1. Putin, Crimea, PoK, Referendum & Resolution
  2. China, Tibet, Lama & 20th Century Mindset
  3. Trumpism & Protectionism against China
  4. Neighbors & Surgical Strikes
  5. Hilary doctrine vs Sushma Doctrine?
  6. Airlifting stranded NRIs
  7. EU Refugee absorption
  8. BREXIT & History’s repetition
  9. Akihito’s throne abdication vs India’s Japan policy
  10. Wiretapping & Whistleblowing

Putin, Crimea, PoK, Referendum & Resolution

Q. Russia recently said “We’ll never return Crimea, It’s our own territory under 2014 referendum.” so, it seems “Might is right” in today’s world. Then should we not consider taking over PoK from Pakistan? After all, we already have conducted a successful surgical strike, and PoK people will definitely vote to join India if there is a referendum!

Ans. Sir, I beg to differ. Ukraine did not possess nuclear weapons, and Russia enjoys UNSC veto powers. Besides, it doesn’t fit well to India’s image as a ‘peaceful’ nation in the world forums.

Q. Suppose the USA initiates a UN-resolution to ‘condemn’ the Russian occupation of Crimea? Should India support it?

Ans. Sir, given our long friendship with Russia, we should abstain from voting in such UN-resolutions. During BRICS summit last year, our PM also said: “one old friend is better than two new friends.” [MISTAKE: should say “our Honorable PM”]

Q. Suppose USA initiates a UN-resolution to ‘condemn’ the Pakistan’s occupation over PoK, should India support it?

Ans. Yes sir, we should vote to condemn it.

Q. There is inconsistency in your answers- you want to abstain from condemning Crimean occupation but will vote to condemn PoK?

Ans. Unsatisfactory.
Diplomacy Hilary Doctrine
Q.ok leave it. Tell me something about Kanishka bombing.

Ans. Sir in 1985, Sikh Militants bombed an Air India flight near Ireland to avenge the operation blue star.

Q. Recently, one of the accused in Kanishka bombing is freed by Canada- for the lack of evidence. What options does India have on this?

Ans. Sir, we can seek his extradition.

Q. But Canadian court already said there is a lack of evidence, so they may not allow the extradition. Should we approach ICJ or ICC for this? And what is the difference between these two international courts?

Ans. Sir, International court of Justice (ICJ) is to file a case against a nation; so we can’t approach it for an individual. Besides, India doesn’t accept ICJ jurisdiction over disputes with Commonwealth nations; and Canada is a commonwealth nation.

Q. and what about ICC?
Ans. Sir, International Criminal court is to file cases against individuals, mainly for genocides and war crimes. We can’t approach it because we are not a party to ICC.

Q. But don’t you think these terrorists are roaming scot free, be it this Kalistani group or Hafiz Saeed, so shouldn’t we JOIN ICC and then take these cases?

Ans. Sir, but then Pakistan will file fictitious cases against Indian army officers for committing war crimes and genocides in Kashmir and North East. Besides we’ve other avenues through which these terrorists can be brought to book. So in my opinion, we should not join ICC.

China, Tibet, Lama & 20th Century Mindset

Q. Our Hon’ble prime minister recently said: “if we live with a mindset of the 20th century, we can’t solve problems in the 21st century”. Can you substantiate this with any of India’s foreign policy challenges?

Ans. Sir, in the 20th century, countries believed in mercantile policy that one nation’s profit is a necessarily loss for another nation. And it leads to protectionist mindset, we have to open up and reduce tariff…

Q. No no. you’re moving towards economic policy; I’m asking about foreign policy. Give concentrate example in 2-3 sentences. Don’t make long stories.

Ans. Sir, 20th century’s India would have believed in either peaceful dialogue or full-fledged war with Pakistan. Now, 21st century’s India is doing limited level surgical strikes to solve the terrorism problem.

Q. Suppose China proposes that India should expel Dalai Lama and Tibetans, and in return, China promises to give up claims on Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, should we do it or not?

Ans. Sir, we should not ‘expel’ Dalai Lama. It’ll harm India’s image in international forums.

Q. But sheltering Dalai Lama was India’s foreign policy of 20th century. In 21st century, India must address the economic aspects first, no? if China gives up territorial claims it can greatly reduce our defense expenditure, won’t it?

Ans. Unsatisfactory.

Trumpism & Protectionism against China

Q. President Trump says “buy American, hire American”. Would you advise PM Modi to say “buy Indian, hire Indian?”

Ans. Sir, we already are promoting make in India for this purpose. But, to begin protectionism on the line of president Trump, will do us more harm, since remittances and exports play an important role in our economy.

Q. Chinese Mobile company OPPO wants to sponsor Indian cricket team. But RSS wants Government of India to prevent it, because it’s Chinese. What are your views?

Ans. Sir, advertisement, and game-sponsoring are commercial activities. There are better left to market forces. The state should not interfere.

Q. But, if OPPO logo is present on Kohli’s t-shirt, our youth may purchase more of these Chinese mobiles and thereby hurting the make in India and current account deficit!

Ans. Yes sir, but it’s a commercial activity. In future, Reliance or Tata may also sponsor Chinese badminton or TT teams, then China may prevent them. So, creating such non-tariff barriers will hurt us in the long term.

Q. but my dear, how is it a commercial activity? BCCI get tax exemption, under Section 11 of the Income Tax Act, on the ground that promoting cricket is a ‘charitable activity’. So on one hand, Chinese mobiles are raising our current account deficit and one the other hand, it doesn’t improve Government’s fiscal resources.

Ans. Sir, but for that, we can hike the customs duty on the Chinese phones.

Q. but then China will also hike customs duty on Reliance and Tata. Aren’t you contradicting your stand from the previous answers?

Ans. Unsatisfactory.

Neighbors & Surgical Strikes

Q. Have you seen this movie ‘Rangoon’?
Ans. No sir.

Q. Parliament of Myanmar is located in which city?

Ans. Sir, Rangoon. [mistake: bluffing and presuming that it’s connected with the previous question.]

Q. Is it “Rangoon”, are you sure?
Ans. Sorry sir, I mean officially it’s pronounced as ‘Yangoon’.

Q.No dear, Parliament of Myanmar is located at Naypyidaw.

Ans. Sorry, sir.

Q.Who’s the new president of Myanmar?

Ans. Htin Kyaw, of National League for Democracy.

Q. But Suu Ki is the chief of this party, right? Then why didn’t Suu ki become president of Myanmar despite winning the election? Why is she controlling Government with a proxy president?

Ans. Sir, Myanmar Constitution (Art. 59/f)  bars person whose spouse or children are having foreign citizenship, from becoming president. Suu Ki’s sons are British citizens.

Q. What changes have occurred in India-Myanmar relations after Suu Ki’s party came in power?

Ans. Sir, cooperation against insurgency has improved. We were able to carry out a surgical strike against NSCN inside Myanmar.

Q. But that surgical strike was conducted in Mid-2015. And Htin Kyaw became president in 2016. In fact, post Suu-Ki government, insurgent attacks have continued, but we couldn’t do any more ‘surgical strikes’. So don’t you think, the previous military regime of Myanmar was better for India’s foreign policy?

Ans. Sorry sir, from my limited reading, I’m unable to take a stand on this.

Q. Leave it. Tell me something about the surgical strike against Pakistan.
Ans. Sir, it was done in 2016, to avenge the Uri attack where Pakistani terrorists had killed our soldiers.

Q. But what have we gained out of it? This strike has escalated the cross-border firing and infiltration attempts!
Ans. Sir, I would beg to differ. We conveyed the Pakistanis that this was only a ‘trailer’. There will be more such strikes if they don’t change their ways. Infect afterward, Pak.government took action against Hafeez Sayeed and he’s now he’s arrested.
[MISTAKE: should avoid Paan-ki-Dukan type expressions like ‘this was a trailer’, the full movie is yet to come. Such expressions are good for news-debates but not for a diplomat. ]

Q. My dear, Post-Uri surgical strike was conducted in September 2016. Hafeez Sayeed is put under house arrest in January 2017. So the primary and immediate cause was to prevent Donald Trump from putting Visa bans on Pakistanis, rather than the ‘effect’ of that strike, wasn’t it?

Ans. Sir, I think it’s the culmination of all those events that started with Uri attack. Because we highlighted Pak-sponsored terrorism in UN, world media also focused on the surgical strike and cancellation of SAARC summit because of Pakistan, our Ambassador to the US would also have discussed it with US counterparts. So, it’d have come to notice of President Trump and his policy advisors to their change policy on Pakistan, hence this effect.

Hilary doctrine vs Sushma Doctrine?

Q. What is Hilary doctrine?
Ans. Sir, when Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State, she highlighted gender violence as an issue of national security…

Q. Then what is Sushma doctrine?
Ans. Sir, I have not come across such term. But if I’m allowed to make a guess, it’ll be something related to our foreign minister Sushma Swaraj giving free admission, medical treatment, and rescue-relief to individuals through twitter. [Mistake: it’s not ‘foreign minister’ but Minister for External affairs, secondly there is no term called Sushma Doctrine. This candidate has bluffed and now panelist starts grilling.]

Q. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer. There are ‘n’ number of NRIs and Indian diaspora facing similar problems. Only one or two are helped via twitter. What’s the use of this beyond short-term publicity and media highlight?

Ans. Sir, in foreign relation, there are two types of powers: hard power and soft power……

Q. Don’t tell me the story. Give me three concrete points.

Ans. Unsatisfactory.

Q. In 2016, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs merged with MEA. Was it a good decision?

Ans. Yes sir, because it’ll remove the duplication of efforts. There will better coordination and economies of scale in organizing events such as Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas and in conducting rescue and relief operations.

Q. But now, NRIs who were earlier complaining to MOIA are now complaining to MEA twitter, and one or two of them are helped via the term you guessed as ‘Sushma Doctrine’! So how has this merger improved anything?

Ans. Unsatisfactory. [Hint: there is already a separate portal for NRI/diaspora to lodge complaints. Twitter thing is only one or two cases for PR purpose. And how merger helped in cost savings, that can be found via performance audit. But this whole line of grilling wouldn’t have occurred, if Candidate had simply said “sorry sir, I don’t know what Sushma Doctrine’ is!” instead of bluffing the answer.]

Airlifting stranded NRIs

Q.Akshay Kumar’s new movie “Airlift” is about the evacuation of Indians from Kuwait during Iraq-Kuwait war. Suppose you are the Indian ambassador posted at Kuwait, how will you coordinate that?

Ans. Sir, I’ll coordinate with the foreign ministry and aviation ministry to arrange for transportation and passport-visa & immigration. [Mistake: it’s not foreign ministry but ‘ministry of external affairs‘, and immigration matters are handled by Home ministry, not MEA.]

Q.This happened in the 90s. Tell me recent examples where we evacuated Indians from abroad?

Ans. Sir, we evacuated Indians from Yemen (Op.Raahat, 2015), Libya (Op.Safe homecoming, 2011) and Lebanon (Op. Sukoon, 2006)

Q.But these Indian left India to work in the middle east for better money. They ‘brain-drained’ the public money invested by our Government on their education and upbringing. Why should Indian Government waste money in rescuing them? It should be the responsibility of those middle-east Governments OR UN!

Ans. But sir these NRIs send remittance back home, so they’re helping our economy indirectly. And if sole-breadwinner dies abroad, their family will suffer here, it’ll create more socio-economic problems such as child Labor, prostitution and crime. [MISTAKE: instead of ‘but’, should say ‘I beg to differ’.]

EU Refugee absorption

Q. What is Syrian refugee crisis and What is the EU-Turkey deal?

Ans. Sir, in Islam, there are two sects, Shia and Sunni. The Shia….

Q. Don’t tell me the whole history. Just answer in two-three sentences.


Q. Recently, European Court of Justice ruled that “Member States are not required, under EU law, to grant a humanitarian visa to persons who wish to enter their territory for asylum.” What are your views on this?

Ans. Sir, EU countries are rich and developed, they should accept the refugees fleeing away from the ISIS and Syrian forces….

Q. My dear, not all EU members are ‘rich’. Besides these refugees are putting pressure on EU-members’ financial resources and law and order issues, and their own local citizens are aggrieved due to job-loss and radicalization by immigrants.

Ans. Yes sir, actually UN refugee fund should provide funding for it to hold them in Turkey.

Q. hmm…so now If I grill you on Turkey, then you’ll say UNSC should send a military force to wipe out ISIS so the refugee crisis doesn’t occur, right?

Ans. Sir, it’s a combination of both. We’ve to stop ISIS and we’ve to protect the refugees also.

Q. After this verdict, one of the international human right NGO has tweeted “European Court of Justice ruling against humanitarian visas for refugees is a miscarriage of justice.” Suppose you’re the EU-judge who gave this verdict, will you start proceeding against this NGO for ‘contempt of court’, after all, he’s spreading disaffection against judiciary?

Ans. Yes sir. While NGO may feel passionate about the plight of refugees but the choice of words is wrong, they should not say “miscarriage of justice”.

Q. Tomorrow if all the persecuted Hindus from Malaysia and Indonesia starts coming to India via sea routes, should we give them asylum?

Ans. No sir. [MISTAKE: now candidate has become afraid of panelist’s grilling so he is speaking like a puppet.]

Q.But if India doesn’t help them, who will help them? Bangladesh has radical parties who’ll persecute them further, Srilanka’s own Tamil refugees coming to India, Myanmar or Bhutan don’t have resources…where will these Hindus go?

Ans. Unsatisfactory.

BREXIT & History’s repetition

Q. “History repeats itself.” explain with a real example in recent times.

Ans. Sir, UK leaving the European Union….umm..One of the pro-BREXIT leader had said, “Britain must leave leave EU to prevent its “legal colonization” by the EU”. In history, we see Britain had also colonized India and other countries. So now event is repeating with them.

Q. But how can you say EU was doing ‘colonization’? UK itself had joined the EU willing. EU did not adopt any divide and rule policy, they did not ‘defeat’ rajvadaa of Britain, they did not gain ‘Diwani’ rights of Britain, they did not do ‘drain of wealth’, In fact due to EU membership, UK workers were enjoying paid holidays, extra-maternity rights and so forth! Then, how can you relate BREXIT with the colonization of India and subsequent independence?

Ans. Unsatisfactory.

Q. Ok leave it. Name the countries that were divided after 2000- one example each from Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Ans. Sir, in Africa, through referendum South Sudan divided from Sudan (2011). In Europe and Asia, I’m unable to recollect.

Q. In Europe, Serbia and Montenegro separated (2006) and in Asia, East Timor separated from Indonesia (2002).

Ans. Thank you sir.

Q. So tell me how is history “repeated” here?
Ans. Sir, I’m not well versed in the reasons for their separation. But I think these countries were divided because of ethnic, religious or economic reasons. So, in a way, history is repeating the partition of India and Pakistan.

Akihito’s throne abdication vs India’s Japan policy

Q. Emperor of Japan has recently announced he’ll abdicate the throne. Tell me how will this affect India’s foreign policy?

Ans. Sir, it’ll strengthen the democratic ethos that India strongly supports within our country and among our allies, and …..

Q. Don’t give vague stories from political science. Tell me specific points how it’ll affect our foreign policy.
Ans. Sorry sir, I’m not well versed in this current news.

Q.Ok let me give you some hints: Akihito is a pacifist, once he abdicates the throne, the conservative PM Abe may revoke peace clause from Japanese Constitution and start the process of militarization. So tell me what changes do you see in India’s foreign policy for Japan?

Ans. Thank you, sir. Yes sir, given these possible outcomes, we can export our missile and defense technology to Japan, to correct our trade deficit and settle the infrastructure loans given by Japan. We can also work more closely with Japan to counter the Chinese influence in international forums such as NSG, UNGA, UNFCCC etc.

Q. but in UNFCCC, China and India’s interests are well aligned, both of us want the developed countries to bear the primary responsibility for climate change. so why is there any need to ‘counter’ Chinese influence in UNFCCC?

Ans. Unsatisfactory. [MISTAKE: shouldn’t have mentioned UNFCCC in the first place. He should pause for 3-4 seconds to collect his thought. When candidate starts speaking in rapid manner such mistakes occur.]

Q. You were talking about defense exports. But Japan has closer ties with USA, and USA’s military-industrial complex is far more developed than India. So even if Japanese were to purchase defense technology, Americans will grab those contracts!

Ans. Sir, I beg to differ. It was the USA that forced peace clause in Japanese Constitution and was responsible for the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so I think it’s unlikely PM Abe will approach the USA for defense technology because of the fear of domestic backlash.

Q. you’re saying that closer “military” ties with Japan will help us counter China. But Japan also has historic animosity against Russia. Suppose, Japan sponsors a UN-resolution to condemn “Russian occupation” of Crimea. And asks India to vote in favor. Then?

Ans. Sir, we should abstain from such voting. Because Russia is also a long-standing friend of India. Besides, some of our military technologies are developed with help of Russia so taking sides on Crimea, will create unnecessary complications in future.

Q. Japan whaling industry is making losses due to restrictions by International Whaling Commission (IWC). Suppose Japan asks India’s support to get the ban lifted, and in exchange promises to buy billion dollar defense technologies. Should we do it or not?

Ans. Sir, killing whales for commercial purpose, doesn’t fit well the values enshrined in our Constitution, and our international image. Besides, We are already a trillion dollar economy, we’ll not collapse if Japan doesn’t buy missiles from us. Therefore, we should not support the lifting of whaling ban.

 Wiretapping & Whistleblowing

Q. Donald Trump says President Obama had ordered wiretapping on him. What is wiretapping? In India, which act provides for this type of surveillance? Is there any mechanism to prevent its abuse?

Ans. Sir, In India, phone tapping can be done under Telegraph Act. But the investigating agency has to get permission from Home ministry.

Q. Suppose you’re a junior officer in Intelligence Bureau (IB), and DG orders you to keep a watch on Subhash Chandra Bose’s relatives, on behest of PM Nehru. Will you do it or not?

Ans. Sir, I’ll tell him to give it to me in writing, otherwise I’ll go on medical leave. [MISTAKE: Simply say “As per service rules, I’ll carry out orders of my superiors.” Instead of saying things like “I’ll ask for order in writing, I’ll go on medical leave” and so on. It hints you’re disillusioned topper Rameshwar. Governance requires EFFECTIVE officers more than it requires honest “by the book” officers.]

Q. Will you consider sending an anonymous letter to press that PM Nehru has ordered wiretapping of Bose’s relatives?
Ans. I might consider it. [MISTAKE: even if you think there is some wrongdoing, still by immediately approaching press, you’re breaking discipline and command chain. First, you’ve to put grievances to official ‘executive channel’, then to ‘legal/judicial channel’. Same reason even General Bipin Rawat  has ordered Jawans not to put videos about bad food on social media.]