Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

01 May 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



The rising sun in India-Japan relations

The Hindu


What does an electoral victory in India mean today?

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Soli Sorabjee

Syllabus– GS2: Public Personalities

Analysis: –

  • Sorabjee who followed in the footsteps of his mentor Nani Palkhivala, made a significant contribution to the interpretation of constitutional law in independent India.
  • He was a champion of free speech and citizens’ civil liberties, and assisted Palkhivala in the landmark Golaknath and Keshavananda Bharati cases.
  • The judgments in these two cases protected the rights of the individual, whether prince or pauper, against the state.
  • The genial Sorabjee often offered his services for free, working pro bono.
  • During the Emergency, he provided legal assistance to many political prisoners arrested under the draconian MISA.
  • It was a challenging time, and he lived under the shadow of possible imprisonment.
  • He once recalled to me jokingly that his young son Hormazd was terrified that he would bring disgrace on the family by being sent to jail.

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on plea challenging sedition law

SyllabusGS 2: Acts, Governance

Analysis: –

  • The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 124-A of the IPC that penalises sedition.
  • The petitioners said they were charged with sedition for questioning the state governments and the Centre, and for comments and cartoons shared on social media platforms.
  • They contended that the provision infringes upon the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  • Alleging frequent misuse and misapplication of the law since 1962, they said that its “abuse” points to its vagueness and uncertainty, which, in turn, exerts a “chilling effect” on the democratic freedoms of individual.

PM wants NGOs, volunteers to help health sector

Why in News?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to explore involving civil society volunteers in “non-specialised tasks” to take the pressure off the healthcare sector amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Syllabus– GS2: Pressure Groups

  • In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said: “PM asked the officials to explore how volunteers from civil society can be utilised to lessen the pressure on healthcare sector by invoking them in non-specialised tasks.”
  • “It was discussed that NGOs could help to establish and maintain lines of communication between the patients, their dependents & health care personnel,” the statement said.
  • “Ex Servicemen could be encouraged to handle call centres for communicating with people under home quarantine,” the statement said.

Mains Analysis

The rising sun in India-Japan relations

Why in News?

Japan elected new PM Yoshihide Suga after the resignation of Shinzo Abe. He has kept the trend on of his predecessor in the foreign policy. His visit to the United States last month has set the agenda for the wider Indo-Pacific engagement of Tokyo and its evolving priorities.

Syllabus– GS 2: International Relations

  • In 2017, the India-Japan Act East Forum was established to serve as the platform for bilateral cooperation drawing from India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Policy.
  • The aim of the Forum is to identify infrastructure and cultural connectivity projects in India’s Northeastern Region (NER).
  • India-Japan collaboration can also be viewed through the prism of the Quadrilateral initiative. At a time when all four Quad members – Japan, India, Australia and the US – are displaying greater resolve in strengthening and operationalising the grouping within the Indo-Pacific framework.


  • India and Japan in October 2020 finalised a cyber-security agreement that focuses on 5G technology, AI, and critical information infrastructure in pursuit of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific.


  • The Buddhist tourism circuit[e] is another area where India and Japan can collaborate.
  • The value of developing the Buddhist Circuit is not only in the boost it gives to local MSMEs.
  • The broader tourism industry, but also in the revival of 2,000 years of international interaction and confluence of ideas between India, Japan and Myanmar.

Cooperation in Security Fields

  • During Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Japan in October 2008, two leaders issued “the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and India”.
  • There are also various frameworks of security and defense dialogue between Japan and India including “2+2” meeting, annual Defense Ministerial Dialogue and Coast Guard-to-Coast Guard dialogue.
  • At recent summit meetings, two leaders reaffirmed their desire to further deepen bilateral security and defense cooperation and institute Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting (2+2), and welcomed the commencement of negotiations on the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).
  • In November 2019, the first Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting was held in New Delhi.

Focus on China

  • To begin with, Tokyo and Washington drilled down to brass tacks on their joint security partnership given the need to address China’s recent belligerence in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas as well as in the Taiwan Strait.
  • Both sides affirmed the centrality of their treaty alliance, for long a source of stability in East Asia, and pledged to stand up to China in key regional flashpoints such as the disputed Senkaku Islands and Taiwan.
  • Reflecting the changed nature of conflict, both sides acknowledged the importance of extended deterrence vis-à-vis China through cooperation on cybersecurity and space technology.
  • Competitiveness and Resilience Partnership, or CoRe has been announced to invest in emerging technologies to fill the gap and Chinese ambitions to dominate the development of new age technologies such as 5G and quantum computing.
  • The two allies earmarked billions in funding for the deployment of secure 5G networks, committed to building digital infrastructure in developing countries and promised to collaborate on setting global digital standards.
  • Both sides have also signalled their intent to continue the Trump-era policy of pressure on China to reform economic practices such as “violations of intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, excess capacity issues, and the use of trade distorting industrial subsidies”.
  • Both powers repeatedly emphasised their vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific that respects the rule of law, freedom of navigation, democratic norms and the use of peaceful means to settle disputes.
  • In the aftermath of the successful Quad Summit both parties expressed their continued support for the four-nation grouping of the United States, India, Australia and Japan. China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang, its heavy-handed suppression of protests in Hong Kong and military aggression towards Taiwan came in for heavy criticism.
  • Japanese premier plans to visit India as soon as situation permits following the COVID-19 pandemic. But the precursor of what will happen can already be seen from preview of US dealing by Japan.

Technology Partnership

  • Two powers will look to expand cooperation in sectors such as cybersecurity and emerging technologies.
  • During the tenure of previous Japanese PM both nations put together a digital research and innovation partnership that ran the gamut of technologies from AI and 5G to the Internet of Things and space research.
  • Leaders of the both the countries may look to deepen cooperation between research institutes and expand funding in light of China’s aforementioned technology investment programme.
  • It is yet unclear whether Mr. Suga will attempt to stir the pot and bring up the disagreements over India’s insistence on data localisation and continued reluctance to accede to global cybersecurity agreements such as the Budapest Convention.
  • Economic ties and infrastructure development are likely to be top drawer items on the agendas of New Delhi and Tokyo.
  • While Japan has poured in around $34 billion in investments into the Indian economy over the course of the last two decades, Japan is only India’s 12th largest trading partner, and trade volumes between the two stand at just a fifth of the value of India-China bilateral trade.
  • The upcoming summit will likely reaffirm Japan’s support for key manufacturing initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and the Japan Industrial Townships.
  • Further, India will be keen to secure continued infrastructure investments in the strategically vital connectivity projects currently under way in the Northeast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Third Country Outlook

  • Both nations will likely devote much attention to evolving a joint strategy towards key third countries and multilateral bodies.
  • In past years both have collaborated to build infrastructure in Iran and Africa, provide vital aid to Myanmar and Sri Lanka and hammer out a common Association of Southeast Asian Nations outreach policy in an attempt to counter China’s growing influence in these corners of the globe.
  • The time is ripe for India and Japan to take a hard look at reports suggesting that joint infrastructure projects in Africa and Iran have stalled with substantial cost overruns.
  • Japan will persuade India on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in an attempt to reverse its decision not to join the massive trade compact.
  • Writing in 2006, Shinzo Abe, in his book, UtsukushiiKuni E (Toward a Beautiful Country), expressed his hope that “it would not be a surprise if in another 10 years, Japan-India relations overtake Japan-U.S. and Japan-China relations”.

Question: –

The nature and extent of India-Japan relations has undergone a phenomenal change in the recent years. The current relationship is based on timely and considerate associations based on convergence in their geo-strategic and security deliberations.Critically evaluate.

What does an electoral victory in India mean today?

Why in News?

The political and governmental response to the pandemic.

Syllabus– GS 2: International Relations

  • In March 2017, when the national economy was still reeling from the effects of demonetisation, the BJP swept the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
  • That poll was seen as a referendum on what appeared to be failed policy: The abrupt cancellation of nearly nine-tenths of India’s legal tender did not achieve any of its purported aims, which ranged from ending terrorism and crime, to destroying black money and formalising and digitising the economy.
  • The political and governmental response to the pandemic, right from its onset, has followed a script that we are all too familiar with from the demonetisation exercise.
  • The last-minute lockdown last March; the panic and subsequent death and suffering that migrant workers suffered were both avoidable.
  • The only justifications for the pain caused by the Mahabharata-like war on the virus were that it would “break the chain” and that India would use the respite from the virus to build up its medical infrastructure.



Background of Political Development in India: –

  • Before democracy became the most widely accepted form of government — especially after the wave of decolonisation post World War II — political legitimacy was a far more complex thing to determine.
  • It came from gods, through “divinely ordained” kings, brute force and compacts between hereditary elites. Now, though, things are much simpler.
  • At least 160 out of the 195 sovereign states claim to be democratic; their governments derive the right to rule in the ultimate analysis through the will of the people.
  • The near-universal acceptance of elections as a basic prerequisite for ruling a nation-state comes in no small part from India’s success in this regard. In 1947, and for some decades thereafter, many around the world thought that a poor, diverse nation with the gaping wound of Partition inflicted on it at the moment of its birth would not survive the chaos of periodic elections.
  • In 2014, and more emphatically in 2019, India voted in a single-party majority with a strong ideological commitment. Simply put, the difference between an ordinary mass party and an ideology-driven one is this: For the latter, the people must be changed to fit a vision of society; politics does not in its essence respond to the demands of the people.
  • The 2019 general election win, for example, paved the way for the dismantling of some of the basic tenets of India’s political morality — federalism (the abrogation of Article 370, and now the LG replacing the elected government in Delhi) and secularism.

Electoral Victory and Ideological Change:-

  • It is important to remember that every electoral victory does not mark an ideological change in the people.
  • The BJP is certainly great at winning elections. And it wields divisiveness like a prizefighter.
  • But a vote for the saffron party is not necessarily a vote against minorities. Many Indians do vote for change for its own sake or like to go with the perceived winner.
  • Yet, this does not make them “a basket of deplorables”. Or life-long Sangh Parivar loyalists. Nor does a loss for the BJP in, say, Bengal or Assam, mean that a wave of Nehruvian secularism has swept eastern India.

Challenges: –

  • What is worrying, though, is that the ruling party considers an election win — it outspends most of its political opponents’ manifold — as a ringing endorsement for its worst decisions.
  • The Opposition, too, appears to limit its political action to electoralism. With Parliament barely functioning as a forum for debate and accountability, this has meant, essentially, that the ruling party and its leaders face no consequences, even for criminal negligence.

Way Forward: –

  • While publics are self-conscious and reasonable, mobs are led from the outside, bending to the frenzied manipulations of great leaders who are often quite petty.
  • What prevents the public from turning into a mob are the other institutions of democracy: Election commissions meant to ensure a level-playing field; a judiciary that is impartial and just; a media that enriches the public discourse and questions those in power.
  • And while each of these institutions has failed to some degree, bent to pressure, hopefully, none of them has broken.
  • If they have, elections may well pave the path for India to become an unconstitutional democracy, in opposition to the values and structures that protect Indians. And the current health crisis, in all its tragedy, could just be the beginning.




Question: –

Indian democracy, in its essence and origins, is not the voice of a mob finding utterance in periodic elections. Discuss.

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