+91 9004418746enquiry.aashah@gmail.com
+91 9004078746aashahs.ias@gmail.com

11 January 2017 Question Bank


11th JANUARY 2017 


(3 Questions)



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.  What is ‘Cold Start’ strategy in context of the military doctrine of the Indian armed forces? Does India possess Cold Start capabilities? Discuss its potential benefits and risks involved.


  • The new Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, appeared to drop a bombshell by acknowledging the existence of the army’s Cold Start strategy.
  • Many defence analysts presumed the army had abandoned this limited war concept altogether, or narrowly focussed on streamlining mobilisation while still maintaining the fundamental Strike Corps organisation and doctrinal concept.

What is Cold Start?

  • At heart, it is part of the army’s attempt to develop a useable, conventional retaliatory option that punishes Pakistan for terrorist attacks against India without triggering wider conventional or nuclear escalation.
  • In its more aggressive formulations, it was believed the aim was to create division-sized formations that could rapidly mobilise and carry out short-notice, retaliatory offensives of limited duration to quickly seize and hold Pakistani territory, while simultaneously pursuing narrow enough objectives to deny Islamabad a justification to escalate the conflict by opening additional conventional fronts or to employ nuclear weapons.
  • The perceived failure to mobilise the army’s Strike Corps in a timely fashion after the December 2001 attacks on Parliament was the impetus for Cold Start, and its official status has been the subject of extensive debate and controversy since it was first discussed in 2004.
  • The idea originated with the army and has been publicly debated in think-tank circles, but it has never been formally accepted by the Indian government, which has repeatedly denied its existence.
  • In 2010, the then Army Chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, declared point-blank that Cold Start did not exist.
  • However, he did note ambiguously that the army possessed a “proactive strategy” for responding to Pakistan.
  • This presumably referred to the conversion of IX-XII Corps near the border from defensive “holding” corps to formations called “pivot” corps which could more quickly undertake limited offensive operations while the main Strike Corps elements surged from the interior of India over several weeks.

Does India possess cold Start capabilities:

  • Although Pakistan has responded as if India has an aggressive limited war strategy, there is no public evidence that India remotely has the capability to adopt or execute such a doctrine. It is one thing to carry out a raid across the Line of Control with a handful of commandos. It is quite another to undertake a major cross-border incursion by armoured formations that seeks to capture Pakistani territory.
  • The army simply lacks the material and organisation to implement the more aggressive versions of Cold Start.
  • It is not at all clear, for example, that the Indian Army at present possesses sufficient superiority in numbers of troops and armoured vehicles in the vicinity of the International Border to be able to overcome the Pakistan Army’s defensive and geographic advantages in a short conflict.
  • Indeed, the large number of obsolete tanks and artillery pieces, not to mention critical shortages of ammunition and air-defence assets raises serious questions about the army’s ability to implement a Cold Start-style operation at all.
  • Furthermore, sustaining offensive operations in Pakistan requires joint operations with the air force. Not only does the Indian Air Force lack the kind of close air support capability Cold Start would require, but army-air force cooperation is also beset by inter-service dysfunction.
  • This has put India in the worst possible strategic position: claiming a capability that it does not have, but which provides justification for Pakistan’s aggressive expansion of its conventional and nuclear forces.
  • Such an approach has rarely served a nation’s security interests.

Cost of Cold Start:

  • Ambiguity surrounding Cold Start, which incurred real diplomatic and security costs for India without delivering deterrence benefits, did not advance the country’s interests.
  • For a brief period, Indian security managers might have believed that the ambiguity surrounding the concept’s status and the Indian Army’s ability to implement it generated enough uncertainty in the mind of Pakistani decision-makers to deter their support for militant attacks within India.
  • This thesis was disproved, however, by the audacious 2008 Mumbai attacks and its aftermath.
  • At the same time, the “threat” posed by Cold Start has been repeatedly cited by Pakistani authorities as proof of India’s hostile intentions and hegemonic designs.
  • This, in turn, has provided a justification for Pakistan to build up, and build out, its nuclear forces, both increasing the sheer size of its nuclear arsenal (which carries its own risks of theft and nuclear terrorism) and developing lower-yield nuclear warheads and short range missiles, so-called tactical nuclear weapons, which are aimed at deterring — or in the worst case, defeating — a limited Indian military incursion.
  • Reviving Cold Start will markedly escalate tensions in bilateral relations with Pakistan without necessarily delivering a clear benefit, since there is still no evidence that India has the required capabilities to implement anything resembling Cold Start.



2. What is Gender Responsive Budgeting? How has it fared over the years in India? Suggest measures to enhance the effectiveness of Gender Responsive Budgeting in India.



  • The direct link between empowering women and alleviating poverty, increasing productivity, and combating climate change is well-recognised.
  • However, the lack of targeted resources is often stated to be the biggest reason behind the sluggish progress in furthering the gender agenda.
  • Therefore, it is important that India’s budget priorities reflect its commitment to invest in women and girls.
  • Last year, the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap Report ranked India 87 in terms of gender equality in economy, education, health, and political representation.

Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB):

  • Women’s declining labour participation, under-representation in Parliament, skewed child sex ratio, and prevalent gender-based violence are recognised challenges in India.
  • To bridge these gaps, India formally adopted Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in 2005.
  • The rationale behind GRB is that policy outcomes are not as gender-neutral as commonly believed, and can reinforce or exacerbate exiting hierarchies. Hence, gender budgeting initiatives aim to integrate critical gender concerns into fiscal policies and administration to address disparities.
  • Every annual budget since 2005 has included a statement that lists out two parts. There is Part A, which reflects ‘Women Specific Schemes’, namely, those which have 100 per cent allocation for women, and Part B, which reflects ‘Pro Women Schemes’, namely, where at least 30 per cent of the allocation is for women.
  • Over the years, India has stood out for its implementation of gender budgeting, and with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) playing the central role, it has managed to successfully institutionalise the concept at both the national and State levels (16 States have embraced the exercise).
  • Studies substantiate the positive link between GRB and improved indicators for women.
  • For instance, a recent International Monetary Fund study found that States that employ GRB also show better female to male school enrolment ratios. Further, it was observed that GRB also has a positive impact on infrastructure spending.

Issues in GRB:

  • Despite the successes, better implementation and planning are needed to ensure that these policies percolate right down to the last woman in the most remote parts of the country.

1.       In recent years, allocations have either remained stagnant or have been on the decline. For instance, Budget 2016-17 was widely considered to be a mixed bag for women. While the Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Women saw nominal increases, the scheme meant for implementing the Domestic Violence Act did not receive any allocation.

2.       Further, there was a decline in the number of ministries and departments that fall under GRB.

3.       The budget also initiated the decentralisation of funding in GRB, thus shifting the onus for budgeting and implementation from the Central Ministry to State counterparts.

  • While this did empower the States to come up with women-specific policies as per their respective challenges, the obvious downside was the risk that States could choose to not prioritise gender in their budgeting.
  • In this way, the intent of universalising the process, so that it equally benefits women in all States, was lost in the pragmatism of the move. 

The way ahead:

  • For it to be truly effective, GRB must be viewed as an essential tool to tackle societal inequality that hinders progress instead of a symbolic exercise for pleasing the emerging women constituency.

1.       So far, GRB has focussed on identifying schemes that are exclusively dedicated to women. While this focus is imperative, it has restricted benefits without the incorporation of a gender lens across all welfare schemes.

  • Sectors such as energy, urban development, food security, water supply and sanitation continue to operate in silos, despite having causal interrelationships with women’s empowerment.
  • Every budget presents the opportunity to mainstream gender in the policy environment, and demonstrate the commitment to include and enable women’s inclusion in India’s growth story.

2.     It would also help if the Central government could, through an incentive mechanism, encourage State governments to take up GBR as a priority in their budget layouts.

3.     Equally, women’s potential in enabling development, instead of being passive beneficiaries of it, must be recognised in these processes.



3. Discuss India Africa relations highlighting the convergence between India’s Africa policy and the Agenda 2063.


( India-Kenya Relations:

  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, one of India’s most important African partners, visited India as a special guest at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
  • The Kenyan president is committed to development, counterterrorism and peace in East Africa.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s African safari in July 2016 took him to South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya.
  • Bilateral trade, valued at $4.23 billion in 2014-15, has the potential for rapid growth if Indian companies are willing to be active in a competitive market.
  • Diverse sectors in Kenya, such as energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, agriculture and financial services, will welcome greater involvement of India Inc.
  • Some major Indian corporates, including the Tatas, Reliance, Essar, Kirloskars and Dr. Reddy’s, are flourishing in Kenya.
  • Kenya, the earliest home to Indian investments, is hungry for more.
  • Mr. Kenyatta, following his ‘Look East’ policy, has developed close relations with China but he needs other partners too. )

(India-Kenya Relations is extra info -> cannot be part of answer to this question)

India’s Africa policy

  • India’s Africa policy is broadly in line with Agenda 2063, promoted by the African Union.
  • However, some recalibration in New Delhi’s approach may be needed because issues such as UN reform, counterterrorism, climate change and international solar alliance will inevitably take longer to show results.
  • Meanwhile, India must concentrate on actions that strengthen its economic cooperation with select African countries.
  • The third India-Africa Forum Summit was held in New Delhi in 2015 and there was an unprecedented political outreach to Africa through visits by the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister to a dozen countries in 2016.
  • India’s Africa experts have been disappointed with the decision to put off the next summit with Africa to 2020 instead of 2018 as was expected, after a gap of three years
  • The second India-Africa Forum Summit was held in 2011 in Addis Ababa.




India-Japan Cooperation in Africa:

  • The sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development Summit was held in August 2016 in Nairobi. This was the first TICAD summit held in Africa.
  • Japan and India are committed, especially after Mr. Modi’s visit to Tokyo, to enhance long-term collaboration in Africa.
  • By participating jointly in key infrastructure development projects in Kenya and the surrounding region, Indian and Japanese companies can offer an innovative model.

The way ahead:

  • As U.S. president-elect Donald Trump prepares to enter the White House, there are apprehension is that Africa may be sidelined in the first two years of the new administration.
  • This makes it imperative for India to take a keener interest in Africa if it is serious about playing a global role.

East African Community (EAC)

  • The East African Community (EAC), comprising Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, has emerged as one of the most successful of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities.
  • Having established a customs union, it is building a single market and wants to set up a monetary union.
  • The bulk of foreign investment here comes from China.
  • An expert on EAC affairs says that despite its complex challenges, “the EAC has fared admirably well”.
  • The Indian government and India Inc. need to devise a trade and industrial cooperation strategy to upgrade existing links with the EAC.
  • But India has to tread with caution as the traditional rivalry between Kenya, the regional economic powerhouse, and Tanzania, the largest member-state, has been renewed.
  • To Tanzania’s chagrin, President Kenyatta has established closer ties with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi under the umbrella of “the coalition of the willing”.
  • However, India enjoys friendly and cooperative relations with all EAC members and is in a position to enhance its engagement with the region.



Back to Top