QUESTION : “India needs to recalibrate its foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia, especially in the context of the strengthening Russia-China axis” and  in pursuit of a ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ with the US, India has compromised its ties with Russia. Critically analyse both the statements.





  • Sino-Russian Alliance and India



  • Xinping-Putin friendship has sparked intense discussion on whether Russia and China are moving in the direction of a formal alliance



  • A Sino-Russian quasi-alliance has formed in recent years, and this has been possible due to the anti-Chinese rhetoric from Washington, collapse of oil prices and growing dependence of Russia on Chinese consumption.
  • Western analysts see this as a “friendship of convenience” between two countries led by strongmen — Russia by President Vladimir Putin and China by President Xi Jinping.



  • The USA-Russia-China triangle:

 o Global politics since 1950 was dominated by the triangular relationship between America, China and Russia in which Americans had occupied the favoured position in terms of its relations with the other two.

  • The disintegration of the Soviet Union essentially negated the Russian threat in Chinese eyes. Both these trends will likely continue despite the recent tensions in Sino-U.S. relations.



  • India is not a part of this triangle; yet Russia-China-USA are India’s most consequential partners. Prime Minister Modi has held informal summits with only two leaders — Xi and Putin.
  • New Delhi believes that the approach of Western countries, especially that of the US towards both Moscow and Beijing, has brought them even closer.
  • Estimates say 60 to 70 per cent of India’s supplies are from Russia, and New Delhi needs a regular and reliable supply of spare parts from the Russian defence industry.
  • Hence, a proper examination of the Chinese-Russian relationship will be critical to our foreign policy.



  • India has a historical relationship with Russia, spanning over seven decades.
  • While the relationship has grown in some areas and atrophied in some others, the strongest pillar of the strategic partnership is of the defence basket.
  • Although New Delhi has consciously diversified its new purchases from other countries, the bulk of its defence equipment is from Russia.
  • Estimates say 60 to 70 per cent of India’s supplies are from Russia, and New Delhi needs a regular and reliable supply of spare parts from the Russian defence industry.
  • In fact, Prime Minister Modi has held informal summits with only two leaders — Xi and Putin



  • RIC is a strategic grouping that first took shape in the late 1990s under the leadership of Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian politician as “a counterbalance to the Western alliance.”
  • The group was founded on the basis of ending its subservient foreign policy guided by the USA and renewing old ties with India and fostering the newly discovered friendship with China.
  • Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19% of the global landmass and contribute to over 33% of global GDP.

Relevance of RIC for India

  • Strategic Balance: Along with JAI, India would do well to give RIC the same importance. The groupings like the Quad and the JAI essentially revolve around the Indo Pacific and will confine India to being only a maritime power when it is actually both a maritime and continental power.
  • Forum for Cooperation: Even though India, China and Russia may disagree on a number of security issues in Eurasia, there are areas where their interests converge, like, for instance, on Afghanistan. RIC can ensure stable peace in Afghanistan and by extension, in Central Asia.
  • Creation of New Order: Contribute to creating a new economic structure for the world. The US apparently wants to break down the current economic and political order. While the existing structure is not satisfactory, the RIC could offer some suggestions which could be acceptable to the US.
  • Governance over Arctic: With the Northern Sea Route opening up due to climate change, the RIC has a common interest in ensuring that it is not left to the West and Russia alone and that India and China also have major say in rules governing the Arctic route.
  • Other Aspects: They could work together on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.



  • India has traditionally avoided taking sides in international politics, especially between the great powers, preferring its traditional nonalignment. However, China’s hostile attitude towards India in recent years is increasingly forcing India to confront.


  • This makes it difficult to see how engagements through platforms such as RIC, are going to alter the basic conflictual nature of relations between India and China.
  • Even though Russia has remained an old friend for India, it is increasingly under stress to follow China’s dictates. E.g. earlier, it openly opposed the Indo-Pacific concept at the Raisina Dialogue



 China’s advantage in Trade relationship: The West’s approach towards Russia after the annexation of Crimea through harsh sanctions in 2014 brought Moscow much closer to China.

  • Falling oil prices and fears of new sanctions on Russian gas supplies (Nord Stream 2) are hurting the core of Russian exports to Europe, thus moving them to depend on China.

 The investment relationship remains subdued except where it has suited China’s core energy interests, such as the $400 billion deal over 30 years to supply gas to China along the 1,800 miles long pipeline known as the Power of Siberia

  • The growing power-gap is threatening to further reduce Russian influence in their ‘near-abroad’ and to confine Russia to the periphery of global power.



 o The three pillars on which the Sino-Russian partnership currently rests are a peaceful boundary, expanding trade and a shared distrust of American intentions. 

 o Growing strategic convergence: Coordinated action in multilateral forums, increasingly sophisticated joint military exercises, and activities with third countries such as Iran, are indicators for Russia-China military alliance.For example – the supply of the Russian S-400 missile system to China.

 o Economic relations: China is Russia’s biggest trading partner and the largest Asian investor in Russia. China sees Russia as a powerhouse of raw material and a growing market for its consumer goods.

  • Russia’s concerns over China’s rise
  • Boundary issues: China’s talk of “rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation” has raised fears about Chinese revanchism(retaliation).
  • Strategic concerns: China has established dominance in Russian ‘backyards’ such as Central Asia and the Arctic regions.

 o China does not recognise Crimea as part of Russia, and Moscow, formally speaking, takes a neutral stance on Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.

 o Economic concerns:  Russia presumably thinks to control China through its energy dependency, and China feels that it can integrate Russia into its economy by redirecting Russian oil and gas eastwards. 



  • End of Cold War: The disintegration of the Soviet Union essentially negated the Russian threat in Chinese eyes which brought both countries closer.
  • Resolution of disputes: A peaceful boundary is one of the pillars on which the Sino-Russian partnership currently rests.
  • Common Enemy: Both share a concern over American plans for “regime-change”. A shared distrust of American intentions has thus pushed China and Russia into closer axis.
  • External Push Factors: Western sanctions have tended to push the Russians closer to China and it has served to strengthen China’s position in the strategic triangle.
  • Increasing Economic & Industrial ties in the aftermath of western sanctions

 o China-Russia trade has more than doubled to $108 billion

 o China has surpassed Germany as the principal supplier of industrial plant and technology.



  • Changed geopolitics:

 o Russia is now politically agnostic, commercially motivated and no longer shares India’s concerns about China.

 o A strategic partnership with Russia based on the absence of fundamental conflicts of interest and a shared belief for a multipolar world is important for India



  • Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline project.
  • Its purpose is to bring Russian gas under the Baltic Sea direct to Germany.
  • The decision to build Nord Steam 2 was based on the successful experience in building and operating the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
  • So it is an expansion of the Russia’s existing Nord Stream gas pipeline.
  • It will also ensure a highly reliable supply of Russian gas to Europe.



  • The new reality of Sino-Russian relations is thus one where substantial expansion of bilateral cooperation is accompanied by growing asymmetry and China’s pre-eminence.
  • Moscow is in real danger of permanently becoming the ‘junior partner’.
  • India and Russia have a shared belief that some form of multipolarity is better than any sort of Sino-U.S. condominium.

 Therefore, India-Russia relationship deserves more attention from both sides.



QUESTION: Examine the issues with the autonomy of Higher Education Institutes in the NEP 2020.”





  • Issues of Accessibility and Equity in New Education Policy (NEP),2020



  • The Indian Cabinet approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, despite strong opposition to several of its provisions that were earlier circulated as a draft policy document.



  • The move has raised concerns about the politico-bureaucratic interference in the internal functioning of universities.
  • It has also raised concerns about the substantial burden on universities which have to regulate admissions, set curricula and conduct examinations for a large number of undergraduate colleges.
  • Concerns have long existed about over-centralisation, due to constraints imposed on the potential for premium affiliated colleges to innovate and evolve.
  • These apprehensions about the autonomy came to be used by successive governments to build a case for the model of graded autonomy.



  • NEP 2020 is a combination of enhanced centralising features and specific features of autonomy.
  • Deeper centralisation is indicative in the constitution of the government nominated umbrella institution, Higher Education Council of India (HECI); Board of Governors, the National Education Commission etc.



  • The model of graded autonomy will encourage hierarchy that exists between different colleges within a public-funded university, and between different universities across the country.
  • While the best colleges gain the autonomy to bring in their own rules and regulations, affiliated colleges with lower rankings and less than 3,000 students face the threat of mergers and even closure.
  • A shrinking of the number of public-funded colleges will only further push out marginalised sections.
  • Autonomy could lead to more inaccessibility as the independent rules and regulations of autonomous colleges and universities shall curtail transparent admission procedures.
  • Graded autonomy can be expected to trigger a massive spurt in expensive self-financed courses as premium colleges, which will lead to exclusion.



  • India faces many challenges in providing quality education to children and the youth.
  • Despite many schemes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, there continues to be a lack of adequate resources and capacity in the public education system.
  • Poor learning outcomes have been a consistent concern in India as indicated by the Annual Status of Education Report. Primary schools have recorded poor literacy and numeracy outcomes.
  • The dropout levels in middle and secondary schools have been significant.
  • India faces huge inequality challenges. The challenge faced by the disadvantaged and disabled in accessing quality education is only further deepening the inequality in India.
  • The increasing private sector share in school education has led to the rapid commercialisation of the critical educational sector in India. Despite the RTE Act, fee regulations exist only in some States even now. This can lead to exclusion of the disadvantaged classes while further accentuating access asymmetries.
  • The presence of multiple mother tongues in India and the lack of adequate English language skills in the populace of the country pose critical questions on the language of education in India.
  • There has been a persistent mismatch between the knowledge and skills imparted in degree courses and the job requirement.




1.Adoption of technology:

Effective use of technological tools in teaching has many benefits. It will solve the many problems of infrastructure, quality


  1. Teacher training:

Teachers’ training remains one of the most chaotic, neglected and deficient sectors of India’s vast education system. This needs to be changed as they virtually hold the destiny of the future generations in their hands


  1. More government spending:

India targeted towards devoting 6% share of the GDP towards the educational sector, the performance has definitely fallen short of expectations. Also funding is needed to be spend on building infrastructure


  1. Inclusive education system:

Growth in education sector should incorporate all sections of society like rural, urban poor ,woman Backward classes etc.


  1. Quality education:

Education provided should meet needs of student. e.g. education provided to hearing impaired or slow learners. It should allow them to enhance their skills and get better employment options


  1. PPP model:

Public-Private sources and to encourage the active participation of the private sector in national development. It is more forcefully advocated when public resources are projected to be inadequate to meet needs.


  1. IES:

An All India Education Services should be established which will decide the policies of education in consultation with educationalists


  1. Education policy:

Educational policy need frequent update. It should cover personality development aspect of student It should also imbibe values of culture and social services



  • The granting of autonomy to premium institutions should not affect the equity and accessibility to quality education and appropriate measures should be taken to address such concerns.

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