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10 April 2017 Question Bank


10th APRIL 2017


 (3 Question)

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.



1. Discuss India Australia relations.


Significance of India:

  • India is the world's most populous democracy and will, by 2030, be the most populous country, overtaking China. And it is young - there are more Indian 10-year-olds than there are Australians.
  • With more than a dozen distinct languages, scripts and religions, India is multiculturalism on the grandest scale; unlike China, its only rival for scale, it had never existed as a single nation prior to its independence in 1947.
  • And to sustain a vibrant modern democracy, surely India is one of the greatest political achievements of our times.
  • Once you appreciate its size, you see its potential. Think of all those 10-year-olds who will one day be voting in India's elections and who will also, one day, belong to India's middle class, the engine of its booming economy.
  • Half a million Australians are of Indian descent.
  • Put all that together and it's easy to understand why India will play a central role in our region and the world and, I hope for Australians, it is easier to see why the relationship between our two countries has never been more important.

Three focus areas

  • During the visit we will focus on three areas of our relationship that show great potential: our economic, knowledge and strategic partnerships.
  • Two-way trade is growing, and approaching $20 billion, but that's far too low and there's so much more we can do.
  • The Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, worth more than $100 million, has enabled our sharpest minds to collaborate in areas such as food security and health, and advance the boundaries of human knowledge in quantum computing, nanotechnology and astronomy.
  • Last year, Australia was the second-most popular study destination for Indian students - 60,000 came to Australia to learn.
  • Through the Government's New Colombo Plan, more and more young Australians are choosing India as a place to study and boost their own qualifications and experience.
  • India's demand for Australia's minerals and resources remains high.
  • The security and stability of the Indo-Pacific is fundamental to both.
  • As liberal democracies, we can work together to encourage free trade and prosperity and to help safeguard security and the rule of law in our region.



2. "The nuclear technology today is mired with uncertainty due to changing threat perceptions and global uncertainties." Comment.


Questions raised on nuclear technology:

  • Nuclear weapons have ceased to be viable as instruments of war because of the unpredictability of the consequences of anuclear war.
  • No one can trust even the use of tactical nuclear weapons without collateral damage for the user.
  • The theories of deterrence of nuclear stockpiles have also been discredited after 9/11 brought the most formidable nuclear power to its knees.
  • Non-proliferation today, if any, is not on account of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but on account of the futility of building nuclear arsenals.
  • The threat of terrorism looms larger than the threat of nuclear weapons.
  • After Fukushima, nuclear power too is receding as a sensible component of the energy mix. One clean-up operation after an accident can demolish many years of technological advancement and hopes of having cheap power.

About non-proliferation

  • Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) enthusiasts have been disappointed of late that out of the three pillars of the treaty -

1.      non-proliferation,

2.      disarmament and

3.      nuclear energy for peaceful purposes

  • The first, non-proliferation, has got watered down and disarmament has become the priority.
  • Dangerous technologies like enrichment are within the reach of the non-weapon states.
  • Japan and South Korea are debating acquisition of nuclear weapons.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already shifted its focus from nuclear power to nuclear security.
  • In 1995, the NPT was made a perpetual treaty with no possibility of amendment, but its votaries now advocate that non-proliferation should be emphasised to the exclusion of disarmament and nuclear energy promotion.
  • In the midst of this ferment, a debate has begun in India about a review of its no-first use doctrine. Experts seem to think that India's doctrine is flexible enough to deal with any eventuality, but others feel that we should enter more caveats to safeguard our interests. Perhaps, it is best to let the sleeping dogs lie.

Emphasising nuclear disarmament

  • Old habits die hard, however, and there is constant activity on the weapons and the power fronts. The nuclear and disarmament industry still flourish.
  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama's Prague speech had ignited cautious optimism that nuclear weapons would cease to be the anchor of security, though not during his presidency, not even in his lifetime.
  • Rajiv Gandhi's United Nations Plan of Action for total elimination of nuclear weapons came out of the dusty archives.
  • The ‘Global Zero' movement gained momentum, even as nuclear weapon powers continued investment in developing delivery systems and weapons.
  • The UN General Assembly, with its unlimited agenda, readily jumped into the first UN conference in more than 20 years on a global nuclear weapons ban, though the nuclear weapon powers did not join.
  • More than 120 nations in October 2016 voted on a UN General Assembly resolution to convene the conference to negotiate a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading to their total elimination.
  • Britain, France, Russia and the U.S. voted no, while China, India and Pakistan abstained. Though India had recommended the convening of such a conference, it abstained on the resolution as it was not convinced that the conference could accomplish much at this time.
  • India said that it supported the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention, which in addition to prohibition and elimination also includes verification.
  • The conference has failed even before it commenced.

On nuclear power production

  • On the nuclear power front, the efforts to increase nuclear power production suffered a setback as a result of Fukushima.
  • Many countries that had lined up before the IAEA for nuclear technology for peaceful purposes quietly switched to other sources of energy.
  • Except for China, India and Russia, most nations have shied away from building nuclear reactors or importing them.
  • India's liability law deterred U.S. companies from exporting reactors to India. The financial problems of Westinghouse, which had agreed to build six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, postponed, if not cancelled, the venture. But India has not fundamentally changed its three-stage nuclear power development, though the thorium stage eludes it.
  • The Kudankulam project is set to move along with Russian collaboration, but its progress has been slow. The nuclear liability law, the Westinghouse bankruptcy and the protests by local people have combined to delay the expansion of nuclear power in India.
  • The need for reduction of greenhouse gases was an incentive to increase nuclear power production, but President Trump's challenge of the whole concept of climate change as a hoax and the consequent reduction of allocation of funds to protect the environment will further reduce the accent on nuclear power.

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