Question For Experts
Q. What is the significance of the QUAD summit?

Replied by Amruta Karambelkar
The Quad is a group of four like- minded democracies and comprises of India, US, Japan and Australia. These counties have common interests in security of the Indo-Pacific. The four countries see free and open Indo-Pacific essential. They are concerned about impediments to free flow of trade and navigation. When the QUAD grouping started some activity in the past two years ago, doubts were raised whether the group- whether the members were committed, their bilateral relations with China, specifically the trade dependency etc. There were doubts over the new US administration’s view of China and the Indo-Pacific. China had dismissed the grou..

Q. Is India facing an acute water crisis? What are some of the major steps taken by the government in this regard?

Replied by Heena Samant
Yes, India is currently facing an unprecedented water crisis. According to a report published by Niti Aayog, a premier policy Think Tank of Government of India, in 2018 titled ‘Composite Water Management Index’, India is undergoing the worst water crisis in its history. Additionally, there are several other information that has been provided in the report as far as the severity of the crisis is concerned. The report mentions that more than 600 million people are facing acute water shortages and critical groundwater resources which account for 40% of our water supply are being depleted at unsustainable rates. 75% of the households in the country do not ..

Q. What is the significance of the recent visit of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zaparov to Uzbekistan?

Replied by Dr Pravesh Kumar Gupta
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan had thorny relations with its neighbours. Soviet border Delimitation in the 1930s demarcated the frontiers of the Central Asian region with considering the ethnic composition of the region. This had become a serious issue when these countries become independent republics following the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As a result, many Uzbek enclaves in Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz enclaves in Uzbekistan emerged. Ethnic conflicts related to land and water resources distribution have added to the already troubled border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, following Islam Karimov’s death in..

Q. What are the implications of the Afghan Peace process for the Central Asian region?

Replied by Dr Pravesh Kumar Gupta
The outcome of the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan will be a defining moment for the Afghans and the Central Asian states. Peace in Afghanistan is rebound to the entire region's immense benefits in terms of security and increased regional connectivity, trade, and development. Similarly, prolonged conflict or a hostile takeover by Islamist forces in Afghanistan would threaten Central Asia’s stability, given their geographical proximity, historically shared cultural and religious links, and ethnic affiliations with Afghanistan. The Central Asian countries, all former republics of the Soviet Union, have been closely involved with developments..

Q. What is FATF? Why is Pakistan on its ‘Grey’ list? What will be the repercussions for Pakistan if it gets demoted to the ‘black’ list?

Replied by Aakriti Vinayak
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up in 1989 following a G-7 resolution, provides the international standards for anti-money laundering and combatting terrorist financing (AML/CFT). An Inter-governmental organisation with 38 members and two observers, the FATF is a policy making body which sets “standards and promotes effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Pakistan, on whose soil several terrorist groups operate freely, and whose agencies are known to have created and sup..

Q. What is India’s policy with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Replied by Hirak J Das
Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the core faultline in the West Asian region. Currently, the common threat emerging from Iran’s nuclear and weapons programmes as well as its regional expansion policy by supporting armed groups have shifted the faultline in the region providing impetus to Arab states to open diplomatic relations with Israel. The traditional talking points by Arab states about refugees; expansion of illegal settlements; prospect of Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital has been side-lined. India since 1947 has been an ardent supporter of the Palestinian right to self-determination and in fact it was the first non-Arab ..

Q. What are the measures India could adopt to expand its presence in the West Asian region?

Replied by Hirak J Das
India’s places high strategic value to the West Asian region. The level of engagement has heightened under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act West Policy. The application of ‘Look and Act West Policy’ to strategically engage and expand the collaborative matrix with the region especially with the GCC states and Israel has been quite effective. India has preserved the special relationship with Iran despite its warm ties with Saudi Arabia. Currently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the largest trade partners for India.
  • India should increase engagement with regional organisations.
  • India should develop ..

Q. Is there any data available on cyber-crimes in India in recent years? Any effective measures that government has taken to deal with cyber-crimes?

Replied by Anurag Sharma
With the growth in the usage of cellular/mobile phone and internet connectivity, there has been a rise in cyber-crimes. As per data presented by the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology—Sanjay Dhotre in Lok Sabha (the Lower House of the Parliament), on 10 February 2021, around 44,546 cyber-crime cases were registered as compared to 27,248 in 2018. On 09 March 2021, Minister of State for Home Affairs—G Kishan Reddy informed the Lok Sabha that in last 18 months, around 3,17,439 cyber-crimes and 5,771 FIRs (First Information Reports) were registered online through a centralised portal.
To deal with cyber-crimes, government ..

Q. What is cyber-hygiene?

Replied by Anurag Sharma
As personal hygiene refers to certain practices to maintain good health and well-being; cyber-hygiene is referred to the safe practices and measures that an individual may take to maintain a healthy cyber-ecosystem and cyber security. These practices can ensure the safety of computer systems and data from cyber-attacks.
References/recommended reading:
- Book, Chris. “What is cyber hygiene? A definition of cyber hygiene, benefits, best practices, and more”, Data Insider, 06 October 2020, Available from: https://digitalguardian.com/blog/what-cyber-hygiene-definition-cyber-hygiene-benefits-best-practices-and-more#:~:text=Cyber%2..

Q. Will India impose a complete ban on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin?

Replied by Anurag Sharma
Thank you for the question. The notification about banning private virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, is a step in the government’s agenda to prepare a framework for an official digital currency. According to various news reports quoting a senior government official (on basis of anonymity), India will propose a law banning cryptocurrencies, fining anyone trading within the country or having possession of these digital assets. Speaking at the India Today Conclave South, on 15 March 2021, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that “India is not shutting-off all options when it comes to cryptocurrency or blockch..

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