[Answered] What do you understand by a strategic partnership? Is there a need for India to have a clearer policy on strategic partnerships?

  • A strategic partnership between two nations, though not a clearly defined term, is understood as referring to a bilateral partnership in strategic issues such as defence and security, but is not an actual alliance.
  • It is a relationship more important than others, and may include economic interests as well, such as trade, investment, and banking.
  • A strategic partnership offers avenues of further convergence in the designated issues, in case the geopolitical scenario changes or there is an increase in the geostrategic significance of the partner nation.
  • For India, “strategic partnerships” are declarative policy instruments – an intention for deeper engagement on issues of mutual interest.
  • They are also a foot-in-the-door strategy for India, since India favours “strategic autonomy” at present, instead of “Non-alignment” of the Cold War days.

India needs a clearer policy on strategic partnerships because:

  • India has signed strategic partnerships with more than 30 countries since the first one with France in 1998.These include countries as diverse as Rwanda, US, China, and Japan. India doesn’t even have a full-time diplomatic mission in the small, land-locked, predominantly agriculturist Rwanda. In such a situation, giving the relationship a nomenclature of strategic partnership is more window dressing than substance. 
  • Clubbing relatively unimportant nations with Security Council members such as U.S. as China does not accord any substantial meaning to the term “strategic partnership”. According similar status to India-Japan relationship as the one to India-China relationship does little to signify the relative importance and level of engagement of these countries with India.
  • The present scenario gives off an impression that India fears alliances that might result in greater benefit for the allied nations. A clear policy will see India break these shackles of non-alignment.
  • Clear-cut, well-defined policy will shun arbitrariness and lend objectivity to Indian foreign policy.

The current stance of India’s foreign policy establishment allows it greater flexibility in designating “strategic partners”.
However, for the aforementioned reasons, it will be imperative to frame a clear policy regarding different levels of engagement with other nations in the future.


How does ethics influence value systems? Explain with suitable examples.

Ethics are the moral standards of a society, and value systems are a set of consistent values present in or exhibited by an individual as a member of that society.
Ethics influences value systems because individuals imbibe these values while growing up and being a part of the society they live in.

Ethics plays a major role in influencing value systems as exemplified by:

  1. Nazi Germany, where even small children considered Jews to be base and inhuman. Mass genocide of Jews was supported by most of the ethnic Germans because violence and hate against non-Germans was considered ethical in the German society at that time.
  2. A work ethic that promotes integrity and honesty would lead the workers to strive for those values since they would be rewarded as well as appreciated by others in the organization.
  3. Philanthropy would be encouraged in a society that promotes helping the needy and has the culture of giving.

Value systems, in turn, guide individual thoughts, attitude and behaviour.
Thus, ethics plays an important role in shaping the individual outlook as well as individual behaviour within the society.





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