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Indian Diaspora(GS 2)
Author: – Sanam Arora & Vignesh Karthik K. R.
- For centuries, from Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar and Jawaharlal Nehru to Amartya Sen and Manmohan Singh, Indians have gone abroad to pursue higher education.
- More than 7,50,000 Indian students are studying abroad, spending $24 billion in foreign economies, which is around 1% of India’s GDP.
- Demand is soaring for various reasons, including the gap in India’s supply of quality education against the demand.
- More than half the Indian population under the age of 25.
- No Indian university in the world’s top 100, it is natural that aspirational students would look to study abroad.
- We celebrate the achievements of Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella.
- Yet, one has to only look at social media or hear some conversations to realise how much contempt a section of Indians shares towards those studying abroad.
- However, the larger benefits in terms of soft power, knowledge transfer and remittances that come back to India render such noise baseless.
Our Children in Ukraine
- It is estimated that around 20,000 Indian students were stranded in Ukraine.
- The work of the Union government, complemented by the efforts of some active State governments, is aimed at bringing our fellow citizens back home.
- There hasbeen unfortunate deaths of two Indian students (one died in shelling, the other suffered a stroke) in Ukraine.
Indians Stranded Abroad
- Around 2,000 students whose colleges have abruptly closed have been protesting in Canada.
- Lakhs of rupees in fees have been taken from them by colleges, which are now bankrupt, thereby jeopardizing the students’ futures.
- Something similar happened in the U.K. a few years ago with hundreds of ‘bogus’ colleges being closed.
- During Pandemic, Australia shut its borders to the thousands of Indian students enrolled to study on its campuses.
- India is the second largest source of international students after China, and this is expected to continue.
- Given a proper ecosystem, Indian students can significantly contribute to India’s development by transferring advanced knowledge and best practices.
- They are consumers of higher education abroad, and guests of the nations they reside in.
- It is only natural then for us to mandate protection of our people abroad by ensuring that host countries take on this responsibility.
- The Indian government should proactively create a safety net for the international students.
- International agreements that oblige host countries to ensure the welfare of Indian students during times of crises and contingencies should be given paramount importance
- The Free trade agreements India is currently negotiating with the K. and Australia make for great opportunity to do so.
- A mandatory student insurance scheme as well as responsibility of welfare of students in the foreign country should be incorporated.
- This will secure the interests of students who also spend considerably in the host country.
- Higher education has been one of the strongest exports for the U.K., generating £28.8 billion in revenue.
- Considerable chunk of students who study abroad are not from wealthy families.
Question Framed From Editorial
- “When the achievements of Indians abroad are ours to celebrate, so is the responsibility to safeguard their welfare”. Critically Evaluate (250 words)
International Relations (GS 2)
Author: – Ranjan Mathai
Nord Stream 2
- Nord Stream is a gas pipeline that connects Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.
- The $11-billion gas pipeline project has already driven a wedge between Germany and the US
- The project, owned by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom, runs from western Siberia to Germany.
- It has double the capacity of the already-in-use Nord Stream 1 pipeline. (110 billion cubic meters of gas)
- The US has viewed the pipeline as a geopolitical tool for Russia to increase Moscow’s leverage over Europe.
Natural Gas- A Critical Fuel
- Despite global efforts to decarbonise energy, natural gas is set to remain one of the principal sources of primary energy till at least 2040.
- Europe is the world’s second largest market for natural gas.
- It is also the battleground between the superpowers of hydrocarbon energy, the S. and Russia.
- NATO & Warsaw Pact was underpinned by an energy order in which oil was sold to West Europe from West Asian/Middle Eastern fields controlled by U.S. companies.
- While oil was sold East Europe from the giant oilfields of the Soviet Union.
“Druzhba”- Dosti (Friendship)
- This also has been referred to as the Friendship Pipeline and is the world’s longest oil pipeline and one of the biggest oil pipeline networks in the world.
- It carries oil some 4,000 km from the eastern part of European Russia to points in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany.
- The name “Druzhba” means “friendship”, alluding to the fact that the pipeline supplied oil to the energy-hungry western regions of the Soviet Union &to Western Europe.
- This led to tensions between USA & USSR in the 1960s.
An Energy Transition
- The 1970s European energy transition to natural gas led to the geo economic linkage of giant Soviet gas fields to West European market.
- Thanks to Middle East oil supply crises of the 1970s and fall in U.S. domestic production.
- The U.S. had no alternative to offer except coal.
- However the defeat of Soviets in Afghanistan towards the end of the 80s &1986 oil price crash caused by friendly Saudi Arabia dented the Soviet economy.
- The victorious U.S. then used NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and the Baltic States to create a new European security order in the face of a diminished Russia.
Impact of Putin’s Push
- Vladimir Putin revived Russia by leveraging oil and gas production which provide 60% of exports, 25% of government revenue, and have boosted national reserves to $600 billion.
- It can, and has used gas as an instrument of influence in its “near abroad”
- For its main customer Germany, Russia has been a most reliable supplier right through the Cold War.
- Russia now supplies 35%-40% of the EU’s gas needs
- In 1994, a new pipeline was built to Germany via Belarus and Poland.
- In the early 2000s, the EU noted the stability of Russia’s gas deliveries.
- The Yamal–Europe natural gas pipeline is a 4,107 km long pipeline connecting Russian natural gas fields in the Yamal Peninsula and Western Siberia with Poland and Germany, through Belarus
The Two Nord Stream
- Both pipelines are gamechangers as they can meet nearly all of Germany’s import requirements.
- Crucially, however, they deprive Ukraine and East European transit countries of revenues and leave them dependent on Russia for continued supplies.
- Because of strident opposition to the Nord Stream project from the outset, and with U.S. support they have launched the Three Seas Initiative.
- Aim is to develop north-south gas connectivity using liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported via maritime terminals on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas.
The Three Seas Initiative
- Launched in 2015 by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
- The initiative creates a political platform to promote connectivity among nations in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Focus on supporting infrastructure, energy, and digital inter connectivity projects
- The initiative gets its name from the three seas that border the region: the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas
- There are 12 states that are part of the initiative.
- Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s support for Nord Stream 2 has been threatened since his assumption of office.
- A Month back Joe Biden had said that in case of an invasion of Ukraine “there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2”
- Nord Stream 2 is a well chosen target as the recently completed €10 billion asset is wholly owned by Russia’s Gazprom unlike Nord Stream.
- NST 1 has been functional for a decade which is jointly owned with European companies.
- The Nord Stream project has larger capacity than all of Russia’s current and planned gas pipelines to China.
Question Framed From Editorial
- What is Nord Stream 2 Pipeline? How are the sanctions imposed on this pipeline critical for EU’s Economy? (250 words)