Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : Israel-Iran Conflict and the Middle East



Question : Analyze the recent Israel-Iran conflict in the context of Middle East geopolitics, highlighting factors that prevented its escalation into a full-blown war.

Recent Clashes:

  • Direct strikes and counter-strikes between Israel and Iran.
  • Carefully avoided major escalation, focusing on displaying military capability and political resolve.

Reasons Conflict Didn’t Escalate:

  • Both sides avoided major civilian targets.
  • Communication channels may have provided early warnings for effective defenses.
  • US pressure on Israel to avoid full-blown war with Iran.
  • Iran comfortable with proxy war, avoids direct US confrontation.

The Abraham Accords Persist:

  • Israel-Iran duel highlights Arab-Iran contradictions largely ignored in India.
  • Moderate Arab leaders (e.g., Jordan) helped Israel against Iran (shared interest).
  • Abraham Accords (2020) promoting Israel-Arab reconciliation survived the Gaza conflict.

India’s Role:

  • Supports Abraham Accords, wants to avoid entanglement in Arab-Iran conflict.
  • Both Arabia and Persia matter for India’s regional peace and prosperity.
  • India shouldn’t be a passive bystander.

India’s Suggested Action:

  • Support Arab plans for a two-state solution in Palestine.
  • Navigate between Iran’s misuse of the issue and Israel’s refusal on Palestinian statehood.

Arab Peace Initiative:

  • Elements:
    • Immediate Gaza ceasefire
    • Arab peace force deployment
    • Israeli commitment to Palestinian state roadmap
    • Arab resources for Gaza & West Bank reconstruction
    • US security guarantees for the Gulf


  • Despite Iran-Israel clashes, room for peace exists in West Asia.
  • India should back Arab plans for a two-state solution.
  • High stakes for India in Arab-Israeli peace.



Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-2 : A Many Splendoured Field: Understanding Indian Democracy



Question : Examine the challenges faced by global media in understanding Indian democracy, citing examples of misinterpretations and flawed comparisons with other countries like Mexico. Evaluate the impact of such misconceptions on India’s international image.



  • Largest democratic exercise on the planet – Indian elections.
  • Misunderstood by outside observers, especially Western media.

The Massiveness of Indian Elections:

  • 969 million voters – More than combined voters of US, Indonesia, Russia etc.
  • More voters than entire population of Europe.
  • 5 million electronic voting machines across 1.05 million polling stations.
  • Several thousand political parties and candidates.
  • A testament to democracy’s resilience in a diverse and complex nation.

Global Media’s Poor Understanding:

  • Patently absurd pronouncements on Indian democracy due to lack of understanding.


  • Mexico: 22 mayoral candidates murdered since Sep 2023 (Ian Bremmer, Eurasia Group).
    • Democratic ranking unaffected (Mexico – 81, India – 110 in V-Dem Index).
    • Mexico – Most dangerous country for journalists (Reuters Institute).
    • Press Freedom Index: Mexico ranked higher than India despite higher journalist deaths.

“Democratic Backsliding” – A Misused Phrase:

  • Vibrant electoral system with BJP and Congress winning/losing state elections.
  • Diverse opinion expressed across traditional, digital media and social media.
  • “Shrinking freedom of expression” claim lacks evidence.

Independence of Constitutional Bodies:

  • Indian institutions, including the courts and the Election Commission, maintain integrity despite political rhetoric.
  • Recent Supreme Court ruling on electoral bonds against the government illustrates impartiality.
  • Election Commission’s fair enforcement of model code of conduct showcases neutrality.

Ruling Party’s Approach to Opposition:

  • PM Modi’s outreach across the political spectrum defies cynicism towards opposition.
  • Conferment of Bharat Ratna on former President Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress leader, exemplifies non-partisan recognition.
  • Modi’s gesture extends to politicians from various parties and regions, including rivals like Sharad Pawar and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Rule of Law in Western Democracies:

  • Western democracies apply rule of law rigorously regardless of political affiliations.
  • Politicians in Western countries are held accountable for their actions, including serving jail time.
  • Contrastingly, global media commentators seem to advocate circumventing the law in India, undermining judiciary’s independence.

Conclusion on Indian Democracy:

  • Indian democracy remains vibrant and competitive, upholding rule of law without compromising on constitutional values.
  • Alarmist pronouncements on stifling political opposition overlook the competitive political landscape in India.
  • Those predicting doom on Indian democracy are reduced to agents of partisan politics, disregarding the country’s robust democratic institutions.


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