(Current Affairs) India and The World | September: 2015

India & The World

India, Kyrgyzstan plan anti-terror pact

  • Voicing grave concern over the rising trend of extremism and terrorism the world over, India and Kyrgyzstan on Sunday signed four agreements including one to boost defence cooperation and hold annual joint military exercises.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here on Saturday night as part of his eight-day six-nation tour of Central Asia, emphasised the need to combat terrorism and extremism which he described as a threat without borders.
  • The agreements include those on defence cooperation and culture. An MoU each was signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations.
  • A joint statement released later said both sides “expressed grave concern at the rising trend of extremism, radicalism and terrorism in the region and whole world”.

Secularism lauded

  • It said the Indian side highly appreciated the steps taken by the Kyrgyz government in combating terrorism and in retaining the secular character of Kyrgyz society.
  • The Prime Minister underlined that his visit to all five countries in the region “demonstrates the importance that we attach to a new level of relationship with Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is a key part of that vision”.
  • Noting that the bilateral defence ties are strong, he said a joint exercise Khanjar 2015 has just been completed.

Support for U.N. seat

  • Thanking Kyrgyzstan’s “strong support” to India’s candidature for permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council, Mr. Modi sought Mr. Atambaev’s support for early completion of the reforms in the world body.

China troubles are not good news for India: Assocham

  • Economic troubles for China will not be great news for India, which cannot be in ‘sweet spot’ as there would be more negatives than positives from the ripples of a Dragon dragging the shaky world economy, Assocham has warned.

  • “While it is true that fall in commodity prices, linked to China’s slow demand, is a positive for India, the development is not all that positive for a host of metal and iron ore producers such as SAIL, Tata Steel, NMDC and upstream oil producers.

  • A sharp fall in iron ore, steel and copper prices has equally hit the Indian manufacturers as any other company in the world,” said an Assocham paper, which analysed the impact of the problems in China on Indian economy.

  • If a bubble-like situation erupts from China, the impact will be seen all around the world to which the Indian economy is too well entrenched into, the Assocham paper has pointed out. China is number one merchandise trader in the world with over $4.16 trillion worth of trade, followed by the U.S. with $3.9 trillion. “If there is a shake-out, a slew of sectors in the global markets, which get their sizeable chunk of revenue from China - tourism, hotels, education, health, and others - will feel the immediate impact.

  • With $94 billion imports and barely $12 billion exports, India runs a huge trade imbalance with China, the paper has added.

‘SCO can help ease India-Pak. tensions’

  • China and Russia are aspiring to play a major role in resolving differences between India and Pakistan within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — a move that both see as necessary to integrate the economies of Eurasia along the New Silk Road.

  • A commentary in China’s state-run Xinhua news agency observes that the inclusion of India and Pakistan in the SCO — a decision that was taken last Friday during the grouping’s summit in Ufa — will enhance the “organisation’s influence and appeal at the international stage”.

  • It then stresses that the inclusion of New Delhi and Islamabad in the grouping will help improve bilateral relations by ironing out differences within the SCO framework.

  • Welcoming the two nations into the group, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “We know the background of the relationship. We hope the SCO will be able to facilitate a compromise between India and Pakistan.”

  • Analysts say any appreciable reduction in India-Pakistan tensions can boost the prospects of realising the China-driven Belt and Road project.

  • The initiative is meant to integrate the economies of Eurasia through the establishment of physical and cyber connectivity, energy pipelines, industrial parks and smart cities along a contiguous corridor.

Gwadar Corridor

  • China and Pakistan have decided to establish a Gwadar-Kashgar economic corridor under the Belt and Road project, but India objects to it as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • India has rejected the assertion, but Pakistan has accused New Delhi of aiding insurgency and imposing impediments in Baluchistan, through which the proposed corridor would pass.
  • China is aware that an India-Pakistan rapprochement, by lowering suspicions, can contribute to the stabilisation of Afghanistan, benefiting the regional stakeholders including New Delhi and Islamabad.
  • On India and Pakistan, the Xinhua commentary says that apart from “mending fences between traditional rivals, the SCO expansion also bodes well for countering terrorism and extremism in the region, a key task for the SCO since its establishment”.

  • Since India and Pakistan face the challenges of terrorism, separatism and extremism, their “future entry into the SCO will be a positive step for their domestic security, and will extend the anti-terrorism network”.

Modi pushes for TAPI project

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for early implementation of the $10-billion TAPI gas pipeline project during his talks with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as the two countries inked seven pacts to ramp up engagement in key areas such as defence.

  • During their comprehensive talks, both leaders resolved to step up efforts against the cross-border threats of terrorism, organised crime and illegal drug-trafficking as they reaffirmed their commitment for a stable Afghanistan.

  • The Prime Minister identified terrorism as a major threat facing the region, and said, “We have shared interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and Central Asia. We have also common purpose in combating terrorism and extremism in our region.”

  • Terming the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) project a significant initiative in the relationship between the two countries, Mr. Modi said he conveyed to Mr. Berdimukhamedov that multiple options such as the possibility of a land-sea route through Iran for the pipeline should be explored.

  • The TAPI gas project is an over 1,800-km pipeline with a design capacity to supply 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

  • The pipeline is expected to be operational by 2018 and will carry gas from the Galkynysh field of Turkmenistan that holds gas reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet.

India to become full member by 2016

  • India was on Friday accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a six-member regional grouping, to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered to work in combating terror and boosting trade by easing barriers.

  • India, which has had an observer status for the past 10 years, will technically become a member by next year after completion of certain procedures.

  • The Beijing-based SCO currently has China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as members. Along with India, the process to include Pakistan as a member was initiated here on Friday.

Modi optimistic about Pakistan tour

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Ufa, Russia, ended with an announcement that he would visit Islamabad in 2016 for the SAARC summit, but made no commitment on restarting dialogue.

  • In a joint statement after the meeting that lasted more than an hour at the Congress Hall of Ufa, the Prime Ministers tasked Foreign Secretaries S. Jaishankar and Aizaz Chowdhury with announcing a five-pronged statement of progress in their discussions, including meetings between National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz and between military and border security force chiefs of the two nations, and “discussing ways and means” to expedite the Mumbai 26/11 trial and “providing voice samples” as evidence.

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