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12 June 2024 : Indian Express Editorial Analysis

1. Redrawing the red line

(Source: Indian Express; Section: The Editorial Page; Page: 10)

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security
  • On a significant day for Indian democracy, marked by the inauguration of the third successive NDA government, a tragic terrorist attack occurred on the Reasi-Katra road. Pakistan-sponsored terrorists ambushed a bus full of pilgrims, killing nine and injuring 33.
  • This attack was claimed by The Resistance Front, a cover for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), signifying a “renewed start” of their violent campaign.
  • Such events often coincide with major national occasions to send a message of continued resistance and relevance from across the Line of Control (LoC).

Historical Context and Strategy:

  • Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and terrorist leadership view the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) situation as temporarily paused, with efforts to maintain relevance and counter perceptions of resolution in India’s favor.
  • The attack on the Reasi-Katra road follows a historical pattern where Pakistan-sponsored terrorists strike during significant events.
  • A notable example is the Chittisinghpura massacre in 2000, coinciding with then US President Bill Clinton’s visit to India.
  • These incidents are strategic moves to assert that the conflict over J&K remains unresolved and to disrupt India’s perceived stability in the region.

Impact on Stability and Countermeasures:

  • The stability in J&K, achieved through the abrogation of Article 370 and extensive counter-terrorism measures, faces challenges from these terrorist activities.
  • Networks involved in terror financing, media, over-ground workers (OGWs), and separatist ideologies have been significantly disrupted.
  • Despite these efforts, low-level strikes on soft targets continue, indicating a shift in strategy to maintain relevance.
  • The recent attack south of Pir Panjal highlights the region’s vulnerabilities due to its conducive terrain and relatively lower alertness.

Political Ramifications and the Role of Elections:

  • The timing of the attack raises critical questions about its implications on the political process in J&K.
  • With the Supreme Court of India directing the holding of assembly elections by September 30, there is speculation that such violence aims to derail this process.
  • Despite the difficult conditions in the past, elections have been held, and a good turnout would send a strong message against negative narratives.
  • The youth, having experienced peace and stability, are key stakeholders in this democratic exercise, symbolizing India’s intent and progress.

Government Response and Public Pressure:

  • The Indian government’s response to such terrorist acts has historically included surgical strikes and aerial bombardments, establishing red lines for deterrence.
  • However, the stability of the LoC ceasefire since February 2021 necessitates a careful assessment of any potential military response. While physical and covert operations remain options, they risk escalating the conflict.
  • International pressure on Pakistan is another avenue, though its geostrategic significance often provides it with support from major global players.
  • Public pressure for a robust response is palpable, but the government must navigate these demands without compromising strategic objectives.


  • The recent terrorist attack on the Reasi-Katra road underscores the ongoing challenges in J&K and the complex interplay of local stability, political processes, and international dynamics.
  • While India has made significant strides in curbing terrorism and fostering peace, such incidents highlight the persistent threats and the need for a multifaceted approach to ensure long-term stability and democratic integrity in the region.
PYQ: The scourge of terrorism is a grave challenge to national security. What solutions do you suggest to curb this growing menace? What are the major sources of terrorist funding? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2017)
Practice Question:  Analyze the strategic implications of terrorist attacks coinciding with significant national events in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the context of the recent Reasi-Katra road incident. Discuss how such incidents affect the political stability and democratic processes in the region. (250 words/15 m)

2. A reboot at G7

(Source: Indian Express; Section: The Ideas page; Page: 11)

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions, agencies and fora – their structure, mandate
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first trip abroad during his third term will be to the G7 summit in Fasano, Italy.
  • This visit underscores the significant improvement in relations with the US and Europe, one of the key legacies of Modi’s first decade in office.
  • The G7 meeting, marking its 50th anniversary, will provide Modi an opportunity to reconnect and reboot ties with Western leaders, highlighting the strategic importance of these relationships for India.

What is the Group of Seven (G7)?

  • It is an intergovernmental organization that was formed in 1975.
  • The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security and energy policy.
  • The G7 countries are the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.
  • All the G7 countries and India are a part of G20.
  • The G7 does not have a formal charter or a secretariat. The presidency, which rotates among member countries each year, is in charge of setting the agenda. Sherpas, ministers and envoys hammer out policy initiatives before the summit.
  • The 49th G7 summit was held in Hiroshima, Japan.
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Geopolitical Context and Strategic Challenges:

  • The G7 summit will spotlight the growing conflict between the Western nations and the Sino-Russian alliance. This geopolitical tension presents both challenges and opportunities for Indian diplomacy.
  • In early July, Modi will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan, engaging with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Balancing India’s conflict with China, cooperation with Russia, and expanding ties with the West will test Indian diplomacy amidst escalating conflicts in Ukraine and rising military tensions in the Western Pacific.

India’s Role in Global Governance:

  • India has been a regular invitee to the G7 gatherings in recent years, signaling its stake in developing deeper collaboration with Western institutions. With increasing challenges on several global fronts, it is in the West’s interest to integrate India into the structures of global governance driven by the G7.
  • The summit, hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, offers a platform for rebooting India’s diplomacy in Modi’s third term.
  • Meloni’s political rapport with Modi and her influence in European politics provide a conducive environment for strengthening Italy-India ties and broader G7-India relations.

Western Appreciation of Indian Democracy:

  • Western leaders appreciate the successful conclusion of India’s massive electoral exercise and the significance of Modi’s re-election after two terms.
  • Despite discussions about democratic decay in India, Modi’s reduced mandate has highlighted the self-corrective mechanisms in Indian democracy.
  • The West’s strategic and economic interests in India would have persisted regardless of Modi’s electoral success, but the reaffirmation of India’s democracy and diversity strengthens the convergence of Indian and Western interests.

Regional Engagement and Global South Focus:

  • Italy’s focus on engaging with Africa and the Mediterranean at the G7 summit aligns with India’s regional policy interests.
  • The connections between Mediterranean Europe and India’s extended neighborhood in Arabia and Africa are becoming increasingly significant for Delhi.
  • Italy’s initiative to restructure the G7’s relationship with the Global South aligns with India’s priorities.
  • The inclusion of leaders from Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and the UAE at the summit provides Modi an opportunity to engage with both familiar and new leaders from the non-Western world.

Meeting with Pope Francis and Focus on AI Ethics:

  • In Italy, Modi will have another chance to meet with Pope Francis, who will participate in the G7’s outreach sessions for the first time.
  • The Pope is expected to discuss artificial intelligence (AI), a high-priority item on the G7’s global governance agenda.
  • India, an active participant in the debate on global AI regulation, will have much to contribute to this discussion.
  • The “Rome Call for AI ethics” issued by the Pontiff in 2020 aligns with India’s stance on the ethical use of AI technology.

Addressing Food and Energy Security:

  • The G7 agenda in Italy includes critical discussions on food and energy security, issues India has emphasized since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  • As a major consumer of energy and a leading producer of wheat, India can significantly influence debates in these domains.
  • Migration, another top Western concern, will also be discussed, with India contributing its perspective on curbing illegal immigration and facilitating the flow of talent across borders.

Navigating Great Power Conflicts:

  • Despite the focus on global governance, the G7 summit will likely be overshadowed by efforts to defend Ukraine against Russia and counter China’s economic challenges.
  • Although Modi will not attend the Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland following the G7 summit, India cannot ignore the escalating conflict in Europe.
  • There are notable fault lines within Western strategies on dealing with Russia and China, further complicated by internal political divisions within major Western states.

Strategic Opportunities for India:

  • As great power conflicts create global instability, the coming weeks will offer Modi and his advisors an opportunity to engage with major actors, assess their competing interests, and refine India’s strategy.
  • Unlike during the Cold War, India is now stronger and better positioned to influence outcomes in the evolving economic, political, and technological landscape.
  • The world expects proactive Indian diplomacy on pressing global issues, positioning India as a key player in shaping future international dynamics.
PYQ: In which one of the following groups are all the four countries members of G20? (2020)   (a) Argentina, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey (b) Australia, Canada, Malaysia and New Zealand (c) Brazil, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam (d) Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea   Ans: (a)
Practice Question:  Critically analyze the strategic importance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s participation in the G7 summit during his third term. Discuss how India can balance its relationships with the Western nations, China, and Russia amidst the ongoing global geopolitical tensions. (250 words/15 m)

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