Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

20th May – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


  1. The changing nature of Chinese diplomacy
  2. Devolution of powers to states to micro-manage
  3. Self-Reliance, Not Self Isolation
  4. India isn’t prepared to meet its defence needs


Focus: GS-II Governance

Introduction: Foreign Policies of Persuasion and compromise

  • U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt believed that if you “speak softly and carry a big stick: you will go far”.
  • Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, practiced Roosevelt’s belief.
  • Where Mao preferred to exercise his power from “out of the barrel of a gun”, Zhou preferred to seduce his opponents through word and gesture in the pursuit of national self-interest, with the elegance of an opera star.
  • The stick was used rarely, and only when all other means of persuasion failed.

Speaking Softly with Diplomacy: All roads led to Beijing

  • Zhou’s style of diplomacy came to define Chinese foreign policy over the next half-century.
  • The strategy was consistent: avoid isolation, build solidarity with non-aligned countries, divide the West.
  • The tactics were called ‘united front’ — isolate the main threat by building unity with all other forces.
  • Under Zhou, diplomats of calibre navigated the Cold War, playing the Soviets against the Americans.
  • To relieve pressure, Zhou opened border talks with the Soviets and channels to the U.S. Public animosity did not deter him from turning on the full extent of his charm on either Alexei Kosygin or Henry Kissinger.
  • In February 1972, he persuaded U.S. President Richard Nixon to abandon Taiwan when the communists had not exercised actual sovereignty over that island even for a single day since 1949. It was a staggering act of diplomacy.
  • It became the ‘mantra’ of Chinese diplomacy. Chinese diplomats measured their words and kept their dignity.
  • Zhou had taught them that the real advantage in negotiations was to know more than the other side.

Breaking away and showing the stick

  • China began to occupy centre stage in world diplomacy, and now persuasion is quickly abandoned in favour of the stick when countries take actions contrary to Chinese wishes.
  • The Chinese pursue unilateralism instead of compromise in the South China Sea.
  • Chinese even manipulate media to serve their purposes.
  • China, post-COVID-19, will be operating in a very different external environment.

Extra Background

What is Multi-track diplomacy?

In multi-track diplomacy, all sectors of society are important and need to be involved, supported, listened to, and trained in a shared language of dialogue, conflict resolution, and peace building in order to prevent or end violent conflict. It is an entanglement of interconnected activities, individuals, institutions, and communities that operate together for world at peace.

Multi-Track Diplomacy consists of nine complementary ‘tracks’. These are:

  • governments
  • professional organisations
  • the business community
  • private citizens
  • training, research and educational institutions
  • activists
  • church organisations
  • funding
  • media

Track One: Government, Official Diplomacy

Track Two: Nongovernmental/Professional and Peacemaking through Conflict Resolution.

Track Three: Business, or Peacemaking trough Commerce

Track Four: Private Citizens or Peacemaking through personal involvement

Track Five: Research, Training, and Education or Peacemaking trough Learning

Track Six: Activism, or Peacemaking through Advocacy

Track Seven: Religion, or Peacemaking through Faith in Action.

Track Eight: Funding or Peacemaking through Providing Resources.

Track Nine: Communication and the Media, or Peacemaking through Information

What is Chequebook Diplomacy?

The Chinese have either deployed “intimidation” or their famed cheque book diplomacy to “win” over other nations towards their own purposes. Both as an undisputed military and an economic powerhouse, the options for Beijing vary from flexing its military muscle (as done in the South China Seas) or by ensnaring nations into economic bondage by pouring billions of dollars.

Take the example of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), where a nation-sustaining investment of up to $60 billion has been made to Pakistan, whose economy is cash-starved today. Often, there is a hybrid model in between that entails the overlapping of the commercial-military footprint through strategic investments by China.

Chequebook diplomacy or Dollar diplomacy is a type of diplomacy based on debt carried out in the bilateral relations between countries. It involves one creditor country intentionally extending excessive credit to another debtor country with the alleged intention of extracting economic or political concessions from the debtor country when it becomes unable to honour its debt obligations.

What is soft-power diplomacy?

  • Soft power’ refers to the ability to persuade others to do something using neither force nor coercion (Joseph Nye).
  • While conventional, hard power relies on the State’s military and economic resources, soft power works on persuasion, aiming at furthering a country’s ‘attractiveness’.
  • It is based on three main categories of a country’s resources:
    • Culture
    • political values
    • foreign policies
  • Soft power is mostly based on intangibles such as the power of example. E.g. Yoga, Buddhism, movies, music, spirituality etc.
  • Today, most countries use a combination of soft power and hard power, together called ‘smart power’.

-Source: The Hindu


Focus: GS-II Governance


As COVID-19 lockdown is easing up, the states will now have to take care that they open up in a manner that does not aggravate the pandemic, while also addressing economic and humanitarian imperatives.

Not a time to start relaxing

The doubling rate of the coronavirus infection has improved to 13.6 per cent and mortality and recovery figures of COVID-19 patients have also shown positive trends, however, these developments should not make state health authorities lose sight of the challenges they will face in the coming weeks.

How to handle it now?

  • State authorities will have to make arrangements to test and, if need be, isolate the returning migrants in a dignified manner.
  • The resumption of inter-state buses could make their task of managing the pandemic tougher.
  • At the same time, improvements in transport could ease the desperation of the working class.
  • State governments need to be open-minded in exercising their transport-related powers during Lockdown 4.

Over to the states

  • State governments had alleged that the earlier criteria of designating entire districts as infection zones circumscribed their capacity to kickstart economic activities. The new guidelines allow them to designate “appropriate administrative units” — districts, municipal corporations, sub-divisions or wards — as containment zones.
  • Imperatives of combating the pandemic will require regular interactions between all levels of the government.
  • Epidemiologists now say that the virus is here to stay, which means hotspots can change, the infection can recede from some areas and surge in other regions.
  • The new guidelines allow the states to deal with such eventualities. Their micro-management of the battle against COVID-19 will be watched.


What is devolution of power?

Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level. It is a form of administrative decentralization. Devolved territories have the power to make legislation relevant to the area and thus granting them a higher level of autonomy.

Devolution differs from federalism in that the devolved powers of the subnational authority may be temporary and are reversible, ultimately residing with the central government. Thus, the state remains de jure unitary.

Legislation creating devolved parliaments or assemblies can be repealed or amended by central government in the same way as any statute. In federal systems, by contrast, sub-unit government is guaranteed in the constitution, so the powers of the sub-units cannot be withdrawn unilaterally by the central government (i.e. without the consent of the sub-units being granted through the process of constitutional amendment). The sub-units therefore have a lower degree of protection under devolution than under federalism.

The terms devolution and decentralisation are often confused. Devolution is ‘the transfer of decision-making capacity from higher levels in an organisation to lower levels, that is it is about who is best placed in an
organisation to make decisions’.

Decentralisation is ‘the redistribution of functions or tasks from central units in organisations to more widely dispersed units, that is it is about where in an organisation particular functions are best carried out.

-Source: Indian Express


Focus: GS-II Governance


The spread and severity of Covid-19 have proved to be the perfect foil to re-ignite fears about open borders and stretched out supply chains

India’s Position on Globalisation with Aatmanirbhar Bharat

In his May 12 address to the nation the PM made it clear that an Atmanirbhar Bharat wouldn’t be ‘self-absorbed’ but would rather integrate within the global economy. ‘Build local to go global’ is the motto.

China and Globalisation

  • China has prospered the most from globalisation. Its success was built on the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain model that funnels cheap exports and components to thousands of businesses globally.
  • Because of the pandemic induced lockdowns, these supply chains are today disrupted, endangering businesses and livelihoods around the world.
  • The effects are even being felt in India where many sectors have ground to a halt for the want of supplies.
  • According to a report by Fitch Ratings, manufacturers in India rely on China for 60% of their electronic components.
  • India’s drug regulatory authority says more than half of the active ingredients needed to manufacture antibiotics, vitamins, hormones and steroids come from China.

Way Forward

  • The anticipated withdrawal of multinationals from China or the de-linking of supply chains that circumnavigate the globe has not yet happened.
  • So, if India is to step into the breach and become an alternative global manufacturer, announcing reforms alone won’t be enough: Clinical implementation of policy prescriptions will be key.
  • Only then can India hope to provide the industrious efficiency of Chinese manufacturing and its syncopated just-in-time supply chains to business investors.


Waves of Globalization

  • Globalization 1.0
    • It was pre-World War I globalization, which was launched by a historic drop in trade costs.
    • This globalization came with almost no government support.
    • There was no global governance.
  • Globalization 2.0
    • It is the post-World War II phase where trade in goods was combined with complimentary domestic policies.
    • The market was in charge of efficiency while the government was in charge of justice.
    • It saw the establishment of institute-based, rule-based international governance, specifically the UN, IMF, World Bank, GATT/WTO, International Labor Organization etc.
  • Globalization 3.0
    • It created a new world of manufacturing in which high-tech was combined with low wages.
    • This was achieved through establishment of global supply chains as factories crossed international borders.
    • It was variously called New Globalization, Hyper globalization, Global value chain evolution.

Globalization 4.0

  • Globalization is a phenomenon driven by technology and the movement of ideas, people, and goods.
  • Globalization 4.0 is latest stage of globalization which involves cutting-edge new technologies like artificial intelligence that powers forward with the explosion of information technology.
  • These technologies shrink distances, open up borders and minds and bring people all across the globe closer together.

Industry 4.0 is different from Globalization 4.0.

Industry 4.0

  • Building on the foundation given by the Third Industrial Revolution, Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) is moving from an electronic based industry to a process which is the combination of human beings and electronics.
  • It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, big data analytics, cloud computing, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and autonomous vehicles etc.

-Source: Times of India


Focus: GS-II Governance


India’s military security challenges, both current and long-term, came into unintended focus in this month, with the increase in foreign direct investment in defence manufacturing to 74% being announced as a part of the Economic Stimulus Package.

India’s Military Security Situation

  • The eastern Ladakh sector saw a stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Pangong Tso sector.
  • Nepal summoned the Indian ambassador on May 11 to lodge a protest against the construction of a road by India in an area (Lipu Lekh pass to Dharchula in Uttarakhand) that Kathmandu claims lies within its territory.
  • Reports have emerged of China enhancing its Indian Ocean (IO) footprint in an island proximate to Male in the Maldives.
  • The regional strategic environment became rough for India when China acquired nuclear weapons in October 1964; the subsequent Sino-Pakistan weapons of mass destruction (WMD) covert cooperation presented Delhi with a sui generis security conundrum.

India’s Capacity to Handle

  • For years experts have been pointing out that the annual defence allocation cannot sustain the kind of human, material and inventory profile that India needs. The last defence budget (excluding pensions) was ~3,37,000 crore. The amount available for modernisation of equipment and new acquisitions was shrinking to about 32% from the optimum of 40% of the budget.
  • The fiscal deficit is set to breach the recommended 3.5% limit, Thus, it is unlikely that the armed forces will receive anything close to ~3,50,000 crore.

Way Forward

  • Given that the Covid-19 challenge and its accumulating debris of economic devastation and human destitution will be the higher national priority for some years, India will have to embark on a radical review of its security challenges and the road map to deal with this complex spectrum.
  • Many nations are facing a similar predicament, but some abiding elements in the Indian context must be noted. Strategic geography and its attendant security exigencies will not change due to the pandemic.
  • The low-intensity conflict stoked by Pakistan and the internal security fabric will be turbulent and the political apex will seek to assuage national sentiment in this regard.
  • What kind of military capability India needs, its technological contour, and how this can be both nurtured and sustained in an affordable manner in a post-Covid-19 world needs careful and objective assessment.

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023