27 October 2020

  • Self-Assessment test
  • India & China's foreign Policy towards West Asia (International Relations)
  • President K.R.Naraynan (Polity & Governance)
  • Defense agreements between India and USA- (International relations)
  • FATF - reference - (International relations)
  • Question for the day (Polity & Governance)

Prelims Quiz


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    UPSC Current Affairs: Contesting neighbours, revised geopolitical playbooks | Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – International Relation

    Sub Theme: Geo-political Dynamics | UPSC

    Context: The article highlights the change in foreign policy approach of India and China with regards to West Asia.

    Global circumstances -

    • Deteriorating U.S.-China ties
    • COVID-19 pandemic
    • Ladakh crisis

    These events are forcing a drastic change in the geopolitical approach of both India and China who are becoming more realistic in their foreign policy.

    India's approach towards west Asia since 2014

    • The powerful and oil-rich Gulf states looked for investment alternatives away from the West to deepen their own strategic depth. This led to increased investments by gulf countries in India. 
    • While engagements with Israel moved steadily forward, Iran lagged behind, bogged down by U.S. sanctions, which in turn significantly slowed the pace of India-Iran engagements.

    China's Approach

    • China has tried to capitalise around the thinking in the Gulf that the American security safety net is not absolute, and they need to invest more in others.
    • Further gulf economies are looking for alternative markets to sell the oil in the coming decades. For this India and China are the obvious choices. 

    Contrast in approach of India and China

    • China is no longer going to play a passive role and offering an alternative model for “investment and influence. Example - China - Iran deal $400 Billion deal of 25 years.
    • India maintains a balanced approach in its approach towards West Asia. India's outreach towards Gulf countries and investments by Saudi and UAE are India's recognition of its economic realities.

    Thus it can be seen that both these countries are following a realistic approach when it comes to West Asia.


    UPSC Current Affairs:The President who called a spade a spade | Page 06

    UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II – Polity & Governance     

    Sub Theme: Powers and Duties of President | K R Narayanan | UPSC                


    • October 27th was 100th birth anniversary of K R Narayanan who was India’s 10th President (1997–2002) and Vice President of India (1992–1997).

    So let us first learn few things about him:

    • He began his career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service in the Nehru administration.
    • He served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, China and United States and was referred to by Nehru as "the best diplomat of the country".
    • He entered politics at Indira Gandhi's request and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha and served as a Minister of State in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet.
    • Elected as Vice President in 1992, Narayanan went on to become President in 1997.
    • He was the first person from the Dalit community to hold either post. 

    Why is his rise to prominence so important? 

    • India could take pride that it was an open system, a democratic arrangement, and a society committed to an egalitarian social order — and was comfortable with excellence and accomplishment.
    • In the process, K.R. Narayanan became a prime example of an inclusive India. He had the distinction of being the first Dalit President of India.

    Let us now focus on his role as a president:

    • The Indian Constitution does not envisage the President of India to be a power centre, leave alone set himself up as a rival power centre (to the Prime Minister).
    • Yet, there is always considerable room for a President to have his presence felt and that is what he did. 

    What president can do? Let us first look at the constitution

    But Circumstances demand that the President creatively explore the potential of the office; Which most president do not.

    Mr K R Narayanan turned out to be a responsible custodian of the Constitution. In the process he became the protector of constitutional morality, the most cherished republican virtue.

    • Social messaging:
      • He became the first Indian public figure when as Vice-President, he shook hands with an HIV-infected person, whereas the self-proclaimed charismatic saviours were shying up making the gesture.
    • Reining in whims of Centre
    • Instance 1: Removal of Kalyan Singh Government
    • K Gujral government wanted to impose Presidents rule on Kalyan Singh government in UP.
    • Within months of taking over as the President, Narayanan stood up to the Prime Minister and would not go along with the latter’s cabinet’s preference to invoke Article 356 to get rid of the Kalyan Singh Government in Uttar Pradesh.
    • President firmly reminded him of the Bommai judgment and the Sarkaria Commission recommendations.
    • It was the first time that a President had asked the Union Cabinet to reconsider a proposed constitutional act.
    • Instance 2:
    • The second time President Narayanan ticked off a Governor’s conduct was in July 2001 when the Raj Bhavan in Chennai disappointingly remained a mute spectator as a former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi (and two serving central Ministers) were roughed up by the Tamil Nadu police, at the behest of an extremely vindictive Chief Minister Jayalalitha.
    • It was President Narayanan who suggested to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to demand a report from Tamil Nadu Governor M. Fathima Beevi. A presidential rebuke was implicit in the Rashtrapati Bhavan suggestion; soon, the Governor was recalled.
    • In both these instances, the Governors had allowed the Raj Bhavan to be used to give respectability to shabby political calculations. Not on his presidential watch, insisted Narayanan.
    • Messaging on foreign policy
    • And, a few months later, K.R. Narayanan again made his presence felt during U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.
    • At the Rashtrapati Bhavan banquet for the visiting American, President Narayanan reminded everyone of non-alignment as an instrument of Indian foreign policy in pursuit of autonomy and independence.
    • That was the time when the Vajpayee government was doing all it could to cosy up to the Americans. The ruling coterie was not amused; it thought the President had gone off the reservation.
    • Yet, it was a battle that the ruling politicians lost in the face of a resolute presidential rectitude.
    • Intentions to amend the constitution:
    • After its 1999 Lok Sabha victory, a commission was set up to review the ‘working’ of the Constitution. K.R. Narayanan used the prestige and the pulpit of his office to warn the nation of inherent danger to the Constitution from small minds, strutting around with an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

    L.K. Advani, in his memoirs, disparagingly called him an “activist president.” Perhaps, for good reason. Narayanan demonstrated how it was possible to be brilliantly creative in upholding the institutional obligations of an office — and, preserve the republic’s equilibrium.


    UPSC Current Affairs: India to sign geo-spatial cooperation deal with U.S.| Page 01

    UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Current events of International Importance | Mains: GS Paper-II – International Relations

    Sub Theme: Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) | UPSC   

    India and the United States will sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), the last of four so-called foundational agreements for sharing sensitive information, sales of advanced military hardware and geospatial cooperation, during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

    About the agreements

    • US requires its strategic partners to sign 4 foundational agreements to enable the strategic engagement including sharing of information, technology transfer, extension of logistic facilities etc.
    • The 4 foundational agreements include GSOMIA, BECA, LEMOA, COMCOSA.
    • Being a ‘Major Defence Partner’ of the US, it is imperative for India to sign the foundational pacts which allows greater interoperability between critical technologies and smooth facilitation of classified information.
    • Till now India has signed three foundational agreements: the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)while the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago. An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the last 2+2 dialogue
    • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) is yet to be signed.

    GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement)

    • This is an agreement signed to safeguard the information that is shared during a technology transfer.
    • India signed this agreement in 2002, this covered only Indian government and PSUs.
    • The ISA annexure to GSOMIA  safeguards information shared to private sector during the technology transfer. 

    LEMOA (signed in 2016)

    • Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
    • Modified version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA).
    • It will enable access to each other’s military facilities for purposes of refueling and replenishment.

    COMCASA (Signed in 2018)

    • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement
    • Will safeguard information w.r.t communications equipment in weapons such as precision armament, air-to-air missiles, UAVs, fighter jets, space systems and navigation systems etc.

    What is BECA?

    • The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) is essentially an agreement proposed between the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency of the US department of defence and the defence ministry that will allow India and the US to share military information which includes maps, nautical and aeronautical charts, commercial and other unclassified imagery, geodetic, geophysical, geomagnetic and gravity data.
    • Most of the information that will be shared will be that of the unclassified category but there is a provision of sharing classified information as well with proper safeguards in place to ensure that the information is not shared with any third party.

    What will India gain from the agreement?

    • The agreement will allow US armed forces to provide advanced financial navigational aids and geospatial intelligence which will improve the military’s accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons like cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and drones.
    • BECA will also help India and US counter the growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region thereby strengthening the Quad.
    • The agreement will also help India at a time of standoff with the Chinese army in Ladakh