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Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Humanity’s law

GS-2 Mains Exam : International Relationship

Revision Notes

Controversial Move, Polarizing Reactions

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s decision to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, including Yahya Sinwar, has stirred a hornet’s nest of controversy. While the move has been applauded by some as a necessary step toward accountability, it has also drawn fierce criticism from various quarters, reigniting debates around the ICC’s legitimacy, selective attention, and enforcement challenges.

A Reputation at Stake

For Israel, the warrant seeking represents a significant blow to its reputation, with the ICC accusing the nation of deliberately starving civilians and violating the laws of armed conflict in its military operations in Gaza. The disproportionate civilian-to-combatant death ratio in these conflicts has long been a subject of humanitarian concern, with some even labeling it a potential genocide.

Challenging the Liberal International Order

The United States’ condemnation of the ruling and threats of sanctions against ICC officials have raised eyebrows, as it appears to undermine the very “liberal international order” it has championed. This seemingly contradictory stance, welcoming the ICC’s ruling against Putin while threatening the court over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exposes the double standards at play and the potential intimidation of international institutions.

A Test of Resolve

The arrest warrant gambit has put ICC member states in a bind, as they are obligated not only to execute its warrants but also to defend the court against intimidation. This situation presents a litmus test for the international community’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and the principles of the liberal international order they claim to espouse.

As the saga unfolds, the world watches eagerly to see if the ICC’s move will catalyze meaningful action or further erode the credibility of international institutions in the face of great power exceptionalism and selective enforcement.


ICC vs. ICJ and the Israel-Palestine Conflict

  • ICC vs. ICJ:
    • ICC prosecutes individuals for war crimes etc.
    • ICJ resolves disputes between states.
  • Israel-Palestine Conflict:
    • ICC investigation highlights need for accountability.
    • Both sides need to move beyond entrenched positions.
    • International law’s effectiveness relies on public support.
  • Negative Consequences:
    • ICC investigation may harden stances and hinder progress.
    • Debate could increase cynicism about international law.
  • US Campus Protests:
    • Common moral ground exists but empathy is lacking.
    • Importance of recognizing existential threats of others.


  • ICC investigates potential war crimes in Israel-Palestine.
  • Both Israel and Hamas condemn the ICC investigation.
  • Author argues for international law and accountability.
  • US campus protests lacked empathy for opposing viewpoints.


Indian Express Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : A time for para diplomacy

GS-2 Mains Exam : International Relationship

Revision Notes



  • The Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) recent manifesto proposal to reclaim Kartarpur Sahib through territorial exchange with Pakistan reignites a complex debate. While the ambition to regain lost ground is understandable, the practicalities of redrawing borders in Punjab or retrieving Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are daunting.
  • Instead, a more pragmatic approach lies in transforming the nature of India-Pakistan’s existing borders. These frontiers have long been entrenched in military hostility, hindering economic cooperation. Reopening trade routes like Attari and Hussainiwala, as the SAD suggests, could be a significant step.
  • However, the challenge lies not with India, but with Pakistan’s longstanding policy. The Pakistani military prioritizes resolving the Kashmir issue before engaging in economic ties. This is evident in their refusal of Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India and their suspension of trade after the abrogation of Article 370. Even a brief thaw in February 2021, with a ceasefire agreement and hints of renewed trade, was met with domestic opposition in Pakistan.
  • This highlights the need for unconventional diplomacy. Track II channels, where unofficial representatives from both sides engage in dialogue, can bypass official roadblocks and foster understanding. By focusing on shared economic interests and people-to-people connections, Track II diplomacy can pave the way for a more cooperative future for India and Pakistan.


Can Special Economic Zones Boost Indo-Pak Ties?

  • The incoming government in India has an opportunity to revive dialogue with Pakistan, building on the tentative steps taken in February 2021. One intriguing proposal suggests creating a “special economic zone” along the entire Punjab border.
  • The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) envisions this zone fostering collaboration between small and medium enterprises from both sides. Increased trade and economic cooperation across the border hold immense potential. Imagine a mirrored free zone on the Pakistani side, paving the way for integrated development.
  • While seemingly ambitious, similar projects have found success. The previously unthinkable Kartarpur Sahib Corridor project became a reality in 2018-19.
  • Cross-border economic zones are not a new concept. Discussions of such zones along the Pak-Afghan border have occurred, though hampered by regional instability. Examples of successful trans-border economic zones exist in Southeast Asia, while China actively promotes cross-border collaboration in its frontier provinces.


The Role of Para Diplomacy in India’s Neighbourhood Policy

Para Diplomacy 

  • Defined as “sub-state diplomacy” or interactions between regional governments for national goals.
  • Complements, not opposes, national government diplomacy.
  • Creates opportunities for cooperation where national positions struggle.

India-Pakistan Context:

  • Punjab chief ministers have occasionally met to discuss cooperation.
  • National-level conflicts often hinder the success of such initiatives.

State Engagement Variations:

  • Indian border states show varying interest in cross-border cooperation.
  • West Bengal (Mamata Banerjee) and Tamil Nadu (Tamil parties) influenced India’s foreign relations with neighbors.

Central-State Government Dynamics:

  • UPA government (2004-14) faced resistance from state partners in neighborhood policy.
  • Modi government’s “cooperative federalism” faces challenges with non-BJP states.


  • Next government should consider para diplomacy as a valuable tool.
  • Successful neighborhood policy requires considering border state interests.
  • Consensus between central and regional parties is crucial for productive relationships.


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