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The Hindu Editorial

1-February-2024

1. What makes the India-France ‘strategic partnership’ tick.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations
Critical for UPSC: India-France ‘Strategic Partnership’ evolution, defense ties, and diplomatic implications, reflecting global geopolitical dynamics.
Context
●     The article discusses the deepening India-France ‘Strategic Partnership’ with a focus on defense collaborations, space cooperation, and the expansion of ties beyond government domains, highlighting the significance of the bilateral relationship.
 Additional information on this news: Introduction:
  • French President Emmanuel Macron was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day, marking his third visit to India.
  • The special ‘Strategic Partnership’ between India and France is evident from recent high-level visits.
Origins of Strategic Convergence:
  • In 1998, French President Jacques Chirac declared India’s exclusion from the global nuclear order as an anomaly.
  • France, as the first P-5 country, supported India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
  • Both countries, India and France, value strategic autonomy, with different approaches: non-alignment for India and withdrawal from NATO for France.
Building the Partnership:
  • The strategic dialogue expanded from nuclear discussions to include space, defense, counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, and cyber-security.
  • Notable defense collaborations include the production of Scorpene submarines, Rafale aircraft acquisition, and a Defense Industrial Roadmap.
  • India and France share common traits like ‘civilization exceptionalism’ and ‘argumentative intellectualism.’
Space and Defense Collaboration:
  • Collaboration in the space domain started in the 1960s, and recent agreements include joint missions between ISRO and CNES.
  • Defense collaboration includes agreements on civilian helicopters, military transport aircraft, and aircraft engine development.
Broadening and Deepening the Partnership:
  • Joint working groups have been set up in various fields like agriculture, environment, civil aviation, IT, telecom, urban development, transportation, culture, and tourism.
  • Success stories include the increasing number of Indian students studying in France and the growth of business presence on both sides.
Challenges and Future Objectives:
  • The challenge is to move the partnership beyond government domains into commercial and civilian spaces.
  • Efforts to address visa issues, facilitate higher education, and encourage foreign campuses, like Sorbonne University in India, are underway.
  • The ‘Strategic Partnership’ does not require convergence on all issues but demands sensitivity and mature handling of differences.
Conclusion:
  • India-France ties, nurtured over the last quarter century, reflect maturity and resilience in handling differences privately and maintaining a robust ‘Strategic Partnership.’
PYQ: What can France learn from the Indian constitution’s approach to secularism? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question:  How has the evolution of the India-France ‘Strategic Partnership’ contributed to global geopolitics and India’s diplomatic interests? Discuss. (150 words/10 m)

2. What is needed from a Governor is reticence.

Topic: Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity. Governors’ lack of discretion undermines constitutional principles, risking democratic integrity; a critical concern for UPSC aspirants.
Context
●      Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi sparks controversy by opining on India’s Independence history, attributing significance to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
 Additional information on this news:
  • Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi sparks controversy by commenting on India’s Independence history, suggesting the Quit India Movement had minimal impact.
  • Ravi credits Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Government and the INA, based on his reading of IB files.
  • The governor faces criticism for expressing personal views on historical events, leading to debates on appropriateness and discretion in his constitutional role.
Governors’ Discretion in India
Issues with Governors’ Discretion in India: ●       Misuse of discretionary powers:
  1. Favoring a particular party in government formation.
  2. Delaying or withholding assent to bills passed by elected legislature.
  3. Arbitrary dismissal of state governments and imposing President’s Rule.
  • Lack of clear guidelines: Unclear definition of “constitutional breakdown” for President’s Rule recommendations.
  • Political bias: Perception of governors acting on behalf of the central government instead of independently.
  • ●       Erosion of federalism: Central government influence undermining the autonomy of states.
Way Forward:
  • Clarify scope of discretion: Define the limits of “discretion” in the Constitution to restrict arbitrary actions.
  • Develop a code of conduct: Establish clear guidelines for governors’ actions, upholding neutrality and impartiality.
  • Strengthen judicial review: Encourage judicial scrutiny of gubernatorial decisions to ensure adherence to the Constitution.
  • Fix appointment process: Consider a more transparent and bipartisan process for selecting governors.
  • Evolve inter-state council: Enhance the role of the Inter-State Council to foster cooperative federalism and resolve disputes amicably.
PYQ: Discuss the essential conditions for exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2022)
Practice Question:   Critically examine the concerns regarding the exercise of discretionary powers by Governors in India, and suggest measures to ensure their effective and impartial functioning within the framework of cooperative federalism. (250 words/15 m)

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