China plus one (C+1) strategy and advantage for India
GS Paper I
Context:According to the World Population Review, India surpassed China to become the world’s most populated country in January 2023, with a population of around 1.417 billion compared to China’s 1.412 billion (WPR). This presents India with both possibilities and problems.
The global turmoil and China as enablers of the Indian growth story:
Overdependence on individual economies: If the epidemic taught the world anything, it must have been to reduce reliance on China-specific Global Value Chains (GVCs). As seen by the epidemic, the ensuing Ukraine-Russia war, and China’s current calamitous COVID-19 rise, overdependence on certain economies is going to have cascading repercussions on the global economy due to the macroeconomic shocks they induce.
Glocalised economic partnership models: Countries are increasingly attempting to find the correct balance between globalisation and localisation via bilateral and multilateral platforms that use sub-regional comparative advantages. These growing types of glocalised models are, to a considerable part, predicated on limiting Beijing’s political and economic power in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, where India plays an active role.
Application of technology: There is little question that the epidemic has increased the use of technology in areas ranging from grassroots social security payments to government-level seminars.
China plus one (C+1) strategy:
The trade war between the United States and China, as well as pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, have cleared the way for many Western corporations to pursue a China Plus One (C+1) approach.
To offset the economic and geopolitical risks associated with the former, the approach would require shifting investments from China to other nations.
While many see Vietnam as another economy in the drive to draw investment away from China, India may be the clear frontrunner in the C+1 game.
Why makes India to surge ahead in C+1?
India’s economic progress: India enjoys a demographic edge over China, with a greater proportion of its population under the age of 30. This young population is projected to stimulate consumption, savings, and investments, propelling India toward its aim of becoming a multi-trillion-dollar economy.
Cheap labour costs are advantageous: India has a low labour and other kinds of capital cost, lowering manufacturing costs and enhancing competitiveness in foreign markets. India’s labour costs are also half that of Vietnam, making it a formidable competitor in electronics and semiconductor production.
Heavy infrastructure investment in India: A significant investment in physical infrastructure through the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) is predicted to lower manufacturing costs by 20% and transportation time and expenses by 20%. In contrast to China, where various businesses manage different aspects of the transportation process, raising expenses.
India’s business climate is favourable: Recent policy initiatives in India, such as the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) plan, tax changes, relaxation of FDI rules, the establishment of land pools, and the organisation of business summits, have all aided in attracting investment to the domestic economy. These initiatives, fueled by the Make in India programme, have been bolstered by attempts to encourage competitive federalism and lower transaction costs.
India’s digital advantage: Given India’s high internet penetration (43%), digital skilling efforts may provide benefits across a variety of economic sectors, notably services. A combination of indigenous technology and increased access to Google and Facebook, both of which are prohibited in China, provides Indian youngsters a digital advantage.
Because English is the second language, it facilitates communication: the prevalence of English language skill set in the young Indian population unquestionably places India ahead of China. Because English is the second official language in the Indian states, corporate leaders may communicate easily with North American and European clientele.
Economic relationships that are well-balanced: India’s economic partnerships are distinguished by the use of sub-regional comparative advantages and the control of Beijing’s political and economic might in the Indo-Pacific. India’s intention to withdraw from the RCEP in 2020 in order to preserve its domestic market and reduce trade imbalances sends a significant signal of its disaffection with Beijing in trade agreements. The CEPA inked with the UAE in 2022 is anticipated to raise two-way commerce to $100 billion in five years by opening up access to Arab and African markets for Indian exporters.
Dynamic Indian diplomacy: Through diplomatic ties and commercial agreements like as the QUAD, I2U2, and accords with Australia, Canada, the European Union, and African nations, India has enhanced its economy. These collaborations have increased Indian enterprises’ access to capital, technology, and new markets. India is well-positioned to handle evolving globalisation trends and be a strong advocate for the Global South as it assumes the leadership of the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year.
The largest domestic market is crucial: India’s big domestic market, with a population of 1.3 billion people and annual income growth of 6.9 percent, provides a competitive alternative to China’s massive domestic market. Vietnam’s market is substantially smaller in comparison, with a population of 98 million people.
After a year of negative growth caused by the pandemic-led shutdown, the Indian economy has risen from the ashes like a phoenix. As a result, India’s 74th Republic Day should be more than just a commemoration of the past or a celebration of the adoption of the world’s largest and most complete constitution; it should also be a celebration of the sparkling future of a roaring economy that will bring light to a dark globe.
Source – The Hindu
India and Saudi Arabia: Strengthening the Bond
GS Paper II
Context:The relationship between Saudi Arabia and India has changed dramatically in recent years. The friendship between the two countries stems from our shared cultural and civilisational heritage. The Kingdom and India have mutual regard and appreciation for one another, which opens the way to collaboration and partnership. Diplomatic visits by leaders from both nations have strengthened these connections.
Recent visits by the leaders of India and Saudi Arabia:
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister at the time, paid a visit to New Delhi in February 2019.
PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia: The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Riyadh in October of the same year was a watershed point in our strategic relationship.
Outcome of such visits:
Several MoUs were signed during these trips for a variety of sectors, including energy, civil aviation, security, defence production, medical product regulation, strategic petroleum reserves, small and medium-sized companies, and diplomat training in our respective academies.
Working group and Strategic Partnership Council (SPC): The historic founding of the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) at the leadership level was anchored by these two high-level visits. The SPC also saw the creation of working groups in a variety of industries important to both countries.
Complete assessment of agreements and new chances: Since 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India have conducted a comprehensive review of agreements and explored new potential for collaboration.
Energy security and Bilateral trade:
While our relationships began with energy security, they have now spread to numerous other industries, including pharmaceuticals, information technology, and telecommunications. The Kingdom accounts for 18% of India’s crude oil imports.
Saudi Arabia is also India’s fourth largest commercial partner, whereas India is Saudi Arabia’s second largest trading partner, with bilateral trade of almost $43 billion.
Conducive business climate in the Kingdom: A number of major Indian enterprises have also established a base in Saudi Arabia, indicating the Kingdom’s favourable business environment.
Joint ventures represent trust and a strong relationship: There are around 750 Indian enterprises registered as joint ventures or 100% owned companies in Saudi Arabia, demonstrating the nations’ strong partnership and trust.
Massive investment via Public Investment Fund: Since the foundation of our SPC, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) has made around $2.8 billion in India’s digital and retail industries. Similarly, Indian investments in Saudi Arabia have crossed $2 billion, which is spread across several industries.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and its 13 vision realisationprogrammes are closely matched with India’s key initiatives such as Make in India, Start-up India, Smart Cities, Clean India, and Digital India. Both economies have experienced rapid development in the recent decade.
Close collaboration in critical areas: Both countries are currently cooperating closely in critical areas to accomplish mutual and strategic goals. This was accomplished in part through funding the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and other international and regional health organisations and programmes.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030:
Economic and social reforms: Saudi Arabia wants to overhaul its economy and society via Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia is going through historic economic and social transformations. The Kingdom has been seeking to expand its expanding investment industry in order to strengthen the economy.
Cultural investment: As part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has also invested in its culture through events like as the Red Sea Film Festival, which is committed to recognising excellence in cinema and nurturing the resurgent creative spirit of Saudi and Arab filmmakers.
Investment in sustainable infrastructure: HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Events Investment Fund (EIF) to establish a sustainable infrastructure for the Kingdom’s cultural, tourism, entertainment, and sports industries. The fund aims to build world-class sustainable infrastructure throughout the Kingdom, including as indoor arenas, art galleries, theatres, conference centres, horse-racing tracks, car racing tracks, and other amenities.
India may take advantage of the opportunities given by Vision 2030 to invest in the Kingdom. With India holding the G20 chair, the stage is set for a meaningful conversation on faster and inclusive development while meeting the Sustainable Development Goals as the global economy navigates the post-Covid era.
In the face of present global conditions, India continues to effectively manoeuvre itself toward greater economic advancement, based on strong foundations of sustainability and a vibrant local community, an achievement and vision shared with its close ally Saudi Arabia. As India celebrates its 74th Republic Day with a goal of growth and prosperity, boosting engagement between India and Saudi Arabia will propel both economies and promote regional and global peace and stability.
Source – The Hindu
India and Egypt reiterate support for Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
GS Paper II
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM):
The Non-Associated Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing-world countries that are not openly aligned with or against any major power bloc.
It is the world’s second biggest gathering of states after the United Nations.
The NAM was founded in 1961 in Belgrade, SR Serbia, and Yugoslavia, based on the ideals agreed upon at the Bandung Conference in 1955.
It was the brainchild of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Indonesia’s Sukarno, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito.
The NAM nations account for roughly two-thirds of all United Nations members and 55% of the world’s population.
Reasons behind NAM creation:
Balancing the United States and the Soviet Union: Non-alignment, a Cold War doctrine, sought to preserve policy autonomy (rather than equidistance) between two politico-military blocs, the United States and the Soviet Union.
Platform outside the UN: The NAM provided a forum for newly independent developing countries to band together to safeguard their autonomy.
Adapting to new scenarios: Since the Cold War’s conclusion, the NAM has been compelled to reposition itself and recreate its role in the present international system.
It has concentrated on strengthening international relationships and connections, as well as solidarity among the world’s developing nations, particularly those in the Global South.
Fading significance of the NAM:
Non-alignment strategy has lost importance after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the establishment of a unipolar international order led by the United States since 1991.
Decolonization was nearly complete at the time, South Africa’s apartheid state was being dissolved, and the movement for universal nuclear disarmament was stalled.
The NAM nations were able to widen their network of contacts across the former east-west split after they were free of the restraints of the Cold War.
India and the NAM:
India played a major role in the international movements of colonies and newly independent nations seeking membership in the NAM.
India as a leader: The country’s role in national diplomacy, its size, and its economic miracle have elevated India to one of the NAM’s leaders and upholders of Third World solidarity.
The notion of ‘acting and making its own choices’ underlined India’s desire to maintain independence in foreign policy decisions, while creating conflicts and obstacles between national interests on the world stage and poverty alleviation.
Alternative steps were necessary to ensure the security of the state: The economic condition, in order to increase the living standards of the population, tested the country’s defensive capabilities, and vice versa.
Fewer options: Wars with China and Pakistan had put India in a terrible economic position, and a food crisis in the mid-1960s had rendered the nation dependent on US supplies.
What dictates India’s alignment now?
National security: China’s ascent and assertiveness as a regional and global power, as well as the concurrent emergence of middle powers in the area, imply that this balancing act is becoming more difficult and important at the same time.
Global decision-making: Another distinguishing element of India’s foreign policy has been the goal of adapting international institutions to changes in the international system.
Prosperity and influence: India’s strategic relationships in the twenty-first century aim to make India the voice of the global South.
Multi-polarism: Forming significant connections with other developing countries is another way for India to carry out its autonomous foreign policy approach.
Why NAM still matters?
Global view of India: As a result of claims that have crept into our secular government, there is a need to actively network and break out of isolation.
For the Impulsive US: India’s total reliance on the US to oppose China would be a mistake.
Ukrainian incursion has rekindled Cold War: Those who criticise NAM as a result of the Cold War must also realise that a new Cold War is brewing, this time between the United States and China.
NAM gives a much larger platform: NAM becomes significant in mobilising worldwide public opinion against terrorism, weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), nuclear proliferation, ecological imbalance, protecting poor nations’ interests in the WTO, and so on.
NAM as a vehicle for autonomy: NAM has a total membership of 120 developing nations, the majority of whom are members of the UN General Assembly. As a result, NAM members play a significant role in supporting India’s candidature for permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
Despite the fact that globalisation is confronting an existential crisis, it is not feasible to return to isolation. Countries are tied to one another in some way in a world of intricate interdependence.
NAM as a source of soft power: India may exploit its historic links to bring the NAM countries together. Soft power, rather than physical force, is India’s strength.
Strategic autonomy: India appears to be pursuing strategic autonomy in addition to non-alignment.
Bilateralism: Indo-US relationships are complementary, and a formal alliance can only help these partnerships reach their full potential.
Non-alliance: India interacts with other states with the intention of changing the international order, but without the intention of ‘allying or opposing.’
Deep engagement: If India wants to acquire leverage in interactions with rivals and competitors, it must engage in deeper engagement with its allies and partners.
In the current growing multipolar international order, a broad and diversified spectrum of strategic allies, including the United States as a significant partner, is the only realistic diplomatic path ahead.
Source – The Hindu
GS Paper II
Context:A five-judge Supreme Court bench led by Justice K M Joseph decided to change the existing standards for ‘living wills’ to greatly streamline the procedure for passive euthanasia in the nation.
What is Living Will?
A living will is a legal instrument that specifies the type and quality of medical care that a person desires to receive in the event that they are unable to make decisions or convey their intentions when care is required.
Many life-threatening treatments and procedures, such as resuscitation, ventilation, and dialysis, are addressed in a living will.
When a person is unable to make medical choices for themselves, they can appoint a healthcare proxy to do so.
A living trust is a legal instrument that specifies how an incapacitated person’s assets should be administered.
People might hire an estate planner or an attorney to assist them prepare or revise a living will.
Living Will in India:
It was first established in its 2018 decision in Common Cause vs. Union of India &Anr, which permitted passive euthanasia.
It was in reaction to the Aruna Shanbaug Case, in which the protagonists argued for Aruna’s mercy killing.
The rules addressed issues such as who would carry out the living will and how the medical board would provide permission.
It said that an adult human person with the mental ability to make an educated decision has the right to refuse medical care, including the removal of life-saving technology.
What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the purposeful termination of a person’s life, most commonly to relieve an incurable ailment or unbearable pain and suffering.
Euthanasia can be ‘active’ or ‘passive,’ and can only be delivered by a physician.
Active euthanasia is the use of drugs or external force to end a person’s life, such as providing a fatal injection.
The withdrawal of life support or treatment that is required to keep a terminally sick person alive is referred to as passive euthanasia.
What is the legal history of this matter?
The Supreme Court of India authorised passive euthanasia in 2018, subject to the person possessing a ‘living will’.
It must be a written document that explains what steps should be performed if the individual becomes unable to make medical choices for themselves in the future.
If a person does not have a living will, members of their family can petition the High Court for authorization to use passive euthanasia.
What did the SC rule in 2018?
The Supreme Court permitted passive euthanasia while upholding the living wills of terminally ill individuals who might enter a lifelong vegetative state.
It had to be signed by an executor (the person requesting euthanasia) in the presence of two attesting witnesses and countersigned by a Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC).
Until Parliament approved law, the court set instructions governing this practise.
However, this has not occurred, and the lack of a legislation on the topic has rendered the 2018 verdict the final comprehensive set of euthanasia guidelines.
What was the situation before 2018?
P Rathinam vs Union Of India, 1994: In a case challenging the constitutional validity of Clause 309 of the IPC — which requires up to one year in jail for attempt to suicide the Supreme Court judged the section to be a “cruel and unreasonable provision”.
Gian Kaur vs. The State Of Punjab, 1996: Two years later, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court overruled the judgement in P Rathinam, stating that the right to life under Article 21 did not include the right to die, and that only legislation could allow euthanasia.
Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs Union Of India &Ors, 2011: The Supreme Court permitted passive euthanasia for Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who was sexually raped in Mumbai in 1973 and had been in a vegetative condition since. The court drew a difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’, and authorised the latter in “certain conditions”.
Key observations by Law Commission:
Previously, in its 196th Report’ in 2006, the Law Commission of India stated that a doctor who obeys the directions of a competent patient to withhold or withdraw medical treatment does not incur a violation of professional responsibility, and the failure to treat is not an infraction.
It also acknowledged the patient’s decision not to get medical care and stated that it did not constitute a suicide attempt under Section 309 IPC.
In 2008, the Law Commission’s ‘241st Report For Passive Euthanasia: A Relook’ suggested legislation on ‘passive euthanasia,’ along with a draught Bill.
What was the old cumbersome process?
The treating physician was expected to form a board of three professional medical practitioners with at least 20 years of experience from particular but diverse disciplines of medicine.
They would determine whether or not to carry out the living will.
If the medical board approved, the will had to be sent to the District Collector for his approval.
The Collector was then to choose three specialist doctors, including the Chief District Medical Officer, to constitute a new medical board.
Only if this second board agreed with the conclusions of the hospital board would the decision be transmitted to the JMFC, who would then visit the patient and decide whether or not to grant clearance.
This time-consuming procedure will now be simplified.
Recent changes after the SC’s order this week:
Medical board: Rather than the hospital and Collector creating the two medical boards, the hospital will now form both boards.
Doctor with 5 years of experience: The need of 20 years of experience for doctors has been reduced to five years.
Magistrate permission is no longer required: The necessity for Magistrate approval has been replaced by informing the Magistrate.
There is no need for a witness: The 2018 rules needed two witnesses and a signature by the Magistrate; currently, instead of the Magistrate’s countersign, a notary or gazetted officer can sign the living will in the presence of two witnesses.
HC for appeal: If the hospital’s medical boards reject authorization, the relatives will now be able to seek the High Court, which will assemble a new medical team.
Justification for Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide:
It allows for the relief of severe pain. By donating essential organs, euthanasia can save the lives of many more people.
According to Indian law, “every single person is entitled to and reserves the right to die with dignity.” The recently modified instructions issued by the Supreme Court are a significant step in this direction.
Source – Indian Express
Aditya-L1: India’s first mission to Sun to be launched soon
GS Paper III
Context:The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch the Aditya-L1 mission by June or July this year.
What is Aditya-L1 Mission?
ISRO classifies Aditya L1 as a 400 kilogramme satellite that will be launched utilising the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in XL configuration.
It will examine the Sun from a near distance in order to learn more about its atmosphere and magnetic field.
The space-based observatory will contain seven payloads (instruments) to research the Sun’s corona, solar emissions, solar winds and flares, and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), as well as provide round-the-clock photography of the Sun.
L1: Behind the name:
L1 denotes Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of five places in the Earth-Sun system’s orbital plane.
Lagrange Points are locations in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (such as the Sun and the Earth) generate heightened zones of attraction and repulsion. They are named after the Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange.
The L1 point is approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, or one-hundredth of the way to the Sun.
In total Aditya-L1 has seven payloads, of which the primary payload is the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), designed and fabricated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru.
The satellite carries additional six payloads-
- SUIT, the solar ultraviolet imaging telescope
- ASPEX (Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment),
- PAPA (Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya),
- SoLEXS (Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer),
- HEL1OS (High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray spectrometer) and
- Magnetometer — with enhanced science scope and objectives possible by extensive remote and in-situ observation of the sun.
Why is studying the Sun important?
(1) To understand space weather:
Continuous sun observations are required to learn about, track, and anticipate the impact of Earth-directed storms.
Every storm that erupts from the Sun and comes towards Earth passes through L1, and a satellite located in the Sun-Earth system’s halo orbit around L1 has the main benefit of continually observing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses.
(2) Observing corona:
The VELC payload will be able to continually study the corona, and the data it provides is intended to address many lingering questions in the area of solar astronomy.
VELC is the only solar coronagraph in orbit that can picture the solar corona so close to the solar disc.
It can image it up to 1.05 times the solar radius away.
It can also do imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry all at the same time, as well as capture observations at a very high resolution (degree of detail) and several times per second.
Why are solar missions challenging?
Distance: The Sun’s distance from Earth makes a solar mission difficult (about 149 million km on average, compared to the only 3.84 lakh km to the Moon).
Heat: The super-hot temperatures and radiations in the solar environment make research challenging.
Major missions to Sun till now:
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has already approached the Sun, although it will be facing away from it.
In 1976, the Helios 2 solar probe, a collaboration between NASA and the former West German space agency, came within 43 million kilometres of the Sun’s surface.
Source – Indian Express
Etikoppaka Toy Craft
GS Paper I
Context:The Union conferred Padma Shri to Mr. Raju in the art category as an honour to the Etikoppaka wooden toy craft.
Etikoppaka is a tiny hamlet on the banks of the Varaha River, 64 kilometres from the Andhra Pradesh district of Visakhapatnam.
Etikoppaka is renowned with exquisite timber objects and lacquer colours.
The toys are usually called as Etikoppaka toys or EtikoppakaBommalu and are manufactured with lacquer colour.
The hamlet is well-known for its wooden toys. Because of the lacquer finish, the toys are also known as lacquer toys.
Etikoppaka Toys has been granted a GI tag in the state of Andhra Pradesh under the Handicrafts category.
How are they made?
The wooden toys are coloured with natural colours produced from seeds, lacquer, bark, roots, and leaves.
The wood used to produce the toys is soft, and the technique of manufacturing toys is also known as Turned wood Lacquer craft.
Lac, a colourless resinous secretion of several insects, is utilised in the production of Etikoppaka toys.
During the oxidation process, the already manufactured vegetable dyes are combined with the lac.
The ultimate result of this method is a rich and colourful lacquer.
The lac dye is used to decorate Etikoppaka toys, which are marketed worldwide.