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23rd February 2021 – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Content

  1. Dealing with the bigger neighbour, China
  2. New paradigm in animal husbandry

Editorial: Dealing with the bigger neighbour, China

Context:

  • Our two countries have a basic misreading of each other’s priorities,” a Chinese scholar, generally known for his hard line on India, told me in Beijing in 2014.

Relevance:

  • GS Paper 2: India and its Neighbourhood (relations)

Mains Questions:

  1. Unlike its ties with Russia, bellicosity seems the signature element of Beijing’s approach to India. Discuss. 15 Marks
  2. China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor. 15 Marks

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Core of the border issues
  • An unravelling
  • Peace agreements over time
  • Objectives of these agreements
  • The China-Russia thread
  • Points to note

Core of the border issues:

  • Issue of Tibetan Sovereignty: The usual broadside about India “belittling” China’s sovereignty in Tibet followed. How could India support the McMahon Line when Tibet had “never possessed the right” to conclude sovereign agreements with the outside world.
  • Issue of McMahon Line: China had practiced “restraint” (hinting ominously that it could well do otherwise) in the Eastern Sector (the sector covered by the McMahon Line) of the boundary with India.
  • Eastern and Western Sector: the Western Sector of the boundary China was “practising a forward policy because there are so many grey areas”. On the other hand, if India launched “a new edition of the forward policy” in this sector, problems would “re-occur”.

An unravelling

  • Border issues vs Other areas of cooperation: To the outside world, the two countries held up their relations as an example of how despite an unresolved boundary question, they had not allowed these differences to prevent the development of relations in other areas, including:
    • trade and economic ties as well as people-to-people interaction in various spheres.
    • Peace and tranquillity in the border areas had also been maintained for over four decades. But the unravelling had begun.
  • Unbalanced of power between two countries: Two nationalisms were contending and the untrammelled rise of China was generating new global power equations and alignments. The gulf between India and China was growing. 
  • Measures to strengthen peace and tranquillity and confidence-building in the border areas had obviously been rendered obsolete and inadequate as armed confrontation replaced a flimsy structure of so-called peaceful coexistence.

Peace agreements over time

Since 1993, India and China had arrived at a number of agreements to maintain peace and tranquillity and promote confidence building measures (CBMs) in the border areas. These were starting with 1993:

  1. The Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas;
  2. The Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Confidence-Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas (1996);
  3. Protocol between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas (2005);
  4. Agreement between The Government of the Republic of India and The Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (2012);
  5. Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Border Defence Cooperation (2013).

Objectives of these agreements:

  • The boundary question would be resolved peacefully;
  • Neither side would use or threaten to use force against the other “by any means”; that the two sides would respect and observe the Line of Actual Control (LAC);
  • That they would jointly check and determine the segments of the LAC where they had different views as to its alignment and further,
  • Speed up clarification and confirmation of the LAC since a common understanding of the Line was necessary;
  • That military forces (including field army, border defence forces, paramilitary forces) and major categories of armaments in mutually agreed geographical zones along the LAC would be kept to a minimum level compatible with friendly and good neighbourly relations and the “requirements of mutual and equal security”;
  • Military exercises would be undertaken only at specified levels with prior notification being given for such exercises near the LAC;
  • Prior notice would be given regarding flights of combat aircraft within 10 kilometres from the LAC;
  • If border personnel of the two sides came face-to-face due to differences in alignment of the LAC they would exercise self-restraint and avoid an escalation of the situation;
  • Channels of communication and border personnel meetings in case of contingencies were stipulated.

The China-Russia thread

  • Confidence building measures: The inspiration for the first two of these Agreements, signed in 1993 and 1996, came from the example set by first the Soviet Union and then Russia in concluding such understandings on CBMs with China. 
  • Normalizing border issues: At the heart of the normalization of Russia-China relations was the resolution of the border dispute between the two and the development of CBMs in the border regions.
  • Military confrontation — a defining feature in their relations from the 1960’s (the bloody incident of 1969 on the Damansky island may be recalled) — was removed. A strategic partnership of equality and trust oriented towards the 21st century was developed.
  • Shared common threat: Russia and China continued to improve relations, their strategic convergence spurred on by shared suspicion about the overwhelming preponderance of U.S. global power at the end of the Cold War.

Points to note

Where our experience with China on CBMs and tension-reduction along the border differs from the experience of Russia is that

  • First, the five Agreements we signed between 1993 and 2013 were not nurtured in an environment of a steady enhancement of mutual trust and political commitment for building a strong infrastructure of bilateral relations between India and China that promoted both bilateral and regional understanding and cooperative endeavour.
  • Second, unlike in the Russia-China case, no final boundary settlement accompanied these CBMs to sustain and strengthen their operation. Even a joint clarification of the LAC remained unattainable.
  • Third, China as the bigger power, unlike the Soviet Union under Gorbachev in its dealings with Beijing, has never signalled willingness to make asymmetric or unilateral concessions to India or act in a manner, especially in our neighbourhood, that enhances India’s trust or confidence.

Editorial: New paradigm in animal husbandry

Context:

  • Among a variety of policy concerns, the ongoing discussion over farm laws has fixed the spotlight on infrastructure investments necessary to boost productivity levels and fill critical gaps in production.

Relevance:

  • GS Paper 3: Agriculture and Allied activities

Mains Questions:

  1. Boosting the animal husbandry sector will bring social, economic, and nutritional benefits. Discuss. 15 Marks

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Contribution of animal husbandry sector:
  • Importance of animal husbandry sector:
  • What are the issues faced by the Animal Husbandry Sector?
  • Steps taken by the Government
  • Way Forward

Contribution of animal husbandry sector:

  • Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood.
  • Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households.
  • Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community.
  • Livestock sector contributesm31.25% of total Agriculture GDP during 2016-17.

Importance of animal husbandry sector:

  • Additional source of income: Specially in the arid and semi-arid regions where livestock sector is the main source of family income.
  • Employment generation: Employment even during lean agricultural season.
  • Nutritional security: The livestock not only contributes towards improving nutritional security and also reduces rural poverty by preventing additional expenditure for food by households.
  • Equitable distribution: Livestock wealth is more equitably distributed, and the expanding demand for animal food products generates significant opportunities for the poor to escape poverty through diversifying and intensifying livestock production.
  • Social security: The animals offer social security to the owners in terms of their status in the society, which also acts as a guard against getting driven into poverty.
  • Resilience to climate change: As livestock is less prone to global warming and climate change, it can be considered more reliable than rain-fed agriculture. Livestock production and marketing can help stabilize the food supplies and provide individuals and communities with a buffer against economic shocks and natural disasters.

What are the issues faced by the Animal Husbandry Sector?

  • Milk Yields: The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50 per cent of the global average.
  • Prevalent Diseases: The frequent outbreaks of diseases like Foot and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection; Influenza, etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lowers productivity.
  • India’s huge population of ruminants contributes to greenhouse gases emission. Reducing greenhouse gases through mitigation and adaptation strategies will be a major challenge.
  • Limited Artificial Insemination services owing to a deficiency in quality germplasm, infrastructure and technical manpower coupled with poor conception rate following artificial insemination.
  • The sector received only about 12 per cent of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP.
  • The share of livestock in the total agricultural credit has never 4% in the total (short-term, medium-term and long-term).
  • Currently, only 6 per cent of the animal heads (excluding poultry) are provided insurance cover. Livestock extension has remained grossly neglected in the past.

Steps taken by the Government

  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF): Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has recently approved the establishment of AHIDF worth Rs. 15000 crores. Expected benefits from the scheme
    • Investment: AHIDF is expected to leverage around seven times private investment. It will ensure availability of capital to meet upfront investment, enhance overall returns and pay back for investors.
    • Employment generation: AHIDF would help in direct and indirect livelihood creation for 35 lakh people.
    • Benefit for Farmers: Almost 50-60% of final value of dairy output in India flows back to farmers. Thus, growth in this sector would directly impact farmer’s income. Also, it would motivate farmers to invest more on inputs thereby driving higher productivity.
    • It would promote exports of the processed and value-added commodities.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP): The programme aims to control the livestock diseases the foot and mouth disease and brucellosis in livestock by 2025 and eradicate these by 2030.

Way Forward

  • Overcoming feed and fodder scarcity and improvements in delivery of animal health and breeding services.
  • Technology will be a key driver of growth and concerted efforts will be needed to generate and disseminate yield-enhancing and yield-saving technologies.
  • Public spending needs to be increased to re-energize the livestock sector.
  • Strengthening linkages between production and markets through institutions such as cooperatives, producers’ associations and contract farming.
  • Institutional support in terms of credit and insurance is meager and needs to be strengthened.
  • Government needs to take efforts to promote the sector by measures like establishing the Indian Council of Veterinary and Animal Science Education and Research, Schemes like Operation Flood, Kamdhenu scheme, etc.
  • Further, the governments and industry should prepare producers for a quality-driven competition in the domestic as well as global market.
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