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The Hindu Editorial

26-February-2024

1. The Raisina Dialogue lacked diversity in conversations on foreign policy

Topic: GS2 – International Relations UPSC Perspective: Raisina Dialogue insights crucial for aspirants, covering global governance, India’s diplomatic stance, and geopolitical dynamics.
Context
●       The article discusses the highlights of the ninth Raisina Dialogue, emphasizing India’s global role, diplomatic outreach, and focused discussions on conflicts, while noting notable absences and omissions.
 Raisina Dialogue 2024 Highlights: Aims and Ambitions
  • The ninth edition of the Raisina Dialogue, an annual event by the Ministry of External Affairs, focused on engaging global leaders in discussions on significant global issues and challenges.
  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar emphasized India’s role as a “bridging power” with a “multi-vector” policy, acting as a global friend or “Vishwamitra.”
Global Leadership Perspectives: Connectivity and Governance
  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the event, highlighting the importance of connectivity projects like the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
  • Discussions delved into global governance, addressing issues such as inequality at the UN Security Council and the need for reforms.
  • India’s position in global decision-making, expressed as the aspiration “to be a player, rather than a playing field,” was a recurring theme, with reference to its successful hosting of the G-20 in the previous year.
Diplomatic Outreach and Economic Partnerships
  • Due to scheduling conflicts, major countries like the P-5, G-7, and BRICS-10 had no senior ministerial representation. However, Central and Eastern European ministers, including those from the Baltic-Nordic forum, offered a new diplomatic outreach for India, exploring trade agreements and investment ties.
Focused Discussions on Global Conflicts: Russian War and China’s Aggression
  • The predominant discussions centered on global conflicts, with a spotlight on the Russian war in Ukraine. Panels on military and naval strategy underscored the imperative to address an assertive China.
  • However, the absence of invitations to Russia and China resulted in a lack of balance in these conversations.
Notable Absences and Omissions: Lack of Diversity in Conversations
  • The event lacked significant representation from South East Asia, Latin America, and South Asia, excluding Nepal and Bhutan.
  • Discussions on democracy avoided debates within India, but the absence of non-governmental civil society organizations limited perspectives on global democracy challenges.
  • Notably absent were conversations on the Israeli war in Gaza, leading to a lack of diversity in discussions and potentially diminishing the forum’s role as a “Made in India” version of the “Global Public Square,” as observed by Minister Jaishankar.
Conclusion
  • In conclusion, the Raisina Dialogue 2024 showcased India’s diplomatic ambitions and global engagements.
  • While addressing conflicts and asserting its role, the forum also highlighted the need for diverse perspectives and inclusive discussions on pressing global issues.
What is Raisina Dialogue?
  • Annual Conference: Held in New Delhi, India, focusing on geopolitics and geoeconomics since 2016.
  • Flagship Event: India’s premier conference on global affairs, attracting high-level participation.
  • Multi-Stakeholder: Involves heads of state, ministers, experts, and industry leaders from various countries across the world.
  • Structured Discussions: Themes explore key challenges, with sessions on conflict, cooperation, and innovation.
  • Wide Scope: Covers diverse topics like climate change, technology, global politics, energy security, and maritime issues.
  • Collaborative Approach: Aims to build consensus and promote practical solutions for global challenges.
  • Recent Edition: 9th edition held Feb 21-23, 2024, themed “Chaturanga: Conflict, Contest, Cooperate, Create.”
  • Impactful: Publishes reports and commentaries, shaping global discussions on key issues.
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of India’s ‘bridging power’ role, as highlighted in the Raisina Dialogue 2024, in shaping global governance and diplomatic engagements. (250 words/15 m)

2. Space is an area that necessitates expansive collaboration

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology, GS2 –  International Relations UPSC Perspective: Moon landings’ global trends showcase technological prowess, international collaborations, and the evolving role of the private sector in space exploration.
Context
  • The article discusses the recent developments in moon landings, highlighting successes like Chandrayaan-3, setbacks like Luna 25, and the role of private companies, exemplified by Intuitive Machines.
 Introduction and Global Trends in Moon Landings
  • Moon landings, a renewed focus globally, witness diverse participation, showcasing technological advancements and different definitions of success.
ISRO’s Success with Chandrayaan-3
  • Chandrayaan-3’s successful soft-landing affirms ISRO’s competence, marking India’s emergence as a significant space research and flight provider.
Learning from Luna 25 Mission
  • Luna 25’s setback provides valuable lessons for Russia’s Roscosmos, prompting reflections on technological challenges and the agency’s reputation in decline.
Private Sector Breakthrough: Intuitive Machines
  • Intuitive Machines (IM) achieves a milestone as the first private company to soft-land a robotic craft on the moon, highlighting the evolving role of the private sector in space exploration.
IM’s Odysseus and NASA’s CLPS Program
  • IM’s Odysseus, part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, faced technical challenges during descent, showcasing the complexities of private involvement in lunar missions.
  • The success of CLPS missions, supported by NASA, emphasizes the potential for private companies to contribute significantly to lunar exploration.
Implications for NASA and CLPS Program
  • IM’s success underscores the significance of a diversified private space service landscape, crucial for the sustainability and growth of initiatives like the CLPS program.
  • NASA’s limited role in CLPS missions, primarily focused on selecting landing sites and providing payloads, showcases the evolving dynamics of collaboration between governmental agencies and private entities.
Global Collaboration and India’s Initiatives
  • The global space arena demands extensive collaboration, both internationally and domestically.
  • India’s recent approval for up to 100% automatic foreign direct investment in its space program sets the stage for increased competition among Indian startups, potentially alleviating the burden on ISRO in the future.
Conclusion
  • In conclusion, the global landscape of moon landings, marked by successes and setbacks, illuminates the evolving dynamics in space exploration, emphasizing the integral roles of private enterprises and international cooperation in shaping the future of lunar missions.
Government – Private sector Participation in space exploration
Advantages:
  • Cost Reduction: Private companies can innovate and operate more efficiently, potentially lowering launch costs.
  • Increased Innovation: Competition and diverse perspectives drive technological advancements.
  • Wider Investment: Private capital expands resources for space exploration beyond government budgets.
  • Faster Exploration: Rapid decision-making within companies can accelerate mission timelines.
  • New Opportunities: Access to space opens doors for tourism, resource mining, and scientific research.
Challenges:
  • Regulation & Safety: Balancing private enterprise with international treaties and safety protocols.
  • National Security: Safeguarding sensitive technology and ensuring responsible use of space assets.
  • Equity & Access: Balancing private profit with public benefit and ensuring equitable access to space.
  • Environmental Impact: Minimizing debris and pollution caused by increased space activity.
  • Workforce Transition: Supporting existing government employees and fostering collaboration.
Way Forward:
  • Clear Policy Framework: Establish transparent regulations and frameworks for private participation.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborative projects leverage each party’s strengths and share risks.
  • Skilling & Workforce Development: Prepare the workforce for new space-related jobs.
  • International Cooperation: Foster collaboration among governments and private entities across borders.
  • Sustainability & Ethics: Develop ethical guidelines and regulations for space exploration.
Practice Question:  Critically analyse the potential of government-private sector partnerships (PPP) in accelerating India’s space exploration, highlighting both the advantages and challenges associated with such collaborations. (250 words/15 m)

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