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List of Contents
Lessons and Challenges for India after a Year of Galwan Clash
Source: The Hindu
GS2– India and its neighborhood- relations.
Synopsis: Ladakh crisis has highlighted that India needs to focus on its land borders. Also, it should use its limited resources for military modernisation instead of focusing on maritime ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
- It has been one year since the Line of Actual Control (LAC) witnessed violent clashes in Galwan valley in Ladakh.
- Although both India and China gave gallantry awards to the fallen soldiers, the details about the incident have not been made public so far.
How the government response can be measured?
- Firstly, lack of political accountability.
- No official briefing about the situation in Ladakh has taken place in the last 13 months.
- The Government’s political strategy was basically based on denial.
- Secondly, the official excuse given was operational security, but the actual reason was to avoid political embarrassment for the government.
- There is no record of the Cabinet Committee on Security being convened to discuss the border situation, and that is why the PM being held responsible in the view of the public for the setback.
- Thirdly, it highlighted the failure of diplomacy and foreign policy.
- The crisis in Ladakh erupted months after the second informal summit with the Chinese President at Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.
What is the current scenario in Ladakh?
- Firstly, the current situation is not militarily certain in Ladakh.
- There has been continued deployment of 50,000-60,000 soldiers.
- Secondly, China still holds a strategic advantage.
- The Chinese are present on the Indian side of the LAC in Gogra, Hot Springs and Demchok especially Depsang Plains.
- Thirdly, the Indian Army is holding weak position in negotiation during the talks with the PLA.
- Fourthly, China has become a bigger security threat for India than Pakistan.
- Lastly, the Ladakh crisis has also exposed India’s military weakness, especially in case of two front war.
What are the major implications of Ladakh crisis?
- India opened back-channel talks with Pakistan which led ceasefire on the Line of Control.
- The Ladakh crisis has also led the Government to relook external partnerships. For instance, as per U.S. military officials, it has provided intelligence and logistics support to the Indian forces in Ladakh.
- India has recognized China as a larger neighbor with better force and better technology.
- The crisis has reduced the military importance of the Quad, as India refused to do joint naval patrolling with the U.S. in the South China Sea.
What are the major challenges present in front of India?
- Firstly, it is difficult for India to counter Chinese influence in South Asia due to the mishandling of second wave of Covid-19.
- Secondly, the Chinese challenge to India is much economic than geopolitical.
- For instance, after the border crisis and restrictions on Chinese companies, China displaced the U.S. to become the biggest trade partner in 2020-21.
- India is dependent on China for medical equipment to fight the pandemic.
- Thirdly, Chinese incursions have shown that deterrence has failed. Further, India has learnt that it can no longer have simultaneous competition and cooperation with Beijing.
- Lastly, it will be difficult for India to take sides in a new Cold War between the U.S. and China and protecting its strategic sovereignty.
India needs to reset its foreign policy choices as they will have a significant impact on the future of global geopolitics.
Declassification of War Histories – Challenges of Credibility
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability
Synopsis: Challenges of credibility in the declassification of war history should be addressed. So that it can help us to analyse lessons learnt by the history and prevent future mistakes.
- Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the declassification of India’s war history.
- It enables the archiving, declassifying, and compiling of India’s war histories, which has been overdue for a long time.
- The Kargil Review Committee headed by K Subrahmanyam as well as the NN Vohra Committee suggested the requirement of a clear-cut policy on declassification of war records.
- Further, the responsibility for declassification of records is specified in the Public Record Act 1993 and Public Record Rules 1997. The policy mandates that records should ordinarily be declassified in 25 years
- Declassification of Military history will help to analyse lessons learnt and prevent future mistakes.
What needs to be done to produce a credible war history document?
- One, in the war histories document, the directives given by political heads during war and conflicts should be compiled along with operational accounts of the Indian military.
- However, political directives are not included. It is the reason for the Indian Army’s reluctance to declassify the Henderson Brooks Report.
- The report considers only operational failures during the 1962 war with China. Thus, It does not clarify the role of political leaders involved at that time.
- On the other hand, several histories of the Vietnam War are now considered to be credible. Because researchers have had access not only to operational accounts but also to archived discussions between the political architects of the conflict.
- Two, compilation and analysis of events at multiple levels i.e., headquarters, commands, and field formations need to be made accessible. Otherwise, it will not be able to provide a clear analysis of the real picture.
- For instance, the military general and the ambassador involved in Operation Pawan (India’s intervention in Sri Lanka from 1987-1990) were subject to, much criticism by researchers while others are left unaccountable.
- This is because, researchers don’t get access to records of discussions involving other generals, admirals and air marshals, and even Prime Minister, Defence minister, etc.,
- In this regard, writing the official history of Exercise Brasstacks must be prioritized .it will highlight the fusion of decisions taken at multiple headquarters right down to the regiment and squadron level.
- Three, need to assign a team of dedicated researchers and historians with a mix of academics and practitioners with access to records and files.
- Non-inclusion of dedicated researchers and historians while declassifying files will restrict the in-depth analysis on strategic decision-making, operational analyses, leadership, and lessons for the future.
- Four, there is a need for Digitisation and the creation of oral histories. Because the absence of digital conversion will make it difficult to trace files and physical storing of files will lead to the destruction of priceless documents.
- A software company must be administered for digitization of files. Further, outreach must be made to individual historians, think tanks, and global repositories to share their oral history collections on contemporary Indian military history.
- Lastly, declassification of files should involve the writing of both the successful and failed operations with due sensitivity. In this context, the following war histories should be given priority.
- The Nathu La skirmish of 1967
- The Lightning Campaign’ in the Eastern Theatre during the 1971 War
- Operation Meghdoot (Siachen)
- Exercise Brasstacks
- Operation Falcon (Sumdorong Chu).
- Operation Pawan
Issues in Vaccine Procurement Policy
Source: Click Here
Syllabus: GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
The recent decision of the Centre to solely procure the vaccines for the states has been welcomed by experts and healthcare professionals. However, retaining a 25% quota towards the private sector seems inappropriate and should be reconsidered.
- The union government has again taken the responsibility for procuring vaccines for the states under the liberalised vaccine policy.
- Nonetheless, experts have objected to retaining the 25% procurement quota for the private sector.
Issues associated with 25% quota:
- First, the private sector possesses fewer vaccination centres than its approved procurement quota. This may create a demand-supply mismatch and result in inequitable distribution.
- Second, the quota is based on a mistaken assumption of an inflated ‘middle class’. The assumption is that 25% of the population is willing and able to pay for a commodity for which social benefits exceed private benefits.
- However, in reality, the affluent form only a small fraction of the uppermost 25% of our population.
- Third, markets tend to under-produce commodities having significant positive externalities. This is true for preventive measures like vaccines which have lower private demand than curative services.
- Hence, it would be very difficult to generate demand for vaccinating in private hospitals.
- Fourth, the top 25% have better access to government vaccination centres. They may choose to get free vaccination, which may have a ‘crowding out’ effect for the poorer sections.
- Fifth, it would not be possible to attain herd immunity even if 60-80% of the population gets vaccinated. As there would be the existence of grave disparities along geographic and socioeconomic lines.
- The government should increase its share of procurement by reducing the 25% quota for the private sector.
- The loss of revenue to vaccine producers from differential pricing of the private sector can be compensated by increased support through Government subsidies.
- The government should refrain from an ‘all or none approach’ towards the private sector. Where some governments often impose unreasonable and unfavorable pricing restrictions and other governments give too much freedom. There is a need for a balanced approach.
- The focus must be on creating a strategic purchasing framework that could utilize the strengths of the private sector which includes innovative processes and efficiency.
- It must engage with both small and big private players, and create a more decentralized and accountable procurement system.
G7 Summit Presents a Template for Indian Engagement With the West
Source: Click Here
Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
The recent meeting of G7 countries was attended by India as a guest country. The meeting provided a template for Indian engagement with the West based on shared democratic values and mutual cooperation.
- The recent summit of G7 countries took place in Cornwall, England from 11-13th June 2021. India, Australia, South Korea, and South Africa were invited as guest countries for the Summit.
- A joint statement on Open Societies was adopted. The statement reaffirms and encourages the values of freedom of expression, both online and offline.
- It recognizes freedom as a virtue for safeguarding democracy and allowing people to live free from fear and oppression.
Significance of the summit:
- Indian Participation shows it is a natural ally of the G-7 and its partners. Further, laying emphasis on shared democratic values that bind India with the West shows a greater willingness to cooperate with India.
- The summit can be seen as the beginning of institutionalization of India’s cooperation with the West.
- The joint statement on open societies shows a willingness to construct an alliance of democratic countries. This can be leveraged as a common platform to counter China’s assertiveness over India and the western countries.
- It also shows the revived importance of the grouping in comparison to the G20. The revival has been on account of China’s rise in the global economic order and rising U.S-China and U.S-Russia rivalry.
Relations between India and West:
- India and U.S: The relations were not very conducive during the Cold War. The 1998 nuclear test saw the imposition of sanctions by the U.S over India.
- However, prudent efforts have been made since 1998 to improve the relations based on the shared commitment to democratic values.
- The Indian government supported the U.S’s initiative on building a global community of democracies. It later joined the Bush Administration in promoting a Global Democracy Fund at the UN.
- The recent deterioration of US-China and Indo-China relations induced both countries to further improve their bilateral relations.
- India and Europe: The improvement in Indo-U.S relations didn’t automatically compute into broader warmth towards the West.
- However, this position began to change in the last few years, as Delhi embarked on an expansive engagement with Europe.
- The grouping can be used to reorient global supply chains and reduce dependency on Chinese products. It can be used to initiate a fresh inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in China.
- India should participate in the grouping for ensuring a peaceful Indo-Pacific, mitigating climate change and prudently managing the Covid pandemic.
- Further, there is a need for sustained consultations based on democratic values between India and the West over new challenges posed by digital technologies. This includes radicalization, disinformation, electoral interference, cyberattacks, and the role of large social media companies.