Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – September 18

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Q1. Striking out at cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, India welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan. With reference to the above statement, discuss how this move to help target “safe havens” of terrorism in South Asia.(GS2)

Diplomat’s views on this

  •      Senior diplomats said the American leader’s call for an end to Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in Afghanistan and his support for Afghan-led peace process had addressed a core Indian concern.
  •       They also mentioned that Mr. Trump had supported long-held Indian foreign policy principles of non-intervention and non-interference and ended uncertainties regarding the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

The south Asian Strategy

  •       As they reviewed their South Asia strategy over the past several months, Trump aides split into two, somewhat overlapping camps on Pakistan.
  •       One group pushed measures such as cutting off all U.S. military aid and revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally.
  •       The other camp argued for more incremental steps to avoid losing Islamabad’s cooperation entirely and sparking more violence by Pakistan-backed militant groups.
  •       U.S. access to Pakistani transportation corridors need to supply troops in Afghanistan, although the U.S. has developed alternative supply lines over the years.
  •       India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in the region, and welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan’s political and economic modernization.

U.S. concerns with Pakistan

  •       Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States has showered Pakistan with more than $30 billion in military and economic aid to gain its undivided loyalty in the effort to bring peace to Afghanistan.
  •       Militants fighting in Afghanistan can still find safe havens just across the border in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
  •       Afghan Taliban leaders, as well as some Al-Qaeda leaders, are believed to operate in Pakistani cities such as Karachi.
  •       Pakistan also was where Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden spent his final years until a U.S. raid killed him in the city of Abbottabad in 2011, an episode that deeply soured U.S.-Pakistani relations.
  •       U.S. officials accuse Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence apparatus of retaining ties to Afghan Taliban groups, including the deadly Haqqani network.


  •       One potential consequence of a hardened U.S. approach to Pakistan is that Islamabad may deepen its cooperation with China.
  •       Pakistan leaders unhappy with the United States not-so-subtly describe China as an “all-weather friend.”
  •       Trump’s harsher stance on Pakistan also risks delaying the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government. Pakistan is believed to be a critical influence on Afghan Taliban leaders who may wish to discuss a settlement.
  •       Ultimately, unless the United States can convince Pakistan that cutting links with Afghan Taliban fighters will benefit it in its rivalry against India, it’s not likely Islamabad will change its ways.

Q2- The recent report of Justice B.N. Srikrishan’s committee, has recommended many changes in India’s arbitration law. Discuss the key recommendations of bilateral treaty? How India’s bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with other countries are affecting the rights of the tribal people in India?(GS2)



Recently, Justice B.N. Srikrishna committee was constituted to prepare a road map to make India a hub of international arbitration. The recommendations are largely on the issue of managing and resolving bilateral investment treaty (BIT) disputes. The recommendation on BIT assumes importance as India is currently battling 20-odd BIT disputes.

Bilateral investment treaty is an agreement made between two countries containing reciprocal undertakings for the promotion and protection of private investments made by nationals of the signatories in each other’s territories. These agreements establish the terms and conditions under which nationals of one country invest in the other, including their rights and protections. This type of investment is called foreign direct investment (FDI). BIT is the dispute resolution mechanism.

Various recommendations on BIT:

1-       On BIT:

  •         The committee recommended on issues of managing and resolving BIT disputes
  •         For better management of BIT disputes, the committee recommends the creation of an inter-ministerial committee (IMC), comprising officials from the Ministries of Finance, External Affairs and Law.
  •         It also recommends hiring external lawyers having expertise in BITs to boost the government’s legal expertise.
  •         Creating a designated fund to fight BIT dispute
  •         Appointing counsels qualified in BITs to defend India against BIT claims.
  •         Boosting the capacity of Central and State governments to better understand the implications of their policy decisions on India’s BIT obligations
  •         The committee also recommended the designation of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) as the nodal agency for receiving correspondences in existing BITs.
  •         The creation of a database of arbitrators having relevant expertise and experience
  •         The committee also recommended to create a post of international law adviser(ILA) with the rank of additional solicitor general, who shall be responsible for advising the government on dispute resolution strategy.

2-  Recommendation on Dispute Management of BIT:

  • For better management of BIT disputes, the committee recommends the creation of an inter-ministerial committee (IMC).
  • It also recommends hiring external lawyers having expertise in BITs to boost the government’s legal expertise.
  • The most significant recommendation is the creation of the post of an ‘international law adviser’ (ILA) to advise the government on international legal disputes, particularly BIT dispute.

3-    Recommendations on Dispute resolution of BIT:

  • The committee recommended establishing a BIT appellate mechanism and multilateral investment court.
  • The committee also recommended to establish investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, given in Article 15 of the Indian Model BIT, provides an effective mechanism for settling BIT disputes between an investor and state.

How India’s Bilateral Investment Treaty’s (BIT) with other countries are affecting rights of the tribal people in India?

  • A bilateral investment treaty is an agreement ensuring foreign investor protection and host state regulatory powers.
  • Though, this has been catalyst in development but has often affected the rights of tribal people in India enshrined in the 5th & 6th schedule of Constitution and Recognition of Forest Act, 2006.
  • There has been frequent incidence of dilution of the rights conferred to them because of persistent threat on states of Investment Treaty Arbitration for enforcement of investor protection in case of project getting stalled due to protest or license getting cancelled.

Q3) India remain one of the few liberal democracies who have signed the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention nor won’t its 1967 Protocol. Why India, according to you, has not signed Refugee Treaty despite having one of the largest refugee populations in south Asia? Explain why India further needs an appropriate domestic refugee law?

The need of Internal Refugee law

  •         The Indian State has treated a few refugee communities reasonably well but has not formulated a well-defined refugee law and judicial interventions have been case specific.
  •         The absence of clearly defined statutory Standards subjects refugees and asylum seekers to inconsistent and arbitrary government policies.
  •         India has given shelter to more than 400,000 refugees from myriad countries including Tibet, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Somalia and Ethiopia.
  •         Legal rights of refugees have thus been governed by ad-hoc administrative mechanisms that are ambiguous and distinguish between refugee groups on account of political considerations.
  •         Thus refugees are left dependent on the benevolence of the state rather than on a rights regime to reconstruct their lives with dignity.

Why won’t India sign the Convention or the Protocol?

  •         Reasons are primarily security-related, borders in South Asia are extremely absorbent and any conflict can result in a mass movement of people.
  •         India is home to varied groups of refugees, ranging from Buddhist Chakmas from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, to Bhutanese from Nepal, Muslim Rohinygas from Myanmar and small populations from Somalia, Sudan and other sub Saharan African countries.
  •         At the time, UNHCR played a stellar role in helping devise India’s administrative response to the 9.8 million Hindu refugees who poured in from Bangladesh.
  •         It also helped to assemble huge international finances to pay for Indian bills (and it wasn’t even the West’s war).
  •         In 2015, amid the biggest refugee crisis in the West since World War II, none of the reasons listed above justifies India’s continuing refusal to sign the Refugee Convention.


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