SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 FEBRUARY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 FEBRUARY 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic: salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Benode Behari Mukherjee made great strides in Indian paintings besides his physical disability. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the contribution and legacy of B.B Mukherjee towards Indian art and culture.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  B.B Mukherjee. E.g Born into a highly literate family, a childhood illness had left him blind in one eye and myopic in the other. Unable to pursue formal education, Santiniketan is where Mukherjee gave new life to the close association he had built with nature.

Body-

Discuss in points the works and contribution of B.B Mukherjee towards Indian art and culture. E.g

  • Back in Santiniketan, in 1946-47 Mukherjee designed what has been described as “perhaps the single most important work painted in modern India” — his mural Life of the Medieval Saints which featured the numerous saint-poets of India.
  • In the exhibition, we see the mountainous terrain with sloping roofs and cloudy skies. The landscape changes in the ’50s, when Mukherjee moves to Mussoorie
  • With further deterioration in his eyesight, there is a visible change in the line detailing of his landscapes.
  • Appointed educational adviser at the Art School of Patna in 1954, he began to draw more from memory.
  • “The definite strokes, the graceful web of assured touches, and the measured wash of colour, characteristic of his work so far, give way to vague scribbles, harder edges, and thicker layers of pigment etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

                Benode Behari Mukherjee is one of the first students of Kala Bhavan at Shantiniketan who transformed the institution into a seminal centre in India. Born into a highly literate family, a childhood illness had left him blind in one eye and myopic in the other. Unable to pursue formal education, Shantiniketan is where Mukherjee gave new life to the close association he had built with nature. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1974, Rabindra Puraskar and Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad award in 1980.

Body:

The works of B.B Mukherjee towards Indian art and culture are

  • He was involved in exploring the rationale underlying different pictorial conventions finally bringing together the skeins of folk and Indian classical styles, Far Eastern calligraphic painting and early Renaissance conventions with post-cubist idiom.
  • Mukherjee was painting his surroundings and the self, known as quasi-autobiographical paintings.
  • His visit to Japan made him learn various techniques from the Japanese masters like Sesshu and Sotatsu, are visible in the manner in which he painted scrolls and flowers.
  • In 1946-47, Mukherjee designed what has been described as “perhaps the single most important work painted in modern India” — his mural Life of the Medieval Saints which featured the numerous saint-poets of India.
  • With its conceptual breadth and synthesis of elements from Giotto and Tawaraya Sotatsu, as well as from the art of such ancient Indian sites as Ajanta and Mamallapuram, it is among the greatest achievements in contemporary Indian painting.
  • The landscape changes in the ’50s, when he moved to Mussoorie after travelling to Banaras and Banasthali. With further deterioration in his eyesight, there is a visible change in the line detailing of his landscapes. Appointed educational adviser at the Art School of Patna in 1954, he begins to draw more from memory.
  • Post 1958, apart from drawings, he produced several collages and paper cuts, some of which were later turned into coloured lithographs.
  • In 1979, he wrote Chitrakar, a collection of writings in Bengali.

Contributions to Art and Culture:

  • He was an art teacher at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan from 1925 to 1949.
  • In1951, he established Banasthali Vidyapith, a women’s educational center in Rajasthan.
  • The very next year he set up an Art Center along with his wife Leela to impart training to both artists and art teachers, Mussourie.
  • Two years after losing his eyesight completely, in 1958 he joined as a professor in the Art Theory Faculty at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.

Conclusion:

A tribute came from his student Satyajit Ray. In the 1973 biographical film, The Inner Eye, Ray painted a picture of the life story of the modernist, ending with Mukherjee’s now famous observation: “Blindness is a new feeling, a new experience, a new state of being”.


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Discuss the emergence and evolution of Buddhist art in India.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail as to how Buddhist art and architecture emerged in India and how did it evolve over the course of time.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the early  Buddhist art. E.g “Early Buddhist art did not show the Buddha in human form. In relief sculptures at early stupa sites, his presence is indicated by symbols such as the lotus (signifying purity), the eight-spoked wheel (emblem of the Buddha’s law), the parasol (ancient symbol of royalty), and a footprint (the Buddha’s presence).

Body-

Discuss how Buddhist art emerged and evolved in India. E.g

  • There is no Buddhist art that dates back to period when Buddha was alive nor is there any from and the centuries that followed.
  • Not until the first century A.D., more than five hundred years after his death, do images of the Buddha in human form begin to appear.
  • In the first century A.D., under the Kushan rulers, the Buddha began to be depicted in human form.
  • Different styles of art emerged from the two Kushan capitals, one in the Peshawar area of Gandhara and the other at Mathura further southeast in India.
  • After Mahayana Buddhism began to take hold in the A.D. 1st century “a whole pantheon of Mahayana Buddhist deities began to appear to aide the devotee—Buddhas of the past, bodhisattvas such as Maitreya (Buddha of the Future), and Vajrapani (“thunderbolt bearer”), who had evolved from the chief Vedic god Indra.
  • “In the Gupta period, artists developed a vocabulary of idealized forms derived from nature with which they constructed images of transcendent beings: for example, eyes like lotus petals, head oval like an egg, eyebrows like an archer’s bow, and chin like a mango stone. These conventions continued to be used in India after the Gupta period etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

                Buddhist art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of all of these. Buddhist art spread far and wide in the Indian subcontinent and beyond

Body:

  • Early Buddhist Art:
    • There is no Buddhist art that dates back to period when Buddha was alive or is there any from and the centuries that followed.
  • Mauryan Era:
    • The Buddhist Art origins dates from 350 BC to 100 BC had non-iconographic representations of the teachings of Buddha are found in sculptures, votives, and friezes during the Mauryan reign
    • It is believed that the earliest Buddhist art is seen in the architecture of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya and in the frescoes at the Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra.
    • In relief sculptures at early stupa sites, his presence is indicated by symbols such as the lotus (signifying purity), the eight-spoked wheel (emblem of the Buddha’s law), the parasol (ancient symbol of royalty), and a footprint (the Buddha’s presence).
  • Post-Mauryan era:
    • The earliest noted anthropomorphic form of Buddha in artwork can be seen from 100BC in Northern India, from the Gandhara area (North West province, now in Pakistan) and the region of Mathura, in central North India.
    • The Gandhara Buddha had distinct Greek influences and the concept of human-god was a Greek concept. In comparison, the Mathura School Buddha presents a strong Indian traditional influence with divinities such as Yakshas.
    • Both the Mathura and Gandhara regions art influenced each other too, as the two regions were politically united under the rule of the Kushans and both were the capitals of the empire. The Kushan period lasted from 30 – 375AD.
    • Buddhist art represented in the form of paintings can be seen today at the Ajanta caves and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra. The oldest group of caves are believed to be built in 200 BC, while the second cluster of caves, were built (cut out) around 400-560 AD. The caves constitute monasteries and worship halls (chaityas) with different Buddhist traditions carved and painted upon, depicting past lives, rebirths of the Buddha, tales from Jatakamala, and rock cut sculptures of Buddhist deities. The murals and frescoes are made of dry fresco pigments laid on dry plaster surface.
  • Gupta period:
    • Buddhas created in the Gupta period in northern India, from the 4th to 6th century, had an “ideal image” and featured a downward glance, spiritual aura, hair arranged in tiny curls, and a sensuous body visible beneath a transparent robe. These became the models for future images created by artists in India, Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia.
  • Southern-India:
    • Amravati School: Buddhist art flourished under the later Andhra dynasty reign, the Satavahanas from 1st Century AD to 320 AD. Parts of the Ajanta cave murals are attributed to this empire, especially the 9th and 10th caves which were influenced by the aniconic symbolism of Buddha from the Hinayana phase. The artworks were ornamental paintings on the concepts of Buddhism.
    • The South – Western India and the North Deccan region was ruled by the Vakataka dynasty between 500 – 700AD, during which the second phase of the mural paintings and frescoes were found in the Chaitya caves at Ajanta. The Buddha is depicted from the classical form under the influence of Mahayana Buddhism. These can be seen in the decorative, ornamental, sensual forms of Bodhisattva Vajrapani, Avalokitesvara, Padmapani and Gandharvas and Apsaras depicted in the cave paintings on the walls of caves no.-1, 2, 16 and 17.
  • Contemporary times:
    • In today’s contemporary times, the teachings of the Buddha and the figure of the Buddha in paintings is still seen as a favourite in figurative art among Indian artists.

Conclusion:

                From moving beyond depictions of gods and goddesses to the interpretations of philosophies and teachings, Buddhist art brings to the visual culture a strong sense of evolution and acceptance of the evolving Buddha forms. However much the iconography of the Buddha changes, the essence seems ingrained in Indian art and minds, and that is something to be aware of especially in these turbulent contemporary times.


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

3) Avadhana is a unique classical Indian art of spontaneous creation. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

wikipedia

The hansindia

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the Avadhana as an art form and write at length about the creativity involved therein.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Avadhana. E.g Avadhana literally means concentration. Avadhana is a unique classical Indian art of spontaneous creation. It is a feat of the mind.

Body-

Discuss in points about Avadhana, in detail and discuss the creativity involved in the art form. E.g

  • In an avadhana, a person is expected to simultaneously cogitate and answer questions on a variety of topics related to literature, music, astronomy, medical science and more.
  • The oldest available details of Ashtavadhana are recorded in Kannada language, dating back to 1200 A.D.  In ancient India, the method of “avadhana-kala” or “art of concentration” was developed to memorize the Vedas.
  • It involves the partial improvisation of poems using specific themes, metres, forms, or words.
  • The true purpose of an Avadhanam event thus is the showcasing, through entertainment, of superior mastery of cognitive capabilities – of observation, memory, multitasking, task switching, retrieval, reasoning and creativity in multiple modes of intelligence – literature, poetry, music, mathematical calculations, puzzle solving etc.
  • Avadhānaṃ can be considered as the Divided attention (clinical model of attention) as it is the highest level of attention and it refers to the ability to respond simultaneously to multiple tasks or multiple task demands.
  • There were many types of avadhanas which have been developed, depending on the number of examiners and the types of questions which are posed to the subject. If there are eight examiners, it is called ashtavadhana (ashta = eight in Sanskrit).

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Introduction:

                Avadhanam is a literary performance popular from the very ancient days in India. Avadhanam originated as a Sanskrit literary process and is revived by Telugu poets in modern times.

Body:

  • In an avadhana, a person is expected to simultaneously cogitate and answer questions on a variety of topics related to literature, music, astronomy, medical science and more.
  • The oldest available details of Ashtavadhana are recorded in Kannada language, dating back to 1200 A.D. In ancient India, the method of “avadhana-kala” or “art of concentration” was developed to memorize the Vedas.
  • It involves the partial improvisation of poems using specific themes, metres, forms, or words.
  • Structurally, Avadhanam has eight components, namely, Nishiddhakshari (prohibiting a letter), Samasya Puranam (problem-solving), Datthapdi (giving words to compose a poem),Varnana (giving a theme to compose a poem), Aasuvu (spontaneously composing a poem) , Vysthakshari(memorising letters and their position in a sentence), Purana Patanam (chanting a poems from the epic), Aprasthuta Prasangam (unnecessary talk).
  • There will be eight persons, each handling one component to test the Avadhani, one after another.
  • It demonstrates how one with a focused mind could multi-task despite being pulled in different directions.
  • All the tasks are memory intensive and demand an in-depth knowledge of literature, and prosody.
  • The tasks vary from making up a poem spontaneously to keeping a count of a bell ringing at random.
  • No external memory aids are allowed while performing these tasks except the person’s mind.

Relevance for today’s generation:

  • This will help younger generation how much innate capacities they have steering clear of all the obstacles that they come across and to take charge of their life and to succeed.
  • It pumps up the confidence and increases the creative talent of an individual.
  • It helps in propagation and continuance of such literary heritages over generations.
  • Telangana government has taken it as part of skill development initiative will help in spreading this tradition and hand over the same to the future generations.

Conclusion:

The true purpose of an Avadhanam event thus is the showcasing, through entertainment, of superior mastery of cognitive capabilities – of observation, memory, multitasking, task switching, retrieval, reasoning and creativity in multiple modes of intelligence – literature, poetry, music, mathematical calculations, puzzle solving.


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers

4) Supreme Court’s recent decision flags the need to address complexities in Centre- NCTD relations.Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

The hindu

Why this question

The recent judgement of the SC on centre-Delhi relations has increased the ambiguity in the matter. The judgment follows a previous judgement by the SC last year. In this context it is important to discuss the issue in detail.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the Centre- NCTD relations and bring out their complexity and the need to address the same.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  NCTD- Centre relations. E.g mention the legal/ legislative status of NCTD.

Body-

Discuss the complexity of the relationship. E.g discuss the recent judgement of the SC and the judgement given last year in the LG vs Delhi case. E.g

  • 2018 judgement – It held that the Lt. Governor has to act either on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, or abide by the decision of the President on a reference made by him.
  • The power to refer “any matter” to the President did not mean “every matter” should necessarily be referred to the President.
  • Recent judgement  (Union Territory of Delhi in Bir Singh versus Delhi Jal Board)    – Both judges agree that there is no ‘service’ in the Delhi government, as all its employees come under the ‘Central services’. Its civil servants are drawn from the DANICS cadre, a service common to various Union Territories.
  • Justice Sikri believes that going by a Constitution Bench decision last year, the NCTD would indeed have the power to deploy officials within its own departments. However, the absence of a public service in Delhi means Entry 41 in the State List (services; service commissions) would imply that it is a matter inapplicable to ‘Union Territories’, and therefore, the LG need not act on the Delhi government’s aid and advice.
  • Therefore, he favours a solution under which transfers and postings of officers in the rank of Joint Secretary and above could be directly submitted to the LG, and those of others be processed by the Council of Ministers and sent to the LG. In case of any dispute, the LG’s view will prevail.
  • Justice Bhushan, on the other hand, has ruled that once it is accepted that there is no ‘service’ under the NCTD, there is no scope for its government to exercise any executive power in this regard.
  • A larger Bench will now decide on the question relating to control over the services.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

The 69th constitutional amendment designated Delhi as National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) and provided Legislative Assembly. However it was not conferred with full statehood and is administered by union government through Lieutenant Governor. The Amendment provided special status for Delhi by incorporating article 239 AA and 239 AB by providing for legislative assembly and Council of Ministers.

Body:

The complexity of the relationship between the Delhi Government and the Lieutenant Governor is constantly on the burner due to various issues. Both the Delhi government and the LG had been on loggerhead over administrative issues.

                According to Supreme Court judgment in Delhi Government vs. Lieutenant Governor case in 2018,

  • Delhi government has power in all areas except land, police and public order.
  • The Government of NCT Delhi (GNCTD) enjoys executive powers over all matters over which the Delhi Legislative Assembly can legislate
  • The Lieutenant Governor (L-G) is bound by the aid and advice of GNCTD as per Article 239AA(4)
  • The LG may only in exceptional cases refer a matter over which he/she and the GNCTD have a “difference of opinion”, to the President, for a binding decision.
  • Both LG and CM are constitutional functionaries and must work harmoniously with mutual respect.
  • All decisions by Delhi’s council of ministers, who are elected representatives, must be communicated to the L-G but that does not mean his concurrence is required.
  • The power to refer “any matter” to the President did not mean “every matter” should necessarily be referred to the President.

The bench had on November 1 last year reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the notifications issued by the Central government and the NCTD government.

The Delhi government does not have power of services, they cannot create new posts. Government can open news schools, but when it comes to hiring teachers, it will be done by the LG. Government can open new hospitals, but hiring of doctors will be executed by the lieutenant governor.

The Supreme Court has delivered a split verdict on a batch of petitions challenging various notifications, including on control of services and power of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), in the ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre.

The two-judge bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan differed in the aspect of power of “services” in the verdict.

  • Justice Bhushan, on the other hand, has ruled that once it is accepted that there is no ‘service’ under the NCTD, there is no scope for its government to exercise any executive power in this regard.
  • His verdict is based on recent judgement (Bir Singh versus Delhi Jal Board), there is no ‘service’ in the Delhi government, as all its employees come under the ‘Central services’. Its civil servants are drawn from the DANICS cadre, a service common to various Union Territories.
  • He opined that the term “services” means the Union Public Services Commission and not State Services/Commission. The judge held that the executive power of the Delhi government in relation to ‘services’ extends only to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws.
  • The absence of a public service in Delhi means Entry 41 in the State List (services; service commissions) would imply that it is a matter inapplicable to ‘Union Territories’, and therefore, the LG need not act on the Delhi government’s aid and advice.
  • Justice Sikri believes that going by a Constitution Bench decision last year, the NCTD would indeed have the power to deploy officials within its own departments.
  • Therefore, he favours a solution under which transfers and postings of officers in the rank of Joint Secretary and above could be directly submitted to the LG, and those of others be processed by the Council of Ministers and sent to the LG. In case of any dispute, the LG’s view will prevail.

The Supreme Court’s split decision shows a difference of opinion that stems from a Constitution Bench verdict on the question of whether the government of the NCTD has executive control over those in its service. A larger Bench will now decide on the question relating to control over the services.

At the same time, the 2- judge bench was unanimous regarding other issues. The Supreme Court declared the competent authority in respect of the contentious issues as follows:

  • Anti-Corruption Bureau under the Centre; the Delhi government has no police powers.
  • Commission of Enquiry under the Centre
  • Electricity Board under the Delhi government
  • Power to appoint Public Prosecutor with the Delhi government

Conclusion:

                The more significant challenge is to find a way out of the complexities and problems thrown up by the multiple forms of federalism and power-sharing arrangements through which relations between the Centre and its constituent units are regulated. The need of the hour is have a re-look at the 69th CAA and its articles to clearly define the scope of the various stakeholders. This must be done taking into the federal and democratic spirit of Indian Constitution.


Topic– India and its bilateral relations

5) India has a lot to gain from supporting the reform agenda of Mohammed Bin Salman.  Critically analyze. (250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question

This article delves deep into the background of India’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the issues and enablers of the relationship. The article makes a case in factor of supporting MBS’s reform agenda as he speaks about overturning the policies pursued since 1979. This question is important because of the importance of bilateral relationship, impending visit of MBS and the situation in Kashmir.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain about the reform agenda of Mohammed Bin Salman, discuss the historical perspective and other issues and possibilities of the relationship and give our view on what would be a good strategy for India going forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain why the issue is in news – importance of bilateral relationship, impending visit of MBS and the situation in Kashmir.

Body

  • Explain about the reform agenda of MBS –
    • According to him policies that Saudi arabia pursued after 1979 are now a drag on a productive Saudi future. Prince Salman vowed to overcome the deviations of 1979 and return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam”.
    • House of Saud began to promote a more conservative Islam at home and support Sunni extremism abroad. This included support to the jihad in Afghanistan and the American and Pakistani war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Gen Zia-ul- Haq took advantage of the new regional dynamic push Pakistan towards Islamic conservatism.
    • Highlight the other items of the agenda in brief such as ending corruption and the way in which the agenda is being put in place by MBS including the Khashoggi incident
  • Discuss the historical perspective of India Saudi relationship, the issues involved such as
    • Stand of Saudi Arabia on Kashmir issue
    • Oil diplomacy
    • India as an attractive investment decision for Saudi Arabia
    • The religion issue and the Pakistan Ange etc
    • The agreements in pipeline
    • Human rights issues

Conclusion – Based on your arguments made above, give a fair and balanced opinion and way ahead for India.

Introduction:

Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman’s India visit comes at an important juncture in the geopolitics of southwest Asia as well as in the bilateral relationship between the two countries. India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties.

Body:

The reform agenda of MBS

  • Prince Salman’s agenda for “reversing 1979”, when tumultuous regional developments and the Saudi response to them began to alter the equation between religion and politics in the region, destabilise India’s neighbourhood and change South Asia’s inter-state relations for the worse. He has often proclaimed his commitment to reverse the hugely negative consequences of 1979.
  • House of Saud began to promote a more conservative Islam at home and support Sunni extremism abroad. This included support to the jihad in Afghanistan and the American and Pakistani war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul. Gen Zia-ul- Haq took advantage of the new regional dynamic push Pakistan towards Islamic conservatism.
  • According to him policies that Saudi Arabia pursued after 1979 are now a drag on a productive Saudi future. Prince Salman vowed to overcome the deviations of 1979 and return Saudi Arabia to “moderate Islam”. Recently, he had even taken on the Salafi religious establishment and has projected himself as an ideological moderniser.
  • In terms of economics, Saudi Arabia has started to feel that its days of high oil prices are fading and its water becomes increasingly expensive. He piloted several economic reforms to drive the kingdom towards a sustainable post oil era.
  • In terms of social values, many sociologists feel that traditional laws have pushed the Saudi Arabia’s younger generation isolated from the world. Notably, only this year, women were given the right to drive in Saudi.
  • Technologically, Saudi Arabia is far behind the western countries and developing nations in Africa and Asia. Even the countries like Indonesia and Pakistan which have a huge Muslim population have leaped forward when it comes to technology. In order to close the gap, Saudi Arabia is modernising as most of the Government works and services are already online.

The historical perspective of India Saudi relationship:

The Subcontinent’s historic relationship with the Gulf is deep and civilisational. In the colonial era, the British Raj in undivided India became both the provider of security and the facilitator of the region’s economic globalisation.

  • The religion issue and the Pakistan Angle
    • After Partition and Independence, Pakistan sought to mobilise political support from the Middle East in the name of shared religious identity.
    • Riyadh became the moving force behind the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that was set up in 1969 to unite the region’s conservative regimes as a counter to Soviet-leaning Arab nationalists.
  • Foreign Policy level
    • At the political level, India’s emphasis was on solidarity with Arab nationalism and against neo-colonialism and Western imperialism.
    • Given its preference for “secular republics” in the Middle East, an element of defensiveness inevitably crept up in India’s relations with the religiously conservative monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia.
  • Kashmir issue:
    • The OIC’s hostile rhetoric on the Kashmir question (at the instigation of Pakistan) congealed the perception in Delhi that Saudi Arabia and the conservative monarchies were “pro-Pakistan”
  • Other:
    • There were real problems that limited India’s possibilities in Saudi Arabia. These included growing divergence over regional issues such as Afghanistan, India’s embrace of the Soviet Union, the deep dependence of the Gulf kingdoms on the West, and Saudi support for radical Islam beyond its borders since the late 1970s.
  • Post Cold-war:
    • India’s ever growing oil imports and manpower exports — generated greater interest in the Gulf monarchies, including Saudi Arabia, for limiting the political differences with India and expanding bilateral economic partnerships.
    • As the gap in national economic capabilities between India and Pakistan began to widen since the 1990s in favour of Delhi, Saudi Arabia was happy to de-hyphenate its engagement in South Asia.

 

The current relations between India and Saudi Arabia revolves around two important areas –

Trade and investment

  • The Delhi Declaration signed during King Abdullah’s visit in 2006 called for a closer economic engagement and energy partnership and re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the ‘strategic partnership’ envisaged in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ in 2010.
  • Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner after China, US and UAE. It is a major source of India’s energy security requirement that counts for almost 1/5th of India’s crude oil requirement.
  • The volume of bilateral trade between both countries during 2016-17 recorded at $25.079 billion.
  • Saudi Arabia has investment in India’s national investment and infrastructure fund.

 

Defence and security cooperation

  • Saudi Arabia is home to more than 3 million Indian people.
  • India and Saudi Arabia share common grounds when it comes to maritime security and defence cooperation fight against extremism and terrorism.
  • The Indian high level visits to Riyadh in 2016 gave a fillip to security and economic ties with Saudi Arabia. These were followed up by talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.
  • A comprehensive security dialogue between the national security advisers of the two nations has been announced, besides a joint working group on terrorism.

Benefits for India:

  • India should take advantage of any benefit that accrues from India’s economic relations with Saudi Arabia but should not pin much hope on Riyadh in the political-strategic sphere.
  • Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia has created a roadmap for social and economic transformation and enabling the private sector is at the heart of it. India can reap this opportunity.
  • Maintaining a close relationship with the Arab world without disrupting the relationship with Iran, and refraining from getting politically involved in any conflict in the region, could be seen as continuity in terms of India’s engagement with the Middle East.
  • MBS’s view of a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions will help revert the 1979 consequences which India is still facing.

However, there are concerns about MBS’s grand views:

  • Many observers, especially in the West, are sceptical of the potential for real change in Saudi Arabia.
  • The humanitarian concerns where India has been tight-lipped about the recent perpetrated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Crown prince.
  • India has also not taken sides on the Yemen war in which Saudi has been a major belligerent.
  • As tensions rise in West Asia, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have coalesced more closely against Iran under the U.S.-sponsored Middle East Security Alliance (MESA).
  • The sectarian-based conflicts and the proxy wars that constantly weaken the Middle East’s security and stability make it extremely complex for India to stabilize its interests in the region.
  • Saudi perceives Pakistan as a major asset it can use to check the spread of Iranian influence.

Conclusion:

Delhi’s visible and unstinted solidarity with Prince Salman’s reform agenda at home and his effort to promote religious and political moderation in the region is a welcome step which India must support to promote her national interests.


Topic – challenges to internal security

6) India urgently needs a national security doctrine and another knee jerk reaction will not suffice. Critically comment. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Reference

Why this question

The Pulwama strike has raised several questions over the internal security situation in the country particularly with respect to Kashmir. The issue highlights the need for a national security doctrine as discussed in the article.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the recent incident which has brought intense focus on the Kashmir issue. Here based on reasoned arguments and from different perspectives we need to discuss what should be our next step, with a special emphasis on whether and what revisions does India require in its doctrine. We need to conclude with our own take on the issue and justify our stand.

Directive word

Critically comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Your opinion may be for or against, but you must back your argument with evidences. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss why this issue is in news and set the foundation for the discussion that follows.

Body

  • Highlight why this attack has shaken the nation and posed new challenges for national security
    • deadliest ever terror strike against security forces in three decades of militancy in Kashmir.
    • Jaish has carried out other attacks in Kashmir in recent years, including the one at Uri and at Pathankot, highlights terrorism emanating from Pakistan
    • Issues of strategic significance such as relationship with China, developments in Afghanistan
    • One of the first instances of a vehicle-borne IED being used in J&K, the success of this tactic could mark a new phase in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
  • Comment on how should India react. Highlight the pros and cons of your suggestion. Also discuss what is India’s national security doctrine and what inclusions /exclusions should be made in that.

Conclusion – Give your view and justify it on the basis of the arguments made above.

Introduction:

The Pulwama terrorist attack is one of the worst in recent years. The death toll is still climbing, but recent reports indicated over 40 people had been killed. In the 2016 attack on an Indian Army base in Uri, 16 personnel had died. The 2001 attack on the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly in Srinagar had killed 38 people. For the CRPF in particular, this is the second worst attack in its history. The last time it suffered such casualties was in Dantewada when Maoists insurgents ambushed and killed 75 CRPF personnel in April 2010.

Body:

The Pulwama attack has shaken the nation and posed new challenges for national security

  • One of the first instances of a vehicle-borne IED being used in J&K, the success of this tactic could mark a new phase in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations
  • The detailed planning undertaken for this deadly ambush of the police convoy — this is certainly not the work of high school drop-outs or amateurs.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has carried out other attacks in Kashmir in recent years, including the one at Uri and at Pathankot, highlights terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
  • Lapses in the quality and timeliness of intelligence inputs and the standard operating procedures (SOP) being followed by the armed police force convoys is highlighted.
  • Pakistan’s three-decade-long strategy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts”, using terrorists and religious fanatics has kept the Kashmir Issue simmering.
  • Crisis after crisis has caught our nation by surprise — unprepared and invariably in the reactive mode.
  • India remains deficient in intelligence-analysis, inter-agency coordination, and, above all, a national security doctrine.
  • To protect critical infrastructure like Nuclear Installations, Army/Navy/Air force bases % strategic research institutes like DRDO, ISRO

National security is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of “national” crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might.

A national security doctrine helps the statesmen identify and prioritize that country’s geopolitical interests. It encompasses the totality of this country’s military, diplomatic, economic and social policies that will protect and promote this country’s national security interests. India does not have any such doctrine, except the Army.

Need for India to have to have a National Security Doctrine is:

  • Porous international boundaries, growing terror threats, increasing insurgency within country demand government to envisage and formulate a National Security Doctrine for India.
  • The existence of such a document will dissuade adventurism and will reassure our citizens that appropriate measures are in place to protect us.
  • Many of India’s national security inadequacies stem from the absence of a national security/defence vision.
  • It will not only become the basis for strategy-formulation, contingency-planning and evolution of SOPs, but also send a reassuring message to our public.
  • It is necessary in the face of having nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistan and China.
  • The country should have an overall national security document from which the various agencies and the arms of the armed forces draw their mandate and create their own respective and joint doctrines which would then translate into operational doctrines for tactical engagement
  • In the absence of this, as is the case in India today, national strategy is broadly a function of ad-hocism and personal preferences.
  • To fill the gaps in India’s security policy planning.
  • To define India’s role in the world and its commitment to protecting the life, liberty and interests of its people.

Challenges in implementing a National Security Doctrine:

  • There is a skewed national security decision-making structure that is driven more by idealism and altruism, rather than by realpolitik imperatives.
  • National security has suffered neglect for decades due to pre-occupation of our politicians with electoral politics.
  • Defining national interests in a multi-party democracy like India that has representation across the ideological spectrum has been hard to achieve.
  • Decisions of national security are taken in individual silos rather than cross-domain exchange as subjects are inter-related.
  • There is opacity in the functioning of Intelligence agencies for instance there is no credible external audit that happens.
  • The agencies that are to provide security cover and neutralise terrorist threats do not have a cohesive command and control structure.
  • There has been a gap in political pronouncements in our military capabilities — material as well as organisational.

Way forward:

  • 5 key areas in draft National Security Policy that Shyam Saran, former chairman of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), has prepared and handed over to the government in January 2015: Domestic security, External security, Military preparedness, Economic security, Ecological security.
  • Strategic communication” is of overarching importance in National Security which must be improved. A command control and communication centre must be built.
  • The NSD should guide various doctrines related to external and internal security to fill a huge void in the higher defence management of the country.
  • The policy must go much beyond issues of national security and encapsulate the domain of constitutional rights as well.
  • It must take an all-inclusive approach to national security integrating diplomatic engagement, domestic economic discipline and amity among communities at home with military power.
  • We need to tailor our strategic defence doctrine to create long-term measures towards a deterrent based on severe retribution.
  • Our targeting philosophy must be involved and redirected to two notices, but yet the message must be loud and clear that this has been done, and that in fact our targeting policy exists.
  • Emerging strategic technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics and miniaturised wars are likely to play an increasingly important role in future warfare, this must be taken care of.

Conclusion:

Developing a National Security Doctrine is as much about the future vision of a country as it is about its past. The need of the hour is to put together a National Security Doctrine that should have political consensus, publicly transparent and should reflect the complex challenges facing the country. The doctrine must be accompanied by a national security strategy.