QUESTION : Discuss  disputed boundary areas between India and China and reasons for increased tensions with remedial steps ?






Territorial Dispute between India, China and Pakistan




The possibility of a two-front war with Pakistan and China has been debated in the past. The ongoing standoff with China in eastern Ladakh has brought India closer to that reality.




  • Earlier, India felt that it could avoid any military action from China through political and diplomatic action.


  • The threat from China has become more real than it was in the past after the Ladakh clashes.


  • Some are seeing this as a failure of Indian diplomacy.




  • Disengagement is not possible because of the Chinese actions. This is also because India has become more assertive and vocal in terms of what it believes to be its own role in the region, how it defines its parameters, the debate on Article 370, Aksai Chin, etc.


  • China’s regime believes its time has come and that India is taking certain steps that are important to be countered in real time.


  • New dynamic on the LAC: There will be a greater militarisation along the LAC.




The size of India’s defence budget is decreasing, which is also a challenge of a two-front conflict or threat, if the primary threat is from China, that presents a much greater challenge to India.


  • Over the years, India has built extremely strong defences along the border. The Air Force has a geographical advantage over the PLA Air Force. Our Navy has a significant edge over the

 PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean.


  • Technological advantage of China: The PLA also has a technology edge in some very critical areas like ballistic missile, electronic warfare, cyber, air defence, etc., which are going to play a significant role in future warfare.


  • There are shortfalls in Indian infrastructure along the northern borders.




  • Chinese troops continue to block Indian Army patrols in the Depsang Plains. Siachen is the closest point of ‘collusivity’ between China and Pakistan.


  • Siachen is important but geographically it is very difficult to carry out major military operations across the Saltoro Ridge in Siachen.


  • Depsang is strategically important because it gives access to Siachen, it’s an area where we have the DS-DBO road which is a vital link to the northern areas of Ladakh and to the DBO airfield.




  • The more China feels vulnerable in the CPEC, the more open and explicit its policies have become vis-à-vis India. This has also allowed India to be more open about its policies with China.


  • In Indian foreign policy Pakistan is seen as part of a larger China problem.




  • Chinese aggression: However, we are also seeing that China is facing an intense backlash across the world post COVID-19, post the kind of aggressive postures it has adopted.


  • Now that is a challenge faced by India, Japan, Australia, the U.S. and Europe.


  • So, the Indo-Pacific is becoming very contested.


  • So, there are opportunities there as well for India to build relationships with countries, which are threatened by China in the post Covid-19 world.




  • Quad has been revived, the Australians have been invited to Malabar, the U.S.-India relationship has achieved a new dynamic with all the foundation agreements now being signed.


  • Unlike in the past, where relationships were seen as constraining India’s strategic autonomy, now the argument is that these relationships enhance India’s space to manoeuvre vis-a-vis China in particular.


  • The Chinese have been very sensitive about the Quad and Indo-Pacific.


  • Ultimately, India will have to fight its own battles. But with partners it will be a value addition.




India has to mind that China is now a very important player in the global matrix. Indian diplomacy


Ram singh, [20.11.20 18:43]

and military thinking will have to evolve more rapidly.


QUESTION : Liberalism is probably more challenged in India today than in any other democracy in the world. Why?






Fault lines in India’s Economic Liberalism




The article counters the argument made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar about the impact of economic liberalisation on India’s economy.


What is liberalism?


Liberalism has been the dominant socio-political ideology in the West since the end of the Second World War, where it has been regarded as the norm until recently.


The term broadly encompass three definitions:


  1. Economic liberalism: ‘emphasises free competition and the self-regulating market, and which is commonly associated with globalisation and minimal state intervention in the economy’.


  1. Political liberalism: It is founded on ‘belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human being, the autonomy of the individual, and standing for political and civil liberties’ as laid out in various United Nations Covenants.


  1. Social liberalism: ‘linked to the protection of minority groups, and such issues as LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage’.




  • India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar recently disapproved of free trade and globalisation.


  • About FTA’s he said that “the effect of past trade agreements has been to de-industrialise some sectors.”


  • These observations were made days after countries of the Asia-Pacific region signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.


  • He said that , “in the name of openness, we have allowed subsidi[s]ed products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail”




  1. A) India cannot be the part of global value chain


  • India is now truly at the margins of the regional and global economy.


  • With trade multilateralism at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) remaining sluggish, FTAs are the gateways for international trade.


  • By not being part of any major FTA, India cannot be part of the global value chains.


  • India’s competitors such as the East Asian nations, by virtue of they being part of mega-FTAs, are in an advantageous position to be part of global value chains and attract foreign investment.


  1. B) Indian economy has bee relatively closed economy
  • India is surely a much more open economy than it was three decades ago, globally, India continues to remain relatively closed when compared to other major economies.


  • According to the WTO, India’s applied most favoured nation import tariffs are 13.8%, which is the highest for any major economy.


  • Likewise, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, on the import restrictiveness index, India figures in the ‘very restrictive’ category.


  • From 1995-2019, India has initiated anti-dumping measures 972 times (the highest in the world) trying to protect domestic industry.


  1. C) Economic survey accepts the benefits of FTAs
  • The External Affairs Minister is contradicting government’s economic survey presented earlier this year.


  • The survey concluded that India has benefitted overall from FTAs signed so far.


  • Blaming FTAs for deindustrialisation means ignoring real problem of the Indian industry — which is the lack of competitiveness and absence of structural reforms.


  1. D) India has been a major beneficiary of economic globalisation


  • It cannot be ignored that India has been one of the major beneficiaries of economic globalisation — a fact attested by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


  • Post-1991, the Indian economy grew at a faster pace, ushering in an era of economic prosperity.


  • According to the economist Arvind Panagariya, poverty in rural and urban India, which stood at close to 40% in 2004-05, almost halved to about 20% by 2011-12.




This was due to India clocking an average economic growth rate of almost is liberalism has evolved through stages that first emphasised earthly life and materialism, then social reforms and political independence, and now economic and social freedom


  • Ancient Liberalism of Materialism: A culture as old as India’s would obviously have a strand of thought that is labelled today as liberalism or libertarianism. Liberalism is a philosophy for living life on this earth; it does not directly concern itself or rather leaves individuals free to choose their beliefs about after-life.


  • Modern Liberalism of Social Reforms: Modern liberalism in India took roots during the social reform movements of the middle and late nineteenth century. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and others launched a systemic attack on anti-life social practices like sati and ban on widow remarriage through Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj movements. These movements influenced a large section of the population.


  • Liberalism of Political Freedom: Under the banner of Congress Party, all activists were engaged in discussion about the political and economic system that India should adopt after independence. The socialist Sect formed a separate Congress Socialist Party and the liberal group formed the liberal group but they all worked under the umbrella of the Congress Party. ? India started with a Soviet like welfare state with the five year plans and a planning Commission, however non essential things were left to the private trade and industry.


  • Liberalism of economic freedom: After the reforms in the 1990s, the role of the state reversed, from a welfare state India transformed into a liberal state with minimum intervention. This marks the start of India’s exponential growth in terms of its economy.




Desire to make India a global destination for foreign investment is a pipe dream because it is naive to expect foreign investors to be gung-ho about investing in India if trade protectionism is the government’s official policy.

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