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PSIR 2A-4.2 NIEO and WTO Negotiations – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Why is the compromise reached at WTO regarding the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing not a Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver? [2023/10m/150w/5c]

India and South Africa, in 2020, in relation to prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19, proposed to authorize WTO Members to waive the substantive and enforcement-related provisions of the TRIPS Agreement not only for patents but also for copyrights, industrial designs, trade secrets, and test data protection;

A quad of EU, India, South Africa and the US came to a compromise which was far less ambitious and ambiguous. The compromise excludes diagnostics, treatments, and PPE. It only narrowly modifies compulsory licenses of patents covering COVID vaccines. Moreover, it imposes additional restrictions on use of compulsory licenses.

However, the multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers have protested even these modest changes from the status quo, arguing that there is no IP problem that needs to be fixed.

This compromise was yet another blow to the global solidarity in hard times. The efforts should be made to analyze the systemic discrimination and inequality, as well as the historical biases and economic interests, which ultimately prevented countries from reaching a more appropriate solution the world needed. [170 words]

2] What diplomatic steps has India taken to articulate the interests of the Global South in International Politics? [2023/10m/150w/5e]

India has a long history of actively articulating the interests of the Global South in international politics.

Most significantly, India was one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. NAM emphasizes principles such as sovereignty, self-determination, and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

India is also an active member of the Group of 77 (G-77), a coalition of developing nations that works to promote economic cooperation and development. India has also been part of the Group of 15 (G-15), which focuses on fostering cooperation among developing countries in various fields.

It is also a key member of BRICS, which aims to advance the economic and political interests of developing countries and advocates for a more balanced international order.

India actively engages in South-South cooperation by providing technical assistance, capacity-building, and development aid to other developing nations. This helps promote self-reliance and economic growth in partner countries.

India has always advocated for the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” which recognizes historical disparities in greenhouse gas emissions and calls on developed countries to take the lead in addressing climate change. Similarly, India has participated in trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other forums, advocating for fair trade policies that consider the needs of developing countries.

India’s diplomatic efforts are aimed at advancing the economic, political, and social interests of developing countries, strengthening their collective voice in international politics, and promoting a more equitable global order. These efforts reflect India’s commitment to solidarity with the Global South. [253 words]

3] Discuss the relevance of the demand for New International Economic Order (NIEO) in the present era of globalisation. [2022/20m/250w/6a]

In the early 1970s, the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement challenged the material and intellectual pillars of the postwar liberal capitalist system through collective action at the UN to establish a New International Economic Order (NIEO).

The aim was to complete the ‘emancipation’ of the ‘global South’ by creating binding institutional frameworks, legal regimes and redistributive mechanisms correcting historically constructed core–periphery disparities. That ambitious effort failed in the face of ‘Northern’ resistance and national segmentation within the NAM.

Today re-emerging states of the global South are engaged in a more successful effort to gain a voice and alter the international hierarchy by claiming a central place in the world capitalist system and restructuring it from within. The vertical late-modern world system centred in the Atlantic and ordered by the ‘West’ is thus gradually giving way to a polycentric international structure in which new regional and transnational ‘South–South’ linkages are being formed.

The main theme around which NIEO’s philosophy revolves is ‘‘economic independence’’ It is basic and a must for the political sovereignty of poor and developing countries. Today, institutions like IMF and WTO are facing a trust deficit and consequently, organisations like BRICS, NDB, and AIDB are rising and looking forward to catering to third-world problems. the relevance of NIEO is important also because of new rising concerns that the old institutions fail to solve like the issue of migration, hunger and climate change.

NIEO aims to create a restructured, fair political and economic system based on cooperation between developed and developing countries rather than conflict. Economic prosperity is basic for global peace and stability, and so long the developing countries continue to be deprived, there can be no real and lasting peace in the developed world. [289 words]

4] Explain India’s position on the waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines in WTO. [2021/10m/150w/5c]

India, along with South Africa, introduced a proposal to waive certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.

India emphasizes the need to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially for developing countries that may face challenges in accessing and affording them. The waiver aims to remove barriers posed by IPRs, such as patents, trade secrets, and copyrights, which can restrict the production and distribution of vaccines and other medical products.

This would facilitate the rapid scaling up of vaccine production and encourage technology transfer to increase global vaccine supplies. This would help address the urgent public health crisis posed by the pandemic and save lives by ensuring widespread vaccination.

By removing legal barriers and facilitating the sharing of knowledge, data, and technology, countries can collectively work towards developing and producing vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics to combat the pandemic more effectively.

India adds that the waiver proposal is temporary and limited to the duration of the pandemic. It is seen as a response to the exceptional circumstances posed by COVID-19 and aims to provide flexibility in intellectual property rules to address the urgency of the global health crisis.

Although, it has faced resistance from some high-income countries and pharmaceutical companies. India’s adamant stance on the waiver of intellectual property rights reflects its commitment to global public health and equitable access to vaccines. [234 words]

5] India’s coalition diplomacy with WTO has earned it wide appreciation. What accounts for the success of India’s coalition diplomacy? [2018/20m/250w/6a]

In the era of multipolarity, it is not possible for countries to exercise power alone, and it is especially true for developing countries. Realising this, India has adopted the approach of coalition diplomacy at WTO to voice the claims of the global south in the world trade order.

India has formed a coalition of nine countries to place special provisions for developing countries and high farm subsidies in advanced nations that harm African states at the forefront of global trade talks. Stating that special and differential treatment (S&DT) is a “non-negotiable right for all developing countries”, the grouping believes that all members, no matter their trade share, must have an equal say in decision-making” of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Apart from the above example, India has been a strong advocate for the interests of the developing countries. Its recent position requesting to waive off intellectual property rights on the COVID-19 vaccine reflects this spirit.

India has also shown flexibility in forming coalitions. The foreign policy is guided by an ‘issue-based alliance’ and thus offers opportunities to join multiple alliances based on particular issues.

Many developing countries look at India as a leader of the global south. While the countries in the north cannot be trusted, the lack of democracy in China also rules it out from the leadership role. Thus, entrusting India with the responsibility.

Owing to all these factors, India’s coalition diplomacy at WTO has earned itself the appreciation it certainly deserves. [244 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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