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The Hindu Editorial


1. A privileged strategic partnership, without a gulf

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations The India-UAE strategic partnership, covering diplomacy, trade, and global issues, holds significance for UPSC due to its geopolitical implications and economic ties.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s seventh visit to the UAE underscores the strong India-UAE strategic partnership.
  • The visit includes the inauguration of a Hindu temple, participation in the World Government Summit, and highlights economic, cultural, and global collaborations.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 13-14, 2024.
  • This marks Modi’s seventh visit to the UAE since 2015 and the third in the last eight months.
  • The visit includes the inauguration of a temple in Abu Dhabi and Modi’s participation as the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Bilateral Relationship:
  • India-UAE relationship has evolved into a prominent and strategic partnership for New Delhi.
  • Close rapport between the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Prime Minister Modi.
Religious and Cultural Ties:
  • Inauguration of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temple in Abu Dhabi.
  • UAE President donated a 27-acre plot of land for the temple.
  • Second significant Hindu temple in the UAE, following the one in Dubai opened in October 2022.
Global Engagements:
  • Modi to address the World Government Summit on February 14 as the ‘Guest of Honour.’
  • Collaboration on global climate issues evident during Modi’s visit to Dubai for COP28.
  • Co-launch of the Global Green Credit Initiative.
Economic Partnership:
  • Bilateral trade grew to $85 billion in 2022-23, making the UAE India’s third-largest trading partner.
  • UAE is India’s second-largest export destination.
  • India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement aims to increase trade in services to $115 billion in five years.
  • Approval of a bilateral investment treaty on February 1, 2024, to boost economic engagement.
Fintech Collaboration:
  • Acceptance of RuPay card in the UAE since August 2019.
  • Rupee accepted for transactions at Dubai’s airports from July 2023.
  • Operationalization of a rupee-dirham settlement system in August 2023.
Energy Security:
  • UAE is India’s trusted partner in energy security.
  • Strategic oil reserves stored in India.
  • Agreement signed with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to invest in the strategic crude oil storage facility in Mangaluru.
Defence, Security, and People-to-People Ties:
  • Strong cooperation in defence and security.
  • Both countries have made exceptions for each other on various occasions, showcasing mutual respect.
  • Exchange of honors, with Modi receiving the UAE’s top civilian honour, the Order of Zayed, in 2019.
Strategic Ties and Regional Cooperation:
  • Both nations part of significant groupings, including I2U2 (West Asian Quad) and India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC).
  • UAE’s participation in the G-20 summit under India’s presidency in September 2023.
  • Collaboration on the IMEEC infrastructure project, connecting India to Europe.
Critical Time and Future Outlook:
  • The Prime Minister’s visit to UAE comes at a critical time amid the war in Gaza.
  • India and UAE share a unique strategic partnership with few major issues of divergence.
  • It is evident that the privileged strategic partnership is set to grow stronger in the years ahead.
India – Gulf Countries Relations
  • Strong economic ties: Significant trade volume, focus on energy security, growing investments in diverse sectors.
  • Geopolitical alignment: Shared concerns over maritime security, terrorism, and regional stability.
  • Cultural and people-to-people linkages: Large Indian diaspora across the Gulf, shared history and cultural understanding.
  • Regional instability: Conflicts and political tensions can impact relations and economic partnerships.
  • Diversification beyond oil: Reliance on hydrocarbon imports poses economic and environmental concerns.
  • Geopolitical rivalries: Balancing relations with Gulf countries and other global powers can be complex.
  • Social and cultural differences: Addressing sensitivities and promoting mutual understanding is crucial.
Way Forward:
  • Economic diversification: Exploring new avenues in trade, investment, and technology collaborations.
  • Maritime security cooperation: Joint patrols, information sharing, and capacity building initiatives.
  • Cultural exchange programs: Encouraging educational exchanges, tourism, and artistic collaborations.
  • Strategic dialogue: Engaging in regular dialogue to address regional concerns and build trust.
  • Focus on people-to-people contacts: Promoting cultural understanding and educational exchanges between young generations.
PYQ: How will I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India’s position in global politics? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2022)
Practice Question:  Critically examine the prospects and challenges in India’s relations with Gulf countries, suggesting how India can navigate this complex partnership for mutual benefit. (150 words/10 m)

2. How women can be represented in politics

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Vulnerable Sections – Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. The Women’s Reservation Bill’s challenges offer insights into gender dynamics in politics, critical for UPSC aspirants.
  • The Women’s Reservation Bill, passed last year, faced challenges in the Rajasthan Assembly elections, revealing low voter enthusiasm and party reluctance towards women candidates.
  • These issues tend to impact success of women candidates and highlighting persistent barriers to increased women’s political representation.
  • Women’s Reservation Bill passed in Parliament last year, settling the debate on increasing women’s representation in politics.
  • Recent Rajasthan Assembly elections highlighted the challenges despite the bill’s passage.
Rajasthan Assembly Elections:
  • Both Congress and BJP women candidates performed poorly in the elections.
  • BJP’s success rate for women candidates was 45%, lower than the 60% for male candidates.
  • Congress had a 32% success rate for women candidates.
  • Total women MLAs reduced to 20 in the current Assembly, four fewer than the outgoing Assembly.
Voter Preference and Party Enthusiasm:
  • Voters and political parties showed low enthusiasm for women candidates despite the Women’s Reservation Bill.
  • Parties were not enthusiastic about fielding more women candidates, and voters were not keen on electing them.
Head-to-Head Contests:
  • In seven constituencies where BJP and Congress women candidates competed, the parties won an equal number of seats, showing a voter preference for male candidates.
  • BJP’s overall vote share reduced in these constituencies, indicating a preference for male candidates.
Male Candidates vs. Female Candidates:
  • Congress performed better when fielding male candidates against BJP’s women candidates, and BJP had higher success rates with male candidates against Congress’s women candidates.
  • A vote bloc exists preferring male representatives, impacting the winnability of women candidates.
Lack of Contagion Effect:
  • Distributing more tickets to women may not necessarily increase women’s representation in legislatures.
  • Examples from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh elections show that gender quotas do not guarantee higher representation.
  • Despite the Women’s Reservation Bill, challenges persist in increasing women’s political participation.
  • Voter preferences and party strategies indicate a reluctance to support women candidates, especially in closely contested battles.
Women’s political participation in India
  • Enhanced democracy: More inclusive representation leads to diverse perspectives and better policymaking.
  • Development: Studies show positive correlation between women’s political participation and human development indicators.
  • Social equity: Empowers women, addresses gender bias, and promotes equal opportunities.
  • Sustainable peace: Women often advocate for peaceful conflict resolution and social justice.
  • Deep-rooted patriarchy: Societal barriers, discriminatory norms, and limited access to resources hinder women’s participation.
  • Political resistance: Male-dominated political landscape resists change and creates hostile environments.
  • Financial constraints: Lack of funds inhibits campaigning and restricts access to political machinery.
  • Violence and intimidation: Physical and verbal threats discourage women from engaging in politics.
Way forward:
  • Strengthen legal framework: Enforce existing laws promoting women’s political participation and enact new legislation, like reserving seats in legislatures.
  • Capacity building: Provide training, mentorship, and networking opportunities for women aspiring to be leaders.
  • Awareness campaigns: Challenge societal stereotypes and empower women to understand their political rights and responsibilities.
  • Financial assistance: Fund initiatives supporting women candidates, including campaign finance laws and gender-responsive budgets.
  • Engaging political parties: Encourage parties to adopt internal policies promoting women’s representation and address internal resistance.
By overcoming these challenges and implementing effective strategies, India can achieve greater women’s political participation, leading to a more equitable, representative, and prosperous democracy.
PYQ: “The reservation of seats for women in the institutions of local self- government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process.” Comment. (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2019)
Practice Question:  Discuss the challenges and implications of the Women’s Reservation Bill in light of the recent Rajasthan Assembly elections. (150 words/10 m)

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