Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 01 July 2023
- Partnership for the Future: Examining India-Philippines Relations’ Potential
- Electric Vehicles: Sustainable Transportation
Partnership for the Future: Examining India-Philippines Relations’ Potential
Context: As nations turned their attention to global trade, commerce, and strategic alliances in 2022, the world saw a significant turning point. In light of this, the Philippines and India have rekindled their cooperation after a nearly three-year hiatus with the purpose of fostering bilateral relations as both countries look to experience economic rebound and resilience in the post-pandemic age.
GS Paper 2: International Relations – Bilateral relations
How can India and the Philippines strengthen their economic ties in order to take advantage of their respective growth trajectories and realise their shared vision of a thriving and climate-proof future? (150 Words)
- Relations between India and the Philippines have historically been cordial, although their cooperation has not yet reached its full potential.
- There is a dearth of informed understanding between nations despite shared values including anti-colonialism, South-South cooperation, strong democratic institutions, an independent court and press, and proficiency in English.
Political, security, and defence cooperation:
- Intensified Engagement: India’s collaboration with ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, has grown as a result of its Look East Policy in 1992 and subsequent Act East Policy in 2014.
- Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs): Several MoUs covering academic cooperation, agriculture, MSMEs, and logistical cooperation in the defence industry have been reached.
- Defence Cooperation: The three main pillars of bilateral defence cooperation are capacity building, training, and exchange visits.
Trade and Commerce:
- Potential for Rapid Growth: In recent years, economic ties between India and the Philippines have grown significantly.
- Investment Opportunities: Indian investments in the Philippines are mostly focused on infrastructure, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, IT&ITES, textiles, and the automotive and chemical industries.
- Collaboration in the BPO Sector: The level of collaboration between Indian and Filipino businesses in this industry has skyrocketed.
Relationships between people and their cultures:
- Training Programmes: Indian training initiatives like ITEC and the Colombo Plan are advantageous to the Philippines.
- Tourism and Exchanges: As more Indian tourists travel to the Philippines each year, intercultural ties have grown stronger.
- Indian Community: The Indian community in the Philippines actively participates in social gatherings, philanthropic endeavours, and Indian festivals.
- Although India and the Philippines have cordial relations, their cooperation has a lot of unrealized potential. In order to fully realise this potential, it is essential to promote cultural exchanges, increase commerce and investment, and boost defence cooperation. Both countries can create a stronger and more profitable relationship in the years to come by building on their pre-existing historical ties and common ideals.
Renewed Energy in the Relationship:
The 13th Philippine-India Policy Consultations in Manila and the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, to Manila in February 2022, along with a meeting with the then-Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., during the 2022 Raisina Dialogue, have given the relationship new life.This wave of rebirth and devotion opens the door to a revolutionary cooperation for the twenty-first century.
Economic Trajectories That Are Highly Promising:
By 2027, India is expected to have the third-largest economy in the world, according to forecasts. India is the fastest-growing of the major economies, with an annual GDP growth rate of 5.5% over the past ten years; meanwhile, the Philippines is on course to reach upper-middle-income status and reach a trillion-dollar economy by 2033.As they pursue plans for a prosperous and climate-proof future, both countries are dedicated to promoting greater inclusivity and empowering their expanding people.
Utilising the Indo-Pacific’s Potential as a Growth accelerator:
Intensified regional collaboration is essential for utilising the Indo-Pacific’s potential as a growth accelerator. To support the region as a global economic powerhouse, it is essential to strengthen economic integration, improve connectivity, and foster innovation. The Philippines and India, both known as champions of the rule of law and inclusive multilateralism, play significant roles in advancing these goals.
Expanding Trade and Economic Cooperation:
- Business-to-business partnerships can be scaled up to leverage synergies between the two economies, taking advantage of India’s leadership in renewable energy, especially wind and solar power.
- The Philippines has made significant investments in renewable energy technology. Additionally, the use of wind energy has grown significantly in the nation’s energy sector, with a sizable amount of pledges and investments made in this field during the first half of 2023.
- As the Philippines strives to become a spacefaring nation by 2030, increased capacity-building and collaboration between the Philippine Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are in the works.
- Opportunities for collaboration can also be unlocked in the context of India’s “Digital India” project and the Philippines’ efforts to strengthen its digital infrastructure.
A More Robust Economic Partnership:
- Manila and New Delhi share the goal of developing a stronger economic alliance in the years to come. This initiative has gained steam as a result of recent changes to the Philippine business environment that affect foreign investment, public service, and retail trade.
- The purchase of India’s BrahMos Shore-based Anti-Ship Missile System by the Philippine defence forces through a $374 million contract signed in January 2022 represents just the first step in this regard. The relationship between the two countries goes beyond just economic cooperation.
Engaging within Regional Frameworks:
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which enjoys a positive dialogue connection with India, is one of the regional frameworks under which the Philippines and India have been rekindling their relationship.
- India’s “Act East Policy” also seeks to improve political, diplomatic, and cultural ties throughout the Indo-Pacific area. Harnessing the promise of the Indo-Pacific area requires increased regional cooperation, improved connectivity, and innovation.
- For the fifth meeting of the Philippines-India Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, the Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs will visit Minister Jaishankar in New Delhi.
- This important discussion aims to chart a clear path for a deeper collaboration that builds on the over 75 years of diplomatic ties that the two democratic Asian nations have already established.
There has never been a better time to intensify efforts and realise the full potential of the partnership between the Philippines and India. Both countries are aware of the advantages and common interests that can result from forging stronger ties. The Philippines and India are prepared to deepen their connections and look into new chances for cooperation in a variety of disciplines as they manage the difficulties and opportunities of the twenty-first century.
Electric Vehicles: Sustainable Transportation
The era of electric cars (EVs) has arrived, promising to reduce oil imports and produce no exhaust emissions. Due to major automakers’ large investments in EV technology, EV production and sales have seen a significant increase. The adoption of EVs is being fueled by improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure, as well as the commitment of governments around the world.
GS Paper 3: Science and Technology – Advance Technologies
Examine the difficulties electric vehicles (EVs) confront in India and the steps the government has made to encourage their adoption. In order to successfully integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into the transportation system, it is important to overcome problems including high initial costs, a lack of adequate charging infrastructure, and range anxiety. (250 words)
EVs’ environmental advantages:
- EVs have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they have no exhaust emissions, which will help fight climate change. Electric vehicles (EVs) help to reduce air pollution, smog, and global warming by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants. Public health is improved by cleaner air, which lowers the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.
- Decrease in Dangerous Pollutants: EVs also help to reduce dangerous pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which improves air quality.
Energy Security and Diversification:
By reducing reliance on imported oil, EVs help to diversify the energy supply. EVs present a chance to make the shift to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources because the electricity grid may be fueled by renewable resources like solar and wind. By minimising reliance on imported fossil fuels, this improves energy security by reducing exposure to shifting oil prices.
Technology Development and Job Growth
- Promoting Technological Innovation: The creation and use of EVs has sped up the development of battery technology, electric drivetrains, and charging infrastructure. These developments have larger applications, including grid stability and energy storage for renewable sources.
- Job Creation: As demand for electric vehicles rises, industries such as battery production, renewable energy, and infrastructure for fast charging have seen an increase in employment.
Long-Term Cost Savings:
• Lower Operating expenses: Since electricity is typically less expensive than petrol or diesel, EVs have lower operating expenses. They require less maintenance since they have fewer moving components, which over time results in lower servicing and repair costs.
- Promoting Shared Mobility: By promoting shared mobility, EVs can aid in the decongestion of urban areas. Utilising automobiles as a service rather than as individual assets, or “shared mobility,” lowers the number of vehicles on the road and the requirement for parking.
- Compact Design: EVs with a smaller, lighter design for metropolitan areas minimise traffic and emissions. Smaller batteries are needed by cutting-edge smart EVs for shorter intra-city journeys, which reduces costs and speeds up recharge times.
EV challenges include:
- High Initial Cost:
- Affordability Barrier: Due to pricey battery technology, EVs have a greater initial cost than conventional automobiles. As a result, fewer potential purchasers are interested in EVs.
- Inadequate Infrastructure: India’s infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is still in its infancy and is primarily centred in its main cities. Owners of EVs, especially those without designated parking places, have hassles due to the lack of a comprehensive and extensive charging network.
- Range Anxiety: There is a belief that EVs may not have enough range for long-distance travel, especially in a country with enormous distances like India. Limited driving range continues to be a key barrier to EV adoption. This problem is made worse over time by battery depreciation.
- Battery Technology and Supply Chain:
- Import Dependence: India is significantly dependent on imports for the manufacture of batteries, which presents difficulties for the supply chain. Additionally, the convenience and usability of EVs are impacted by lengthier charging durations compared to refuelling conventional vehicles.
- Limited Model Options:
- Demand for a Variety of Options: Currently, there are fewer EV models available in India than there are for conventional vehicles. To meet the various interests and needs of consumers, a wider selection of reasonably priced EVs is required.
Government Programmes to Support EVs
- Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles (FAME): FAME provides financial incentives for acquiring EVs and building charging infrastructure.
- Production-linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automotive Industry: Increasing domestic production of electric cars (EVs), fuel-cell vehicles, and related parts.
- National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage: PLI programme to support homegrown EV battery production.
- GST Reduction: The GST rate is reduced to 5% for all EVs from 28% for ICE vehicles.
- Income Tax Break: Interest paid on financing an electric vehicle is deductible up to Rs. 1.5 lakh.
- Draught Battery Swapping Policy: Using charged batteries at swapping stations to replace exhausted batteries (2W, 3W).
- Charging Infrastructure Guidelines: Public charging stations should have a variety of charging ports available.
- Lithium cell technology from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): ISRO is transferring homegrown lithium cell technology to industries.
- State EV Policies: Several states, including Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana, offer reduced EV charging rates as well as exemptions from road and registration taxes.
The popularity of EVs signals the beginning of a new phase in sustainable mobility. In order to encourage EV adoption on a large scale, governments and stakeholders must address the issues. India can pave the way for a greener and more energy-efficient future by lowering the initial cost, increasing charging infrastructure, improving battery technology and supply chains, and increasing the diversity of EV models. EVs are an essential part of sustainable development because of their advantages in halting climate change, enhancing air quality, and promoting technical innovation.