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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 November 2021

 

 

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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Account for the drivers and impact of marine heatwaves on marine Ecosystem Structure and ocean biodiversity in the world. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1. UPSC asked Question related to Ocean in 2019 (Ocean current and water masses), 2017 (Ocean salinity)

Key Demand of the question:

To write about to factors which lead to marine heatwaves and its impact on the ocean biodiversity.

Directive word: 

Account – Give underlying reasons for the phenomenon/process and enumerate the impact

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Explain what Marine heatwaves is.

Body:

Write about the various factors that leads to marine heatwaves – Ocean current, Increasing sea temperature, Weak winds. Write the impact of marine heatwaves – impact on corals, habitat, species, and fisheries. Give examples from across the world.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above.

Introduction

Marine heatwaves are those events in which the ocean temperatures are extremely warm for an extended period of time can have significant impacts on marine ecosystems and industries.​ Marine heatwaves can occur in summer or winter – they are defined based on differences with expected temperatures for the location and time of year.

Between 1925 and 2016, the number of annual marine heatwave days around the globe increased by more than 50%.

Body

Drivers of Marine heatwaves

  • Marine heatwaves can be caused by a whole range of factors, and not all factors are important for each event.
  • The most common drivers of marine heatwaves include ocean currentswhich can build up areas of warm water and air-sea heat flux, or warming through the ocean surface from the atmosphere.
  • Winds can enhance or suppress the warming in a marine heatwave, and climate modes like El Niño can change the likelihood of events occurring in certain regions.

Impact on marine Ecosystem Structure and ocean biodiversity in the world

  • Marine heatwaves affect ecosystem structure, by supporting certain species and suppressing others.
  • For example, after the 2011 marine heatwave in Western Australia the fish communities had a much more “tropical” nature than previously and switched from kelp forests to seaweed turfs.
  • Marine heatwaves can change the habitat ranges of certain species, such as the spiny sea urchin off southeastern Australia which has been expanding southward into Tasmania at the expense of kelp forests which it feeds upon.
  • Rogue animals can also find their way well outside their normal range, following the warm waters of a marine heatwave, such as this tropical fish found off Tasmania during the 2015/16 marine heatwave!
  • Marine heatwaves can cause economic losses through impacts on fisheries and aquaculture.
  • In 2011 in Western Australia, the marine heatwave impacted the abalone fishery in the north of the state and in 2015/16 the marine heatwave off south-eastern Australia led to high levels of abalone mortality in Tasmania.
  • That event also led to outbreaks of Pacific oyster mortality syndrome (which affected the pacific oyster aquaculture industry) and also poor performance in Atlantic salmon aquaculture.
  • Biodiversity can be drastically affected by marine heatwaves.
  • In 2016, marine heatwaves across northern Australia led to severe bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef and have been speculated to be linked to mangrove die-offs in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Measures needed

  • Limiting greenhouse gas emissions
    • There is an urgent need to achieve the mitigation targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
    • This will help prevent the massive and irreversible impacts of growing temperatures on ocean ecosystems and their services.
  • Protecting marine and coastal ecosystems
    • Well-managed protected areas can help conserve and protect ecologically and biologically significant marine habitats.
    • This will regulate human activities in these habitats and prevent environmental degradation.
  • Restoring marine and coastal ecosystems
    • Elements of ecosystems that have already experienced damage can be restored.
    • This can include building artificial structures such as rock pools that act as surrogate habitats for organisms, or boosting the resilience of species to warmer temperatures through assisted breeding techniques.
  • Improving human adaptation
    • Governments can introduce policies to keep fisheries production within sustainable limits, for example by setting precautionary catch limits and eliminating subsidies to prevent overfishing.
    • Coastal setback zones which prohibit all or certain types of development along the shoreline can minimise the damage from coastal flooding and erosion.
    • New monitoring tools can be developed to forecast and control marine disease outbreaks.
  • Strengthening scientific research
    • Governments can increase investments in scientific research to measure and monitor ocean warming and its effects.
    • This will provide more precise data on the scale, nature and impacts of ocean warming, making it possible to design and implement adequate and appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Conclusion

Marine heatwaves clearly have the potential to devastate marine ecosystems and cause economic losses in fisheries, aquaculture, and ecotourism industries. However, their effects are often hidden from view under the waves until it is too late. By raising general awareness of these phenomena, and by improving our scientific understanding of their physical properties and ecological impacts, we can better predict future conditions and protect vulnerable marine habitats and resources.

 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. Climate change is the single biggest threat to shallow-water coral reefs worldwide. Elaborate. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of climate change on the shallow water coral reefs worldwide.

Directive word: 

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Explain how climate change is affecting the corals.

Body:

Explain how climate change is impacting shallow water-corals. Also, write about various other factors which lead to coral depletion e.g. marine pollution, changes in ocean temperature. In brief write the implications and measure which can be taken to mitigate the impact on corals.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above.

Introduction

A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny  water.

Coral reefs harbour the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem globally and directly support over 500 million people worldwide, mostly in poor countries. They are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth, largely due to unprecedented global warming and climate changes, combined with growing local pressures.

Body

 

Impact of climate change on coral reef

Climate change is the greatest global threat to coral reef ecosystems. Scientific evidence now clearly indicates that the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean are warming, and that these changes are primarily due to greenhouse gases derived from human activities.

Climate change leads to:

  • A warming ocean: causes thermal stress that contributes to coral bleaching and infectious disease.
  • Sea level rise: may lead to increases in sedimentation for reefs located near land-based sources of sediment. Sedimentation runoff can lead to the smothering of coral.
  • Changes in storm patterns: leads to stronger and more frequent storms that can cause the destruction of coral reefs.
  • Changes in precipitation: increased runoff of freshwater, sediment, and land-based pollutants contribute to algal blooms and cause murky water conditions that reduce light.
  • Altered ocean currents: leads to changes in connectivity and temperature regimes that contribute to lack of food for corals and hampers dispersal of coral larvae.
  • Ocean acidification (a result of increased CO2): causes a reduction in pH levels which decreases coral growth and structural integrity.

Way forward

  • Limiting global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, provides the only chance for the survival of coral reefs globally.
  • If the agreement is fully implemented, we will likely see a decrease in atmospheric carbon concentrations. This will improve conditions for the survival of reefs, and enable other measures to rescue reefs to be successful.
  • Other measures alone, such as addressing local pollution and destructive fishing practices, cannot save coral reefs without stabilised greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reinforcing commitments to the Paris Agreement must be mirrored in all other global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • SDG 13, for instance, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. There also needs to be a transformation of mainstream economic systems and a move towards circular economic practices.
  • These are highlighted in SDG 8 (inclusive and sustainable economic growth) and SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns).
  • Economic systems need to rapidly move to the low greenhouse gas emission scenario to enable global temperature decrease.
  • A move away from current economic thinking should include the benefits provided by coral reefs, which are currently not taken into account in mainstream business and finance.
  • Therefore, sustaining and restoring coral reefs should be treated as an asset, and long-term investments should be made for their preservation.
  • Investments should also include support for research at the frontiers of biology, such as genetic selection of heat-resistant corals that can withstand rising global temperatures.

Conclusion

Monitoring, research, and restoration all are essential to safeguard coral reefs. However, to ultimately protect coral reefs, legal mechanisms are necessary. Legal mechanism involves the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). Because MPAs have the added force of law behind them, a protected marine enclosure—such as a coral reef system—may stand a better chance for survival.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. The international system is focussed on a new era of great power competition, where countries are choosing to preserve national supremacy over global problem-solving. What are its consequences and analyse the need for a greater global cooperation? (250 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

China is seeking to refashion the international order and exercise greater regional hegemony. Recently, Secretary Antony Blinken outlined the US approach to China: “Competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be.”

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the new era of great power competition in the world, focussing on the policies of China and United States. The global cooperation to tackle this.

Directive word:

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Describe the current geo-political condition and the competition among countries.

Body:

First highlight the global economic interdependence and the new era of great power competition among countries.

Next bring out the risks involved in the power competition by citing the China-Us trade war. Touch upon the challenges like climate change, the pandemic, risks posed by technology, global public health.

Highlight on the areas where the risks of the global system are magnifying — cyber threats, the possible risks of unregulated technology, competition in space, a renewed competition in nuclear weapons and an intensifying arms race. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward for collaboration between countries for solving global problems and preserving national supremacy.

Introduction

There is a new era of great power competition. An assertive China is seeking to refashion the international order and exercise greater regional hegemony. The United States, in turn, will seek to deny China that privilege and claim the unipolar world. The big question is whether the competitive and adversarial dynamics are now so deep that the space for “collaboration” is diminishing fast.

Body

Great power competition vis-a-vis global interdependence

  • Interdependence has not led to greater convergence on political values or a more open global political order.
  • The domestic political economy in China has shifted to “dual circulation”, while the success of Biden’s plans hinges on reversing significant aspects of globalisation.
  • There is now bipartisan consensus in the US that China needs to be contained; just as China is convinced that the US will not only not tolerate China’s further rise, it will still actively undermine its political system and civilisational claims.
  • This will encourage a kind of wariness about excessive interdependence, even if hedged with sufficient diversification of sources.
  • The fact of interdependence will continue by dint of its historical momentum, but it has lost its ideological power, and will crumble.

Issues arising due to great power competition

  • US-China Trade War was detrimental to the world economy in general and led to decreasing world growth. It had repercussions all over the world leading to subdued sentiments.
  • Climate Change efforts such as climate financing and enhancing climate targets are needed of temperature rise is to be controlled to 1.5 degree Celsius.
    • The shift in the climate change discourse is about intensifying technological competition and maintaining national economic supremacy, rather than solving a global problem.
  • Fighting the global pandemic became difficult as nations started to close borders disrupting the global value chains and essential goods from free trade.
    • Access to Vaccine became difficult to those nations that didn’t have technology and were also most poor nations. Eg : African nations’ reliance on West and India, China for vaccines.
  • Technology and related issues: The risks of the global system are magnifying — cyber threats, the possible risks of unregulated technology, whether in artificial intelligence or biological research, competition in space, a renewed competition in nuclear weapons and an intensifying arms race.

Way forward

  • To address the climate emergency, post-pandemic recovery plans need to trigger long-term systemic shifts that will change the trajectory of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This requires nations to collaborate to finance 100 billion dollars that is needed to arrest climate change.
  • Governments must come to consensus on issues of nuclear non-proliferation and universal disarmament without discrimination.
  • Trade related issues must once again be revived under the ambit of WTO and the appellate body needs to be reinstated immediately.
  • The most important international organisation such as the United Nations needs reforms to ensure that nations can equitably participate in decisions that affect them.

Conclusion

The real choice for the world is not just navigating between China and the United States. It is fundamentally between an orientation that is committed to global problem-solving rather than just preserving national supremacy. It will require countries to be collaborative when they should be, rather than merely when they can be.

 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

4. India’s Indo-Pacific strategy has acquired political and institutional traction in recent years. Now it is time for India to develop a “Eurasian” policy, that will also complement its Indo-Pacific strategy. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

 Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Recent consultations in Delhi on the crisis in Afghanistan among the region’s top security policymakers, following the US withdrawal, was part of developing a Eurasian strategy.

Key Demand of the question:

Write about India’s strategy towards Indo-pacific and the need to develop a similar strategy for Eurasian region.

Directive word:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start your answer by talking about India’s Indo-Pacific strategy and the need to develop a similar strategy for Eurasian region.

Body:

Talk about the international understanding of the region. Mention that If the Indo-Pacific is about Delhi’s new maritime geopolitics, Eurasia involves the recalibration of India’s continental strategy.

China’s dominance in the region.

Talk about the integrated approach to Eurasia, India’s Eurasian policy must involve greater engagement with both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward and what lies for India in cooperation with Eurasia.

Introduction

New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy has acquired political and institutional traction in terms of Quad and Malabar exercises, thanks to intensive Indian diplomacy in recent years. It is time for similar efforts towards development of a “Eurasian” policy. If the Indo-Pacific is about Delhi’s new maritime geopolitics, Eurasia involves the recalibration of India’s continental strategy.

Body

Background: Indo-pacific and beyond

  • Delhi has clinched the internal debate on the Indo-Pacific and has made it integral to India’s foreign and security policies.
  • Given its novelty and strategic salience, the Quad or the Quadrilateral forum that brings India together with Australia, Japan and the US, looms large over the Indo-Pacific debate.
  • But Delhi now has a mix of other important unilateral, bilateral, minilateral, and multilateral initiatives in the Indo-Pacific.
  • India is hosting consultations in Delhi on the crisis in Afghanistan among the region’s top security policymakers, following the US withdrawal, is part of developing a Eurasian strategy.
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has invited his counterparts from Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia, Russia, and China to join this discussion.

China’s dominance in recent times

  • The most important development in Eurasia today is the dramatic rise of China and its growing strategic assertiveness, expanding economic power and rising political influence.
  • Beijing’s muscular approach to the long and disputed border with Bhutan and India, its quest for a security presence in Tajikistan, the active search for a larger role in Afghanistan, and a greater say in the affairs of the broader sub-Himalayan region are only one part of the story.
  • As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s commercial influence is felt across the world.
  • Physical proximity multiplies China’s economic impact on the inner Asian regions.
  • The impressive expansion of China’s Belt and Road initiative across central Asia and Russia, onto the shores of the Atlantic, and Europe’s growing economic interdependence with China have added to Beijing’s powerful leverages in Eurasia.
  • These leverages, in turn, were reinforced by a deepening alliance with Russia that straddles the Eurasian heartland. Russia’s intractable disputes with Europe and America have increased Moscow’s reliance on Beijing.

Therefore, for India to become a major player in the geo-politics and international arena, it needs to find a way to circumvent China through stronger alliance with likeminded nations.

India’s Eurasia strategy

  • Involvement in Eurasian Security: India’s Eurasian policy must necessarily involve greater engagement with both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
    • A dedicated military office in the Indian mission to Brussels, where both EU and NATO are headquartered, will be a crucial step towards a sustained security dialogue with Europe.
  • India-Russia dialogue: Next step is to intensify the dialogue on Eurasian security with Russia.
    • While Indo-Russian differences on the Indo-Pacific, the Quad, China, and the Taliban are real, Delhi and Moscow have good reasons to narrow their differences on Afghanistan and widen cooperation on continental Eurasian security.
  • West Asia’s role Eurasia: Third is the substantive Indian collaboration with both Persia and Arabia.
    • If Persia’s location makes it critical for the future of Afghanistan and Central Asia, the religious influence of Arabia and the weight of the Gulf capital are quite consequential in the region.
    • India’s partnerships with Persia and Arabia are also critical in overcoming Turkey’s alliance with Pakistan that is hostile to Delhi.
  • Balancing contradictions: India will surely encounter many contradictions in each of the three areas — between and among America, Europe, Russia, China, Iran, and the Arab Gulf.
    • As in the Indo-Pacific, so in Eurasia, Delhi should not let these contradictions hold India back.
  • Integrated approach: India has certainly dealt with Eurasia’s constituent spaces separately over the decades. What Delhi now needs is an integrated approach to Eurasia. Like the Indo-Pacific, Eurasia is new to India’s strategic discourse.

Conclusion

The current flux in Eurasian geopolitics will lessen some of the current contradictions and generate some new antinomies in the days ahead. But the key for India lies in greater strategic activism that opens opportunities in all directions in Eurasia.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to Internal security

5. Do you agree if India has failed to appreciate the usage of international law as a means to advance its national security interests? Comment (250 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

Why the question:

India’s confrontation with neighbourhood policies have been in news recurrently

Key demand of the question:

To mention and explain the recent events, as to how India could have made use of International law to foster its National security interests

Directive word:

Comment – here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

A brief on related International law

Body:

In first part, mention examples/instances where India could have made use of International law to secure its national interests

In second part, mention the reasons for international law remaining at the margins of foreign policymaking in India

Conclusion:

Suggest what more could be done in the perspective

Introduction

International law covers a wide array of security issues ranging from terrorism to maritime security. Article 1(1) of the UN Charter recognises the maintenance of “international peace and security” as a principal objective of the UN

Body

Notwithstanding the central role that international law plays in security matters, India has failed to fully appreciate the usage of international law to advance its national security interests. This can be seen through

  • Limited participation of India in global security debates:  Military experts, international relations academics, and practitioners like retired diplomats are prominent in such debates.
  • Lack of Internationallawyers:  Lawyers are largely absent in the debates despite security issues are being placed within the framework of international law.
  • Failure in using law-friendly vocabulary: Several examples showcase India’s failure to use an international law-friendly vocabulary to articulate and communicate its security interests.

Impact of the same on International relations:

  • In justifying the use of force when India struck the terror camps in Pakistan in 2019, after the Pulwama attack, India did not invoke the right to self-defenceas Pakistan was unable/ unwilling to act against the terrorist groups operating from its soil; India decided to suspend the MFN status of Pakistan.
    • Under the international law contained in the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), countries can diverge from their MFN obligations on grounds of national security.
    • Instead of suspending the MFN obligation towards Pakistan along these lines, India used Section 8A (1) of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, to increase customs duties on all Pakistani products to 200%. The notification on this decision did not even mention ‘national security’.
  • Issues with deportation of Rohingya refugees:India claims that this pose a security threat. India’s argument to justify the deportation is that it is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention, which is a weak argument as India is bound by the principle of non-refoulment.
    • If India desires to deport the Rohingya, it should develop a case on these lines showing how they constitute a national security threat.
  • Pressurizing the Taliban regimeto serve India’s interest:
  • India has seldom resorted international law.For example, India could have made a case for the SAARC using its implied powers under international law to temporarily suspend Afghanistan from SAARC’s membership.
  • Effective use of international laws: KulbhushanJadhav case: India dragged Pakistan to the International Court of Justice and also in developing international law to counter terrorism.

International law remaining at the margins of foreign policymaking in India.

India is not effectively using law to argue its cases because:

  • Marginal involvement of international lawyersin foreign policymaking. B.S. Chimni, a chief Indian international lawyer, argues, “the Legal and Treaties Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, which advises the government on international law matters, is both understaffed and largely ignored on policy matters”.
  • An international law expert has far superior motivation to join the government as a generalist diplomat than as an international lawyer.
  • Negligible expertise of Ministries: Other than the External Affairs Ministry, there are several other Ministries like Commerce and Finance that also deal with different aspects of international law. They have negligible proficiency in international law.
  • Neglect in the study of international law:Institutions created to carry out cutting-edge research in this discipline have institutionalised mediocrity and university centres instructed to develop the stream suffer from uninspiring leadership and systemic indifference.
  • Scholars not choosing international Law:Numerous outstanding international law scholars that India has produced prefer to converse with domain experts only. Hence, they have failed in popularising international law among the larger public.

Conclusion

If India aspires to emerge as a global power, it has to make use of ‘lawfare’ (Law-warfare) i.e., the use of law as a weapon for national security. In order to mainstream international law in foreign policymaking, India should invest heavily in building its capacity on international law.

 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. India’s Gati Shakti Plan can have an impact beyond its borders. Analyse. (250 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

 Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question

Gati Shakti plan has been in new since a week

Key demand of the question

The various spill over effects of Gati Shakti Plan on India’s neighbours

Directive Word:

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary

Structure of the Answer:

Introduction:

A brief on the plan

Body:

Key elements of the plan

In second part, mention the impacts of the plan across India’s borders

Conclusion:

A relevant way forward/closing statement

Introduction

On India’s 75th Independence Day, the government launched PM Gati Shakti Master Plan, a Rs. 100 lakh-crore project for developing ‘holistic infrastructure’. It aims to ensure integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the next four years, with a focus on expediting works on the ground, saving costs and creating jobs, and bringing down the logistics cost.

Body

 

However, while the Rs 100 lakh crore plan will have an important economic multiplier effect at home, it must also be leveraged to have an external impact by aligning it with India’s regional and global connectivity efforts.

Impact of India’s Gati Shakti Plan beyond its borders

  • From a foreign policy angle, the plan will automatically generate positive effects to deepen India’s economic ties with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, as well as with Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
  • Nepal, for example, in 2020 reached record export levels due to a series of Indian connectivity initiatives, including electronic cargo tracking systems, new rail and road routes, modernisation of border control systems, and the region’s first-ever bilateral petroleum pipeline.
  • By reducing the cost and time of doing trade through infrastructure modernisation at home, India will continue to have a positive impact on the price of commodities and developmental targets in neighbouring countries.
  • In 2019, trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh was eased through a new multimodal road and waterway link via Assam.
  • The new cargo ferry service with the Maldives, launched last year, has lowered the costs of trade for the island state.
  • And under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Programme (SASEC), India’s investments in multimodal connectivity on the eastern coast is reconnecting India with the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia through integrated rail, port and shipping systems.
  • However, India’s connectivity investments at home will have limited effects unless they are coordinated with those of its neighbours and other regional partners.

Some challenges faced in the past endeavours

  • With its land neighbours, India’s border check posts, known as Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), only have mirror infrastructure with Nepal.
  • Other key ICPs, such as the one at Petrapole with Bangladesh, face regular congestion due to lack of complementary infrastructure across the border.
  • Similarly, countries in South Asia use different digital systems that have hindered real-time information sharing. While India recently joined the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) convention, which facilitates cross-border customs procedures, none of its neighbouring countries in the east has signed on to it.

Way forward

  • India will have to deepen bilateral consultations with its neighbours to gauge their connectivity strategies and priorities.
  • Given political and security sensitivities, India will require diplomatic skills to reassure its neighbours and adapt to their pace and political economy context.
  • India should work its way through regional institutions and platforms such as now defunct SAARC, BIMSTEC etc.
  • Working through these multilateral platforms will help India develop a regional vision and standards for connectivity, reducing bilateral transaction costs.
  • India can also boost the Gati Shakti plan’s external impact by cooperating more closely with global players who are keen to support its strategic imperative to give the Indo-Pacific an economic connectivity dimension.

Value addition

PM Gatishakti plan in a nutshell

  • The Gati Shakti plan has three main components, all focused on domestic coordination.
  • First, it seeks to increase information sharing with a new technology platform between various ministries at the Union and state levels.
  • Second, it focuses on giving impetus to multi-modal transportation to reduce logistics’ costs and strengthen last-mile connectivity in India’s hinterland or border regions.
  • The third component includes an analytical decision-making tool to disseminate project-related information and prioritise key infrastructure projects.
  • This aims to ensure transparency and time-bound commitments to investors.

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