Theme: International Relation
Source: The Hindu & The Indian Express
Why in news?
February 24 marks one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Despite counter-advances by the Ukrainian army, substantial parts of eastern Ukraine remain occupied by Russian troops.
What is the Background of Russia-Ukraine Conflict?
- Ukraine & Russia were a part of the USSR and share hundreds of years of cultural, linguistic & familial
- Among the former USSR nations, Ukraine was the 2nd most powerful nation after
- Tensions between the two nations began in late 2013 over Ukraine’s landmark political & trade deal with the European
- Majority of the Ukrainians were angry with the then pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union instead of the EU. Soon, the then pro-Russian President was ousted.
- Russia responded by invading Crimea, which was a part of Ukraine, and annexing it in March 2014.
- Russia invaded Crimea on the pretext that it was defending its interests and those of Russian-speaking citizens.
- The pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared their independence from Kyiv.
- They established their own autonomous state called Donetsk People’s Republic in 2014.
- In 2015, Kyiv and Moscow signed a peace deal in Minsk, brokered by France and Germany, but it could not bring peace in the region.
The present day war traces its root to three factors:
- Attempts by Ukraine to end cultural ties built with
- Protect the autonomous existence of Ukraine
- Growing influence of North Atlantic Treaty Organization in erstwhile Soviet Union region with Ukraine as a major remaining territory between direct Russia-NATO face off
What is the current status of the war?
- Russia has taken a substantial portion of Ukrainian territories, controlling some 22% of pre-2014 Ukraine in March
- Ukraine recaptured some land, but still, Russia controls some 17% of Ukraine. It also managed to secure a land bridge between mainland Russia to Crimea.
- Russia is expected to launch a new offensive in the coming , which will mount more pressure on Ukrainian troops.
- Right now, focused fighting has been going on in some flashpoints along the frontline.
Was the West strategy effective?
- The West’s approach has been two-fold:
- Punish Russia’s economy through sanctions and thereby weaken its war
- Arming the Ukraine to counter the Russia
- Sanction on Russia has impacted the global economy, with Russia also taking a hit, but it found an alternative market for its energy export in Asia and boosted its war.
- The Western support has played a critical part in Ukraine’s resistance and counter-offensive with military and financial
- The S is Ukraine’s biggest aid provider worth over $70 billion and the EU pledged $37 billion.
How has Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reshaped the geopolitics of the world? Europe-US security alliance:
- The war has re-energised the Europe-US security
- NATO has opened its door to the proposed inclusion of Sweden and Finland.
- For this inclusion, Turkey’s approval is awaited. If this inclusion takes place, it will form the new military frontiers of the alliance against
New Arms Race:
- Europe at the centre of new arms race between Russia and the US
- Recently, Russia suspended its participation in the New START Treaty, negotiated with the US in 2011 to cap their nuclear weapons.
- The trust deficit between Russia and the West is at an-all time high. The US-led alliance is pouring weapons into Ukraine.
- Recently, former Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi met President Putin in Moscow in an affirmation of the friendship formalised last year as “limitless”.
- However, keeping its economic interests in mind, Beijing does not wish to jeopardise its Europe
- China has remained at arm’s distance from Russia’s war and even a warning by President Xi Jinping against nuclear weapons.
India under pressure
- Adopting a “nuanced” neutrality, Delhi has maintained its relationship with Moscow and worked around Western sanctions to buy oil from
- But the longer the war continues, the more pressure on India from the Western alliance to choose the “right side”.
What are the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War?
- Displacement Crisis:
- According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the war has led to the second-largest displacement crisis in the
- So far, 3 million Ukrainians have found refuge in Europe. Within the country, another 6.6 million people are internally displaced.
- According to the UN, many people are also being deported to Russia or are being forced to emigrate there, especially from the areas of eastern Ukraine.
2. Poverty and recession:
- According to the UNHCR, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine has “deteriorated rapidly.”
- Around 40% of the population is now dependent on humanitarian
- According to the World Bank and the Ukrainian Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 35% in 2022.
3. Resilience in Russia:
- In contrast to Ukraine, the situation in Russia is less critical than expected, as the economy has not suffered as much in
4. Impact across the economy:
- The war has disrupted the supply chain and the prices of energy, fertilisers and other essential commodities have
- Due to these, the impacts has been felt across the developing nations
What are the environmental costs due to the War?
- The conflict has seen many damages with incidents involving nuclear power plants, energy infrastructure, mines and industrial
- It resulted in air pollution and contamination of ground and surface
- More than 2 million hectares of forest have been destroyed putting the rare endemic species at
- Emission from the conflict was estimated to be around 33 mn tonnes of CO2 and 23 mn tonnes of CO2 from
How has India’s position evolved over the time?
- For India, the Ukraine war has been an opportunity to practice strategic
- In the last year, the UN and its bodies have voted on resolutions
- pertaining to the Russia-Ukraine war at least 39 times: 38 times since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and once in January 2023.
- India, which has maintained a diplomatic balancing act and has walked the tightrope between US-led West and Russia, has abstained on most occasions
- While the 15-member UN Security Council discussed the Russia-Ukraine conflict 47 times since January 31 last year, India abstained on all five resolutions.
- At the 193-member UN General Assembly, it abstained on all six resolutions.
India has articulated five basic points in the early stages of the conflit:
- It was “deeply disturbed”, but did not name Russia at
- It called for cessation of violence and hostilities, which is permanent in
- It had flagged its core concern about Indian About 22,000 Indian nationals, mostly students, had to be evacuated by special planes.
- It called for respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, and respect for UN charter and international law.
- It maintained that dialogue and diplomacy is the path forward.
- After the Bucha massacre in which innocent civilians were killed, India joined the western chorus in condemning the
- This is the most significant shift and called for an international probe into an incident in a country.
India and the upcoming G-20 summit
- With a year of geopolitical turmoil due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, India — as the chair of G-20 — will face the challenge of negotiating a declaration while balancing between Russia and the
Is there a possibility for a negotiated settlement?
- In March 2022, both sides had exchanged several drafts about a potential peace plan, but the S and U.K opposed Ukraine reaching any agreement with Russia.
- Russia, despite the slow progress of its ‘special military operation’, remains adamant and Ukraine stated that it would not reach any agreement with Russia making territorial Ukraine, given its dependence on the West, would require a clearance from western capitals for any final settlement.
- Two complex issues should be addressed such as Ukraine’s territories and Russia’s security concerns for any peace plan to succeed.
Practice Mains Questions:
In the Context of the one year of Russia-Ukraine war, Discuss how it reshaped the geopolitics of the world and elaborate on India’s position? (250 words, 15 marks)
Static Topics to be referred:
Russia-Ukraine War; NATO; Regions in Ukraine; Carbon Footprint; UNHCR; World Bank; UNGA; UNSC
Theme: Parliament and state legislature structure, functioning and conduct of business.
Source: The Hindu
Why in news?
A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India is presently hearing a set of cases popularly known as the “Maharashtra political controversy cases”
What are the Grounds for Defection?
- A member of a Housebelonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if
- He voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party; or
- He votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party without obtaining prior permission of such party and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15
An independent member of a House becomes disqualified to remain a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
- A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House.
- Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances.
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favor of the
- If a person is elected as the speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha then he could resign from his party and rejoin the party once he is admitted to that
- It must be noted here that the provision of the Tenth Schedule pertaining to exemption from disqualification in case of split by one-third members of legislature party has been deleted by the 91st Amendment Act of 2003.
Why does anti-defection law need an overhaul? Problem with merger provision:
- It safeguards the members of a political party where the original party merges with another party subject to the condition that at least two-third of the members have agreed to such
- The exception is based on the number of members rather than the reason behind the
Power to the presiding officer:
- The presiding officer has been given wide and absolute powers to decide the case related to disqualification of the members on the grounds of
Time Limit for Presiding Officer:
- The law does not specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
- Given that courts can intervene only after the Presiding Officer has decided on the matter, the petitioner seeking disqualification has no option but to wait for this decision to be made.
- There have been several cases where the Courts have expressed concern about the unnecessary delay in deciding such
No Freedom to go against party whip:
- A political party acts as a dictator for its members who are not allowed to dissent. In this way it violates the principle of representative democracy wherein the members are forced to obey the high
What are Different Suggestions related to the Anti- defection Law?
- Dinesh Goswami Committee
- The issue of disqualification should be decided by the President/ Governor on the advice of the Election Commission.
- Law Commission (170th Report, 1999)
- Pre-poll electoral fronts should be treated as political parties under anti-defection law
- Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger.
- Decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election
What Can be Done to Make Anti-Defection Law More Effective?
Intra party democracy:
- This will indirectly affect actions or which defection create acceptance for divergence of opinion and stance within the party.
- 2nd ARC has recommended that the issue of disqualification of members on grounds of defection should be decided by the President/Governor on advice of
Bring more clarity:
- The law must explicitly set out what it means by the words ‘voluntarily giving up Membership’ to avoid any
Independent authority to deal with disqualification:
- Justice Verma in Hollohan judgment said that tenure of the Speaker is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the House and therefore, he does not satisfy the requirement of such independent adjudicatory
- Also, his choice as the sole arbiter in the matter violates an essential attribute of the basic feature. Therefore, there is a need for independent authority to deal with disqualification.
Practice Mains Questions:
What is Anti-Defection Law? Discuss the issues emerging out of implementation of anti-defection law and give some suggestions. (250 words, 15 marks)
Static Topics to be referred:
Anti-Defection law; Speaker; Political Parties; Election Commission; Supreme Court;
What is a neutral citation?
- A neutral citation would mean that the court would assign its own citation- distinct from those given by traditional Law
- Law Reporters are periodicals or annual digests that publish judgments, often with an editorial note to make it accessible for lawyers to refer to
Why is a neutral system good or necessary?
- Judgments mention citations while referring to precedents and often use citations from different Law
- With artificial intelligence (AI) enabled translation of judgments
and transcribing of court proceedings, a uniform citation is necessary.
How will the SC implement the neutral citation system?
- The initiative is for neutral citations for all judgments of the Supreme
- First tranche will be till January 1, 2023, then the other tranche will be till judgments from 2014 and then finally we will go back to 1950
Static Topics to be referred:
Neutral Citation System; Chief Justice of India; Artificial Intelligence