November 30, 2023

International Affairs

General Studies Paper 2 Context: Upon dropping a series of Chinese-led infrastructure projects due to sustainability and geopolitical concerns, the Philippines is now redirecting its attention to Japan and India as alternative sources of development and security. India and Philippines strategic ties Manila now shows the desire to deepen and broaden its security and economic partnerships with like minded partners amidst Beijing’s growing unwillingness to act and behave like a responsible neighbour. Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Philippines has been steadfast in securing its sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea against China’s revisionist interests....Read More

General Studies Paper 3 Introduction: The United States, the reigning superpower of the region since the end of the Second World War, had begun shifting its strategic focus to more conventional rivals such as Russia and China. But, to maintain its hold over and interests in the region, what the U.S. sought to do was to bring two of the pillars of its regional policy, Israel and the Gulf Arabs, closer. The Abraham Accords were a result of this policy. A common Jewish-Arab front In a relatively peaceful West Asia, a common front would allow the U.S. to free up....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context On October 26, Qatar’s local court handed down the death penalty to eight former Indian Navy officers. The case has garnered international attention. Similar incidents The case shares similarities with other incidents involving the arrest of Indian nationals by foreign authorities. For instance, Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national, was sentenced to death in 2017 in Pakistan on charges of espionage and sabotage. Pakistan accused him of acting at the behest of India’s intelligence agency, which India denies. The case proceeded in a military court with no transparency. India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ),....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context: There are limitations to what India can do in the event of a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan. Introduction With China frequently intimidating Taiwan over the past year through deployment of its air force and navy in the surrounding areas, there is the oft-posed question whether India would take action in the Strait of Malacca or the Andaman Sea in the event of a conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan. Any speculative action in the Strait of Malacca or the Andaman Sea would involve either a naval blockade against commercial shipping or China’s....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Introduction: As Asian civilisations that have been living side by side for thousands of years, China and India share common thoughts on the future and destiny of mankind. The Chinese people have cherished the vision of “a world of fairness and justice for the common good” since ancient times. Ancient Indian literature also records the motto of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. Panchsheel In the 1950s, China and India jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which has turned into basic norms governing international relations. As two largest developing countries and emerging market economies, each with a population....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context China and Bhutan held their 25th round of boundary talks in Beijing and signed a Cooperation Agreement on the “Responsibilities and Functions of the Joint Technical Team (JTT) on the Delimitation and Demarcation of the Bhutan-China Boundary.” Significance of the agreement This advances their 3-Step Roadmap initiated in 2021 for border resolution, building on the positive momentum since their last talks in 2016. The Boundary talks between Bhutan and China were held after a gap of 7 years and indicate significant progress has been made. Bhutan and the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) share a contiguous....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context As Hamas launched its lethal attacks on Israel on October 7, the assault has firmly overturned Israeli efforts, supported by the United States, to promote a normalisation of relations with Arab states without conceding anything to the Palestinians. Specifically, the Gaza war has dealt a mortal blow to the efforts for Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with Israel. Saudi-Israel relations: In September 2023, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waved two maps to embellish his speech at the United Nations General Assembly: one depicted an isolated Israel in 1948, while the other showed Arab neighbours that....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context The debate over fundamental reforms at the United Nations (UN) has resurfaced at the ongoing General Assembly (UNGA) session. UN’s Secretary General, António Guterres, issued a stern warning: “The world has changed. Our institutions have not. We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving problems, they risk becoming part of the problem.” Old wine in new bottle It could not have been put more bluntly, but we have heard this song before. Politically, it is untenable that the P5 or the five....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context: From the very beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict, the only viable long term solution has been to divide the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea by creating two countries for two people. This is the two state solution to the Israel- Palestine conflict. Historical background: Both the Arabs and Jews have had strong self conceptions of nationhood tied to the same land. But for much of this 100 year war, Jews accepted the inevitability of partition while the Arabs rejected it. For the last few decades, however, the situation seems to have....Read More

General Studies Paper 2 Context: Recently in 2023, six new members were inducted into the BRICS grouping, in South Africa. 15th BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, 2023, led to the expansion of BRICS, making it BRICS-Plus. 6 new countries have been added to the grouping, i.e., Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and UAE. Other outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit: Adoption ofJohannesburg II Declaration on matters of global economic, and political importance. The first ever in person engagement with leaders of BRICS with the members of BRICS Women’s Business Alliance. BRICS Finance Ministers or central bank Governors to consider....Read More

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