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Q 86- India's Neighbourhood First' approach is negatively influenced by constitutional crises in the country's immediate neighborhood. Discuss recent occurrences. (250 words)

Paper & Topic: GS II à India and its neighborhood- relations. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

  • Model Answer:

 

  • Introduction:

 

  • The BIMSTEC — a grouping that comprises practically all countries in South Asia and some in South-East Asia—is included in India's Neighbourhood First Policy, which gives priority to nations in India's periphery.
  • It works hard to strengthen connections with India's immediate neighbors.
  • It focuses on collaboration based on neighboring countries' needs and requirements. The idea of non-seeking reciprocity is also at the heart of the policy.

 

  • Body:

 

  • The neighboring countries' constitutional crisis is as follows:
  •  
  • In his inaugural address to Parliament, newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated his intention to abolish the landmark 19th Amendment to the Constitution and work toward a new constitution.
  • Sri Lanka will write a new Constitution, repealing the 19th Amendment, which limited the President's powers and increased the role of Parliament.
  • During the last general elections, the Rajapaksas won a two-thirds majority in parliament, clearing the path for constitutional revisions.
  • The President's comments on the draft Constitution can be interpreted as indicating a shift away from the concept of devolution.
  • If the idea of sharing more power with the provinces is completely abandoned, it will be backward.
  • It would be a distortion of democratic principles if the independence of institutions like the Election Commission (EC) is now curtailed in the pretext of repealing the 19th Amendment.
  • Furthermore, there was no mention of ethnic minorities in the President's speech.

 

 

  • The following are the reasons for the proposed constitutional amendments:

 

  • The President's executive powers were restricted and handed to parliament and independent commissions in the 19th Constitutional Amendment, which was enacted in 2015.
  • Many of the Executive Presidency's powers, which have been in place since 1978, will be weakened by the legislation. It entails:
  • The President's and Parliament's terms have been reduced from six to five years.
  • Reintroduce a presidential term limit of two terms.
  • Only after four and a half years does the President have the ability to dissolve Parliament.
  • The Constitutional Council should be resurrected, and independent commissions should be established.
  • The President retains control of the Cabinet and can select Ministers on the Prime Minister's advice.
  • The Rajapaksa family claimed that the amendment was introduced with the intent of deliberately targeting them.
  • Due to the term limit, Mahinda Rajapaksa was unable to run for president in November, and his younger brother Gotabaya was elected instead.

 

  • India's Effects:

 

  • The issue of the Tamils, who are an ethnic minority group, would resurface as a result of the proposed constitutional changes.
  • In the past, this has been a source of friction in bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka could play the China card once more, emboldening China's 'String of Pearls' effort and putting India's security in the Indian Ocean region in jeopardy.

 

  • Steps to take/Conclusion:

 

  • A new inclusive constitution is urgently needed to set the country on the road to equality and peace.
  • The attempt to amend the Constitution under the guise of implementing the "one country, one law" principle should not conflict with this requirement.
  • While remaining attentive to Sri Lanka's security concerns, India should advocate for reconciliation initiatives for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
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