Chapter 11. International Relations Notes for UPSC Mains

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Japan, Far East


  • Call – Jai Japan, Jai India
  • Historical
    • India became the first recipient of the Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA)
    • 90s
      • Japan help set the Delhi Metro & IIIT-H
      • Support in the BoP crisis
  • Political
    • Japan only country to openly support India with Doklam
      • Strategic quadrilateral
      • Freedom of Navigation
    • Annual Summit between Hos
    • North Korea
    • Openly criticised against Pak based terrors
    • G4
  • Defense
    • Now a Part of the Malabar Exercise
    • To jointly produce amphibious aircraft –
      • To be used in Andamand Nicobar, Lakshadweep mostly for humanitarian assistance
      • In 2014, Japan reversed its policy of non-exporting of weapons
  • Nuclear
    • Japan supplier of critical tech in nuclear reactor
      • Further majors like Westinghouse owned by Toshiba
      • On Nuclearly Russian reactors not dependent on Japanese
    • Currently, not willing to sell because of India not being a member of NPT
    • Nullification clause
      • Current confusion on this
      • It says that ties will be cut off if India does any nuclear test
      • Japan has agreed to wave this off in principle though
  • Economic
    • Asia – African corridor
    • FTA
      • Eco Survey 15-16
        • Japan insignificant impact on total trade
        • Imports increased, Export decreased
    • Investment fund for Japanese firms worth 12 billion dollars set up
    • Financing DMIC
    • Delhi Metro
    • 5.5 billion dollar investment in Chennai Bangalore industrial corridor
    • Will help with bullet train
      • Loan of 75k crore out of total cost of 90k crore
      • 0.1% interest rate, 50 year repayment
    • Japanese Firms in India
    • Automobiles
      • Japan – 3rd largest auto manufacturing company
      • Maruti
      • Also techniques like Kaizen
  • Cultural
    • Buddhism
    • Nalanda university
    • India Japan forum for North East
  • Social
    • Experience of tsunami, earthwuake
      • Both simialr intensity at 9. Jaoan 15k died. India – 10k in spite of being 1000 km adrift
    • Schooling – Robotics
  • New 15 MoUs over diverse fields like Science, Sports, Civil Aviation Disaster Management Skill development
  • Challenge
    • India – China
      • China is the largest trade partner and much bigger investor in India
      • Japan may alienate this
    • Japan have some self imposed constraints which may prevent the ties from completely blossoming
      • Nuclear
      • Defence
    • India Japan have divergence of Interests in some areas
      • Eg RCEP
    • Japanese Economy has saturated and is showing no growth since 1990
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North Korea (DPRK)

  • Recent sanctions
    • 50% decline in oil imports, ban on natural gas import, restrictions on remittance flow, and restricting sale of its exports
    • But, it depends on how pro actively these are independent – role of China , plus it may push the countries into war
  • India for the 1st time has Supported the sanctions in a full-fledged manner on NK
  • Why Confrontation so much now ?
    • President Trump
    • Possibility of NK developing Bassistic missile which can hit USA- The red line
  • Nuclear Deal ?
    • No, Sir, NK has unfortunately not dealt with the previous deals well and further appeasement may only mean it operating the weapons program in a clandenstine manner
  • Effects
    • Warfare that can escalate into a global war given Russian and Chinese proximity to NK
    • Nuclear Arms Race
    • Kenneth Waltz – More weapons lead to an insurance against wars – NUCLEAR PEACE
    • Economic – South Korea – And Indian trade
  • Measures required
    • Tougher measures. Tougher sanctions
    • Ensure that China and other countries enforce these sanctions. India has lent full support to it- President Trump has said if China provides support, then willing to provide concessions to China on trade
    • Important to ensure that S K and Japan do not become victimised here. Hence, their protection becomes important
    • We may provide for Low Enriched Uranium
    • Conclusion – at the end, we may have to live with it. As experts have pointed, Nuclear weapons can help to maitain peace.


  • Buddhism
  • Indian role in Korean War
    • India criticised North Korea when it started the aggression and attempted to capture South
    • India was the CHAIR of the Neutral Nation Repatriation Commission That worked towards consensus building
    • Under KPS Menon
  • NAM
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The existing bilateral relationship is characterised by:

(A) India happens to be one of N Korea’s largest trading partners with bilateral trade standing at $100-million annually.

Space Collaboration – Training to Korean Students

(B) India is increasing providing DPRK ITES (IT enabled Services eg BPO) assistance by way of scientific and computer training

(C) India as one of the leading contributors has been extending humanitarian assistance to DPRK, which has suffered food shortages during the last few years

(D) Cultural exchanges between the two countries has been a regular feature


(A) From a geo-strategic perspective, India is likely to use its closer ties with DPRK as a counter weight to the influence of its arch rivals – Pakistan and China, both of whom are known to be close allies of DPRK.

(B) DPRK’s rich reserves of rare earth metals can boast the growth of India’s IT and electronics industry.

(C) Given that India is close to both the Koreas, it could use its good offices to attempt to bring rapprochement between the two – thus cementing its position as an emerging player on the global forum.


  • Shares close relations with Pak and China
  • NUCLEAr from Pak
  • Indian proximity to Japan
  • Can’t be trusted– nuclear deal with US in the past

South Korea

Need to learn

  • President indicted
  • Heir of largest company under arrest – Corporate Governance lesson

History of ties

  • Ancient
    • Buddhism common connect
    • Koreans believe that the Princess of Ayodhya travellled married to the Korean King in 48 CE
  • Connection wrt to Colonial brutalities and the pain of separation of countries, and having a nuclear neighbour
  • Yet, India’s NAM policy meant India treated both the Koreas equally
  • India finally opened up to S Korea with the emergence of S Korea as an Asian Tiger in the 1980s and the Look East Policy in the 1990s
  • Narasimha Rao allowed 100% FDI to Korean companies
  • Since, then Samsung, LG, Hyundai have become household names
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  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed in 2010
  • Total trade around 20 billion $, more than Japan
  • India could learn from Korean expertise in shipbuilding
    • Update- Hindustan Shipyards Ltd building Fleet Support Ships (FSS) in collaboration with Hyundai of Korea
  • Can give expertise for make in India


  • India should learn from Korean expertise
  • Korea spends 3.5 % of GDP on R&D, 75% of which comes from the industry, highlighting the link between govt and industry
    • In India., it is 0.9%, US 2.7%
  • India could in turn offer to project Korean satellite into space
  • Nuclear- South Korean provides cheaper nuclear technology


  • Hindustan Shipyards Ltd building Fleet Support Ships (FSS) in collaboration with Hyundai of Korea


  • E-Visa, Visa on Arrival for Koreans would be easier than giving to China
  • Korean TV shows popular in N east
  • Indian yoga common connect


  • POSCO’s 12 billion $ steel project at Orissa still struck in a limbo
  • CEPA has not helped Indian exports, rather trade deficit has been widening
  • Regulators denying entry to Indian pharmaceuticals products


  • Convergence
    • China Factor
      • One China Policy
      • South China Sea and Freedom of Navigation
    • Economic
      • Hardware Giant
      • India a Software Powerhouse
    • Oil in South China Sea
  • Issues
    • India still doesn’t have a Comlete Diplomatic Relations with Taiwan because of the issue surrounding One China Policy
    • Small Size