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Synopsis: Mains Self Study Test – 20

Insights Mains Self Study 2016- Test 20

You can find Mains self Study Question papers and answer written by aspirants HERE

These questions are based on THIS Timetable.

Note: Following answers are neither model answers nor proper synopsis. We are trying to provide you information that is not usually found in textbooks.  If you have already written answers to these questions, compare and check if you have written relevant points, if you haven’t answered yet, choose important points from the following content to frame 200 words answer.

  1. Will China dominate the 21st century world? Critically analyze.

China is one of the largest developing economy, whose presence has been felt all around the world. It is said that 21st century belongs to Asia and China is playing an important role in Asia’s rise by contributing in its economic development. 

Points in favor: –

Economic strength – China is hub for cheap manufacturing and has support of demographic dividend. It has largest forex reserve of dollars, highest production of steel, etc. The economic strength of China has led it to start banks like -AIIB, NDB, which are challenging the authority of World financial institutes like -IMF and World Bank. The proposed policy of ‘One belt, one road’, Silk route, clearly reflects that China wants to integrate Asia, Africa and Europe and wants to expand its economic might.

Position in International Fora- the role played by China in forums like SCO, ASEAN, proposed RCEP, etc clearly reflect its rise in the region and support by countries. They have strong trade relations with China and also China is providing support for their development, through AIIB and NDB. China is also permanent member of UNSC and has been playing its veto card for its strategic needs.

Political stability – lack of Opposition is one of the biggest factor in providing stability, attracting investment and thus high economic growth.

Military and technological might – China has built strong military strength, naval units and is a nuclear powered country. Its technological advancement in the field of space, electronics, computers and other fields are making a base for it to rise as a global leader. It is developing strategic bases across the Indian Ocean for example ‘String of pearls’ to enhance its regional presence.

Points against it:-

Shortage of Resources

China will face shortage of raw material and commodities to support its economic development. Global resources (coal, oil, iron ore, water, etc) are likely to run out sooner. So, this will check its economic progress. It will also fall short of Human Resource as it is now an aging country.

Currently, the Chinese economy is slowing down, as it had adopted export led growth policy, neglecting the domestic demand for consumption. The global slowdown is also affecting demand for Chinese products in the world’s market. This will affect its aging and dependent population. Although China has ended its one child policy, it will be decades before it can get young population again. This change will increase the dependency ratio and hence will strain the economy.

        Possibility of unstable Political situation

Communist Party of China’s monopoly on power depends on its ability to deliver economic growth. This may create unstable political situation, because no country can sustain consistently high economic growth over a long period under authoritarian political system.

Internal Disturbances

China is facing problems of revolts in Tibet and Xinjiang province by Tibetans, Uighurs and groups like Falun Gong. These areas were independent states and were recognized as such by other states. But China suppressed them and annexed them with itself, against their will.


China is facing challenge of feeding its huge population, since the arable land is shrinking and most of it is polluted.

The quality of life in China is deteriorating due to rising level of pollution, regional imbalance, inequalities of income and living standards. Biggest challenge is of freedom, people are not free to do what they want, they have to always follow certain codes and rules.

Regional Hostility

The rise of China is not peaceful due to its involvement in many disputes, encircled by trust deficit with neighboring countries in the region. For example- South China Sea issue, Controversy with Japan over Islands, Construction work in disputed regions of India, etc.

Along with China’s weakness, there are strengths of other country’s also, which checks any kind of dominance by China either in the region or in the world. For example- India is also an emerging economy in the region and is blessed with demographic dividend. It is attracting investors and imprinting its success in the region & global market. Also, USA’s role cannot be negated, regional groupings initiated by it – TPP, does not includes China, which shrugs any kind of dominance by China.

In today’s globalized world, no single country can dominate, every country has to co-operate each other for sustaining their economies which in turn will sustain global economy, as they are all heavily integrated. The role of multilateral fora, regional forums is on increase, which clearly shows that there has to be collaborative approach and not dominating one.

  1. Why in your opinion, SAARC has not taken off as a meaningful framework for regional cooperation? What’s India’s role in making SAARC successful? Examine.

SAARC was established in 1985, but even after many summits, it has failed to kick off. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are three largest countries of South Asia and form core of SAARC

Why SAARC has not been able to take off?

Regional challenges- Every SAARC country is facing some or the other challenge like – political instability, terrorism, human rights issue, illegal immigration, arms and drugs trafficking, human trafficking, which has been derailing the regional co-operation. The SAARC countries are also gripped by widespread socio-economic problems-hunger, poverty, inflation, high external debt, which is also one of the inhibiting factor.

Acceptance of leadership- India’s role is seen with the attitude of “Big Brother “. India is most economically developed nation among the SAARC group and can play very important role. But, SAARC nations don’t support India’s leadership openly. Large size of India makes SAARC members hostile of India`s dominance in the region and perceive it as a threat to their sovereignty.

Diverse political culture: The SAARC nations have diversity in its political structure. It varies from democracy, military dictatorship to monarchy creating hurdles in aligning ideology.

Increased Chinese influence in the region – is also considered one of the factor, which inhibits the regional cooperation. For example- the needs of Pakistan with respect to economy, infrastructure, technologies, etc. is getting fulfilled with China’s support, this is sufficient reason for Pakistan to not support regional cooperation. China is investing and trying to influence all the SAARC nations with the underlying aim of countering India`s growth as a regional power.

Indo- Pak conflict- has been one of the biggest hindrance in the take-off of SAARC initiatives. Both countries have trust deficit. Pakistan doesn’t support most of the initiatives proposed by India (SAARC satellite, Motor vehicle agreement, etc.)

Unscientific & illogical partition by colonial powers- has caused boundary issues (land & maritime) among the SAARC nations. Few of them have been resolved. But, still few of the disputes are causing hindrance in full fledge cooperation among the nations. The SAARC nations are also involve in number of trans-boundary river disputes.

Failure of Economic integration- SAFTA keeps essential commodities like agriculture products, automobiles etc. out of its scope. So SAFTA hasn’t achieved economic integration at all. A large negative list is maintained (like Pakistan) to support their domestic products. Pakistan continues to link implementation of SAFTA with the resolution of Kashmir issue. Pakistan does not extend SAFTA benefits to India, as it denied India MFN (Most favoured nation) treatment for a long time.

Regional Hostilities and Distrust-

Regional conflicts, like Indo-Pak, India-Bangladesh, Pak-Bangladesh, etc never let mutual trust and cooperation develop.

What role India can play?

Technology – India can use its strengths of technological advancement in the field of space, information and communication and others for the regional progress and prosperity. India has achieved exponential increase in agriculture production, with its expertise India can help in reducing the problems of hunger and nutrition in the region.

Medical Support– India is becoming hub for medical tourism due to its advancement in the field of medicine and hospitality. India has been successful in removing Polio from the country. Such expertise can help SAARC nations in controlling the spread of deadly diseases. India can help in keeping the demography of the region healthy, which will boost the regional prosperity.

Role of culture- India is multi- ethnic country and shares at least one of the religion with all SAARC members. Culture can play an important role in better people to people contact and regional integration. It has the potential to bring peace and harmony in bilateral relationship too. Eg: Buddhist circuit between India and Nepal.

Trade – India can give duty free access to SAARC member, already Nepal and Bhutan enjoy the benefit. Long term, strategically important aids and investment can help India bridge the distrust gap. For example, aid during Nepal Earthquake, India`s contribution in making Afghanistan Parliament. These steps are important to gain trust.

Promoting Connectivity- Connectivity of SAARC members is inadequate at present. It restricts, people to people contact, they don’t understand each other well and it creates apprehensions hindering a meaningful regional cooperation. Recent Moto vehicle agreement is progressive step in this direction.

Solving water problem- Since all the major rivers pass through India, it can play role in solving water problem. Indus water treaty, Ganga water treaty already signed were first initial steps in this direction. Keeping climate change in mind India, with the help of technology and together with other members can help in dealing the water scarcity problem as well as management of river water.

SAARC has been expanded to include Afghanistan and many other nations have been given observer status, which are not part of South Asia. This can play role in kicking off of SAARC, which can make south Asia as engine of growth and converting it into partnership for prosperity.

  1. “The issues of democracy sometimes complicates India’s relations with its neighbors.” Comment.

India is the largest democracy in the world. Democracy has been its strength in terms of its political stability, when its compared it with other neighboring nations that are unstable. Sometimes, it does derail the process of cooperation with neighboring countries.

How democracy helps India in maintaining relations with neighbors?

Indian democracy has inspired neighboring countries to adopt for a democratic model, like- Nepal transformed from monarch rule to democratic nation, peaceful transition of Myanmar from military rule to democracy. Democracy is threatening the authoritarian regime of South Asian nations. Neighboring nations, do visit India to learn the model of democracy and about how the institutions work here. This development is good for India, as it makes the governments of respective nations, more accountable and promotes cooperative and friendly relations.

The South Asian nations are multi-ethnic and multi-religious. So, democracy can promote more harmonious, peaceful, respectful and tolerant approach towards all religion and minority, else it would create perfect ground for extremism and fundamentalists. Any ethnic violence or issues do not remain domestic and they spill over and create problems in India too (Sri Lankan Tamil issues, Killing of Hindus in Bangladesh or Pakistan, Madhesis issue in Nepal). Peaceful neighbors are very important for India’s and region’s security, growth and development.

How Democracy complicates sometimes?

Sometimes, it is hard to accommodate the views of all in the democracy. For example- the regional politics of Tamil Nadu played influential role in 2013, when the then PM was to participate in Commonwealth heads of the nation’s meeting.

In the Teesta water sharing, there is a conflict between west Bengal government and the Central governments opinion, this divergence of opinion causes problem in managing the foreign policies and relations.

Guided by democratic ideas, sometimes India has interfered in local politics of the neighboring countries, for example- India had to send Army in Sri Lanka, to counter the problem of LTTE or during Bangladesh (East Pakistan) liberation war. Recently, India’s involvement in Constitution making process of Nepal was strongly opposed and it stained India- Nepal relationship. Such inferences should be avoided.

Democratic rules have authority to rule on behalf of the people and they work better for people’s growth and development than authoritarian regime. India, favors and advocates a democratic setup, and largely maintains cordial relations with all the other regimes thus respecting their sovereignty.

In your opinion, what should be India’s approach in dealing with its troubled and troublesome neighbor Pakistan? Analyze.

Diplomatic ties, talks, people to people contact, compromise and negotiations are the few stable and practical solutions when two nuclear powers are struggling with any problem with each other. This is how India should deal with Pakistan, keeping in mind strategic perspective, persuasion and incentives must be combined with pressure.

What steps can be taken by India?

  • Sustained talks: Every time there is an attempt to initiate talks, efforts are made by military or non-state actors to thwart such attempts. India, should however keep channels of communication open with Pakistan irrespective of terror strikes like the recent Pathankot attacks.
  • SAARC: strengthening India’s position in SAARC by cooperating with its other neighbours on basis of non-reciprocity, India can bring pressure on Pakistan for cooperation. For eg: All SAARC countries can bring pressure on Pakistan to open transit via it to Afghanistan and enter into motor vehicles agreement.
  • Track2 dialogue/diplomacy: should be reinvigorated to ensure greater people to people ties. Liberalised visa regime for pilgrims, businesses should be ensured. [Recently, Anupam Kher was not granted Pakistan visa to attend a literary fest in Pakistan. Such instances will only bring greater alienation]. Sports like Cricket, Hockey, wrestling should be promoted and Bollywood diplomacy should be strengthened.
  • National security advisor level talks: should be periodically held to assess the security across borders so as to prevent provocations and ceasefire violations.
  • International fora: like UN should be used to bring about sustained pressure over Pakistan to bring to book terrorists and crack down on terrorist organisations flourishing in Pakistan. As India and Pakistan are to gain entry to SCO, the platform should be used to deliberate on tackling cross border terror.
  • Trade talks: apart from Kashmir and terror issues, talks to reinvigorate trade ties should be opened. Cross border joint SEZs can be started to develop the border region with profitable trade. They should focus on common objectives.

Pakistan is already into trouble with increasing dominance of Taliban. Attacks on schools and colleges are condemned worldwide.  India can be supporting and can help Pakistan get rid of Taliban and its other internal misery.

India’s real friends in Pakistan are people of Pakistan, who testify warmth and hospitality which they give and receive from Indians. Ease of access to each other’s resources and culture will strengthen the already existing people to people bond and eventually strengthen the relation between the two nations.

5.Is it possible for India to closely work with Pakistan to resolve some of Afghanistan’s problems? Critically examine.

India and Pakistan are two important regional player which can help in making Afghanistan stable and prosperous. Peaceful Afghanistan, is desirable for both India and Pakistan, so they should work together for resolving some of its problems.

How can India and Pakistan work together for Afghanistan?

  • Pakistan can keep a vigil check on its western frontier, which is considered to be base for Taliban groups. Along with India, it can provide security to Afghanistan, which is favorable for both the nations as well.
  • If Pakistan gives transit access to India for Afghanistan, it will boost connectivity and it can easily supply food, medicines, forces and other things for the support of Afghanistan. But, India will have to assure Pakistan that, it respects Pakistan’s genuine security interests in Afghanistan.
  • For active cooperation between and India and Pakistan, the other regional countries can be included like- Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China and others. So, Afghanistan’s neighbors and other powers with legitimate interest in Afghanistan’s affairs can help it in becoming Switzerland i.e a neutral state that brings benefits to all but pose threat to none.

What restricts working together for Afghanistan?

  • Pakistan thinks India is creating any anti-Pakistan Afghanistan, by providing military support and investing in Afghanistan.
  • The Kashmir issue, is the biggest hurdle and Pakistan always plays Kashmir card before any kind of co-operation. So, this creates trust deficit and hostile environment to come to any conclusion.
  • The growing closeness of China and Pakistan, for working together in Afghanistan is also restricting the scope of any kind of India- Pak cooperation.
  • Afghan politics has its own reservations about Pakistan and India respectively. The recent change in Afghan politics of distancing themselves for Pakistan, is also a kind of inhibiting factor in acting together for Afghanistan.

Both nations together can help in deepening of democracy in Afghanistan and contribute in socio-economic development of the nation, by providing their respective expertise. Democratic and developed Afghanistan is favorable for the overall peace, growth and development of the region.

6.”While Bangladesh’s approach to India on many issues is irrational and unpredictable, India too cannot escape the blame for the poor state of India-Bangladesh relations” Discuss

India’s links with Bangladesh are civilizational, cultural, social and economic. There is much that unites the two counties – a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and arts. India also played important role in emergence of independent Bangladesh in 1971.

Bangladesh’s approach has been irrational and unpredictable in following areas:

Refugee influx: Chakma refugees are Buddhists living in Chittagong hill tract of Bangladesh. In order to avoid discrimination and persecution in Bangladesh, they have been coming to Indian state of Tripura. India has requested Bangladesh to take back their refugees, but the response from Bangladesh has not been encouraging.

Border and immigration issues: India and Bangladesh share a border of nearly 3200 km, which is not properly guarded at all places. This is used by illegal immigrants to cross the border. Bangladesh doesn’t recognise and acknowledge this issue completely leading to poor enforcement of cross border checks.

Bangladesh as safe sanctuary: for members of outlawed organisations active in India’s north east. India has been insisting on handing over such elements due to security reasons. Previous Bangladeshi governments have not always obliged to this request, though the current government has shown willingness.

Transit routes: Bangladesh has been over cautious in letting transit for India via it to the North eastern states and vice versa.

India’s role in India-Bangladesh relations:

Water disputes: India and Bangladesh share 54 Trans boundary rivers, big and small. Farakka barrage was constructed to increase the lean period flow of Bhagirathi-Hooghly branch of Ganga. But as irrigation withdrawals increased in Bangladesh, dispute arose over lean season flow at Farakka. Bangladesh feels that reduced flow will damage its agriculture, ecology and industry. Lack of sustained willingness by India has led to Bangladesh not being taken into confidence on this issue. West Bengal government has also delayed approving the treaty on Teesta River, fearing the loss of higher volumes of water to Bangladesh.

Bilateral trade: is skewed against Bangladesh due to poor enforcement of cross border checks, barriers – tariff and non-tariff by India.

Land Boundary agreement: was signed in 1974, but ratified in 2014. This involves exchange of enclaves between the two nations. Such delay in ratifying an important agreement which would have ensured welfare of people living in enclaves was not received well by Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is an important part of our Act East Policy. Its role in strengthening the SAARC cooperation is also immense. Proactive engagement and sustained diplomacy will help to iron out differences and strengthen our ties with our most important neighbour.

  1. India and Myanmar share a complex and delicate relationship arising out of the history of their interaction during 19th and 20th centuries. Analyse

In 19th century, a large number of Indians had been part of British colonial troops that fought the three Anglo-Burmese wars, which resulted in annexation of Burma to British Empire in 1886. These troops were later used by the British to garrison the country.

In the first four decades of 20th century, the British encouraged large scale emigration of Indians to Burma. Indian dominated Burmese civil service and police force and controlled a significant share of Burma’s trade and industry.

The role that the Indians played in suppressing Burma – as administrators and policemen – and their continuing dominant position in Burma’s economy as landlords, workers, proprietors and money lenders – created a strong nationalist sentiment in Burma against the Indian community that translated into a widespread popular anti-Indian sentiment.

After India became independent, relations became good due to good personal equations between J Nehru and Burma’s first PM U Nu. India gave considerable military and economic assistance to Burma in its early years of independence.

After military coup in Burma in 1962, India’s contact with Burma was minimal. India’s support to democratic movement during the pro-democracy uprising in 1988 plunged bilateral relations to new low.

As China started to make inroads into Myanmar, India’s foreign policy towards Myanmar was revised in 1992 and India began to engage with Myanmar’s military regime.

India has accepted a reasonable number of Myanmar refugees and lent its support to democratisation process in Myanmar.

Now, India uses its enormous cultural and spiritual influence, as the land of Buddha. Myanmar has become a very important part of our Act East Policy as it is our gateway to South East Asia. Its recent transition to democracy and its importance for the development of India’s North East has made India give a high level attention and develop a comprehensive policy in its relations with Myanmar.

  1. Does India deserve growing discontent against it in Nepal? Critically comment

Nepal is a critically important neighbour of India – extensive people-to-people, religious, cultural, economic links between the two countries, the open border after the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship; and the resultant security problems for India, free Indian currency convertibility in Nepal, presence of Gorkhas in Indian army, millions of Nepalese living and working in India, and the flow of major rivers from Nepal to India – make the relations all the more important.

Reasons for discontent against India in Nepal:

  • India is said to show a “Big Brother” attitude in its dealings with Nepal. Indian envoys to Nepal have often tended to behave like viceroys. There is a perception in Nepal that it is being regarded and treated like another Indian state albeit vaguely somewhat different. The recent visit of Nepalese PM to China is also frowned by India – as it leads to closer Nepal-China ties.
  • India’s perceived priority to projects that served India’s security and other needs rather than the development of Nepal aroused animosity and distrust of India in Nepal.
  • India’s muscular approach in straightaway pushing amendments to Nepal’s constitution regarding Madhesi agitation is often seen as India’s version of Monroe Doctrine. The border blockade caused hardships to people of Nepal – no firewood to cook, children had to walk to schools, tourism came down etc. Such interference in internal relations had only antagonised relations.
  • Media hype of India’s assistance to earthquake hit Nepal gave rise to “go back India” campaign.
  • India`s assistance during Nepal earthquake that was shadowed by extensive media coverage praising India`s effort for crisis struck Nepal was condemned heavily in Nepal.

However, India has some genuine concerns:

  • The recent Madhesi agitation, following the draft of Nepal’s constitution, India fears that violence in Terai could spill over to UP and Bihar. Also, Madhesis have ethnic ties with India.
  • India has always favoured a democratic, federal, republican, secular constitution for Nepal. India has also earlier facilitated peace between stakeholders Hhimal, Pahad, terai). India’s election commission has helped conduct assembly elections in Nepal. India has also been the guarantor of a 2008 pact between Nepal government and Terai forces.
  • Apart from this, India has also been giving aids and soft loans to Nepal, building integrated check posts, encouraging Buddhist circuit, offering scholarships to Nepalese students, cooperating in protecting Himalayan ecosystem.

Both the sides should recognise the genuine concern of the other. The formation of constitution in Nepal and the new government has given an opportunity to enhance goodwill and strengthen the relations.

  1. Analyse the factors that shaped India’s nationalist foreign policy during freedom struggle.
  • Indians saw that an increase in military expenditure consequently increased taxation in India after 1815. They also realised that British attack of Afghan, Egypt, Burma, Tibet etc were guided by British imperialist and capitalist interests. This resulted in nationalists advocating a policy of peace.
  • Sentiments of solidarity: Struggle by people of Russia, Turkey, Burma, etc were widely covered by the press. This led to expression of solidarity with those countries. Press, thus, played role in developing an anti-colonial foreign policy.
  • Indians also began to understand the economic rationale, including the role of foreign capital exports, behind the resurgence of imperialism in last quarter of 19th century.
  • Indian nationalist leaders, including Tilak supported government’s war effort during First World War hoping that a grateful Britain would replay India’s loyalty with economic and political concessions enabling India to take a long step towards self-government. But, such hopes were belied. Thus, Congress began to dissociate itself from colonial government’s foreign policy.
  • Nationalist leaders travelled abroad and developed contacts with left wing political workers, which changed their view about foreign policy. For eg, Lajpat rai established close relations with American Socialists. Dadabai Naoroji became a close friend of socialist HM Hyndman. He attended the Hague session of International Socialist Congress in 1904 and declared that Indians have lost faith in British policies. J Nehru also participated in International Congress against Colonial Oppression and Imperialism held in Brussels in 1927, which brought together colonial people from Asia, Africa and Latin America. J Nehru in this conference emphasised connection between colonialism and capitalism and deep commitment of Indian nationalism to anti-colonial struggles the world over
  • Russian revolution and the establishment of Soviet Union was seen by Indians as success of oppressed people. During 1920s, rising socialist and communist groups and young intellectuals were attracted by USSR, its egalitarianism, socialist idealism, anti-imperialism.

Thus, the above factors led to the development of anti-colonial, anti-imperial, anti- fascist, anti-capitalism foreign policy in India, where it was declared that they would resist every effort to use Indian men, money and resources in a war to serve British imperialism.

  1. What are the basic elements or stages of communalism or communal ideology? Discuss the growth of communalism in modern India.

Stages of Communalism in India:

India is a land of diversity. And it is known for lingual, ethnic, cultural and racial diversity. Communalism in India is a modern phenomenon, which has become threat to India’s Unity in Diversity. We will see the various stages:-

  • Stage 1 (Rise of nationalist): religious, political, economic and cultural interests of a religious community are same
  • Stage 2 (liberal communalism): religious, political, economic and cultural interests of different communities are different, but they can be accommodated together.
  • Stage 3 (extreme communalism): religious, political, economic, cultural interests of different communities are not just different, they are mutually incompatible, antagonistic and hostile.

How did it spread?

It is spread as a by-product of colonialism, economic stagnations and absence of modern institutions of education and health.

  • Education and administrative opportunities under British raj was limited. So people increased their bargaining power to get better chances by taking recourse to religious affiliations. In initial years, communalism was mainly around demand for seats in education, legislative councils, administration, and district bodies.
  • British role: they encouraged communalism by not acting against it. Accepted communal demands readily, showed exemplary tolerance to communal press and literature. This was by far their policy of keeping Indians engaged among themselves and hence weaken the very fabric of the nation.
  • Communal organisations like Muslim league, Hindu Mahasabha, RSS began to raise their head. Message of Hindu rule in ancient India led to prosperity and Muslim rule in medieval India led to tyranny was popularised. Tilak’s Ganapati and Shivaji festival, Gandhiji’s call for Ram raj were seen as attempts to establish a Hindu state rather than gaining independence.
  • Though movements like non-cooperation movement brought Hindu Muslim unity for a while, movements like Shuddi and Sanghatan and Tanzim and Tabliq were launched to “protect” respective religions.
  • Harbingers of Hindu Muslim unity like Syed Ahmad khan, MA Jinnah, who preached unity, later went on to call congress a Hindu body. MA Jinnah who was called as ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity, went on to put forward two nation theory and demanded Pakistan. He held that Pakistan was inevitable if annihilation of Islam was to be prevented.

The result of this spread of communalism was the butchery of Hindus in Bengal and Muslims in Bihar and eventually the bloody partition of India.