IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th June, 2020



A case for quiet diplomacy

This article deals with Various Indo-China skirmishes and ways to resolve them.

Process to diffuse tension began but not at all points

-Both sides have agreed on a broad plan to defuse four of the five points of discord.

-The situation at the fifth, Pangong Lake remains uncertain as also in Galwan valley and north Sikkim.

-At Pangong Tso, the Chinese have entrenched their positions with tents and remain on India’s side of the LAC.

-There is a major point of difference which will not be easy to resolve.

The strategy used by India in the past to resolve stand-offs

-The pattern of resolution of past stand-offs underlines the key role played by quiet diplomacy in unlocking complicated stand-off situations.

-Both the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) governments have followed an approach that has coupled quiet diplomacy with a strong military posture, while at the same time allowing the adversary a way out.

-This has been the broad strategy in dealing with challenges from China across the LAC.

-And this strategy has generally worked.

Three specific incidents

1) 2013-Depsang plains

-In 2013, when Chinese troops pitched tents on India’s side of the LAC on the Depsang plains, similar to Pangong Tso.

-The UPA government was under fire, both for being weak on China and for its reticence.

-While the government was being publicly attacked for doing nothing, it had privately conveyed to China that if the stand-off didn’t end, an upcoming visit by Premier Li Keqiang would be off.

-If that demand had been made public at the time, China would have only dug in its heels, even if the government may have won the headlines of the day.

2) Chumar stand-off

-The government adopted a similar strategy during the 2014 stand-off at Chumar, which coincided with President Xi Jinping’s visit to India.

-Mr. Xi’s visit went ahead, while India quietly but forcefully stopped the Chinese road-building and deployed 2,500 soldiers, outnumbering the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

-The PLA withdrew.

-Both sides disengaged and followed a moratorium into patrolling into contested areas, which was observed for many months thereafter.

-Ultimately, in both cases, the objective was achieved. China, faced with firm resistance, was prevented from changing the status quo.

3) Doklam stand-off in 2017

-In 2017, the government came under particularly intense fire because it stayed studiously silent through a 72-day stand-off at Doklam.

-Indian troops crossed over into Bhutan to stop a Chinese road construction on territory India sees as Bhutanese but China claims.

-By extending the road, India argued, China was unilaterally altering the India-Bhutan-China trijunction.

-Beijing demanded an unconditional withdrawal.

-When both finally disengaged, neither divulged the terms.

-It would later emerge that the deal struck involved India withdrawing first.

-China then stopped construction, and the status quo at the face-off site was restored.

Stand-off politics in the country

-Politics over border stand-offs is not new.

-The Opposition and the media are certainly right to hold the government to account.

-Indeed, neither the Opposition nor the media would be doing its job if they weren’t.

-The tensions on the LAC are neither the first nor likely to be the last.

-With every incident, they are, however, getting increasingly politicised in an environment where there is a 24/7 demand on social media for information — and unprecedented capacity for disinformation.

-Rather than wish away this reality — and adopt a stand that it is above questioning — the government needs to come to terms with it.

Politicisation of stand-offs

-First, it needs to keep the Opposition informed, which it is clear it hasn’t.

-Second, it needs to proactively engage with the media, even if that may be through low-key engagement as was the case on June 9, that does not escalate into a public war of words.

-At the same time, expectations of having a public debate about the intricacies of every border stand-off — or for the Prime Minister to weigh in even while negotiations are ongoing — need to be tempered.

-This will only risk inflaming tensions, and reduce the wiggle room for both sides to find an off-ramp.

-The broader objective shouldn’t get lost in political debates.

-That objective is to ensure India’s security interests remain protected — and that the status quo on India’s borders is not changed by force.

Past incidents have shown that quiet diplomacy, coupled with strong military resolve that deters any Chinese misadventures, has been more effective than public sabre-rattling, even if we may be inhabiting a media environment that misconstrues loudness as strength, and silence as weakness.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-case-for-quiet-diplomacy/article31806194.ece


‘India rankings 2020’ for higher educational institutions

Union HRD Minister released “India Rankings 2020” for Higher Educational Institutions in various categories on the basis of their performance on five broad categories of parameters.


Instituted by: This is the fifth consecutive edition of India Rankings of the institutions of higher education by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), launched in 2015, outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.


The ranking framework evaluates institutions on five parameters –

-Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR) – 30% Weightage

-Research and Professional Practice (RP) – 40%

-Graduation Outcomes (GO) – 5%

-Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) – 15%

-Perception (PR) – 10%

Categories: Dental institutions have been included for first time in “India Rankings” bringing the total tally to 10 categories / subject domains.


Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1630867


Nature Index 2020

Context: Three of the autonomous institutions of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India have found their place among top 30 Indian Institutions including universities, IITs, IISERs, and Research Institutions and Labs as per Nature Index 2020 ratings based on the research published in the top journals, a measure of research quality.

Key findings on India:

-Globally, the top-rated Indian institutions in this list are Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a group of 39 institutions at the 160th position and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore at the 184th position.

-Three of the autonomous institutions of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India have found their place among top 30 Indian Institutions as per Nature Index 2020 ratings. These are

-the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata at 7th position,

-Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore at 14th position and

-N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata at 30th position.

Nature Index

-The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals.

-The database is compiled by Nature Research, a division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature that publishes academic journals. Nature Research's flagship publication is Nature, a weekly multidisciplinary journal first published in 1869.

-The Nature Index provides a close to real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national and regional level.

-The Nature Index is updated monthly and also releases annual tables of country.





-The World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) is being observed on 12 June

-under the theme “COVID-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever”, focussing on the impact of coronavirus crisis on child labour.


It is an International Labour Organization (ILO)-sanctioned holiday aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour.

The Day is observed every year on June 12.

It was first launched in It was spurred by ratifications of ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labour.

Source: https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-day-against-child-labour


Indian Gaur

Context: The first population estimation exercise of Indian gaur carried out in the Nilgiris forest division in February has revealed that more than an estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs inhabit the 300 sq. km range.

What are the threats?

 On an average, a total of 60 gaurs die each year in the Nilgiris forest division, many due to accidents, owing to their proximity to human habitations.

About Indian Gaur:

-The gaur, Bosgaurus, also called the Indian bison, is one of the largest extant bovines.

-It is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986.


The Western Ghats and their outflanking hills in southern India constitute one of the most extensive extant strongholds of gaur, in particular in the Wayanad – Nagarhole – Mudumalai – Bandipur complex.