Editorial – 1
Title of the editorial: Biden, India and comfort in the old normal
Written by: Suhasini Haider
Topic in syllabus: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interest ,
Indian diaspora. (GS-2)
Analysis about: This editorial talks about the future probable policy changes in the US (Biden Administration) and its effect on India & the world.
- What is the issue of WHO? – Trump administration stopped the funding of WHO citing the reason that the partiality of WHO in favour of China & not supporting the US demand of investigation of origin of Corona virus.
- What is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action / the Iran nuclear deal? – It is is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union.
- Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium was reduced by 97 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg.
- Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.
- The IAEA will have multi-layered oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies”.
- Why US withdrawn from the deal?
- The deal isn’t entirely permanent; the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program start to relax about 10 years after the deal was signed (though the agreement not to build a nuclear weapon is permanent).
- The deal didn’t cover other problematic things Iran was doing, including ballistic missile development and its support for violent militias around the Middle East (like Hezbollah in Lebanon).
- What is the issue of the US with Paris climate change agreement? – In withdrawing from the agreement, Trump stated that “The Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy,” and “puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage.”Trump stated that the withdrawal would be in accordance with his America First policy. (Developed countries to provide USD 100 billion to developing & least developed countries annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support.)
- What is Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) – It is a preferential tariff system extended by developed countries to developing countries which allows zero tariff imports from developing countries. The GSP of the US provides preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated countries.
- With U.S. Democratic candidate former Vice-President Joe Biden seizing the lead in the presidential elections and that puts him at the cusp of victory, the attention in India turns to what kind of foreign policy changes he will bring to India U.S. relations.
Biden’s view on Afghan region:
- Mr. Biden fought long and hard, building on multiple visits to the region, and suggested that the U.S. did not need more troops; instead it needed to pull out, and focus on a five-point agenda for what he called “Counterterrorism Plus”.
- He supports a full focus on al-Qaeda, exiting other counterinsurgency missions and dropping the Bush era “nation-building” theme, reducing U.S. bases to just two or three, and fighting the Taliban with a view to bringing them to the table for reconciliation.
- On Pakistan, Mr. Biden favoured a policy of engagement in order to deal with the Taliban.
Will there be any difference in the policy of Biden on Afghanistan?
- The relative merits of the different American strategies on Afghanistan will be judged in the future, what this shows is that the specific policies of Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump in the international arena may not differ as much as their political styles and their ideologies do.
Why ? – In the past Trump had ordered a largescale pullout of U.S. troops, limited U.S. presence at bases and its mission in Afghanistan, while appointing Zalmay Khalilzad to build a reconciliation process with the Taliban.
Future ties with India & What can India get:
- It is likely that Mr. Biden will build on the military foundational agreements with India, strengthen military cooperation and push the sale of U.S. military hardware.
- When it comes to trade, it is unlikely that Mr. Biden can dial back many of the measures that Mr. Trump has put into motion.
- Probable measures would be – Restoring India’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status for exporters, and in wrapping up a mini-trade deal that the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal have been working on.
- On visas, and he already has an in-house understanding of the value of Indian immigrants to the U.S., and the importance of India’s outsourcing industry to the U.S., through his running mate Kamala Harris.
What are the frictional areas with India?
- Jammu Kashmir article 370 abrogation,
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act,
- communal and caste-based violence,
- actions against non-governmental organisations
- media freedoms.
What are the areas for world which matters the most?
- Mr. Biden’s foreign policy will be watched for just how much he reverses Mr. Trump’s pullout from the multilateral world order, including the World Health Organisation, UNESCO, Human Rights Council, agreements such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear deal and
the Paris Climate Accord and traditional trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific alliances.
- What concrete measures he takes in order to strengthen the rules-based international order, and to ensure the countries that flout it the most, including China, Russia, and even the United States are held to account.
Conclusion: The success of the government’s dealings with Mr. Biden’s administration now depends on how much of the “old normal” the Modi government is able to revert to and find comfort over the next few months.
Editorial – 2
Title of the editorial: Alimony guidelines
Topic in syllabus: Women associated issues (GS-1)
Analysis about: This editorial talks about importance of recent judgement of supreme court about alimony.
Basics: What did SC say?
- While hearing a dispute between a Mumbai-based couple, Supreme court set down comprehensive guidelines on alimony. The court ruled that an abandoned wife and children will be entitled to ‘maintenance’ from the date she applies for it in a court of law.
What is the plight of Indian women?
- In India, though more girls are going to school now, for many the inevitable reality seems marriage before completion of higher education.
- Girls are married off early and bear children long or many, before they should.
- This triggers a state of poor maternal health and is one of the root causes of high levels of child stunting and wasting in India.
- There is also the possibility of a marriage not working out for varied reasons, leaving the girl or young woman in extreme distress because often she is not financially independent.
Constitutional safeguards: There are two key constitutional safeguards.
- Article 15(3), which states ‘nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children’.
- Article 39, which directs state policy towards equal pay and opportunities for both men and women, and protecting the health of women and children.
Why the judgement was necessary?
- Given the large and growing percentage of matrimonial litigation, some clarity was necessary.
- Cases are known to drag on and acquire cobwebs, worsening the misery for vulnerable women.
- For women in India, especially the poor who are often overlooked in discourses, the top court’s words that maintenance laws will mean little if they do not prevent dependent wives and children from “falling into destitution and vagrancy”, offer a glimmer of hope.
Editorial – 3
Title of the editorial: The Indo-Pacific journey
Writer: Harsh vardhan Shringla – He is India’s Foreign Secretary. This is text of his speech at Policy Exchange in the United Kingdom on November 3.
Topic in syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting
India’s interests. (GS-2)
Analysis about: This editorial talks about importance of Indo-pacific region & how this region matters to different countries who are releasing their strategies related to the region.
About the term we often use – “The indo-Pacific”:
- An Indian maritime analyst is believed to have used the term as far back as the 1990s, “Indo-Pacific” is a fairly recent addition to the geopolitical lexicon.
- India has used it in joint statements with a series of partner countries, including but not limited to the United States, Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, and of course the United Kingdom.
- It also figures in our meetings with our ASEAN friends and has helped advance the Quad consultations.
- Ministry of external affairs has recently set up an Indo-Pacific Division as well as an Oceania Division, and placed them under the same Additional Secretary level officer, is a sign of India’s commitment to this critical geography.
What is Indo-pacific for India?
- For India, the Indo-Pacific is that vast maritime space stretching from the western coast of North America to the eastern shores of Africa.
- India’s Indo-Pacific geography can perhaps be best described as a succession of semi-circles.
- The innermost semi-circle incorporates our closest neighbours. These are South Asian countries that share with us the waters of the Indian Ocean.
- The arc of the outer neighbourhood covers the Gulf states to our west and Southeast Asia and the ASEAN countries to our east.
Why we define it the way we do, and to the extent we do?
- During the Cold War, the Indo-Pacific was sliced and diced into different spheres of influence and military theatres, and made subservient to bloc think. To India, this made little sense.
- We found it impossible to see the Horn of Africa and the western Indian Ocean on the one hand and the Straits of Malacca on the other as disconnected. For us, they have always been a seamless whole.
Reasons behind our perception of Indo-pacific: [important points for your answers]
- Indian peninsula, which thrusts into the Indian Ocean and gives us two magnificent coasts and near limitless maritime horizons to both our east and our west.
- Monks and merchants, culture and cargo have travelled from India on those waters, to our east, west and south.
- India’s great religious traditions, such as Buddhism, spread far and wide in the Indo-Pacific.
- Some of the oldest and most impressive Hindu temples are found in Vietnam, remnants of the Cham kingdom.
- A thousand years ago India’s greatest coastal empire, the Cholas, sent maritime expeditions and trading ships as far east as Sumatra, to ancient China, as well as to the Abbasid empire in what is today Iraq.
- Another empire, the Pallavas, had a flourishing trade relationship with Southeast Asia.
- Sea-borne trade with Africa and with the Gulf states have been constants of Indian economic life.
- These experiences are our past and are our future; these experiences determine our concept of the Indo-Pacific.
Importance of Indo-Pacific:
- The Indo-Pacific Ocean system carries an estimated 65 per cent of world trade and contributes 60 per cent of global GDP.
- Ninety per cent of India’s international trade travels on its waters.
- For us, and for many others, the shift in the economic trajectory from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific has been hugely consequential.
- The Indo-Pacific is the 21st century’s locus of political and security concerns and competition, of growth and development, and of technology incubation and innovation is indisputable.
- That is why a country like Germany, physically distant but an economic stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, has released a strategy for the region. After France and the Netherlands, it is the third European country to do so.
The SAGAR doctrine of India:
- India’s Indo-Pacific strategy was enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in Singapore in 2018 as the SAGAR doctrine.
- The Prime Minister used it as an acronym for “Security and Growth for All in the Region”.
- This aspiration depends on securing end-to-end supply chains in the region; no disproportionate dependence on a single country; and ensuring prosperity for all stakeholder nations.
- An Indo-Pacific guided by norms and governed by rules, with freedom of navigation, open connectivity, and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, is an article of faith for India.
- Using this Initiative, India plans to support the building of a rules-based regional architecture resting on seven pillars.-
- Maritime security
- Maritime ecology
- Maritime resources
- Capacity building and resource sharing
- Disaster risk reduction and management
- Science, technology and academic cooperation
- Trade connectivity and maritime transport
How India played the role in Indo-Pacific region? [important points for your answers]
- Peacekeeping efforts or anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
- We have built relationships with partner countries across the region.
- India has provided coastal surveillance radar systems to half a dozen nations – Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- All of these countries also use Indian patrol boats, as do Mozambique and Tanzania.
- Defence training programmes have increased.
- Mobile training teams have been deputed to 11 countries – from Vietnam to South Africa, as well as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar in our immediate neighbourhood.
- The Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region has enhanced maritime domain awareness among partner countries.
- Operation Rahat in Yemen in 2015.
- The cyclone in Sri Lanka in 2016, the earthquake in Indonesia in 2019, Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, or the flooding, landslides, deaths and large-scale displacement of people that occurred in Madagascar in January this year, Indian assistance was the earliest.
- Rapid response medical teams were sent to countries as far apart as Kuwait and the Maldives, and on their request.
- Through the lockdown, food supply lines were kept alive for the Gulf nations as well as for smaller island states such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros.
- India has also promoted and contributed to infrastructure, connectivity, economic projects and supply chains in the region, always prioritising the needs of the host community and the ethic of equity, environmental sustainability and social viability.
- The Mauritius oil spill of August 2020 saw India and France responding together to assist local authorities.
Analysis about: Why did cyclones give October a miss?
Topic in syllabus: Salient features of world’s physical geography (GS-1)
- Conditions for cyclone formation:
- Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex.
- Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C.
- Small variations in the vertical wind speed.
- Upper divergence above the sea level system.
- A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation.
- La-Nina: La Nina refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific. Typically, La Nina events occur every 3 to 5 years or so, but on occasion can occur over successive years.
- The Madden-Julian Oscillation: It is an eastward moving ‘pulse’ of clouds, rainfall, winds and pressure near the equator that typically recurs every 30 to 60 days. It’s a traversing phenomenon and is most prominent over the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Introduction: October to December period is among the favourable months for the development of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. This year, however, October passed without witnessing a cyclonic storm.
When do cyclones form and hit Indian coasts?
- Cyclones in the North Indian Ocean are bi-modal in nature, that is, they occur during two seasons— April to June (pre-monsoon) and October to December (post-monsoon).
- Of these, May and November remain the most conducive for the development of cyclones.
What are Cyclonic disturbances?
- Cyclonic disturbances— either in the form of a well-marked low pressure, depression or a deep depression (weather systems with varying wind intensities ranging from 31 – 61 km/hr formed either over sea or land)— are common in October.
- Ocean disturbances enter the Bay of Bengal from the South China sea side and head towards the Indian coast.
- Formation of one cyclone and two cyclonic disturbances in October as normal.
Why were there no cyclone developments this year?
- The weak La Nina conditions along the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
- Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was positioned in a favourable phase.
- The high wind shear noted between the different atmospheric levels, last month. The vertical wind shear— created due to significant wind speed difference observed between higher and lower atmospheric levels— prevented the low-pressure systems and depression from strengthening into a cyclone.