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PSIR 2B-5.1 India – USA– Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Explain the significance of Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) for Indo-US strategic relations. [2022/10m/150w/5d]

Lately, India’s foreign and security policy has taken a new pro-US turn. India and the US have signed a troika of “foundational pacts” for deep military cooperation between the two countries and BECA is one of those.

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) will give India access to geospatial intelligence, which means it will help give more accuracy to forces when using weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.

Further, through the sharing of information on maps and satellite images, it will help India access topographical and aeronautical data, and advanced products that will aid in navigation and targeting.

The strengthening of the mechanisms of cooperation between the two militaries comes in the context of an increasingly aggressive China, which threatens a large number of countries in its neighbourhood and beyond, and which has been challenging several established norms and aspects of international relations.

India can now keep a close watch on the movement of ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean, meaning keep an eye on the PLA Navy across the Indian Ocean Region.

The finalisation of BECA represents an important milestone in the strategic dimension of India-US relations. [191 words]

2] Discuss the significance of Indo-US strategic partnership and its implications for India’s security and national defence. [2020/15m/200w/6c]

This growing relationship between India and USA, the largest and the oldest democratic countries can be viewed as “One of the Defining Partnerships of the 21st Century”

The indo-US strategic partnership signifies the promotion of India and the US economic cooperation and addresses common security challenges from China. At the regional level, Indo-U.S. strategic partnership is bound to disturb the strategic equilibrium in South Asia. Washington has also considered New Delhi as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean.

Getting closer to the US will have several implications for India’s security and national defence.

The rising partnership would enhance India’s strategic and conventional capabilities as India is seriously striving for a strategic force modernisation. India is emerging as one of the key players in the Indo- Pacific region and conceptualizes the Indian Ocean as India’s ocean.

It is considered that after the US and China, India with its emerging economic and strategic force posture would expand its political, diplomatic, economic and strategic influences in the Indo-Pacific region.

The growing strategic partnership would increase India’s security and the enormous increase in the strategic and conventional capabilities would provide India extra confidence to show power projection in the region, which in turn could make others feel threatened. Just to follow the Cold War classic maxim – that is, the consistent increase of one’s security would decrease the security of the other state.

It could have broader implications for the South Asian region where the inter-state rivalry between Pakistan and India is still alive when many outstanding issues including the core issue of Kashmir are yet to be, politically, resolved between the two states.

Lastly, India’s growing strategic partnership and its force modernisation plan put a challenge to India’s policy of minimum deterrence that it had earlier conceptualized. Nonetheless, considering the geopolitical atmosphere, it is also most prudent to partnership USA on strategic issues. [311 words]

3] How is the current stand-off between the USA and Iran affecting India’s energy security? [2019/15m/200w/7c]

The Iranian factor is one of the important irritants in the strengthening of India and the US strategic partnership.

Iran has very close economic cooperation with India in crude oil and energy. India, like many other states, is facing the challenges of the US sanctions on Iran for trading in the refined petroleum product. In this respect, several major Indian business organizations faced challenges in getting loans from the US Export and Import Bank (Exim Bank) close to US$900 million for the purchase of US equipment.

The US would not like any close ties between India and Iran. As and when India tried to develop relations with Iran the US put pressure on India that any such endeavours would negatively affect India’s civil nuclear agreement. For instance, in 2012 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pursued India to curtail its ties with Iran, India reduced its 11% oil import from Iran.

Iran is also important for India for its ambitions of pipelines and direct connections with central Asian and Eurasia, effacing Pakistan.

One of the important questions related to the sustainability of Indo-US strategic partnership is how much India would compromise its international interests and regional priorities especially its energy security links with Iran.

It would be difficult for India to accept the US pressure on its relations with Iran for a longer duration. Therefore, Iran would remain a potential challenge to the sustainability of the Indo-US strategic partnership. [239 words]

4] Discuss the role of Indian diaspora in promoting Indo-US relations. [2018/15m/200w/7b]

John Arquilla rightly said that in the present globalised era, victory mostly depends upon whose story wins rather than whose army wins. This assertion is further quoted by Joseph Nye in 1990 – through the concept of ‘Soft Power’.

With respect to India, we can say that Indian Diaspora plays an important role in this aspect. The Indian Diaspora in the U.S. is contributing to reconstructing the relation between the two countries. India also recognizes the emergence of Indian-Americans as an eminent community based on two reasons.

Indian Americans have surfaced as a significant vote bank in US electoral politics. The Indian Americans are also immensely educated and wealthy. With an increase in population and share in economic power, the focus of the Indian American lobby has inclined towards the concerns of India. For example, regarding immigration law, the diaspora performed a significant role in favouring the immigration laws for the Indians in the 1965 immigration policy of the U.S.

It was mainly the lobbying efforts by The National Federation of Indian American Association to crusade to relax the U.S. policy over sanctions on India. As a result, the sanctions imposed on India by the NSG (after Nuclear Proliferation in 1998) were removed on the U.S. recommendation.

The Indian Americans can help in persuading the US government officials to be more favourable and sensitive through methods like pressurizing and campaigning. The incoming FDI from the USA is not sufficient and less than the potential expectation and requirement. Therefore, efficient lobbying is crucial to seize adequate FDI from America.

One can note that the community is also highly organised. A good proportion makes regular visits to India and many send remittances back to the country. Indian Americans have established several advocacy organisations and political action committees that have done seminal work in advocating issues of importance to India.

The rich civilization and cultural ethos of the Indian Americans have become a part of the American fabric with both countries recognizing the Indian Diaspora as mutually benefitting. The role of the Indian diaspora in disseminating India’s culture is also contributing to national branding. [350 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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