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MERELY INVITING TOP FOREIGN UNIVERSITIES WON’T HELP MUCH

We need to learn from the global experience which shows that none of the leading universities has ever been successful in transferring the culture of its main campus to its branch-campus. India should seriously strategise for reciprocal obligation and a perfect mutualism.

Prof. Ved Prakash

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The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims at promoting India as a global study destination by making quality education accessible at an affordable cost. It is presumed that through a number of such quality initiatives, India will be able to restore its role as a ‘Vishwa Guru’. It has recommended a two-pronged approach to giving a fillip to higher education. One by facilitating the entry of top class Foreign Educational Institutions (FEIs) in India, and another by encouraging high-performing Indian institutions to set up campuses in foreign countries.

Cross-border education, which refers to movement of personnel and educational services across the national borders, has been the centuries-old culture and tradition. It can even be traced back to the colonial period. But it became more prominent during the 19th century when American institutions of higher learning made a beginning by establishing their branch campuses in the Middle East and some adjoining places. Their proliferation became a global phenomenon with the passage of time and more so during the 20th century. It is believed that there are over 400 campuses of foreign institutions which are both successfully and unsuccessfully in operation in other countries using different modes of delivery system including the current passing fad that is not likely to last.

The subject of entry of FEIs in the country is not new. This process had reached a very advanced stage in the early nineties. But somehow it could not reach its logical conclusion because of the sudden replacement of the key players from the Indian side. It lost momentum for nearly a decade before it sprang out of the closet of the Shastri Bhawan in 2004. The issue was extensively debated twice by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in 2004 and 2005 before arriving at a consensus to move forward to invite top-ranking FEIs in India. The decision of the CABE was subsequently endorsed by the C.N.R. Rao Committee in 2005 as well as by the National Knowledge Commission in 2008 and the Yashpal Committee in 2009. By taking cue from these endorsements, the FEI Bill was introduced in Parliament in 2010. However, the Bill could not be passed due to some reservations from certain quarters. Though this issue has remained unresolved for over two-and-a-half decades, it did not mislay its significance with the successive governments. It has stayed as much alive since 2014 as during the previous regimes, with no results. Once again, it has been set in motion through a prominent recommendation in the NEP 2020.

It may not be appropriate to have a narrow or myopic view that with the entry of FEIs, the country would be saving billions of dollars and that our institutions would be able to observe their system at close quarters. If we want to emulate their system in terms of curriculum, lectures and pedagogical processes, these can be easily followed as all these are available in the public domain. But the core question is when we bring FEIs to India, what value would they add to Indian education system? Perhaps, we need them as their products are found to be far superior than ours when it comes to application of not just the knowledge of the subject but application of analytical skills which is the most critical ability to be successful in any profession.

While UNESCO tried to develop the guidelines for quality provisions in cross-border higher education during its 33rd General Conference in 2005, still there are different protocols prevalent in different countries. China has a large presence of FEIs but it encourages the partnership mode. Malaysia has brought out a legislation which provides for the entry of only home-accredited FEIs and that too only through invitation. Since 2009 Singapore has had a Private Education Act, which provides for permission on a case-to-case basis. Indonesia allows home-accredited FEIs after carrying out their academic audit by the office of the Director General of higher education. Australia follows its national protocol and accreditation as per local standards. In fact, there are about seven prominent models which are widespread in different parts of the world.

India had suggested four conditions for cross-border higher education whilst presenting its stand in the UNESCO General Conference in 2005. First, the accredited FEIs should be allowed to offer only those programmes in a foreign country which they offer in their homeland. Second, they should be subjected to similar sanctions as applicable to domestic institutions. Third, their fees should be determined within the regulatory framework presented by the host country and fourth, there should be mutual recognition and reciprocity.

Since many years have gone by when we prepared a legislative proposal, a fresh exercise needs to be undertaken after identifying the objectives of pillars of collaboration from Indian perspectives. Now, it necessitates seeking answers to some pertinent questions due to proposed fundamental shifts in the policy. For example, what are the deficit cognate subjects in which we need FEIs? How would FEIs ensure inclusive growth of higher education in the country? How would FEIs make Indian students ready for the real world scenario? How would FEIs help make Indian educators ready to basically propel the rest of the education system? How would the FEIs help develop the research capacity of Indian universities? And, how are the FEIs going to transfer the culture of their main campus to Indian campus?

One might be even more anxious to raise some other germane questions that relate to the issue at hand. For example, what would be the right motivation for the top 100 FEIs to come to India? Where would they be bringing their faculty from? What is the new form of learning that the Indian universities will get from these FEIs? What additional values would the FEIs provide to Indian students and at what cost? And, what is that the Indian institutions would like to emulate from the system of FEIs which is not being followed by them?

It may be naïve to presume that the top-ranking FEIs would come to India because they would have access to an underserved market. That cannot be the sole reason for an institution of international repute. It would be really strange if they had that motivation to come to India. Money cannot and should not be the only motivation for an institution of international standing. If someone comes for money, then the day money gets dried up he would pack up his stuff and go away. It would not be easy for the FEIs to set up their own campus and nurture it by flying professors from their own homeland. That would neither be a sustainable model for them nor would it be advantageous to us as it would not grow the education capacity of our country. Their passion to carry out research in an extraterrestrial ambience and crave to develop a pool of future scientists with nominal outflow might motivate them to collaborate with some of our leading institutions.

It is not merely the degree of the FEIs that we should look up for. We should be looking for similar kinds of academic and extracurricular exposure to our students that these FEIs do provide in their homeland. It would be possible only when Indian students would be taking some of their semesters in the main campus of the FEIs. Indian students should potentially do internships in the homeland of the partnering FEIs, for the practical aspect of training is a big hole in the Indian system and that needs to be fixed. Otherwise, the FEIs will suck all the money and will essentially give our students the same type of education which could be available to them on any other campus in India.

Another big question which requires a thoughtful consideration is how to run a successful university which caters to the market on one hand and explore new knowledge on the other. There is a clear cut distinction between the way our institutions operate and the FEIs operate. Unlike Indian institutions, FEIs are constantly in the process of re-inventing themselves at rapid progression to support their students to be successful in the competitive world. They always think ahead of time and that they do very successfully. Our institutions need to learn this art and scale such educators who can efficiently manage the long chain that we have painstakingly created.

As a country, we should also focus on figuring how we do scale our educators. If we continue to rely on foreign educators we will not be able to scale educators in India which we need in large numbers. Our faculty members might benefit more only when they offer programmes and conduct research in collaboration with the faculty of the FEIs. That arrangement would surely create a vibrant academic ambience and competition on our campuses. It would not only enhance the research capacity of our institutions but also promote entrepreneurship amongst our students and prepare them for challenges of life.

Lastly, we need to learn from the global experience which shows that none of the leading universities has ever been successful in transferring the culture of its main campus to its branch-campus. It hardly needs any mention that the interest of the country can be served better if the top-ranking FEIs are invited to partner with our premier institutions of higher learning rather than having their independent branch-campuses. The bottom line is that India should seriously strategise for reciprocal obligation and a perfect mutualism, each giving the other that is required.

The writer is former Chairman, UGC. The views expressed are personal.

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Opinion

G7 FOCUS ON CHINA A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR INDIA

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Even though the Ukraine invasion and sanctions on Russia dominated the deliberations at the G7 Summit in Germany, the leaders of the group of seven wealthiest nations of the world—the US, Canada, Italy, the UK, France, Germany, and Japan—focused on Beijing’s belligerence and human rights violations in China in what must have come as a shot in the arm for India.

That the G7 communique devoted quite a lot of space to China’s rights violations in Xinjiang and also to its strident claims over much of the South China Sea is a welcome move as far as New Delhi’s diplomatic campaign to garner global support against Beijing’s belligerence is concerned. The G7’s advice to China to respect fundamental freedoms is a clear message to Beijing that it should first see its own records on human rights violations before commenting on internal matters of other countries including India. In a stronger message to China, the world leaders stressed in the statement that the situation in Tibet, and in Xinjiang, where there is “forced labour”, “is of major concern to us”.

The G7 statement pledging to reduce “strategic dependencies” on China should be viewed as another setback to Beijing. It is an indication that the G-7 will toughen its stance against Beijing in days to come. With China looming large, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in Germany that he was looking forward to fruitful discussions with world leaders on various topical issues implied how G7 was prepared to focus also on Beijing despite several engrossing issues such as Ukraine and global economy. A US official reportedly called the collective statement “unprecedented in the context of the G7” in acknowledging “the harms caused by China’s non-transparent, market distorting, industrial directives”. What the US official was referring to was the G7 leaders’ blistering attack on China while condemning its “non-transparent and market-distorting” international trade practices. Beijing’s increasingly strident claims over much of the South China Sea has also sparked alarm among the G7 countries over its military ambitions. What is believed is that China’s assertiveness in other geographies might have figured during PM Modi’s bilateral talks with various world leaders on the sidelines of the G7 Summit at Munich.

All the leaders voiced concern about human rights violations in China. They urged Beijing to respect fundamental freedoms. All this suggests that the global community, particularly the seven powerful countries, are keeping a close eye on all the developments in China. What is also suggested is that China’s aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is also on the radar of the global community.

The G7’s project ‘Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment’ (PGII), a joint initiative to fund infrastructure projects in developing countries, is already being seen as the bloc’s counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Pushing its debt-trap diplomacy across various economically weak nations, Beijing is said to be alarmed over the G7’s initiative to counter its BRI projects. Indian Foreign Minister Vinay Mohan Kwatra may have given a relatively lukewarm reception after the unveiling of this ambitious project by the G7, but New Delhi will be ready to be part of it after “examination of the details”.

India’s importance in the G7’s strategy to deal with China’s challenges in the Indo-Pacific is known to all the seven countries. Moreover, India is already working with two of the G7 nations—the US and Japan—in the Quad on the Indo-Pacific challenges. Its coordination with the remaining five countries is also quite smooth. As a result of all the equations and coordination, India is likely to be considered to be made a new addition to G-7. The Modi government is perhaps giving momentum to the diplomatic campaign to get into this elite group.

Undoubtedly, the United States has long cast a wary eye at China over its trade practices. The Biden administration also believes that China’s trade practices are designed to accord an unfair and undue advantage to Chinese companies over foreign firms. The G7 leaders have, therefore, signaled that they would seek to “extricate themselves from economic dependence” on China in what will be yet another jolt to it. So, the G7’s opinion about China that came up at the Summit in Germany is a breather for India.

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Opinion

Inflation Drives Online Business Down

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Inflation rates are on the rise this week, and we are seeing repercussions from that across multiple online industries. Many companies are preparing to tighten their belt as consumers are spending less and driving down values for online products.

Crypto Industry Takes a Blow

One of the most notable ways we have seen the rising inflation rates affect online business and products is in the cryptocurrency industry. Inflation has hit major crypto tokens very hard, spurring a bearish trend, or falling rates, almost across the board. Major cryptocurrency coins, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana, are all down today, some as high as 9%, which is really astounding. This could signal the start of a market crash for the industry, which is coming on the heels of a recent crash that  sent the rates hurtling downward beyond where some of them have been in years.If the prices fall farther and stay down without any serious attempt at recovery, we could be seeing a new market low that would be tough to bounce back from. Many investors are already pulling out of the industry, selling off their crypto tokens or moving their tokens over to stablecoins that don’t see much in the way of price fluctuation.

There is a shift happening in the crypto industry, and it is due partly to inflation. If the economy doesn’t start to recover, some of those cryptos may never get back to where they were at the start of the year. What’s astounding is that this was the year that some analysts said Bitcoin would reach unprecedented heights, but those analysts failed to account for the possibility of rising inflation and what it would do to the industry.

Online Spending Is Down

We are also seeing many consumers buying less online, which is hurting retailers across the board. Just take a look at the gaming industry, which saw a shift toward older games all year long. The top played games of the year were almost all games from several years ago, including releases like Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket League, and Grand Theft Auto V. Major new releases this year like Elden Ring are barely cracking the top 20 played games.

That’s a big deal in an industry that is always chasing the new thing, and game developers and publishers cannot sustain themselves on the scraps they get from players who are not as interested in buying new games and playing them continuously. The current gaming business model require players to stay online and keep buying upgrades, loot chests, downloadable content, and other digital items that help hugely expensive games recoup their budgets.

There has been a migration of gamers to free games or at least free-to-play games, and the online gambling and casino industry has benefited from that. This is why สล็อตเว็บตรง have proven to be very popular lately, as well as other online casino games and free multiplayer offerings. Some of the most played games on Steam right now are free-to-play games like Counterstrike: GO and other similar titles. Gamers are spending less money on games but spending more time playing, and the gaming industry is trying to figure to what to do abut that. We may see games operate on smaller budgets in the near future as a way to handle the rising costs of development and the more frugal spending of gamers.Online retailers are having a difficult time with the inflation as well, as their costs have increased but consumer spending has decreased in most areas of online retail. The major retailers will likely be fine, but it is the little guys that will suffer and potentially have to go out of business. That is, unless they adapt to the changing consumer spending habits and find new ways to open up revenue streams and entice customers.

As inflation increases with no end in sight, we could be entering another recession soon. It is too early to call it yet, but that’s where things look to be headed unless major world governments issue stopgap measures to keep inflation from getting too out of hand. Until then, expect the online industries to keep trying to adapt.

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Opinion

Tracing ‘kingmaker’ Fadnavis’ evolution to a towering stature

Post November 2019, political pundits had written off Devendra Fadnavis. While he had won the election, he lost power in a game of political chess. After Uddhav Thackeray quit as CM ahead of a floor test, Fadnavis has sprung a surprise, announcing that rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will be the next CM of Maharashtra.

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In politics, there are comebacks and there are stunning comebacks. Every stunning comeback is built on hard work, and results in creating leaders with towering stature. Maharashtra has witnessed one such stunning comeback.

Post November 2019, most political pundits had written Devendra Fadnavis off. While he had won the election and people’s verdict, he had lost power in a game of political chess. The short-lived saga with Ajit Pawar, too, had not ended well. In the next few months, it looked all gloom and doom as the Uddhav Thackeray government strengthened itself. But, the real story was unfolding in the background. Fadnavis had learnt from the events very quickly. He was now ready to don the mantle of an opposition leader. As anti-CAA and pro-CAA rallies took part in Mumbai, Fadnavis made a fiery speech at Gowalia Tank. While supporting the CAA, he made a speech which was high on Hindutva and energized both the party and supporters. The year 2020 started with the Covid-19 crisis. Like all other parts of society, politics, too, was changing. In the initial weeks of the Covid-19 crisis in Maharashtra, the PR driven actions of the MVA government were creating an illusion of control. But Fadnavis soon sensed the reality behind the illusion. He quickly hit the ground. Under his leadership, the BJP cadre involved itself in relief and support of Covid-19 affected masses. Fadnavis personally got involved in distribution of ration, PPE kits, medical supplies and opening up of new Covid centres across the state.

The stark contrast of the CM sitting at home while Fadnavis was travelling across the state to help the people was much evident. This also helped in energizing the BJP rank and file across the state. Apart from Covid, Maharashtra saw many other crisis, including twin cyclones on the western coast and floods in many districts. Fadnavis was always among the first to reach affected areas. At times, he was ensuring help for the people which ideally was the CM’s responsibility.

Slowly, as the sheen of aura around the MVA was wearing off, Fadnavis was raising issues which affected the common man. Be it farmer distress or problems of workers or plight of students or problems faced by small traders during Covid or women’s safety, Fadnavis used the first Assembly session (after the Covid crisis started) to corner the government and seek accountability. People’s problems had found a powerful voice in the form of Fadnavis.

A turning point in this period was when Fadnavis exposed the MVA during Antilla bomb scare incident. The intelligent lawyer in him with an eye for detail exposed the murky dealings of the MVA, which resulted in resignation and arrest of then Home minister Anil Deshmukh. A key observation was that while he was no more the CM, he still had the respect amongst the IAS & IPS lobby and the government departments.

Fadnavis was attacking and exposing the MVA on the ground as well as in the Assembly. A common joke in Maharashtra was that whenever the Assembly session is convened, Covid cases rise because the MVA government wanted to avoid or curtail the Assembly sessions due to the fear of Fadnavis. For the common people in the state, they had not seen their CM moving out of his house, but they had seen Fadnavis travel to each and every corner of the state. In the last few months, the people of Maharashtra have discovered the brilliant oratory of Fadnavis. While he has always been a good orator, now, his oratory had reached greater heights. He could easily bundle development and Hindutva while exposing Uddhav Thackeray’s failure on both fronts.

Fadnavis had shown his electoral capabilities twice in Maharashtra (2014 & 2019) and later in Bihar (2020) and Goa (2022). But there was still one area where he had to prove he was the best. This was the area of political management in which Sharad Pawar has been acclaimed for too long. Fadnavis got his chance during the June 2021 Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad elections. During the Rajya Sabha, he not only ensured victory for the third BJP candidate, but also ensured BJP got 17 first preference votes additional to BJP seats. The game of arithmetic that he played was brilliant enough to checkmate even Sharad Pawar. During the Vidhan Parishad elections, he ensured that BJP’s fifth candidate also won and this time, the additional number of first preference votes rose to 28. In two elections, within a span of 10 days, Fadnavis had not only outwitted Sharad Pawar twice, but also widened the cracks within the MVA.

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as CM ahead of a floor test on Wednesday and, springing a surprise, Fadnavis on Thursday announced that rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will be the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Fadnavis’ announcement defied expectations that he would return as Chief Minister with the support of the Shinde faction.

However, Fadnavis’ journey from “one amongst equals” to “the tallest leader in the state” has reached a historical stage. Very rarely in Maharashtra politics have we seen a leader who combines administrative skills with oratory, political acumen, grassroot connect and a clean image. Another aspect which differentiates Devendra Fadnavis is his acceptance across all regions of Maharashtra and among all communities. He is the only pan Maharashtra leader since late Yashwant Rao Chavan.

The author is the in-charge of Social Media Cell, BJP Maharashtra, and member of the State Executive.

Though Fadnavis has announced that Eknath Shinde will be the next CM, Fadnavis’ journey from ‘one amongst equals’ to ‘the tallest leader in the state’ has reached a historical stage. Very rarely in Maharashtra politics have we seen a leader who combines administrative skills with oratory, political acumen, grassroot connect and a clean image. Another aspect which differentiates Devendra Fadnavis is his acceptance across all regions of Maharashtra and among all communities. He is the only pan Maharashtra leader since late Yashwant Rao Chavan.

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Opinion

PARTIES NEED TO BE CAUTIOUS AND RESPONSIBLE WHILE DOING POLITICS

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Udaipur

The incident of brutal beheading in Udaipur has tremendously dented the image of Rajasthan which has, hitherto, been known for communal harmony and peace. No words are enough to condemn this gruesome murder which is never allowed in a democratic country and civilized society. This type of macabre killing has been seen only in countries under dictatorships. This incident is the first of its kind that happened in India. The killers were so fearless that they posted the video of beheading on internet for terrorizing the society. There must not be any repetition of such a brutal act. All the political parties and the governments here should sit together and hammer out a solution to prevent it.

Now the question arises as to who is responsible for this. In a way, all the political parties are responsible for this. The role of TRP race of the news channels and social media cannot also be ruled out. Under pressure to top the list in terms of viewership, news channels tend to go to any extent for the TRP. Soon after being launched, some of the channels ran shows on concocted stories of magic and witchcraft. Once a channel showed a vehicle without a driver. The reality was that the driver was hiding somewhere in the car. This was followed by various debate shows where heated exchanges were the order of the day. One cannot forget how a story about an imaginative chip in Rs 2,000 note was run on some TV channels after demonetization. Some sponsored debates were conducted with an objective to please the government. Gradually, media channels started airing the views that fueled negativity in the atmosphere. The channels were seen vying with each other to ramp up viewership during the Gyanwapi issue. Amid all the charged atmosphere in media channels, Nupur Sharma said something that should have been avoided. It triggered massive debate on social media. And the result is for all of us to see.

It could have been prevented. But only if the governments and political parties had shown political will. Only one party cannot be blamed for this. Congress and other parties are as much responsible as the BJP. Whatever be the explanation, the Congress and other political outfits are indulging in Muslim appeasement. All the parties divided majority community into different castes and did politics of Muslim appeasement for five decades. Barring BJP, all the parties such as Congress, SP, RJD, the Left parties, etc. are still not ready to do any course correction. Akhilesh Yadav is still practicing Muslim-Yadav centric politics in UP. Similarly, the Congress government in Rajasthan is on the same old track. Events like Roza Iftar are organized and statements aimed at appeasing minorities come from Congress. This results in the majority taking a different view on the same.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot needs to realise that the politics is changing now in the country. Congress and CM need to understand that the minority in Rajasthan will vote for Congress because it has no other option. Minorities go for the parties which can defeat BJP. So, the government should not do anything that could anger the majority which the BJP takes advantage of. The majority has been targeted in Rajasthan wherever communal violence has happened. The BJP will be more aggressive and the government will be questioned in days to come. If we look at UP, the Congress and other parties target CM Yogi Adityanath’s working style. But it hardly makes any difference to him as the people of UP are happy with his government. Everything is under control in UP, the state which was earlier known for riots.

There should be fear among criminals in Rajasthan. Amid speculation about foreign hands in the Udaipur incident, the Rajasthan government is answerable over its intelligence efficiency. Why did the police not have prior information on violence? Gehlot needs to realise that the violence and crimes can overshadow his pro-people decisions.

At the same time, Congress has been continuing to target PM Modi since 2004. Congress’ focus is not on strengthening organisation due to which debacles are being faced by it. It is hardly any significant force in opposition, which is not good in a democracy. BJP is benefiting from Congress’ wrong decisions. Congress’ appeasement politics is suiting BJP in its politics to woo majority. Undoubtedly, the saffron party gets benefited by any polarizing incident.

But BJP also needs to understand that excess of anything is not good. Polarisation cannot benefit it beyond a limit. Electoral benefits may come to it but it could corrode the social and communal fabric of the country. Our country is known for unity in diversity. Unity cannot be destroyed just by a couple of elements only. However, the political parties need to have patience and self-control during testing times.

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Opinion

India set to play a key role in new I2U2 forum

After the grand success of the revived Quad, India and the US are ready to open another arena of engagement, this time with Israel and the UAE, as the new I2U2 forum.

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On the one hand, when Russia and Ukraine are locked in a tussle that has cost the entire world heavily in terms of major food, energy and humanitarian crisis, nations are associating and collaborating through difference multilateral platforms to take up various global challenges as well as objectives. After the grand success of the revived Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), India and the US are ready to open another arena of engagement, this time with Israel and the UAE, as the new I2U2 forum.

A new grouping of India-Israel (I2) and UAE-US (U2) has been formed by the four nations, which has been referred as the “West Asian Quad” by the ambassador of UAE to India, Ahmed Al Banna. The framework of the group was formed in October 2021, when the grouping of the four nations—India, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and the United States—met for the first time and decided to set up I2U2 keeping the issues related to maritime security, digital infrastructure, infrastructural development, defence and climate change containment at the epicentre.

Geopolitically, it is focused on expanding economic and political cooperation in West Asia and Asia through strengthening diplomatic relations in different domains such as trade. The objective also includes finding comprehensive solutions to the global challenge of climate change. The nations also agreed to work in the areas of energy cooperation through this joint platform.

In October 2021, when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Israel, the foreign ministers of the four countries met and the framework of I2U2 was constituted with the name, “International Forum for Economic Cooperation”. It was then decided that the heads of the four nations would meet through the first summit of I2U2 when US President Joe Biden would visit West Asia between 13-16 July. Biden would be visiting West Asia for the first time after becoming the US President. The noteworthy point is that he would also be visiting Israel. The first summit of I2U2 will be joined virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Looking at the level of bilateral relations, the matrix has to be understood well. The relations between India and the US, India and Israel, India and UAE, US and Israel are positive and progressive. Relations between US and UAE seem to be positive, and are expected to be moving in further collaborative direction especially in the area of energy security. Last but not the least, despite the normalization of relations between Israel and UAE in August 2020, the question of their age-old negative relationship may work as an irritant. However, considering the overall matrix, I2U2 seems to be a strategically important engagement for the future considering the focus areas.

Biden would also visit Jeddah and Saudi Arab during his visit, and he would also be attending the significant summit of GCC+3 (Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan). Apart from the summit, he would also be having bilateral talks with all these nations. Considering Biden’s restricted communications with the Saudi royals, especially after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, it would be interesting to see what comes out of Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia. This meeting would be closely monitored as has called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state and believes in the involvement of Saudi Prince’s involvement in Khashoggi’s killing based on an intelligence report, although Donald Trump had an opposite view and thus, he maintained amicable relations with the Saudi royals.

However, things seem to changing since Biden became the President as he has initiated several multilateral initiatives and dialogues to strengthen defence, cultural and diplomatic relations of the US, globally. Biden has not only strengthened the Quad, he also revived the AUKUS, the three-nation alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom. He also started a quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. On the one hand, he is focusing on strengthening such platforms, and, on the other hand, he is leaving no stone unturned in containing China and Russia’s globally.

India would certainly be playing a critical role in the I2U2. Being a neutral nation so far, India is the only nation that is a part of the Quad as well as BRICS (Britain, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Both have positive global and regional goals to attain; however, the interesting fact is that the Quad aims to contain China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region, while BRICS is considered as a counter-defensive mechanism against the western block, especially NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Being a member nation of both the alliances, India seems to be playing a critical role in executing the balancing act.

Today, Ukraine is in a devastated state and there is a crucial question that remains unanswered: where will this all take us? Ukraine shares its cultural identity with Russia, and was its part until the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR in 1991. After this historic disintegration, the Cold War ended. The world was also observing a neo-liberal way of globalization, and ushered in to a new era of multi-polarity where the definition of power itself had changed. Though the US was the clear-cut winner of the Cold War, and remained the hegemon in world politics since then, new centres of power also emerged such as China. Moreover, the world witnessed a big change in terms of priorities of the countries that led them to connect with each other irrespective of their ideological or historical differences. Although Russia remained a major power, it had lost the glory of the leader of the eastern bloc. The military alliance it created with the support of other anti-west countries, backed by Warsaw pact, also declined eventually. However, on the other hand, the NATO, the military alliance created by the western bloc during the Cold War days, not only kept flourishing, it also started providing membership to the countries disintegrated from Russia. Slowly, Europe, especially the eastern part, started looking like getting NATO-fied. When Putin came into the power, he not only fiercely started working against this westernization of the countries around Russia, he also declared to work for reunification of Russia to get back its lost glory.

After attacking and establishing its bases in Georgia in 2008, Putin ruthlessly attacked and controlled Crimea in 2014 to keep a control over the passage to Black Sea. Since the world kept mum at both these attacks, Putin made it clear that he will not allow Ukraine to be a member of NATO, which was justified in a way, as who would allow his biggest enemy to reach his doorstep? As Ukraine did not pay any attention to the warnings of Putin, the world today witnesses the most brutal attack on Ukraine from the Russian army. Putin strategically encircled Ukraine, starting from the Eastern Ukraine where the pro-Russian separatist groups were already active. Zapped Volodymyr Zelenskyy expected help from the US, who pushed him not to step back from becoming a member of NATO as well as the NATO alliance countries. But soon he realised how he was trapped and used by the western lobby against Putin. US made it very clear that it will not fight any war on Ukraine’s soil, nor any NATO member country came forward to directly help Zelenskyy. After the first wave of shock, NATO member countries and the US announced economic sanctions, indirect support to Ukraine by seizing the air and maritime space for Russia, stopping all business with Russia and providing arms support to Ukraine. Despite all this, Putin did not stop.

Today, the situation seems to be in a deadlock where neither Putin is stopping the war, nor Ukraine is stepping back. Threats of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare are also emerging. In today’s multipolar world of diversified dimensions of engagements, why is this war happening in the first place? Who will stop it? The UN seems to be in a spot where its relevance itself has become a big question. Talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials are not concluding with any results. Ukraine is already destructed, Russia is also bleeding, China is preparing to be the next aggressor in the Asian theatre and a new arms race has started. War cannot be an answer to any differences, but it can make a remarkable difference to the world; this should not be forgotten.

Presently, there seems to be multi-dimensional challenges globally. From the grave Ukraine-Russia conflict to coming out of the shadow of Covid-19 to working for climate change containment to developing innovative and sustainable technologies to enhancing collaboration in the areas of counter-terrorism, food security and energy security; there seems to be a long list of prioritised objectives. Instead of working in a compartmentalised fashion, today’s nations are preferring to be working in a “team play” mode. Considering the same, I2U2 seems to be an optimistic development, presenting a unique alliance among the four significant nations.

Dr Anshu Joshi is Professor, School of International Studies, JNU.

In October 2021, when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Israel, the foreign ministers of the four countries met and the framework of I2U2 was constituted with the name, “International Forum for Economic Cooperation”. It was then decided that the heads of the four nations would meet through the first summit of I2U2 when US President Joe Biden would visit West Asia between 13-16 July. Biden would be visiting West Asia for the first time after becoming the US President. The noteworthy point is that he would also be visiting Israel. The first summit of I2U2 will be joined virtually by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India would certainly be playing a critical role in the I2U2. Being a neutral nation so far, India is the only nation that is a part of the Quad as well as BRICS. Both have positive global and regional goals to attain.

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What is SSC CPO Exam?

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The Staff Selection Commission conducts a national-level SSC CPO exam for the aspirants to recruit in Central Police Organisations(Delhi). SSC CPO is an excellent chance for aspiring candidates to join paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, and SSB as Sub-Inspectors and ASI (Executive) in CISF. 

Thus, the aspirant should gather proper information concerning the eligibility criteria, and syllabus, before appearing for the SSC CPO 2022 exam. From this article, Candidates will get information regarding the levels of eligibility criteria such as nationality, age limit, and the SSC CPO syllabus.

SSC CPO Syllabus

The syllabus for the SSC CPO exam is specified by the recruiting board on the official website in PDF format. The SSC CPO Syllabus gets updated once every year which is released by the authority for the candidates.  

Candidates must know the SSC CPO syllabus which will help them to put effort into important topics to get ready for the exam. SSC CPO syllabus will give the outlook of difficult topics related to the exam for which candidates can make a preparation strategy for better results. The SSC CPO exam deals with two paper, the syllabus for each paper are stated below-

●  SSC CPO Syllabus Paper 1: Subjects are English, General Awareness, Reasoning, Maths

●   For SSC CPO Syllabus Paper 2: Only English Language.

As the SSC CPO 2022 notification will be held in August 2022, the syllabus is not yet released by the commission. Students can also refer to BYJU’s Exam Prep for more details and assistance. SSC CPO exam is organised in three stages, namely –

●     Paper 1

●     Paper 2

● Physical Efficiency Test (PET)

Candidates are required to clear these stages to get appointed as SI and ASI posts in SSC CPO. 

The above-mentioned SSC CPO syllabus is necessary to study by the candidates for the upcoming exam. Candidates must keep on checking the official website for theupdated syllabus of the SSC CPO exam 2022.

Eligibility Criteria of SSC CPO

Candidates who are willing to attempt the SSC CPO exam must satisfy the eligibility criteria provided by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC). Candidates who fail to fulfil the given eligibility criteria of any level will be disqualified for the SSC CPO exam.

Nationality Criteria for SSC CPO

Nationality is the foremost eligibility criterion among all the criteria that every candidate must know. The candidate who possesses the nationality criteria is allowed to apply for SSC CPO Exam. The condition of nationality criteria are –

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India, Nepal or Bhutan.
  • A candidate who has their Eligibility Certificate issued by the Indian Government. 

SSC CPO Age Limit

The age limit of the candidates is another criterion of SSC CPO along with the relaxation.

●    Candidates who were born between 1st January,1996 to 1st January 2001 can apply for the SSC CPO exam.

● Candidates must be of age between 20 to 25 years.

The details of age relaxation for a certain reserved category with posts- wise are listed below-

●   For SC/ST category- The age relaxation limit is 5 years.

●   For the OBC category- The age relaxation limit is 3 years.

● For Ex-Servicemen (ESM) category – The age relaxation is 3 years. 

Here, we have discussed the eligibility criteria and syllabus for the SSC CPO exam which will benefit the candidates for preparation. Candidates can indulge in these posts to understand the SSC CPO syllabus and eligibility criteria before attending the exam.

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