Suggested Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – August 15

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Below are the suggested answers of UPSC Mains Marathon Current Affairs Questions – August 15.

Note: The suggested answers are indicative only, and not exhaustive.

1. Do you think that China’s increasing aggressive policy is hurting its neighbours especially India? Examine the reasons for China’s conflicts with its neighbours.

Indian Express |  Financial Times

Yes,the aggressive policy of China is hurting its neighbours:-

  • Since 2014, there have been many instances showing the aggressive policy of China
    • From the PRC’s escalating tensions with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea
    • Increasing conflict with Japan over Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea
    • From the downturn in relations with South Korea over Seoul’s deployment of US THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defence)
    • The tensions over Doklam.
  • India too has been a victim of Chinese unilateralism, as China’s actions appear calculated to thwart India’s rise.
    • China lays claim to Arunachal Pradesh.
    • It declared that there was no “consensus” for India’s joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, then became the sole exception to that consensus and was instrumental in blocking India’s bid.
    • It shielded international outlaw Hafiz Saeed at Pakistan’s behest.
  • China hurting economically by currency wars, dumping
  • Religious issues
    • Issue of Uyghurs living in west and central China who are not being allowed to do their religious practice’s freely. Therefore Uyghurs are migrating to the neighbouring countries


Despite the aggressive policy of China its neighbours have stood up for themselves including India so it is China that got hurt because of its actions.

Reasons :-

  • The twin principles of Chinese sovereignity i.e One China policy and the “nine dash line” in south China sea has affected its relationship with south Asian countries.
  • Strategic and geo political interests in the South China sea.
  • With some of the policies like string of pearls,BRI,CPEC India had concerns about the economic expansion of China .
  • Also the projects China plan to built on the rivers Brahmaputra would harm the lower riparian countries.This caused insecurities within neighbours.
  • A build-up of nationalistic fervour in domestic politics and the Chinese economy’s hunger for new markets.
  • lacking in coherent or consistent foreign policies on territory dispute settlement
  • Although China is one of the 5 Permanent Member States of the UNSC, it seldom relies on international conventions or arbitration tribunes to settle the disputes which have raised neighboring countries doubt over its sincerity and respect of international rules.
  • China’s vast territory is bounded by fourteen overland countries and six maritime ones, rendering it extremely difficult to be a good neighbor to all.
  • Also recent visit of dalai Lama to Mongolia made China angry which led to a blockade at the border.
  • Doklam issue shows that China violated the sovereignty of Bhutan and raised tensions across the trijunction involving India as well.

It may be useful for China to revert to the diplomatic language it used during its ‘peaceful rise’ in order to assure its neighbours.China needs to realise that stable Asia would benefit it too and friendly relations with neighbours would elevate it’s good will as well.

2. The ambition to develop an indigenous Indian defence industry has been given increased prominence in the recent past. Examine the reasons why India is lagging behind in defence production.

Live Mint


  • India is the largest importer of defence weapons and ammunition. India is also one of the top 10 countries who devote significant proportion of their GDP on defence expenditures so there is need to increase the defence production indigenously.

Why India is lagging in defence production:-

  • Delay in projects.
  • Main battle tank Arjun got the green light in 1974. Four decades later, this project has overshot its timeline by decades and cost overruns by several quanta.
  • Entire ecosystem of mechanized warfare, which includes railway transportation, bridges en route, tank transporters, dimensions of tunnels, roads, etc., are not effective
  • Millions of manhours and dollars will have to be invested to sustain the supply chain which India is not able to implement
  • Defence procurement model is full of corrupt practices due to lack of transparency for instance Bofors Deal
  • adversarial inter-ministerial relationships leads to delay in decision making
  • Basic needs , poverty reduction programmes needs these funds on priority basis , thus lesser fund for defence purposes
  • Recommendations made by the Kargil committee with regard to equipment acquisition are languishing in the procurement abyss.
  • Deficiencies of equipment are exacerbated by shortage of officers.
  • Inefficiency of DRDO units/public sector undertakings (PSUs)
  • Cumbersome procurement processes
  • Unrealistic technical specifications and lack of accountability.

However, many initiatives have been taken in the recent years like the new Strategic purchase model with private industry involvement,Defence procurement focus on Indigenous design ,development & manufacturing “IDDM”,Make in India & Skill India mission .All these need to be implemented effectively.

Similarly recent reports of CAG on Akaash missiles and defence procurement needs to be taken seriously.

India needs to emulate the French model of integrated procurement and acquisition structure.

3. The Government of India has introduced the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine in high priority areas including Uttar Pradesh. Discuss the challenges in combating Japanese Encephalitis (JE). Examine the geographical distribution of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and its affected regions in India.

The Hindu | WHO Link


  • It is the inflammation of the brain caused by a virus – the JE virus – which is transmitted by female Culex mosquitoes to human beings. It is a mosquito-borne viral infection of the brain.

Challenges in combating JE and spatial distribution of JE :-

  • In southern states there is better vaccination coverage coupled with better clinical management. This has contributed to better control.
  • Problem however is not of lack of funds for resources. It is the inability of the system to absorb these resources and make effective use of them.
  • The bulk of the deaths nearly 96% in the last five years due to acute encephalitis syndrome including JE occurred in four states UP,WB,Assam and Bihar.
  • JE epidemics are reported from many parts of India however, it is highly endemic in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
    • The only tertiary care centre with 100 beds dedicated to JE in this area is in Gorakhpur. So, cases from nearby districts are also referred here.
    • Crisis is lack of infrastructure, unclear data on disease burden and lack of access to clean water and toilets make the situation worse to tackle.
  • Due to lack of research, U.P. government gets their burden of disease data from hospitals, essentially leaving out cases that do not come into public health facilities.
  • Because of the lack of reliable data & research, UP’s policy intervention to curb JE cases has failed for decades.
  • Mosquitoes that transmit the virus to human beings live in dirty stagnant water, paddy fields and ditches. Measures are not taken to eliminate the proliferation of these mosquitoes, especially after the onset of monsoon season.
  • Very specific local conditions such as expansion of rice fields and the resulting water-logging have been identified as contributing to the outbreak of JE.
  • Some of these endemic northern states have very fragile health systems. At the same time these areas that report JE suffer from abject poverty, with poor accessibility.

What can be done ?

  • Taking personal precautionary measures against mosquito bite is essential. This can be achieved by wearing fully covered clothing and using mosquito repellents.
  • WHO responds to JE by
    • providing global recommendations for JE control, including the use of vaccines. WHO recommends JE immunization in all regions where the disease is a recognized public health priority and supports implementation
    • providing technical support for JE surveillance, JE vaccine introduction and large-scale JE vaccination campaigns, and evaluation of JE vaccine effectiveness and programmatic impact.
  • A multi-pronged strategy needs to be put in place that has been followed in countries such as China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Sri Lanka.
  • India need to have a good surveillance system in place which generates good quality data, based on which the situation can be monitored from time to time and base the decisions and interventions.
  • India needs to have good clinical management protocols in place which works for all-cause AES. And these have to be revisited on a regular basis.  The capacity of the health system to deal with these patients has to be strengthened.
  • India’s oversight mechanism has been very weak, especially on the ground. The monitoring and evaluation of these interventions should be an integral part of it.
  • There is no focus on Post-recovery .So focus needs to be there on this too.


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