.

Economic Relations:  The rapidly expanding trade and commercial linkages form an important component of the multi-faceted partnership between India and the United States.

Counter Terrorism Cooperation: It has seen considerable progress  with information exchange, operational cooperation and sharing of counterterrorism technology and equipment..

Cyber Security Cooperation: The India-US Cyber Framework signed in September 2016, provides for expanding cooperation in the cyber domain.

Energy sector: India and the US have a strong bilateral partnership in the energy sector. In 2010, bilateral Energy Dialogue was launched.

Science and Technology: India-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, which was renewed for a period of ten years in September 2019.

ISRO and NASA are working together to realise a joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).

Education partnership:  It is an important pillar of India-US ties and both the countries share strong linkages and history of higher education collaborations.

The United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI)  was set up after a bilateral agreement on education exchange was signed between India and the US on February 2, 1950

Indo-US under Joe-Biden

  • Biden is poised to continue the upward trajectory of relations between India and US, this is evident from his record as Vice President in the Obama administration demonstrated his sensitivity to Indian concerns and encouraged a growing bilateral relationship.
  • Biden and Modi spoke for the first time on 8th February after Biden took office in January. This was the second call between the two leaders, the first being in November after Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
  • The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad.
  • The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the U.S.-India relationship.
  • Biden has always recognised the importance of having India as an ally and collaborating on issues like security, environment, trade etc., which are all critical for the economic growth of India and the US.
  • On issues such as immigration and visa, Biden will implement changes that support and recognise that “Immigrants bring tremendous economic, cultural, and social value to their new communities.
  • Another field where there maybe be further development between the two countries is climate change an area which took a setback under Trump.
  • During Biden’s administration there is a high chance of the return of human rights agenda as an important plank of US foreign policy
  • India is a crucial partner to counter Chinese maneuvers.

International Co-operation Indo-US

  • India and the United States cooperate closely at multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
  • The United States welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in 2021 for a two-year term and supports a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
  • India is an ASEAN dialogue partner, an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development partner, and an observer to the Organization of American States.
  • Together with Australia and Japan, the United States and India convene as the Quad to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and provide tangible benefits to the region.
  • In June of 2022, the Quad countries concluded recruitment for the inaugural Quad Fellows, an opportunity for 100 students, 25 each from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, to pursue a master’s or doctoral studies in STEM in the United States.
  • India is also one of twelve countries partnering with the United States on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) to make our economies more connected, resilient, clean, and fair.
  • India is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), at which the United States is a dialogue partner.
  • In 2021, the United States joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India, and in 2022 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power became Co-chair of the Governing Council of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) where India is a permanent co-chair.

Convergence in Indo-US relations

  • In the post-cold war era, India’s relationship with the US on defence and strategic issues has strengthened. This can be reflected in the following:
  • A foundational military agreement that allows for the sharing of encrypted communications and equipment (COMCASA- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement).
  • A change in U.S. export control laws that places India in a privileged category of NATO and non-NATO U.S. allies.
  • The signing of an Industrial Security Annex that will allow for greater collaboration among the two countries’ private defence industries. A new ‘2+2’ foreign and defence ministers dialogue.
  • The bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership was launched in April 2018 under which India has started importing crude and LNG from the US. Now, the US is India’s sixth-largest source of crude oil imports and hydrocarbons.
  • Inauguration of the first India-US tri-service military exercise and expansion of existing military exercises.
  • Inclusion of India and South Asia in the US Maritime Security Initiative.
  • These intense engagement has helped achieve robust support from the US against terrorism.
    This was evident after the Pulwama attack, leading to the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
    • Also, placing Pakistan on the grey-list of the Financial Action Task Force.
  • The US under its Pivot to Asia policy views India as an ideal balancer to check the aggressive rise of China. Therefore, the US has formulated the concept of Indo-Pacific to counter China in the South China Sea and the Indian ocean.
  • The US has designated India as an integral part of the Indo-pacific narrative by the conception of Quad.

Divergence In India-US relations

  • Trade Deal: Trade has been a major bone of contention between India and the US. India has been referred by the US, as “tariff king” that imposes “tremendously high” import duties. Donald Trump formulated America First policy, on the economic dimension, it means reducing the U.S. ‘s trade deficits with major trading partners, including India. In pursuance of this:
    • In June 2019, the Trump administration decided to terminate India’s benefits under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, which provides preferential, duty-free access for over $6 billion worth of products exported from this country to the US.
    • Removal from the GSP list amidst rising trade tensions prompted India to finally impose retaliatory tariffs on several American imports. This made the US approach the WTO against India.
    • The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has underlined India’s measures to restrict companies from sending personal data of its citizens outside the country as a “key” barrier to digital trade.
    • Also, the US has long demanded greater access to American agriculture and dairy products. For India, protecting its domestic agriculture and dairy interests was a major reason to walk out of the RCEP agreement.
  • US-Pakistan Equation: US has softened its position on Pakistan in the last several months, due to the role Pakistan can play in the Afghan deal (between the US and the Taliban), likely to be signed in 2020.
    • In return, Pakistan wants the US to engage with India on the Kashmir issue (internationalising the Kashmir issue). Whereas India maintains the view that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and no third party can be engaged in it.
  • Internal Issues in India: India-US strong strategic partnership is also based on an idea of “shared values” of democracy, rule of law, religious freedom and protection of minorities.
  • However, the revocation of Article 370, the new citizenship law and the NRC is testing this “shared values” principle.
  • Though the US president maintained that these matters are internal to India, criticism from the US Congress and some parts of US civil society is pushing the US administration to tell India to bring Kashmir to normalcy.

India-US Visa Issue

The US H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations. Specialty occupations requires

Theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc.

Any professional level job that usually requires you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher can come under the H-1B visa for specialty occupations.

The US H1-B visa is designed to be used for staff in specialty occupations. The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Have a minimum entry requirement of a Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent.
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

H-1B visa holders can bring their spouse and children under 21 years of age to the US under the H-4 Visa category as dependents. An H4 Visa holder is allowed to remain in the US as long as the H-1B visa holder remains in legal status.

While, an H-4 visa holder is not eligible to work in the US, they may attend school, obtain a driver’s license and open a bank account while in the US.

Capping on Visa

USCIS sets a limit on how many H1B visas are issued each year.

These numbers can change as per regulations of the US government. Historically, the cap is placed at 65,000.

An additional 20, 000 H1B visas are issued for qualified people who have completed a Masters degree from USA. This quota is independent and additional to general 65,000 quota.

It is done through lottery process.

Employer prefer H1B visa because applying for a non-immigrant visa is generally quicker than applying for a US Green Card, therefore the H-1B visa is popular for companies wishing to bring in staff for long-term assignment in the US.


Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET)


  • The iCET involves collaboration in a range of areas including
  • Quantum computing,
  • Semiconductors,
  • 5G and 6G wireless infrastructure, and
  • Civilian space projects such as lunar exploration.


  • iCET aims to position the two countries as trusted technology partners by building technology value chains and supporting the co-development and co-production of items.
  • It also aims to address regulatory restrictions, export controls and mobility barriers through a standing mechanism


  • On the defence front, iCET aims to expand India-US cooperation in fields like artificial intelligence and military equipment.

Industrial cooperation:

  • The iCET announced a new bilateral defence industrial cooperation roadmap that will be intended to accelerate defence technology cooperation.

Fighter jet engine production in India:

  • The USA under this has also agreed to produce a fighter jet engine in India for the indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft.
  • GE Aerospace has applied for an export licence for jet engine production and phased transfer of technology to Indian entities.

Indian Diaspora:

About 4.2 million Indian American/Indian origin people reside in the US. The Indian Americans [3.18 million] constitute the third largest Asian ethnic group in the US.

Way Forward

  • Despite the historic nuclear deal (2008), civilian nuclear cooperation has not taken off, but the agreement with Westinghouse to build six nuclear reactors will finally bring US nuclear energy on Indian soil.
  • In order to counter China in the maritime domain, India needs to fully engage with the US and other partners in the Indo-pacific region, in order to preserve the freedom of navigation and the rules-based order.
  • In international politics, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests, in such a scenario, India must continue to pursue its foreign policy of Strategic Hedging
  • In the 21st century India-US relation remains critical for the shaping of world order. In order to realise the full potential of relations, the two governments must now strive to complete the unfinished agreements and set the course for a Comprehensive Strategic Global Partnership.

Mains Question

  1. Highlight the reasons for shortcomings/problems in engaging with US in Defence Deals? (150 words) 10 Marks
  2. Critically Examine the Nuclear Diplomacy between India-US? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Is India-US failing to shed their Cold War enemosity in elevating the relationship beyond vested interests? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
  4. Is it wise to call the QUAD engagement with US the Zenith of our relationship with US? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  5. It seems that the points of Divergence are spread and deep than the points of convergence with US? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
Chapter 13: India & the World: India-Russia Relations


Russia from Tsarism to Communism

  • During 1900s Russia was under the Autocratic Rule of the Tsars (Tsar Nicholas II).
  • Tsar ruled Russia without owing any responsibility to the Duma
  • 1905 Russia-Japan War. Russia was defeated. This lowered the domestic prestige of the Tsars.
  • Revival of Socialist Democratic Labour Party with Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
  • The Results of the WWI didn’t go in Russia’s favour, necessitating Reforms
  • Russia was looking for freedom from Tsarist Control.
  • 1917 Revolution under Bolshevik Vladimir Lenin.
  • At the WWI Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed wherein Russia lost territories.
  • When Lenin tried to consolidate power, he faced resistance from Mensheviks and also the Tsarist pushing Russia to the brink of Civil War.
  • In a bloody Civil War, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious and asserted Communism as an alternative to the Tsarist Rule.
  • He succeeded to establish the World’s first Communist State USSR.
  • The birth of USSR created enormous suspicion amongst the western states.
  • Lenin died in 1924 before the USSR could fully delineate its contours.
  • Here comes Joseph Stalin on the centre stage.
  • He consolidated his power through Purges and Gulag. He ruled till 1953.


  • A purge is a position removal or execution of people who are considered undesirable by those in power from a government, another organization, their team leaders, or society as a whole.


  • The Gulag was a system of Soviet labour camps and accompanying detention and transit camps and prisons.
  • From the 1920s to the mid-1950s it housed political prisoners and criminals of the Soviet Union. At its height, the Gulag imprisoned millions of people.

In a Nutshell

  • India-Russia diplomatic relations are now 70-years-old. Traditionally, the Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on five major components: politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism co-operation and space.
  • A key pillar of India’s foreign policy has been the cultivation of relations with Russia.
  • The substantive relationship was cemented when the two countries signed the Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership in October 2000.
  • In December 2010, the Strategic Partnership was elevated to the level of a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.

India-Russia Relationship Timeline

Pre-Independence Period

  • The deep roots of this relationship go back to the early 20th century when India was under British rule and the Czars ruled over Russia. The Russian Revolution of 1917 inspired Indian freedom fighters. Gandhi developed a close connection with Russia and carried on lengthy correspondence with Leo Tolstoy.
  • Russia’s communist leader V.I. Lenin followed with interest and sympathy the rising Indian freedom struggle.
  • Nehru visited the Soviet Union in 1927, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, and he came back deeply impressed with the Soviet experiment.
  • He was convinced that a poor developing country like India needed to follow not the capitalist path but a socialistic one.

Russian understanding of the National Movement

  1. Early Soviet leaders were not keen on supporting
  2. Bourgeois led movement
  3. Lacked the desired push element
  4. Didn’t have a strong revolutionary potential
  5. Russia got busy with their own internal concerns
  6. Leading to less interactions
  7. And when India became Independent, India adopted NAM, Stalin didn’t like this move. Things changed after the death of Stalin in 1953.

India-Russia Relations Since 1947: Important Landmarks

  • In 1947, the Stalin led Soviet Union became one of the first countries to recognize India‘s independence.
  • Even before India became independent, an official announcement was made on 13 April 1947 on the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the Soviet Union.
  • The Soviet Union also showed great interest in Pakistan which instead showed more interest in an alliance with the West instead of Soviet Union.
  • Soviets became pro-India since then, evidenced by their coming to more neutral positions on Kashmir and Goa.
  • After Stalin’s death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev showed greater interest in aiding countries with a mixed economy. India also got substantial assistance from USSR during the Khrushchev period.
  • Soviet Union used its veto power for the first time to block anti-India initiatives on Jammu & Kashmir (first in February 1957 and then again in June 1962) and Goa (in December 1961).

Why Russia Supported India in 1962 crisis with China

  • Suez Crisis
  • East-West Confrontation counterbalance
  • Hungarian Invasion of Russia
  • Khruschev: Pro US Stance
  • Mao Zedong: The sole representative of Revolutionary movements

India-Russia Relations Since 1947: Important Landmarks

  • IIT Bombay was established in 1958 with assistance from UNESCO and the Soviet Union and was stocked with Soviet equipment.
  • The Soviets declared their neutrality during the 1962 Sino-Indian War and helped broker a peace agreement during the 1965 India-Pakistani border war.
  • In 1962, the USSR agreed to transfer the then-cutting edge technology to co-produce the MiG-21 jet fighter in India (something which was denied to China earlier).
  • The military-technical assistance the USSR was providing to India in rupees thereby saving scarce foreign currency.
  • Indian debts to the USSR could be paid back in goods as per the agreement between the two nations. So, traditional export commodities like Indian tea, leather, textile goods, and agricultural products dotted many a Soviet household
  • In the initial decades, Five-year plans in India coincided with or were preceded by a new loan by USSR.
  • India got assistance in the sector of industrial technology, with the Soviets building dozens of factories throughout India for producing heavy machinery.
  • USSR also played a major role in building India’s energy sector by building hydropower stations, developing India’s coal industry and finding oil in Indian soil. USSR also helped in setting up India’s energy major ONGC.
  • 70,000 skilled workers were trained at joint Indo-Soviet centres in India.
  • During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the Soviet Union cast three vetoes in the UN Security Council to block attempts to stop India from its ongoing military campaign.
  • Soviet diplomatic backing and material support and the confidence provided by the 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation enabled India to successfully undertake the operations in 1971 that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
  • The 1971 treaty contained a pledge of military assistance; it was a significant departure from India‘s stance of nonalignment.
  • ISRO built India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975.
  • Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian in space in 1984, when he flew aboard the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz T-11.
  • In 1991, about 70% of Indian army’s armaments, 80% of its air force systems, and 85% of its naval platforms were of Soviet origin.
  • In 1991, two watershed moments happened — economic liberalisation was introduced in India, and the Soviet Union was dissolved.

India-Russia Relationship Timeline

  • Soviet disintegration was met with shock and disbelief in Indian foreign policy circles.
  • When Vladimir Putin became Russia’s President in 2000, the bilateral ties were put on a solid foundation again after about a decade of post-Soviet confusion and stagnation.
  • Russia-India defence relationship has begun to move beyond the buyer-seller model to a more cooperative relationship with joint research, design, and production.
  • The manufacture and supply of tanks and missiles (T-90 and BrahMos), ships and submarines (the Talwar-class stealth frigates), the aircraft-carrier Vikramaditya and the nuclear submarine (Arihant), jetfighter and early airborne warning aircraft (Sukhoi 30MKI and IL-76) are all examples of such cooperation.
  • India and Russia historically enjoyed ties in the cultural sphere: long-term scholarly and student exchanges, culture festivals, and art exhibits, observance of Year of Russia in India and vice versa.
  • Indo-Russian energy cooperation has acquired new dimensions particularly in the hydrocarbon and nuclear sector.
  • In August 2017, Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft acquired Essar Oil refinery and port (Vadinar, Gujarat) in a $12.9-billion deal.
  • India-Russia Civil Nuclear Cooperation is an important dimension in the strategic partnership and includes transfer of nuclear power reactors (over twenty reactors to be built in twenty years), fuel supply agreement, fuel supply assurance, agreement to transfer reprocessing technology and enriched technology.
  • This developing Eurasian grid of peaceful Nuclear production and consumption could also be extended to other countries in future deepening the bilateral cooperation.
  • India’s investments in Russia’s oil and gas industry is presently around $8 billion. It is likely to reach $15 billion by 2020, with India set to acquire an almost 50 per cent stake in the Rosneft Siberian oil project.
  • In 2016, India announced a $5.5 billion deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 Triumf air defence system. Russia could deliver it in 2018.
  • The weakest link in Indo-Russian cooperation remains the low volume of trade. The goal is of boosting bilateral trade to US$30 billion by 2025.
  • On 21 May 2018, PM Modi had extremely productive discussions with President Putin in Sochi.

Commercial Diplomacy:

(Old Relatives Warm Feelings in their hearts and not in actions)

  • India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade
  • India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investments
  • India-Russia CEO’s Council
  • Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty

Defence and Security Cooperation:

  • India has longstanding and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia in the field of defence.
  • BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks are examples of such flagship cooperation.
  • Both sides concluded agreements on the supply of S-400 air defence systems, construction of frigates under Project 1135.6 and shareholders agreement on the formation of a joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.
  • The two countries also hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually termed INDRA.

Nuclear Energy:

  • Russia recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record.
  • Support for Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS); Tarapur.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) was built in India with Russian cooperation.
  • Joint Development of Nuclear Power in Rooppur in Bangladesh.
  • Russia supports India’s entry to NSG.

Space Cooperation:

  • Both sides cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space, including satellite launches, GLONASS navigation system, remote sensing and other societal applications of outer space.

Russia’s Domestic Problems which attract International Criticism

  • The post-Soviet surge in the Russian economy was also linked to a power struggle within – redistribution of wealth (centralisation and reprivatisation), especially in the energy sector and even in military industrial complex.
  • Corruption is rife with little transparency in the decision-making system in Russia.
  • Its judicial system is weak and requires reforms. There has been considerable opposition against the leadership for adopting autocratic tendencies, backsliding on democracy, curbing free press, encouraging nationalism and xenophobia while using energy as a powerful weapon of foreign policy.
  • In May 2018, Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president for a fourth term, extending his almost two-decade rule by another six years at a time of high tension with the West.

Recent Security Concerns in Russia-India Bilateral Relationship

  • There are emerging concerns in India-Russia bilateral relations. The most important of which is Pakistan.
  • Russia, of late, is courting Pakistan as India inches closer to the West. For example, Pakistan was also admitted as a full member of the SCO along with India in 2017.
  • Most recently (February, 2018), a Balochistan rebel leader gave an interview in Moscow blaming India for the trouble in the region.
  • Russia has expressed its willingness to help Pakistan augment its ‘anti-terror capabilities’, a modest phrase for arms sales. India has repeatedly asked Russia not to sell arms to Pakistan.
  • India is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with US, Japan and Australia seeking a viable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region which raises some eyebrows in Russia.
  • Russia is also said to be cozying up to China. It has also suggested India to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative which India maintains transgresses its sovereignty.
  • Russia has also showed willingness in joining Pakistan and China in giving legitimacy to Afghan Taliban.
  • India is the biggest market for arms and Russia has been the traditional supplier. Now India is looking up to the West, particularly to the US and Israel, and because of this Russia is finding new allies and markets as it feels slightly alienated.
  • Russia still has substantial military-technical engagements with India which will nevertheless continue.
  • Russia as such, appears to be trying to balance its South Asia relations rather than abandon its traditional strategic partner India even as it cultivates new partners and engagements.

Strategic Convergence Between Russia and China

  • Economic Cooperation: In the post-Cold War era, economic relations have formed the “new strategic basis” for Russia-China relations.
    • China is Russia’s biggest trading partner and the largest Asian investor in Russia.
    • China sees Russia as a powerhouse of raw material and a growing market for its consumer goods.
  • Common Adversary: Dissatisfaction with American policy has grown in both Russia and China, which propelled a closer partnership between the two countries.
    • The Western countries’ approach towards Russia after the annexation of Crimea through harsh sanctions in 2014 brought it much closer to China.
    • For China, whose policies aimed at European markets via the One Belt-One Road project, Russia is natural strategic partners as the maritime routes are under assertive control of the United States.
  • Areas of Cooperation: Russia’s decision to sell the latest military technology (like S-400 surface to air missiles and SU-35 fighter jets) to China and an invitation to participate in its largest military drill.
    • Also, the political and economic rapprochement is taking place between Russia and China in a number of fields: energy, arms production, trade-in national currencies and strategic projects in transport and supporting infrastructure.

India’s position on Russia-Ukraine War

  • India’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been distinctive among the major democracies and among U.S. strategic partners.
  • Despite its discomfort with Moscow’s war, New Delhi has adopted a studied public neutrality toward Russia.
  • It has abstained from successive votes in the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and Human Rights Council that condemned Russian aggression in Ukraine and thus far has refused to openly call out Russia as the instigator of the crisis.
  • For many in the United States, including in President Joe Biden’s administration, India’s neutrality has been disappointing because it signaled a sharp divergence between Washington and New Delhi on a fundamental issue of global order, namely, the legitimacy of using force to change borders and occupy another nation’s territory through a blatant war of conquest.
  • Whatever their views on the genesis and the precipitants of the Ukraine war, most Indian strategic elites would admit that their country’s diplomatic neutrality ultimately signifies what one Indian scholar has called “a subtle pro-Moscow position.”
  • This seems particularly incongruous today because India stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States in opposing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific while at the same time appearing tolerant of the vastly more egregious Russian belligerence in Europe.
  • The oddity of this Indian position is explained by New Delhi’s perceptions of its interests.
  • These interests have led India to avoid condemning Russia publicly, even though its declared positions were intended to convey—perhaps a tad more subtly than is justified—its dismay with Russian actions.
  • India urged “respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states,” called “for the immediate cessation of violence and hostilities,” regretted “that the path of diplomacy was given up” and urged the concerned states to “return to it,” and reiterated that “dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes, however daunting that may appear at this moment.”
  • India’s public neutrality toward the Russian invasion is driven fundamentally by its concerns vis-à-vis China and Pakistan.
  • New Delhi sees both of these states as immediate and enduring threats, and it believes that preserving its friendship with Moscow will help to prevent deepening Russian ties with China and to limit Russian temptations to build new strategic ties with Pakistan.
  • Russia is viewed as having been a sturdy friend of India’s going back to 1955, when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev publicly declared Moscow’s support for Indian claims over Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Keeping Russia on side through its veto-wielding prerogatives thus remains an important consideration that reinforces India’s reticence to criticize Russia, even when its behaviors are judged to be deplorable and on occasion undermining India’s vital interests.
  • There is little doubt, therefore, that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has confronted India with difficult strategic choices.
  • Consequently, its decision to avoid all public criticism of Moscow is, in the estimation of Indian policymakers, the best of the bad choices facing New Delhi.

Russian Policy on Kashmir

  • Russia has consistently supported India on Kashmir
  • In 1961 Russia vetoed US led Resolution on Liberation of Goa
  • June 1962 Russia vetoed Ireland move on Kashmir.
  • Three Resolutions vetoed by Russia in 1971 Bangladesh Resolution
  • Russia also warned the Chinese against any aggression against India and deployed huge forces along the Kazakhstan Border
  • Russia maintained that the Abrogation of Article 370 is an “Internal Matter of India”
  • Russia consistently maintains that the people of Kashmir have long back decided to join the Indian Union.

Way Forward

Given strategic convergence between Russia and China, it is important that India draw up strategies that protect its national interests, which may include the following:

  1. Deepening Ties With Russia: Deepening its relationship with Russia, because Russia is an important balancer for India vis-à-vis China.
  2. Using Diplomacy to Tackle China: Within the framework of the excellent military relationship with Russia, India needs to pursue Russia that it should not transfer technology to China that could prove to be detrimental to India’s security in the long run.
  3. Leveraging Multilateral Institutions: Promote mutually beneficial trilateral cooperation between Russia, China and India that could contribute towards the reduction of mistrust and suspicion between India and China.
  4. Pursuing US-Russia-India Triangle: Finally, there is a need to develop closer ties not only with Russia but also with the United States, this could balance any moves towards a strategic partnership between China and Russia.

Home Work

  • Make a list of Defence purchases from Russia
  • Classify the list in three segments
    • Army
    • Airforce
    • Navy

Mains Question

  1. Discuss how Strategic Convergence between Russia and China can pose a geopolitical entanglement for India? (150 words) 10 Marks
  2. Is India’s approach of diversifying its military imports at the cost of relations with Russia justified? Are we risking a true friend for an unknown enemy? Comment (150 words) 10 Marks
  3. Give an outline of India’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine War? Do you agree with the stand India has taken? (250 Words) 15 Marks
  4. Describe the significance of Russia for India? (150 words) 10 Marks
  5. Elucidate the Russia’s concerns in India-Russia Relationship? (150 Words) 10 Marks


Chapter 14: India & the World: India-Japan Relations


Indo-Japan Relations

  • Exchange between Japan and India is said to have begun in the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Indian culture, filtered through Buddhism, has had a great impact on Japanese culture, and this is the source of the Japanese people’s sense of closeness to India.
  • Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on 28th April, 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II.
  • Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations. In the post World War II period, India’s iron ore helped a great deal Japan’s recovery from the devastation.
  • Following Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi’s visit to India in 1957, Japan started providing yen loans to India in 1958, as the first yen loan aid extended by Japanese government.

Indo-Japan Relations: Bilateral Treaties & Agreements

  • Japan-India Association was founded in (1903)
  • Treaty of Peace (1952)
  • Agreement for Air Service (1956)
  • Cultural Agreement (1957)
  • Agreement of Commerce (1958)
  • Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1960)
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology (1985)
  • Japan-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (2011)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology (2015)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India Concerning Security Measures for the Protection of Classified Military Information (2015)
  • Agreement between Japan and the Republic of India on Social Security (2016)
  • Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of India for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

The Edo period (1600-1868) The Early Modern Period was characterized by relative peace and stability under the tight control of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled from the eastern city of Edo (modern Tokyo).

Modern Japan

  • Meiji period (1868–1912)
  • Taishō period (1912–1926)
  • Shōwa period (1926–1989)
  • Heisei period (1989–2019)
  • Reiwa period (2019–present)

Indo-Japan Relations: Time Period

  • Meiji Period (1868-1912), in Japanese history, the political revolution in 1868 that brought about the final demise of the Tokugawa shogunate (military government)—thus ending the Edo (Tokugawa) period (1603–1867)—and, at least nominally, returned control of the country to direct imperial rule under Mutsuhito (Emperor).
  • Taishō period, (1912-26) period in Japanese history corresponding to the reign of the Taishō emperor, Yoshihito (1879–1926). It followed the Meiji period and represented a continuation of Japan’s rise on the international scene and liberalism at home. Politically, the country moved toward broader representational government. The tax qualification for voting was reduced, enfranchising more voters, and was eliminated in 1925. Party politics flourished and legislation favourable to labour was passed. Japan continued to push China for economic and political concessions and entered into treaties with Western nations that acknowledged its interests in Korea, Manchuria, and the rest of China. Rural Japan did not fare as well as urban Japan, and an economic depression at the end of the Taishō period caused much suffering.
  • Shōwa period, in Japanese history, the period (1926–89) corresponding to the reign of the emperor Hirohito. The two Chinese characters (kanji) in the name Shōwa translate as “Bright Peace” in Japanese. It is noted principally for the rise of militarism in Japan, Japanese aggression in China and elsewhere in East and Southeast Asia, and the country’s wartime defeat. The postwar Shōwa decades were marked by Japan’s spectacular recovery and its rise as a global economic powerhouse second only to the United States, its former enemy and subsequent closest ally.
  • Heisei period, in Japan, the period (1989–2019) corresponding to the reign of Akihito. The Heisei era was marked by turbulent politics (with more than 15 prime ministers within its first two dozen years), a prolonged economic slowdown, and crises in the financial world. The country endured a devastating natural disaster in 2011: the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in north-eastern Honshu that also precipitated the Fukushima nuclear accident. 
  • Reiwa period, in Japan, the imperial reign period that began on May 1, 2019, following the abdication of Emperor Akihito and the elevation of his son Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
  • Previous reign names had been taken from classical Chinese literature, but Reiwa was derived from the Man’yō-shū, the most revered poetry anthology in Japanese literature. The specific passage that inspired the reign name prefaced a series of poems about plum blossoms, and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo stated that Reiwa was chosen to represent the potential for all Japanese people to bloom beautifully as if after a long winter.

Historical relations

  • Though Hinduism is a little-practiced religion in Japan, it has still had a significant, but indirect role in the formation of Japanese culture.
  • This is mostly because many Buddhist beliefs and traditions (which share a common Dharmic root with Hinduism) spread to Japan from China via Korean peninsula in the 6th Century.
  • One indication of this is the Japanese “Seven Gods of Fortune”, of which four originated as Hindu deities: Goddess Sarasvati, Laxmi, Mahakali and Shiva.
  • Other examples of Hindu influence on Japan include the belief of “six schools” or “six doctrines” as well as use of Yoga and pagodas. Many of the facets of Hindu culture which have influenced Japan have also influenced Chinese culture. People have written books on the worship of Hindu gods in Japan. Even today, it is claimed Japan encourages a deeper study of Hindu gods.
  • Buddhism Buddhism has been practiced in Japan since its official introduction in 552 CE according to the Nihon Shoki from Baekje, Korea by Buddhist monks.
  • Although some Chinese sources place the first spreading of the religion earlier during the Kofun period (250 to 538). Buddhism has had a major influence on the development of Japanese society and remains an influential aspect of the culture to this day.
  • As a result of the link of Buddhism between India and Japan, monks and scholars often embarked on voyages between the two nations.
  • In the 16th century, Japan established political contact with Portuguese colonies in India. The Japanese initially assumed that the Portuguese were from India and that Christianity was a new “Indian faith”. These mistaken assumptions were due to the Indian city of Goa being a central base for the Portuguese East India Company and also due to a significant portion of the crew on Portuguese ships being Indian Christians.
  • Relations between the two nations have continued since then, but direct political exchange began only in the Meiji era (1868–1912), when Japan embarked on the process of modernisation.
  • Indian Independence Movement. Many Indian independence movement activists escaped from British rule and stayed in Japan. The leader of the Indian Independence Movement, Rash Behari Bose created India–Japan relations. 
  • Sureshchandra Bandopadhyay, Manmatha Nath Ghosh and Hariprova Takeda were among the earliest Indians who visited Japan and had written on their experiences there.
  • Before World War II
  • In 1934, “Indo-Japanese Trade Agreement of 1934” was signed in Delhi on 5 January 1934 and went effective on 12 July 1934.
  • In 1937, “Indo-Japanese Trade Agreement of 1937” went effective on 1 April 1937, for three (3) years, until 31 March 1940.

During World War II

  • Since India was under British rule when World War II broke out, it was deemed to have entered the war on the side of the Allies.
  • Over 2 million Indians participated in the war; many served in combat against the Japanese who conquered Burma and reached the Indian border. Some 67,000 Indian soldiers were captured by the Japanese when Singapore surrendered in 1942, many of whom later became part of the Japanese sponsored Indian National Army (INA).
  • In 1944–45, combined British and Indian forces defeated the Japanese in a series of battles in Burma and the INA disintegrated.

Modern Relations

  • At the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Indian Justice Radhabinod Pal became famous for his dissenting judgement in favour of Japan. The judgement of Justice Radhabinod Pal is remembered even today in Japan. This became a symbol of the close ties between India and Japan.
  • A relatively well-known result of the two nations’ was in 1949, when India sent the Tokyo Zoo two elephants to cheer the spirits of the defeated Japanese empire
  • India refused to attend the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1951 due to its concerns over limitations imposed upon Japanese sovereignty and national independence
  • Relations between the two nations were constrained, however, by Cold War politics. Japan, as a result of World War II reconstruction, was a U.S. ally, whereas India pursued a non-aligned foreign policy, often leaning towards the Soviet Union.
  • Since the 1980s, however, efforts were made to strengthen bilateral ties. India’s ‘Look East’ policy posited Japan as a key partner. Since 1986, Japan has become India’s largest aid donor, and remains so.
  • Relations between the two nations reached a brief low in 1998 as a result of Pokhran-II, an Indian nuclear weapons test that year. Japan imposed sanctions on India following the test, which included the suspension of all political exchanges and the cutting off economic assistance.
  • These sanctions were lifted three years later. Relations improved exponentially following this period, as bilateral ties between the two nations improved once again, to the point where the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe was to be the chief guest at India’s 2014 Republic Day parade.
  • Since 2014 the ties between the two countries resulted in several key agreements, including the establishment of a “Special Strategic Global Partnership”
  • India is not a signatory to the non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and is the only non-signatory to receive an exemption from Japan.
  • India and Japan share robust ties with cooperation in areas of defence, science and cooperation and trade.
  • In 2014, India and Japan upgraded their relationship to ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
  • Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) is a very important area of cooperation between India and Japan in Railway Sector.
  • A “India-Japan Digital Partnership” (I-JDP) was launched during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to Japan in October 2018, furthering existing areas of cooperation as well as new initiatives within the scope of cooperation in S&T/ICT, focusing more on “Digital ICT Technologies”.
  • 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.
  • India and Japan defence forces organize a series of bilateral exercises namely, JIMEX, SHINYUU Maitri, and Dharma Guardian. Both the countries also participate in Malabar exercise with USA.

Modern Relations: Economic Co-operation

  • Japan is the 3rd largest investor in the Indian economy with cumulative FDI inflows of $30.27 bn during 2000-2019, contributing 7.2% to India’s total FDI inflows during the same period. The imports to India from Japan stood at $12.77 bn in 2018-19, making it India’s 14th largest import partner.
  • India and Japan signed an agreement in December 2015 to build a bullet train line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad using Japan’s Shinkansen technology, with a loan from Japan of £12bn. More than four-fifths of the project’s $19bn (£14.4bn) cost will be funded by a 0.1% interest-rate loan from Japan as part of a deepening economic relationship.
  • In Dedicated Freight Corridor, a project of close to Rs 50,000 crore of which Japanese assistance has been of about Rs 38,000 crore.
  • The Dollar 75 Billion Currency Swap Agreement. This currency swap arrangement will allow the Indian central bank to draw up to $75 billion worth of yen or dollars as a loan from the Japanese government whenever it needs this money. The RBI can either sell these dollars (or yen) to importers to settle their bills or to borrowers to pay off their foreign loans

Other Areas of Cooperation

  • Developmental Cooperation between the two countries is two dimensional-
    • Inside India- Infrastructure development in the regions like north-east.
    • Outside India- Development partnerships with neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and even Africa.
  • Regional and International Affairs
    • It exchanged views on the recent developments in the South China Sea.
    • It reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law.
    • It condemned the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledged that it constituted a major threat to peace and security in the region.

Defence Cooperation

  • History- Indo-Japanese strategic cooperation has been growing since the 2+2 dialogues at the defence and foreign secretariat levels in 2010.
  • These 2+2 ministerial-level dialogues between the defence and foreign ministries are the outcome of the Vision statement which Indian and Japanese Prime Ministers had put forward after the 13th summit in 2018.
  • Key Points
  • The dialogue welcomed the significant progress made in the negotiations of Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).
  • It appreciated the existing exchange programs between the defence educational and research institutions.
  • It acknowledged the trilateral cooperation with the US in the form of MALABAR exercises.
    • Japan hosted the Malabar 2019 which is a very significant achievement in itself because Japan has never hosted this trilateral naval exercise in the past.
  • It also recognised the significance of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).
    • This dialogue focused on maritime dimensions and maritime security.
  • All three defence forces, as well as the coastguard, has had joint bilateral exercises with Japan (SHINYUU Maitri, Dharma Guardian and JIMEX).
  • India-Japan relations have a congruence of not only defence interests but also of their foreign policy.

Challenges to Strategic Cooperation

Constitutional Restrictions

  • Japan has been constitutionally constrainedon the defence trade.
  • Under the leadership of PM Abe, Japan has been making sincere efforts to come out of the stranglehold and be a significant player in the defence trade but despite being the longest-serving PM, Shinzo abe has not been able to come over these constitutional checks.
  • Japanese constitution did not allow the Japanese navy to participate in the Combined Task Force (CTF) 150and restricted the participation to the tankers only which provided fuel to the ships.

Principle of Ittaika

  • It is the most significant legal prohibition to any coalition building effort under Japan’s interpretation of Article 9 of their Constitution which sincerely aspires for international peace based on justice and order. This principle mandates that the self defence forces cannot join a combined command-and-control structure if partner militaries have different rules on “use of force” (i.e., the employment of military capabilities in response to security conflict).

Article 51 in the Constitution of India promotes international peace and security. In order to do so, the State shall endeavour to:

  • promote international peace and security;
  • maintain just and honourable relations between nations;
  • foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another; and
  • encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.

Combined Task Force 150 (Maritime Security Operations and Counter-Terrorism)

  • It is a part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) which is a multinational naval partnership, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across international waters encompassing some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

The areas of concern between India and Japan

  • Trade between the two countries
    • Today, India-Japan trade languishes at around $15 billion, while Japan-China trade is around $300 billion.
  • 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.

Resisting China’s Emerging Unipolarity

  • Chinese assertion of power in the oceans is something which brings India and Japan on the same page. The growing congruence of the views is propelling the two countries to take up a closer understanding of strategic issues.
    • Both countries are opposed to the idea of unipolarity being asserted by China time and again.
    • Both of them look forward to making the Indo-pacific multipolar, free, open and inclusive.
  • The QUAD, which includes USA and Australia apart from India and Japan, was initiated with the motive to make Asia multipolar and to challenge the emerging unipolarity due to China’s policies.
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
    • Both India and Japan have not joined the RCEP yet

Way Forward

  • India needs sophisticated weapons and technology from Japan so more collaboration and cooperation can prove beneficial to both nations.
  • India aspires for US-2 Amphibious Aircraft from Japan and is ready for its 30% manufacturing in the country, it needs to build consensus with Japan in this direction.
    • Note: US-2 Amphibious Aircraft It can land on either land or water. It is operated as a short takeoff and landing aircraft (STOL) Search and Rescue Amphibian by Japan’s Ministry of Defense.
  • Japan has been very cooperative in India’s Make in India initiative so it will not be surprising to see the Japanese armament industry setting up manufacturing units in India.
  • Technological Collaborations: There is huge potential as far as Make in India and defence deals are concerned.
    • Joint ventures could be created by merging Japanese technology with Indian raw materials and labour.
  • The India Japan 2+2 dialogue gives a whole new direction to India’s Act East Policy because it brings into focus mutual concerns about China’s push for unipolarity.
  • Closer cooperation is the best measure to combat China’s growing role in Asia and Indo-Pacific.
  • Further strengthening of bilateral cooperation is in the mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.


  • 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.

Probable Relations

  1. “Trade and Investment have dominated India-Japan relations and now defence and security need to catch up in the emerging geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific region”. Critically examine.
  2. A strong India-Japan relation is important for peace and in Asia- pacific. Discuss.


Chapter 15: India & the World: India-Australia Relations


Indo-Australia Relations


  • India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, believed Australia is a natural part of Asia and invited it to participate in the Asian Relations Conference in Delhi in 1947, a few months before independence.
  • Australia and India for the first time established diplomatic relations in the pre-Independence period, when the Consulate General of India was first opened as a Trade Office in Sydney in 1941.
  • 20th century, a period of drift and alienation: That there was a gap of nearly three decades between Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Australia in 1986 and PM Modi’s trip in 2014 only underlines how short-sighted India’s neglect of Australia has been. 
  • The end of the Cold War and simultaneously India’s decision to launch major economic reforms in 1991 provided the first positive move towards development of closer ties between the two nations. 
  • India’s nuclear test, 1998: It complicated the possibilities of improving the bilateral relations. 
  • Improvements since 2000s: The bilateral relationship between the two nations was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009.
  • The relations since then has witnessed a significant thaw and when in 2014, Australia signed a uranium supply deal with India, the first of its kind with a country that is a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in recognition of India’s “impeccable” non-proliferation record it became evident what type of relation Australia wanted with India.

Diplomatic Relations

  • India first established a Trade Office in Sydney, Australia in 1941. It is currently represented by a High Commissioner in the embassy at Canberra and Consulate generals in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne. Australia has a High Commission in New Delhi, India and Consulates in Mumbai and Chennai. In early 2018, the Australian government announced that a Consulate-General in Kolkata would be established particularly to encourage business with India’s growing mining sector.
  • Besides both being members of the Commonwealth of Nations, both nations are founding members of the United Nations, and members of regional organisations including the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and ASEAN Regional forum.
  • Australia has traditionally supported India’s position on Arunachal Pradesh, which is subject to diplomatic disputes between India and the People’s Republic of China.
  • The Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, a botched attempt to allegedly assassinate the Indian prime minister at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1978 received significant attention at the time.
  • Although Australia and India sometimes had divergent strategic perspectives during the Cold War, in recent years there have been much closer security relations, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009.
  • Recent visits by Indian and Australian prime ministers, such as Tony Abbott’s visit in 2014, and later the same year Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia – the latter being the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, and Malcolm Turnbull’s visit in 2017 have continued to progress the relationship.
  • Australian PM Scott Morrison was scheduled to visit New Delhi in January 2020, but had postponed it due to the bush fires in Australia. The rescheduled plan for May was put on hold due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held his first virtual bilateral summit on 4 June, as he hopes to expand the strategic partnership with Australia in the backdrop of China’s renewed efforts to step up aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The summit is happening also amid new tensions between China and Australia over Canberra’s call for a global inquiry into the origin of the coronavirus.. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also made “ScoMosas” and in their virtual summit, they even held talks for strengthening their military alliance.


A number of treaties before Indian independence or Australian federation are still honoured, such as extradition treaties and criminal cooperation. Since Indian independence, there have been several treaties between the two countries:

  • Postal, Money Order and Air service treaties.
  • Commonwealth of Nations treaties.
  • Cooperative aid to other countries.
  • Mutual protection of Patents in 1963.
  • A cultural agreement in 1971.
  • An agreement to discuss trade in 1976
  • Science and Technology cooperation agreements in 1975 and 1986.
  • Australia has been involved with peace keeping missions between India and Pakistan.
  • Taxation cooperation treaties in 1983, 1991 and 2011.
  • Development cooperation agreement in 1990.
  • Promoting and protecting investments in 2000.
  • Peaceful use of Nuclear Energy in 2014 in order to purchase uranium from Australia.
  • A Social Security agreement in 2016.

Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship

  • The India-Australia economic relationship has grown significantly in recent years. India’s growing economic profile and commercial relevance to the Australian economy is recognized, both at the federal and state level in Australia.
  • India’s exports to Australia stood approximately at US$ 4.6 billion (A$6.1 bn) in 2016 while India’s import from Australia during the same period stood at US$ 11 billion (A$14.6 bn). India’s main exports to Australia are Passenger Motor Vehicle & machinery, Pearls, Gems and Jewellery, Medicaments and Refined Petroleum while India’s major imports are Coal, Non-monetary Gold, Copper, Wool, Fertilizers and Education related services.
  • India-Australia also has a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) which was established in 1989 to enable interaction at a government and business level on a broad range of trade and investment related issues.
  • The two countries are currently discussing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) which will provide greater market access to exporters of goods and services. The two sides have exchanged their goods and services offer lists. The conclusion of the CECA will expand the base of merchandise trade, remove non-tariff barriers, encourage investment and address the border restrictions to trade.

Defence cooperation: 

India–Australia both borders the Indian Ocean and has a shared interest in the maintenance of freedom of navigation and trade.

  • The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement has been signed that will enhance defence cooperation and ease the conduct of large-scale joint military exercises. 
  • There is a technical  Agreement  on  White  Shipping Information  Exchange.
  • Recently Australia and India conducted AUSINDEX, their largest bilateral naval exercise, and there are further developments on the anvil, including Australia’s permanent inclusion in the Malabar exercise with Japan. 
  • In 2018, Indian Air Force participated for the first time in the Exercise Pitch Blackin Australia. The third edition of AUSTRAHIND (Special Forces of Army Exercise) was held in September 2018.
  • A broader maritime cooperation agreement with a focus on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is also in the works and Australia has agreed to post a Liaison Officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) at Gurugram.

Civil Nuclear Co-Operation

  • A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed in September 2014 which came into force in November 2015 and provides the framework for substantial new trade in energy between Australia and India.
  • The deal ensures that Uranium mining companies of Australia can supply Australian uranium to India for civil use with confidence that exports would not be hindered by domestic legal action challenging the consistency of the safeguards applied by the IAEA in India and Australia’s international non-proliferation obligations.
  • It also ensures that any future bilateral trade in other nuclear-related material or items for civil use will also be protected.

Consular Cooperation

  • India and Australia signed The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and the Extradition Treaty in June 2008, which has been ratified by both the Governments, and has come into force since January 2011.


  • Under the New Colombo Plan of Australian government, 900 Australian undergraduates have studied and completed internships in India during the period 2015-16.


  • The Indian community in Australia has the population of nearly half a million (2.1 % of the population), and another over 1,50,000 persons of Indian descent immigrated from other countries (Fiji, Malaysia, Kenya and South Africa). 
  • India is one of the top sources of skilled immigrants to Australia. 

Areas of Cooperation

  • Water – Australia and India face some similar challenges in water resources management, particularly in managing over-allocation and water quality, while balancing the water needs of the community, industry and maintaining system flows. Both the nations can come together in finding a novel solution to this common problem.
  • Energy – Meeting the energy needs of 240 million people, which currently lack access to electricity, is a key priority for India. Australia is a natural partner for India in the energy sector as it is a world leader in energy and the sector contributes around 10% to Australia’s GDP.
  • Science and Technology – India and Australia have a strong track record of collaborating in research and innovation. The $84 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) is Australia’s largest.

Importance of the Deepening Ties

  • The strategic trust on display during AUSINDEX is representative of a deepening strategic alignment between the two countries. It emphasizes on the shared outlook of both the nations as free, open and independent democracies, as champions of international law, as supporters of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and as firm believers that ‘might is not right’.
  • As India has emerged as a leader in this region working closely with Australia can work in the favour of both the nations as both can effectively address the shared challenges such as combating transnational crime, terrorism, people smuggling, and illegal fishing.
  • As India looks set on its agenda of Make in India it can significantly use Australian expertise in the field of health, education and tourism as these are areas in which Australia has a comparative advantage.
  • India which will have the largest working population in the world by 2027 will need to up-skill 400 million people. Australia is well-equipped to assist with this huge need for knowledge-sharing, education and skill development. 
  • The two countries also have enormous potential to build on their people-to-people links and thus their soft power influence. India is the third largest source of immigrants to Australia and the second largest source for skilled professionals. This should give sufficient impetus to build a public understanding of each other and thereby improve public policy.
  • Both India and Australia are situated in the most dynamic region on the planet (the centre of economic and strategic gravity is shifting to the Indo-Pacific as we speak). 
  • India and Australia are also wary of China’s assault on maritime security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region. Both the nations can therefore serve together as the net security provider in the region.
  • There is a great scope for regional economic integration in the Indo-Pacific, one of the most flourishing trade zones in the world. 
  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a good platform for India to work towards the goal of regional economic development, since India is not yet a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11 or CPTPP).
  • Trilateral engagements with crucial nations like Indonesia and Japan and deeper engagement with regional groups like the Indian Ocean Rim Association and East Asia Summit will also strengthen the ties between India and Australia.

Significance of Indo-Australia bilateral relations

  • Pandemic control lessons: Australia is one of the few countries that has managed to combat COVID-19 so far through “controlled adaptation” by which the coronavirus has been suppressed to very low levels. Two of the leaders of this great Australia-wide effort are Indian-born scientists. 
  • Agricultural cooperation: From farming practices through food processing, supply and distribution to consumers, the Australian agribusiness sector has the research and development (R&D) capacity, experience and technical knowledge to help India’s food industry improve supply chain productivity and sustainability and meet the challenges of shifting consumption patterns. 
  • Trade: Australia is the 13th largest economy in the world, following closely behind Russia which stands at $1.6 trillion. 
    • Australia is rich in natural resources that India’s growing economy needs. 
    • It also has huge reservoirs of strength in higher education, scientific and technological research.
    • The dominance of Indo-Pacific countries in India’s trade profile: Fostering deeper integration between India and Australia will provide the necessary impetus to the immense growth potential of the trade blocs in this region.

Strategic:  The two countries also have increasingly common military platforms as India’s defence purchases from the U.S. continue to grow.

  • Australia has deep economic, political and security connections with the ASEAN and a strategic partnership with one of the leading non-aligned nations, Indonesia.Both nations can leverage their equation with ASEAN to contain China.
  • Economic and Maritime dynamics in the Indo-Pacific:The Indo-Pacific region has the potential to facilitate connectivity and trade between India and Australia.
  • Quad: Being geographically more proximate than the US or Japan, India and Australia can emerge as leading forces for the Quad.

Health and safe food as well the supply chains: The promise of DTC-CPG (direct to consumer; consumer packaged goods) which could transform global supply chains. Here too there is much room for collaboration and new thinking.

International cooperation:

  • WHO’s handling of pandemic: India and 62 other countries have backed a draft resolution led by Australia and the EU to ‘identify the zoonotic source’ of Covid-19 and its ‘route of introduction’ to humans.
  • Australia supports India’s candidature in an expanded UN Security Council.
  • Both India and  Australia  are members of the Commonwealth, IORA, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate and Clean Development, and have participated in the East Asia Summits.
    • Australia   is   an   important   player   in   APEC   and   supports   India’s membership of the organisation. In 2008, Australia became an Observer in SAARC.
  • Both countries have also been cooperating as members of the Five Interested Parties (FIP) in the WTO context.


  • (Im)balance of trade: India’s trade deficit with Australia has been increasing since 2001-02 due to India-Australia Free Trade Agreement. It is also a contentious issue in the ongoing RCEP negotiations which India left.
    • The  two  countries  are  also  discussing  a Comprehensive  Economic  Cooperation  Agreement  (CECA),  however,  the  progress  is currently stalled.
    • Non-trade barriers such as Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures some of the products where Australia has a genuine comparative advantage are not exported in substantial amounts to India. 
    • Australia’s relatively lower share of services trade with India (4.3 percent) can be attributed to legislative barriers such as licence requirements. 
    • Fall in FDI: Statistics from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry indicate that there is a fall in the FDI inflow from Australia to India from US$ 518.64 million in 2010-12 to US$ 260.49 million in 2016-18.
  • No coherent Indo pacific strategy:
    • For Australia a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ means establishing a regional architecture with fellow democratic countries to help maintain the ‘rules-based order’ as China becomes the most powerful actor in the region.
    • India’s preferred formulation of a ‘free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific’ refers to a multipolar regional order within which Delhi can maintain its strategic autonomy
    • Fate Of Quad: India’s unwillingness to invite Australia to participate in the Malabar naval exercise, despite Australian lobbying, has also sparked speculation over the fate of the Quadrilateral Consultative Dialogue (the ‘Quad) involving India, Australia, Japan and the United States.
  • China’s expansive OBOR project: Although neither India nor Australia are members of the OBOR—primarily due to concerns over security and unsustainable debt burden—they are not, in any sense, less encumbered by the dynamics posed by OBOR in the Indo-Pacific. 
  • India’s foreign policy shortcomings: China has transformed its relationship with Australia during the period in which India ignored Australia.
    • Delhi’s temptation to judge nations on the basis of their alignments with other powers stands in contrast to Beijing that puts interests above ideology, promotes interdependence with a targeted middle power, turns it into political influence and tries to weaken its alignment with the rival powers.
  • Racist Attacks on Indian Students in Australia is another concerning issue which needs to be addressed with care.

Way forward: There are a host of emerging issues — from reforming the World Health Organisation to 5G technology and from strengthening the international solar alliance to building resilience against climate change and disasters — that lend themselves to intensive bilateral political and institutional engagement. 

  • Utilising current innovations in digital trade; such digitisation of economic activities have changed the landscape of trade, enhancing associations between economies and, in particular, South-South flows.
  • Improving trade: Removal of trade barriers would lead to an increase in the exports of these commodities, although the increasing number of disputes at the WTO with regard to the Australian sector can act as a serious impediment.
    • Imports of intermediate inputs would enhance the export-competitiveness of domestic firms and boost the ‘Make in India’ campaign, in addition to curbing cost-push inflation in the domestic economy.
  • Leveraging the trilateral dynamics between ASEAN, Australia and India: It is evident in policy areas such as maritime security, climate change, energy security, law enforcement, governance and the politics of security institutions.
  • Engaging Indonesia, Japan, France and Britain for securing Indo-Pacific: Engaging Indonesia in Esatern Indian Ocean: Eastern Indian Ocean, connecting the two oceans, is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific. The sea lines of communication between the Indian and Pacific oceans run through the Indonesian archipelago. 
    • Given the shared political commitment to the Indo-Pacific idea between Delhi, Jakarta and Canberra and the growing pressures on them to secure their shared waters, India and Australia must seek trilateral maritime and naval cooperation with Indonesia.
  • Tokyo has close ties with both Delhi and Canberra. Their current trilateral dialogue can be expanded from the diplomatic level to practical maritime cooperation on the ground. 
  • France is a resident power with territories in the Western Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Paris and Canberra are eager to develop a trilateral arrangement with Delhi that will supplement the bilateral cooperation among the three nations which India should endorse.
    • In the east, Britain continues to lead the so-called Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) set up back in 1971, after Britain pulled back most of its forces from the East of Suez. 
      • The FPDA brings together the armed forces of the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. India & Australia must explore the possibilities for engagement between India and the FPDA. 
  • An ‘engage and balance’ China strategy is the best alternative to the dead end of containment. The role of the US is of particular importance as it has recently been a driver of efforts towards bringing similarly aligned states in counterbalancing China.
  • Upgradation of 2+2 talks: In addition, it may be prudent too for New Delhi and Canberra to elevate the ‘two plus two’ format for talks from the Secretary level to the level of Foreign and Defence Ministers.
  • India’s attempts towards balancing its relations with China against its own interests have restricted its interactions with Australia to some extent. But Australia is expecting India to play a bigger role in the Indo-Pacific region. There is a need to work around the impediment that is caused by trying to balance China’s objections with India interests.

Way Forward

  • The India-Australia bilateral relationship has been largely a case of “one step forward, two steps back” — though one witnesses a positive shift in relations since 2014 — after a gap of 28 years. India no longer sees Australia at the periphery of India’s vision but at the centre of its thoughts.
  • The opportunity as well as challenge is that the two nations are at very different levels of development. There can be converging and diverging interests.
  • Therefore, the future must be woven around the three pillars, which are economic relationship, geostrategic congruence and people-to-people ties, and the glue that can bind this is a sustained momentum.


Chapter 16: India & the World: India-Israel Relations


Who are Jews (In Ancient History)

  • Around 1000 B.C King David ruled the Jewish people. His son Solomon constructed the First Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which became the central place of worship for Jews.
  • The kingdom fell apart around 931 B. C. and the Jewish people split into two groups, Israel in the North & Judah in the South.
  • Sometime around 537 B.C. the Babylonians (Present day Iraq) destroyed the First Temple and sent many Jews into exile. A second temple was constructed in 516 B.C but was eventually destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
  • The Jewish people no longer had a primary place to gather, so they shifted their focus to worshipping in local synagogues.

History of Rulers in Israel

  • Hellenistic Period (Rule by Governors of Alexander)
  • Roman Rule in the Land of the Israel (Birth of Christianity)
  • Byzantine Period (Christianity became Official Religion; Period of Set of Rules for Jews)
  • Islamic Period (Some respite for Jews, Economy Strengthened, Banks Established)
  • Jewish Golden Age in early Muslim Spain
  • Crusaders Period (Series of Religious Wars, Jews were targeted)
  • Jews started returning to Israel – This was the time when Israel was being ruled by Turks – Mamluk Period. (Jewish Haskalah Movement – Jewish Reform Movement – Later this became the Zionist Movement)
  • Ottoman Empire (Jews were again persecuted)
  • French Revolution (Napoleon welcomed Jews) 
  • Anti-Semitism movement – Antisemitism is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an anti-Semite. Again Jews started migrating due to persecution and finally Jews saw safe place in America (1890-1914).
  • The first Zionist Conference was held in 1897.

Historical Background

  • Relations between both the countries were not always warm.
  • Israel formed as an Independent state on 14 May 1948. UN recognised Israel in 1948 itself. India voted against the proposal of creating Israel as a separate nation.
  • UN Resolution gave Two-State Theory with Palestine getting West Bank and Gaza Strip while Israel getting the rest of the land.
  • India recognised Israel only in 1950.
  • Israelis started emigrating from India in the early 1950s and 1960s to Israel to establish an independent Israel State.
  • Though both the countries got free from a common colonial power, they found themselves headed in pointedly different directions. While Israel went close to US, India followed the path of Non-Alignment.
  • Also India supported the Palestinian Cause. The Indian Congress in 1936 sent greeting to Palestine. For the first time 27 Sep was observed as Palestine Day in India.
  • In 1938 it is said that Mahatma Gandhi wrote a letter criticising the Jews for illegally occupying the Palestinian land and persecuting the Palestinians.
  • In 1939 in INC Session adopted a resolution in favour of Palestine and sent greetings and felt that Palestine will emerge as an independent democratic state.
  • India also became member of the UN Special Committee on Palestine. India vocally supported the Palestine.
  • In 1968 during the formation of RAW, on the insistence of Indira Gandhi, RAW developed closed linkage with MOSSAD.
  • In 1974 India became the first Non-Arab Country that recognised Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
  • In 1980 India accorded complete recognition to PLO and allowed them to open an office in India.
  • In 1980s Yasir Arafat visited India and accorded India the status of an Eternal Friend.
  • Israel declared Jerusalem as Capital. India didn’t accept the same alike other countries which accorded Tel Aviv the Capital city.

Historical Background – Tectonic Shift

  • Fall of USSR and the end of the Cold War. This changed the Geo-Political scenario world wide. The world moved from a bi-polar world to Uni-polar World.
  • India also faced the economic crisis. It is said that as part of the reform package US forced India (Arm Twisting) to go closer to Israel. In this background India had to take a decision.
  • Finally, PV Narasimha Rao upgraded the relationship to full diplomatic level in 1992.
  • In 1998 Israel supported India’s Pokhran Test. (Russia & France)
  • In 2003 the then Israel PM Ariel Sharon visited India. It was a historic visit.
  • In 2015, MOSSAD agents were called in to provide Additional Security Cover (along side our own SPG, R&AW & IB Agents) to our PM Shri Narendra Modi in Antalya, Turkey while he was attending the G – 20 Summit.
  • In July 2017, Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. It was noted that Prime Minister Modi did not visit Palestine during the trip, breaking from convention.

Flowers in the Relationship

  • Strong Defence Co-operation
  • Cultural and Historical relationship (Jewish Diaspora in India)
  • Geo-Political Interdependence
  • India’s growing closeness with the West (especially US)
  • Indian Diaspora
  • Kashmir Issue (Support to the CAA as well)
  • Co-operation in Agriculture
  • Stand on Terrorism
  • Strong ideological bond with RSS

Thorns in the Relationship

  • Palestinian Factor
  • India’s relationship with Arab World
  • Policy of Non-Alignment
  • Cold War Politics

Political Relations

  • India announced its recognition of Israel on September 17, 1950. Soon thereafter, the Jewish Agency established an immigration office in Bombay.
  • This was later converted into a Trade Office and subsequently a Consulate. Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were established. Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture formed the two main pillars of our bilateral engagement.
  • Increased high-level exchanges and ministerial visits on both sides have expanded cooperation in different functional areas such as Trade, Agriculture, S&T, Culture and Security.
  • India – Israel tied elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’ in 2017

Economic & Commercial Relations

  • From US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds), bilateral merchandise trade stood at US$ 5.65 billion (excluding defence) in 2018-19, with the balance of trade being in India’s favour by US$ 1.8 billion.
  • Trade in diamonds constitutes close to 40% of bilateral trade.
  • India is Israel’s third largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally.
  • In recent years, the bilateral trade has diversified into several sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom, and homeland security.
  • Major exports from India to Israel include precious stones and metals, chemical products, textiles and textile articles, etc.
  • Major imports by India from Israel include precious stones and metals, chemicals and mineral products, base metals and machinery and transport equipment.
  • Potash is a major item of Israel’s exports to India, with India buying a significant percentage of its requirement from Israel.
  • In recent years, Israel has taken a strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with India, China and Japan.
  • Indian software companies, notably TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra and Wipro, are beginning to expand their presence in the Israeli market.
  • During PM Modi’s visit in July 2017, the first meeting of the newly established India-Israel CEOs Forum took place, while its second meeting took place during PM Netanyahu’s visit to India.

Defence & Security Relations

  • India imports critical defence technologies from Israel. There are regular exchanges between the armed forces.
  • Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba visited Israel in June 2017 in his capacity as Chairman of COSC.
  • The last round of Defence Secretary level talks in the JWG on Defence were held in New Delhi in July 2018.
  • As part of the regular goodwill visits of Indian ships, three Indian naval ships from the Western Fleet made a port call in Haifa in May 2017.
  • INS Tarangini, a naval training ship, made a port call in Haifa in September 2018.
  • There is cooperation on security issues, including a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
  • In February 2014, India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland Security, and Protection of Classified Material.
  • There is a Joint Steering Committee under the agreement on Homeland Security, aided by thematic Joint Working Groups.
  • Since 2015, IPS officer trainees have been visiting the Israel National Police Academy every year for a one-week long foreign exposure training at the end of their training in the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.

India-Israel Defence Cooperation

The strong bilateral ties of India and Israel are driven by their respective national interests—i.e., India’s long-sought goals of military modernisation, and Israel’s comparative advantage in commercialising its arms industries.

  • The ambit of defence cooperation has widened to include other domains like space, counter-terrorism, and cyber security and intelligence sharingbesides Israeli arms sales to India.
  • Indiawas the largest arms customer of Israel in 2017 with sales worth 715 million USD.
  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reportIsraelis the third largest supplier of defence items to India after Russia and the USA, the first and second respectively.
  • Historical Ties:The strategic cooperation between the two countries began during the Sino-India War of 1962.
    In 1965, Israel supplied M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition to India in the war against Pakistan.
  • It was one of the few countries that chose not to condemn India’s Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998.
  • It continued its arms trade with India even after the sanctions and international isolation after the nuclear tests.
  • High level intelligence sharing between MOSSAD & RAW.
  • Co-operation in the field of Cyber Security.

Patrolling and Surveillance: The Israeli imports eases the operational ability of armed forces in wartime. For instance, the missile defence systems, and ammunition played a crucial role in controlling the escalation between India and Pakistan post-Balakot air strikes.

  • Make in India: The export-oriented Israeli defence industry and its openness to establishing joint ventures complement both ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make with India’ in defence.
  • Trusted Supplier: Israel has always been a ‘no-questions-asked supplier’, i.e., it transfers even its most advanced technology without placing limits to its use.
    • Its credibility was reinforced during the Kargil War of 1999 when it supplied the Indian Air Force (IAF) with the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) ‘Searcher’ and surveillance systems for Jaguar and Mirage squadrons.
    • Similar weapons were used in the Balakot strike in February 2019.
  • Ready to Use Technology: India suffers from many constraints in defence production and acquisition including lack of technical expertise, lack of manufacturing infrastructure, inadequate funding and project delays. Israel fills these shortcomings by supplying ready-to-use critical technologies, even on short notices.
  • Defence Technologies Imported by India
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs):
    • Searcher: It is a multi-mission tactical UAV for surveillance, target acquisition, artillery adjustment and damage assessment.
    • Hermes 900: In December 2018, Adani Defence and Elbit Systems inaugurated the first India-Israel joint venture in defence at Hyderabad.
      • This facility will manufacture high-technology, cost-effective Hermes 900 to be deployed in all-weather terrains.
    • Heron: It is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system primarily designed to perform strategic actions.
  • Air Defence Systems:
    • BARAK: The surface-to-air missile can be deployed as a low-range air defence interceptor. In India, the BARAK version is known as BARAK-8 (for naval vessels).
  • Missiles:
    • Spike: These are the 4th generation Anti-Tank Missiles with a range of up to 4km, which can be operated in fire-and-forget mode.
      • These are manufactured by the Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, Israel.
    • Crystal Maze: It is an Indian variant of the air-to-surface missile AGM-142A Popeye – jointly developed by the Israeli-based Rafael and US-based Lockheed Martin.
  • Sensors:
    • Search Track and Guidance Radar (STGR): India imported the STGR radar to make INS Kolkata, INS Shivalik and Kamorta-class frigates compatible for deploying BARAK-8 SAM missiles.
    • Phalcon: This airborne warning and control system (AWACS), is also hailed as Indian Airforce Force’s “eyes in the skies”.
    • Phalcon performs surveillance and intelligence gathering beyond the visual range to warn against the incoming missiles or aircrafts in the airspace.

Cooperation in S&T and Space

  • India-Israel cooperation in S&T is established under the S&T Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993. Its last meeting took place in March 2019 in Israel.
  • During the visit of PM Modi in July 2017, an MoU for establishing India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) by the Department of Science and Technology, India and the National Authority for Technological Innovation, Israel was signed.
  • This MoU, with a contribution of $ 20 m from each side over 5 years, is expected to play an important role in enabling Indian and Israeli enterprises to undertake joint R&D projects.
  • Space agencies-ISRO & Israel Space Agency- signed three agreements on space cooperation.

Culture and Education

  • India is known in Israel as an ancient nation with strong cultural traditions, and in popular Israeli perception, India is an attractive, alternative tourist destination.
  • Israeli youth are particularly attracted to India. More than 50000 Israelis visited India in 2018, whereas more than 70000 Indian tourists visited Israel during the year.
  • Air India started direct flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv in March 2018, with 5 flights per week currently. Israeli carrier, El Al, operates direct flights between Mumbai and Tel Aviv.
  • Several courses related to India are taught at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and Haifa University.
  • Several private and public Indian universities have entered into academic agreement with their Israeli counterparts.
  • In May 2013, India and Israel launched a new funding programme of joint academic research with the University Grants Commission and the Israel Science Foundation as nodal organizations.
  • There are approximately 550 Indian students in Israel, mostly at doctoral and post-doctoral level. Since 2012, Israel has been offering post-doctoral scholarship to students from India and China in all fields.
  • The Government of Israel also offers short term summer scholarships for Indian students. India offers ICCR scholarships to Israelis every year for various courses in Indian institutions.

Indian Community

  • There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian-origin in Israel (with at least one Indian parent), who are all Israeli passport holders. The main waves of immigration into Israel from India took place in the fifties and sixties.
  • The majority is from Maharashtra (Bene Israelis) and relatively smaller numbers from Kerala (Cochini Jews) and Kolkata (Baghdadi Jews). In recent years some Indian Jews from North Eastern states of India (Bnei Menashe) have been immigrating to Israel.
  • While the older generation still maintains an Indian lifestyle and their cultural links with India, the younger generation is increasingly assimilated into Israeli society.


Influence of USA: Some of the Israeli technologies utilise USA components because of which the USA has veto powers over the sale of those technologies. Hence, it may cause hurdles in transportation of technologies.

  • Cold War Politics: The potential of India-Israel ties have been sacrificed on the altar of Cold War politics. Factors like Arab–Israeli conflict, Iran-Israel conflict, constant interference of countries like Russia and USA in such issues and overall relationship of India with these countries have impacted the ties with Israel.
  • Non Alignment: India’s commitment to the non-alignment causes freezing relations with Israel that were increasingly seen as leaning towards the Western bloc. India must strategically balance its relationship with Israel on conflict issues.

Dependence for Energy Security: India’s dependence on Arab states for oil imports led to a pro-Arab tilt in its West Asia Policy, which has further constrained Israel’s options in the region.

  • Israel Palestine Conflict: The territorial conflicts of Gaza Strip and West Bank have played an important role in shaping India-Israel relationships.
    Due to Israel-Palestine peace negotiations (Oslo Accords of 1993) India has started normalising the relationship with Israel.
    • However, as a part of Link West Policy, India has de-hyphenated its relationship with Israel and Palestine in 2018 to treat both the countries mutually independent and exclusive.

Way Forward

  • The strategic cooperation between India and Israel carries immense potential and India must harness the technological expertise from Israel to modernise an indigenous defence industry.
  • As the USA sees a major role for India in maintaining the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific more technologies are likely to be transferable in the future. With improving strategic understanding between India and the US these technologies can be flexibly deployed to various wings of the military.
  • Indo-Israel defence cooperation must be up-scaled in terms of Joint Ventures (JV) and Joint Research and Development (RD) which can be a force multiplier to realistically achieve India’s ambition to be a major global power.
Chapter 17: India & the World: India-EU Relations



  • India-EU relations date to the early 1960s, with India being amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community.
  • A cooperation agreement signed in 1994 took the bilateral relationship beyond trade and economic cooperation.
  • The first India-EU Summit, in June 2000, marked a watershed in the evolution of the relationship.

Strategic Partnership

  • At the 5th India-EU Summit at The Hague in 2004, the relationship was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’.

Common road map

The 15th India-EU Summit, in July 2020, provided a common road map to guide joint action and further strengthen the partnership over the next five years.

  • The road map highlights engagement across five domains:
  • Foreign policy and security cooperation;
  • Trade and economy;
  • Sustainable modernisation partnership;
  • Global governance; and
  • People-to-people relations.


The India-EU partnership has grown rapidly ever since. Bilateral trade between the two surpassed $116 billion in 2021-22.

The EU is second largest destination for Indian exports. India’s export to the EU jumped 57% in FY 2021-22 to $65 billion.

Trade surplus: India has a surplus trade with the EU.

There are 6,000 European companies in the country that directly and indirectly create 6.7 million jobs.


Defence sector:

  • Cooperation with the EU in the defence sector has also increased substantially.
  • This is critical for India at this juncture, to reduce its hardware dependence on Russia in the backdrop of the Ukraine conflict and seek diversification of its armament imports from other regions with latest technologies in wake of its confrontation with China.
  • India and the EU regularly conduct joint military and naval exercises which reflects on their commitment to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.

Other avenues of collaboration.

India and the EU have several avenues of collaboration.

  1. For example, the ‘green strategic partnership’ between India and Denmark aims to address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
  2. The India-Nordic Summit in May 2022 focused on green technologies and industry transformation that are vital for sustainable and inclusive growth.
  3. All this will act as a catalyst for enhanced cooperation between the two regions.
  4. Another rapidly growing area of engagement is the start-up and innovation ecosystem across India and Europe.
  5. The Science and Technology Joint Steering Committee between the two focus on areas such as healthcare, Artificial Intelligence, and earth sciences.
  6. In 2020, there was an agreement for research and development cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of India.
  7. The target to finalise the Free Trade Agreement has been set for 2023-24.


  • The EU is India’s third-largest trading partner, accounting for €88 billion worth of trade in goods in 2021, or 10.8% of total Indian trade, after the USA (11.6%) and China (11.4%).
  • The EU is the second-largest destination for Indian exports (14.9% of the total) after the USA (18.1%), while China only ranks fourth (5.8%).
  • India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2.1% of EU total trade in goods in 2021, well behind China (16.2%), the USA (14.7%), and the UK (10%).
  • Trade-in goods between the EU and India increased by about 30% in the last decade.
  • Trade-in services between the EU and India reached €30.4 billion in 2020.
  • The EU’s share in foreign investment stock in India reached €87.3 billion in 2020, up from €63.7 billion in 2017, making the EU a leading foreign investor in India. This is significant but way below EU foreign investment stocks in China or Brazil.
  • Some 6,000 European companies are present in India, providing directly 1.7 million jobs and indirectly 5 million jobs in a broad range of sectors.


  • India’s bilateral trade with the EU amounted to USD 116.36 billion in 2021-22.
  • Despite the global disruptions, bilateral trade achieved impressive annual growth of 43.5% in 2021-22.
  • The trade agreement with the EU would help India in further expanding and diversifying its exports of goods and services, including securing the value chains.
  • Both sides aim for the trade negotiations to be broad-based, balanced, and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity.
  • India and the EU expect to promote bilateral trade by removing barriers to trade in goods and services and investment across all sectors of the economy.
  • Both parties believe that a comprehensive and ambitious agreement that is consistent with WTO rules and principles would open new markets and would expand opportunities for Indian and EU businesses.


  • EU investment treaty practice illustrates its keenness to include the Most Favored Nation (MFN) provision in its investment treaties.
  • India is averse to including the MFN provision in investment treaties.
  • EU’s practice is to include in its investment treaties the Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET) provision.
  • FET is an important substantive protection feature that enables foreign investors to hold States accountable for arbitrary behavior.
  • The FET provision is missing in India’s Model Bilateral Investment Treaty and the recent investment treaties that India has signed.
  • EU has been batting for a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) to reform the existing arbitration-based Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.
  • Yet, India’s official position on MIC is unknown. India hasn’t contributed to the ongoing negotiations towards establishing a MIC, which is perplexing for a country that champions a rules-based global order.
  • The presence of non-tariff barriers on Indian agricultural products in the form of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are too stringent and enable the EU to bar many Indian agrarian products from entering its markets.
  • The non-tariff barriers in pharmaceuticals that the EU has imposed include requirements of World Trade Organisation- Good Manufacturing Practice certification, import bans, antidumping measures, and pre-shipment inspection among others.
  • India will be a net loser from the FTA in terms of the trade in goods: primarily as a result of the loss of revenues from lower or zero tariffs, although gains are expected from liberalization of the services sector.
  • Welfare effects: liberalization of trade in goods would yield only ambiguous welfare effects.
  • Coverage: It is not clear whether it will cover only trade in goods, or cover deeper forms of integration such as investment and competition policy.
  • Divergence: European and Indian expectations diverge on issues such as tariffs on cars, wines, and dairy products imported from the EU, and on the liberalisation of the visa regime for Indian professionals entering the EU.
  • Trade disputes at WTO: The EU and India have even had trade disputes at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on wine and spirits and on pharmaceuticals.
  • Restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI): Rules on FDI in insurance and wholesale trade and on single-brand retail have since been changed, but tariffs on goods such as wines and cars remain at between 60 and 100 percent.
  • Restrictive measures: EU has expressed the issue over the Indian requirement that 15 categories of IT and consumer electronic products must be registered in the country.
  • A similar issue is mandatory in-country testing and certification of telecom network elements.
  • EU regulations and standards: India has also been affected by EU regulations and standards, especially on agricultural exports.
  • Data-secure country: At present, India is not considered data-secure under EU legislation, despite India amending its Information Technology Act in 2000 and issuing new Information Technology Rules in 2011, in line with the “safe harbour” principles adopted by the United States.
  • Skilled Indian professionals: Indian objective is reform to allow skilled Indian professionals to temporarily reside and work in EU member states. If rules on movement of professionals were liberalized, Indian businesses would benefit significantly from increased access to the EU services market.


  • Both countries have differing opinions and divergent interests in some areas.
  • India’s reluctance to explicitly condemn Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, and the country’s increasing economic cooperation with Russia, has been one area of disagreement.
  • India has called out the EU’s double standards on the same, for the EU purchases 45% of its gas imports from Russia in 2021.
  • There is also ambiguity on the EU’s strategy in tackling the rise of China.
  • Its muted response during the Galwan clash is a case in point.
  • India’s economic, political and demographic weight could be deftly leveraged by the EU to counterbalance China’s influence across the region. But there seems to be some hesitancy about this.


  • The India-European Union Free Trade Agreement is critical for both the EU and India. On a global level both are major and dynamic markets and FTA between them will be highly impactful.
  • The three mega-initiatives will eventually dominate the global trade landscape: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • Reaching an agreement that will bring mutual benefit to both the EU and India will be a long journey, but, despite several missed deadlines, it is not out of reach.

Mains Question

  1. Enumerate the causes for the delay in the signing of the India-EU FTA? Is India to be blamed for dragging its feet on certain issues? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Give an overview of the challenges other than the challenges in signing the FTA between India and the EU? (150 Words) 10 Marks


Chapter 18: India & the Central Asia Relations: Central Asia Policy


Historical ties with Central Asia

  • India has had relations with Central Asia since the 3rd century B.C as the nations fell on route to the Legendary Silk Route.
  • The Silk Route not only served as the medium for transportation of goods, silk, textiles, spices etc but also facilitated dispersion of thoughts, ideas, religion and philosophy.
  • Buddhism found inroads in several of Central Asian cities such as Merv, Khalachayan, Tirmiz and Bokhara etc in form of Stupas and Monasteries.
  • Babur in 1526 came from the fertile valley of Fergana (food bowl of Central Asia) to the dusty town of Panipat and established the mighty rule of Mughals in India.
  • Men of prominence such as Amir Khusrau, Dehlawi, Al-Biruni, Abdur Rahim Khan i Khanan etc having Central Asian routes came and made their name in India.
  • During the Soviet period- culture, music, dance, movies and literature bound the Soviet Republics closely with India. Popularity of iconic stars like Raj Kapoor, Nargis, and others brought India into the homes and hearts of common people of this region.
  • Bilateral relations however suffered considerable neglect in the 25 years after emergence of these countries as independent States in 1991.
  • Central Asia is the geographical centre of Asia that marks the confluence of the world’s four religious ideologies — Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism. Modern Central Asia consists of five nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. All five nations became independent after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
  • India and the Central Asian region share a long history. Indian subcontinent and Central Asia share lose trade and cultural linkages, whose beginnings can be traced to the Indus valley civilization. Central Asian region is considered to be the part of India’s “extended neighbourhood”.
  • However, soon after India’s partition in 1947, its relations with the Central Asian region suffered a setback as it lost its direct overland access to the region through Afghanistan (POK captured by Pakistan).
  • This meant that goods from India bound for the Central Asian region, instead of going through Pakistan and Afghanistan, would have to take much longer routes which usually involved the sea route to Iran and then overland through Iran, rendering economic relations less viable.
  • However, after the 1971 signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, friendship and cooperation and subsequent strategic convergence between India and the Soviet Union, allowed India to be able to foster closer ties with the Central Asian Republics.

The Quest for the privileged role in CA and its structural challenges

  • USSR (Russia)
  • US
  • China

India’s Strategic interest in CA

  • Peace and stability in CA for national security of India.
  • Cooperation with all five CA republics without harming the interests of any third nation.
  • Resource supply for energy security in India
  • Ensure Pakistan doesn’t use CA to maintain strategic depth against India.
  • Enhancing defence capabilities of CA to ensure the CA as a is not overpowered by extremists.

India’s Grand Strategies in Central Asia

  • Look North Policy
  • Connect Central Asia Policy
  • India-Central Asia Dialogue
  • Ashgabat Agreement
  • International North South Corridor

Look North Policy

  • The active engagement of India towards the Central Asian region started in the post 2000 era, which is referred as India’s proactive policy towards Central Asia or “India’s Look North Policy.”This Look North Policy brings India closer to Central Asian countries.

Why Did India Look North Policy remain weak

  • India itself didn’t aggressively prioritise this region at the end of the Cold War.
  • India started looking at CA only from the perspective of security.
  • Civil War in Tajikistan, Take over of Afghanistan by Taliban created distance.

Connect Central Asia Policy


  • The region grew in strategic importance to India during the 1990s and particularly over the past decade.
  • Since the turn of the century, Central Asia has become increasingly important to India as a means for maintaining regional stability, especially in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    • During the 1990s Central Asia was seen as a route for supplying the anti-Taliban coalition, the Northern Alliance, in Afghanistan.
    • The significance of Central Asia has grown as India has sought to diversify its energy sources by including such imports from the region.
  • In the domain of Indian foreign policy, Central Asia was focused upon under the narrative framework of the ‘Look North’ policy. However, the economic slowdown in India and global power competition in Central Asia have discouraged India from playing a major role in the region for a larger part of the 1990s.

Reinvigoration of Relations

  • Over the past decade, the region has become the site of great power tussles over energy resources. At the same time, the world witnessed India’s rise as an economic power and a regional power makes it important to prioritise its relations with Central Asia.
  • It was in this context that India formulated its Connect Central Asia Policy in 2012, which is a broad-based approach including political, security, economic, and cultural connections.

Connect Central Asia Policy: Key Points

  • The key elements of this policy cover many important issue areas, including political cooperation, economic cooperation, strategic cooperation, regional connectivity, information technology (IT), cooperation in education, people-to-people contact, medical cooperation, and cooperation in regional groupings
  • The Connect Central Asia Policy is based on – 4Cs: Commerce, Connectivity, Consular and Community.
  • Significance of Central Asia for India:
    • Central Asia is strategically positioned as an access point between Europe and Asia.
    • It offers extensive potential for trade, investment, and growth.
    • The region is richly endowed with commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, cotton, gold, copper, aluminium, and iron.
    • The increasing importance of the region’s oil and gas resources has generated new rivalries among external powers.
  • Energy security – uranium and oil and gas.
    • In pursuance of this India is negotiating on TAPI pipeline.
    • India signed a civil nuclear deal with Kazakhstan.
  • National security: India’s only overseas airbase lies in Farkhor, Tajikistan.
  • The economic development of Central Asia has sparked a construction boom and development of sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
    • India has expertise in these sectors and deeper cooperation will give a fresh impetus to trade relations with these countries.
  • Central Asia is neighbouring ‘Golden Crescent’ of opium production (Iran-Pak-Afghan) and is also a victim of terrorism, illegal arms trade.
    • Instability in Central Asia due to these factors will have a spillover effect on India.
    • Therefore, India’s collaboration and cooperation with Central Asia in this regard benefits the entire region.
  • Central Asian countries are important for India’s bid to become a permanent member of UNSC.
  • Citing the importance of Central Asia Indian PM visited all 5 central Asian countries in 2015.
  • Also, India-Central Asia link will be re-energized due to India’s participation in multilateral fora like Eurasian Economic Union, Heart of Asia Conference and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (India recently became a permanent member of SCO).
  • The region is crucial in maintaining stability in Afghanistan.

India-Central Asia Dialogue

  • It is a ministerial-level dialogue between India and the Central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
    • All five nations became independent states after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, post-Cold war.
  • All the countries participating in the dialogue, except for Turkmenistan, are also members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • The dialogue focuses on a number of issues including ways to improve connectivity and stabilise war-ravaged Afghanistan.
  • In the first dialogue, India proposed setting up of ‘India-Central Asia Development Group’ to take forward development partnership between India and Central Asian countries.
    • The group will enable India to expand its footprints in the resource-rich region amid an ongoing standoff with China and to fight terror effectively, including in Afghanistan.

Ashgabat Agreement

  • India joined the Ashgabat Agreement in 2018.
  • The aim of agreement is to establish an international multimodal transport and transit corridor between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  • The Agreement was first signed by Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Oman, and Qatar on 25 April 2011.
  • Qatar subsequently withdrew from the agreement in 2013, Kazakhstan and Pakistan joined the grouping in 2016.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement came into force in April 2016.
  • Its objective is to enhance connectivity within the Eurasian region and synchronize it with other regional transport corridors, including the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

  • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is multi-modal transportation established in 12 Sep 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the Member States.
  • This corridor connects India Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via the Islamic Republic of Iran and then is connected to St. Petersburg and North Europe via the Russian Federation.
  • The INSTC was expanded to include eleven new members, namely: the Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Ukraine, Republic of Belarus, Oman, Syria, Bulgaria (Observer).

Importance of Central Asia for India

  • India has a very wide array of interests in Central Asia covering security, energy, economic opportunities etc.
  • Central Asia serves as a land bridge between Asia and Europe, making it geopolitically axial for India.
  • Security, stability and prosperity of Central Asia is imperative for peace and economic development of India.
  • The region is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, natural gas, antimony, aluminum, gold, silver, coal and uranium which can be best utilized by Indian energy requirement.
  • Central Asia has huge cultivable areas lying barren and without being put to any productive use, offering enormous opportunity for cultivation of pulses. Indian agribusiness companies can setup commercial agro-industrial complexes in Central Asia.
  • Owing to higher economic growth, several areas have become attractive for construction business, providing huge scopes to Indian companies engaging in financial services, contractors, engineers, and management specialists.
  • Both India and Central Asian Republics (CARs) share many commonalities and perceptions on various regional and world issues and can play crucial role in providing regional stability.
  • For India to use Chabahar as a vital gateway to access Eurasian markets and optimally operationalize its use, requires a Central Asian state joining the project as a direct stakeholder.
  • Central Asian Regions are fast getting linked to the global market for production, supplies of raw materials and services. They are also increasingly getting integrated into the East-West Trans-Eurasian transit economic corridors.

Challenges for India

  • Since Central Asia is not a part of India’s immediate neighbourhood and therefore it doesn’t share borders with India, the issue of connectivity between the two regions is of paramount importance.
    • Due to the landlocked nature of Central Asian states, there is no direct sea route between India and the region and that too has a huge impact on regional connectivity.
  • China has made deep inroads (Belt and Road Initiatives) in the Central Asian republics in terms of investments in and with the region.
  • Also, Russia and China’s convergence in Central Asia has changed the dynamics of India’s relations with Central Asia.
  • The other problem is that both Pakistan and Afghanistan are not secure and stable countries, so even if India shared good relations with Pakistan, this route to Central Asia from India is not a safe and reliable path for trade and commerce.
  • Due to border disputes, ethnic problems and conflict over control of natural resources, Central Asian countries have failed to recognise themselves as a collective regional bloc, like SAARC or ASEAN, therefore it has been difficult for India to formulate a coherent regional policy vis a vis central Asia.
  • Diminishing Trade between India and CA.

Northern Alliance

  • The Afghan Northern Alliance, officially known as the United Islamic Front for the Salvation was a united military front that was formed in late 1996 after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) took over Kabul.
  • The Northern Alliance fought a defensive war against the Taliban government. They received support from Iran, Russia, Turkey, India, USA etc.
  • The US invaded Afghanistan, providing support to Northern Alliance troops on the ground in a two-month war against the Taliban, which they won in December 2001.
  • With the Taliban forced out from the control of the country, the Northern Alliance was dissolved as members and parties joined the new establishment of the Karzai administration.

Way Forward

  • The development of the SCO has confirmed the viewpoint that the region has become the host of a new great game. India in this setting can act as a big player in the region to aid Russia in balancing for both the American and Chinese presence.
  • In this context, first and foremost India must establish seamless connectivity with the region.
  • The signing of Ashgabat agreement, International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar port agreement are all steps in the right direction
  • Addressing the implementation deficit regarding these multilateral agreements will resolve fundamental geographical problem between India and central Asia.
  • India’s foreign policy must form a critical balance of realpolitik and moralpolitik, so that India not only remains a great power “candidate” but also becomes a great power “status holder” in the region.


[row_inner_3] [col_inner_3 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 19: India & the Central Asia Relations: India & Saudi Arabia Relations


Thorns in the Relationship

  • Pakistan Factor
  • India’s relationship with Iran
  • Stand on Terrorism (Funding of Terrorism in the name of Jihad)
  • Kashmir Issue
  • India’s strong bonding with Israel
  • The Palestinian Question
  • Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia vying for regional dominance
  • Afghanistan Stalemate
  • Unfavourable balance of Trade in favour of SA

Flowers in the Relationship

  • Economic Ties- Dependence on oil
  • Cultural and historical relationship
  • Geo-Political Interdependence
  • India’s growing closeness with the West (especially US)
  • Indian Diaspora

Political Relations

  • India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties.
  • The establishment of diplomatic relations in 1947 was followed by high-level visits from both sides.
  • King Saud visited India in 1955 and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited the Kingdom in 1956.
  • The visit of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Saudi Arabia in 1982 further consolidated the bilateral relations.
  • The historic visit of King Abdullah to India in 2006 was a watershed moment that resulted in signing of the ‘Delhi Declaration’, imparting a fresh momentum to the bilateral relationship.
  • The reciprocal visit by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia in 2010 and the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ signed during the visit raised the level of bilateral engagement to a ‘Strategic Partnership’.
  • On the invitation of His Majesty King Salman, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Riyadh from October 28-29, 2019 during which the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement was signed, identifying India as one of the Kingdom’s Strategic Partner Countries under ‘Vision 2030’ with a high-level partnership council at the leadership level.
  • Twelve MoUs and Agreements were signed during the visit in the fields of energy, security, combating trafficking of narcotic drugs, defense production, civil aviation, medical products, strategic petroleum reserves, small and medium scale industries, launch of Rupay card, cooperating in training of diplomats, cooperation between stock exchanges etc.

Commercial Relations

  • Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner (after China, USA and Japan) and a major source of energy as India imports around 18% of its crude oil requirement from the Kingdom.
  • Saudi Arabia is also a major source of LPG for India. In 2018-19 (as per DGFT), India-Saudi bilateral trade has increased by 23.83 % to US $ 34.03 billion.
  • During this period, India’s imports from Saudi Arabia reached US$ 28.47 billion, registering an increase of 29.04% over the previous year (US$ 22.06 billion) whereas India’s exports to Saudi Arabia reached US$ 5.55 billion registering an increase of 2.61 % over previous year (US$ 5.41 billion).
  • The bilateral trade for the period from April – December 2019 (provisional figures) is valued at US$ 24.73 billion.
  • According to Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), there are 322 Indian companies registered as joint ventures/100% owned entities worth US$ 1.4 billion in the Kingdom as of December 2017.
  • These licenses are for projects in diverse sectors such as management and consultancy services, construction projects, telecommunications, information technology, financial services and software development, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • Major Indian companies and corporate groups such as L&T, TATAs, Wipro, TCS, TCIL, Shapoorji & Pallonji, etc. have established a strong presence in Saudi Arabia.
  • SAGIA is in talks with Indian start-ups such as OYO, Delhivery, Firstcry, Grofers, Policy Bazaar, Paytm to enter the Saudi market.
  • Saudi Petrochemical Giant SABIC set up its R&D Centre in Bangalore with an investment of over US$ 100 million in November 2013.
  • Saudi Aramco and UAE’s ADNOC are jointly participating in the development of US $ 44 billion ‘West Coast Refinery & Petrochemicals Project Limited’ in Raigad, Maharashtra.
  • Saudi Company Al- Fanar is currently executing a 300 MW power project in Kutchh.
  • Saudi Aramco signed a MoU with the Mumbai based GumPro to set up a drilling fluids facility in 2018.
  • On Aug 12, 2019, it was announced that Saudi Aramco plans to acquire 20 % share in the Reliance Industries Limited’s Oil and Chemical business at an enterprise value of US $ 75 billion.
  • Several Saudi Companies have invested in India through their non-Saudi subsidiaries.

Cultural Relations

  • India successfully participated as ‘Guest of Honour’ in the 32nd edition of the prestigious Saudi National Festival of Heritage and Culture – Janadriyah.
  • Former External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj jointly inaugurated the India Pavilion with His Majesty King Salman.
  • Yoga was announced as a ‘sports activity’ in November 2017. Since then, the Embassy has been organizing the International Yoga Day celebrations in an open area in the centre of Riyadh.
  • The IDY 2018 and IDY 2019 witnessed participation of large number of Saudi nationals, particularly the youth, in addition to the diplomatic corps, journalists and Indian diaspora. India Day was celebrated on August 17, 2019.
  • The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was marked by a series of events that culminated on October 2, 2019 with the unveiling of the Gandhi bust at the Embassy and mounting of a stamp and photo exhibition.
  • For the first time, grand event was organized by Embassy of India to commemorate the 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji on November 14, 2019.
  • Constitution Day was celebrated on November 26, 2019. Dr. Abdullah Al-Harbi, Saudi Shura Council Member and Chairman of the India-Saudi Arabia Parliamentary Friendship Committee was the Guest of Honour.
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas and Vishwa Hindi Diwas were celebrated on January 9 and 16, 2020 respectively. As part of the 71st Republic Day celebration, an eight member ICCR sponsored Bhangra troupe visited the Kingdom and performed at Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Indian Community in Saudi Arabia

  • The 2.6 million (as of August 2019) strong Indian community in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom and is highly respected due to its sense of discipline, law abiding and peace loving nature.
  • The contribution made by the Indian community to the development of Saudi Arabia is well acknowledged.
  • In April 2013, His Majesty King Abdullah announced a grace period allowing overstaying expatriates to get new jobs or leave the country without facing penal action.
  • More than 1.4 lakh Indians availed the amnesty and returned home without facing penalty. Saudi authorities announced another amnesty period between April – November, 2017 during which around 70, 000 Indians were issued travel documents to return to India.
  • The integration of the Indian e-Migrate system and the Saudi e-Thawtheeq system for the convenience of migration of workers was announced during the Prime Minister’s visit on October 29, 2019.
  • The Haj pilgrimage is another important component of bilateral relations. The Haj Quota was increased by 24,975 in 2019, enabling 2, 00,000 Indians to perform Hajj in August 2019.

Other Areas of Co-operation

  • Stand on Terrorism and other issues:
    • Both sides condemned terrorism in all forms and stated that no particular religion, race or culture should be linked with international terrorism.
    • Discussed a number of regional conflicts like the war in Syria and Yemen and sought lasting peace in the Palestinian territories for the establishment of the independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with “Jerusalem as its capital”.
  • Future Investment Initiative:
    • It is Saudi Arabia’s annual investment forum, also known as ‘Davos in the Desert’. The informal name derives from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting that is held in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders discuss and shape agendas for pressing international issues.
    • The Prime Minister of India also invited Saudi companies to invest in India’s energy sector as India has set a target of $100 billion investment in the sector by 2024.

Way forward:

  • As China makes a massive investment in the future of Pakistan with its $60 billion infrastructure investment drive, the geopolitical chessboard in Asia is shifting.
  • A new move is being made on that chessboard: The accelerating strategic ties between India and Saudi Arabia. It’s a move driven firstly by commercial considerations, but one that could contribute significantly to regional stability and prosperity.
  • There have been reports that the Saudi Arabia is planning to get its own nuclear deterrent.
  • If that is the case, then Pakistan is the most logical source for technical expertise.
  • On the Afghanistan negotiations, Qatar has taken the lead for now. But it is unlikely that the Saudis will make an intervention against the Taliban.
  • The India-Saudi Arabia relationship is important for a variety of reasons but New Delhi should be careful not to make convergence on Pakistan and Afghanistan a litmus test for making further progress.

Practice Question:

  1. Saudi-India ties have mostly revolved around energy diplomacy. How far do you agree that India-Saudi can move past this uni-dimensional relation and create a multi-dimensional convergence zone? Discuss while listing out potential contentious zone faced in this path.                                                                                          (250 Words) 15 Marks
  2. As New Delhi and Riyadh reassess their foreign policy options in a world that is rapidly evolving, India’s energetic engagement with Middle Eastern states will enhance India’s footprint in a region critical to the country’s vital interests. Comment (250 Words) 15 M


Chapter 20: India & Iran Relations


  • Present advice of the U.S. administration to the oil importing countries to stop all oil purchases from Iran is definitely not a good news for New Delhi.
  • Iran was until 2006 India’s second-largest supplier of crude oil. But it dropped to number seven by the end of 2013-14 importing only 6 per cent.
  • However, India continues to be Iran’s second-largest buyer, next only to China. In terms of quantity, India’s imports came down from 27.14 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 17.62 million tonnes during 2018-2019.
  • More than oil, the current diplomatic tussle gives an opportunity to analyze the criticality of:
    • How to re-balance and stick to long term policy alignments in the wake of USA’s shifting stance?
    • Can USA guarantee stability in Oil supply and price levels post departure of Iran’s oil from the market?
    • Who would ‘tame’ OPEC’s hegemony and why?
    • If not Iran, where else will India go to access Central Asia?

Historical Perspective

  • 1950 Treaty of Friendship and Perpetual Peace
  • 1954 Iran became part of US alliance by signing the Baghdad Pact
  • Because of affiliation to CENTO closeness with Pakistan developed. During 1965 & 1971 war Iran provided military assistance to Pakistan.
  • 1979 Iranian Revolution – Ayatollah Khomeini came to power.
  • He established theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • Post 1979, India and Iran began to establish proximity.
  • Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) – India remained neutral.
  • 1983 India-Iran joint commission established to promote economic cooperation.
  • 1980s & 1990s dialogue on trade and economy continued.
  • 1993 P V Narasimha Rao visited Iran
  • 2001 Vajpayee signed the Tehran Declaration
  • 2003 New Delhi Declaration

Criticality of the Civilizational links:

  • Iran has come to symbolise the aspirations of Shias worldwide. Accordingly, in India, there is strong support for the Iranian viewpoint amongst the Shia clergy as well as the masses.
  • In cities like Lucknow, this pro-Iran sentiment is clearly discernable to any observer. There are approximately 25 million Shias in India, who visit various places of pilgrimage in Iran and look up to Iran and the Iranian clergy for spiritual guidance.
  • Besides Shias, the miniscule but economically significant Parsi (Zoroastrian) population of India has its centres of pilgrimage in Iran. It also has a small Zoroastrian minority still living there, with whom Indian Parsees have emotional bonds
  • One of the oldest continuously inhabited civilizations, it forms a bridge between the Semitic world and the Indo-Aryan civilization of South Asia and has had strong historical linkages with the Indian civilization.
  • Despite strong convergence, Indo-Iran relations in recent times have been affected by Iranian relations with the US.
  • The identification of Shiite masses with Iran allows it a significant role in Afghanistan, which not only is a neighbouring country, but also has a substantial Shia population.

Geo-economic significance of Iran:

  • The main contributory factor to Iran’s significance continues to be its huge hydrocarbon resource, which contributes to 80 per cent of its exports.
  • Moreover, Iran’s energy resources have gained further significance with the depletion of energy resources in other oil producing states.
  • From India’s point of view, Iran’s energy resources provide one of the closest and cheapest energy resources available to fuel India’s growth.
  • Accordingly, India has been looking at the North South Transport Corridor and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline to resolve its energy shortages.
  • The IPI was proposed as a pipeline that would transport 36 billion cubic metres of gas every year from Bandar Abbas to Calcutta. Of this, 70 per cent gas was meant for India while 10 and 20 percent were meant for Iran and Pakistan respectively.
  • Despite huge oil reserves, Iran lacks adequate refining capacity and as against an annual consumption of 64.5 million litres of petrol, its refineries can refine only 43 million litres, which forces it to import approximately one-third of its consumption.
  • Iran has been a major destination for the products of some Indian refineries in the private sector, which are unable to market their products locally as the petroleum products are subsidised by the government.



Strait of Hormuz dilemma:

  • One of the most significant capabilities of Iran is its ability to disrupt maritime access to the Persian Gulf through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.
  • The disruption of oil and gas production or its transportation through the Strait of Hormuz, would lead to a big spurt in the prices of oil and gas, which, in all probability, would create a major global economic crisis.
  • Even if the strait is not closed, any conflict in the region could increase the global oil prices drastically.

Iran factor can influence remittance earning:

  • Iran has the capability to create disturbances in any of the Persian Gulf states. The presence of a substantive Shia population in most of these states further increases Iran’s leverage.
  • There is a huge Indian Diaspora in these states and a major source of foreign exchange earnings for India are the remittances sent by overseas Indians. In fact, India tops the global list of countries receiving remittances.

But, is it all bonhomie?

  • The issue that has drawn maximum attention on Iran in recent times is its attempt to set up a uranium enrichment facility. It does not serve India’s interests to have another nuclear state in its vicinity. Iran’s bomb may lead to an arms race in the Gulf.
  • Despite the recent bonhomie between India and Iran, successive Iranian regimes have, by and large, taken an anti-India stance on Kashmir. Iran had provided material support to Pakistan during both the 1965 and 1971 Wars.

Anyhow, Iran is geo-politically important for India:

  • Iran’s significance for India as gateway to Eurasia, its growing role and levers in West Asia and Afghanistan make it difficult for India to abandon Iran under the U.S pressure.
  • Regionally, India needs Iran both for its connectivity projects INSTC and Chabahar, support and engagement in Afghanistan and its cooperation to maintain balanced ties with China, Pakistan and Russia.

Current Situation

  • Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed that India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project of Iran.
  • Further, it said that India has not received any response from Iran since December 2019 on the future of the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project as well.
  • It cited policy changes by the Iranian government, Iran’s uncertain finances, and the USA sanctions situation as the reasons behind the decisions on Indian infrastructure projects in Iran.

Farzad-B Gas Field: 

  • It is located in Persian Gulf (Iran).
  • The contract for exploration of the field was signed in 2002 by Indian consortium comprising ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corporation and Oil India.
  • The contract expired in 2009 after declaration of commerciality of the field, based on the gas discovery.
    • It has gas reserves of more than 19 trillion cubic feet.
    • ONGC has invested approximately USD 100 million.
  • Since then, the consortium has been trying to secure the contract for development of the field.
    • The major dispute between India and Iran was over setting up of two pipelines, and also over money to be quoted on the development plan.
    • Around 75% of the deal was finalised by May 2018, when the USA unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and announced sanctions on Iran.
  • In January 2020, India was informed that in the immediate future, Iran would develop the field on its own and would like to involve India appropriately at a later stage.

Chabahar-Zahedan Railway Project: 

  • In the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ signed in 2003, both countries had decided to jointly develop the Chabahar Port complex.
    • The Port development was exempted from the sanctions.
    • India’s main investment in the Chabahar Port where it has taken over operations of one terminal, had progressed well in the last few years, handling 82 ships with 12 lakh tonnes of bulk cargo in 8200 containers since December 2018.
  • A contract to develop the 628-km railway line (Chabahar-Zahedan) along the Iran-Afghanistan border was signed in 2016.
    • IRCON was appointed by the Government of India to assess the feasibility of the project. It was working with CDTIC, an Iranian company.
    • It had completed the site inspection and review of the feasibility report. The Iranian side was to nominate an authorised entity to finalise outstanding technical and financial issues. India waited for the same.
    • However, Iran started work on the railway project in July 2020.
    • India is not part of this project as of now since there is lack of clarity on whether it will attract the USA sanctions. However, it has conveyed to Iran that it is open to joining the project later.

Concerns for India

Iran’s growing proximity to China.

  • Further, Iran seems to be sceptical of India’s diplomatic ties with the USA.
  • Farzad-B gas Field:
    • India needs gas and Iran remains one of the best options as geographically, Iran is closest to India of all the countries in the Persian gulf region.
    • Further, it could have improved India-Iran ties as the crude oil import from Iran remains impacted due to the USA sanctions.
  • Chabahar is not only a key to maritime relations between both the countries, but also provides an opportunity to India to reach Russia and Central Asia.
    • Further, it allows India to bypass Pakistan which had blocked Indian aid to Afghanistan and all trade over land.

Summing up:

  • To conclude, it would not be incorrect to state that Iran’s unique geography, its population and nature have bestowed upon it a unique strategic significance, making it one of the important players in the global arena.
  • From India’s perspective, good relations with Iran are an essential imperative for India’s sustained growth and development.
  • Its energy resources could easily speed up India’s growth and its landmass could provide Indian manufacturers’ access to Central Asia and the Caucasus.
  • On the other hand, Iran’s nuclear weapons programme does pose a threat to regional and global peace. It could also irrevocably disturb the balance of power in the geo-strategically significant Persian Gulf.
  • Any disturbance in the region could adversely affect India’s economic well-being. The recent accord between the West and Iran has given diplomacy a chance.
Chapter 21: India & West Asia Relations



  • Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, turkey, Bahrain, Qatar are countries. Arabian Peninsula is the largest in the world.
  • In the eastern parts there is salt desert, western parts there is sandy desert.

Tigris and Euphrates are lifelines of Iraq. Jordan river forms boundary between Israel and Jordan. But its a shallow, meandering river which can’t be used for navigation.

Strait of Hormuz is between Iran and UAE connects Persian gulf with Gulf of Oman and then Arabian sea.

Gulf of Aqaba connects red sea with Israel, gulf of Suez connects red sea with Mediterranean sea.

Countries on the western part have Mediterranean climate and on eastern part have tropical climate.

More than ½ of World’s oil reserve and 40% of worlds natural gas reserve is found here. India’s has top sources of crude oil are Saudi Arabia and then Iraq. Top natural gas sources are Qatar and Egypt.

  • India’s relations with West Asia, which it regards as its extended neighborhood, have undergone a transformation in the last few decades.
  • The region was always important as a source of energy and as a place where Indians found employment and sent back much-needed foreign exchange for families back home.
  • This was an important source for scarce Indian foreign reserves. But today, political, defence, and economic ties are growing apace.
  • What’s more, it’s no longer a given that the sheikdoms will naturally support Pakistan against India on Kashmir.
  • The two foremost Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have excellent ties with India.
  • In fact, in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to the UAE to formally receive the nation’s highest civilian award, the King Abdulaziz Sash.
  • In the past, this would have been unthinkable. Pakistan at the time could always rely on the Muslim nations of the Gulf to rally behind it whenever the question of Kashmir and Indian Muslims arose
  • There were massive protests across the Gulf nations after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
  • The only recent incident that provoked anger across the Muslim world as well as in the Gulf was when the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) former spokeswoman Nupur Sharma made some irresponsible remarks on Prophet Muhammed.
  • The world has changed dramatically in the last few decades. At one point of time, it was impossible to think of Arab sheikhdoms of the Gulf to engage with Israel.
  • But in light of the Sunni-Shia divide in the region, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are working together to scuttle Iran’s nuclear deal.
  • Now with the Abraham Accords in place, Israel and UAE are cooperating in every field. For all these countries, Iran is a threat to peace in the region and, faced with a common enemy, all hands are on deck to thwart Iran’s emergence as a regional rival to the Arab states.
  • Egypt and Jordan already had ties with Israel, and it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia too establishes diplomatic relations with Israel.


  • Ties- India’s cultural, economic and trade ties with the countries of the West Asian region are deep and abiding.
  • Trade route- The West Asian region served as a land trade bridge to early European empires and a flourishing trade in spices, cloth, silk and indigo in exchange for gold and silver is well recorded.
  • Monetary system- The British colonial era saw the advent of a loose common monetary system with the rupee serving as legal tender in several Gulf states till the middle of the 20th century.
  • Oil exploitation- The discovery and commercial exploitation of oil in the Gulf region during the colonial era started to alter the balance of trade flows between India and the West Asian countries.
  • Trade- Today, the countries of the West Asian region collectively accounts for over a sixth of India’s total bilateral merchandise trade and contribute about three fifths of India’s crude oil supplies.
  • Employment- The region is a major provider of jobs to Indian workers, professionals and entrepreneurs and houses about 89 lakh Indians.
  • Remittances- The NRIs in West Asian countries annually send home about $40 billion, and account for more than 55% of the country’s total remittance inflows.
  • Investments- Investments from sovereign wealth funds and other large investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also climbed steadily in recent years.

·         The GCC is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf. It was established in 1981 and its 6 members are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Why is India so dependent on West Asian countries for its energy needs?

  • In 2020-21, the top oil exporter to India was Iraq (more than 22%), followed by Saudi Arabia (18%).
  • Domestic crude production meets less than a fifth of the country’s oil requirement, forcing India to take recourse to imports to fill the gap of more than 80%.
  • A large proportion of India’s refineries have been predominantly configured to process the Sulphur-heavy sour grades of crude that are produced in the Gulf region.
  • The sweeter (low Sulphur) grade of oil such as Brent proves to be comparatively costlier than the sour grades.

How reliant is India on the region for non-oil trade?

  • From 2017 through 2021, Iran and the GCC member states accounted for a 15.3% share of India’s cumulative two-way merchandise trade.
  • Out of that, the UAE contributed the lion’s share of almost 7%, followed by Saudi Arabia.
  • The region is today a key market for several Indian commodities ranging from tea and basmati rice to electrical equipment, apparel, and machinery.
  • India has signed a CEPA with UAE with the aim of increasing the total value of bilateral trade in goods to more than $100 billion and getting services trade to exceed $15 billion over the five years.
  • The trade pact will provide Indian exporters preferential market access on 99% of the country’s exports to the UAE in value terms, particularly from labour-intensive sectors.
  • The government is actively pursuing a broader FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with the GCC as a whole.
  • The region also serves as a key hub to markets in Africa.

UAE is the third largest trading country with India in recent times after the US and China.



  • I2U2 is the new grouping formed by four nations- India, Israel, UAE, and the US. It was given the name International Forum for Economic Cooperation.
  • It is focused on expanding economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, including through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and coordination on other vital shared interests.
  • The four-nation framework would foster support and cooperation in various domains like infrastructure, technology and maritime security.
  • The first virtual summit of I2U2 will focus heavily on the global food and energy crisis resulting from the conflict in Ukraine.

What is the Background of I2U2 Grouping?

Abraham Accords:

  • In September 2020, Israel, UAE and Bahrain signed Abraham Accords brokered by the United States which has subsequently led to normalizing of relations between Israel and a number of Arab Gulf countries.
  • I2U2 was initially formed in October 2021 following the Abraham Accords, to deal with issues concerning maritime security, infrastructure and transport.
  • The aim was to harness the unique array of capabilities, knowledge and experience of all four nations which ultimately lead to the formation of I2U2.

What can be the Prime Areas of Cooperation of I2U2?


  • This will help the countries in exploring security cooperation among the four nations within the framework of these new groupings.
  • India already has a robust bilateral security cooperation with Israel, the US and the UAE.


  • Each of these countries is a technological hub Biotechnology is prominent in each of these countries as well.
  • Israel is called a Startup Nation already. India has been also developing a widening startup ecosystem of its own.
  • UAE also recognises that the future of the world economy is not going to be built around just hydrocarbons, oil and gas. It needs to work in the technology sector too.
  • In May this year, a project was commissioned in which Ecoppia, an Israeli company, would manufacture robotic solar cleaning technology in India, meant for a project in the UAE.


Food Security:

  • Joint efforts by these four countries become crucial to tackle and reduce the consequences of food security and safety.
  • According to the 2020 report by ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World,’ around 14 percent of India’s total population is undernourished.

Trade and Connectivity:

  • I2U2 can revitalise and re-energise the system of trade and commerce among the four countries.
  • After the US, UAE is the second-largest export destination of India.


  • I2U2 will boost India’s project along with UAE and Saudi Arabia to build a connectivity corridor that runs from India to the Arabian gulf across the Arabian Peninsula to Israel, Jordan and from there to the European Union.
  • If this corridor is completed then India will be able to cut the cost of moving a container significantly (for instance from Mumbai to Greece by over 40%).

What is the Significance of I2U2 for India?

India’s West-Asian Policies:

Until now, India’s West Asian policies have largely insisted on keeping its bilateral relationships separate from each other.

This is the first step to bring those relationships with UAE and Israel together and merge them.

Advantage from Abraham Accords:

India will get advantage of the Abraham Accords to deepen engagement with Israel without risking its ties with the UAE and the other Arab states.

Benefit Market:

India is a massive consumer market. It’s a frontline producer of high-tech and highly sought-after goods as well that will attract investors from West Asia.

Thrust to Geopolitical Presence:

I2U2 will boost India’s geopolitical presence especially in West Asia and India will strategically and economically establish itself as a World player.

Indian Diaspora and Remittances:

There are around 8 to 9 million Indians in West Asia, 2.5 million in the United Arab Emirates alone. They are India’s goodwill ambassadors.

Indian communities in West Asia have a significant impact upon the Indian economy, through inward remittances. Further cooperation with West Asian countries through I2U2 will enhance inward remittance.

According to a UN report on international migration, in 2017, inward remittances from the Gulf into India were 38 billion U.S. dollars.

What are the Challenges Associated with I2U2?

Challenges for Israel:

As far as the quest for peace and resolution of the Arab-Israeli problem is concerned, the Abraham Accords are a major breakthrough.

However, the other states in the region are still reluctant to maintain friendly bilateral relations with Israel.

Also, at the grassroot level, the Israel-Palestine conflict is still a major area of concern.

Internal Conflicts of the Arab World:

Iran-Saudi: The Shia-Sunni conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is also going on which is also running through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Possible Splitting of Countries:

The internal conflicts in the Arab world will possibly lead to the significant partners of India like Iran split from the former into another group.

The developing situation might lead to the creation of two groups one with China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and Turkey while India, Israel, USA and UAE are likely to be on the other side.

China’s Expanding Role in the Middle East:

India must also look at the presence of China which has been expanding its footprint in the region.


Israel’s Haifa port has been expanded by China, more than one and a half billion-dollar investment in Haifa has been made by China.

China is also building the Ashdod port which is the only port Israel has in the mediterranean.


UAE was one of the first countries that got Huawei’s (Chinese MNC) assistance for its 5G project.

[row_inner_4] [col_inner_4 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 22: India & Latin America Relations


Section 1: The Latin America-Caribbean Region—A Skeletal Overview

The LAC region can be divided into:

  • Mexico
  • Central America: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
  • South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • English speaking Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Non-English speaking Caribbean: Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Haiti.
  • Foreign overseas territories/colonies: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, (British Overseas Territories), Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of the United States of America), US Virgin Islands (organized, unincorporated US Territory Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, French Guiana (France), Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Sint Maarten (Netherlands).


  • Population of over 650 million
  • 13 per cent of the world’s surface
  • Combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over USD 5 trillion in nominal terms or over USD 7 trillion when calculated by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
  • India embarked upon enhancing its ties with Africa, East and South-East Asia
  • Relatively little effort towards increasing either its presence or prominence in the Latin America-Caribbean region.

Flowers in Relationship

  • No hindrance by US for Indian engagement with LA
  • Resource rich region
  • Democracy as a shared value
  • Growing Continent (Collective GDP of LA is more than 5 trillion dollars)
  • LA with efficient agriculture production can be of significance to India in food security
  • Presence of Indian firms
  • Acceptance of Indian Culture
  • LA also emerged as a continent of hope in India’s energy security
  • Leftist tilt.

Thorns in Relationship

  • No direct connection
  • Cold War Politics
  • Geographical distanc


The first introduces the region, highlighting the distinct geographic and linguistic zones therein with their connected yet divergent colonial experiences and will note some of the regional multi-national groupings and organizations that exist.

The second gives an outline of how Latin America views India and why India’s relationship with the region has not grown more rapidly.

The third provides an overview of India’s involvement with the region with the aim of state of affairs as they exist at present and highlight some of the shortcomings that currently bedevil India’s relations with the region.

The fourth examines the unrealized potential in the areas of technical, defence and law enforcement cooperation.

Finally, the fifth looks at the way forward and explore both avenues of cooperation as well as make certain recommendations aimed at enabling India-Latin America ties to achieve their potential.

Section 2: Latin America’s View of India

India’s interest in the LAC region is heavily driven by economic interests with political interface largely dominated by its relations with Brazil through BRICS and IBSA.

Three countries Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, with large Indian diaspora has a strong cultural affinity with India and, as a result and as such, a different view of India is held.

Latin America used to view India as a land of magic and mysticism. However, now it sees India as a rising power and an emerging market economy.

During its initial years India completely neglected LA as India was focussed on threats emanating from its neighbourhood.

Though India established diplomatic relationships with countries in the LA bilaterally in the 1950s, the tone of foreign policy remained low.

The improvement in the relationship with the LA began to take place in 1960s.

Turn of events

  • The establishment of G-77 and UNCTAD brought about resurgence.
  • The G-77 and UNCTAD challenged the existing global model of development dynamics and gave thrust to the South-South Co-operation.
  • These two platforms provided India and LA a common base to interact and evolve a new development dynamic.
  • The leftist tilt in India in the 1960s and 1970s with platforms like Garibi Hatao and Nationalisation of Banks brought LA closer to India that championed the Third Worldism and the revisionist agenda for a new dynamic of development.
  • In 1977 the government initiated the FOCUS-LAC (Latin America & Caribbean) Project.
  • By 1983 at the NAM summit, there was participation of fifteen states from the LA and Caribbean.
  • The LA has also emerged as a continent of hope in Indian Energy Security thought.

Why the Continuing Disconnect?

  • It is not immediately apparent as to why neither India nor the LAC region has sought to match their increased economic ties with greater understanding of each other’s dynamics or strengths.
  • It may be that diplomatic assignments to India in the case of the LAC region, or to the LAC region in the case of India, were not seen as important, with the result that embassies were less than energetic in marketing their nations.
  • This seems to be continuing today. While there has been no dearth of enthusiastic and capable diplomats on both sides, there is clearly a huge information gap which ill-serves the cause of enhancing relations.
  • However, perhaps the reason lies in the reality that in neither India nor the LAC region has there been an articulated policy as to where bilateral relations should go. At present, progress in bilateral ties is measured by increasing trade rather than partnerships.
  • This failure to articulate or engage on this level may be the reason why the potentially very useful South-South cooperation between India and Brazil, and indeed with the LAC region, is yet to achieve anything tangible
  • It is also an unfortunate fact that contact between the LAC region and Indian bureaucrats, diplomats and even academia is less than satisfactory.
  • The bureaucrats also show little imagination or enthusiasm for enhanced ties beyond trade and are prone to treat the relationship as transactional with no regard for long-term potential.

Section 3: India and the LAC region—A snapshot of the status of ties

Economic Ties

  • Undoubtedly one of the major success stories of the last decade has been the significant increase in trade ties between India and the LAC region.
  • Trade inevitably suffers from the vagaries of such forces as commodity prices and exchange rates.
  • FOCUS LAC program for trade promotion efforts.
  • Indian investment in the region exceeds USD 15 billion in the information technology (IT), pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, mining, energy, and manufacturing sectors

Political and Diplomatic Ties

  • India’s political interaction with Latin America has had, in the past and to the present day, a focus on boosting trade.
  • In more recent times, however, political engagement has been aimed at such issues as reforms in International fora, such as the United Nations Security Council.
  • This has led to India’s interests being focused on Brazil which has become a partner of India in such groupings as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa)
  • Bilateral diplomatic ties were severely hampered in the 20th century through a combination of distance, a lack of economic and cultural interaction and the absence of a cultural and linguistic diaspora outside the Caribbean nations of Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guyana.
  • Whether this relative diplomatic neglect is a matter of a lack of appreciation of potential, a legacy of post-independence, post-colonial hang-ups and orientation, a lack of resources or a combination of all of the above factors, the fact is that full Political and Diplomatic engagement is still a distant dream.

Section 4: Unrealized Potential

  • India and the LAC region have unrealized potential. It is suggested that, with a little effort, some radical transformation might be possible.
  • The three areas chosen for focus are scientific/technical, defence and law enforcement. In these three spheres, Latin America has links, to varying degrees, with Europe, the United States, Japan and more recently China.
  • India may not be able to compete directly with any of these powers directly, but can carve out niche areas for cooperation.
  • The benefits of cooperation in these spheres may not be immediately evident in economic terms but will enhance the relationship between India and the LAC region which could prove beneficial eventually. Moreover, a broad-based non-transactional relationship positions India in a better position to influence decision makers in the region

Defence Cooperation

  • Defence cooperation between India and the LAC region is extremely limited. India’s purchase of three Embraer EMB-145 aircraft for its domestic Airborne Early Warning project notwithstanding, there is no meaningful cooperation in respect to defence production, research and development, or even joint military exercises.
  • Furthermore, UN peacekeeping operations provide the opportunity for enhanced cooperation as Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Colombia have contributed extensively to UN peacekeeping forces worldwide.
  • Throughout the entire region, India has much to offer in respect of training, equipment (lethal and nonlethal) and overall security cooperation. Indeed, as the potential for pirate attacks increases in the region and the spectre of terrorism looms large, Indian expertise in these spheres could be of considerable interest to the region.
  • In the quasi-related spheres of disaster management and humanitarian assistance, Latin American and Caribbean forces routinely undertake such activities and could again benefit significantly from Indian experiences in this regard, with the exchange of personnel and joint exercises that this would inevitably bring, leading to a higher Indian defence profile in the region.
  • The sale of the Dhruv to Ecuador was widely hailed, and rightly so, as a major breakthrough for Indian arms exports. However, after a number of crashes (several of which were caused by pilot error), the helicopters were withdrawn from use citing, among other things, poor spares support from HAL.
  • Similarly, the sale of Chetaks to Suriname was plagued by poor contract management and “financial and administrative obstacles” which led to the helicopters being ready long before pilots were ready to be trained, leading to a delay in delivery of the helicopters.


Chapter 23: Contemporary Issues: India's Nuclear Diplomacy


The Origin of Nuclear Question

  • Important personalities that influenced India’s Nuclear Program
  • The Constituent Assembly debates on the Nuclear Program
  • The passing of the Atomic Energy Act, 1948.
  • The establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission as the main regulatory body

India’s Nuclear Question: Changing Perceptions and Policies

  • The 1951, US, Mutual Defence Assistance Act: It stated that if the US supplies any nuclear materials to any country, then the recipient country couldn’t trade materials given by the US with Soviet Union, its satellite states or any communist state. (1953 China’s request for Thorium Nitrate from India and US opposition to it).
  • In this backdrop, India started seeking assistance from foreign nations.
  • In 1955, Canada provided a 40 MW reactor which used natural uranium and heavy water. Canada further attached a No Strings Policy and
  • In 1956, British helped India to build Apsara Reactor.
  • The heavy water was provided by US under a partnership called CIRUS

India and its disarmament policy during the Cold War

  • 1958-1960 India articulated its Disarmament Policy.
  • Armament is about increasing the number of weapons to prepare oneself for a potential attack from an adversary. Disarmament is about reduction of the weapons.
  • India stated that the Cold War is not just ideological confrontation but also military confrontation. In an effort to better prepare oneself both the countries indulged in Arms race thereby threatening the world peace.
  • In this backdrop, India advocated immediate disarmament and complete disarmament in the long run. (Complete disarmament is reduction and complete elimination of weapons).
  • In the backdrop of Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and India-China conflict, a Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) was drafted. India found PTBT a favourable draft. India thought PTBT is a step towards complete disarmament. India ratified the PTBT.
  • PTBT asserted that there should be complete prohibition on underwater, atmosphere and outer space nuclear testing.
  • However, China didn’t ratify the PTBT. India was unable to understand the rationale of China. Things got clear in 1964 when China conducted a nuclear test in Lop Nur in 1964 and proclaimed itself a Nuclear Weapon State.
  • In 1964, there was a Pugwash Conference organized by the World leaders in Udaipur, India.
  • In the meeting India clearly mentioned that the presence of a Nuclear China in the neighbourhood was a threat to India’s Sovereignty.
  • Two things emerged clearly – India would either develop its own Nuclear weapon or seek Collective Security. Collective security was ruled out by US and Russia both. Then, the only option left with India was to go Nuclear.
  • In the backdrop of political pressures mounting, Shastri announced the authorization of subterranean nuclear test on the floor of the Parliament (27 Nov 1964).

India and Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • In 1965, Eighteen Nation Disarmament Commission (ENDC) was established to negotiate a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India was one of the eight non-aligned states.
  • India at the ENDC advocated that all 18 nations freeze nuclear weapon production and halt production of delivery systems. This was the only way India said that the Non Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) would NOT go nuclear.
  • Due to the growing popularity of Homi Bhaba and his advocacy of Complete Disarmament, the CIA of US eliminated him by planting a bomb in the Air India Flight in which he was travelling to Vienna.
  • The ENDC was followed by NPT in 1967.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • Signed in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970, now has 190 member states. It requires countries to give up any present or future plans to build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Three main objectives of the treaty are non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
  • India has opposed the international treaties aimed at non-proliferation since they were selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimised the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers.

Provisions of the NPT

  • The NPT as a treaty stated that the world would be divided into NWS and NNWS.
  • The NPT said that the countries that have tested a nuclear weapon before 01 Jan 1967 were to be called NWS, and the countries that didn’t were labelled as NNWS.
  • The NPT stated that the NWS would not increase their nuclear arsenal and would undertake gradual disarmament.
  • The NNWS on the other hand, would not procure nuclear weapons.
  • The NPT clarified that there shall be a review of NPT 25 years from the date of its enforcement.
  • The NPT also said that in order to prevent any diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful to military use, the states party to NPT will accept the IAEA safeguards.

Why India didn’t sign the NPT?

  • India asserted that NPT is a discriminatory treaty, which had divided the world into nuclear haves and have-nots.
  • The quest for freedom of action in an uncertain regional strategic environment and an asymmetric international system dominated by superpowers and China drove India to NOT sign the NPT and hedge, and to conduct the 1974 test.
  • India perceives its nuclear weapons and missile programs as crucial components of its strategic doctrine.
  • India rejects the Treaty on the grounds that it perpetuates—at least in the short-term—an unjust distinction between the five states that are permitted by the treaty to possess nuclear weapons, while requiring all other state parties to the treaty to remain non-nuclear weapon states (Have’s and Have Not’s).
  • One major point raised by India is that the five authorized nuclear weapons states still have stockpiles of warheads and have shown reluctance to disarmament which also angered some non-nuclear-weapon NPT states.
  • For eliminating the last nuclear weapons, the nuclear weapons state requires confidence that the other countries would not acquire nuclear weapons.
  • Moreover, India’s pledge of not to use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by an adversary and a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear test since 1998, established its credibility as a peaceful nuclear power even without joining the treaty.
  • Perceived security threats from Pakistan and Pakistan’s ally China and demonstration of a nuclear weapons capability guaranteed New Delhi’s ability to effectively hedge in an asymmetric international system, and a regional strategic environment where New Delhi felt largely cornered.
  • Maintaining a degree of political autonomy has driven independent India’s foreign policy choices. Major decisions that New Delhi took in the nuclear realm are representative of that. The grand bargain of NPT was certainly going to restrict India’s policy options.
  • Domestic political imperatives also dictated the timing and the rhetoric about the nuclear power.

India’s Stand on different Nuclear Treaties

  • Limited Ban Treaty: Also called Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) US, UK and USSR in 1963, signed this treaty. It allows nuclear tests only underground thus, prohibits the nuclear experiments on ground, underwater and in outer space. India has also ratified the treaty.
  • Treaty on Outer Space: Signed in 1967, it prohibits countries to test nuclear weapons in orbit or on celestial bodies like moon.
  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): Signed in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970, now has 190 member states. It requires countries to give up any present or future plans to build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Three main objectives of the treaty are non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) 

It intends to ban all nuclear explosions – everywhere, by everyone. It opened for signature on 24 September 1996 and since then 182 countries have signed the Treaty, most recently Ghana has ratified the treaty on 14 June 2011.

  • The Treaty will enter into force after all 44 States listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty will ratify it. These States had nuclear facilities at the time the Treaty was negotiated and adopted.
  • As of August 2011, 35 of these States have ratified the Treaty. Nine States still need to do so: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. India, North Korea and Pakistan have not yet signed the Treaty.

Reasons behind India’s rejection to CTBT

  • India has always stood by its demand for a nuclear weapons-free world but various procedural, political, and security concerns have stopped India to join the treaty.
  • India’s relationship with the CTBT has undergone distinct changes. In 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru championed the cause of a nuclear test ban by calling for a “standstill” agreement. In 1993, India was among those that co-sponsored the call for a test ban treaty. However, in 1996, India’s reservations about the Treaty blocked its adoption by the Conference on Disarmament.
  • India, after negotiation was ready to sign the treaty provided United States should presents a schedule for eliminating its nuclear stockpile, a condition the United States rejected.
  • India believed that the universal and complete nuclear disarmament should be the end goal not a mean.
  • India considered, Article XIV, the entry-into-force (EIF) clause of the treaty as a violation of its right to voluntarily withhold participation in an international treaty.
  • The treaty initially made ratification by states, that were to be a part of the CTBT’s International Monitoring System (IMS), mandatory for the treaty’s EIF. Because of this, India withdrew its participation from the IMS.
  • The treaty didn’t talk about the disarmament of the stocks by nuclear weapon states.
  • Further, the treaty is vague on the ban of laboratory testing of nuclear weapons. It means sophisticated technology of developed countries permit them for laboratory testing and ban on field test only affect the developing countries nuclear programme.
  • India’s scientific community believes that accepting the CTBT would hinder India’s strategic nuclear program development and the option to test must be kept open.
  • On the security front, India thought that it faced uncertain dangers from Pakistan, and China, which had conducted nuclear tests even while the CTBT was being negotiated.

India and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

  • The NSG was created in response to India’s first nuclear test ‘Smiling Buddha’ (Pokharan-I) in 1974. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, thus popularly referred to as the “London Club”.
  • It’s a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
  • NSG consists of 48 members, include the five nuclear weapon states US, UK, France, China, and Russia. It is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding.
  • A non-NPT state cannot become a member of NSG which keeps India out of the group.
  • India was left outside the international nuclear order, which forced India to develop its own resources for each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and power generation, including next generation reactors such as fast breeder reactors and thorium breeder reactors.
  • More recently in January 2019, China has again reiterated its previous stand that India’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is pre-requisite for its membership to the NSG or else there should be a common guidelines for the membership of the non-NPT states.
  • Rejecting India’s claims for NSG membership, China cited the reasons that there should be no double standards in enforcing the NPT and the international community should stick to multilateralism and promote the three pillars namely non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Except China, all P5 members have endorsed India’s membership of NSG based on India’s non-proliferation record.
  • Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership while being also a non-signatory to the NPT. But it has a dubious record and its credibility is very much doubtful as a peaceful nuclear state.
  • Membership of the NSG will provide India, greater certainty and a legal foundation for India’s nuclear regime and thus greater confidence for those countries investing billions of dollars to set up ambitious nuclear power projects in India.
  • Though India is not a member of NPT and NSG, its track-record in observing the provisions of either body, is impeccable. NSG was able to grant a waiver to India in 2008 on the basis of its past performance, now it should have no objection to admitting the country as a member.

Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) is a proposed international agreement that would prohibit the production of two main components of nuclear weapons: highly-enriched Uranium and Plutonium.

  • An FMCT would provide new restrictions for the five recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS— United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China), and for the four nations that are not NPT members (Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea).

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is not a treaty and does not impose any legally binding obligations on Partners (members). Rather, it is an informal political understanding among states that seek to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology.

  • The regime was formed in 1987 by the G-7 industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States). There are currently 35 countries that are members (Partners) of the MTCR. India has become the 35thfull member MTCR In July 2016.
  • MTCR membership enables India to buy high-end missile technology, strengthen its export control regime and it supports India’s bid to become the member of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).

Australia Group admitted India as the 43rd member on 19 January 2018. It’s an informal group that keeps a control over exports of substances used in making of chemical weapons.

  • The group membership will help India to raise its stature in the field of non-proliferation, and help in acquiring the critical technologies. It will also strengthen India’s bid to gain NSG membership.

Wassenaar Agreement, established in 1996, is a group of countries which subscribe to arms export controls. It seeks to bring about security and stability, by fostering transparent practices in the process of sale and transfer of arms and materials and technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

  • It is a grouping of 42 countries, of which India is the latest entrant on December 8, 2017. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of this arrangement.
  • After joining the group India will be able easily access dual use technologies and materials and military equipment that are proscribed for non-participating members. In addition India will also be able to sell its nuclear reactors and other materials and equipment indigenously produced without attracting adverse reactions.

Cuban Missile Crisis and MAD Doctrine

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most intense confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States during the entire course of the Cold War.
  • The Cold War nearly became hot on October 16, 1962, when the White House became aware of the Soviet missiles present in Cuba.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis is widely regarded as the boiling point of the nuclear arms race, when fears of thermonuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States seemed not only plausible, but even possible.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis was the ultimate byproduct of MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction, a strategic military doctrine in which the use of nuclear weapons on a full scale would theoretically result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender.
  • This strategy ultimately sends both parties into an endless loop of increased military budgets.

Advantages of NFU

  • The NFU policy facilitates restrained nuclear weapons programme without tactical weapons and a complicated command and control system.
  • The doctrine minimises the probability of nuclear use by avoiding the deployment of weapons on hair-trigger alert and keeping an arms-race in check.
  • The doctrine also reduces the chances of unnecessary chaos as the onus of taking the decision to escalate a nuclear use lies on the adversary.
  • Strict adherence to the doctrine can strengthen India’s efforts to gain membership in Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Arguments Against NFU

  • The idea of no-first-use (NFU) of nuclear weapons has been rejected by some nuclear weapons states and accepted only at the declaratory level by most, if not by all of the others.
  • Nuclear weapons are often seen as an antidote to conventional inferiority as the inferior party will seek to deter conventional attack by threatening a nuclear response.
  • The first-use nuclear doctrine introduces an element of nuclear risk to any war contemplated by the superior state as it is hard for the potential attacker to confidently calculate that it can achieve victory at an acceptable cost when there is a possibility of nuclear escalation.
  • In India the NFU policy has been called into question on the grounds that it allows Pakistan to take the initiative while restricting India’s options militarily and puts India in a disadvantageous position.
  • Pakistan’s low nuclear thresholds and its policy of using its nuclear umbrella to foment sub-conventional conflict in India is the principal reason behind the debate around India’s ‘no first use’ policy.

Implications of Abandoning NFU for India

  • Withdrawing the NFU policy and making a declaration to that effect can affect India’s status as a responsible nuclear power.
  • Such a step will abrogate India’s commitment to the universal goal of nuclear disarmament and upset the regional balance in the sub-continent.
  • Further, abrogating the doctrine would signal a first use posture by India, thus reducing the space for conventional warfare below the nuclear threshold. This could also severely corrode India’s ability to limit Pakistan’s offensive tactics and policies at the conventional level.
  • Moreover, China’s expansionist policies cannot be deterred by revising the doctrine, the decision to abandon the doctrine can send a deliberate signal of provocation to China.
  • Nuclear preemption is a costly policy as it requires massive investment not only in weapons and delivery systems but also intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) infrastructure.
  • India would require a far bigger inventory of nuclear weapons particularly as eliminating adversaries’ nuclear capabilities would require targeting of its nuclear assets involving multiple warheads.
  • India is yet to induct the Multiple Reentry Vehicle (MRV) technology in its missiles, which is fundamental to eliminating hardened nuclear targets.
  • First use doctrine will also require to devolves control of nuclear weapons from the scientific enclave to the military for their eventual use.
  • Moreover, the after effects of the nuclear fallout, depending on the magnitude of nuclear explosions, could pose existential threats to humanity itself.
Chapter 24: Contemporary Issues: India's Negotiation Diplomacy at UN


Historical Origin of the United Nations

  • The period of enlightenment which inspired the concept of the rationality in the conduct of international affairs.
  • This finally led to the birth of the League of Nations.
  • This also gave birth to the Modern Liberal Democratic Nationalism.
  • Before this mutual treaties to maintain peace and force.
  • The hierarchical Imperial Administrators maintained peace through Dominance
  • The Peace Conference of the Westphalia in 1648 – Established the Idea of the Balance of Power.
  • The Vienna Conference of 1814-15 – aimed to serve peace to the world by organising regular meetings of the Great Powers.
  • Yet the First WW caused serious disorder to the existing system.
  • Finally, the President of US Woodrow Wilson, in his famous “Fourteen Points” speech envisaged the creation of a new body called “The League of Nations”.

Core Elements of the Covenant of the League of Nations

  • Disarmament
  • Territorial Integrity
  • Political Independence of Nation States
  • International Cooperation
  • Mandate System
  • Establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice
  • Humanitarian Cooperation
  • Provisions for the Amendment of the Covenant

Failure of the League of Nations as International Peace Keeping Body

  • Treaty of Versailles
  • US absence from the League of the Nations
  • Body becoming ineffective and inoperative
  • The absence of International Cooperation amongst Nations

Birth of the United Nations

  • The Atlantic Charter of 1941
  • The Foundational Declaration of United Nations in 1942
  • Franklin D Roosevelt coined the term UN for the first time
  • The idea of general security against collective security as envisaged in the League of Nations
  • Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin laid the foundation of the new body on 24 October 1945
  • A total of 51 original members joined the body in that year.

Basic precepts of the United Nations

  • India is a founder member of the UNs.
  • Presently UN consists of 193 sovereign member states.
  • The UNs can suspend a member if a member violates the UN charter.
  • No country has ever been suspended till date.
  • The UN has not achieved universality because two states have not yet joined ‘Vatican City’ and ‘Taiwan’.

Criteria for Admission of New member to the United Nations

  • Criteria set out in Chapter II, Article 4 of the UN Charter.
  • Membership open to all peace-loving states.
  • Decision be the General Assembly on the recommendations of the Security Council.
  • 9 of the 15 Security Council members need to give affirmative votes, with none of the five permanent members using their veto power.
  • The SC recommendations then must be approved in the GA by a two-thirds majority vote.

Principal Organs of the United Nations

  • General Assembly (GA)
  • Security Council (SC)
  • Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • Trusteeship Council
  • International Court of Justice (ICJ)
  • Secretariat

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

  • The primary responsibility of the UNs is to ‘maintain global peace and security’, rests with the Security Council.
  • The UNSC has five permanent members namely, US, UK, France, Russia and China.
  • These five permanent members have special voting rights.
  • This special voting right, which they may also exercise against or for each member, is called a ‘Veto Power’.
  • Using this Veto Power, any of these 5 permanent members can defeat any decision.
  • Abstinence from voting by a permanent member doesn’t tantamount to the use of a veto.
  • In order to maintain peace, the UNSC can set-up, Fact Finding missions, Observation Missions and may even advocate for a mediation, conciliation and assistance.

Concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) & Preventive Diplomacy

  • The functioning of the UNSC is not open to the Public.
  • However, the decisions of the UNSC are made public through announcements of briefings.
  • According to the Indian Diplomat Hardeep Puri, at times, the interventions by the UNSC have been Perilous interventions causing more destabilisation in an already volatile situation.
  • According to him, the UN interventions in Syria and Libya have been perilous. He also says that the Perilous interventions in the state of Iraq gave rise to non state actors and terrorist organisations like ISIS.
  • Such interventions are largely made on the logic of ‘Responsibility to Protect’.
  • Preventive Diplomacy as a term was first used by the UN Secretary General, Dag Hammerskjold.
  • He proposed that the basic idea of Preventive Diplomacy was to keep the local conflicts outside the Superpower rivalry and prevent the two superpowers from escalating the conflict.

Key Elements in Preventive Diplomacy

  • Use Persuasion, Negotiation, Medication and Conciliation.
  • Non-Corecive efforts to limit or terminate violence.
  • Non-Interference in internal affairs.
  • Resort to building of trust as per the international law.
  • Resort to prevention that curing conflicts.
  • Resort to collective prevention action.
  • Resort to a specific action to prevent escalation of conflicts.

Preventive Diplomacy

  • Preventive Diplomacy is not concerned with solving every problem
  • It is a special response in a situation, which warrants intervention to avoid escalation.
  • Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the determination of existence of a threat to the world peace would be taken only by the UNSC and under Article 41, steps would be taken to maintain peace without the use of force.

Preventive Diplomacy

  • However, under Article 42, the UNSC is empowered to use Air, Sea or Land power to restore peace through blockades and operations.
  • Under Article 51, if there is an armed attack upon a state, the state can resort to use of force in self-defence while informing the UNSC immediately.
  • But, a big question remains unanswered – “On what criteria the UNSC would get to decide that an issue in a state is ripe for international intervention and is not an internal matter of that state”.
  • The idea of R2P is that the basic responsibility to protect the population is that of the state, only if that state fails to achieve this, then the responsibility to shifts to the shoulders of the international community.
  • The R2P was endorsed by the UNGA in 2005, and UN Resolutions 1694 (in 2006) and 1894 (in 2009) also affirmed the same.

Three Pillars of R2P

  • Pillar 1: State to Protect their population from
    • Crimes against Humanity
    • Genocide
    • War Crimes
    • Ethnic Cleansing
  • Pillar 2: Failed or fragile states needing assistance to build institutional capacities to protect their populations to be helped by the International Communities.
  • Pillar 3: Doctrine of Humanitarian intervention in a state if it fails to protect its people.

Principles of India’s R2P & Preventive Diplomacy

  • India supported the Pillar 1 openly.
  • India also supported the Pillar 2 that states that weak states should be provided international assistance to prevent the conflicts from escalating.
  • However, India showed resistance to the Pillar 3. India asserted that this measure should be used as a last resort, and only exercised on case specific basis. India stated that the international humanitarian intervention should be used in compliance with the UN Charter and in consultation with the Regional Organisations.
  • India, therefore, supported Pillar 1 & 2 and conveyed its disagreements over Pillar 3.
  • India’s Policy of Non-interference and Non-intervention.
  • India while engaging with the UNs has favoured the idea of non-violence in conflict resolution.
  • This perception owes its origin in the 2000 year old Indian epic called Mahabharata. India often dictates openness, tolerance and non-violence to all states as a value irrespective of a domestic regime.
  • In 2001, the UN set up a Commission called – “ International commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty” (ICISS).

Evolution of India’s Stand on R2P & Preventive Diplomacy

  • India’s initial perception of R2P
    • Imperialism with a human face
    • Roots in intervention
    • Roots in Colonialism
    • Reflexive Rejection
  • Factors that brought change in Indian mind in 2009
    • Hope of UNSC permanent membership
    • Domestic Political freedom from left party coalition
    • Attitude in India to emerge as a power to shape events than block them
  • New Position of R2P as evolved
    • Supports the idea that the state is the sovereign actor to protect
    • Supports that support be given to prevent conflict resolution
    • Skeptical about humanitarian intervention in case of failure of the above two points

Core Elements of India’s R2P & Preventive Diplomacy

  • Favours the idea of Responsibility While Protecting (RWP)
  • Deep Skepticism of Western intervention in global South
  • Skeptical about use of Military Interventions
  • Social change shouldn’t be exported
  • Non-Intervention is the best policy if the differences are irreconcilable
  • NATO intervention justifies India Skepticism of misuse of R2P
  • Favours dialogue, tolerance and peaceful means to resolve conflicts

Why India wants to become a Permanent Member of the UNSC

  • India is the world’s largest Democracy
  • It has been a major contributor to the UN Peacekeeping force
  • India is one of the oldest and grand civilizational powers that deserves the status
  • India is secular, responsible and fastest growing power
  • The membership will be recognition of a new world order
  • India will get Veto Power and to be a part of global decision making

India and its Diplomacy at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

  • Before WTO came into existence in 1995, GATT was present.
  • India was one of the members of GATT, but couldn’t achieve much success as GATT was dominated by the quad
[row_inner_5] [col_inner_5 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 25: Indian Diaspora


What is Diaspora?


The term diaspora traces its roots to the Greek diaspeiro, which means dispersion. The Indian diaspora has grown manifold since the first batch of Indians were taken to counties in the eastern pacific and the Caribbean islands under the ‘Girmitiya’ arrangement as indentured labourers.


Non-Resident Indians (NRI): NRIs are Indians who are residents of foreign countries. A person is considered NRI if:

She/he is not in India for 182 days or more during the financial year Or;

If he/she is in India for less than 365 days during the 4 years preceding that year and less than 60 days in that year.

Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs):

  • PIO refers to a foreign citizen (except a national of Pakistan, Afghanistan Bangladesh, China, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal) who:
  • At any time held an Indian passport, or who or either of their parents/ grandparents/great grandparents was born and permanently resided in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 or who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
  • The PIO category was abolished in 2015 and merged with the OCI category.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs):

  1. A separate category of OCI was carved out in 2005. An OCI card was given to a foreign national:
  2. Who was eligible to be a citizen of India on January 26, 1950
  3. Was a citizen of India on or at any time after January 26, 1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947.
  4. Minor children of such individuals, except those who were a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, were also eligible for OCI cards.


  • A cardholder who is a foreign national of India is entitled to the privileges that the Central Government may designate in this regard
  • Multiple entrance lifetime visa for any purpose in India (However, OCI Cardholders will need specific permission to do research in India, for which they can apply to the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned)
  • For any length of stay in India, there is no need to register with a Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or a Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO)
  • Except in circumstances relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation holdings, parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in all economic, financial, and educational facilities available to them
  • India’s Registered Overseas Citizen In the case of inter country adoption of Indian children, cardholders will be treated equally to non-resident Indians
  • India’s Registered Overseas Citizen in terms of flying fares in India’s internal sectors, cardholders will be regarded equally to resident Indian residents
  • India’s Registered Overseas Citizen when visiting national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, cardholders will be charged the same entry cost as domestic Indian visitors


According to the World Migration Report, 2022, India has the largest emigrant population in the world in 2020, making it the top origin country globally, followed by Mexico, Russian and China.

The data shared by the government in Parliament in 2022 showed that the geographical spread of the Indian diaspora is vast. The countries with over 10 lakh overseas Indians include:

  • United States of America, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kuwait and Canada.


According to the World Bank Migration and Development Brief, released in 2022, for the first time a single country, India, is on track to receive more than USD 100 billion in yearly remittances.

The World Migration Report notes that India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt are (in descending order) among the top five remittance recipient countries.


  • As on December 31, 2021, there were 4.7 crore Indians living overseas.
  • The number includes NRIs, PIOs, OCIs, and students. Excluding students, the number stands at 3.22 crore, including 1.87 crore PIOs and 1.35 crore NRIs.
  • According to the World Migration Report, prepared by the International Organisation for Migration under the United Nations, India has the largest emigrant population in the world, making it the top origin country globally, followed by Mexico, Russian and China.
  • Involvement in politics:
  • The vocal political positions taken by a section of the Indian diaspora, particularly in the US and the UK, is a fairly recent phenomenon.
  • For instance, the Hindu American Foundation, a Hindu advocacy group based in the US, was set up in 2003, the same year the Pravasi Bharatiya Convention was launched.
  • Many prominent overseas Indians play an active role in organising global meetings.


  1. Indians had spread to Africa, Southeast Asia, Fiji, and the Caribbean in the first phase. The massive need for inexpensive labour that arose immediately after the British abolished slavery in 1833-1834 fueled this surge
  2. Those who left India and relocated to other countries before colonial rule are known as members of the old diaspora. Many of them became indentured servants known as Girmatiyas. They were taken to a variety of countries, including Sri Lanka, the Fiji Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, and Mauritius
  3. Following the oil boom, the character of migration began to evolve in the second half of the twentieth century, with the modern diaspora driven by highly skilled professionals travelling to the western world and semi-qualified contract labourers moving to the Gulf, West, and Southeast Asia


Diaspora diplomacy: Examples include their remittance inflow and lobbying for the US-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement Bill in 2008. In Houston recently, Prime Minister Modi continued his extraordinary political investment in reaching out to the Indian diaspora.

Freedom struggle:  Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle to end the systemic prejudice against Indians in South Africa inspired legends about the diaspora that have endured in contemporary India. As the fight for independence gained traction at home, it started to have an impact on many Indian communities abroad.

Technological development and entrepreneurship:  As thriving IT hubs, Bengaluru, Gurugram, and Hyderabad are home to numerous Indian start-ups in addition to MNCs.

Cultural extension: Sikhs are one of the largest migrants from India to the UK, Canada and many other countries.

Enhancing India’s global say:  In addition to political pressures and lobbying at the ministerial and diplomatic levels, India can use its diaspora to influence different states.

Enhancing India’s Soft Power: Indian diaspora is one of the richest minorities in many developed countries. Their advantage is evident in “diaspora diplomacy”, whereby they act as “bridge-builders” between their home and adopted countries.

The Indian diaspora is not just a part of India’s soft power, but a fully transferable political vote bank as well.

Also, many people of Indian origin hold top political positions in many countries, which enhances India’s political clout at multilateral institutions like the United Nations.

Economic Contribution: Remittances sent by the Indian diaspora have positive systemic effects on the Balance of Payments (BOP), which help to bridge a wider trade deficit.

The migration of less-skilled labor (especially to West Asia) has helped in bringing down disguised unemployment in India.

Further, the migrant workers facilitated the flow of tacit information, commercial and business ideas, and technologies into India.

Agents of change: enhancing and facilitating investment, hastening industrial growth, and enhancing both international trade and tourism.

Indian diaspora’s contribution to the world: Indian diaspora in the world can be divided into two major categories (apart from others who are in myriad occupations and almost in every country in the world):

  1. Technological graduates: They are current engineering and management graduates who work in high-value positions primarily in western nations like the US and Europe but also elsewhere.
  2. Manual Labour: These people make up the population that is comparatively less skilled and who has been hired for manual labour, primarily in Arab or West Asian nations.


  1. India was initially concerned that supporting Indians living abroad might offend host nations, who ought to be solely responsible for their welfare and security. The diaspora could not expect India to defend their rights, according to Jawaharlal Nehru, so India’s foreign policy in the 1950s was designed as a model of non-intervention.
  2. Rajiv Gandhi, on the other hand, was the first prime minister to change the diaspora policy in the 1980s by urging Indians living abroad, regardless of their nationality, to participate in nation-building initiatives, similar to the overseas Chinese communities.
  3. A number of beneficial policies were implemented after 2000 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee administration, including the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, Overseas Citizen of India Card, NRI funds, and voting rights for Indian nationals living abroad.
  4. The present regime has carried forward the work in a positive direction. Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced the e-migrate system in 2015, which necessitates the database registration of all foreign employers.


  1. Culture: The Indian Diaspora is very aware of its extensive cultural heritage. They are aware that they are the descendants of the oldest continuously existing civilization in the world. They are naturally eager to preserve their cultural identity because they are a part of such a rich legacy.
  2. Consular and other issues: Our customs and immigration officials’ mistreatment, intimidation, and demands for illegal gratification at the points of entry are the Diaspora’s most frequent complaints.
  3. Dual Citizenship: The vast majority of Indians living abroad prefer to keep both their Indian and home country citizenship.
  4. Threat to their security: The security of foreign workers in the Middle East is now under new threat as a result of recent violent incidents in the region. For instance, the IS group recently abducted Indian workers.
  5. Threat to their employment (Nitaqat Law): It aims to replace a significant portion of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia with locals. This has an impact on international workers from Kerala, Tennessee, etc.


  1. Since 2003, the government has celebrated Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas to recognise the contribution of the Indian diaspora to the advancement of India.
  2. The government established a specific Ministry of oversees Indian affairs in 2004 in order to give particular attention to the issues relating to the Indian diaspora. The diaspora receives comprehensive services from it.
  3. The government has introduced a number of programmes for the welfare of Indians living abroad, including the Pravasi Bhartiya Bima Yojana from 2006 and others.
  4. The Overseas Citizenship of India Scheme (OCI) was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005 in response to persistent calls for “dual citizenship,” particularly from the Diaspora in North America and other developed nations, and keeping in mind the Government’s strong commitment to meeting the aspirations and expectations of Overseas Indians.

In some areas, such as the economy and education, the Scheme offers benefits comparable to those of citizens. Although it grants lifetime, multiple, and multi-entry visas with some rights, it is not truly dual citizenship.

  1. The Know India Program was established as a three-week orientation programme for youth from the diaspora in order to raise awareness of the various facets of Indian culture and the advancements the nation has made in various fields. KIP offers a special platform for students and young professionals of Indian descent to travel to India, share their opinions, hopes, and experiences, and forge closer ties with modern India.
  2. The Swarnapravas Yojana- New Plan Scheme: Given the large supply of labour in India, this programme has been established to increase Indian workers’ employability abroad by giving them the necessary training.
  3. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs is running a scheme known as Tracing the Roots” to facilitate PIOs in tracing their roots in India.
  4. In addition to all of these, the government has made social security agreements with numerous foreign nations to safeguard the Indian community in those nations.



To mark this day, the tradition of celebrating Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) started in 2003.

1st PBD Convention was organized on 9 January 2003 to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.

Since 2015, under a revised format, PBD Convention has been organized once every 2 years (biennial).


9 January commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India in 1915.

It is celebrated grandly to strengthen the engagement of the Government of India with the overseas Indian community.

Concerns with Celebrations:

Low/semi-skilled and blue-collar workers may not find a place or feel comfortable to participate in the said celebration as the general profile of participants is seen to be of very high level.

The participation and involvement should be more broad-based, accommodating the vulnerable sections of the diaspora community too.


17th PBD- “Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s Progress in Amrit Kaal”.

16th PBD- “Contributing to Atma Nirbhar Bharat ”.


  1. A friendlier reception at their point of entry is necessary to ensure that Diaspora members feel welcome upon arrival in India and also fondly recall their visits. Additionally, simpler procedures for immigration and customs clearances that are marked by courteous service are crucial.
  2. The following should be put into action as soon as possible to address the issues facing our blue-collar workers abroad. These include:
    1. Establishing a welfare fund for repatriated overseas workers in distress;
    2. Negotiating Standard Labour Export Agreements with the host countries;
    3. Monitoring and supervision of both the employment contracts and the
    4. conditions of our overseas workers by our Missions;
    5. Launching compulsory insurance schemes covering the risks faced by our overseas workers;
  3. The Diaspora can significantly aid India’s tourism industry is expanding. PIOs frequently travel back to their home country or to see family. Promoting tourism should receive more attention among PIOs of the second generation.
  4. The Indian community living abroad requires further economic liberalization.
  5. The establishment of a parliamentary standing committee on the Indian diaspora is a possibility. Members who are interested in issues affecting the Diaspora should be included.
  6. This Committee might also serve as a hub for communication with lawmakers from other nations who are of Indian descent. Such discussions are crucial to fostering greater mutual understanding and amity between them.

Mains Question (INDIAN DIASPORA)

  1. Discuss the significance of the Indian Diaspora? Elucidate the role played by them in the nation making process? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Critically comment on the change in India’s policy towards its Diaspora? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. The geographical extent of Indian Diaspora explains the deep-rooted connections that goes beyond only economic considerations? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
  4. Give an overview of the threats that can emanate from the diaspora? (150 Words) 10 Marks


Chapter 26: International Organisations: The United Nations


‘The United Nations was not created to take humanity to heaven, but to save it from hell.’’

Earlier International Organizations and Bodies

  • In 1865, States first established international organizations to cooperate on specific matters. The International Telecommunication Union was founded in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, and the Universal Postal Union was established in 1874. Both are now United Nations specialized agencies.
  • In 1899, the International Peace Conference was held in The Hague to elaborate instruments for settling crises peacefully, preventing wars and codifying rules of warfare.
  • It adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began work in 1902.

What is the History of UN Foundation?

  • The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in circumstances of the First World War and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.”
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) was also created in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League.
  • After the First World War, the League of Nations was created, as an organization that could prevent another such war. Despite its initial success, however, it could not prevent World War II (1939-45).

1941 The Atlantic Charter

  • The origin of the Charter of the United Nations can be traced back to the Atlantic Charter, signed on 14 August 1941, by which Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, and Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, made known “certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world”.
  • This document, in its eighth paragraph, incidentally, referred to the future “establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security”.



1942 The Declaration by the United Nations

  • On 1 January 1942, twenty-six States at war with the Axis Powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), subscribed to the common programme of purposes and principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter in a document, which became known as the ‘Declaration by United Nations’.
  • The Declaration by United Nations contained the first official use of the term ‘United Nations’. The name ‘United Nations’ was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • A document pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers (Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis) and bound them against making a separate peace.

1943 Moscow and Tehran Conference

  • From 18 October to 1 November 1943, a Conference was held in Moscow, with the participation of the United States, the United Kingdom, the USSR and China.
  • At the conclusion of the Conference, the participating Governments adopted a Joint Four-Nation Declaration in which, inter alia, they “recognized the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States, and open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security”.

1945: Dumbarton Oaks and Yalta

  • From 21 August to 7 October 1944, representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom met separately with representatives of the USSR and of China at Dumbarton Oaks.
  • Negotiations on the future international organization continued at the Yalta Conference, attended by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin, from 4 to 11 February 1945.

What is the History of UN Foundation?

  • As World War II was about to end in 1945, nations were in ruins, and the world wanted peace. Representatives of 50 countries gathered at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California from 25 April to 26 June 1945.
  • For the next two months, they proceeded to draft and then sign the UN Charter, which created a new international organization, the United Nations, which, it was hoped, would prevent another world war like the one they had just lived through.
  • The UN Charter of 1945 is the foundational treaty of the United Nations, as an inter-governmental organization.

Formation and Evolution of the UN:

  • United Nations was founded in 1945 immediately after Second World War, by 51 states who signed the United Nation charter; it was a successor to the League of Nations. The United Nations’ objective is to prevent international conflict and to facilitate cooperation among states.
  • By 2011, the United Nations had 193 member states. These included almost all independent states. Each member of the United Nations General Assembly has one vote.
  • There are 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. These are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (as they constituted the victors and the most powerful nations after the Second World War).
  • The United Nations’ most visible public figure, and the representative head, is the Secretary-General. The present Secretary-General is António Guterres. He is the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Components of United Nations

  1. General Assembly
  • The General Assembly is the United Nations’ main deliberative, policymaking, and representative body.
  • The General Assembly is the only UN body with universal representation, with all 193 UN Member States represented.
  • Every year in September, the entire United Nations membership gathers for the Annual General Assembly session and general debate, to which many heads of state attend and speak.
  • A two-thirds majority of the General Assembly is required to make decisions on important issues such as peace and security, admission of new members, and budgetary matters.
  1. Security Council of the United Nations
  • It has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • The Security Council is made up of fifteen member states, consisting of five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly on a regional basis.
  • In January 2022, the UNSC got five new non-permanent members (Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates)


  • Veto power” refers to the power of the permanent member to veto (Reject) any resolution of Security Council. The unconditional veto possessed by the five governments has been seen as the most undemocratic character of the UN.
  • Critics also claim that veto power is the main cause for international inaction on war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • The United States refused to join the United Nations in 1945 unless it was given a veto. The absence of the United States from the League of Nations contributed to its ineffectiveness.
  • Supporters of the veto power regard it as a promoter of international stability, a check against military interventions, and a critical safeguard against U.S. domination.
  • The United States has been the most frequent user of the veto power, mainly on resolutions criticising and condemning Israel; since 2002, the United States has applied the Negroponte doctrine to veto most resolutions relating to the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Components of United Nations

Committees of the Security Council

  • Counter Terrorism Committee
  • Non-Proliferation Committee
  • Sanctions Committee
  • Military Staff Committee
  1. Sanctions Committee of the Security Council
  • The use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State or entity to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council without resorting to the use of force.
  • Sanctions thus offer the Security Council an important instrument to enforce its decisions. The universal character of the United Nations makes it an especially appropriate body to establish and monitor such measures.
  • The Council has resorted to mandatory sanctions as an enforcement tool when peace has been threatened and diplomatic efforts have failed.
  • The range of sanctions has included comprehensive economic and trade sanctions and/or more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, financial or diplomatic restrictions.
  1. Security Council: Peace Keeping Operations and Political Missions
  • A peacekeeping operation consists of military, police and civilian personnel, who work to deliver security, political and early peacebuilding support.
  • Peacekeeping is flexible and over the past two decades has been deployed in many configurations.
  • Today’s multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; support the organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and assist in restoring the rule of law.
  • Political missions are part of a continuum of UN peace operations working in different stages of the conflict cycle.
  • In some instances, following the signing of peace agreements, political missions overseen by the Department of Political Affairs during the stage of peace negotiations have been replaced by peacekeeping missions.
  • In other instances, UN peacekeeping operations have given way to special political missions overseeing longer term peace-building activities.

The top 10 providers of assessed contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations for 2020-2021 are:

  • United States (27.89%)
  • China (15.21%)
  • Japan (8.56%)
  • Germany (6.09%)
  • United Kingdom (5.79%)
  • France (5.61%)
  • Italy (3.30%)
  • Russian Federation (3.04%)
  1. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • It is the main body responsible for policy coordination, review, dialogue, and recommendations on economic, social, and environmental issues, as well as the implementation of internationally agreed development goals.
  • It has 54 members who are elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms that overlap.
  • It is the United Nations’ central platform for sustainable development reflection, debate, and innovative thinking.
  1. Trusteeship Council
  • The UN Charter established the Trusteeship Council in 1945 to administer the 11 Trust Territories established after WWII.
  • It was either a former colony or a dependent territory. Many territories have become independent and self-governing since the Council was established.
  • Palau was the last Trust Territory to gain independence in 1994.
  • As a result, the Trusteeship Council ceased operations in 1994 and decided to meet only as needed.
  1. The International Court of Justice
  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the UN’s supreme judicial body. The Hague, the Netherlands, is the seat of the International Court of Justice (It is the only UN main organ that is not based in New York).
  • The ICJ is automatically a party to all 193 UN members. The functions of the International Court of Justice are as follows:
  • To resolve legal disputes brought before it by states in accordance with international law
  • To provide legal advice on matters referred to it by duly authorized international bodies and agencies
  1. Secretariat
  • The Secretary-General is the United Nations’ chief administrative officer. Staff at the Secretariat are hired both internationally and locally, depending on the position. They work at various locations around the world.
  • Peacekeeping operations, economic and social trends surveys, international dispute mediation, international conferences, and laying the groundwork for international agreements are all part of their responsibilities.

UN Specialized Agencies

  • The UN specialized agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations.
  • All were brought into relationship with the UN through negotiated agreements. Some existed even before the First World War. Some were associated with the League of Nations.
  • Others were created almost simultaneously with the UN. Others were created by the UN to meet emerging needs.
  • Articles 57 and 63 of UN Charter provides provision of creating specialized agencies.


  • In 1945, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was created In Quebec City, Canada, by the first session of the newly created United Nations.
  • FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
  • FAO is also a source of knowledge and information and helps developing countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all.


  • Under Chicago Convention, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was established in 1944, as a UN specialized agency.
  • It manages the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).
  • It provides the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.


  • The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was established as an international financial institution in 1977 through United Nations General Assembly Resolution as one of the major outcomes of the 1974–World Food Conference.
  • This conference was organized by the United Nations in response to the food crises of the early 1970s, when global food shortages were causing widespread famine and malnutrition, primarily in the Sahelian countries of Africa.
  • It was realized that food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production but structural problems relating to poverty.


  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. It sets international labour standards, promotes rights at work and encourages decent employment opportunities, the enhancement of social protection and the strengthening of dialogue on work-related issues.
  • As an agency of the League of Nations, it was created in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I.
  • 9 International Labour Conventions and 10 Recommendations which dealt with hours of work in industry, unemployment, maternity protection, night work for women, minimum age, and night work for young persons in industry were adopted in less than two years (by 1922).
  • By signing of the United Nation agreement whereby the ILO became the first United Nations specialized agency in 1946.
  • The Organization won the Nobel Peace Prize on its 50th anniversary in 1969 for pursuing decent work and justice for workers.
  • In 1980, the ILO played a major role in the emancipation of Poland from dictatorship by giving its full support to the legitimacy of the Solidarnosc Union, based on respect for Convention No. 87 on freedom of association, which Poland had ratified in 1957.
  • It emphasised that the future of work is not predetermined: Decent work for all is possible but societies have to make it happen. It is precisely with this imperative that the ILO established its Global Commission on the Future of Work as part of its initiative to mark its centenary in 2019.
  • Its job is to undertake an in-depth examination of the future of work that can provide the analytical basis for the delivery of social justice in the 21st century.


  • UN Monetary and Financial Conference (1944, also called Bretton Woods Conference), Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States was held to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.
  • It resulted in foundation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1945.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) fosters economic growth and employment by providing temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment and technical assistance.
  • The IMF currently has $28 billion in outstanding loans to 74 nations.

World Bank

  • UN Monetary and Financial Conference (1944, also called Bretton Woods Conference) was held to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.
  • It resulted in foundation of IBRD in 1945. IBRD is the founding institution of World Bank.
  • The World Bank focuses on poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards worldwide by providing low-interest loans, interest-free credit, and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, and communications, among other things. The World Bank works in over 100 countries.


  • The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.
  • As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping.
  • Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.


  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies (ICT). It is the oldest among all the specialised agencies of UN.
  • It was founded in 1865 and based in Geneva, Switzerland. It works on the principle of international cooperation between governments (Member States) and the private sector (Sector Members, Associates and Academia).
  • ITU is the premier global forum through which parties work towards consensus on a wide range of issues affecting the future direction of the ICT industry.
  • It allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strive to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.


  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded in 1945 to develop the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” as a means of building lasting peace.
  • It is located in Paris (France).
  • In this spirit, UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance.
  • By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO strengthens bonds among nations aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture

World Health Organisation

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for health. It was established in 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its Member States usually through the Ministries of Health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for

  • providing leadership on global health matters,
  • shaping the health research agenda,
  • setting norms and standards,
  • providing evidence-based policy options,
  • providing technical support to countries,
  • and monitoring and assessing health trends.


  • The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was created in 1950, during the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes.
  • In 1954, UNHCR won the Nobel Peace Prize for its groundbreaking work in Europe.
  • The start of the 21st century has seen UNHCR help with major refugee crises in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
  • It also uses its expertise to help many internally displaced by conflict and expanded its role in helping stateless people.


  • UNCTAD: (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively. It helps to use trade, investment, finance, and technology as vehicles for inclusive and sustainable development.


  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. It was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
  • UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.


  • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the main economic and social development Centre of the UN in the region, headquartered in Bangkok (Thailand) in 1947.
  • It responds to the development needs and priorities of the region through its convening authority, economic and social analysis, normative standard-setting and technical assistance.

India’s contribution to UN

  • India was one of the original members of the League of Nations. As a signatory of the Treaty of Versailles-1919, India was granted automatic entry to the League of Nations.
  • India was represented by her Secretary of State, Edwin Samuel Montagu; the Maharaja of Bikaner Sir Ganga Singh; Satyendra Prasanno Sinha, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for India.
  • India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington, D.C. in 1944. This declaration became the basis of the United Nations (UN), which was formalized in the United Nations Charter signed by 50 countries in 1945.
  • By 1946, India had started raising concerns regarding colonialism, apartheid and racial discrimination.
  • India was among the most outspoken critics of apartheid and racial discrimination (discriminatory treatment of Indians in the Union of South Africa) in South Africa, being the first country to have raised the issue in the UN in 1946.
  • India took an active part in Drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-1948.
  • Its experience with the UN had not always been positive. On Kashmir issue, Nehru’s faith in the UN and adherence to its principles proved costly as UN that was packed with pro-Pakistani partisan powers.
  • Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was elected the first woman President of the UN General Assembly in 1953.
  • India’s status as a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 (G-77) cemented its position within the UN system as a leading advocate of the concerns and aspirations of developing countries and the creation of a more equitable international economic and political order.
  • It involved in conflict with China (1962), two wars (1965, 1971) with Pakistan and entered a period of political instability, economic stagnation, food shortages and near-famine conditions.
  • India’s role diminished in the UN which came both as a result of its image and a deliberate decision by the post-Nehru political leadership to adopt a low profile at the UN and speak only on vital Indian interests.
  • India has been a member of the UN Security Council for seven terms (a total of 14 years), with the most recent being the 2011–12 term.
  • India is a member of G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan), a group of nations who back each other in seeking a permanent seat on the Security Council and advocate in favour of the reformation of the UNSC.
  • The Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom and France support India and the other G4 countries gaining permanent seats.
  • India is also part of the G-77. The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15 June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries”.
  • It is designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations.
  • Because of the historical significance, the name G-77 has been kept despite the group’s growth to include more than 130 countries.
  • UN peacekeeping missions: From protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants and helping countries transition from conflict to peace, India has served the cause of peace.
  • At present (2019), India is the third largest troop contributor with 6593 personnel deployed with UN Peacekeeping Missions (Lebanon, Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, Golan Heights, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Liberia).
  • India has suffered the highest number of fatalities (164 out of close to 3,800 personnel) among countries that have sent forces to the United Nations peacekeeping mission since 1948.
  • Mahatma Gandhi has had a lasting influence on the United Nations. His ideals of non-violence deeply influenced the United Nations at the time of its inception.
  • In 2007, the United Nations declared 2nd October, Mahatma’s Gandhi’s birthday, as the International day of non-violence.
  • In 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution commemorating 21 June as the International Yoga Day.
  • It recognises the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations.
  • Plea for International Equality Day: In 2016, with focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, B. R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary was observed at the United Nations for the first time.
  • India has made a plea to declare April 14 as International Equality Day.

What about UN’s Funds, Programmes, Specialized Agencies and Others?

  • The UN system, also known unofficially as the “UN family”, is made up of the UN itself (6 main organs) and many affiliated programmes, funds, and specialized agencies, all with their own membership, leadership, and budget.

Funds and Programmes


  • The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), originally known as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children and mothers in countries that had been devastated by World War II.
  • In 1950, UNICEF’s mandate was extended to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere.
  • In 1953, it became a permanent part of the United Nations System, and the words “international” and “emergency” were dropped from the organization’s name, though it retained the original acronym, “UNICEF”.
  • Executive Board: A 36-member board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The members are government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), usually for three-year terms.
  • UNICEF relies on contributions from governments and private donors.
  • UNICEF’s Supply Division is based in Copenhagen (Denmark) and serves as the primary point of distribution for such essential items as vaccines, antiretroviral medicines for children and mothers with HIV, nutritional supplements, emergency shelters, family reunification, and educational supplies.

UNICEF’s Recent Initiatives:

  • Children’s Climate Risk Index
  • First Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT).



  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) establishes its mandate.
  • UNFPA works directly to tackle Sustainable Development Goals on health (SDG3), education (SDG4) and gender equality (SDG5). Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, ‘every childbirth is safe’ and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
  • In 2018, UNFPA launched efforts to achieve three transformative results, ambitions that promise to change the world for every man, woman and young person:
  • Ending unmet need for family planning
  • Ending preventable maternal death
  • Ending gender-based violence and harmful practices

UNFPA Publication:

  • State of World Population Report


  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN’s global development network.
  • UNDP was established in 1965 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
  • It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.
  • The UNDP Executive Board is made up of representatives from 36 countries around the world who serve on a rotating basis.
  • It is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations.
  • UNDP is central to the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a network that spans 165 countries and unites the 40 UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies and other bodies working to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • UNDP Publication: Human Development Index


  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is a global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system.
  • It was founded by UN General Assembly as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in June 1972.
  • UNEP and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) established Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 to assess climate change based on the latest science.
  • Since its founding, the UNEP has played a key role for the development of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The secretariats for the following nine MEAs are currently hosted by UNEP:
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
  • Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
  • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya


  • ‘Making Peace with Nature’ report
  • Emission Gap Report
  • Adaptation Gap Report
  • Global Environment Outlook
  • Frontiers
  • Invest into Healthy Planet

Major Campaigns:

  • Beat Pollution
  • UN75
  • World Environment Day
  • Wild for Life.

United Nations Environment Assembly

  • The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the governing body of the UN Environment Programme.
  • It is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.
  • It meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law.
  • It was created in June 2012, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also referred to as RIO+20.


  • United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future.
  • Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.
  • It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976.
  • 2nd United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996, set the twin goals of the Habitat Agenda:
  • Adequate shelter for all
  • Development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
  • 3rd United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) was held in 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. It elaborated on Goal-11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  • UN-Habitat maintains its headquarters at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Recently, the UN-Habitat has identified issues associated with Jaipur city like multi hazard vulnerabilities, weak mobility and Green-Blue economy and has laid out a plan to increase sustainability in the city.


  • World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
  • The WFP was established in 1963 by the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organization) and the United Nations General Assembly.

WFP Initiatives:

  • Share the Meal
  • Global Report on Food Crisis
  • The report is the flagship publication of the Global Network against Food Crises (GNAFC). And is facilitated by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) which is a global initiative co-sponsored by FAO, WFP and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • In Feb 2022, India signed an agreement with the WFP for the distribution of 50,000 MT of wheat that it has committed to sending to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian assistance.


  • The Security Council can take action to maintain or restore international peace and security under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
  • Sanctions measures, under Article 41, encompass a broad range of enforcement options that do not involve the use of armed force. Since 1966, the Security Council has established 30 sanctions.
  • Security Council sanctions have taken a number of different forms, in pursuit of a variety of goals. The measures have ranged from comprehensive economic and trade sanctions to more targeted measures such as arms embargoes, travel bans, and financial or commodity restrictions.
  • The Security Council has applied sanctions to support peaceful transitions, deter non-constitutional changes, constrain terrorism, protect human rights and promote non-proliferation.
  • Today, there are 14 ongoing sanctions regimes which focus on supporting political settlement of conflicts, nuclear non-proliferation, and counter-terrorism.
  • Each regime is administered by a sanctions committee chaired by a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
  • The Council applies sanctions with ever-increasing cognisance of the rights of those targeted.


  • Defunct UNSC: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the UN’s main executive body with the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.
  • However, the veto powers possessed by the UNSC’s five permanent members are used as an instrument to shore up their geopolitical interests, regardless of the disastrous consequences for the victims of armed conflict. As it can be seen in Syria, Iraq, etc.
  • Further, It does not reflect today’s distribution of military and economic power, nor a geographical balance. Thus, the structure of the 15-member Security Council ought to be more democratic and representative.
  • This has been long overdue on the demand, especially from the so-called Group of 4 (G4) countries — Brazil, Germany, India and Japan — which advocate a permanent seat for all of them.
  • General Assembly Reforms: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) can only make non-binding recommendations, which is another reason for ineffectiveness of the UN and another important issue of UN reform.
  • Undermining of Associated UN Bodies: The Economic and Social Council has been criticized, as it has become overshadowed by institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, which are lacking democratic processes, transparency, and accountability.
  • UN’s Financial Crisis: It can be said that the UN has a lot to do but it has too little money, as it is in a permanent financial crisis due to the unwillingness of many members to pay their contributions on time. As long as the UN’s budget remains tightly constrained, it cannot be effective.
  • Toothless UN Peacekeeping Operation: While the vast number of international law treaties affecting international trade, economics and human rights has proved very effective, laws prohibiting the use of force have been less so.
  • Thus, there is a need to include more personnel and carry out structural reforms for the UN Peacekeeping Operations.


  • Funding from Member States for the UN system comes from two main sources: assessed and voluntary contributions.
  • Assessed contributions are payments that all UN Member States are required to make under the UN Charter.
  • These assessments provide a reliable source of funding to core functions of the UN Secretariat via the UN regular and peacekeeping budgets. The UN’s specialized agencies have their own separate assessed budgets.
  • Voluntary contributions are not obligatory, but instead left to the discretion of individual Member States.
  • These contributions are vital to the work of the UN’s humanitarian and development agencies—including the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and UN Population Fund (UNFPA)—which do not have assessed budgets.
  • Member State assessment rates are also determined by the General Assembly, with renegotiations taking place every three years.
  • The current assessment structure sets maximum (22 percent) and minimum (.001 percent) rates, with a country’s rate based on its ability to pay.
  • That is determined by a formula which factors in a Member State’s gross national income, per capita income, and several other economic indicators.


  • Since the UN’s inception in 1945, the U.S. has been its largest financial contributor.
  • As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and host of UN headquarters in New York City, the U.S. enjoys a significant amount of clout at the UN, and its leadership in providing financial support to the organization reflects that influence.
  • Its reluctance to reforms is one of the most criticized part of UN functioning
  • Time to change the budget patterns.

Mains Question

  1. Does the United Nations reflect todays geopolitical world order? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
Chapter 27: International Groupings: India & the European Union



The European Union came into existence with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty or the Treaty of the European Union. The treaty was amended thrice:

  • Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)
  • Treaty of Nice (2001)
  • Treaty of Lisbon (2007)

The objectives of forming the European Union are:

  • To increase political cooperation
  • To enhance economic integration by creating a single currency the EURO.
  • Unified security and foreign policy
  • Common citizenship Rights
  • Enhanced cooperation in the areas of judiciary, immigration, and asylum.


The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison) combining the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.

Containing 5.8 per cent of the world population in 2020, the EU generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around US$17.1 trillion in 2021, constituting approximately 18 per cent of global nominal GDP.

Additionally, all EU states but Bulgaria have a very high Human Development Index according to the United Nations Development Programme.

EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market; enact legislation in justice and home affairs; and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development

Passport controls have been abolished for travel within the Schengen Area. The eurozone is a group composed of the 20 EU member states that have fully implemented the economic and monetary union and use the euro currency.

Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the union has developed a role in external relations and defence.

It maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Due to its global influence, the European Union has been described by some scholars as an emerging superpower.

The union was established along with its citizenship when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993, and was subsequently incorporated as an international law juridical person upon entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.

But its beginnings may be traced to its earliest predecessors incorporated primarily by a group of founding states known as the Inner Six (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany) at the start of modern institutionalized European integration in 1948.

After the creation by six states, 22 other states joined the union in 1973–2013. The United Kingdom became the only member state to leave the EU in 2020; ten countries are aspiring or negotiating to join it.


European Union was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2012.

The 7 important decision-making bodies of the European Union are:

  • European Parliament
  • European Council
  • European Commission
  • Council of the European Union
  • Court of Justice of the European Union
  • European Central Bank
  • European Court of Auditors.

European Union and Brexit

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom formally left the European Union becoming the first to leave the EU which was called Brexit. The exit was by Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union.


In News

  • Recently, Russia announced that it formally left the Council of Europe.
  • In 1996, the Russian Federation joined the Council of Europe following the break-up of the Soviet Union a few years prior.

What is the Council of Europe?

  • It was founded in 1949 and its mission is to uphold human rights and the rule of law as part of the postwar order.
  • It is a separate organisation from the 27-member EU.
  • The Council of Europe works in close partnership with the European Union, and co-operates with the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and with partner countries in its neighbourhood and worldwide.
  • No country has joined the EU without first joining the Council of Europe.
  • Its group of constitutional experts, known as the Venice Commission, offers legal advice to countries throughout the world.


  • It advocates freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities.
  • It helps member states fight corruption and terrorism and undertake necessary judicial reforms.
  • It promotes human rights through international conventions, such as the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the Convention on Cybercrime.
  • It monitors member states’ progress in these areas and makes recommendations through independent expert monitoring bodies. Council of Europe member states no longer apply the death penalty.


[row_inner_6] [col_inner_6 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 28: Regional Groupings: India & ASEAN


The Southeast Asian bloc hopes that India will help maintain the regional balance of power and slowly wean it off its trade dependence on China.


  • It is a regional grouping that promotes economic, political, and security cooperation.
  • It was established in August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the founding fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Brunei Darussalam then joined on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.
  • Its chairmanship rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
  • ASEAN countries have a total population of 650 million people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2.8 trillion. It is India’s 4th largest trading partner with about USD 78.9 billion in trade.

Historical Context with ASEAN

  • Geo-Political Scenario (The Colonization Effect)
  • Diverging Economic Models
  • Rise of China in the Region
  • The West interest in the Southeast
  • India’s unintentional Interference in the Region
  • India’s policy of Non-Alignment
  • India fixated with War and not a potential player in Economics

ASEAN Plus Three:

  • It is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.

ASEAN Plus Six:

  • The group includes ASEAN Plus Three as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand.

ASEAN Summit:

  • It is the highest policy-making body in ASEAN comprising the Head of States or Government of ASEAN Member States.
  • Summit is held twice annually.
  • The First ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976.


ASEAN brings together ten Southeast Asian states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – into one organisation.

Why in News?

Recently, the 24th ASEAN-India Senior Official’s Meeting (SOM) was hosted in Delhi.

India and ASEAN celebrated the 30th anniversary of their Dialogue Relations.

Earlier, the 2nd ASEAN Digital Ministers’ (ADGMIN) Meeting with India held, where two sides finalized India-ASEAN Digital work plan 2022 for future collaboration in the field.

Forums led by ASEAN

  • ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF): Launched in 1993, the 27-member multilateral grouping was developed to facilitate cooperation on political and security issues to contribute to regional confidence-building and preventive diplomacy.
  • ASEAN Plus Three:
  • East Asia Summit (EAS): First held in 2005, the summit seeks to promote security and prosperity in the region and is usually attended by the heads of state from ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. ASEAN plays a central role as the agenda-setter.
  • ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus Meeting: The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its 8 Dialogue Partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation, and the United States) to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

How has been the ASEAN-India Relations?

  • ASEAN, a 10-nation grouping, is considered one of the most influential groupings in Southeast Asia.
  • India and several other countries, including the US, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners.
  • The ASEAN-India dialogue relations started with the establishment of a sectoral partnership in 1992.
  • This graduated to full dialogue partnership in December 1995 and summit-level partnership in 2002. In 2012 Dialogue Partnership was further elevated to a Strategic Partnership.
  • Traditionally the basis of India-ASEAN ties has been trading and people-to-people ties due to shared historical and cultural roots, a more recent and urgent area of convergence has been balancing China’s rise.
  • Both India and ASEAN aim to establish a rules-based security architecture for peaceful development in the region, in contrast to China’s aggressive policies.
  • The year 2022 marks 30 years of ASEAN-India relations and it has been designated as ASEAN-India Friendship Year by the leaders in October 2021.

Policy Goals with ASEAN

India’s engagement with the ASEAN has been driven by three goals: 

  1. enhancing connectivity between India and ASEAN in the broadest sense of the term (i.e., physical, digital, people-to-people, business etc.);
  2. strengthening the ASEAN organization;
  3. Expanding practical cooperation in the maritime domain.

Areas of Cooperation:

Economic Cooperation:

ASEAN is India’s 4th largest trading partner.

India signed FTA (Free Trade Agreement) in goods in 2009 and an FTA in services and investments in 2014 with ASEAN.

India has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with various countries of the ASEAN region which has resulted in concessional trade and a rise in investments.

Political Cooperation:

ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) was established to undertake policy research, advocacy and networking activities with organizations and think-tanks in India and ASEAN.

Financial Assistance:

India provides financial assistance to the ASEAN nations through various mechanism like ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund, ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund and ASEAN-India Green Fund.


India has been undertaking several connectivity projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral (IMT) Highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Project.

India is also trying to establish a Maritime Transportation Agreement with ASEAN and also Plans for a Railway link between New Delhi in India to Hanoi in Vietnam.

Socio-Cultural Cooperation:

Programmes to boost People-to-People Interaction with ASEAN are organized, such as inviting ASEAN students to India, Special Training Course for ASEAN diplomats, Exchange of Parliamentarians, etc.

Defence Cooperation:

Joint Naval and Military exercises are conducted between India and most ASEAN countries.

Vietnam has traditionally been a close friend on defense issues, Singapore is also an equally important partner.

Trade in Commodities

  • Taken in aggregative terms, commodity trade between India and ASEAN region has reached USD 110.39 billion in last financial year i.e. April 2021- March 2022, with exports to ASEAN worth USD 42.327 billion and imports from ASEAN worth USD 68.07 billion.
  • This is for the first-time bilateral trade with ASEAN has crossed 100 billion.
  • Investment: Structurally, investments between India-ASEAN are mainly concentrated on Singapore.
  • Between 2000-2019, cumulative FDIs from ASEAN to India was $117.88 billion, but these were mainly accounted for by Singaporean investments in India ($115 billion).

ASEAN India Centre (AIC)

  • Proposed by an Eminent Persons Group in 2012 it is envisaged as a standing institution made up of nominated Indian and ASEAN officials/private sector personnel, who will be tasked to support the official tracks of India-ASEAN engagement by providing background research, organizing seminar, special events etc.
  • Presently an “ASEAN India Centre”, has been set up inside the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) New Delhi.
  • The Centre has been actively engaged in organizing activities including with a view to strengthen people to people contact.

What is the Significance of ASEAN for India?

  • India needs a close diplomatic relationship with ASEAN nations both for economic and security reasons.
  • Connectivity with the ASEAN nations can allow India to improve its presence in the region.
  • These connectivity projects keep Northeast India at the centre, ensuring the economic growth of the northeastern states.
  • Improved trade ties with the ASEAN nations would mean a counter to China’s presence in the region and economic growth and development for India.
  • ASEAN occupies a centralised position in the rules-based security architecture in the Indo-Pacific, which is vital for India since most of its trade is dependent on maritime security.
  • Collaboration with the ASEAN nations is necessary to counter insurgency in the Northeast, combat terrorism, tax evasions etc.

Checks Chinese Dominance:

  • Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security has gained high attention in the backdrop of China’s advancements in the South China Sea.
  • India will gain better positioning against China’s increasing dominating presence in the area

Act East Policy & Indo-Pacific:

  • Indo-Pacific is an interconnected geography where ASEAN is at its core.
  • Both ASEAN and India believe that openness, inclusiveness, rules-based order, freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes lie at the very core of the Indo-Pacific.

Act East Policy & Indo-Pacific:

Maritime Connectivity & Security:

  • India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and ASEAN Countries have borders with Indo-Pacific waters.
  • This opens up plenty of opportunities for India and other countries to work on maritime security, trade, and better supply chain networks.
  • India is consciously working with ASEAN towards a vision of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific in tandem with initiatives such as
    • The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI),
    • To ensure Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • India and some of the ASEAN countries are also members of the recently launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Delhi Dialogue:

  • The ‘Delhi Dialogue’ (DD) mechanism hosted by India annually,
  • It is traditionally inaugurated jointly by India and ASEAN at the Foreign Minister’s level.
  • It serves as the main Track 1.5mechanism for our engagement.
  • The DD-mechanism allows the participation of think tanks, academics and prominent civil society persons from both India and the ASEAN region.
  • In addition to government representatives, with the objective of contributing ideas and perspectives to furthering the India-ASEAN strategic partnership.
  • The XIIth edition of the Delhi Dialogue was held in June, 2022.
  • Trade in Commodities: Commodity trade between India and ASEAN region has reached 98.39 billion in the period April 2021- February 2022. India’s main trading ties are with Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand ie, 5 out of the 10 ASEAN member states

Over the years, ASEAN has progressively entered into several formal and legally-binding instruments, such as:

  • 1976 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia
  • 1995 Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone
  • 1997, Adoption of ASEAN Vision 2020.
  • 2003 Bali Concord II for the establishment of an ASEAN Community.
  • 2007 Cebu Declaration, to accelerate the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015.
  • 2008 ASEAN Charter comes into force and becomes a legally binding agreement.
  • 2015 Launch of ASEAN Community


As the other major economy in the region, the ASEAN hopes that India will help maintain the regional balance of power and slowly wean the group off its trade dependence on China.

On its part, New Delhi also sees Beijing as a threat and would like to steer clear of the superpower rivalry between China and the West.

India’s more logical role would be to rapidly expand trade ties. But here, ASEAN has been left even more disappointed.

After its controversial decision to stay out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade bloc, New Delhi was also reported to have played a role more recently in watering down Biden’s new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Before and during the pandemic, Modi has pursued a protectionist “self-reliance” policy, and in the aftermath of climate-related losses, India recently erected barriers to its agricultural trade.

All told, while India’s trade with the ASEAN amounts to around $78 billion a year, China’s trade is worth over $500 billion – almost a fifth of the bloc’s total trade.

There have also been severe political tensions more recently, after Indonesia and Malaysia protested against controversial Islamophobic comments made by leaders of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Yet, despite these shortcomings, for ASEAN, India is a partner of necessity, given China’s rising military presence in the region and tensions with the United States. The question the ASEAN will ask itself is whether New Delhi can play the economic and security role that it needs.

Way Forward

  1. With China having three times more commercial flights than India to Southeast Asia, improving air connectivity between India and ASEAN countries should also be high on the agenda.
  2. India can become the military partner after the Atma Nirbar Bharat, Make in India projects are successfully implemented.
  3. There is need to expand the Concept of QUAD to include the ASEAN countries and become a QUAD+ arrangement.
  4. Vietnam and Indonesia have expressed a positive note on QUAD in the region.
  5. Tourism can be encouraged between India and the ASEAN with some creative branding by the two sides.

Mains Question

  1. Throw light on the China Factor in the India-ASEAN relation? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. The success of India-ASEAN lies at the core of the success of India’s Act East Policy? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Discuss the problem areas in elevating the trade relations with the ASEAN? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  4. Throw light on the historical journey between India and ASEAN? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  5. Highlight the Economic and Strategic Interests of India in ASEAN? Will India be ever able to leverage its position with ASEAN? (250 Words) 15 Marks


Chapter 29: Regional Groupings: BRICS



BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers’ in 2006.

South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.

Share of BRICS:

The BRICS brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41% of the global population, 24% of the global GDP and 16% of the global trade.


  • The chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S. India was the chair for 2021.

BRICS 2022:

  • The 14th BRICS Summit was convened under the Chairmanship of China on 23-24June 2022, in a virtual format.
  • The leaders held discussions in the fields of Counter-Terrorism, Trade, Health, Traditional Medicine, Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation, Agriculture, Technical and Vocational Education & Training

Initiatives of the BRICS:

New Development Bank:

During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (Brazil) in 2014, the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB – Shanghai, China).

It has so far approved 70 infrastructure and sustainable development projects worth.

Contingent Reserve Arrangement:

In 2014, the BRICS governments had signed a treaty on the setting up of the contingent reserve arrangement

The arrangement is aimed at forestalling short-term balance of payments pressures, provide mutual support and strengthen financial stability of the BRICS nations.

BRICS Payment System:

BRICS countries are trying to create a payment system as an alternative to the SWIFT payment system.

This has taken on a new urgency as post Ukraine war, Russia has been frozen out of SWIFT.

Customs Agreements:

Customs agreement were signed to coordinate and ease trade transport between BRICS countries

Launched of Remote Sensing Satellite:

A Remote Sensing constellation of satellites has been launched – with 6 satellites including 2 from India, 2 from China, 1 from Russia, and 1 Brazil-China collaboration


Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine:

Concerns over the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine and expressed their support to efforts of the UN Secretary-General, UN Agencies and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide humanitarian assistance in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality.


While discussing terrorism and terror cooperation, the BRICS countries said that only the UN Security council has the authority for imposing sanctions.

On Afghanistan, BRICS countries called for “Afghanistan authorities to achieve national reconciliation through dialogue and negotiation, and to establish a broad-based and inclusive and representative political structure”, adding that Afghan territory must not be used to shelter terrorists or attack any other country.

Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption:

The BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption aims to further strengthen anti-corruption capacity building through education and training programs and enhance anti-corruption exchanges and cooperation within multilateral frameworks.

Framework for Consumer Protection in E-commerce:

The declaration welcomed the establishment of the Digital Economy Working Group by upgrading the E-commerce Working Group.

And the BRICS nations have agreed to promote consumer protection in e-commerce by advancing the implementation of BRICS Framework for Consumer Protection in E-commerce.

More Focus on Combating Transnational Drug Trafficking:

The summit also expressed concern over the serious drug situation in the world. BRICS declaration appreciate BRICS Anti-Drug Working Group’s active role in combating transnational drug trafficking and promoting global drug governance and will further strengthen drug control cooperation.

Way forward

The big three economies in the BRICS- Russia, China, and India- represent the major emerging global markets making them relevant across continents.

The ongoing crises like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, previously the Doklam standoff between India and China, have shown that the political relationships between BRICS can be disturbed at any instance.

But the grouping needs to move forward according to its foundational principles that are, respect for sovereign equality and pluralism in global governance are liable to be tested as the five member countries pursue their national agendas.

The relevancy of the grouping needs to be ensured in the coming decades which will probably be marred with more challenges. BRICS must reaffirm their commitment to a multi-polar world that allows for sovereign equality and democratic decision-making.

Mains Question

  1. Despite their geographical isolation and decoupled geopolitics, the BRICS nations tried their best to find a common ground in disturbed waters? Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. The prospective growth as the only convergence point in the formation of the BRICS is how far justified? (150 Words) 10 Marks
Chapter 30: Regional Groupings: SCO



At the end of Cold War, 5 Central Asian countries broke away from USSR

A lot of Uyghur Muslims lived in Central Asia. China thought that the Uyghurs in China may begin to link with Uyghurs in CA and create unrest in Xinjiang Province.

In 1992, China started negotiating a Security Pact. After 22 rounds of negotiations a grouping called SHANGHAI 5 was born in 1996.

The aim of Shanghai 5 was to undertake confidence building measures and demilitarize borders.

With the joining of Uzbekistan in 2001, the grouping was renamed as SCO to emphasize its role as a body for regional cooperation.

CHINA through SCO wishes to fight three evils of Separatism, Terrorism and Extremism.


SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.

It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002 and entered into force in 2003.


  • Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five.
  • Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders.
  • Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organization in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO. India became an Observer State in 2005. India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
  • On 17th September 2021, it was announced that Iran would become a full member of the SCO.


  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighborliness among the member states.
  • Promoting effective cooperation in -politics, trade & economy, research & technology and culture.
  • Enhancing ties in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, etc.
  • Maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region.
  • Establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political & economic order.


Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran.

There are 3 Observer States interested in acceding to full membership:

  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • Mongolia

There are 6 Dialogue Partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Turkey


Heads of State Council – The supreme SCO body which decides its internal functioning and its interaction with other States & international organisations and considers international issues.

Heads of Government Council – Approves the budget, considers and decides upon issues related to economic spheres of interaction within SCO.

Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs – Considers issues related to day-to-day activities.

Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) – Established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.

SCO Secretariat – Based in Beijing to provide informational, analytical & organizational support.

Official language:

The official working language of the SCO Secretariat is Russian and Chinese.

How does the SCO work?

According to official website of SCO-

The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the highest decision-making body in the SCO. —It meets once every year to take decisions and give instructions on all important issues regarding SCO activity.

—The Heads of Government Council (HGC) meets once per year to discuss a strategy for multilateral cooperation and priority directions within the Organisation’s framework, to solve important and pressing cooperation issues in economic and other areas, as well as to adopt the Organisation’s annual budget.

What is the SCO RATS?

—It was established to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism.

—The Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is the permanent body of the SCO RATS based in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

—The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure operates in accordance with the SCO Charter, the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, the Agreement among the SCO member states on the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, as well as documents and decisions adopted in the SCO framework.

India assumed chairmanship of the Council of Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of SCO (RATS SCO) on October 28 last year for a period of one year. India has shown keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure, which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

What is the SCO Business Council?

—The Business Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded on June 14, 2006 in Shanghai. It is a nongovernment entity that unites the highly authoritative business community representatives of the SCO member states with an eye towards expanding economic cooperation, establishing direct relations and a dialogue between the business and financial communities, and facilitating the practical promotion of multilateral projects.

—In addition to energy, transport, telecommunications, lending and the banking sector, the council focuses on such priorities of interstate cooperation between the SCO countries as education, research and innovative technology, as well as healthcare and agriculture.

—The SCO Business Council’s Permanent Secretariat is headquartered in Moscow.

Strengths of the Shanghai Corporation Organization

  • The SCO covers 40%of the global population, nearly 20% of the global GDP and 22% of the world’s land mass.
  • The SCO has a strategically important role in Asia due to its geographical significance – this enables it to control Central Asia and limit the American influence in the region.
  • SCO is seen as a counterweight to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Importance of SCO to India

  • Allows India to connect to Central Asia
  • Enhance its Security and Economic Relations with CA
  • SCO can be used as a Regional platform to bring peace in Afghanistan
  • India can use SCO to augment its Connect Central Asia Policy.
  • Enhance connectivity and trade with CA.
  • Allows India and Pakistan a platform for talks
  • Energy Security
  • An opportunity to resolve border disputes
  • Avoid isolation of India in a large region

Challenges for Shanghai Corporation Organization

  • The SCO security challenges include combating terrorism, extremism and separatism; drug and weapons trafficking, illegal immigration, etc.
  • Despite being geographically close, the rich diversity in members’ history, backgrounds, language, national interests and forms of government, wealth and culture makes the SCO decision-making challenging.

Mains Question

  1. DISCUSS how the other members of the SCO can negate the hegemony of Russia and China on the platform of SCO? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Highlight the challenges facing the SCO in realising its potential as a regional grouping? (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Discuss how the long pending border disputes amongst the members countries of the SCO shall hamper the building of trust which is at the core of its objectives? (150 Words) 10 Marks


[row_inner_7] [col_inner_7 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 31: G20


The G20 Summit is an intergovernmental forum for international economic cooperation that shapes and strengthens global economic architecture and related governance. Although the initial focus of the Group of 20 was primarily on global macroeconomic issues and financial stability, which were the reasons for its genesis, its agenda has been broadened to cover concerns like trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, anti-corruption, and so on.

The current G20 Presidency offers a unique opportunity for India to spearhead a collective approach to address various complex economic challenges of the world as well as putting the aspirations of the developing world to the forefront of the platform.

Historical Background of G20 Summit

The Group owes its origin to the Financial Crisis in 1997-98 of the Asian Tigers (Countries of East and Southeast Asia), which caused its establishment in 1999. It worked first as a forum for the Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers of the major industrialised and developing economies to discuss global economic and financial stability.

Elevation to Leader’s Level: After the 2008 global financial crisis, it was upgraded to the level of Heads of State or Government when it became clear that crisis coordination would be possible only at the highest political level.

  • In 2009, it was declared as the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.
  • The G20 Leaders have met on a regular basis since then, and the G20 has emerged as the leading platform for global economic cooperation.

G20 Countries List

G20 comprises 19 countries, namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

  • These members account for around 85% of the world GDP, 75% of the total international trade, and two-thirds of the global population.
  • In addition to these member countries, the G20 each year invites guest countries and international organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, IMF, OECD, ASEAN, etc., to participate in its meetings.

Structure and Functioning of G20

The G20 operates on the basis of annual meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, with a leaders’ summit held once a year. The G20 consists of two parallel tracks called the Finance Track and the Sherpa Track. These two tracks play an active role in shaping ideas and priorities for the host presidency while also guiding the intergovernmental negotiations carried out throughout the presidency. They prepare and follow up on the issues and commitments adopted at the Summits.

Structure of G20 Summit

Sherpa Track

– The Sherpas of member countries are the personal emissaries of the Leaders.

– They concentrate on socio-economic issues such as agriculture, anti-corruption, climate, digital economy, education, employment, energy, environment, health, tourism, trade and investment.

– They oversee all the negotiations over the year, discuss the agenda for the Summit and coordinate the substantive work of G20.

Finance Track

– It is headed by the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, who generally meet four times a year, with two meetings being held on the sidelines of World Bank /International Monetary Fund meetings.

– Focus areas: Fiscal and Monetary policy issues such as global economy, infrastructure, financial regulation, financial inclusion, international financial architecture, and international taxation.

  • Troika: The G20 does not have a charter or a secretariat. The Presidency is supported by the Troika, which includes the previous, current, and incoming presidencies. The G20 Presidency hosts the Summit and directs the agenda for a calendar year.
  • A non-binding forum: Its decisions are not legally binding, and member countries are not required to implement them.
  • Working with international organisations: The G20 members also work closely with international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Significance of G20 Summit 2023

  • Wider areas of cooperation: The agenda of the G20 has been expanding from a broad macroeconomic policy to include more areas of cooperation.
    • The G20 summit in Hangzhou (China), 2016, saw the convergence of the US and China on the Paris Agreement. 
    • The G20 summit in Argentina, 2018 focused on fair and sustainable development.
    • G20 summit in Germany, 2021 focused on the issues regarding money laundering, international tax havens, and corruption. 
    • G20 summit in Bali (Indonesia), 2022 focused on financial stability, humanitarian crisis, poverty, and aid to least developed nations, among other things. 
    • Food security: The leaders promised to work together to address food security issues and praised the Black Sea grains initiative.
    • Promoting gender equality: Recognize the importance of gender equality and commit to promoting it by increasing women’s participation in the workforce, reducing the gender pay gap, and improving access to education and healthcare
  • Global balance of power: The G20 promotes a more equitable distribution of power among developed and developing countries than the earlier formed blocs such as G-7 and P-5 (UNSC), which helps to maintain a balance of power at the global level. 
  • Bringing adversaries on a common platform: The importance of the G20 lies in its ability to bring together countries with different ideologies, political systems, and economic interests onto a common platform to discuss and address global economic issues.
  • Addressing climate change: The G20 has recognised the threat of climate change and has taken some initiatives to address it.
    • The commitments adopted by the G20 members in the domain of climate change revolve around the following issues: energy efficiency and renewables; adoption of advanced and clean technologies; resilient infrastructure; tackling environmental challenges like biodiversity loss; adoption of the Circular Carbon Economy etc.
  • Networking and collaboration: The G20 provides an opportunity for leaders from different countries to meet and exchange ideas, strengthening relationships and promoting collaboration on economic issues.
  • Global economic cooperation: The G20 has played a critical role in responding to economic crises such as the 2008 global financial crisis, the Eurozone debt crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues and Limitations of G20

While the G20 has played an important role in shaping global economic policies, there are several challenges and limitations to its effectiveness:

  • Difficulty in reaching consensus: Countries with a wide range of economic and political systems can make it difficult for them to reach a consensus on important issues.
    • For example, during the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 struggled to come up with a coordinated response.
    • There has been friction within the group sometimes regarding the issue of climate change.
    • Further, geopolitical tensions such as the Russia-Ukraine crisis also become the bone of contention in reaching the consensus, as observed in the Bali G20 summit as well as during the current India’s G20 presidency.
  • No Permanent Secretariat: The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat, due to which monitoring becomes cumbersome and inefficient as discussions expand.
  • Non-binding decisions: Member countries are not legally bound to implement the decisions made at G20 meetings.
    • For example, the G20 countries had agreed to a set of guidelines for preventing the financing of terrorism, but there is no mechanism to enforce compliance with these guidelines.
  • Limited membership: The G20 only includes 19 countries and the European Union, which means that other important economies are not included. Expanding the membership could help to ensure that the group is more representative of the global economy.

India’s G2O Presidency 2023

India is hosting the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2023 for the first time in history, with 43 Heads of Delegation attending the final New Delhi Summit in September 2023, the most ever in the G20. Amitabh Kant is the G20 Sherpa of India. India is on a mission to create a shared global future with a rules-based order, peace, and just growth for all through its Amrit Kaal initiative.

  • Theme of India’s G20 presidency: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth – One Family – One Future”.
  • Troika: During the presidency, the Troika would consist of Indonesia, India and Brazil. 
  • Invitees: Other than the members and multilateral institutions, nine countries have been invited – Bangladesh, Netherlands, Oman, Singapore, Nigeria, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Mauritius.
  • African representation: To make G20 more inclusive, India has proposed to include the African Union as a full-time member.
  • Challenge for India presidency: In its various G20 meetings, India as a host, has been unable to draft a final joint statement acceptable to all members due to Russia-Ukraine tensions.

India’s G20 Priorities

  • Green Development, Climate Finance and Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE): India’s emphasis on combating climate change, with a focus on climate technology and finance, as well as ensuring equitable energy transitions for developing nations.
  • Accelerated, Inclusive & Resilient Growth:Focus on initiatives that could result in structural change, such as: assisting small and medium-sized businesses in international trade, advancing labour rights and welfare, addressing the global skills gap, and constructing inclusive agricultural value chains and food systems.
  • Accelerating progress on SDGs: Recommitment to achieving the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with an emphasis on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects.
  • Technological Transformation and Digital Public Infrastructure: Encouragement of a human-centric view of technology and increased knowledge exchange in areas like financial inclusion, digital public infrastructure, and tech-enabled development in industries like agriculture and education.
  • Multilateral Institutions for the 21st century: Efforts to reform multilateralism and build a more accountable, inclusive, and representative global order capable of addressing the challenges of the twenty-first century.
  • Women-led Development: In order to promote socio-economic development and the achievement of the SDGs, emphasis should be placed on inclusive growth and development, with a focus on women’s empowerment and representation.

Significance of India’s G20 Presidency

  • India’s growing economic influence: As the fastest-growing large economy, India’s role in the G20 is critical, and its presidency will help it further strengthen its economic ties with other G20 members.
  • India’s leadership on climate change: India has been a strong advocate for climate action. As the world grapples with the challenge of climate change, India’s presidency can help set the tone for global cooperation on this issue.
  • India’s focus on inclusive growth: By prioritising inclusive growth, India’s presidency will focus on issues such as infrastructure development, job creation, and women’s empowerment.
  • India’s strategic importance: The presidency of the G20 will provide a platform for India to engage with other major powers, including the United StatesChina, and Russia, on issues of global importance.
  • Becoming the voice of Global South: By holding the meeting of the Global South countries along with G20 meetings, India has become the voice of the erstwhile sidelined Global South.
  • India’s role in quality healthcare: India has played a leading role in ensuring that developing and low-income countries have access to vaccines, financing, and other resources they need to recover from the pandemic. Thus, India can ensure universal, quality, and affordable health services.


Chapter 32: SAARC


There are currently nine Observers to SAARC, namely:

  • Australia,
  • China,
  • The European Union,
  • Iran,
  • Japan,
  • The Republic of Korea,
  • Mauritius,
  • Myanmar,
  • The United States of America.


  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985.
  • The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was first raised in November 1980. After consultations, the foreign secretaries of the seven founding countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981.
  • Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005.
  • The Headquarters and Secretariat of the Association are at Kathmandu, Nepal.

Induction of Afghanistan

  • In 2005, Afghanistan formally applied for membership to SAARC.
  • It spurred debate among SAARC members due to the following reasons.
  • The nascent status of Afghan democracy and
  • The perception of the country as a Central Asian nation.
  • The SAARC nations, pressured by Pakistan, agreed to admit Afghanistan into the bloc with the stipulation that it first hold nonpartisan general elections.
  • Afghanistan held the elections in late 2005.
  • In 2007, Afghanistan became the eighth member state of SAARC.

Structure of SAARC

Council: It is the highest policy-making body. Government leaders from the individual member nations serve as the council’s representatives.

Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers is made up of foreign ministers, and it usually meets twice a year.

Principles of SAARC

Cooperation within the framework of the SAARC shall be based on:

Respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and mutual benefit.

Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.

Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.

Importance of SAARC

SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy.

Creating synergies: It is the world’s most densely populated region and one of the most fertile areas. SAARC countries have common tradition, dress, food and culture and political aspects thereby synergizing their actions.

Common solutions: All the SAARC countries have common problems and issues like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, natural disasters, internal conflicts, industrial and technological backwardness, low GDP and poor socio-economic condition and uplift their living standards thereby creating common areas of development and progress having common solutions.

Significance of SAARC for India

Neighbourhood first: Primacy to the country’s immediate neighbours.

Geostrategic significance: Can counter China (OBOR initiative) through engaging Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka in development process and economic cooperation.

Regional stability: SAARC can help in creation of mutual trust and peace within the region.

Global leadership role: It offers India a platform to showcase its leadership in the region by taking up extra responsibilities.

Game changer for India’s Act East Policy: by linking South Asian economies with Southeast Asia will bring further economic integration and prosperity to India mainly in the Services Sector.

Associated Challenges

Low frequency of meetings: More engagement is required by the member states and instead of meeting biennial meetings should be held annually.

Broad area of cooperation leads to diversion of energy and resources.

Limitation in SAFTA: The implementation of SAFTA has not been satisfactory a Free Trade Agreement confined to goods, excluding all services like information technology.

Indo-Pak Relations: Escalated tension and conflict between India and Pakistan have severely hampered the prospects of SAARC.

Way Forward

In a region increasingly targeted by Chinese investment and loans, SAARC could be a common platform to demand more sustainable alternatives for development, or to oppose trade tariffs together, or to demand better terms for South Asian labour around the world.

SAARC, as an organisation, reflects the South Asian identity of the countries, historically and contemporarily. This is a naturally made geographical identity. Equally, there is a cultural, linguistic, religious and culinary affinity that defines South Asia.

The potential of organisation to maintain peace and stability in the region should be explored by all the member countries.

SAARC should be allowed to progress naturally and the people of South Asia, who make up a quarter of the world’s population should be offered more people-to-people contact.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh once said that I dream of a day while retaining our respective National identities one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore, and dinner in Kabul that is how our forefathers live and that is how I want our children to live.

Mains Question

  1. The failure of SAARC is more to do with geopolitics rather than the grouping itself. Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Suggest alternatives to improve the functioning of SAARC (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. In the current geopolitical context will the dream of SAARC be ever fulfilled? Critically Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks
Chapter 33: BIMSTEC


What is BIMSTEC?

BIMSTEC is a regional multilateral organization comprising 7 Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.

It came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.

The seven Member States ae Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

It has its secretariat at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Initially, the economic bloc was formed with 4 Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).

Thailand has assumed the chairmanship of BIMSTEC for 2022.

What are the key achievements of BIMSTEC?

Creation of Charter- It has crafted a new Charter for itself, spelling out the grouping’s vision, functions of its constituent parts and has secured a legal personality.

Prioritization of sectors- It has prioritized the sectors of cooperation (7 sectors) with each member-state serving as the lead country for the assigned sector.

Strengthening the Secretariat- It has taken measures to strengthen the Secretariat, although some members are yet to extend adequate personnel support to it.

Survival amidst internal tensions- The BIMSTEC region witnessed the influx of over a million Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh the coup in Myanmar that led to its virtual boycott by a large segment of the international community the grave political and economic crisis afflicting Sri Lanka.

Holding summits and meetings- Unlike South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), post-2014, AND the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), BIMSTEC has continued to hold its summits and meetings.

It has now resolved to hold regular summits once in two years.

Progress in other areas– The grouping has also registered progress in combating terrorism, forging security cooperation, better management of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.


Being a sector-driven grouping, cooperation within BIMSTEC had initially focused on six sectors in 1997 (trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism, and fisheries) and expanded in 2008 to incorporate agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people-to-people contact, and climate change.

Subsequently, following steps to rationalize and reorganize sectors and sub-sectors, cooperation was reorganized in 2021 under the following sectors and sub-sectors led by the respective Member States:




Trade, Investment and Development


Environment & Climate Change



  Sub-sectors: Counter-Terrorism and Trasnational Crime,
  Disaster Management, Energy


Agriculture and Food Security

 Agriculture, Fisheries & Livestock


People-to-People Contact


Culture, Tourism, People-to-People Contact (forums of think tanks, media etc.)

Sri Lanka

Science, Technology & Innovation (Sri Lanka)


Technology, Health, Human Resource Development




India is the Lead Country of the Security Sector.

Security Sector comprises of three sub-sectors, namely Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC), Disaster Management and Energy.

Legal Instruments: The BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking was entered into force on 16 March 2021.

What about the prospects of BIMSTEC?

In this Indo-Pacific century, the Bay of Bengal Community (BOBC) has the potential to play a pivotal role, deepening linkages between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

It should accelerate the region’s economic development by collaborating with the newly minted Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

Bangladesh, Thailand and India trio should take up extra efforts to pull the BIMSTEC.

How BIMSTEC is important for India?

Platform to manifest its foreign policy: BIMSTEC allows India to pursue two core policies- Neighborhood First (primacy to the country’s immediate periphery), Act East (connect India with Southeast Asia) and Security & Growth for all In the Region (SAGAR).

Development of India’s North-East: The grouping also provides opportunity for economic development of India’s northeastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Counter China: The grouping allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative.

Alternative to SAARC: A new platform for India to engage with its neighbors with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.

Showcases Leadership in region: India aspires to be a global power & “Vishwaguru” and through this platform, India can prove to the world the inherent capabilities in its eminent leadership to create a new world order.

What are the fault lines in BIMSTEC?

FTA- A major failure relates to the continuing inability to produce a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 18 years after the signing of the Framework Agreement. Out of the seven agreements needed to operationalise the FTA, only two are ready.

Connectivity- The connectivity in infrastructure, energy, digital and financial domain institutions that bring people closer together for trade, tourism and cultural exchanges is disappointing. Only limited progress has been achieved so far, despite the adoption of the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Fund creation- The movement towards establishing the BIMSTEC Development Fund is minimal.

Blue economy- The grouping has talked about the Blue Economy but is yet to begin any work on it.

Involvement- Business chambers and corporate leaders are yet to be engaged fully with the activities of BIMSTEC leaving the grouping largely in the hands of officials and experts.

Difference between SAARC & BIMSTEC



A regional organisation looking into South Asia

Interregional organisation connecting South Asia and South East Asia.

Established in 1985 during the cold war era.

Established in 1997 in the post-Cold War.

Member countries suffer for mistrust and suspicion.

Members maintain reasonably friendly relations

Suffers from regional politics

Core objective is the improvement of economic cooperation among countries.

Asymmetric power balance

Balancing of power with the presence of Thailand and India on the bloc.

Intra-regional trade only 5 percent.

Intra-regional trade has increased around 6 precent in a decade.

Mains Question

  1. The Fault lines in the BIMSTEC frighten the accomplishment of its full potential? Discuss (150 Words) 10 Marks
  2. Can BIMSTEC be a true replacement to SAARC in the present geo-political construct? Suggest (150 Words) 10 Marks
  3. Elucidate the significance of BIMSTEC for India? (150 Words) 10 Marks


[row_inner_8] [col_inner_8 span__sm=”12″]
Chapter 34: IORA


India is a peninsular nation with the Indian Ocean on its three sides.

India’s geographic location makes the Indian Ocean a key component of its foreign policy, security decisions, trade, etc.

Indian ocean rim association (IORA) was established under the leadership of India, to ensure the sustainable development of the Indian Ocean region.

The idea for IORA first surfaced during the late South African President Nelson Mandela’s 1995 visit to India, where he stated:

“The natural urge of the factors of history and geography should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean Rim for socio-economic cooperation…” This sentiment and rationale underpinned the formation of IORA. Two years later, it was established in 1997, and Mauritius serves as its secretariat.

It was established in 1997 and is a regional forum that seeks to build and expand understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.

IORA has 22 member states, including Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, and Yemen.

Its Secretariat is based in Cyber City, Ebène, Mauritius.

It manages, coordinates, services and monitors the implementation of policy decisions, work programmes and projects adopted by the member states.

The association gains importance by the fact that the Indian Ocean carries half of the world’s container ships, one-third of the world’s bulk cargo traffic and two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments.

It is a lifeline of international trade and transport and the Indian ocean region is woven together by trade routes and commands control of major sea-lanes.


The Council of Foreign Ministers (COM), IORA’s highest authority, convenes once a year.

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh took over as Chair from November 2021 to November 2023, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who held the position from November 2019 to November 2021.

A committee of senior officials (CSO) gathers twice a year to advance the agenda of IORA and to consider recommendations made by working groups and forums of government representatives, business leaders, and academics for the implementation of programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of life for citizens in the Indian Ocean Member States.


India continues to promote its official policy of “coordination, cooperation and partnership” in the regional maritime domain.

As coordinator to the priority area on disaster risk management, India has published guidelines for IORA. It has also urged partners to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure launched at the UN in September 2019.

India has been trying to emerge as the net provider of information in the IOR and in that direction it created the Information Fusion Centre located in Gurugram to assist member countries of IOR with real-time crisis information.

Bangladesh, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Seychelles have been part of the information support structure of India.

Indian policy takes into consideration that IOR is not an India-run maritime domain and that is reflected in the government’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) programme, which aims to turn the region more inclusive.


It is the only ministerial-level organization that focuses purely on the Indian Ocean region, bound together by growing economic and trade linkages and a shared interest in promoting prosperity, peace and stability.

In 2014, India hosted the first Indian Ocean Dialogue in Kochi, Kerala bringing together officials, academics and other strategic thinkers to discuss six broad themes – the geo-political contour of the Indian Ocean Region, maritime security challenges, strengthening regional institutions, information sharing, cooperation in disaster relief and management, and economic cooperation. The Kochi Consensus was adopted as its outcome document.

The Indian Ocean Dialogue (IOD) is a flagship initiative of IORA, with its origins in the 13th Council of Ministers meeting, held in November 2013 in Perth, Australia.


Overlapping Regional Organizations:

IORA competes for member states’ attention and funding with other regional and international organisations; in fact, IORA member states are members of 14 of such organisations.

Geopolitical Disputes:

In particular, India’s deliberate exclusion of Pakistan from IORA membership has significantly hampered IORA’s ability to grow.

Despite the fact that the India-Pakistan conflict has largely been on land, it has appeared in IORA, as mentioned above, and other regional maritime organisations.

Recent nuclear submarine technology competition between Pakistan and India has each nation’s navy to some degree armed with nuclear weapons.

Further fueling Indian mistrust of a crucial nation in the development of IORA, in this case a conversation partner, is China’s recent involvement in the Indian Ocean Region, particularly through the Belt and Road Initiative.

Though experts claim that Chinese involvement in the Indian Ocean Region has the potential to considerably assist IORA projects, especially those related to the Blue Economy, India views such activity as a move to transfer power from India to China and pushes back in response.

[/col_inner_8] [/row_inner_8] [/col_inner_7] [/row_inner_7] [/col_inner_6] [/row_inner_6] [/col_inner_5] [/row_inner_5] [/col_inner_4] [/row_inner_4] [/col_inner_3] [/row_inner_3]