20th October 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
GS II- INTERNATIONAL
Q1. Discuss the impact of the present authoritarian regime in Saudi Arabia on India.
- Authoritarian regimes not only do not fear open, violent acts of defiance but they also welcome them. It helps them identify opponents of the regime and deal with them with ruthlessness and brutality. Most such acts of opposition would be dismissed as terrorism, as is routinely done by totalitarian regimes. Saudi Arabia is one such regime. It has warned all those who may be thinking of isolating or even moving sanctions against the regime with dire consequences.Some token action is being taken by some western governments such as demanding a thorough, impartial inquiry into the incident. The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has cancelled her participation at the ‘Davos in the Desert’ Conference, in Riyadh. Significantly, the U.S. Treasury Secretary has joined the boycott. The outrage is universal in the developed world, though the developing countries seem to have decided their own counsel. The Bretton Woods institutions will still need Saudi funding.
Consequences for India
- If India is forced to reduce the import of Iranian oil to zero in the next few weeks, India does not have to worry about alternate sources of which there are plenty, as the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas has assured us. Saudi Arabia has no choice but to continue to make up the shortfall, first, because it needs to sell its oil, but second and more important, it must do all in its power to weaken and destroy its mortal enemy, the leader of the Shias of the world. As King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told the U.S. a few years ago, “the head of the snake needs to be cut off”. If India needs their oil, they also need to sell it. They need to sell as much oil as they can to continue with their disastrous misadventure in Yemen. The high level of crude price enables them to prosecute the war with comparably less cost, yet the Crown Prince’s ambitious reform plan will need more money than the kingdom can produce.If it becomes useful to befriend India in its relentless campaign against Iran, it will be a small price to pay.
- There is yet one more weapon that India can selectively use. Next to the Saudis, we are the largest buyer of weapons in the world. The U.S., France, Russia all have only one interest in India – to sell their extremely expensive war material. They not only earn money, they even earn our gratitude. India has an insatiable thirst for weapons of war and apparently bottomless pockets to pay for them. Mr. Trump, who advocates, for his country as well as for others, to follow the principle of ‘my country first’ would be the last to impose penalties on India in case we do something that might not fit in with his agenda, either vis-à-vis Iran or Russia. The government seems to be conscious of this advantage that India has.