How To Study International Affairs for UPSC Mains Exam?

International Affairs and Institutions are part of UPSC Civil Services Mains syllabus under General Studies Paper 2. The topic is different from the foreign relations/international relations part in the sense that questions asked may not in connection with India. Questions from this section may be based on issues between USA and Russia or on differences between IMF and World Bank. So aspirants who wish to score high on questions from this section should develop a deep interest in the matters of current international importance.

Strategy and Study Plan to Cover International Affairs

How to study international affairs

International affairs is subject which has direct correlation with World Geography and World History. A student of International Affairs should be able to precisely locate the position of any country on the world map. The platform of present international affairs lies in world history, and aspirants are advised to brush up topics like Industrial Revolution, World Wars, Cold War and Uni-polar World. Only from this platform, a candidate can fully comprehend current affairs related to international matters.

Strategy and Study Plan to Cover International Institutions

A brief overview about major international institutions is given below. Aspirants are advised to develop more on specific institutions.

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United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization that describes itself as a “global association of governments facilitating co-operation in international law, international security, economic development, and social equity”; It is the most prominent international institution. Many of the legal institutions follow the same organizational structure as the UN.

OIC : Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an international organization consisting of 57 member states. The organisation attempts to be the collective voice of the Muslim world (Ummah) and attempts to safeguard the interests and ensure the progress and well-being of Muslims.

Other major international organisations

  1. African Union
  2. ASEAN
  3. Arab League
  4. CIS
  5. European Union
  6. G8
  7. G20
  8. League of Nations
  9. Organization of American States

Economic institutions

  1. The World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.
  2. Asian Development Bank
  3. African Development Bank
  4. Bank of International Settlements
  5. Inter-American Development Bank
  6. International Monetary Fund
  7. Islamic Development Bank
  8. World Bank
  9. World Trade Organization

International legal bodies

Human rights

  1. European Court of Human Rights
  2. Human Rights Committee
  3. Inter-American Court of Human Rights
  4. International Criminal Court
  5. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
  6. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
  7. United Nations Human Rights Council


  1. African Court of Justice
  2. European Court of Justice
  3. International Court of Justice
  4. International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Regional security arrangements : Collective Security

  1. NATO E-3A flying with USAF F-16s in a NATO exercise.
  2. CSCAP
  3. GUAM
  4. Maritime security regime
  5. NATO
  6. SCO
  7. SAARC

Books and Websites for Reference

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