1.India and China have put up a united front in the recent BRICS summit. What is the significance of the recent BRICS meet for India and China relations? What are the key lessons learnt for India from the Doklam standoff? Discuss. (GS 2)
Both India and China have proposed a revival of the Panchsheel principles of peaceful cooperation in the recent BRICS summit.
Significance of the meet for India and China relations:
- India and China have both signaled that they are trying to put the bitterness of the past few months behind them, especially after the Doklam standoff.
- China’s nod to the inclusion of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed among the terrorist groups threatening regional stability, and its choosing not to speak of the contentious Belt and Road Initiative at the summit suggested it was heeding India’s concerns.
- The tenor of the meetings between the two leaders was particularly remarkable given that the long Doklam military stand-off was resolved recently.
India and China have thus put up a united front in the BRICS summit, and have strengthened their relationship.
Key lessons learnt for India from the Doklam standoff:
- The first learning is that India must make the effort to engage in a creative dialogue about how a changing Asia’s tensions will be managed, aware that the price of a single misstep can be a war.
- Peace and stability along the China-India border concerns regional peace and stability and accords with the common interests of people on both sides of the border.
- Both countries needs to draw lessons from the standoff, abide by established treaties and the basic principles of international law, and India should work together with China to safeguard peace and stability along the border and promote the healthy development of the two militaries.
- India should not overestimate its own military strength, and the support of other powers, in a conflict with China.
- Another lesson is about the impact on Bhutan. While Bhutan has been a strong Indian ally and has stood by New Delhi during the standoff, the last months have emboldened those voices in Bhutan which seek a “balanced foreign policy”, that is, opening of ties with China.
- The final lesson that can be drawn from the crisis is about international support for India against China. Most countries, including the United States have asked India and China to resolve the situation peacefully. While most countries were happy that India was standing up to China, their own relations with China made it very difficult for them to state their support openly.
Finally, there is a need for mature diplomacy from Indian side and keeping lines of communication open, and that negotiations should be conducted in a spirit of “give and take”.
2. PSLV-C39 rocket carrying the eighth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) ended in an unsuccessful mission. Discuss the reason for the failure. What is the possible impact of the failure? (GS 3)
The recent launch of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was a failure. It was carried by PSLV-C39 rocket.
Reason for failure:
The heat-shield failed to separate, resulting in the satellite separation occurring within the shield. This resulted in the failure of the rocket.
Possible impact of failure:
• The failure of the mission is disheartening as the IRNSS-1H satellite was jointly assembled and tested by ISRO and a Bangalore-based private company, the first time a single private company, rather than a consortium, was involved in building a satellite. The space organization has thrown open its doors to private companies to build as many as 18 spacecraft a year beginning mid or end-2018.
• The IRNSS-1H satellite was launched as a replacement for the IRNSS-1A satellite, which became operational in terms of surveillance following the failure of all three atomic clocks.
• With the failure of this mission, India will have to wait for some more time before the next mission to send a replacement for the IRNSS-1A satellite is ready.
• The IRNSS was created so that the country would not need to rely on American-based GPS data — the encrypted, accurate positioning and navigation information provided by the system will make Indian military operations self-reliant.
The above are the possible impact of the failure of the recent PSLV launch.
3. GSLV and PSLV are the satellite launch vehicles used by ISRO. Examine the major difference between GSLV and PSLV. (GS 3)
Both PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) are the satellite-launch vehicles (rockets) developed by ISRO.
Major differences between the two:
• PSLV is designed mainly to deliver the “earth-observation” or “remote-sensing” satellites with lift-off mass of up to about 1750 Kg to Sun-Synchronous circular polar orbits of 600-900 Km altitude.
• PSLV is also used to launch the satellites of lower lift-off mass of up to about 1400 Kg to the elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
• PSLV is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines. It also uses strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage.
• The GSLV is designed mainly to deliver the communication-satellites to the highly elliptical (typically 250 x 36000 Km) Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
• The satellite in GTO is further raised to its final destination, viz., Geo-synchronous Earth orbit (GEO) of about 36000 Km altitude (and zero deg inclination on equatorial plane) by firing its in-built on-board engines.
• Due to their geo-synchronous nature, the satellites in these orbits appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth, thus avoiding the need of a tracking ground antenna and hence are useful for the communication applications.