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Indian Express

23- December-2023

1. Grand gesture,small details

Topic: GS2 – International Relations 
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of Diplomatic Challenges and Policy Implications
  • The Narendra Modi government’s foreign policy has emphasized India’s affinity with the Global South, claiming to prioritize the interests of developing countries.
  • This commitment was particularly emphasized during India’s G20 Presidency, with initiatives like the “Voice of the Global South” summit.
  • The aim was to give voice to the aspirations of developing nations and address growing disparities in the digital era.
Setbacks in UNESCO Election:
  • In the UNESCO vice president election, India suffered a loss in spite of its attempts to integrate with the Global South.
  • India was defeated by Pakistan 38 votes to 18, a substantial margin.
  • This surprising result calls into doubt India’s ability to successfully lobby developing nations in international fora.
  • Even while elections have their own dynamics, the defeat highlights the necessity for India’s diplomatic initiatives to be more nuanced.
Challenges in Extradition Case:
  • Another facet of India’s foreign policy difficulties is brought to light by the Kim Davy case, which is connected to the Purulia arms drop case.
  • Denmark has demonstrated reluctance to extradite him to India, despite his involvement in breaking Indian laws being acknowledged in public.
  • The effectiveness of India’s diplomatic efforts is called into doubt by the lack of progress in this topic, particularly in light of the high-level visits and normalisation of relations.
Italian Marines Case and Judicial Follow-up
  • The way the Italian Marines issue is handled gives India’s foreign policy scrutiny a new angle.
  • Although India complied with the International Tribunal’s ruling for the trial to take place in Italy, concerns have been raised regarding the Indian Mission’s involvement in the proceedings.
  • India’s strategy for guaranteeing justice for its people is called into question in light of the marines’ June 2022 acquittal.
Small Matters and National Image
  • The analysis highlights that countries are assessed not only on their major deeds but also on their behaviour in smaller issues involving specific individuals and the application of the law.
  • The Davy extradition case and the Italian Marines case highlight how crucial it is for India to pay attention to details since these instances have a significant impact on how the world views the nation.
  • In evaluating India’s foreign policy, the assessment should extend beyond diplomatic achievements to scrutinize responses from the Global South and the handling of specific cases.
  • The setbacks in international elections and challenges in extradition cases indicate the need for a more comprehensive and strategic approach in India’s foreign policy endeavors, focusing on both major initiatives and attention to detail in individual cases.
What is Global South?
  • The Global South refers to countries often characterized as developing, less developed, or underdeveloped, primarily located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • These nations typically experience higher levels of poverty, income inequality, and challenging living conditions compared to the wealthier nations of the Global North.
  • The “Global North” is richer nations that are located mostly in North America and Europe, with some additions in Oceania and elsewhere.
PYQ: ‘The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question: Critically analyze India’s foreign policy, with a focus on recent setbacks such as the UNESCO election and challenges in extradition cases. Assess the implications of these developments on India’s diplomatic standing and its ability to garner support from the Global South. (250 words/15 m)

2. In Charan Singh’s footsteps

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of rural India, including its structural dynamics and challenges in agricultural productivity.
  • Farmers all around the country will demonstrate on Chaudhury Charan Singh’s birthday (23rd December), voicing their well-known demands for expanded irrigation allocations, free power, minimum support prices, and loan moratoriums.
  • But delving further into how these demands affect the life of a typical farmer brings up important issues regarding the state of rural India, the nature of agriculture, and the variety of identities that exist within the farming community.

Structural Dynamics of Rural India:

  • The caste system is still deeply ingrained in rural India, despite changing ties to the government, big cities, markets, industry, and capital economies.
  • Most low-ranked and labouring caste groups find themselves absorbed into the greater political economy through exploitative terms, while dominating caste groups use political access as a means of obtaining economic opportunity.

Challenges in Agricultural Productivity:

  • Nutritional security has not increased with agricultural output, and the Green Revolution model has created problems on the social, ecological, and economic fronts.
  • The concerns of the majority, especially landless, small, and marginal farmers, are frequently eclipsed by populist demands that benefit large farmers and their leaders.
  • It becomes essential to transition to sustainable agriculture in order to address the effects of climate change and ecological deterioration.
  • Rights of Marginalized Citizens
  • Deep exploitation and frequent violence are commonplace in areas where the state and corporate sectors dominate extractive economies.
  • Along with appropriate agricultural techniques, restoring habitat and the environment requires recognising the rights of marginalised communities and advancing democratic and decentralised planning.

Holistic Approach and Local Food Cultures

  • Policies should shift away from an overemphasis on agricultural productivity in order to maintain social justice, ecological sustainability, and economic stability.
  • Local food cultures can be supported and nourished diets can be sustained by linking agricultural production to food security, region-specific farming practices, and grain distribution.
  • Comprehensive strategies are necessary to address the precariousness that the great majority of rural residents suffer and to replace temporary relief measures.

Public Health and Education Services:

  • Reducing poverty and tackling issues like large-scale migration, the trafficking of women and children, and farmers giving up on agriculture all depend on providing high-quality and guaranteed public health and education services.
  • As Chaudhary Charan Singh pointed out, recognising the potential and contribution of small farmers is essential to paving the way for a more prosperous and respectable future.


  • A paradigm change away from the traditional route is being called for as farmers honour Chaudhury Charan Singh’s memory.
  • It is an urgent admission that finding alternatives to ensure a viable economic life, respect, and dignity for all farmers not just the powerful and large ones is what the future holds.
About Chaudhary Charan Singh
  • He was born in Noorpur, in the Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, in 1902, and served as India’s prime minister from July 28, 1979, until January 14, 1980.
  • As an advocate for rural and agricultural development, he always worked to maintain agriculture in the forefront of India’s agenda.
  • He played a key role in the creation and completion of the Debt Redemption Bill 1939, which protected the rural population from moneylenders.
  • The Land Holding Act of 1960, which lowered the cap on land holdings to make them uniform throughout the State, was largely the result of his efforts.
  • Abolition of Zamindari, Co-operative Farming X-rayed, India’s Poverty and its Solution, Peasant Proprietorship or Land to the Workers, and Prevention of Division of Holdings Below a Certain Minimum are only a few of the books and pamphlets he is credited with writing.
PYQ: Given the vulnerability of Indian agriculture to vagaries of nature, discuss the need for crop insurance and bring out the salient features of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2016) (150 words/10 m)
Practice Question: Discuss the challenges in agricultural productivity, emphasizing the need for sustainable practices and the role of small farmers. (150 words/10 m)

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