India Nepal Relations

India Nepal Relations

This article deals with ‘India Nepal Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Brief History of India Nepal Relations

Common Culture – Since times immemorial
– In Ramayana, Sita was from Janakpuri (Nepal)
British Times Treaty of Sagauli of 1816 -signed when Gurkhas lost to British East India Company  

As per treaty
Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim annexed to the British empire
British resident  stationed at Kathmandu
Nepal surrendered it’s  foreign policy  to Britishers
Gorkhas  recruited in British Army
Treaty of Peace & Friendship, 1950 Neither government shall tolerate any threat to the security of the other by a foreign aggressor
– Open border between the two countries
– Allows Nepali nationals to work in India without a work permit      
Military ties 180 training slots for Nepalese Army in Indian Military Acadamy
Indian Army Chief is Honorary General of Nepal Army & vice versa
Nepalese can serve as soldiers in Indian army.  Over 1.23 Lakh ex‐servicemen residing in Nepal. (₹ 1100 crores/ annum pension)
– Annual Joint military exercise = Surya Kiran   

But Nepal is also increasing military ties with China. 2017 saw first  Nepal-China joint military exercise  
Multilateral Both part of
Others Education: 3000 scholarships/seats annually to Nepali nationals.
Culture: Signed three sister-city agreements :- Kathmandu-Varanasi , Lumbini-Bodhgaya  (Buddhist) and Janakpur-Ayodhya (Sita & Ram)

Issues / Irritants in India Nepal Relations

  • Smuggling of goods
  • Domestic parties and government playing China Card
  • China making inroads into Nepal  
  • Issue of Open Border : due to this, many illegal activities carried our
    • Fake Currency,
    • Terrorist penetration ,
    • Drug Smuggling,
    • Human Trafficking
  • During floods in Kosi river , both countries allege each other for responsibility of floods
  • Border / Boundry Issue : Strategic Position of Kalapani which provides advantage to India vis a vis China is demanded by Nepal (under Chinese pressure , demand is gaining strength)
India Nepal Relations
Kalapani Issue
  • New : Nepal opposed & boycotted the India led BIMSTEC military exercise in 2018


  • Large number of Nepalese working in India (Nearly 30 lakh Nepalis (some 10% of Nepal’s population) are employed in India)
  • Gorkha soldiers in Indian army
  • Common cultural & historical ties
  • Hindu religion – majority in Nepal
  • Terai region of Nepal and India has similar ethnic group with strong kinship bond
  • Matrimony  across  border  is common feature. 
  • Exporting electricity to India rather than China is easier because India’s most populous states are in neighbourhood, while China’s biggest cities and industries are far to the east.
  • Nepal is a land locked country, access to the outer world is only through India 
  • Indian  cinema  &  music is  highly  popular  in  Nepal.

Strategic Importance

  • Nepal is a buffer state between India and China.
    • Indian border with Nepal is most indefensive => no protection by Himalayas as Nepal lies beneath Himalayas
    • If China penetrates to Nepal and connect it with Road and Railways => Gangetic plains will become vulnerable

Internal Security Issues with Nepali Border

  • Fake Currency,
  • Terrorist penetration ,
  • Drug Smuggling,
  • Human Trafficking

River issues

  • Nepal’s installed hydel capacity of 700 MW is much lesser than potential of over 80 GW.
  • Three major rivers are
    • Kosi , Gandhak & Mahakali
  • Nepal has high hydropower potential but it is dealing with power shortage (Kathmandu in summer has power shortage of 8 hours) . Even India is supplying Electricity to Nepal

Indian help in Post – Earthquake Reconstruction

  • 2016 : Nepali PM (KP Oli)  visited Bhuj, which is held up as an example of efficient post-quake reconstruction. 
  • India had pledged $2 billion of reconstruction aid

New Projects  of India in Nepal

  • Construction of a Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line.
  • Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum  pipeline to address shortages of petroleum
  • Making  Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit connecting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, with Ayodhya
  • 900 MW Arun III hydro-electric project  in Nepal

China card of Nepal

  • China has Increased its footprint in Nepal .
  • China in 2015 overtook India as Nepal’s biggest foreign investor
  • Present Government of KP OLI has clear tilt towards China
  • Chinese Project of which Nepal is part
    • China planning to extend its rail network  to the Nepal border ((Lhasa to  Nepal)
    • Nepal is part of OBOR
    • Funding powerplant on Budhi Gandhaki  ($ 2.5 billion) , Trishuli river , SETI river  etc
    • 2016 : Access to Tianjin seaport for transit of Nepali goods (but distance = 3,000 km ||  1,000 km from Haldia port )
    • Making Dry Port at Kodari (China has made road from Kathmandu to Kodari)
    • Constructing road  connecting Kodari with Zhangmu 
    • China Study Centers (CSC) and Confucius Institutes in Nepal
Nepal China Road
  • India accounted for (just) 53 percent of Nepal’s trade in 2015, down from 60 percent in 2006, when a Maoist insurgency ended. China’s share of Nepal’s commerce has risen to 31 percent from 3 percent

Note : Earlier King Mahendra (1960s), Birendra & Gyanendra too used China card => It is not a new problem

Why China is interested in Nepal

  • Market for Chinese products in Nepal
  • Tibetan community in Nepal is a serious concern => crackdown on Tibetan activities.
  • Use Nepal in breaching Himalayan barrier 

Why India is worried ?

  • Strategic vulnerabilities if China breaches Himalayan barrier
  • Debt Trap diplomacy of China => can take parts of Nepal on lease

India Afghanistan Relations

India- Afghanistan Relations

This article deals with ‘India Afghanistan Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Brief history of India Afghanistan Relations

1978 People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan ( PDPA) (Marxist Party) took power in military coup , known as SAUR Revolution  . They started series of radical reforms in Afghanistan and as a results conservatives  started war against them.
1979 Soviet Union entered Afghanistan (after threat of removal of Socialist government in neighbourhood of USSR was eminent)  and war started between  Soviet Union led Afghan forces and Mujahideen allegedly supported by USA and Pakistan  
1989 Soviet forces left Afghanistan  
1990s  Taliban rose to power  
2000s till 2017 – Subsequent to 9/11 attacks in USA , NATO interfered in Afghanistan under OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (2001)  with the purpose to defeat Al Qaeda ,remove Taliban from powercreate a viable democratic state
– NATO stayed in Afghanistan for  more than decade 
– Obama Policy – Remove NATO from Afghanistan
2016 In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award.  
2017 2017 Trump Policy : 16,000 NATO Forces to remain in Afghanistan Fight till win

Importance of Afghanistan for India

  • Economic importance
    • Natural Resources: Afghanistan has significant oil and gas reserves +  rich in rare earth materials.
    • Massive reconstruction plans for the country offer a lot of opportunities for Indian companies.
  • Security:
    • Stable government in Kabul will not give safe haven for terrorist activity that might reduce insurgency in Kashmir.
    • Prevention of Pakistan from regaining its central role in Afghan affairs.
  • Gateway to energy rich central Asia: Afghanistan is situated at crossroads between South Asia and Central Asia and South Asia and the Middle East. 

Indian works in Afghanistan

  • India has contributed 2 billion $ for Afghanistan’s reconstruction (6th largest donor by amount) 
  • Afghanistan’s Parliament building is built by India (cost = $45 Million)  . 
  • Other projects include
    • Salma Dam-$ 300 Million  (renamed to India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam)
    • Construction of a 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram for facilitating movement of goods to Chabahar Port
    • Committed to contribute substantially in improving transportation system in Kabul & to donate 1000 buses
  • Afghanistan is rich in mineral resources .   India has acquired rights to iron mining (Hajigak iron ore reserves)
  • Accessing Afghanistan is the biggest problem for India because Pakistan doesn’t allow India trucks to pass from her territory & reach Afghanistan. To overcome this India has Invested in route through Iran (Zaranj-Delaram Highway) . Chabahar port will also help in this pursuit
  • Invested in TAPI pipeline . If project takes off, will help Afghanistan earn transit fee
  • India donated three Mi-25 attack helicopters
  • Large number of Afghani students come to India for study through scholarships
  • India train cadets of Afghani Army at NDA and IMA .
  • Afghanistani Cricket Team has base in Dehradun.
  • Soft Power : Indian Bollywood movies and dramas are among favorite of Afghani people

APTTA (Af-Pak Transit Trade Agreement)

  • Under the modified agreement in 2011 (treaty was originally signed in 1950 to provide access to Karachi port & Lahore dry Port to Afghanistan and  does not allow Afghan goods to cross the actual border)
    • Afghan trucks loaded with Cargo  meant for India can travel only up to its last checkpoint at Wagah (Attari)
    • No Indian goods could be imported  and Afghan trucks would have to drive back empty to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where they could load up with Pakistani goods .
  • Afghanistan demands  Pakistan to open transit route for India.  But Pakistan didn’t allow  
  • Bitter India-Pakistan relations mean Afghan trucks carrying perishable fruit face long delays on both sides of the border .
  • Due to this, India is adopting alternate routes
    • Zaranj Delaram Highway and Chabahar Port for trade with Afghanistan in  future (already discussed in India Iran relations)
    • June 2017 : India-Afghanistan Air Freight Corridor (Bring Dry fruits to India & take medicine, garments etc from India)

Issue : US withdrawal from Afghanistan

 US President Donald Trump is ordering an American drawdown in Afghanistan

Reasons for US withdrawal

  • Trump’s America First Policy : Trump is not in favour of wasting US ‘blood and treasure’ on distant lands (17th year and no solution in sight)
  • Realisation that Afghanistan war cant be won owing to Afghan geography and society

Reasons for US failure

  • Political factor : US failed to integrate Taliban into Afghan government & National Unity Government was corrupt & inefficient
  • Geographical Factors :  hostile terrain as well as guerilla tactics used by Talibs
  • Great Game:  
    • Intervention by global powers e.g. U.S.-Russia tensions are creating space for proxies
    • Intervention by regional powers . Eg : India vs Pakistan
  • Role of Pakistan : ISI allowed senior Taliban Leaders to run war in relative security. 
  • Socio Cultural Factors :  nomadic and tribal society in Afghanistan comprises of multiple tribes like Pashtuns, Turks and Persians, each dominant in different regions, asserting their own traditions and culture. The tribal factionalism didn’t allow the democratically elected government to settle in Afghanistan

Consequences of US withdrawal

  • Resurgence of Taliban : Post US withdrawl , Taliban with help of Pakistan can takeover whole of Afghanistan
  • Breeding ground of Terrorism threatening security of Central Asia and India
  • Refugee Crisis as instability will result in mass exodus of Afghans.

Consequences for India

  • Upsurge of terrorism and act as launchpad for attacks on India as happened during 1990s post Soviet withdrawl (IC 814 hijacking). )
  • On Kashmir :  Separatists in Kashmir are using Taliban’s “victory” over US  to inspire that they too could “defeat India”.
  • India has invested 2 billion $ in Afghanistan‘s infrastructure along with large investment in Chabahar port with eye on Afghanistan .
  • TAPI project may get jeopardised impacting energy security of India
  • Increased Pakistani involvement in Afghan policy => disturbs Balance of Power in Middle East & Central Asia in Pakistan’s favour
  • Refugee Crisis will impact India. Large number of Afghani Sikhs and Hindus will seek refuge in India



This article deals with ‘IRNSS / NAVIC‘. This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

How Global Positioning System works?

  • GPS is network of 24 Satellites that orbits the Earth transmitting signals back to Earth. GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received to triangulate position . With help of 3 satellites locked by receiver , 2D position(latitude & longitude) can be determined and with 4 satellites locked 3D position can be determined (latitude, longitude & altitude)
  • GPS receiver is only a receiver, without any transmitting capability. The satellites  contain highly precise atomic clocks which generates some code which it keeps transmitting to the earth.

India has joined elite club of few nations which have their own Global positioning System. These include

China Beidou (2019 update- China integrating this with OBOR Project => this has become part of Space Silk Road)
Japan Quasi Zenith
Europe Galileo

India’s NAVIC / IRNSS?

  • In 2006, Indian Government approved this project 
  • 2016 April: All 7 satellites were placed in Orbit & PM Modi named this system as NAVIC – Navigation with Indian Constellation.
  • Note- American GPS has 24  satellites

Satellites in IRNSS/ NAVIC

7 satellites are present in IRNSS and these include

3 satellites Geostationary Satellites.
4 satellites Geosynchronous orbits with inclination of 29 degrees

All 7 have been launched using PSLV (7th was launched on 28th April 2016)

Area of service

  • Primary Service Area : up to 1,500 km from India’s boundary
  • Extended Service Area : rectangle imagined by
    • 30  S and 50 N
    • 30  East and 130  East.


  • terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation
  • disaster management
  • vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • integration with mobile
  • precise timing
  • terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Geotagging of all the assets created under schemes like MNREGA, RKVY etc

Why we need our own NAVIC system ?

  • During Indo-Pakistan War in 1999 , rumour circulated that US was denying India access to most precise level of its GPS. Although this rumour was never substantiated but this scenario presented the advantage of having such system fully under Indian Control.
  • Americans sent wrong GPS signals to Iraqi planes during the Iraq war => same can happen with India as well

Use in Diplomacy

PM Modi as goodwill gesture said that our SAARC neighbours can use it who till now depend on foreign GPS services



This article deals with ‘Gaganyaan‘. This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


  • ISS= International Space Station.
  • International Space Station (ISS) is a space station
  • Space Station can be defined as a habitable artificial satellite in Low Earth orbit.
  • US, Japan, Russia, Canada etc have invested in  International space station.
  • China is building its own Space Station called Tiangong 

Earlier, MIR was Space Station of USSR .

Uses of Space Stations

  • It acts as Microgravity Lab.
  • It serves  as Space Terminal.
  • It can also be used in Space Tourism.

Space Craft

  • As Satellite Launch Vehicles are used to send satellites in the Orbits . In same way, Space craft is used to send Astronauts in the space.
  • Examples  include China’s Shenzhou, America’s Atlantis , Russia’s Soyuz and SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule
  • Here comes the role of India’s Gaganyaan


  • Gaganyaan = India’s first manned space-craft. In 15 Aug Speech , PM Modi set target of 2022 for Space Manned Mission
  • India will become 4th country after US, Russia and China to have this capability


1984 Rakesh Sharma became first and only Indian Citizen to travel to space
2007 First proposal for ISRO’s manned space mission
Dec 2014 Experimental flight of manned mission launcher GSLV MK-III tested
15 Aug 2018 PM Modi Speech => announced that Gaganyaan will be launched by 2022
2022 Will be launched

Earlier Manned Missions

Spacecrafts of various countries
Vostok 1 Mission (USSR,1961) Took Yuri Gagarin of Soviet Union into space making him the world’s first human in space
Mercury Mission (USA, 1961) Alan Spepard was the first American send to space
Shenzou (China, 2003) This mission put first Chinese citizen in space
Rakesh Kumar Rakesh Kumar was the first Indian send to space on Russian Soyuz Space vehicle

What will Gaganyaan Project include ?

  • Manned mission
  • GSLV MK-III to  carry  a  3-member crew  to  the  Low Earth Orbit and  safe return  to  the  Earth after duration of few  orbits  to  two  days. 
  • Extendable  version of spaceship will allow  flights  upto  7 days &  docking  capability  with  space  stations 

Key Components of Human Space  Program

  • Buidling up a Habitable Module
  • Other life support systems like Space Suits
  • Astronaut training
  • Capabilities for recovering Astronauts safely
  • Crew Escape System

Benefits / Significance of Human Space Program

  • It will help India in doing Research and Development in space => Indian scientists will get opportunity to conduct experiments in space through Gaganyaan Mission
  • It will encourage our scientific community =>   will help in making India a knowledge based economy.
  • Manned Space Program are important to control resources present outside the earth. Infact, if in future we plan to setup colonies outside earth, such programs will be very important.
  • Symbolism of achieving great power status
  • It will increase the soft power of India

Indian Satellite Launch Vehicles

Indian Satellite Launch Vehicles

This article deals with ‘Indian Satellite Launch Vehicles‘. This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

We need Launch Vehicles to place satellites in the orbit. ISRO has made various Satellite Launch Vehicles like PSLV and GSLV.

Indian Satellite Launch Vehicles


  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
  • First launch – 1993
  • Payload that PSLV can carry =  upto 1600 kg
  • It is used by ISRO to launch  Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) such as Cartosat, Oceansat etc
  • Latest version ie PSLV-XL can carry upto 1750 kg.  Chandrayaan & Mars mission were launched using this.
Stages Four stages using solid and liquid fuel alternately
First – Solid fuel
– HTPB- Hydroxyl Terminated Poly-Butadiene
Second – Liquid propellant : UDMH- Unsymmetrical Di Methyl Hydrazine
– Oxidiser : Nitrogen Tetroxide
– It employs Vikas engine
Third – Solid propellant : HTPB
Fourth – Liquid propellant : Mono Methyl Hydrazine
– It also employs Vikas Engine

PSLV and importance to Indian space programme

  • Country’s  first operational launch vehicle
  • Highly successful and reliable => Has record of 97% successful launches which is one of the most successful in whole world
  • Carries IRS satellites to Polar Sun Synchronous Orbits with utmost precision
  • Potential competition to west due to lower launch price => helping to earn lot of revenue.
  • Helped launching spy satellites   => boost the national security


  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
  • First launch in 2001
  • Can carry upto 2500 kg
  • For launching Indian National satellites (INSAT)  & GSAT (but most of Geostationary Satellites are around 3000 kg to 4000 kg which cant be launched by GSLV MK II & we used to be dependent on Ariane Aerospace for their launches)
  • Next version is GSLV MK-3
Stages Three stages  
First Solid propelled
Second Liquid propelled with hypergolic fuels
Third Liquid propelled in MK-2 (this stage is Cryogenic  in MK-3)
Stage 1&2 Taken over from PSLV
  • All the GSLV launches are conducted from Satish Dhawan Space centre in Sriharikota


Earlier (before June 2017) , ISRO was in  position to launch only satellites weighing between 2 &  2.5 tons into geostationary orbits. But most contemporary communications satellites are normally in the weight category of 3 to 5 tons & therefore require a more powerful launcher. India’s future missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus also need powerful launcher. Appreciating this need, ISRO has made GSLV-Mark III, a vehicle capable of placing 4 ton satellites in geostationary orbit

Latest version of GSLV

GSLV Mk-3 can Carry

  • Upto 4 ton till Geostationary Orbit
  • Upto 10 ton till Low Earth Orbit (Polar Satellites)

And it has ended our reliance  on EU’s Arianespace launch vehicle to send GSAT satellites.

GSLV MK-3 is a three stage vehicle

First Solid propellant
Second Liquid Propellant
Third Cryogenic Engine ( only difference in this stage from normal GSLV) – Fuel = Liquid hydrogen
– Oxidiser = Liquid oxygen  

India had signed MoU with Russia to transfer Cryogenic Engines to India in starting 1990s but USA pressurised Russia not to supply these to India arguing that it would violate MTCR Treaty although Cryogenic engines are not used in Missiles . Due  to this India’s programme  suffered

June 2017 – GSLV MK-III made its maiden flight from Sri Harikota placing GSAT – 19  in Geostationary Orbit .


  • The launch of GSLV Mark III will enhance India’s capability to be a competitive player in the multimillion dollar commercial launch market. It will help in earning huge foreign exchange.
  • It will end India’s dependence on foreign launch vehicles to put its heavy satellites (GSAT series) . (Earlier India was dependent on France’s Ariane space )
  • India can  send its astronauts into space using this. 
  • It will boost India’s Communication resources as cost of launching Communication Satellites will reduce
  • Cryogenic Technology used in it can be further used in making ICBM

Only USA (Saturn V), Russia (Proton M) , China (Long March 5) & European Space Agency (Ariane)  + Private player (Space X) has this capability earlier.

4. Semi Cryogenic Engine

  • MoU signed between Russian Space Agency & ISRO
  • Would be third Rocket Development Programme
  • Cost –  ₹1,800 crore
  • Capacity –  6 to 10 Ton to height of 36,000 km (more than GSLV-Mk-3)
  • Currently only Russia & US have this technology

5. Reusable Launch Vehicle

  • June 2016 – ISRO  successfully launched first technology demonstrator of the indigenously made RLV. Many more such successful launches have to be undertaken , before ISRO readies a reusable launch vehicle for commercial use.
  • In simple words, it is a winged vehicle that will take off vertically like a rocket and glide back to land horizontally like a plane
  • It will have a two-stage-to-orbit configuration.


  • Cut down  cost of launching satellites to 1/10th .  Currently, main launch cost comes from building rocket, which can be used just once, as the rockets get burnt on re-entry into atmosphere. 
  • More developed version of the vehicle could be used for manned missions

Note – No sovereign space agency has RLV for satellite launches. SpaceX is also working on this project.

6. Scramjet Engine

  • ISRO successfully conducted the Scramjet (or Supersonic Combusting ramjet) engine test. With this, India became only the fourth nation in the world to successfully flight-test a scramjet engine after United States, Russia and China.
  • Scramjet engine uses natural oxygen present in the atmosphere to burn the fuel stored in the rocket. It reduces the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel, bringing down launch costs.


  • Increases lift off mass as there will be no need to carry  liquified oxygen on board . Note:  propellant accounts for nearly 85%  of the weight of a rocket, and in that oxygen accounts for nearly 60%
  • Scramjet does not have rotating parts so the chances of failure are also measurably reduced.

7. Future Dream Project : Small Satellite Launch Vehicle

  • Dream project of ISRO chief K Sivan
  • Small satellites are being built by private industry players with advancements in electronics
  • Note : JAXA (Japan) has made this type of launch vehicle

Indian Satellites

Indian Satellites

This article deals with ‘Indian Satellites‘. This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Types of Orbits

To understand this topic, we will first study about the types of Orbits in which satellites orbit around the Earth

Low  Earth Orbit

  • 400 to 900 km above surface of the earth
  • Closest to earth
  • Satellites have to overcome huge drag due to atmosphere. HenceSatellites have shorter life span of 2-3 years
  • They appear to be moving in the sky & take approx 1.5 hours for one revolution.
  • It has following applications
    • Astronomical Telescopes (eg : India’s Astrosat)
    • Space Stations (eg : International Space Station (ISS) )

Geostationary Orbit

  • There is only one Geostationary Orbit at 36,000 km above the equator 
  • Orbit around the earth with an orbital period of one sidereal day (23hours 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds)
  • It is circular orbit lying in equatorial plane .
  • It has special property of remaining permanently fixed in exactly the same position in the sky, meaning that ground-based antennas do not need to track them but can remain fixed in one direction.
  • Such satellites are often used for communication and broadcast purpose (due to above property).

Geosynchronous Orbit

  • It is not circular & not equatorial (ie not in equatorial plane but inclined)
  • Rest all things are same as Geostationary Orbit ie distance from earth & time taken to complete one rotation are same .
  • From earth, these satellites don’t appear to be stationary.

Clarke’s Orbit

  • Single Geostationary Satellite can cover about 40% of earth’s surface. If three satellites are placed at proper longitude whole earth can be covered .
  • This was first conceptualised by Arthur C Clarke  & Geostationary orbit is sometimes referred to as Clarke’s Orbit in his honour

Polar Orbit

  • Polar Satellites passes  above both poles of Earth ie inclination of 90 degree from Equator
  • Used for earth-mapping , earth observation, reconnaissance satellites & weather satellites

Sun Synchronous Orbit

  • It is special type of Polar Orbit
  • In this , altitude & inclination are set in such a way that it guarantees same illumination 
  • It has same application as polar satellites.

Junk Orbit / Graveyard Orbit

  • When life of Geo-Stationary Satellite completes, they are send above Geostationary Orbit
  • That is known as Junk Orbit
  • Good way to tackle space junk.

Satellite Systems

1 . Remote Sensing Satellites

  • Remote sensing is the observation of the earth from the space (900 km above) ie space based earth observation system
  • These are in
    • Polar (Pole to Pole Movement)
    • Sun Synchronous   (so that illuminance of point is same )
    • Low earth orbit (900 Km)
  • Examples include Cartosat, Resourcesat, Scatsat, Oceansat etc.

Space borne remote sensing is better than ground surveys and air borne sensing because

  • Cheaper
  • Speedier
  • More accurate
  • Reliable
  • Multidimensional tool

Applications of Remote sensing Indian Satellites

Indian Satellites
Applications of Remote Sensing Satellites
  • Defence
    • Spy in the sky . Used for reconnaissance
    • Pick up the troop movements and deployments by the enemy
  • Agriculture
    • Assess net crop area
    • Movement of locust
    • Damage assessments
    • India divided into 15 Agro climatic zones based on data from IRS 1A and 1B
    • => Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana will use data of these satellites extensively to estimate the damages 
  • Disaster Management
    • Early warning of cyclones, floods etc
    • Monitoring of the forest fires
  • Urban studies
    • Mapping Urban sprawl
    • Structural plans for cities
  • Governance
    • Geotagging of all the assets created under schemes like MNREGA, RKVY etc can be done.
  • Fisheries

By analysing the colour of the ocean, surface temperature and wind conditions from the Oceans , it is possible to identify areas in the sea where the fish school will assemble

2 . Geosynchronous Satellites – INSAT & GSAT

  • INSAT  (Starting Satellites of India)  series was built by Ford Aerospace Corporation of USA under contract 
  • GSAT – GSAT series of geosynchronous satellites is a system developed by ISRO with an objective to make India self-reliant in broadcasting services.
  • Satellites are monitored and controlled by the master control facility at Hassan (Kr) &  Bhopal (MP)


India is considered as a leader in the area of application of space technology to solve problems on Earth

Indian Satellites
Applications of Geosynchronous Satellites
Telecommunication – Responsible for Communication revolution in india
– Remote and far flung areas have been effectively connected  
Television DTH all over the country.  
Disaster management & meteorology – Warning mechanism for cyclone
– Short term weather forecasting
– Impact assessment for droughts and floods  
Navigation – IRNSS
– GAGAN too use 3 Geostationary satellites apart from GPS  
SAS&R Satellite aided search &rescue  

Some important Indian Satellites of ISRO


  • Indo-French satellite
  • SARAL= Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa.
  • It was launched  From Sriharikota, AP
  • Use :  meteorology, oceanography, climate monitoring etc


  • India’s first Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS)
  • Launched with PSLV in Polar Orbit

Hyperspectral Imaging Technology 

  • It combines the power of digital imaging and spectroscopy
  • Every pixel in the image contains much more detailed information about the scene  than a normal color camera
  • Earlier used in Chandrayaan-1 mission for mapping lunar mineral resources.


Hyperspectral remote sensing is used for a range of applications like

  • Mineral prospecting
  • Soil survey
  • Coastal water studied
  • Environment Studies + Detection of Pollution from industries


  • May 2019
  • Radar imaging earth observation satellite with an advanced technology of 3.6m radial rib antenna. 
  • The satellite is intended to provide services to Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management domains.


  • Launched in Dec 2018
  • Heaviest satellite built by ISRO (5855 kg)
  • Launched with help of Ariane Aerospace from French Guiana 

South Asia Satellite (GSAT-09)

  • South Asia Satellite is  communication-cum-meteorology satellite by ISRO for the SAARC South Asia region.
  • Satellite Diplomacy
  • Announced in June 2014 & Launched in May 2017


  • Application : communication, tele- education, tele-medicine ,  disaster monitoring and other need based services.
  • Has 12 Ku Transponders with each nation getting atleast One Transponder
  • Earlier Pakistan was part but later it withdrew 
  • First Indian Satellite to use Electric Propulsion
  • Shows that India is willing to use its technological capabilities as a tool of diplomacy

GSAT – 19

  • Launched in June 2017 with Indian Launcher GSLV Mk – III with operational Cryogenic Stage from Sriharikota (first Satellite to be launched with this) – Earlier all GSAT were launched with help of French Agency Ariane Aerospace.
  • Geostationary Satellite (36,000 km Orbit)

Aditya – L1

  • India’s first dedicated scientific mission to study sun. 
  • Aditya L1 is to be the first satellite to study the magnetic field of the sun’s corona.
  • Will be placed at Langrange point (L1)

Note : NASA has announced it’s program called Parker which will study Corona by going to the Sun.

Cartosat – 2

  • Cartography  = science of drawing maps
  • Launched in Feb 2017
  • In 104 Satellite Launches, this was the primary satellite.
  • Primarily meant for military requirement (hence, ISRO moving from Civilian to Military uses too)

Cartosat satellites: Cartosat series are earth observation satellites in a sun-synchronous orbit. They have high resolution cameras installed on them . The imagery sent by satellite are useful for cartographic (science of drawing maps) applications

Cartosat 2s

  • Launched in 2018
  • Launched on PSLV-40 which was India’s 100th launch along with 30 other satellites


  • developed by DRDO
  • Provide information to armed forces about hostile radars placed at the borders


  • Weather satellite => mainly focus on Cyclone formation
  • It has replaced Oceansat

UN Kalam Global Sat

  • A global satellite for Disaster Risk Reduction GlobalSat for DRR 
  • Launched at UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held at Sendai in Japan in March 2015.

ISRO Student Collaborations

  • ANUSAT (Anna University Satellite)
  • JUGNU : IIT Kanpur

This concludes our article on Indian Satellites . For rest of our series on Science and Technology, click on following link

ISRO and Indian Space Program

ISRO and Indian Space Program

This article deals with ‘ISRO and Indian Space Program.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Space Program of India

  • Operated by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
  • Chairman=Dr K Sivan (First Chairman of ISRO was Vikram Sarabhai.)
  • Head of ISRO also acts as Secretary of Department of Science


  • Primary body of Space Research under Department of Space
  • Headquartered in Bangalore
1961 Space Research started under Department of Atomic  Energy under Homi Bhaba
1962 Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCSR) established & work to establish TERLS (Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Centre) started  
1969 ISRO was formed  
1972 Department of Space (independent department)  formed => ISRO brought under Department of Space  
1975 Aryabhatta – First Satellite launched (with Soviet Launch Vehicle)  
1980 Rohini- first satellite launched by Indian LV(SLV3)

Objectives of Space Program

  • Using Space Technology for Socio-Economic benefit of the people
  • Make India self reliant in space technology

Department of Space (DoS)

  • ISRO is the primary R&D wing of DoS
  • Other Agencies of DoS
Physical Research Lab (PRL) Ahemdabad
Semi Conductor Lab Chandigarh
National Atmospheric Research Lab Chittor
North Eastern Space Applications Centre Shillong

Two (Three)  major satellite systems

ISRO and Indian Space Program
Major Satellite Systems of India
INSAT / GSAT Indian National Satellite For communication purposes Launched by GSLV (& foreign Space Agencies-Ariane of France)
IRS Indian Remote Sensing  Satellites For management of the natural resources Launched by PSLV
INS Indian Nano Satellites (New – First launched in Feb 2017) INS-1A & INS-1B  

Equivalent of ISRO of other nations

Russia RKA
China CNSA
Europe ESA
Japan JAXA

Private Space Agencies

Musk (Tesla) SpaceX
Jeff Bezos (Amazon) Blue Origin

Challenges to Indian Space Programme

  • Move from research and development  to a commercial level
  • Need to boost the frequency  of launches. This will  reduce the cost & make them cost competitive
  • Need to develop capabilities to build much larger number of the satellites than current 3-4 per year
  • Most of the space launches are for socio-economic development of country. ISRO need to move ahead and work for military and defence needs of country

Achievements of Indian Space Programme

  • Emerged as one of the 6 most important countries in field of space research
  • Self reliant in launching remote sensing and the communication platforms
  • With GSLV MK III , now is in elite club which can launch heavy Geo Stationary Communication Satellites 
  • 104 Satellites launched in single launch and created world record
  • Launch satellites for others too – Earn foreign exchange.
  • Contributes to national security in form of improving the surveillance capability
  • Helping India emerge as Technological power and Knowledge based economy

Side Topic :  Cases in news

Nambi Narayanan Case : In 1994, Nambi Narayanan who was working on Cryogenic Engine and was on verge of making it was arrested on charges of selling secrets. CBI later found that charges were false and he was discharged in 1996. Case was fabricated by IB Officials in connivance with CIA because US didn’t want India to develop Cryogenic Engine as it would have challenged  monopoly enjoyed by US, Russia and France

Glance at ISRO’s future missions (detail further in chapter)

  • Indian Regional  Navigation  Satellite  System  (IRNSS)  –  DONE
  • Reusable  Satellite  Launch Vehicle  – 
    • This  mission will reduce  the  cost of delivering satellites  into  orbit to 1/10th. 
  • Cryogenic  Engine  –  Done in June 2017
    • GSLV MK III with Cryogenic Stage developed successfully
    • This technology will help  India  launch payloads  of  upto  4  tonnes  into  the  geostationary  orbit. 
  • Chandrayaan 2  – 
    • After unprecedented  success  of  Chandrayaan 1, ISRO  is already  working on Chandryaan 2 which  will be  launched shortly.
    • It had Rover and Lander
    • Launched in July 2019 with partial success
  • SAARC  Satellite  –  Done in 2017
  • Aditya  Space  Satellite—
    • To   study  the  Corona  of   Sun
  • Venus  Exploration programme—
    • To   study  the  atmosphere  of Venus  ISRO 
    • By  2020
  • Gaganyaan
    • Manned mission
    • 3-ton ISRO   spaceship to  carry  a  2-member crew  to  the  Low Earth Orbit and  safe return  to  the  Earth after duration of few  orbits  to  two  days. 
    • Extendable  version of spaceship will allow  flights  upto  7 days &  docking  capability  with  space  stations 
  • Space Parks
    • 100-acre Space Park in Bangalore
    • private industry players would be allowed to set up facilities to make subsystems and components for satellites.

India Russia Relations

India Russia Relations

This article deals with ‘India Russia Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

History of India Russia Relations

India Russia Relations
  • Russia is key pillar of India’s foreign policy
  • 1971 : India and Russia signed Treaty of Peace, Friendship & Cooperation  => It has clause of collective security  (ie if India is attacked , Soviet Union will come to help & vice versa)
  • USSR helped to setup many industries in India
  • USSR sided India on Kashmir issue and vetoed all attempts in UN
  • Clear position with India in 1971 Bangladesh war

Initial hiccups in the relation (early 90s)

  • Both India and Russia were attracted towards the west
  • Rupees – Rouble Trade suffered as  value of Rouble fell (Russia asked India to pay in Dollars )
  • Cryogenic engine  denied by Russia (under USA pressure due to MTCR)
  • Militancy in Chechnya and Kashmir presented problem to both nations

=> Overall in this period , India and Russia both leaned towards west in parallel , without any convergence

End of 1990s

  • Nuclear Tests of 1998 brought India Russia closer.
  • World was divided into two groups
    • USA , Japan , EU  : placed sanctions on India .
    • Russia  : Supported India arguing  that India is surrounded by China & Pakistan & had right to protect using Nuclear Deterrence

Putin Visit in 2010

  • India and Russia signed “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” (SPSP)

Crimea Issue

  • Russia annexed Crimea ( Russian Black Sea Fleet placed there and outlet to Mediterranean Sea ) =>  India supported Russia 

Present Collaborations

  • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
  • BRICS  : Both are part of BRICS
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation 
  • S-400 Triumf  Air Defense Systems 
  • Far East Development

Convergence of Interests

Russia needs India as

  • To bypass Western sanctions 
  • Hedge against  forthcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)  driven by the US & EU
  • India is market for Defence Industry (India largest buyer)
  • India is major market of Oil (Russia = Major producer)

India needs Russia  as

  • Energy supply at a cost-effective price. 
  • Get  cutting edge defence technology   (No country provide it’s new technology. Russia selling S-400)
  • Russia = Market for Indian pharmaceuticals, manufactured goods, dairy products etc. 
  • Russian Veto at UN matters for India

India-Russia Economic cooperation

  • Trade of $11 billion (2012) . India exports $3 billion and imports $8 billion (Target is to increase it to $30 Billion in a decade)
  • Total investment of $8 billion in 2012
  • ONGC Videsh $5 billion investment in Sakhalin I project in Siberia and Imperial Energy ltd (Tomsk)
  • Russia developed Kudankulam nuclear energy project (1000 MW)

Problems in trade with Russia

  • Custom clearances  and inspections are complex & time consuming
  • Russian importer needs to get license to import . Russian businessmen demand Indian exporter to pay for these charges
  • Product specific approvals are required
  • SPS on Indian meat , egg, agro & exports
  • Banking & finance issues due to  strict norms in Current Account & Capital Account convertibility

Ways Ahead

  • ALROSA : Russia’s Largest Diamond supplying company to sell rough diamonds to Indian Companies directly worth ~ 700 million per year  (presently done through Belgium)
  • Make Outside India  : set up industries there to use cheap raw material & trade with countries which have signed agreement with these countries
  • Connectivity problems need to be improved by operationalising International North South Transport Corridor

Defence relation


India – Russia Defence Cooperation
  • India is going for massive weaponisation and Russia is most important ally in this because  2/3 of Indian military hardware comes from Russia
Navy INS  Vikramaditya (Gorshkov) Aircraft Carrier 
Nuclear Submarine – Akula II class (INS Chakra)    Deal
Joint Development of 5 Stealth Frigates  
IAF 32 out of 41 fighter Indian Air Force squadrons are Russian
– MIG 21,23,27,29
– Sukhoi 30- MKI
– New Deals => Joint Production of Kamov -226 Helicopter
– New Deal => Buy 5 S-400 Air Defence Systems  
Army T-72 & T-90 constitute 60% of 4168 battle tanks
  • BrahMos supersonic missile ( 2.8 Mach speed)  is jointly developed by India & Russia . This marks  SHIFT IN DEFENCE RELATION FROM BUYER SELLER TO JOINT INVOLVEMENT IN R&D AND DEVELOPMENT
  • Joint Armed exercises – INDRA
  • Even after increased bonhomie with US, Modi has already declared that Russia is the primary defence supplier of India

Defence relations are changing

  • India is trying to diversify her arsenal because too much dependence on one nation in defence is a strategic liability . MMRCA Deal with France vouches for that. 
  • Russia is also trying to diversify its relations in response to Indian position & is engaging with Pakistan for sale of weapons .

Problems of joint development

  • CAATSA :Countering American Adversaries through Sanctions Act of US which has provisions of Sanctions against American adversaries in case they are doing trade with them. These adversaries include Russia, Iran and North Korea. This is presenting difficulty in payment although US has granted waiver to India to buy S-400 System
  • Russian security laws prohibit Indians from working in high security projects

Space Cooperation

  • Goes back 4 decades
  • 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of launch of India’s first satellite “Aryabhatt” on a Russian ( USSR) launch vehicle ‘Soyuz.’
  • Various MOUs between ROSCOSMOS and ISRO
  • Earlier (before NAVIC became operationalised), India was using GLONASS  as an alternate to US controlled GPS

Energy Cooperation

  • India = energy deficient ||  Russia = energy surplus => mutual interest lies in this sector. 
  • Former Soviet Union played a major role in building India’s energy sector by building
    • Tens of hydropower stations
    • Developing India’s coal industry
    • Finding oil in Indian soil
    • Helping in setting up India’s energy major ONGC. 
  • India has invested
    • $5 billion in the Sakhalin-1 project, controlling 20 percent stakes in the venture
    • Purchased Imperial Energy, London-listed oil major in the Tomsk region.

These are India’s largest investments abroad.

  • India has been eying energy projects at Timon Pechora basin and Vankor in the East Siberia.

People to People

  • Programs like ‘Namaste Russia’
  • Institutes like Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, both the countries have had good cultural links. 

Downturn in relations

  • India’s growing proximity to United States like joining Quad  ||  Russia also realigning it’s relation with China
  • India has signed logistic agreements like LEMOA, COMCASA etc with US.
  • India diversifying it’s defence relations with Israel, USA etc . Russian share has decreased from 79% (2008) to 62% (2017)
  • One dimensional trade ie Defence . Both countries were unable to diversify the trade basket
  • Russia in 2014 lifted arms embargo on Pakistan. Russia and Pakistan conducted a military exercise in September 2016.
  • Taliban: Russia  showing inclination towards Taliban in Afghanistan while India continues to have concerns about the group.

Steps taken to address this

  • Sochi informal summit
  • S-400 Defence System bought even defying US diktats and CAATSA
  • Ka-226 helicopter deal => to be made in India under MII Initiative
  • INDRA upgraded to Tri Services Joint Exercises
  • To address connectivity => Development of International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
  • Indian investment in Russian oil sector like investment in Pechora Basin + Essar bought shares of Rosneft oil

Is Russia still important post US – India Ties?

  • Russia is time tested friend who has helped India on number of occasions earlier. Increasing Russo-Pak Ties are just symbolic gesture by Russia to tell India that they too can find friends.
  • Russian Defence partnership is important because they give Transfer of Technology in cutting edge technology which other countries including US willn’t offer. In US , all the defence system manufacturing is under private companies while in Russia they are state controlled . Hence, way in which Russia can help by supplying arms in order to set diplomatic relations on right track cant be done by US (INS Vikramaditya , Nuclear Subs , Sukhoi etc )
  • Along with that, joint production deals in high end products like Kamov Helicopters , Brahmos Missiles etc matters to India if they want to develop domestic defence industry. US and western powers never agree to such agreements
  • In Civil Nuclear Aspects too, only Russia has given best deals eg  in Kundankulam. Other nations care too much about financial aspects and just want to increase their profits .
  • If India wants to book her seat in UNSC , Russian support is very important 
  • On various multilateral forums, Russia and India share space . BRICS & SCO are most important . 
  • Russia has large energy resources and India need Russia to satisfy her hunger for energy.
  • Overall, as mentioned by PM Modi, Russia still remains our principle Defence Partner . About 70 per cent of our weapons and equipment are of Russian or Soviet origin. 
  • Military Exercise with Pakistan should not be seen from narrow perspective. In age of Realpolitik, every nation wants to have maximum manoeuvre  space. India conduct military exercises with China too 

This concludes article on India-Iran Relations. For reading our whole series on International Relations, Click on following link

India-Iran Relations

India- Iran Relations

This article deals with ‘India-Iran Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

History of India-Iran Relations

In 1953, Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated a coup to remove Iran’s elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh and instituted the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi,

Till 1979 – With the creation of Pakistan in 1947, India and Iran lost the geographical contiguity  
– In Cold War Politics , Shah of Iran allied with  U.S whereas India was non-aligned.
=> Hence, nothing significant during that time
1979 – 1990s – 1979 = Islamic Revolution happened in Iran  
During Iran Iraq War=> India supported Iraq
1990s Afghanistan Problem
– During 1990s , Afghanistan came under Taliban rule .
– Northern Alliance was fighting against Talibs
Pakistan was supporting Taliban
India & Iran were supporting the Northern Alliance
=> Hence, India & Iran came closer due to their coinciding interests in Afghanistan    

Import of Gas
– During this period, India started to import gas & oil from Iran in huge amount .
– But after 2004, Iran was placed under Western sanctions => India reduced trade under  western pressure 

Dynamics of Iran

Leader of Shia World There is Shia-Sunni divide in whole Islamic world where
– Iran = Leader of Shias
– Saudi Arabia = Leader of Sunnis  
Developing Nuclear Weapon – Iran wanted to develop Nuclear Weapon for regime’s security .
– But  Saudis & Israel are  US allies and they don’t want this because it will disturb the Balance of Power in Middle East in Iran’s favour    

Cultural Relations

  • India’s large Shia population has emotional connect with Iran.
  • Lucknow =  influenced by Persian culture
  • Hyderabad’s Qutb Shahi Dynasty was Persian in origin

Strategic Aspects 

  • Key in fight against Al-queda, ISIS, Taliban etc  which pose danger to India as well
  • Key player in stability of Afghanistan where India has created assets
  • Securing Sea Lanes of Communication (SLoC) by combating piracy in the Indian Ocean region.
  • India aspires to become a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region where Iran is a major stake holder.


  • Chabahar Port : Key in all connectivity projects of India
    • Alternate route to Afghanistan from Chabahar
    • Provide connectivity to Central Asia and Europe, via International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
    • Important part of Asghabat Agreement

Energy Security and India-Iran Relations

  • Iran has 2nd largest reserves of Natural Gas 
  • ONGC Videsh Ltd has stakes in Farzad-B gasfield in Iran
  • IPI Pipeline is being built from Iran to India
  • India also wants to setup a joint-venture fertiliser plants in Iran using cheap Natural Gas .

Other Points of Cooperation in India-Iran Relations

  • Indian Wheat and Pharmaceuticals are in great demand in Iran. Even during sanctions, wheat and pharmaceuticals were exported to Iran from India because these two items were out of the ambit of sanctions. 
  • India and Iran , both have stakes in  Indian Ocean and both can cooperate for  regional security from piracy


  • Economic: Western Sanctions , Huge unemployment and inflation creating unrest
  • Political : Fundamental authority rests with Supreme Leader Khamenei, an unelected cleric.
  • Involvement in Proxy Wars :
    • Saudi vs Iran Cold War in Middle East is going on. 
    • Heavy military expenditure in Syria (supporting Bashar al Assad)
    • Yemen (supporting Houthis)
    • Hezbollah in Palestine 

while Iran itself facing economic crisis at home.

  • India’s close relations with US, Israel and Gulf countries (Saudis and UAE)
  • Kashmir Issue– Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei equated the on-going Kashmir conflict with that of Yemen

Important Topic : Chabahar Port


C ab har
Chabahar Port and India

It’s importance can be seen in two aspects

Strategic – Alternate Route to Afghanistan
– Chabahar to Zaranj to Delaram
– It will help to end Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan for trade  

– Counter China at Gwadar Port : It will help to counter  Gwadar  port  of  Pakistan  built  by  China . Chabahar is located 72 kilometres west of Pakistan’s Gwadar port.  

– Help in Anti-Piracy Operations  
Economic Increased connectivity with  energy rich Central Asia : inline with India’s Connect-Central Asia policy.  

– Lynchpin in  International  North  –  South Transit Corridor that connects India to Central Asia, Russia and Europe.

Still an Issue

  • US sanctions – Difficult to fund the project.
  • Still difficult to reach Afghanistan’s hinterland via this route because of  presence of Taliban
  • Saudi Arabia (large remittances & Indian workers working there) and Israel (strategic importance) will be antagonised because of such mega projects in Iran.

Issue: US out of Iranian nuclear deal

  • In 2015 an agreement, Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran nuclear deal, was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group — U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany — on Tehran’s nuclear programme. The JCPOA was designed to stop Iran from producing its own nuclear weapons, and set up a framework limiting the amount and degree to which Iran was allowed to enrich uranium.
  • However, in 2018 USA unilaterally announced to decertify the nuclear deal on account of non-compliance by Iran and announced two rounds of economic sanction on it.

Limitations agreed by Iran under JCOPA

  1. Low enriched Uranium stockpile cant exceed 300 kg
  2. Enrichment of Uranium cant exceed 3.67% (for weapons 90% enrichment is required but after 20% enrichment, 90% can be achieved very quickly)
  3. UN & IAEA Inspectors can inspect facilities

In return, Iran gets termination of all economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council (UNSC), the European Union (EU) and the US

US has pulled out of the deal and imposed sanctions

Sanctions include

  • No individual or company can trade with Iran
  • sanctions re-imposed are “extraterritorial” — they apply to not just American individuals and businesses, but to non-American businesses or individuals as well.

US problems and Reasons for withdrawal

  • Deal doesn’t has binding restrictions on Iran’s Ballistic Program
  • Many of the restrictions in JCPOA have sunset clauses ie provisions will become less strict over the years 
  • Deal doesn’t prevent Iran to prevent sponsorship of terrorism in the region

Implications on India

  • Oil prices:
    • Iran was India’s third biggest supplier
    • Oil prices will increase increasing export bills
    • Added cost of having to recalibrate Indian fuel refineries that are used to process Iran’s special crude.
    • Iranian oil came with discounts on freight, and favourable terms of payment including non dollar payments
  • Indian projects impacted 
    • Chabahar: Chabahar port is nominally exempted from U.S. sanctions, but  suppliers are reluctant to deliver equipment
    • Prevented ONGC Videsh to invest in Farzad B gas field 
  • Remittance: More than 50% of total remittance received by India last year came from the gulf region. Disturbance in the region would lead to decline in such remittances.
  • Security of Indian Ocean Region disturbed => Volatile situation at Strait of Hormuz impacts Indian trade negatively
  • Gives opportunity to outside powers to set base in Indian Ocean which impacts Balance of Power .
  • Giving Space to China : If India succumb to US pressure while China remains firm , then India will lose strategic space to China
  • Increased importance of Pakistan for US : The US has ordered resumption of military training to Pakistan, which it had suspended in 2018 after accusing it of not doing enough to counter terrorist groups, as part of its wider West Asia strategy.

This concludes article on India-Iran Relations. For reading our whole series on International Relations, Click on following link

India Bangladesh Relations

India Bangladesh Relations

This article deals with ‘India Bangladesh Relations.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Some History

  • Bangladesh became  Independent in 1971 with  military & political assistance of India
  • Independence won under leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman (Party=  Awami League)  . They were  Anti Pakistan (+ China and USA)  and Pro India (+ USSR)
  • 1975 : Mujibur Rehman was assassinated due to military coupe by Zia-ur-Rehman =>this regime was Pro China and US (but Anti-Pakistan) and Anti India & USSR. Later, he established Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)

Hence due to historical reasons

Awami League Follows Bengali first ideology Good Relations with India Present Leader -Sheikh Hasina
BNP Follows Islam first ideology Animosity with India Present Leader – Khalida Zia

Importance of Bangladesh for India

  • Geopolitical Importance of Bangladesh
    • Outlet for North Eastern States => land-locked states have  shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh.
    • Important for Security of Bay of Bengal  & tackling pirate activities
  • Success of Act-East policy
    • Bangladesh can act as ‘bridge’ to economic and political linkages with South East Asia.
  • Integral part of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy
  • To contain insurgency in North-East 
  • Economic importance
    • Bilateral trade: currently $9 billion (+ large unaccounted informal trade) but trade potential is 4 times
    • Investment Opportunity for Indian companies 
    • Cooperation in blue economy( deep sea fishing, hydrocarbons, disaster management etc)
  • Cultural
    • Shared Bangla history => People to People contacts   
    • Rabindranath Tagore is equally famous (‘Amar Sonar Bangla’  written by him)
  • Co-partner in various multilateral Groups
    • Most important of which are SAARC & BIMSTEC
    • Supports India’s bid for observer status at OIC + Counter Pakistan’s statement on Kashmir at OIC Forums
  • To reduce the influence of china
    • ‘Neutral’ Bangladesh  helps to counter China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy .

Issues in India Bangladesh Relations(Gist)

India  and  Bangladesh   resolved  most contentious  land  boundary  issue 

But  there  are  still  some  contentious  issues  that  needs to  be  resolved

  • Teesta  Water  Treaty –  Teesta  originates in Sikkim and enters Bangladesh after passing through West Bengal. There is conflict on water sharing between West Bengal and Bangladesh
  • Ganga Water : Treaty was signed in 1996 but India constructed Farakka Barrage to supply water to Hooghly and in dry season , Bangladesh doesn’t get fair share of water
  • Illegal  Immigration / NRC Issue –   According to NRC draft , 40 lakh people living in (only) Assam are Bangladeshis. 
  • Transit  Rights  –   India  wants  transit  rights  to  better develop  its  North  East but Bangladeshis saw it  as infringement  of  its  sovereignty.
  • Security  Concerns  –  Bangladesh  provides safe havens to insurgents active in North East
  • Tipaimukh  Hydro-Electric  Power  Project  on  the  Barak  river  
  • Border Management:  Porous border=> smuggling, trafficking in arms, drugs and people.
  • Rohingya crisis: 11 lakh Rohingyas refugees in Bangladesh=> India providing financial help via ‘Operation Insaniyat’ but Bangladesh expects India to put pressure on Myanmar for repatriation  of Rohingyas.
  • Bangladesh uses China card to supplement its bargaining capacity against India. 
  • Growing Islamic radicalisation => ISIS in Bangladesh => can destabilise Indian Subcontinent
  • Competition in some sectors like Textile

Conclusion : India should adopt the Gujral doctrine of unilateral support to its smaller neighbours to gain their confidence especially given China’s presence.

Gist : Things given by India

  • Main role in their Independence
  • Army joint exercises
  • Land Boundry issue and Water boundry issue solved => India lost some land and EEZ but accepted for sake of friendship
  • SAARC satellite  => Free access to transponder
  • Rooppur nuclear power plant is being made by India and Russia in Bangladesh
  • Visa  regime in India has been liberalized for  Bangladeshi tourists and businesses
  • Border Haats on Bangladesh-Meghalaya & Bangladesh – Tripura border
  • 130 km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project for Transportation of Oil.
  • Exporting 660 MW electricity daily, will add 500 MW more.

Issue : Teesta Water Dispute

Note: 54 rivers pass from India to   Bangladesh => Being lower riparian state, Bangladesh is affected by  dam built on them 

About Teesta

  • Teesta originates in Sikkim & after passing through West Bengal, it enters Bangladesh
  • Importance=> Very important for  irrigation on both sides.


  • India built three Projects on Teesta like Gajoldoba Barrage (in Jalpaigudi) to divert water to other areas => Indian regions started to prosper but Bangladeshis are raising voice against this
  • Radical Islamic Parties like Jamat-i-Islami using it to consolidate people against Sheikh Hasina (Indian ally)
India Bangladesh Relations
Teesta Water Issue

2011 : Teesta Accord Drafted  – India & Bangladesh to get 50:50% respectively.

  • But West Bengal Government acting as impediment to sign this Accord .

Importance of Teesta Accord for India

  • PM Hasina is an important ally of India.
    • Adopted zero tolerance policy against Anti-Indian terror outfits.
    • Help in containing influence of China – in Bay of Bengal region. (BNP favours China) 

Signing deal will consolidate her position in Bangladeshi Polity

  • Not signing such deal give oxygen to radical elements  . Jamait e Islami is  becoming powerful by portraying Sheikh Hasina as puppet of India  

Bangladesh’s trust on India will increase if there are more water sharing agreements

Issue : China Factor in Bangladesh 

  • Bangladesh is part of OBOR project & also attended the OBOR Summits
  • China increasing Defence Partnership with Bangladesh=> recently Bangladesh procured two submarines from Beijing
  • China using Bangladesh as outlet for Kunming Province (Chittagong Port Project)
  • Bangladesh is part of BCIM project
  • China is financing 25 energy projects in Bangladesh including  Bangladesh’s 2nd Nuclear power plant.
  • Bangabandhu-1 – First communication satellite of Bangladesh to be launched with Chinese help.
  • Soft diplomacy – Training of personnel, including Chinese language teachers

But points in Indian favour

  • During freedom struggle,  Communist China helped Pakistan and opposed the creation of Bangladesh
  • China also casted a veto in the Security Council to block new Bangladesh’s entry into the United Nations.
  • Issue of China building dams on Brahmaputra unilaterally.

Issue :North East Factor in Bangladesh relations

  • Initiative  of  bus  service  between
    • Guwahati  to  Dhaka
    • Agartala to  Kolkata  via  Bangladesh 

shorten  the distances  

  • Overcome strategic vulnerability of Chicken Neck by providing alternate route
  • Providing  outlet to industries in North Eats via Bangladeshi ports . Chittagong and Ashuganj ports are just 70 and 40 km from border
  • Development  of  business  haats  (trading  centres)  on 
    • Tripura-Bangladesh
    • Meghalaya – Bangladesh border

But issues

  • Illegal Bangladeshi Migrant Issue  + NRC  issue  
  • North Eastern Insurgents take shelter in Bangladesh 
  • Bangladeshis view India’s use of their land for transit as impingement of their sovereignty

Potentials & prospects :-

  • Indian North East ,Bangladesh & Myanmar should create a tourist circuit
  • Energy  –  Bangladesh  is  electricity  deficient  country.  Hydropower  potential  of north  eastern  states  and  Bhutan  can  be  harnessed  to  satisfy  need  of Bangladesh  . 
  • Jointly  developing  its  ports  (Ashuganj)  to  connect  them  with  our  north  east.
  • BIMSTEC  and  SAARC  have  opened  up  avenues  for  multilateral  exchange  of Goods and Services
  • Cooperation on dealing with climate change => West Bengal and Bangladesh are low lying areas => large scale submergence due to Ocean Level Rise leading to migration crisis