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The event of a conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan. It explores the........

The event of a conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan. It explores the constraints and challenges India would face in the Strait of Malacca and highlights the lessons learned from past conflicts.

  • There is speculation about whether India would take action in the Strait of Malacca or the Andaman Sea in the event of a conflict between the US and China over Taiwan.

  • Any action in these areas would involve either a naval blockade against commercial shipping or military action against Chinese naval vessels.



However, commercial shipping and naval vessels have the right to freedom of navigation on the high seas, making a naval blockade against commercial shipping not feasible.

  • India's options are limited due to these constraints.

  • Distant blockades can be challenged under international law

  • Trade passing through the Strait of Malacca is not only China's lifeline, but also Japan, South Korea, and India's

  • The sovereignty of other states such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore would be affected by a naval blockade

  • Commercial shipping is complex to identify in terms of sovereignty, flag, registration, insurance, and ownership of cargo

  • Shipping can take a detour through the Sunda or Lombok Straits to reach China if the Strait of Malacca is blocked

  • China has onshore and floating Strategic Petroleum Reserves to help with disruptions in energy supplies

  • A naval blockade or unilateral action against an adversary's naval vessels would be considered a declaration of war and could lead to a


conflict.

  • Regional countries affected by disruption in the Strait of Malacca are unlikely to support unilateral action.

  • China would use its influence to thwart any such effort.

  • Lessons from the First and Second World Wars show that naval blockades and sanctions can lead to conflagrations.


  • The British blockade of Germany in WWI led to Germany retaliating with deadly effect.

  • The US embargo on Japan's energy supplies in WWII played a role in Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

  • Ongoing tensions between Iran and the US in the Strait of Hormuz show that interdiction of commercial shipping can escalate into military conflict.

  • The question remains whether India's strategic partners, especially the U.S., would support interdiction of Chinese vessels in a bilateral conflict between India and China.

  • There is no guarantee of support from other stakeholders in the region, especially South-East Asian nations.

  • In the event of a U.S.-China conflict over Taiwan, India's primary role may be limited to defending its territorial interests and the security of its sea lines of communication.

  • India has traditionally faced China's military threats on its own.

  • The U.S.-India partnership is expected to strengthen in the economic, high-tech, and military areas.

  • The U.S. sees India as regional ballast for stability in the region.

  • A strong India with a strong economy, nuclear deterrence capability, and credible military can contribute to multi-polarity in the Indo-Pacific.

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), a free foodgrains scheme, for the next five years. This scheme is based on the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and provides food security to a large number of vulnerable people.

  • The Union government has extended the free foodgrains scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), for the next five years.

  • The scheme benefits about 80.4 crore people, including the poorest of the poor and priority households.

  • Under the scheme, beneficiaries receive five kg of rice or wheat or coarse grains per person every month.

  • The provision of free foodgrains was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and was doubled for NFSA beneficiaries.

  • Between April 2020 and December 2022, 1,015 lakh tonnes of foodgrains were distributed at a subsidy of ₹3.45 lakh crore.

  • The Centre has announced free grains under the normal entitlements to States and Union Territories for a year while discontinuing the enhanced entitlement.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the PMGKAY scheme at an election rally in Durg, Chhattisgarh.

  • This announcement is seen as a violation of the model code of conduct as it was made for political gain.

  • The PMGKAY scheme is meant for the entire country, not just the five states facing elections.

  • The fiscal impact of the extension is not expected to be significant as the food subsidy bill is only 7.5% of the Union government's revenue receipts.

  • The extension will cost approximately ₹15,000 crore more each year, which is manageable.

  • It is important for the government to eliminate leakages in the Public Distribution System to ensure that the benefits reach the deserving.

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