International Relations is a subject in UPSC exams which many of the students often get tensed about. This subject covers all types of relations that India has with other countries in the world; this includes neighbouring countries as well as non-neighbouring countries. As there are hundreds of countries in the world, the subject covers a wide range of topics. Many students, because of the vast coverage of the subject, often get confused about how to approach International Relations for UPSC.
In this article, we will be guiding you about how to prepare for International Relations for UPSC?
Significance of International Relations Subject in UPSC?
Before you start preparing for the subject, it is important to know its significance in UPSC exams. International Relations is an important subject in both Prelims and Mains IAS exams. In UPSC Prelims, the questions asked are related to recently occurred national as well as international events of importance and are mostly based on international organizations. Usually, 5 to 7 questions are asked based on International Relations.
In UPSC Mains, the questions can be from any recent event or based on relations with any specific country. Questions based on International Relations usually cover 40-50 marks in a General Studies 2 exam of UPSC.
How to Cover International Relations for UPSC?
While studying for International Relations for IAS exams (UPSC), it is important to take care of the following things:
- Basic Terminology: It is very important to be aware of the basic terminologies of foreign policy used in the subject for a proper understanding of the topics in the subject. Try to learn the meanings of the common words used for easy understanding and learning of the events that will be covered in this subject.
- Foreign Policy Evolution: Understanding the evolution of foreign policy in India is very important while preparing for International Relations. You will have to cover the policies right after independence till the last few years as questions may be asked related to the same in the IAS exam.
- Impact of Changes in the World on India: This is the most basic thing that should be covered in the “political science and international relations UPSC” subject. You should have knowledge of various international events and their effects on India. This may include direct or indirect effect on India, irrespective of this; you should have knowledge of the same to avoid any surprises in the IAS exam.
- India’s Response to International Events: It is very important to be aware of India’s response to various international events. Irrespective of the location of the event, it should be covered to be safe while preparing.
Also Read : How to Write Effective Answers in UPSC Mains?
Important Topics to Cover in International Relations
We have discussed all the things to take care of while preparing for International Relations. Now, we will have a brief look at all the topics that are to be covered:
Significance of Relations with Neighbors and Other Countries
It is very important to cover various kinds of relations of India with other countries. You have to study India’s economic, military, investment, political and other kinds of relations that India has with neighbouring and other economically large countries.
History with Other Countries
You should also study the brief history of India with other countries, especially neighbouring countries. Questions can be asked about the history and current relation of India with a country.
Global and Regional Groupings and Agreements involving/affecting India’s Interests
Various regional groupings such as ASEAN, APEC, Arab League, OIC, European Union, etc. along with global groupings like BRICS, NATO, etc. need to be focused upon while preparing for IAS. Also, it would be nicer if you focus a bit more on the regional and global groupings that have been in the news in the recent past.
Policies of Other Countries towards India
Policies of other countries in regards to Indians and India is to be studied properly for scoring good marks. Policies like H1B Visa policy and other policies of different countries should be read to have a stronghold on this topic.
Indian Diaspora and its Aspects
You have to study Indian diaspora and its aspects such as its meaning, importance, contributions, and important personalities of Indian diaspora and what is our government doing to take care of their interests.
For this topic, you don’t need to go into many details, but you need to have basic knowledge about major international institutions in the world such as UN, UNICEF, IMF, WTO, etc. You should have knowledge about the location, the time of establishment, and other such basic information of such international institutions.
It is advised to take at least 1 to 2 page International Relations UPSC notes for all the topics and sub-topics to ensure that all the required parts are covered.
Also Read : When Should You Start Preparing for UPSC?
Books to Read for International Relations for UPSC
When we talk about International Relations books for UPSC, there are a large number of books that you can read. Here is a list of some books that you can refer to:
Contemporary World Politics (NCERT for Class XII) – h4
For a basic understanding of world politics, it is the best book to read. You can get a basic understanding of various political phenomena in the world that occurred in history in a plain and simple language. Give it a quick read while preparing for International Relations.
India’s Foreign Policy Since Independence by V.P. Dutt – h4
This book is a good book to read to get a good grasp of India’s foreign policy since independence. Read this thoroughly for a basic understanding of steps that past prime ministers took in regards to foreign policy along with its effects on India.
Challenge And Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri – h4
This book is the best out there based on India’s foreign policy. If you are comfortable with some advanced level terminologies, then this is the go-to book to gain some insightful information.
Apart from books, you can read newspapers like The Indian Express and The Hindu to gain some more knowledge about recent international events related to/affecting India and its interests. Also, do refer to MEA Annual Reports to get more accurate information regarding the Indian government’s stance and response on various international matters that affect it.
Quick Study Tips for International Relations for UPSC
Here are some quick tips that you can follow to prepare for International Relations for UPSC. Please ensure that you do the following to score good marks in the exams:
- Divide the syllabus into parts and create a time table to ensure that you cover all the topics thoroughly.
- Take part in various online and offline test series to know your level of preparation.
- Do multiple revisions to ensure that you remember the important events and concepts.
- International Relations notes for UPSC should be prepared for all the subjects for a quick revision.
- Practice answer writings to ensure that you don’t lose your speed while giving the IAS exam.
For more study tips related to International Relations, you can check this article.
As you can see, the “International Relations” subject is not as tough as people perceive it to be. You can score good marks if you keep yourself aware of the recent events around the world and read newspapers regularly.