UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing - 20 October (GS 2)


  1. ‘The expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership works well in India.’ What is your opinion about this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your answer. (15)
  2. ‘Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’.Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) in protecting the environment and enhancing maritime safety and security.    (15)

Model Solutions

1. ‘The expansion and strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership works well in India.’
What is your opinion about this statement? Give reasons and examples to support your answer. (15)

Core Demand:

  • Benefits for India due to expansion and strengthening of NATO
  • Benefits for India due to stronger US-Europe relations


  • The recent addition of Finland as a NATO member and the aggressive stance taken by the US against the Russian invasion of a European country, Ukraine, has led to the strengthening of NATO and a stronger US-Europe strategic partnership.
  • NATO i.e. North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance between countries of Europe and N. America.

Main Body:
Benefits for India in expansion and strengthening of NATO:

  • Counterbalancing China:
    • A robust NATO can serve as a counterweight to China's rising influence.
    • Example: NATO's increased focus on the Indo-Pacific strategy aligns with India's desire for a free and open South China Sea, ensuring freedom of navigation.
  • Enhanced Defense Cooperation:
    • A reinforced NATO can lead to better defence partnerships for India.
    • Example: India's joint naval exercises with France, a key NATO member, in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) signifies deepening defence ties.
  • Counter-terrorism Efforts:
    • NATO's counter-terrorism initiatives align with India's concerns.
    • Example: Intelligence sharing and joint counter-terrorism strategies with NATO members can help India address challenges from cross-border terrorism.

Complexities for India in the expansion and strengthening of NATO:

  • NATO's expansion, especially towards Russia's western borders, may strain India's traditional ties with Russia.
    • Example: India's defence deal, like the S-400 missile system purchase from Russia, faced criticism from NATO members.
    • Still, more than 50% of defence procurement in India is from Russia (SIPRI)

Benefits for India on Robust US-Europe Strategic Partnership:

  • Economic Collaborations:
    • A united US-Europe front can lead to enhanced economic opportunities for India.
    • Example: The push for building resilient supply chains, especially post-COVID-19, offers India a chance to present itself as an alternative to China.
  • Technological Ties:
    • Stronger US-Europe relations can foster technological collaborations with India.
    • Example: Collaborative efforts in developing 5G technology can provide India with alternatives to Chinese tech firms.
  • Diplomatic Leverage:
    • A solid US-Europe partnership can aid India in addressing global challenges.
    • Example: Both the US and European countries have pressured Pakistan on its approach towards terror outfits, which works in India's favor.

Complexities for India on Robust US-Europe Strategic Partnership:

  • Trade Challenges:
    • A tighter US-Europe bond might lead to trade policies that challenge India's interests.
    • Example: A coordinated US-Europe stance might pressure India on issues like intellectual property rights or market access while negotiating trade agreements.

Way Forward:

  • Engage Actively:
    • India should deepen its engagement with NATO on shared interests and foster direct relations with individual European nations.
    • C. Raja Mohan recommends deeper India-NATO interactions, while Harsha V. Singh suggests individual ties with European countries for economic collaboration.
  • Maintain Strategic Balance:
    • Amidst growing Western ties, India must ensure its traditional relations, especially with Russia, remain unaffected.
    • Dmitri Trenin emphasises the significance of India's balancing act between the West and Russia.
  • Trade Negotiations with Prudence:
    • Craft agreements that protect India's domestic interests in the face of a unified US-Europe trade stance.
    • Arvind Subramanian advises safeguarding domestic industries during international trade discussions.
  • Participate in Multilateral Forums:
    • Engage in platforms with US and European presence to ensure that India's perspectives are considered.
    • S. Jaishankar highlights the role of multilateralism in framing global narratives.


  • While the strengthening of NATO and a robust US-Europe strategic partnership can offer numerous advantages to India, they also bring complexities. India's diplomatic acumen will be tested as it navigates these evolving geopolitical landscapes.

2. ‘Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’.
Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) in protecting the environment and enhancing maritime safety and security. (15)

Core demand:

  • Role of IMO in Environmental Protection
  • Role of IMO in Maritime safety and security


  • The International Maritime Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. (about organisation)
  • The IMO was established following an agreement at a UN conference held in Geneva in 1948, and the IMO came into existence ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1958. (about genesis of an organisation)

Main Body:
IMO's Role in Environmental Protection:

  • IMO is the custodian of the 1954 International Convention for the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil (OILPOL Convention) → International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 1973
  • Ship Emissions Control:
    • Sets limits on harmful ship emissions through the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
    • Example: The 2020 global sulphur cap mandates that ships use fuel oil with a maximum sulphur content of 0.50%.
  • Ballast Water Management:
    • Aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms.
    • Example: Many ships now use on-board treatment systems to treat ballast water and eliminate invasive species.
  • Ship Recycling Regulations:
    • Ensures ships are recycled without environmental harm.
    • Example: The Hong Kong Convention mandates safe and eco-friendly ship recycling processes.
  • Marine Pollution Prevention:
    • Implements the MARPOL Convention to reduce pollution from ships.
    • Example: Accidental oil discharge restrictions have made oil tanker operations environmentally safer.

IMO's Role in Maritime Safety and Security:

  • Global Safety Standards:
    • IMO's International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) sets safety standards for merchant ships → most important treaty dealing with maritime safety
      • Example: SOLAS mandates using Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) for safe ship navigation.
    • IMO has also developed and adopted international collision regulations and global standards for seafarers, as well as international conventions and codes relating to search and rescue, the facilitation of international maritime traffic, load lines, the carriage of dangerous goods and tonnage measurement.
    • The Maritime Safety Committee is IMO's senior technical body on safety-related matters.
    • International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code → mandatory instrument for all countries Party to the Convention.
      • The aim is to ensure that the highest possible standards of security are implemented.
  • Combating Piracy:
    • Collaborates globally to address piracy threats.
    • Example: IMO's anti-piracy measures in the Gulf of Aden have significantly reduced pirate attacks.
  • Training and Education:
    • Provides maritime law training via its International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI).
  • Seafarer Rights: (sailors working on commercial ships)
    • Upholds the Maritime Labour Convention for seafarer welfare.
    • Example: Seafarers are guaranteed the right to decent working conditions and fair wages.

Note: You can conclude the answer here. If you write 1-2 steps it’ll give you a competitive edge.

Further Steps Needed to Strengthen IMO's Functioning:

  • Technological Integration:
    • Embrace advanced technologies like AI for efficient ship monitoring.
    • Example: Using AI for real-time analysis of ship emissions can ensure compliance with environmental standards.
  • Address Climate Change:
    • Set ambitious targets to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from maritime operations.
    • Example: Pushing for the rapid adoption of hydrogen as a green fuel for ships.
  • Enforce Compliance:
    • Implement stringent audits and penalties for violations.
    • Example: A global database to track and publicise repeated violators can act as a deterrent.
  • Enhanced Collaboration:
    • Partner closely with regional maritime bodies and NGOs.
    • Example: Collaborating with the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) for standardising shipping contracts.
  • Capacity Building:
    • Offer training to member nations, especially developing ones, for uniformity in standards.
    • Example: Workshops in African coastal countries to enhance maritime safety protocols.
  • Counter New-age Threats:
    • Strategise against challenges like cyber threats.
    • Example: Setting cyber-security standards for ship communication systems.
  • Engage Stakeholders:
    • Regular dialogues with ship owners and environmentalists for holistic decision-making.
    • Example: Open forums where operators can discuss the practical implications of proposed regulations.


  • While the IMO has made significant strides in maritime safety, security, and environmental protection, the evolving maritime landscape necessitates continuous adaptation. By integrating technology, addressing climate concerns, and fostering global collaboration, the IMO can solidify its role as the guardian of global maritime affairs.

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