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Issue: Return of pro-democratic party and political stability in Maldives

Syllabus: General Studies-II - International Relations - India and its neighborhood


Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) (pro-democracy) is poised to win the Parliamentary elections.


  • Under his predecessor Abdulla Yameen’s rule, the Indian Ocean nation has become Beijing’s economic embrace in so called debt-trap diplomacy and strategically benefited Beijing considerably.

  • But the Chinese infrastructure investment has caused Maldives national debt to increase to nearly a quarter of its GDP.

  • President Solih’s signalled shift in government priorities and PM Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the presidential inauguration.

  • With MDP single-party majority, Solih can push through his agenda with few hurdles and opposition parties.

India’s Initiatives

India tries to reset its strategic interests in Indian Ocean Region with pro-democracy party win in Maldives

India also announced $1.4 billion financial assistance package for Maldives and both the governments agreed to exempt holders of diplomatic and official passports from visa requirements.

MoUs on Indian grant-in-aid for community development projects, clean energy and regional maritime security were signed.

Take Home Points

A pro-democratic and stable government in Maldives is strategically important for India to counter the Beijing’s dominance in Indian Ocean Region.

Keywords: String of Pearls Maldives International Relations Indian Ocean Region Debt-Trap-Diplomacy

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 ‘China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’, In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbor. (150 words) 2017
2 “Increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in India and growing interference in the internal affairs of several member-states by Pakistan are not conducive for the future of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).” Explain with suitable examples 2016
3 Project `Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationship with its neighbors. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. (200 words) 15 marks 2015
4 Terrorist activities and mutual distrust have clouded India-Pakistan relations. To what extent the use of soft power like sports and cultural exchanges could help generate goodwill between the two countries? Discuss with suitable examples. (200 words) 15 marks. 2015
5 With respect to the South China sea, maritime territorial disputes and rising tension affirm the need for safeguarding maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region. In this context, discuss the bilateral issues between India and China. (200 words) 10 marks 2014
6 The proposed withdrawal of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan in 2014 is fraught with major security implications for the countries of the region. Examine in light of the fact that India is faced with a plethora of challenges and needs to safeguard its own strategic interests. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
7 What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
8 Discuss the political developments in Maldives in the last two years. Should they be of any cause of concern to India? (200 words) 10 marks 2013
9 In respect of India-Sri Lanka relations, discuss how domestic factors influence foreign policy. (200 words) 10 marks 2013
10 Do you think that China’s emergence as one of the largest trading partners of India had adversely affected the settlement of the outstanding border problem? 20 2012
11 Discuss the contentious issues that have caused the prolonged constitutional logjam in Nepal. 20 2012
12 Why have the resource rich African and South Asian countries remained poor for decades? Explain. 20 2012
13 Discuss the likely negative impact of the protectionist measures proposed by the US on India’s software industry. 20 2012
14 How have the US sanctions against Iran affected India’s bilateral relations with Iran? 20 2012
15 ‘The situation today is far different to that prevalent fifty years back when the Indus Water treaty was seined.’ Highlight the complexity of the current challenges on both sides of the border in this regard. Do you think that a review of the Treaty is in India’s best interests? (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2012
16 List the Central Asian Republics and identify those of particular strategic and economic importance to India. Examine the opportunities and bottlenecks in enhancing relations with these countries. (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2011
17 Critically examine the security and strategic implications of the so-called 'string of pearls' theory for India. (250 words) 15 marks. 20 2011
18 As regards the increasing rates of melting of Arctic Sea ice, the interests of the Arctic Council Nations may not coincide with those of the wider world. Explain. (150 words) 10 marks. 20 2011
19 Bring out the FDI and employment implications of China being a manufacturing hub and India a services hub. (150 words) 15 marks. 20 2010
20 Terrorism: Source in Pakistan and Afghanistan (150 words) 2006
21 Examine the developments in Afghanistan in the post-Taliban period. (150 words) 2005
22 What is meant by Gujral Doctrine? Write its specific principles 150 words 1997
23 Mention the advantages which India enjoys being at the head of the Indian Ocean. (150 words) 1996
24 What geopolitical and economic advantages are enjoyed by India due to its location in the southern part of the Continent of Asia? (150 words) 1989
25 What are the differences in the approaches of India and Nepal to the transit-trade question? How is this question complicated by other issues (About 250 words)? 1989
26 Has the IPKF been able to achieve the goal set before it by the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement? What are the options available to India (About 150 words)? (20) 1987
27 Why did USSR send troops to Afganistan? What are the broad issues involved? What has been India's response to the Afgan situation (Not more than 150 words)? 25 1980

Currently there are no previous questions available.


Issue: Transparency in Judicial Appointments

Syllabus: General Studies-II - Indian Polity and Constitution - Judiciary


In 2009, the High Court of Delhi in a landmark judgement held that the Office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) was a public authority and comes under the ambit of RTI


The judgement indicates that information held by CJI - in the context of a case, or judges assets, correspondence of the Collegium could be requested by public under RTI

Is office of CJI subject to RTI provisions?

  • All power, including judicial power is accountable in modern constitution
  • Exemption of judiciary from RTI would defeat the basic idea of open justice
  • Transparency and public scrutiny are hallmarks of a democracy

Collegium vs NJAC

  • Collegium was formed to secure and guarantee the independence of judiciary
  • In 2015, Supreme Court struck down a constitutional amendment establishing NJAC - SC held that primacy in appointments was to secure judicial independence against powerful political executive.

Arguments against Collegium

  • Appointments process was opaque and often made in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner
  • Nomination process is secret, deliberations are secret, the reasons for elevation or non-elevation are secret.
  • Standards of accountability in a democratic republic should be ensured in judicial appointments.
  • Transparency in appointments is not integral to the process as in USA, South Africa etc.

Take home points

Sunlight is the best disinfectant and judiciary in a democratic republic should not be worried to public scrutiny.

Keywords: Supreme Court NJAC Collegium RTI

# Previous UPSC Question Marks Year
1 How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India. (15) 2018
2 Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words) 2017
3 What is meant by Judicial Activism? Evaluate its role in the context of the functioning of Indian Polity. (250 words) 15 marks 2008
4 Is the High Courts’ power to issue ‘writs’ wider than that of the Supreme Court of India? (150 words) 2006
5 Is it possible to distinguish between judicial review and judicial activism in India? Does the recent behavior of the Indian judiciary partake more of judicial activism? Argue with suitable example. (250 words) 2005
6 What is the position of the Supreme Court under the Constitution of India? How far does it play its role as guardian of the Constitution? (150 words) 2002
7 Explain Public Interest Litigation. Who can file it and on what basis can it be rejected by the Court of Law? (150 words) 2000
8 Present your views for and against the creation of an All India Judicial Service 150 words 1997
9 What is meant by ‘Judicial Activism’ Evaluate its role in reducing corruption in public life. 150 Words 1996
10 What is the position of the Supreme Court under the Constitution of India? Discuss its role as a guardian of the Constitution (About 250 words) 1995
11 Explain the significance of the April 1994 Supreme Court judgement on the proclamation of President's rule. (150 Words) 1994
12 What was the magnitude of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and what were the salient features of the Supreme Court verdict on the Bhopal as Tragedy? (150 Words) 1991

Currently there are no previous questions available.