UPSC Online Editorial Analysis
Title: Time for an Asian Century
Written by: Mukul Sanwal (a former UN diplomat)
Topic in the syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. (GS-2)
Analysis about: This articles talks about how Asia is dominating in the emerging world order & challenges India face in securing an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
- In an irreversibly more equal world, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has immediate geopolitical and economic implications, with the West adapting to Asian rules and marking the end of the colonial phase of global history.
- Will we see the world returning to the centrality of Asian civilisations sharing prosperity, with the U.S. adjusting to a triumvirate? Or will the Asian giants be irreconcilable rivals with the U.S. rules based order maintaining peace and prosperity?
How is the “Asian centrality” in the emerging world order?
- The mega trade deal was led by ASEAN, not by China, and includes Japan and Australia, military allies of the U.S., all opting for the Asian Century as they do not see China as a threat the way the U.S. does.
- ‘ASEAN centrality’ rejects the current frame of the West setting the agenda.
- RCEP’s principles and objectives allow individual countries to choose the scope and product categories for bilateral tariff schedules, and exclude divisive issues like labour and environment.
How the West (particularly US) is on declining path in global affairs?
- Both China and India are breaking the monopoly of the West in wireless telecommunications, AI and other emerging technologies.
- India has also, in the UN, questioned Western domination calling for a “reformed multilateralism”.
- The dilemma for the West is that sharing power will mark the end of its primacy in global affairs. The dilemma for the U.S. is more acute.
- China’s response is a ‘dual circulation’ strategy for self-reliance and military technological prowess
to surpass the U.S. The global governance role of the U.S. is already reduced.
Key elements for any nation to perform the role of global governance (According to The U.S. Congressional Research Service report):
- Global leadership;
- Defence and promotion of the liberal international order;
- Defence and promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights;
- Prevention of the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia.
How US is lacking in some of these elements?
- The U.S. now exercises power with others, not over them.
- Despite its military ‘pivot’ to Asia, the U.S. needs India in the Quad, to counterbalance the spread of China’s influence through land based trade links.
- India, like others in the Quad, has not targeted China and also has deeper security ties with Russia.
- With the ASEAN ‘code of conduct’ in the South China Sea, both the security and prosperity pillars of the U.S. led Indo-Pacific construct will be adversely impacted.
How India can become a Atmanirbhar in a broader sense?
- No country has become a global power relying on others. India needs a new strategic
doctrine and mindset.
- Military Theatre Commands should be tasked with border defence giving the offensive role to cyber, missile and special forces based on endogenous capacity, effectively linking economic and military strength.
- The overriding priority should be infrastructure including electricity and fibre optic connectivity; self-reliance in semiconductors, electric batteries and solar panels; and skill development.
- Leveraging proven digital prowess to complement the infrastructure of China’s Belt and Road Initiative will win friends as countries value multipolarity.
- RCEP members have expressed their “strong will” to reengage India, essentially to balance China. There are compelling geopolitical and economic reasons for shaping the building blocks of the Asia led order, which is not yet China led, to secure an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, and place in the emerging triumvirate.
Title: Weaker germs, stronger cures
Written by: Tomio Shichiri (FAO Representative in India)and Dr. Rajesh Bhatia (Technical Advisor,FAO India)
Topic in the syllabus: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health. (GS-2)
Analysis about: This articles talks about the issue of Anti-microbial resistance & One health approach to tackle that.
- Bacteria – Bacteria are a type of biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically, a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats.
- Prokaryotic microorganisms – They are any organism that lacks a distinct nucleus and other organelles due to the absence of internal membranes. Bacteria are among the best-known prokaryotic organisms. The lack of internal membranes in prokaryotes distinguishes them from eukaryotes.
- AMR – When bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. This phenomenon is known as antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
- Zoonosis – A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen (an infectious agent, such as a bacterium, virus, parasite or prion) that has jumped from a non-human animal (usually a vertebrate) to a human.
- The advent of antibiotics ignited the hope of elimination of infectious diseases in humans and animals.
- However, this did not happen because of two reasons: the ingenuity and survival instinct of germs and the irrational use of antibiotics in humans and animals.
How sever the problem of AMR is?
- AMR is one of the biggest challenges to human and animal health.
- The long-term impact of AMR is almost comparable to that of the COVID19 pandemic.
- AMR is estimated to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050, unless concerted actions are initiated now.
- It will result in 7.5 % reduction in livestock production and negatively impact the global GDP by 3.5%.
How to tackle this problem?
- There are two major possible solutions to combat the AMR menace:
- Discovery of new drugs, before the emergence of resistance in germs;
- Prudent use of available antibiotics.
Why the first solution is not feasible? & why the second solution is the only possible way?
- The first is an expensive and unpredictable process.
- With rapid development of resistance, the life of new antibiotics becomes limited and the return on investment on new molecules gets diminished.
- This discourages the pharmaceutical industry to invest in these initiatives.
- The world is left with only one option: to use the available antibiotics carefully to ensure their efficacy for as long as possible.
What is One health approach? & why is it necessary?
- The rational use of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture warrants coordinated action in all sectors.
- These multisectoral, multidisciplinary and multiinstitutional actions constitute the ‘One Health’ approach.
- This has gained currency across the world as an efficient and cost effective response to AMR and
several other challenges, especially endemic zoonoses and pandemics.
- The COVID19 pandemic has emphasised the urgency of implementing One Health. (India’s National Action Plan on AMR is an excellent example of the One Health approach and can be used as a guiding document to develop a workable road map for the country to respond to other similar public health challenges.)
- This endeavour utilises existing expertise and infrastructure in various sectors with a focus on intersectoral coordination, collaboration, and communication.
- The purpose of One Health is to provide a formal platform for experts to plan and work together towards shared objectives.
- Implementation of One Health warrants a strong and continuous national narrative on zoonoses.
- It advocates a multisectoral response to public health problems, particularly pandemics, as also to address issues related to AMR.
- The approach supports focussed actions on the human-animal-environment interface for the prevention, detection and response to the public health events that influence global health and food security.
- There is a need to optimally utilise emerging technologies to improve human health and development. One Health has been acknowledged as the optimum approach to counter the impact of AMR and future pandemics and must be adopted expeditiously.
Title: Time to bridge the gulf
Written by: C. Raja Mohan (director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore)
Topic in the syllabus: India and its neighbourhood- relations (GS-2)
Analysis about: This articles talks about why India must seize the new strategic possibilities with the Gulf region.
- Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) –
- It is an international organisation consisting of 22 states bordering the Indian Ocean.
- The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
- It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
- The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
- Members – 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.
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates this week is a good moment to reflect on the structural changes taking place in the Gulf and the region’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean.
- One of the contributions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy over the last six and a half years has been to elevate the Gulf and the Indian Ocean in India’s strategic priorities.
What are the issues in the relation between India & gulf region?
- Delhi’s narrow bureaucratic approach to the Gulf was incapable of a political engagement with the region’s interests.
- Although the Gulf kingdoms were eager to build strong and independent political ties with Delhi without a reference to Islamabad, Delhi viewed them through the prism of Pakistan.
- Modi’s personal outreach to the Gulf rulers has helped crack open immense possibilities for political and strategic cooperation. But India has barely come to terms with the significant rise of “Khaleeji” or Gulf capitalism.
- The Indian elite has long viewed the Gulf as a collection of extractive petro-states run by conservative feudatories.
- When PM Modi travelled to UAE in 2015, Abu Dhabi committed to invest $75 billion in India. Delhi is a long distance away from facilitating that scale of investments in the gulf region.
- Delhi has long seen the Gulf as the source of extremist religious ideology that destabilised the Subcontinent and beyond.
- Delhi pays insufficient attention to the significant reforms unfolding in the Gulf that seek to reduce the heavy hand of religion on social life, expand the rights of women, widen religious freedoms, promote tolerance, and develop a national identity that is not tied exclusively to religion.
- India ignores growing ability of the Gulf to influence regional conflicts from Afghanistan to Lebanon and from Libya to Somalia.
What is the potential of the gulf region?
- Adam Hanieh, a scholar based in London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, has developed the concept of “Khaleeji Capitalism” by tracking the rise of large conglomerates and sovereign wealth funds in the Gulf that today dominate several regional sectors — from banking and finance to infrastructure and logistics, from agribusiness and real estate to retail to telecom.
- The growing financial clout of the Gulf has also begun to translate into expansive geopolitical influence in the Middle East and the Indian Ocean.
How India is expanding its relations?
- During the last six years, India’s perspectives on the Western Indian Ocean too have changed.
- Delhi’s traditional focus was riveted on Mauritius and the large Indian diaspora there.
- Modi’s visit to Mauritius and Seychelles in March 2015 saw the articulation of a long-overdue Indian Ocean policy and an acknowledgement of the strategic significance of the island states.
- India also unveiled a maritime strategic partnership with France, a resident and influential power in the Western Indian Ocean.
- Delhi became an observer at the Indian Ocean Commission — the regional grouping that brings France’s island territory of Reunion together with Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles.
- India has also become an observer to the Djibouti Code of Conduct — a regional framework for cooperation against piracy between the states of the Gulf, the Horn of Africa and East Africa.
What should be task of India during external affairs minister’s visit to the Gulf?
- The immediate need to shield India’s interests in the post-pandemic turbulence that is enveloping the region.
- The threat to the region’s economic stability is real, and as the Gulf considers cutting back on foreign labour, Delhi would want to make sure its workers in the region are insulated.
- To focus on the new and long-term possibilities for economic cooperation with the Gulf, which is looking at a future beyond oil.
- Delhi must get its businesses to focus on the range of new opportunities in the Gulf.
- India also needs to tap into the full possibilities of Gulf capital for its own economic development. The big gap between the investments that the Gulf is ready to offer and India’s ability to absorb needs to be reduced.
- The Gulf’s financial power is increasingly translating into political influence and the ability to shape the broader political narrative in the Middle East. Jaishankar will be all ears in the UAE and Bahrain, which have normalised relations with Tel Aviv earlier this year and are laying the basis for a massive economic and technological engagement with Israel.
- The UAE currently chairs the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and has been eager to work with India in developing joint infrastructure projects. Delhi needs to bring scale and depth to its regional initiatives on connectivity and security in the Indian Ocean.
- India needs to support the Gulf rulers who are trying to reverse course and promote political and social moderation at home and in the region.
- As it seeks to recalibrate India’s ties with the Gulf, the real challenge for South Block is to get the rest of the Indian establishment to discard outdated perceptions of the Gulf and seize the new strategic possibilities with the region.